Monthly Archives: March 2013

Answers

prayer

I know, I know – first post for the week. It’s been a rough one. After feeling like Death Warmed Over (my mom’s expression) since the weekend, I finally caved yesterday and stayed home. Sick as a dog. Slept until noon, actually, which is completely unheard-of for me. So the fam knew I was pretty darn sick.

Aside from that, I’ve been stressing and spinning my wheels about some day-to-day stuff lately. And praying a lot about it, too. And getting frustrated because answers to my prayers weren’t just magically falling at my feet.

Guess what? Tuesday night, out of nowhere, this sentence popped into my mind: Stay the course. And this morning, on  my way back to work, this one: Bloom where you’re planted.

Wow. Both of them were so clear, not just random thoughts. An actual voice spoke them into my ear. And I can’t get those two sentences out of my mind.

So you know what? I’m gonna listen. Not question. Follow directions. And keep the faith.

Thanks, God.

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Gratitude, Schmatitude

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It’s Friday! In celebration – and to detox after the last couple of crazy days – I thought I’d publish my Weekly Gratitude List today. Here are – in no particular order – the top ten things I’m grateful for this week:

  1. It’s Friday! That means movie night at home with the minions – with popcorn!
  2. I get to volunteer (and shop) at the Bayou City Arts Festival tomorrow. H-town peeps, come on out to Memorial Park!
  3. The book I’m reading at the moment, which is giving me some much-needed reality checks
  4. Neither of the minions have had nightmares this week, meaning I’ve actually gotten sleep.
  5. Hydration really does give you more energy.
  6. The Spouse’s flexible job – which meant that he was able to help me with Wednesday’s car debacle.
  7. I have BOYS!! The Spouse is preparing for a major man-to-man with Minion #1. The Big Talk. He’s handling it – not me!
  8. Spring-ish weather
  9. Date Night tomorrow with the Spouse
  10. The Gerbera daisies on my screen background

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Strange Couple of Days

FarSide

This is – and has always been – my favorite Far Side cartoon. Why? Because it’s funny and it’s totally something that I do on a regular basis. Love it.

Anyway, it totally describes my last two days. No blog postings. No time to write. Sorry folks – back tomorrow unless some really wild and weird stuff goes down…

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I’m Fitspired!!

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I’m inspired today. By what, you ask?

I’m inspired by two things – a friend’s blog and a reality check.

First off, my friend’s blog. She’s smart, witty, realistic, a working mom and apparently married to a personal-trainer-bodybuilder-like dude. He’s recently become her personal trainer. Somehow I’m thinking that translates to a heckuva lot of tough love, and it definitely wouldn’t work for me and the Spouse, but good for her. She’s keeping it real, sharing her challenges (gaining weight but losing inches), new ventures (Zumba!) and funnies from the weight room (musclebound guys who take themselves way too seriously are always funny.)

You can check her out here: Deadlifts for a Dingbat.

Anyhoo, like I said – she’s inspired me. Because if she can keep it real, so can I. Fitness is a journey, right? And it’s supposed to be about the journey, not the destination. She’s been brutally honest about her fitness journey. And I’m motivated, because she’s starting to see results and have more energy. I want that to be me. As a former gym rat/fitness nut, I’ve gotta be real here.

I’ve let myself go in the fitness department. Badly. And healthy eating? Ha. About the only ‘healthy eating’ tip I’ve followed lately is portion control. As in, ‘I’ll only eat a medium-small portion of these greasy, salty tortilla chips with queso.’ Which sounds like (heck, let’s be real – it IS) a cop-out to my rusty gym rat brain.

Now, I don’t mean that I’ve let myself go in that I’ve gained lots of weight. I haven’t. Well, not much anyway. I could probably stand to gain a few pounds, truth be told. But any smidgeon of muscle tone is pretty much gone. If I were a celebrity, the paparazzi would have me on the front of the Enquirer with my eyes blacked out and ‘skinny fat’ plastered across some part of my body. Guaranteed.

For years I didn’t really have to worry about that. When the minions were little, I had some pretty rockin’ Mama arms – toned, defined, strong, stringy even. Just from wrestling their little behinds into diapers, strollers, car seats, etc.  I kept up my leg muscles with running, stairmaster and countless hours on the elliptical.

Guess what? The minions got bigger. Nowadays the heaviest thing I tote around is my purse.

Which brings me to my second source of inspiration – the reality check. I got the new issue of InStyle the other day and it had the inevitable ‘Best Bikini Body Ever Tips’ feature on the cover. WTHeck? It’s that time already? Yikes. That got my attention, because I’ve been hiding underneath layers, baggy pajamas and thick sweaters for the last couple of months.

