Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#7 Say "Yes" to the Dress...

...or at least paying attention to what I wear.  This doesn't mean I'll start wearing high fashion every day, I'll just make more of an effort.  I'll concede my desire to flip through InStyle, I'll check out some clothing websites and look for ideas, and I'll get rid of the things that don't make me happy when I look in the mirror.

I am embracing my inner girly-girl.

This in no way means I will start ironing, though.  So don't worry, I won't be too fancy to be your friend.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#6 Find That Fit Girl Inside

For most of my life, I have thought of myself as a petite, fit person.  Inside.  Someday, I would lay off the fries and let her out.  

Well, the day came a couple months ago.  My back had been hurting for months.  I ached all the time.  Nothing fit right.  I was cranky and grouchy and too embarrassed to step in front of a camera to have a picture taken with my family.  Somehow, someone managed to get me on a scale, and GOOD LORD it wasn't pretty.  Still, I did nothing.  I imagined a time when I wouldn't feel that way.  But as far as taking any action?  Nope.

In fact, when I started this blog last August, my thought was that I would make a big pronouncement about getting fit and losing weight, and I just couldn't do it.  I didn't want to jinx it.  I knew it was coming, but I wasn't there yet.

Back in February, my sister made two trips to the hospital.  The first time, she passed out cold in her kitchen.  Just keeled right over and hit her head.  She is in her early sixties, and has a husband a son just out of college.  She freaked us all out.  But they ran a bunch of tests, and nothing conclusive jumped out at them, and they released her the next day.  I called her several times after to see if she had followed through with her doctor, and when I called a couple weeks later, she could barely complete a sentence.  She had been in bed for two days.  I knew she had pneumonia, and her husband took her to the hospital and, yup, sure enough....  After that visit, the doc at the hospital gave her a prescription for the patch.  She HAD to stop smoking.  

She hasn't yet.  She promises me that she will when they take a cruise at the end of the month.  She is taking the patch with her, and no cigarettes.  Her reason for not stopping sooner, is because her job is too stressful.  I had to bite my tongue, but then I realized - I was in NO PLACE TO JUDGE.  I was managing MY stress with food.  I was not listening to MY doctor about losing weight.  I was not taking care of my own body, so I just needed to mind my own damn business.

The next day, I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I wasn't really all that enthused.  I'd done it before.  Two times, both successful, but not sustained.  This time though?  I am in LOVE with the program.  If you've done it before, they have totally revamped the program toward a more nutritionally balanced program.  Fruit?  FREE.  Most veggies?  FREE.  AND instead of getting 18 points a day, I get 29.  That is the lowest amount of points you can have.  Plus you get an extra 49 for the week, so if you need them (a birthday party, a dinner out, a glass of wine on occasion), you can have it.  I am attending meetings, and also using the etools sight, which is one of the BEST THINGS EVER.  I look for recipes online, and have not made one that we haven't swooned over.  Seriously. There is no guilt, and I have never felt better.  The weight is coming off steadily (not fast, but constant), and I have more energy than I have had  in YEARS.  My back doesn't hurt.  My middleaged mood swings are less and less, and I am more active.  I am smiling more.  

I. Am. Smiling. More.  

My goal is to hit fifty in August at least twenty pounds lighter.  I am almost halfway there!  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

#5 Be Passionate

Before you read on, I need to warn you.  I'm NOT going to talk about sex.  I'm no expert, but I think unless you're all hung-up on religious doctrine, you can figure that one out for yourselves.

I'm talking about passion in my life, in my interests, in my ideals.  Reading the headlines lately, I've become worried that I'm turning into my dad (rest his feisty soul):  yelling at the tv, getting worked up about the events going on in my town, the nation, the world.  But I had an epiphany - that kind of stuff can be useful.  It can lead you to action - not in the "throw stuff at the tv" action (although if I see Charlie Sheen on the "news" one more time, I might be tempted), but in the kind of action that might actually get something done.

I am a Union Member.  I have done plenty of grousing on my own about my union; I think there are plenty of ways to make my union work better for everyone involved.  But do I vote?  Attend meetings?  Nope.  I haven't.  I'm always too busy.  And I feel like the very people I get disgusted at the union for "protecting" are the people who attend those meetings.  All complete conjecture on my part, having never attended one.  So, I'm adding "attend a union meeting" to my list.

