Almost February? Seriously?

What happened to my New Year? It’s now more of a Gently Used Year. I have tried it on and gone out in it a few times, but it doesn’t really fit the way I want it to.

Unfortunately, the time-space continuum can’t support my request for an exchange at this moment.

Oh well. I am trying to make the most of what is turning out to be a fairly uninspiring year. I guess, when you end one year by getting married, the beginning of the following year may seem like kind of a dud.

Especially if you ring in that following year with your newly-minted husband kicking the ever-loving crap out of you in Scrabble. I guess I should have known that picking a freakishly smart partner would have at least a teeny drawback.

But I’m trying. The Mr. Thor part of life is awesome, despite his obnoxious trait of being smarter than me.

The work part of life is… well, to put it mildly, let’s all remember that “work” is a 4-letter word (Thanks for the reminder, PJ).

I have had trouble with the “other” category, though. I have had a hard  time getting going on creative projects and writing. I am creeping through books and magazines that I check out of the library. I am barely baking.

Honestly, the barely baking part is intentional. I am trying to not weigh so much, over here. When I bake, I eat – simple as that.

I did manage to crank out a few words on a short story yesterday, so I guess I’ll take that as progress. I also made buckwheat pancakes this morning, which is kind of like baking… right?

Can we start over?


Use ot or lose it.

I went to my local YMCA last night.

That might seem like a fairly innocuous statement, but my outer thighs would beg to differ. I haven’t worked out in any way, shape, or form in many months. Not really a year, but maybe 9 months.

As I was getting ready to go back to the locker room and change after my workout, I started coughing. Ah, yes. My poor respiratory system is almost as sore as my thighs. It’s weak, you know. It doesn’t take well to things like breathing hard or, say, breathing hard.

The cough followed me into the locker room as a kind of pathetic and exhausted wheeze. When I turned the corner to get to the locker where I had stashed my stuff, there was already a woman where I needed to be, with her stuff spread out all over the only bench. She looked at me as I wheezed, and I joked, “It’s been a while since I’ve been to the gym, and it feels like it.” Then I left the woman to change in peace. I went to the restroom, then scrubbed my hands (don’t gyms just seem like the grossest and dirtiest places you could possibly be?).

As I was leaving the restroom area, the woman came up to me and blocked my path.

“Will you take some advice from someone old enough to be your mother?”

I just stared and nodded, not sure what to expect. Was this going to be another offensive crack from a “well-meaning” stranger about my weight? Doesn’t this lady know I have already lost 35 pounds, and I am still following Weight Watchers? I’m at the GYM, for crying out loud!

She just smiled and said, “Use it or lose it. When I was younger I never cared about exercise. Now, I’m 47 and I have Parkinson’s. I don’t WALK without medicine. I swim twice a week, because I’m lucky that I can move.”

We had a brief exchange after that, but I haven’t been able to shake the  words (or the earnest way she said them) since then.

Thank you, gym lady.

The stuff dreams are made of.

I would like to frame this post by reminding you all that I have never claimed to be completely sane and reasonable. It’s just not in my makeup.


This morning, in an odd half-dreaming state, I half-dreamed that I was cooking the ground beef I was supposed to cook last night. Only, instead of just cooking it loose or in patties, I had used a heart cookie-cutter to form small patties first. A miniature heart cookie cutter.

Hee, hee, hee. Ho, ho, ho. What a stupid –

meat hearts? Yes. I tried it.

My mom called while I was cooking them and asked what I was doing. I said, “well, I had this dream I was making ground beef in the shape of a heart, so I am trying it out.”

She replied, “wow. So you’re living the dream, huh?”

Yeah. Gotta go for the attainable ones first to build confidence, you know.

I know that they don’t really look too heart-like. They kind of look like flat meatballs. But, wait.

i did it!I know you see it. How can you not? It’s emitting a soft, angelic glow. The glow of love. True love, cooked right in. In the shape of a heart. A beef heart.

This wasn’t exactly a success, I’ll grant you. But clearly, it wasn’t exactly a failure, either.

My Procrastination Habit

For as long I can remember, I have believed that I never finish anything.

I start. Oh, boy, do I start. I have piles of fabric, yarn, craft supplies, and half-crocheted afghans to prove that I do. Ingredients for certain  challenging recipes gather dust in my pantry. I have so many journals that are mostly blank that I could probably fill an entire Rubbermaid tote with them.

My blog sits, ready and waiting, for posts.

I used to think that I was just flat-out lazy. Or maybe that my brain just moves faster than my motivation can follow through. Or that I just have some freakish inability to finish anything. Anything at all.

The truth is, I do have many interests, and my brain does compile them quite quickly. When I am driving to work, sometimes I think about all of the classes I would like to take. Voice lessons. Guitar lessons. Pottery, dance, bookmaking. Web design, Photoshop, Excel. Let’s not forget that somewhere in here, I sincerely want to go back to grad school.

But, usually, I just sigh and say to myself, “you can’t even keep the junk mail from piling up on the dining room table.” This is code for “you are lazy and un-dedicated to even a small goal that means a great deal to your day-to-day sanity.”