So I took a good hard look at the evidence this morning. And there they were: The Problem Areas.

You know what I mean, ladies. We all have them. They may be different for all of us, but let’s get real. EVERY woman has a list – however small – of Trouble Spots that we would gladly nip, tuck, laser, shrink or (rarely) expand with a magic wand if we could. I saw mine loud and clear this morning. In full daylight.

And right now they ain’t pretty.

Side note – I found myself suddenly thinking about a college friend of mine. She was (and is) absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. But I remember her lamenting her Problem Area. Yep, she had one. Know what it was?

Her arms. My friend was so self-conscious that her arms were too skinny (yep, you read that right) that she ended up in a long-sleeved wedding gown. In August. In Texas. I bet she was sweltering. But for her, that was important – to hide that Trouble Spot.

Here’s the scoop. I need to get moving. And NOT just moving to the pantry to get a small portion of junk, either. Really. Moving. Because my Problem Areas are definitely not my skinny arms! And if I eat actual non-processed food that’s remotely healthy and get moving, I just might have a bit more energy after work. Just maybe I’d feel like doing something besides collapsing in the evenings. (Sadly, as I type this, I’m sucking down a Cup o’ Soup. But I PROMISE that dinner will not be powdered and/or processed.)

So thanks, ladies! Thanks for the inspiration and the reality check!

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I’ve Been Pinned!

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I gave in. Caved. Submitted to peer pressure.

I set up a Pinterest account.

Those of you who know me, or have been reading, may remember that traditionally I have been Anti-Pin. The idea of copying what someone else has already done just doesn’t appeal to me. And the entire boards devoted to Elves-on-Shelves were nauseating. At least, I heard enough about them through Facebook to be totally turned off. Oh, forget it – I’m just gonna be honest here. The fact is that I’m just vain and proud enough to want to come up with my own stinkin’ ideas about how to decorate my home. So I rebelled. Besides, I think Pinstrosity is way more fun and entertaining. The Spouse and I got some good laughs out of a post just last night, in fact.

So why did I abandon my scruples and join the despised P?

I had to. Scratch that – it was strongly suggested by the creators of the blogging class I’m currently taking. And like any overachieving good student, I obeyed. Kicking and screaming, but I obeyed. Started checking it out.

Bottom line? I don’t get it. All this time, I’ve been under the impression that people posted pics of their oh-so-amazing craftiness, along with instructions for us lesser-talented folks to follow.

Am I missing something? All I see are a bunch of pictures. I even went to the Help section, which describes the Pin as basically a virtual bulletin board for images. Huh? Images? If it’s just pictures, where on earth am I supposed to get the supplies and directions to actually make these goodies?

Maybe it’s a learning curve. Maybe my age (!) somehow keeps me from getting this whole Pinterest thing. But I’m stymied. Confounded. Just plain ol’ confoosed.

So I’m about ready to give up the Pin once and for all – unless y’all have some advice, directions or a smack upside my head for me that will help me to figure this stuff out. Quickly. Cause I don’t have tons of free time to sit around trying to figure out how to pin, repin, unpin, etc. At this point I’m about to stick a big ol’ pin in my eye.

Mayday!! Please! Help me understand this stuff – and why I should even bother!!

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A Case of the Blahs

boredBlah. Even the word is – blah. Know what I mean? And, as my mom would say, I’ve got a serious case of the blahs today. In other words, I’m in a funk. In a rut. Spinning my wheels. Unsettled. Even – dare I say it – bored. (Here’s where Mom would chime in that ‘only boring people get bored,’ but I’ve got no defense at the moment.)

And the stupid part? It’s a beautiful spring day here in H-town. It’s Friday. I’ve had a short week thanks to our family trek up to Big D. So I’ve really got no reason at all to be stuck in the blahs.

So that got me thinking this morning. What exactly has me in full-on blah mode? That’s one of the problems with the blahs – they make your brain fuzzy and it’s hard to focus on the root of the problem. But I’m trying. Really hard. Extra coffee helps.

What have I come up with? Not much yet. A general sense of being stressed out. Lots of things that I would like/need to do, and inability to do them at the moment. Limited time in the evenings to work on said things. Even though I make my wonderful Type-A to-do lists, I’ve been too stinkin’ tired to get much of anything done when I get home. Plus the minions have been extra-needy, so any time I might have had before collapsing has been taken up with the Momness.

