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' 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."


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


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.