Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Write it on your hear that every day is the best day in the year." Emerson

I just went back through the past 7 years of New Year's posts.  Seven years of what I want to change about myself.  I tried, very hard, to treat myself nicely in these posts, and even frame them with "it's all for you" language.  But let's face it, in each post I am saying, "I don't like you, I don't like the person you are, let's outline what's wrong with you and then, next year, when you are the same person, berate you for still being the same person.

No wonder I need therapy.

This year has been interesting.  It hasn't been an easy year, by any stretch.  I'm busier than I've ever been.  Some of my favorite people have moved away, and I miss them so much, it aches.  My kids are both adolescents, and not easy ones, at that.  My house is a mess, I'm still overweight, and we still have debt.

So, why am I not more disappointed with myself?

So, as a change of pace, I'm going to outline some of the good things that have happened this year, and talk about how I am going to keep the good stuff going...

1.  I'm busy because I got a good job, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  Also, my girl is pretty good at sports, so I'm driving her all over the place to do the sports.  This also explains the messy house and disorganization.  I am working on decluttering a little more, which will help with the cleaning and the organization.  Otherwise, I'm working on learning my job better, being a better manager, etc.  It's exciting.
2.  Every year I talk about how much I want to be a better parent.  I don't know that everyone thinks this way, but I don't think I will ever think I am a good enough parent.  I started young, really did not know what to do discipline-wise, and I've never known how to fix it.  I also have a bit of a lazy streak, and I am pretty sure I've shared that with at least one of the kids.  I love them, though.  I'm pretty sure they love me.  I'm hoping that will be enough to make them productive members of society.  I like to have little dreams, though, about what changes I would have made if I had known more - I read a lot of blogs (and if you know me well, you probably laugh at this) - the simplicity, homesteading-type blogs.  And I think about raising my kids out in the woods somewhere, no television, back to the basics, simple living, homeschooling-type parenting.  But in this dream, I'd have to rid myself of the husband, and my computer, and a lot of other things I rather like (the husband because, no matter how much he does not like people, he does like comfort.  And television.  He loves television.)  Anyway, that's a fun little fantasy.
3.  I'm overweight.  Heck, I'm obese.  And I'm working on it.  Hard.  I've talked a lot about that here.  I've found something I love, and I want to keep at it.  It has helped me on every level - physical, mental, emotional.  I have goals and ambitions involved now.
That is the big picture.
I am breaking my goals down and making them achievable and monthly.  I will share them with you, but not in a big, resolution dissertation.  Most involve planning, and I would like to share them weekly.
Did you know, if you type "fierce" into Google images, you get a lot of pictures of tigers?  I have adopted that as my new word, and I have been taking that word, and making it work for me.  I realize, I am late to the party - you all had this word years ago, but, well, if you've been with me for the long haul you know, I haven't been feeling so fierce.  These past few years have been tough, mentally.  It is only these past six months I'm starting to like myself.  I don't feel like I'm weak and foolish anymore.  I'm feeling strong, capable, and fierce.
There is still plenty to be changing.  Nudging.  We are all a work in progress.
But.  But but but...maybe those changes are not so very all encompassing, massive personality changes.  Maybe they are just tweaks to an already pretty okay person.

alrighty.  This ended up being more a "merry wander through the rocky landscape of my mind" than a concise list of resolutions.  Dude, seriously, you are reading a blog called "Heedless Ramblings;" you get what you paid for.

Happy happy New Year, and may our 2015 be even more fantastic!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Darn good

Hello!  Did you all enjoy your December holidays?  We spent the Solstice up in Columbus, visiting family, which was lovely.  One of my cousins has gotten engaged, and we spent some time getting to know his, admittedly, lovely fiance.  I enjoyed an empty office, worked out hard Monday and Tuesday...see where I'm going here?  Yeah, all optimistic and happy, and then, sick.  Ugh.  Haven't had bronchitis since last December, when our Peoria trip was cancelled.  Which I'm rather bummed about, as I haven't seen them in ages, but, nobody there wants to get sick, either.

That said, it was a nice enough day.  I kind of felt awful, sort of like someone threw me off a cliff, and then made me walk home, but I got some very cool presents, gave some pretty cool presents, and made a darn good mac and cheese.  No wine was imbibed (as was evidenced by the distinct lack of Facebook updates.)  I got the necklace I asked for, the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook (very excited to dig into that one,) new pair of weightlifting gloves (ok, I gave myself that one), new running shoes (love them!), and my Girl bought me an owl necklace and bottle of nail polish, packaged in a jar she lovingly painted (unfortunately she did not lovingly clean the jar very well, and everything smells very strongly of dill pickle.)  She also is sitting here telling me to share with you the other gifts she gave me - a scarf (which is gorgeous, by the way) and a very cool coin purse shaped as a sugar skull.  Thank you, Girl.

Went to the doctor yesterday, and then we lounged last night, watching Firefly and then How I Met Your Mother.  Saw one of the New Year's Eve episodes, which made me giggle a little, because I was just thinking about the fact that I don't really like New Year's Eve very much, either.  Let me alter that a bit.  I think I should do more with my New Year's Eve, but my husband is usually asleep by 9, my kids whine that they are bored, and I haven't been to a party in years.  The last NYE party I went to was kind of a drag, so I don't even care.  I hate crowds, people get kind of stupid on NYE, and there is so much pressure to celebrate.  When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters, dad, and stepmom used to go to my grandparents' house.  We'd eat junk and play games, and then we'd all lay out the sleeping bags and sleep over.  It was good fun, and honestly the best way I ever spent New Year's Eve.  One of my friends and I planned to do something similar with our families, but we just never did, and then she went and moved to Indianapolis, so, there you go.  Last year, I think I was in bed by 10, but the year before that, we binge watched Doctor Who while I crocheted something, and then I woke up early on New Year's Day and took a great Zumba class.  Or maybe that was last year.  I don't remember.  Anyway, I should be better by New Year's Day, so I fully plan a workout for that day.

Speaking of New Year's Day, you all know I love my lists of resolutions, and I do not intend to disappoint this year, although this year, I plan to be a little kinder to myself.  Not pound myself with "you're not good enough" instructions, just gentle reminders of little ways I would like to change - for my own mental and physical health.

