Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's that wonderful time of year

Here is Skye, otherwise known as Momma-Skye these days. Excitement abounds in the Cottage as the puppies' due date approaches!! We are 11 days away, and counting, while nesting and eating extra food and resting lots.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

today is a grieving day

It's hard to say what triggers the great sadness. A memory, a smell, seasons, life events, an aching in the soul...it just happens, and then the tears are there, or sometimes a smile, but mostly tears right now.

I've never felt this before, this overwhelming sense of loss. Life has been a certain way for 29 years with shifts here and there, but there have been constants. And now those constants are withdrawn, they're away from me, changed now and forever in a course of new history.

I'm mourning my losses and grieving when my heart says to grieve.

I don't know why my heart chose Thursday, Nov. 15 as a grieving day, but it did, just like it chose Wednesday night, Nov. 14, and Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11. 

"Holly, why are you crying? Are you OK?"
"I'm just sad. Today is a crying day."

"Will it always feel this way? I can't stop crying. I'm crying just talking about crying."
"It sounds like you just need to cry."

The grief is greedy today. 

I have a visual of my heart, it came to me Saturday night, Nov. 10.
It's bleeding and open, swollen and raw. It's not pretty; it's no wonder I'm crying.
The wound has been cleaned, scrubbed, it's not infected. It's been stuffed with gauze and laced loosely shut, easily reopened and accessible to more cleaning, scrubbing, disinfectant.
It's healing, but painfully slow.

Everyone grieves differently. Give yourself the freedom to find your way in your grief-journey.
I've said that before to friends, and it's true.

Grieve, brave heart, how you must.

Book Review: Reflected in You

The second in Sylvia Day's Crossfire series, Reflected in You is a mixture of erotica, mystery and intrigue. For the intellectual reader who tires of a disjointed plot that connects one sex scene to another, this series might be what you're looking for. There's enough mystery and plot to keep the reader engaged, and the erotica could be seen as a bonus.

The opening chapters are slow-paced, the typical introduction to the middle child of a series, but once the plot is developed and the characters defined, it takes off in mystery-like fashion. 

To join the discussion, http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/now-reading-reflected-you.

"I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: Diary of a Submissive

Disclaimer: This book and subsequent discussions are erotic in nature.

On the heels of the sensation known as Fifity Shades of Grey, comes Sophie Morgan's Diary of a Submissive, an expose on what her life is like as a submissive in a dominant relationship. If you're interested in seeing if the Grey's were real to life, you might like reading Morgan's perspective.

She peels back the layers of what being a submissive is to her, how she got there and the journey she's been on since. This is not for the faint of heart, and my heart got pretty faint. It's messy, it's personal, it's the nitty-gritty details. Don't pick it up if you're not interested in learning more about this lifestyle.

To keep up with the discussion on BlogHer, please visit: http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/now-reading-diary-submissive

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 15, 2012

these shepherd eyes are upon me

I've written about these eyes before, about how I can't wander from room to room in my small home without 140 pounds of German shepherd tagging along. About how I cook and Tuck lays at my feet, and about how Skye interrupts my computer time by thrusting her nose under my elbow and climbing onto my lap.
But I wanted to show you.
I wanted to show you these eyes that are always on me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

when my mind is silent

My mind is rarely quiet.

It yells, whispers, talks, suggests, doubts, plans, reasons, gets me out of bed at night, sends me scrambling for a pen and paper at random times, forces me to write emails and text messages to myself on my phone. It tunes out the radio and makes my commute evaporate. It wonders, wanders, fantasizes, dreams. plots.

And sometimes it's exhausting.

People have asked me, "Holly, why are you running?"

The answer is glorious.

"Because for that 20, or 30, or 45, or 60 minutes, I am not thinking about anything, but running."

They look confused. Well, that doesn't sound like fun.

"You don't understand. My mind is constantly thinking, obsessing, fixing, debating, weighing....and for the entirety of my run, I'm not trying to solve problems (other people's or my own), I'm not planning, I'm not researching, or devising, or worrying, or making any decisions outside of: make it to that light pole. Sprint to the stop sign. Do the loop again. Breath. Walk for a second. Now run again. You're getting stronger. You're doing this."

The other reason I run is because my body is improving. It's getting tighter, it's getting fit.

And I love it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

restless happiness

A part of my daily routine is emailing Kristin and sometimes in the course of these emails I have epiphanies. It's been like that in the five years we've known each other and in the thousands of emails we've exchanged. She's part of my posse of friends who, when they ask me how I am, I can honestly say.

I feel a lot of peace this morning, which is good for me since I've felt so restless lately. Why is it that I get that way sometimes? It's this yearning for adventure, for change, for something more, bigger, to push myself, to require more...

But what if that adventure, that change, that something bigger is THIS moment? And what if, just what if, in my search for more, I'm missing the more that exists right now? What if I'm so focused on the end result (of getting somewhere) that I miss the point of the journey? What if the point isn't to get there, to arrive? What if the point is today, tomorrow? What if it was yesterday and I missed it because I was so consumed with the next day?

What if I'm exactly where I need to be?

There's nothing wrong with my life. It's good, actually. I have a job that has served me well. I have a community of friends. I have people who I'm positively influencing. I have the ability to have my dogs and puppies. I have an amazing home. I have ideas, I have passion, I have things I want to implement.

So perhaps the problem isn't getting into a (figuratively) new place. Maybe the problem is me. I feel whispers of conviction that I'm not putting into action the things I want to (feel called) to do, and I'm making excuses. "I can't do that because I don't live in the right part of the country." "I can't do that because my house isn't big enough." "I can't do that because I don't make enough money."

But what if I can? I haven't even tried. I think I need to start trying. I think that my heart will always feel this restlessness until I start living the passion I have inside, until I'm vulnerable enough to say: this is what I'm doing. I'm going to exist in the sphere of influence I have in this moment.

I can't wallow in what I don't have, or focus on where I'd rather be, because I'm getting the feeling that being here is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.

Alright, this email has ended up in a liberating direction I wasn't expecting, but I'm very thankful for you and you helping me by listening. I couldn't do this life without you.

And because she is the friend she is, she replies:

...I think you're right, sometimes you just have to dive in. And act. Stop making excuses. Right now. In this moment. For this moment. And, yes, things will change eventually, but this moment is part of the journey too.

I love your perspective. I love your heart. I love your calling and passion and talents and desires.  

My journey is about this moment.

Monday, September 24, 2012

{be} the inspiration

Someone told me I've inspired them to start training for a 10K.
Others have run their first 5K with me.
Families are hiking at places I recommend, and friends are joining me in exploration.

