Friday, April 21, 2017

#confessions of overwhelm

Dear Life,

Thank you for making April one of the hardest months of the year thus far. I think because you've given me my fill of jerks, pranksters, a**clowns, and imposters, I should be given a "Have a Great Rest of the Year" card. I've paid my dues for 2017, Life. Make this happen. Pretty please.

#straight shooter
Do you ever have that realization? The one where you are smacked in the head with the cold, hard fact that you're tormenting yourself? That it's not that guy, or that girl that's doing this TO YOU, but rather, that you're kinda doing a lot of it to yourself? either. Fine, for reals, I maybe sorta a little bit know what that's like.

#the rocky theme
So, I've said this before, but I'll say it again, my life is a little bit nuts. I'm positive yours is, too. This is not a competition. This is my admission of personal overwhelm. Work is a lot, single-mothering is a lot, and trying to keep my perspective all at the same time is not often a piece of cake. I'm not whining. I really do feel like even with all of my chaos, I'm pretty centered, but the truth is that recently, mainly April, it hasn't taken much to push me off kilter, to dent my zen, or to make me lose my least tip/dent/lose me for a moment. I try my bestest to get back to reality and fight a good fight. Let's just say that I don't always feel like I win.

#lay me down
This morning as I was rushing around, saying good-bye to my bed (really the only relationship I have right now - don't judge me), I distinctly noticed the night stand on the side on which I don't sleep (passenger side)...

Empty glass jar (not mine), my glasses and work out book, and a small handful of legos (also not mine). This made me stop for a second. I stepped back over to my side...

Computer bag (mine), book (mine), book in progress (mine), books to study (mine), mail (mine), glass jar (mine), all the things (mine). So much more happening here. This is my life, Life. That passenger side glass jar and those legos - my youngest left those there. For me, actually. At least, that's what he'll tell me. "I left the legos there for you to play with, Mom. They're lots of fun." (It's really because he didn't want to put them back in his room...and it makes me smile when I see them, so I'll leave them there.).

Sometimes on a Saturday, when I pretend that I don't have anything going on, I REALLY like to bury myself in my (amazing) bed (don't judge) under pillows and blankets and take solace in my only friend, Hulu. Sometimes, my kids like to join me at playing this game. We've watched many an episode of Stranger Things (in one sitting), many a series of Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars (well, we try to get through them, but then it gets too hot...or we need a drink, or need to grocery shop, or I have to do some form of adulting)...Please don't misunderstand, it's not like the only way my littles see me is if they burrow into my bed. We see each other every day in a meaningful way. It's just Sunday through Friday, there's a lot of business. There's a ton of managing, and many commitments, and an equal amount of follow up. So, I admit, I'm not as structured on Saturday as I am on all of the other days. All of the other mess on the driver side of my pictures shows that I'm making an effort at having a normal (ha! that's funny) life...but like, doesn't work all the days. For anyone.

True story, I used to HATE Saturdays. My mom traveled a bunch for work and the weekends were all we had to clean and clean and clean and laundry and clean and clean. Mind you, while I was home during the week, I chored. Every day. I used to try my most hardest to get out of Saturday chores. UGH..but sometimes it didn't work, so I did them. Begrudgingly. Well, mostly, I mean, I could/would/should not cross my Mom. I put on an agreeable face and grumbled to myself. Maybe cut a few corners. Meh.

My mother taught me (many, many things, but in this story, she give me the skills) to really clean. My brother is a cookie cutter version of my Mom and he has the "I must clean" bug, too. It's kinda sick - I mean, when I'm sad or overwhelmed, I clean. Correction, I clean regularly, but when my mind is buzzing, and I have something I need to work out, my bathroom and kitchen usually reflect that even more so. (No, I don't want to come over and clean for you - my issue is not THAT extreme.)

Another true story, I had to have been 12 at the time. My mom and I were in New York. We checked in to this 4-star hotel close to Central Park. I was excited to be there. It was summer and we were going to do a bunch of stuff for my birthday. We got into our room and the FIRST thing she checks is the bathroom. NOPE. Dirty tub. We're not staying in this room. We switched 3 TIMES during that stay. And finally, after all of the switching, she sent me down to the corner store to buy a bottle of bleach to do it herself. Yup. I don't know where my mania comes from, do you?

So, yeah, I hear you out there, judging (even though I told you not to) - making this a simple fix - just say 'no' more. I was with someone once who said actually said to my face, 'it's your own damn fault that you're like this.' Ouch. (No, we're not together any longer. And no, he didn't get me.) But true, I suppose...depending on how you see things. I get it. The easy solution IS to put more things down. Put more things away. Right? No. I mean, yes, it makes sense. But do you understand that I'm intrinsically this way and have been since childhood? The issue is that I've ALWAYS ALWAYS been like this. I think I'm non-diagnosed ADHD with a little OCD mixed in and a sprinkle of attitude and a splash of I don't Care. I don't know how to do JUST ONE THING at a time. I'm working on it (being fully present, being mindful of the moment - all yoga-like). Mine is a mind that needs feeding - reading, trying my hand at new things, drawing, planning, wrapping my thoughts around whatever is at hand. This is who I am. And writing about it - AIRING it out to you, Life...this is just another way of discovering. Another way of being painfully accountable. Another way of trying to tell the other lives out there that they're a) not crazy, b) not alone, c) straight killin' it in their own way...even if it's unconventional, even if it's wacky. Even if no one else does it the same way. You're all good.

#hard things
This gig is a lot, but I get it. I can play it to my own degree. I say this more to confirm to myself that I'm capable - this is not a 'look at me' rant. This is a reminder...most of my/our hurdles are mental. Doubt. Distraction. And yes, this is who I am, but I'm still working through things to be a better version of myself. I can train for a half and do a crazy eating program at the same time and not lose my mind. I can make difficult decisions, knowing that my intent is to do what's best. I can raise kids to be healthy, good people who have the perspective to become the best versions of themselves, I can give. I can work full time and NOT be married to my job...(yeah, I keep telling myself that one, but more and more I'm not sure of the total veracity of that statement). Ok, maybe I'm a little bit married to it. Maybe. Regardless, I can be all of the things that I am in days - like last night, my cousin needed me. I was standing in the grocery store in the middle of the detergent isle walking her through the good things and the hard truths because that's who we are for each other. And because this is ALSO who I am. And because really, that's the only place we could hear each other over the phone in the store. I'm not EVER going to say "I don't have time for you" or "I can't play friend right now, I'm shopping." No, I'm always going to listen. I'm always going to take the moment. One of these days, it's going to be me. I'm going to need a voice of reason...and there's never a really good time or place to be that because we ALWAYS have something happening. You just have to roll with it. And I feel like that's the theme of my days so often - roll with it. I have 20 things on my calendar, but someone needs time - ok, I'll make it work. Yes, let's talk. Yes, I can walk out for a minute to look. Yes, you can call me. No, it's not a problem.