Makes me really frustrated. Add to that some situations that have me feeling like a leaf floating on a stagnant pond – blindly eddying in circles, meandering, directionless. Granted, I’m NOT powerless to make a change, but change requires effort, effort requires time, and time is something I don’t have much of during the day.

Ok, ok – I’ll be honest. That’s part of the problem right there. I actually DO have time – plenty of it – during the day. Thanks to a very slow week in the world of Big Commercial Real Estate. Even my boss from my fast food days – ‘If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean,’ – would be hard-pressed to come up with things to do around here. Trouble is, I can’t really do what I need to do at the office. Too many eyes, you know?

So I end up stewing in my own juices. Playing an endless loop of my to-do list in my head. All day. Thinking of all the things I need to get done in order to move forward. And having to sit and stew with no way of acting on any of it!!  See my frustration? Trying to cram a little work on my own stuff into my lunch break stresses me out even more because then I feel rushed. So my brain and body turn on their defense mechanism, which happens to be going into full-on blah mode. Guess it’s easier to be numb and blah than stressed out and frustrated. But the trouble is, nothing STILL gets done.

Hmph. What do you do when you get the blahs? Any tips, tricks or handy advice? My ears are open – and so is my brain. Bring it!

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Carbs and Beth

Ok, that’s it. Today’s the day. I’m doing it. I am SO doing it. Today. Right now. Yes, yes I am.

What am I doing? What’s the momentous resolution o’ the day? Wait for it – it’s a good one…

 

I’m giving up the nasty carbs at work.

Shocker, right? If you know me in the real world, you may not know the extent of my carboholism. I keep it fairly well hidden. But it’s bad. Bread, potatoes, anything crunchy or starchy – I’m all over that stuff. I actually tried to go Adkins once. Once. When the Spouse was on a health kick and went all-out Adkins I tried to be the supportive wife and jump on the bandwagon. My carbless-ness lasted until 10 AM. Seriously. And by then I was a jittery starving mess.

But I’ve realized lately that I’m eating more carbs than anything else. And that’s bad. And the carbs I’m eating? I don’t even like them. The only reason I’m eating them at all is that they’re there. Know what I mean? See, there’s a Snack Cabinet at the office. Full of stuff that’s just there for the taking. Sun Chips, Goldfish, Cheez-Its – you name it.

And pretzels. Rold Gold pretzels, to be exact. Which I don’t even like, as far as pretzels go. In fact they’re at the bottom of my list. But I’ve been eating them every day. Really. Just because they are sitting in that cabinet. The one I walk past every time I go to refill my coffee. It’s become automatic – fill the coffee, add the creamer, stir, get the pretzels, back to work.

I’m done. Done. It’s one thing to eat carbs that I like – but a totally different animal when I’m eating nasty tasteless crunchy Rold Gold pretzels. And you know what?? I just about reached for that cabinet door just now! When I took a break from typing this! Unbelievable!!

So that’s my resolution today. Not To Eat The Pretzels. You’re my witnesses here. Change is good, and more protein gives me more energy, right? Right.

Which brings me to the second part of today’s post. Visiting Big D always makes me homesick. Makes sense, since I consider that my home. But there’s more to it. Seeing friends and family brings out my insecure demons in full force. Family painted and redecorated the house? Suddenly my own house looks dingy and outdated. And I feel like a cruddy housekeeper because I haven’t hung the wall decor that I’ve had planned for months now. It’s just sitting on the floor in a neat little pile. But wait, there’s more. Fridge full of gourmet, organic, Whole-Foods-type goodies? Yeah, my kids eat mac and cheese. Out of the box. The kind with the cheese powder.

See what I mean? As much as I love visiting Big D, I almost always end up feeling crappy about myself, my life and the way I run it. Here’s the irony – my current read? You’re going to laugh.

Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity.

Guess I need to get reading, huh??

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Home Again!

So, I took a two-day hiatus from blogging due to the travel factor. And I must admit, it’s a bit harder getting back into the routine than I thought it would be. But here we are, back in town, and at least one of us is back to the grind.

That one would be me.

As far as the trip rules, most of them were par for the course, with one or two interesting exceptions.

  1. We were actually only 13 minutes late leaving my office, as the Spouse made sure to remind me. Not 15 minutes. So in that respect we left early.
  2. The inevitable smackdown was not between the minions – surprisingly enough. Instead, thanks to construction and traffic into Big D, I was the guilty party. Apparently five and a half hours in the car after a full workday pushes me past the ‘happy-fun-wife-mom’ threshold. Guilty as charged. I snapped – and unloaded – all over the Spouse for ‘not checking with the fam about construction issues prior to departure.’ Not my most stellar moment.
  3. This one was a shocker. Really. No one had to pee in the middle of nowhere!! Yippee! That’s a family road trip first. Seriously. The first in ten years.

