Jailhouse Rock

A La Carte:  Let’s see… A lot of my focus has been on cutting out snacks and sugars.  Pure Protein bars are an “old school” favorite of mine, and I’ve had one with a piece of fruit or some cherries every day this week.  Also EAS AdvantEdge shakes are great.  As far as ACTUAL food, sweet potatoes are life right now.  Any way I can get them, especially fries.

Tunes:  Elvis!  That’s right, I’m tuned in to the King this week.  My 7-year-old saw a book at the store and said, “Who is Elvis?”, and I knew I had done him a great disservice.  So this week we’re blasting favorites like “Teddy Bear”, “Blue Christmas”, “All Shook Up”, “Viva Las Vegas”, and “Hound Dog”.   I have fond memories of dancing around to Elvis in my mom’s room, and we’ve had a fun time re-creating it at our house.

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Where I’m Going:  I want to go somewhere new for Christmas.  Well, maybe not ON the day, but for Winter.  It doesn’t snow here.  I’m fantasizing about somewhere white and romantic.  New York?  Paris?  Heck, I’d even consider somewhere out west.  I like to ski!  Maybe Aspen?  I could ski with Tom Cruise and we could discuss our mutual disdain for vitamins and how we both do our own stunts.

Trees in Aspen
Image courtesy Pinterest.

Flesh:  Elliptical cross-training!  I forgot how much fun the elliptical can be.  The ones at my gym have a setting called “X Train Backwards”, and on this setting you go 4 minutes forward, or regular, and 4 minutes back.  It’s great for working quads and hamstrings, and it’s FUN.  If you know me, you know fun is a necessary component in fitness.  Life is too short to have it otherwise!  So if there’s an elliptical at your gym and you’ve never tried it, please do!  Challenge yourself with the settings, too.  I like to go to the very highest level for a minute, then turn it way back down and get high reps, and repeat.  (It’s a lot like doing intervals in spin class.)  Another bonus:  The elliptical simulates skiing motions, so you’ll be prepared for that ski date with Tom!

Here’s a short article on some of the benefits of elliptical training.

Soul: I did a blog post the other day about the small eclipse this month, and already I have seen a few eery things happen (ALL good) in my life.  I’m reading about the BIG eclipse that’s coming and doing my best to prepare, without stressing or planning everything.  I like for things to happen organically and naturally, and not be forced.

Dreams:  Both dreams I remember this week took place in my grandmother’s home.  She is heavily on my mind this week, and I am supposed to go and visit her, so this is probably why.  I’ve also been researching our family tree and thinking about getting some oral histories from her.  One final explanation is that I miss her and her home, and the time I lived there, terribly some days.

Cruise Home
Image from Business Insider

Photographing:  SCHOOL IS IN!  My phone is full of photos of my big 2nd Grader.

Movies and TV: I have discovered a show for children called Pocoyo.  It is available on Netflix and it is adorable.  Very simply animated, and narrated by a man whose voice is quite similar to the guy from Winnie the Pooh (from the 80s), it’s the only thing my toddler will pay any attention to.  Before this, he would not watch TV at all.

Library:  My own book.  Two years ago I wrote a book to honor my grandfather and to process some of my own grief.  The end result has been sitting on my computer since, and I’ve been inspired by some writer friends to go ahead and self-publish on Amazon.  The issue I’m having is that it’s full of religious/spiritual references that I’ve moved on from, and I don’t want to be a phony.  I’ve attempted several different edits, but none of them feels authentic to who my grandfather was.  So… I’m stuck.  I’m sure it’s only temporary.  The next step will be figuring out how to format from Word to e-reader, and so far I can’t even get a successful download (thanks, Firefox!)

Tech: Duolingo is my best friend.  I’ve been sitting up at night becoming fluent in French, in preparation for our inevitable Paris take-over.  If you want to learn a language, consider using the Duolingo App.  It’s fun, free, and easy to learn.  Duolingo offers a variety of languages, and the lessons are short and fun.  You can track your progress, earn rewards, and share Fluency percentage with friends or even have it posted on your LinkedIn profile.

Turn Around, Bright Eyes

Nothing I can say, Total Eclipse of the Heaaaaaaart….

Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

As many of you know, tonight we will see (or some of us will see) a partial lunar eclipse.  It’s actually not going to be visible from the US, so we ethereal goddesses and moon lovers on this side of the globe will have to use our imagination when it comes to wishes and such.  I’m very imaginative, so this will be no problemo.  In fact, I have a small list of things I’ll be doing tonight during the min-e-clipse. (See what I did there?)

