Monday, January 31, 2011

Baby Steps

Tomorrow is February 1st. I have yet to establish any resolutions or goals or word of the year. And it doesn't really bother me too much because I know that every day of this year & every day of every year after this year I will have things that I need to accomplish, character qualities I need to work towards developing, & yada, yada, yada. This year I don't really feel the need for a list.
And even without a list I have accomplished a few small baby steps toward my undefined goals.

I have completed another week of Indy Mini Training.

I took all my vitamins last week!

This is a huge accomplishment for me.

One thing I have really wanted to do & I coincidentally started on New Year's Day (thank you Aunt Ruth & Uncle Allan for loaning me the book!) is read the entirety of "The Chronicles of Narnia". I am currently reading "The Horse & His Boy" - so far, really, really, really good!

I have picked out a Bible reading plan for the year. It's a chronological plan. I know that I should have started January 1st but let's just be real - I would have fallen behind at some point anyway. So I'll start February 1st & God only knows when I'll finish!

How about you? Any goals? Any progress?


Let's just say that I did some baking this weekend.
Let's also say that it left my pan looking like this.
How would YOU go about cleaning this bad boy?
Any suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Observations From Workout World

No, the name of my gym is not 'Workout World'. The name has been changed to protect the innocent. And so you won't know where I workout so you can't come there & watch me & laugh. Yeah, I'm a little paranoid & insecure. Although, if I was going to open a gym I would name it 'Workout World'. It's alliterated. I like alliteration. It's just the kind of girl I am.

Anyhow, I'm a couple of weeks into my training now & I'm feeling a little bit more comfortable with this new gym I've been going to. With the training group I joined you receive a membership at this place until the day of the race. It's super convenient for me because I don't have a treadmill at home & I refuse to run outside unless it is at least 40 degrees. Yes, I am a total wimp. Take it up with my wheezy lungs.

Tough, go-getting girl that I am, I get totally & completely afraid of a new workout place. I get so nervous that my hands shake & my tummy tumbles all around. It's like being in gym class in 8th grade again; trust me, that was not a good time in my life. The first couple of times I went in it was probably comical to watch. I walked in, looked for an open machine, jumped on, completed my workout & just about ran out the door. I am now comfortable enough to relax a bit & I have started looking around a bit more. Therefore, I have some gems of observation to share with you just in case you haven't had the pleasure of belonging to a workout world.

Like most fitness centers, there are several televisions mounted on the wall so that they can be seen from the treadmills, ellipticals, & bikes. I think it's super nice that there is a little bit of visual entertainment for me to enjoy while I mindlessly run nowhere. However, the ironic thing is that 90% of the time those televisions are tuned into The Food Network. So while we are killing ourselves burning the calories we are all fantasizing about the next thing we get to eat. It's a sick world we live in.

If there is a piece of equipment that no one ever seems to be using no matter how crowded the fitness center is, there is a reason no one wants to use it; stay away from this machine! At my fitness center, that machine would be a strange creature that hides in the row of ellipticals. Twice now I have been fooled by him. All of the ellipticals are being used - except this one. I unsuspectingly climb on & quick start my program. Then I begin a motion that feels like scaling a mountain in waist deep mud. It's like an elliptical stair climber & I am just not cut out for that kind of workout. Two tenths of a mile later, I climb off in shame & search for something EASIER.

You should never go the fitness center if you have a cough, especially not in H1N1 flu season. It doesn't matter if your cough is just the last remnant of a cold or if it's allergy induced. Everyone will think you are a scary beast bag of germs. Or maybe that's just me. Either way - if you are coughing, don't go!

It's no shame to take the elevator to the fitness center. Mine is on the 5th floor. I always take the elevator up & the stairs down. Might be wimpy but I don't want to warm up for my workout by climbing 124 stairs. Yes, I have counted them.

Be considerate of your towel usage & limit yourself to two towels per day. This sign is posted all over the fitness center. Considering that the towels they provide are larger than a hand towel & only slightly smaller than a bath towel I'm thinking why would you need more than two? What kind of workout are you doing that leaves you that sweaty? I'm thinking maybe if you need more than two towels you should workout at home.

Speaking of towels, everyone drapes them over the treadmill so that they can't see how far they've gone or how long it has been. It's just a coping mechanism. If you want to slow down the passage of time just hop on a treadmill. No matter how fast you run, time crawls by...

