Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Purge, purge, purge

I read somewhere that people are choosing a “word” to describe, represent or otherwise mark (denote?) the year 2016. Weird, right?
So. A word. A word, with enough gravitas to hang on all 366 days of 2016 (Leap Year, right?). 
“Meh” comes to mind.
I’m not committing to a word, but so far the word Purge would fit.
I finally got myself motivated enough to go through my closet. It took me the better part of a day to try everything on (1) and make Keep It/Donate It decisions.(2) 
That was exhausting. So exhausting that I only managed to get through the hanging clothes. There was also a shelf that runs the full length of the closet stacked with shoes and sweaters and probably the lost treasure of the Flor do Mar, and that took another day or so to go through.
And then, of course, the Dust Dragon Wrangling commenced.
I have an obscene amount of clothing. 
I HAD an obscene amount of clothing. This time around, I donated five(5) storage bins and a giant bag stuffed full of clothes to a local charity. A full 90% of the items were “office” type outfits (pants, blazers, jackets, blouses, twin sets, etc.) that cost me a fortune when I bought them new (even on sale, which at one time I was pretty good at). I really do hope someone will find uses for some of that stuff.

(1)If/When I lose all the weight I need to lose, nothing in that closet will fit me, save for the bathrobe. Too big is best, when it comes to bathrobes, I say.
(2)Let it be duly noted in the record: I did not purge one shoe. Not one. I have issues, obviously.


The purging continued this week as I finally dove into The Once and Future Office/Guest Room. I’m so glad I’m not the type to do Before/After pictures, because damn, how embarrassing. Not one square inch of that floor was visible, having been stacked with boxes and books and random broken printers and whatever else I didn’t have the energy to deal with for the past year (probably longer than that…I’ve been writing at the kitchen counter for quite a while, now that I think of it). It was so much easier to just push stuff in there and shut the door.
The bed was buried under CPR mannequins, for crying out loud.
And I did. Cry. Out loud.
The big stuff in there is now dealt with and done:  boxes removed, books re-shelved, mannequins re-homed, printers…well, the printers are still in there, but I can now see the floor and successfully pull a chair up to my desk. I cleaned. The spare bed has freshly laundered sheets and blankets.
If a guest (singular…not plural…it is a twin bed, after all) were to wander up to my door and require overnight shelter, I would be able to accommodate without batting an eyelash.
And now I’m just sifting through the detritus in drawers and random boxes: business cards, old newspapers and magazines, receipts… from 2008.
Maybe I’ve been writing at the kitchen counter longer than I thought?