I feel like the best medicine for what ails me is not cutting things out, but rather adding meaningful connection to others. It grounds me. Gives me a sense of healthy perspective. I've seen intense circumstances in other's lives. Serving them makes me forget about all of my stuff for a moment - and that's a rare gift. It gives me a taste of gratitude when I may have forgotten. It brings me back to fundamentals, like the need to love, and the freedom found in unselfishness. It also gives me a moment to step away from my self-harshness and give some gentle to myself. This life experience is not a simple feat. I need to be friends with myself, or I'll fail miserably. There's a try in my life to find that 'place' inside of myself.  Also not easy, but overall, a better mindset for me.

No, I'm not losing my head. Not yet. Yes, it's a lot, but there's happy, and that's what matters. The madness does offer me some satisfaction - some joy. If I wasn't happy, I would stop. I would make it different. I would alter the course, but the what all of this has taught me - the various experiences, the passes, the fails, is that the rough waters don't scare me. If anything, I'd like to believe that I've learned that swimming through them will make me a stronger fish/mermaid.

SO, hit me up with that card, Life. 'k? I can manage my own stuff...even if my driver side looks out of control, it's not too bad for's all of the other peeps and things upon which I sometimes/lots of times/all the times can firmly, emphatically check a 'No' vote. Work on THAT, will you? Pretty please, again. I'll just do my deal over here. Away from all...of...THAT.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#take me home

Names have been changed to kinda protect the innocent.

Dear Life,

I'm back in Virginia after spending a week and a half in California...and it's rough. It's not that one place is better than the other - they're uniquely beautiful and diverting. It's not so much about comparing which is more...all of the aesthetics are like apples and oranges to me. Southern California is my home. I was born there. Raised there. She was my rebound state when my life fell apart for awhile. Hawaii is my visiting favorite, but Cali is my home.

This was the first time I've been back since my littles and I moved to Southern Virginia in October. I was recruited to the East coast for work. We didn't go home for the holidays this past year because of my job newness. It was a little surreal to be so far away, a tiny family unit, for a holiday that is usually so dynamic and traditional because of the magnitude of my family...but that particular season was almost careful. Simple. Deliberate. And lovely...I think a little comforting for the four of us, specifically in seeing and knowing that as long as we have each other, we'll be fine. And, thus far, we have been.

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#ch ch ch ch changes
This relocation experience has not been without it's knocks. I am a sore thumb here - they make fun of me for what I drive, the music I listen to (which is an eclectic mix from multiple genres and artists), for eating weird (clean), and running, and doing what I do. I can deal with all of that. Really. I think it's actually pretty funny. The more pressing issue comes with the emotions that have crawled up into my heart. Where once that space in my head/heart was too busy and loud to pay any attention, with the new stillness, there is no way to ignore the demand to face facts. My facts. There have been questions staring me in the face in earnest. Questions whose answers will force-change the course of some aspects of my life. I'm not afraid of change, I think it's healthy. I'm more afraid of how the ripple effect of those answers will (not may, WILL) hurt people. Ugh. That one bears on me.

The truth is no matter what I choose, there will be an impact. And the equal truth is that some of my sustaining decisions have hurt me/myself. There's no hiding from agency or the results. I'm also not a fan of making a choice based on the least amount of potential collateral damage, because, again, if it means that everyone else is happy but you feel like your own heart is being cut out, that's not a win - for anyone. Sometimes the hardest choice and the right choice are the same...And this is gospel according to me, I think the win comes from being true to your heart...and knowing that in following that truth, the other facets will work out somehow. Maybe not immediately, but gradually. Eventually. There's no peace in being held hostage to a choice that really wasn't what you wanted to do.

#what about your friends
Since I've been here in Virginia, honestly, I've been a little slow-going in making friends. I've never really been like a bar slinger or attended social things just for sake, you know? My life here is basically my work and all of the collective sides/activities/interests of my small family. I'm actually OK with that, but now that I've been home - and have had some moments to talk and visit with my friends and my beautiful family, I realize how intensely I have missed them. I have some dearies here who run with me, who don't judge me for my weird obsession with a certain actor - these relationships are new. Nurturing real/true friendships takes time, for me. And experiences. And then trust is earned. We're getting there, you know? And I know a part of it is's like if I don't put myself out there, I won't get hurt...but, really? I remembered on this trip that I've never been one who withholds...ever. I've been told I'm too intense, too direct. Only, the part that is best about that is the fact that you never have to wonder where you stand with me. If I love you, I'll tell you. I'll show you.

#never can say good-bye
When I was a kid, my mom traveled a ton. It was just the two of us, so those moments were considerably felt. My mom was my world when I was a kid. Seriously. When I was small I used to go to her closet while she was getting ready and put my small hands between the long-hanging fabrics. They smelled like her...and they were soft. I asked her if she would give them all to me when I grew up. She kind of giggled and told me gently that when I grew up I would be able to buy my own dresses. She didn't realize that I hadn't asked because I was worried about what I would have to wear when I was older...that maybe all of the clothes I would ever own would be inherited or was because these were all of her things...and I never wanted to be without her.

Because it was just us, it was always important to her to let me know she loved me. Even if I got in trouble; even if she was mad at me; even if we were super rushed or in some kind of situation where the expression was odd or awkward - she always ALWAYS told me that she loved me. It was the last thing she would say to me, or me to her. It's still this way to this day. Love. Without a doubt, this has poured into my other relationships.