So what did we do once we got settled into our digs with the bro-in-law? Well, I got to have a lovely girly lunch with a dear friend or two on Saturday. Kid-free lunch and girl time?? Score! But I admit – I was more homesick for Big D after that. I really wish I could see my Dallasite friends and fam more than a couple of times a year…

The Spouse was nice enough to take the minions over to Gattitown while I lunched with the ladies. Thanks to him, both minions filled up on pizza, sugary drinks and enough video games to keep them fueled for an afternoon at the mall. And yes, I got some shopping time too. Dinner with the extended fam at our fave in-town spot Saturday night, and we called it a day.

Sunday was Little Minion’s birthday. After lunch at a place of his choosing, the Spouse and minions headed to visit a friend and his minions for a play date. I was the lucky one who got to start and finish birthday shopping for Little Guy. Normally he’s pretty decisive – but not this time. Absolutely no ideas for gifts. None. Zero. So I was on my own at a suburban Target. Not a bad place to be, and sometimes one of my happy places – but midafternoon on a Sunday? Yikes. Cookout with the fam, birthday cupcakes, candle blowing and presents. Called it another day.

Monday – the Perot Museum. Wow. It’s a good thing I had gotten our tickets online a week prior, because that sucker was sold out for the entire day. Really. And apparently that’s been par for the course ever since that puppy opened its doors in December. Wow. I’m sure it’s an amazing place. Honestly I am. But the huge crowds of people made me feel like a claustrophobic deer in headlights during most of our visit. And that was a wee problem since most of the exhibits are hands-on. Great for the kiddoes, but not so great having to wait in line (and corral) said kiddoes for every little thing. Like I said, I can tell it’s amazing, but I feel like we missed out on a lot simply because of the crowds. And the minions definitely lost interest after all of the waiting. Kind of like a day at Six Flags where you wait hours in line for all of the rides – but without the adrenaline rush of nausea of the actual ride. A bit of a bummer.

We needed sugaring up, so we hit my ol’ hometown for some vintage candy. Blooms on the Square was just the ticket! Need pickle-flavored gum or bacon mints? It’s your one-stop-shop. I think the minions went into a sugar coma just walking through the door. And with all of the quirky soda options, I can say I’m the proud owner of a genuine Leninade bottle! Score!

Bottom line – if today’s writing isn’t the most inspired, I totally get it. I’ve got lots of ideas about stuff I’d LOVE to be doing right now. But I can’t. At least, not until this evening. Hey, at least it will still be light out during my evening commute, right? That’s the ONLY good thing about the time change. Seriously. I’d forgotten how much I hate Daylight Savings Time until my alarm went off at five this morning and I did the mental calculation of the real time.

That sucked.

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On the Road Again…

Well, I did it. Successfully planned, packed, straightened and left my pile o’ necessities by the door for the Spouse to pack later this afternoon.

Now all I have to do is wait out the workday, right?

Granted, I’m a bit concerned about the minions’ packing lists. Yes, they have plenty of clean clothes from which to choose. Yes, they can pack for themselves. But will they? That’s always a tossup. And this morning was no exception. Man, are they stoked about this trip! They had two tasks – to get dressed and basically straighten their rooms/make beds, etc. Did they do it?

Heck no. That would have been far too easy! I gave them a few minutes and went back to check on their progress. One minion was dressed but using his energy to hang from his door frame. Yes, he’s ten years old and DOES know better. The other minion was dancing around his room, stark naked.

Sigh. Gentle reminder number one – check.

Fast forward a few minutes. Surely progress had been made, because I heard loud singing. Back to check on them again. Well, there was progress – minion number two was still dancing, but this time in a pair of Incredible Hulk underwear. So, yes, technically he was getting dressed, I guess. Minion number one – no progress on the room, but he tried to impress me with his version of Adele’s ‘Skyfall.’ It went something like this:

“Let the poop fall…”

Why on earth do boys find poop and farts so darned funny?? I just don’t get it.

Not-so-gentle reminder number two. Sigh. Makes me really appreciate the fact that I won’t be around when the Spouse has to actually make them pack this afternoon. And yes, I’m smirking at the scene that will probably go down at mi casa. Oh well – I won’t be there. I’ll be wrapping up another week of Big Commercial Real Estate. Too bad, huh?

