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Thursday, February 28, 2013

**REVIEW** Bally Fitness Band

Since I am trying to get in back in shape and stay there, I don't want to get bored with my workout routines. Walking is my favorite exercise and thanks to these apps from Google Play, I have learned to like doing a variety of indoor exercises. Because I can be too lazy to get my butt to a gym and use their equipment, I have now fallen in love with this "fitness band" from Bally Total Fitness.

Cute, ain't it? Nice color, sturdy handles, but if you look reeeeal close, you can see what my favorite part of it is.


That's right, baby. $7.99 from Burlington's. I had a gift cert and a voucher from returning some boots from Christmastime. One day I'll be rich and I will still look for a bargain.

The PROS:
  • Simple to figure out & easy to use
  • Instructions for some exercises are printed right on the band
  • Seems super sturdy
  • Fun to use
  • Can use it anywhere (even in small spaces)
  • Can use it anytime (I like to use it while watching TV)
  • Reasonably priced if you look around online (or from Burlington's)
The CONS:
  • The included free 7-day pass to Bally Fitness only helps is your town has a Bally Fitness
  • The instructions (on band and on an insert) are a little murky and not very varied
  • I did have to check out a link about recalls on this type of product. Mine passed.
That's it for the downside, I promise. I mean, I could gripe that there aren't enough online videos for using this flat type of band (instead of the cord type), but that's what I get for over-relying on YouTube. Since I never learn, here is a link for some exercises to do at your work desk. At least it's not from YouTube.

Seriously, I can't tell you how much I enjoy using this band. On the days (like today) when it was just too icy out for a walk, the band was my rescue.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Low, Negative & Zero Calorie Foods

I can be dedicated & quite disciplined with the right motivation. I can also be vain. Vanity is a big part of my weight loss/get fit motivation.

Walking, hitting the treadmill, and even sitting at strange machines with weights attached to them - I will do almost anything. But...

Have you heard about these noodles? Or these?

I had not. Not until a friend told me about them today. My first response was, "You effing with me?" Then: "If they have no calories, what do they taste like?"

My friend's response to that was, "Hell if I know." (She is on this new kick. She's decided that, at sixty-eight, screw a diet, life is for living. And, no, she doesn't think that sounds crazy.)

Negative calorie foods started sounding good to me when I got off the prednisone; zero-calories sounds like a lie from Satan himself. That's a calorie-free apple I just might bite.

I have to go grocery shopping this weekend. I am not ashamed to say that I will be carrying this list of negative calorie foods with me. With no prednisone egging me on (heh heh), I can deal with cutting back on the bad foods. Drinks are another headache.

Since I need to have something more interesting to drink than the green tea I tend to guzzle, I'm going to just get some frozen juices and seltzer waters. Really irks me that everything handy and just-add-water-ish has some fake/alternative sugar crap in it... If you don't mind all the stevia and other stuff I find icky (or the annoying page-through list), here are some drinks to change up your soda habit.

And I may have jumped the gun about there being no easy mixes for anti-artificial folks. These guys sound decent, if am able to find the products locally.

One way or another, I plan to be fine as hell by the time my birthday rolls around. I'll have an easier time of it than my nephew. He is making the move back to the Lower 48 and, when we were at the gym today, he thought out loud about re-enlisting in the Air Force. He is going to need to get trim for that, so he's doing a "White-out" diet: no sugar, starch, etc. Bless his heart.

Now, +Priscilla Delgado, I am gonna take my creaky a** to bed! LOL

Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Better - Inside & Out

Getting back into shape is hard work. I have pounds to take off, body parts to tone up. It's like a job. I have been walking and stretching and bopping around while holding weirdly shaped objects. I've got ankle weights and a pedometer and this stretchy-band thing that could be used as a weapon - against myself... And that's just for the outside.

See?

Well, that Burlington gift cert went to good use!

But it's all working, even though I get a lot of my exercise just walking away from certain foods. When I went on the regular Saturday outing with my sister, she said that I looked very nice in a blouse that I haven't been able to get into for months. My jeans looked very un-mom-like, thank you very much, and I felt a lot like the old me. The best thing is, I'm not going to have a problem keeping up with all this. The walking is fun and calming. On the days I don't walk and do indoor workouts instead, I enjoy myself because music can make anything bearable.

Like I said, though, that's all just for the outer part of me. The tough part is going to be getting my insides into shape.

Since I gave up smoking and started eating somewhat better, I do feel... better.  I could be, and need to be, doing a lot better.


But I have come a long way...


From here...
I want to feel THIS happy again


...and here...

THIS healthy & THIS in shape




















...to here... when the sarcoidosis hit me...
I never want to be HERE again (July 2011)


...and here... when the prednisone hit me.

That is almost a double chin. June 2012














I have started looking into ways that I can change up and make my diet more interesting and healthy. There is a difference between dieting and living life. I want to live life. I'm bad at diets. I've done the juicer thing, the no-white thing, the low-carb thing... What I want is to do my thing.

About six or seven years ago, I started drinking soy instead of milk. I made that a part of my life. Now I just need to find a way to replace some of the burritos and red meat with fish and vegetables. That won't be too hard or expensive since I do live in Alaska: land of salmon, halibut and hooligan. (I love hooligan!) Vegetables are wonderful here - in the summer. We make the record books for cabbage and such. Our weekend Farmer's Market gets written up. Yeah, it's great. In the summer. In the winter time, you have to take out a signature loan to buy tomatoes, or groceries in general. (That's because the cost of living is a bit higher here.)