If you are working out at the fitness center & you unwittingly climb on the machine that no one wants to use & it is kicking you in a soft place & you are sweaty & dying to quit, that is when you will see your male coworker across the room staring & waving. It will be awkward. Just trust me on this one.

If you see someone fall off of a treadmill do not laugh. You could be next. Yes, I have fallen off of a treadmill. Yes, it was humiliating. Thankfully the fitness center was almost deserted when it happened. I don't remember any loud shouts of laughter. But it left scars. I have some treadmill phobia that I have to work through when I start each workout. As I hang on to the machine with at least one hand & glance around the area I have seen many other folks holding on with at least one hand, too. That means they know - treadmills are like bucking broncos. They just wait for you to get comfortable & then they try to throw you off!

Workout clothes are completely unnecessary. You should wear whatever you find to be comfortable. Within reason. Yesterday I had a dude on the treadmill next to me wearing jeans & a polo shirt. Huh. I was wearing workout capris & a t-shirt & I got hot (hard to believe, I know). I glanced around the room & saw several ladies wearing sweatshirts & sweatpants. Ugh. I got sweatier just looking at them. And then I saw him. A dude at the end of the row wearing one of those plasticy type shirts that make you sweat. His hands were dripping. That is just wrong, wrong, wrong. *shudder*

When you register for the fitness center they will probably give you a list of rules & regulations to read over & agree to. When you find a clause about excessive nudity being prohibited in the locker room just be grateful. I was a little surprised to read that little paragraph but I was thankful that I didn't have to fear walking into a locker room that resembled a nudist colony. I have a friend that lives in Europe; she has no such assurances. I've heard the stories & they are frightful.

So far that's what I have seen & learned. I'll let you know if I pick up any other gems of observation from Workout World.

Do any of you have any stories of hilarity or horror at Workout World to share? If so, please share in the comments - we all need a good laugh or scare *grin*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Pretender

I think it's safe to say that we all have a tendency to pretend just a little bit. If nothing else, it's a habit carried over from childhood when we played dress up & House & Grocery Store & Doctor's Office & whatever else (at our house it included Tepee & Tents made of blankets thrown over picnic tables). I fully admit that I still pretend to this day. When I'm driving all by myself I pretend that I can really sing & really sing well & really sing high - like a soprano. I'm sure it just sounds like shrieking to anyone else but it's so fun to try for that note & see if I can remember all the lyrics. I enjoy feeling like I could be a singer

But don't look for me at any American Idol auditions. My Pretend-You-Are-A-Fabulous-Singer Game is only played in the car when I am all alone.

I play other games of pretend that are just as harmless as the singing. Sometimes when I pass by a house I make up a story in my head about what it would be like to live in that house & who would live there with me. It might be kind of silly & weird but I think it's harmless.

But then there are the games of pretend that I play that are not harmless. The Lord has really been speaking to my spirit about this lately. This past Sunday night in church He whispered another little thought to me regarding a stupid pretend game I have been playing. My niece Madison & two other little girls sang a special that night & it was a medley of songs about heaven. The line that spoke to me most said something about how we would get together & tell the stories of how we overcame here on this earth. That's when it really struck me; I have allowed myself to live in a pit of daily drudgery, anxiety, worry, & discouragement. In short, I have been living like I am not a sinner saved by grace. I have been living like a sinner who has no hope. How could I allow my thoughts to become so far from where the Lord wants them to be? as if I have forgotten that I am SAVED?

It's not that I don't have the full assurance of my salvation; I do. I just haven't been living like it. I don't have panic attacks or stay up all night worry & fretting. I have been discouraged. There are some things in my character that I have been struggling with for so long & it seems that I will never get the victory. I have been trying to accomplish all of my day to day tasks & all of the character improvements in my own strength.

There have been moments of joy. I am blessed with a very sweet marriage. I have my Bible & I have actually been reading it fairly regularly. I am surrounded by a loving family & church.

I guess what I am saying is this: I forgot that the battle is already won. I forgot that Christ has already secured the victory. It doesn't matter what I'm afraid of, it's already been conquered.

I can stop pretending. I can start living as who I really am - a forgiven sinner who has been adopted into the family of God.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:14-15

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16:33b

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some Things I Know For Sure

I don't know a lot about many things, but some things I have to say I know for sure. There isn't anything that is going to change these things.

Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get through & make things work.

I'm sure you are wondering why in the world we would need two laundry sinks. It's not a happy story but I'll fill you in. Our washing machine spins out & drains into the sewer. The sewer drains slowly so the water backs up into the laundry sink. We seem to have developed the unfortunate problem of draining so slowly that the laundry sink would overflow. Instead of calling the sewer guys to come work on our sewer while it is freezing outside with snow on the ground Mike hooked up another sink. So far it works like a charm. It just looks stupid. But our clothes are clean & that's the important thing. Right?

When a plant of the evergreen variety dies, it doesn't necessarily turn brown.
This little plant was given to us for Christmas last year. I promise you I watered it. I really did. I thought it was some kind of dwarf variety or something because it never got any bigger. Recently my sister was over & she said, "Mare, just because it doesn't turn brown doesn't mean it isn't dead. It's an evergreen. It's dead."
Shortly thereafter the little branches started falling off. She's right. It's dead. Grrr.
However, note the pumpkin, bought before Halloween - still good! Not soft or gross anywhere on it's perfect orange body. I may not be able to grow a plant but I can sure preserve a pumpkin!

Big scarves & jewelry are not good friends.
This week I managed to catch an earring on my scarf & rip a hole in it. I also managed to catch my scarf on my necklace & break my chain. I almost lost the beautiful garnet cross I bought in Vienna. I guess I just would have had to go back & buy another one!

When you have a bad feeling about an outfit you just shouldn't wear it.
I'm weird because I like to have all of my clothes for the week picked out & ironed before Monday. Then I can be super rigid about making myself wear something because that is what I had planned. Not a good way to be. Today I got dressed & decided that I just didn't like what I was wearing. The boots with the jeans - not so great. The sweater with the jeans - not so great. I wanted to wear something else but I squelched the urge. End result - I felt like a nerd all day. And my feet hurt. And I was cold. Never squelch the urge to change your outfit!

Ground effects on a car may look really cool but they are really not cool in deep snow.
My car is the kinda sport version of the soccer mom Corolla. I like the ground effects because they really do look cool. But in the winter it's a different story. Our street never gets plowed. Sometimes I feel like I use the front bumper as a snow plow. And then the snow-slushy-salty junk builds up under the wheel wells really bad & when I turn a corner it sounds like the front end is gonna come off. I actually have torn some clips up underneath that hold the ground effects on. That's a $40 repair - no thank you!

M&M's of any variety are never safe to have in your house.
I don't even consider myself much of an M&M lover, but man! They have been my kryptonite this week! They call to me in their sweet peanut & peanut butter voices -

The first week of training for the Indy Mini has left me feeling like an achy, flabby lump.
But I know it will get better. It has to get better. Promise me it will get better, please?

My husband is a sweetheart.
He sent me a text message this morning asking if I wanted to go to an early movie & late dinner tonight. I love dates with my man! There is no better way to start the weekend.

Smacking windshield wipers against the windshield is not a good idea.
It might get the ice off the blade but it can also get the blade off of the wiper. Then they really don't work.

You don't have to live in Wisconsin for it to get cold enough to freeze your nostrils.
You'll just have to trust me on this one. But it has happened. Just this morning actually.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Winter Doldrums

Doldrums: a spell of listlessness or despondency

I suppose that is being a bit dramatic, but the Winter Blahs have definitely set in.