I work at an elementary school, as an aide to kids with special communication needs.  Most are on the Autism spectrum.  Most are non-verbal.  They have to work really, really hard to communicate what they want.  I don't take for granted that I am able to just open my mouth and say something to tell you how I feel.  Or organize my thoughts (well, as organized as I get) to say what's on my mind.  It is a truly rewarding job, but it has become increasingly difficult due to budget cuts in our District.  I administer lessons, working with small groups all day at reading.  There is not a teacher at the table on most of the days, because one is out on maternity leave, the other is pregnant, and running two classrooms, managing staff, putting together IEP's, earning the "big money".  (note to any teachers who might read this:  I am joking, I hope you know.  I am on your side here.)  This year we paras were told that we could no longer call for a sub if we are sick.  Which means, that if I am out, one of my hardpressed co-workers or the teacher is going to have to try to do their job AND mine.  Or they will bring someone in from another school that happens to have a kiddo or two out.  This was pretty demoralizing, but we've adapted, and they managed to squeeze more blood out of us.  But the stress level in the room has gone up, and I'm sure the kids can feel it, because it's pretty hard to hide it when you're feeling so much pressure to do everything.  The capper though, was  when I got an email asking if I would like to be a trainer for other paras.  I would go through a training of trainers, for which they would pay my miles, my hotel, but not for my time.  Nor would they pay me for working the many weekends giving said trainings to other paras.  So, if I don't mind working for nothing, it's a perfect gig.  Ummmmm, no thanks.  By they way: I got this offer from my union.  So yeah, my union has been trying to "get along" with the budget cuts, cutting services to workers, and pimping us out for free work, but the GOP still seems to think we're living large.

With all their faults, I believe unions are valuable.  Those of us in the bottom of the boats, rowing the upper class to bigger bonuses need to have a voice.  One person's chance of being heard by the uphigh muckitymucks is mighty slim, but together?  It's really our only chance.  Lately, I feel like most of the country is Whoville, and Horton is nowhere in sight.  So I'm throwing my voice in, to yell it louder, to feel - if nothing else - that I'm not feeling pissed off all by myself.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

what to do....

It's been a full day of kids around here today.  Lots of laughter and snow and mud and fart jokes.  There was even a flute concert by the adorable seventh grade girl from down the street that we met today.  She's pretty and blonde and smart and talented, and Joe-Henry even let her play his drums.  They played along to some AC/DC and he sang lead.  So much for being "too shy" to sing.  

Now he's out playing basketball with the neighbor boy, and I'm fairly certain of one thing:  this is the beginning of the time that is called "hanging out with mom is the worst thing in the world."  Time for me to find something (besides FB) to do so that I don't just sit around and watch the clock and stew about the fact that the only thing I have to look forward to is old(er) age.

Back in August,  I was seriously considering going back to school to get my teachers certification.  Since then, I've moved cautiously forward, but deep budget cuts in our schools make taking out a huge loan seem pretty risky, especially considering that I'd be just over ten years from retirement.

I've had lots of wonderful experiences in my life, a few different "lifetimes".  I was a working actor for a good portion of my life.  I miss it at times, but don't think that I'm good enough to make a living at it anymore.  I love photography, but again, there are so many wonderful photographers out there, and while I enjoy working on the skills to get better, the market is pretty thick with talent.  I like my job, but the stress level is pretty high, and the school district keeps making cuts to the program.  It's hard on the morale.  I can't see myself doing it for more than a couple years.

Sometimes I regret not having a career that was more dependable, but on the other hand, I'm grateful for something that the acting life gave me:  an ability to roll with it.  To be open to changes and opportunities where you might not expect to find them.

So hey, Opportunity.... I'm here in Vancouver, Washington.  I'm a mom first, but I  have a little more time on my hands....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#4 Be Honest

I have spent the better portion of my life trying to say things in just such a way.  So that I don't hurt anyone's feelings.  So that I look better.   For one reason or another, when things get sticky, I can twist myself into a pretzel trying to be a diplomat.

Some people love this about me.  Mostly they are the kind of people who don't want to hear the truth.

I am not talking about being mean or hurtful.  I am talking about speaking the truth - straight to the point, with no extra words attached. As kindly as I can.  Still - no matter how kind, sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.  I'm talking about taking my stake out of it, because it's not about me.  If the truth is hard to take, that's not my fault.  Especially if it is asked for.

There are times in life when people are put in our path for really specific reasons.  I believe this.  Right now, I have such a person in my path.  He is a mighty blowhard, and wants everyone to think he's smart and funny and capable.  I always think that if people annoy the shit out of me, it's because I'm recognizing part of myself in them.

If this is the case, I'm changing.  Right now.  Fewer words to say what I need to say.  I will do my best not to be exasperated at having to tell you something you should already know.

And I will spend less of my life thinking "why didn't I say something?"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#3 Stop Listening To That Mean Old Woman Who Lives In My Head

Seriously.  She clearly needs to get laid.  Or have a drink.  The only thing she can think to do is to tell me my ideas are no good, that I'll not finish, that others have done it better already?  What makes her such an expert?

I have too many ideas and not enough time, it's true.  I have romantic notions ill-befitting a nearly fifty year old woman, I'll give her that.  There are many, many, many people doing everything better than I, making more money, being more beautiful and desirable and delicious than I.  Still....

Still.  I will shut her piehole, or at least get better at ignoring her this year.  I will do things because I enjoy doing them.  If I don't finish, I have the experience of starting, of beginning something new, I will have learned something about myself.

I will take my place at the table of life and relish every last crumb.
What's that old woman?!  Lalalalala - I can't hear you...