Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mantra



Have you ever had something keep popping up over and over in your life? A certain song, a certain saying, a certain - anything? I have as of late, and it's been the phrase, which I'm now making my mantra, "Let Go". It started off a few weeks ago as a simple magnet that told me, "Let go or be dragged" so I dumped the guy I was dating. He wasn't the right fit (to say the least) and I didn't want to drag a one-sided relationship into the new year. 

After that, I saw (and loved) the Disney movie, "Frozen" and fell in love with the song, "Let it Go". So I did just that. I let the anger I had been hanging onto, go. I gave forgiveness and just, "let it go". 

The next day I heard someone on TV say to "let go", so I did it again. I let go of over 8 inches of hair in order to start the new year off with a fresh look. And now, with this phrase stuck in my head, I plan on continuing to "let go". I refuse to take any unwanted 2013 baggage with me into the new year. Yep, this girl is UNPACKING IT! After all, this sh*t gets heavy! 

2014 is a year of invention with new things to be birthed, and reincarnation of good things past brought back to life. What will you unpack tomorrow as the clock strikes midnight? What will you let go of?


Let It Go

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen.
The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside.
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried.

Don't let them in, don't let them see,
Be the good girl you always had to be.
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know.
Well now they know.

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all.
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe.
I know I left a life behind but I'm too relieved to grieve.

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

Standing frozen
In the life I've chosen.
You won't find me.
The past is all behind me
Buried in the snow.

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I'll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway, yeah, whoa
Let it go
Na, na, here I stand, let it go, let it go, oh
Let it go

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Z is for Eventually

I'd love to backdate this post to April 30th, 2013 as it should have been the last post in the April, 26-day, "A-Z Blog Challenge", but I will let it stand "as is" with the current date of December 29th, 2013. I'm allowing this post serve as a testament to the fact that things are never really over until you totally give up. Nothing is done until you actually quit.

While I never finished the challenge in the recommended time frame, I realize that I never quit on the challenge or blogging in general. Ideas for blogging have popped in and out of my head since April, and the fact is, it's still not too late to finish what I started. Afterall, I'm not dead yet.

I could go on and ask myself, and you my readers, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we give up on things - diets, exercise, life changes, or any various New Year's resolution that we've made for that matter, but I'd rather focus on finishing instead. I don't know that any one of us will ever know the "whys" - too busy, too tired, too lazy, life got in the way - but I won't spend another sentence thinking (or blogging) about that.

With another New Year's Eve upon us, I am finishing this April 2013 challenge in a zen like state (hey, that's a "Z" word!) so I can move on to new blogging and life challenges. I am putting to rest the nagging feeling of incompleteness and considering this 8 month old challenge, COMPLETED.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yesterday

Yesterday I participated in a 5K race. I walked 98% of it. I enjoyed my 2% jog, but really miss jogging over all. My finish time, personally, was horrendous. But, I did it. I enjoyed the neighborhood and the gorgeous weather that surrounded me, and most importantly the fact that I crossed the finish line. Injuries may limit how you do something, but not what you can do.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xcited

Ok, I'm cheating on the "X" word and post for the day, but I have to share why I'm so "xcited"! I met the original Catwoman, Julie Newmar today! She is beyond kind, and still so very "statuesque", even as she is nearing the age of 80!

During the recently attended comic convention, she had to leave for another brief appearance and felt so badly about it that she came and talked to each one of us remaining in line and apologized. Even though I felt the apology was unnecessary, I was amazed at her level of gratitude for her fans. Upon her return, she offered us all "Catwoman Cookies" and again, apologized and thanked us for waiting on her as we met her one on one. She felt no need to rush us, and allowed her fans to talk and ask questions for as long as we liked. She is really one classy cat! Meow!


Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wine

I am so happy to have started a new tradition with my bestie - whine and wine Fridays! We get together to whine about our week and enjoy trying out new wines! It's one of the best ways I've found to reconnect and unwind! What kind of traditions do you have with your friends? What do you do to un-whine?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Victory

This week has finally brought on a sense and feeling of victory over (parts of) my new job. I won't lie, it's been a struggle to come up to speed and battle the learning curves that come with new responsibilities, but I am starting to feel accomplished! And I love it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unrequited

A gentleman gave me his phone number today.
The desire to use it is unrequited.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Tuesday

Tuesday pretty much gets the shaft if you think about it, but it could be worse. Tuesday could be Monday, and we all know nobody likes Monday. Think about it, everyone loathes Monday for the return to the work week that comes with it, but most people over look Tuesday all together. We rush to recognize that Wednesday finds us half way through the work week and is often celebrated as "hump day". Thursday is Friday eve, and well Friday is pretty much the most celebrated day of the week."TGIF!" people exclaim, but nobody ever says, "TGIT". Poor Tuesday. I won't even mention how happy we all are to enjoy Saturday and Sunday.

Is Tuesday really that unrecognizable? Maybe I'll start a movement to make Tuesday a bit more celebrated. Thoughtful Tuesday? Tasty Tuesday? Terrific Tuesday? Good things come on Tuesdays, don't they? What will you do next Tuesday to make it a great one? What can you share with others to make the second day of the work week a bit more memorable for your co-workers or friends?


Make Tuesday count! It's 24 hours of your life that you won't get back, so don't overlook it. Make it more than just tolerable, make it terrific!

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sorry

There's a saying, "Better to be safe than sorry", but when it comes to the bigger things in life, is that really true? Is it better to stay safe in the comfort of something you may be luke-warm happy about, versus maybe having to be sorry for a decision to change later?

Sure you might offend some people with your new habit, you may leave others behind in search of a new job or new place to live in, but wouldn't you rather say "sorry" to those you might offend and leave behind, then live in complacency and be "safe"?

Sure I'll look both ways before crossing a street, I mean, in some cases it's absolutely imperative to be safe, but being safe shouldn't dictate every aspect of your life. You only live once, and are allowed a few mistakes (if that's what they end up being). Take a risk, stay up too late while enjoying a night out, eat too much but thoroughly enjoy what it is your consuming, and love too much and never look back.

