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Showing posts from 2017

Looking to a New Year!

My New Year's Eve is going to be jam-packed with lots of very "me" things - church activities, a half marathon, and then an evening with my family playing games and eating delicious snacks.

I have never been someone who lays the groundwork for personal change to coincide with the New Year.  People are always waiting until the new year, or until the next Monday, or until their next birthday to make positive resolutions.  Every best choice I have ever made was made and enacted at a random moment.  I made the decision to start losing weight on a Friday afternoon in the middle of August.  I didn't wait until the New Year to take action.

However, I do like the idea of looking into a new year and imagining what it will hold.  And I have always been someone who likes to verbalize my ideas and plans to others because I am more likely to make them a reality when they are more than just a thought in my head.  I like to state what my intentions are, as I believe it encourages m…

Year End Reflection

In some ways, 2017 has been a difficult year. The year began in grief and sadness, and I have a tendency to become very withdrawn in times like that. But I am glad to say as we near the end of the year, I feel like I have my life together and I am making better choices than ever before.  Not only that, but I am less withdrawn than I have been, and I am getting more involved in things in healthy and meaningful ways.
At the end of April, I published a book of poetry. It was a collection of some of my favorite poems that I had written from when I was a teenager up until a few years ago, and I was tremendously excited and proud to have put it together. I have since sold dozens of copies, and I feel like a real big time poet now! But that was only the beginning. Sharing my old poetry with others inspired me to begin writing again, and I have now published my second book of poetry, all written this year. It clearly demonstrates where I have been in my head and in my heart, and it is a place …

Jerry Seinfeld Live - Review

I recently saw Jerry Seinfeld live on stage.  It was my second time going to see him, and I had to go out of state to do it, but it was well worth it.  Both times that I have seen him live, I have laughed until my face hurts.

I have always loved Jerry's Seinfeld's style of comedy.  He isn't overly vulgar and doesn't come up with a bunch of really bizarre things to make you laugh.  His observations are about real life and are hilarious. You laugh, but you are also laughing at yourself a little bit as you realize, "I do that!"

People are funny in and of themselves and Seinfeld is brilliant at illustrating it.  My favorite bit that he did this time was on marriage.  He talked at some length about how men struggle to understand exactly how to make their wives happy, and then he moved onto the women.  Our minds, he said, are capable of understanding amazing natural curiosities...and when we have exhausted that, we move onto the hypothetical.  He imagined the wife …

Sneaky Santa Fun

This week at work we have been participating in a Secret Santa exchange.  This is my favorite, as I love to find a way to surprise someone every day all week long.  It's an excuse to sneak around and dress festively and tell all kinds of acceptable lies, like, "I have no idea who put that there!"

I was happy to be part of organizing the festivities this year even though I am new to this team.  I found it to be a great experience to bond with my new team as well.  Even though I was only buying for one person, I got to be the delivery elf for many people and had so much fun surprising people and watching them be delighted over the thoughtful things they are receiving.

Giving is so fun.  Surprising people is one of the great joys we have.  It has been a long time since I made a Frasier reference, but there is a great episode about this!  Back in season 4, there is an episode where Daphne gives Martin a sweater she made for him.  Martin responds by trying to pay her for it, …

How I Avoid a Cold

A coworker of mine was recently very sick.  She had just been feeling under the weather, but throughout the day at work, she started feeling much worse.  Even though she left early, by the time she left she had a fever over 103 degrees.  She was also not the only person in the office who was sick, many others have had varying degrees of cold symptoms, and so I had been widely exposed.

I came home from work the next day and felt a suspicious congestion in my throat and the early signs of a sinus headache.  I am prone to sinus infections and I get very anxious when those first signs start to appear.

I then proceeded to take the precautionary course of prevention and treatment that has now worked three times in a row where I have started to feel like I was coming down with something and managed to avoid it.

The first thing I did was get myself a few things from the store.  I bought Mucinex, both in liquid and tablet form.  I prefer the liquid for effectiveness but I prefer the tablets to…

What I Took From the Justice League Movie

My husband took me to see Justice League this weekend for a date.  I am pretty sure we both have a crush on Gal Gadot, and he will sell me on any movie that Henry Cavill is in to get me to go.  I am not a movie buff by any means, and 10 years ago I wouldn't have known the difference between DC and Marvel, but here we are.  I have to laugh knowing how marriage has changed me!
The movie was definitely good, and there were some moments where I burst out laughing and for me, that is the key, I love funny!  
First of all, I was very impressed with Aquaman.  Honestly, I thought he had some of the best moments in the movie, and after all of the jokes on Big Bang Theory about how lame Aquaman is, I was surprised because they made him very cool in Justice League!  Secondly, Henry Cavill did not disappoint.  I think he is so well suited for this role.
My biggest take away was a principle of leadership.  That's right, even in a fun date night movie about fictitious superheroes, there was…