Happy New Year, 2016.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

All that jazz

The last of the gifts arrived via UPS this morning. Note to self: remember to check receipts at some point in the very near future to make sure. Nearly all of the holiday shopping this year was done online. Oh, how I love thee, Sweet Internet Shopping Carts and Free Shipping Gods. Of course, there are a few gifts that I must purchase in person, but those things are few and far between. Pretty sure I can manage it before the 24th.
Just finished the holiday letter (not sure if I’m going to send it to everyone, my humor has not improved with age) and I ordered cards with the family picture on them to send. I should have the cards in time to mail between Christmas and New Years (or shortly after New Years), because anything arriving from me in the mail *before* Christmas would cause spontaneous combustion or heart palpitations or something. I’m just not that organized.
And now that I mention organization: I am actively avoiding cleaning out my closet because, holy crap on a cracker, there isn’t much in there I’m going to keep. Having officially rid myself of 46.5# since June (I’m not done yet) and also having officially No Job Prospects in the Foreseeable Future makes keeping a closet full of suits that don’t fit and office-wear I don’t need not just silly, but a stupid waste. A lot of the pieces were expensive and of superior quality. It is just a shame such things are collecting dust, crammed in the back of a closet.
The dressers have been weeded through, however. I’m going to donate no less than 16 pairs of jeans of various repair, size, and color to my mother to do with as she pleases. I have a feeling she’ll make some kind of quilt out of them, which would be kind of cool. I’m also going to donate no less than 30 t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts and various what-have-you items to the Salvation Army or similar, because I just don’t want or need all that baggage. Feels good to get rid of it. And I know once I get through my closet, I’ll have similar good feelings, but it is just so damn daunting. Easier to keep the doors shut and not even look in there.
So in effort to continue avoiding my closet, this week I’ve cleaned out and rearranged two china cabinets, the spice cupboard, the cupboard that holds most of my coffee cups, travel mugs and water bottles, the bathroom closet and all of the vanity drawers. I’ve moved all the furniture and vacuumed or mopped as required. As previously mentioned, I’ve written the holiday letter and purchased holiday cards. I’ve also sat on the couch and looked at a few magazines. 
*That* is how much I’m dreading going through all that is in my closet. No small task.
In an effort to find some Holiday Spirit - somewhere, anywhere - I’m currently listening to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The Original Soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi. Now if the weather would cooperate and get below 40 degrees F and possibly even snow again, that would help. Since I don’t have to go anywhere on a daily basis anymore, having snow and ice doesn’t bother me in the slightest. (Ok, I still don’t like winter, but if I can stay home, who cares?) Snow makes my semi-sorta-daily walk with the dog interesting, but I’d rather wear cleats and walk on snow and ice than deal with muddy, slimy gravel roads. 

So there.

Friday, September 18, 2015

And I bother because of course

The longer the list
I have a list of things I need to get done today. It is a very long list and every task is hugely time consuming and overwhelming and my stars and garters, why do I even bother?

The Internet beckons, and I will answer. ’Tis Friday, after all.

Temporary grounding
Muffin is one of those kids that I’ve never worried about much. I mean, she makes good choices and tries her best and works hard and all that, so I’m not really concerned she is going to do something silly or stupid and land in jail or launch her pickup off a bridge. You know? The stuff some parents of kids her age are dealing with…wow. I just don’t have those concerns with her.

Anyway, she decided to be a teenager last weekend. The plan was for her to go to a (local) college volleyball game - actually a tournament - and watch. After that, she wanted to go to the movies with her friends, and I was totally ok with the agenda as she explained it to me. Except she didn’t go to the volleyball games. She went to the mall instead, and then went to the movies. She didn’t tell me her plans changed, and when I asked her about the games, she lied.

Ooo, baby.

I’m ok with plans changing, but the not telling me and then lying about it? That is a line one does not cross with me, especially if you are my offspring.

Anger didn’t factor in. I was hurt and disappointed about the lying. The lying concerns me.

So she is ‘grounded.’ For her, that means she still has her phone and driving privileges, because where we live and how we operate on a daily basis - taking those things away from her would punish ME, not her. What she isn’t allowed to do is anything extra, such as attending football games, movies or anything that is beyond school, volleyball and home. And I decided that it would last about one month. When Homecoming rolls around the last week of September/first week of October, she will have served her time and she will have her “fun” back.

I am obviously The Meanest Mom On The Planet since I’m bent on ruining my child’s life.

Last night on the drive home from a volleyball game (her team won and played great - fun to watch and all that), she was almost yelling, trying to argue her point about knowing what she did was wrong and that because she learned her lesson, she should be able to go to the Corn Maze this weekend with some friends.

Um. Nope. Not gonna happen, Kid.

I had to stop the conversation before *I* started yelling. Unimpressed with my inflexibility, she plugged in her headphones and ignored me for 20 minutes.

And today she sent me a text asking to go to the football game tonight.

Um. Nope. Not gonna happen, Kid.

She is just testing me to see if she can wear down my resolve. Grounding is such a weird punishment, really. But how else would or should a parent deal with something like lying? I dunno. There have to be consequences, I think.

Moar coffee
As someone who typically takes her caffeine ice cold, carbonated and from a can, I’ve recently developed an unhealthy need for HOT COFFEE in the mornings. String together a few super early mornings and you’ll find me leaning so heavily on the MOAR COFFEE, STAT!

