Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 9

Well, I made it through this Monday, despite the rain, a crazy schedule, my hubby being out of town for his mom’s surgery and feeling like I can’t possibly catch up on my to-do list.  Let’s get a little more grateful though…


Tonight I am thankful for an incredibly tasty dinner with friends.  And it was all an unexpected surprise.  Yesterday, I was thankful for our preschool experience and today that preschool teacher was babysitting my DD.  She told me they would be having dinner at the “twins'” house – twins that went to preschool with my DD and live a couple of houses down from her.  When I arrived to pick her up, I had been trying to figure out what I was going to eat for dinner, since I figured they would have already eaten.  Well, when I got there, there was a smoked turkey, smoked tri-tip, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread…and everything was soooooo good.  It was such a relief to know I didn’t have to go home and make myself something and I got to hang out and talk to friends for almost an hour.  It was definitely a welcome relief after a longish Monday and looking forward to a lot to do over the next few days!

Health and Caregiving

A Healthy, Happy Life – What’s it Take?

These last few months have me pretty pensive.  I was sad for my mom.  She has lived the last few years in a pretty lonely and unsatisfying condition.  And now that her life has ended, I just wanted MORE for her.  More friends.  More fun and enjoyment.  More life.  When we are living, we should be LIVING!  So, it has me thinking.  Because I had my DD so late in life, I will be aging as she ages.  And I want to age well.  I want to be healthy enough to live.  I want to have friends and be social and have fun.  I want to have fun with my family and enjoy doing things with my DD.  But, that will require that I am healthy.  So, what’s it take?  What do we need to do to stay healthy and happy in our late 40s (where I am now), our 50s, our 60s and beyond.  After all, I will be pushing 60 when my DD graduates from high school (good Lord…) and I want to still be active and enjoying my life with her as she goes through college.  I realize I won’t be able to do what the 38 year olds are doing (and let’s be real, I probably won’t want to be doing what the 38 year olds are doing), but I want to be a good mom who is there for her and who can still do what needs/wants to be done.

So, it has me thinking…what do I need to do RIGHT NOW to make this happen?  What can I do EACH DAY to make sure that I am ready for that future life I want to lead?  Let’s see:

Start building a stronger network of friends.  I am working on that.  I have three friends currently who I feel like are THERE for me.  Two have children close to my DD’s age and I’m hoping we can all stay friends throughout their childhoods and on up to see them as grownups.  But, I need more than that.  I want a wide network of friends.  I have friends but I feel like I’m not very good at making time to spend time with them (especially those who don’t live here where I live).  I’m not good at setting aside time to really enjoy them.  So, that is something I need and want to work on.  Girls weekends.  Family trips together. In addition, I want to be more active in my church.  I want to establish better friendships there as well.  I want a community.  So, that is one thing that I need to continue working on as I go through this year and beyond.

Be more healthy.  I am not talking about losing weight (although that would probably be a good idea as well), but just exercising and eating better (more regular meals, less coffee, more water, etc.) and taking better care of myself over all.  I need to make a doctor’s appointment to get an annual exam (which I haven’t had the last couple of annuals – I use my DD as an excuse, but it really is just something I dread…I don’t want/can’t take any more bad news health-wise for anyone, but especially ME, so I avoid it).  I need to get into the dentist and get my broken tooth fixed and my teeth cleaned.  I want to start doing yoga regularly.  I want to do the a 21 Day Fix challenge to get my sugar and carb levels under control and start developing some muscle mass again.  I am currently suffering from what I am pretty sure is a Guttate Psoriasis.  My strep throat a couple of weeks ago must have triggered it.  And I know that not eating healthy is a contributing factor to these maladies.  I also need to model healthier behaviors and habits for my DD.  She is going to need to eat healthy with her heart issues.

Live it up!  I often turn down opportunities to go out and do things and have fun.  I’m not sure why.  I want to spend time with my DH doing fun things.  I want to do fun things as a family.  I want to enjoy each other and our lives to the fullest extent possible.  We have a bad habit of sitting around when we have time with each other.  On our computers or iPad.  When we should be out and about doing fun activities with each other.  So, that is what I want to focus on – making memories.  And lots of them.

Those three will be my main focus to start this focus on the future me by focusing on the present me.  I will do these things in honor of my mom who often said she wished she had done more when she had the chance, who longed to have a community of people around her and who was constantly telling me to take care of myself.  I love you Mamma!

New Year's Countdown

Countdown to 2015 – Two! One!

