Currently…

I am having so much trouble finding things to write about in this space.  I think the problem is because I started this blog telling stories about big events, that I look at it in that vein.  There just aren’t a lot of big things (except for my impending grandmotherhood, which is still impending and not here yet) going on day to day for me these days.  I still haven’t gotten the knack of transitioning this space into a stream of consciousness, write about daily life, whatever strikes my fancy type of place.

But in my fitness blogging, I came across a blogger who had put some writing prompts out.  Maybe that’s what I’ll try for now, until I get my footing of writing about my current days, even when nothing seems like a big enough deal to write about.

So, thanks to Running with Spoons for this blog prompt.  🙂

Current book:  None.  I’ve been so terrible about reading anymore.  I am in a book club, of sorts, but we hardly ever choose books to read and we get together, if we’re lucky, twice a year.  The real readers who were the impetus behind the group forming have all moved away, and now it’s really just a social thing.  I don’t have a lot of time to read these days either, so most of what I am reading amounts to blogs on the internet.  And reading is one of the things I love!  OY!  Must find a book and time to read it.

Current music: I just downloaded a few new tunes for my race playlist:  Peace by OAR, Glowing by The Script, Classic by MKTO and Ain’t it Fun by Paramore.  I’m actually paying more attention to current music because of my bootcamp classes.  Before I was filling my playlist with slow, angsty music that really didn’t do much to get me moving.

Current guilty pleasure:  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I liked me my OC girls and my NYC ones but never got into the truly over the top BH ladies until this season.  Now I’m freakin’ hooked.  Dammit.

Current nail color:  clear and chipping.  With the amount of work I do on the computer my nails never really can get very long; they’re right on the edge at this point.  I go in phases with the nails.  I bite, they get short, I get a manicure, I like the way they look and feel, they grow.  Rinse, repeat.

Current drink:  fruit flavored tea.  I’m back on the weight loss train and trying to fill my belly in the afternoons with something other than plain water.  Also helps with the bone chilling cold here in the northeast.  Peach is really my favorite right now.  🙂

Current food:  my newest favorite thing that I’m eating is tortilla pizza for lunch.  It’s easy, you can put anything on it, and it’s healthy.  Feels somehow more filling than a salad, but that could be my salad bias.  Somehow salads just make me mentally go blech.  I eat them but they are never my first choice.

Current obsession:  started my half marathon training today.  Yes, you read that right.  Me, who has never been athletic in her life, has signed up for a half marathon after two and a half years of dragging my slow self through 5Ks and 10Ks.  It’s the next logical step for me.  I know I’ll never be a fast runner, but for me it’s about completion.  Not many people run, and even fewer complete much more than 5 miles on a regular basis, so I really want to reach this milestone.  I am sure the next three months will be spent researching, talking about it, reading about it, and generally annoying the crap out of everyone about it.

Current wish:  that my grandbaby would get here!  My daughter in law is due on Friday and the waiting is killing me!  I’d like to travel to be there if at all possible, and the logistics of that get dicier every day with having my two younger kids involved in all sorts of activities.  So I’m hoping for a safe, healthy delivery sooner rather than later.

Current triumph:  seriously cutting back on my wine habit.  I was drinking 2+ glasses a night, more on the weekends.  I managed last week to drink only 2 glasses on two days out of the seven.  That was a big deal!

Current bane of my existence:  teenage girl drama.  My daughter is truly testing my patience.  I want to love her and share things with her and she is truly unpleasant to be around these days.  It’s so hard to figure out how you can love someone so much and still dislike their behavior so intensely.

Current indulgence:  new iPhone.  Best Buy was having a deal where you basically turned in your 4s and they gave you a 5s for free.  I wasn’t sure I needed one but now I’m very glad to have a spiffy new phone.  🙂

Current procrastination:  finalizing sponsors for the 5K I plan.  We have to close them out asap and I haaaaaaaate approaching people for money.  Hate it.  But it’s so necessary to making the race successful.  I have two more to deal with and six days to do it.  Must not put off any longer.

