Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?
My blog. My blog is the most memorable gift I received this year.
WTF?, you may be thinking. Let me explain.
Greg is, in no way, a daily visitor to this blog. He can go weeks without reading it, and then one day he'll seem particularly involved in his Blackberry, and when I ask what he's reading, he'll say, "your blog." Or, out of the blue, he may ask a question or make a reference to something I'd written a month earlier.
With that said, he is a huge supporter of this blog, and has always felt that I'm some sort of a great writer, and that what I've written over the past nearly five years (OMG - has it been that long?) is a great record of my life, something that Jane will really enjoy reading when she's older.
And, truly, I've had moments (haven't we all?) when I've wanted to shut the whole thing down, delete it all, and forget it ever happened. And what stops me is the fact that I really do want Jane to read this someday. This blog has covered the year-and-a-half before she was born, through my pregnancy and her infanthood, up 'til now. And at some point, I will truly stop writing about her, most likely when she hits school, but I must admit, I think it would be really cool to have a record like this of my mom's life and my early years. Plus, it will give her solid proof that I am, and have always been, a major dork.
So, for Christmas, he had it - my entire blog - printed, in color, on high quality paper. Once I finish up this year (tomorrow!!) he's going to have it bound. And someday, whether this blog exists in this or some other form, or it has disappeared from the internet entirely, I will have that copy to look back on, to share, and to give to my daughter.
That was definitely the most special and memorable gift I've gotten this year.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
I think I've run the well dry of defining moments this year. But I don't want to skip the prompt - not this late in the game! - so I will say something I wanted to say at the end anyway: participating in this reverb10 project really has been a defining thing this year, in that I have really, really enjoyed reading everyone's responses to my posts, finding new and wonderful blogs that I will certainly following in the new year and beyond, and gaining some pretty awesome tweeps who have really become virtual friends. So, although it has, in no way, been easy to post day after day, I certainly have reaped the rewards of participating.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.
Well. I think I've spent the better part of this month answering this question - what I want 2011 to look like, and how I want to get there. So for this prompt, I'm going to answer it this way: what do I want to achieve in January? And the answer is - I would like to have a joyful January. Heck, I'll even give it a name: Joyful January (clever, huh?). January is such a crap month - still dark, way cold, snow, too many months until spring - so here is how I want to add some sparkle to this upcoming first 30 days of 2011:
1) Power down. Spend significantly less time in front of the computer (unless it's for work). That includes my laptop and Blackberry. Reverb10 and NaBloPoMo have resulted in my face being annoyingly glued to a screen a lot of the time.
2) This may seem like it doesn't agree with number one up there, but I'd really like to keep up with the blogging on a regular basis. Sure, not every single day (and I'm pretty sure no one out there really wants to read every single day) but at least two or three times a week. Doing these two blogging projects has gotten me into a groove, and I don't want to waste it by disappearing for a month or more.
3) Plan and hold auditions for the show I am directing this winter/early spring, Rumors by Neil Simon. I heart this show so much - I tech directed it once and performed in it once and now I'm directing it - super-duper psyched about this. MAJORLY.
4) Buy flowers for myself on a regular basis. I do this often and it really perks the house - and me - up.
5) Log in at least 10 miles a week on my new Nikes.
6) Get psyched about my fave TV shows returning in January - my barren DVR queue will soon be full again!
7) Get a babysitter at least twice and go out with adult-style people. (Doing this tonight, actually!)
8) OK, I've be OD-ing on cookies and treats and that's OK. But I sure do notice how it doesn't make my stomach feel great. Go back to the better eating habits I started in the fall, and I will surely feel a lot better, and hopefully more energized. Cookie comas are not necessarily a good thing.
9) Might as well at least TRY to enjoy the New England weather. I choose to live here, so I will ATTEMPT to make the most of it. And really, it's not bad to have an excuse to sit in bed and read all day if it's storming outside, and Jane has taken a major liking to sledding....and without all of that pesky daylight and warm temps, I don't feel guilty for putting my PJs on immediately after coming home from work.
10) Who am I fooling? At least, by the end of January, it will still be light when I get home from work - and it only gets brighter from there.
And all of that? Will make me feel very, very happy.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
Here's the funny thing: I typically loooooove to talk and think about food. I have never really written about food much - but, Lord knows, I enjoy eating it enough. Also, I'm not much of a cook. So there's that. Anyway, after everything I've eaten lately - not only over the past few days, but, really, the whole MONTH, thinking about food at this point kind of grosses me out.
HOWEVER. I thought of one particular meal when this prompt came across my email. And, as usual, I'm not really directly answering the prompt, but going around it a little. Because for me, it wasn't as much about the meal itself, but rather the experience.
Like I've mentioned, Greg and I really don't do a whole lot of going out on our own (meaning, without child). One weekend this fall, our friends from New Jersey - Greg's old college roommate and his wife - came to stay with us for a couple of days, and so I got a babysitter and we went out to dinner at this place. (This was after we went to see The Social Network that afternoon, which turned out to be my favorite movie of the year.)
Now, I'm not much of a steak eater. But in the spirit of the restaurant, I ordered the petit filet. And the Fleming's potatoes. and a couple of pomegranate martinis.
And maybe it was a mix of the friends, the conversation, and the lack of crayons at the table, but it was a really memorable and spectacular meal. But I'm sure the food had just a litttle bit to do with that. Because it was completely amazing. I definitely converted to steak after that night.
Can you believe there are just five days of reverb10 after this?
