Read the prologue to my Thursday, "Tird's Day" posts here.
Tird's Day 5: The Warning
With all systems "go", my roommate and I went to pick up our newest family member. We returned to the scene of the crime, the local pet shop, to pick up "Cowboy". Just like before, we had to search the store for our kid, and finally found him sitting on the owner's desk in the back. We announced that we were there to take Cowboy home, and the gentleman working on the other side of the desk immediately got up and started pointing out the supplies we needed. As we shopped, Cowboy roamed the store taking inventory of his shop one last time while the owner repeatedly complimented our new addition.
After some time, the shopping turned into checking out and we then proceeded to gather our last item to take home, the cat. The tall, thin man pet Cowboy one last time and reminded us again of what a great cat we were getting. With tears in his eyes he said what I considered to be famous last words upon our exit. Nearly out of earshot, the phrase "Keep your toilet seats down, he likes the water!" barely floated into our comprehension. I seem to remember that I looked oddly in the direction of my roommate, having not digested what was said at all. It wouldn't be long until I found out just what those words would come to represent.
Below is my new set of foster babies. I am currently fostering them in a "foster to adopt" program which translates to; if I don't like them, I'm taking them back! I've done my homework on cost to own versus rentals, styles and binding preferences, read reviews and am hoping these work out. I attended class and loved snowshoeing, but the shoes I fell in love during class are very different than the ones I am fostering. I am test-driving these puppies this weekend and hopefully, I will be a foster-flunkie and keep them!
- Having just enough change in my pocket for the "AIR" machine at the gas station. - A "good day" message from a friend far way. - Compliments from a stranger. - A car that started despite the cold weather, go Henry Honda! - Requests for a date. - Funny emails - An unexpected night off. - Group invites. - Positive RSVP's for my girl's night out. - Easy commutes (one thing the Polar Vortex has been good for!)
I went snowshoeing today! Despite the cold, I headed out and put my recently purchased gear to good use. I was grateful to learn (and feel) that the garments live up to their warming promises! While I walked around with my "Dreaming of Snowshoeing" classmates, I was amazed at the snow covered lake, beach, and nature preserve and was grateful that I got up on this cold Chicago morning. It was such a peaceful and beautiful day, filled with uncharted snow that sparkled in the sun. I took deep breaths and let it all sink it. It was beautiful. This was definitely a soulful Sunday.
Tonight I spent close to three hours shopping for cold-weather gear. Thank goodness for the experts at REI. While I knew the basics of what I needed; a base, mid and outer layer, I had no idea which pieces of clothing within the store actually constituted as any of them! Luckily I found Warren. An older, bald, and bad-ass biker looking man with a gentle side. He asked if he could help, and was probably sorry that he did!
Warren pointed out the different sections of where my layering garments could be found, and told me the differences between natural wool and silks, versus synthetics. He was a great source of knowledge! Before I knew it I had an overwhelming hand full of stuff to try on. I wiggled in and out of what seemed to be a never ending stack of garments, and decided upon my base tops and bottoms and a bottom outer layer. All that was left was to decide upon a coat to finish up the "trying-ons". Warren continued to work, and looked on at the stack of coats that I was progressively discarding. I suspect he thought he'd end up cleaning up my "mess", but I surprised him when I hung each one back on it's hanger and then returned them to where I found them. He laughed and asked me if I was going for, "customer of the year?". I giggled and said, I used to work retail at a particular store, so I know your pain! He said he felt sorry for me, and then we both laughed. With a three-way jacket finally decided upon, I headed to gloves and hats. There I met Theresa, a dog-sledder and snow-shoer. It was so awesome to hear the stories of her travels and experiences, and I appreciated her recommendations. I ended up with gaiters, a balaclava and double layer gauntlet-type gloves. Theresa asked about my snowshoes and current boots, and recommended the brand she had on her feet. Since there were none in stock, she let me try on her own pair! Not sure where else you can go and try on the employee's own shoes to see if you like them, but we had a lot of fun! Well, at least I did. After our boot sharing and snowshoe talk, I left Theresa to head to the check out line where I was more than thankful to have a bounty of Christmas gift cards to spend. I headed to my car, two bags of winter-gear heavier with hopes that my purchases would keep me as warm as they promised. Tomorrow I will find out, as I'm heading out for my first snowshoeing expedition - wish me luck!