Current blessing:  work!  I have more and more website jobs which i am truly excited about.  I love the work and I’m learning something new with each project.  Also, money.

Current excitement:  grandbaby!!!!!  Can’t wait to know if it is a boy or a girl, what its name is, what he/she looks like, and hold the baby!  I can’t wait!

Current mood:  content.  Other than the teenage girl drama, things are going well right now for us.

Current link:  MyFitnessPal.  With me trying to lose weight again, this is my most used link these days.

So that’s where I am currently.  🙂

Gratitude

The day before Thanksgiving.  Today is the day before Thanksgiving.

I was going to type in a longish, ranty post about my brother again.  For those keeping score, my brother ended up not cancelling his trip to FL this Christmas, so we will in fact all be together.  He sent me a note asking what my children, my husband and myself would like for gifts.  I think the note was as close as I’ll get to an apology.  But by then I had already moved on from my anger to acceptance.  This is who he is.  Whatever.  I told him to not bother with gifts for us, gave him inexpensive ideas for my kids, and told him what options I was choosing off of his kid’s list.  He responded that they were thinking of getting a laptop for his kid for Christmas, so those would be perfect options.   My sister went ballistic again, but I’d already moved on.  My brother is who he is.  He won’t change.  I’m done trying to hope for it to happen.  It won’t.  Life goes on.

Instead, I am mulling over Thanksgiving.  We are staying at home again this year and I am pushing myself hard to not allow it to be as unsatisfying as it was last year.  Last year, R and I fought silly battles with no big meal or task to distract us from sweating the small stuff.  This year, we won’t even have my eldest home to behave a little better for.  Z is staying in DC this year, spending this Thanksgiving with his fiancee, since they plan on spending Christmas with us down in FL.  I think this marks the first time I’ll have spent this day without him.  Which makes me sad, in a way, but mostly grateful that he is doing so well and happy on his path.

Which is how I am resolving to feel about myself and our Thanksgiving together this year as well.  We are doing well financially this year; my husband’s job continues to be incredibly busy and therefore (we hope) secure.  I am getting enough website work to keep me feeling productive and justify me spending my time this way.  The two younger kids are both doing well in school.  My daughter seems to have mended fences with several of the kids who were causing her trouble at school, and did amazingly well in her role in the school play a few weeks ago.  We are planning our annual trip to Florida for Christmas, which is always a wonderful week of warmth, family and sun (hopefully).   R has worked hard in the last six months to address the needs that I laid out to him in our devastating fight last May.  It’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but I think we have both done a pretty good job at trying hard to appreciate each other and not sweat the small stuff.  We’re talking more, doing more together, and not getting upset with each other when life gets in the way as much.  It’s a nice feeling.

So this Thanksgiving?  I won’t spend it thinking of years past, wondering if I’d chosen this path or that path would my life be better.  This is the path I chose, the present I have, and I am grateful for it.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Yep. I Called That One.

Here is the text of the voicemail that landed on my phone while I was out running this morning:

“Hello.  I just wanted to call and thank you for ruining Christmas, that was very nice of you, I appreciate that.  We won’t be going to Florida this year because (my fiancee) won’t come anywhere near you.  She is too mad at you for trying to bully me into going to (your son’s) wedding.  So, talk to you later!”

No matter that my father shared with me yesterday that my brother had already contacted HIM to complain about my reaction to the news of him not attending my son’s wedding.  No, that’s completely fine.  But I am a completely terrible person (once again) for going to my father to seek advice on how to handle my brother and his absence at my kid’s wedding.  I didn’t ask him to speak to him (in fact, I expressly asked him NOT to, but he did anyway).  I didn’t even tell him anything he didn’t already know; my brother had already told him about not attending and my father is aware enough to know that this would hurt my son’s feelings.  He’d already been trying to convince him to change his mind, and my email yesterday just gave him another push.

