Thursday, December 29, 2016

The last week of 2016

I think that this year was a bit rough for some people.  Don't get me wrong, there were some awesome parts.  Like going to Disney and running the Princess Half!

But there were some awful parts.  Like the election, and the ugliness that followed.

My health started to fall apart.  I gained weight.  I got sick and gained more.  As resolutions go, working more on eating right an exercising will help with that.

This year for Christmas we went to visit the in-laws.  They happen to live in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Texas.  Population 850.  It was 5 days of a Game of Thrones marathon, home cooking, and WAY too many carbs.  Like we went out to redeem scratchers and go Subway, so I can get some veggies.  I was craving a salad when I got home!  It was nice for the Spousal Equivalent to spend time with his family.  My family is big and close and all in the same geographical location.  His is not as close (geographically and in other senses).

But as good as it is to spend time with family, not that I'm home I need to make some changes.  because this happened, and I need to un-do it:

While we were gone we lost Carrie Fisher.

Not since Robbin William's death have I felt the impact of a celebrity death as acutely.  Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia was my first hero.  Star Wars was my favorite movie when I was very little.  As a little kid, Process Leia was the ultimate role model!  She's honorable, tough, smart and a wonderful leader.(And a force user!)  My little 7 year old self wanted to BE here.

Carrie Fisher was just as awesome.  She was a famous script doctor.  She was a mental health advocate.

She was a fur mommy!  (I actually was relieved that her dog was going to live with her daughter!)
(Doesn't that just kill you???)

After Carrie Fisher passed, her mother, Debbie Reynolds followed.  It's absolutely heartbreaking and staggering how much loss that family has had.

I'm going to leave you with some quotes:

And Carrie Fisher's trademark.  Or as I call it, my views on a lot of 2016:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Traditions

Christmas was one of the constants of my life growing up.   Over the years the location of these traditions have changed, but they are still the same.

Maybe that's why I love the holiday so much.  It's comfortable.  Predictable.

Christmas Eve is rather big for Polish people.  And my dad's side of the family is rather Polish.  My maternal grandmother's parents were off the boat Polish immigrants.  They settled in Syracuse, New York, where a great many other Polish people also settled.

Christmas Eve in Poland features a huge feast of 12 meatless courses.  There's an empty chair set at the table,  There's a bland wafer passed around.

We didn't do that, but the spirit was there.

At Grandma's house, Christmas was a casual affair.  We gathered in her basement family room where a buffet of pirogi, baked ziti, cheese pizza, Buffalo wings and the like were set out.  There wasn't an empty chair, but there was always room for one more.

Grandma always had a real tree downstairs.  The shape varied from year to year, but I remember the round, Hershey Kiss shared trees the best.

Midnight Mass is also part of a Polish Christmas, but not being part of the Catholic part of the family, I didn't partake.  Also, I don't know if anyone went to Midnight Mass.

Christmas Day was spend with my mother's side of the family.  That side is of Scottish and Welsh Protestant farming stock.  That side of the family had the huge sit down Christmas lunch.  It was Christmas like many people have.  Big lunch, presents, dessert.

Things have changed over the years.  After my Mother's mother died, Christmas dinner moved to my Aunt's house.  (She's since passed, moving Christmas dinner to my other aunt's house). After my father's mother passed, Christmas Eve moved to my aunt's house.  We don't do presents any more, save a Christmas Eve White Elephant Gift exchange.

The skeleton of the Christmases of my childhood are still there.  Things have changed, though.  I only get home to Syracuse every three years.  We've actually added a new tradition to make up for the absence of old ones.  Since my parents' divorce, we rarely see my dad for Christmas Eve.  Now we head back to my Aunt's house after visiting my mother's family on Christmas Day.  My dad is there, along with his family.  This is a night full of wine and leftovers and a lot of good conversation with people that I don't see enough.

Today is Christmas Day.  This year we're headed out to Texas to spend time with the Spousal Equivalent's family.  And next year we're staying home.  Christmases when we stay home are always built around laying around the house in PJs and eating.