The Original Turn Based Strategy Game

Growing up, I was exposed to electronics and technology very young. My dad was a major techie, and from the age of 2 and 3, I was learning to use computers and play video games.
I was just discussing this with a friend of mine, who is a gamer, and he shared with me that his favorite childhood Christmas gift was the original Nintendo.  I replied that I was more outdoorsy as a kid and that for me, video games were for rainy days, when I was sick, or late at night when it was too dark to go outside.  However, I was fairly video game savvy as a kid, and to this day I take great pleasure in a long, strategic battle on Civilization VI.
I dislike being called a gamer (my husband tells me that I am), but in truth, while not an expert video gamer, I have been exposed to and playing video games on many different platforms for over thirty years.
When I was about three, I learned to play a game on the Atari called Utopia.  This was sort of the original turn-based strategy game that created the ge…

Favorite Childhood Christmas Gifts

It's funny how as adults we can always remember the couple of gifts we got as kids that meant the most to us.  Often time they weren't even the most expensive gifts we received, but they stand out in our minds as the most memorable.

When I was four, I got my first two-wheeled bike.  It had training wheels at first, which soon came off, and I remember being thrilled.  We were on our American travels at that time, living in a motorhome and moving from place to place and traveling around, so I learned to ride a bike alongside the Rio Grande, and in the deserts of Arizona.  I don't remember specifically asking for it or not, but it was a very happy day when I got my bike.  It wasn't just a thing...it was an experience!  It was an adventure. And my little legs peddled all over the place as fast as they could!

I had inherited a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl, and when I was seven they had released the new version of the dolls that had different hair that you cou…

Inventing Words

I tend to be a stickler for the English language sometimes.  I hate when people use incorrect forms of words that have, since being so commonly misused, been added to the dictionary.  However, the English language is also very limiting in some ways and totally illogical in others.  Even Shakespeare invented his own words, so I have no problem now and then adding to my vocabulary words that my family has developed when the English language has left them wanting.

Below is a list of a few words that, uttered once in a moment of hilarity or desperation, have now become a part of my regular vocabulary:

Epis: this one was invented by my mom in a moment where she couldn't find the correct English word or phrase to suit her.  She had said something like, "And what did I get?" And there was a pause.  I assume she could have also said "Diddly squat!"  But that isn't what her mind reached for in that moment.  Instead, she said, "Epis!"  And we all knew what i…

Christmas Cards

I love Christmas.  I always have.  I love everything about it from the twinkling lights to the dairy free eggnog that I drink.  I love having Christmas as an opportunity at work to be festive and spread cheer to my coworkers.  I own enough unique pieces of Christmas headgear to wear a different one to work everyday through the month of December, and I never miss a moment of Christmas fun!

I stopped sending most people traditional Christmas cards via the mail years ago and instead took my Christmas cheer digital, but for my coworkers, I have always enjoyed putting on a little something special.  I like to give a card with a hand written note, maybe some chocolate and a small Christmas ornament.  Nothing big, but just a small way to be festive and let them know I am thinking of them specifically in what I write or choose to give.

I find it very bizarre that every year I will get a few dozen cards in return from people, but many of them put no thought into them.  They buy a box of fifty …

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - Review

As part of my Day Zero Project goals, I am slowly working through the list of unlistened to audiobooks that I have (40 in all!) and have been working backward from longest to shortest.  I was so excited recently when Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson came up next.

I have always loved studying Benjamin Franklin.  When I was 20, I read his autobiography as part of a college class and came to understand Franklin as sort of the quintessential American ideal; curious, industrious, always striving toward self-improvement, always charming and affable.
While I admittedly have an affection for biographies in general (it is probably my favorite genre), this biography has been the easiest and most interesting to listen to by far.  The writer is clearly fascinated with his subject, and Franklin doesn't disappoint when it comes to quirks and stories to tell.
The biography recounts Franklin's early days and goes into great detail about his intellectual curiosities and t…

Accepting Feedback

My coworkers and I often joke that "feedback is a gift" - and hence, every day is Christmas.  It is sometimes hard to put yourself out there knowing that with expression often comes criticism.  And the more passionate and important the expression is, the more fervent the feedback.  It's just the way it is.

I like to remind myself of Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence.  Jefferson was sort of a dreamer, a visionary, but in some ways, he was a delicate soul.  I imagine Jefferson, thoughtfully and passionately writing the now famous and revered words of the Declaration.  He was a young man then, younger than I am now.  An educated man but still an idealist, he poured himself into this work.  
After completing it, he presented his work to the delegation and was met with numerous criticisms.   They struck out many sections of it, and in his later words expressed that he felt "mutilated" by the revisions.  Benjamin Franklin, sitting next to the m…

Flashback Friday to MySpace!

