Want to follow my blog?
Pick a way to do it!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Putting it out there

This is my "running shelf".

The finisher medals that I've gotten are hanging on the left side. All of my bibs are hanging on the right. In the middle is my battered old Penn State hat and my belt that I use to hold my phone and keys when I run. The top has various other doodads, like my watch and mp3 player...and for some reason a little ceramic bowl that one of the kids made is there too.

This shelf is in my bedroom (note the festive - and very stained - wallpaper) directly between my closet and bathroom doors. I see it many times each and every day, which is part of the reason why I put it there.

Although I haven't been doing it as much lately, I do enjoy running (sort of). It's hard, and it makes me hurt (mostly in a good way), and I grumble about doing it - but it's something that I never expected to be able to do and it's something that many people over the years told me that I couldn't do.

But I can do it. I'm not fast, and I'm never going to break any records, but I can do it.

I can do it.

And I'm going to keep doing it. And I'm going to do it more.

I've fought with my weight a lot over the years, and it's gone up and down within about a 40 pound range over the past 10 years or so. Without disclosing the actual number, I'll just say that right now I'm about 25 pounds over where I want to be.

My birthday is in about 2 1/2 months (*cough*72 days*cough*). I'll be 45.

While running with a group of friends this morning, I voiced something that has been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now. And now I'm going to put it in writing.

I am going to lose 25 pounds before my birthday.

I'm doing it because I want to. I know where my ideal weight is, and it's actually a little beyond that 25 pounds. But getting rid of that first 25 is a good, realistic start. And if I can when I get that done, it's going to mean something.

It's going to mean that I finally took control of my eating and exercise habits.

It's going to mean that I have proved to myself that there are better ways to deal with crappy days than eating myself stupid.

It's going to mean that I'm going to be healthier than I am now.

It's going to mean that I've forced myself to not hide in the house as soon as the weather turned cold.

It's going to mean that I was able to make a promise to myself and actually keep it.

And it's going to mean that I can tell myself I TOLD YOU SO.

If I was a hashtag person, I'd call it #25by45. But I'm not, so I won't.

But watch me, because I'm going to do this. And I'm going to rock it.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I had a pretty crappy day yesterday.

I'm not going to go into the specifics of the situation, because they aren't necessarily important. Suffice it to say that I was involved in an argument in the middle of my driveway and it was loud and it was heated and I lost my cool over the whole thing. It wasn't pretty, but at the same time, I managed to say what I wanted to say (something that I have kept in check for a very long time) and at that point in time I didn't give a crap who heard me.

But, while I was getting everything off of my chest, so was he (no, not The Dude). The insults were flung at lightning speed, and every one that he threw at me was returned.

Until he puffed up his chest and got in my face and hit me with the zinger. The one that brings it all back up to the surface.

"I have to work for a living. I don't get to just sit around on my ass all day like you do."

Suddenly, it all came flashing back.

His voice wasn't his anymore, but instead changed to a voice from my past and I swore I could smell the booze even though I knew there was none there. I snarked something back at him and went back inside the house and did what I had to do until he was gone, and then I lost it. The Dude held me while I sobbed and until I could catch my breath again. I wanted him to stay for the day but he had to go and so I stayed here with Jared and Daniel. They kept themselves amused with toys and games while I drowned in my thoughts.

We always hear the phrase "domestic violence survivor" (or something similar to that). I survived it. I got through the physical violence with nothing more than a pair of bent glasses, some handprints on my neck, and a few minor bruises now and then. The physical stuff, in my case, was easy.

The emotional violence was so much more. The insults - about my housekeeping, my cooking, my parenting, my weight, my hair, and yes, even the fact that I got to sit around on my ass all day and do nothing - were thrown at me on a far more regular basis than the punches were. I knew even then that I was doing my best, but it wasn't good enough.

Then I realized that my best was never going to be good enough, so I quit doing much of anything. I survived by doing the bare minimum, and I got lazy. The kids were always fed and they always had clean clothes, but the house was always a disaster. I didn't care - because even if I cleaned it, I'd still get yelled at - most likely because in order to get the house clean enough, supper would be later than usual or something equally ridiculous.

I finally escaped from that life a few years ago. I started a new life and eventually got a new house in a new town and started to really pull my act together. But there is still one box sitting on my bedroom floor that I haven't unpacked from when we moved, there are always random messes in various places, the laundry doesn't get done as often as it should, the grass needs to be mowed, and my kids can sure as hell still give me problems on a regular basis.

I'm not perfect. Not even close. But I'm so much better than what I used to be.

But yet, that one insult being yelled at me in my driveway yesterday brought all of that pain back to me like it had never even gone anywhere. I wanted to yell back, to tell him how his idea of me sitting around on my ass was drastically different than my reality, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't say a word.