Saturday, December 25, 2010
This will be a quick one because it's Christmas night and I am completely shot. Had an amazing day with Jane - Santa's got a new number one fan! However, it has been an exhausting and completely overwhelming (in a good way) two days for all of us.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Oh dear. I feel like if I really put my heart and soul into this post, I might start crying. And the fact is, I need to go to Build-A-Bear with my sister, niece and Jane in an hour - and that's going to make me cry enough. (Yes, we are going to the mall on Christmas Eve because we've clearly taken a leave of our senses.)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
OK, peeps, today is an incredibly busy day, so I'm doing this one early and fast. And the first name that popped into my head is this:
Why this fancy-and-quite-exotic name, you ask?
Well, it's my porn star name.
(NOTE: I AM NOT A PORN STAR. I have never had porn star aspirations, and, frankly, I don't think that there are any successful porn stars who wear glasses, although I'm not sure, because I haven't done extensive research.) (Well, maybe there are some successful porn stars who wear glasses in a "sexy librarian" sort of way, where she rips them off, along with everything else, as part of the "plot." If I rip my glasses off, I will walk into walls. I'm not sure that's exactly sexy.)
You know how to get your porn star name, right? You take the name of your first pet, and then add the name of the street you grew up on. For me, that equals Chantelle Ivy. Nice.
What's YOUR porn star name?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
As has been the case for the past few years, our travel was very local. We took our first family vacation this summer – spent a week at a cottage at the Connecticut shore – and it was truly the best week of my year, not only because the vacation went smashingly, but because it really recreated the summer vacations of my childhood, which are some of my most special memories. I hope Jane feels the same way someday.
We also did a lot of traveling on (in?) Long Island Sound via the boat – sure, we didn’t actually have any particular destination (next year we plan to go to Block Island and possibly Sag Harbor) but we sure rode around a lot, and got used to manning the boat with just Greg and myself.
Traveled to New York, New Jersey, Boston – the typical places we hit every year.
But in 2011, I want to go further. I need to get away this winter – it’s a self-prescription to escape the winter blahs. I want to go somewhere sandy and beachy and warm. Even if it means I have to confront my fears about bringing Jane on a plane for the first time. (The number one fear being I am certain she will ruin the trip for everyone else.)
We plan on staying at the beach for a week again next summer, and possibly another week in Rhode Island. There is a trip to Cape Cod planned for the fall as well.
My personal goal is to not have any lame “staycations” next year. Enough of that. It’s time to GO.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
Here’s the thing: I am having a very hard time writing a letter to myself now from myself in five years. Because I totally want to know what’s going on with 2015 Amanda instead! So I am going to write a letter to her:
Dear Amanda of 2015,
Holy shit! You’re 42! How’s that going? How do you feel? Have you been exercising? You better be, because you are not getting any younger, lady, and you have lots of arthritis in your family, so you better keep those bones and muscles in tip-top shape! Is the Oil of Olay working? Did you end up getting Lasik? I hope you got over your nerves regarding that and just got it done.
Jane is now 8 ½ - fast and furiously heading for the tween years! She’s in – what? – third grade. Is she doing well? What are her favorite classes? Does she love art and reading like you did, or is she more of a math girl, like her daddy? Does she still call you Mommy and Daddy, or is it just Mom and Dad now? Is she embarrassed by you? What kind of music does she love? Is she still dancing? What about sports? Is she interested in theater? I want to know every detail!
Speaking of theater, are you doing any yourself? You better be, girlie, because although sometimes it’s hard to make room for it, you love it and it’s really important to your core self.
Where are you working? Are you still at the same place? Or are you working somewhere else? Are you full time, or did you go part time? I hope whatever you are doing is making you very happy.
How is Greg doing? Have you taken any vacations? You two need to get yourselves to San Diego again, stat. Is he still loving the boat? I know the answer to that is YES. How is his band?
OK, 2015 Amanda – you are supposed to be giving ME advice. I think you would tell me that you want me to appreciate every moment I have with Jane right now, because it all goes by so fast. I hear that a lot from parents with older kids all the time, and I do try to remember it every day – although sometimes it’s hard, because as I’m sure you know, Jane is very strong-willed.
I think you would tell me to make sure to have quality alone time with Greg. To get babysitters and go out together much more often than we are currently doing.
And I think your wish for me would be happiness and peace – as mine is for you.
Take care, Amanda of 2015. See you soon!
Amanda of 2010
And now for the Bonus part –writing a letter to myself of 2000.
I’m not going to lie – December 2000 was in the midst of a very difficult time in my life. My father had died unexpectedly 10 months prior, and I was heading towards my first Christmas without him. A close theater friend had died three months earlier from brain cancer. Another family member had a brush with the “C” word (but was ultimately fine). And things weren’t about to get better. My uncle was going to die soon, in January of 2001. My brother would be in a horrible car crash several months later, in August, resulting in many broken bones and brain contusions (spoiler alert: he did recover, but it took a looong time and it was really scary). And we all know what happened in September of 2001. Rough seas ahead, certainly.
So here is my letter to that poor girl.
Dear Amanda of 2000:
I promise you – PROMISE you – it will get better. Your family is fragile right now – lean on your friends. Hard. Don’t get swallowed up by the darkness. Life feels like a piece of shit right now. You are grieving. You are hollow. You feel like a target – why do bad things keep happening to you and the people you love?