  • I will be Grounding (or Earthing) – in fact, my shoes are already off.
  • Cleaning my home and clothing Read about this here.
  • Preparing my gems and coins that I keep in a homemade gris-gris bag (this contains a couple of gem stones, some coins, and some names on paper collected during my visit to the ever-enchanting New Orleans, Louisiana. You can add herbs, oils, whatever speaks to you or your purpose.)
  • Watering my plants – This is just something I do for my succulents on eclipse days.  As living things, I believe that they are affected by certain phenomena as well.
  • Clean out my money bowl – I have a blue and white ceramic bowl in my kitchen.  It keeps our spare change and the occasional lottery ticket.  During eclipse time I clean it, fill it with water, and ceremoniously drop silver coins into it under the moonlight to attract “coin” to my purse and to illustrate gratitude for the money I already have.
  • Speak to the moon.  – I do this before and after the “coin” bowl.  In general, I don’t speak about myself, but for others.

Feel free to get creative!  If your heart or spirit says to do something or not do something, go with that.  Your intuition should be your guide.

This partial eclipse is just a precursor to the solar eclipse set to take place on August 21st.  Eclipses always come in pairs, so this isn’t a unique occurrence, but this smaller eclipse is a great time to practice for the larger one, by cleaning out junk (literally land metaphorically) that no longer serves us in our current lives, getting real about what we want to happen going forward, and really allowing our dreams to take flight.

Check out this handy info page on the Solar Eclipse to see the eclipse path and best times for viewing.

1827

On the Menu:  Pork chops in A1 marinade.  This was a happy accident, as the A1 bottle fell out of the fridge and busted, and, having been raised by my grandmother, I know better than to waste food.  Baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and yellow squash FTW.

Lyrical:  No new music this week, looking for something fun and uplifting.

Walkabout:  Chatta and Disney are on deck.  Found some RT tickets to Rome for around $500/pp, so we might be saying “Ciao, Bella!” before my birthday!  So exciting!

ROM-02
Image from Google
Temple:  I took a much-needed rest week.  This was completely unplanned.  I had several symptoms of stress and over-training:

  1. Fatigue – I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open, and even “accidentally” fell asleep a couple of times.
  2. Weight Gain – Suddenly my weight was up 3-4 lbs, though my diet hadn’t changed.
  3. Muscle Soreness – My legs were hurting, big time.  It wasn’t just superficial pain, it was DEEP down.  When I laid down, they would throb and ache.
  4. Irritability – Emotionally, I felt so drained, and I started lashing out at people for no reason.

So, I made a decision for my health, against the advice of my ego, and I. SAT. DOWN. Difficult (and sometimes it can feel shameful) in #MomLife, but very, very necessary.

Ethereal:  Listening to my August forecast on YouTube, and as always, taking lots of notes and excited to see what this month will bring.  Check out my favorite reader, Kayleigh Jean, at Falcons and Pentacles.

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Best Card Ever.
Dreams:  The only thing I remember from this week is a dream about a former teacher.  Mr. Mustache was my English teacher in 8th grade, and was quite a character.  I dreamed he had died, which according to this link can have several different meanings.

Photographing:  Kids, Snapchat selfies, the usual.

Movies and TV: Mostly Law & Order: SVU.  It’s definitely a guilty pleasure show for me.  I miss Stabler, but like the new characters, too.  Check it out on Netflix, or check USA channel, it’s normally running there around mid-day and afternoon.

Words on Pages:  No books this week.

Tech: Looking for a new laptop, one that is versatile and user-friendly, but also will last a long time.  I currently have a DELL, but I’m looking at the Chromebook too.  Also loving my GIF keyboard by GIPHY, it’s fun and silly and easy to use.

Life Story, Take Two

Nomadic

Sporadic

Romantic.

Wanderer.

Type    Writer

Lover

and

Fighter.

Fanciful

Magical

Impractical.

Barefoot     Soul

Passionate

and

Cold.

Curious

 Furious

Mysterious.

Historian.

Book    Reader

Skeptic

and

Believer.

Say Geronimo!

I went running this morning at one of my favorite parks.  It’s close to my house and the scenery is breathtaking, so when the stars align and I am able to get there for a workout, I feel grateful.  These days I’m trying to be outdoors more (and on the treadmill less) in order to improve my fitness and raise my vibration.

