Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where have you been???

I logged in for the first time in a long time today only to realize that I've not posted since May.  On one hand, it's hard to believe, but on the other, I know everything that's happened this year.  I've been lucky enough to have quite a few people ask me where I've been these past seven months (it means you were actually reading this!) and I'm blessed to have so many people who care!


In as short of an explanation as possible, 2011 sucked.  It absolutely, positively was brutal.  The spirit of this blog was happiness in the face of adversity and to be honest (as I've promised to be) I did not have the capacity to be happy for most of those months.  The thought of finding something to even attempt to be happy about and share with you all made me want to crawl deeper under the covers.  When I found happy moments - let's be honest, of course I did - I just wanted to live them. 

Lucky for me - and maybe you - I'm back!  2012 is on the horizon and hubs and I have so much change coming for us. 

First off, he is headed back to school!  After two and a half years of being laid off/unemployed, he made the decision to recommit himself to being a student and is heading into our local community college to begin their Pre-Engineering Program.  He has high aspirations and I have all the faith in the world that this is the path he was meant to be on.  (Take it from a girl who has to physically remove the remote from his hands to stop the constant barrage of Discovery, Nat Geo, History Channel, etc., etc.) This is gonna be awesome!

Second on the list of "most awesome" new beginnings - I'm making the switch from Account Service to Public Relations.  It took a post from my favorite Red-Headed Blogger (read it here) to finally propel me into action, but she inspired me to reevaluate myself and find my "higher banana". 

For those who don't want to read it all - here's my favorite snippet:

Whatever your Higher Banana is, it’ll make you cry a little. And that’s because it has the power to break your heart – business, love, life in general. It’s a silly shape for something we should have aspirations for and what do I care if you decide to call it your Higher Artichoke or Higher Hippogriff? It doesn’t matter a damn to me. What matters is that we bust our asses to reach it (because it’s higher than we might think), we open our hearts to everything that will bring it closer (because it’s never going to be a yellow brick road) and when we find it, we refuse to become complacent. We keep striving to fulfill our promise to the Higher Banana.

I took a look at where I was, what I was doing everyday and how happy it made me.  What I realized is that I had professionally backslid, I was bored to tears and I hated doing it.  So, I stuck my neck out and reached for a role that I thought maybe, JUST maybe, I could be a complete rockstar.  The look on the face of the guy in charge when I said I was interested was one I'll never forget.  The one on mine when they told me I was the front-runner hands-down was one I wish I had a picture of.  Moral of my story - don't be afraid to fail.

So, 2012 is coming.  I don't know if this blog will keep its theme of being where I try to find my happy place or if it will evolve from here.  But, I do know that I loved interacting with you all and sharing my ramblings.  I hope you keep checking in and throw down a comment or two to let me know you're out there.

Have a fantastic holiday!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ahhhh validation!

I've been nervously awaiting today for the last week. 

For four weeks I've been following the Self Magazine 2011 Challenge - eating from their meal plan and suffering through their ass-kicking workouts.  Today marks 31 days since I started the program and my first visit to my doc since then.  I don't own a scale, so this was the only way I was getting weighed.  (No, I didn't intentionally schedule it this way, but it worked out quite well!). 

I didn't follow the meal plan every day, nor did I get every single workout in, but..... drumroll pleeeeease......I lost SEVEN pounds and FOUR inches!  WOOT WOOT!

Insert crazy-Carlton dancing all over my car and eventually my house tonight!

 


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sweet Victory

Once upon a time, there was a couple of crazy kids who thought it would be a great idea to DIY/on the cheap redo their master bedroom - on a Sunday.  While in theory, this was a grand plan, in application, it was quite the disaster.  Those kids lost many a battle that day, but they did win the war!

Let me lay today out for you - in all of its ups and downs:

1) Put old bed on Craiglist - emails start coming in within an hour - this is great!

2) First buyer never shows, but hubs and I spend over an hour taking apart and transporting old bed down to the garage (bonus: lots of stairs = no need for a workout)

3) Start to put together new bed frame.  Bought via CL over six months ago, brand new in box, and IT'S BROKEN.  There aren't holes where there needs to be.  Hubs has to cut two pieces off and proceeds to break two drill bits before breaking down and going to Lowe's for a superman version to create new holes.  THIS IS NOT GREAT.

4) New buyer is found, picks up old bed.  Again - this is great!

5) Hubs gets new bed frame to work - GREAT! But we realize that we are going to need a box spring unless we want to sleep three inches off the floor.  NOT GREAT.  Bonus: I remember new buyer saying  he now has a box spring he has no need for since our old bed frame didn't require one.  And he's even nice enough to bring it back across town to us (because we sold hubs' truck we have no way to pick it up).  GREAT!

6) New buyer drops off box spring - we give him his money back from the bed and call it an even swap. Everyone is happy! Until we try to put the box springs on the bed frame, only to realize that our buyer has a California King - which is even more fantastic because he now has a mattress that won't fit in our frame and we have a frame and mattress with too big of a box spring.  NOT GREAT.

7) Great idea - let's just swap mattresses!  It's only new buyer's third trip from completely across town.  Why wouldn't he want to do that!?! Oh wait - we had to modify our original frame and cut a piece off, the piece that allowed us to expand out to a Cali King size.  Now we are going to have a box spring and mattress with no frame.  New buyer to the rescue again! He brings his old frame (after he had already left and went back to pick it up).  SO GREAT.

8) New buyer helps us move his mattress upstairs and ours out to his truck.  We are lucky and all current bedding fits the new bed, though the comforter is a little small.  The mattress might end up a little hard for me, but time will tell.

We started our adventures today at 10:30am.  It is now 8:30pm.  And it's time for the big reveal!!!

I've been working for the last 6 months or so accumulating the things I wanted for this room redesign, so let's check out the goods already.

First, the before shot.  This was from when we very first moved in to the house 3 years ago.


And the progress shot - I've added the sconces and we still have the super ugly shelves above the windows and in the corner (even though we told previous owners we didn't want them...reason forthcoming shortly).



Progress shot - we've taken down both ugly shelves only to find that the previous owners had painted AROUND them.  So, I had some spackling, sanding and painting under my belt that week.  I only painted over the areas that needed it and to my joy and surprise - you can't even tell! YESSSS!



 Drumroll, please!  Below is many months of collecting the perfect/in our budget items to pull off a new bedroom!



Not only is Lilu taking advantage of her new California King throne, but we hung curtains that match the bedspread perfectly, found two matching nightstands from, gasp, walmart.com of all places, and I absolutely LOVE the new lamps we got from Target for a whopping $17 each.  We also had the art gifted to us (Thanks Aunt V!).

Isn't this freaking adorable? I love the print!

