Sunday, November 22, 2015

Updates and a happy list, because I need it. And so do you.

There's a lot of bad stuff happening in the world right now. And I have a lot of strong feelings about these bad things. I wish I could come on here and write about it and sound intelligent, and change the world. I was on Facebook today (you know, being social), and one of my compassionate friends posted something lovely about accepting refugees into their home. Because, happily (and apparently, unusually), all my vocal friends are full of compassion and love, and they enjoy facts. Go figure. Anyway, unfortunately, those lovely friends have not-so-lovely friends, and those friends comment on their lovely, compassionate posts, with ignorant rants full of fear and hatred, and I get angry, and I want so badly to comment, but I hate getting into arguments without having actual, factual evidence to back me up. So I went scouting the internet (not Wikipedia), looking for evidence to back up my claims (294 mass shootings in the US in 2015, 45 in schools, only 1 of those was perpetrated by someone of Islamic background, and they were not refugees. Fires, shootings, bombings at churches in the south and in New Mexico. None of those were refugees.) Anyway, by the time I was done researching and getting actual numbers, the idiot was put in his place by a much smarter friend - over an hour ago. My help was not needed, and I was feeling angry and impotent.

Look! Puppy and kitten napping together!
My point to all this is that I do not feel qualified to write eloquently and intelligently about this subject. I am affected by everything that is going on, and yes, I like to think if I find that refugees are moving into my neighborhood, I will organize a collection of clothes and food and toothpaste, and anything else needed. But there are some amazing people out there writing amazing things about these issues, and I would prefer to let them write, and share when I find them. And maybe share some happy.

Admittedly, I am still not feeling totally normal, and I'm still having some trouble getting my rear back into the swing of things, which adds to my desire to make lists of happy things.

So, here we are - 5 things that are making me happy, right now:

1.  Instagram. Yes, I am terribly late coming to the party, but how much fun it is to look at lovely pictures others take. I have read all the studies about people feeling depressed looking at other's "highlight reel", but I like looking at pretty pictures, and since I am aware that people don't live like that all the time, I feel like I can handle this. I've also come late to the Twitter world, which I don't love nearly as much, as I feel like I am stuck in a really crowded room with everyone talking at once. Instagram is much quieter.

2.  Jessica Jones. Ooh, this is a good show. My husband and I binge-watched the first half of the season tonight, and it is pretty wicked. Jessica Jones is an ex-superhero, working as a PI, dealing with PTSD. David Tennant is the villain, and he is always brilliant, but the rest of the cast has been pretty fantastic, as well.

3.  The website, Simple Green Smoothies. I like smoothies, but I do not do well making them without a recipe, and they have a whole bunch. This week, I made the Beginner's Luck smoothie, and it was good, and I felt really good all morning. They published a book recently, as well.

4.  Time with good friends. I have the privilege of knowing some wonderful people. I read a lot, so I belong to three book clubs, and I love the people in those book clubs. This past week, my Classics group watched "The Thin Man" (we watch a classic movie every other month), and it was interesting. I'm not sure I've ever watched a movie that old (1934), and the slang was bizarre.

Last night I had people over, and tomorrow I get to spend more time with my many pregnant friends (see, I'm not freaking old, I have friends having babies!) It warms my heart that I know so many lovely, silly, intelligent, interesting people.

5.  Oh, books. So many lovely books. The one I am reading right now is odd, to say the least. It has been listed on several of those "what to read before you die" lists, including this one from Powells, a well-known bookstore in Portland, OR, which is the city we all know I should have been living in. Right now I'm reading If On a Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, which contain several books within books, and this crazy, convoluted plot, and I am not entirely sure where we are going to end up, but I am fascinated to find out.

So. There we are. Some of the happy things in my life right now. Please, share some happiness of your own, or book recommendations, which really are the same thing.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What the heck is that noise!?

Today has been such a Monday. Woke up at 3AM, stayed awake for 45 minutes, dozed off on the couch, woke up again an hour later, decided to get off my butt and go to boot camp, made it to boot camp just in time for a workout (my thighs are killing me, but I needed that.) Traffic into work was crazy, and it took me 20 minutes longer than usual to get here - and the power was out at the office. For three hours. I have struggled the rest of the day trying to keep my eyes open, and I finally gave in and got some of our not-so-good coffee from the break room. 
That said, it's really quite lovely outside. See?
This is my view. I work at the reception desk, so I am not exactly next to the window, but I can see most of this from my desk. The tree is nice. It's a little sad; this is one of the prettiest buildings in the city, and the church across the street is gorgeous, but we are in a rather nasty neighborhood, and our neighbors are parking lots, check cashing stores, KFC...and taking a walk is ill-advised. 

