Category Archives: Good for Me

getting out of my own way

03.2018_iowa

pizza at pagliai’s; hamm’s beer and cheeseburgers at george’s; the haunted bookshop; and street art

B & I had a great visit in northside Iowa City. In my estimation, he picked the perfect neighborhood to live in, and we spent our two days together enjoying it. The sun was shining and the weather was milder than Michigan; we ran down around the University of Iowa campus, ate cheeseburgers at George’s (dive bar extraordinaire) and browsed at the Haunted Bookshop where I finally spotted the other resident cat (I had to go both days).

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We finally watched one of the Oscar-nominated films (I don’t think either of us had seen any of them yet) – Three Billboards. Although the casting was wonderful, the movie itself perplexed and annoyed both of us. Spoiler Alert –> Couldn’t they have just focused on the ensemble cast and the themes of grief and vengeance and foregone the Molotov cocktails and the throwing of people out of windows?

It was a short visit (made shorter by Daylight Savings) and all too soon I was back in my car for the six hour journey home. I picked an Audible unabridged version of Ann Rule’s “The Stranger Beside Me” (about her relationship with notorious serial killer Ted Bundy). Unfortunately, this book is leaving me perplexed and annoyed as well, and not just because Ted Bundy was an evil maniac. It’s making me feel as though maybe I’m just an overly critical consumer of entertainment. I’m not quite done with it yet, so I will refrain from sharing my feelings about it until I am.

Back home; I am plunged into preparations for Book Fair and fighting a sore throat and rampant ennui. I feel woefully inadequate for the tasks ahead of me in the next week and a half and I am trying to focus on a passage I read in the Crosswick Journals by Madeline L’Engle (a battered three-volume set that I picked up for a song at the aforementioned Haunted Bookshop, and which is filled with more wonderful quotes and musings than I can possibly begin to digest – and while I’m at it allow me to confess one additional thing that may prove my point about being overly critical – I am deeply suspicious of the new movie version of “A Wrinkle In Time” – deeply – and not just because it is packed with Oprah and “big names” – although that might be part of it):

“A winter ago I was asked by the Children’s Book Council to write a story, and agreed to do so. I was telling Tallis about it, and said, “I’m really very nervous about this.” He looked at me contemptuously: “You don’t think you’re going to have anything to do with it, do you?” “No,” I retorted, “but I could get in the way.”

Here’s to getting out of our own way. xo

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thanks for waiting

The side hustle is done! and I am waiting for my grades on my last exam and appellate brief before I start celebrating! I’m happy to have some free time to do some other things that I am passionate about (including blogging). In the meantime, here’s some photos that I’ve missed sharing while I’ve been immersed in Westlaw searches and Statsky 8th Ed.

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we had a couple of whomper snowstorms –  my little battery powered Snow Joe did well but when the snow plows came thru i had no choice but to resort to manual efforts. 

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very quick trip to queretaro, mexico for work

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more than one snowy run but mostly relegated to treadmill.

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My house is still full of love, Miss L, cats, unfolded laundry, stacks of library books and incomplete jigsaw puzzles, bags of yarn. There are some new essential oil additions and a couple of new occupants in Miss L’s aquarium. The even-toed ungulates still come to raid the birdfeeders and there is still a hole in my ceiling – and I’m still a happy girl. B, my summer friend, is now my long-distance winter friend and I will be traveling back to Iowa City to see him in March for a long weekend.

I’m excited to start ramping up my running miles (I’m hanging in there at about 10 a week) and get started on some new knitting projects. A sweater is still a goal for this year but I really feel that I need a new pair of Jaywalker socks for myself as a present for getting my certificate. And this little sloth on Craftsy caught my girl’s eye, so I will tackle that first, too. After those minor distractions, I will start researching patterns and yarn for my sweater.

I’ll be back soon with some updates on what I’ve been reading, a race recap of the Betsie Bay Frozen 5k, and another major resolution that I’ll be tackling in 2018. I hope you’ve been well.

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a bit belatedly

2018.

This is it – this is the year.

This is the year I get my paralegal certificate.

This is the year that I lose that extra 10 pounds that’s been bumming me out.

This is the year that I run my 5th half marathon and don’t give a single fuck if I PR or if I’m slow.

This is the year I meet my mileage AND my book reading goals.

THIS IS THE YEAR I KNIT A SWEATER.