See!?  See how healthy I am getting?!!!

Ok, now the Girl wants to start a blog of her own from her cat's point of view.  We have a project!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

There's a party going on right here...

I used to send out holiday cards every year.  It started out with handwritten cards, sometimes even with a newsletter of sorts.  Then I discovered the loveliness of the preprinted picture card, and started doing those.  My lists got longer each year, but I enjoyed sending them out, and receiving them in return.  The day after Thanksgiving, the kids and I would make a paper "advent" chain, with different holiday ideas for each chain.  Each day one of the kids was allowed to remove one of the links, and we would do that activity.   I made lists for gift shopping.  We put out carrots for St. Nicholas's reindeer, and he left ornaments and baking supplies on December 6.  Because we don't really subscribe to any specific religious tradition, we started planning small celebrations for each December holiday (admittedly, we really picked and chose the most fun traditions - playing dreidel, eating latkes, lighting candles for Chanukah and the Solstice, making homemade Solstice gifts, telling stories.)  Each year, my mother, sister, and I would have a "baking day."  We made several different kinds of cookies, each of us choosing our favorites, and adding new recipes each year.  Sometimes we invited others, often we added wine, and we always had bins and boxes of cookies when we were done.  New pajamas were wrapped and hidden for Christmas Eve.

As my kids got older, I found myself waiting longer and longer to put out decorations, and each year I put out less.  I get tired of the decorations very quickly, and they are put away as soon as I have time.  Almost all gifts are purchased online.  I haven't made any cookie more complicated than a nighty-night cookie in a few years.  The kids still get ornaments on December 6, and I light candles on the Solstice, but no more elaborate holiday traditions.  I haven't sent out a card in a few years (I do miss this one.)  My kids don't want new pajamas.

Did I get burned out trying to implement so many new traditions?  I don't think so.  I think, honestly, it is just a combination of a few things - my kids have gotten older, and the males in my house don't really enjoy the holiday.  I have significantly less time on my hands.  December of 2013 and 2012 were rough, mental health-wise.  And finally, this year I made an interesting realization about myself - I am not a huge Christmas lover.  I like it well enough - I put up a tree, I wore Christmas earrings this week, I went to a Christmas party.  I love my presents - giving and receiving.  But I only enjoy 3 Christmas movies - "Elf", "Christmas Vacation", and "Charlie Brown Christmas."  I really don't love Christmas music - a little Mannheim Steamroller, the music from Charlie Brown Christmas, and "Christmas in Hollis".
Ooh, I forgot how much I liked that one.

Anyway, so I read Andrea Dekker the other day, who was talking about something similar, and I thought I'd share my own experience with whittling our traditions to a more manageable level.  We have a lot on our plate this year, and celebrating the holidays on a smaller scale is helping me to keep sane.
Of course, those lists were helpful in keeping my holiday spending down.  I really tend to overdo the stockings.  I do love the stockings.

Since it has been a bit since I wrote, I'll give a quick rundown on what's been going on - boot camp and work most days.  The Girl is playing volleyball on a new team, and keeping up with her pitching lessons.  The Boy applied to and was accepted by the University of Kentucky, so there is a small weight off my mind.  Had a nice, wine-soaked Thanksgiving, as many of my Facebook friends know.  Read some books, visited with some friends.

Ooh, here is something holiday-ish to share - we were trying to choose a relatively short holiday book to read for our Classics book club.  I remembered when I was in 5th grade, we made these angels - a very involved, messy craft project - in class.  While we were working on this project, our teacher, Mrs. Santos, played a recording of Truman Capote reading his "A Christmas Memory."  I loved this story.  It is an autobiographical story; the author as a child and his "friend", a child-like adult cousin gather the ingredients to made fruitcakes, which they do every year at this time.  The story is such a lovely little piece, written as a stream-of-consciousness.  I remembered it very fondly, and wanted to see if I still liked it as an adult.  I loved the story, but I think I'm going to have to find that recording again.  It made me smile.

As my husband, children, and everyone who knows me would say, it is way past my bedtime.  If we don't chat before, have a very Merry Christmas, a Blessed Solstice, Happy Chanukah, and anything else you celebrate.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank*full Thursday

Melody, the woman who owns my beloved boot camp, reminded me today with a sweet message that it is, indeed, Thursday, and I haven't written a Thank*full Thursday post in ages.  There is no better time than the present, so.

Today, I am thankful for:

1.  My alarm clock, my friend Laura, and a warm coat - all of which get me out of bed and out to boot camp in the morning.  I might not go if not for these things, and then I would not feel so very fabulous as I do when I do.  You got that, right?

2.  The warning light on my vehicle, which informed me this morning that I had low pressure in one of my tires.  One of my great fears is that I will have a tire blow out on the expressway.  I did not, and I got my car to the shop, and a new tire, as there was a piece of metal in one of them.  Thank you, Chrysler designers.

3.  Postmodern Jukebox.  How have I never heard of these people? A posted a video of their cover of "All About That Bass" last week, and it is better than the original.  And check this:

Oh yeah. That's "Sweet Child O' Mine" done as New Orleans style.  Fantastic.  

4.  My friend Deanna.  It's gotten pretty cold around here, as in, it's been snowing today.  And last week she said something about how we choose to look at the weather - enjoy it, or whine.  I've decided to enjoy this cold.  I've decided to wear warm clothes and socks, drink hot tea, and burrow.  And I am kind of loving it.

5.  My son has suggested I be thankful for Eddy.  So, here we are.  I am so thankful for my Eddy.  He keeps my legs warm, and he purrs very loudly, and he loves biscuits.  
I think I will go snuggle my Eddy.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Happy November.

I know.I know! I just posted the other day, but just so much awesomeness has happened this weekend, including some much-needed kick in the rear-type motivation, I just had to post again.

