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.