Hubs is absolutely over it.  All he cares about is having somewhere to sleep tonight.

Clearly the kids are cool with the new setup.  They supervised the numerous breakdowns and weren't surprised at all when we conquered the day.  


Keep your eyes peeled, a DIY headboard, a new dresser and a sitting corner are still additions that need to be made.  All in good time...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gettin' my head on straight

So, in my last few posts, I've referenced the fact that I just haven't been feeling "with it" the past six weeks or so.  Things just weren't gelling in my life and I couldn't put my finger on exactly what the issue was.  I talked to a few friends, my wise woman and hubs, and didn't find much help.  Then, I got sneaky smart, and started rereading my old posts.  Who better to tell me what my problem is than me!  Shockingly enough - it worked!

The real difference-maker was this post, which reminded me of exactly where I was toward the beginning of this year, and why I'd found myself so comfortable and happy there.  I had stopped focusing on what might be wrong and started focusing on what I knew was right. So, in an effort to replicate that, I've spent the last few weeks really refocusing myself and finding those little bits of happiness.

First, I just stopped doing yoga every day.  Something that precious to me should not be something I loathe.  I've come to the realization that nothing in my life can be required every single day.  It is a box I cannot check, and if I make myself, I will only resent it.  So, I've gone back to twice a week (one being my class on Saturday mornings) and I am officially back in love.  It's become relaxing and rejuvenating once again.  And for your information, last week I came THIS CLOSE to pulling off crow pose....it's going to happen soon people...I'm telling you!  Next time you see this picture, I will be the model.



Second, I've signed up for Self Magazine's annual challenge.  I decided to this primarily because I wanted to try their meal plan and change things up in my daily diet.  Overall, I'm generally a healthy eater, but I was working out all the time and not getting anywhere, which made me realize it had to be my diet.  Now, I'm using meal planning, which is FANTASTIC.  I spend an hour each week planning literally every meal, I buy about $60 in groceries (lots of produce!) and I'm all set.  I adore not having to ask hubs every night, "So, what do you want for dinner"? I also have transferred my workout loathing to the SELF challenge workout.  It is kicking my butt, but I'm already seeing results and I'm in week three.

I have to say though, what I'm most proud of myself for is the fact that I'm not beating myself up if I blow the diet (yesterday's afternoon brownie at the office...YUM) or miss a workout (I for sure slept through my 4:45am wake-up call this morning).  I'm trying to create a lifestyle and life doesn't allow for perfection so I shouldn't expect it from myself.  Big words for a type-A crazy chick, I know, but I'm giving it a shot!

If you have any suggestions on how you made being healthy a priority - without driving yourself insane - I would love to hear them!

Stay tuned...I've got a DIY project I'm pretty darn proud of coming to fruition in the next few weeks and a big trip planned for the beginning of May.  Good times ahead!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun things are coming

I realize I've been slacking off in my blogging duties as of late - don't hate the player kids, hate the game.  Life's been pretty busy in my hood, but I haven't forgotten about you! 

I have quite a few posts lined up in my brain, but I need some circumstances to come together before I have all of the content I need (I won't lie...I have cleaning to do to share my DIY project, and I have one last class before I can officially post about my volunteer efforts). 

The last few months have really flown by, so I haven't accomplished everything I'd hoped for, but some life lessons have been learned and overall balance has been achieved.

Stay tuned----

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A whole new meaning to "R&R"

In true "Making the most of it" fashion, I took Tuesday and Wednesday off from work.  Why you ask?  Well, not to sit at home and be a bum!  My girl Cera let me know via Facebook a few weeks back that she would be home on leave from Afghanistan and Tuesday was her 29th birthday!  So, of course, hubs and I took off for CR first thing Tuesday morning.

Birthday = cuteness.  Always.


What she didn't know however, was that her hubs (who was also deployed and going to be home on leave) had planned a crazy surprise day for her.  We started off with lunch with the ladies, then had mani/pedis, and finally he took her to a fancypants dinner while the rest of us decorated and set up for her surprise party at her fav bar. 



Not only was she shocked to see us, but also to see her favorite local band set up and ready to rock in the corner!  Of course, her and I started the night off right - with shots of red-headed, ahem, ladies.



It was a priceless to get to spend some time with her, I feel like she's been gone forever, and just four more months and she'll be home for good!  Huah!

The hubs'

Got to have one of the three college besties.  And, as always, hubs has to make it interesting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Latte Ninja!

Hubs and I decided to make the ultimate splurge last week and I had to show off my new latte ninja - the Tassimo!


This bad mamajama not only brews coffee (like a Keurig) but even better - it makes lattes, cappuccinos and chai!  Before this little man came in to my life, the only way I got a latte was if I paid for it or hubs got up early enough to make one for me.  Our current latte-making capabilities are beyond my reach - there's all kinds of math involved to make sure the water to steam to espresso ratios were all correct.  So, in anticipation of hubs hopefully going back to work soon, and the FANTASTIC deal I got for being a Nook owner, we are the proud owners of one super-crazy-smart breakfast-enhancing machine.

Not only did we get a deal on the machine, we got free shipping and two free sets of Tassimo T-discs!


Hooooollllllaaaaa for the caramel machiatto baby!  This girl is living the caffeinated life!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Watch out DeMo...he's coming!

I got some of THE BEST news this week - hubs and I's absolute favorite musician is coming back for a show in Des Moines in April.  That's right - Dick Prall and his band are back.  If you don't have plans April 23rd, you should be in the East Village at Club 504.  Heck, if you do have plans, change them! 



If you haven't heard of Dick Prall, that's a downright shame, but have no fear for I am here to educate you!  He once told me "I'm too pop for Indie, and too Indie for pop."  And he's right (duh...).  There's no label you can put on his sound, but it's infectious in the best possible sense of the word.  His music is what you turn on when you've hit the first 60 degree day of the season, you've slid back the sun roof and rolled down the windows.  You want to blare it from the speakers and sing along at the top of your lungs while the people at the stoplight next to you wonder what the hell you're bopping your head to. 

But, even more than that, you will love the lyrics.  They aren't nonsensical ramblings just designed to fit the beat (which is what hooked hubs).  Every word can mean something.  You might not take out of it what he wrote it to be, but that's the amazing part.  I hate being told what the song is actually written about.  I want to listen to it, absorb it, and make it my own.  Whether it's a more pop-sounding "Barely Moving" or the romantic "Honore" - the lyrics are always something that if you wanted to , you could really dig into and think about. 

I've thrown a few videos in below - one from the year we had Dick play solo in our backyard at our annual Memorial party and another from a recent impromptu show in a Des Moines local's basement (which hubs and I missed - I'm still kicking myself for that one).  The first snippet of a song (Barely Moving) is a favorite of mine and the second (Little Holes) is from Dick's newest EP - Inc.  Do your diligence and check out his MySpace page and website to hear more.  I have all of his CDs and there's not one I don't love.  I hope I see you at the show!