I've been reading about the various things I can do to improve my whole self by what I put into my inner self. It's interesting. And confusing. Here's the latest:

Cashew butter vs peanut butter
Nut butters in general
Green juices
Juice cleanses
Almond milk vs soy milk vs ...

See? This crap gets complicated.

Here's my verdict: I need to just keep things simple. Some of this trendy stuff, I can deal with, but a lot of it is too much for me.

I can do cashew butter because I've lived without peanut butter for years. I only need an occasional hit of creamy any non-dairy butter. I like the idea of green juices, but juicers cost too much and so do the store-bought juices.

Guess I'll make do with fresh and canned veggies and an every-now-and-again green drink. And not the good-tasting fun stuff like Naked, but something serious and so-nasty-it's-gotta-be-good-for-you. I will keep eating all that dang salmon that my family stocks their freezers with. I will have to just mooch more hooligan since that's a little rarer in my circles.

I really miss the days when I could eat all the starch and butter and other things that probably glued my insides together and kept me in a size 4. I miss them, but I am realistic enough to appreciate being (I refuse to use the word "Mature") grown. I want to live long enough to make up for all the hell I raised when I was younger.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Deutsch Magie

I don't speak a word of German - except for counting up to ten. (Okay, just up to five.) Don't worry, there is no language barrier to something as cool as this.


He is selling iPads
Made me want to buy one. If he comes with it.


Peace
--Free

(Saw this on G+ courtesy of  +Dan J via +Matt Haldeman)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the Homestretch

My 52nd birthday is coming up in about 4 months. I never thought I would be so looking forward to counting off another year, but I am.

My 49th birthday was spent with an abusive husband. I remember pretending I had a cold while I talked with family and friends calling to give their good wishes.

My 50th birthday was spent with people who love me, but this sarcoidosis came to visit a few days later. Sarc is not a nice guy. He likes to push your weakest buttons. The only guys who can beat that bastard up are the same ones who kind of punch you around while they are guarding you.

Birthday 51 saw me just glad to be alive. I found myself thanking God one day and cursing myself the next. I was a swollen, sobbing, neurotic bitchy mess of a woman. Fun times. If you don't believe me, ask my family, friends and doctors.

By the time I turn 52 (God willing), I am going to be a thankful, blessed and hopeful woman. If I keep up this exercising, I'm going to also be in the best shape I've been in since I was 45.

This right here is for my doctors who helped me get to this point.


Quit laughing at my "hat hair"

Because I couldn't get a great pic of what's on my phone, let me tell you: those are the stats from my last walk. Distance: 1.37 miles Time: 0:30:57 Pace: 22:39 And, oh yeah - I wore my ankle weights.

The map of the walk looks crazy because I just go up and down the little culdesac behind our apartment.

This might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but when the Sarc hit me, I couldn't walk without supervision. I couldn't think straight enough to find my way to the corner of our street. God put in the hands of the best doctors ever. Look at me now. I keep this up, I might be able to wear some heels to my birthday dinner.

Anyway, this is my Thank You to God and to my doctors and to all the other folk who put up with me the past couple of years. I love each and every one of you and I will leave it at that. I get emotional too easily so I might break out into "Wind Beneath My Wings" or something!

Peace
--Free

NOTE: The app I used is Noom Cardio-Trainer

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Living Before Dying




I just watched this documentary about Glenn Gould. I'd never heard of him, but he really was a genius. You know that someone is the best at what they do when they can make an impression on a laymen.

Hulu also has a Whitney Houston documentary. I watched Houston's story last night and Gould's tonight. Both stories left me sad and restless. It's not because they were famous and died young. It makes me sad that anyone dies young, when they still have so much to give. Houston and Gould just happen to be known to a lot of us. Gould's talent came through his playing and Houston had that voice. And they are gone. Like the least known or important person ever, they are back to not being with us.



I don't think we pay enough attention to death. If were are happy in our lives, we get complacent. If we are sad, we dwell on the negatives. Maybe we all need to take a moment every morning or evening to realize that we are still here. As long as we are here, we have a chance for things to be good. We can still be good (or better) to each other. We don't have to be famous to be grateful for life.

Some people get all caught up in their personal victories: they're rich or handsome or famous or better than the Jones's. In the end, though, we are all the same when we die. We are going to be a corpse - no matter how famous or rich or beautiful in life - and we are going back to dust. We won't be anything but a spirit when people visit our graves or pay tribute. The fancy car we drove isn't going to remember us or care, but the people we loved and needed will.

I'm not sure where I wanted to go with this post. Maybe I just needed to articulate a reminder to myself that every sorrow or victory is temporary and only matters as much as we let it.  I want to remind myself to savor every good thing and live through any bad thing.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not Much, But Enough

I can tell that spring is coming because there's been so much talk about dating. A couple of my friends are out there, trying to get matched up; people in my social network groups are talking about relationships and dating. I've been a little back and forth on the whole subject. One day, I'm bah-humbug about relationships and the next, I am in a hmmm-maybe state of mind. There is one thing I am sure about and that is, I know exactly what I want in a future relationship: honesty, not perfection.

My roommate thinks I'm just feeling jaded because I've been hurt, but I think I've only just come around to having the right idea. I have come to see myself as I am and not through a trick mirror. I try to see and accept other people as they are and not as I want them to be. Here is what I want (and have to give) in a relationship:

For the right man, I have a heart full of love and laughter and comfort. When I am in love, my smile can light up a man's whole world. When the world has beat him up and tried to knock him off his feet, I'll be in his corner to help calm his mind and soothe his heart. For the right man, my heart is wide open and belongs only to him.