Whatever.

Having my son’s affection is something that my brother no longer deserves.  That’s how I feel.  And I’m fine at this point with helping him through the disappointment of seeing my brother (yet again) let him down, rather than having this type of animosity ruin what should be a wonderful, incredible, important day for my kid.  If my brother feels it is “bullying” to want him present there, then I don’t want him there.  I don’t want him anywhere near me or my family.  Because he doesn’t deserve us in his life.  Not if this is truly how he feels.  I’m over it.

Again.

UPDATE:  While I was writing this blog post, the following email arrived in my box:

After much discussion with xxxx we’ve decided to cancel our trip to Florida.  We are not going to go down there and try to enjoy a holiday with all the tension you have caused over xxx’s wedding hanging over everything.  It would be uncomfortable and awkward for everyone and I’m not going to spend my Christmas under that dark cloud, let alone ask (my fiancee) to and force (my son) to.  Christmas is supposed to be a joyful holiday.  Unfortunately it has all been soured and I don’t see any way to salvage it.

As I told Dad, xxx announced his wedding one month after we accepted Dad’s offer to go to Florida.  We can’t afford to do both.  Now, because of your wailing and gnashing of teeth, we will probably do neither.  You have upset xxxx and I both and neither of us wants to spend any time anywhere in your vicinity.  At least with the money we won’t be spending we can get xxxx an awesome wedding gift.

Fitbloggin’ and My Headspace

I ended up having a blast at the Fitbloggin’ conference.  I truly didn’t know what to expect about spending three days in a city hundreds of miles away with hundreds of people I’d never met.  I blogged about it fairly extensively at my other blog if you’d like the blow by blow.

Since the conference was geared towards fitness bloggers, sessions ran the gamut from “How to use social media to gain followers” to “Using Florida Grapefruit in a healthy diet” to “Self Acceptance” and “When You Have a Lot of Weight To Lose.”  I had originally thought I would gain a lot of information about the nuts and bolts of increasing web traffic and dismissed the thought of the other more touchy, feely sessions.

But after meeting a friend who gently nudged me towards one of the weight loss sessions, I knew that I was right where I needed to be.  The open ended group forums were like a support group, women just telling their stories over and over, peppering their tearfilled commentary with amazing advice about self loathing and acceptance.

It was like a punch in the gut for me who has been struggling over the last six to nine months with my headspace.

And suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone in my thoughts that go towards Crazytown from time to time.  For all of my struggles in my past, some of these women had experienced much worse.  Others had similar stories of difficult childhoods and losing parents early.  Some were subjected to drug abuse in their homes.  One woman, like me, had a child very young.  They were all struggling somewhere on the journey towards self acceptance.

Some inspiring women were already there.  They had managed to rise above their lousy circumstances and their anxiety filled negative self talk and found a way to honor themselves by taking care of their heads, hearts and bodies.  Others were at the starting point, wanting to head towards that place but absolutely clueless where to start.  Many, like me, were somewhere on the journey.  Some days we feel like we have our heads together, we know how smart and capable we are, and we go forward with our heads held high.  Other days we feel like the negative self talk must all be true and we let it win out with a vengeance.

It was honestly an eye opener to hear my own thoughts echoed by so many women.  I think in our daily lives no one is this honest.  For me, I am surrounded by women who don’t really seem to struggle all that much with self worth.  Maybe I’ve put them there for a reason, to help pull me out of that tendency in myself.  But sometimes that makes me feel like I am a total headcase; that I must truly be messed up if I constantly compare myself to others or think negatively about myself.  But at FitBloggin’ , I wasn’t nuts.  I wasn’t alone.  I was just another among many who are working hard to overcome whatever it is that holds us back from being the best version of ourselves.

It was really, really wonderful.

And now I’m connected with some of these women online.  Through their blogs, their tweets and their Facebook messages, it’s almost like an online support group.  And for now, it feels like enough.  It feels like therapy.  It feels like maybe I’m going to be OK.