Tonight I attended a meditation workshop called, "Healing Through Loving Kindness Practice with Bhante Sujatha". It was pretty amazing. While the over all focus of the teaching was to master the cultivation of self love, there were many other "take aways" that I am currently infatuated with. The repeated mantra was, "I am well. I am happy, I am peaceful." but the practice reached far deeper than those words. Tonight was about recognizing and creating self love, "for without healthy self love, you cannot be fully present to love anyone or anything else". Well spoken words. Our Monk, Bhante, shared stories of his life, blessed us and led us through the meditation but one thing he said prior to the relaxation really struck a chord with me. The use of the word love. I love you. I love my dog. I love ice-cream. He went on to explain how love is an emotion, and that emotions don't always serve us well. They don't allow us to have a clear mind at times. Of course, that wasn't meant to say we should hate everyone and everything, either! Bhante's words made me realize that I need to speak and choose my words with better intentions. I tell people I love "stuff" all the time, but what a diluted version of the world that not only I have created, but us as an American culture over use. We've turned love into like, and sadly we don't even recognize how great and powerful the word love can and should be at this point. Even though I'm guilty of inappropriately using the word of love, and turning it into like, I do know what a relationship is like, how to build one, and how to truly love another person. If I wouldn't marry it, do I actually love it? I mean, I'd look pretty silly standing at the altar with a Chicago style hot-dog in a tuxedo waiting to marry me, right? Yeah. That's about the absurdity we've turned the word "love" into. I enjoy life. I appreciate my favorite places, and things, but do I really love them in the truest sense of the word? No. Maybe I (or you) can argue that of course we all know what you're talking about Lynn. We wouldn't actually expect you to marry or be in a relationship with the inanimate things you say you "love". Yeah, I get it. But again, it comes back to the fact that we've basically learned to ignore what love is and what it's supposed to mean and more so what it's supposed to feel like. Maybe that's what's wrong with this nation. We're too busy turning love into like, and not even liking what we have, or even liking what and who we've become. Without love, without self love, how can anyone find true happiness? Happiness begins within, just as charity begins at home. So let's get back to loving with intention, starting with ourselves. Let's get back to liking things, and loving people. Namaste.
Read the prologue to my Thursday, "Tird's Day" posts here.
Tird's Day 4: The Approval
With much skepticism, our landlords bought the “my Aunt has an extra cat” story and agreed to let us bring a feline into our apartment. To this day, I don’t know how or why they agreed, but they did. Their approval was a kick-start to the spinning of another web of lies that began at the Humane Society.
Once at the adoption center, I began filling out forms and asking questions. If I currently lived in an apartment, I would have to allow the adoption center to call my landlord for approval. While that’s a very valid point, the only word that came to my mind was “shit!”. That means I surely can’t use my new apartment address to fill out the adoption application! This was my "Aunt’s cat" that my roommate and I were going to be taking care of as a favor, not a strange creature from the streets! So, suddenly my form began to reflect my parent’s home address, because according to my never updated driver’s license, I still lived there.
After much sweat and anxiety, my form was finally completed. I heard the volunteer say, “While your information looks great, I’ll have to call your parents to make sure they will allow a cat in their home since they are the legal homeowners”. I told the lady that was fine, gave her my parents’ home phone number and excused myself to the parking lot as I had “forgotten something in the car”. It was in the parking lot that, with lightening fingers, I dialed my old home phone number and got a hold of my mom. I’m pretty sure my side of the conversation was a panicked, “Mom – it’s me. Stay by the phone! In a few minutes someone’s going to call about a cat adoption. Just tell them yes, it’s okay that I have one”. Without a moment to digest or comprehend what was said, my mom agreed and said, “Ok” in a questionable tone.
I hung up and returned to the inside adoption room. “You’re parents’ number was busy” the volunteer said. That was the only time I can ever recall having been happy that my father was too cheap to invest in call waiting. I replied, “Oh, give them another ring now, I’m sure they’re available!”. With that advice, the call was made, mom’s approval was given, and my roommate and I were the proud parents of a beaming baby boy. A Cowboy.
I'm very excited to share that I just received (and accepted) a proposal to hike towards the Hollywood sign in California! I didn't even know this was possible, but I definitely consider it "bucket list" worthy and, if I have my way about it, should be tackled in the first half of this year!
You will notice above that I said, "hike towards" versus to because due to security and safety issues, you can't actually reach the sign (legally) but you can get close. I can't wait to tackle this hike. Hollywood here I come!
Read the prologue to my Thursday, "Tird's Day" posts here.
Tird's Day: The Lie
After arriving home from our trip to the pet shop, the wheels in my roommate’s head started to spin. I think I could even see the smoke from the burning gears. While I can’t recall the exact conversation, now some 15 years ago, I remember my roommate’s repeated pleas of something along the line of, “Let me get you that cat, I feel bad that you left behind your ferret”. I’m sure I jumped on a soapbox about how some lame cat could never replace my Rugrat, but sooner rather than later, somewhere between the cat’s charm and my roommate’s guilt, I agreed that I actually liked and wanted the cat. But how?
