Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 5k Bib

Hey, it's that time again! For those that want it, here is your race bib! It's also available for download in the Facebook Group! As always, those people who would like to join, the more the merrier! Just leave me a comment either in the FB group or my original post for the race, and I'll sign ya up!

If you click on the picture here, you should get a giant version you can save and print.

This month, as a prize I have decided to give away a little pedometer. It's not much, but it's brand-spankin' new in its box, and it'll be yours if you win!

To enter, you MUST complete the 5k in one go (adding up your steps throughout the day does not count) on either Saturday or Sunday. I don't care if you run, or walk, or some combination of the two. It doesn't count if you get it in on Friday or Monday, it has to be on those two days. Then, you simply comment on the official race post (the one that will follow this one) or on the FB group post (some people are having problems commenting on my blog, I'm not sure why) with your time and how it went, and I'll draw a winner from those comments!

So, you ready?!?!
Monday, August 18, 2014

Laying Plans

You know, in my head I've been posting more... but it turns out I haven't posted for a week. A WEEK! I don't know why I thought I had. Oops. I was working on a deadline for a magazine, though. I did manage to get my last piece finished and I rather like it:

"Lotus" 9x12 acrylic

I think it turned out a lot more "zen" than I am.

Well, things are quite wild here in casa del looney-bin. We've been gathering up papers and virtually home shopping, and booking flights, and... *yawn* I need a nap.

Things have shifted a bit. It turns out I won't be charging out of here full-blast and on my merry way to Raleigh just yet. These relocation processes are tricky, but in short, the whole temporary housing thing isn't going to quite swing the way it needs to. So, I'll be hanging out here until the house sells. Not sure how all of that is going to work, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, it means we need to get our house on the market and find a new place to live in NC once it sells. And I have GOT to get my parents out of my house. I love them. Dearly. But there are little things. Little things like them filching my water glass for their own repeatedly. It's so frequent, I'm starting to wonder if it's on purpose. We all get a good laugh out of it, but I'm becoming neurotic about my glass. It doesn't matter how obnoxious the container (I even have one that's a neon orange jack-o-lantern!) they somehow end up with it. There's also the towel crisis of 2014. I also managed to give myself a black eye on a kitchen chair that had been left in the wrong place. I was all by myself, so while I didn't move the chair to that location, it's still 100% my own fault. I'm apparently the type of person who cannot handle her environment getting moved around without serious injury because I just count on those pesky pieces of furniture to stay where they're supposed to!

It's times like these that I wonder if I'm really on a reality show and just don't know it.

Anyway, house finding is under way! My goal? A home with a big enough art studio space so I can stop painting at the kitchen table, and not so close that I can moon my neighbor (either by accident or design.)

I don't know if I can give up seclusion and go for a house in an actual neighborhood (with a neighborhood pool, because they all have pools! And maybe a fitness center, and then I could go play in that every morning!) Part of me wants to. Part of me is desperately hoping that out of all these people who live down there, that there will be someone who will want to be my friend.  There's gotta be someone, right? I know, it's like I'm five years old.

The other part of me just wants to find another cave to hide in away from the world. It's easier not to get hurt that way. Of course, then there's no pool or fitness toys. Hrmmm.

We have a list. We have a realtor. So, I guess we'll see what happens? I'm rather nervous to finally see this place I agreed to move to. I've never actually been there before.

My dad is flying down to NC soon to find a rental for them, and so I think by Labor Day weekend I'll have the house back down to just my family. Shortly after that, on the market. We hope. All these things that we had been meaning to fix, we're finally fixing just in time for us to leave!

I've also been a bit melancholy all day today because it's autumn-like weather here (I was wearing a sweater this morning!) and I even found some yummy scented candles. I went hunting at Bath & Body Works, but they didn't have our favorite Pumpkin Pecan Waffles candle. I was at walmart later, and found that Glade actually has a Pumpkin Waffle one that smells pretty good! For only $5, I figured it was worth a shot (it was only later I found the right scent on B&B's website. I thought it had been discontinued.)

All these lovely autumn scents and the chilly weather are making me a bit wistful about the upcoming move. I won't get snow, or at least not much. I don't think I'll have any days where I'm snuggled into my fluffy soft clothing, cuddled up with a book in front of the fire while the snow falls heavy outside. It might happen as a rare occurrence down there, but here it's something I get to do every year. I'll miss it.