FitBloggin’

I’m going to Baltimore next weekend.  I am going all alone and I am alternately nervous and insanely excited.

I’m going there because I won a spot volunteering at Fitbloggin.  I’ve been trying to explain to my friends what Fitbloggin is, what it will be for me, and why I am going, and I’m not even really sure I know I can really explain it.

I’m not a fitness blogger.  OK, I have a fitness blog now, but I didn’t even really pull the trigger on it until I got the gig working at Fitbloggin’.  Yes, I am interested in exercise now that I’ve been running for the last year, but I’m not a fitness guru.  I don’t go to a gym, I am definitely overweight and I clock between 37 and 40 minutes routinely on a 5K.

I am a web designer, and use the blogging platform WordPress routinely now in the work I do.  So there is definitely an element of the geek in me wanting to see more and learn more about blogging and how people turn their own thoughts and designs into a viable platform for various topics:  weight loss, fitness, parenting, etc.  I don’t ever feel like I’ve found my voice blogging.  I tell stories, sometimes.  I am funny, sometimes.  But what I don’t think I am is consistent.  I’d love to see successful bloggers there and see what they have to say about all of that.

Plus, there is a little of the star struck in me.  I’ve been following Roni Noone since I lost weight successfully in 2007.  I always appreciated how honest she is in her postings; she shows her house before she cleans it (!), she confesses to late night snacking, and owns her insecurities.  I honestly can’t imagine meeting her, someone who seems both at once like a superhero and my best girlfriend (that I’ve never met) all at the same time.

I guess I’m not entirely sure what I’ll get out of the conference or what it will mean to me.  I don’t know a soul going.  I am going for three days of workshops and events without a single other person in the world I know.  I think I’ll meet people and it will be fun, but there is always that side of me that wonders why I am doing this.  I’m not a true fitness blogger, I’ve gained much of the weight I successfully lost, I don’t plan on monetizing my blog or using it as a springboard for a career (although, that would be all kinds of awesome, actually).  But still, I won the spot, and I’m going.  I’m going to spend three days in Baltimore and they’ll all just be about me.  Not me the Mom, or the wife, or the perpetual volunteer.  Just me, and what I want to do with myself and my health.

Which, I guess, explains why I am both excited and terrified all at the same time.

The View From My Corner of the World

The roundup of what my world looks like since I last blogged (nearly two weeks ago?  Yikes).

Today is my eldest son’s 23rd birthday.  Holy how on earth did this happen?  It seems both a million years ago and also about a few days ago that I was balancing him on my hip while I navigated life.  He came home last weekend with his girlfriend, and we had dinner Saturday night with her parents.  It is still hard for me to believe that this is my life.  That he and I could have ended up in a very different place.  Instead, we’re eating amazing Italian food with his potential inlaws in this crazy expensive town in CT that we can almost afford to live in now.  I’m not sure if this totally set up situation for meeting her parents is a prelude to Some Really Big News, but for now, holy smokes, my kid is older than I was when I had him.

The younger two kids are back in school.  I am still desperately worried about my daughter and her swimming with all of the sharks at school.  There were whispers about people not sitting together at lunch (not on purpose, really) and getting transferred out of her classes.  We don’t know what all is true, but a glance at her iPod text app yesterday made my heart sink.  She still is trying so hard to be friends with people who really don’t give a crap about her.  I vacillate between hands off (“she’ll have to figure this out herself, as painful as it may be….after all, didn’t we all hate middle school?”) and hands on (“honey, if they treat you that way it is time to move on…why don’t we call so and so who actually likes you and invite her over?”) on a daily basis.  We’ll see what happens.