Let's start with the fact that it is my husband's and my 18th anniversary.  Which is, of course, a ridiculously long time, no matter how you slice it, but to quote Cam from Modern Family, "we have fun."  We had a good portion of he weekend to ourselves, which rarely happens, and was doubly enjoyed since we know next Saturday night we will have several giggly preteen females in the house, so, there we go.  Several people asked what our plans were.  They don't understand how we treasure this time at home alone - we do not go out, we do not see other people if at all possible.  We stay home, eat something delicious, and watch whatever the heck we want.  That usually means some form of sporting event for him, while I read.  We did watch the new Doctor Who.  Is anyone else totally over Clara and Mr. Pink?  Ditch the romantic crap and get back to the adventures.  Kind of digging this dark new Doctor, and last night's twist...gasp! No Spoilers, I promise.  Anyway, today is the actual anniversary, and while I was taking the Girl to volleyball, the husband made good chicken parmesan and apparently bought me a laptop!  On which I am typing this, right now!  Yay!  I have been using a Dell from 2002, so you can see why I am excited. 

Inspired by Organize Yourself Skinny, to which I have referred in the past, I would like to start posting my healthy plans each week.  This doesn't mean I will do away with my completely meaningless babble, oh good heavens, no!  Simply, that I will have opportunity for more, plus, maybe I will feel a bit more compelled to stay on track if I post about it.  Melody, from the famed boot camp, often says "your failure to plan is not my problem."  And that cracks me up, and speaks to me, as  I find I am so much more on top of things if I plan, and prepare.  Not rocket science, I know, shush.  But I need more than the usual dose of motivation, and this may just help.  So here is something fun:

I did this today - made the menu plan, chopped many veggies, made up mason jar salads (love!), prepared snacks, got some stuff together for smoothies and for dinners (there is not really as much dressing as it looks like there is in the salad on the left, just tilted some.)  Also did a buttload of laundry, but that is not part of this.  Went through the boot camp schedule and figured out my exercise for the week.  I'm ready to kick butt and take names, and it couldn't come sooner, I'll tell you, because this past week I have been one lazy Missy. 

What prompted this hysterical rush of healthy prep work, you ask?  Scary story:
Last night, I dreamed I went back to school.  I had several papers to write, and I had no freaking clue how to do the math I apparently learned last year.  So I had to reteach myself the math from last year, study for tests, and write papers, and then I realized I hadn't been in to work in several days, and they really wanted me to be there.  Plus, my kids had school work and several of their assignments required me to take them to Indiana.  I was extremely stressed out.  In my freaking sleep, I was stressed out.  I woke up very angry - if I can't relax in my sleep, where can I relax, for crying out loud!  I realized, I filled in my November calendar last night before going to bed, and the Girl recently made a select volleyball team, which is going to require more driving around, and if we are not going to live off fast food (and I haven't had fast food in awhile,) I'd better start preparing things ahead of time. 

Since I've babbled on for a while tonight, I'm not going to give you the nitty gritty of the week's plans, maybe next week.  I do plan on 5AM boot camp, 5 days this week, plus a definite 8:30 yoga class on Saturday.  I'm feeling pretty good and on top of things for this week.

Ooh, also, have you checked out the Dia De Los Muertos Google banner today?  Very cool. 

I think this is done by MisNopalesArt on Etsy- she does a lot of this very cool stuff.  Google didn't tell me for sure.
Doesn't the stormtrooper helmet lend itself well to the Calaveras treatment?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Getting comfy

It's been months. When I have the time, I don't feel inspired, and when I feel inspired, I don't have the time. But today's weather is inspiring, and I have the time, so it is all falling into place.

Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather, and swimming, and sunshine, and all of that, but nothing is more comforting than the things we do to make ourselves warm in cold weather. Sweaters and blankets and warm socks, hot tea and soup and oatmeal for breakfast. An extra cup of coffee and hot pumpkin bread just out of the oven. I wish I had a fireplace, which is funny, as I had a fireplace in our condo in Illinois, and rarely lit it. But now, all I want to do is snuggle up by the fireplace with my book and my tea.

I've been posting a lot of photos to Facebook lately since I got my nifty new phone (with a better camera than my "good" camera.) Here's a fun one of my two guys - see how they are pretty much the same person? They were not posing.

Still working the boot camp. This past week was a wash - it was an off week, although several of the instructors still led classes. But the first two days my family was in town, and then I just kept not going. I have no excuses, and Monday is going to be tough because of my lazy, but I am not going to let this go again. I've been feeling way too good to let it all slip away. Cooler packing has been a big part of the "Let's get Missy healthy" movement:
When I take the time to plan my meals and snacks on Sunday, the week goes well. Otherwise, hello white cheddar popcorn and Pepsi. I don't pack my dinners (although I did on this day), but as long as I plan for the dinner, I do fine. I have to credit Tammy from for the help with this - planning and organizing is so crucial to success with everything, and health is no different.

The kids are fine - the Boy is applying for colleges, and the girl is playing sports and doing very well in school, and singing in choir, and playing clarinet, and all the other things a girl who enjoys being active in school does. My job is going well, although I really need more hours in the day, but don't we all?

I will try my darndest to get on here and say something fascinating a little more often, but for now, I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Coffee and a chat

Good morning! It's been forever, I know, and I've missed you, but so very much has been going on and I am still trying to work on this schedule - figure out when to do all of the things I need to do. Here is a view of my schedule on a normal day:
4:20AM: Wake up, get dressed for boot camp, fill water bottle (sometimes I am moving quickly and I fill the dishwasher or something.)
4:40AM-6:15AM: boot camp (plus commute time)
6:15-6:45: make lunch, pack stuff, start a load of laundry, maybe start dinner in the crockpot (all while son is using the shower)
6:45-7:10: shower, get ready for work
7:10-7:30: breakfast, glorious coffee
7:30-8:30: commute time
8:30-5: work
5-6: commute time
6-7: make dinner, eat dinner, sometimes get girl to softball, or another activity
And here is where we have the problem. Generally at least 3 evenings a week we have some activity or another (and some are for me - book club, yoga, Relay meeting, etc.) Sometimes we don't and I'll take time to clean something, or do some work for my client, or something, but by 8:30 I am so wiped, and I can be dead to the world by 9PM. Trust me, I realize I actually have a significant amount of time in the evening I could be productive, more so than a lot of people. And now that the boy is driving, he can run errands, and I don't have to take him anywhere, as long as there is a car available. The point is not that I have less time, just that I'm having trouble adjusting to what I have. It was funny, I was talking to a friend the other day about scheduling, and how when I was home with the kids I rarely got anything done. My house was no cleaner, and I would love to take a whole day off, by myself, and just knock out the whole house. Then I remember what I did when I was home - I often would take the whole morning over at A's and play with the nieces and drink coffee. Which was glorious, but accounts for the fact that I got nothing more done then than I do now :) When the kids were little, I liked taking them places like the zoo. I could spend hours at the zoo. I can still spend hours at the zoo. I kind of want to go right now.

