Monday, March 20, 2017

Motivational Speeches

I love a good motivational speech.  You leave the room with a glow beaming from your insides.  You feel like you can conquer anything thrown at you.  A major project to complete in two days for your boss, no problem.  Projectile vomit from your son's tiny little body, exorcist style, no problem.  Repairing the hole in the side of your house that the neighbor's tree fell through, no problem.  Making a five course meal for your in-laws on a Tuesday, hell yeah!

But then that speech wears off and you realize you can barely conquer peeing in the toilet sitting down.  Stress takes over - too much to do and nowhere near enough time.  Why is this project your priority?  What kind of kid has that much vomit in that tiny little body?  Seriously, is he hollowing out his legs with this crap?  How many times did you tell that damn neighbor to trim that stupid ass huge tree?  I barely cook grilled cheese for dinner during the week, let alone a five course meal for people that I don't go to bed with.

So how can we find a happy balance between, "I own this world," and "The bed is the only safe place right now?"  The answer, my friend, is Moderational Speeches. (Sidebar: Can I trademark that phrase?  It's amazing!)  One might ask, "Moderational Speech?" or, "What is this Moderational Speech to which you are referencing?"  These are speeches that keep us level - not so high that people think we are on medications and not so low that people think we are on medications.  Seriously, though, who cares if we are on medications?  Medicines have their purpose but, I digress.

Let's go through the parts of a Moderational Speech as though you are the speaker, externally or internally.  If you are wondering why you are the speaker, the reason is that you, my friend, are the director of your life and personal dialogue.  By the end of both speeches, you will feel completely grounded but have a little extra kick in your step because you are that good at moderational balancing.
Speech to give to people
Internal speech dialogue
1.      Thank everyone for taking time out of their lives to come listen to you speak today.
1.      Take a moment to reflect on how awesome you are for taking the time out of your day to give yourself this speech.
2.      Let everyone know that you have lots of other things to do today so they should also thank you for being here to talk to them but don't be obnoxious about this.
2.  Continue to self reflect on all that you do     each day to share your awesomeness with the world, all without the incessant pestering for acknowledgement and accolades.
3.      Highlight things that make people feel motivated.  Sometimes, quoting songs can inspire people such as, "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life."1
3.   Sing some of your favorite songs, in your head or  out loud.  One of our favorite songs is, "It's Hard to Be Humble," by Mac Davis.
4.      Continue with movie quotes, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."2
4.  Think about how cool a name like Mac Davis is and what your cool name should be. 

5.      Let people know that sometimes, everything is going to feel like it is going your way and, other times, it will feel like the floor is falling out from under you.
5.  Consider legally changing your name to this then realize you aren't really motivated enough to make that happen.
6.      The important thing to remember, in the most moderational inspiration you can muster, is that everything will be okay eventually.
6.  Finish up by remembering that even if all you did today was clean poop off of a wall (don't ask), it was done by a great person with moderational goals and that's good enough.

I'm not the best with citing sources but here's what I got:
1 The Facts of Life, Television Show, portion of lyrics from seasons 2 - 5.
2 From the movie, Forrest Gump.  Great movie, you should watch it.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Be More: What's up with that?

New Year's Resolution: Two Months In
It's hard to believe I haven't blogged for two months - the time seems to have gone by so fast and so slow at the same time.  I left off with my 2017 resolution: be more.  Be more, it turns out, means so many things.

Be more present.
We've become a society encapsulated in technology.  While I don't describe myself as a person that can't be without technology, I do realize that I spend way more time in the virtual world than the real world for my liking.  I can remember having conversations with my daughter or husband that I didn't really listen to because I was distracted.  It hit me one day that my lack of presence in the discussions could lead to no conversations down the road and that is not a direction I wanted to take.  In order to be more present, I put down the phone or laptop or mute/turn off the television when they come into my space to talk.  They are WAY more important than anything else and I wanted them to feel that from me.

Be more appreciative.
Really?  How general is that one?  For me, this means trying to consciously appreciate what I have in life, like how awesome my friends and family are, having a warm house to come home to and a reliable car to get me around.  I can be a negative, pessimistic person and when I start down that path, it gets wider and longer very quickly so I am trying to be more aware of how good I have it.

