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Am I Ready?

SNOW
This morning, the cat looked up at me, flicked his tail and let out a meeeoweer when the cold air hit his whiskers. Yeh, I know he’s just a cat, but I was pretty certain that was his equivalent to WTF. He turned and walked back over to his food bowl, also exactly what I want to do …French toast would be just fine with me.

I didn’t need snow this morning, and frankly it surprised the hell out of me. Sure, I heard “winter storm” on the news, at least I think I did, but who really listens to that shit mid-November. Last night, I took it as meteorologists looking for a little evening wood over the potential of bad weather. I was not ready to wake up and actually see the shit.

I’m not sure why the wintery mix makes me so mad. Would I feel differently if it weren’t Monday, if I knew there wouldn’t be a stupid-ass long commute or if there was going to be a crack of sunshine today? The husband will wake up this morning and check the snow report for Mad River before grabbing a shovel to clear the driveway. I’ll look at him and grumble something about picking up his gloves off the kitchen floor.

What if we have another winter like last year? I’ve heard mumbling. Yes, I’ve chosen to ignore it, but what if it’s true? I sit in my cozy chair with a soft, fuzzy blanket wrapped around my shoulders with the SAD light beaming in my face. Can I make it through another Polar Vortex?

During periods of snow last year, I vaguely remember saying, “Well, at least it’s not rain.” No sir-ee, and it might be here a while. That doesn’t really help my half-full outlook, but it also doesn’t change reality.

Am I ready? The cat sucked it up and went outside. Unlike my cat’s furry wardrobe, neither the ass of my pants nor my head can handle four or five months of total hibernation. So, what’s next?

Maybe I need to grab the snow shovel and begin my morning with a little brisk activity. Maybe I could learn to love the snow like the husband. Maybe I could lie down in the front yard and catch snowflakes on my tongue and swish my arms up and down in the fluffy white stuff until my snow angel appears.

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Fall Back

LEAF

 

The sunshine yesterday was good, really good. Lyle and I took a walk at one of the Metro Parks not too far from where we live. We soaked up golden, sunny rays, watched the birds, ruffled through fallen leaves, and listened to gurgling waters of the Big Darby Creek.

But I don’t want to fall back. I don’t want less light. I don’t want more cold.

I am not happy about Daylight Savings Time, and the fact that it’s coal black outside for 12 hours a day, and it’s only going to get worse. I try to do the on-the-bright-side routine that my mom pounded into my head when I was a kid. All I came up with was it was easier to go to sleep last night and a little easier to wake up on a Monday morning.

Long hours of darkness (and the freaking cloudy days of Ohio) can play bad music in my head so I’ve learned to take a couple precautions. I started taking a routine dose of Vitamin D, and I purchased a light therapy floor lamp. I’m not sure about the Vitamin D, but the light works. I sit under it for 30 minutes every morning while I defog my brain with coffee and write a few lines in my journal.

Before I purchased the lamp, I researched and researched and researched. That was a pain in the ass, and quite frankly pretty intimidating because there are tons of products out there that will do the trick.  There are blue lights, white lights, lights for the desk, floor lamps, lamps you can strap onto exercise equipment, or lights that set on your desk.

After two dark winters of research, I finally decided on one, and I love it. Others often ask me about it. So, on the first day of Daylight Savings, I thought I’d share what I found. First, you need to know that I do not get any kickbacks or anything from anybody. This is strictly my opinion about my purchase.

I purchased a floor lamp from Full Spectrum. I like it because I can sit under it while I do other things, and it has a 10,000 lux rating at 18 inches. What the hell does that mean? Well, I can sit 18 inches away from it for 30 minutes and get the full effect of the light therapy. During my research phase, I didn’t know if that feature was really be worth the money because I could get a much cheaper light if I was willing to sit a little closer or sit in front of it for longer periods of time. What I found is I really don’t want to sit under the light for extended periods of time. It’s bright. I mean it’s really freaking bright. If I use it while I’m doing something else, the time I spend under it goes by pretty fast. After a while, it just seems like my writing lamp.

I’ve blathered enough about the light. If you want more info, I’m happy to chat about it. For those of you in the cloudy Midwest, hang in there. Spring will be here again, some day. I hope.  And for the rest of you, savor the sunshine.

Trick or Treat

Last night’s plan included a Zumba class, and then I was gonna sneak into my dark house and avoid any trick or treaters. It’s not that I hate Halloween, I just didn’t want left over candy giving me the evil eye, and there’s nothing too fun about packing 45 fun-size Snickers to each thigh.