The apartment complex had a weird renting policy which stated that any cat you initially moved in with could stay with you, but if you wanted to add a cat later it was against the rules. Cowboy would be a late, and illegal, addition at this point as he was not included in the details of the initial lease signing. And then the roommate shifted those gears in her brain into "high".
My Aunt had two cats. But what if she magically had three? What if that third cat was just too much for her to handle and she needed to find it a home? I mean, after all, she raised it from a kitten and it was super-well behaved! Mr. Landlord, can't you help us and this poor, soon to be homeless cat out and allow us to take him in?
I was flattered to find out that a geographically challenged friend and writer, decided to write her Monday blog post about, none other than, ME! Below is her post, but I strongly urge you to check out her writings, and see what treasures her blog holds. Mary rocks! And I'm not just saying that because she wrote this awesome post about yours truly. Mary amazes me with her writings, travels, her crafts and creativity, love of family, and her ability to meaningfully connect with me and others through shared interests, intentions and social networks despite distance. While she may state that I'm her "Lynnspiration", I have to admit, she is mine in return. Mary is one of the few souls who inspire me and keeps me running, even when my tank is on "E". Sometimes I think, "WWMT"? That's right, What Would Mary Think? What would she think if she saw me feeling sorry for myself today? What would Mary think if I quit in the middle of this race because of the shitty weather? What would Mary think - period? Would Mary be proud of my accomplishments today? Just knowing she's out there cheering me on inspires me to try harder. Her existence makes me better. At everything. I love Mary! If you want to find out what Mary might think - check her blog out here!
by Mary Lamphere
"There is a woman I know that I find highly motivating. In her own words, “I try to let people know that being happy is a choice…” and it’s a choice she openly and frequently makes. I don’t see her often, we keep in touch through social media, texting, and the occasional snail mail exchange, but I still feel close. Our time apart does not dim my awe of her. We are very different. She is single, no kids, lives in Chicago, and *gasp* runs 5ks. (Seriously, could we be more different?!)
And she is my hero. Heroine? It matters not, she rocks!
This woman chucked the status quo years ago. Broke the mold of what she thought she was supposed to be doing with her life and began living her life as she was meant to. She has pursued and achieved more in the past half-decade than most do in their entire lives.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with WWJD? What would Jesus do? I have no problem with the message of this question, to give pause and consider before you act. It’s good advice.
But I have a better one… WILD?
WHAT IS LYNN DOING? WILD is a dynamic question. You can still pause and consider, but then you need to act! When in doubt, just do it. Be Lynnsane! Let her lifestyle be the Lynncentive you need to be your own Lynndividual. Being happy can be Lynnfectious!
What is Lynn doing? Lynn is taking classes. Lynn is getting accredited. Lynn is drawing. Lynn is biking along the lake. Lynn is sipping margaritas on sandy beaches and horseback riding through the surf. Lynn is doing things I want to do—only she’s really DOING them. She is a body in motion.
I’ll admit it, sometimes I have shitty days. I feel like crap, I think like crap, I act like crap. I don’t like it. Sometimes it’s hard to break the crappy habit. But then I’ll see a post from Lynn and my day will shift. My frown will turn upside down. My energy levels are lifted. Lynn doesn’t have time for my moods! She has dogs to train and stairs to climb. Lines to zip and galleries to view. Concerts to attend and balloons to handle. Of course she has an off day occasionally, it’s Lynnevitable. But I believe those are days she puts things in perspective… and realizes external Lynnfluences be damned, it’s her life and she chooses to be happy!
I believe she can be so outgoing because she is so secure with what’s incoming. She works hard and earns her play. She’s athletic, intelligent, creative and grounded. She celebrates food and drink, art and exercise, learning and working, alone or with good company, she’s cool like that.
I'm stealing, okay borrowing, a page from Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday" program and making my Sunday posts into my own versions of reflections, insights, inspirations, what I'm grateful for, and an "all-around" general place for my trademark optimism. Sunday posts will be all about anything that feeds my soul in a positive direction, and hopefully yours too. I recently came across the statement below on the Facebook page, "The Optimism Revolution" and have to say that it sums up my practice of the positive to a "t". I try to let people know that being happy is a choice and that being optimistic doesn't always come easy, yet I always feel like I flounder to inspire anyone with my definition. The statement below from Jim Willett is in my opinion, perfect. Read on. Be inspired. Be optimistic.