As in: Set That IV Caffeine Drip To Wide Open, FTLOG.

I can’t (read: won’t) drink just black coffee, and because of self-imposed diet restrictions, I’ve resorted to lacing it with Premier Protein shakes. Because, of course. All my breakfasts are pre-fab.

Oh, what I would give for a giant Dirty Chai Tea from Caribou Coffee or Starbucks. And a colossal-sized bag of Cheetos.

Echosmith’s Talking Dreams
Beach House’s Depression Cherry

(I know. Still. But I’m really trying to figure out if I like this stuff or if it just lives in the background. Either way…)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Cheat day

More Like Cheat Weekend:
The cousin managed to get married, despite the rain and wind and outdoor setting. Mud. Lots and lots of mud. And a very steep hill. And women in high heels (me, being one of them). And battered umbrellas. But the deed has been done, and I’m so very happy (that it is done).

Friday was the rehearsal dinner, and the weather was quite lovely for that, of course. But the meal was served buffet/picnic style, which means lots and lots of Things I No Longer Eat were taunting me. I stayed away from the chocolate cake frosted with buttercream and Heath candy bar crumbles and stood instead next to the deep fat fryer where perch and walleye fillets were being cooked to a tasty crisp.

Saturday, the diet officially flew out he window. Pulled pork with BBQ sauce. Potato salad. Baked beans. Wedding cake. Vodka Sours. I would have been fine, really, with what little I ate of The Bad For Me Stuff. The drinking part? Wow. I don’t remember the last time I drank that much vodka and remained coherent and conscious. And vertical.

And then we went to the lake on Sunday and Monday for Labor Day, and there was much too much food consumption going on.

All told, I gained back three pounds. Not bad, really. Chad gained back seven.

Did you know that Diamond Dallas Page of professional wrestling fame sells Yoga DVD’s? Did you know that I own several of them? Did you know that I’ve never cussed a blue streak while attempting yoga moves, except when I use those DVD’s? Insane, I know, and it is really a good thing no one is home to see me sweat and hear me curse - and fall down - while trying to be graceful. (Ha!)

Falling down is hugely humbling. I tell myself it is a good thing, get back up, and cuss and swear and sweat some more. Some mornings I wonder if there is a dial for gravity and someone has spun that thing to 11.

New Music:
I recently purchased Depression Cherry by Beach House and Talking Dreams by Echosmith. Not sure how I feel about either, yet, but they are on constant rotation during the day.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Take a walk on your hands

The bills are paid. The house is (relatively) clean. The laundry is done. Random chores are complete. Phone calls returned. Questions answered. Supper is defrosting in the sink. I’ve blazed through my list and now - at the bottom of that list - the word “write” sits there waiting to be crossed off.

I’ve joined I don’t know how many writing groups, self-help email/motivational list-serves. None of that does any good. Instead of putting “write” at the bottom of my list, I just need to put it at the top. Maybe that will fix me.

Or is that too simple?

For the past few nights I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and I’m not sure why. Usually, I can chalk up a fitful night to a brain that won’t shut off or external stressors that must be obsessed over at 3am. But this time my arms hurt. Or ache. Or something. And it is keeping me awake at night.

Is there such a thing as “Restless Arm Syndrome”? Like Restless Leg Syndrome, where your legs feel like they need to move and kind of ache in a really uncomfortable - not-in-the-muscle-more-like-in-the-bones - kind of way…but in your arms? I’ve tried sleeping in different positions. I’ve tried all kinds of different over the counter sleep medicines (with the exception of the Trazadone I still have from a previous round with insomnia/anxiety). I’ve even cut back on the caffeine, thinking that after all these years, I’ve finally developed a sensitivity to it.

No such luck.