However you celebrate, Merry Christmas!!

(I'll leave you with my favorite Christmas Special!)

Monday, December 19, 2016

'Twas the week before Christmas...

Let's recap my December:  illness, pink eye, steroids and weight gain.  (The Spousal Equivalent now has the pink eye, poor guy)

Every time I look at a calendar I'm actually surprised how close to Christmas it is, and how unprepared I am.

We're traveling this year for the holidays.  We're headed deep into the heart of Trump country, to Rural West Texas.  It's the Spousal Equivalent's family's turn this year.  In a month where I've been struggling with my health and my fitness spending a week in "smothered and covered" country isn't optimal.  But I'll get by.  I've already planned a week of healthy lunches and dinners to help get me ready for a week of fried food.

This weekend we got most of the running around done early, so I spent hours upon hours curled
under a blanket watching Christmas movies.  Which was cool until today when the temperature went up to 75.  (Seriously, 75!  Tomorrow the high is 35).  Between the wonky temperature, and being sick and impending travel (and work crap on the horizon) the Christmas Sprit has been sucked out of me this year.  The post-holiday blues is hitting early this year.  I'm hoping that between now and Saturday I can reclaim the Christmas spirit again.

Tomorrow is Monday.  Another day of data entry, account reconciling and dealing with a leaky building.  Another day of trying to eat healthy and starting my day exercising.

But seriously, can I hide under the bed this week?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Well this just sucks!

So let's recap: I started out with a head cold.  It devolved into Pink Eye.  Then it decided to become a chest cold.   Honestly, there is nothing worse than a chest cold!

I spent almost a week struggling to breathe.  The only thing that kept me going was my inhaler, Mucinex and steroids.

Sadly, those things have had a consequence.

Between the steroids (which cause you to retain water AND make you VERY hungry) and the inability to exercise I've gained 5 pounds in 3 weeks.   It's very frustrating.  Especially when you don't have the lung power to do anything,

(Also, holiday baking and birthday cakes...)

I feel like I keep starting over with this weight loss thing, but honestly, this was a bit beyond my control.  I looked at the scale and sighed.  I didn't get upset.  I didn't get angry.  I looked at that number and mentally made a plan.

And it starts tonight with ChaLean Extreme and a healthy dinner.

Actually it started last night with Vanilla Sleepytime Tea for dessert.  Fun fact, steroids cause awful nightmares and sleeplessness in addition to the making you want to eat everything.  And thanks to the steroids I've been up well past 2am for the last few nights!  Let's all pray that I don't fall asleep at my desk this afternoon!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, here, have a head cold

I woke up to this sight this morning:

Yes, today I turn 42.
What did I get for my birthday this year?  A nasty head cold!

Let me bring you back to the beginning of this cold:

Last Sunday:  Hey, I feel awful....
Last Monday and Tuesday:  can I nap now?
Last Wednesday:  Pink Eye.  Seriously, pink eye..
Last Thursday through Saturday:  The eyes got better, but the headcold remained
Last Sunday:  The head cold moved into my chest.  but I can't let that get me down.  I had a race!
Monday through Wednesday:  My breathing was impacted from the cold.  I went to the doctor.  Steroids.

Today is my Birthday.  I have my free Starbucks.  I also have 6 steroid pills to take.

But today is only a day.  I have a massage tonight!

Many Wonderful Christmas Ideas!

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I love the food, the movies, the everything.  I immerse myself in the whole season from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day.  I tended to de-Christmas my house the day after.

The time is a wonderful time of hope, kindness an good will (or it should be).  Sadly, it tends to be a time of high commercialism.

But thanks to Facebook, I found some WONDERFUL gift ideas that I wanted to share!

We always struggle with what to give our families.  I KNOW parents have issues figuring out what to give their kids.  Heck, I think this is an amazing idea!