There are good things on the horizon. GREAT things. There is light. There is laughter. There is happiness. There is love. The One is right around the corner. You can’t see it – you can’t even imagine it – but it’s true. It’s there, beyond the pain and sadness.
Just be patient and strong and hang tight.
Sending you love from the future -
Amanda of 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
I’m sorry – I think I may be experiencing a little blogging burnout. Or maybe I’m just tired from staying up and watching the Survivor finale last night. Or maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep well because I was having nightmares that Jeff Probst is leaving Survivor (truly, I had a dream about this). Or maybe my brain is foggy from all of the excessive fatty holiday food and delicious alcoholic drink I ingested this weekend. Whatever the case may be – I seem to feel like all of my posts are getting a bit repetitive. When I read today’s prompt I thought I might as well just link to my post answering the “Try” prompt from a couple of days ago – I felt like they were so similar.
Instead, I decided to reword today’s prompt like this:
What should you have done this month but didn’t because you were too busy writing/reading/commenting on reverb10 posts? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
I had planned on keeping up with my more typical blogging (read: nonsensical and silly and noty typically deep) as well as doing reverb10, but it turns out I just didn’t have time. But good news for you – to answer the bonus question – YES! I will give you one of my typical weekend recaps today!
This weekend was total madness. After our giant holiday potluck feast at work on Friday (DELICIOUS), I went out to happy hour for the first time in like a year. We used to do stuff like that all the time around here, and I miss it! Then at night, I had my book club meeting, where we discussed Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter - and, you guessed it, ate and drank. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love book club and I love my friends. So glad we kept this up this year.
Saturday we finally went out to get the Christmas tree, brought it home, put it up, and decorated it. It was cool (and slightly tear-inducing) because this was the first time Jane helped decorate – she loved it and Greg took video footage of it (we’re finally getting good at remembering to capture the memories and what not). I’m so happy we have the tree because it makes everything smell so lovely and Christmassy.
Saturday night my niece came over to babysit and Greg and I went out to dinner. I hate calling occasions like these “date night” – I feel like that puts too much pressure on to have fun – a la New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day. (See, we don’t get to go out very often.) Instead, I said we were “hanging out,” and we did have lots of fun, even if the night included us arguing loudly about George Bush.
Sunday morning I baked a kajillion cookies and made taco dip and off we went to Greg’s family holiday party. Again, I stuffed my foodhole with lots of yummy food and drink. It was a blast but today I feel like I’m in a dip-and-shrimp-induced coma. I must detox this week before the main event this weekend!
So there you have it friends. An old-school-style blog post. We will be back to similar ridiculousness when January 1 rolls around.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?
OK. This is how I'm going to approach this.
I am not going to say that I needed healing this year/was healed this year. I read lots of blogs and know lots of people who went through some true healing or need true healing as a result of real physical injury or sickness, emotional or spiritual issues, marital or relationship problems, deaths of loved ones, severe depression- things like that. I have needed to heal in my life before, but I am not going to pull something out of 2010 and say it healed me or I need to heal just for the sake of answering a prompt.
Instead, I will say I pointed my life in a new direction this year, and will continue to do so in 2011. A more positive direction, physically and mentally, and one that was much needed, as I have covered extensively in previous reverb10 posts. And this new direction will hopefully help me to be a better person, a more caring person to myself and to others, and will help make 2011 as impactful as possible in a really positive way.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?
Since there was nothing I wanted to really try in 2010, my answer to this one will be short and sweet.
Yoga. I would like to get back into yoga. My doctor suggested six months ago that I should try it, and it's just been so busy that I haven't really worked it into my life. I tried yoga about 15 years ago, and it just wasn't for me. But I'm in a different place now - and I'd like to go back and attempt it again.
So let's check back in a year to see if I've actually done this, hmmm?
Friday, December 17, 2010
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
Let’s see – what did I learn about myself this year? Well, something I KNOW about myself – I don’t really think I learned it this year, but I’ve certainly executed it this year – is that when I decide to commit to something, I’m all in. Balls to the wall. Two examples: exercise and blogging.
As for exercise, well, I am EXCELLENT at coming up with excuses for not exercising. Too tired, too busy, too hot, too cold, to blaaaaahhhhh….the truth is, I hate exercise (which, in my world, equals a small amount of light weight lifting and power walking, as you well know by this point). And I can go MONTHS at a time without doing any at all. But when I set my mind to it, well, pretty much nothing can stop me.
So, when I decided in October that I was going to go walking four times a week, I full-out committed. Never mind that it’s dark in the morning. Never mind that it’s ass-cold (today it was 12 degrees). Never mind that it’s raining or snowing. Never mind that when I do this during the work week, it inevitably makes me late for the rest of my day. Never mind that every weekend morning, I don’t sit in and relax; instead, I hit the road. Never mind that I really, truly don’t enjoy it. It has to be done. HAS TO BE. I always feel better when I have done it. And, once again, I’m totally committed. And I plan to be for quite a while.
As for blogging, well, I decided to blog every day in November for NaBloPoMo because I really didn’t like how little I had blogged up until that point this year. Many of my blog posts this year started off with “Oh, hi everyone, sorry it’s been so long, I’m the worst blogger ever…” The great thing about NaBloPoMo is it got me back into the groove of just blogging about the ridiculous things that happen during my day, or posting pictures, or talking about really important things, like why the gingerbread latte at Starbucks tastes like swampy ass or why certain nursery rhymes creep me the hell out. I retrained my brain to recognize things in my life as good blog fodder – even if they are totally ridiculous.