At least I'll still have my pumpkin scented stuff. That's something! But I'll miss my snow.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Anger (mis)Management

It's funny, the jubilation hasn't set in yet for the move. Instead, there has been the absence of being ticked off. I cannot explain how weird it is, how long I have been angry. It's kind of eye-opening actually. It started in February, when we were told to decide on a job and a location within 48 hours.

I mean, that's sort of fast, don't you think? That was a little bit frustrating, but I could go with it. It was one of those "do we jump and make the big leap? Ok... let's do it!" moments, and we were so excited!

...and then nothing.

It all stalled, or get messed up, or complicated, or... Basically, I wanted to haul off and punch someone. There were actual stupid - almost on purpose - errors, unexpected and completely frustrating. There were things to be mad at, and many other people were mad too on our behalf. It just kept going, and it continued on until this last week.

From February until now, I was... well, I was pissed off. It's hard to be excited, to decide to take the leap and make all these big things happen, and then repeatedly get smacked in the face by the situation and have no answer. Limbo stinks. Added to that were all those things, all those errors and mistakes and fights by other people, and I was just out-and-out furious.

Yeah, I'm sure someone is going to pop in and tell me I should have gotten my zen on and meditated and let the anger go and be free with daisy chains and frolic with Bambi or something. Some people are able to do that, and that's awesome. But the truth is that nothing worked, or was going to. I'm really good at being mad. I mean, I'm really good at it. I always have been since I was a kid. I am a fixer, and when I cannot work towards a solution and I'm forced to just sit with it, well all that is left is anger. It's sort of a last resort, but it's there.

Now, suddenly there was no more limbo. Yet, instead of feeling excited I felt... numb? Or, well, not exactly numb. Quiet, I guess. Quiet seems closest to the truth. All that internal angst and fury was finally silenced. No more grumbling about this or that, we finally had the answer. No panic just yet about the actual move, because nothing is happening just yet (although that will come, and quickly) and just a little bit of anxiety and fear, but all of that is so much quieter compared to how angry I have been about being jerked around since February.

Seriously, it's like I can feel part of my original self in here somewhere for the first time in a long time that's been buried beneath all the haze and static of just wanting to slug someone. I am not normally an angry person, I release it fast because I know I'm so good at being mad. That's why I'm a fixer, because as long as I'm doing something - anything - to fix it, I'm ok. However, put me in a box with no doors or windows and I turn into a brooding champion.

Plus, you cannot under any circumstances take this out on your children. You have to compartmentalize and keep it to yourself. If you have to shove it down and pretend with everything in your being that you're freakin' Mary Poppins, then you do. You do NOT have the right to rail and scream and cuss like you want to, no matter how mad you are, because your family doesn't deserve it. As a mom, you also have to make sure the other furious people (my husband, my parents) ALSO keep their ranting and raving to themselves, because again - your children do not deserve to be exposed to this sort of thing. Enough is out of their control just being children, they do not deserve to endure your issues too.

So, I was furious. I could do nothing, and I had to internalize as much of it as possible, and run around putting out the fires of everyone else's temper as well. I was the girl in the box... swearing colorfully and creatively, and imagining slugging the people who needed slugging. Which is not to say I was some sort of angel or martyr, because I wasn't (not possible, heh.) But I did my best, mistakes and all, and I stayed aware. Angry, but aware. This situation made me so mad and nothing I did put it to rest. No amount of running, no amount of talking to friends, no amount of chocolate (hey, I'm being honest here.) I went to bed gritting my teeth and angry, and I woke up in much the same condition (often with a headache.)

And now there is silence. Wow. Hey me, I missed me! I'm not all bubbly and perky and woohoo! Not yet. But I'm not angry, and that is such a vast improvement! It leaves room for... well, lots of stuff! It's like being released from a cage, and you are stumbling around a bit. Where'd the bars go?

My appetite is probably the best example because it's just weird. Sometimes, rarely now though, I feel like eating everything (I don't) and then other times I completely forget to eat until I'm about to pass out and I recall that I haven't eaten anything. I mean, since when does someone like me forget to eat if I'm not in the middle of a painting-binge? Or sick. But I'm not! I'm just sort of stumbling about and remembering what it is like to have me-thoughts instead of super-angry-me-thoughts.