I'm learning you don't have to be the best {or the skinniest, or the most fit} to be an inspiration. You just have to be willing to lace up your shoes every day and be an example. Be the one who says: today is the day, and let's do this together.

Be vulnerable.

I had a big vulnerability moment Friday. I'd taken my workout clothes and shoes with me to work with the intention of running in a new-to-me park, sans Tuck. He was still recovering from a pulled muscle, but I'd committed to running a long run without him.

I didn't want to do it. And then the old tapes started in my head, and a new one even joined the reel.

"You can't run without Tuck. Now people are going to be looking at the fat girl trying to run, instead of at the beautiful dog she's running with."

Tuck was my running crutch. Inspiration, yes. Security blanket? Apparently!

I ran anyway in what was a defining self-esteem moment for me.

We are all drawing our inspiration from someone, something. I get mine from my host of athlete-friends who encourage me, answer my questions and exemplify an aspiration.

Somewhere in the inspiration chain, I fit in, and you do too. Just think: if I'm inspired, and you find me inspiring, and someone is inspired by you, when will it stop?

It's like the wave, only better.

It's a wave of health and fitness and we're all part of it.

Question is: are you sitting down, or jumping to your feet with your hands in the air?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Daring Greatly

This isn't a coffee table book, or one that you leave waiting on the night stand, or neglected on your bookshelf. It's one you underline in, mark in, leave notes in the margins, bend pages back to mark a spot, dribble evening tea in and shove scraps of paper in key places so you don't lose the spot. When you're done, it will look read, and it should. And long after it's been read (once, twice, three times), it's the book that will live in your mind and heart.

I was running two nights ago and was involved in a text conversation, one that required me to expose a bit of my heart. I wanted out of the conversation (“whoops, I didn't mean to send you that text”) and then the thought: “Why is it hard for you right now to be vulnerable with this person?” Brene Brown was in my head.

Daring Greatly is the book that will breathe warm air over the icy enclosures of your heart and tempt you with greatness to let go, be vulnerable, build shame-resiliency and live a Wholehearted life. It's not just for one person, it's for every person. If you're the leader in your home, your corporation, your neighborhood, you school, your family, yourself....you need to block out the distractions, the obligations, the tugs and pulls, find a quiet spot and let Brown's words penetrate your psyche.

Just think: if you're living a Wholehearted life, and I am too, and you inspire your neighbor, and your neighbor takes the message to their workplace, and on and on, before we know it, we've spread a lifestyle of Wholehearted living and perhaps, just perhaps, the world could indeed be a Wholehearted world.

To join the discussion, visit: http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/now-reading-daring-greatly

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

it's worse than Christmas morning

There's a feeling I get if you ever leave me in a vehicle while you "run inside real quick." I feel suffocated. The longer you take, the more I want to vomit, and the longer you continue to take, the more pissed off I get.

The moral of that story: don't leave me waiting in a vehicle for a long time. Probably some suppressed childhood memory.

But then there's real life, and real life, coincidentally, involves a lot of waiting, and I am not a good waiter.
I want results, action, a plan, direction....now. Yesterday would've been even better.

Life doesn't work like that. It's more about the moments, the journey, the stitches in time that create a masterpiece.

And I'm over here drumming my fingers. Can we plllleeeeeeaaasseeeee get this show on the road?
And Life's like, "No, wait just a little bit longer."

One of my friends told me yesterday: "Think about where you've come from and also realize that improvements come in minute increments! It all adds up over time...enjoy the process!"

Ah, enjoy the process.
Process enjoyed. The plan, please? Results?
Enjoy the process. 

My life coach told me Tuesday: "This is your waiting time, but in the waiting time, identify the perfect things in your life right now..." and there are so many.

You see, this waiting time is more about the anticipation of what's coming and the suspense is killing me. I'm not unhappy, I told a friend. I'm restless.

Change is in the air and I want to know what it is!  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

dramatic bitches

Dear {over-dramatic} Skye {with no pain tolerance and a predisposition for self-injury}:
I thought you were dying.
I cried and held a hot water bottle to your ass. I called the vet at 10:30 p.m. and left a message on his emergency voicemail. I Googled hip dysplasia. I fed you cottage cheese with aspirin and wondered why you wouldn't pee or walk.
I took you to the vet this morning and you were so excited for a car ride. You spun in circles and jumped into the back of my car with no problems. You drug me into the vet's office and put your front legs on the receptionist's counter. We sat down and you were in my lap. You weren't crying anymore or moving stiffly.
When the vet called us back, you jumped on his windowsill and would not be still. I couldn't figure it out and he laughed.
He said you likely pulled a muscle and that you're a bit over weight. The fact that he called you fat vindicated the embarrassment I felt over bringing in my dog-who-couldn't-walk. He gave you some muscle relaxers and sent us home.
You seem to be fine now, and this momma-heart is much better, too.
Thanks for being you in all your dramatic-ness, and thanks for not being on your death bed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

sick girl

Because sometimes what you need is a hot water bottle on your ass and your mother nearby.

I hope whatever's ailing my girl goes away soon. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the day I realized I'm 29 and single

I was hiking. I wasn't lost yet.
The sun was shining brilliantly and there was a magnificent breeze.
I was alone (with my dogs) as I often am.
There was no music, no conversation. Just me, holding my water bottle, walking, thinking.

I was thinking about my new year. You know, I turned 29 on the second and have spent the past 10 days celebrating with family and friends and feeling splendidly loved and spoiled by the richness of the relationships in my life.

It's my last year in my 20s and I'm not sad or regretful or melancholic over that notion. I'm delightfully hopeful and expectant about the adventures Year 29 will deliver.

What will I get myself into?
What will I lose?
What will I gain?
Where will I be?
What will I learn?
What will I do for the first time?
Will I hate it? Love it? Repeat it?
What mistakes will I make? Apologies will I say? Condolences give?
How will I improve? What will I improve?
What will get stronger? Weaker?
What will I accomplish? Relinguish?

I smiled out loud in anticipation. The sun, the breeze, the exploring adventure, the dogs...my {crazy beautiful} life.

Hopeful expectancy.
Or sometimes impatience.

But where are we going?

But what will they create when added together?

And tomorrow?

Then somewhere in all the hopeful expectancy and on the plains of some state park in the middle of ranchland, and while I was smiling...

And you're single.

The trailing thought made me smile wider, because I realized this was the first time I'd thought that in the first week of my 29th year, and because the anticipation deepened.

What will happen next?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to hike

1) "Do something today for the first time."
2) Decide to go hiking in a new location during the hottest part of the day.
3) Pack water, an extra dog bowl, and snacks. Do not bring sunscreen.
4) Google directions to the park.
5) Look at the map at the trailhead long enough to see that Lively Loop is 1.1 miles, and think to yourself, "Yeah, that sounds like a good little jaunt."
6) Disregard everything else.