Yummy. I do enjoy my coffee.

Ok, let's move on. Weight loss efforts are going pretty well. When I think about posting here, the updates are generally boot camp related. It's funny, I used to make fun of some of my friends for being so "Melody-obsessed" as I called them (the boot camp is called Melody's Boot Camp and Lifestyle Fitness,) and now I am a total Melody-evangelist. The instructors get me to do things I never think I can do. I'm stronger, I have more energy, and I haven't had a panic attack in months. I've also lost weight, of course, but it's funny how secondary that feels. It's not, though, since I really would like to put less stress on my body, so I joined the latest "6-Week Challenge." No pop (again, I did drink some over the past month, although not nearly what I was drinking, and I never keep it in the house anymore), no fast food, move everyday, 5 servings of veggies everyday, etc. The pop really does make a huge difference, and yesterday I didn't get my veggies in, only fruit, and I felt exhausted and gross all day. It's really amazing what a difference I feel in my body depending upon what foods I eat.

That was an awkward sentence.

I haven't had as much time to read lately, which is sad, but I certainly don't give it up completely. Right now I'm reading "Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister, and it is delightful. A nice complement to all the "serious literature" I have been reading.
Yikes, it's already 7AM! I have about 105 things to do before 9AM, so I had better get a move on. It's been a pleasure, as always - talk to you soon.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Millions of peaches...

One of my favorite things about early summer is that it's peach season. I love peaches, and there are millions of peaches. Peaches for me. You're going to sing that now, aren't you. I know I do, every time I go to the grocery.

You know what Saturday night means to the most awesome of us? Pajamas by 5:30, and marathon watching of Game of Thrones in bed with my guy. Of course, now he's asleep, and snoring, and I can't fall asleep, even though I was up at 5:30AM to go to kickboxing. Sigh.

So it's been over a month since I last posted, and life is pretty nifty. The kids are out of school, which means they're not whining quite as much about going to school as they were. They were both at camp for the first week, which was quite lovely, as the Guy and I were able to spend some quality time together. Which was when the binge Game of Thrones watching started, and I am thankful for that, because that is one freaking awesome show. Holy crap, tell me you have been watching this...

Some cool news - I was promoted! I am moving up to the Cincinnati office on July 7 to be the Senior Coordinator, Division Office Support, Ohio. Which means, basically, admin stuff, but I will no longer be the absolute lowest on the totem pole, and that's a good feeling. I'm excited and I hope to be challenged.

Let's do some thankfuls, since it's been awhile. Today I am thankful for:

1. Peter Dinklage. Seriously, I don't care that his English accent is kind of bad. He's the most excellent character. And I want to be Daenarys Targaryen, and not only because she's hot. Well, after her brother dies, anyway.

2. Tammy's blog, She did this great Mason Jar salad tutorial a few months ago - changed my lunches forever.

3. Relay For Life is over for the year. Yes, I love being a part of it, but it is a lot of work, and I am getting too old for this staying up all night stuff. I have to sleep for two days to recover. We had to move the event inside, unfortunately, but the energy was good. Our money is down, but we still have two months to fundraise.

4. My classics book club. I would never read some of the books I've read without it, and I finished The Awakening this past week. It was excellent, if you've never read it. The language alone was worth the read.

5. This is rather obvious, but Melody's Boot Camp. I'm still boot-camping, and loving it. Everyday I discover something else I am able to do that I didn't think I'd ever be able to do. I'm down 22 lbs from my starting weight, and I haven't had pop in almost two weeks. I feel strong and excellent, and I never thought I'd wake up this early on purpose, and keep it up. And, most important, no panic attacks in months.

I'll try not to stay away so long this time.
Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Softball and superheroes, oh my.

I just sewed a hole in my winter coat. It took me all of 10 minutes, but the hole has been there for 3 years. The coat has been sitting on the floor next to the door, and my cats have been sleeping on it. Now I can wash it and wear it again. Of course, it is 86 degrees out...

What else is new...?

I mentioned in my last post that things, they are a-changin' on the professional front. I have started doing some administrative work remotely for an executive coach, which has been an interesting change. I have not done much yet, but I look forward to learning a lot. Also, and this is pretty huge, my job at the American Cancer Society will be changing in the next month or so. They are eliminating my current position, so I applied for several in the Cincinnati office. I have had a preliminary phone interview for 8 of the positions, and today I had a second interview for one of them. This position is several steps above the one I'm in right now, but I am confident I can be an asset. We'll see what's what over the next week.

Still doing the boot camp. Still loving the boot camp. Seriously, my friends, I am feeling so much cleaner and healthier. I quit pop cold turkey on Friday. I am missing it, especially when I drive, which kind of cracks me up, as my mom always said that was when she wanted to smoke the most. I'm always reaching for snacks and drinks while I'm I keep an enormous bottle of water and drink from it constantly. Which means that, by the time I get to work, I have to pee like a racehorse. But I haven't had a Pepsi...

So much softball.
All of a sudden, this week, practices and games galore.  She is enjoying it, though.  The girls on her team are great, and they have a great time together.  So much evidence to support the benefits of team sports on a young girl - she is definitely a more confident girl than I ever was.

Went to see the new X-Men movie yesterday - the most aesthetically pleasing movie I've seen in awhile. 
Be still my heart.  And there was this one scene...with Hugh Jackman...sigh.

Ooh, my left eye is all swollen today.  I woke up this way.  Kind of gross, but not seepy, so that's good.  The doctor says it's just allergies, but it was a weird way to wake up.
Okey doke, 4:30 comes early, so I have to get to bed.  You all take care, kisses...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What happens when you leave your kids home with your camera...

One of our many snow days. I went to work, the Girl grabbed my camera. This is a big "corners of my home" post.