That anger took up a lot of space.

Food just isn't all that appealing to me suddenly. I still have just as much to do. Well, more really (I was making calls to doctors and dentists, and you would think they'd appreciate me canceling far off appointments instead of not showing up, but instead I got many nasty "Why are you canceling? Can't you just come back for the appointments?" Yeah... are you NUTS?!) So you would think with the demands cranking up that my appetite would match it. Usually, it would. But now, without the hum of anger in the background, it's like my appetite doesn't know what to do with itself!


I mean, yay(!) and all, but... weird.

I could be all condescending and end this post about how people should manage their anger and get in touch with their inner peace and weave rainbows out of moonbeams instead of sowing anger... but this is me.  This is who I am. Put me in a situation completely out of my control and I promise you; I'll be angry. Make me scared on top of it, and it gets ugly fast. I have no words of advice for anyone going through something similar (except don't actually slug anyone. The law tends to frown on that. No matter how much fun it might sound like.) Instead, all I can say is thank goodness it's over! I'm enjoying the silence!

I'm totally terrified - somewhere deep down - of what's coming, because it's all new. A big giant cliff of unknown stuff. I mean, who wouldn't be at least a little scared? But that feeling of starting a completely new chapter in life, no matter how scary, is so much better than being stuck and angry that all I can feel is... BETTER. And that, my friends, is a really wonderful thing. It almost makes a girl want to go weave rainbows.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's Official

We finally have word. The papers have been signed. It's finally done.

We're moving.

Of course, this means absolute insanity will soon descend upon the house. It's been extremely aggravating since February, because it was all back and forth, wishy-washy nonsense that we had to tell our children about because they needed to know... but then it kept going the way it was, and I felt like the worst parent ever for destabilizing the household.

That was bad, but it wasn't for naught. Now... now the craziness starts.

Upside? The company is totally on board with getting us down there as quickly as we can manage so the kids will start school as close to the school year starting as possible (August 25th.)

Downside? My husband will likely be spending most of his time up here in Vermont still, working on the transition and getting our house on the market while we're in temporary housing and I try not to get lost on the way to the grocery store (I get lost in a paper bag. The moment they allow GPS to be implanted into a human being, I think everyone will drag me right to the front of the line.)

If they do try to keep on schedule, I could literally be in a new, temporary place in a couple of weeks. That's so fast, it's hard for me to comprehend. I have lived here longer than any other place in my entire life (since 2000.) I want to move, I do, and I'm really hoping it'll be everything we're hoping it is.

But I freely admit I'm scared and overwhelmed. Well, mostly scared.

My husband, however, came home with a bottle of champagne! He's absolutely thrilled!

I think deep down perhaps I thought it would never actually happen and get settled? So even though I saw it coming, I'm kind of shocked? The guy at the tractor tire store - don't ask - heard we were moving and said "I know of all sorts of people who moved there, stayed a year or two and then just couldn't stand it because it was so awful and moved back!" Maybe not the best thing to hear today...

I'm hoping the thrilled part sets in soon! I need some happy!
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Letting the Paint Dry

I'm taking a moment while gesso is drying on a painting panel. It's frustrating when you have to let things take their natural course and there is simply no speeding things up. I went and touch-tested it in my impatience and ended up finger printing myself and having to fix the panel again.

I get like that with a lot of things in life. I often want to hurry things along. Oh, I'm not one of those jerks in line - if I'm in line, I can see the finish line ahead, and frankly? I'm a "kill them with kindness before violence" type of person. I may want to slap someone upside the head, but I rarely ever actually do it.

Yet, when it comes to things that are inanimate or under my own control (sorta), that's when I get impatient. Make the paint dry, already! Make the water boil! Make the clothing dry! Make the weight fall off... *ahem*

The trick is in knowing that if you do manage to hurry things along, more often than not you end up with damage of some sort. Like fingerprints. Or a favorite sweater that would only fit a Barbie doll (which has happened.) Or endangering your health.