That one insult hit me like a punch to the gut and a kick to the head all at the same time. It knocked the wind out of me and took me back to one of the darkest times in my life, a time that I have talked about and written about and analyzed and replayed millions of times. A time that I thought I had "survived".

In reality, I honestly don't consider myself to be a survivor. I'm not "over it". It's not done and gone and buried somewhere so that it can never come back to haunt me again. It's still a part of me and it always will be, no matter how much time passes.

I'm not a survivor, but I'm surviving.

Please, do not ask who it was. Other than referring to him as "he", I've intentionally kept this vague, because it's really not important who "he" is. "He" could be anyone, and "he" has been multiple people in the past - I only chose to write about this particular incident because of my own personal reasons.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pumpkins and Persecution

We all know how I feel about pumpkin, right?

It's gross. It's icky. I hate it with every fiber of my being, and then some. I don't want to taste it, I don't want to smell it, I don't want it near me unless I'm hacking it to pieces in the process of making a jack-o-lantern....and even then I usually gag a time or two.

So a year or two ago when I was working at the fast food joint, pumpkin season rolled around like it always does. We started serving pumpkin spice coffees and pumpkin ice cream and other grotesque items made with that horrendous stuff.

Guess what? I had to deal with it.

I could have told my boss, CrankyPants, that I refused to serve anything related to pumpkin because I thought that it was gross and icky, and she would have shown me the door. I could have quit then and there and just kept going on with my life elsewhere. Or, as I chose to do, I just sucked it up and served the damned pumpkin crap. And life went on.

I bet you can see where I'm going with this, can't you?

I am so sick and tired of seeing posts floating through my newsfeed saying that Kim Davis is being persecuted because she's a Christian and she's standing up for her rights. No, she's not being persecuted. She's being punished for not performing the job that she was elected to do, and that she most likely took an oath of office promising that she would do.

That's not persecution. That's the consequence of breaking the law.

She can believe whatever she wants to believe. She has that right. Whether or not I agree with her isn't the point. (For the record, just in case you're new here - THIS is how I feel about equal rights.) She's standing up for what she believes in, and that's ok. I don't agree with her, but in a way I almost (I said almost) admire her for sticking to her guns.

What's not ok is that she's not doing her job, and by not doing her job she's violating other peoples' rights.

She's a government employee. The law says that everyone has the right to get married, but she's using her religious views to prevent that from happening.

HER religious views. She is trying to impose HER religious views on everyone else in Rowan County, regardless of what religion they practice themselves.

This country was founded in part on the freedom of religion. But folks, it's not just freedom OF religion.

It's also freedom FROM religion. People are free to choose not to follow any religion at all.

If homosexuality, gay marriage, or singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while driving violates your religious beliefs, then don't participate in those activities. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

Don't like it? Don't do it. But the law says that you can't stop anyone else from doing it either.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Get a grip, people.

It's  getting to be that time of the year again.

Fall is coming and people are anticipating cooler weather, and for whatever reason it seems that people just have to equate that with one thing.


Pumpkin everything.

Pumpkin all the things.

Personally, I despise the stuff. I think that the taste and texture of pumpkin is nasty, and yes, I've tried to eat it numerous times, and no, I don't give a crap how YOU make it - I don't like it.

Pumpkins are good for 3 things: jack-o-lanterns, roasting the seeds after making said jack-o-lanterns, and then smashing the aforementioned pumpkin after Halloween is over. That's it. Nothing else.

But yet, there are people who worship the almighty pumpkin. As soon as there is a hint of fall weather (or even before), their eyes glaze over, drool runs down their chins, and all they can think about is adding pumpkin to everything edible and/or drinkable.

They act as though they can only get their beloved squash for a limited time each year - which for the most part is true - if they're going to wait for one to ripen on a vine in their garden. However, with the dozens of people I know who are afflicted with pumpkinitis every year, not a single one of them stands in their garden, guarding the plant, watering it, weeding it, talking to it, waiting patiently for it to ripen so that it can be harvested and cut open and gutted for its (supposedly) delicious flesh. Instead, they do what most people do.

They go to the store and they buy a can of it.

See that? I bought that can of pumpkin last year specifically to make a point. It's been sitting on the shelf in my pantry for close to a year so that on the off chance I decided that I wanted a pumpkin pie in June, I could make it.

Want a pumpkin roll in February? Well, by golly, whip that can of pumpkin off of the shelf and make it!

You want pumpkin cupcakes in May? Crack that can open.

Got a hankerin' for some pumpkin pancakes for a delicious brunch in December? Guess what? YOU CAN MAKE THEM ANY TIME YOU WANT THEM.