I try to always keep an updated book Wish List on Amazon.  (I think my current one is a Kindle list, but you get my idea).  And I'm just enough of an introvert to love the idea of sitting around in PJs reading!

This one came to me today.  It's a brilliant idea!  A movie, PJs, snacks and cocoa.  I think for adults it should also include small bottles of booze to put in the cocoa.

This one applies to my friends with kids.  The idea is to get the kids to fill the bag before Christmas Eve.  Santa takes the bag away and leaves new toys in its place.  What a wonderful way to get rid of the clutter.

That reminds me, I need to start another donation bag myself!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More Post-Election thoughts

There is no doubt that this election has been ugly, and continues to be so.

But I honestly believe that there are some things that both sides MUST do because we can't live like this

Well, some people can, but most of us can't.


1.) let's talk about the protests.  I get it.  You have every right to be upset.  You have every right to PEACEFULLY demonstrate your anger.  But can we refrain from property damage and violence?  I've said this for a long while now.  Once it gets violent, the message is lost and all people see is the violence.  The Daily Show had some good words about it:

2.) As a party, the Democrats need to change.  They have virtually ignored the rural working class and their problems and this is not right.  Here's some reading to that note:

They can't keep going on the way that they have been.  Honestly, POLITICS as usual can't.  And if Trump continues Washington politics as usual, this will be your time to come and and actually change!!!

3.) We need to work hard to make sure that their populations that are currently afraid are supported and helped.

4.) We can acknowledge that this is going to suck, here is a great article to that.

On the Republican side
1.) The day after the election there were protests, but there were also reports of racist graffiti.  Social media has lit up with stories of harassment to minorities in Trump's name.  It happened after Brexit too.  Now, are all of those reports true?  Maybe, maybe not.  But the feelings are still there.  I asked the Clinton supporters to refrain from violence.  The other side needs to as well.  Violence is never an answer.

2.) Y'all voted your guy in on his promises of change.  Well, I hate to tell you this, but Washington cronies and lobbiests are part of his team now.  I'll wager that after all of this, nothing actually will change.  I understand why you voted for the guy!  I totally get it!  (Unless you want to kick out all the Muslims, or are pro-gay conversion therapy... I'll never get that)  I voted for Sanders in the primary! 

Trump ran on a platform that spoke to the working class.  And already he's said some things I like.  Yay fixing the infrastructure!  But economists have looked at his policies, and there's a REALLY good chance that your welfare and Medicare will get cut and your taxes will go up.    Let's all hope it doesn't.

3.) Republicans NEED to understand WHY many Clinton supporters are afraid.  The LGBT community is afraid of Pence.  Immigrants (the legal ones) are afraid of being deported.  Muslims are afraid of violence or Government action against them because of their religion, even if only a few of the religion are terrorists.

Did we all get that?  I know that I'm preaching to the choir, and that a lot of supporters on either side think that compromise will never happen.  Both sides are afraid that the other will take away their rights and civil liberties.

But coming together must happen.  Until then, I'll leave you with funny GIFs

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Morning After

Yesterday was hard.  My student worker spent most of her shift crying.  Students of color are ALREADY experiencing harassment on campus.
And I had a complete and total meltdown.

You can see it everywhere.  The Klan in North Carolina.  Twitter lighting up with men that are excited to assault women.  People with insurance through the ACA and LGBT folks are terrified.

After scrolling through Facebook and seeing the fear and hatred all day, I lost it.

I got home and started to sob.  Just just a quiet cry.  A loud, gasping ugly cry.  

When asked why I answered:  meetings, faxes, and the general hatred and intolerance in the world.

I put myself to bed early after watching Harry Potter.

This morning, I did this meditation:
(Totally not safe for work)

Am I making the world better?  am I fighting injustice?  Nope.  Right now, I'm simply trying to refrain from going crazy.

If you want to call me selfish go right ahead.