Be more amazed.
Not sure if you've noticed this but we live on a planet with tons of cool things to experience.  The sky alone is an entire topic of amazement.  The clouds, or lack thereof, the way the sun shines through pouring rain is an anomaly in itself that still mystifies me every single time it happens.  Rainbows, double rainbows, sunsets that look like the world is on fire and eerie sunrises through the fog.  That's just a small portion of the day sky, not even touching the night sky.  Then there's trees and animals and insects and so on.  Just get out there and be amazed by this place, you won't be disappointed.

Be more kind to yourself.
There's a few components being addressed here.  Sometimes, I have an internal, self-deflating inner voice that puts me down.  I consciously work to knock that bitch down and I've come a long way but still need to focus on the virtual smack down from time to time.  Another way I am trying to be more kind to myself is to make healthier food choices and get more physical activity in.  Now, being kind to myself does not involve taking away any foods - I am living one life and it won't be one without cake, cookies, ice cream, cinnamon rolls and so on but it will be one that involves more fruits and veggies!  Physical activity, for me, is simply doing more.  I get up around 5:30 to get 30 minutes of exercise in, usually walking or a weights/walking combination four or five days a week.  Getting this done in the morning usually leads to higher energy levels through my day and a better attitude because I've already started my day successfully.  This is also time I get alone, to focus on me, because the other people in the house are usually sleeping while I'm getting my sweat on!  I've been feeling tons better since making these changes, which actually started well before the 2017 resolution.

That's what I've been up to for the past two months.  Let's see what else I can do to be more this year.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 New Year's Resolution Report/2017 Resolution

At the end of last year, I resolved to do or try at least 12 new things over the course of the year.  Well, the year has ended already.  Did I make my goal?  Damn right I did!