He doesn't have to be Mr. Handsome, but he has to have a twinkle in his eye that I put there. He has to know how to smile at me and make me feel like everything is going to be okay. He doesn't have to be rich, but he has to have personal pride and a traditional sense of manhood. He doesn't have to be one of my "girlfriends," but he has to be my best friend. He doesn't have to "get" every feeling I have, but he has to acknowledge that I have them. He doesn't have to be perfect, but he has to accept my flaws in the same spirit that I accept his. He doesn't have to love my family and my friends, but he has to accept that I do.

When I look at him, I won't be looking for his physical "imperfections," I will be looking for the sincerity in his heart. He doesn't have to be the everybody's idea of Mr. Right, but he has to be the right one for me.

Every woman wants to be swept off her feet, and it would be nice to live in a beautiful home with a great view. But my life isn't a sitcom with writers and directors. I've been swept off my feet and landed in a nightmare of fear and hurt. I've lived in nice homes where I cried so much that the beauty didn't matter.

My dream? My fantasy? To have a man to hold my hand and tell me it's going to be okay. To put my arms around someone who makes me feel safe in his. To be with someone who loves me when I am silly and happy and worried and nervous. To be with someone who feels better about everything in his world just because he knows I am there for him. To love someone and accept their friends and family as people they love. To grow old with someone who isn't afraid to grow old - because he knows that there is love and fun and silly and sexy at any age. To be with someone who looks at me like he knows I am his.

The most beautiful thing I have ever heard about relationships comes from the Bible:
"My beloved is mine, and I am his" (Song of Solomon 2:16)

Some days, I am not sure if I believe in true love, but I sure would like to be convinced it exists.

Peace
--Free

Monday, February 18, 2013

If There Is No God

There were a couple of posts on G+ earlier today about God. About whether He is or is not "real," and what people think about Him. I was very general in my own declaration of faith. This post is my more specific statement.

For the record, I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

A friend (who does not believe in God, by the way) once asked me if I'd live my life differently if I knew there was no God. At the time, I hemmed and hawed and ended up giving the non-answer of, "But there is a God so your question makes no sense." This is what I wished I'd said:

Because I know there is a God, I try to live my life with kindness and compassion. I try to forgive and love and see past people's faults. I won't commit adultery with someone else's spouse or be unfaithful in any way to a spouse of mine. I won't kill or set out to hurt anyone. I try hard not to lie or steal or cheat or be deceitful in any way. I try to treat other people the way I want to be treated. I try, I try and I try. As flawed as I am, I try to be better.

I try to live in the best way I know how because I know there is a God. If there were no God and I died today, I wouldn't regret living my life the way I have. But, because there is a God, I'm forgiven for everything I've tried and failed at.

(For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not Romans 7:18)

I wish I had asked my friend if he would live his life differently if he believed in God.

I would have posed to him this: If there is no God, there is no "good." If there is no good, there is no "evil." If there is no good and evil, there is no right and wrong. If there is no right and wrong, what is the point?

I'm no Bible scholar so I don't get into deep arguments about my Christianity, but my faith is not based  on feelings. My faith is based on logic and on proof of what God has done in my life. I was raised in the Pentecostal church, but I was not always a Christian. I am now a non-denominational Christian - reading the Bible for myself. When I attend church, it is for the fellowship and prayer, but I don't "follow" any minister or religious teacher.

That is all I have to say about my belief in God. If you don't believe in God, that is your choice, but I still love and respect you as a fellow human being.

Peace
--Free

Don't Give In, Don't Give Up.

I was felt personally devastated by the news that Mindy McCready apparently killed herself yesterday.
This woman is a stranger to me, but at some point when I was going though a really, really tough time, I caught an episode of Celebrity Rehab and she sang this song. I have listened to it when I needed a reminder to keep pushing on.




We never know what people are going through. No one who knows me know what I sometimes have and still do go through in my heart and mind. Whenever I have crept close to the edge of too much pain, God has pulled me back.

I didn't know her, but I am so very sorry that this woman's pain stole her away. If you are in pain, please don't let it own you. Don't give up. There are folks you can talk to.


In the U.S.:

1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


For those outside the U.S.:
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)


Peace
--Free

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Randomly Thought

A random thing went through my mind today. There are 5 things that can make someone feel either silly, scared, or brave:

Being with a child
Being in love
Being intoxicated
Being threatened
Being dared

Like I said, just a random thought.


Peace
--Free

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Is Lonely & Dangerous

I'm kind of a loner but my family has the population of a medium-sized state. If I get off to myself for too long, someone will start a man-hunt. Every now and then, though, my folks know that I just need my time alone. I'm not sure what they think I do when I am hidden away from them, but it's really never that big of a deal. Mostly, I do a lot of thinking or praying or reading or- Well, okay, it's not always a big deal, but it can get weird. I'm going to throw this out there and ask you guys if I'm the only one that spends my "alone" time doing things like this:

  • Sitting really still and trying to guess what "that" is in the Meatloaf song "Anything for Love." (Looking it up is not as much fun.) Are you like me and only come up with dirty meanings?
  • Trying to do things I know I can't do because I've tried them before - like painting cute flowers on my fingernails or writing my name in calligraphy. My nails end up looking like the polish spilled on them and the calligraphy? That looks like I tried to write with my left hand - and I am right-handed.
  • Think of insane ways to change my life up. I once did complete research on how to live in Guam on $30 a week. I'm told it is possible. I don't know about Guam, but I am giving Colombia some thought.
  • Write and perform songs in my head that sound SO good! In my head. They sound good in my head. I've heard of air guitar and karaoke, but I think we need to have full-on fantasy bands.
  • Use my unique thought processes to come up with a new product that will infect every consumer with buyer's lust. Apparently my thought "processes" are so strange that I once spent 3 hours thinking hard only to come up with... colored pencils. Yeah, I know.
  • If I happen to be bored, alone and depressed, I will listen to music and manage to apply any song lyric to my life in the most negative way possible. You think I'm kidding? After a fight with a long-time friend, I made "Don't Worry, Be Happy" feel like a funeral dirge.
  • If I am alone and happy, I love to cook. I just get a little too creative for my own good sometimes. I have recently come up with chicken and cheese bread pizza. I'm serious, so if you go and make money with my idea, I will be looking to sue...
  • Do you remember Whoopi Goldberg's earlier comic routines - where she pretended to have long hair? I never did that because I'd had long hair before. But I am only a passable dancer - one who loves to dance. So... I was 

At 1:24 when he said "Punch it!" I threw something out and damn near had to call 911...


Peace
--Free

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Internet Junk Food

As a citizen of the Web, I love almost everything about it. I mean, I can keep in touch with friends all over the world, watch interesting documentaries I might not otherwise have access to, take life-enriching classes for free, join in the reindeer games with people I might never meet, and do research on almost any subject I can think of.

Yep. I am lucky to be part of the internet nation.

Except.

Here's the thing: I have always felt like I should use the Web for more productive and positive things. I know that there are people who do.

You probably know that you can get an education online, but did you know that there is actually a University of the People? Or that you can take "the world's best courses"- for free? And then there's the discussion about taking  test-driving classes - for credit. Of course, I have to mention Salman Khan and Khan Academy.

Free education, folks. In a world where some people will walk miles to get a basic education, you and I can sit at home in our pajamas and take courses from places like Harvard and MIT and other "top universities" - for free!

So why have I been more concerned with the lives of  the Real Housewives?

Why? Because, like a lot of you, I live my Web life the way most children live their real lives. I don't want broccoli and spinach for dinner; I want pizza, or mystery meat cut into weird shapes then battered and deep-fried.

Well, that is going to change. I have got to have a healthier Web diet. I need more CNN and less News of the Weird. If I'm going to surf the Net when I get depressed, I need to spend way more time here than here.

I've kicked junkfood in my real-life diet, I've kicked tobacco, and I've damn- I mean, dang near quit cussing. Starting today, I am changing up my Web diet, which means I will be giving up a lot of the junk. Well, not all... You know I am still going to calm my nerves with an occasional visit to the gossip sites.

Peace
--Free

P.S.: Seriously, for more info on useful things available online, watch for my future quickie posts labelled "Free-4-All." I will round up some of the best free resources on almost any and everything you can think of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day in Perspective

There are misconceptions in most cases and the truth in some about Valentine's Day for...

Singles:

  • Dread going to work where everyone will be flashing their gifts & getting flower deliveries.
  • Curse Saint Valentinus for putting your esteem through this annual torture.
  • Sit and dissect the pitiful lives of people who are tied down to one person.
  • Allow yourselves more beer and alcohol or ice cream than usual.
  • Talk yourself into settling for the guy/gal you  don't really love so you won't die alone. Or with cats.
  • Lie to the world about how you really don't think V-Day is that big of a deal.
  • Drunkenly admit to your closest friends about how much it hurts to be single right now.
  • Spend too much time thinking about "the good one(s) that got away."
  • Get into bed, pretending that it's okay to be alone on Lover's Night - or
  • Feeling pressure to come up with a good reason to be happy - alone.
  • Go to sleep, thankful the day is over.

Non-Singles:

  • Dread not getting your lover's gift or flowers in time for them to gloat for the Singles.
  • Curse Saint Valentinus for putting your wallet through this annual torture.
  • Sit and dissect the lives of people who are lonely & gift-less.
  • Allow yourself to spend more money on one person than you did for everyone at Christmas.
  • Talk yourself into staying with the worst person in the world so you won't die alone. Or broke.
  • Lie to the world about how your lover is worth all that crazy money you spent on a gift.
  • Drunk dial your credit card company to see what your balance is right now.
  • Spend too much time thinking about "the crazy one you got stuck with."
  • Get into bed, pretending to feel sexy because it's Lover's Night - or
  • Feeling pressure to look thrilled to be in love for the next 364 days.
  • Go to sleep, thankful the day is over.


In reality, life cannot be planned. Love and happiness, joy and sorrow - they rise and fall like the tides. Wherever you are, whoever you are - single or not - I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. If only one person cares about you, you are blessed. I'm a Single and happy because I've learned that there are people who love me - they really, really do! lol

Oh - I'm writing this early because I plan to be eating more ice cream than usual on Thursday...

Happy Valentine's Day

To the Singles:
AKA: Happy unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary,
 manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day!

To the Non-Singles:

Show how mature love has made you. Don't gloat on Thursday.

And to D. R., wherever you are:


Still & Always


Peace
Free

Monday, February 11, 2013

Smile Break!

Okay - enough with the moping. Time for a reminder of how good and sweet life can be - courtesy of some cuties:

"Uh, guys... Think you got it backwards."


Why can't we be more like them #1
Yes, we can all get along. They do.


This is the kind of thing that can make anyone an animal-lover


Aww... Mama can handle her bunch

Just... awwww....


OMG! This makes me giggle!


