May, Jun, Jul
My netbook of many years (5? 6? 7?) got stepped on and I had to get a new one.
two new cats joined our family, June and Spot
Memphis, IKEA, and the book sale.
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May
Mermaids, lesbians, wholesale slaughter? How could I turn down a peek into Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep. It was a smart, fast vivid vivisection of this mythic legend’s oft neglected scientific underbelly!
Continuing with the gay theme, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is the Potter / Draco fanfic we absolutely knew we needed! But that’s not all it is, because Rowell has her own magical story to tell, too.
I’m continuing my way through Jussi Adler-Olsen‘s series, Department Q, and I’m currently on book 5 of 7. I was startled to realized this series is kept under “mystery” at my local library since I’ve always thought of it as “crime drama,” but I guess that’s just a subcategory!
Another series I’ve been working on is the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series. I’m on book three but have been for ages and haven’t really been reading at all lately. What’s going on up there, Brain? But I’ve been up to a lot else, so I guess I’ll give myself some slack.
What are you reading? How’s your summer been?
P. S. 50 Book Pledge has a new look!
So you’re going about your business just generally being awesome and you get punched in the junk with a bladder infection, BLEH. So that sucks, but you’re taking your antibiotic and it’s no big deal. Eight days later, you’re back in the doctor’s office and you’re barely alive and he’s talking about the hospital, WHAT? How did this happen!?!
Apparently, if you have an upset stomach on a Saturday evening after LitFest, it is not just because you had ice cream and you’re lactose intolerant, although that’s never really your best move. Then your Sunday is okay but you’ve got a yuck bug in your belly and you think, well, it’s just whatever. And then on Monday, you’re feeling great, you do your exercise, you go walking with a neighbor buddy, you leave the house earlier than ever, you get your oil changed before work! Life has never been so good!
You work your eight hours and although whatever you ate for your late lunch isn’t being very nice to you, you figure, well, it probably just had dairy in it, right? But the thing is, you’re stuck in the daily everybody-wants-to-get-home-at-the-same-time traffic jam, and now you’re starting to think, ugh, there is something really wrong. And by the time you get home you can barely get in the door and mumble “I don’t feel well” as you tumble down the stairs into your loving bed, where you may or may not moan like a baby until Husband brings you all the meds, and you go to sleep.
And you sleep the rest of that day, all night, wake up and realize Tuesday morning is a horrible time to be alive, and pass back out sleeping all that day. You’re feeling so low you’re actually proud of yourself for making it up the stairs to eat toast, because, you know, #goals. Husband continues to hover over you and make sure you have everything you need, because it’s really obvious you’re half-dead and he would really rather you not die.
So you try to sleep through the night but fever and chills and sweats are pretty awful and then there’s that whole throwing up thing (you don’t really want to talk about it) and finally Wednesday arrives and Husband is rushing you out the door to the doctor except your limbs are really not so into this whole “rush” thing, and everything hurts, etc. Doctor is very displeased at how high your white blood cell count is, perscribes a Super-Duper Antibiotic and some nausea meds, commands you to return the very next day and threatens you with The Hospital if you don’t get better stat.
You take the new meds, take a new nap, and LIKE MAGIC you feel… not dead! Suddenly you’re not hurting everywhere! Suddenly you have energy! Suddenly everything does Not Suck! You return to the doctor triumphant the next day and he confirms that you’re on the fast track to recovery. Good thing, too, because apparently a bladder infection that spreads to your kidneys is like, serious bad news or something. Kooky, right?
Also, everyone compliments you on the weight you’ve lost and you’re thinking, YOU GUYS I ALMOST DIED and apparently the way to lose 4 pounds in 4 days is not eat anything and vomit, but you really do not recommend it. Because toast is beautiful. And smoothies are divine.
Did you know that when you get older (I’m looking at you, twenty-somethings) you get emails from the most unexpected senders wishing you a happy birthday? I have received no fewer than four happy birthday emails from: my dentist’s office, Lane Bryant, my mortgage company, and my chiropractor’s office. How odd! The barrage of well wishing on Facebook I expected, but this made me feel, well, somewhere between “grown up” and “old.” Hah! I also had two recent moments where people younger than me taught me how to do something tech-related, and that’s really a surefire way to feel “old.” (I’m putting it in quote marks because I don’t actually mind my age at all and a friend of mine said the 40s are her favorite decade yet.)