But then I remembered how much fun we used to have in our neighborhood. Either my husband or I would take our son house to house until he tuckered out, and the other one joined friends across the street at a ring of fire. The blaze kept the chilly October evening at bay, and the trick or treaters maximized their turnout reaching three or four houses at once. It didn’t hurt that as the evening wore on, the tipsy candy-hander-outers got more and more liberal with the stash. On occasion we’d offer a weary dad a beer, and his kids were bribed with candy so they didn’t mind a little longer stop. It worked, really well.

The friends moved, not far, but far enough I guess. The annual tradition stopped. I still really miss it. There were a few more years of trick or treating for us as a family, but of course our son grew too big to think it was cool. By then, I was trying to make better food choices and eating a bowl of candy wasn’t in any diet program I could find.

I had always tried to buy candy that I didn’t like. In theory that works, but I can man-up and force down any candy in a pinch. Well, maybe not Mike and Ike’s or Juju fruits, but I’m not gonna to be known as the lady who hands out that shit.

So, over the years it was just easier to not be home. But as I drove home from Zumba, I saw all the scampering superheroes and princesses, which made me think of the plastic pumpkin full of sweet-smelling chocolate, Twizzlers and Nerds our son brought home and spread out on the floor. Sorting. Categorizing. Eating. I stopped at the convenience and bought a bag full of Cowtails. They were fairly cheap, and I’m not super fond of the powdery caramel and gritty, white nougat stuff.

As I drove through my neighborhood, I wondered if we would even get any trick or treaters. Since there wasn’t going to be a ring of fire to lure them down my street, and I was going to make them actually walk to my front door, would it be worth it to come by my house? Well, I ended up with a bunch of leftover candy. I ate two Cowtails and called it a night.

As I sat looking at the rest of the cowtails, I thought about the slippery week I’d had. There was a lot of stress: looming deadlines, late nights, not enough exercise or sleep, and now I had two cowtails worth of sugar in my gut to further fog my reasoning.

I thought about running into the darkness again, but something tugged and said, don’t do it. It’s not worth it, or maybe you’re worth it.

Don’t let the goblins get you.

Vacation Reality

Aussie Sign

We got back from Australia a few weeks ago. For three and a half weeks, we experienced genuine Aussie hospitality, met lifelong friends, and saw wonders that travel guides and big, beautiful coffee table books don’t do justice.

No, we didn’t see any sharks or pythons or funnel spiders. We did encounter some poisonous plants and a spider so big its legs cast a shadow on the wall.

Before we left the States, friends would say, you know the 20-something most deadliest creatures can be found in Australia.

The Aussies laughed when Lyle asked about places to avoid. No worries, mate. Sure, we have those things, but you’ll be fine as long as you don’t look for trouble.

I smiled and figured Americans watch way too much TV. I didn’t think about danger much until we ran across a precaution sign at a park that advised visitors of what to do should they see a kangaroo. Don’t approach. Back away slowly. If one charges, drop to ground. Curl up into a ball. Protect your head and throat. The kangaroo was not an any dangerous-animal list.

aussie kangaroo
Then, there was the warning sign about the poisonous plants to avoid during the 6 km walk down into the rainforest.

aussie poison tree

 

 

aussie poison fern

Blah, blah, blah I thought until I realized these particular trees hung over our heads in this vast green canopy, and the palm looked just like all the others and lined the paths where we walked.

But I made it out just fine.

During the trip, we walked along headlands that towered over the ocean below and then hiked down to the beautiful, deserted, white sandy beaches. We watched whales breach the surface of deep aquamarine waters (that never gets old). The day we trekked through the unbelievable rainforest, I found myself dwarfed by trees hundreds of years old.  Another morning we floated down a river on kayaks and spied long, bearded dragons as they skittered across fallen logs, and of course, we saw more kangaroos than I would have imagined existed.

But re-entry into the real world was tough, really tough. For the first week (okay two), I wanted to hop in my car and just drive, drive, drive. Surely, there was a place to escape. My husband was a pain in the ass, my work deadlines were impossible, and my house was a disaster. That was just the beginning.

My mind continued to get more slippery. I didn’t like anyone around me, and if I could have escaped from my sarcastic ass, I would have. Mostly, I tried to keep my mouth clamped tight because I knew venom would shoot out if I opened it just a wee bit.

Things are better this week, but why? Sure, I’ve caught up at work, and my body clock adjusted to the current time zone so I’m finally sleeping when I should, but the things that annoyed me last week are still there, and they’re still annoying. The only difference is I stopped looking for trouble.

aussie beach

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow?