 
Barely Moving



Little Holes


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where have I gone?

Lately I've been avoiding my own blog - weird, right?  For quite a few months, say November through till February, I really felt like I was making some progress.  I was making better choices, I was letting go of the crap I tend to hold to and I was really evaluating the things that made me happy and chucking the ones that didn't.  And then, for some reason I am still unable to fully put my finger on, it all went downhill. 

The best way to describe my random descension is to remember what it was like to try to go down a slide on the playground - when you were wearing shorts, it was super hot, and you stuck to the slide about every foot.  You'd be moving - so excited to be moving - and then all of the sudden you're totally irritated by the fact that you aren't.  You use your arms to force yourself forward.  You move.  You stop again.  That's totally where I'm at.

I've fallen back in to my "checklist" trap.  I keep evaluating my current predicament and saying to myself, "What can I change?  What am I doing wrong? What thing about me can I change that would give me that joy back?"  I push myself another few inches only to stop short again.

I thought choosing to practice my yoga every day for lent would be a good start - it would show my commitment to my new faith, and it would  give me that post-flow high every day, bringing me back to center and reminding me of all of the amazing changes my body and mind are going through.  What actually has happened is that now getting on the mat is a chore every day.   And when I am on the mat, or in class, I'm not relaxed, I'm not accepting the postures and I am surely not accepting myself in them.  I've regressed people - and I don't like it.

It's odd, but I kind of think part of my fall has been how much my social life has picked up.  Don't get  me wrong - I LOVE my friends.  I love our chats, dinner, drinks and fun - heck, I need that part of my life to stay sane.  But, I have quite a few different groups of friends and by the time I get everyone on the calendar, my calendar is a disaster.  It seems like every night of the week I either have a yoga class or a "date" of some sort and I am not getting any "me" time.  So, I'm going to attempt a pseudo-social hiatus.  I won't say no to invitations, but I'm not going to seek out more to do in April.  I'm hoping that a few nights at home, maybe a trip back into Season Four of Dawson's Creek where I left off, and some chill time will get my head back to rights.

Got to fight the good fight after all. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

What does everybody need?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about friends - in general, the ones I have now, the ones I don't, and most importantly, the evolution of all of those relationships.  It's been a sad fascinating thing to realize how my friendships changed from high school to college to the "real world."  And from the conversations I've been having lately with my current pals, what I've been experiencing really is a typical trend.  Let's examine the evidence...

The high school friend
There's a good chance you've had this friend much longer than high school - this is the person that remembers when "the popular boy" at school made you cry, they picked you up off the bottom of your locker the first time your heart got broken and they were there to jump and squeal (if you're a girl) when your parents finally caved and let you get a car.  If you're me, which clearly I am, this person also still knows me better than anyone could.  Even though she lives a bazillion miles away and I talk to her like three times a year, I know that if I ever, EVER, need anything, we will just pick right up where we left off.  It doesn't matter that we basically only have a Facebook status holding together our day-to-day knowledge, she gets me.  I also am blessed to have a second great friend from high school that I get super-excited to see every time I visit the 'rents.  I know that most people aren't lucky enough to still have this though, so it's likely that your high school friends are people you kept in touch with in college - mostly via Christmas/Spring break parties when you were avoiding your parents - and then lost touch with outside of Facebook when you hit true adulthood. 

The college friend(s)
Ohhhh the college friends.  Now these people know you, but they know the absolute crazy side of you.  They have blurred memories of your too many to count drunk nights together, they know the secrets you pray they don't remember and they may or may not have been there when you made that life path decision that really changed everything.  Your college friends are likely what I consider my high school friends to be - your hands down best friends.  So many people I know today are still in touch with their best college friends and hold those people to be the most sacred - though unless you've stayed in the same few states vicinity, it's really getting hard to keep up with them.  I do have a few really crucial college friends that I am lucky enough to say are still a part of my life.  Some of them more than others, but the ones that really matter are still here!


The work friends
This is always a really interesting cluster of friends.  Sometimes, your friendship never leaves your cube/cafeteria at the office. Sometimes, you are lucky like I have been, and moved those friendships past 8-5 and have even pulled your significant others into the mix.  These people know a lot of the inner workings of your life, because hell, you spend more time awake with them than anyone else in your life!  This can be a scary cluster of friends though because you really have to be careful who you trust and who you let in, but once you're sure, nothing is better than a conspiratory smile as you pass by each other in the kitchen because you know what happened last weekend.

The friend of a friend
This has always been one of my favorite categories because some of the most fantastic friends I've made have come to me this way.  This person was someone else's high school/college/work friend and you were in the right place at the right time and found yourself a new soul mate friend.  For humor value, most of my "friend of a friend" friends and I are no longer friends with the people who introduced us!

I think the hardest thing we deal with though, as we progress through all of these people, is realizing when the time is to keep them, when the time is to let them go and that you don't always get to have a "best friend" in the high school/college sense of the words.  There are people who came in to your life that you're probably glad are gone, those who you really wish had never left, and then those that are here and maybe you aren't quite sure what to do with them.

Recently, I've been really trying to look at all of these people and remember what they taught me, because I can promise you that I learned something from each and every one of them.  They may have taught me about the person I wished I was, the person I'm glad I'm not or even just that taking the time to envy someone else's life is just not worth it - if their life looks that great then they are just really good at hiding the crap they're dealing with.   Every now and then, I also have to believe I've taught them a thing or two along the way.

I hope reading this brought thoughts of people past and present to mind that you haven't thought of in a while.  Enjoy the memories kids.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

40 days and 40 nights

Today marks my first observed lent.  A big part of my "Making the most of it" journey has been finding my faith and recognizing life for what it is - a daily gift filled with many blessings to go along with its many struggles.  I had always felt like something was missing from life, and the influence that realizing I needed this faith as a part of my every day was really a life-changing experience for me. Not in the "Hallelujah - I'm saved!" kind of way, but in the, "I really can handle this life - insert a very content sigh here" kind of way.

Back to lent...I've been struggling with my decision of what to give up for days.  What is "enough"? What is just silly?  What will I actually commit to??  UGH.  Where have I landed you ask? A daily yoga practice of at least 45 minutes.  As I took an objective look at how I'm living today, I realized that there really isn't anything I do in excess that would be a real "sacrifice" to give up.  I only drink alcohol on weekends (generally), I don't drink pop much ever, I really don't eat many sweets and I even have curbed my swearing considerably (from my informal facebook poll, these are the status quo during lent).  So, this led me to adding something to my life that would still require the one sacrifice I loathe making - giving up sleep - which I am going to have to do in order to practice every day.