Well, I’ve missed a bit of the countdown.  Yesterday we traveled to my in-laws and I started feeling a bit more sick (I think I mentioned I might be getting sick).  Today I spent most of the day in dental offices with my husband, who needs a root canal.  Ever tried to find a dentist, in network, who can do a root canal two days before New Year’s Day?  Well, don’t try it.  After $115 for x-rays and evaluation at a non-network dentist, we were referred to an in-network dentist, where they worked on his tooth but could not do a root canal because there was no endodontist in town and available.  He is still miserable, so we’ll see whether I spend part of tomorrow back in a dentist office again.  But, yeah, 2014 is going out with a real bang – like a shoot me in the foot bang.  But, let’s fill in the countdown here…

2 countdown

For the 2 days post, I will focus on recalibrating my interests.  As I sit here, coughing and watching the Kennedy Center Honors, I realize how many great things I don’t DO anymore that I used to love doing.  The Kennedy Center Honors is like that though – it is there to remind you of how much the arts really impacts our lives.  Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin, Sting…and all those who are celebrating them (there were more, but we tuned in late).  They are household names.  They provided me with so many hours of entertainment.  The Police in my youth was a mainstay, playing constantly on my little cassette player that went everywhere with me.  Bruce Springsteen, who is performing in honor of Sting was the first concert I went to at 14 (with my sister at the Oakland Coliseum – and we were in nosebleed seats – and it was awesome).  I loved watching Laugh In reruns with my parents when I was little.  And Nine to Five was one of the best movies ever made.  Bruno Mars singing “So Lonely” makes me want to get up and dance.  Tom Hanks in Big and Forrest Gump truly changed my expectations for movies.  I mean, music, movies, songs…they are life changers whether we want to admit it or not.  And I haven’t seen a movie in the theater in years other than Walking With the Dinosaurs.  I’ve seen so many amazing previews for movies lately.  So, I would like to recalibrate and start watching movies (whether in the theater or at home now – its so much easier than it used to be), listening to more new music (again, so much easier than it used to be), and just enjoying The Arts more.  So, that will be something I work on in the new year.  And I’ll try to share highlights of my experiences here!

one day left

Tomorrow is the last day of 2014.  Although this year has been much better than some of my recent past years, it has still not been great.  My dad passed away in January of 2014.  My mom went through radiation treatments almost immediately following that and has been incredibly depressed at times since then.  But, she’s holding on and sometimes seems to be doing okay.  I’ve had ups and downs throughout the year as well, feeling pretty great at times and totally overwhelmed at other times (this week being one of them, as I’m STILL grading and feel a little lost in where I’m going/should be going next year).  But, I guess that’s life.  I’m hoping for more ups than downs in 2015 and I would love to have an entire year without a catastrophic experience (death in the family, major hospital stay, etc.).  It may be asking for two much, but I can certainly start the year feeling okay about things.  I am lucky, as a woman who went to school with me elementary school through high school is being taken off life support tonight.  I was only in touch with her on Facebook, but it came as quite a shock.  It seems she was unaware of some health problems and went into heart and kidney failure earlier this month, somewhat unexpectedly (she’d had some health problems in the past, but nothing this serious), and now her daughter is having to deal with the decision to take her off of life-support.  Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers as it is a tough way to end/begin a year.  We are young, but not so young we can take life and health for granted.

So, I can’t control much of the catastrophic conditions of others, but I can try to keep myself from dealing with them. So, being healthier is going to be one of my goals for 2015.  Eating better, exercising – nothing crazy.  Just taking care of myself.  First on the agenda is getting in for a physical exam, which I’ve skipped the past couple of years for a myriad of reasons.  Improving my eating and exercise regularity will be first up in that department.  Nothing too extreme as I won’t stick to it.  But, some little changes that will make a difference hopefully.

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring.  I hope my husband’s tooth feels better.  We’ll be celebrating second Christmas, so there is sure to be some excitement and fun.  It looks like we’ll be staying home at my in-laws (we were going to a bonfire, but the hosts have come down with a horrible flu, so that is a no-go) which is good with my throat and my husband’s tooth.  Maybe we’ll try to find a fun family-friendly movie to watch (in honor of that item above) or maybe we’ll just watch the TV countdowns.