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insert obligatory new beginnings quote here

Happy 2018! Even though I didn’t take much time off work, I still managed to enjoy a really nice holiday season – highlights included a couple of days that L & I spent with my parents in the frozen northlands and my summer friend B being home for a whole week.

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frozen northlands

It was a nice mix of family time and grownup time. The three of us went to the Detroit Institute of Art and had filet mignon on New Year’s Eve together; separately, L & I did puzzles and spent days in jammies and B & I visited the Motown Museum & had a great lunch at Social Kitchen and Bar in Birmingham (the atmosphere was a little busy and hipster for me; but the food was great – highly recommend the egg sandwich and the Brussels sprouts). He and I also found time to visit our fave local, Lucy & the Wolf in Northville (everything is good here and the service is absolutely top notch), and I felt a little nostalgic for the summer nights that would find us there eating devilled eggs and then wandering down to the live music in the square.

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miss l showing off one of two puzzles we completed over the holiday – the other was a thomas kincaide little mermaid that my mom got her.

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motown! #detroithustlesharder

Now everything is encased in ice, as the first week of 2018 has followed in the footsteps of past years with a deep freeze. Even though my cats live indoors and never have to put their soft paws in a snowbank, they seem to be as annoyed and drained as us humans – Sarge has barely gotten out of his cat bed since New Year’s. Everyone at work looks glassy and zombie-like. We all have road salt on our shoes and pants and although I’ve managed to shower and put on clean clothes every day, that’s about all the extent of the energy I can muster for self-improvement.

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portraits of feline laziness

I did, however, get on the work treadmill today for my first run of 2018 and it felt great. I am recommitting to mileage this year and one of my goals is a half-marathon. I finally feel as though I’m fully healed from the stress fracture that’s plagued me for the past couple of years (!) and am slowly building my base again, even if it’s just on the treadmill right now.

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obligatory widget central workout room selfie – can we jam any more equipment in that space?…note my moon face and pooh tummy –> hence the weight watchers…

I had a spotty performance with Weight Watchers over the holiday. I had some really excellent days and then I had some days where I wanted B’s Elvis birthday cake and handfuls of salted mixed nuts and pizza and big goblets of wine. I didn’t lose any weight, but I didn’t gain any, either, and I feel like I’ve started January strongly.
I should also add that one of my other big 2018 resolutions is taking place right now. Last year, I read an article about “Dry January” (mostly a UK thing currently, I think; about 3 million people over there participate) and decided to do it. I felt so good after a month of no alcohol that I’ve decided to make this an annual tradition.

My side hustle starts up again on Monday and if all goes well, I’ll be certified by the end of February. Not much knitting to report except Kit’s Mitts (a Christmas gift for a bestie – technically not finished before Christmas but not my fault – Sarge has a habit of digging into my knitting bag after I’ve gone to bed and dragging my knitting projects around the house, winding the yarn around chairs and tables, then up the stairs, needles and all, and he unraveled them TWICE) which I didn’t even Ravel because I didn’t take a picture of them before they were bundled into an envelope and mailed. I have a little mini-sock on the needles as a test for some Christmas ornaments / gifts for next year and a pair of wool mittens. I have been wearing the wool mittens I knitted last year quite a bit and I even wore them to snowblow and I am thrilled to report that they are WARM!! So I’m making more for the mitten basket.

And that’s about the sum of my New Year update. Happy 2018 to all and sundry and stay warm out there.

jump start

So, a few observations have crept up on me this fall / early winter.

I got on the scale a week or so ago and saw numbers that I’d never seen.
I went to the doctor for commonplace prescription refill and my weight & triglycerides were a topic of discussion.
I put on a dress for a presentation to Japanese auditors last week and literally felt like I’d been zipped into a corset all day – I couldn’t breathe. (It’s worth noting that this is a sleeveless tweed that I used to wear over long-sleeved t-shirts with boots because it was 2 sizes too big.)
We took a photo with aforementioned Japanese auditors at dinner and my face was like a round pale moon floating over my dish of eggplant parm.

I try to be health conscious. I rarely eat fast food, I exercise 3-4 days a week, I’m active, I do my own yardwork and housework. I run, I cook at home, I eat whole foods.

Oh, I gained the Freshman 15 (or 20) and I’ve gone through periods of my life where my weight has fluctuated. It’s always resolved itself, though, with a few very minor tweaks. And I’ve always been able to throw down on a pizza or a pumpkin pie with gusto and not feel or see any real effects.
Several years ago, during my ramp-up into regular running, and then during my divorce a year or so later, weight just melted off me and wouldn’t stay on. I got too thin, then bounced back to a healthy, happy weight, and from there it’s just been a gradual climb.