Here's the full list with the details:
1.      Participated in a weight loss challenge at work
Lost not only weight but also the challenge!  This wasn't a major deal but I don't participate with many extra things to do at/with work so this was out of my comfort zone.
2.      Enjoyed an evening with psychic medium, Deanna Fitzpatrick
I've always enjoyed watching psychic mediums do their work and while I realize there are a number of fakes out there and a larger number of people that don't believe in this work, I am one who does believe in souls and an afterlife.  I went to this event with my Mom and we both enjoyed it.
3.      Attended a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
3a. Performed an audience role in said murder mystery dinner theater
This was so much fun that my Mom and I ended up attending a second dinner later in the year!  Performing a part was very stressful for me but since my goal was to try new things, I had to say yes and I think I did a mighty fine job.  No one seemed to notice my nervous shaking.
4.      Went to Herr's Factory Tour
We made this trip as a family with one of little one's friends along for the ride.  This place smelled so good, especially the first stop at the pretzel building.  We also enjoyed fresh, warm potato chips.  Bonus: we bought tons of souvenirs (chips) and it didn't cost us an arm and a leg + the tour was free!
5.      Went to the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival
Okay, I have to admit that I was on a foodie frenzy when I signed up for this festival and ordered the 20 piece selection.  20 pieces was WAY too much food to even try to consume and we weren't supposed to bring anything home.  However, my Mom, always being the prepared one, brought sandwich bags anyway.  This seemed to be the norm as several "seasoned" attendees were walking around with Tupperware/Ziploc containers and the vendors were putting the items directly in them.  This is not a festival I would attend again as there were a ton of people crowded into a small space (something that gives me anxiety), the items really weren't all that great and it was a hurried event.
6.      Vacationed in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend
Whew! I've been to D.C. before on a field trip but never stayed the night, let alone a full weekend.  This was a great trip with some great friends!  I wouldn't go there again over a holiday weekend, such as this date or 4th of July due to the large quantities of people that were there.  Because it is the nation's capital, there were a lot of people there from all over the world, which is great but for the fact that, like driving, a number of them walk in the opposite direction so not only was it congested but there were people walking in a nonsensical order, which drove me bonkers and limited my contact with the main area attractions on Sunday to the morning hours only.  Check out fun moments in travel episodes 6 and 9 for more details about this adventurous weekend.
7.      Vacationed in Deal Island, MD
We hit Deal Island for an extended weekend at the end of the school year with my parents.  We had a whole house complete with a dock on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was an absolutely beautiful weekend but mostly because of the good company.  We didn't do much because, frankly, Deal Island is a place with nothing to do which was the point of going there.  Several hours were spent on the dock fishing, watching the sun roll through the sky and playing cards in the house, with the bay view in sight.  It is very likely that we will head over here again, possibly for an annual excursion.  Of course, there is also the option of staying at other locations on the Bay to experience different adventures.
8.      Saw a movie on opening day (Independence Day: Resurgence)
Ben and I saw this together and the movie followed the original film pretty closely.  Not a big deal but it was something new.  To be honest, we usually head out to the movies after they have been on the screen for a while because the theater tends to be way empty, just how we like it.  This go round, the theater wasn't nearly as packed as I thought it would have been so it was even more enjoyable for me.
9.      Took an archery class with little one
The kid is into archery and had wanted to take a class for a long time.  I was finally able to connect with a teacher and signed us up for some private lessons.  It turns out, I'm pretty good at archery for a beginner and the little one is, too.  We had fun doing this.
10.  Threw a machete
This may fall under the archery class but while we were practicing archery, a brief machete lesson came about, too.  When the teacher offered for me to try throwing it, I would normally have said no so I took a hold of it, giggled like a school girl and threw it.  It hit the ground.  Then I threw it again and hit the target.  It was really fun.
11.  Attended a summer concert at Killens Pond State Park
The state parks in Delaware have been offering free summer concerts for a few years now.  This past summer, I decided it was time to go.  The weather was nice and I needed a few hours outdoors with some good music.  I invited Ben to meet us at the park on his way home from work and packed him a sandwich (plus drinks and chairs for all of us).  He ended up getting there before us and helped pick out a spot to enjoy the concert.  As soon as the music started, Ben melted - he was relaxed and comfortable and I was enjoying it just as much as he was.  Little one spent her time reading a book.  This was not a life changing moment by any means but a good time was had and that's all we needed that night.
12.  Took a stick work/self-defense class
This class was taught by the same person that worked with us for archery.  I learned a lot in this class about self-defense that will stay with me forever.  The stick work portion was way more fun than I expected it to be.  As we developed moves, a rhythm came about that was soothing and encouraged me to continue.
13.  Went on an outing for the sole purpose of taking pictures
One evening, I decided it was time to go out just for pictures.  All three of us hopped in the car and headed over to Abbott's Mill Nature Center.  I got some fantastic shots there and little one also took a ton of pictures.  Fun!
14.  Attended the International Food Festival in Milford and ordered everything on the menu from one of the vendors
This was the first International Food Festival and we got there right as it was getting started.  There wasn't much going on at that point, food trucks/tents getting in order and music blaring at full force over the speakers.  It wasn't the most pleasant experience I've ever had but the food we came home with for lunch was quite good, even though we had to wait 1/2 hour for it.
15.  Went tent camping with the little one's troop
So, little known fact of life about me: I don't enjoy tent camping.  There is something about having to pack everything you need to survive for however long you plan on staying in the wilderness then unpack it/carry it/set it up/clean it/repack it/carry it back then unpack it and clean it again when you get back home.  In addition to the packing situation, there's the dirt, bugs, heat/cold, walking to the toilet and using public showers (that you hope have warm water), too.  I decided to try tent camping with my little one this year.  It turned out to be the first weekend that got down to about freezing temperatures at night.  I had on multiple layers, a cot with a pad, a sleeping bag and a blanket and was still shivering and I don't mean that, "Oh, it's a bit cold out here as I shovel snow" shiver, I mean the, "Oh, dear Lord, I was not aware that my innards could shiver, too."  It was all I could do not to get in my car and drive the hell home and send my husband back in my place.  That said, I made it through the whole weekend (two nights, people) and I am proud of myself for sticking it out.  The other mommas were a delight to hang out with and it was cool to see little one be independent.  Will I do this again?  I'm not one to say never but let's just say it's not likely.
16.  Participated in the first Dashing Through the Show walk at Cape Henlopen State Park
I roped Ben into doing this with me and it was a pretty good night.  We enjoyed walking through the light display.  Afterwards, we shared a po' boy that was divine!  I hope the display grows from year to year and I would absolutely consider doing this again (but I will bring my own hot chocolate and cookies since we didn't get to partake of this because of my refusal to stand in a line for 20 minutes).
17.  Went to Belize
Seriously!  My husband decided the perfect end to a year of new things would be to take a trip out of the country (for the first time ever)!