Social media is such a misnomer to me because in having social media we often actually become less social. My observation, which seems to be backed up by people who actually study this, is that people who are immersed in social media forget to actually socialize in the moment with the people around them.
I have had social media in the past, beginning with something called Bolt way back in the late 90s, which I suppose would be considered social media now but I hadn't heard that term back then. Then we had MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, and on and on, and now people socialize without ever speaking to other people.
One thing I have noticed since abandoning my social media is that I actually have developed a deeper bond with my friends. We write emails, and I seek to actually spend time with people face to face, rather than just randomly “like” their photos online.
I have also heard really terrible and disturbing things, such as people posting perfectly normal pictures …

The Blessing of Lifelong Friendships

I was reflecting recently on those friendships that we have where we meet someone when we are young and somehow, through time and circumstances, we still find ourselves together.
My dad had a friend that lasted his whole life, from the time he was a young man until he passed away.  They were such different people, but they had a bond that held them together over the course of their lives.  They shared great stories and had great laughs and even when time or distance kept them apart, they could catch up right where they left off.
My husband has this also with a couple of his high school friends, but one especially.  They met when they were young and have stuck by one another ever since.  Even though life has taken them in totally different directions, they share a bond that makes explanations unnecessary.  That is the best thing about these types of friendships.  You know each other.  You give of yourself and you share in the enjoyment of friendship without the constant need for explanat…

Football is my Favorite Season

I’m sure most people have noticed that when you see a couple in a relationship, one person sort of takes on the interests of the other, but it’s sort of a one-way deal.  I can think of numerous situations where I have seen this happen.  I have been lucky that in my marriage, we sort of balance in that way.  My husband has gotten me into many new things and new music and in turn, because of me he has new favorite things as well.  But one way that he sort of opened me up to new things was football.
I didn’t care for football growing up, and even as a young adult, I was indifferent.  But my husband got me into football the year before our marriage, and he did so through getting me involved in fantasy football.
Now, I went into this with very little background knowledge, just a bunch of stats.  I love stats.  I love probabilities and I love competition.  I am highly competitive.  Through fantasy football, I was able to satisfy all of this in myself without having to actually personally tack…

Finally ran a Mile!

I finally ran my first full mile!
A few days ago, I had signed up for a local 5k, one that I had also run last year. Given my recent success on my half marathon, I had intended to really push as hard as I could to run as much as possible. I had plenty of time to walk around and get warmed up before the race, so I started off running and ran until I hit one mile. I was exhausted but elated!
As a kid, I never ran. In gym class, I would participate and growing up I was a decent goalie in both hockey and soccer, and it prevented me from having to do much running. I have always been an active person, but running was never my thing. I had been born with a bone tumor on left knee, and some activities were uncomfortable or painful.
I finally had that tumor removed when I was eighteen, but that honestly left my knee in even worse shape.
I have always loved biking and walking. For years, I owned a recumbent stationary biked and used it every day. After that, I switched to an elliptical, and no…

My Most Embarrassing Experience

Nine years ago this week, I was living the true life story that would one day become known as “Bubba’s Terlet.”
This is a true story, and not for the faint of heart.  Those who can’t appreciate this sort of humor have been warned!
My husband and I had only been married for a couple of years, and we were traveling across the country to be with his family for a funeral.  I have always been plagued by digestive disorders, and they become worse when I travel.  I’d spent much of the journey feeling sick to my stomach, but felt like maybe I was starting to feel better once we had arrived.
We were staying with his beloved uncle, whom I love dearly, and we had been sleeping for a while in the bedroom there when I woke up in absolute agony.    As my husband dozed, untroubled by my condition, I became entrenched in the “Bubba’s terlet” story, where I could only wonder if I was going to need to call an ambulance or a plumber, or both.
Sparing the harrowing details of my experience, I will summ…

Rising Up Against Bullying

Recently, I was privy to a situation at work where a former coworker of mine began escalating behavior against another employee in a way that constituted harassment.
What really resonated with me is that this employee had harassed me in the past, too.  And when that happened several years ago, I was able to resolve the situation quietly and without getting any official involvement.  I was pleased at the time that the issue resolved itself, but now that this person has a history of this behavior, I very much regret that I did not at least submit a written statement against it at the time.  This person now has a history of this repeated behavior.
I am sure I was not the first person, either.  She has bullied and abused her way through life, and she has zero emotional regulation.  She is an angry person who somehow feels fulfilled by taking others down.  It’s not fair, it’s counterproductive, and no one needs to put up with this.
Sometimes, I think when we get entangled into these situation…

I Finally Got to be a Hero!