This park has several miles of woodland trails for running and mountain biking.  I normally run the mountain bike trails because they’re wider, and because there’s a nice canopy of trees that shields me from the sun a bit.  The downside is that there are tons of giant tree roots, and the canopy seems to hold in all the humidity, so some days it feels like running through a giant sauna obstacle course.

Today I decided to run a different route, to challenge myself and keep the ol’ neurons firing.  I parked at the exit, grabbed my pretty pink pepper spray and my cell phone, and set off down the road.  Little did I know, spiritual growth was waiting right around the corner for me.

Having grown up in this city, one might expect that I know a thing or twelve about this park.  The number of trails, the length of those trials, elevation, length of the road, etc.  Useful things.  I don’t actually know any of that.  The positive to this is that so far I have learned something new on each run, which I actually find exciting, so I’ve decided to stick with this “discovery-running” strategy.  I have heard that there are 5-7 miles of trails in this park, though it’s also possible that I have made that number up completely.  (A quick Google search did nothing to help clarify.)  Anyway, I started running knowing I had somewhere between 5 and 7 miles of road to go on, and I wouldn’t make it that far anyway, so my plan was to run as far as I wanted and turn around and run back to my car.

Running through a gorgeous park on a Saturday in Georgia is a glorious experience. I said “hello” and received similar greetings from walkers, runners, bikers, kids, grandmothers, disc-golfers, and a lady carrying a casserole in one hand and a baby in the other.  I could hear country music coming from the speakers of a pickup parked down by the lake, kids laughing as they played in the waterfalls, and friends encouraging each other as they cycled up a steep climb.  The whole place was abuzz with activity, and I was buzzing along in the middle of it.  I felt like I was in a movie, in one of those opening sequences where the camera starts out in space, and slowly zooms all the way into the town where the story takes place, until the focus is on the main characters.  That thought made me smile.

As I was making my way up and down the hilly pavement, mindful of cars and trying to keep my breath steady, I thought about how far I might run today.  1 mile?  If I turn around then, it would be 2 when I reached the car.  It was pretty hot out.  Maybe 1.5?  That makes 3 total.  Maybe I’ll just go .75 and then turn around, but I’ll run it faster than I’m used to.  I have to go to work tonight and I don’t want to be tired and sore at the beginning of my shift.  I knew I couldn’t run the 5-7 miles to the entrance even ONCE, let alone do it and turn around and run all the way back to my car.

Suddenly, just as that negative “I can’t” thought was forming, other thoughts popped up, as if to banish it before it planted roots in my brain.  These other thoughts were encouraging, motivating thoughts.  For example:

  • The story about Bruce Lee and his friend running 5 miles, and Bruce’s philosophy on life. (The story can be found HERE.)
  • Kathy Freston’s book Quantum Wellness, in which she says you should always go farther than you believe you can.
  • The reality that part of me was trying to give up before I’d even truly begun.

What happened was simultaneously anti-climactic and miraculous:

I simply decided to run the entire path, from exit to entrance. My legs felt strong, my breathing was pretty good, and even though I had never done it before, I decided that I would do it.

That’s it.  Hardly worth mentioning, right?  And yet, in that millisecond that I made the choice to “just do it”, my life changed a little bit.  My mindset rotated from “can’t” to “will”.  There was never a question after that whether I could make it, just a quiet, confident knowing that I would.

The rest of the story is that yes, I ran it all.  Guess what?  The road in it’s entirety ended up being a little over two miles, beginning at the exit gate and going “all the way” around the the entrance.  Yep, this thing that I had negated and barred myself from ever doing was only two miles.  I had never taken the time to find out the actual distance, because I already believed it to be further than I could run!! I had counted myself out of the race without ever starting.  This got me thinking – How many times in my life have I done this?  With work?  With friendships and relationships?

Here’s a funny thing about enlightenment, acceptance, and finally letting go of old beliefs:  oftentimes we are standing on the precipice of greatness, and once we step off the edge, we can finally see the beauty of where we are headed.  Before we take that first step, though, all we see is the edge.  We see danger. The unknown. The unattainable.  We see the can’t, won’t, shouldn’t signs all around us that discourage us from trying.  So we don’t.  We don’t try, we stay safe, and we continue to live our lives as we’ve always lived them, because that’s comfortable.

I’m writing this blog today to encourage you to GET UNCOMFORTABLE. Whatever edge you find yourself standing on today, take the leap!  Take a step.  Do something outside of your comfort zone and just see what happens.