With all of these new things, what did I learn?
1.      I learned that I am still not comfortable doing new things.  I prefer to know what I am walking in to and how it's going to go down (call it a personality defect) but I also learned that I'll never know if I like something new if I don't even try it.
2.      Delaware is a flat, flat state.  Whenever we travel outside of the state, this is made ever so obvious to me in doing activities in which any incline is involved.  Thanks, Delaware.
3.      There are a ton of fun things to do nearby (within a two to three hour radius).
4.      I have the best time when I am with my family.
5.      I have a lot of fun with my friends but I don't hang out with them nearly enough.
6.      Anxiety sucks.  I know it is completely irrational and I hate it but I haven't found my personal cure for it.
7.      I really, really like food.
8.      I almost enjoy exercise (this is a major leap from years past).
9.      I've always known this but this year really enforced it more - I have the most incredible, loving, generous husband.

So, what's up for next year?  Be more.  I'll leave that as vague as it is and we'll see where that leads.  Be more.

Friday, December 23, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Memory As An Adult

My favorite Christmas memory is from a time when we had very, very little money.  We were planning on building a house on our 5 acre property and had moved out of our home that we were selling.  In the interim, we moved into my husband's Grandmother's house, who graciously opened her home to us during our "in between" time.

Ben had taken a new job so we could pay our bills after his previous employer had cut his salary by nearly 1/3 due to removing his on-call pay.  The new job was with a company that lacked training and organizational structure and he was let go near the end of his probationary status.  This was in October.  While he looked relentlessly for a new job, his loss was during a time of many cutbacks and a job was hard to find.  Our in between time turned into a longer period than we originally expected.  By the generosity of his Grandmother and my parents, we were able to make it through, bit by bit.

December came fast and our financial situation did not allow for a frivolous Christmas.  Fortunately, little one's list was limited.  She wanted Bernie and Pinky (two unicorns I had included in my stories that I told several nights before bed), pajamas and soap (yes, you read that right).  We collected pine cones from the yard and painted them to make Christmas trees for her dollhouse.  Then we painted more pine cones to decorate the tree with.  I bought a large bucket of plaster of paris and we made change holders molded from apples for Christmas gifts.  We also got some gifts for Grandmom and put them in a stocking (we found out Grandmom had never gotten a stocking).

On Christmas morning, we went downstairs and prepared to open our gifts.  We got Grandmom up (she was a late sleeper) and the look on her face when she saw her stocking was priceless.  She went through it ever so patiently, enjoying each item.  Little one opened her gifts, of which were few.  The last one she opened had the unicorns and the foam soap in it.  She went nuts!  She was over the moon about having foam soap.

My heart was fullest on that day and I often reflect on the generosity, love, patience, perseverance and kindness that really shined through during this time.  One of my coworkers gave us a gift card to IHOP.  At that time, I couldn't even remember the last time we had food from anywhere outside of our kitchen.  Another coworker encouraged me to apply for a job I had been looking for when I was nervous about making a change while Ben was out of work (I got the job).  Good things happen even in hard times, we just have to be open to seeing them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 9

Oh mercy, do I have another story for you about fun moments in travel!  On our weekend trip to D.C. (see Episode 6), we parked in a parking garage as suggested by the hotel where we were staying and left the car there for the weekend.  We planned to head out Monday morning to avoid the influx of traffic sure to be heading in on Memorial Day.  We headed to our car to leave around 9:30 a.m.  When we drove to the exit, there was a car directly in front of us next to an empty booth where someone was supposed to be collecting money.  The mechanical arm granting our freedom was in the down position.

We both got out of our cars and spoke to a couple that was sitting nearby, also apparently waiting to get out of the garage.  They had been there an hour and tried calling the parking garage company, speaking with the hotel staff and even the building manager that was on site but no one would/could open the gate.  They even called the police to no avail.  Fortunately, the other family called the police and managed to explain the situation in such a way that they came out and spoke to him in person which followed with a dispatch to the fire department (not sure if he used my term, "false imprisonment," but in my head, that's what made this ball start rolling).