7) Make a mental note of the vehicle that pulled in behind you. Wonder later if they're serial killers.
8) Blast Pandora for the first 30 minutes. Then, when you realize your 1.1 miles isn't actually 1.1, turn off Pandora. You might need your battery later to start a fire.
9) Take a picture of yourself while you're still having fun.

10) End all phone calls with friends with, "I need to reserve my phone power in case I have to call in the cavalry."

11) Actually wonder if that will be necessary.
12) Take a few breaks, insisted upon by your dogs.
13) Start to wonder if you're hiking on random ranchland, or if this is actually a trail.
14) Stick to the yellow markers. You have no idea what yellow means, but you're committed.
15) Realize you've been at it for an hour and a half and have not seen another soul.
16) Come to a trail sign that doesn't have yours listed on it, or at least the one you thought you were on.
17) Stay calm and straight.
18) Come to the gravel road you drove into the park on. Notice there are no signs. Anywhere. Turn right.
19) Second guess your decision to turn right.
20) Walk 3/10 of a mile to the park maintenance area. Enter and knock on doors. No one will answer.
21) Swallow panic.
22) Spot a restroom, knock on the door, enter. Direct the dogs to the toilet.

23) Fill up your water bottle with water from the maintenance man's shower. The water running into your armpit feels good.
24) Leave the maintenance area. Decide you were going in the wrong direction on the road. Turn right.
25) Yell, "Fuck hiking!"
26) Verbally berate the person who named the trail Lively Loop when it CLEARLY DIDN'T LOOP.
27) Walk more than half a mile and text a few key people that you're lost.
28) Stop in the shade, and apologize to your dogs, who you have never seen so exhausted.
29) Realize you're headed in the wrong direction.
30) Turn around.
31) Wave at the two Park Rangers who drive by you and promise yourself that the next one you'll flag down and ask for a ride.
32) Get back to the maintenance area to fill up on water. It's closed.
33) Turn left out of the maintenance area.
34) Walk a little ways and around the bend to your car.
35) Study the map. Realize you're a directional idiot and that your 1.1 mile loop was actually a more than 5-mile trek. We started at the "you are here" arrow and came out at the little red dot just above the arrow. Apparently, it did loop.
36) Go home.

5K #2

Two months ago I started running and since then I've completed two 5Ks. If I can do it, you can too.

This race was more difficult from last month's, and easier at the same time. The route was mostly on an incline with steeper uphill portions (and downhill too) and nothing like anything I've run on before. The easier part was that I was more familiar with my abilities, so I paced myself early on (start slow, finish strong), and mentally attacked the hills before I physically arrived.

Do you see this person?
She's the best running-support-friend anyone could ask for not to mention she's a great friend when you're not sweating your ass off. She rolled out of bed with Lily and met me about 10 minutes into the run. Lily pulled me up a couple hills. :) She helped keep me on track with my time goals, which I ended up not making. I was 90 seconds off from my time goal, but finished in 38:35, a solid 3 minutes faster than my last one. I barely walked any, though my pace obviously slowed considerably.

Maybe I should mention here that I was running with a cold, so I should be happy with my improvement (said running friend).

I was so glad to run this race with colleagues and friends! There were seven of us and we all finished strong!

Now when's the next one?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

fall into fall, and a bit of rambling

Starbucks has introduced their great fall line-up, football season has started, it's forecasted to be 68 degrees Saturday night, and everywhere there are orange scarves and pumpkins.

I think fall is about to be here.
But, you know, in Texas that still means 100+ degree days for most of this glorious month of September, which is really my favorite month of the whole year.

It starts with my birthday, celebrated four days ago by attending the season opening game of the Texas Longhorns with 101,000 other people, and a new friend. Nothing says "welcome to fall" than sitting at the very top of the Longhorns stadium for an evening game, and watching the moon glow over the Austin skyline while a breeze cooled everyone. Plus, we won, so that was awesome.

Texas Longhorns vs. Wyoming Cowboys

My Facebook page lit up Saturday and Sunday with birthday wishes, all of which I deeply appreciated. The one that made me cry, though, was a text message I got Monday from my former nanny-child's mom. She wished me a happy birthday from her and Josey, and said they went to the circus a few days ago and Josey said she wished I was with them. And then tears stung my eyes. It's funny how after all these years one little girl can still have a grip on your heart, and she remembers me. And then yesterday my best friend sent me a picture message of her two-year-old son with a Longhorns shirt on and a caption, "Making Auntie Holly proud!" I'm truly blessed by the little squirts in my life.

I'm fighting off a cold, or whatever it is. Whatever-it-is is a sore throat and mild congestion capped off with some ol' fashioned fatigue. Last night I had a strict regiment: leave work early, get Vitamin C, go home, rest, run, eat, make chili, shower, sleep. So that's what I did, and I was not deterred by the books scattered across the kitchen floor because Skye had knocked over the bookshelf. Nope. Cleaning up books and fixing a bookshelf was not on the evening's agenda and so I left them.

And I slept for 10 hours, which in my world is a glorious, glorious thing.

I've got a 5K coming up on Saturday and I'm so, so, so glad for my birthday-present-to-myself running shoes. Can you believe I bought running shoes?  I still catch myself, like last night post-run while washing dishes, thinking: You ran. YOU RAN. And this is monumental because I've always said, "I am not a runner," despite my great admiration of all my running friends. But now, here I am, running a little at a time and a little bit more at a time.

And judging myself for not running more. Why do I that? Tuck and I had a good run last night and on our way back, I was frustrated that I couldn't run anymore. That's my adversarial side talking, and then I become my own coach: "You've only been running for two months, you've got a couple diseases, you started at zero and look at where you are today. Get over it! And be satisfied."

So I told myself, "OK, self. You're right."

And I walked the rest of the way home. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

my choosing day

Today I choose...peace like a river.

What about you?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

calculated risk

I take a chance every time I let Skye outside.

It's an uncalculated risk: is there a deer beside the Cottage, in front of it, behind it, that she'll catch wind of and chase? Or is there not?

Sometimes I don't know until I open the door.
But I have to open the door. Keeping her inside 24/7 is not an option.

Of course, I'm not just talking about Skye. I'm talking about my heart, and maybe yours too. I can't keep it locked inside, but what am I risking by letting it loose?

In short: a lot.

Isn't that part of the definition?

Calculated risk: A chance taken after careful estimation of the probable outcome. Not negating the risk, but choosing that the outcome is worth the chance.

