Friday, June 29, 2012

Fit or Fat? Yep, fat still...again...

I  woke up the other day and decided I didn’t want to be fat anymore. 
Okay that was more for the dramatic effect – I wake up every morning, see myself in store mirrors (not on purpose, just when I accidentally have to walk by) and… well basically every time I move I’m reminded of how unbelievably FAT I got with this last baby.  And getting married again (happy apparently equals FAT), and oh well yeah sure I suppose the macaroni and cheese and tater tots as side dishes multiple times a week aren't really HELPING.  Fine.

                (we eat broccoli and green beans, just not every night…)
But I don’t want to be fat anymore, so I ordered a book, and I’m scribbling down all the good stuff out of it so I can send it back. And order this other one that sounds even better now that I ordered the first one.

 Whatever – desperate times and all that.  Walk a mile in my belly fat then judge me, okay? Okay.
 So it says “Firm up in just weeks! Lose your belly and burn fat all the time!”  The promo material made it seem so wonderful: even with a busy family, you can make time for the exercises that really work! Normal food your whole family will love! Customizable plan to fit your schedule and family needs! Blah blah blah, all while promising I’d be svelte by summer.

 Yep, I just made that up because while it feels good to let loose with a time-honored cuss word this is a family show.
When am I going to learn that marketing is marketing whether it comes from a trusted source or not? [strike southern belle fainting pose here, except do not fall because there’s no one in this house strong enough to catch me] [sigh]
So I’m already falling for the world’s second oldest profession - sales, where did your mind go? -  and I open up the book and the author, an editor for a magazine I like and trust,  - get this… her opening line in the acknowledgements? “I didn’t realize how hard it is to write a book.”  I really hope she's smarter about getting me in shape.
Uh, apparently NOT – the last credit is a thanks to her hubby for making sure she had lots of takeout while writing the book.  WHAT????? I can’t walk by a restaurant without gaining six pounds.  What is this woman possibly going to know about being fat in the first place or losing the fat or hating her body? Yeah, she says that after her baby was born she lost the weight (HOW?????) but, oh, so sad… the shape of her body changed.  She says she had to go up a size in clothing.  Boo f hoo. (not a typo, I'm really hating this woman at this point)
But I have the book, so let’s give it a chance. Okay, so inside the book it gets a little more realistic – saying yep, you’ll lose a whopping 3-6 pounds in these first three weeks – but stick with the program, baby, and you’ll go places.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  The workout schedule involves walking, (love to walk but wth is interval walking? If it involves running, jogging, skipping we’re going to need to go bra shopping). The other part of the workout is weights, and I have some hand weights, so okay. 
Oh, here we go, margin notes about interval training: it means you should workout at one level then pick it up to another level.   She describes the highest level as sprinting for a bus you realize you left your purse on.  Yeah, no clue what that feels like, so I guess we’re even – I hate fat she's never had and she's stupid enough to leave her purse on a bus. Cool.
The grocery lists I can handle, but I don’t like the idea of a book telling me “it’s snack time! You WANT microwaved unbuttered unsalted unleavened ghost popcorn that is completely indistinguishable in taste from the bag it comes in!”  Uh, no – I might be in the mood for a spoonful of chocolate frosting.  Crap, that’s not on the list.  Oh yeah… that’s why I’m FAT.

Where are the treats in this diet? Where's the mood food?  Flipping pages quickly through diet section, if she says 'hang in there' even once the book is going back in the mail immediately... ok here we go, I just saw the word candy... Yep here it is: the grocery list for week two includes a fun sized candy bar.  A.    ONE.  FOR THE WEEK.

Yeah, that would barely make it out of the parking lot. That's like a snack for the ride home to congratulate myself for not handcuffing one of my children to someone elses' cart and walking quickly away.
So I’m researching some other diets to jump start the weight loss and maybe make me less dependent on my appetite and able to make smart choices about what I eat… WAKE UP! I dozed off for a second there, sorry. Yeah, there are no safe effective diets that do that, remember the grapefruit/rice/vinegar diets? I even found this crazy three day chemical breakdown diet thing that was either really old or really from a foreign country: it used the word frankfurter. 

    A hot dog was considered a diet food.  When was that? Ever? 
If it was still Lent I could fast and try to kill the carb/sugar/fat/tastyfoodingeneral cravings, but gee since Lent is over is there really a good reason to starve myself even for a day? See, I can’t find one either. Really.

Guilt, though, there’s maybe a motivator – show me pictures of our soldiers in Afghanistan who don’t get to make a choice about what’s served to them day after day.  Show me pictures of starving children in Africa…
Yeah, that stops working the second my stomach growls and I walk into my own fairly-well stocked kitchen.  I don't take what I have for granted, I really really enjoy it.  I really do.  Oh, I have frozen Chinese dumplings.  They were on sale and I had a coupon. Shut up.