#don't want to miss a thing
I don't want to regret. I don't want to find myself in a position one day where I wish I would/could/should have told someone how I feel about them...I mean, I HAVE had that happen and I hate it. There ARE people who have come into my world and moved me profoundly, and I was too scared to say anything. Too scared to say the words...and maybe have them freak out and judge me. I have thought on that...and I don't want to be that or magnify it. Life is so short...we only have these, I conscientiously try to speak my heart. For some of my friends who have experienced this, I knew it was off-kiltering initially. In fact, in one scenario, when I told a long-time guy friend that I loved him, it took him aback (not figuratively). "But," he said, with a scrunched up face and a whispery voice, "you're MARRIED." Duh. I rolled my eyes and giggled because I could see that he didn't understand, but then explained that it wasn't that I loved him to date him or get with him - which was NOT/NEEEEVVVVEEERRRRR my intent, but rather that when I saw him, I could see this map of his life...and this feeling...this...this...PRIDE just radiated out of my heart. I felt that he needed to know this - URGENTLY. And that's what I better articulated - that I loved him as a person, for the amazing things that he had overcome, for the goofy individual what was him, that I loved our crazy, bizarre, but very candid friendship. To which, after he had a moment to take it in (as indicated by the look of concentration on his face, and then the slow un-knitting of brows), he seemed genuinely relieved...and then said,"Well, then, I love you, too!" and smiled widely, like a buffoon.

My close friends know that this - expressive, open, feeling - is very much who I am, and despite the awkwardness at first, it's become a very natural and consistent part of the comfortable fabric of our friendship, from both sides. To be clear, the expression of my feelings to this group of people/in this manner, has never been about the response or even about a mutuality. It's not about fishing for someone to feel the same way about's about me needing (in a compelling way) to give/express/share love to/with let them know they're important and valuable to me. That's not to say that EVERY time has been that way - because there have been a few where I've said it and hoped with crossed fingers and toes that they felt the same way...and some have...but others have not, and the lessons that come from those experiences have been part of my growing up, of knowing myself, of questioning and coming to my personal 'why'...but also with learning how to be alright with what I feel in any given circumstance. I don't want to deny my feelings. When they come and they don't have a place, relative to loving another person, I can then let those emotions go because I've been honest...and let those feelings cool to move on, but not retain bitterness for that individual. Sometimes unrequited love isn't all bad, especially if you can learn that loving yourself is as important, if not more, than loving someone else.

#there you'll be
There was a time when I lived on the other side of the world for a while. I was in a group with other Americans. There was a guy who was known for being disciplined, but kind of hard. For sake of this story, we'll call him R. He would permit no excuses when it came to discussing the work. He had driven expectations. For some, that created a barrier. I liked him. He cared about what he did. He felt the distinction of the limited time, and wanted to make sure we were seeing the same goals, pushing toward the same desired outcomes.

Image may contain: one or more people

R left the field a little early. I heard it was because of his acceptance to school and just the way the year was falling into place. Many years thereafter, I learned that he had a terrible illness. I don't know if the departure had to do with that. It didn't matter. Fast forward by years - I'm married, I have 3 small children, and I'm elbows deep in being a mother and figuring out this life-gig. Facebook is kinda new - and I think we find each other through that platform. We call - we connect. He's doing amazingly well. He's been in remission for years. He's happy. That's what's important. A few months later, my world comes crashing in with betrayal and divorce. My life felt quartered and strung-up. I went home to California to be with my family - to figure out the next move, to figure out how to recover, to figure out exactly how and what to feel...which was everything and nothing at the same time.

My friend K invited me to her side of country (North Carolina). I found out my favorite band was touring there. I combined the reasons and went. As it turns out, R lived there, too! And we were able to connect face-to-face. K, R, myself, and another one of our mutual friends were able to get together for a bit. I think it was R's idea to go bowling...and I'm the worst bowler alive. It was in this alley that was still manual - so all of the points calculation had to be done by hand. We left it to him...because, to him, this was serious business. If there was winning involved, he was all over it. R and I drove from Raleigh to Charlotte to see Coldplay - and I got to use that drive time back and forth to fill in all of the missing years between. I was able to tell him all of the things I thought about him. He was able to tell me, too. That trip was healing for me. I had a better sense of clarity when I returned. It helped me remember that I was a risk-taker, that I could do impossibly difficult things and thrive, that I was talented, that I was my own kind of beautiful, but mostly that I was reminded HOW to see that in myself. AND most importantly, not to take things for granted. That trip was my catharsis.

Not too long thereafter, I learned that his illness had returned in raging force. K called me from his room at the hospital so that I could talk to him. This was the last time. I didn't want to believe it, but I could feel it. It went like this:

Me: I know our time is short.
R: It's ok.
Me: You already know everything, R. This is a rare instance where I don't have to cram in all of my feelings...I've told you everything. You know how grateful I am for you. Still, if it's the last thing I ever say to you, it's this: I love you. I'll miss you.
R: I know you do. I love you.
There were other things he said to be brave, to believe in myself...that he believed in me. But above all, I knew that my friend loved me...and I knew that HE knew that I loved him. There was no romance. There was no weird tie or other intimacy...we were friends. I am grateful to this day that I didn't miss that chance. There's no 'should have' regret connected to that relationship. And if there's one thing I can articulate and encourage through all of this, it's to take the moment to express the things you feel. It matters - even if just for YOU to speak the words.

#no puedo vivir sin ti
My favorite actor guy posted a picture on Instagram earlier this year. I've been crazy about him for a long while, but seeing this took my obsession to a completely different level. "edgarramirez25I love my dad and he loves me and we both express it • Amo a mi papá y él me ama a mí y ambos lo expresamos"

There's no question. And this is the way I feel about the special people who surround me...the people who are in my life...the people who move me to be better - to discover - to jump - to consider - and to move past whatever was.

#don't you forget about me don't don't don't don't
I remembered some things during this trip - that no matter how much time you set aside, there's not enough time to see/do/eat everything you want. That I miss and long and have more holes in my heart because of the distance than I allowed myself to know...but that it's more of an indication of how much I love these people than anything else. That there are things I need to let go of/choices I need to make to be healthy and happy. That happiness is possible - that it comes in unexpected packages, but it's there...and that I don't want to be afraid to embrace it. That this move has impacted me/my littles way deeper than any of us realized or understood. That Virginia may not be my last stop in carving a career. That the stage holds a huge piece of my heart - not just the being on it, but even being behind it was so fondly reminiscent...if I could find a way. That LOVE is the answer in my personal pursuit of happiness. That the draw home is powerfully, undeniably magnetic, but that there are things that need to be done here - and that I am a girl who must finish what she starts. That this life is so completely about the journey...that NO one can come through it unscathed, but that so many have been placed in our circles to serve as medics, therapists, cheerleaders, butt-kickers, and case studies. I remembered that I am loved...that I am grateful for the dear network of people who support my endeavors. That I am still reaching in so many respects...that I may touch one or two, and not others, but that there is more beyond what I can currently see - and that's OK. That I can make peace with the past and not lose an ounce of who I am or what I stand for. That regardless of our differences of beliefs, we can still respect and be kind to each other...and walk away peacefully.  