"I try to put a bit of light out there every day... because I know what it's like to be in the dark. Truthfully, my optimism and positive mindset haven't come naturally. And I'm definitely still a work in progress, but I've trained myself to look for the good, the beauty, in every situation; in every struggle. We all have our inner cynics. Our inner critics. Because let's face it, there's darkness, as well as light, in every single one of us. We're not divided into good and bad. Each human soul has both. It's what humanity is; what we are. In the end, though, what's most important is the side we pick to follow. That's what defines the person we are... And the one we become."
Today was Team Ortho's Polar Dash event, my second 5K of the year. For whatever reasons, I spaced out and not only did I not pick up my packet before race day, but I didn't request the time off from work either. Both were a first for me! Thankfully, a co-worker subbed for me, and there was a free, race-day packet pick up.
The weather was great for a Chicago January, despite the 10+ mph winds off the lake. Unfortunately, I had soaking wet feet before the race even started thanks to numerous puddles and snowbanks, but that didn't stop me. The positive side of having wet feet at the start line? It allowed me to confidently slosh through the puddles along the course instead of avoiding them! I figured if you can't beat Mother Nature, I might as well join her. I'm pretty sure these are my webbed feet-prints in the snow. Paddle on my friends, paddle on.
Wikipedia: "...to open Pandora's box" means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences."
Today was my bestie's birthday. I bought her two charms for her Pandora bracelet, one of them being a double, best friends charm. The charm is a two piece butterfly, and each friend is supposed to get half. The only problem is, I don't have a Pandora bracelet! I was okay with that, and figured she could keep both halves. That was until I looked at the catalog they sent me home with. I think I've picked out at least ten charms I'd like to have so far, travel, animals, sports...they've got them all! Damn marketing. I feel like I've opened a Pandora's Box versus visiting the store!
"This isn't our regular pet shop", I thought to myself. "Where the hell did she find this place?", I remember thinking as we walked into the little animal store to see the "cool" (yet unwanted) cat. Upon entry, I immediately noticed the shelves of fish tanks that lined the walls from top to bottom. Some were on the floor, and I remember finding that odd as l envisioned small children or other animals playing in the water of the low-laying tanks.
As I continued to observe the fish, my roommate walked around in search of the cat. I remember her enthusiasm was like that of a child in a candy store seeking out it's favorite treat. She scoured the aisles looking for that damn feline, and was in all but a panic thinking it had been taken home by some other shopper. I didn't care, and found her near-hysteria antics entertaining to say the least.
Eventually the tabby-striped and white cat was spied. "Here he is!", she yelled in excitement upon finding him. I walked over to her aisle, and was introduced to "Cowboy" the cat. He was cute for a cat, and even friendly but "what a dorky name" I remember thinking. After a few pets he seemed to lose interest in us and walked away, so naturally we began to follow him. As we pursued him, he played it cool like he wasn't interested in us, but looking back I'm sure it was all part of his plan. During his stroll, Cowboy kept just as watchful an eye on the fish tanks as I did initially, and I wondered if he would allow his cat-like fishing tendencies to take over, but he did not. Instead, he walked confidently about the pet-store as if it were his job to make sure that all was secure and in order. Noticing our cat-stalking tendencies, the owner came over to address us.
The man told us what little he knew of the animal. We found out that Cowboy was out on loan to the pet shop since he "didn't do well" at the Humane Society and that any adoptions would need to occur through the proper Humane Society channels. He was was estimated to be 2 or 3 years of age and we were reminded again that he was, "very friendly".
Armed with this information, we left the store and I continued to remind my roommate that I didn't want a cat. I agreed he was cool. Cute even. But, "I don't want a cat." I stated. Besides, "Our landlord doesn't allow cats", I reminded her. Even if I did want this cat, we can't have him. What were we going to do, hide him from the landlord?
I constantly find myself thinking, saying and feeling that, "There's never anything good on TV", so I have decided to re-visit tackling the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movies of all time (you can track my progress here). Thanks to the temperatures dipping below those of the North Pole (literally), I've had some down time at home and have indulged in some movies. Recently, I've been able to scratch "Some Like it Hot", "West Side Story", "Duck Soup", and "Raging Bull" off my list of "must sees". So far, "Some Like It Hot" is my favorite, and I can't quite figure out how "Duck Soup" even made onto the list but then again, I'm a blogger not a movie critic.