It's time to fill out that job application, explore a new city, try a new hobby or whatever the case may be for you! Let's throw caution to the wind and be sorry now, and safe later! Dare to leave the comforts of what you have, for the dreams you long for. Go out there and get reckless, have something worth being sorry for. Take the leap, apologize if you must, and keep moving forward. Amen!





 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Responsible

Responsible: 1) Having an obligation to do something as part of a job or role.
2) Being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it.

Sometimes I hate being responsible. I dislike paying my bills, and hate doing laundry. And I really don't like being the "oldest" person in the group; meaning, being forced to be the responsible one in any given group of people. Sometimes I just want to be the "goof off" who doesn't have to think, plan, or be responsible for anything. If only I could train my cat to do laundry and use the internet to pay bills (damn useless cute animal).

Response-Ability:1) The ability to respond and take power over any circumstance.

But what happens when you take that not so fun word "responsible", and change it up just a bit? I like, "response-ability", or "the ability to respond" much better. I don't want to be the cause or "blame" of something or to be obligated. Rather, I prefer to take power over my ability to respond to the things in my life, like the bills that come in the mail.

Maybe this is just more optimistic rambling and mere technicalities of grammar, but think about it. Think about all the people who don't have the ability to respond. Their voices may have been quieted with age or their bodies may be worn away by time; but I still have the ability to respond both physically and mentally to any given situation, good or bad, and that my friends shouldn't be taken for granted. So let's get out there today and see what we are able to respond to! Go ahead, take a positive stab at life and all the responsibilities it holds for you! Respond positively and exercise your abilities!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quiet

In the hustle and bustle of your busy day, where do you seek out quiet? Do you sneak away for a lunch break? Do you wait until you're home to relax and unwind? Do you wait for the weekend to come in order to sneak away for some down time? I'm not always good at making "down time" a priority, but I'm learning to make the most of the times when I am down.

I've begun to (or at least am trying to) appreciate the rush hour traffic when I'm stuck in my car. I turn off the radio, relax and resign myself to the fact that I cannot change my situation or make the traffic move faster. It sucks, yep. And when I really have somewhere I consider important to go, I get majorly pissed and can be seen flailing about in my car yelling at the traffic gremlins who have obviously caused the delays on the road (yes, I am THAT person). But over all, I realize that getting upset and yelling doesn't get me anywhere. I'm still in my car, and I'm still inching along. With this, I also try not to be that person who doesn't let people into my lane or "give" when I consider what other drivers are doing to be idiotic. In general, I am working on being a more "zen" like driver. I can't control how long I'm stuck in my car, but I can control my attitude about it. I'm a work in progress of course, but quieting the radio, quieting my brain, and quieting my heart seems to be working  and helping make rush hour traffic, well, not so bad.

Where do you seek your quiet time? Is it the obvious peaceful places? Or could you get better at making quiet time in those stressful meetings, rush hour traffic and horrible doctor's appointments?  Take the time to find quiet in everything that you can, whether it's a good or bad environment. Make the most of your time, you are the master of your quiet and quiet doesn't have to be in the most peaceful of places. Quiet is in your brain after all. Use it, and get quiet.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pouring

It's pouring in Chicago, and even flooding. I figure, you can either bitch and complain about the crappy weather for yet another day, or, you can say we're one day closer to Summer. Based on my last post, I'm sure you already know what I'm thinking. Sing on my friends, sing on!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Optimist


I'm a realist, I don't have my head in the clouds or believe in rainbows and unicorns. Ok, well maybe I do look for rainbows on occasion and do tend to watch the clouds roll by on a sunny day. But, my point is, that I am a realistic optimist. Just because I look for the best in life and bad situations, doesn't mean I avoid reality (well, except when I'm indulging in an episode of some Kardashian show). So, don't knock us optimists. We're not idiots who don't know what's going on in the world, we see the bad things. We just choose to focus on the good things. Give it a try!
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Negative

I am trying to fight my way out of a very negative mood which was induced by a very nasty navigational issue (traffic nightmare) on my way home last night. Long story short, despite giving myself two hours of travel time, I ended up missing an appointment that should have taken only 46 minutes to get to. Yep, I had the pleasure of experiencing a three hour back log in traffic for no apparent reason! So, because I have nothing nice to say today, I won't say anything at all... Except, here's a nice, big fat negative (picture) for you! 


Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Meet Me on Monday

I've been struggling with an "M" post for the past three days! After having written two separate posts (and deleting two separate posts) I remembered something from my old blog, the "Meet Me On Monday" activity! Quadruple win - Meet, Me, Monday, and the subject is all about Mother's Day! Woo-whooo!!!

1.  For Mother's Day I will probably...Take my mom out to dinner and a movie - or something of the sort.

2.  What is your favorite dish that your Mom makes?A bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip, with the crusts cut off, cut on the diagonal. (Ahh, childhood!)

3.  Who are you a "Mom" too? Tird the Cat and he's a hand full! Of course, there are days I feel like a mother to many of my co-workers as well...but don't tell them that!

4.  What did you have for Mother's Day dinner?To be determined, but I'm betting my mother will have some type of lobster dish...

5.  What is your fondest memory of your Mom?I think going to a Cubs game, and exploring the city with her...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Language

Growing up I was surrounded by baseball. My mom played softball, and my grandfather spoke of the good ol' days of Stan Musial, the Babe and days of yore when he himself was young, and once rounded the bases. Many a summer day at my grandparent's house I was subjected to not only watching the locally broad casted game, but to listening (in unison) to a live broadcast on the radio of some out of state game. To this day, I don't know how he kept each game straight in his head, but he did. While I couldn't appreciate then, the nostalgia that I long for now, I've come to love baseball. Especially the Cubs. Especially Wrigley Field. Especially the story of the "greats".