I'm surveying my chances, I'm calculating my risks, I'm deciding that...

...yeah, they're worth taking.

If I fail, I'll get back up again.
Ah, but if I don't...

What the hell.
I'm flinging the door wide open.

"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened - or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on." Tupac

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

momma's boy

My Tuck baby

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my evolving bowl of oatmeal

This month is my two-year anniversary of my journey to better health, and I'm proof that small steps do add up to big change.

In two years I've lost 50 pounds, competed in a duathalon, stopped drinking coffee with sugar or artificial sweeteners, have packed the majority of my lunches to work, became a vegetarian, ran a 5K, am running every day, shop at least once a week at a local farmers market, and try to eat only fresh fruits and vegetables one day a week.

All that is not what I intended two years ago, and as a matter of fact, if I had known that much change would transpire (or that it would take TWO years!), I probably wouldn't have started. But for me, it was about one small step stacked on top of another and another until eventually I am where I am today. And two years from now, I'll be somewhere entirely different.

My bowl of oatmeal this morning is a perfect analogy.

I'd been eating those instant packs of oatmeal for breakfast for awhile, and then found out I didn't like the sweetener that was used in them. What I thought was a healthy way to start my day was actually pretty crappy given the amount of sugar I was consuming. So I switched to quick rolled oats, and my breakfast looked like this:

1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup of water, dash of cinnamon, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a swirl of half-and-half.

I cut out the half-and-half. And when I ran out of brown sugar, I didn't buy more. I bought honey instead.

My bowl of oatmeal is now this:

1/4 cup rolled oats, 3/4 cup of water, dash of cinnamon, two teaspoons of honey and fresh fruit (either a half a banana or fresh peaches).

Small steps = big change.

I should also tell you I'm not perfect.

I recently binged on Pringles and Wheat Thins, and ate a pint of ice-cream. And I ate way too much macaroni and cheese at a friend's house, precipitating a 36-hour fruit fast that I broke with salmon and summer vegetables. My body was SO GLAD for FRESHNESS after the crap I'd forced it to consume.

Oh yeah, and I'm also not a size 2, and I get frustrated (still!) by the numbers on the scale. I'm trying to make peace with it: maybe it's not about the numbers, maybe it's about overall health.

And maybe, in two years, I'll finally be reconciled with that notion. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

angry dogs

The dogs are genuinely pissed off at some unexplained banging going on in the field next to us.

Barking, whining, looking out windows, more barking, and then growling at each other for no reason.

"Guys! Why don't you join forces instead of arguing with each other? Geez." (that's what I told them).

But really it applies to a lot of people and situations.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

moments ticking

It's been four months.

Four months since the disconnect, since the you are not what we want, since the we are cutting you loose.

How is it possible that after four months it still hurts this bad? That the tears can still fall unhindered, and the ache starts swirling with anger, and my head tells my heart, "It's OK...it's a stage in the grief process," and my heart says, "Bullshit, there is no such thing as grief stage processes." That you can be cutting up fresh fruit at the end of a great day, and suddenly you start thinking about them and missing them, and you end up here...crying.

Everyone will grieve in a different way, I've told my friend who recently lost a beloved family member. Sometimes we sit on her back porch and reminisce about our losses, our disconnects. Hers by nature; mine by other's choices. What is worse? To be discarded, or to be left behind when the good Lord calls someone you love home?

I can't claim to know the answer.
I just know it fucking hurts like hell.

I'm OK most of the time, and then nights like this it all comes piling onto my soul. It....this reminder that somehow after all these years, cross-country moves, career choices, and support, it just isn't enough.

Isn't that a fundamental question we all have: do I have what it takes? Am I good enough, just as the person I am?

And when the people you love the most say, "No. No, you are not good enough just as you are," the tears have to fall.

So fall they shall.

Friday, August 10, 2012

running with Lyme

Some mornings it's rough getting out of bed (like this morning). One leg doesn't want to go in front of the other.
Instead of jogging, I walked two miles.

Some nights (like tonight) it's a contest on what muscle group will get the heating pad first. I'm likely to spend the first hour or so in bed rotating the heat source from knees to hips to shoulders to neck.
Instead of our evening walk/jog, I watched a movie, rested on the couch, and trained the dogs for a little while.

"Strength doesn't come from what you can do; it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't..."

There have been worse days. Days when I couldn't climb a flight of stairs, or remember the value of a dime. Days when I existed in the recliner, and sleepless nights.

I did not think I would run.
I did not think I'd do a 5K.
I did not think I'd walk for miles.

But I'm doing it, and it feels good. These afflicted joints and muscles of mine are, most days, in agreement with my mind's eagerness to walk, trot, run.

I'm aware there might be a morning or evening when they're in a disagreement with my mind, and that's the morning or evening I'll let them win.

In the meantime, I have my eye on my morning outing, and another 5K in September.

And for this moment, I'm thankful for determination. I'm thankful for my heating pad and mild pain relievers, and I'm thankful for getting stronger.

I don't take these moments for granted.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My choice today!

"You know how horses run on the track with blinders on to prevent them from being spooked by their peripheral vision?" I told a friend recently. "Yeah, that's me."

I have a tendency to get tunnel vision, and then it's a whole new world when my heart finally catches up to my head with this explosion of an announcement:


So today, that's what I'm choosing.

Today I choose...new possibilities.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

who am I looking at?

Tuck and I are still figuring each other out. Our relationship is three-and-a-half months old, and we've had challenges unique to us. The bonding process with each dog is different, and while Tuck irrevocably loves me, he's annoying, brash, and hasty. His idea of loving me is mauling my face while I'm laying in bed, and his inability to be still makes him chew (important) things throughout the house.

But have I mentioned he loves me?

He and I ran a new route, and with him on a leash. He's an expert on a leash with minor corrections needed intermittently, but mostly praise dished out. For all his clumsiness, he was actually a pleasant running partner, and he taught me something.

Have I mentioned how my animals do that occasionally?

We ran across a bridge and the bridge barrier had large holes cut out in it. For whatever reason, these holes scared the shit out of him and our smooth run was halted when he refused to take another step. He slunk back against his collar and tried to get on the other side of me.

I stopped and gently manuevered him back into position at my left side and stood there for a minute, letting him recover mentally next to the barriers. We started again, he slunk into my legs again, we stopped again. On the third try, he stayed in the heel position, his eyes darting warily over to the barriers.

He saw them coming on our way back and knew we had to cross the same bridge with the same terrifying holes cut in the barriers. He kept his eyes on my face, only shying away from the barriers when he broke his gaze and looked at the holes. My voice reassured him and he would avert his eyes back to my face. As long as he was watching my face, he was courageous.