The hubs did a great job of laying it out for me last night - "When you absolutely want nothing to do with getting up in the morning, and you remember why it is you made this commitment and get up anyway, that's what lent is about."  Forty days is a long time, but I think I can do it. What about you all - what are you giving up from/adding to your life this lent?  


P.S. Just for fun - here's an image I found via Google when I did a search of "what to give up for lent" - too funny!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm a model...you know what I mean...

And I took my little turn on the catwalk!


Limited space = two of the same pose. 



Well, not quite, it was more like a turn in front of white butcher paper in the Raygun store - but it was a ton of fun all the same!  I worked with John, who was a super fun guy, and spent about 35 minutes "modeling" 9 different Raygun T-shirts (If you've never seen these - seriously, go to http://www.raygunsite.com - you will end up wanting to buy many of them).

It was a tad awkward, because I ran out of interesting poses after about the third shirt, and I needed to stay essentially in one spot, and make sure you could still sort of read the shirt, so I was a bit limited in my motions.  Or so I thought!  After seeing Raygun's facebook page, I realized it didn't really matter what I did, it was more about having fun.  Hopefully, some day in the future I can convince them to let back in there again, and perhaps I'll have a drink or two beforehand  :) 

I never actually listed "modeling" on my bucket list, but being the ham that I am, there is nothing in the world I love more than having my picture taken.

Score one for making the most of it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I need some inspiration

So, I'm 28.   I'll be 29 in July.  This means that I am approaching 30, and shockingly enough, could care less.  I am not one of those people that looks at that number like this giant, looming deadline of all of the fun and cool things I should have done by now.  But, it does remind me that I have been in the working world for six years now and I STILL don't know what I'm meant to do.

Now, don't misunderstand, I like my current job - I believe I do a pretty freaking good job at it too (we shall see what my upcoming performance appraisal thinks about my assumption soon...).  But, is it really what I was meant to do?

I know all of these people, that in the last year, have quit the jobs they had (hated or not), took the leap and opened their own businesses, or went back to school to work toward their calling.  I. AM. SO. JEALOUS.  But, in all of my self-awareness, I realize that I have literally no clue what my calling actually is.  That realization makes me so sad. I feel like I am floundering around, while some big dream escapes my grasp because I just haven't figured out what the heck it is.

I have to believe this is a common occurrence.  Our society sets us up to work tirelessly at whatever job will pay the bills, fulfilling or not, so that we can make the almighty dollar and keep up with whomever we're comparing our sorry existence to today.  (And it's not like we ever compare our lives to someone's whose is worse...come on now...) 

I get that.  I get all the stupid reasons we do the stupid things we do as humans.  But, I do really feel like each of us has a calling.  That you have some particular reason you were put on this earth, born to those parents, are friends with those people...you get the idea.

What do you think? Are in the rut? Did you find your passion? Give me your story - I need some inspiration here people.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Commenting

I've had quite a few people in the last few months tell me that haven't been able to leave comments - which makes me sad as I would love to hear all of your thoughts (positive or negative) on my ramblings.  So, here is the short of it:

1) If you have a gmail account, make sure that you are signed via the top right menu's "Sign In" link.

2) Click on the "Comments" link in the appropriate post.

3) From the drop down menu, either select your account (google [gmail], wordpress, etc.) OR select either Name/URL or Anonymous.

If you chose an account (i.e. google), and you're logged in, you'll automatically see your info in the drop down.

If you chose Name/URL, you can input just your name without having to input a URL.

If you chose Anonymous, then I would love it if you would include in your comment your name.

I hope I see some new comments popping up soon - and if you have any other questions, please feel free to email me at stormysmith07@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take the reins

So, I've found myself back again on the topic of being happy.  (One of my favorite, and most popular posts thus far, also centered around being happy so check it out too here.)  I found this picture below in one of my go-to magazines, SELF, and had to share:




I know it isn't a great photo capture, and you can't actually read what it says, so I've got it here for you.

"Take the reins.  Think about what makes you happiest - the one thing guaranteed to get your heart racing and a big grin spreading across your face.  Got it? Good.  Now do that thing.  Yes, today.  Taking control of your life is about knowing what you want and going after it without hesitation.  You don't need permission.  You just need to know you deserve to be happy."


Now, setting aside the fact that I dream of horseback riding, I loved this moment (the title of this section in the mag is "A Moment for Yourself").  Heck, I needed this moment.  Because I do deserve to be happy, and so do you.

This life, this rat race of life, takes and takes from us every day.  If we're honest with ourselves, we know that most days we give to it more than it takes from us.  We prioritize everything under the sun higher than ourselves.  And for what?  To look in the mirror and ask ourselves daily why we've already abandoned our goals from yesterday?

I started this blog, this mission, to have a constant reminder of why I'm here - in this life.  It isn't for "the man."  It isn't even for my man.  It's for me.  This life is mine, and yet daily I give it away to the stresses of work I can't change, family I don't see, friends I wish I saw more and a husband I love so much but still need a break from every now and then.

February was a case in point - I started off so well but ended up falling off my yoga wagon because I was having nightmares about work/life and hit snooze every morning, my stress broke my "eat healthy" mentality and I ended up feeling mentally drained and physically bleh.  But it's just so hard to separate it all out.  To tell yourself that work doesn't have to come home with you and home doesn't need to go everywhere else with you.  Is that even possible?

As I learn more about yoga, they keep telling me that yoga - like life - is a process.  There should be no goals, because there would always be another goal to attain and you would never really feel satisfied.  If you approach life/yoga as a process though, you can never let yourself down because you know up front that you will always be growing and moving through the steps.

But I like goals. And I really like checking the boxes beside those goals.

So, that makes this philosophy so hard for me to wrap my head around. But, in the name of the process, happiness, and my mission, I try again every day.  For all those moments that bring a little taste of peace to an otherwise hectic existence - I will try again.  And again.  And again.

How do you keep yourself on track?  When things just go all whack crazy on you, how do you bring it back to center?







Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I've been holding out

When I first started this blog, I didn't exactly make the decision to withhold some information about me and my journey, but I just didn't bother to address it.  As I get further into this though, I don't think it's fair to not be totally up front.

You see, I didn't come from an overly religious home and just this past year I finally came in to my faith.  I feel like this is a super awkward topic, but as I grow in  my faith, I find more and more people living in this weird limbo of having it but not talking about it.  People I never knew went to church every week, taught classes, and felt God changing their every day, have been popping up everywhere I turn. 

I must clarify though - I am by no means a bible beater.  I'm absolutely new at this whole thing and slowly finding my way around.  You will not see scripture popping up in this arena, but you will likely start seeing references to the way that my faith is changing things - because it is. 