Ultimately, I have to be who I am. Ultimately, I have to love.

I remember.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Dear Life,

I know you don't miss me (because we spend so much time together), but lots of fun things have changed and I'm having a moment, Life; a moment where I'm recognizing the errors of my ways! I'm recognizing my HUGE LACK of gratitude...and so, dear, dear life - I'm changing directions. For now. I mean, if I have the occasional hack that demands (self-declared) wittiness or dripping sarcasm, I reserve the right to hash that out publicly. But right now, I have more thoughts in my head relative to the small, simple things that I LOVE LOVE LOVE...and I must share these precious things with you. MUST.

I wish those trees were fruit trees, but they're not. 
#launch disclaimers
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

**Yes, some of these will be mundane, but it's my bloggity...and that's the fun of it.

***These things are NOT in order of priority or favoritism.

#seasonal greetings
When I was growing up in California, the grocery stores my mother and I would frequent were smaller. They did seasonal fruity displays. Granted, they always had that orange juice making monstrosity RIGHT.IN.THE.DOORWAY of the jedi-mind-trick glass doors. It was improbable to get something as delectable as a peach in December. Or strawberries. Even raspberries out of season were super rare...and then when you COULD find them, they were first-born expensive. Back then, it was like REGULAR harvests - not 3 rotations a year. And not flash-frozen and refrigerated. Even back then, it seemed apples were always in season...and I'm not a big fan of red delicious apples. I do, however, have a keen affinity for mango, and watermelon. BUT. My forever favorite is the apricot. I crazy love apricots. I do! We used to have a tree in the front yard of  my parent's house...and every time it bloomed it was like magic. My mom used to say (in her high pitched voice) "put them in a bag - we'll share them - there are too many to eat." Which was simply not true. And I would protest. And steal the bags back. And gobble them up. And get sick. And eat more. Just to be right that we didn't, in fact, have too many. (Fine, I'm embellishing, but you get the idea.) There are NEVER too many apricots.

So, while I don't like candied apricots, I LOVE raw, freshly picked apricots. And jam. And jam. And jam...on fresh bread...or biscuits. That are hot. But the likelihood of finding tiny packets of apricot jam in Virginia? Slim to none. They like grape here. And strawberry. And orange marmalade (funny story - I met a guy in high school once who said that when he grew up and had kids, he would name his daughter 'Marmalade'...well, ok.) And mixed fruit - whatever that is.

Thank you, Life. Thank you for apricots. That blush on one side. That fit in the palm of my hand and make me smile with dimples when I take a bite.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Names have been changed to protect the innocent...well, the slightly guilty, but we're spinning it as innocence...maybe the better word is the fact that I'm telling their stories...anonymously. 

Dear Life,

Craigslist is a scary place. Personal ads. Political venting. Weird, vague ads that may or MAY NOT be what you had in mind. I had a friend who bought bunk beds off of Craigslist once...bunk beds. Really. How dangerous could that be? Apparently VERY. Especially when your children break out with crazy bites from bugs that hid in the crevices of said bunk bed set. Ugh...makes me want to dip my laptop in bleach just thinking about it. 

I know that things in my life are super busy, but I always decide (DECIDE) that I need to add a little more chaos to the mix. You know, for fun. And to make things more interesting. So, puppies. Not puppY. PuppIES. Yes, that is plural. Yes, that means more than one. Yes, crazy. Yes, deliberate. 

#must love dogs
I have this weird animal magnetism thing. It's kind of been an annoyance in my family. I should be terrified of them because of a rogue accident injury when I was 3, but the truth is I completely love dogs. I've been raised with dogs. My boxer bulldog mix (Max the destroyer) died last July. It took a LONG while to get past that. Well, mostly get past it. I think a part of me will never get over it. When we reached the part where we thought we were ready to have a dog again I started looking with shelters. We actually adopted a dog from a local shelter - went through the process of the home inspection, etc...and then the poor dog just couldn't adjust. And by that, I mean that he tried to bite a bunch of people. No can do. Especially with kids. We just weren't the right family for him...although, truth be it told, I don't know who/what scenario would be right for that kind of dog. Stress and adjustment, I completely can roll with. Biting - not so much. 

#call me, maybe
I didn't want to go the route of a puppy mill. I don't need a purebred dog. Max the destroyer was a mix and he was beautiful, smart, well-natured. I started looking in the weird recycler/penny saver ads where the listings are super vague because to get the almost free ad, you can only have like 5 words. "Dog. Cheap. Ventura. Call 888-8888." Mainly because I don't have the time to call mystery numbers to hash out if there's a remote possibility of interest, I moved on. Craigslist became the next step in finding. Craigslist similarly has weird, imaginatively spelled, but consistently vague ads...but my favorites almost always have something like 'must be real.' Or 'must not be a time-waster.' lol. 'k. I totally know what they mean, but the literal take on those phrases creates, for me, mostly comical, ridiculous imagery. Not that I need a whole lot of help to get there on my own, but that's not the point.

#the dealer
I found a simple ad for boxer/lab mix puppies. Locally. I made an appointment by email to meet the puppies and see if anything clicked. I know what you're thinking, "riiiight. "MEET" Good luck with that." But for serious, I wanted to be sure before I took one home. I've been through enough shelters, etc. and didn't feel that pull. I met Jones in a McDonald's parking lot in the back by the drive through. It almost felt like a drug deal. Maybe I should have had someone go with me. Don't worry - I had someone tracking me. I let 5 people know where I was going. But it was funny - he drove what looked to be an unmarked cop car. Only, there was a large bin in the back seat with 5 black/brownish and white labs in it...and it was over. I had to get two...because having one alone during the day while we're all at school and work is sad. Because teaching a dog that they're biting too hard is often a hit or miss...but when they're playing with each other - the message comes across loud and clear. The companionship was the main idea. And the fact that I loved them both. So there. 

