Friday, January 19, 2018

*Insert Clever Title Here

First and foremost, it is important to note that this week is Miss Fiona's 1st birthday! Most of you probably live in the area, and so you are fully aware of who Fiona is, but just in case you are not, Fiona is the most celebrated of Cincinnati celebrities - a hippo born too early at the Cincinnati Zoo, nursed to health by dedicated humans, and successfully reintroduced to her parents. All of this was documented on social media, and watched closely by her loving public. She is precious and she is 1! So a very happy birthday to Fiona!
What else happened this girl and I met a friend of mine at the library to listen to a Buddhist monk in exile speak. Arjia Rinpoche spoke about his life, his work, and Buddhism, the horrors of the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao, and the repression of Tibetan culture now. He is the director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, Indiana. I don't care for Indiana myself, but I would be willing to visit for this reason. He was very interesting, and even my daughter, who is much cooler than I am, enjoyed it.

Okay, onto progress this week. I don't know how I'll document this from week to week - for today we'll just go in bullet points, so as not to blather on for hours.

  • Eating better: I have documented every freaking bite I've taken for 1 1/2 weeks now, and I've been very good about my water intake - at least 80 oz a day.
  • Moving more: I did very well for a bit - starting last Wednesday, I worked out at least a little every day for 5 days. I did kickboxing Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday, Nerd Fitness workouts Thursday and Friday, walked a little each day, and a yoga session on Sunday. Since Monday, not so much. It's been cold, and I've been tired, and have all the excuses, but I am going to kickboxing tonight, and I plan to do a NF workout tomorrow (the Girl and I will be at a volleyball tourney, so I will have to do this later.) I need to start developing the early exercise habit again, I think, as I am more likely to get it done. Things come up later, you know?
  • Spending less/making more: I did not order anything this week. So, that's a win.
  • Rest/relax/enjoy: oof - I meditated the first two days, and did not continue. So, that's two out of seven - let's aim for more.
  • Stop procrastinating/make consistent progress: Well. I'm updating, and it's been a little more than a week, but not much. So we'll go partial win. I did post some fun, tomato-face pics to Instagram. That was fun.
  • Organization: I have been updating my bullet journal. Even added a few collections.

Gimme the loot!

Oh, Blogger. Why won't you let me do what I want to do?

  • Engage more deeply: I visited my mom, my sister, and met a Buddhist monk.

I'm still working on getting my voice back. Still in and out, but much better.

Alrighty, action plan for this week:
Same exercise plan as last week
80 oz water
Keep logging the food
No Freaking Gas Station Snacks! Since I shouldn't try building a negative habit, we'll go with: I will bring a small snack and a bottle of water with me each day in the car so I don't feel the need to stop to get snacks.
Meditate, at least 2 minutes, each day.
Plug phone in by 9PM each night

Gotta go - kickboxing calls!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ahhh, the beloved resolutions post...

2017 sucked my big toe. I declare 2018 to be the "Non-sucky Year of Missy!"

Remember how I used to post resolutions every year? Like, I was really into them. The last "goals" post I wrote was 2014, and I started it talking about the previous 7 years of resolution posts, and how I wasn't going to make them that year, because I was not really disappointed with myself. I was in a pretty good mood that year. 
The thing is, I don't make resolutions because I'm disappointed with myself. I make them because, honestly, I find them kind of fun to make. I suppose the fact that I am still obese and living in a messy home says I miss the point of "resolving" to do something, but for crap's sake, life is too short to beat yourself up. As I've found this year, too much else is waiting in line to kick the shit out of me; I don't need to wait in that line to take a turn. I just need to be kind to myself. So today I am going to write about my goals for this year, and each one of them are going to be ways I am going to be kind to myself. They are not going to be written out as actionable goals in organized, cohesive steps. They are not going to be written out as measurable goals, with timelines. I am smack dab in the middle of review time for my staff, and I have no desire to double the efforts here.