My dog is one crazy canine.  While we were out drinking heavily celebrating Labor Day with friends, he tried to escape from his crate.  Not sure what all happened (I must set up that streaming video idea I had) but when we came home his two front paws were mangled and bloody, and he’d lost a toenail.  I nursed him for two days before taking him to the vet (having decided that while we love him, we weren’t paying a thousand dollars to the doggie ER).  Having a dog is indeed like having a small child.  The poor thing is now scared to death of his crate, needs pills twice a day, and now begs for (and receives) a companion in the room where he sleeps (not our room; the den downstairs where his crate lives).  Not sure what I am going to do when I have to leave the house, but I kind of do have to leave the house, like, some time this week.

My one year running anniversary is coming up in six days.  I started the Couch 2 5K program on 9/12/11.  I saw this blog entry from this one woman on her running anniversary and she’d gone from the program to like, a half marathon on her anniversary.  I am going to be struggling through another 5K this weekend (this is my seventh), hoping I don’t die, because I let my exercise go the whole time I was in Europe (and to be honest, it was on a major downward spiral before we left with the kids home this summer).  I’m trying to focus on the positives of it:  like, I am still actually running, and that I weigh less today than I did a year ago (um, only about 9 pounds….but whatever), and that I am likely healthier and all that.  Still, I do feel an awful lot like I should be trying harder, doing more having been at this thing A Whole Stinking Year.

Speaking of OMG THE RUNNING, I am going to a fitness conference in two weeks called FitBloggin.  I scored a free ticket by applying to be a live blogger, even though at the time I had no fitness blog and no audience for the real blog I actually do have.  The ticket might be free, but the hotel room on the Inner Harbor is like $200 a night, but I’m a little freaked out about getting a roommate that I don’t know and have never met (though, apparently, people do this all the time at these things).  I tried to entice my girlfriends with the Hotel Room in a Awesome City Away From Here for a girls’ weekend type of thing, but they all have soccer games, or football games, or husbands that aren’t interested in them subsidizing my weekend in Baltimore.  So it will be me, all alone, with all of these bloggers who write about fitness while I am pounding out 40 minute 5Ks.  Still, I’m super excited anyway.  Maybe I’ll network and find a job, or something, out of it.

And that’s the view from suburbia this warm September morning.  Yes, sure, I could have written about politics, or my inner conflict about why I am not hearing back from an old friend, or some other existential dilemma but for now?  This is where I am at.

Trip Diary Part Two

Day 10, Saturday:  Time to leave the coast.  Supposed to be out by ten.  Make it out by 11 am, not too shabby.  Unfortunately, driving up the Magistrala on a Saturday in August is a little like leaving your beach house and making your way up the Garden State Parkway or Delaware Route 1 on same.  We end up driving south on the Scary Mountain Road With No Guard Rails to avoid this, going about an hour out of our way.  Inexplicably, my husband’s father makes plans to meet up with a cousin while on the road.  After much delay we meet him two hours later, only about twenty five kilometers from where our beach house was.  Because we are so late, it is literally a stop on the side of the highway.  Five hours to Zagreb takes seven, and we are tired and unhappy when we reach our destination.

Day 11, Sunday:  The place we rent in Zagreb couldn’t be more different than our ultramodern, well equipped beach apartment.  It has lots of historic charm, but it is also not as luxurious or clean.  Still, we settle in, retrieve my eldest and my husband’s sister from the airport, and gear up for Week Two.  End the evening at a lovely outdoor restaurant, where our drinks, huge platter of assorted sausages and meats, wine and crepe desserts for all comes in at around $100 US.  Nice.

Day 12, Monday:  We head to the large open air market in Zagreb and the central square, leaving hubby’s mother and my youngest back at the ranch.  It is everything you expect and love about Europe.  Snag souvenirs and makings for dinner.  Make a quiet meal at home to rest for our big outing the next day.

Day 13, Tuesday:  Today we head to Plitvice National Park, an amazing place that has dozens of lakes interconnected by waterfalls.  The water is insane shades of blue and turquoise.  It is stunning and breathtaking.  And curiously, their snack bar serves the biggest hamburgers I’ve ever seen (and I think they were some mixture of beef, pork and veal because they tasted divine), roast chicken and “cevaptcici”, which is a sausage dish.  We are well fed and happy.