You don't know how to cook/bake, or you don't want to? I bet you can find another pumpkinitis victim who would gladly do it.

Oh, but then there are the people who think that their coffee needs to be laced with the crap too. Pumpkin spiced lattes and cappucinos and whatever - well guess what? Some of them DON'T EVEN CONTAIN PUMPKIN!!! They contain "pumpkin spice" which is usually a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice (all of which are available at any grocery store *GASP* year round). If you don't want to make your own "pumpkin spice" mixture - you can buy it already made and sprinkle it in your drinks until your little heart is content.

Now from what I understand, some of these places that sell these grossly overpriced fluffy coffee drinks are now adding 'real' pumpkin to them - but a quick google search brought up about eleventy bajillion recipes for drinks with pumpkin in them - so if I had the desire to ruin a perfectly good drink, I could do it myself for a lot less money. And you can too!

Of course it doesn't stop there. Corporations feed into the pumpkinitis epidemic by adding the crap (or some imitation of it) to everything that is prepackaged whether we want it or not - Oreos and M&Ms and peeps and salsa and candles and soap and pudding and bagels and marshmallows and air freshener and cookies and soda and toothpaste and ice cream and it just. keeps. going. on.

I even found an image for pumpkin spice flavored condoms - which I found are NOT a real product. But I wouldn't be surprised to see them on the shelf at the local drugstore any time now because people will somehow feel that they just can't live without them.

How long until we have pumpkin scented toilet paper?

Seriously people. You can buy pumpkin year round. If you love the food that much, make it whenever you want to make it. SEIZE THE FREAKING DAY and make a pumpkin pie in March if it will make you happy. If you love the candles so much and they're not available at your favorite candle store year round, then stock up on them in October when they are on the shelves. Burn them whenever you want to BECAUSE YOU CAN. All of this prepackaged food has the shelf life of Twinkies anyway, so if you love the Oreos that much, buy a case of them and stash them in the cupboard to enjoy year round.

Stop acting like you can only get the crap for 2.5 seconds out of the year.

Oh look - I still have over
15 months to use it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Almost there...

Less than a week until school starts.

The majority of the school supplies have been purchased, parent/teacher conferences are scheduled, sports practices have already begun, and it's only a matter of time before I dump the kids off at the front door of the school and do the happy dance on the way out of the parking lot.

I love my kids. I really do.

But I can not wait until they are back in school. Seriously.

I've never been one of those moms who greets the new school year with "but I'm going to miss my babies so much" or "I just can't bear the thought of my darling angels being gone all day" or any of that jazz.

Instead, I'm over here saying "finally, I can poop in peace!"

After dedicating the past 3ish months to them morning, noon, and night (and then some), I'm ready for some quality ME-time.

I'm ready to deal with the morning drama, take them to school, and then go for a run.

I'm ready to go to the grocery store - alone - and not feel frazzled the entire time I'm there (or come home with a bunch of crap that I didn't plan to buy).

I'm ready to help Emily get her Crayons for a Cause up and running.

I'm ready to hide out in the Mom Cave and work on lots of new projects. I have so many ideas for things that I want to get made in addition to the normal routine of the weighted blankets, and it's so hard to get any of that done when the kids are home - but with 7-8 hours of peace every day I can get so much done without feeling like I'm neglecting them. 

And I'm totally ready for Date Day with The Dude - on Tuesday, the first day of school, he and I are packing a cooler and our fishing poles and we are taking off for the lake as soon as the kids are safely at school and we're going to just hang out together all day. We might have just spent a solid 2 weeks together, but we did not get any time alone - and ever since we got back we've both been busy taking care of stuff and haven't really had a chance to really see each other - so I called him today and officially asked him out on a date. And he said yes.  (I think he likes me.)

I've been told before that I'm selfish because I enjoy my time "too much" when the kids are in school. Maybe it is selfish of me, but I look at it this way - I am here for these kids 24/7, whether they're in school or not. I'm lucky enough to not have to work a "real" job so I can spend the entire summer with them and it's awesome. But when they're in school, I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I finally get to do stuff for ME, without taking away time from them. I can sneak away for a day and go fishing with The Dude without having to worry about finding someone to keep an eye on them. I can hide in the Mom Cave all day and not worry about who is going to fix them lunch (because I already packed it before they walked out the door that morning). I can go for a run to clear my head and keep myself healthy without wondering if they're burning the house down while I'm gone. And if I want to take a nap in the middle of the day, I can do it without fearing judgment from someone who might show up at the door for some unknown reason.

And if all of that is selfish, then so be it. I know that having the time to myself while they're in school makes me a more relaxed person, which helps me to be a better mother. And I'm ok with that.

5 days, 4 hours, and 45 minutes....... give or take a few......

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bit by bit.