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels? I’ve never been thin, but I know Chinese dumplings are gooooooood.  Maybe I’ll try the frankfurter diet, there is peanut butter on toast for one of the meals. When I’m out of dumplings.    

Saturday, June 23, 2012

TO DO: Write blog entry...

     I made a new year’s resolution, like a lot of people.  And mine is to stop doing something, like most resolutions.  However where most people want to stop biting their fingernails, stop overeating, or stop drinking soda, I resolved to stop doing something that’s actually common and useful and good: making To Do lists.

I realized one day, as I was making such a list, that in the time it took to write the list, I could have accomplished two things on it.  Here it is:

Clean bathroom
Order Sunday school books
Kid’s calendar
Badges for scouts
Hem Elliott’s pants
Clean out fridge
Grocery shopping – price match list

First of all, as I said, in the time it took to write that, I could have started a load of laundry and ordered the books.  Then I realized I had effectively put “make another list” on the list, which seemed ridiculous.  I have to remind myself to make another list? Really?  Did I need that much affirmation that I am busy? Or is making a list making me feel busier than I really am?

One of the key points in Anthony Robbins’ book Personal Power is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people.  THEY DO THINGS.  I know, right? It’s so simple it’s a smack to the back of the head but then half the people who read it, myself included, go right back to NOT doing things that will make them successful.  I procrastinate, make excuses, mess up my own priorities, and do things that make me feel like I’m getting things done when I’m really not, like making lists.  I heard an interview with filmmaker Kevin Smith a few months back.  When he was young, he told his family he was thinking about making movies.  His sister told him, “Don’t think about making movies.  Just make them.”  And of course, the best line from all the Star Wars movies is Yoda telling Luke, "Do or do not.  There is no try."

Oh, I know there are things that I have to write down in order to make sure I don’t forget them.  I have a calendar for all the appointments and kid activities, and I write notes to myself when I hear a good plot line or have a good idea for a character. But a To Do list suddenly felt like exactly what it was – an excuse to avoid those chores for a while longer. 
        I’m all in favor of writing things down, really.  I will continue to jot down quotes I find inspirational and tack them up on a bulletin board or the fridge.  I will definitely write down ideas I have for stories, and I’m sure I will make notes to myself in meetings about things I have agreed to do. But I’m going to stop allowing myself the excuse of a making a To Do list for ‘chores’ around the house and just DO the chores.

I will focus on my I-Beam results.  This is the I-Beam exercise they teach at Franklin-Covey seminars.  The teacher chooses someone from the audience who has small children.  She tells them to imagine they are on the roof of a very tall building on a very windy day and there is a narrow steel beam that forms a bridge between that building and the one across the street.  There is someone on the roof of the other building.
          “What would you cross the I-beam for?” the instructor asks.  “The other person has a bag of money, say… $100. No? What about a million dollars?”  Most people say they would probably go across the beam for a million. “What about one of your children?” she asks.  “They threaten to toss your child off the roof if you don’t cross the beam.  Would you go then?”  Of course, the answer is yes.
The teacher then breaks the tension in the room by saying she has to choose someone with a young child because parents of teenagers sometimes hesitate…

The exercise helps you figure out your priorities – what would you cross the beam for? Those things are your biggest priorities, and should get the most of your time and energy. My I Beam things are family, faith, friends, and finances.  I affectionately call them my F Words.   

Everything on my list is, in some way, related to my priorities.  But really – why didn’t I just put Elliott’s pants next to my bed with the sewing kit on top and work on it before I go to bed every night? Why did I need a written reminder to do this small thing for my son?  And cleaning the bathroom is something I should do not just because it needs to be done, but because my husband deserves a clean bathroom, too.  Even if he does make his share of the mess. 

The more I thought about it, the more silly it became to write down something like clean out the fridge.  Did I really need a reminder that no one was going to eat those leftovers and the next time I opened the door I should just toss it?  I used twice as much time and energy writing it down, throwing it out, and crossing it off as I would have just doing it.

Yes, I know – believe me, I know – how satisfying it is to cross things off that list. But again – is that necessary for my emotional well-being or is it another excuse to avoid doing one more thing?  It sure feels like an excuse to me now. 

So, no more To Do lists.  If I have my priorities straight, it will get done. If I forget anything, I know several people I can count on to remind me.  And they will – Elliott asked me every day about his pants until I finished them. Every day...