How do you typically spend your New Year’s Eve?  I remember from the time I was about seven until high school I always had a couple of friends come and spend the night.  We would watch the countdown shows on TV waiting for our favorite bands to perform, eating junk food, drinking lots and lots of soda and then banging pans out in my backyard at Midnight!  It was the same every year and we never really tired of it.  My parents were always fine staying home with us (I think my friends’ parents were happy to have someone to send their kids so they didn’t have to find babysitters) and letting us watch what we wanted to and eat what we wanted to and stay up late giggling!  I want to do that for Bean when she is old enough.  But, for now, I need to get her watching TV countdown shows with me, eating junk food and drinking iced tea (since I don’t really drink soda anymore)!  Lots of memories flooding back tonight…


Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

I am tired.  I’m thinking about skipping out on church today.  I know it will disappoint my DD, but I just can’t muster up the energy to get dressed, let alone shower, get myself looking decent and go out in public.  Just not feeling it today.  I have days when going out in public seems like a lot of work for me.  I blame it on the fact that my job forces me to interact with close to 100 people each day – and not just in a “hey how are you?” kind of way, but a “let’s teach you something and ask questions and pry out information and deal with problems and overcome barriers” kind of way.  It gets exhausting.  And I don’t have any choice but to interact with my DD and DH on my days off, but sometimes that is enough…or too much.  Today it is just me and my DD because my hubby is off to drive three hours to take his students from last year (he left that job) out to ice cream for the holidays.  Yes.  Three hours to take them out to ice cream, then he will drive back.  Seems ridiculous to me, but I’m not going, so I’m okay with it.  And it means I only have to interact with my daughter, which I have a feeling will be enough today.

Last night I made a really, really tasty dinner!  Can’t recommend it enough.  I found it here and it is, well, simply great!  And so easy.  Crazy easy.  Definitely going to be making it again.  In fact, I bought a box of four Italian dressing mixes at the store last night just for this purpose.

This week on the internets, I found the following interesting/worth sharing:

First, I know that vaccines are a hotbed of controversy, and it is for that reason that I share this type of article.  So disturbing that there are still so many people who do not know that the original study connecting vaccines and autism was faked.

Everything I know/learn about Albert Einstein makes me believe he was an amazing person.  He would definitely be on the top of my “having dinner with a dead person” list.  This information just added to my strong like of him.

If you haven’t got enough of “Let It Go” in your life yet, you are living under a rock.  But here’s another chance, with abundant Christmas lights included!

I had this beauty from Krispy Kreme for lunch one day this week – hey, it had filling.  Like a sandwich!

krispy kreme donut

I want our city to get their own broadband like these others.  It is something I want to seriously look into.

So, there are some of my Stray Thoughts for this week…how about you?  Where has your mind been wondering?

Settling for Satisfied, Stop Doing List, Tuesday To-Dos

For All Those Who Lack Sticktoitiveness (aka commitment)

ice melting science humor4

A little science humor for all you science geeks out there.  Today has been pretty much a bust for me.  This blog is so representative of me and my total lack of both focus and commitment.  And every time I start to type one of these posts, I think to myself, “what is my problem?”  So, I’m a self-help/improvement dropout basically.   Forget Beauty School, I can’t even pass the “check your to-do list” or “organize your days into routines” classes.

I figure I can’t be a total failure at finishing things.  I finished an undergraduate and graduate degree (a little lengthy for both, but still done).  I also have held a job for the past fifteen years, not leaving one until I had another (usually better) in place.  I have made it through five years of parenthood under rather rough circumstances and my child is relatively healthy (for someone with a heart transplant) and happy.  I have been married for over ten years and we’re still pretty happy.  So, I do have some level of commitment to things.  Important things.  But, for anything cursory, I have a really hard time committing.  And mostly, I think it is because as soon as I start doing them, I realize I don’t REALLY want to do those things.  I start doing them because I convince myself I REALLY want to do them (get fit, get organized, read more, etc.), but then when I actually do most of them, I realize it is truly not something I want to dedicate my time and effort and emotion in doing.  It is sad really.  Sometimes a waste of money.  And often at least a little disappointing.

So, instead of being disappointed and chastising myself, I’m going to just let it all go.  I’m going to figure that having a clean house, an organized pinterest-like life and cooking dinner each night at home after running a couple of miles and playing a game with my 5 year old and my husband is beyond my capabilities.  I’m never going to become a physician, a physicist or a physical fitness star.  I am also tired of trying and trying to be someone I am not.

I don’t want to “focus” on anything.  I just want to live my life as best I can.  Sometimes that will be relatively poorly.  The piles of stuff on my stairs. My stained carpets (getting more stained by the day as my dog suffers a horribly depressing and distressing gastrointestinal problem that has her vomiting multiple times a day, often just bile that stains the carpet and smells horrible – my Oxi-Clean carpet cleaner is getting a real workout the past three days), my hoarder’s garage piled high with stuff that I can’t figure out whether I should keep or get rid of (a giant dog kennel we used for our dog when she was a puppy – its seen better days, but if we ever get another dog it may come in handy…and a new one would be very expensive OR the many, many, many books that I took so long to organize this summer and now just feel like we can go to the library and give that space to something more valuable or entertaining AND so much more), my piles of papers and magazines – most of which I don’t read or need but pile up because I MAY some day be interested in them or need them.  It is just all too much for me.  I want to be someone I am not because that other person seems so much better than me.  So much more productive – a better mom, a better employee, a better sister/daughter, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better wife.