We made it. I turned around and we walked across the bridge twice more, him exercising his mental technique and conquering whatever scared him shitless over those holes.

His method inspired these thoughts the rest of our run home.

What are my fears? My random, seemingly harmless fears that jump out of nowhere, insignificant in their make up, but enough to cause my steps to falter?

What do I have my eyes set on to help me conquer those fears? Who is my master who I irrevocably trust to provide the steering hand, the face of confidence I draw positive energy from? 

Who/what's my master? 

And we're back from our run. He's chewing rocks and eyeing my dust pan.
I'm still asking myself questions.

the 5k report

"So how did you get this idea...to run a midnight 5k?"

"A press release came across my desk for it and I thought it sounded like fun." Isn't that how every I'm-going-to-run-a-5k-decision is born?

That's how my physical challenges seem to happen. I read the press release and think, "Eh, I could do that." And then I recruit a friend to do it with me, and there is always at least one who agrees.

"Yeah, I'm not doing anything Friday night. I'll do it with you."

Meet Leanna.

I walked in her house at 9:30 p.m.

"I don't want to do this," I said.
"I don't want to run," she replied. "I'm going to be mad as hell at you."

I woke her up from her nap at 10:30 p.m.

"We've got to go."
"I thought you'd think I looked so peaceful asleep that you'd decide not to do this."

First stop: gas station.
"We're cranking up the AC," she said. "We've got to get our fill before we die."

We took 58 self portraits.
She thought she looked high; I thought I looked fat.
"Just post one of the damn photos," she said. "We're running a marathon for crying out loud."

She put on some pump-up music, which we both agreed did nothing for us.
"Your husband should have come," I said. "I'm going to need his sports medicine skills."

We pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store where the race was to start.
"Oh my god, Leanna," I said. "These people look very serious."

We registered and retreated to her vehicle.
"I need somewhere private to put this on," I said, motioning to my number.
"I need as much AC as possible before we get this started. Also, I want to finish my nap," she said.

Twenty minutes later, we lined up.
"Identity your victim," she said. "The person you think you can beat."

I surveyed the crowd.

"Okay, found one."

"How long do you want this to take us?" she asked. "What's your goal?"

"45 minutes," I replied.

"We'll start in the back," she said, her inner soccer coach coming out.

"I like the way you think," I nodded. "That way we can pass people..."

..."it'll help our self-esteem," she finished.

The toy gun went off.

I wanted to beat everyone, but forced myself to settle into my comfortable pace. She was beside me and then a bit ahead of me, her pace quicker than mine.

We ran the first mile and a half and I promptly wanted to die.

"No, don't stop! Run this little way and then when we get to the stop sign we can walk...I'll let you walk up the big hill."

I began wondering why I brought her...the soccer coach.

"Come on! Quicker!"

"This is my pace!" I huffed. "At least I'm still moving!"

She let me walk when we got to the stop sign and that was my biggest mistake. Stopping.

She kept checking her watch.

"If we want to make your goal, we're going to have to start running again."

And we did, off and on.

"I'd like to throw up," I said.

"Good! I've done my job!" she crowed. "If one of my soccer girls doesn't throw up, I don't feel like I've done my job."

"You are a horrible person. I'm not talking to you for the rest of the night." ...

... "At what point do we need a medic?"

We made it to the corner I'd designated in my head as the one we'd start running at again, and we took off. My hands and arms were swollen and I felt like someone was poking me with a million needles.

She finished a minute before I did, and when I crossed the finish line, the clock read 41:33.

I know why I brought her. Couldn't have made it without her nagging.

"You made your goal," she smiled.

"Actually three," I replied. "One, to even DO a 5k, to do it in less than 45 minutes, and I ran the farthest I've ever ran in years."

Our work was done.

We went home to bed.

Post race: infrared body wrap Saturday, combined with two naps and a heating pad. All that after running just a 5k, you might ask. Well, I demanded a lot from this LD body and it needs special treatment to recover. So yesterday was resting.
And this morning I ran a mile.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Chaperone

In two words: read it.

I cannot remember a book that has captivated me from beginning to end, and then left me lying awake in bed thinking of its characters who, for the previous eight hours, were the most important people in my sphere.

Then I read a review that called Laura Moriarty's "The Chaperone" a historical novel and I thought, "Why yes, that's exactly what it was," but she painted the words so masterfully that I didn't realize I was reading the history of relationships in the United States of America. I thought I was reading about one woman's life, Cora's, and her journey from New York to Kansas and back again in search of herself, her identity.

On the contrary, Cora's journey is an avatar of many who forged through love, pain, suffering, and breaking free from the bondage of societal dictations to be true to themselves and their own hearts.

You're left wondering: was it really 1960-something when birth control became legal in the United States? How many forbidden lovers existed in an era when love was straight (literally)? It becomes apparent quickly that "The Chaperone" isn't just Cora's story, but that of hundreds, thousands.

Pick it up. Read it. Be mesmerized.

 "I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today I was chosen

Today the story chose me.

Monday, July 30, 2012

blood is flowing to my face

I jogged a 13-minute mile tonight, and in case anyone was wondering, I am no Wilson Kipsang, who will run a 4-minute 43-second mile in this year's Olympics.

Now that we've clarified that, I'd like to say this is a little bit of a big deal for me. I am not a runner, so please erase any graceful mental image you may have of me running in circles around my neighbor's house. I'm very self-conscious about how I look while chugging away, to the point that when the yard men pulled into the driveway this morning, my morning exercise session promptly ended, at 9/10 of a mile.

Two weeks ago I decided to run a 5k (a midnight run), and it's this Friday. It's not the first time, you know, I've made spontaneous physical decisions, and put complete trust in my body to get me through.

We've been through a lot in the past two years, this body and I.

If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd be running jogging twice a day and doubling my distance in a week, and that I'd be a vegetarian and constructing my grocery list with a copy of "The Doctors Book of Food Remedies" open next to me, and drinking copious amounts of water and green tea, and rarely touching fast food and not eating after 7 p.m., I'd have laughed at you.

It's about the small steps adding up to big ones, and we all have to start somewhere.

I started almost two years ago at the heaviest I've ever been, and gradually I've worked myself to where I am today. Of course, there's been mess-ups and fluctuation. I've been frustrated with myself and my body, which is really like a system of dials and knobs, each one having to be adjusted just-so in order to get the results I want. And half the time it feels like a giant guessing game. I'm not the skinniest I want to be or the most athletic.

But for today, I'm where I need to be....

...jogging my little mile a couple times a day, eating fresh pineapple for its benefits to my joints, and consuming fish a few times a week for Omega-3 fatty acids...