And then when I heard about reverb10, well, I was very intrigued. Yes, I was exhausted from blogging every day in November, but I was really into the idea of manifesting a great 2011 – and taking a look back at a year I thought was kind of crappy. Of course, what I’ve learned so far is that 2010, in fact, had many bright spots. And I’m so thankful to this project for making me realize that. Not to mention, of course, the great number of new blogs and Twitter peeps I now love!
Of course, once reverb10 is over, I really need to take a break from my computer screen – in fact, over the next couple of weeks, with the holidays looming and a MUCH-needed week off of work, I will probably be a bit less present online. I really am craving a small break, to spend in-real-life quality time with my peeps. But of course I will still be posting - and, God knows, weaning myself off Twitter ain’t gonna happen anytime soon! And when reverb10 is done, I do hope to keep blogging on a far more regular basis than I was earlier this year.
So I guess while “commitment” wasn’t a lesson I learned about myself THIS year in particular, I certainly applied it this year.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I feel spoiled rotten in terms of friendships. I have so many great friends. Near, far, from my childhood, from school, work, theater, Facebook, Twitter – I am hugely blessed.
I have been friends with my core posse since I was 7 years old. (That’s 30 years, for those of you counting.) THIRTY YEARS. We all went to elementary, middle and high school together – quite a few of us even went to college together. We have managed to all continue to live in the same general area. And while we have changed and grown into different people, at the center of it, our close friendship has remained all the way through. How is this possible? We have gone through every major life event together – weddings, divorces, births, deaths – and, of course, all of the mundane everyday stuff that makes up three decades. It feels completely amazing to me. Seriously, I’m going to cry.
And this says nothing of my other close friends. How am I so lucky? I know I’m being repetitive, but I have friends from all aspects of my life that I know will be lifelong friends.
And truly, they all inspire me – with their talent, loyalty, artistry, humor, genius, ability to balance it all, their sense of fun, adventure, dedication, daring and all-around awesomeness.
Seriously, I have the most awesome friends. I never, ever feel alone. I always have someone to talk to. I always know, no matter what, no matter when, I’m not alone. Can you imagine? What a gift, in this crazy world, to know that someone will always have your back.
They make me want to be more. To be better. They set the bar pretty damn high. They don’t even know how much they mean to me. I don’t even think I’m making it clear here – I feel like this is the most rambling post I’ve written in a long time, so I guess I’ll just finish by saying that I adore my friends. They make my world – and the whole world – pretty great.
PS Upon reflection, I realize I didn't exactly answer this prompt. Whatevs -this was what came out.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
Between work and dance class and Secret Santa shopping, I am glad for a prompt that DEMANDS I only spend five minutes on it (although, truth be told, I rarely spend more than 10 minutes on any post – and I sure it shows!). Looking at the clock….ready…..GO!
First family vacation – stayed at a cottage at the beach for a week with Jane and Greg. Hands-down favorite part of this year
Watching the performances of Chicago that I co-directed this summer. Supremely proud of this show – one of the best I’ve ever worked on
Celebrating my mom's 70th birthday and my sister's 50th birthday by throwing successful, super-fun surprise parties
Going to the Bronx Zoo with Greg, Jane and friends – it was as great as it was when I went there as a kid (thought it might have lost some of its magic, but no)
Seeing the following shows on Broadway: The Addams Family Musical, Hair, West Side Story and American Idiot (twice for that one, an a third time planned for January) I didn’t love all of these shows but I always love going to NYC!
Speaking of NYC, took a great trip there with two friends hat was awesome amounts of fun - already planning next year's trip
Jane’s third birthday party – it was pretty epic (that one's for you, Dwayne)
Eating the cake Greg made me for my birthday – it was the first cake he ever made for me! It was quite delicious, so I expect this to become a tradition
Attempting to (and so far completing) blog for two months in a row – two weeks left! Holy shit!
Watching the first four seasons of Mad Men in a little over a month – this is absolutely my new favorite show
All of my book club meetings – although I don’t often love the book, I always love seeing my friends
The weird-ass conversations I have at lunch with my work lunch posse
Going out trick-or-treating with Jane the first time, and having her love it – so awesome to be on the parent side of this now
And, just today, hearing the news that two good friends got engaged!
WHEW! When I think of 2010, I often think it wasn’t that great of a year – but it clearly had some high points!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
This is an easy one for me. Sure, I could talk about appreciating my child, my family, my job, etc - and of course I DO - but I wanted this answer to be 2010-focused. So for that reason, the thing I came to appreciate the most this year is a calm stomach.
My stomach totally revolted on me this summer. I am not going to get into the gritty details, but I went months and months with only a handful of days of feeling good. It was truly awful. I went through some particularly unpleasant testing, and there was no real diagnosis -and I believe, at this point, that a good portion of it was stress-induced and poor diet-induced. I was lucky (??) to have a couple of friends going through the same types of issues, so at least I had people to commiserate with. (I know, "lucky" isn't quite the right word for this - especially not for them.)
I still have bad days. But I have learned what some of the triggers are, and I have really started to try to eat right - at 37, I still eat like a 12-year-old boy a lot of the time. But I'm working on it.
And now - man oh man, I really appreciate having a calm stomach. A LOT.