This one is for +J.D. Hughes & +Marla Hughes 


heh heh heh


And the last one 



Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Friend Power

My sister-friend (what I call one of my very best friends) called me last night. She knows what all I've been dealing with recently. Because she loves me, she doesn't get tired of my crazy moods and emotions. Well, so far she hasn't.

One sign of a good friend is that they can make you laugh when you haven't even been able to smile. This is one of the reasons I love this chick so much. Last night, she made me laugh so hard that, for a minute, I forgot to feel bad.

If you ever watched the show "Everybody Loves Raymond," you probably fell in love with the wife, "Debra." My friend reminded me of one of our favorite "Debra" moments. It's when Raymond spies on his wife and sees her listening to sad music and crying. When he finds out that it's something she does on purpose - to relieve stress and make herself feel better - he is puzzled.

For me and my friend, the funny part is not what Debra does (we call it emotional masturbation), but that Raymond is so mystified. He then tries to imitate his wife.  That is the power of womanhood, you know, that men find us so complex. In honor of one of our all-time favorite shows, and to make me laugh, my friend sent me the link to the following:



I laughed and got through a tough moment. Things haven't gotten any easier, but I'm still smiling. That's what good friends are for.

Thanks, "B.B." You did that for me. This one is for you:

(I didn't cuss!)


Peace
--Free

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Hibernatintg and Healing

Some sweet folks over at G+ made me smile hard with a video the other day. (Thank you, Mr & Mrs H.) I guess I have dropped out of site in a way.

Every now and then, I need to stop, drop and roll. Roll into myself, that is.

I tend to be a bit manic. My thoughts run at warp speed and my emotions cycle even faster. When I was in my early twenties, my mother would worry about me. At the end of a bad day at work, she'd ask, "Does you body hum when you lay it down at night?"

Yes, sometimes it does. For the past couple of weeks, it has. When I get like this, I live up to my birth sign and go all crab-like. In the past, I've totally withdrawn from people and situations. That strategy has caused me a lot of heartache, so I had to learn to be wiser with it.

In my maturity, I withdraw, but I do it with a lot of thought and a purpose - and, most important, I don't succumb to it. I think of it as hibernating to heal. When I need healing, I turn to either family or God. Family is all right for surface wounds, but for the hurting that goes all through me, I need God.

This time I need God.

I am listening to * and reading one of my favorite Psalms. I'm staying very still and quiet, trying not to break into a useless mess of tears and despair. God is the only One who is going to hold me together.

Thanks to +J.D. Hughes +Marla Hughes and +Sandy Sandmeyer  +Julia Hawkins for their love.

Peace
--Free

* I don't know if the Christian Post knows what a blessing that entire resource is.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Get Fit or Sprain Something Trying

There are pros and cons to every aspect of my life. I have a Love/Hate list that would wear out Gutenberg's press. For example:

LOVE all the modern medicine that likely saved my life/HATE that *&#%ing prednisone that made me look like I was pregnant with whole world.

  • LOVE my cellphone/HATE the bill.
  • LOVE television for the entertainment/HATE that it sucks time into a vacuum of nevermore-land.
  • LOVE the internet for all the easily accessible information/HATE it for the same reasons I hate my cellphone and television.
  • LOVE all the nifty apps I can download to my phone and tablet/HATE that they kill all my excuses for being lazy, late, unmotivated and responsible.

See what I mean?

Phone and tablet apps have been an addiction of mine for a couple years. I used the games when I was too fat and sick to roll over and find the television remote. When I got better and needed to exercise my brain muscles, I still used the games - I just had a better excuse for wasting all that time. Now that I am SO much better (thank God and my most excellent doctors), I am using apps to help me stay off cigarettes and get my body back into shape.

So... this fitness thing...

I found an amazing set of apps ** to use for my regular exercise routine. LOVE these, really I do. Of course, with LOVE, HATE follows.

  • LOVE that I can adjust the time and intensity of the workouts.
  • LOVE that I can carry the app around (via my tablet) anywhere.
  • LOVE that I made it through most of the routines my first time out.
  • LOVE that I might actually feel healthier and more fit in a month or so.

So, you are maybe thinking, what is there to hate? Well, go get yourself some popcorn, take a seat and get comfy:

  • HATE that I had to use the shortest time and lowest intensity and still dang near died of a leg cramp halfway through the first routine.
  • HATE that the chick leading the workouts has short legs and can lunge easy. (I have long legs and it's my story that the longer the legs, the more difficult the lunge.)
  • HATE that I had to skip a couple of the exercises because my body started talking to me like a lover at the end of an argument. ("Really? You are going to push me like this? After all we've been through? I thought you loved me, cared for me.... Come, let us go have some cheesecake and talk things over.")
  • HATE that I have to do at least two weeks of this before I stop aching for hours after every workout.
  • HATE that I'm not 25 again, with a body that just snaps back from a setback.

~sigh~

Yeah, I grouse a lot, but I really do love that I live in a time when I got to see all this cool medicine and technology. It is, after all, saving my life. Nothing to hate there.

Peace
--Free

** Disclaimer: I am not compensated in any way by the producers of these apps. I would like to be, but...

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Thousand Years & Lots of Tears


Did you spend all your life waiting for someone? Did you not know them when they were right there? Did you regret that? Do you dream of another chance?

If you ever get the one you waited for, don't let them go, no matter how scared you get. You might not get a chance to have them again.

Yeah. I am in one of those moods tonight. Time for a good tearjerker of a song.



Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone?
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more

I'm going to bed. I just can't stand being sad for myself any more tonight. +Julia Hawkins knows what I mean. Hope she is saying a prayer for me.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Let's Start A Trend

(Day 45 of being smoke free. I have one complaint: No one warned me that quitting smoking might supply so much more oxygen to my brain that I'd think deeply about almost every aspect of life.) 

On to the post:

I was reading some of the trashy "news" I love (judge my honesty, I don't care) when one sentence in the sidebar made me pause.

"We don't remember what's it's like to be normal kids." That was from a member of a family of celeb-realities. (I'm not sure what to call them since they don't sing, dance or act. They are famous for the reality of their life, so ~shrug~)

Isn't that sad? Not that this one person feels this way, but that there are so many kids -even "regular" kids - who feel the same. It's such a trend to have kids grow up real fast. They are pushed (or allowed) to be "grown" so fast that some of them end up confused and bewildered, a danger to themselves or the rest of us.

Being an adult is no picnic so I'm not sure why anyone's in a hurry to get there. But growing up fast is a trend.

Another trend I don't like: People thinking it's okay to be rude. Matter of fact, some time back, "rude" got a new labels: Aggressive, Bold, Forceful... All these make being rude sound like a desired trait.

If I ruled the world (or at least had enough influence), here are trends I'd like to see started:

  • Kids being kids - making mud-pies, playing Tag, having giggly sleepovers, getting their non-designer clothes dirty from playing outside.
  • Adults being teammates when it comes to raising kids. You keep an eye out for mine, I do the same for you, and we tattle to each other like 5-year olds.
  • Schools teaching kids how to read (not why they read, just how); how to add, subtract, multiply and divide; how to think critically - so they can form an opinion of their own from knowledge they pursued on their own.
  • Adults who teach their kids how to use their time wisely. Why aren't children being trained to use some time for entertainment and pleasure, some for thinking and learning, some for doing and earning? 
  • Women enjoying being women without destroying each other. 
  • Men enjoying being men without destroying each other.
  • People being happy for those who do well in life while feeling compassion for those who are going through hard times.
  • People unafraid to keep the details of their sex lives private. No public announcements needed.
  • Food, exercise and socializing being what they are for without becoming industries.
Am I delusional for  believing that things can get back to being simple? Everything that's gotten complicated  was simpler at some point. Can't we run this trend train in reverse?

Just saying.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Your Life, Your Choices

A friend of mine is back out there in the Singles' scene. Poor thing. I could just weep for her. Not only is she single, but she is over 40 and never been married before. Oh, and she has a child. None of these are the reasons I worry for her. I worry because she is a avid reader who, at weak moments in her life, nests in the Self-Help sections of bookstores.

If you are, or have been, human in the last fifteen years, someone has written a book, app, or diagram telling you how to go about your life. It's as if we are all so stupid that we need to be told "How To" do anything. How to: date, have babies, get a job, be happy, be assertive, wipe our butts... And if you are single for any reason at all, there are more of those How-To's are in a specialty section just for you.

What the heck happened to common sense? Or getting advice from the people who actually love and know you?

I think I have figured out that life was never that complicated until someone decided to write books about every aspect of it. If you think I am joking about the money being made on our insecurities, just look at what I can dig up on dating in a few minutes while writing this post:

Oh No He Didn't (This book is from an attorney. What does that say about love and romance?)

Women's Guide to Men (Really? What'd the author do to get wiser than God, build men?)

AlphaDog, The Book (I'm scared to think that the women who wrote this want men to thinks of themselves as alpha dogs. I wouldn't want a guy to write one on being a SuperBit*h...)

This advice site has a catchy name. Maybe that's why I don't want to be mad that there is such a place as the Relationship Gym. ~sigh~ Really? Seriously.

Now, I got my ass verbally bullied on GPlus the other day by a rabid Beyonce fanatic; I can't imagine what's going to happen after this post. Actually, I can imagine: I'll get an email telling me that maybe if I took some dating advice my lonely self I might not be such a judgmental bit*h. (By the way & all off-subject: This no-cursing thing is not working out for me too well.)

It only took me just a few minutes to find those helpful books and such. And that's just from a search on dating advice. I'm too scared to look up anything else. I mean, I really might find something on butt-wiping.

What ever happened to just living life the best you know how? I guess that went out the window when our role models stopped being people we could observe up close and personal. When you admire someone like a pop-singer or reality show "star" so much that you will act like a five year old to defend them, it doesn't say much for your own confidence or maturity.

A conversation with someone else I know the other day was eye-opening. He doesn't date anymore. Doesn't want the drama and likes the idea of just being peaceful and comfortable. I can get down with that. It's a fantasy of mine - except I want it to be with someone. How sad is it that there are so few people out there to meet who want the same thing and who act as if they do?

I truly am starting to believe that the only good advice is stuff that's been around forever: Live your life the way you want, as long as you don't hurt anyone else. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Live decently, make honest mistakes, learn from honorable people, grow in peace. It's okay to be confused when we are young and learning, but no one should be stuck at ten when they are years past that age.

Anyway...

My girlfriend told me that she is going to look for someone who can fall in love with the best that she is while accepting the worst. Now, that sounds like good advice to me.

Peace
--Free

A Flash of Feel Good (#Quickie)

Day 44 of my smoke-free lifestyle. Feels good. This is what my insomniac self is listening to (at 4:14 a.m.):

Peace
--Free

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Rich Shopper, Broke Shopper

My roommate and I love to shop, but we have different shopping styles. The real shoppers out there know what I mean when I say that. There are distinct types of shoppers (and several more sub-types). The two types of shoppers who fascinate me the most are the ones who browse and the ones who buy without blinking.