Tonight I went to see the movie, 42. the Jackie Robinson story. It was amazing. It was funny. Most of all it was inspiring and heartfelt. A true, feel good movie. But before the movie began, I was already transported to a day of yesteryear. Outside the theater, I paused to take a photo of the movie poster, and a stranger approached and stated proudly, "I met him.". I looked in surprise as if to question, "You talkin' to me?" and he repeated, "I met him". Yes, he was talking to me. I replied something lame like, "Oh yeah?" and he began to tell his story. He met Mr. Robinson as a young child, and oh how he wished he had gotten a photo. As I listened to him, I began to think, "this man speaks baseball". And that's where this post began.

This man was relating to a complete stranger by a common thread, a theme, a story line -Jackie Robinson and baseball, a childhood hero, and an American past time. IT was a language of ease and love. A language of a simpler time when people played a sport for love not money. And for that, players became heroes. As he spoke, I began to think and wonder, what other languages do people speak? And more so, what languages do I speak?


Of course I speak English, I dabble in American Sign Language and Spanish, I butcher the language of cat, but easily understand dog. I pray I leave this planet with others being able to say that I spoke kindness, optimism, fairness, love and inspiration - but I'm a work in progress and sadly, there is no version of Rosetta Stone for any of those languages. I do know there are languages that I need to stop speaking, like that of self criticism, gossip and negativity. As I continue to examine my own multi-lingual talents, I started analyzing the linguistic talents of those around me.

I've come to realize that some people from different upbringings and different times but not necessarily different cultures, speak languages of lies and insults, criticisms and jealousy. When encountered, those languages hurt me far worse than any "naughty" words that could be spoken. But the good thing is, I've learned to focus on the more beautiful languages that surround me, the multiple languages spoken by friends. Below are translations of the languages I hear from the special people in my life. 


My New Yorker friend speaks a beautiful language of music and inspiration. Simply hearing his talented voice is breathtaking, and his words are filled with such enthusiasm you can't help but get excited about life, or whatever the subject might be that he is talking about. Next there is my Jersey Girl who speaks a no nonsense language, fueled with chutzpah, passion and honesty with an old world charm. I also have a Zen buddy who is my Yoda and despite the amount of adversity she is met with, can speak calm. I don't know if it's her Yoga practice, her faith, or singing, but she can always close a conversation with wisdom, and a sense of serene resolution. Then there is my Logical friend.
Logic Woman listens with her heart, and limits the amount of "fluff" that comes out of her mouth. Don't get me wrong, Logic Woman is compassionate and kind, but will always help me put my pity party and emotions aside, in order to look at the world and my problems with a sense of logic and realistic solutions. Logic Woman melds a perfectly sensitive response with effective advice. Last but not least is my peace and quiet friend. My PQF quietly invites me to share her space, share her time, and share my problems. No matter what language I spew my words in, PQF listens calmly. I find PQF's quietness is just as profound of a language as her spoken words and I appreciate that more than I can express.

All of the languages I surround myself help improve me in some way. They help me see the beauty in life, face reality, relax, find inner peace and simply put, make me a better me. What languages do your friends speak? Have you thought about the words and attitudes that you surround yourself with, and how they impact you? What languages are you hearing? And more importantly, what language are you speaking?

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kooky!

I meet the weirdest people. Ok, maybe it’s not the people that are weird, versus the stories they choose to share with me? None the less, my friends can testify (and you know who you are) that random people will come up to me, and tell me very random life stories.

Last night I indulged in a bit of pampering and decided to get a hair cut, followed up with a manicure and pedicure. I had never been to this particular salon (for the mani-pedi) but it was close to the hair parlor, so I thought, “What the heck?” and went in. I was quickly seated in a spa chair and submerged my feet in the tub of warm water and my brain into my Smart Phone.  Realizing, as I switched from my now finished pedicure to the beginning of my manicure that I had all but ignored my technician, I put away my phone and began attempting small conversation in efforts to show her that I really could be a “people person”. And here’s where the story gets kooky.

Somehow the topic of family came up and I responded that I was not married. At first I was relieved to what hear I considered Zen-like wisdom from my girl Ivy, stating that I shouldn’t look for love, but that it will find me. Followed up with, "the right person will make your heart beat faster and that you will “just know” when you meet “the one”". Next, she inquired about my preferences. Do I travel, do I like wine, did I want kids, am I open minded, etc. I thought for the most part these questions were pretty harmless until she asked me if I had any immediate travel plans. I stated my upcoming travels included California and South Carolina. Immediately her eyes lit up and she quickly cut me off to say that I “must go to Charlotte!”.  I gave her a puzzled look as she wrote down a name of a male (I can’t say whether he’s a gentleman or not as I’ve never met him) and said that I should contact him for a relationship. The icing on the cake is that this person is in his 60’s and “well established”. I inquisitively asked her how she knew this person, she grinned and did not respond.

Ok – kookville! First off, I don’t need a match maker (ok, maybe I do but I’ll start with e-harmony first!), and I surely don’t want to be set up by a stranger with a stranger! Additionally, I'm pretty certain that I don't want to date someone 25+ years my senior! I don’t care if this person could be part of the “Millionaire Matchmakers” club! And the fact that you, little Miss Matchmaker, won’t tell me how you know this person makes me afraid to know what it is you’ve done with him or for him. Kreepy!!! Should I be flattered that you think I am "good" enough to be matched up with your "well established", old "friend"? GROSS!!! I think I will try my luck in my own back yard first!

My mind continues to be intrigued by the krazyiness of last night's conversation, but trust me, I will not be “Facebooking” this individual or visiting this individual and I surely won’t be returning to the salon, either! I have to admit though, my nails look awesome in OPI’s Koala Berry polish!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Junior

Junior Mints... I'm addicted to them.
What's your candy fix?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Inspire

This is my second attempt at creating a post for the letter, "I". I started with the word "incredible" and didn't feel very inspired, so I decided to switch topics to the word, "inspire" hoping that it would inspire some good blogging. I'm not so sure that my methodolgy is working, but here goes.

Sometimes people say that I inspire them, and I have to giggle as I think, "If they knew the real me, they'd know better then to say that". I don't feel like I have my shit together any more then the next person, so how in the hell do I inspire anyone? I struggle day to day to find what inspires me, and more so, to get off my butt and go after what it is I want or want to do. I struggle to believe in myself. The fact is though, through my ups and downs, I never stop trying.