And this year the struggle has been real to even stay within the upper range of that healthy weight, and in the last six months, I have to admit that it’s gotten away from me.
I know that some of it is the natural aging process combined with hormone issues related to my contraceptive of choice, but everything I’ve tried – counting calories on my own, increasing exercise, limiting sugar – has not worked.

I pride myself on not being one to sit on my heels and wait for things to get worse, so, in an effort to stall the gradual but steady weight gain, I gave myself a firm talking-to. If something isn’t working, you have to figure out something that DOES, so – four days ago – I signed up for a month of Weight Watchers.

It might be rash to do this immediately before the holidays but once my mind is set, I don’t want to wait and dig myself deeper into a hole. I find it interesting that a few years ago, I tried to sign up for WW and couldn’t – they considered me already at or below my ideal healthy weight. My, how times have changed.

So I enrolled in the new Freestyle program and four days in, I’m finding it both easy / convenient and hellish at the same time. I love that I can track on my iPhone app, and that it connects to my Garmin to log my steps and workouts and give me activity points. I love that there are tons of zero-point foods so I don’t feel hungry, exactly (I just feel angry). I love that I have weekly points and rollover points so I can allocate treat meals or treat days or snacks and know that it will come out in the weekly wash, good days and less good days.
I know that it will get easier and I will feel less hateful and depressed. But right now I am in the first throes of deprivation, full of lean protein and vegetables and sadly lacking in carbs, alcohol, and sugar.

Cheers to getting and staying healthy and a jump start to 2018.

the one with thanksgiving and iowa city

To my great surprise, I fell in love with Iowa City over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the great company I was keeping, but B’s neighborhood charmed me to the core. He lives in the bottom floor of an old university residence in a neighborhood full of sprawling historic homes – golden planked wood floors, cracked plaster and tortoiseshell doorknobs. He pointed out the old Civil War recruiting house and the stone step, worn away from boots. Similar to the town where I grew up, there were random stone steps for climbing into carriages on the curbs, and rambling Georgians and Victorians under old oak trees. He lives close to church spires and the sound of their bells, and he can hear the whistle at the old power plant that still sets out the framework of the workday.

We ran our own Turkey Trot around campus on Thanksgiving morning. It was crisp and cold and the river was like glass.

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I’d expected that we would spend the day cooking and watching The Godfather marathon on AMC, but B had a surprise for me. One of the fellows he works with knew he was alone in the city, and invited him to his parent’s church for a Thanksgiving meal. The invitation was made so nicely that B didn’t want to refuse, and I was happy to go – who turns down two Thanksgiving meals? Not this girl.

We drove a few minutes to the nearby town and followed the directions. “There it is,” I said, and B turned quickly down a side street to park in a drift of fallen leaves. “I didn’t see it,” he said. “Well,” I said, “it doesn’t look like your typical church.”

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In fact, the church is a converted pizza restaurant, and I had a bad moment of shyness when we walked into the big single room – lots of faces turned to us. However, very quickly we found two empty seats next to the pastor and his wife, and the fellow who had invited B came over. We spent a very pleasurable two hours eating a great buffet-style meal and chatting with our tablemates in an amazing show of hospitality and friendship. We went home to our own cooking and relaxation, and Godfather and Edward Gorey 1,000 piece puzzle feeling happy that we’d had an adventure in holiday spirit. And later that evening, we decorated the little tree that I’d brought from Michigan to help brighten his holiday season.

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yes, that’s elvis in the tree.

On Black Friday it was almost 70 so we walked the prairie trail at the Herbert Hoover museum, had big turkey sandwiches for lunch, and spent hours browsing at the Haunted Bookshop, a labyrinthine used bookshop not far from B’s house.

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50,000 books, two cats, and ghost is the haunted bookshop’s tagline – but we only saw the books and 1 cat.

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On Saturday, we ran again, and I made a quick pilgrimage to a house I knew from the funny pages. My Michigan team fell to his Ohio State Buckeyes and he took me for beer and amazing cheeseburgers at an ancient dive bar to soothe my disappointment.

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bloom county forever

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All too soon, it was time to load up my car and drive home – listening to a really good Charlie Donlea audiobook mystery – and home to this face.

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Miss L comes home today and I can’t wait to see her and hear about her adventures, and tell her mine. I hope you & yours had as lovely a weekend as I did. xoxo