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Since I decided to return to this place, I started dicking with the back end of the blog. Erasing, adding, sighing.

When the blog sat dormant, occasionally, I would meet someone new who would say something like, hey, I found your blog and I really liked it. Hmmm, yeah. I would say. I haven’t logged on in so long.

I don’t think these comments were meant as sucker punches, but they still doubled me over. I wondered if the person sitting across from me saw the embarrassment rise in my cheeks.

I came up with a lot of excuses of why I let this virtual place slip off my to-do list. Most of the reasons had to do with time. But when I poked around the blog this week, I made myself look at About Me and Move It. Was I afraid of what I would find, or was I just too embarrassed and pissed off and disappointed at myself to confront what was there?

I’ve spent the last few months beating the shit out of myself. Why did you let yourself go? You know better. You had this licked. You’re stupid, fat, ugly.

Then I looked at the before photos, really looked at them. I’m not that girl. That girl might have been an extrovert (there are still some things we can’t change), but she was afraid and shy, she hid behind a lot of shit, she refused to take risks, and she blamed others for things that went wrong. And excuses? She had plenty. The invisibility cloak she created with all that extra weight kept her hidden from…well, life.

I may not be my “after” in the physical sense, but I’m closer to that woman than I will ever be to the other one. Could I return to that other strange girl? Maybe, but it occurred to me that a little slippage (okay a lot) doesn’t need to shoot me off on backward trajectory in which I might never return.

So, for today, I’m going to do what I know will help me…the basics. Good food, exercise and a little meditation. I’ll worry about tomorrow… well, tomorrow.

Epiphany Find Me

241

Epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or common place occurrence or experience.

It’s been a long time since I showed my virtual face. During the two year and eight months hiatus, I told myself I no longer had the time to blog. Other things simply demanded too much of my time. Work. Community Service. Workaholic husband. Teenage son.

In that amount of time, 40 pounds (of the 105 I lost) found me, my teenage son gave me more grief than I can even begin to sort through, family and friends got sick (some died), and some just continue to piss me off. Oh, and I dipped into early menopause. I can’t say that I miss menstruation, but I have a new understanding of hot flashes (more on that later, I’m sure).

I really have no more answers than I had when I left my little blog-o-sphere. The same truths seem to hold. If I want to stay centered, I must eat well, exercise, sleep seven or so hours a night, and practice some sort of meditation. Big fucking epiphany. I guess the real question needs to be why I continue to make life so damn difficult?

My hope is that by returning here, even just a few days a week, some other good habits may surface. But it was a little scary to return because occasionally, I meet people who say, Oh, I read your blog. Isn’t that the point? I’m not sure of that anymore either. What I do know is that returning to these virtual pages felt a little foreign and uncomfortable and squirmy, which is often where I find answers.

And The Award Goes To…

Me. I’m proud of me today. I wanted to eat a house, multiple times actually. Had it been covered in chocolate I might have surrendered, but as of 8:30 p.m., my house is still standing as are my neighbors’.

It’s been tough, but I keep circling back to my goals of 2012 that I posted earlier in the week. I do believe that it is worth the effort to take care of my body and soul, and I am convinced that sugar will be my life-long enemy. I’m not always sure about the beauty or the strength things I jotted down, but I think those goals are at least worth working toward.

As I sat in my office today at 1:30 p.m. with absolutely fucking nothing crossed off my to-do list, I tried to convince myself that a sweet treat from down the street would alleviate stress and increase my productivity. Hell, the walk to buy this bit of yummiliciousness would actually be good for me, and if I got something with nuts or dark chocolate, those ingredients have been proven to contain things like omega 3s and flavonoids.

Stop.

I chewed some gum, munched on raw veggies and gave myself permission to go in an hour if I still wanted the sugar that in my world resembles crack. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I still wanted the fix, but I asked myself what I really needed? No stress. Was a brownie or biscotti or cookie going to rid me of stress? Damn. I stuck a fresh piece of gum in my mouth and later snacked on a boiled egg when I knew I was really hungry.

I revisited another a brief moment when I walked through the door this evening. The house was quiet and would be for hours since my guys went skiing. I’ve accomplished some of my best binge eating when I was alone. Woo hoo, let the party in my mouth begin. I passed the calendar on my way to the snack cabinet. I saw the stars lining each day of the New Year; little awards recognized my effort at taking better care of myself. I wanted another star…so, here I sit writing about my feelings instead of eating them.

May I have two stars, please?

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