So, I wrote to you all last week about how crappy I had been feeling, and things are going better. I did go back to my original dosage, and I think that helped a great deal. No real energy, though. That's what happens, apparently, when you go back to your old eating, not moving habits. Ugh. Last week was off week at boot camp, and we are supposed to assess our own needs and figure out if we need to take it easy for the week, or if we need to find alternate fitness opportunities. Many of the members and some of the instructors even offer classes. I do not do well with the off weeks. And in this case, momentum certainly worked against me - I continued to not do anything. 

Okay, but today is a new day, and I did wake up and work out. And yesterday I spent hours planning and shopping and cooking so I would have healthy options for this week. See, here is my fridge...
What you see here is a very full fridge, but 3/4 of what is there is healthy, I swear. The sour cream is something I use, yes, but I only use a tablespoon, and I use it to temper the heat of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that flavor my very favorite soup, which is what is in the mason jars, all ready for lunch. One of the containers on the middle shelf contains roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and the two containers under the big bowl are full of washed and dried salad greens. The drawers below have cut up pepper strips and grapes. There are also Greek yogurt, apples, and nuts for snacking. I don't really know that you all wanted to see my fridge, but it seemed the thing to do, especially since I did spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen yesterday (also made potato salad for dinner and two loaves of banana bread, which I hate, but I hate wasting bananas even more, and other family members love it.) So, darn it, I am ready to take the world by its antlers and shake it about in a rage of...yeah. I mentioned I didn't get enough sleep, right?

I told you I got to meet Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess last weekend, right? She wrote a new book, Furiously Happy, about her own hilarious struggles with depression, anxiety, and other mental illness. Sound offensive and horrible? You probably should not read this book. Sound just about right? Run out and pick it up. She makes it her goal to remind all of us that depression lies, we are not alone, and she has a wicked sense of humor. My cousin met me in Dayton for one of her signings. This place was packed. Apparently, her signing in Chicago was so big, they had to use a church, which is hilarious since she swears like a sailor, and uses the word "vagina" more often than a gynecologist. It was a lovely evening - Jenny read two chapters of her book, signed our books. We were numbers 12 and 13, respectively. I was not going to wait in line for 3 hours to have the book signed. So I got there at 4PM and waited 3 hours at that point - but I sat and chatted with other odd-bird readers, and listened to stories, and my cousin and I were able to have our books signed early and go out for dinner after, which was very nice, since we don't get to see nearly enough of each other. I had to work the next morning (Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Cincinnati started at 9AM, and I had to be there by 5AM for the set up,) so we were unable to party hard. Anyway, Jenny was super nice and lovely, and I was a big nerd, but I got to have a picture taken with her. Yay!

My daughter's birthday was on Wednesday, and she turned...gulp...13! We went to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, as per tradition, even though it meant leaving the house at 6:15AM. I drank much coffee. We had her family birthday dinner on the Saturday before, and went out to Olive Garden Tuesday night (since her uncle was in town,) so Wednesday was all low-key with sushi for her and I bought her a pint of her favorite Graeter's Raspberry Chocolate Chip. She will be celebrating with her friends this coming Saturday night. There will be crafting and slumber partying, and very likely a great deal of giggling. You may want to stay away. I kind of do.

I went to a Halloween party on Friday night. It was good fun, as it always is. I went as Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter, which I thought was all clever, until nobody knew who I was, even after I told them. I do love Halloween, though. I miss my A terribly on Halloween, as we spent it together every year since she and her family moved into the house near me, and she loves Halloween even more than I do. I make do, though, and this year, I asked my friend and my mom to come over and hang out with me while we handed out candy and had a fire (which was seriously pathetic - I am not good at fire making, and I only lots of cardboard and dry brush, with a few thicker sticks, so I would get things burning well and it would be huge, and parents would not want to bring their kids around, so I would have to go to them, or I would toss on some of the brush and smoke them all away. Probably should have made sure I had actual wood.) It ended up being much nicer this year - not too terribly cold, and no rain, and we had plenty of kids come around.

There is now this horribly scrapey-ringy sound coming from down the street, and it won't go away. I've gotten used to the constant sirens - we are near a number of hospitals, so the sirens are nonstop, but this is a new and particularly annoying noise. I don't want to jinx anything, but it seems to have stopped all of a sudden. Oh. Oh, how lovely!