This time of year is weird in The Northland. Cold one day and hot the next. Jeans and a sweatshirt complete with socks and real shoes, then shorts and a tank top with (maybe) flip-flops. Sometimes Cold and Hot in the same day.

It all just foreshadows Winter.

And I’m not into Winter. Not at all.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Until it happens to you


The end of August/start of September means back to school, yes, but also doctor appointments and random yearly “stuff” that must be crossed off a list somewhere so as to maintain my family’s membership in the club of humanity. Apparently.

And now that I’m “of a certain age” I get to have additional appointments that require the squishing and squashing of body parts that should never be squished or squashed so severely. Ow.

In fact, I was so discombobulated after that appointment that I didn’t notice until I was getting undressed for bed much, much later in the day, that I’d forgotten to remove the little pasties the technician applies. I’m sure they serve a purpose - a medical purpose - and are not just something to point to and laugh.

Getting old is fun!

More weather observations

Today is hot. And sticky. This morning was 72 degrees at 7am with humidity hovering around 95%.

That kind of sticky weather requires all the insides of windows be wiped down or risk warping the wooden sashes. That kind of sticky weather also requires the full-time use of no less than two dehumidifiers or risk the health and life of the AC unit.

Heat and humidity do not bother me in the least. As long as I do not have to don panty-hose or wear makeup, I could not care less about hot and humid weather.


And there is always a BUT.

This weekend, one of Chad’s many cousins is getting married, and that requires dress clothes (no panty-hose, however) and makeup and probably even clean hair. The wedding is an outdoor affair - and therefore it follows that the forecast calls for rain, thunderstorms, wind, and probably a plague of locusts or maybe just a tornado or two.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Cornbread muffins on the easy

On dieting:

I hate it. I hate it - oh for the love of all things holy - I so very much hate dieting with the white-hot heat of a million suns. I hate counting calories. I hate figuring out how many carbs (and therefore how many teaspoons of sugar) is in the food I want to eat. I hate reading labels and obsessing about what is in a recipe that I’ve used for 30 years.

But what I hate even more than all that is not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Feeling fat. Feeling unhealthy. Feeling…not like myself.

I love the results that come from all that miserable dieting. As of this morning, I’m down 31.5 pounds. And while it is kind of fun to brag about losing that much, I truly find it mortifying that I had it to loose to begin with. I’m not done. I have a long way to go before I can say I accomplished my goals - and really, with dieting, is one ever really done? There is always a Peanut Buster Parfait lurking around the corner just waiting to smack me into a (much welcomed) sugar coma.

The thing about dieting, though, is that, no, you are never done. It isn’t like many other behaviors that attach the word ‘addiction’ to it. For example, you wouldn’t tell a drug addict to shoot up three times a day (with a snort in the afternoon and another in the evening to hold you over ‘till morning). Well, maybe you would. But a recovering drug addict, trying to get and stay clean? I’m guessing no. But that is what we do with people like me with - essentially - an addiction to food.

So I diet. I cut out (or severely limit) sugar. No beer. No chocolate. No Cheetos. (My lands, I miss Cheetos.) I drink water like a crazy person. But I have to eat.

Not a fun party-goer, am I.

Back in a jiffy
Jiffy makes a cornbread muffin mix that is so simple and so good: milk, egg, muffin mix, and 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. And now my house smells positively delicious.

I think I may be getting a sugar high just from the aroma.

Excuse me - I may have to step outside until I have regained control.

The rental property we own in town is currently rented to three college students. That is a very misleading, overly simplified statement. To get that rental property ready for those students to move in to was a Herculean Effort. I have earned my place at the side of Zeus, let me tell you. Washing walls. Painting every flat surface I could throw a paint brush at. Scrubbing floors. Taking apart light fixtures so as to remove 4+years of neglect. Moving appliances. Cleaning carpets. Fixing garage door openers.


After I had everything back together, fully functioning, and clean, I wanted to move in there myself because I could only imagine how desperately my own house - you know, the one I actually live in - needs to be overhauled.