I've seen a lot of shows on television over the past few months encouraging something like losing a pound a day. Boy, that sounds so tempting, doesn't it? Can you imagine? I bet you just did a tally of how many days until you'd be at goal weight a second ago if that were possible. I know I did.

I've even seen a lot of people attempting that kind of stupid weight loss recently around the net...webs... inter webs? Whatever, I've seen it! I'm sort of watching from afar like you would a horror movie; between my fingers, cringing. The grown adults doing this make me sad, but we're all big girls and boys now and can take responsibility for our own actions. Hopefully. It's the teenagers paying very close attention that are making me nervous.

I hear them talking, when they visit with my daughter. "So-n-so lost 20lbs in three weeks! We can SOOOOO do that too. We should! We can make a pact!" I'm glad to hear my daughter be a voice of reason, and it's nice to know that she's been paying attention and tells them healthy truths, but it still makes me nervous that these newly minted-almost-adults are treading into those dangerous waters.

I knew of plenty of the same nonsense weight loss schemes when I was their age. Do you remember any? My era started with my mom watching Richard Simmons religiously, and mauve, triangle-striped leotards and leg-warmers, all reflected back from a mirrored wall with wood accents. I'm pretty sure it was PBS, but maybe it wasn't. It came on around the same time as Donahue.

Anyway, whether it was the Diet Coke Diet, the Cabbage Diet (boy we had jokes about that one, you always knew who was on it *pinching nose*) or the no White/Red/PickAColor Anything diet - you always knew it was a "diet-diet" as in, this was not going to work long term for anyone. Eventually, everyone petered out on their wacky new scheme, usually a bit worse for the wear, and came back to the old tried and true rules of eating better, and eating less, and allowing it the amount of time needed for your body to turn into its healthier self.

Even knowing what I know, I need to be reminded of this from time to time. The tried and true rules are tried and true for a reason. They work, and they're permanent. There is no magic combination, there is no secret solution. You just do it, and keep doing it, and let time pass.

I'm working on that. That's my big lesson this year, I think. Allow for time to pass and things to happen on their own schedule, and not mine. Sometimes, like in life, you just need to let the paint dry.

Speaking of paint/art, I finally got one piece for my magazine deadline finished:

"Wild" pastel on pastel paper, 8x11 inches.

Oh, and I just have to share this amazing bullfrog I found with my husband while out on our run on Sunday:

Isn't he fabulous? I think he may be the prettiest bullfrog I have ever seen. He was a big fellow, and his colors were just amazing. Almost a rainbow right there, if you look closely! Most frogs just go for the greens or browns, but this one? Oh, he's got flair! Also, patience, because I was taking pictures right in his face. We hurried him off the road after this, so he didn't get squished. I bet he's the belle of the ball out in the lily pad patch he was aiming for!
Monday, August 4, 2014

The Junk Food Flu

Good morning! We're waiting on pins and needles for the final, solid, we're actually-getting-somewhere offer to come through. Sometime this week, this will be decided. Moving, or not. Finally.

In the midst of all this job/moving nonsense, my parents have moved in with me. As with all the other times my parents have spent time here, I find myself faced with all sorts of discoveries and truths. Some of these are about my parents, but more often than not they're about me. Or really, my inability to view my parents as whole human beings from time to time.

I don't think I'm alone in this issue, as most people fall prey to the thought of Mom or Dad as a label, and we forget they're just people. Just plain old every day folk who have fears and faults and goals and dreams. Sometimes, it's just easier to think of them like the adults in a Snoopy cartoon. But that's being lazy on my part, and unfair to them.

A previous time my parents lived with me, there were food wars. I was the healthiest I had ever been and my husband and I were committed to our new eating patterns. Six days of healthy, one day off plan (but mostly healthy.) My parents chose to reverse that and it was very hard to watch them eat ice cream while behaving, and then on my one day I could have it - being mocked for my unhealthy choices. It was a rather explosive time in the household. Food has always been a weird bone of contention in my family, but that was a particularly weird round. We became true adversaries that time, which was a strange dynamic, to be sure.

I've spoken before about how growing up with my mother's eating disorder was hard. I learned to hide food from my mother (and my brother, who was a bottomless pit) and that was something I struggled to unlearn with my husband. I had to learn about true nutrition, because everything I learned growing up was just bizarre. But I'm a big girl, and I grew up and did learn those things. I did stop hiding food, and I acknowledged that if someone did eat everything, I was perfectly capable of securing more. As an adult, I am in control of my own food.