(continued, several days later. Hey, don't judge me!)
I went to the doctor this morning. I've been sick - the upper resp crap people have had. I've been sick for about three weeks, but it has gotten worse, and I have had no voice for over a week, which is very sad for a chatty sort like me. So, went to the doctor, asked for 'roids, looking forward to feeling better. Which leads me into the rest of the post, as one of the reasons I want to feel better is so I can work out again. 
I just read a few blogs over lunch, and three posts I read today from three separate blogs were extremely inspiring. 
1. The first was one of my emails from Tammy at Organize Yourself Skinny: it was kind of a tough love, quit the excuses and just do it email. It was a good way to start the day, especially since I was kind of feeling sorry for myself , feeling all sick. 
2. The second was the post on weight loss resolutions from Katie at Runs For Cookies: there were several little nuggets of brilliance there, but the two that stuck out to me were "make the single change that has the largest impact." She was a binger, and she knew that was what was holding her back, so she stopped binging - a single, simple change with a huge impact. And she repeated, simple does not mean easy, it's not going to be easy, but it is one, simple change. I know my biggest change will have to be food related - I eat too freaking much. I'm not entirely sure how to boil that down to one simple change. Hopefully I'll figure that out as I write this. The second thing she wrote that inspired me was "Get it over with!" Advice someone else had given her - in the number of years I have had "lose weight" on my resolution list, I could have lost 400 lbs. It's not going to be easy, but I can mark it off my to-do list, start feeling better, and stop stressing about my health if I just do it, for crap's sake. 
3. Finally, the Tiny Buddha post from January 4 discusses "How to Thrive When Your Life Feels on Hold." The whole post (like most of them) is pretty fantastic and has a lot of excellent advice. In her case, she is describing the holding pattern she was in when she moved to Canada with her husband, and was waiting for her residency to arrive so she could start her career. It was frustrating, and she felt stuck - until she changed her perspective. But it speaks to the experience of a person who has been unhealthy and unhappy her whole life; that feeling of waiting until you are at the right weight to actually have a life, find a passion, do something fantastic. And, that feeling of waiting until the "right moment" to lose weight - January 1, when the weather is warmer, when you have the money to join the gym you like, etc. I am the perfect example -waiting for the right moment to get healthy, you probably could have lost 400 lbs, run a marathon, written a vegan cookbook in that time. Something will always come up. Which just circles back to "Get it over with."

This year's bullet journal - the annual calendar section. I included goals for the year in there, including pet more dogs, because that is an excellent goal for the year.

Sometimes I get down on this whole get healthier thing because I am 42, and half my life is gone, and I should have done this years ago, and what's the point now. So I have adjusted my reasons from "I want to look good and be a good role model to my kids" to "I want to feel good, and be able to do the things I want to do for as long as I want. I don't want to have to rely on others to be able to have fun or have an interesting second half of my life. My brain feels better when my body feels better." That last point may sound rather juvenile, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Gretchen Rubin (the Happiness Project chick) divides resolutions into seven categories, so I will use that as my framework for resolutions this year. Otherwise I tend to go on for months.

Gretchen Rubin's "Essential 7"
1. Eat and drink more healthfully: eat more vegetables, drink more water, eat reasonable portion sizes, plan and prep meals, decrease sugar, most importantly, stay away from the gas station snacks! These are ways I need to improve my eating habits this year. I'm not sure exactly how to divide this up into actionable and reasonable steps, so I will follow my Nerd Fitness Academy and Organize Yourself Skinny framework, and start by logging my food for the next two weeks. That is easy enough, so I'll add in drinking 2 full tumblers of water at work every day.