Monday, December 13, 2010
When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
My current aspiration is to avoid getting through the next three months without getting a severe case of the winter blahs. This is my plan:
*Continue to get exercise, and, beginning December 21 (next week!) notice how, bit by bit, it is getting lighter each day
*Plan a vacation somewhere warm and beachy for end of February/beginning of March (this will be key to my happiness – we haven’t taken a winter vacation in four years) (also, this will be Jane’s first time on a plane, Lord help me)
*Direct a production of one of my all-time favorite comedies, Neil Simon’s Rumors (for the new readers: I am a big time theater nerd – not only do I work in theater, I also do lots of community theater on the side). I am very very excited about this. Auditions will happen in January – expect to hear a lot about this. More than you would ever really want to know, probably.
So yes. My plan to meet my goal is to become excessively, over-the-top, ridiculously busy to avoid the winter blues. Wahoo!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
I'm not gonna lie - I'm not quite sure how to interpret this. Perhaps it's because I spent last night with friends, stuffing all sorts of dips and cake and cookies and various fatty goodness-type treats and my brain is still in a food coma.
So I will say this: I have felt the BEST about my body this year in the past month or two. If you remember, in yesterday's post I mentioned wanting to lose some weight, and at the same time, stop talking about the weight I want to lose. In doing this, I have allowed myself to stop verbalizing self-hating sentiments - something I would never want Jane to hear. Girls these days start obsessively worrying about weight soooo young - I've heard of five- and six-year-olds on diets - and there is no way I am going to be a part of Jane developing a negative body image. So by not talking about it, I allow my brain a respite from obsessing over it.
Anywho, over the past three months, I've gotten back to power walking three miles, four days a week. This has been a tried-and-true method of weight loss for me - I lost 70 pounds 10 years ago doing this, and have managed to keep the bulk of it off (I know, I know, readers of this blog know I have gone on and on about this before - just keeping the new readers updated).
I used to walk further and longer and more often, but my life these days only allows for a four-day-a-week committment to exercise, which I think is pretty dang good (although, of course, I still sometimes beat myself up over it, wondering why I can't do more). Now, the weight is not falling off of me like it did when I was 26 - but I only need to lose a small fraction of what I needed to lose then. Plus, my metabolism is 11 years older.
And despite the fact that, these days, I am going out in the near-dark at 6:30 in the morning, in the freeeezing cold (it was 17 degrees the other morning), I am remembering how much I do enjoy having that time to myself, figuring out my day, waking myself up, listening to some tunes -all before anyone else crawls out of bed. I feel better for having exercised (although I do not like exercise itself), I know I'm doing good things for my body, and most importantly - and I really believe this - I'm doing great things for my mind.
Does that answer this question? I hope so. : )
Fun day today - going to lunch with my friends, then off to my niece's birthday party - have a great day!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
When I first read this prompt I thought, "Forget it. I'm not answering this. Why do I have to look back at my life and think of 11 things it doesn't need? Why do I have to get rid of 11 things?" I felt like I was being judged - who was this guy, and why did he think I needed to eliminate 11 things? Maybe my life is great! Maybe nothing needs to be eliminated.
Then, one by one, things started popping into my head.
So I decided to approach it like this: I wouldn't struggle to find 11 things. I wouldn't start making things up just to fulfill the 11 items necessary to complete this post. I would come up with a list of things I really and truly would like to rid myself of in the coming year. Realistic things. Things I may have already started working on. So here goes:
1) Six pounds. So cliche, I know, but I have six extra pounds between me and my comfortable weight. I have been exercising at least four times a week these days, this goal is in progress.
2) To stop complaining about my weight. It's so easy for me (and many other women I know) to talk about how fat we are. To feel the need to bring it up every time I eat anything. To go on and on and on about it, basically making it OK for others to make fun of how I look as well, if they so desire. Well eff that. I have made a major effort to stop doing this in the past month or so, so this goal is also in progress.
3) I really want to get rid of the chaotic bedtime routine we current have with Jane. She doesn't want to go to bed, I lose my mind almost every night because she's driving me nuts - this has got to go. There HAS to be a better way. I need to read up on this and figure out a way to make that hour of the day more pleasant for everyone.
4) My OCD tendencies when people are coming to my house. I've mentioned this before. People know I have a child and two dogs - they don't expect to come to Martha Stewart's house everytime they walk through my doors. I need to cut myself a lot of slack in this department. I have people coming over tonight, so we'll see how I do - let's call this goal in progress.
5) The internet. Ha ha, right? The girl who has focused every evening since December 1 on writing and reading reverb10 posts, as well as a full month before writing NaBloPoMo posts, along with all of the other sites and blogs I visit on a daily basis - I really, really need to unplug from the internet a lot when the calendar flips to January, at least for a while. My brain needs a rest from the constant onslaught of information.
6) Guilt. Again, this is something a lot of women deal with, in particular working moms. I need to take more advantage of the free time that is available to me if I just take it - when Greg tells me, at the end of the day, to just go off and do something fun for myself, to stop feeling guilty, to stop feeling like I have to be home, running around like a lunatic doing chores, all night. I need to be much kinder to myself in this regard. The more balanced and relaxed in my mind, the better off everyone in my household is. And me being around 24/7 is not always the best thing. It's OK to take a break - and I have to let go of the guilt associated with that. Of course, I repeat this to myself over and over all the time - but it hasn't taken hold in my brain yet. We'll see what happens in 2011.
OK. That's what's in my mind right now. And per number five on my list, I am going to log out for the rest of the day today, focus on my family, focus on the pile of magazines that have arrived this week, and (OK, OK) focus on getting ready for my little gathering tonight. Have a great day!