Day 14:  Wednesday:  This day is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a national holiday in Croatia.  Many use the day off to go to church, and there are festivals all over.  We choose to head to one of them, at the Shrine of Marija Bistrica, up in the mountains outside of Zagreb.  We miss Mass, which is really a blessing because the crowds are just dissipating as we roll into town, having gotten lost on the way.  Everything about the place is beautiful and reverent and huge and old.

Day 15:  Thursday:  We decide we haven’t seen enough churches and decide to go to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Zagreb.  It dominates the city landscape.  My eldest gets impatient waiting for all of the very young and not so young to get their acts together and decides he will walk there, getting to see much of the city along the way.  When he fails to show up at 2pm to our appointed meeting place, I panic and find him just walking up.  He got lost and ended up walking north instead of south, but a bus driver brought him back into town.  End the day meeting six of my husband’s family members and eating yet another pork/veal/sausage meal.  It is at this point I start to wonder if vegetarians could really exist in this part of the world.

Day 16, Friday:  Our last full day in Zagreb.  We want to see the Gornji Grad, or the Upper (Oldest Part of) Town.  There is much to see here, including St. Mark’s Church with its colorful roof, and the Stone Gate which protected the city from invaders.  We end up negotiating with my husband’s father to meet another friend for lunch rather than dinner, since we all want to start getting ready for our trip back the next day.  Lunch ends up being a 2 hour affair at a lovely restaurant called Vinodol.  I have fish for the first time since we left the coast (most of the menu being again the pork/veal/sausage options), which freaks my kids out.  Also, this friend of my father in law’s actually speaks English, which is a refreshing change.  I realize how much I miss hearing English at this point and think, I am ready to go back.

Day 17, Saturday:  While our flight doesn’t leave until 3:30, my eldest son’s leaves earlier so the morning is a whirlwind of packing, eating and worrying about travel.  It is at this point where my youngest loses his shit and has a meltdown.  I am actually grateful, because it has been brewing for days, and I am glad it happened at home and not at the airport.  I cry as I soothe him and calm him down.  At the airport, later, my husband encourages me to have a “Strong Croatian Drink”  (this has been a joke for days as it was the English translation of the spirits section on a restaurant menu), and I do, because there is booze at the gate area.  We arrive in Madrid for our overnight stay.  There is really, unfortunately, only enough time to eat dinner at the hotel and go to sleep since we have a long day ahead tomorrow.  I gulp down three glasses of Chardonnay in the Executive Lounge and try not to stress about the long day tomorrow.

Day 18:, Sunday:  Up at 6:30, Madrid time, to have another go at the 26 Euro breakfast buffet.  I try to fill up on anything I can’t get back in the states:  grilled tomatoes and zucchini, awesome cheeses and proscuitto, even smoked salmon (which I can get at home but doesn’t seem as good, somehow).  I don’t bother with the mimosas in the corner, though I debate with myself for a minute about it.  Just after 9am, we are fed, bags are checked and we have passed through five different passport checks before landing at our gate.  Husband checks at the counter just before boarding to find we have yet again been upgraded to business class.  Hurrah!  Champagne before 11am.   We spend the next eight hours eating and watching movies, even though we should be sleeping.  We land at JFK at 1 in the afternoon.  The worst part of the trip is the drive home on the parkways of New York, which are clogged with Sunday afternoon traffic.  Home is stuffy but welcoming when we get there.

Day 19, Monday:  Not really part of the trip but can’t help but mention it.  Up at 3:30am due to jet lag.   Process photos, have coffee, take poor dog who was locked up at a kennel for our whole trip for a monster 4 mile walk.  Husband goes to work and calls home before 9am:  he has to fly out on a business trip.  Today.  He’ll be home in a few minutes to pack.  Yep, there’s a reason he has all of those points.  Sigh.

Back to reality.

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