Friday, January 21, 2022

Just Another Friday Favorites Post

But, not just any Friday Favorites; it's the first Friday Favorites of 2022! 

In no particular order:

I've written about this amazing pasta sauce several times; recently, my local chain market stopped carrying it. I was heartbroken. When I mentioned it to my sister Barbie at Christmas, she immediately contacted her friend who does the buying for the chain market, specifically, the buying for the pasta/pasta sauce department. Her friend ordered several jars for me and my sister shipped them earlier this week. I am now a happy, happy girl who will be making butternut squash lasagna, butternut rigatoni, and various other butternut pasta concoctions.



While organizing my makeup drawer in my bathroom last weekend, I rediscovered this Too Faced eye shadow pallet. I had forgotten how much I love it and I've been using it on repeat every day this week.


I am on a 21 day step streak! And, while the gym is starting to get a little more crowded; I still usually have plenty of room between myself and the next treadmill occupant.


I got several compliments on my hair today...




...to which I replied "Thanks! I bought it on Amazon!" I really did; it's a faux bun that goes on over my own bun,  scrunchie-style. I'm wearing it on days that I can't be bothered to wash my hair, which, let's be honest, constitute a lot of days. As an aside...



Favorite dry shampoo, currently.

And that's about it for this week's month's particular Friday Favorites post (making no promises for regularity here).




Thursday, January 20, 2022

Weekend Update...On Wednesday...Because My Week is Whack

I meant to post this yesterday, but my week got even whackier and....that didn't happen. This is often the case when I have a "short" week due to a federal holiday. For whatever reason, when we take Monday off, the rest of the week doubles down on us to make up for our hubris.

Anyhoodle, here is what I meant to post yesterday: a recap of the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

I started off by baking bread. It had been a hot minute since I did so, and, I had a suspicion that my yeast may no longer be viable, so I did a quick test and...DOA. So, off to the store I went to buy a fresh jar.


While the bread kneaded away in my bread machine, I went outside to take down some of the Christmas decorations (yep, we are those people. In my defense, Hugh has been gone more often than he is home and I can hardly be trusted on solid ground, let alone a ladder). While I was pulling the garlands from the windows, I got buzzed by this guy...





...he has been hanging around the bird feeders in the back yard. He's obviously not interested in the fruit and nut seed blend that I am currently serving up but is, instead, stalking the chip monks and mice that gather at the ground below the feeders, picking at what the birds knock down.

Sunday evening, the Man-Cub came over for dinner. He had specifically requested tuna and noodles, so, he got tuna and noodles.

As an aside, Hugh can't stand hot tuna so he got chili. It's like I'm running a diner over here.


After dinner, the Cub, Hugh and I went to Hooterville to see the new Spiderman movie (highly recommended!). It was the first time I have been in a theater since before the pandemic. Unfortunately, it would appear that people have forgotten their movie manners; a group of middle school-aged kids had to be kicked out mid-film because they had forgotten how to use their inside voices. I was quite annoying and the entire theater cheered when the theater's equivalent of a bouncer booted them from the building.



I spent the rest of my weekend time at the gym, in the kitchen, or on the couch, binging the latest season of Cheer on Netflix (so many thoughts). I was in good company...


It was a nice weekend, so, I won't complain again about how my week is going now. I mean, I won't complain again about how it is going.

But I did mention that it's been whack, right?

Right.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Don't I Know You?

I had an interesting conversation with a victims advocate from one of our partnering agencies recently. She was venting about the toll that perimenopause is taking on her life. She spoke about the physical challenges; the weight gain, irregular periods, thinning hair, and hot flashes. She shared the mental and emotional side-effects; the brain fog, depression, inexplicable periods of pure anger and rage. We bonded over the damage that endless nights of interrupted sleep will do to a person's psyche.

It was both sad to hear and good to hear (in a "we're all in this together" sort of way).

After our conversation, I thought a lot about where I am now on this journey and it occurred to me, that, for the first time in a really long time; I recognize myself. 

Recently, I have had moments when I can clearly see the me who used to feel good about herself. The me who was optimistic and who could find the bright side in difficult situations. The me who knew peace.

There are also ways in which I still don't recognize who I have become. Physically, I am a wreck of my previous self. I look in the mirror and I see an overweight, frumpy, middle-aged woman. The things that my body used to be able to do have become a challenge for me; things like balancing on one leg to pull my pants up on the other leg without falling over have become frustratingly difficult. 

The old me is making a run at the current me. I have been dutifully exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting a decent amount of sleep (I'm actually sleeping deeply enough to dream again), maintaining my hormone balance, and taking vitamins and supplements like my life depends on it (maybe it does). 




I understand that two years of neglect will not be quickly undone, so; I'm not expecting fast results. I am focusing on how moving more and eating better are improving my mental and emotional well-being, both of which are rebounding far more quickly than my muscles.

I am hopeful that I will eventually return to some semblance of my previous physical form, but, for now; I am thrilled as shit to finally be able to look in my head and say, "hey, don't I know you?". 

