Friday, February 26, 2010

Do These Training Wheels Make My Manifesto Look Big?

Have you ever had the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something? Yeah. Me too. Usually I just ignore it. Ok, this is complicated so I will get to the point. Several things have happened over the last few months that have given me the determination to change my status quo and break out of my box. Ok, perhaps determination is too strong a word. What is the word for "I'm still chicken but I think perhaps it is about time I do change because I am turning 40 next week and so what better time to finally break out of my shell and do something really different, really hard and really unexpected even if I don't really want to?" Where the heck is my thesaurus...
So, if you can, follow my train of thought through the last few months...
First, an old college roommate announced that she was training for her first triathlon. Something I have always thought I might like to do, but too afraid.
Then a friend suggested that I consider doing a local century bike ride this summer. Yeah, right.
Then a beautiful young lady who is livin' the life and blogging about it *here* posted what I will call her "Fear Manifesto." She is doing it. She is busting out. Naming her fears, conquering her fears and telling the whole blogosphere about it. I was touched by her original post and a follow-up entitled "what are you waiting for?" So I asked NatureGirl, "NatureGirl, what are you waiting for?" She had a whole list that I will not bore you with now. But then she had the gall to remind me of my own recent post *here* in which I was dumb enough to say that I was finally ready to take a step outside of my box.
So....I asked Hunky Hubby if he would like to ride that Century with me. He would. One hundred miles. I was thinking of doing the 1/2 though. That sounded doable, and not too much of a challenge, and even kinda fun, and isn't that enough, and couldn't I call that my box-breakout!
But then (stay with me here I know it is confusing)...a girlfriend who is doing a different 100 miler this spring right before her 40th birthday, gave me a good talking to a la...
"What do you mean only half, you are fit, it is your 40th birthday for crying out loud, it's only an extra 50 miles, yeah it is long and hard and you could wind up with a bike seat permanently affixed to your posterior, embrace it, go big or go home!" And yes, those were her exact words.
So Now...I don't know. I think I may actually want to go through with this thing, crazy as it seems. Hmmmm....yeah....who knew? But how do you shed the fear? And what is it that I am really afraid of? I think perhaps...
Quote of the Day:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

--Marianne Williamson author

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'll Take My Great Expectations With A Side of B12...

I am so incredibly proud of myself. We are halfway through February and so far I have kept the annual breakdown, and ensuing rant about said breakdown, forcibly in check. Admittedly this is due in large part to the pills. Don't worry...only vitamins. That combined with a steel will and relentless determination to stay positive for the next few weeks is so far seeing me through. Ok, it's the pills...ok, ok and the chocolate but still, it is working...kind of.
I must reluctantly confess that I am longing for some warm weather and sunshine. The very few days when the sun has shone this last month has found me perched in the big south facing front room window soaking up the rays and replenishing my scant supply of vitamin D. I have resorted yet again to wearing crazy outfits just to get some relief from the winter wardrobe woes that have befallen me the last few weeks (crazy socks a must here). And I have found myself at this here computer more often than I would like to admit...
Last year I succumbed to the doldrums and had my temper tantrum...right here in public. I am not making any guarantees that it won't happen again, but this year I really am trying. Trying to live in the moment. Trying to find the lesson in the measured melt of winter and the gradual approach into a new season. Trying to remember that beneath the feet of snow lies dormant all the makings of spring. Trying to keep in mind that as soon as I have almost given up hope and resigned myself to the long wait, it happens. As if from Wow. If there is not a lesson in there somewhere I will be surprised. So until the magic happens, here I am still enjoying a cozy fire and the feel of a warm mug of cocoa in my hands. I am loving woolen socks and heavy blankets. I am listening to the steady drip of the snow melting off the roof and marveling at the beauty that is winter in the north...And still basking in the sun with wild, ferocious and reckless abandon whenever I am lucky enough to find it!
Quote of the day: "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."
~Charles Dickens from Great Expectations

Friday, February 5, 2010

Et Tu NatureGirl...