Friday, December 10, 2010
What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
I read this prompt in the middle of the night last night, when I couldn’t sleep and I checked my Blackberry for some reason. My answer came immediately to my head, and it ties back to my first post for reverb10. I believe my decision to face and full-force attack my anxiety issues that cropped up this year was the wisest, best decision I made in 2010.
Like I said before, both in my birthday post and on December 1, I decided this fall to just cut the shit and stop letting my anxiety get in the way of my life. I have a great capacity to worry about things to the detriment of the entire rest of my life, and while this is well and good every once in a while, this year it went on for months at a time. And I was (and am still) OVER IT. Meaning, I hated that my life was being eaten up by worry, and I wanted to just STOP IT.
Let me tell you, it takes a very conscious effort to try to live life differently, to make your mind react and process events differently, but it is so worth it when you find yourself with a multiple choice test that goes something like this:
a) I can worry about (this, that or the other thing) all day, all night, research it online, and drive myself and everyone around me absolutely nuts
b) I can just let it go for the time being
and you manage to choose “b” on a far more regular basis than “a.” Because for a while there, I was really choosing “a” far too much.
Look, I’m always going to be a somewhat-anxious person. It’s part of my charm. But it’s definitely not all of my charm. So I think, for me, it was very wise to let some of that go this year.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
I can't believe I didn't write about this back in July, but here goes:
Every year, Greg and I host a Fourth of July blowout for family and friends. July tends to be my busiest month of the year - we host the big Fourth party as well as Jane's birthday party, and it's also the month of the summer theater show I do every year, so I'm at rehearsal constantly - suffice to say, I'm busy pretty much every second of that month. So much so that this year, I hinted I might not do the Fourth, but I was told in no uncertain terms by someone that even if I didn't send out invites, they would show up anyway. Happy that we had created a tradition not just for ourselves but our friends too, we carried on with the plans.
This year, the Fourth was on a Sunday. On the previous Thursday, I was in a good mood as I headed to rehearsal for Chicago. I had a four day weekend, we had fun plans, our party was shaping up to be a good one, and the weather forecast was great (always a concern when you've invited 40+ people to your house). I was at rehearsal for about five minutes when I got a panicked call from Greg saying that Jane was projectile puking everywhere.
Because I'm a jerk, the first concern I had wasn't for Jane - it was the fact that if she was sick on Thursday, that meant that Greg and I would be sick.....right in time for the party on Sunday. (Of course I was worried for Jane too, and spent the night at her side with the bowl).
Flash-forward to Sunday. Because we had no idea if she/we were going to be OK, we had put off getting food because we didn't want to be stick with dozens of burgers, dogs, etc. if we had to call the whole thing off. Miraculously, we were all OK! Cue the crazy circus hectic music as we flew to the grocery store to get the food, and got back to the house and got everything reading in super-duper-fast style. I felt like we were on one of those HGTV reality shows where they have to design a house in 24 hours. Except we had way fewer hours.
July in CT was a blazing hot month - every day was 90 kajillion degrees (approx). As I was flying around the house getting things ready, I noticed how hot I was getting. I figured it was because I was running around. Just in case, I checked out the thermostat and...well, holy shit. It was approaching 85 degrees in our house. Not OK for a house with an air conditioning system that had been replaced a week before. Sure enough, it had stopped working.
So Greg got on the phone with the AC guy as I pulled out our one measly fan and hoped that no one would actually pass out. He managed to convince the guy to come out, and he was able to temporarily repair it so everything was back up and running - and we kept our fingers crossed that our now 90-degree house would cool down a bit before everyone arrived.
In the meantime, we had the sprinkler running in the backyard, to soak the trees down before we set off our (ahem) somewhat-illegal fireworks later. My brother-in-law had suggested we do this so we don't set the whole town on fire. Wanting to be good citizens, we let the water run all morning, and the we pulled the sprinkler to the side yard for the kids to run through, and filled up the kiddie pools as well.
So, the people arrive, everyone one is eating, drinking, and being merry, when my friend yells up to me from the yard, "Your sprinkler is broken!" and at the same time I hear from inside, "why did the faucet stop working?"
Yes, friends. As 40-something people drank and drank their little hearts out, filling their bladders like nobody's business, our well ran dry - we had no more water. No more water = no sinks. No sprinkler fun. No toilet usage Holy shit (quite literally).
My industrious friends Lisa and Luke suggested we go to the grocery store to get many gallons of water - apparently if you dump a gallon of water in the toilet, it forces a flush. Lisa was gracious enough to make the water run, and made some very lovely "If it's yellow, let it mellow/if it's brown flush it down" signs.
Clearly, we have classy parties.
Thankfully - and I cannot stress how thankful I was for this - the water came back within a couple of hours. We had air conditioning. We had water coming out the faucets. Most importantly, we had toilets we could flush.
It was a Fourth of July miracle.
And that, my friends, was absolutely the most memorable party of my year.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
This prompt has been in my mind all day. And as much as I would like to go on and on about what makes me beautifully different – I can’t think of anything. I know this is horrible – but I am way too self-deprecating to even pretend that I can list things about myself that “light people up. Getting to that point in your mind, feeling that level of self-worth – is something I think, at least for some people (including, clearly, me), that takes a lifetime to achieve.