To my surprise, the fire department was apparently located just around the corner and within 5 minutes, firefighters were literally walking into the parking garage with axes.  I was internally freaking out because, for some reason, when people show up carrying axes, it is then that I realize something is wrong.  They looked over the mechanical arm to figure out if dismantling it was an option.  If not, I am assuming, they would have axed it, literally.  While the firefighters were doing this, the building manager that had been so incredibly unhelpful an hour prior was suddenly agreeable to calling the parking garage company and getting the matter resolved that way.  The police officer took the man aside and seemed to explain to him that he had already missed that opportunity and instructed the firefighters to move forward with dismantling the arm.  This was delightful to witness because this guy was smug the first time he spoke with the police officer.  Seeing him not get his way and hearing the tone of voice the officer was a treat for me.

Within 5 minutes, we were free to go.  No one took our information.  I thought sure we would receive a bill from the parking garage in a week or two.

As predicted, a few weeks later, Ben and I received a letter in the mail from Washington, D.C.  Walking back to the house from the mailbox I thought, here it is.  When I opened it and found a $100 speeding ticket, you can imagine my surprise!  Upon researching online, we found out there is a specific six lane road (three lanes on each side) on the way in to D.C. that slows down to 35 for no reason other than a speed trap (this single one reportedly brought in $5 MILLION + within a single fiscal year).  Ben wrote a letter requesting the charges to be dropped for several reasons and, to my surprise, they dropped it (thank you internet)!

While the beginning of our trapped adventure had me on edge (there was no way anyone at work would believe me if I told them I couldn't make it to work on Tuesday because I was stuck in a parking garage in Washington, D.C. all day Monday), I rode away with a laugh and a smile because, like my job, you can't make this stuff up.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 8

Time shares are amazing!  Seriously, I love them.  Time shares, home away and VRBO have been super good to us over the years.  On one of our trips to Disney, we stayed at a time share with one of our friends.  We had been there for a good three or four days and all of us were pleasantly sleeping upstairs except for Ben, who was having trouble sleeping and decided to go downstairs to watch tv and drift off to sleep.  At an early hour of the morning, he was awoken by a loud knock at the door.

When he approached the door, he looked through the viewer and saw a police officer.  He said through the door, "I am opening the door. I have children sleeping upstairs."  Apparently, the officer had been called by the management company with a report of squatters in our condo.  Ben spoke with the officer and they went over to the management office to discuss the matter.  It was cleared up without further incident while the rest us slept through the entire situation.

While I am always concerned when Ben sleeps away from the bed (because it means he doesn't feel good), I can't explain how thankful I was that he was downstairs on that night.  The thought of a police officer coming upstairs and walking into a bedroom, possibly waking up the sleeping girls or any of us is not something I think about often because of the worry that comes with it.  I suppose this wouldn't be reflected on as a "fun moment" in travel but then when you realize that we were potentially squatters, you've got to find the laugh in there somewhere.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fun Moments in Travel - Episode 7

We like to try to take day trips when little one has some time off just to have fun experiences as a family.  One spring break week, we decided a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium was in order.  I had purchased tickets at least two weeks (knowing me, it was probably three months) in advance of the day.  I was looking forward to this visit because I myself had wanted to go there for a long time and never had.  The whole weekend before the trip, it was all I talked about!

The morning of the scheduled trip, I woke up absolutely miserable.  Absolutely. Miserable.  Every common sense part of me was telling me to stay home.  Ben and little one could go without me but that other sense that had been wanting to go forever (when I was little, I wanted to be a marine biologist) kept telling me to go!  The tickets were for this specific date alone so if we didn't go, money would be wasted.  I literally stood in front of the mirror and had a conversation with myself out loud.  It went something like this, "You are going to go to the aquarium and have a good time!  You are NOT going to ruin this for anyone else and you will put on a happy face.  You can rest when you get home, baby whiny pants!"  And that is what I did.

When we pulled into the parking garage, all I wanted to do was sleep in the car but I bucked up and kept moving.  We stopped in the cafeteria and had some lunch (complete with medicine).  We meandered through the aquarium and watched a dolphin show with a trainer named April or maybe it was a dolphin named April.  We sat in the splash zone.  We got splashed.  We had fun!  As horrible as I felt, I was so happy to have gone because it really was everything I had hoped it would be, not just the aquarium but also the family time.

When we got home, I hit the bed and believe I stayed there for three days, minus the trip to the doctor's office.  I think it was a sinus infection, like the mother of all sinus infections, and I probably shouldn't have gone back to work when I did but I felt like a major punk going to the aquarium then calling out the next few days.  Was it worth it?  Yes.