Lately, I have been struggling with my diet, which is not something I have had to deal with since before July. A few other things are going on in my work, health, and family realms, and everything combined makes me feel frazzled, frustrated, and out of control.

I finally reached out to my best friend through an e-mail and gave her an overview of what was eating at me. Out of the entire long and wonderful e-mail that she typed up and sent back, one small sentence stuck out. It has been flashing in red neon in the front of my brain for three days:

“Give yourself some grace.”

Grace. You know? Filed near peace and hope. I do not give myself anything. I do not allow myself time to do the things I love. And I realized, with that small sentence, what is at the root of my procrastination habit:

The feeling that I have so many things on my NEED TO DO list that I don’t deserve to spend time on the things I enjoy. I need to work on my list. I need to clean and organize and file.

But I don’t. I procrastinate.

I spend time playing games on Facebook, reading blogs, watching football (watching football! seriously!), and my NEED TO DO list doesn’t get done. Neither does the list of things I want to do. And I think, somehow, grace is involved.

Maybe, If I am willing to give myself time to do the things that feel like play and the things that enrich me (crafts and writing, to start!), I will have more energy to do the things I NEED TO DO. This is completely counter-intuitive to the way I am hard-wired. I was taught to work first. Then, if there is time, play – but you could probably be doing more work, you know.

I am not alone. Many people operate like this. I think that is why many people come home and zone out for hours in front of the T.V. – the list of NEED to and SHOULD do and OVERDUE is completely overwhelming. So they check out. They procrastinate. I procrastinate. Rather than treating myself with a measure of grace and allowing the piles and the spreadsheets (yes, there are spreadsheets) to wait an hour, or a week? I get overwhelmed and procrastinate.

This is a sneaky and underhanded way to deal with myself. I don’t like that. I don’t like when people I am friends with or people that I work with make it seem like I am getting something by doing them a favor. Or manipulate me into doing something because they don’t know how to do it themselves. So why, why, why would I treat myself this way?

I don’t know. But I want to stop it. I want a life that I enjoy and a life that enriches me. I can’t live a life that sucks my soul and leaves me the scraps to try to cobble together something that looks moderately pleasing but is still completely lacking.

So, step one: get back to this blog that I love. Here I am. giving myself the grace and time to sit down and write out my thoughts that have been brewing for three days. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The part that homesickness leaves out.

When i lived in Nashville and I couldn’t come home to be with my family for Thanksgiving, I used to cry and think about how much I wanted to move home.

Home. You know. The place where I grew up, felt stuck, moved away from, and came running back to. Home. The teeny little towns tucked away between hills and lakes. Back roads, clear nights, and Sunday dinners.

And, lest I forget:

Driving in the winter. That is the part that homesickness conveniently left out. This is what I got to do for an hour in the morning today. Also, not pictured? The hour I did it tonight, when it was dark.

Ahhh. Home.

happy monday.

Good Monday to ye.

This morning, I feel like I wound up on the wrong side of a steamroller. My lungs feel tired. It seems, somehow, I may have pulled a throat muscle.

That’s why Mr. Thor shouldn’t go away. Me being alone more often = me singing (and I mean, singing, like you shouldn’t even sing in the shower) more often = pulled throat muscle and possible tuberculosis.

What? I flunked out of math during the last two years of high school. And in college. Equations were never my strong suit.

I am bone tired. Dog tired. Dead tired. So tired, in fact, that not even the following euphoria-inducing news can induce any euphoria:

Mr. Thor comes home tonight!

Ok, I admit. I did feel the slightest bit of euphoria as I typed that.

Being alone for this week has reminded me what it was like when I was single. I specifically remember one really hard and frustrating day. I had just tried to get an oil change and couldn’t get in, and this happened after a few really other frustrating, crappy things like that. I pulled my car over in a parking lot and just sat there, asking my future husband where in tarnation he was, what was taking him so long, and could he please hurry because on a day like today? I really needed him.

I was always fine on my own. I got things done that needed to get done. I took care of business. But that doesn’t mean that I liked it. I always had that nagging sense that life would be more fun with a partner, especially if he was a partner-in-crime. And especially if he was 6 feet tall, hot, and blonde.

Come on, I’m human. And I was right! Mr. Thor kicks all kinds of butt. He is fun and funny and encouraging and so many other annoyingly gooey adjectives that I would lose readers of this blog if I typed them all out. He is truly my best friend, though. And he makes everything from eating dinner to getting the oil changed to grocery shopping a LOT more fun. Especially the part where he carries in the groceries and puts them away. I love that part!

So, happy Monday. I get my man back today! And, believe it or not, typing about all of that made me feel much better. More awake and happy. Almost euphoric, even.

Just for “fun”

It snowed yesterday. Too much, if you ask me. Then again, one flake falling from the sky is too much in my book. Here are a few pictures. They’re not great, but hopefully they convey the terror I feel.

Link Love: Snowy Saturday Edition

It’s snowing here in Not the City, New York. Usually seeing snow fall from the sky strikes fear and terror into my heart, but since I have no plans, no commitments, and no intentions of getting out of my pajamas? Let it snow.