So the other weekend we’re at the theater to see Black Panther and I’ve got the text-messaged scan code on my phone (look at me! so saavy!) but the ticket check kid (who looked about 15) told me I needed to turn the brightness up on my phone and I stumbled lamely, “What? But, I don’t–” at which point he said “here let me show you” and proceeded to school me in a super fast method of adjusting brightness that I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW EXISTED. So while I’m still reeling from that embarassment, I’m in the car with my own kid (who is 15) and he says, “oh, I like this song, what’s it called again?” to which I, of course, replied, “no idea,” so he says “that’s what the info button’s for.” Now, I scanned the buttons again to be sure, but I felt pretty certain I had never seen a button reading “info,” and I was right. There wasn’t one. “I don’t have one of those,” I replied confidently, perhaps a little triumphantly, even.
“Mom,” he sighed, “the button with the letter i,” at which point, I swear to gods, he pointed out a button I never knew existed in my vehicle (which I’ve had for many years) and lo and behold, we were given the band name and song title. EGAD. I had no idea what this would feel like, no longer being at the forefront of technological advances, and I’ll admit I giggled with glee when the tables were turned, so it’s only fair I get my come-uppence now, I suppose! Sheesh.
Well I’m just tickled that I’m turning 36 on 36, so that’s my fun for today. Keep shining,
You’ve probably heard of the concept of selecting a Word of the Year (WotY): it’s one way to focus your energy on some goal, feeling, or idea. I love this concept, and this will be my second year participating. Rather than pledging yourself to a New Year’s resolution with an inherent “win or lose” dichotomy, a word for the year is a theme that can’t be let down by wavering consistency. In other words, you can’t fail a concept. If you find yourself wandering away from your word, just return back to it. It’s that simple (and that awesome).
We can be more or less successful in arenas of our lives based on so many factors—our relationships with family, friends, or lovers; our environment at work or at home; our ability to get to sleep, stay asleep, get enough sleep; our mental health and the individual causes that can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression; our ability to earn enough, save enough; whether or not we’re eating, what we’re eating, when, how much, how often. Essentially there are countless factors that can influence whether we’re feeling better or worse at a given moment which may determine our likelihood toward success or failure on a given day. We’ve all experienced the day when everything seems to go right—or wrong.
But unlike a resolution, you can’t fail a word. If you’re the kind of person who feels discouraged by failure (aren’t we all?) and less likely to even try if you’re afraid you’re just going to let yourself down, thinking of the new year in terms of a word, a concept, a guiding principle, can be incredibly uplifting, encouraging, inspiring. Let’s remove the condemnation of bad days and stop beating ourselves up for the things we get wrong. Instead, let’s focus on the good, the big picture, and the habit over time.
Last year I chose the word “habitual” because I wanted to combine the associations of “habit” and “ritual.” Even though that’s not exactly what “habitual” means, it made sense to me because of the sounds of the words as well as the meanings. And your word is your own—it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else; you don’t have to justify it to anyone. This is such a personal choice for such a private journey, why not do this one thing that’s just for you?
Words I considered for 2018 included: steady, fearless, active, willing; momentum, frequency, agency, harmony; goldfish; conspire, complicit (I liked the idea of the sinister aspect of secret goals and desires). The worksheets below are part of a year in review packet made by the illustrious Susannah Conway, whom I adore.
In the end, I didn’t choose any of my brainstormed words, though the process of thinking through those ideas helped me come to my decision: I chose the word/phrase “get up and go.” Used as a hyphenate, get-up-and-go is a noun synonymous with words like gumption, moxie, umph. It is your drive tested over time, your get-started-ness and your stick-to-it-tive-ness. As a phrase, “Get up and go!” is a demonstrative command, encouraging the target (you understood) to “Act now!” I chose this because I want to nurture the habits I cultivated last year, those of writing and exercising regularly. (See how it builds?)
“Get up and go” (see also “rise and shine,” “get going” and other variants) is a very popular phrase in advertising, as you can see here:
The phrase “get up and go” is also used in a jokey, fun way for times when we feel like doing anything but:
But it’s also still a tried-and-true concept for earnest motivation:
Last year I was extrememly gung-ho about my WotY for the first few months, and then I kind of forgot about it, although I maintained the goals my word represented, to greater and lesser extent based on what else was going on. This year I made “get up and go” the tagline for this blog, so it’ll be impossible to forget! I encourage you to do something similar: post your Word somewhere you’ll see it often, and choose a word that will make you feel excited to strive toward your best self.