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But road trips in our family have some inevitable rules. Really. Certain things ALWAYS happen, no matter how old the kid, where we’re going or the length of the trip. Wanna know what they are? Here goes:

  1. Someone will spill food at some point. And not just a small spill. We’re talking the ‘trying-to-open-the-bag-of-gummy-bears-and-it-split-down-the-side-spewing-candy-everywhere’ kind of disaster. Ever tried picking up countless gummy bears from the back seat – in the dark? Don’t. It’s not fun. And there’s always one that gets left behind and sat on.
  2. The minions will get into an argument over a video game. Yes, they each have their own DS. Yes, they each have enough games in their cases to share with five other kids. But at some point, they will get into a smackdown over the ONE cartridge that they both want at the same time. Without fail.
  3. The Spouse will get irritated with Big D drivers. Granted, they’re crazy. So are H-town drivers. The difference is, Big D traffic moves – fast. So drivers really can go like bats out of you-know-where. And they do.
  4. Someone will announce – ten minutes after a bathroom stop – that they have to pee. Badly. Most often it’s a minion – the same minion who SWORE that they didn’t have to go at the rest stop.
  5. I will get picked up from work late. How late, exactly? That’s the variable. But it’s never failed yet. No matter how early the fam leaves the house. Given that Tim McGraw is playing at the Rodeo tonight, I’m betting on at least fifteen minutes late. I’ll keep you posted.

Does any of this sound familiar? Or are we just a crazed group of unlucky travelers? What are your family road trip non-negotiables?

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The Trouble With Trips…

… is NOT the actual trip itself, thank you very much. I love traveling, really I do! But as I’m sitting here stewing over tomorrow’s family trip to Big D, a ginormous light bulb just popped on above my head. If you’re troubled by a glare right now, I guarantee it’s from the big Aha bulb hanging over my noggin as we speak.

The Big Aha?

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Planning and packing for a trip is what I absolutely HATE!

Ok, maybe hate is too strong of a word. Can’t stand, causes me incredible amounts of stress, keeps me up at night? Those are closer to the mark. See, I’ve said before – and will yet again – that I am tremendously Type A over certain things. Traveling and time are two of those – and since trips involve both of them, I’m in a tizzy today.

Packing? Yeah, there’s that. But first I’ve got to figure out what Big D weather is supposed to be. That’s a problem right there, since March could mean anything from 30 degrees to 80 in the shade. Really. And whatever the forecast says – I’ve got to plan for ten degrees’ window on either side of it, because that’s probably the temps we’ll actually get this weekend. And, once I figure that out, I’ve got to narrow down exactly what I want to wear up there. Yes, we’re visiting family. Yes, I’m seeing friends. No, no one really cares what I look like.

But I do. This is a rare chance for me to get out of my normal workday conservative wear and actually wear my real clothes. Not my normal weekend cleaning-the-house wardrobe of jeans and the ratty college sweatshirt I’ve had for decades now. And I’m enough of a girl to get excited about actually dressing up in casual wear for once. But I have to get all Type A about it, down to accessories, shoes and bags. Ladies, you totally know what I’m getting at here. Since I’m mildly indecisive on a good day, you can see why deciding what to pack could be an issue here.

Add to that the fact that, since I’m working tomorrow, said packing has to be done tonight or tomorrow before 8 AM at the latest. And it never fails – clothes that I’ll want to pack are probably in the laundry now. So there’s that to do.

Speaking of laundry, I need to work on paring the dirty clothes mountain down to a small hill. Not necessarily a requirement, true, but I HATE coming home to piles of dirty clothes. Just hate it. So there’s laundry to do tonight.

Minions. Their clothes are already clean, thanks to the Spouse. And they’re both old enough (at least theoretically) to pack all of their own stuff if I give them a list. But they’re crafty. See, they do a fabulous job of packing books, toys, video games – all of the essential stuff. But something like a toothbrush? “Oh, we must’ve forgotten about that.” Ha. I know their game. By ‘forgetting’ to pack a toothbrush they think they’ll get away with not brushing their teeth for the duration. As if.

The cats. We’re very lucky that our oh-so-sweet neighbor child feeds them when we’re out of town. But, given the fact that her parents usually come over with her, I always feel obligated to clean up the house before we leave. No sense in having the neighbors know what the kitchen counters really look like on a daily basis, is there?

So, packing. Minions. Cleaning. Cats. Work. Add in the fact that the Spouse will actually be loading the car before picking me up at the office on our way out of town. So there’s the worry that he’ll forget a bag or two that I packed.

Sigh. See what I mean? Once we’re actually on the road I’m good. Getting there really is half the fun, now that we’re past the stage of having to change a rancid diaper by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

It’s just the prep work that stinks.

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