The Browser is the shopper who practice that form of first-world torture called "Window Shopping." Unless you're in the market for windows, that's stupid anyway. Who the heck ever came up with the idea of just browsing is one sick son of a you-know-what. (I gave up smoking. Trying to lose the cursing.) For someone like me, browsing in, say, Walmart, would be like a lonely sex addict hanging out in The Pleasure Palace Adult Toy Store. Impossible.

I don't even like to talk about Browsers. They make me feel inadequate. They make me feel like I should be able to do what they do without being medicated and trussed up like Hannibal Lecter.

Moving along.

The shoppers I envy are those who can buy without blinking. I think of them as the Bored Who Can Afford.

I rarely hang where I can observe the super-wealthy, but I've had moments. This shopper is easy to spot. Look for the person who doesn't blink, swallow, or shudder really hard, when they see a ridiculously high priced common item.

When living in Arizona, I once wandered into a Williams Sonoma store by accident. (It was an accident because I never should have been anywhere near the Scottsdale Fashion Square. Let me quit playing - I shouldn't have been in Scottsdale, period.) As soon as I walked into the store, I knew I was like Pretty Woman wandering into a Chanel boutique. But my pride made me resist running and screaming back to a Walmart in my part of town. I decided to make a casual cruise-through and then just sort of saunter out of the place before an employee offered to help me find something. I almost made it out of there without embarrassing myself, but then...

~sigh~

Have you ever seen one of those food graters that have multiple attachments? I have (because I watch a lot of cooking shows). Barefoot Contessa be damned, I have no need for a grater that does more than the $3.25 one I use for cheese (okay - and for reaching things in the back of my spice cabinet), but I saw one at Williams Sonoma that looked pretty cool. Another lady stopped to look at the same item. She smelled like new leather and good perfume. She smiled at me (acceptance). I smiled back and, caught up in the moment, lost my mind for a minute and forgot exactly where I was. When I reached up and flipped over the price tag the grater which looked a lot like this,

Does it grate Cheddar into "chedda"?

I almost had what my mother would call a "conniption fit." That #$%# thing cost over one hundred and twenty dollars.

I swallowed my gum. Ms. New Leather didn't even look toward the price tag, but she smiled at me again and picked up two of the graters before she strolled away. The heifer did it just to put me in my place. I know she did. Rich people...

Call me a hater if you want, but giving more than ten bucks - maybe twenty - for a small kitchen tool is just snooty. But that's how the rich can do it. I bet New Leather has never even used her graters. She probably has a private sous chef and cook. And I can't even curse about it. $%#%*!

The other day, the roomie and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. This is a big deal because I almost never go there. For one thing, I want every single item in the store. For another thing, I'd have to take out a small loan to afford some of the stuff they sell. Nevertheless, I needed a set of those Magic Hangers that have been on my Wish List for a minute. I say I need the hangers because that's the truth. Number One, I have a small closet and clothes in at least 3 different sizes. Number Two, I am a woman. I guess Number Two kind of explains it all, right? Anyway, Magic Hangers really do maximize the use of a closet.

Understand that I am a frugal sort of person. The difference between "frugal" and "cheap" is that a frugal person goes for quality and best price while a cheap person will buy condoms from a Dollar Store.

My roommate is a spendthrift. The woman shops like she's Oprah. She will spend her last dime today without giving a damn about the gas money she needs tomorrow.

We get to B.B.B. and I go off-course only once. There is a sale on bath sheets and I have been dying for some new ones since I left the old ones with the ex. I get ONE bath sheet and then go straight to the Magic Hangers. In the end, I left the store with the towel, the hangers and a couple of .99 cent candles. I was so proud of myself. I pretty much felt like this:

"Can't touch this, baby!"

My roommate? ~another sigh~ I have no idea what all she bought, but I heard the clerk giving her total as a high seventy-something. What the heck? I was the one going for hangers. She was only going along to keep me company!

I didn't want to ask her what she bought, but I felt bad for her when we got home. I saw her sitting in the living room, looking from her receipt to her wallet. Her face looked something like:

"Wha? Huh?"

That evening, she asked me to stay with her in any store at all times. I have best friend orders to pimp-slap her if she buys anything that looks unnecessary. I told her to do what I do: pile your cart as high as you want - as long as, before you get to check-out, you put back everything you don't need or can't afford.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, February 02, 2013

What Will I Have Left?

So....

As everyone who has read this blog in the last month or two knows, I have quit smoking. (Day 41 9 hours, 8 minutes. I've given up counting the seconds so I must be getting better.) Giving up cigarettes was easy compared to my next inhuman feat: I am giving up ~sigh, gasp and clutch my freaking pearls~ cursing.

Do you know how hard this is gonna be for me? Cursing was my second language. It was my poetry.

Ask me why I am trying to be cleaner with my vocabulary and I can spit out a dozen reasons (I'm more mature, I'm better than bad language, it's not ladylike, I'm Christian, and on and on), but the real reason?

He walks. He talks. He COPIES everything I do.
Yep. It's all because of that little kid there.

I adore him. Everything he does is a wonder to me. No matter what is going on or what he's getting into, if I do just a couple notes of a song, he starts smiling and bopping his head. He's a huge piece of my heart. And in the past few weeks, he has started watching every word coming from between my lips.

The other day, I was visiting with my niece and sister and we all sat around my sister's room, chatting and looking over some recipe books. Baby D.J. was back and forth, going from my sister's room and down the hall to his mom and dad's room. No worries, he's gated in from the stairs and he's got his puppy to play with. It was a very "family" kind of scene - all quiet and cozy (and quiet is rare for us). I was at peace with the world until we heard D.J. talking to his puppy.