I've talked about the fact that I was going to the Holy Spirit Retreat and that I tried out a class at my church as well.  Both things have had a huge impact on me in very different ways.  I have issues with failing and it took a lot for me to be able to acknowledge that the prayer class just wasn't for me.  It didn't feel right, it didn't make me feel good, and I just didn't want to be there.  But, that didn't mean that I wasn't "doing" my faith right.  It just meant that a certain class wasn't what I needed in this season of my life. (If you know me well, you know that this is a HUGE realization for me)

The Holy Spirit Retreat, on the other hand, made a big difference but in a subtle way.  Does that even make sense? Certain truths were revealed and spending a day and a half discussing the scripture and how the Holy Spirit is tied into every part of our faith and our life experience was amazing.  A lot of freedom came from that experience and along with it, I realized some more about myself and this journey.  I still have a lot to let go of, and even more importantly, I have lot more to give. 

There are just certain areas of my life that I'm still being selfish.  Places that I thought I wasn't, but really was acting like someone "owed" me something just because of certain circumstance or emotion I was having.  That's part of why I went back to the book I referenced in my last post, because I think it's important to give people the love and compassion that you also want for yourself.

I hope this honesty doesn't turn you off from continuing to read.  I feel like there is something big coming for me and I hope you stay around to see what happens!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Underneath it all

Every now and again, I pull myself from my world of paranormal romance and delve into a book with a little more oomph.  Something that makes me really think.  At the suggestion of a good friend, I found myself in a book that took a deep dive into being a woman, but also covered the basics of men.  For a few weeks now, my brain has kept coming back to this book and fundamentals it spoke of.

First, the woman.  According to the authors, there are three things that are at the core of every woman:

The need to be romanced
I assumed this meant flowers and candles, but it was more about feeling wanted and fought for - feeling desired and pursued.  Most women act like their own heroine - fighting their own battles and being the "strong, independent woman of the twenty-first century." But, if we're actually honest with ourselves, what we'd really like is for the men in our life to take away some of our control.  We want to be precious to them, to be treated in the way of medieval princesses of old. We might say we don't, but we all need those gestures that make us feel treasured. (Hello...it's no wonder romance novels exist!)

The need to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure.
We don't want to be "sweet" and "nice" women.  We want to be considered powerful and passionate.  We need to feel like the part we play in life is a vital one.  That we bring something important and necessary to the table.  We are not just here to make dinner.


The need to feel beautiful.
At the core of every woman is a little girl, twirling in her dress, asking someone if she looks pretty.  At first I had a hard time buying this one, but really, how often have you changed clothes 15 times before a night out with your girlfriends? How many of you married ladies described your wedding day as "feeling like a princess"?  We want to feel like we're shining from the inside out - not just made up, in our favorite heels and outfit pretty, but the girl the whole bar looks at as she walks through, but who only cares what one guy sees, pretty.  The one who looks radiant and happy, not just gorgeous.

Now, the men...they also have three core desires:

To have a battle to fight.
It starts with cowboys and indians as little boys and keeps going with UFC fight nights as grown men. Let's be honest though ladies, as much as we might not want to watch our men fight, every woman feels safer with a man she knows can - and will - defend her.  This also pertains to daily life.  How many times have you seen them hoot and holler in glory when they've conquered the installation of some gadget, or fixing the car you told them they should have just taken to the mechanic? It might have taken them four hours longer, but they won the battle.  A lot of times, our want for things to be efficient squashes their ability to "win the battle" and prove their worth.

To have adventure.
Not just in a "boys and their toys" way, but in a way that tests them.  Every day life does not ask the most of a man, he wants to be challenged.  It's why he wants a four-wheeler, a boat or a big truck.  He wants to go do something we consider stupid, so that he can tell his buddies about the adventure and how he won the battle.

To have a beauty to rescue.
A man wants, and needs, to offer his strength on the behalf of his woman.  He needs someone to fight his battle for and to share his adventure with.  Think of high school, maybe college, and a boyfriend you had back then.  Think of some of the utterly stupid things he might have done to impress you.  Even now, if you're married, when you've hit your breaking point, how fast does your husband jump to the rescue? All of the sudden your house is being cleaned, he's being a complete sweetheart and orders you to go do something for yourself.  You've finally given him a chance to rescue you.

I found it to be amazing how the core wants of both men and women lined up so very perfectly but once society norms are added into the picture, how many of these core needs are totally disregarded.  Women are taught to be independent, to not "need" men to do anything for them.  They are disenchanted by men who try to open doors or act at all chivalrous.  They take it as an insult or even worse, they don't even notice the man tried.  And then they wonder why they are considered cold and aloof.   So many women are ashamed of their emotions, of the fact that they do really want to be taken care of.  They are ashamed of many of the things really make us women.  It seems we are our own worst enemies.

My next challenge is going to be trying to recognize the areas of my life that I stray the furthest from myself.  I couldn't disagree with any of points made above - I do believe those three needs are real for most women and men.  And it seems like it's only fair for me to try and give hubs as much as I'm going to be asking for.  We'll see how this goes!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And we're back!

This has been a really challenging week for me personally, and for hubs and I as a family.  But, through the madness, and the really hard decisions we've had to make, I kept the faith that there is a plan for us and that everything we're going through is for a reason.  We learn more about each other, and what we can accomplish together, with every super sucky challenge we come across. 

Today brought us a bit of good news that I couldn't not share with you all.  After telling us just a few weeks ago that hubs would no longer qualify for any further unemployment, we were sent a letter granting him another extension.  Bless President Obama and all of his unemployment extensions because no one is hiring! So, just as I thought we were heading for the land of mac'n'cheese dinners, we're saved!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am me.

A friend recently told me that reading this blog is like I am allowing her into my journal.  Oddly enough, I am ok with that, because too often I think that we all try to handle life all on our own.  We think that everyone else's life is so perfect and ours is the only one that self-destructs.  I hope my honesty is cathartic and you feel a little less alone as I share my story.

I used to write poetry.  I filled books and books with it.  Today, it struck me that though I haven't written in years, I wanted to.  Below is what flowed out as fast as I could log the words.

Because today I really miss the ocean


I am me.


Sometimes, I am me.
I am bold, I am fierce - You cannot stop me.
And sometimes, I am me.
I am afraid, I am a coward – I run.

Two halves of a whole
That isn’t quite defined
That perilously balances
The whole world on her shoulders
All the while, tossing it around
Like a beach ball in the surf

We are friends
We are enemies
I put all my trust in an unknown power
So that I don’t lose me to myself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

Happy Valentine's Day kids! Or, better yet, "Happy Overpriced Stuffed Animals Holding Candy Day!" (quoted from my favorite fuming redhead blogger.)