I don’t hate myself or anything. I know I must have so.
me qualities that make people like me – perhaps make them think I’m different, in a good way – I have lots of friends who seem to want to hang out with me, so I understand I’m not terribly offensive or anything (at least, not to everyone). : )
I hope this is the only reverb10 post that I can’t answer. Frankly – it makes me kind of sad. Especially because I love Karen Waldron’s writing so much – and her new book, “The Beauty of Different,” is currently on my Amazon wish list.
I could list tons of reasons why I think YOU are beautifully different – I just can’t do it for myself.
(wow, what a “woe is me” response, huh?)
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
I would say the community I have become more active in this year is the community of daycare parents where Jane goes to school. Jane has been in full-time daycare since she was three months old (the day I dropped her off for the first time was one of the saddest of my life – but of course she is thriving there now and loves it). As any parent with a child in daycare knows, drop offs and pick ups can be very harried and stressed – you’re trying to get to work, they want to show you a special project or book, or, even worse, don’t want to let you go and wail as you fly out the door, wracked with guilt; you’re coming home from work and just desperately want to get to your couch so you can veg out, and they would rather stay a while longer because something great is happening (for Jane, this means playing in the BOUNCY ROOM OF AMAZINGNESS).
I’ve shared passing hellos and goodbyes with many of Jane’s friends’ parents, and had conversations with them at various school parties we have been invited to attend during her three years there so far. But over the past few months, I have had a chance to get to know some of them better, since Jane has been invited to several birthday parties of her main daycare peeps. It’s been very cool to watch her develop close friendships with some of the boys and girls in her class, and to see those friendships change and shift – just a glimpse of what she’ll experience during her years as a student, and the rest of her life, really.
Because she’s so young, I can’t just drop her off at these parties and go on my merry way, of course. So I stay, and have a chance to really get to know the parents of the children she spends all day with. The really great thing is, although we all have different careers and lives, we are all bound by the life of a working parent, the total insanity and rush of every morning and every evening – so we get each other in that sense.
See, sometimes it’s not so easy. Some parents are hard to identify with. (I am not talking about her schoolmates' parents. Just parents in general.)Some parents are hard to like. In a lot of ways, it feels like I’m the one in school – will they like me? Will I like them? Will they think I’m weird? (Well, probably yes to that last question.) It can feel like a test. I haven’t had to worry about stuff like this in many years. And, frankly, I probably shouldn't worry about it now. But I do.
So that’s why I’m glad that this particular community is one I’ve become a part of this year. And will be one of the reasons why, when Jane walks out of daycare for the last time in a year and a half, I will probably be crying as much as I did on that first day.
PS: This reverb10 community ain’t half bad either! : )
Monday, December 06, 2010
Other crafty blogs I love reading include Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog – I love Kelly Rae because she mixes it up with crafty posts and particularly well-written and insightful regular-life posts, including ones about her entrance into the world of new motherhood with her son True. She keeps it very real over there, while also being a wickedly talented artist. I recently bought her 2011 date book (now sold out!) and it’s one of the reasons I can’t wait for 2011 to begin.
As for me – I am not crafty, I barely cook – I’m not a maker. My creative outlet is through theater, so any artistic talent I have (very little) goes towards painting and decorating sets. But I’d rather be moving those sets around, acting or directing.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
Let me set the scene.
Yesterday, while I was wrapping birthday presents for the two birthday parties Jane had to go to this weekend:
Me: Where is the tape dispenser?
Greg: In the drawer.
Me: No it's not. There are only rolls of tape, no dispenser. Why is there no dispenser!? We used to have one!!! Now I have to cut each piece with scissors!!! Why aren't we like normal people!?!? WOE IS MEEEE!!!
Flash-forward to this morning. When I came out of my bedroom ready to go out walking in the (holy hell it's freezing) cold, I noticed Jane was very busy doing something in the dining room. Upon further inspection, I noticed she had found a decorative bucket thingy we used to use for remote controls and stuff, and filled it with a treasure trove of items, including, but not limited to:
*deflated pig toy
*the new magnetic notepad I bought yesterday that was on the fridge
*her class picture from last year
*several plastic utencils
*THE TAPE DISPENSER.
What I have semi-started to do this year, but definitely need to continue working on in 2011, is letting go of control, because really, cutting little pieces of tape is NO BIG DEAL. I have begun the work that has started to make me realize that not everything is a crisis, that the house is not going to be perfect, that often we are not going to be able to find the things that were just there a second ago, that no one is going to think they've accidentally walked into Martha Stewart's house when they come over, and that's all OK. As you can see, I have a long way to go with this, but I have very slowly, but surely, started to work on this.
Whether it's in real life, or through blogs or sites you visit on the internet, you see people who have it all. Perfect and pristine homes, despite the fact they have children. Perfect, stress-free marriages, despite the pressures of every day life. Perfect, pretty, amazing. Everything the opposite of my chaotic, ridiculous life.
But I have started to work on letting go. No one expects perfection when they come to my house, but in a way, that's OK, right? Because if you come here, it's OK to spill, break or stain pretty much anything. Our home is comfortable, if not very disorganized and cluttered at times. Sure, we can't find the tape dispenser. But we're really happy you're here. Now brush the dog hair off the couch, sit down, and stay a while.
And once I really grasp that that's what people expect from me - and that that's OK - and to give myself a freakin' break once in a while - I will be all the happier for it.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
One of the things I love about reverb10 is it really makes you look back at your year in detail – and makes you remember things you might otherwise have forgotten. I’ve been taken to checking to see if the prompt is posted before I go out walking in the morning, and then leaving my iPod off and contemplating what I am going to write while I’m out in the freezing cold.