Know what I hate?

(Besides pumpkin flavored anything, that is....)

I hate the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Whether it's the unending list of things to do, financial obligations, scheduling conflicts, or emotional crap, I don't like to be overwhelmed. I like simple. I like easy.

Unfortunately, life isn't always simple or easy.

We came back from vacation a few days ago, and I've been trying to get things done ever since. There's so much laundry and cleaning and sorting and catching up to do, and even with my plethora of lists, I'm still having trouble figuring out where to start.

I spent the majority of the day yesterday mowing the grass. It was wet and overgrown and awful. A job that usually takes less than 2 hours and about a half a tank of gas took me over 5 hours and about 2 1/2 tanks because the grass was so high that it kept stalling the engine. It was a nightmare, but I got it done.

The other really big thing that has been nagging at me, waiting for me to get it done, was weeding the garden. I did it right before we left in the hopes that it wouldn't be so bad when we got home. But, we apparently got upwards of 5" of rain and the weeds went crazy. What makes it more difficult is that we dug this garden this year, so the grass keeps growing back in from the edges.

I knew I had to get it done today, no matter what. I was tired, I was sore, and I was in no mood to do it, but I forced myself to get out there and do it. The ground was just wet enough that the weeds weren't hard to pull, so once I got started, it went fairly quickly and easily, and although I only planned to do about half of it tonight, after about 3 hours I had it completely done.

I worked on it alone, with Alex and Daniel occasionally coming outside to tattle whine give me progress reports on getting their laundry put away. As I worked, I replayed various scenes from our vacation.

I kept thinking about the devastating scene with my mother, replaying it over and over again, until I couldn't tell if I had sweat or tears dripping off of my face - or maybe a little bit of both. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened, and so far I'm not succeeding at it at all.

The only good thing about feeling so helpless with that situation right now is that I can flip that good ol' coping mechanism switch. You know the one - it has that crazy label on it that says "If you can't control one aspect of your life, push this button and you can control something else instead".

Eventually I'll be able to accept this new normal with my mother and get past it and deal with it better than I am right now. At this moment I might not be able to get a grip on the emotional baggage that came back with me a few days ago, but I can sure as hell make sure that there are no weeds in my garden.

Getting fresh snacks is a bonus.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Post-vacation crap

Sometimes I seriously wonder which is worse - preparing to go on a huge vacation, or cleaning up the mess afterwards.

We got home early Friday afternoon. My stomach revolted against me the second we crossed the Kansas state line (not kidding) and so I felt like crap for the rest of the day. I didn't do much except help unload the van (in between trips to the bathroom) and make sure that the house was still standing. On Saturday we ran around for the big festival here in town, but I managed to get a few loads of laundry done here and there.

Today was the busy day for me. It was hard to get started, but I kept working on laundry and even though it's not all done I can at least officially say that all of the sleeping bags have been washed, dried, and put away.

I had planned to work outside today, but woke up to a little bit of rain. It stopped, so I decided to go ahead and mow the grass. I figured that if I at least did the front yard, my house wouldn't look quite so ghetto and I could take my time getting the back yard cut. We apparently got quite a bit of rain while we were gone, and the yard was a disaster. What normally takes me about 2 hours and less than a tank of gas ended up taking me 5+ hours and about 2 1/2 tanks - the grass was so overgrown and wet that it was almost impossible to get it done. It still looks terrible because it's all clumpy and nasty, but it's cut - and after it dries out a bit more I'll mow again and get rid of all of the clumps.

Once I got that done, I came inside and worked on more laundry and other stuff. I really didn't get as much done as I had hoped to, but I was exhausted from mowing and my body hurt. A lot.

But, I managed to get quite a bit of stuff done - nowhere near what I wanted, but every little bit helps at this point.

Of course, things never go as smoothly as I want them to, and when my vacuum decided to give me attitude, I figured out that the one hose was split - which totally explains the lack of suction lately. I knew I could "fix" it, but then I couldn't find a screwdriver and then I couldn't find the duct tape and as I threw an internal temper tantrum (I was too tired by this point for a real one) I found them and I rigged up the vacuum so that it works. At least it worked enough for a few swipes across my bedroom carpet because I'm tired and I'm not vacuuming everything that needs to be done right now even though I really should.

 I had hoped that we were going to have a fairly quiet week this week, but since it's the last week before school starts, I know that's not going to happen. I just found out about 10 minutes ago that Alex has to have a football physical sometime in the next 2 days in order to play (oops), and that's on top of the girls both needing physicals within the week, along with trying to get school shopping done and deal with real life at the same time while also trying to recover from a vacation that exhausted me both physically and emotionally.

I'm really just not in the mood for all of this. I'm just not.

I need a vacation.