So, More at Forty (Five) is now Forty-Six.  And I don’t have much more.  But, maybe it is because I don’t NEED much more.  Maybe I should focus on that “More” part being “More” credit.  More kindness.  More self-respect than self-improvement.  More recognition for getting through instead of focus on changing things.  More woulds and less shoulds.  More enjoyment and less guilt.  More Candy Crush and less couponing (heck, who am I kidding? I gave up on the couponing a while ago).  More joy and less junk (getting rid of all the “stuff” that doesn’t bring me joy would be a great start).  More teaching and student interaction and less grading and administrating.  More loving life and less stressing over it.

So, yeah.  Do I NEED to lose weight?  No, not really.  I’m happy with my weight.  Would I LIKE to have more energy?  Yes, definitely.  But, I don’t know that those two things are really tied together.  Do I want to measure out all my food and focus on measurements and scales or do I want to eat better and enjoy more activity in my life?   The latter sounds so much better.  The 21 Day Fix is great for someone who has organization and is ready to make a committed effort.  But, I just don’t feel like its for me, right now.  I want to eat healthier, but I don’t want to be so strict with it.  It just isn’t what I REALLY want.  I REALLY want to eat good food that I made with little effort.  Sometimes I want that food to be a little less healthy than that plan would allow.  The shakes seem like a really healthy addition to my daily caloric intake.  So, I will keep up with those and maybe switch over to something similar, but cheaper once the 21 days is up.  I’m sure that my “coach” will be disappointed, but I think the whole purpose is to make you feel better about yourself and your diet.  And in a way, it did that in one day.  I feel pretty good about myself right now.  I realize that I don’t feel the NEED to change because I feel okay with where I am right now.

So, where does this leave me?  It leaves me in the same place I’ve been.  Behind in grading, sitting in a less than clean house, dealing with a calendar that is too stuffed and an energy level that is too low for it, without a social life, and feeling okay about all of that. Is that “settling”?  Could I do better?  Probably.  To a certain extent.  But, it also leaves me feeling better about my life, myself and my home.  So, why not settle for satisfied rather than strive for perfection?

How about you out there?  Want to join me in settling for satisfied?  Perhaps we can start our own movement…the “Settling for Satisfied” movement.  We will resist the urge to constantly compare, to strive for perfection, to be dissatisfied with the disasters that we are.  Instead, we will embrace our own ineptitudes.  Let’s hear it for settling for satisfied!

I was Soren Kierkegaard for my graduate level ethics class and I soon fell in love with his philosophy on ethical living.  And this is what I want to be my “focus” now:



Getting a Fix…21dayfix that is


Tomorrow I will start the 21 Day Fix, or Beachbody program.  I was brought to it by another heart mom and she has done great on it for the last four months.  It was obvious from her posts how much better she was feeling and how much energy she has, so I decided to take the plunge.  I looked into the program quite a bit and there are many things I like about it – first, the shakes are only a supplement, not a meal replacement.  Second, it focuses on real food, which I like.  It makes it more difficult, but it seems much more healthy than eating store bought bars and such.  Finally, it includes the exercise regimen (via DVDs), which makes it easy to do.  I love the containers for portioning.  I love that you get to eat three meals and three snacks a day.  I don’t love the low carb aspect because I love, love, love my carbs, but I do know that it is better for my body not to have all those carbs.

I am sure the first few days to a week will be quite difficult.  My diet has been horrendous lately.  Processed foods and fast food all. the. time.  Skipped meals.  Barely any water drank.  It will be quite the change for me.  But, I think it will be good.  I don’t even care about losing weight in all honesty.  For me, it is about having more energy, feeling better and getting more fit so I can do more with Bean.  I do a lot, and therefore I need a lot of energy.  Lately, I’ve felt not just sluggish, but downright exhausted.  Even when I sleep a decent amount.  I have lots of aches and pains.  I have no desire to go out and do fun things because I have no energy.  So, that is what I’m looking for – a boost in my energy level and feeling more healthy and fit.