A few ideas came to mind for this prompt, but the one I will talk about today happened during a three-day trip to NYC earlier this year for a conference. Living in Connecticut and having the job I do, I am lucky to be able to go to New York at least a few times a year. But I always go with someone – coworkers, friends, Greg, my mom – there is always someone hitting the streets with me. So while I have some familiarity with the midtown area and how to get from one place to the next, there is always someone to navigate with me (although, seriously, it’s not that hard – I just have a terrible sense of direction. And, did I mention, when I go to New York it nearly ALWAYS rains? Do not plan to go to the city with me if you hate rain).
On the second night of the conference I attended this spring, I was simply exhausted. I had all-day conference activities, went to two shows, and by the time I hit the after-show party around 11 p.m., I was shot (I know, I know, poor me). So instead of waiting for my friend, I went back to the hotel room by myself.
It was only a 10-minute walk or so, but it was the first time I had been in Times Square, by myself, in the middle of the night. You know how they say New York is the city that doesn’t sleep? Seriously, it doesn’t. The weather was actually beautiful for once, nice and warm, there were loads of people out, and the marquees and billboards flashing and blinking created so much light it hardly felt light midnight. I stopped at a foot cart, got a pretzel (is there any pretzel better than the one you get on the street in New York? NO), and wandered slowly back. For someone who is rarely alone, who, between work and home and life has a constant to-do list of responsibilities, It was a truly awesome, freeing moment – despite the fact I was in the middle of city of 9 million people.
I dare anyone not to feel alive in Times Square.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
What prevents me from writing? I’ll tell you in a sec…just have to check Facebook….and Twitter….and finish watching Parenthood….and a week’s worth of The Daily Show….and check in on this blog….and that blog….and the other blog….and one more sec, just want to watch this quick video…oh, and that video…and…zzzzzzzzzzzz
Yeah. All of that keeps me from writing. The internet is a huge time-sucking vortex that can keep me entertained for hours, and if that’s not enough, I’ve got loads of shows on my DVR that desperately need to be watched. Plus I’m like a tenth of the way though my book club book that I need to finish before the end of next week. And what about all of those magazines I subscribe to? They aren’t going to peruse themselves.
And that’s just the fun stuff. As a full-time working mom, a lot of my free time is spent doing laundry, cleaning, escorting Jane to an ever-increasing number of birthday parties (her social life is way better than mine at the moment), and, oh yeah, having quality family time. And friends! Sometimes I manage to see my friends.
And when it finally comes to the point where I’m actually going to blog, I will often find that I have nothing to say. Or at least I think I have nothing to say. By participating in month-long blogging projects like The August Break, NaBloPoMo, and now reverb10, I am finding out that I have a LOT to say. Whether it’s worth reading or not, well……
Sure, I could think about the topics more. Maaaybe I could revise a draft or two before I hit publish. Perhaps if I pondered my writing a bit more, my dear readers might get a wee bit more quality and much less stream-of-consciousness out of me. But that’s what I have time for now. That’s what entertains me, and hopefully sometimes entertains you.
What I’m hoping to get out of these blogging challenges is a kick in the pants to be a better blogger, a more consistent blogger. I have a great desire, at the beginning of 2011, to unplug a great deal – to get rid of - or at least significantly decrease - the many digital distractions that eat up my precious time and MIGHT help me better my blogging habits. It will be like breaking a particularly strong addiction - so we'll see.
OR I’ll just post more YouTube videos. Hey, it’s something, right?
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
To find out more about reverb 10, click here, and THEN PARTICIPATE. Seriously. I’ll be your best friend! I even joined the Evangelist Crew for this project, because I think it's going to be really special, with lots of cool, inspirational writers joining in for the fun.
Anyway, participants are asked to respond to daily prompts (which I LOVE, because I don’t have to think of topics myself) either by blogging, journaling, tweeting, etc. I plan to do my reverbing (is this a word? maybe. it is now.) here and on Twitter, so if you don’t follow me there, please do (because I know you don’t want to go a whole day without knowing my innermost thoughts. I mean REALLY.) Anyway, you can find me on Twitter @memydogsmylife.
Today’s prompt comes from the amazing Gwen Bell:
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
My word for 2010 is ANXIOUS. I know, I know, it’s kind of a terrible word. But that was the state I was in for much of the year, due to health issues and sadness issues and parenting issues (dude, potty training SUCKED) – I would say from January through a lot of the summer, this word really fit. Not every single day or anything, but when I think about 2010, the words anxiety and anxious immediately pop up. And I really hate that this is the case, but I might as well be honest, right? But around my birthday, I decided it was time to stop that shit and make my life better.
Although life can throw you curveballs and it can really be terrible sometimes, a lot of time it is really about your mindset. You (I) have to CHOOSE not to be miserable. I have to know it’s OK to hope for better things. That saying it’s going to be a good day – or a good year – will not automatically jinx me into have a terrible day/year/whatever. And that’s why I really like the idea of manifesting a great 2011. As much as it is in my power, I want to make it a great year.
Which brings me to my word for 2011 – FUN. It’s a very simple word, of course, but I want to do everything I can to make 2011 as fun as possible. it's been my focus for the past few months, and will be at the top of my list for the next year (and beyond). I’m already working on that now, coming up with projects and vacation plans and party ideas to spice up the year. Just tonight, I committed to a project that will keep the first three months of my year well and truly busy in a fun and creative way. More on that later...
So, what are your words?