I decided that, since I usually have lots of time on Saturday mornings, I would take the opportunity to share a few links to stuff I am interested in at the moment.

1. Elizabeth Foster. Elizabeth is a Singer/Songwriter and Painter in Nashville. Actually, before I just looked up her site, I didn’t know about the Painter part. I have been listening to her album, San Francisco, on a very regular basis since it was released. It is inspiring, fun, and just folky enough to be nearly perfect. I am listening to “By the River” as I type this.

2. Sweet Clementines. I have never stumbled across a site that matches my style and color preferences more. And for someone as into details as I am, the hand-stitching on this stuff really gets to me. I go to the shop on a weekly basis to drool over sweet items like these:

Sleepy Owl!
Sleepy Owl Pilllow

Ferris Wheel!
Classic Ferris Wheel Wall Hang

This weekend I am finally going to pull the trigger and buy something. Decisions, decisions!

3. Tasty Kitchen. This little gem was the brainchild of The Pioneer Woman. The recipe for Fancy Macaroni is from The Woman herself, and I have made it twice since Thanksgiving. And I may make it again tomorrow.

That’s all for now. My pajama plans have been interrupted by a breakfast date request with the ‘rents (yes, it is noon, why do you ask?) I will be adding a page to this site where all of  the links from my Link Love posts will be posted – check for it within the next week!

Happy Saturday to you!

The Crazy place.

When I was in high school, my best friend and I became mildly obsessed with Cindy Crawford’s Shape Your Body video. The video was, to this day, probably one of the most difficult I have done. It nearly killed me just to do the thing all the way through. Plus, um… I was looking at a supermodel the entire time. A gorgeously perfectly perfect supermodel, who didn’t even break a sweat. Uplifting, is what it was. And it totally did not inspire any self-hatred in my overweight, scraggly-headed, stubby-legged self.

But the thing about the video is that it really paid off. If I could be disciplined enough to fight through the tears and frustration and do it for two weeks, my body shape literally started to change. The video got a bit easier. By a bit easier,  i mean a bit. Imagine trying to crack open a walnut with two fingers instead of one and you will imagine how much easier it got, even after two weeks.

But I clearly remember the best and most awesome part of the video. It’s the part where Seal’s “Crazy” starts playing. Holy crap, I just found it on YouTube.

Honestly. My goodness. When I watch this now, I wonder how I didn’t dislocate my pelvis trying to follow her form. Actually, I think I just dislocated my pelvis watching this.

The point!

The point is that, every time that song started, I thought, “OK. Now we jam.” Something about those lyrics, “we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy” just made it work for me. I was fat. I was in high school. I was desperate. I was in terrible pain. Not emotional pain, physical pain inflicted on me by Cindy Crawford and her evil minion, Radu. And I WAS never gonna survive unless I got a little crazy. I was never gonna survive to see the end of the video.

But Seal always gave me that shove. Those lyrics spoke to me. I have always remembered that feeling – the crazy place. The place where I know I must, can, and will do whatever it takes to get out of whatever I am in. The place where I know anything is possible, if I will just get outside myself and get a little crazy.

I heard an acoustic version of Crazy on my drive home last night, and I realized I am there. I have been pulling out all the stops and really, really trying to get to a place where I can say that I have the life I want. I am taking risks and initiative at work and at play. I am fighting for my health and my sanity.

And, of course, I am still trying to get skinny. I know I will never look like Her Royal Cindyness, but, well… I am crazy enough to try to get close.

Finding tissues.

So, it has been an interesting week. Mr. Thor has been away. Oh, so away. He left Monday and will not return until next Monday night. I miss him terribly, but somehow I have been able to carry on.

I found something funny today when I was fishing around in my purse for gum, mints, or chapstick. I found a wad of tissues, a huge one-inch stack of them that had been rolled up into kind of a tube. After a second, it hit me: at the last minute, as we were walking out the door to drop Mr. Thor at the airport, I grabbed them. I was sure I would be weeping the entire one-hour commute to work.

As I dropped Mr. Thor at the airport, I was giving him the 30th hug  and dripping tears all over his jacket when I heard the Indigo Girls song, “Love of Our Lives” start coming over the airport speakers outside. I straightened up, said “i love you” and “i’ll miss you” again and watched Mr. Thor get swallowed by the automatic doors. Then I rolled my window down and kept my car parked right there in front of the airport until the song ended.

Then I started my car and drove to work.

This week has felt much like that: just doing what I need to do. Just putting one foot in front of the other. Just ignoring the shadows everywhere. Just packing my lunch, just getting ready, just going to work.

Only, today, when I found the tissues? I found something else. I found  a realization that I am stronger than I thought I was. I didn’t sob through a giant stack of tissues in an hour, or ever. I have actually kind of enjoyed this time. I have been productive. I have set up this blog. I have been writing.  I have been making myself dinner and packing myself lunch. I have had fun hanging out with myself.

This doesn’t necessarily that I want Mr. Thor to go away any time again soon, but it does mean that I don’t have to be so afraid of it next time.

Here’s to finding tissues!