But I've had some thoughts:
  • Right now it's the rabid, hateful Trump supporters that I fear.  The ones that think that his "Candidate Trump" persona is an acceptable way to act.
  • Honestly, Pres-Elect Trump NEEDS to tell everyone that this behavior isn't acceptable.  He's the ONLY one that can stop it, since he made it permissible.
  • Will that happen?  Probably not.
  • I wonder if the Trump that made that acceptance speech is the President we'll get?
  • I wonder if he's not freaking out now because he has to DO this job?
  • In his acceptance speech he said he wanted to fix the infrastructure and the VA.  Dude, if you can do that, you'll have earned a point or two from me.
  • But I have a feeling he'll end up killing the environment and structuring tax cuts that help the rich, but hurt his voter base.
Right now, until January at least,  I think the biggest threat to us are the hateful masses and their thinking that harassment and violence are acceptable.

That is what hurts my heart.
And honestly, if I have to be selfish and hide in a blanket fort for a while in an attempt to keep my sanity, I'm going to do just that.

And I won't apologize for it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I'm just heartsick....

This is how I started my night last night.

Clinton was polling well.  I thought it would fall along those lines...

But I was wrong.

I woke this morning to a new world.
I experienced the 5 stages of grief right there on twitter:

1.) Denial:
2.) Anger:

3.) Bargaining:

4.) Depression:

5.) Acceptance-  well.... I haven't gotten there yet...

I woke to a Facebook feed that was full of posts with helpful information on suicide and depression hotlines.  These weren't the angry "I'm moving to Canada" posts.  These were frightened people.  People of color.  LGBT people.  People who depend on the ACA to live.  People that have in the few short hours since the election have already saw violence and threats against minorities.

I had a friend post about it on Facebook, and a lot of what he had to say rang true:

So who should be vilified in this? I'm going to make an unpopular statement and say it's the Democratic voters. From where I'm sitting, I see two main things that cost Clinton this election:
1) Polling numbers are showing one of the big last minute swing issues was the announcement of ACA Premiums going up next year. Regardless of who is to blame, the blame got pinned on the Democrats because Obamacare was the crown jewel of the last eight years. People will vote with their wallets. If they are about to feel a major pinch, they will lash out against the people who are doing the pinching. In this case, the group in the crosshairs were the Democrats. Yes, I fully understand the increases are not solely the fault of the Democrats. Emotion doesn't make fine judgements, however. For families already feeling financial hardship, this only adds to it.
2) For several years now, white middle America has been dismissed with disdain by the Left. They've been labeled as backwards yokels who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Their concerns have been dismissed and disregarded, and they have repeatedly been told they are wrong and stupid. Regardless of their stance or their positions, take a moment to think about how you would feel if you were told that year after year. How would you react? How would you vote when you have a candidate come along who is willing to listen, says he'll fix the issues near and dear to you, and doesn't denigrate you?
Actually, a lot of that makes sense.  The electorate that swung the the vote were low to middle income rural white guys.  (Or said the guys on NBC last night).  They were voting with their wallets, and trying to change the status quo that has been shafting them.  I totally understand that.  I fear that thinking will bite them in the ass.

The dollar and the Dow plunged as the results came in (just like Brexit).  That's not good.  Companies are already bracing for another recession.