...and having no preconceived fantasies of how I look while sweating it out.

Make a choice!

Today I choose laughter.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

my two cents in a sea of pennies

What Chick-fil-A has become in the past week is a western problem. I think it's probably only here in 2012 that a fast food restaurant owner can declare his support of traditional marriage, and party lines are drawn - those who will eat chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, and those who won't.

Think about that for a second.

"I don't like you, Dan Cathey. I'm not going to spend my expendable western cash for a spicy chicken sandwich, which means I'll deny myself those handy packets of ketchup that allow me to squeeze the sauce so easily onto my piping hot waffle fries."

"Dan Cathey, I love you so much, I'm going to eat only fast food from your establishment, and I may even increase my consumption."

Meanwhile, it's illegal to be gay in Uganda.

Chicken sandwich and waffle fries - first-world problem.

Violence, imprisonment, loss of jobs for sexual orientation- third-world problem.

It's easy for us to solve the first-world problem. Photoshop some photos and text together, disseminate on Facebook, schedule an eat-in to support the restaurant. An eat-in. Ah, the struggle of expressing our support.

The third-world problem is much more...uncomfortable...messy.

Those on both sides of the chasm are demanding freedom (and the right!) to express their opinions, and neither giving the respect they're asking the other for.

So you won't eat at Chick-fil-A.
You're going to eat there more, dammit.

Personally it doesn't matter to me whether you indulge or deny a hot-off-the-grill chicken fillet on your way back to your job in a country where you can vote, but good for you for standing up for your beliefs in criticism/support of one man voicing his.

Meanwhile Syria is imploding and Iraqis are dying in attacks ruled the most deadly. Viatnamese children are being trafficked into Europe to work in marijuana factories and reporters in Mexico fear for their lives in covering the drug war. Africans don't have access to clean drinking water and girls in Afghanistan are attending underground schools.

This is what 2012 looks like for nations outside our own.

Here, chicken sandwiches and waffle fries are at the epicenter of an Internet debate that galvanizes two sides. It's good to know we're passionate about something (albeit fast food), but I'm beginning to question the integrity of the fight.

I respect the efforts of both sides, but I'm just not impressed by the facts I'm seeing.

A man and his corporation supports traditional marriage.
People eat more or less of his chicken.

I really think Chick-fil-A can fend for/support itself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

The title hooked me and I was Facebooking about it before I even read the first sentence on the first page. It only got better from there, and disappointing at the same time.

Margaret Dilloway does an excellent job of portraying characters with uncanny real-to-life scenarios and attitudes to the point that the reader might wonder: "This is strangely my life...does it have a happy ending?" For Galilee Garner, hers is a difficult lonely life exaserbated with a chronic illness and the arrival of her niece, who brings an entirely new (difficult) dynamic to Garner's monotonous routine. Riley, a teenager in need of structure and substance, delivers coarse life to the pages of this novel and gives the reader an identifying factor. We might not all suffer from a kidney disease and an unsatiable thirst to breed roses, but at some point, we've encountered an obstinate teen. Riley is the character we can all most relate to.

There were moments in this story when I didn't like Garner - she was rude, brash and harsh to her best friends, she was unyielding, a stickler for following the rules, and consumed in her own misery that she failed to see the best in the people around her. Perhaps I didn't like her, because she mirrors some of my own worst attributes.

This story doesn't end happily and it doesn't end sadly. It just fades off with some questions answered and others left undone. I would've liked to have seen more resolution between the main characters, but it falls in line with Dilloway's seemingly overarching goal: to give the reader a slice of life, a snapshot of realism in a world that's real{ly} unfair and oftentimes doesn't end with the results we want.

You won't be given the fairytale ending in this tale.

To join the discussion, visit: http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/why-i-was-scared-red-roses

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I made a choice today

Today I choose...to use my time wisely.

What are you choosing today?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I just got in from running half a mile...straight.

Yeah, I'm admitting this in public...to you all...including my triathlon and marathon-running (and winning) friends. And yes, you too...the ones who have completed an Ironman. Smile and cheer for me.

If you should know one thing about me, it's that I don't run. If I had to run for my life, I would die, and don't get the idea that I'm out here sprinting a half mile. I mean, these ol' legs and I are limping along praying to God the end is near.

But we're doing it.

That's the important part, right? And we're doing it twice a day, so maybe the increase in pace will help kick up my recently sluggish metabolism. The dogs and I have been power-walking a couple miles a day since April, but we're getting down to the nitty-gritty now.

Time to get serious.

I've alluded to it here and there, but I don't like complaining about my bad health spells. I'm getting through one that started about a month ago...all the usual symptoms that accompany me and my Lyme disease. I've said it before, but hosting this bacteria makes me acutely aware of the signals my body sends me.

Listening (and obeying) are imperative to my health.

So that's what I've been doing.

And I take a two-hour nap when I get home from work.

Eat fresh!
I  make a mid-week trip to the farmers market.

I force myself to be unproductive on the couch.

Walk gently.
I slow my pace.

Run slowly.
I do.

I go to bed early.

Get warm!
I take a hot shower, wear a jacket, turn the AC down.

Stop stressing!
I breath peace.

Listening and obeying, as necessary for me as breathing.

I've been blessed with more good days than bad the last two years.

And I'm blessed to be moving with strength on most days, including running that half a mile at night.

We'll keep dominating.

Monday, July 23, 2012

creating and resting

I emailed my life coach yesterday: "Is it normal that I'm perfectly content to stay in my house all day on a day that I have off? ... it makes me happy to write, blog, read, clean my house, listen to music, cook and not speak to a lot of people on a day that I don't HAVE to go anywhere. Does that make me antisocial?"

And then somewhere between me crawling in bed and turning off the lamp, after I'd hit 'play' on the DVD player and finished Rob Bell's "Everything is Spiritual" message, I had my answer.

Not only is it normal, it's what I was created to do.

Creating and resting.

It's a rthymic seasonal thing, not an accident.

Create for six days. Rest for one.

It's not antisocial, or abnormal. It's what we're wired for.

Create. Rest. Replenish. Restore.

Fill yourself up to go back out and create for another six days.

We're all creating different things. I'm creating a tangible product every day, but you might be creating school lunches, or inspiring creativity among coworkers, your kids.

We all rest in different ways. For me, I write, listen to music, clean, cook, water my garden, play with my dogs. You might meet friends for a drink, or go to a concert, or spend two hours in the gym.

In any case, we are all creating.

And we all need rest.

Today I choose...

...a positive (new) outlook.

What's your mantra today?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

the Choosing Project

Tragic choices, heroic ones.
Questionable, arguable, defenseless, bad ones.
Spontaneous, reckless, risky, terrible ones.
Passionate, unwavering, no-brainers.