In other news, I'm still doing boot camp 4 days a week, and enjoying it. My son turned 17 (yikes) last week. I'm in the midst of yet another career flux (I'll update another day.) Laundry needs to be done and I'm reading a lot (not news.) I hope you all have been enjoying your spring...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Friday (Favorites)!

I am in the most cheerful of moods lately, which makes me want to write cheerful things (when I write, that is, which is not much.)  So today I will share my favorites of this week:

1. Favorite healthy-living blog right now - Organize Yourself Skinny.  The name is a bit of a misnomer - this is not about being skinny, but about reorganizing your life in small steps in order to live more healthfully.  Tammy, the author, lost her own weight, and shares what has worked for her.  It is well-written, fun, and real.  She is very big on clean eating, which is something I'm working at.  I love her tutorial on Mason Jar salads - went out and bought mason jars last week - ready to start making those - as soon as I have a working fridge again (ugh, that went out yesterday.)

2.  Favorite place to go at 5AM - Melody's Boot Camp!  They do boot camp classes, and kickboxing, and running clubs, and healthy living lessons, and support groups...and they're very affordable.  I've always been a little scared of "boot camp" classes, but they're so supportive I find myself wanting to do more.  When Mel decided to do a 5 year anniversary special rate, I decided this was the time to jump in.  I've only done 4 classes so far, but I'm loving them.  They are so hard, but I feel so good when it's over.  I feel like I'm really committed to this healthy living this time - I don't want to undo all that hard work from the morning!

3.  Song I've been listening to over and over - "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic.  Yes I know it's mainstream and played constantly on the radio, but I rarely listen to the radio and it's really good, so shut up.

4.  Favorite ASMR-talker lately - Fairy Char.  She's adorable, and I get all kinds of good tingles from the hair play.

5.  Favorite book I've read over the past few weeks:  Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  It was so heartbreaking, a very moving story.  I started Under the Dome by Stephen King today.

I started this out all energized and ready to write and now I feel like I'm out of words.  Ooh, I'll post my favorite cat picture from the past few weeks - I used it on the Relay Facebook page, and it made me giggle every time I looked at it:
Still slays me. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring updates and a really good read

Good evening and a very happy spring, finally.  I want to start by sharing this picture of my cat, Eddy.  That is his favorite wall.  He stares at it, often.  I'm not sure what he senses in that wall, but maybe you all can see it.

A lot has been going on lately...working plenty, getting closer to Relay, Odyssey of the Mind State competition, and so very many books.  But I specifically want to talk about books.  More specifically, the book I finished today.

Anyone who knows me knows I read a lot.  So many of my friends respond, when I talk books, "oh, I wish I had time to read."  Honestly, I say, stop saying that.  If you really wished that, you would do it.  Because I'm working full time, running my kids all over the place, having a life, and I read more than your average bear.  I make time for it.  I don't watch much TV.   I don't spend enormous amounts of time playing games on my computer.  I don't have a smart phone.  I don't really clean my house...

My point...I read a lot.  Dude, I've read the dead Russians, and everyone knows there's nothing quite so depressing as a dead Russian.  Except, maybe, a live dum dum...

No really, my Russian friends, I'm joking, I love the Russian people.  But I also really love a happy ending.  And today I finished one of the most charming and enjoyable books I've read in a long time (gentleman readers, you may want to stop now, I don't think you'll enjoy this book.)  I adore Barbara Samuel-O'Neal.  She writes under the name Barbara O'Neal and Barbara Samuel, and I love both, but today I finished The All-You-Can-Dream Buffet, by Barbara O'Neal, and I felt so bouyant of heart at the end.  The stories follow four women, Lavender, Ginny, Ruby, and Val, who meet through blogging (hey!) and travel to Oregon to celebrate Lavender's 85th birthday.  They are all different ages and colors and styles, and they are all lovely in their own way.  I wanted to spend days with these women.  They all face down their challenges and find joy and I truly would like to crawl into this book for a few months.  I ended the story with happy tears in my eyes, a little melancholy that it was over. 

My husband hates happy endings.  He seems to think great writing only comes from pain, and all stories should end in death and despair (not that he's read a book since college.)  Hence his love of the dead Russians.  But I love a good happy ending.  I read to escape, and I certainly don't need someone else's fictional problems.  I like to fall into my stories, and let them wrap me up and make me smile. 

What are your thoughts?  Do you like happy endings, or do you need your books to be depressing "art?"  Have you read any good books lately?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five Favorites this Friday

What, so I post drunk and then don't get back on here for two weeks? Apparently that is the way I roll.

I really don't have much to write this week - I'm getting a lot more work at my job, and life is good and crazy. I haven't gotten a workout in since Sunday, which is stupid, because I have had the time, but I'm adapting to this time change like a neurotic 2 year-old. Which is to say, I'm not. I've been tired all week, which I could fix by waking up and exercising and then eating healthfully, but why would I want to fix what's wrong. Being a grown-up is dumb sometimes.

Since I'm not feeling all that inspired today, I shall incorporate a Friday Fabulous 5 - all the things I'm loving this week. Because I may be old and grouchy, but I still have some things that make me smile. They may as well make you smile, too!

1. Tammy is a busy mom who has lost weight and blogged about it. Lots of people have done this; I like her blog best.  Organize Yourself Skinny

2. My girl and her Odyssey of the Mind team came in 1st at Regionals! They will compete at the state level in two weeks. I'm so proud of them. You've never heard of Odyssey of the Mind? It is a fantastic program, all about problem-solving and independence and creativity. If you are looking for a non sports-related activity for your kids, check this out. Homeschool groups can have teams, too. 

3. If you're here from Facebook, you know I do Relay. I Relay big, and I Relay hard. I post on our Relay Facebook page, and I find it difficult to find something interesting to post on there as often as I'd like. Cancer Man's mom, Cassi, writes a blog and maintains a pinterest board of all things Relay, and she does a good job of finding Relay ideas, and sharing them with the rest of us.

4. My Gaiam green Metro Gym Bag. I bought it to take to Zumba and yoga, kept putting things in it, and now I carry it everywhere as a purse. It's water resistant (which is a good thing with all this snow we've been getting,) it's big, and it's GREEN!