How do we fix it?  My friend had some good ideas:
So how do we correct this? Both sides need to start talking TO each other instead of AT each other. Concentrate on correcting the problems rather than attacking the people involved in the problem. Yes, I am fully aware that some people simply aren't going to change. Some people genuinely hold positions that are abhorrent to me and others. But dismissing everyone else around them only makes the problem worse. There is a clear difference between Rural and Urban viewpoints now. Unless people start listening and making an attempt to find some commonality, it's only going to get worse.
That being said, I fully acknowledge there are some issues where there is no middle ground. On the Conservative side, they need to realize that trying to use the Government to enforce their religious beliefs is completely antithetical to the founding documents and ideals of this country. If it doesn't directly affect you, then it should be none of your business. Period. End of story. Love thy neighbor. Leave the judging and punishing, if there is to be any, to God. While a number of people want to pull out the love the sinner, hate the sin line, the facts of their actions put a lie to this. Denying someone the right to do something simply because your religion thinks it's wrong when it has no negative impact on your life is a move toward Theocracy. Put that aside, accept that people are going to do things you don't like that in no way impact your life, and move along.
If we as a country don't start talking to each other, then this grand experiment in Democracy is going to go down in flames. People need to stop being defensive when problems are brought forward. The idiotic "NOT ALL " arguments do nothing to fix things. They're simply another case of trying to dismiss the issue and say there isn't really one. This leads to frustration, anger, and backlash. If people don't learn to put Ego aside and actually address problems, this is only going to get worse.
Where does that leave us?  Well, we now know the staggering amount of bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia and racism our country has.  We know the lengths the "non-college educated white male electorate" will go to to keep their privilege.

I am genuinely afraid for immigrant communities, the LGBT community, and communities of color.  I am afraid for my friends that might lose their health care.  I'm afraid for women.

Things have already started.  Name calling.  Twitter is alight with men that legitimately thin that sexual assault is OK now, because Trump won.  The harassment of people of color and Islamic people has already started.

But my friend is right.  If we can't find some kind of common ground, things are going to get ugly.  And fast.

And I see a lot of Mr. Rogers and Disney movies in my immediate future.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fitness and other Reindeer Games

Last weekend I ran a 5K.

It's actually been quite some time since I last ran a race.

Apparently it's been too long.  I simply don't have the stamina!  I was seriously huffing and puffing before the first mile!

Combine that with the realization that the end cycle of my current workout was NOT going work...  And I need to make some changes.

Well, I've been trying to make changes for years now.  I just need something to stick.  Maybe I'll start small.  I'll make sure to measure and track EVERYTHING tomorrow, and make that commitment for the next day.  I'll make a commitment to not half-ass my workout.  To stretch after.

I now have a goal!  And a reward!

When I lose 20 pounds, I'm going to happily drive my butt to the Williamsburg Winery and buy myself a bottle of Adagio.  (Don't look at the price... this is why it's a reward)  Sadly, it's a wine that needs to sit in a cellar and mature for a bit... so I can't open it for another 10 pounds.

I need to find some sore of daily reward/motivator as well....  A reward for tracking, portioning, working out and doing my chores.  Is it sad that I'm contemplating a sticker chart.  Like I'm 4?  And in all of this madness, I was actually considering going back to Beachbody Coaching to see if I can make a buck.  I don't know if it'll actually happen, though.

I just need to find a similar motivation for the Spousal Equivalent, who has gotten on the health bandwagon with me.

In other news the anxiety is better, but still not great.  I know it's a contributing factor with the unhealthy eating and all.

Here's to picking goals and sticking with them!

I'll check back next Monday to give a progress report!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

High Anxiety

Or the better version:

(At the 2:55 mark)

I've been struggling with anxiety BIG TIME lately.  And who can blame me?  A lot of people are!

All day long we are bombarded with the ins and outs of candidates and awful things they say.

(And, frankly, Donald Trump scares me...)

Between negativity on television, and negativity with my friends on social media, it's all a bit much to take.  (And honestly a lot of this might just be hormonal!)

And this year it's especially bad.

I've been teetering on this edge of dissolving into tears.

And I did just that last night while starting dinner.

I pulled sausage out of fridge and lost it.  I was all:
Thankfully, The Flash wasn't full of his usually stupidity and I was able to watch it.  Yes, Barry's
convenient forgetting that messing with the timeline is BAD drove me out of the room last week.  This week, he apparently got a clue.

It's been a bit of a struggle to get up every morning and exercise.  I'd much rather sleep longer.  But I know that that's not what I need.

Though, today I did 40 minutes of Yin Yoga.  I know that I need cardio, but I just couldn't.  Actually, I think it helped!  I might try to add 15 minutes of yoga in the mornings.... if I can get up for it...