#padding, please
Puppies are really, REAAALLLY like caring for human newborns. I mean, I was SUPER lucky. My own babies/children slept through the night almost immediately and were fairly easy. Having two baby dogs is like having infant twins. I find us saying things like, 'Shhhh!! You'll wake the puppies!' or 'Oohh, I need to change that." Or, 'do you think they're hungry?' I also get to experience the mid-night care involved. I am summoned to get up at 12, at 2, at 4 to clean dog poop tracked all over the bathroom floor - thank you for almost howling to get me up to take care of this. Can I tell you? Puppy pads. Brilliant. I love them. They're like floor diapers. Yesterday, when the puppies ACTUALLY used them of their own accord, it was like winning the lottery. For reals. Celebratory shouts and all. Even a few tears. Even dropping to knees to thank the heavens above. AND this morning, I was going to get up to run at an ungodly hour before my day started...I second-thought it. Because going into the bathroom to brush my teeth and pull up my hair (NECESSARY) would wake the puppies. And they need their sleep. They're growing dogs. There's also something singularly sweet about having a tiny bitty super soft baby animal all curled up by your heart. It makes me all melty. AND now they're starting to recognize their names...and that makes me possessive-like. MY puppies. MINE. 

I feel lucky - lucky that my Craigslist experience was relatively uneventful. I don't know that I would look for bedding or shoes or a potential date from that resource, or even recommend it to others in search of such this particular case, I can just be grateful that it was a total find...and that I am completely in love with what I got. :)

Monday, February 29, 2016

#lifehacks, no I mean like hacking, like coughing...

Dear Life,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you, most sarcastically, for the illness with which you so charmingly bestowed upon me for the last two weeks and counting. Sickness is about as fun as sitting motionless on the the worst a car that has no air conditioning...with a passenger who is loud, sweaty, needs to floss and smells like old chili, but doesn't know it. There's only so long that you can be amenable with the mentioned circumstances before you really badly just want to push the car over the Hollywood sign, or lay into the passenger (from a distance, please) about simple logistics relative to hygiene. But having a cold, and then the flu, and then strep (and other fun sinus infections simultaneously) is not fun, nor fair, nor equitable. And this vicious strain of illness, Life!?! It just won't let a girl go! It grips ambitiously to any weakness in bronchioles that lead to alveoli (part of the lungs), or remote propensities for a throat to become infectious. I don't need to give the boyfriend-who-doesn't-want-to-let-go analogy, Life. You should get this pretty quickly and easily without my gnashing of teeth or wringing of hands - even though it's amusing to watch. Bottom line? Boo, Life. Just boo.

Did you know, Life, that like, 4 people in my office also succumbed to your ruthlessness? We're going to install a lysol tent at the entrance of our building. All employees, visitors, EVE.RY.ONE. will have to walk through it and be sprayed/hosed to limit/hopefully completely eliminate/no, violently dissolve in an invasive fashion the spread of communicable viruses/germs/microbials. Yay for email, because if we actually had to talk to each other face to face, it would be like the toy bin at a preschool - we'll pass those germs here and over there and everywhere - but for wretched, definitely unwelcome colds. I actually wrapped my door knobs with tape. And I am going to wear a face mask and gloves when I go into my management meeting. Because I'm sick of being sick! It's wearying. And annoying. And expensive - thank you EVERY KNOWN DRUG for coughs and flus and sinus pressure that makes you want to cry. Ugh - illusive. And feeling like you've been hit by a truck is only amusing in theory. All those remedies that vaguely promised poor liver.

Yay for technology and being able to work from home for the last two weeks in pajamas. When my codine-laced cough syrup (that was supposed to make my throat NOT feel like I had swallowed a bottle brush) kicked in, it was nice to pretty much pass out, and come-to a couple hours later, and not miss too much. I think my work-peeps appreciated that payroll still happened despite not sitting in my chair, and not being in my office. Yay for my sidekick, Ham, who made sure I was connected even though I was way out there.

Yay for my kid who is currently home-schooled, who would peek his head in every so often to ask if there was anything that I needed. Yay for his compassion and hospitality. Yay for the orange tree in our back yard that magically produced a glass of tart deliciousness. I have no idea who did it for me, it just appeared between my periods of black-out.

Yay for past episodes of Criminal Minds. Yay for kleenex with lotion in it. Yay for watermelon. Yay for my mom giving me a super soft blanket that made me feel cozy but not suffocated. Yay for my friend who brought me delicious chicken soup. Yay for my man who would let me talk to him about geography and weird curiosities for hours on end because I accidentally took a day-time flu relief pill instead of a night-time flu relief pill - you know, the one that would have made me comatose for 10 hours...whoops. Let's talk about Holland! Achoo. Poor man.

So, dude, Life - I think I've met my quota for sickness for a LONG while. Can't we do sickness like jury duty - at maximum once a year - and I may miss for a few years while other people take their turn? That would better, I think. And more efficient. Just think it over.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016, really...I pose people. that's my job.

Dear Life,

Now that the holidays are over and I finally put the stockings away (YESTERDAY), I can come back to some humorously ironic sense of normalcy. Humorous AND ironic in a sense that only a primarily single mother of 3 children-who works more than full time-and is finishing a second graduate degree-and has a photography business-and is trying to get a music career off the ground would readily understand. But I know you feel me, life.

So, speaking of photography business, let's talk photo gigs (as this will nicely segue into my rant)...service oriented professions CAN be wonderfully gratifying. I mean, being privy to a front-row view of major life events, or even capturing real-time memories...pfff...there's nothing like it. It's also a tremendous responsibility. And getting paid to make art from nouns that can transform into something that shows unique beauty is flat amazing. The flip side is that in some cases, sometimes, generally, people are/can be a little crazy, a touch inconsiderate, and flat out not so nice...I won't even touch the bridezilla topic, other than to say yes, I've totally worked with them...and no, I'd really rather not again in the future.

#art for minimum wage
I think it positively HILARIOUS (in a harshly sarcastic way) that people are (more than once) under the mistaken impression that photographers 1) are obligated to take their event. And then think, 2) that said photographer must discount that time. I've had a handful of people over the years who have tried to wheel and deal the photography aspect of their event like they were buying a car. It's crazy. Ask yourself what you would like to be paid if you were spending anywhere between 4 to 8 hours on-site, only then to have to go home, upload, sort, edit, and post all of the images you've collected...for EACH job. What would your time be worth? What would your end product be worth? Perhaps you would reconsider offering your photographer $10 an hour. Don't get me wrong, there are a TON of peeps with cameras out there who think they've got an eye and can do what a professional does. I'm certain they would be stoked for the/any opportunity. But I also can guarantee that you will very much get/not get what you pay for.