Since we've almost hit mid-February, it's time for the check-in of how things are going:

- The 21-day yoga challenge is going great.  I won't say I've practiced every day, but I do believe in 14 I've only missed 2.  And a few days I actually did my online video for the day, as well as went to class, so I'm calling it even!  I'm really loving the mental benefits, as well as the toning I'm seeing in my arms!  Yoga doesn't seem to change your outer body very quickly, but I feel less stressed and much more loose.  On the good news front - the hubs was cool with me signing up for a second 8-week session at the Family Tree so I'm officially a part of the Yoga 1.5 Saturday class.  YEAH!

- We had our ARL volunteer orientation this Saturday and I was quite let down by the fact that I need to take another class before I can love up on some kitties.  I did enjoy finding out that there are some myths about the ARL that just aren't true - namely being that there is no time-limit pets stay at the ARL waiting for adoption and though they are not a "no-kill" shelter, they only "take" pets with severe behavior issues (read - going to hurt you) or severe medical issues.  Since they won't say no to taking any pet dropped off to them, that seemed fair. 

- This weekend is a biggie.  Kind of huge actually.  Not only am I spending my Friday night and all day Saturday at the Holy Spirit retreat at Hope, I'm also going to my first ballet Saturday night! Que the fun girly outfit and excuse to drink martinis!!!

- I must also report the bad news.  We are currently a three-car household (The hubs has his beloved F150 and his beater '92 Civic) and the poor Civic has officially died.  The jerks nice men at the auto shop actually made hubs sign a safety waiver when we decided $2500 in repairs was too much for a car we paid $1200 for three years ago. And by safety waiver, what I mean is, "Sir, if you hit a pothole hard enough right now, the right front tire of your car will likely fold up underneath you." Super.

So, the big, ugly debate at our house right now is if we have to say goodbye to the 11mpg truck (Reuben) that hubs has always wanted and currently loves almost as much as the cats.  No one likes goodbyes you know.

I pretty much feel like a schmuck for even bringing it up, but life is dealing us a busted hand lately.  Have you ever had to give up something for the good of the cause?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I burnt the map

That's right, I burnt it.  Lit it with a candle, threw it in the fireplace and watched it burn.




Well, not quite.  I guess what I really did was put it in a drawer and forgot it even existed.  I didn't wake up yesterday and realize that there no longer was a plan for my life.  I woke up yesterday and realized that I hadn't had a plan for a while now.

You see, I've been that girl - the girl with a plan - forever.  Anyone who's ever known me knew that I was that girl.  Not in a bad way (well...maybe), but in a way that made it clear that my life had a defined path and I was in charge of it.  And over the course of the last six months, before I even started this blog, I started to recognize that my plan was completely irrelevant.  I mean, come on, who do you actually know that has a plan that actually worked??

Life doesn't allow plans to actually work.  My plan wasn't to fall in love at 18.  My plan wasn't to realize 80% of the way through college that I had zero desire to write for anyone but myself.  And my plan sure wasn't to spend two years working off of one income while the rest of my friends went on trips and had babies.  Sure wasn't it.

So, somewhere along the way, I just stopped making plans.  My planner is pretty much empty after the last weekend in February outside of yoga class.  I have laundry sitting in the basement that I put there a week and a half ago.  I don't even wonder what I "should" be doing next week.  Planning just isn't worth it the stress of it not working out.  So, tonight I made a recipe I found at 11AM this morning.  I drank a few glasses of wine, painted my fingernails sparkly silver and watched dvr'd shows with the hubs.

And it was awesome.

P.S. I've gotten a few questions around if I think this "no plan" situation is a good one.  My answer is a resounding YES.  Letting go of all of that control is the most freeing thing you can do for yourself.  Just live for a few minutes and don't stress on what could or should be happening.  It's pretty amazing.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get out your decoder ring

Lately, I have been having the WEIRDEST dreams.  They have been mash-ups between my childhood, my high school friends/boyfriends and things I've been wanting to do in the future.  I always dream in full color, which I guess is kind of rare, and I often have what I call "deja vu" dreams where I'm just positive I've had the dream before but I have no idea why.

Now, I was totally that nerd who owned the "Your Dreams Decoded" book in high school (you can reference my other odd high school obsessions here) and I kind of wish I still had it.  I really do believe that your dreams are just your subconscious screaming at you in a time that you're forced to listen. Sometimes it's screaming nonsense, and sometimes you should just shut up and listen. 

What was my subconscious screaming last night? Between the appearance of my high school boyfriend at a random party in Des Moines, a school bus ride during which I was my current age and on board with me were all the members of both NKOTB and Backstreet Boys, being dropped off from said school bus ride at my first home in Mt. Pleasant and finding my clients in my current living room - I might just be nuts. 

My best guess is that I have lately been wondering what happened to the boyfriend (though let's keep him away from my hood), I would looooove to go the NKOTB/BSB concert this summer and I really need to keep working on keeping my work at work and away from home.

Do you ever have those dreams that haunt you through the day and you just wonder where the heck your mind came up with them?

And just for fun...let's take a look at our favorite boy toys from way back when in the here and now, shall we? 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Two for the Renege

I'm sure most of you have already read last night's blathering post, but after rereading and rereading it today I just decided it was not in the spirit of why I write this blog - so I deleted it.  Long after I posted last night, I thought about the issues I'm having feeling fully optimistic.  I think it has more to do with the stress I'm under right now than anything else.

Lesson learned...do not post while feeling too introspective.



Back in college, whenever we were playing cards and someone would try to take a card back, we always called it "two for the renege" - so I owe you guys two drinks.

I'm a clipper

Being the frugal nerd that I am, I spent the first hour of my morning drinking hot tea and clipping coupons.  I went through the last two Sunday's newspapers clipping only things we already buy, then compared prices in the ads between Target, Walmart and Walgreens.  I made my list, organized the coupons by store section (actually a first for me), and drug a hung-over hubs to Target.  

Now, the key to coupon-clipping is to:
a) only clip for things you would already buy, otherwise you're just spending more than normal
b) pay special attention to if you have to buy two of something to get the discount (that often makes it not worth the hassle)
c) wait until you've gotten your Sunday paper so that you can get the best deals. Generally, the items you find coupons for will be on sale in the stores that week.
d) if you find that Target is having the best deals, also check Target.com for special in-store coupons.  They allow you to use their coupon and the manufacturer coupon at the same time.  Today I got two boxes of Nabisco crackers for $2 because they were on sale in the store, I had a Target coupon and a Nabisco coupon.

Just a side note, I have actually found Target to be much cheaper in general than Hy-Vee.  And their Archer Farms brands are much better "generics" than the Hy-Vee brands.

So, the final savings ended up to be awesome -



Hope you all have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm no beginner!