2. Exercise regularly: I have been adding more movement in - my friend L and I found a kickboxing class we really like, and I want to make sure I get to that at least once a week. That will become more difficult as softball season gets busier, and I will have to add other workouts in. I have my Nerd Fitness workouts I have not been doing, and I can do those from home. Add in walking outside or on the treadmill, and the occasional yoga class, and we have a good start. So, 1 kickboxing workout a week, 1 yoga workout a week (class or online), NF workout 4 times a week before work, walk 5 minutes a day (on purpose) plus walking with a friend or on the treadmill twice a week. Occasional trying classes with friends, going to new gyms, etc bonus. This is all flexible, but the idea is to move a little each day.

3. Save and spend wisely: I have an ugly Amazon habit, I like to buy presents for people, shopping is therapeutic activity for my daughter and me, and I feel like I need more control over my finances. Hence, I will stay off Amazon unless it is for a specific need (the library is a wonderful place), stay away from the morning snack buying, actually look at my expenses and figure out my unnecessary spending. I do a lot of it, and I could save a lot more if I fix that silly spending.

4. Rest, relax, enjoy: I really do want to work on developing a meditation habit. I say this a lot, and this is a good place to put it. Meditation truly helps my anxiety, I will start with 5 minutes every morning. I would also like to take up a productive hobby - crochet? I have done it before, but I need help starting again, as I don't really remember the steps.

5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress: Ha! This kind of goes into all of this. But I will add to the not procrastinating the rest of these habits, to update this blog once a week with my progress on all of this. Specifically the health. Be prepared, loving readers, I will inundate you with life updates. You excited yet?

6. Simplify, clear, organize: keep up with my bullet journal. Ooh. That was nice a simple.

7. Engage more deeply -- with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world: Okay, let's add the meditating here again. Also, I want to keep up with my out of town family and friends more regularly (be prepared, Alison J,) and as the weather warms up, I'd like to try to get in a hike here and there. I like outside. I should go there occasionally.

Okay. So.
(Does that irritate you as much as it does me? The "okay, so" thing? I have actually heard educated, intelligent scientists on NPR start their every answer in an interview with that phrase. It sounds so reluctant.)
Anyway, this has gone on for a long time, and I will try to break it down more and be more concise with my actionable steps as time goes on, but here is the gist of the 2018 Resolutions of Missy:
1. Eat better
2. Exercise more
(surprised yet?)
3. Spend less
4. Meditate and relearn to crochet
5. Blog weekly on all this
6. Keep up with the bullet journal
7. Keep up with friends and family out of town, meditate, hike

We'll chat more later. Gotta do other productive stuff.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sometimes you just gotta burn stuff

I have a pretty sweet little life, with a lot of very good in it. I've been kickboxing lately, which has helped my mood more than you can know. I have a lot of people who seem to care about me, and how lucky am I in that? I have a job I don't hate, animals seem to like me, and I laugh easily, which is a benefit in today's world.

But today's post is not about the happy. It's about letting go of the suck.
I thought I was celebrating a Yule tradition - building a fire, writing down the things that have been hurting this year, and burning them in the fire. I was wrong - that is a New Year's tradition, but I did it today, so I'm writing about it today.

When my kids were younger, in addition to our Christmas festivities, I started adding some elements of different winter celebrations into our own December. This was fun and educational - we told stories and performed small rituals and expanded our own understanding of the people around us. We played dreidel and ate doughnuts on the 8th night of Chanukah, we exchanged ornaments and told stories on Sinterklaas day, talked about Santa Lucia, told Kwanzaa stories - and we lit candles and observed the Winter Solstice, even if it was just reading a book and talking about the return of the sun. We haven't done these things in a long time, if for no other reason than the kids are older and don't care much, and I work.

The past two years have been tough, though, and I felt a need to recognize today as more than just another day. As I left my office today, I noticed how dark it felt (and bizarrely warm,) and I needed some sort of ritual to mark my intentions for the coming year. (Even as I type this, I am realizing how obvious it is that this is a New Year's ritual, but it's done. And it's fitting, sort of - the dark of the longest night cleansing us of the past year's garbage, the return of the sun marking the return of happiness and goodness. Stop nagging me, I can do it again on New Year's!)