5.  You know how I've mentioned before that I like watching videos on YouTube?  Not videos about doing interesting things, or parents embarrassing their kids, or music, or playing video games.  No, my videos are usually people speaking softly, describing the jewelry in their jewelry box.  Or pretending to give a pedicure.  Or, and these are my favorites, brushing someone's hair.  They're called ASMR, it really is a thing, they even featured one of my favorites on ABC World News and NPR.  The soft speaking and (pretend) focused attention are very relaxing for me.  They make my scalp tingle, and not in a weird way, in a relaxing way.  The same way Bob Ross's voice would affect me.  You all know how I love Bob.  Here is a link to one of my favorites -  Ilse.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Take a lesson from parakeets...

Heh, heh. Cuz that's funny.
Had a lot of wine tonight. I mean, a lot. Did you know that in a pinch, a crayon ?under your nose makes a good pretend mustache?

Has anyone had any great "life advice?" Because that probably takes the cake. Remember haow I wrote that post a few months (Christmas night) ago, when i drank all the wine and posted drundk? Yeah,thats where I am now. Lots of wine. So Iwastched Dallsas Buyers club last night. That was what mmost peoplewould call a "good movie". I don't believe in "good movies." I watch funny, bad movies. Those are the most fun.

So what are your reading right now? I'm reading Kim harrison's newest - The Undead Pool.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I really just wanted to be Han Solo.

Dude, it's almost the end of February! How did that happen? I was doing so well for awhile, posting a little more...the days, they just fly by.

Updates: Still working at ACS, still enjoying the job. Still exercising a lot more, and adding more water, although the weight is slow to move. Probably because I have not really changed my eating habits so much. Not eating ice cream all night, though, so I've got that going for me. My mood is definitely better, and I am certainly crediting the exercise with that little development. Seriously, any of you suffering depression or anxiety, this exercise thing is for real. I can feel a definitive difference in mood and ability to cope between the days I move and the days I don't. Fit it in - do whatever you have to do - just fit it in.

On that note, let me chat for a bit about a cause I am loving. Rob's Kids is dedicated to helping children suffering depression, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts. Their big fundraiser is tomorrow night (Thursday, February 27) which they call February Fit Fabulous. There is food, a silent auction, vendors, and line dancing and Zumba. It is great fun for a really important cause

Let's see, let's see...Kim Harrison is going to be at Joseph Beth in Cincinnati tonight. Going to that, should be fun. Basketball season is winding down, and softball is winding up. Haha, get it? Winding up? That's a softball thing, right?

Finally, I want to keep writing, but I was running out of thoughts (ooh, it's mighty dusty and empty up there today...)so I looked up some blog prompts, and I liked this one from NaBloPoMo in November:
Tell us about your first friend.
I like this. My first friend I can remember that was not related to me was a boy named Noel who lived at the end of my street. My mom met his mom at some park district craft class, I guess, and we were the same age. He had a really long, Polish last name I can neither remember, nor could I probably spell it. We spend a lot of time playing in his sandbox in his back yard, and he was in my kindergarten class. Some of the other boys in the neighborhood would occasionally join us to play Star Wars, and they always made me be Princess Leia, just because I was a girl. I wanted to be Han Solo, and then later in my life I just wanted Han Solo, but that is another story altogether. Anyway, so Star Wars, and probably a game of doctor or two, but he was kind of a crybaby, if I remember correctly.

My other earliest friend memory would be of my cousin, who I have adored and tried to emulate most of my life, but she is related and had to spend more than a few nights sharing her bed with me, so she had to learn to like me. She also reads this blog, which is very nice of her, so, love you prima!

How about all of you? Who was your first friend?

Friday, January 31, 2014

I bet I could filibuster with the best of them...

I've spent some time in self-analysis this morning. I like to sing in the shower, but when no songs come to mind, I spend a lot of time thinking back over conversations, what I should have said, or not said. Considering issues I'm having with people, particularly my son. Today's ruminations took me back 3 days...

Tuesday night I went to my Classics Book Club. This is one of my favorite things I do. Not only because I've discovered some books I've really enjoyed, and never would have read on my own (the mark of any good book club,) but because the people I've met at this book club are some of the best people I know. I can never thank my friend S enough for inviting me to be a part of this. The woman who started it, started it with the idea that we would read a book and meet every other month, but we've liked each other's company so much, we wanted to meet more often. Her boyfriend (now husband) suggested we alternate a classic book and a classic movie, which has been great for those of us who only watch bad comedies. So we meet once a month, and these are the nights I look forward to most.

This past week there were only 3 of us (weather's been bad, people have stuff, whatever,) and sometimes that's nice, as we get a chance to chat and catch up. We were chatting, and both of the women there have a lot going on, so there was a lot to say. A lot I was saying. About an hour and a half in, I'm telling yet another story about me when I made a realization:

Oh God. I am one of THOSE people.

You know the people. The ones who, no matter what is being said, has to make it all about them. I've been aware for awhile (I've even blogged about it) that I have a nervous habit of talking more, and faster, and louder, when I'm uncomfortable around people. I have to make them think I'm clever and funny, obviously! But I wasn't uncomfortable or nervous. I was just talking. I've always known I've talked a lot, but I guess I never really stopped and listened to myself...I talk about myself a lot.

Now, I have a blog. I try not to talk a lot about subjects I know nothing about, and I am an expert on nothing but myself, so that is what I blog about. I'm pretty clear about that, so if you're here, you can't really complain that I blog too much about myself. But conversations, especially with intelligent, fun women? I don't need to be the star of that show.

I've always thought that those people just think their stories are better and more interesting than everyone else's; that they are smarter and more eloquent, and so they must dominate the conversation. But I don't think that way. I really don't know why I do this. I will say it is not a conscious thing, and that Tuesday evening, once I actually stopped and listened to what I was saying, I made a conscious decision to listen more and talk less. I don't know how successful I was, but I did stop talking briefly.

I guess I am just letting you all know that I realize what I am doing, and I am trying to work on it. Maybe I'll broach this particular subject with my therapist next time. I pay her to listen to my stories, so I don't feel guilty dominating those conversations...

Ok, so I was going to add a picture here, but I Googled images for "women who talk too much" and some of the most offensive images came up. Yikes. Google at your own risk.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Self Esteem, and How to Have Some.

