Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Wanna - Part 2

I Wanna...Relax. Chill out. Be more easy going, less stressed out. LESS STRESS! Stress has probably been my biggest problem throughout my life. I've been stressed out since I can remember. I was 7 years old when I first remember feeling stressed out and it's been pretty constant since then. For the past few months, I've been focusing all of my attention on stress management. I even have a little biofeedback device to tell me when I'm in a relaxed state because I can't even recognize it on my own. I read, I write, I play my guitar, I sleep, I exercise, I have bubble Fridays, I learned to knit. I want to learn to walk slower, and in the rain. I want to play more. I want to day dream more. I'm learning and will continue throughout the rest of the year and probably the rest of my life.

I Wanna...Write. Well, blogging will take care of some of that. But I want more than that. Some of the happiest days I had last year were spent writing essays for a book that is being written my Suzette Standring. The great and ominous "They" say that if you want to know what you're meant to do with your life, you should ask yourself what you choose to do when you have no other obligations. Or you can ask yourself what you think about when you're brushing your teeth. For me, it's writing. I read books or journal when I have nothing else going on. And when I'm brushing my teeth, I'm running through all the ideas I have for things I could write. But do I write? No. Why? Because I'm an emotional basket case who has tortured myself into paralysis from doing what I love to do. I did the same thing with playing my guitar. Well I'm done. Done allowing that bitch in my head to steal my joy.

I Wanna...Speak French. Hubby and I took French classes all through 2011 to prepare for our big vacation to/around France. We studied and studied and practiced and got all ready. We went to France and spoke mostly French the whole time we were there. Then we got home and haven't spoken a word of it since. Ugh. All that work to just come home and lose it all? I don't think so. We have signed up for the next level French class starting on January 10th. French 4 here we come. And our wonderful French friend is super excited to help us read all the children's books we bought in the beautiful ancient bookstores I found in Lyon and Paris. Parlez vous Francais? Oui oui.

I Wanna...Donate. Yes, I wanna give money to charities. I'd also like to give time too but I'm already running short on that with all my big plans for the new year. Originally, I was thinking I would like to volunteer for a playhouse. I love seeing plays and musicals. One of my favorite things to do. And there are opportunities but they all ask for a long term commitment and I just don't know that I can do that right now. So, I'm going to pick a charity and Hubby is going to pick one and we'll start giving our money away. The nice thing about it is that both of our companies do a match so if we give, we make our companies give too. I've given lots of money and time to the breast cancer people. I'm done with them. I'm trying to decide between the MS Society or the Humane Society. Maybe both. Another benefit of donating? "They" say that people who give money to charities tend to become more wealthy than people who don't give. Win, win!

I Wanna...Save. While we're on the money subject---. I've always been a saver so it's not a huge stretch for me. I'm a planner through and through so saving is like second nature. But I do also love expensive shoes. This year, Hubby and I have vowed to simplify our already uncomplicated existence and just sock all of our excess money into savings so we can have and keep a little rainy day fund. Who knows, maybe I'll want to quit my job and be a struggling writer. Or maybe he'll get burnt out and need to run away for a few months. Then what would we do? We'll have the rainy day fund. I have a friend who calls it her "f&ck you fund" because if she feels like flipping her boss the finger and walking out the door, she can. Brilliant!

I Wanna...Do it NOW. I want to stop procrastinating. I'm not a huge procrastinator to begin with but I do tend to put some things off. Another thing I do pretty regularly is attach the "some day" statement to the end of a desire. I would love to write, some day. I would love to go sky diving, some day. I would love to learn to ride a motorcycle, some day. I would love to be fluent in a foreign language, some day. I would love to travel more, some day. Well, some day never comes if you don't sometimes make some day today. I started doing this in my own life a couple years ago and I'm getting better. I'm a work in progress. But I have learned to ride a motorcycle, I have been learning to speak French, I have travelled to some amazing places. Life is short and you never know when the sky will fall so you might as well live for today. Today, I'm writing because it makes me happy. Today, I'm playing my guitar because it makes me happy. Today, I'm going to hang out in a stinky old used bookstore because those are my favorite. If I want miracles in my life, I have to learn to act on my inspired thoughts when I have them or the enthusiasm will die and the magic will disappear. I don't want to be left wondering what could have been just because I was lazy or afraid to find out NOW.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Wanna - Part 1

This year, instead of making firm "resolutions" to state that I must accomplish such and such by a particular date to consider myself a success...I've decided to just focus my attention on the things that I want to do.