Small picture, I ran 4 miles. This, in itself, is not a big deal, I know.  The bigger picture is that I came away from this run with just a smidge more enlightenment than when I entered.  A mental barrier was overcome.  My perspective was significantly altered.  What is can’t?  What is too hard?  What in life is truly unattainable?  I learned an invaluable lesson about belief, ability, and being willing to say “Geronimo!” and jump off the edge, even and especially when I can’t see what’s coming next.

Good(funny)Fellas

Remember that iconic scene when Tommy DeVito (portrayed flawlessly and I suspect somewhat effortlessly by Joe Pesci) goes on his rant after being called “funny”?  Here’s the quote:

I mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”

Joe Pesci’s genius notwithstanding, this is a hard scene to watch.  It’s one of the most cringe-worthy, yet most quotable scenes in the history of film. Isn’t it?

That scene, that momentary lapse of sanity for Pesci’s character, when he’s not sure whether to be insulted or flattered, is what comes to mind when I hear things like “I just want someone who makes me laugh.” What, like, on command?  Please elaborate.  I mean if I’ve got to stand at the mic and tell you jokes, you’d better be pulling out some pretty astounding party tricks yourself.  You know what I’m sayin’? *wink, wink*

That said, it’s actually me who has been thinking it this week.  Someone who makes me laugh is probably the one quality I value over all others when it comes to friendships, acquaintances, sometimes even work collaborators.  It’s something I cherish in all my dealings with my brother.  It’s something I admire in clever people and I find charming in men.

I went to lunch with a friend this week.  She’s a sweet person.  We went to high school together but only recently have become close.  She is funny and, even better, she laughs at my jokes.  We have similar outlooks on life and work.

When I think about recent date nights I’ve had with my husband, the ones I consider most “successful”, meaning we got along great and had a good connection and I felt reassured about us, are the ones that included laughter.  Lots and lots of laughter.

No one is funnier than my brother.  I don’t know if this is because we grew up together so I’ve grown accustomed to it, or because he is truly a genius, or if we are so similar and have been “in the trenches together”, so to speak, so our humor is naturally shared and familiar.  We laugh every time we are together.  Heck, I laugh at his texts and social media messages, too.

Sometimes my seven-year-old tells me I’m “hilarious” or high-fives me to indicate approval of a joke.  It’s one of the highest compliments my heart can receive.  I remember how excited I was when his humor evolved from knock-knock jokes that don’t make any sense but it’s my motherly duty to laugh, to puns that were so clever I found myself questioning whether he’d actually made them up himself. (And the pride I felt at that!)

Levity seeps into all areas of my life.  Books, podcasts, tv shows, work… I seek it out.  I suppose this is partially because I associate humor with wit.  Or, rather, humor is generally associated with cleverness, outside of my own opinion, and I greatly admire clever people.  To take it one step over that line is that humor opens the door to empathy.  The Human Experience.  When I find someone who is funny, who finds humor in the same things I do, who thinks my jokes are funny or whose humor tickles me, a bond is created.  There is an immediate trust, an instant understanding.

So… yeah.  To hold a special place in my heart (and my social circle), you need to be funny.  Funny like a clown.  I’ll be funny too.  I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you.

Losing What Never Was

Chemical Pregnancy.  That’s a term I’ve only learned just this week. What does it mean?  From what information I have read online in the past couple of days, it’s really just another term for miscarriage.  Some people use “chemical pregnancy” when describing the loss of a child in the very early weeks of pregnancy, because technically it is not the miscarriage of a fetus, or baby, yet.  Something about the word “chemical”, at least when I hear it, seems to imply that the pregnancy is somehow false or fake, or all in one’s head, and I don’t believe that is true.

When a woman has a chemical pregnancy, all of the expected pregnancy symptoms are there.  The list is wide and varied from woman to woman, but many of us are familiar with the most common early pregnancy symptoms:  nausea (morning sickness), sore breasts, and a missed period.  A lot of times (most times?) with a chemical pregnancy, a pregnancy test will result in a positive.

For women like myself, there are certain “tell tale” symptoms of pregnancy.  I have been pregnant a few times, but only carried one child (my son who is 5) to term.  However, each time I KNEW I was pregnant from the get-go.  My body does things in pregnancy it wouldn’t DARE do otherwise.  I get yeast infections (sorry) in pregnancy.  I have vivid dreams, many times of the pregnancy or child itself, like I am meeting him or her.  My boobs HURT like my bra is made of sandpaper.  I get tired.  I get emotional.  Very, very emotional.   Truth be told I am an emotional person by nature.  But when I’m pregnant, it gets ramped up to 11.  My feelings go to 11.  High five if you get the ST reference.