"Shit, Sadow!"

("Sadow" is really "Shadow," the little lab mix puppy.)

We ladies went dead silent and waited to see if we had heard D.J. right.

"SHIT! SHIT! No, Sadow, SHIT!"

Right. Now, I don't think it's fair that my sister and my niece were suddenly looking at me like I was the one who farted in church. It's not like they never use a curse word...

But, okay, okay. I am woman enough to admit that I have had, on occasion, a bit of a potty-mouth. But, understand this, I am not a half-stepping kind of chick. When I love, I love hard. If I am mad, I'm boiling. When I curse... Well, let's just say, I don't mess around with the playground type of language. I get down and dirty. Am I proud of that? I used to be, yeah. I have 4 brothers and, for years, I worked around a bunch of mean and stressed out men - not my brothers. I can run rough with the big boys when it comes to "cussing." If D.J. had picked up a word or two from me, it wasn't going to be something found in the Bible - like "ass" or "damn." The ess-aitch-i-tee word is not a whopping big deal, right?

Still, I had Mother Theresa and the Queen of England looking at me like I'd better go handle the situation. As if I can make a baby understand bad words when he can't even say five "good" ones... But I decided to try.

When I got to the hallway and saw D.J. pointing his finger at the dog and tapping him on the head, it dawned on me what was really going on.

"Shit, Sadow."

I reported back to the Inquisition panel.

"He's trying to make Shadow sit," I told them before we all fell out laughing. I just about wet myself.

Still. That episode gave me something to think about. This little kid loves me and, for the time being, he thinks I'm fabulous. He's pretty amazing to me and I have a responsibility to be a good example to him. He already knows about love - because we show him every day what that is. He knows not to spit and hit. We are teaching him to count and give hugs and feel empathy. The only thing I don't want him to learn from me is how to curse. At least, not before he learns how to pray for someone.

So, yeah. No more cursing for "YaYa Tru." Damnit. (Give me a little break. This is only Day 4.) I think I will learn sign language. Can you curse in sign language?

Peace
--Free


Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6

"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, February 01, 2013

Cleanup On Aisle Four!

So. I woke myself up laughing this morning. Dreamed about going back to work. I'm so excited at the prospect, I don't know what to do with myself. That said, I am having serious jitters just thinking about....~drumroll~... The Hunt. You know, the job hunt.

It's a well-known fact that looking for employment is the worst part of working. How ironic that I last worked in an unemployment call center. I could actually get back on that job but I don't know if I can handle the stress that I could post-sarc. Previously, a call with a cranky claimant would go something like this:

Them: "So, I'd have been better off to get fired from my job instead of quitting?"

Me: "Well, I don't know about better off, but since you did quit - without allowed reason - you are subject to a waiting period."

Them: "So you're saying I should have just bitch-slapped my supervisor instead of restraining myself long enough to tell her I needed to resign before I had to go to jail for her smack-down?"

Me: (Marveling at that long recitation without a breath being taken.) "Um, sir, I'm pretty sure it's not a good idea to slap or smack down anyone you work for. I'm just informing you of your wait-period."

Them: "No, I get it. You can't come out and say it, but you are letting me read between the lines. Why else would you tell me that I have to six weeks JUST BECAUSE I QUIT THE LOUSY JOB???"

Me: "Sir, if you'd like to take a moment and calm yourself, I will explain the next steps you need to take  in filing your claim."

That was the old, nothing-ruffles-me me. Yeah. Well, I don't know if it's the sarc or if it's the fact that I haven't had a cigarette in FOREVER (or 40 days), but I know that I just would not be that nice this time around. The conversation now would go more like this:

Them: "So you're saying I should have just bitch-slapped my supervisor instead of restraining myself long enough to tell her I needed to resign before I had to go to jail for her smack-down?"

Me: (Taking a deep breath and restraining myself so I don't go too far and get fired.) "I'm saying that I'm going to come and bitch-slap you unless you shut up and let me get your claim filed before I have to leave here today. I am just not in a freaking mood for any bullshit. Okay? Okay."

Hmph. These days I can itali-talk with the crankiest of them.

That might not go over too well, so I have been envisioning interviews for other types of employment.

Since I love to shop (even on a tight budget), it's occurred to me that I should go into retail. Like, say at,  I don't know... Walmart. But then, I thought that even though I have to survive on a dime for now, I'm too uppity to work anywhere less bourgeois than maybe... Nordstrom? Now, that is a real wanna-be central. The only problem there is, I also hate the types of people who shop at Nordstrom - including myself whenever I do shop there. Ever notice how a perfectly nice, normal person walks into Nordstrom and, all of a sudden, their nose tips up just a notch and they start acting like they have their own reality show? Yeech! Not for me.

My other option is to do something in the field of job training. I did it for a big company for five years and I was damn good. (It's a true story that I once taught a Polish man - who spoke very little English -how to classify imports. If you think that's easy, try miming your way through your job for a few weeks.) Of course, I might end up validating that old stereotype of those-who-can't-do... On the other hand, that's one job, outside of acting, that approves of cue cards...

I do know that, when jumping into the job pool, I have always managed to land on my feet. Don't be surprised if you see me directing aisle traffic at Walmart. I think I could convince them that they need someone for that.

I don't know. The possibilities are endless (and that's the scariest part) and my hopes are high. I will just go on my searches with something in mind that one of my brothers taught me: When interviewing for a job, act like you might not really need one.

Peace
--Free