What do I want?

I Wanna... Clean house. I wanna go through everything I own and sort, label, organize, and toss whatever I haven't used in a year, forgot I had, or doesn't fit me right now. One reason I've decided to put this on my Wanna List this year is because there's just something refreshing about cleaning out the old. I love the feeling I get when I go through my closet and pull out things that I've felt the need to keep for years because of nostalgic reasons or for the hope that one day I'll fit into it again. The other reason I have put this on my Wanna List this year is because of the next wanna.

I Wanna... Move. I have lived in the suburbs for over a dozen years and it has never fit me, not for a second. I'm a city girl through and through. I belong in the city. For the past several years, hubby and I have talked about moving back downtown and we are finally, FINALLY on the same page. We are going to be moving in March or April to a condo in the sky. "Well good morning doorman, what lovely weather today." We currently live in a house so when we move, we'll be scaling down which is great motivation for cleaning house. Hallelujah! Hear the angels sing.

I Wanna... Lose weight. But doesn't everyone want that? I know I'm not original and it ain't the first time that wanna has made it on my list. Hopefully it's the last! I've struggled with my weight for years but now I am better armed with more info about the inner workings of my body so hopefully it helps resolve the weight loss problem. The blogging, working with a personal trainer, watching what I eat, vitamins, thyroid replacement, good sleep, drinking lots of water, and monthly activity shuffle should also help a bit too.

I Wanna... Play Classical Guitar. Yes, I love my guitar. Yes, I've taken lessons before. Yes, I quit taking those lessons a couple years ago because I was being mean to myself. Life has recently provided me a little perspective though and I'm ready to slap that inner bitch in the face and tell her to shut the F#$% up so I can once again enjoy learning to play the beautiful music I love on the instrument I love. I already contacted my old guitar instructor and am scheduled to start lessons again on January 8th.

I Wanna... Spread joy. I know, I know, so very vague. The thought hit me recently that I just don't do a lot for others. Yes, I'm generous and thoughtful and all that stuff but I don't feel like I contribute much to the happiness or joy of others. Instead, I think I'm more of a negative Nancy sucking the joy from the room if ever I'm given the opportunity. Why? Because I have always found sarcasm and biting wit to be funny. Funny to me, yes. But I never stopped to consider what I was taking from others by being that way, until now. So I want to start being nicer to people. I want to be more considerate. When someone wants to merge, slow down to make room for them. When someone goes up to a grocery line the same time I do, let them go first. Smile at people. Say "good morning". Doing those things doesn't take anything from me so why not just do them to give to someone else. I already got the ball rolling on this too. I sent out 20 blank note cards to 20 random people I blindly chose from the white pages to wish them happiness and prosperity. No signature, no return address. One stranger sending good wishes to another. Hopefully it made 20 people smile even if for just a moment.

I have more wannas coming in Part 2. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Resolution Schmesolution

Every year I make resolutions and every year I review them to see that I haven't really accomplished any of them as I had previously defined. Then I take a moment to throw a mini pity party for myself before I realize just how much I accomplished through the year that may not have been on my new years resolution list.

Example #1- One of my resolutions for 2011 was to finally get this extra weight off. Here I am at the end of the year and I'm 9lbs heavier than I was on January 1st. Total failure? Not exactly. I have been doing pretty rigorous weight training and I'm told that I have built a substantial amount of muscle which could explain some of the gain. Plus, health isn't just all about the scale either. I have maintained a consistent exercise regimen throughout the year even with the sky falling all around me.

Example #2 - Another goal for 2011 was to have a significant amount of money in savings but I'm no where near that balance. Again, failure? No way! I was still able to save more than I had in previous years and take a dream vacation to France and I enjoyed going out with friends and fun activities with my nephews. Success!

Example #3 - I had a goal of getting my dog into agility training in 2011. I did NOT do any agility training with her though. That seems pretty cut and dry as a failure. But knowing the dog she was at the beginning of the year and how she is now shows me that I have successfully helped her through her psycho fears so she can be a normal dog. So what if I didn't pursue the agility course for her. She's no longer deathly afraid of everything and she can be a happy dog. That's success in my book.