"...although the subject of self-esteem has generated a fair amount of controversy over the past few decades, it's clear that we don't get healthy self-esteem from constantly telling ourselves how great we are, or even from other people telling us how great we are. We get healthy self-esteem from behaving in ways that we find worthy of our own respect -- such as helping other people." Gretchen Rubin, Happier at Home

I read a lot, but I am not an annotator. It is a rare passage that inspires me to underline, highlight, or mark in any way, the page of a precious book. But this passage resonated deeply with me; possibly because a healthy self-esteem is an elusive creature for me, or possibly because I cannot seem to help saying "yes" to almost any project that might do some good, no matter how much time I have to devote to said project. I underlined and highlighted this passage, and bent the page over. It is the most definitive explanation of how to attain a healthy self-image I have found.

I am a negative self-talker. People laud the self-effacing humor, thinking it unassuming and humble, I suppose. I think, and this may be assuming the worst, but I really think that people love put-down humor, and putting yourself down is a way to participate in put-down humor while maintaining the image of being "nice." That's neither here nor there; I have a bad habit of starting statements with things like, "I'm not a particularly brilliant person, but..." or "I have literally no artistic talent, but..." It drives my therapist crazy; she is constantly trying to get me to reframe the way I speak, "I enjoy doing art" without the qualifying "no talent" bit.

There is one part of my life where I never put myself down, and that is when I am doing work for Relay. We've put on some good events these past few years, and while I am in no way responsible for the outcome, I certainly had a hand in it. I am proud of our Relays, of the work we put into our Relays. I'm not uncomfortable when I speak in front of the participants, or talk to patients, or any other aspect of my work with the American Cancer Society. Why not? I think of myself as rather uneducated and undisciplined, but I respect a giving personality, and so, when I am doing that work, I respect myself.

The trick is to apply that self-respect to the rest of my life.

Monday, January 27, 2014

This post is the epitome of "Heedless Rambling."

Greetings! Time for another weekly update. Unfortunately, it's not quite as upbeat as last week's, as I have finished off what started out as an excellent week with a cold. A rather nasty cold that my family was generous enough to share with me. Thanks, family.

Um, let's see...last week I did a kickboxing workout with the yummy Guillermo Gomez, 2 treadmill workouts, a Walk Away the Pounds workout, and a Gaiam Walking DVD, which was actually a really good workout. Lots of lower body strength exercises, and I was feeling it the next day. Drank my water, got my sleep, but the eating, once again, was not awesome as I had a serious craving for chocolate and ice cream. I've been good about staving off the ice cream the past few months. This is a major issue for me, as ice cream is one of those "trigger" foods, I guess. If I buy preportioned - like bars or individual treats, fine, but a half gallon is gone in two days. So I don't buy it...until last week. And, yup, it was gone in two days. I did not buy more.

Let's talk books now. We haven't talked books lately, and I have been craving a good book discussion. You would think I would get enough with two book clubs, but no way. I've read some good ones lately. My friend K recommended The Fault In Our Stars, which was excellent, very emotional and beautiful, but here's a question. I was a relatively smart teenager. My son is a very smart teenager, who hangs out with smart teenagers. None of these smart teenagers talk like the supposed intelligent, well-read, unusual teenagers in any of these modern young adult novels. “That's why I like you. Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates a adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” This is said by Augustus, the brilliant male protagonist who breaks my heart. Maybe the unlikely dialogue is due to the fact that the characters have all faced, or are facing, serious disease, and so they've had to deal with their own mortality, something with which most teens are completely unfamiliar. More likely, however, it is dialogue an adult author thinks a brilliant teenager would say. And maybe that's why young adult lit is so popular with adults - because we would like to think that is the way we would talk if we were smarter versions of ourselves?

That went on longer than I planned.

Another interesting book I've read lately - Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home. I was going to start this sentence by apologizing for this, because I know many of my friends find Rubin to be a little saccharin sweet and maybe a bit self-centered. Which makes me giggle a bit. It's a memoir. Isn't a memoir supposed to be self-centered? It's a book written by a person, about that person's experiences. Also, she is very careful to begin her book by saying she is not a mental health specialist, and she does not have clinical depression. I do have clinical depression. I wasn't expecting this book to cure my depression. She is writing about discovering the things that truly make her happy. And making a specific plan to explore these happy-making activities and include more of them. I enjoy her explorations and plans.

You know, one of my resolutions this year (unwritten; it's kind of evolved over the past few weeks) is to stop apologizing for the things I enjoy. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted one of those pieces from...somewhere or other...10 Songs We're all Sick of Hearing, or some such something. And people are either announcing, loud and proud (on Facebook, you know what I mean), "I've never even heard of number 3", or 6, or whatever. Or other people are saying, "don't punch me, but I really kind of like #2." And, while I hadn't heard of one or two of them, and I hated a few, I really enjoy some of them. I listen to them on purpose. And I'm a grown-up, and I'm kind of tired of feeling like, as a woman with any intelligence, I shouldn't enjoy working out to anything by Britney Spears. Or that I should be sick of hearing Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (no, I'm not sick of it, I have no idea how arrogant the band is, and I really don't care. I like the song.) Or that I should not be dancing to Blurred Lines. It makes me want to dance. And I never listen to lyrics, anyway. I'm not apologizing anymore! And neither should you. If you enjoy listening to West Side Story over and over again, so that your best friend wants to throw herself bodily from the car, you do it. And laugh as she then sings "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet..." for the rest of the day. Oh wait! You already do that, don't you?!

Wow. That was a bit of a rant. Completely unprovoked, which makes me laugh a bit. And now I have to go upstairs and spend some time with my daughter, who is appalled and the mass amount of crap I am spewing. That is not what she said. But she was shocked. I actually had something I wanted to chat about, re: Happier At Home; that will have to be my next post.  Sleep prettily, friends.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Out with the old suckiness...

I am not sad to be saying good-bye to 2013.

This year was a whole big bag of suck - not in a catastrophic, horrible way - just in a dragging, foggy, kind of depressed way. Just looking back at the last year's posts, I've written a lot less than usual, mainly because I just couldn't be bothered to leave my funk, and what I wrote was pretty whiny. I'm not loving the 2013 Missy.