It's Monday, January 6th and I'm already disappointed with the world. Well, let me clarify, the world of Facebook. Let me be even more specific, the Facebook complainers. I understand posting about life events that are stressful and scary and wishing they didn't happen, of course. But for those who generalize that life sucks, work sucks, the weather sucks, my favorite sports team sucks topped off with the cherry of comments, "FML" (fuck my life) and that the year, being only 6 days old, totally sucks is a gross exaggeration. Maybe I'm too optimistic but since 2014 hasn't had time to "go south" on me yet, I find myself still happily drunk with the new year's optimistic buzz. I'm working on making changes both internally and externally, and am returning to doing things that make me happy but I recognize that the complaining habits of others may die hard. So, to help you guys out, the nay-sayers, the pessimists, the "all too happy to complain" complainers, below are 5 tools to help you have an awesome 2014! 1) Get a self help book. Here's one: "Get a Life That Doesn't Suck". This book gets a 5 star rating after all, and it even assures you that, "Life can really suck. But it doesn't have to. With the help of esteemed consultant and coach Michelle DeAngelis, life can really rock. DeAngelis serves up a combination of street-smart wisdom and cheerful irreverence as she shows readers how to enjoy the "ride of their lives," regardless of the roadblocks...". 2) Helping others is one of the best ways to make you feel better about yourself. If you are reading this, I'm assuming that you are not hungry, nor homeless, and are not too impoverished since you're connected to the Internet. So, why don't you help out someone who is? Check out the Volunteers of America website and lend a hand. 3) Science has proven that just 20 minutes of walking can help elevate your mood. And, since I'm assuming you have all your appendages and can do anything you want, I'm suggesting you get off your butt and do it. Move. Do something. Do anything. Go to the gym, go for a walk, get outside and just feel better. And remember, there are people with far less (physically) than you, that do more than you. So what's your excuse?
4) Get some sleep! See, I'm not asking for much, just go to bed! It was found that, "sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.". I love my Sleep Number bed, and highly recommend it. To sweeten the pot, you'll be excited to know that they (Sleep Number) are currently offering the lowest prices of the season, AND 18 month interest free financing! Please let them know I've sent you their way because I'd love to earn referral gift cards, and ultimately deal with a happier version of you!
5) Smile! And not one of those fake smiles, either. Rather, I'm asking you to think about something that makes you happy and genuinely smile. I know, I know, I might be asking for the impossible here. But come on, there has to be a childhood memory, a trip or vacation that sparks a fond memory that you can smile about? Don't have anything to be happy about? Really? Not even pushing your sister down the stairs as a youngster? Fine. Take a look at this little guy below. He (or she) is definitely wishing you a happy and positive 2014!
"Saving Mr. Banks" is the back story to the making of the Disney film adaptation, "Mary Poppins". The movie primarily focuses on the tumultuous relationship between Walt Disney himself, and Mary Poppins' author, P. L. Travers. As the movie progresses, it is portrayed that Travers warms to Disney and seemingly, enjoys the end result of their working together. Viewers leave "Saving Mr. Banks" with that "warm fuzzy" feeling that is trademark, Walt Disney.
In real life, Travers was reported to dislike Disney's overly saccharin version of Mary Poppins, as well as Disney himself. But yet, here we are "Disney-fied" into believing a better version of the truth. Ever the business man, Walt made Mary Poppins the way he wanted the film made, does that make him a pompous ass, or a marketing genius? Does the selling of the rights make Travers a sell-out, or a woman doing what she had to do to survive financially? The truth is, we all fight our own inner battles, and ultimately end up doing what it takes to survive. We do what we think is best given the current situation and the information we have at hand in that very moment. Disney may have empathized with Travers' viewpoints at some point in time, but the fact is, he had a business to run and a movie to make. Travers on the other hand, may have wished she never sold the rights to Mary, but the fact is, it left her a millionaire who never had to worry about money again. Regardless of their thoughts or inner battles the, obvious, end result of their decisions has left the world with one of the most beloved movies of all time. With that said, was either person wrong in their history making choices? Didn't the world unfold just as it should have? Is the world better off having a dreamer and an imagination-genius at the helm of it's happiness? Or are we better off with realists like Travers who was once quoted as having said, "...sorrow lies like a heartbeat behind everything I have written.", guiding our truths? Ultimately, isn't it up to us to see what's presented, do our own research and come to our own conclusions about life, and the stories it presents to us? As a Mary Poppins fan I love the 1964 movie, I was amazed by the stage production, and even own my very own parrot-head umbrella. "Saving Mr. Banks" added another layer of love and more so, an understanding to the productions for me and I highly recommend you see it! And at the end of the movie if you're not sure what to think, or much less what to say, just remember the one word to say when you have nothing to say at all, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!