#it's an investment in memories
Life, there's not a fellow respected photographer that I've ever met that doesn't spend deliberate, dedicated time processing, reviewing, even editing (for their client's sake, even if the client didn't pay for retouching - they just do it because it improves the overall), before they turn those images around. For a work-intensive project (like a wedding, or senior photos, or portraits, or, or, or...), it adds up to HOURS of work before you receive a site link or an appointment for a viewing. A SEASONED photographer goes for at LEAST $100/hour for a shoot. That's a per-hour minimum. That's someone who is has a candid/photojournalistic style. Someone that is more fashion-photography oriented will go for much higher depending on the experience and effort that they pour into your project. Some will/won't charge for travel time (depending on the location), but you should know that this whole process is their livelihood. Photographers are generally IN the business because they love to do it. But these hours matter. And they will work to make sure that they capture and create something that will take you back to those exact moments every time you glance at that photograph.

#the help? huh?
Some people also will treat photographers like they're sub-human...which is ridiculous. You WANT us to catch great moments, right? When you treat us like we're less...well, it may coincidentally happen that you end up with lots of photos of your guests with their mouths full, or blinking, or whatever. Not really. A professional will be annoyed by it, but will totally maintain. Even if we want to give you an album full of blinks and oopses in reply to your poor attitude. We may just save those photos for ourselves to giggle later. Not that I've done that...right?

#that's stealing
Despite all of this (wait, I'm saving my last peeve for last, but this is a good one), it's APPALLING that people think they can steal work! Ever had a photograph with a watermark that was on a website mysteriously appear on facebook in a weird cropped format that was clearly taken by a cell phone from a computer? Scandalous. If you made a deal with the photographer, they would probably allow you the rights to use fully on facebook. But come on. If you haven't paid for the work, it's not yet yours.

OKOKOK, I know you're saying that some photographers are REALLY expensive and I just really wanted that ONE image and and and. NO. There are THOUSANDS of photographers that are out there are are reasonably priced. Some will ask you what your budget is to see if they can work something out. If you have a relative, they may even do it for less. And if you have a friend who is a photographer, they may do it just because they love you. MAYBE. But that's for them to decide. I've given plenty a session as senior gift, or the like. It DOESN'T mean that I will do it for every client. (Some one that was referred was annoyed that I quoted her full price. Her friend had only paid "this" much. I had never met this person, didn't have a working relationship with them, but I had the referrer as a long time client.) I've also discounted work because people will allow me to use their images on my site as portfolio work. I've also have photographers discount their work because I've advertised for them by way of a blog, etc. There is an honest way to use work that is not yours. Get permission. Work it out. Just don't pirate images from the little guy. That $10K that you agreed to/invested in for your wedding - that's paying for a mortgage, for braces, for a family to's paying that photographer to pour their heart into their work and give you something remarkable. Don't think they have a gig like that every day. And be respectful of that contribution. Again, if it was yours, how would you react?

#magic camera
So, I think the most common funny is when people comment on my camera. In the following context: "Wow, that's such a beautiful picture! That must be some camera!" Yep. Yep, it's COMPLETELY my camera. My camera just magically creates art when I click this little button thingey on the top. Never mind that I've been handling an SLR since I was 11. Never mind that I've been professionally shooting and in the market for the last 15. Nope - thank mercy and heaven that I have a good camera! That's like someone making the most exquisite dinner and someone correlating the result to the quality of the oven. Wow, that must be SOME oven. Yah.

The truth is that someone could have the BEST CAMERA ON THE PLANET and still take shoddy, non-descript pictures. A camera is a tool/instrument. What makes it work and create results is the talent/skill/ability of the operator. Think of it in a cooking perspective: when, say, Bobby Flay uses a pan, HE works it. When a novice uses the same pan, for the same dish, it may have some noted variations or results. The pan in and of itself cannot make a dish, only aid in the the means. It's the same concept with a camera. Likewise, a master could create amazing results with a point and shoot, or even an insta-matic, and for fun, sometimes photographers do. It alters perspective. It limits some aspects of the process, but the challenge is good for growth and thinking outside of the box.

Case in point, I did a photo gig for my company. I took some manufacturing-esque photographs of items totally unique to our shop. People off of the street would not recognize some of these items, in fact many of them have an abstract feel to them, but employees walking through the plant know what they are - handle them every day. This was an artistic expression of these, sometimes mundane, articles that were posed in a different light...and noticed through this medium. I had them blown up and then it was decided to have them installed all over the facility. And that comment came out, "Wow, that must be some camera." Not really. I used my iPhone to take the images. And not a fancy 6S. My little, non-spectacular 5 series. Maybe I just got the magically-special iPhone.

 Do you think somewhere there's also a computer that will draft my work for me, or shoes that can run for me, or where can I pick up that stove that makes my dinner for me?? That would be greeeeeeat.

Say cheeeeeeese,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#how many more reps??

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Dear Life,

This workout gig is sometimes way challenging. I mean, I know that it's SOOOO good for me and helpful. I can admit those great benefits NOW while I'm cozy in my bed and hammering out this story, but at the time of forced exertion, I really just want to swear spitefully and spit or something. Usually, I just end up dripping alligator-tear-sized sweat globules all over everything. And it's pretty gross. I hear that some women "glisten". That's not me. I sweat hard. And sometimes it gets in my eyeballs. And it uber annoys (uber as in a lot, not uber like the ride). And I just want to scowl...but I don't. I actually smile through it. And I tell myself (in my head) that it sucks...but I say out loud that I LOOOOOVE it. Even the exercises/sets/reps that I would rather kick in the teeth (if they had them). And I cheer on my fellow paying-for-torture victims, I mean, friends...and then, YES (fine), I leave and I'm all glad that I did it (and that it's over) and the other satisfying junk. But I KNOW you know what I'm talking about.

So, this is the story of a girl who was once very athletic and mesomorphic, who is now the mother of three, who went through some SERIOUS post-partum and stuff, who also had attachment/rejection/abandonment issues, who consequently had issues with food, who then had weird disassociation issues with food, who then faced other life things, who then AGAIN turned to said weird food issues, who then realized on her own that she could be/do better, who tried (seemingly) a billion things and wished for better, who, then, felt defeated, who then started training, who then flopped, who then was insane and out the gate trained for a flippin' half marathon, and then did it, who, then, proved to herself that this flabby body had some strong stuff underneath and decided to cultivate that slowly, but steadily...because it's hard. Way hard. Because if anyone is going to fix THIS (motioning to all of myself), it's going to be me. My way. My terms.