Don't get me wrong - not all of 2013 sucked. Highlights included:
1. A successful Relay For Life - we increased our event from $92,000 to $117,000. We worked hard and it paid off.
2. Lots of time playing with twin nieces - they always make me smile.
3. The Girl's first 5K. So proud.
4. My 20 year high school reunion. I did not expect it to be so fun, and it was excellent reconnecting with people I really have come to like again.
5. Starting back to work full time. I do like my job, a lot.

But in between the highlights? That weird fogginess - a low grade depression that just would not lift. A lot of projects left undone. A schedule I could not get under control. A brain I could not get under control.

I have always enjoyed making resolutions. A lot of authorities say this is an unhealthy way to start the year - setting goals and not meeting them is too hard on the self-esteem. I feel, however, that if I don't get some things under control, I am going to only sink deeper into this quicksand-like mindset, and it will only become harder to function. I am going make my resolutions specific, public, and break them into small and manageable steps. If you get bored with my lists, especially with lists that resemble lists I've made before, you may want to stop now. But I need help this year if I'm going to stick to this, and I am coming to all of you, my brilliant friends (of course you are all brilliant! You are reading here!;) So if you are up to a little ass-kicking, I am ready to have my ass kicked.

Resolutions for 2014
These are broken into categories, and I am starting with the most important one.

Health. Always Health.
I realize that I need to live a more healthful life - not only because heart disease runs in my family and I want to be a good role model - but also because when I am practicing healthy habits, such as daily exercise, enough sleep, not eating way too much - my mental health is much clearer and happier. I will achieve this goal by taking teeny tiny baby steps every few weeks. I will begin the year with the three basic steps as outlined in my favorite and most helpful website,
1. Exercise at least 10 minutes a day (this is the most helpful habit I have found, mental health-wise.)
2. Drink at least 64 oz water, each day.
3. Sleep 7-8 hours a day. I will post my movement on Facebook each day again. I will depend, again, on the responses of my friends.
Yes, you all have seen this before, I know this. It's gotta stick sometime, right? Why not this year? Weight loss is definitely a goal - I am sick of being obese and unhealthy, but mostly, I just want to feel better. I need more energy. And as the lovely Gretchen Rubin writes in her book The Happiness Project, you can't be truly happy if you don't have any energy (definitely paraphrasing, here.) I'll update you all each time I add a new habit. It is more productive to add healthy habits than to remove unhealthy ones. Seriously, I read a lot. If just reading about health made me healthy, I would be the healthiest woman alive.

Money Money Money
Another oldie but goodie. I have a kid going to college in 1 1/2 years, and another who plays ALL THE SPORTS. All the sports are expensive. I have always been rather disorganized when it comes to spending, and that is my downfall. I do not go out and buy expensive clothes, but I buy a lot of things, including way too many gifts, and it all adds up. Plus I've been eating out for lunch way too much lately. I feel confident that we will be able to pay down the credit card debt a lot faster if I just organize myself better, mainly because I will be more congnizant of where the money is going. Here are the steps I plan to start with:

1. Start tracking the spending again. I used to use Money to do this, but, well, I don't anymore. There are a few online programs that apparently work well, or I'll just set up a spreadsheet. I plan to have a system in place by the end of January.
2. I will allow myself lunch out once a week, only.
3. Go back to the weekly menu plan. This works very well.

I would like to work on managing my schedule better, as well, but I feel I need to work on the energy issues first. So I will continue to tweak these resolutions as the year progresses. As I've been writing this, I realized there was another highlight of 2013 I did not mention, and this is something that has happened time and time again. I have realized this year how lucky I am in my friends. Whether they are people I live near or long-distance Facebook friends, someone has always stepped in to let me know I wasn't alone, and they had my back. Many times it was many people. I really know some amazing people. And now I am asking these amazing people to back me up once again - help me maintain these resolutions. I promise to return the favor if ever any of you need it.

Hi - this is me again, several hours later. I've been trying to add pictures and make this post look nice, and Blogger is being all stupid. So, rather than risk losing this train of thought, I'm going to publish as is. Kisses, and Happy New Year! Here's to a 2014 that doesn't suck!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 1 Recap

Time to recap week 1 ... ok, so we're already 3 weeks into the new year, but I started implementing my new habits this past week. Because I did, that's why.

Last Sunday I did Gaiam's Cardio Kickbox DVD. I was sitting around, doing nothing, and I just decided to get up and do something. It was a nice workout - good instruction, although I wasn't dying at the end or anything, like I tend to with Tae Bo. The moves were much more controlled.

Monday was 3 miles with Leslie Sansone. She's kind of dorky, but for some reason I like her.

Tuesday was the This is Tae Bo DVD. Tough workout, and less sleep than I would have liked, but fun. I like it when Billy Blanks looks right at the camera and tells me what to do. I like to pretend I'm punching him in the face. I may have more violent tendencies than I realized.

Wednesday I slept late, but when I got home, I did the 30 minute Crunch Dance Party DVD. Did not love this one.

Thursday I did two Sparkpeople Jumpstart videos and one Sparkpeople kickbox cardio video. All together it was about 35 minutes.

Friday and Saturday I was lazy. No workout at all, and I felt it.

Today I did 30 minutes on the treadmill and spent some time stretching.

I drank at least 80 oz water each day, which meant I cut back, a lot, on the pop. I also got myself a foam roller for Christmas, and used it for the first time on Friday night. My back sounds like a string of bottle rockets, and it hurts so good! I have a certificate for a month of free unlimited classes at a fitness center nearby, and I look forward to cashing that in, but I'm having trouble fitting the classes in. Need to figure that out.

It's amazing how quickly I feel the benefits of the extra activity this week. My mood has been so much lighter, and I've had so much more energy. This is also a good chance for me to go through my mass collection of workout DVDs and get rid of some - a lot, actually. I may have way too many.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Every good goal needs a few tweaks...

Hello, and happy Friday, my chickens. I have posted to my SparkPeople blog today, and I want to share it here. Especially since Blogger is still being weird. Seriously might be time for a new platform...
Please go read here:
Kisses, and have a great weekend.