So how do I keep moving? What inspires me? A hard and grueling workout inspires me, running clears my brain and helps me live in the now (even if I don't get to do much of it these days). People who run marathons inspire me, people who simply try inspire me. I can't stand the, "I mights" and the, "Let me think about its" - just commit and do it! Dick Hoyt (about the only positive thing one of my old directors at work introduced me to) inspires me. He is completing his 30th Boston Marathon this year!


Animals inspire me. The ability of an abused animal to overcome it's past pain and forgive, love and live in the moment inspires me. Training dogs and seeing the changes they can make inspires me to be a better human being, and reminds me that change is possible. Bonding with my zoo animal friends (even if the relationship is a one sided spectator sport), particularly the gorillas at Lincoln Park Zoo, allows me a break from humanity and to envision the world through their eyes. A world where tiffs are settled as quickly as they begin and grudges aren't held. A world where power abounds, but is never abused. Kowali and Kwan, yes gorillas, inspire me.

Nature inspires me. While walking outdoors, breathing in the fresh Spring air and listening to the birds sing I close my eyes often. I feel that if I can just some how absorb all of nature's beauty and light, that I can be as equally good, pure and calm. (Still working on this one)

Believing that great things will happen, and that happiness is right around the corner inspires me. Some people probably think I'm a ridiculous optimistic, and not realistic, but wouldn't you rather believe in the good things, then the crappy ones? I know that ugly things happen in this world, but they're surely not inspiring.
So what inspires you? What helps you live in the moment? What makes you happy? Do you lead an inspired life? If not, get to it and you might just inspire those around you!



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Hospital

I am not sure how the various spammers who frequent my email address found me, but I have made it a weekly ritual to "Select All" and "Delete" in order to empty my Spam folder of the nuisances.  To insure nothing important gets deleted with the masses, I do scan the soon-to-be trash for a familiar sender's name or an important sounding subject line. Today's point of interest was from "Edith", with the subject line of "…HOSPITAL". While I don't know an Edith, I allowed my mind to roam the vastness of my over active imagination and came to the conclusion that, "Maybe this is an older lady friend of my mom's who has no way of contacting me other then this email, and she's needing to report that something has happened to my mom…" (I have an awesome imagination by the way!) So, I open the email to see what could possibly be wrong with my mom. Ha!

Poor Edith's letter to me (and how many others I wonder) opens with her stating that she is in a hospital in Trinidad dying of liver poisoning. She has no idea who might have done this to her, but she needs my help. Ok, okay…now I know I shouldn't read any further, but I indulge. Edith then tells me that she has $25 million dollars, and that her dying request is for me to reach out to her beloved butler, Wisdom, and give him 10% of the total cash that she is willing to give to me, as soon as I provide her my banking information.  

I immediately think, "What a composed lady!". I can just picture poor Edith being dragged from her home kicking and screaming, despite her acute illness, insisting that she be allowed to bring her bank book and statements, her address book and laptop along with her in the ambulance. I'm so thankful that Edith's emergency techs took such great care of her while in route to the hospital, and even made space for her extra belongings in the rig. I'm sure they easily moved their life saving supplies and equipment around to insure Edith's peace of mind during what was probably the last ride of her life.  

As the email continues, I wonder about Edith's beloved butler and think that her request to give him only 10% of the 25 million she's offering to me isn't really fair. Assuming she might be heavily medicated, I will be sure to slip him at least an extra 15% when she isn't looking. I know with a more clear mind, that is how she would have wanted it. I can just picture Wisdom, since he isn't helping Edith write this email to me, perusing the hospital gift shop searching for the most perfect bouquet of flowers or something equally as cheery to brighten Edith's last moments on Earth. "That Wisdom, dedicated 'til the end!" I think to myself.

Sadly I just don't understand how (I guess it's by God's grace alone) that  poor, withering Edith mustered the strength to wrestle the multitude of IV's from her arm and even the oxygen monitor that was probably stuck to her finger, in order to type out such a lengthy, detailed set of instructions for me. And with not a single type-o! I give it to this lady, despite being moments from death, she's got her act together! She is truly an inspiration and so selfless to share her wealth with the likes of me and her butler. Maybe, with my soon to be newly found income, I'll open up a charitable group to benefit great ladies like Edith!

In closing, let's all take a lesson from Edith. Just because you're moments from death, doesn't mean you have an excuse to give up and just lay there! Get active people!!! Tie up all of your loose ends before your passing, or even WHILE you're passing, so you don't burden anyone else with your unfinished tasks. Be sure to hire good help, and always, always give back to complete strangers.

Rest in peace, dear Edith. Rest in peace. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Good

Giggles with friends. Cute puppies. Ok, any puppy. Traveling. Accomplishing things. Anything. Especially those things you didn't know you could complete. Sunshine. The smell of rain. I said smell of rain, not actual rain. Unless you have someone who will play in it with you. York Peppermint Patties. York Peppermint Patties cooled to perfection in the refrigerator. Sushi. Hot sauce. Finding money in your coat pockets. Finding money, period. Cat purrs. Compliments. Good hair days. Birds chirping. Driving on an open road with the windows down, and the radio loud. Buzzing by the cop, driving on the open road, with the windows down, and the radio loud without getting a ticket. Spring breezes. Palm trees. Dreams. Dreams of palm trees. Breakfast burritos. Friends nicknamed, "...Burrito". Movies. Good movies. Good movies with friends. Sappy love stories. Books. E-books on my I-pad. Animals. The color purple. Flowers. Flowers for no reason. Chocolate cupcakes. New clothes. Good workouts. Manicures. Pedicures. Spa days. Cold ice water. Margaritas. Margaritas with friends. Pizza. Baseball. Cubs baseball. Wrigley Field. Hot dogs. Betty White. Family. Karma. The future. Life. Blogging.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Faith

I've been thinking about the "F" word quite a bit lately. Okay not that "F" word, the one in the subject line, you know, faith. Of course when faith is mentioned, it usually goes hand in hand with God and religion. And while I believe in God, and have faith that there is a bigger, universal plan for me beyond my comprehension, this isn't a post about religion. It's about faith.