We all have choices. We all make choices.

We choose our course of action, our response, our attitude, our reaction.

It's true that each of us are living a life as a consequence of someone else's decisions. I reflect on my own life - a conglomeration of choices made that put my feet on a path that if I had been born into a different family at a different time might not be the same journey I'm traveling today.

But I don't want a different journey.
"Do you regret your childhood?" people ask me, and in a way they're asking, "Do you regret the choices that were made for you as a kid..."

I always say, "No. No regrets. I wouldn't change my story," because somewhere along the way of growing up, it becomes mine and your responsibility to harness those choices and choose how they're going to influence our lives.

In April I started losing some of the most important components of my life - my family. My energetic, organic, beautifully messy family .... our unit began dissolving. One choice snowballed into another and another and another until now here we are, fragmented.

The pain is majestic, brutal.

The choice that is mine is how I respond.

In June I felt as if I were in a dryer, heat set high on tumble - people's choices swirling around me, bouncing me from one emotion to the next, putting me in one situation and then another.

Wait a second.

You only have as much control over me as I choose to give you.

There is it again: MY CHOICE.

So I started asking myself, "What do you choose for today?" and I would answer.

That simply it was born, a routine of asking myself every morning, "What do you choose for today?" and me jotting down on a piece of paper: "Today I choose..." The pieces of paper have stacked up on my desk. People ask me when they visit: "What are these pieces of paper?"

"Oh, those are my choices for the day, what I'm embracing."

Because sometimes it's as simple as that. Choosing.

I invite you to this mindset, this Choosing Project.

Here, I'll start.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do I need a pregnancy test?

If immaculate conceptions were run of the mill every day occcurences, I would think I fell prey to one.

What other explantion, besides pregnancy, is there for fatigue, crying for 6 days straight, lack of appetite and then being so ravenously hungry that you tell your waitress in the Dallas airport terminal, "No, I'll keep the menu. I'm not done"?

The only difference between me and my nine friends (NINE! I ticked them off on my fingers on my delayed flight from Point A to Point B) who are really and trulio pregnant, is that I am not. I am woefully not pregnant.

I say woefully, not because I want to be pregnant, but because I have no other explanation for my pregnancy-like symptoms. (Ha! Symptoms. As if pregnancy is a disease you can catch.)

But it would make sense if it was.

Have you every noticed that as soon as one friend's Facebook status changes to something along the lines of: "There's a bun in my oven!" it spreads quicker than those annoying: "If you love Jesus, repost this or you'll reserve your place in hell" pictures? One friend and then another and another, and the one you probably weren't supposed to find out via Facebook, but you did anyway...they're everywhere! Pregnant people are freaking dominating my Facebook news feed. And if they're not pregnant, their baby is fresh (I mean, fresh) out of the oven.

So maybe I have pregnancy-sympathy pains. Is that possible?

Why else would someone devour their Strawberry Fields salad and then ponder what next (what IS next?!) to order. Should it just be French fries, or maybe the hummus that's on the menu? Or fried shrimp? Ohhhh, fried shrimp. Can I just have it all?

Did I really just think that?

The girl who's trying to calculate how many carbs are in her morning oatmeal and lunch pita pocket? The girl who is in major crisis mode after gaining eight pounds, and the girl who shops at a farmer's market every other Friday? Is this even the same person?

Then you add in the crying. Folks, I cried every day starting Monday, July 2, through Saturday, July 7. That's six days straight of tears falling, and an event so momentous that I noted the dates. Why? Because I never cry that much. (Like, ever.) And because I, like you, am trying to figure out why. I could give you some details, which would make you go, "Ah, I see," but I don't want to. How does the saying go: "it's between me and the fence post"? The fence post and I are splendid friends.

And the fatigue, which is really so terrifying that the only explanation is that I have another human inside of me. Fatigue so pronounced that every day my eyelids fall and I think, "It must be 2 p.m." and I look at the clock and it surely is. On the dot. And fatigue so bothersome that when I get home, I've been known to take a two-hour nap before bed, and then sleep all night?

It will not take me pissing on a stick to tell you I am not pregnant. To assure you and my mother that there is no possible way (outside of immaculate conception) I am preggers. And if I were, I would never say "preggers" or "prego." I am not a spaghetti sauce, or anything resembling one.

The waitress just took my leftover spinach dip, and my flight is even more delayed.

Now I want ice cream.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

dumping the dogs

I'm going out of town this weekend and for the first time in my life, I'm boarding my dogs at an actual facility. No leaving them with their grandmother, or shacking them with a friend. They're getting the boneified drop-off at the daycare.

What the hell am I supposed to tell these people?
Tuck likes to chew hard plastics and swallow the small pieces. He also rises at 6:30 every damn morning.
Skye has a WILL BITE sticker in her folder at the vet. She should be kept far away from baby deer, sheep and kittens. You can pet her head, just not her body. 

But first, let's just get them there.

Because I'm a bit obsessive, I called the boarding place yesterday to find out exactly what I needed to bring with them. I'd made the reservation a month ago, but I have a problem with short-term memory loss and I hadn't written anything down from that first conversation.

Dog food and vaccine records. OK. I can handle that.

Two hours later, the owner of the place calls me and says he doesn't have a reservation on file for my dogs. First words out of my mouth: "WHAT? Nooooooo...." because a lot of people board their dogs and getting last minute reservations is like impossible. But he graciously finagled it for me and squeezed us (well, them) in. And then the housekeeping items:

"Do you want to keep them together or separate?"
"Separate, please." Tuck gets too rough with Skye and without supervision, they're liable to be at each other's throats all day. 

"If you want to bring any bedding with them, you can."
"It's OK...they rough it." Ha, yeah right! They have the entire life of one human that revolves around them.

"You can bring any toys that they might like to have."
"OK." Do dustpans, tupperware containers, tote bags and sticks count? Because, really, those are the most favorite toys around here.

"The kennels are five-feet high and we've never had a dog jump them."
"Hmmm...well, that's good." At what point do I warn you about my dogs? That when they're determined to do something, they're going to do it?

I've never done this before. Does a dog boarder want your dog's life story, because I'm tempted to give it? Is it like leaving your kid with a babysitter?