We had visits where my husband and children started hiding food in reaction to my mom staying with us (something I did not teach them, as I broke that habit before my kids were born - but I recognized it at the time and dealt with it as best I could.) In some ways, that was almost therapeutic because it was sort of a confirmation that it's not just my overreaction to the situation, that other people might react that way too. Of course, I then handled it so my kids wouldn't be driven to hide food.

I don't know if my mom has just relaxed a bit and so my kids don't hide stuff anymore, or if it's her strategy that has changed... but that brings me to now. The day my parents moved in, my mother grabbed her keys and announced loudly to my kids "Who's going with me to the store, so we can fix this food situation?"

This meant cartons of ice cream, bags of chips, other munchable-type things, jars of Nutella and Fluff, and WHITE bread (Because, Kyra, no person in their right mind likes those whole grain sorts of things. Everyone loves white bread! I don't know why you don't just provide it for your kids, they're always talking about how much better it is when they're at my house and making a sandwich, it's JUST BREAD after all! Personally, I actually really like the flavor of the whole grains, but OK maybe not everyone does. Still, that being said, we don't eat much bread at all, so the bread we do? Yeah, it's going to be that.) What's even more interesting was hearing how my mom had to make them buy some of this stuff, because they knew we had a healthy household (for the most part) and weren't interested in filling it up with complete junk. A little junk, well, yes. They're teenagers. But that much? Nope.

Other things came into the house in the guise of "helping out" like pizza and Chinese food (this might not sound like a big deal to everyone else, but we eat out or get take-out maybe once or twice a month at the absolute most.) Did I eat it? *sigh* I was angry. I was stressed. I ate things I didn't want myself to (well, clearly I wanted to), and it was so easy because everyone else was too... but I made that choice, and I did it without anyone else to blame but myself. And I certainly paid for it. I went right into a food ditch of my own volition (after posting about being bang on course. Yeah, I know.)

The result was rather interesting though; stomach aches all around (for my kids and I, anyway.) My kids ended up almost as if they had the flu, my son even threw up. A couple days of eating like that, and suddenly life isn't so grand anymore. I also became sick from it, but I can tell the difference between an actual illness and my body revolting. This was a junk food flu. We eat too cleanly to eat like this. We have had this happen on vacations where we ate out a lot because we were just... out. So, I knew exactly what this was as I stayed up past midnight fighting the urge to go hug my toilet.

I don't know how everyone else feels, but I do not want to spend my life feeling like I have the flu just so I can enjoy take-out. The next morning, I went on a run with my husband even though I was still a bit iffy. By the afternoon, after eating back on track and healthy once again I started to feel so much better! I didn't even have to hassle the kids, as they got up and passed right by every bit of junk food and right back to their normal healthy fare. They didn't want to feel that way either, and they knew it was the poor food choices. Not a word had to pass my lips, and that junk has sat there completely untouched (by them) since.

This could easily be made into a two-dimensional episode of my parents bringing junk in, and us making stupid choices, but it turns out that things are not as simple as they appear. I spent time talking to my father late one night (the last night, when I was decidedly green around the gills and it was all my own fault.) He has gained a lot of weight over the last year or two, but he doesn't want to be this way either. He talked about how he wants to lose weight, but he cannot do it without support. This means my mom needs to be doing the same thing, and abiding by the same type of plan. I had never heard him talk this way before, but it was... well, it was one of those moments that slap you upside the head and you realize your father is actually a human being. I mean, if my mother drove me crazy with her eating stuff, wouldn't my dad be struggling too? Good grief, you would think I would have put that together before now.

Even more, I don't know how much my dad was aware that I could actually be someone who supported him. (I usually keep my food and exercise a tiny footnote in any outside relationship because it's just something I work with, I don't need to obsess about it to someone else. I'd rather talk about something else if we're visiting, if that makes sense?) As we talked more, he brought up all sorts of things that could help. I think we both realized that I could support him, and that while everyone is living together it didn't have to be crazy with the food. That it simply can't be for my family because it makes us physically sick. He was more than willing to make that change, and I'm willing to start taking on the junk-tide that has come in from my mom.