Faith is believing what you can't see, and heaven knows that I can't see my future any more then you can. Despite not knowing how my life might turn out, I have to believe that it will be more than what it is today. I have faith that I will find the love of my life; my true my soul mate, that I will make a career out of what it is that I love (whatever that may be), and that life will be that bowl of cherries that everyone talks about.

Don't get my wrong, my life isn't bad now. I love my life, but hope and have faith that there is more in store for me. Currently, my life is pretty well rounded with family and friends, extra-curricular activities, sporting/race events, volunteering, dog training, and work. But I still long for more. I have faith that there will be more. What do you have faith in?

Besides life, I have faith in my friends and their ability to listen and to share both the good and bad times without judgements. I have faith in my ability to make a difference in people's lives whether I know it's happening or not. I have faith in my ability to change a life of a dog. I have faith that the things I say, and the people that I educate take a piece of my shared knowledge and a part of my smile with them. I have faith that I inspire and heal with my movie-quote advice and ability to make a fool of myself in order to make those around me laugh. I have faith that good things are right around the corner. I have faith that people will disappoint, and that people will lie but I also have faith in my ability to rebound and to be strong. I have faith that my cat will constantly find new ways to entertain me. I have faith in my goals and that they will be achieved, even if they take longer then I had hoped. I have faith that I will find that perfect pair of jeans that will make my butt look fabulous. I have faith that people are inherently good, and sometimes just need to be reminded of that. I have faith that life is what I wish for, and what I make of it. I have faith that spell check will make this post perfect, and that a good night's sleep is just a few clicks of the keyboard away.

Good night friends. Keep the faith and know that life will happen as you believe and manifest it to be. Amen. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Excited

I've booked my tickets and am going to San Diego in June! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dentist

I really need to suck it up and have my wisdom teeth removed, but I question the "why" behind it. It seems it's the standard to have our wisdom teeth removed whether they bother you or not as a course of "preventative maintenance", but why? No one, including multiple dentists that I've asked, can give me (what I consider) a solid reason behind the need for extraction.

After 35+ years, one of my wisdom teeth is giving me a problem, hence my consideration of removal, but seriously (of course now the teething pain has subsided) why am I pushed to remove "stuff" that seems fine (for the most part)? A
nyone out there who can offer some insight? Comments are appreciated.

Of course, after serious consideration of the removal of my wisdom teeth, I read the following article this morning. I didn't seek out the article, it just popped up in my news feed - is that a sign? I do know one thing, after reading it, I'll be sure to heavily inquire about the surgeon's methods and use of anesthesia when and if I make my appointment! Sheesh...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Cable

In efforts to safe money I've been reviewing my monthly bills to see where, if at all, I can cut back my spending. I constantly believe (and know) that I over pay for internet and cable through my local carrier compared to my usage of both services. I'm hardly ever home to watch TV, and since getting a Smart Phone barely use my home based wi-fi either. That being said, I started to shop around.

Earlier this year my cable company increased my bill by $11 due to "standard increases", and I called and protested (calmly). Not only did I get the increase reversed but I got an additional channel added to my basic package and updated internet speed. Fair enough (at that time) I thought. But still, I know over pay. So after comparing my current payments with that of competitor products, and truly being prepared to switch carriers, I called my cable company.

Upon receipt of my call, I calmly explained that, "I'm prepared to go with your competitor...here is their current rate...can you do anything to compete with their prices?". After much review of my account and long silence, the operator stated she could come down in price on my bill by about $16. While appreciated, it still was more than the competitor's offer so I asked, "Is that the best you can do?". Again I was met with a pause, hesitation, and more "review" of my account. Tara, the operator, then came back and stated she could deduct another $12 from my monthly rate and that was her final offer. $28 dollars of reductions later, I told her we had a deal.

Feeling victorious, I still maintain my free extra channel that is not included in my basic package, my higher rate of internet speed and am locked in to this discounted rate for 12 months (without having an actual contract). Due to just merely asking for reductions, I am saving a total of $39 per month on my cable and internet package. I smile as I sit and type this, and think, "Who knew you could haggle your way down to what you want to pay for cable?".

Yesterday I signed my lease extension agreement and edited the total monthly price on the contract in efforts to negate my property's proposed rent increase. Let the barter games begin!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Breakfast


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Lynn who hated breakfast. She didn't like any of the typical items one might eat for breakfast. She turned up her nose at eggs, and cereal and didn't really like toast either. There were few exceptions to these dislikes however. Once in a while, Lynn would pick out the marshmallow treats from her sister's box of Lucky Charms or engage in a bowl of Fruit Loops...

Lynn, that's me of course, has come a long way from the kid who requested (and usually received) bologna sandwiches or macaroni and cheese for breakfast instead of the traditional morning fare. 
I remember receiving numerous parental requests to try new foods served at the kitchen table. Typically I would indulge them in the matter, and even found some things that I actually liked. The items that I turned up my nose at were met with a reply similar to, "Wait 'til you're older, your taste buds will change.". "Right," I thought in disdain.

Somehow, somewhere over the past 30+ years, I've learned to eat breakfast. Today my palette is much more robust then that of the child who sat in the corner chair of the kitchen table but I admit, I
still don't enjoy things like cereals, oatmeal, and certain berries as part of my breakfast regime. My taste buds and I do however, enjoy a well balanced breakfast and even some other items that I swore off at the ripe age of probably 7. (Yes Mom, I now enjoy garbanzo beans and beets in my salads, and even roasted brusselsprouts - but I digress.)

My favorite breakfast items these days are wraps and Denver omelets. I'm not a big "carb" person where breakfast is concerned, and indulge in gluten free pancakes only once in a while. The main morning meal staple for me has been a warm corn tortilla topped with sriracha sauce, layered with low fat cheese and slices of avocado warmed together until melted and then topped off with a serving of Eggbeaters and habanero salsa - now that's this girl's dream meal right there! If I'm not able to indulge in my wrap, then I'm switching up the most important meal of the day with eggs served over easy with a side of fruit, or dining out and enjoying the coveted Denver omelet and/or skillet.