Okay, anyway. A lot of my 2017 suck has involved the state of the union, and my worries about the future. A lot more of my 2017 suck has involved my own insecurities. Insecurity feeds my depression, and adds up to a whole lot of suck. So I wrote all the worst of it down. (I should note that my son was sitting at the table with me as I was writing, giving me notes on what I could do to change a lot of it. None of his suggestions were useful, but he was asking me if I really felt it was healthy to focus so heavily on the negative in life. I told him yes, be quiet, Mommy's thinking. He remained unconvinced. But obviously this is working, see how much better my mood is?)

I burned that shit to the ground, and as I burned the suck, I meditated on letting go of insecurity and despair and fog...and welcoming peace and good. And sending it out into the world. It's the first time in a long time I've actively cultivated a loving-kindness meditation of any sort, and it made me feel so much better.

Or maybe that's just the kickboxing.
Say hello to my little Julbocken.

Blessed Yule to you all!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The state of life as I know it.

It's been awhile, no? I looked - my last post was the beginning of April. And, sadly, those last few posts were rather ranty, whiny posts. I felt kind of bad about that, and I felt like I really didn't have much to write about, and on top of that, so many of the important, all-consuming parts of my life have been private enough that posting about them in this public forum was not really appropriate. Those things still apply, but honestly, I've missed writing here, as far as it goes. Sometimes it helps me to get my brain in order, and boy howdy do I need that.

I just used the phrase "boy howdy." I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it's bizarre.

Please don't feel like I only use you to vent. I care about your problems, too, I swear, but I need to get all of this crap out of my head and onto the page, and I feel more productive when I think someone *might read it. Some of it will be vague, as not all the stories are solely mine, but it will explain to you all why I haven't been here, and perhaps, been a little more negative than I ever have.

I started this blog originally as just a place to share bits of my life and family, mostly with family who live elsewhere, but also with anyone who cared. As my kids have gotten older, and haven't been so open to me posting pictures of them and their adventures for the world to see, I started writing about mental health, and then physical health, sometimes both, as I have struggled with both.

This year, I have been dealing with issues with all of these things, and more. In fact, 2017 is kicking my ass as much as 2016 did, and I've just about had enough, thank you. I took today off work to deal with a couple of these issues, and I am so scattered and tightly wound right now, that i just don't freaking know where to start. So I decided to sit down and write it all out, in hopes that it will clear my mind enough to get off my butt and do something.

1. My family and parenting issues.
Here is where I will be the most vague. I need to write it out, but I can't share stories that are not only mine. Know only that every member of my immediate family has struggled with some issues this year, some harder than others. My husband, my kids, my mom, my brother, my sister...and I have this desperate need to make it better for all of them, and I don't know how. And I feel so guilty about the things with my kids, and thinking maybe these things would not have happened if I had been a better mother, more disciplined, more disciplining. Maybe I was too self-involved when I was working out at boot camp and trying to be healthier, and going to book clubs, and having fun, and I missed something, or got lazy as a parent (and I do tend to be lazy as a parent, I know this). What should I have done differently? All I want is for them to be self-sufficient, happy, healthy...and I fear I failed miserably. My husband is sick, there is something wrong with him, and he's been through tests, and they can't figure out what is going on. I'm scared, and I'm hurting, and on top of that, I'm feeling guilty that I'm focusing on my own feelings.

2. My health
My boot camp closed earlier this year. I have gone out for walks occasionally, sometimes gone for a dance fitness occasional yoga class. My eating has gone to shit, and I make commitments to myself, to friends, that I will prep and eat better, and then I buy pop on my way into work, or I develop this bizarre addiction to berry flavored gummy life savers, which have probably ruined my teeth. Not that I would know, as I haven't been to the dentist, and I haven't had blood work done in months. My anxiety levels are through the roof, and I've even had panic attacks here and there. I joined Nerd Fitness a few weeks ago, and I just need to take simple steps and make changes, but I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I just want someone to follow me around and tell me what to do, so I don't have to think about it. Because focusing on it feels selfish, and sometimes, I really really don't want to. On top of it, aside from waking up at 4:30AM again, I'm not sure when I have time to do it.