Maybe not in the mirror, but, I'm working on that.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Gettin' Hygge With It

I have never been a huge fan of winter; I don't care for the short days, cold weather, or dreary landscape. Snow is pretty and all, but I hate driving in it, shoveling it, and, watching it turn to dirty ice as it melts, refreezes, and melts, again.

As you may imagine, this makes January and February my least favorite months of the year (December gets a pass, for obvious, more joyful reasons).

The only redeeming factor of winter is that it encourages me to practice the Danish custom of Hygge, which is basically just hibernating in the coziest way possible within your own home. Now, do you have to hibernate alone? Heavens, no. But Hygge requires that company in your home also feel as cozy as possible.

Cozy? Cosy? I'm unclear...and I digress.

Anyhoodle, in my home, I require the following in order to achieve maximum coziness/cosiness:

  • Candlelight
  • Roaring fire
  • Comfy blankets
  •  Fuzzy socks
  • Good book
  • Wine
  • Good music 
  • Decor inspired by nature






This totally excuses the fact that I technically still have up a Christmas tree. I mean, it went up at Christmas and it is a tree, buuuuut, it is bare of ornaments, save for a few pinecones nestled in its' branches. Therefore, it is a Hygge Tree.

Que the normalization of Hygge Trees in three, two, one....

Anyhoodle, if anyone wants to come over and relax at my place; I've got wine and Adele. The dress code is comfy PJs and fuzzy socks and the secret code word for entry is cozy/cosy.

I don't care how you spell it.



Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Why Does This Always Surprise Me?

I started back at the gym this week (New Year, shocker!). I go in the evening after work and I walk on the treadmill. I have found that I am more out of shape than I have ever been when starting this weight-loss journey and I am both disappointed in myself and frustrated. I am, nevertheless, determined to pull myself together.

New year and all.

Since I feel this way, I naturally assumed that others would as well, so, I prepared myself to fight for a treadmill the first night I went to the gym. And yet...

...crickets.

I am reminded that this has happened in previous years and that it is always followed by crowds at the gym as spring looms, so I am enjoying the peace and quiet while I can.

The sudden switch to physical activity has left my body shocked. Luckily, Hugh gifted me with this contraption for Christmas...

...it seems to be helping with the soreness.

So, in the immortal words of Whitesnake, Here I go again on my own...


Seriously...crickets.

 

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Putting In a Good Word For 2022

For the past couple of years, I've chosen a word to represent my goals and aspirations for each new year. Last year, I used a hyphenated word: Self-care. It seemed like a good word, given my state of being following a full year of suck (I'm looking at you, 2020).

I did a relatively good job of living up to the word(s). I scheduled more massages, facials, and reflexology appointments than I had in the previous few years, combined. I was mostly kind to myself. I cut myself some slack and I showed myself some grace.

All good things.

I ruminated over my word for 2022, but, in the end, it came to me as the answer to most of life's most pressing questions come to me; in my earliest waking moment, following a vivid dream.

Strength.

Strength to face the things that I need to face.

Strength of body.

Strength of mind.

Strength to share with people who need it from me.

Acceptance of strength offered to me by others.

Strength in my faith.

I pray for the ability to find strength in all aspects of my life and for the grace to ask for strength when I find it lacking.

Let's do this 2022.



“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
-Victor Hugo


Friday, December 31, 2021

2021: The Year in Review

Oh, 2021, we had such high hopes for you! You were supposed to erase our memories of the horrible, no good, very bad year that came before you. That's a lot of pressure to put on a brand new year, so I will cut you some slack when it comes to the less-than-stellar parts.

As a whole, you weren't too terrible, but I am still more than happy to show you the door. I hope your replacement makes a better showing. Fingers crossed!

January

We started off the New Year the way we have started off many, many others; with Chris, Jana, and the gang. The difference this year was that, instead of watching the kids sledding down a snowy hill, we watched them cruise down a church aisle. That's right, miss Kaley got herself married on New Year's day. I still think she picked that day solely to save herself from having to don winter gear and an inflated tube, but that's just my theory. Anyhoodle, she made a beautiful bride.




The following week, the Man-Cub headed back to school, leaving behind a sad group at the airport, including his sister and his girlfriend. Ok, and his mother. 

February

Queen B and I traveled to a nearby city to celebrate the impending arrival of her God Baby, who was due in March. The baby shower was lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed each other on the trip.

Later in the month, Queen B turned 25, and, not only did we celebrate that, but we threw a surprise party for the occasion, which, was also a combined going away party for her and The Rodeo Princess, since they had made the decision to relocate to Texas.






March

Said relocation to Texas took place this month, leaving my empty nest more empty than in all the years before. It was about this time that I got serious about addressing my hormonal imbalance, which had been causing me no small amount of physical and mental distress. I made an appointment at a functional medicine practice and crossed my fingers.

April

I stood up for Kristi and Erin at their wedding! It was such a nice ceremony and I could not be happier for my friends. And, thus, The Lesbians became The Newlyweds!




I started on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

And Hugh and I sold the house in Neighboring City. It made sense; the girls had moved and Mikey was looking for a place of his own. To say we got a great deal on the sale would be a vast understatement, so the timing was perfection. 