It's been a 30+ year long journey to come to the conclusion that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and now, it's actually my favorite. More so, the journey has proven that breakfast doesn't have to include junk food and Pepsi and "breakfast" can even be served for dinner! I'm amazed at how much my taste buds have grown up and am happy to continue to expand my food preferences as life continues. Per usual, my parent's adage was right..."Wait 'til you're older..." they said often. I've waited, and know their advice applies to a lot more than just breakfast.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for April

Of course everyone knows today is April 1st, also known as April Fools Day, and pranks and stunts are expected but when a joke is done in poor taste, are we still expected to laugh it off all in the name of the "holiday"?

Today was a rough day in general and was topped off by a friend playing their version of a practical joke on Facebook. Of course you can't believe everything you read on the internet, I get that, but when you text the initiator in efforts to confirm the validity of a post, and you get lied to, are you still supposed to laugh?

Granted I'm a bit jaded at this juncture in my life and realize that not all my dreams have come true, and who knows at this point if they ever will, but when someone takes your idea of a dream and jokes about it, it's really not funny. It's down right hurtful, actually.

So the next time you feel the need to brag about a relationship or change in one, about being pregnant, or whatever your idea of an April Fool's Day joke is, think twice about who your audience is. Are you joking about being pregnant to someone who has infertility issues? Are you joking about being engaged while someone else is yearning for it? Are you "just kidding" about a quitting a job to someone who recently lost theirs and is desperate for work?


Seriously people, these types of jokes hurt far worse then tying someones shoes together, or putting a tack on someones seat. Grow up already.

Signed,
One Angry April Fool's Day Victim



Today's post was brought to you by the letter A, and words like April, Asshole, and Angry.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Expectations

It's funny (well, not really) how you can build expectations up in your head and how the reality of those expectations just never quite pan out. My four day weekend began, in it's planning stages, as a weekend long visit with family built around my participation in a 5K race and ended up as a 3 day weekend with no family, lots of driving, and a lot of unexpected down time. I'll spare you all the renditions of the planning stage, but let's just say, the revisions of my weekend plans could take up a few chapters in my book of life. 

The positive? I set out to do a 5K and did it. I earned an awesome medal, and enjoyed 5k of hugely rolling hills, in an amazingly peaceful nature preserve/park. The drawbacks? Outside of the 5k, I'm disappointed that I feel (so far) that I have not made the most of the rest of my time off. The fact of the matter is, when I return to work tomorrow I'll have hell to pay, meaning, I'll be swamped in catch up work. Knowing myself, when I am at the height of my frustration with the overwhelming workload, I will think back to my weekend and ask myself, "Was it worth it?" and at the moment, I can't say that the answer would be "yes". 

Additionally, my upcoming work schedule for the week is insane, including three 17+ hour days which leaves me with an overwhelming feeling of, if I don't get "it" all done now (laundry, cleaning, errands, etc) I won't have the energy, enthusiasm or time for "it" later.
So how do I balance these feelings and nagging responsibilities? Do I feel sorry for myself about the dashed plans? Do I just pick up and carry on like nothing happened? A bit of both, really.

By blogging and thinking things through here (blogging = cheap therapy) I realize that my time off is mine and deserved no matter what I do with it. I have to push through the mental brainwashing that tells me that time off must be filled with non-stop movement and accomplishments. I have to realize that time off, can be just that. Time off. Away. Period.

So this post now finds me mid way through my Monday, and what have I done? I've slept in, burned a disc for a friend, blogged and ran an errand. I've had breakfast and my beloved morning cup of blueberry coffee, and quite frankly don't give a shit what the rest of the day brings (as long as it's not any more snow). There are numerous ideas of pampering and fun along with responsibilities swirling around in my head but one thing that won't be for today, is a check list of all the things I have to accomplish waiting to be marked off. Screw it. The best things in life aren't planned, and neither is this Monday. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stairs

I am thankful to have wished February "adieu" as the month brought some stressful changes in the work place, and left me sick for at least 3 of it's 4 weeks... The one great thing about February, however, was that despite being sick I completed my first ever, "Hustle Up the Hancock" event. I am blessed to be able to state that I must have done something really "right" in my training to make the event feel like a breeze. OK, let me clarify, walking up 94 flights of stairs is a hell of a work out that left me huffing and puffing for air most of the way, but it was manageable and easier then I had made my previous Interval Training workouts. Not to mention, climbing real stairs in a building versus staying stationary on the Stair Master = way more fun!

Stair training has taken on a whole new place in my workout, I love seeing how much faster I can go and just how hard I can work by changing up the intensity levels. The program called "Fat Burner Plus" is my favorite! Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a numbers junkie when it comes to time and distance, so my 2014 Hustle goal is to finish in under 20 minutes. That would mean shaving 5:46 off my current time, which I think is pretty manageable given I have a year to train! My personal best to date has been 84 flights in 20 minutes, so I'm improving slowly (versus 71 in 20 minutes previously).

I recently found out that there is a Sears Tower Climb! So, that means that the next stair climb event for me will be (God willing) the Skyrise Chicago event, which tackles the 103 floors of the Sears Tower this fall! I can't wait! The irony of all this really is, that if you've read my 2011 blog, I'm afraid of stairs and falling up (yes up) and down them, so it would have never occurred to me that I might become addicted to them!
 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Germs

I would like to thank (insert sarcasm here) the human, walking petri dish that felt the need to infect me with their disgusting collection of contamination. Thanks to the selfish jerk(s) who believed their work was more important then the health of their co-workers, I have spent the last 72 hours on my couch with the stomach flu (I'll spare you the details of THAT), along with painful coughing, sneezing, burning lungs, a runny and stuffy nose, headache, fevers and chills. In addition to being miserable, I have missed two days of work, one of which will be without pay. So again, thank you to the ass-hat(s) who felt the need to come into work, cough and hack all over, sneeze without covering your mouth or nose, and pass on your craptacular germs.