Other than that, my dog is sick and the vet can’t figure out what is going on with her.  After $660 they have diagnosed her with a slow-functioning duodenum that is causing bile build up and regurgitation.  She was given a subcutaneous treatment for dehydration and a shot for nausea tonight.  She seems to feel quite bad.  I have multiple meds to give to her tomorrow to try to treat all the different things it could be – an antibiotic in case it is an infection, a dewormer in case that is causing the issue and an anti-inflammatory in case it is inflammation.  I also am giving her something to coat her esophagus and stomach to keep acid from eating away at it and I have to give her pepcid to stop any acid reflux.

So, with my daughter’s meds and the dog’s meds, I feel like I’m running some kind of infirmary around here.  Seriously.  But, I do hope this works to make the dog feel better.  I love Bella and I don’t want her to feel miserable.  It does make me realize what a bad dog owner I am, so part of what I would like to do during this 21 Day Fix is start walking her everyday for 15-20 minutes.  But, not if she is feeling poorly.  So, hopefully all these meds work and she will back to her old self and ready to walk, walk, walk!

Well, I’m off.  Hoping to get some more done tonight before heading to bed, but thinking maybe I should just get up in the morning and do the things…or tomorrow afternoon.  It is so hard to get anything done it seems.  I had a grand plan for my weekend “off” and then spent numerous hours at the vet over the course of yesterday and today.   Sigh…


Dog and DD two years ago…hoping they will have many more days of fun together in puddles and sun!

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thursday Thumbs Up – Healthy Things Edition


I am dedicating today’s Thursday Thumbs Up to healthy eats.  I am NOT by any means a healthy eater typically.  I do my best to incorporate as much healthy food as possible in my life, but I just tend to take the easy way out and eat what is easy.  But, I want to highlight a few things today, including my own recipe for a healthy breakfast that I just enjoyed this morning!  Here’s to a year of healthy eating in 2014!

Trail Mix Rice Bowl Breakfast:  Of course I didn’t take any pics because I never think anything I make is going to be share-worthy.  But, I am going to go ahead and share the recipe with you all because it was so, so good!  I remember my mom making me left over rice for breakfast when I was little, with a little milk and brown sugar.  It was so good, especially on cold winter mornings.  I had not had it in a long time, but last week I made some Costco Orange Chicken and made some rice and veggies to go with it and had some left over rice.  So, this morning I put some rice, some milk and a handful of trail mix I had in my snack basket.  The trail mix has cashews, white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, and some other tasty things.  I added just a touch of brown sugar.  It was really, really good and somewhat nutritious!  So, that is my recipe of the day.  Save it – I don’t have them very often!  Maybe I will make it again tomorrow and actually take a picture and put it on my Pinterest!

Sleep:  Sure this is not at all revolutionary, but I went to sleep at 9:30 p.m. last night.  I played a little Candy Crush and Pet Rescue (I only play at night…those games are majorly addicting) and then went to sleep.  Unfortunately my daughter did not sleep through the night, so I was up at 4 a.m. with her for a little while and had some problems going back to sleep, but we slept until 7 a.m.  So, overall, a pretty good night’s sleep.  I am not a good sleeper, but I would like to go to bed earlier and get up earlier this coming year.  I get a lot more done in the morning hours and I love being the only one up in the house in the morning.  It is different than at night – the day is ahead of me, I’m not tired, I can drink coffee liberally.  I love the mornings.  I just need to not stay up AND try to get up early (or wake early due to insomnia).  So, this is a good change for me right now.

Working/Exercising Outdoors:  This is another thing I don’t do nearly enough of…get outside!  Today was a gorgeous day – 68 degrees, no wind.  My daughter wanted to play outside despite her current runny nose/coughing bit, so I decided we could both do with some sunshine and while she dug around a bit in the dirt I cleaned up some of the mess in our backyard.  Our backyard got some great use this summer and then it became the collector of summer past.  We had our blow up pool crumpled up in the corner with the tarp it had sat on and the broken hose I had given up on trying to fix towards the end of the summer.  We had lawn furniture strewn about that needed to be put together.  Dead plants in planters, empty planters strewn about…just a mess.  So, I picked up a lot of the garbage and put it in our garbage can since there is plenty of room this week as it got picked up today because of yesterday’s holiday and we will be gone to my mom’s this weekend.  I moved some pavers over by the patio to store the BBQ on and give us more room on the patio itself.  And I cleaned out a few of the planters.  Overall, it was nice to be outside, nothing too strenuous and the backyard already looks a ton better.  And, I count it as exercise since I was hauling things around.

So, there is my Thursday Thumbs up Healthy Things Edition!  Starting the New Year out with some changes that feel positive.  How about you?