I had to share...I got the most fantastic compliment tonight!

I signed up for my beginner's yoga class at the beginning of January and though it hasn't been the most challenging, it has been fantastic for getting my breathing right and double-checking my pose postures.  Now, if I'm going to be honest, I did feel a little over-qualified for the class I was in.  And then, tonight, our instructor (who is THE most amazing woman) pulled me aside after class and told me that not only was I past the beginner class, but that I should switch straight to the Yoga II class!

Yoga on a beach....yes, please!


I always knew that I enjoyed yoga, but having a true class to go to has really changed my outlook on it.  It is so much more than a workout.

I'm going to take my post-flow high and enjoy the rest of my night, later!

Monday, January 31, 2011

28 days

Ok, so February is right around the corner (as is right in about three hours).  This means that I should finally decide what my next 28 "Make the most of it" days are going to entail.  But first, let's reminisce a bit, shall we?



January brought a lot of things to the table....
- I made it all the way to the 28th before I drank any pop (and I blame it on having the worst migraine EVER and needing caffeine)
- I started the most amazing yoga class at The Family Tree
- I only ate fast food once - ahhh Chik-fil-a, I could not help myself
- I tried out a class at church only to find it wasn't for me
- I made valiant efforts to curb my swearing.  Some days were better than others.
- I spent a lot of time doing what I wanted to - hello Dawson's Creek - and not actually cleaning my house
- I made huuuuge attempts to find the silver lining in all things super sucky (like finding out the hubs unemployment was officially ending)
- and one of my favorites, I found visual reminders for the ol'cube...like this one:




So, what are February's big plans?  They are quite grand if you ask me...which clearly you did.

- I have signed up for the February 12th ARL Volunteer Orientation to be a Cat Companion.  I may have just enlisted hubs as a secondary recruit!  I'm pretty pumped to be lovin' up some cats and kittens.  I know it's going to be hard to leave them there, but animals have always been a passion of mine and the way I figure it, I shouldn't let my guilt over not being able to adopt all of them stop me from giving them the love they deserve.  Besides, maybe it will make them even nicer to their potential adopters!

- I've also signed up for the Yoga Journal 21-day Challenge.  I had originally considered starting my 5k training this month, but honestly, I loooooove yoga and I think the mental benefits are going to outweigh the cardio of running.  Well, that, and I kind of loathe running.  I've been enjoying the heck out of my class to the point that I want to bring that bliss into my every day.  Stay tuned for details - I start tomorrow.

- I'm going to a ballet!! The Des Moines Ballet is putting on Alice in Wonderland, and as fellow blogger Des Moines is Not Boring wrote:

"The Wonderland story and the artistry will be brilliant, but the best part about the performance – in my opinion – is the local connection.  There will be over 150 Des Moines residents, who are passionate about the arts in our city, all working together to bring the amazing event to our community. "

There's just no sense paraphrasing when he said it just right - our dancers and our orchestra - working with the professionals.  And again, a huge thanks to a great friend who made my ability to see this beautiful ballet in person possible!

- Last, but not least on the big list, is the Holy Spirit Retreat at Hope.  I missed it during my Alpha classes back in November, but am really looking forward to it this month.  Once they get it up online, I'll post a link.

Of course, I'm going to keep January's list going and build on my successes, and challenges, thus far.  

What about you guys? Any big plans for February?  Anything you're doing that's just for you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She said what?!?

You probably won't believe it...I had a hard time believing it myself.  Someone that knows me better than I often know myself actually looked at me on Monday and said, "There just seems to be a calmer presence about you than I've ever seen."

WTH?


We're talking about the super type-A, control-freak to the max. The chick who makes lists of the lists she needs to make. Who constantly worries about what everyone else is thinking about her, all the while being nominated for the office "best outburst" award because she can't keep her yap shut.



Sorry about the blurry image - I need to figure out this picture thing!

As odd as it sounds folks, she's right.  I wanted to refute every word but apparently my "Making the most of it" lifestyle is actually paying off.  I'm happy.  Joyful, even.

This same wise woman has been telling me for the last two years that I needed to start taking care of myself.  Not the dishes, not work, not clients, not the hubs, not the family.  Myself.  And every time I looked at her like she was nuts.  How was I supposed to possibly think about myself when hubs is laid off, the stress is mounting, work is crazy, there's bills to pay and no freaking way I could justify a nice Asian woman's $10 manicure, let alone a massage or a yoga class.

She was so right though.  Transfer some of the responsibility - people will surprise you when they actually pick up your slack - just tell them you're going to do it first.  You are the only one who thinks you are the only one who can do/handle something. (Well, except the finances, hubs is never going near the budget excel...)  You are also the only one denying yourself.  No offense guys, but ladies, when is the last time you saw a man deny himself anything? Another beer, another slice, one more hour of TV, a night out with the guys...let's be honest.  That is a woman thing, for sure.

The more I do for myself, the more I seem to like myself.  I have to imagine the people around me are liking me more too.  Well, at least enough to nominate me for something other than the "best outburst" award next year!

Do you have any secrets for relieving stress and staying happy?  I did just share my vampire addiction with you, so bring it. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm addicted

It's true.  There is yet to be a piece of vampire/supernatural/paranormal "trash" that I don't love.  
As in LOVE.




I will even admit that I've been in love with said paranormal trash since I was in junior high.  What's the draw, you ask?  

Pure.  Escape.

These are stories that are never going to happen, with super hot main men you're never going to meet and romance you know you're never going to have (if you do though, call me, let's have drinks and dish..).  They are as absolutely far from the day-to-day drama of your own life as you can get.  Men are heroes, but women kick butt.  There are no sniveling little wussy girls (well, outside of the Twilight series) to be found and even though you'll never find yourself having to make the "dead or undead" choice, you can appreciate the "Romeo and Juliet" feel of it all.

The hubs says I have a problem.  I call it a solution.  Now, if I could only figure out how to call the elements and get rid of these pesky demons.....oh, come one, how could I resist that one?!?

P.S. The four covers shown above are some of my favorite vampire/paranormal series'.  If you own a Kindle or a Nook, search for Amanda Hocking (Torn).  She sells all of her books for $.99 or $2.99 and they are fantastic!  The Sookie books (Charlaine Harris) are SO MUCH better than the True Blood series and House of Night (P.C. Cast) is the best teen series an adult junkie like myself could hope for. The Fever series (Karen Moning) is definitely rated R, but I'm flying through them at a rapid rate as we speak.

Do you have any favorites I should know about??

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GO BEARS!!!!