I don't really know where this post is going (Ok, true...I never do). I DO, however know where this one came from. A beautiful young lady over at BalancedMoms.
Crystal recently posted a link to my simple little blog and said some pretty nice things about me as well. I was taken aback albeit flattered and touched. She admires me? Um, hello...are there not mirrors in your house?! I certainly do not mean to embarrass this girl or offend, but I need to make this point. I will speak in generalities though. I esteem women like this one who seem to have everything I will never have, not in a jealous way, but in a "she sure as heck cannot find anything to admire about me" way. Girls with classic beauty, good fashion sense, perfectly decorate homes, cooking skills, sewing skills, whatever it may be, cannot possibly wish to walk in any of my sensible shoes.
Don't get me wrong, I do not fancy myself the Hunchback or anything, but I have always thought myself a bit of a nerd. Most likely to be called "cute" rather than beautiful. Never on the cheer squad, but rather secretary of the Latin club. Semper Ubi, Sub Ubi. Little Latin humor. My family label..."the smart one." My sister? "The pretty one". Ridiculous! We are both smart and pretty thank you very much! Anyway, Crystal's comment got me thinking. Thinking about something that happened to me about 10 years ago.
There was a house that I loved in a neighborhood near me. It never went up for sale, so we finally built nearby. Soon after our home was finished, yep you guessed it, the house came for sale. A lovely young family moved in and began attending my same church. The mother was gorgeous, of course! All put together...something I will never be, and living in what I thought was the cutest house on the block. I immediately thought, "Oh well, I guess she won't want to be friends with the likes of me."
Shortly after they moved in we were given a church assignment together and became friends. I eventually told her of my first impression and she laughed. The previous summer it turns out that she had watched me playing in the yard with my kids and planting flower beds in front of my brand new house every week as she dropped kids off at my neighbor's for music lessons, and had said to herself, "Wow, that girl has it all!" We both laughed, and cried and hugged each other 'cause that is what women do when they realize how stupid they have both been. Plus I love irony!
Ok, so you get the point, I hope. Good, because I am not sure I know how to explain it. I thought that I had learned something from that lesson, but here I did it again. I assumed more than once that because another woman was "all that" and a great big bag of super nice chips that I did not have anything to offer her. Luckily neither of them was so shallow. We all have plenty to offer one another. Women of faith and kindness, of strength, intelligence, creativity and insight. Real women, real lives, real fun! I am learning...thank you all for teaching me.
Quote of the Day: "A woman's whole life is a history of the affections."
~Washington Irving writer

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do Wa Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Redo!

I am frugal by nature. Just born that way, I guess. My mother often tells a particular story illustrating my superior prudence. Seriously, the stuff family legends are made of. When I was a teen, she sent my sister and me to the mall with $300 each to buy clothes for the school year. (Just in case my kids ever read, you cannot have that much--Grandma is nuts!) After several hours she retrieved us and found that I had only purchased a grey knitted skinny necktie. I am good with money, not fashion, and it was the 80's ok. Total: $6.00. Not my fault. I cannot spend it. I do not know where the phobia comes from, and I am not sure I want to know. It is probably some sort of deep-seated trauma that I am neither equipped nor inclined to deal with.
The only good thing to do with money? Save it.
I know, as always, I exaggerate a wee bit, but just hoping that you can understand where I am coming from here. I love saving money. I love not spending money. I get get a bit giddy depriving myself of things that I even kind of want, but that is probably a therapy session for another day. Where is this rambling rant going? Repurposing that is where! (repurpose: tr.v. re·pur·posed, re·pur·pos·ing, re·pur·pos·es: To use or convert for use in another format or product.) I think I have always done this naturally. I reduce my possessions often. I like shopping second-hand. I reuse anything that isn't too gross. No, cleaning ziploc bags is NOT gross, but using the TP from your teenagers' friends' midnight foray IS. I recycle what I can and compost anything that the chickens don't eat. Of course what they do eat gets composted eventually too, but the chickens recycle that themselves! Point is...I think I am ready to step it up a notch. Hence the Repurpose Rampage. Come. Join me. Find something in your house that you can repurpose and keep using in a different manner. Then come share your project to help inspire the rest of us.
Back in the "old days" our grandparents didn't need a fancy name for it. It was just life. I still think it is, but luckily now it is chic so we can admit without hesitation and even with a bit of enthusiasm that we got our cool stuff at a thrift shop or garage sale. Better yet, reuse our own junk! Remember the old depression era adage: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without? Ya baby!
Ok, rant over, but really, I want to hear from you. My creative juices are flowing, but I do not have that much juice, so I need some ideas. Hopefully some of the projects I have in mind will actually turn out and I can share those. I recently turned a couple of old, holey blanket-sleepers that no longer fit my daughter into great little blankies for her dolls. She helped, we had fun, didn't spend a penny and I wound up with two left over zippers for other projects. Yippee! Dust off that sewing machine. Dig up those unused sheets and pillow cases. Break out the old paint cans. Clean out a closet or two. Oh ya...good times!
Quote of the day: "Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship"
-- Benjamin Franklin statesman, philosopher and all around cheap skate