Besides missing work, I've missed time planned with friends, time set aside to volunteer and help others (something YOU, the petri dish of ick did NOT do!), and time in the gym. I've been ridiculously lethargic and bored to the point of succumbing to watching cake decorating and Joan Rivers' marathons while revamping and collaging photos on Instagram for sources of couch-ridden entertainment.

Oh - and did I mention that I have 6 days to miraculously get better and rebuild my lung capacity in order to participate (somewhat successfully) in the Hustle Up the Hancock event? Seriously, was I not meant to do this event? I am not at all happy with being sick and what it has un-enabled me to do! I have a life, damn it and I need to get back to it!


So, for those of you who are sick and feel the need to go to work and spread the "love", you can take this blog post as a personal note of condemnation from me. WORK is not that important, and neither are you. I don't mean that to sound as insulting as it may come off, but we are all replaceable. In the end, what should matter most is the life and times spent OUTSIDE of the workplace, and you have taken away 72 valuable hours from me. And yes, I'm just a little bitter about it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Almost Here...

This picture should have gone with my last post, but for some reason, I couldn't upload it at the time. I call it, "The Booger Picker".


But onto February, and today's post...

I am amazed at how quickly time passes you by, whether you have any great (or not so great) accomplishments to show for it. It's mid February and lots of things are looming on the horizon! 

Cupid's holiday is just 3 days away and I just got around to taking my Christmas tree down last weekend!  Where does the time go? Do you ever feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything you want done, completed? Or better yet, you have the time to complete your "to-do" list, but can't find the motivation or energy to do so? I unfortunately toggle between those two points of existance at any given moment.

So not only is Valentine's day coming (by the way, what are you doing to celebrate?), but so is my unicorn. Okay, unicorns don't exist, but on the 24th of this month I'll be tackling one of my "unicorns". You know, one of those things you think about, you might chase, but never get to capture? For me, my unicorn is tackling the Hustle Up the Hancock event. The Hustle is 94 flights of stairs and 1,632 steps of hell (in my opinion). So why do I want to do this event you ask? Because it's always eluded me and I want it, damn it!

In the past, I've been met with some obstacles when it comes to tackling this beast. During one year of training I dislocated my knee which ultimately sidelined me from participating. And registration? Let's talk about registration! I've attempted to register for Hustle in the past to no avail as individual registration sells out at record speed. But don't you worry, this year I got smart! I'm listening to my body and learning when to back off from training, and I joined a Corporate Team and let THEM do all the registration work for me guaranteeing me a spot! It's official, I've got my t-shirt, I've got my bib and now all I need to do is show up and earn the medal that they hand out at the top!!!

Here's to praying that nothing happens to negatively impact my climb between today, and event day! Wish me luck!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Animals Are Gross

(I've been meaning to post this for a week, but couldn't get the photo to upload, so sadly - no picture of a giraffe licking it's nose!)

Sunday at the zoo I witnessed two chimps "grooming" each other. Yes, imagine one chimpanzee orally "grooming" the other's genitals. This was then followed by the troop patriarch exposing himself to the others, and then manually "relieving" himself. Yeah, just a bit awkward. These lovely acts were followed by a giraffe (in a different exhibit obviously) licking the boogers out of it's nose, which - in comparison to the before mention actions, seemed almost cute.

Of course I'm an adult and aware of what people and animals do, but I still have to say, I'd rather just not see it going on in the zoo. No, I'm not a prude, but I think my brain has been permanently tarnished in some way now! What I mean is, when I am at the zoo I tend to appreciate the animals for NOT being humans, and here they were doing very "human" behaviors (yes, I know animals breed too and that some have sex for fun, etc, etc...). Still, I guess I wish to envision the world's animals as majestic and not subject to human behaviors, whether they're good, bad or normal!

Needless to say, I did my best to avoid contact with the "oohing and ahhing" children that surrounded the scenes in efforts that I (as a volunteer educator) would not have to explain what was going on! Thankfully, no one approached me on those particular behaviours! Instead, when pointing to an empty turtle shell, I got asked by a small child to explain where the animal had moved to? And why didn't he like his current home? Sheesh.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Warmth, Chicken Shit and Chicken...

Warmth...
This past week and weekend were unseasonably warm for a Chicago January. Not that I'm complaining, however! Despite the warm and sunny week with temperatures in the 50's, I unfortunately did not get outside to enjoy it (not even for lunch) but, I was lucky enough to get outside in the surprising weather yesterday! 


Saturday I took part in a 5K race that I had been anticipating for nearly a year. I couldn't wait to complete this particular race as it was the third and final race in a series for me. The "pro's" of the morning? The race motivated me to get up and outdoors in the early AM before the weather turned cold (otherwise I might have been a snuggle bug and stayed in bed all morning). I got some exercise and only needed to wear a t-shirt and a light running jacket (how refreshing!). I'd like to say that there were only positive things to say about the race, but unfortunately for the first time ever (after having participated in over 50 events or so) there was a down side.

The "con's" of the morning were really, only one. The race was not the full 5K distance as promised. As I have run this particular trail more then once, I realized it was too short to be 3.1 miles during the run, but knew I had followed (along with hundreds of others) the path as it was marked. The fact is, the race organization messed up, and I'm wondering (as this is my first experience with something like this) what, if anything, they will do for their participants. I am waiting on a reply from their organization and am optimistically hoping that they will offer some type of credit towards merchandise or a future race...we'll see what happens.

Back to the positive though... I did cross the finish line and I did receive my medal, however it felt like a hollow victory. After having checked my jog tracker I had traveled 1.86 miles which is just barley over a 3K race distance versus the promised 3.1. Not to be defeated though, this optimist, post race, then walked the full length of Grant Park and hiked to the Red Line in order to surpass the 3.1 distance. Go "glass is half full" thinking!

