3 Oct

Who taught you makeup, fashion and overall “beauty” tricks? Sure, I had plenty of motherly and sisterly guidance in the form of taking care of myself and style but what I secretly obsessed and studied were my sis’ Cosmo mags. Photo linked from Bellazon.com and Pinterest

When I was 10-14 years old, my sister was 18-22. I remember absorbing every page — from the perfume ads to those relationship-solving quizzes. I most loved the makeup and fashion tips with featured products. I soaked up every word of these magazines like a soap opera and couldn’t wait for the next one. 

Not that I ever attempted the tricks though. None of it seemed like real life to me. It was a sensual and extraordinary fantasy world where I would live on the weekends when I visited daddy and sis. Kind of like the TV Guide or J.C.Penney catalog at grandma’s. Marking the shows like 90210 and New Kids on the Block appearances I didn’t want to miss and the toys and clothes I desperately needed. A wish list and a plan, charted out with blue-inked circles and stars. 

This memory got me to thinking about what our kids have that mirrors this. Sure, magazines like those still exist but my kids don’t see them. They do spy an occasional People or Us Weekly though. I’d imagine they feel the same land of pretend when they flip through one. Right after they leave the land of Minecraft, that is. 

Ah, young minds. Such a maze with so many maps to explore. Cosmo didn’t prepare me for this. (I did learn how to entertain sleepover buddies with great romance stories about winning over the hot lifeguard named Jordan or Donnie though.)

What’s Your Dream?

23 Sep

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I don’t consider myself much of a dreamer but I’ve been hearing the man in Pretty Woman asking that question more and more in my head. It seems I don’t know how to answer it though. 

I’ve been throwing ideas at it. Not short on those. 

  • Beach rental investment properties
  • Mountain rental investment properties
  • Landscaping ideas 
  • Home renovation ideas
  • Self renovation ideas that include a complete body cleanse and better sleep habits — and more stretching
  • That one book idea I have
  • Volunteer compulsions
  • Donation compulsions
  • Adult volleyball
  • Reading more
  • Travel budget plans
  • Debt free budget plans 

Anyway. Lots of ideas. 

I’ve decided to get busy on that book one. I’m going to try to kill two birds by writing each time I feel like late night snacking. This novel and self renovation will be accomplished in no time. 

I plan to start tomorrow. (It’s ok to laugh. Stand up comedian is another dream I have.)

Kids These Days

21 Apr

I’ve given this a lot of thought during the thinking parts of my day. (That equates to short commutes, mile runs and right after some select conversations with my two children. In other words, I’m an expert.)

Here’s what I believe kids these days need:

  • An instructional dose of ZZ-Top music videos to teach them about how to treat jerk faces after getting a makeover. It all leads to them riding off into the sunset with a crush. 
  • An older sister’s Cosmopolitan magazine to help them solve all of life’s love riddles and self-diagnosis.  
  • Soap operas. How else will they learn how complicated life can be and how glamourous people live?
  • Enough rock love ballads to make them ugly-face cry and wish for a love like that as they call the area radio station and make anonymous dedications to their crush of the month. (Getting through the phone line will teach them patience at the same time.)
  • Speaking of patience, how about they learn about the BUSY SIGNAL on the telephone? Remember what it was like before call waiting and getting a beep? How many times we would redial the number until we heard a ring. How many times we’d get yelled at by our parents because they couldn’t get through to us. 
  • Horror classics like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Halloween need to be watched without permission at a friend’s sleepover and feared for weeks after exposure. That’ll teach ’em to not listen to mom or dad – and give them a healthy amount of the creepiness in the world. (It’s not all rainbows, unicorns, puppies and scratch-n-sniff stickers like Trapper Keepers make us believe.)
  • More cereal box toys. Because. 
  • Hugs and support from parents – especially after the list above fails them.

Like I said. I’m an expert. 

Chasing My Shadow

5 Dec

Chasing ShadowMy shadow often scares me when I run at night. I often catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye and it makes me jump a bit as it starts to pass me. I think to myself, show off. Sure, there are times she stays behind me but she is mostly always out in front making it look so easy.

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I started consistently running each week. What I mean by “consistently running” is it’s been a part of my weekly routine for the last 156 weeks. I’ve run three or four times a week during that time. I’ve never been that consistent at anything that I didn’t HAVE to do. And many days, don’t WANT to do. So why do I?

I started running to get in better shape. Not necessarily lose weight, just not gain. To hold steady at a weight where I’m comfortable without giving up too much of the foods (and drinks) I enjoy. Sometimes, I get a bit frustrated that I haven’t lost any weight though. I feel like all this running should take a little off the (muffin) top but then I realize it’s kept me in a place I’m happy with and I shouldn’t complain – especially since I still hug bags of chips and cherish my wine. And cheese. Don’t forget about the cheese.

The running is holding me steady and actually making me feel pretty darn awesome. Accomplishing things I never thought I would — the miles I’ve covered, the discipline to find the time and energy to go for the run, the toughness I feel after running in the rain or cold or after falling on a trail, the stress break, the example I’m helping to set for the kids.

Run Family

It must be working because they recently ran their first official 5K because they wanted to run one. I was in my 30’s before I did that. Sure, I played softball, volleyball and danced growing up – heck, I even tested my limits when I joined Crew in college – but I never stuck with any one physical activity like I have with running. I’m even almost at my goal of running 500 miles in a year and I plan to increase it for next year because I want to keep at this thing. I’m not sure I have it in me to quit now. I have my shadow to catch, after all.