Yesterday ended a brief, happy, hopeful couple of weeks that evidently was a chemical pregnancy.  To be clear, miscarriage is real, and chemical pregnancies are not “made up”.  I am 100% sure I was pregnant, at least for a little while.  I spotted at implantation time.  I got a raging infection – seriously, I could not walk for a couple of days – around what would normally be ovulation time (and this is when I became sure we had conceived).  I began having dizzy spells.  My complexion was “glowing” and my step-mom randomly asked me if I was pregnant.  I wasn’t ready to think it possible yet, so I just said no.  My boobs… well, I already went over that.  They don’t hurt me in a normal cycle, and this time they were swollen, with blue-ish veins and lots of pain. My belly was a little swollen. I cried at everything.  Literally.  Happy things, sad things, all the things made me cry.  I had several dreams.  Mid-month, a dream that featured an “old-timey” nurse in a candy-striper outfit and a white hat, holding up two positive pregnancy tests and asking me “are you sure this is what you want?”  Another featuring my son’s soon-to-be-sibling, cuddled up next to me on the couch, my son cuddled with us, taking our first photo together.  My favorite grass-fed beef smelled and tasted funny.  (Meat aversion was something I suffered when pregnant with my son.)  I allowed myself to think.  Then to hope.  I prayed in the shower, “God please if you allow this to happen, I promise I will love this child and be the mother he or she deserves.” Then I began to get excited.  Yes, I was definitely pregnant.

Yesterday, I ceased to be.

I am sad.  Of course, sad does not begin to cover what I feel but I find this whole thing difficult to articulate.  I have cried hot tears and choked on my own heartbreak.  I prayed in the shower again, this time through sobs and snorts, a different prayer.  “God, I hurt.  Please heal my pain.  Your ways are higher than my ways and I know you want what is best for me. So, it is well.  It is well with my soul.  It is well with me.”

{side note: Not even an hour later in church, our worship pastor decided to “switch things up” and play an older hymn.  The name of that hymn?  It Is Well With My Soul.  The man who wrote it, he said, wrote it after and despite losing his three daughters.  He still wanted to praise God and say that God is still good.  Oh, my heart!  God was speaking directly to me and my heart received that message!  You must know, dear reader, that God sees all, knows all, and LOVES us with a love we cannot even begin to fathom.  He is a great father.}

Now, for several reasons I suppose I should have been with not being pregnant.  My son would be 6 when this baby was born.  That’s a large gap.  My husband and I hadn’t talked about, or prepared for, more kids (although I know he would be fine with it).  Financially, I don’t know if we could have afforded a baby right now.  Age-wise, I don’t know if I could handle the up-all-night sleep deprived routine again at 35 like I did at 29 (and survive without murdering someone). Body-wise, I know that pregnancy and birth wreaks havoc, and recovery was a long, slow road for me last time due to an emergency c-section that was NOT a part of my birth plan.  Still, the older I get the less I worry about my looks.  It’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside me right now is a heart that longs to be a mother to more children.  To love them, feed them, hug and kiss them, see my husband be the most extraordinary father to them.

I told hubs, who I had largely kept it secret from (until I got a positive test), and though I expected him to laugh at the idea of being parents again, he didn’t.  He comforted me.  My incredible, compassionate life-mate listened, wiped my tears, held and hugged me, and encouraged me to eat ice cream and sleep and be easy with myself.  He said we could try again, we could continue the discussion, we could even look into adoption, if we felt God leading us that way.  What a precious gift he is!  And he’s right about one thing: Our son is a gift, and even we are never blessed with more children, we have this amazing boy that God has entrusted to us, and each day we are with him is a blessing.  He is pure sunshine: bright and kind and sing-songy and darling.  Every day I am thankful for him.

Today, I am not crying, but it still stings a little, which part of me thinks is silly.  How can I be sad over something that never was?  How can I cry over a baby I “made up”?  I don’t know.  But I can.  And I do.  However, I have chosen joy.  I have chosen to be grateful for my life as it is, and for God, who does not make mistakes.  He even winked at me in church and let me know he is aware of my struggle.  I aspire to model his parenting with my own kids, no matter how many I have.