I've weighed in on the new years resolution debate before (Resolutions, Goal Setting) and little came of it so I'm not concocting any master plans this year. Instead, I'm just going to give a simple list of what I've been thinking of putting on my new years resolutions list. Of course the following items don't meet the requirements of appropriate goal setting and they're mostly vague but I don't care this year. I'm just writing down what makes me happy and I'll go from there.

Clean house (organize, label, sort, toss)
Lose 50lbs
Spread joy
Speak French
Do it NOW
Be nice

I'll elaborate on them and will also likely revise the list as time goes by but at least it's an idea and it's in writing. Actually, I'll elaborate on one of them right now.

I've totally slacked on the blogging in the past few months, for very good reason. Regardless, I've decided to reinstate the monthly activity list and maybe even the voting feature if I can figure out this new stupid Blogger interface. When I started blogging back in 2009, I did so because I love to write, I wanted to start "journaling", and I wanted the accountability and support network that comes from blogging as I figured out how to remove the couch fabric from my ass. It was a brilliant plan and it worked well for a long time. was fun. Very important! So I'm doing it again. Blogging regularly and choosing a different activity to dedicate myself to each month.

January. January is going to be dedicated to.....ballroom dancing. Woohoo! Stay tuned for more info. I'll have my activity calendar posted and I'll let you all know my plan so you can watch, point, and laugh at me as I stumble my way through the month.

And just for fun.....other bloggers and their take on resolutions:
Happiness Project Resolution Questions
Endurance isn't Only Physical Resolutions
Helen doing a 180 - To Not Sucking

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Struggling to get the taste of 2011 out of my mouth, all I have is hope for the future.

As I sit here running the memories through my mind of the last 360 days, I realize that this year has been one of the most challenging of my entire life, although nothing can compare to 1989. Puberty was a bitch! I'll just leave it at that.

2011 in the world of Salina has challenged everything I believe, everything I thought I knew about myself, my future, my friends, my family, my health, my priorities. This blog started as a weight loss journey under the concept that if I choose to just live an active lifestyle, my body will naturally reflect my choices and shed the excess weight. As the year comes to a close, I'm forced to pick up that measuring stick and look at where I've been so I can make a plan for where I want to go.

I started the year at 167 lbs. A hop, skip, and a KO later, here I am on December 28th and the scale reports 176 lbs. Was I perfect? Apparently not, but perfection is not a prerequisite for progress. I have gained 9 lbs over the last year despite:
  1. all the food tracking on sparkpeople,
  2. exercising 5days per week,
  3. working with a nutritionist,
  4. working with a personal trainer,
  5. having the world's best accountabilibuddy,
  6. taking vitamins,
  7. drinking 60oz of water every day,
  8. sleeping 8hrs every night,
  9. journaling every day,
  10. taking a 3 week long dream vacation to France
So what happened.....again? Stress! Stress! Stress! Oh and a couple medical situations. The more important of the two is a disease called Hashimoto's Disease. You can read about it at the link provided but basically my immune system is attacking my thyroid gland so it has to work harder and harder to process enough thyroid hormone, which it's not doing so well. It's easily treated with thyroid replacement though. Time will tell how it impacts my weight loss efforts.

Stress is the primary suspected culprit. I'm still undecided about disclosing to the internet what exactly has happened but for now I will say that I have had a medical situation rock my world for the better part of 2011. In addition to that and Hashimoto's, my husband and I had to deal with a significant death in our family. No wait, two deaths. Our dog died this year too. Sweet Pollyanna!

RIP My Sweet Girl!

I think time has shown that my hypothesis was flawed. If I live an active lifestyle, my body won't necessarily reflect those choices and shed extra weight. Unfortunately, I have found that there is more to the equation than that. Do I have the answers? No freakin' clue! Perhaps I do but I haven't yet figured out how to implement them in my life.

I don't see my "project" if you want to call it that as a complete failure over the past few years though. I have successfully built a life that I love and friendships that have saved my sanity more than a few times. Once upon a time, I considered myself a couch potato but today that is no longer true. Even with challenges in my life, I'm living active and actively living. I have not and will not allow a diagnosis, a disability, a death, or any other challenge life decides to throw at me keep me from living the kind of life I want and deserve. I just get to redefine the path I suppose.

Mother nature spontaneously sets fire to her beautiful work to clear the debris and make way for new growth. Perhaps that's exactly what she has done in my life this year too. All I have now is hope for a better future no matter what it brings.