Shadow Rocks

Perpetual Wedgie

3 Dec

Man, I have been really annoying myself recently. Ever feel like that? When just the sound of your own voice aggravates you? Looking at yourself in the mirror makes you snarl?

I’ve been caught in a stress maze that kept leading me back to the start for the past two months. I would attempt to climb over the wall to get out of the dead end but all I did was exhaust myself. I felt like a buffering YouTube video – stuck on something I couldn’t shake and repeating it over and over again to my friends and family. I was finally able to break free and have been living in a lovely state of normal ever since. (The cause of the stress mess is for another share. I just got over talking about it and thinking about it all the time so I don’t really want to do that right now.)

What I can share is that it feels so good to be “me” again. To only worry about all that other “normal” and overwhelming day-to-day life stuff. I can handle that. Especially since I’ve started equating worrying to wedgies. So uncomfortable and thought-stealing  – all the focus turns to thinking about picking it out. You can’t concentrate until the underwear is free and you can escape somewhere to hide and snag it without someone noticing. Once you’re all adjusted, relief.

Worry is a wedgie and it needs to scram – I have things to do.

(Disclaimer: It is my belief that people who wear a thong or g-string have an exceptional stress tolerance. Buns of steel, for sure.)

Is It Cold In Here?

17 Aug Bucket

Why do people get so annoyed with each other? Especially when it surrounds a fun way to do something good and create a buzz to encourage others do the same? So what if people are dumping ice water on their heads and it’s clogging up your Facebook feed with redundant videos of people dumping ice water on their heads? Other than making you roll your eyes, what harm did it do to you?

I admit, I am an eye-roller. Big time. But while my eyes were rolled this time they saw that my brain had very little knowledge about the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Other than knowing it is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, I didn’t know what it was. Something so silly as an ice bucket challenge educated me. Sure, I’m only one person. But I’m one person who also donated to a cause that I likely never would’ve donated to before my family was called out in the chilly challenge to raise awareness and money for ALS.

Some are saying it’s all nonsense. Just donate. Don’t waste your dollars on a bag of ice. Don’t record yourself getting iced. Don’t tag others on Facebook to do the same. Just donate and keep any antics you may attempt to yourself.

Maybe they don’t want to dump ice on their heads or feel pressured to give. (I know Andrew sure didn’t want to do this. He doesn’t even wish people happy birthday on Facebook. Gasp.) Maybe they feel they do enough with their good deeds and kind living. Whatever they feel – fine and good. But why criticize those who feel they are making a difference with their antics? It seems they really are too. The donor dollars are on fire at the ALS Association.

Here’s where you can help too: Donate to the ALS Association. (That is, if you can access the site. It seems there are quite a few people trying to become aware and charitable.)

Also, watch this story about the man – a baseball player named Pete Frates – who’s daily challenge with ALS inspired this awareness and charitable challenge.

It feels good to be cold.

A New Leaf

5 Aug

A little more than a year ago, Nia was plagued with worry. She obsessed and fretted about the smallest thing. For a 10-year-old, the worries were heavy and I — a natural-born stress case myself — didn’t always know how to help her. It also started to — get this — worry me. I felt like I was absorbing her feelings and carrying them around with me.

Naturally, all this lead me to venture into the dangerous world of web searching. I found several articles that made me worry more but I also found a few that offered relief. To make sure I covered all my bases, I also took advantage of a work program that offers employees a free counseling session. I came away with two things to help us both manage our anxieties:

  • The counselor told me to picture my worry as a streaker. (Yes, a naked person.) You may see one run by but you never chase after the bare body. We agreed to modify this to be age appropriate for Nia. She suggested an animal that Nia would never chase. The streaker thought is pretty funny though.)
  • One bit of online information I learned said to visualize a tree with a leaf about to break free. Place your worry on that leaf and then watch it fall and gently land in a stream. The stream then carries the worry away. I told this to Nia and she asked, “Could an animal also eat my leaf?” I’m thinking, sure. Whatever works. (Here’s a blog that has more about the leaf relief.)

Both of these techniques have helped us both but now it seems it’s Nate’s turn to worry and he just doesn’t relate to those. His little heart is filled with concern – so much so that I wonder if it’s been contributing to him sleepwalking. A few nights ago, I actually caught him opening his bedroom window while sleeping. We’ve since child-proofed his windows but the thought of him accidentally hurting himself while we all sleep was too much for me to take. I told him about the ways Nia and I have used to ease our hearts. He asked, “Huh?”

With that, I tried something different. My own thing. Last night, I cuddled with him before he fell asleep and I put my hand on his heart. I told him I was collecting all the worry from his heart so he wouldn’t have it anymore. He giggled as I gathered but then really let out a laugh when I told him I was going to eat all his worry. “I also have room for dessert,”  I told him, “so let me get that worry from your head too.”

Sure, kind of twisted. But you know what? I think it helped some. He went to sleep with a lighter heart and didn’t sleepwalk.

Of course, it could be because of all the other techniques we researched online and tried too (earlier bedtime, consistent sleep and wake time, quiet time before bed, earlier dinner, more water throughout the day …) but I want to claim the giggles as the victory.

I know it made us both feel better. (And me quite full too …)



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