Around these parts, spring weather is unpredictable - storms one moments & blazing sunshine the next. Summertime is known for being hot & humid. So humid it seems like you have to wring the water out of the air before you breathe it. Forget having neat, straight hair; there is no flat iron on earth that can compete with Indiana's summer humidity. The autumn is full of crisp days with sparkling blue skies. The blue of the sky is almost unbelievable, like pictures of the Caribbean Sea.
And then there's winter. *sigh* Lately we have had day upon day upon day of gray weather. It's like twilight all day long. And we have been having fairly regular snow storms. In fact, one is supposed to blow in tomorrow. And dump like 4-6 inches. I will believe it when I see it. I am in forecast denial.
Yesterday I had to make a delivery for work. This time of the year I would almost give up vacation time in order to dodge making an out of town delivery (as in, " You need me to go where? I suddenly remember that I need the rest of the day off - I have plenty of vacation time!"). Last week in a snow storm I may or may not have listened to the entire sound track from 'Mary Poppins' in order to distract myself from the terror of driving in a snow storm. I also may or may not have snorted very loudly with the pig during the song "It's a Jolly Holiday With Mary." All I can say is, you do what you've got to do. Yesterday I wasn't feeling quite so nervous because by some freaky chance, the temperature was well above freezing (almost 40 degrees!). It was raining a little bit but nothing scary. All the moisture & warmer temps had caused a haze to form that just magnified the grayness of the day. I turned the defrost on full blast but my car's little blower isn't capable of defrosting the great outdoors. I wasn't in a hurry so I decided that I would just relax & enjoy the ride.
And that's what I did. The hospital I was delivering to is a small town hospital & the roads there are all two lane country roads. After a while I got used to the haze hanging in the air & surprised myself with all of the things that I saw that I have never seen before on this lifelong familiar road. Houses peeked out at me through the winter bare tree branches. Farm dogs ran alongside me in the ditches as I drove by. Hawks like this guy below perched on fence posts with their feathers all puffed out making them look twice their size & as if someone had majorly offended them.

Seriously, they are such beautiful birds but when they are all puffed up like this I think they just look angry! Like they are seriously irritated that it is so cold & damp & gray outside. Perhaps I am projecting my own attitudes upon the hawks? No, that can't be...

This winter I am on a quest to try to not let the Winter Blahs or Doldrums take ahold of me. Since snow days & sledding at the city park are no longer part of my winter routine I will have to continue to look for things that make winter less of a drag. Taking note of puffed up hawks & whatever else I can find to laugh at will just have to get me through!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's Been On My Mind

Oh my goodness. I have been gone from here for a long, long time!
I hope you missed me. Maybe just a little bit?

A la Karen, I'm going to try to sum these last few weeks up Brain Dump Style:

Christmas was wonderful. Mike & I had to do our usual juggling act to get in all of the family gatherings but amidst all of the shuffle we realized how blessed we are to have so much family. Family that loves us & that we love back. My heart squeezed a lot. God has been so good - good to provide Christ as our Savior & good to grow us up in Him.

The week between Christmas & New Year's we both had vacation. We took that time to rest up a bit (as in, actually get about 8 hours of sleep each night!). We also completely cleaned out & reorganized our basement. When I bought the house I didn't move in for about six months due to all of the remodeling we were doing. During that time period I packed & moved a box at a time & stored many boxes in the basement. Mike & his brother were also in the midst of downsizing from a large home they owned together to separate, small apartments. Lots of their things came to live in the basement, too. In short, between the boxes & Mike's wood shop, we had a major mess. So we unpacked, repacked for storage & Goodwill, trashed, organized & struggled through all of it. The end result was well worth it & we hosted a little New Year's Eve bash at our house to celebrate. Good times were had by all!

I got a new camera for Christmas. I'm hoping that the frequency & quality of pics that are posted here will be greatly increased. But that's just my hope. I haven't actually used the camera much or figured out how to get the best out of it. Soon!

Several friends are coming to town for dinner tonight. These Girl's Nights are always a blast. I'm especially happy this time around because I won't be doing the traveling. Thank you Stephanie, Carol, & Becky for being willing to make the drive! Autumn & I are grateful.

Training for the Indy Mini started last week. I wrote all of my running schedule into my calendar today & I'm excited! That excitement will probably wear off about this time tomorrow when I have to go run. There will be lots of hard work ahead for me this year because I have NOT been consistent at all since September. Ugh - laziness is a hard hill to climb!

I have thought & thought & thought about resolutions for 2011. New Year's is just not a favorite holiday of mine. It does not seem to renew me with energy & enthusiasm for setting goals. I tend to think things like, what's so magical about January 1st? Why not set goals on February 1st? Then I thought about choosing a word that embodies what I am seeking to improve in my life over this next year. That's hit a dead end in my thinking just like resolutions did. Maybe I will come up with some goals that I'll start with on February 1st. Or maybe March 11th? Who knows. Just be assured that I am well aware of where I am falling short & it's a daily battle I'm still fighting - by God's grace!

I do have to say that one thing about the new year that I find exciting - my Paid Time Off resets! Yeehaw! Lets vacation plan!

I'm thinking this Brain Dump is now complete. Hopefully my future posts will be a little less chaotic - but no promises!