#it helps to see the potential
Once upon a time, my ex-man and I decided that we were going to join a big fat gym and the spiffy membership included a Hot Jock trainer (he really was both Hot and a Jock). My then-man was the type that was super dynamic and athletic-like, and could easily build muscle and so, the Hot Jock focused most of his energy with him. I think he pretty much wrote me off. It was awkward for me to be in that environment when my "official" training experience in a gym was directly relational to building stamina and strength to be a better competing athlete. It was weird and awkwardly intimidating to be in a room with men and women...many of whom were there to meet-market in workout clothes...I just kinda went covert-shy and tried/prayed to be invisible. When Hot Jock actually got around to working with me one-on-one, he realized that I had an unusual flexibility (thank you, years of dancing), and was ironically strong (thank you, Hawaiian genes). Oh, and that my style wasn't to swear at him and be a witch with a B. I remember seeing his handwritten notes after a couple of sessions that said I was in poor physical shape...but it had been scratched out and written beneath it was "great potential - great range of motion and endurance. Easy to work with." So there was something to me...even if he didn't see it at first.

#totally NOT one size fits all
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. There's not one perfect type/kind. It's funny, because I guess looking at me, there are often assumptions that I can't do...whatever. But, given the opportunity, one will discover that there's a LOT I can do. For instance, carry my side of the couch up two flights of stairs one handed. Or, still do a back flip on a trampoline. Or, still carry ALL of my mother's groceries in from the car up the stairs in one trip. I can still pick up my 15 year old...and can fireman hold my man...just for fun. I could probably also rip a car off of my kid if the adrenaline was sufficient...or detach someone's face if my off was pissed enough. But that doesn't happen too often, so I can just talk about that, not actually show my Hulk. Not today, at least. My previous point is that in a world of skinny, I have come to realize that my inclination or propensity is not ever going to be twiggy. When I get there, it will be hella strong, but not thin-like...and I would rather be the former than the latter. I would rather do 5 pull ups than be 95 pounds. Just sayin'.

#David Lopez @ VCF3
When I met David (name NOT changed, because, well, he's rad and has been a huge supporter) (Except, I'm going to call him Super David...and initialize his name for the rest of the story (SD)), it was at a baseball field years ago. His wife and I had been friends during our high school years and I LOOOOVE HER which also made me easily befriend him. Our (then little) boys were on the same youth league baseball team, which meant we would have at least two days a week gettin' together and chattin' it up. During that time, I learned that SD had been a trainer for 8ish years at a large gym in the area and had decided to go it on his own. My past-experience with Hot Jock had admittedly left kind of a bad taste in my mouth for trainers. But I sincerely trusted SD, because contrary to my externally-based former exposure, I knew what would be different is that HE wouldn't judge me or write me off for not being in elite-fit shape. I knew he would be tough on me and push me to places that would work me out of my comfort zones, but he wouldn't break me in the process for his own amusement. I also watched him work with his children, which gave me a perspective of the kind of responsible, deliberate, but with a sense of humor person that he was. I made a choice and I gave him a shot.

For the sake of my story, I have to air my flaws, one of which is that I fall straight on my face at being consistent in fitness. I'm REALLY good with things that I'm good at. But this is not one of those things. I admit that I will go all-in HARD...and then my life interferes and distracts me...and then it becomes super easy to justify not going, or not doing, or getting stressed out and not eating rabbit food, but instead, being content to eat almost a whole bag (fine, A WHOLE BAG) of something deliciously salty...or delectably chocolatey...or perfectly cake-like...or cinnamon-roll-like...or something irresistible like know, hypothetically. Part of the experience of fitness is purely mental. It's a LOT work, a greater part nutrition, and an even more epic part mental. It's a butt kicker...I mean, brain? kicker? Whatever, you know what I'm trying to say. The challenge is more expansive than JUST limited to the physical. So, falling back into known habits, it's common. Justifying the quit is typical. And my reasons WERE good: I was finishing my first master's, I was dealing with some hell-ey things at work, I was getting sick, my kids needed me...I couldn't keep things together, so I cut out the workout part of my life. Because I could. And while a part of me wallowed in guilt, another part of me was happy not to have to get up at 4:30am to drive to a workout...but rather, happier to wrap the duvet over my head to have an extra few minutes of morning nap time before I went to work. It would only be for a little while. I thought I would pause for a month or so until things calmed down. So, yeah...I paused...

For, like, a YEAR. Seriously, don't judge me.

What I appreciate most about SD is that when I reached out to him, hesitantly, humbly, he was cool. He wasn't an elbow-face because I had been gone for so long. He didn't ask me how many boxes of peanut butter crunch cereal I had eaten for dinner in the last month. He didn't try to break my face on the first day. And he didn't make me run around the adjacent building pulling a sled with a 45 pound weight on it straight out the, he waited a few months for that one specifically (and it was brutal, but I did it - and he totally knew I could, even when I didn't know I could). He flat-out accepted that I was at a completely sub-level compared to everyone else and he gladly worked with that. I don't think everyone is that patient...or that understanding. Again, Hot Jock blew me off initially...and what was (gratefully) obtuse in this moment with SD was that I was inclined to try harder because I knew I could trust his judgment and his expertise.

So, another flaw is that I am guilty of sometimes letting myself off the hook. My excuses play into that. They're my mechanisms. I recognized that, and planned accordingly. To prevent my own sabotage, I recruited a personal support fail-safe: my little brother. The valedictorian. The track sprinter and hurdler. The 18 year old with, like, 7.4% body's way mis-matched. We can't complain to each other the way I could with someone my own age, or whatever, but this has been surprisingly better. It wasn't about being physically similar, rather being present for this torture, I mean, experience together. I would HAVE to go if he was there, right? Right. Even if he kicks my tush in everything. Even if he can do 100 pull ups (jerk). Doesn't matter. Going. Doing.

I have to throw in that SD is a bad ass. I mean, he's this ex-marine guy...he's the kind of guy that is waaaay nice, but you don't want to cross this guy or give him reason to be mad...EVER. The outcome for you would be painful and just very bad. You would end up being the one peeling yourself off of the wall. When he means business, HE MEANS BUSINESS. It's funny, because when my brother first started, on the way home from his first workout, he was a little scared. He asked questions like, "Has he ever yelled at you??" And my answer was simple: No, I've never given him reason to.

So, SD does super early (5am) classes. He does the night class (6pm) on Monday and Friday (which ended up being more friendly with my schedule). On Tuesday and Thursday, it's another trainer...and this is where my story begins...I mean, like, with a point, begins.