Chicken Shit?
Yep, I am one. Despite my other blog telling me to do one thing every day that scares me, I couldn't bring myself to spray tan! Despite having a free option to do so, I mentally talked myself out of a free spray tanning session. All I could picture is a streaked and uneven tan resembling a zebra, and turning the color of the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! I know plenty of people who have had positive experiences with it, but, well... I guess I will leave that to them. What are you afraid of that you just couldn't concur?

Chicken...
I bought some. Not the real, live animal or the over priced, conveniently pre-cooked and ready to serve "short cuts" package, but real, raw and organic chicken breasts from my grocer's freezer. Why is this blog worthy? Well, I've joined a 30 day "Real Food Challenge" that is asking it's participants to eat only whole foods - nothing processed. Let me tell you, buying the chicken and knowing I have to deal with cooking it "the old fashion way" has been the hardest part so far. How spoiled I have become with life's overly processed, but super convenient, pre-cooked (with additives) cooking options!

This week's menu will supply chicken breast and grilled zucchini, chicken fajitas wrapped in a lettuce shell, and perhaps some mixed salads and strir-fry options while snacking on fruits and nuts. As a recent gluten-free goer, reducing the grains in my diet doesn't seem like a big adjustment, but of course I say this pre day 1 of the challenge (which starts tomorrow). I'm sure there will be a blog update somewhere along the way with me craving pizza or tacos or something. Have you taken on any challenges recently? If so, what were they and how did they turn out?

Happy Sunday Readers - I'm off to the zoo!

  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy/Unhappy

Things That Make Me Happy

An official end to my holidays and returning to a normal schedule... 

Yoga...

Hugs from friends just because...


The length of sunshine and daylight per day is getting longer by the minute...

Easy to maintain, low maintenance hair styles!

Sunflower seeds in my salad...


Clearance sales...

Warm weekend forecasts (in JANUARY!)

Fitting into a size smaller pants (no matter how tight they are!)

York Peppermint Patties...

Things That Make Me Not So Happy

Craving a York Peppermint Patty...

Still needing to take down my overly, abundantly, decorated Christmas tree...

Uncooperative people...


Not enough hours in the day to workout or have as much fun as I'd like...

People who gripe about Facebook while using Facebook...

Still craving a York Peppermint Patty...


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Does One?

How does one be happy and maintain that new year's glow when you have to go to work versus staying all cuddled up in a nice, warm bed?

How does one maintain a healthy resolution, when the cafeteria at work is plotting against you by selling your ALL TIME favorite candy in mass? (Damn you, York Peppermint Patties!!!)

How does one be nice, when all one wants to do is yell at an internet company who has not yet shipped an order placed on 12/21/12 and, to add to the frustration, won't accept phone calls and states their turn around time for email inquiries is 72 hours?

Believing in the motto of, "If you don't like it, change it" how does one keep their mouth shut when all one wants to do is yell, "Shut the hell up!" at people who complain that their lives are "pathetic"?

Come on people...help me out here!

 
PS) This "One" is going to afternoon yoga to try to maintain some new year chi. What do you do to stay on track?



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First

It's the first day of a fresh year, or if you will, a fresh page in a new book and I plan on writing a very interesting adventure story. My story, that is. What will your book look like this year? Would your story be a best seller, or a pamphlet that no one would want to read? My book is going to contain a lot of pictures, and here's some to start it off!

I am happy to report that I rang in the new year healthfully with a restorative yoga session and dinner out with great friends. Last night as I slowly dozed off to the noise of fireworks, I thought about the fresh year ahead and was excited for the first event of the year. Today I participated in the Commitment Day 5K. It wasn't a resolution, it wasn't a race. It was a commitment to move and be active. A commitment to live healthier. I initially thought I could live satisfied without signing up for a new year's day activity, but the more I prolonged registration, the more internal arguing I heard in my head. Now, I don't know about you, but the only way I can shut down my inner voice is to usually give in to it. So I did. I registered, I walked, and I soaked up the beautiful and soul warming sunshine on the coldest, thus far, day of the winter season. Of course, I got a good workout in along the way, and am happy to have started this year off on the right foot (literally) to a healthier and even more active me.
 

Instead of getting caught up in the competition (real or imagined), I actually stopped along the way to take some photos. The day was staggeringly bright, yet grey and some how bland. The cold North wind ripped through my clothes and tore at my eyes, enough to make them tear but I still managed to appreciate and capture the beauty of the day. Some people stopped along the way to take photos of themselves, but I decided to try to capture the brightness and hope of the day. I love the reflections in the water, the detail of the lamp post, and the lack of color yet overwhelming brightness and light of this photo.

Post photo session and 5K, I headed to my car. On my way back to the parking garage, I decided to take advantage of my proximity to the Field Museum. I had been wanting to see the latest exhibit, "Maharajah" but hadn't made the time. Since I literally had to pass the entrance of the museum to get to my car, I headed in. I showed my zoo volunteer ID, got free general admission, and added on the extra exhibit. There was no time like the present I figured, and how could I not take advantage of one of my volunteer perks? I learned a lot about the history of India and how it intertwines with that of the British. I learned about the different traditions of the Indian royalty and it's progression through history. In all, the exhibit was small, but I was glad I went. It is one more thing I can scratch off my "to do" list.

After the Maharajah, I grabbed brunch and then walked around the rest of the museum. Having been amongst live animals at the zoo all season long, seeing the lifeless exhibits of stuffed animals was odd and macabre to me. I couldn't help but think of the animals I have come to love at the zoo, their names, their personalities and how full of life they are in comparison to what was in front of me. I pray that  the future does not allow museums to be the only place that we will be able to see examples of such majestic animals on display.  

Ironically in the photo to the left, I love the warmth of the bronze bones that Sue the T-Rex provides against the stark white walls of the museum.

In wrapping up my day, I headed home for a much needed nap, errands, chores and home made chicken fajitas. It's hard to believe that today is a Tuesday versus a Sunday! In closing, I am glad I took full advantage of the day today, got active despite the weather, and treated myself to an exhibit that I had procrastinated seeing. Now, I'm off to pack my gym bag for an early morning workout tomorrow. Good night for now, readers.

I think I'm off to a good start in my book so far, what is your first chapter looking like?