Today's a big day - HUGE DAY.  The rivalry game to end all.  I'm hoping for a bear victory - let's go boys!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When a curse turns out to be a blessing

You don't always see it right away, but sometimes, you realize that something you've considered a curse has really been a blessing.  This is going to sound ridiculous, but it hit me full force about a week ago that hubs' unemployment over the last year and a half has been a huge blessing for us.  How did I come to this random realization you ask? But of course, through a song....


Not the best screen shot for them to capture, but the song is glorious, I tear up every time I hear it, and I loved the video.  I can't say we have those lovely British accents, but hubs and I have come through a similar storyline.

Along our bumpy, one-income plus unemployment, road we have figured out how to really live within our means.  We have a much better appreciation for what we do have and we still have managed to do some really fun things by saving and being smart with our dough.  Even more important than the money though, is the fact that we really did find each other again.

We were the work all day, come home and go separate directions types before, and now we do so much more together.  We entertain our friends at our house, we've rediscovered board games, I've delved into his video game empire a time or two and he listens to me gush about the latest Twilight (though he'll come nowhere near me while I'm watching).  We actually talk to each other.  Let me repeat that, we TALK to each other.  Weird concept, huh?  And when you spend as much time as we do together, you find yourself in topics you never thought to bring up.  Heck, I've even learned some new things about the guy recently and we've been together for ten years!  I won't say I always considered this a blessing, most days I voted quickly for the curse, but things change.

Would I have chosen this for us - heck no!  Do I want him to go back to work soon - yes, please!  But, in the mean time, I can say that three years later I really do love the guy more now than I did when I married him. He's stronger than I ever imagined.

Muah Babe - you're my hero.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A little reminder

This little beauty is now gracing my cube at work...


I was perusing Etsy a few weeks ago and came across this.  I must say it sums up one of my overall goals...and if you know me, it's just plain amusing.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If I'm going to be honest

Ok, so we're about a month into my life overhaul adventure.  I didn't exactly anticipate it to be a complete overhaul, but things have certainly snowballed in a way I didn't expect.  I started this blog as really another checklist of things I wanted to be accomplishing while having someone to be accountable to, but have really found it to be giving me strength to really find the person I want to be. 

This blog, and the way it makes me look at every angle of my life, has given me a level of introspection that might border on insane.  I have evaluated my spiritual life, my marriage, my friendships, my work life and my overall sanity level.  Oddly enough, I found all of the above to be lacking in one area or another and set about to make myself over.  This is what we like to call overkill kids.

In the spirit of honesty, and this is place I've vowed honesty, I wanted to lay this out there - I know that there are hundreds of people out there who look at January 1st of each year and think, "This is the year!" and then about three weeks later they think, "orrrr maybe next year..."  I'm not giving up, no way, but I am being realistic with myself.  I cannot expect myself to give up swearing, pop, fast food and alcohol (during the week) only to add a yoga class every Wednesday, a church class every Tuesday, volunteering, major attempts at overall optimism and having a true work/life balance for the first time since I became a working adult.

So, in the spirit of enjoying my small moments of happiness, I'm drawing the line in the sand for January that says that I will maintain, but I will not be adding to, "the list."  I never actually signed up to volunteer anywhere or started a complete work-out regimen, so both of those things can be backburnered until February.  Becoming the person you want to be is a process - and though I loathe running - I do respect the fact that I cannot go run a marathon, but I can start with a 5k (which I plan to do this Spring).

Stick with me - I'm sure it's only going to get more interesting from here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who loves Alice?

I just read that the Des Moines Ballet is putting on Alice in Wonderland at the Civic Center in February.  It isn't a traditional ballet but I have to imagine the costumes are AMAZING and I would loooooove to see this.









Could this be another check off my list?  We'll have to see how the budget feels about ballet tickets...



EDIT: 1.12.11 Update

One of my very good friends surprised me today with tickets to Alice in Wonderland!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am for my first ballet and I cannot thank her enough for being so supportive.  Well, I will start thanking her with multiple martinis the night of the show...

This is a journey I couldn't make without the support of my friends and family.  YEAH - I'm currently doing a happy dance around my kitchen :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

You did what?!?





(Pssst...Season Three is the one I just finished and it was soooooo good! Team Pacey all the way!)

Yes, I admit it, I watched EIGHT episodes of Dawson's Creek yesterday.  I literally did not move from my couch for many, many hours.  And, you know what? I am so proud of myself for it.

 
Part of my new "Making the most of it" lifestyle is taking time for myself without kicking myself for it later.  So, if it's yoga, a glass of wine (but only on the weekends) or seven hours of straight high-school drama - I deserve it.  And I have to say, even better than the act of sitting there like a total bum all day was remembering... 

I was in total love with that show, circa 1998 when I was in high school myself, and watching their little love-triangle, angst-filled lives just made me remember mine.  So many great memories with what had to be the best group of friends one could have asked for. It's a time in your life like none other - where you feel every emotion times ten and every decision is a "make or break" moment. 

I look at my life now and I can't find a single place that evokes that kind of emotion - but I hope that this blog and the decisions I'm making now bring it back.  We can leave the drama in my old locker, but I'll take the passion any day of the week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

If you're actually "happy" - raise your hand.

As is to be expected with the start of a new year, all of my favorite magazines and websites are talking about the resolutions we're all making and the changes we vow will actually stick this year.  As I've rolled my eyes, passing by the status quo articles, I've been somewhat shocked to see articles that focus more on being "happy."  Not the, "Lose 10 pounds to be your best self" happy, but real, true, momentary bliss. 

These articles, like this one, spoke to me on such a deep level.  They were honest about the fact that as Americans, and really just humans, we are finally realizing that happiness isn't something we can attain.  It isn't a box we can check once we've accomplished our top a, b and c goals.  Happiness is a moment in time - it is not an "if" but a "when."  It's that cliche moment where all your stars have aligned - be it missing the train that inevitably makes you late for work by only a half a block (like I didn't today), having your best friend from high school randomly hit you up on facebook/email with a memory that makes you giggle, or your significant other having dinner on the stove when you walk in from work.  These are all just moments, they are all small things that really don't add up to be one big thing, but they all bring happiness.

The real truth, the one our parents try to tell us from the beginning but we just don't get until we're here now, is that life is hard.  Life is brutal.  It will rain, it will pour, your basement window will explode randomly one night at 2am while you're out of state and your insurance won't cover a dime of it.  But, no matter how terrible the big things are, there are always things that make you happy if you allow them to.  My focus lately, as I've been trying to correct some of my own character flaws and realign how I think of things, needed this slap upside the head.  I need to be reminded every day that maybe I'm not happy every single second, but that I can absolutely be present in those little moments that bring me happiness. 

Do you take the time to enjoy those little moments or do you brush them off as "how it should be" and that you deserve more of them?

My new reality is going to be that I deserve every moment of happiness I get.  And if that makes me happy overall, then I'll take it.