We immediately sunk some of our house profits into a deposit on a vacation rental in Hawaii, for the Cub's graduation in December.

Meanwhile, in Texas, the girls were experiencing their first tornado warning; they rode it out in the bathtub, as one does. 


May

The Man-Cub came home for the summer and, by home, I mean to Neighboring City, where he went back to work to save money for his final semester. We got to see him on random weekends throughout the summer, which was nice.





I spent a lot of time on the porch and at the local park, enjoying nature and working on my mental well-being. It should be noted that, by this point, I was doing much better at Not So New Job, where I finally felt more knowledgeable and less overwhelmed.

June

The Girls finally got together for our first Girls Weekend since early 2019! We didn't go far; just up the road to Neighboring City, but, it doesn't matter where we are as long as we are together.


Hugh and I hopped on a plane and flew to Texas to spend a week with Queen B and the Rodeo Princess. We road tripped from their house to Waco, where we visited the Magnolia Silos, spent a day in downtown Dallas, and explored the town they live in. It was a great trip and went a long way in assuring us that they are doing well. And, they are! Queen B is the happiest and healthiest that I have seen her in quite some time, so the move was definitely right for her.





July

We celebrated America's Independence Day in the mountains with The Newlyweds. Hugh taught them everything they needed to know about their 4-wheeler and then sat back in awe as I trailered mine solo for the first time. As a side note, my 4-wheeler is named John Dutton. For obvious reasons.






At the end of the month, we went to Mayberry for Stampede. Several of my aunts and uncles were also in attendance, which was nice. We got to spend some time with my Aunt Pat, who would pass away, unexpectedly, later in the year. Cherish every moment with the people you love; you never know when it will be your last.



August

Hugh and I joined The Newlyweds and another couple on a camping trip. We spent several days 4-wheeling, star-gazing, nature walking, and enjoying each other's cooking. We don't get our motor home out often since the kids left home, so it was a nice reminder of how much fun she can be.







Also this month, we attended the newly revived Petticoat Junction Sweet Corn Festival, where the Boomer Dog took center stage and small town 'Murica prevailed.




The Man-Cub headed back to Hawaii for his final semester, taking his adorable girlfriend along with him. Hugh and I handled it like champions (not our first rodeo), while her parents were, um...less enthusiastic. I'm sure they recovered, eventually.

For the first time, ever, I joined Hugh on one of his wrestling road trips. We went to Las Vegas for a tournament, and I got to relax for a few days with another official's wife while the menfolk worked. We did the zipline on Freemont Street, ate some really great food, and saw the absolute dregs of humanity, which reminded me of why I don't really love Vegas. Still, poolside drinks for the win!



September

Hugh and I celebrated our 28th anniversary at the ski resort in a neighboring town. We rode the gondola, had dinner, and enjoyed the scenic drive. It was a nice way to celebrate.

The Man-Cub turned 23 on the 23rd, making it his Golden Birthday, which we celebrated by sending him and his girlfriend on a tour of the Jurassic Park set in Hawaii. They loved it.




I also hosted a kick-ass barn dance for Not So New Job, which raised dang near $40,000 once all the dust settled.


Unfortunately this month, despite being completely vaccinated, Mom came down with Covid and had to be hospitalized, which was not a good time, at all.

October

I hosted the first annual Broomstick Bash on the Porch, which was a lot of fun. 

My Halloween decorations were on point, including the skeleton display.






Queen B flew home on Halloween to surprise me.


November

Aunt Pat died from complications from the Covid booster. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, apparently. Also, fuck you, Covid; I am sick to death of you.

Emily also ended up in the hospital with Covid, but she recovered rapidly. The hospitalization uncovered a heart issue that was present prior to the illness, which was the only blessing to come from the ordeal. Emily is now under the care of a cardiologist and will be having a pacemaker inserted at some point in the new year. We celebrated our gratitude for her recovery at a small Thanksgiving dinner.


December

The Man-Cub graduated! And we managed to get five of us to the island for the celebration.






We also did a fun Christmas card photo shoot on the beach. The card wouldn't go out until after the holiday (for the first time in all the years that I have sent out cards), but it was worth it.





We spent Christmas in Mayberry with the entire family. Not sure when we'll be able to manage that again, so it as incredibly special.



We have no real plans for New Year's Eve. Hugh was in Florida this week for a tournament, and, thanks to issues in the airline industry (Covid. It was Covid), his flight home was cancelled, which resulted in him flying to Texas, where he is currently awaiting a flight home. Theoretically, he will make it back before the ball drops tonight, but I am not holding my breath. Our usual partners in crime (Chris and Jana) are not going to be able to join us this year, and, I have no interest in going out. So, it should be a very quiet transition from 21 to 22 in these parts. I'm at peace with that.

I'm also trying to be at peace with the unknown that is 2022, because, as 20 and 21 taught us; you can't predict what fresh hell the year will bring. Might as well expect the worst and hope for the best.

As one does.

Anyhoodle, I wish you and yours a blessed and peaceful New Year.