I've already established that the fitness/training relationship is initially very awkward. For good reason. You're putting EV-RYYY-THING out there...and trusting that they 1) won't roll on the ground and laugh at you while pointing, 2) won't break you for their own sick and twisted amusement, and 3) will know how to modify moves in the event that your legs, knees, back, shoulders, coccyx, gallbladder, or your face, are/is broken. And interfacing with a substitute...(while great because you don't miss a workout) presents some challenges for one like me. I mean, it's fine, but it is "interesting".

SD was doing something one particular day when I had started coming to the evening classes. I didn't realize it until it was too late. When I walked in with my brother, I looked at her, NOT SD, then I looked at my brother like, 'who is this lady?' And then, I made the unforgivable mistake - I made eye contact. UGH!!!

It was a Tuesday. Not SD is a sickeningly super cute lady. It's difficult not to describe her in a not-nice way, because the truth is that she's way nice. And her workouts are good stuff...but to add to the drama of my story...and to clearly articulate my unreasonable (meh) annoyance, I must go back to the beginning where I didn't care that she was nice. In my mind, she was only about trying to kill me.

There I was, one of a group of many struggling workout persons (ahem-victims) just trying to get through the reps properly without being killed. Remember when I wrote about Hot Jock? And the good stuff that I got out of the SD workouts?? I HAVE a really good functional and form foundation (more from SD than anyone else). I KNOW how to properly squat (even with a torturously heavy kettle bell). I KNOOW how to lunge (even though I would rather stick needles in my eyeballs than lunge...especially so when its also with an absurdly heavy kettle bell). I KNOOOW how to do freaking high-knees (even though I feel like an elephant doing high-knees with or without a kettle bell). I KNOOOOW how to do burpees (even thought I would rather lick my feet than do any likeness of a burpee). And even though I have complete malignity toward said exercises, I still DO them...willingly, fully, correctly...because I know why I'm there. It's like being a kid and having to eat your spinach (even though I love spinach - I get it, it's a bad example, but it's the only one I could drum up to illustrate my point!), they may not like it, but they'll eat it. So, here I am, doing my thing...minding my form, not doing it crazy fast (because I ALWAYS worry about giving it 100% at first and then being the limp noodle on the floor after the first rep...oh, and then not being able to use my arms or legs for at least 3 days thereafter...). From a self-preservation standpoint, I always push myself, but usually not toward immediate fatal fallout. Again, don't judge me.

When I got to the place where I was BURNING and taking it a little slower (to get through the whole session), she was all over me. And I nodded politely. Then, when I was burpeeing until my arms were shaky, she was all over me. And I smiled through a slimy, sweaty my laundry lady who doesn't know/care what the love I'm talking about. And she wasn't, like, being a hole all over me, just giving me pointers and trying to make it better for me. Did she not get it??? I WAS TRYING TO BE INVISIBLE!!! But no, this lady was trying to be helpful! And FRIENDLY!! And TALKATIVE!!! DON'T TALK TO ME!!! Don't walk by modeling your well-sculpted shoulders!! Or your perfect bubble butt!! Or your, like, SIZE 00 waist!! Just let me be elephant-like by myself!!! STOP with your PERKY encouragement!! Do I LOOK like I want to hear your happy, ring-like voice telling me I can do it?!? So, I nick-named her (shamefully). PITA: Pain In The Abs.

So, talk points: 1) PITA, CLEARLY, based on the shape she's in, knows her stuff. You don't get shoulders like that from throwin' back Dr. Pepper's and toaster pastries. And I get that. SD also would NOT have asked her to sub for a class if HE hadn't have trusted her. I knew all of this. I just didn't care. 2) I am an outwardly happy participant, but inwardly? It's a war: I'm a complaining, insecure, grouchy worker-outer. These are my flaws. I'm just making you privvy to my honest madness. 3) MY attitude totally barred me from accepting her help - LEARN FROM ME, PEOPLE, PLEASE. And it's not because her advice and instruction wasn't true or valid or's just that I was prideful and prejudiced and biased because (simply) she wasn't SD...and she wasn't what I wanted...and didn't know me...and there was no acceptable SD substitutions...and I didn't care. Pbthtt. In this instance, I didn't want or like there. 4) I just wanted to complain because she was more better than me...I'm admitting it.

I sent SD a facebook message that night. To whine. Politely. And he patiently put me back on track. Because sometimes I'm a weenie. And I know it. The honest truth is that I would feel the same distrust and harsh suspicion for a different hairdresser, or a different dentist...even though I CHOSE to do it. I'm just stupid-lame that way.

I poked holes in my over-inflated ego. I did what SD said, and I stuck with it. I still prefer SD more than anyone else, but I've come to embrace everything that PITA has to offer, because, like I said, she's REALLY, REALLY nice. And trying to help me/us get better. And even though I was a jerk in my head and was secretly scowley, she let me be. But I know better. Just because it's a different style or approach or personal doesn't make it a bad thing. I get great stuff out of both trainers. Just in different methods and through different theories. Neither of them let me off of the hook, it's just one (SD) knows better what I'm capable of because of time and testing, and places emphasis on that potential. I've given him a chance and that flavor totally works for me. Also, the very thing that irritated me about being pre-judged by trainers is exactly what I was doing in reverse to PITA. My training issues have NOTHING to do with her...and making her the scape goat for my hissy-fit was just a launch pad to another justification. Only this time, it wasn't. Because I WANT to get better...and I need every ounce of help I can get. Including her's.

#break it down
I totally, publicly, sincerely repent of being mean...and calling her a nick-name...even though it was a really true and appropriate moniker. There was some SERIOUS pain in my abs, and an overabundance of burpees and lunges. It's the spirit behind it that was unnecessary...and unkind. I just got over myself because I knew if someone would have done that to me, it would have hurt my feelers. See??!? I'm not totally without a heart...and I know better.

The moral of the story is that my dumpy attitude contributes to my means of success. Sowing good things, brings good things in every way, shape, thought and action. Applying that mental piece in a positive way is vital. If I think it's a drag, it will become even moreso as a manifestation of my mental state. Mental is a powerful key to personal adaptation and achievement. Feeding positive thoughts into that machine is what will bring positive results. Anything negative becomes amplified. We become what we cultivate.

Love who you are. Be mindful of how you face personal adversity. Sow kindness. Give what you can to all things. Accept that some days, your best will be failure, but that will be a catalyst for growth, change and self-evolution.

Whatever your journey, you can do it...even if it means you have a few reps of burpees. You'll get through it. You may surprise yourself.