3. My job
There have been 2 sets of layoffs this year, 1 just 2 weeks ago. My staff is worried, and I have little to know information about anything, so I can't tell them much. We are told to not let the mission of the organization out of our minds, keep at it, doing our jobs, keep up morale, but how do we do that when we don't know anything? On top of that, they cut our facilities budget this year, so we don't have a dedicated facilities staff in our building anymore. The building is extremely old, and the rehab was not done in a logical way, so we have constant problems. The majority of these fall on the Hope Lodge manager, but I have to stay in the loop too, so I can deal with what affects our office. Also, he is not a calm man, and he tends to vent to me. We have leaks and wiring issues, and so many problems with the HVAC system, I want to set up an office for the guys who do the repairs. ON top of this, review time is coming up, I'm having issues with another office I manage, and the managers up there keep asking me "what are you going to do about this," when I honestly don't think there is anything I can do. It's draining.

4. State of the Union
I try very hard to keep my opinion to myself (online) when it comes to politics. There is always a chance I may need to look for a job, and I know prospective employers social media stalk prospective employees. (this is a thing, people, pay attention to what you post.) But I pay attention to what's going on, and I have opinions. Our current government has no compassion, no humanity. And so many of my fellow citizens have decided that is the right idea. The state of our country is freaking me the hell out.

5. Misc.
My house is a wreck. I'm sure there are repairs that need to be done, but I don't know enough about houses to even know what those things are, unless something catastrophic actually happens. It's so messy and dirty, and I'm lucky I keep on top of the laundry and dishes. My car is leaking transmission fluid, and I do not have high hopes that this is a simple or cheap fix. I've already had to replace the radiator and shift box this year, and I hoped desperately for at least another year on it. But if the transmission needs to be replaced, I'm going to have to get another car, as this one has 208,000 miles on it, and is not worth it. And it's almost Christmas, and I'm worried about money, and everything else, and why does it all happen at once?

This past weekend, I went up to Chicago alone to see my family. Yes, I should have taken my kids so they could all see each other, but I needed to get away from everything. It was a wonderful visit. I love staying with my dad (it was for his birthday party;) I feel very peaceful and calm when I'm there. I'm a very lucky girl to have been able to escape for a couple of days, and to see so many of my wonderful siblings and their children. I'm lucky to have a family I truly enjoy being around. I'm lucky I have a warm and safe home I can allow to fall into disarray. I'm lucky I am healthy enough that I can exercise, and tonight I'm attending my first kickboxing class in almost a year. I'mexcited about that. I'm lucky I have my parents, and that they love me. I'm lucky that, even while I stress constantly about my kids, they are intelligent and decent people, and that they genuinely seem to like being around me.

I realize I am a lucky person, and that I lead a pretty charmed life. I've just been living in crisis mode for the past year, at a low level of constant anxiety, and it has drained and strained me to this point of confusion and overwhelming angst. And I need a little love.

So, I am going to push publish on this post, even if it is a bit self-pitying and bitter. I am going to change over my laundry, I am going to put some transmission fluid in my car, and drive it to the auto shop. One foot in front of the other. And if any of you decide to comment, please be kind, be compassionate, and give a little love. It will help, both of us. And I will always do the same for you.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Yup. That's the title, because that is exactly how I feel most of the time lately.

See, I don't even care to take my own pictures.

Admittedly, this is going to be a bit of a whiny post, and I apologize for it. No I don't, because I am warning you, and you don't have to read it, but honestly, I could use the kindness of a few uplifting comments, so read it anyway, please. We're all friends here, and I will totally read if you need to get a few things off your chest. Or we'll go for coffee or something.