This weekend I was able to check another couple of goals off of my Day Zero Project list!
My sister has been a long time blood donor and has a rare donor card. She gives as often as she is able. Years ago, I attempted to donate but the combined fact that I am a hard stick and slow bleeder made this a failure, and the process was so frustrating and uncomfortable for me that I didn't try again.
Until this weekend!
I went to the nearest donation center, where it was comfortable and the staff was very friendly. With hardly any issue at all, I was able to make a successful donation. So I got to check that one off of my list. Secondly, because of donating, I finally know my blood type (I am A negative!). Another one to check off of the list!
During my years as a corporate outreach leader, I facilitated many blood drives successfully. I always cheered people on by telling them that by participating in a drive, they would be a hero to someone. They were giving life. And finally, I got to…

Learning The Hard Way

I try to do most things right.  I drink a lot of water, I am very active, I sleep on a regular schedule, and I eat a decently healthy diet.  So I have always kind of shrugged it off that I had my little vices, like my addiction to Diet Pepsi, because I am already doing so many things right that what is one little thing?
I have always had an addictive personality. I have trouble moderating things.  I can’t just allow myself one Diet Pepsi a week.  Then it becomes every day, then twice a day, and the next thing you know I am swimming in a chemical cesspool.
I remember back in high school, I would walk to school sometimes with a coffee in one hand and a Pepsi in the other.  I went off of liking coffee at some point in my late teens or early twenties and have never enjoyed it since then, but the Pepsi fascination stuck.  I eventually switched to Diet, which I loved even more than regular, and that continued on until I was about twenty-two or twenty-three.
I have always had some level of …

The Impact of Encouragement

When I created my Day Zero Project list, I created a long health and fitness section.  One of the goals I included on my list was to complete a half marathon in under 2 hours and 55 minutes.
Prior to creating the list, I had three timed half marathons, one at 3:10, the second at 3:08 and the third at 2:57.  I am not a runner.  I like long, hard endurance walks, but even as of yet, I have never run a full mile in my life.  During half marathons, I attempt to run about 20% of every mile, but usually, by about mile 10 or 11, I am pooped and can no longer run!
After my third half marathon, when I finally got under that 3-hour mark, I was elated.  I was almost sick at the finish line, I was exhausted and wobbly, and I was jittery for quite a while after it was over.  So adding to my list a goal that would require me to do even better and work even harder seemed like a stretch to me.
I was just able to check this goal off of my list, and I am thrilled about it.  Not only because I actually…

The Teacher Who Changed My Life

I was telling the story recently of the high school teacher I had who truly changed my life in a tangible way.  I had no way of knowing at the time but had it not been for her, I would never have ended up a graduate level student getting a business degree in Management.
I was a total dunce at math starting in about the tenth grade.  I was starting to struggle, and they kept trying to teach me visually, and I am not a visual learner.  By the time I reached twelfth grade, I was dancing the line between passing and failing and it was a terrible mess.
Mrs. B was my math teacher, and she would have described herself as a little kooky.  She had funny farmyard analogies for remembering concepts which seemed ridiculous until they came back to you during an exam.  During the mainstream senior level math class, I struggled and ended up passing only with four percent to spare, but Mrs. B saw something in me.
She came to me after class one day and said she thought she understood why I struggled,…

Food is My Favorite

I love food.  I was talking to my friend the other day about utensils, and we both agreed that we enjoy eating with cutlery as opposed to eating with our hands, but if the need arises, hands are fine.  I finally said, “Food is such a high priority to me that if I was required to bend forks with my mind in order to eat, I could probably do it.”
My mom has a four year post-secondary education in cooking, so I grew up eating well, and despite a small period in my life where I wanted to eat only PB&J sandwiches for every meal, I did grow up to have a diverse taste for food.  I am not a picky eater at all, and I am always willing to try something new.
The trouble with this, of course, is that it can definitely interfere with my goals of being fit and healthy.  Sometimes I wish I was picky so I could at least have the desire to say no to food!
Since I started counting my calories last year, I have become a little more discerning.  I love cake.  But not all cakes are created equal.  Cho…

My Germaphobia

I hate it when people come into my house without taking off their shoes. I know that for most people where I live this is a common thing, but I think it's disgusting. Think about where your shoes are in a day? They touch the floors of public bathrooms, they cross parking lots, maybe at a sporting event where drinks are spilled in the stands, they cross streets and they collect whatever dirt and debris are found in your workplace.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to not want all of that on my rug at home, where I put my clean bare feet, which then slide into my bed at night. Perfectly reasonable!
But I do know my obsession with cleanliness borders on being a disorder. When other people tell me they are germaphobes I just smile. Sure they are.
I have been lucky that my husband has conformed to my hygienic needs. Not only that, so have my dogs. As puppies, the very first behavior they learned was to come inside one at a time, lift their paws and allow me to wipe their feet with…