I'm also willing to stop looking at my mom's food influx as an attack, and finally seeing it for what it actually is; a misguided attempt to reach out to my family. A nurturing attempt that just went wrong, but her heart was in the right place. Last week, I wrote a post I didn't publish because I didn't have time. In it, I went on about how my parents were once again putting me and my family under siege with food. I'm so glad I didn't publish it. This week, I know that was utter stupidity on my part. My father doesn't want to eat like this and have this extra weight, he wants to lose it. My mom is just seriously messed up with food, but her intentions were to try and connect through it - misguided or not. Because my parents are people. Whole people.

I can't go back and properly view those previous episodes of food wars with them from 10+ years ago, because they're past and I had no eye-opening input. It was probably there, but I just didn't see it. But this time? This time I see things much differently, and it all came down to a late night talk with my father where I realized there is always more to the story... maybe even a completely different story than I thought.

So, as the junk food flu leaves the house, and the corrected eating pattern is firmly forced back into place, I'm moving forward. I may have lost ground on my scale, but I gained a lot more in my relationship with my father, and a way to establish a healthier household with less strife in the process. I count that as a win!
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Delivered...

I'm one of those people who needs it in writing. You're offering me a *whatever* at a big discount Mr. Retailer? Put it in writing. We're buying this, taking that, offering that... put it in writing. Handshake deals just don't work for me. I have seen things go south too many times to fully put stock in just what someone says. Yet... there is power in what someone says too. It means something is happening, something is in the works, so you have to take that seriously too. But I need it signed, sealed, and delivered before I fully believe it. It's just who I am; Mrs. Pessimist.

My husband flew out to North Carolina this week for some sort of final round of interviews for this position that was sort of a done deal since February, but it's been dragging out (it's all complicated and convoluted, but that's the gist.) Yet, at the end of it apparently it was all thumbs-up! Expect an offer from HR (because it's all within the same company, just a transfer) soon! My husband says he definitely wants to make the change, so if the offer is decent we'll take it. So, it should be all green lighted, right?

Yeah, whatever. Show me the paper.

I get that we're at 99% set at this point, but I can't help but feel that 1% is lurking nefariously in the corner. It's probably all fine, we're probably officially moving. But... I've learned to leave room for that "but", because it has a tendency show up at the very last second and mess everything up. I'm like that awful movie, Jerry Maquire (I know everyone loved it, but I always thought he was a big ole' jerk and didn't deserve to win the sweet - kinda spineless - girl at the end.) SHOW ME THE PAPER!

So, until it's signed, sealed, and delivered (that song has been playing in my head too) I just can't say we're moving. We're probably moving. We're most likely moving. We're planning on moving, mostly. We're 99% moving.

Stupid little 1%.

I even virtually drove neighborhoods with my husband yesterday while he was down there. We have saved homes on zillow, so, he drove by them while we chatted on the phone and I had the listings pulled up (we're not allowed to even speak to a realtor until the relocation stuff starts, and then it has to be theirs. So, the best we can do is drive by and check out neighborhoods.) I didn't go further than my computer, and by the end of the "trip" I was flat out exhausted.

Upside from all of this? My husband liked it there, and he thinks we'll find a good place to live. He even went inside the local high school and chatted with an advisor and watched part of a marching band practice. (Seriously, who does that? I thought they were boring when I was IN the practices - Guard, right here! You wouldn't want me to play an instrument. Trust me. Of course, walking with a giant flag and spinning it was pretty risky too, if you ask me. My school was desperate.) He said everyone was nice, and that people milling around stores and such were actually NICE! Can you imagine? Nice people, smiling for the heck of it, being courteous... friendly, even? It makes me giddy just thinking about it!

If the offer is good, and we have no reason to think it wouldn't be, we're in. We're moving. His boss said it's a green light from his perspective.



I want the freaking paper.

We should be days from having that paper in hand, and then things really get interesting, but at least there won't be any more maybe-nonsense. All the deadlines are broken, we're past making those work. I have no idea how the rest of all of this will work out. It's a big, blank, black wall of fog right now. That's annoying. Yet, I'd settle for that paper for the moment. Direction. Real, solid, direction. I'm looking forward to it!