Anyway, yeah. I feel like I am constantly running to keep up lately, and I'm not really doing anything. My house is a mess (what else is new,) I cook maybe twice a week, don't even ask the last time I worked out, and my poor sweet bullet journal is looking so lonely and sad without its checkmarks. I can't even blame softball much as we've been rained out so much lately. I just get home and I want to sit and do nothing. Not even read - just veg, watch tv, stare at my phone. And it's a vicious cycle, right? I'm not sleeping well, so I don't work out in the morning, I eat crap all day, then stare at screens, which keeps me from sleeping well...and my moods have been low low low, and the energy I need to break the cycle is just eluding me.

The worst part of all of this? Creative thinking is too taxing. I mean, meal planning...I don't wanna! Trying to come up with food to fix is exhausting me. We're on an endless loop of fajita veggies and rice because I literally don't have the ability to come up with anything else. I don't mean new recipes - I mean, I can't remember the stuff we like to eat, and I don't have the energy to think about it.

I've read a bunch of articles lately about how "motivation" is technically a flawed term, suggesting there is an external force pushing us to do things we need to do, and that we just need to make the decision to do it. Well, here's the thing - I need an external force. Because my internal self is not doing the job.

So many goals, friends, so much to do, and nothing being achieved, because I just can't seem to get my ass off the couch.

In the meantime, this is fun.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Groove Thang

I am fairly open to most music - I don't tend to hate entire genres (ok, except country and Christian rock, which is really quite funny, since my first few concerts were Michael W Smith, but then I saw Violent Femmes with my cousin and my life was forever changed.) Anyway, I tend to gravitate to those bands one might call "alternative," The Pixies and Nine Inch Nails and whatnot, and do you really tend to find great new bands by listening to NPR, my usual driving soundtrack?

Hell Yes!

Tank and The Bangas is a band out of New Orleans, and they blend funk and R&B and jazz, and they make me so happy.

This is called "Quick", and it is my favorite of the songs they've done, but it's so very good. Always give me a sic bass line.

Let's now discuss Chicano Batman - this groovy alternative Los Angeles band with a political bent. How have I never heard of these guys?

Also, they will be in Louisville in July...hmm...

What are you listening to these days?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fluffhead was a man...

My brain is twirling right now.

Starting with this morning's drive into work - I was listening to NPR, and Mitch McConnell, you know, THAT Mitch McConnell, that I have religiously attempted to vote out of office every time I've had the opportunity, but just...won't...go...responded to protesters that "winners make policy, losers go home." This made me very angry, and I wanted to yell at him, but he wasn't in my car, and I couldn't, so I just yelled at the other drivers on the road, and that just wasn't very productive. And yes, I'm obsessing, because that is the sort of thing a douchebag says. And every time I type "Mitch McConnell" into Google, the first option that comes up is "Mitch McConnell turtle", so of course I had to look, and I'm so glad I did. For many reasons, but this is one:

My company is going through some serious changes, and I don't know the future of my job. This is...stressful. Also, things are changing with my beloved boot camp. I have many things I'd like to say and vent about, but this is a rather public venue, kind of, with my thousands of readers, so I'll keep it to "Gah!"
Maybe not really that close, but it made me smile.
Finally, and this is not a bad thing, just interesting, and has me thinking...I was driving home tonight listening to a bit on Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space. She went up in 1992 on Endeavor. She was from the south side of Chicago, went to public school, and went on to become a medical doctor and an engineer. She is fascinating and brilliant, and this is a woman we should be teaching our girls about. She is totally my new hero. Also, she was on an episode of Star Trek NTG.

This is not exactly a ton, but my head is feeling fluffy and weird, and it's time for me to meditate and then sleep. I hope to feel better tomorrow. And maybe write something interesting to all of you. In the meantime, check out Dr. Jemison.