Friday, June 15, 2012

So I've been looking for a job.  Again.   I was employed but it was a long way from home and weekend overnights which took a horrible toll on my family.  So I got a day job with the same company but it was still a 50 minute commute, not the hours that were promised to me when I accepted the job, and no pay increase. I asked for a raise and the HR person tried to hide the laughter without success.  I was told that since I don't supervise anyone I wasn't really eligible for a pay increase outside the normal annual raise, still eight months away.  Nevermind all the extra projects I'd taken on, the fact that it took less than one day to train me, and the fact that I needed no supervision at all... After putting more than half a paycheck into my gas tank and asking again for even a small pay increase, I've been unemployed (again) since April.

Searching for a job has been... interesting.  I have a bachelor's degree and about a hundred years' experience managing everything from a convenience store to a million-dollar office, but I have only gotten one phone call from all the applications I have filled out.  It was for a $7.25 an hour part-time position in a town 90 minutes away.  I didn't even mark that store on the "Where would you like to start your career with us?" list.
The job market is really tough these days, despite the media's insistence that companies are adding jobs and the economy is turning around.  There are so many people looking for jobs and I don't make the first cut for most of them.  I think I know why - here's the list of strikes against me:
  •  Being a stay-home mom for 12 years left a huge gap in my paid employment history
  •  I have a rather generic bachelor's degree - English and Political Science - and no additional education
  •  I have a degree
  •  I have no food-service or medical experience
  •  99% of all application processes start on-line, which means they never get a chance to meet me face-to-face
I have current applications at WalMart, Target, CVS, Walgreen's, QuikTrip, Casey's, Flying J, FedEx, UPS, all the grocery stores and city offices within a 40 mile radius, the county, the state of Missouri, and the post office - all of which I am apparently over-qualified for because of the bachelor's degree.  I also apply regularly at the hospitals and all the big industries here in town  (Bayer, Sprint, Cerner, Yellow Trucking, Black & Veatch), and all the smaller office jobs that come through on CareerBuilder, most of which I'm underqualified for due to lack of an associate's degree and/or specific industry experience.  On average, I submit six applications a week.   If I could get past the online process and have an actual interview, I could win the job - I interview really well.  But alas...

So I'm trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up.  I've read the parachute books and taken some quizzes online, and I've tried to come up with a list of things I love to do so I'd never work a day in my life, all that stuff.  What it really comes down to is that I should marry someone really wealthy, because I love being a stay home mom. 

Yeah, well... let's work on plan B. 

I love to write, and that's something that occasionally people do make money at.  I'm submitting short stories to literary journals, writing in my blog again to get my skills back, and I'm polishing up a novel and will continue the search for an agent.  I wrote a screenplay about my experience at a large discount retail store, got some great feedback from my friend Jennifer about fixing it up, so I'm working on that and hope I can figure out what to do with it once it's done.  I would love to write for a living - I could be home with my kids and never have to worry that the HR girls are making fun of my thrift-store jeans and the shirt I've had since 2002 (which probably also came from a thrift store).

I also had an idea for a good use for old abandoned grocery store sites, an idea that would require money, time and sweat in large measure.  I don't know if it would ever make money, don't know if I'm even qualified to think about something on that scale, don't know if I would be setting myself up for a gigantic failure.  I thought and thought about this idea, and almost had myself talked out of even looking into it, and then this was posted on my Facebook home page by a fan page I like, it's a quote by Gary Vaynerchuk. 

"I beg you to take a shot.  Roll up on that hot chick in the bar and ask her out.  Roll up on that good-looking dude and ask him to coffee.  Roll up on your business idea and make it happen. Because being 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and having regrets that you didn't swing the bat is the worst of them all. Our "at bat" is in front of us. Take a swing."

After I stopped editing this quote to fix the grammar, I signed up for a one day seminar at the community college for entrepreneurs.   Then I searched some of the job sites for editing jobs.  I have enough regrets.  Sa-wing batter...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Catching Up

I realize that a blog, in order to be successful, must be treated somewhat like a houseplant and tended to regularly.  I realize this is the first entry in over a year, if it was a schefflera it would be long dead, and for those of you who were the least bit interested, I am sorry.  I will do better.  I have a new computer, which helps tremendously.  The gerbils from the old one were tired and gray, and the little man with the abacus died last year.  The new one has an i5 processor and a 1T hard drive.  I did not buy this computer from the woman who condescendingly told me that with kids I probably needed  “a system with at least a tibbabite of memory because kids download so much stuff.” 
 Ummmm, no... 
I am not all that techno-savvy, but I do know that children should not be downloading anything without the express permission and extremely close supervision of an adult, and its terabyte. 
Sigh … What I wanted to share with you is my baby.  My second daughter, my last baby, my “I’m WHAT??? I can’t be, we… no, I just can’t be” baby.  My ‘starting-over second-chance’ baby.  My “hey, I can still change a diaper in 4.7 seconds and keep her asleep!” baby.  Here is her first year of life.
Presenting Echo Haydin Ardrey.    

May 26, 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

May 26, 2012