If you want help deciding on your Word of the Year for 2018, check out the fantastic Susannah Conway. And if you want to declare your Word of the Year for 2018, you can participate at My One Word and One Word 365. Also check out the cool stuff happening at My Intent.
This isn’t a weight loss blog or a fitness blog. I generally don’t talk about anything on here unless it is reading or writing related. But as the end of the year approaches, I’m in a contemplative state of mind, and I wanted to talk about what encourages or discourages us on our paths: as creatives, as women, as humans.
Over the last two decades, I have been every dress size from an 8 to a 22, no lie. Junior year prom 1999 my dress was an 8, senior year prom 2000 my dress was a 10. Undergrad 2000-2004 I fluctuated 10-12. During the tail-end of a long relationship and after its failure, around 2006, I was a size 16, and I remember it being a big deal because I had to go and buy new clothes (this was before shopping online was a default mode, so I went to Sears). When I returned home and lived in the city for a few years, 2006-2009, my size fluctuated in the 12-14 range, weight dipping lowest when my sister and I were taking regular ballet classes together. When I moved to Arkansas my weight stayed on the upper end of that range, as I abandoned vegetarianism and felt happy and comfortable within my relationship.
My wedding dress was a size 16, which I was fine with, but at the end of 2012 when I tried it on and it basically wouldn’t fit, I was undone with panic (Spanx saved the day, after some crying). 16 was the top of the “misses” or “women’s” clothing section. Becoming a size 18 meant I had to find the “plus size” section at Kohl’s, and I felt really low about it. In the last 5 years I’ve purchased much of my clothing online, on e-bay or etsy, and locally at a thrift store (now closed, RIP) called Saver’s. My size has been in the 18-20-22 range, around 2X to 3X. I’ve come to accept this, and wearing a larger size doesn’t stop me from feeling cute or beautiful or adorable or sexy.
I have a record of my weight fluctuations from the last 7 years because I’m an old holdout user from the Wii Fit era (read: blip) and I keep returning to it because it’s an easy way to weigh in and make a record without having to do much more than stand there.
2010: 200 range. Maintained.
2011: 185-210 range. Dropped. LOWEST WEIGHT.
2012: 185-210 range. Gained.
2013: 200-225 range. Gained 210 up to 225 (5 mos). Dropped 225 to 200 (3 mos). Gained 200 up to 210 (4 mos).
2014: 205-235 range. Gained 205 up to 235 (8 mos). Dropped 235 to 220 (4 mos).
2015: 210-230 range. Gained 220 up to 230 (4 mos). Dropped 230 to 210 (3 mos). Gained 210 to 220 (2 mos).
2016: 230-235 range. Maintained. HIGHEST WEIGHT.
2017: 215-230 range. Maintained (2 mos). Dropped 230 to 220 (4 mos). Maintained 220-225 (2 mos). Gained up to 230 (1 mos). Dropped 230 to 215 (3 mos).
I remember when 200 was the highest my weight had ever been. I remember how shocked I was when I realized it had climbed to 235, almost 240. During the time I had my own apartment and I was working out regularly, I hit my lowest recorded weight, around 180. Do you know what I did? Instead of focusing on how great I felt about the work I was doing, I took that information to the internet and asked all my female friends who were willing to tell me their heights and weights. I guess I was expecting to be able to imagine some grand chart where I fell in relation to other people I knew and just feel cosmic goodwill toward all. But when a friend of mine who I had expected to weight more than me said that she weighed less? I let that fact (which may or may have been fact or fiction, outdated, exaggerated, or accurate) crush me. I broke the one rule: NEVER compare yourself to others. Compare your current self to your past selves. Because it was easy to see how far I’d come tracking my own progress. But looking at someone else and thinking “I’m not there, I’ll never be there” was exactly what caused me to never get there. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Please don’t let my mistake be yours too. Never look at the work of someone else and think “why aren’t I where they are?” You have no idea what they’ve been through to reach that point, and you’ll never know how close you were if you give up.
My weight has fluctuated mightily, and I can note when I was in school, when I got married, when I bought a house, when my mom got sick. Every time my weight has increased, it’s because I’ve stopped paying attention to my body. Every time my weight has dropped, it has been a direct result of my monitoring my intake and exercise. Most recently my weight is down, because I’m paying attention and actively participating in my own improvement. I hope I keep it up and make future-me proud. As a little green-screen angel named Shia La Bouef once said, If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.