I think until this passes, I need to simply do the best that I can.

I'm trying my best to work on my diet.  I know that it helps.  But sometimes the occasional glass of wine with dinner is consumed.

I'm trying my best to exercise.  I'm about to finish up Focus T25.  I'm also running.  In fact, I had a race this weekend!

As long as I get up in the morning and DO something, it'll get me through.

You know what also helps?

Puppies (even if they ARE sitting on my work clothes)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

That didn't turn out the way that I hoped... My first and last time donating blood

I've never given blood before.  I don't know my blood type!

But when Busch Gardens advertised their blood drive I signed up.  What's to lose?  I'd get a free ticket for next year and there'd be the Fiends naughty nurses there?  Sign me up!
Why did I sign up?  This right here!

It was all going pretty well.  I gave my blood.  I had a snack and some water.  I was feeling pretty good.

So we walked across the park to the BBQ place.  They did say that eating meat after the donation would be good.

The line was long.  The longer we stood in the line, the more I began to yawn.  Finally, I decided to step out of line, and go find a table.

It was there that things went really wrong, really fast.  I was becoming light headed.  It left like my ears were stuffed with cotton.  I felt hot and sweaty.  Medic.  I needed one.  I looked around.  Since it was William and Mary student day, there were obviously college students all around.  Luckily, one of my student workers was two tables over.  I yelled over that I was going to pass out and to please get me a medic.  He laughed.  That was the joke before we left work today, that I was going to pass out.  But it only took a second or two to realize that I was serious.

He stood up and looked for help.  The help came around the time that the Spousal Equivalent showed up with the food.  By this time I'd added difficulty breathing and numb hands to the mix.

I was placed in a wheelchair and whisked off to the first aid station where I could finally lay down.  Slowly I regained feeling in my hands and my breathing eases.  We needed up eating our dinner sitting on the infirmary beds.  I was cold, but I was HUNGRY.

An hour and a half after I gave blood we were headed home.  My car is still in the parking lot.

This morning I'm feeling pretty good.  We still have to head back to Busch Gardens and get my car.

I am incredibly HUNGRY, though...

My family better enjoy their free tickets.  I know that I'm not going to give blood again!

Monday, September 19, 2016

I work out because I refuse to give up!

As many of you know, I participate in challenge groups almost every month.  They help keep me on track.

Last night my coach challenged us to post an inspiration quote, and fill in the blank:

"I work out because______________"

Thinking about it, I knew I needed more than a Facebook post to answer this..

It's simple.  I work out because I refuse to give up.

But it's also more complicated than that.

I get told by well meaning friends all I'm perfect just the way I am.  Body Positiveity is the thing right now.  And I get that.  And some are going so far as to say trying to lose weight is anti-body-positive and all.

But that doesn't take in consideration other factors.  I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, colon cancer and diabetes in my family.  Heck, my father's entire family is medicated for diabetes.   I know that losing weight will help with the whole trying to fend of diabetes for some time.

I'm working out for my health.  And to make my health better.

In the last few years, I've started running.  And man, do I love me a race!  But I'm a slooooow runner.

My previous goal was to run the Disney Princess half marathon.  I've found some other race to start working towards
My new goal races:  the Disney Star Wars Dark Side half, and the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon!

To that end, I've been using a Couch to 5K program (gotta start somewhere) and an indoor workout.  This month it's Focus T25.  So I get to spend my mornings with Shaun T.

I know that my alternating the running with a solid cardio and body sculpting program I'll get better results.  When I'm done with Shaun T I might go on to 21 Day Fix, or maybe back to the TurboFire/ChaLean Extreme Hybrid that I used before.  But what I know is I'll always have a plan.  I'll always be working toward something.  Toward wearing a smaller pant size.  Towards being able to walk upstairs without huffing and puffing.  Towards a 12 minute mile.

I work out because I refuse to give up.

I refuse to give up on my goal races.
I refuse to give up on my health.
I refuse to give up on me.