Tuck gets up at 6:30 every morning and prefers to be let outside for approximately 15 minutes. But then he gets bored and starts barking, so you need to bring him back inside and re-crate him, OR at this point you can take them for their 1.5 mile walk. Skye can either go out at 6:30, but she's used to sleeping a bit later, so she can wait till you want to get out of bed at like 8 or something. If they both go stand at the farm gate after your evening walk, that means they want to go to the river. Feel free to take them, but keep Skye on a leash until you know no one else is at the river. Tuck doesn't need to be leashed, because he'll stay with you and if he runs ahead a bit, he'll listen and come back. When you get to the river and if no one is there, you can let them loose and throw rocks in the water to let them swim. Just don't throw sticks because they'll both want to retrieve it and they'll fight in the water over it. They might drown. When you're ready to leave, say "Let's go home," and they should go home, no leashes necessary. Tie them up outside so they'll dry off. Tuck will dry off much faster; it takes Skye hours.

They speak German, have I told you that? Am I supposed to leave a list of their German commands? And warn you they're probably not going to listen to you anyway?

Do I mention that Tuck gets bored easily and WILL find something to chew, and that neither of them are going to eat very much and will probably look like shit when I pick them up? Do I talk about the fact that Skye likes to jump on you and put her paws on your shoulders, while Tuck will just leeeeaaaaannnn into the front of your legs with no concern at all if you're mid-step, just so you can pet him? And that when you scratch his ears and head, he'll leave his mouth open and you'll be covered in slobber? Do I need to talk about bloodlines and pedigree and their intelligence levels, training schedules?

When should I mention that my world revolves around them, that they're my dream dogs, my friends, my roommates, my protectors, my investments, my incentives to exercise?

Maybe I don't talk about any of that. Maybe I'm just supposed to kiss their foreheads, scratch their ears and say, "Momma loves you...I'll be home soon," just like I do every morning.

There's no manual for life, is there? Not even for dumping your dogs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

everyone needs....me?

I believe that everyone needs an eccentric neighbor.

The kind you can talk about, whisper about, text your friends about (OMG, you'll never believe what my neighbor just did...)

I've had neighbors who slept on a mattress on their second-story roof. I've had neighbors who mowed their lawn every.day. I've had neighbors who were my friends, and neighbors who I'm sure hated being my neighbor. I've had neighbors who stared at me through the rain (that image will forever be engraved in my soul), and neighbors who brought me cookies.

I am the eccentric neighbor everyone needs to have.

I walk in circles around my neighbor's house every morning and every evening, sometimes 20 times. (Ten circles equal a mile.)

I can be heard calling or speaking to my dogs starting at 6:30 a.m. until as late as midnight. Sometimes I whisper-yell their names.

I speak in full conversational language to my animals, and sometimes to my tomato plants.

I do not pay particular attention to the clothes I wear (or don't wear) when I let my dogs in/out for their last potty break of the night.

I never wear a bra on my days off.

I will fire up my little charcoal grill on the front stoop, and then ask my neighbors if they want to use my leftover hot coals.

I beat my dogs with sticks off of kittens.

I go through a mental checklist every morning before I leave for work and when I'm satisfied that I have everything I need, I say, "Yep," out loud.

I have an unusual supply of VHS movies.

I can be heard saying, "Bye, Skye, momma loves you. I'll be home soon," every morning when I leave the Cottage.

I do not collect the newspaper every day that's thrown in my driveway.

I speak random words in German.

I hang my clothes outside to dry sometimes.

I walk around barefoot.

I encourage my dogs to engage in play with me that looks as though I'm being mauled.

I have few visitors and almost never men.

I pull random shit out of burn piles and build bookshelves, reconstruct picture frames and paint old tin.

I bring in all my groceries in one trip. Two, maximum.

I'd like to think it's normal to have abnormal neighbors, because if it weren't then where would I fit in?

So, 'fess up. Are you the eccentric neighbor?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I don't like whiteboards

I think whiteboards are clunky and institutional, but in the Cottage where there is a surplus of thoughts and to-do lists, a whiteboard-like item is necessary. When I discovered a couple years ago that dry erase markers on mirrors and window panes served the same functional purpose as a whiteboard, I was relieved.

Now I could have a space to spew thoughts (and erase them) and not have my office or bedroom or bathroom cluttered with the ugly white board.

All that to say, I needed one to hang above my desktop, so I rummaged in the old barn for the window frame I wanted and went to work on it. 

I hosed off, cleaned, scraped, hosed again, painted, distressed, and painted the wood again. I took the glass out and cleaned the pieces. I lost one in the process of this project, and when it came time to put it all together, one of the pieces was now too small for the frame. Why? Because of the nasty caulk-like substance holding it all in was now removed. I don't want that stuff chipping off onto my desk.

But here it is. I'm bad at taking before-pictures, but just envision an old white window frame being drug out of an old barn. You'll have the mental picture.


My helper for the day.

Putting the glass back in (I'm surprised I didn't break it)

Paying my helper some attention

The semi-finished project. Just have to find something for the empty frame hole. If you can't read the quote, it says: "She decided to start living the life she imagined." But the beauty of glass is that I can change it when I want to! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

weight loss, weight smoss

What's smoss, you might ask?
I don't know.
Just like I don't know why the hell I'm gaining weight right now.
I'm exercising.
I'm eating fresh.
It's a (frustrating) quandry.

Every time I go grocery shopping, I have a complex. And the complex is that while I'm unloading my cart stocked to the nines of fresh fruit and weird healthy shit, that the person behind me, the people next to me, my cashier, the loss prevention dude in the cat walk above me are all thinking: "Hmm..so the fat lady is going on a diet. Interesting."

And then I want to yell: "This isn't a diet! This is actually how I eat, and how I shop every two weeks. I prommmmmmissee!"

Here's photo proof of the groceries I brought home yesterday, minus the veggies I'll buy today at the farmer's market (these will last me about 12-14 days):

Bad groceries: chips, cookies, candy

Good groceries: watermelon, tuna, oatmeal, diced tomatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges, pita pockets, salmon, apples, strawberries, sparkling water, bananas, avacados, skim milk, parmesan cheese, pepperjack cheese, half-n-half, kiwi and chereries.
Maybe I'm eating too many carbs. Maybe I'm eating too many starches. Maybe if I slept more and walked harder...

But who really gives a rat's ass?

I mean, I'm power-walking twice a day. I eat whole oats with cinnamon and a banana every morning. I drink coffee. I eat fish and veggies. I splurge on chips with my tuna. I don't down alchohol or diet drinks. My M&M intake is nearly non-existant. I'm eating organic and fresh when I can.

What else is there? A liquid diet?


At the end of the day, I love food. Yes, sometimes obsessively, but a lot less of that these (healthy) days, and a lot more of whatever thoughts one uses to convince oneself a cheeseburger will not cure all mental and emotional ails.

Sometimes the best you can do is all you can do.

I told a friend of mine: "I will never be a stick."
And he said, "Good. Sticks are brittle."

Brittle is something I could never be accused of being.