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Miscellaneous Mutterings


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Friday, 25 January 2008

Okay!  I'm it!  I've been tagged by Diane to participate in this, my first meme since I started blogging again. 

What is a meme?  Given ten minutes of internet research and my limited capacity to retain scientific terminology, here's what I've gleaned:  The term was first used by ethologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene to describe a kind of cultural gene; a mental virus if you will, which propagates and permeates and evolves our culture through a process of behavioral natural selection.

That's as far as I got before my eyes started to cross. 

For our purposes, we'll define it as a blog-based chain letter.

This particular meme calls for links to my 5 favorite personal blog posts according to the following rules:

Link 1 must be about family.  Easy.  Since my early blog was primarily family related humor, I picked one of my favorite stories.

Link 2 must be about friends.  I haven't written much about friends, but this got a laugh out of its subject, my friend Kim.

Link 3 must be about yourself.  Well, it's all about me, right?

Link 4 must be about something you love.  I love writing and this is short-short was inspired by an interruption during my writing time.

Link 5 can be anything you choose.  This is a short story length fiction piece based on a real story and was a cathartic exercise for me.  I've not tried to have it published, but many people have emailed me to say that they could relate.

Now, who to tag?  See, this is exactly why I never volunteer to be a Pampered Chef  hostess, either, because I just don't know who to ask. 

I'll get back to you on who to tag.  Maybe I'll tag 20 random blogging strangers.




Grand Opera, Act IV, The Fat Lady Sings

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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  In the past, I’ve called them New Year’s resignations, as I resign myself to another year of falling short of my own potential.  Classic underachiever, don’t you think?

This year, however, I’ve decided to throw away my old convictions and set a goal worthy of a good self-flogging on December 31, 2008.  Er…I mean, to set a goal that is lofty, yet attainable, even for a sloth like me…uh, well…you know what I mean…to give it my best shot!

Those of you who are registered “members” of Gooblink know that I went on a diet a while back and I promised to keep a diary of my progress.  I was so disgusted at myself for getting fat that I knew this time would be different and I’d find the will to lose it and boy, did I! 

I lost my will, that is…but I gained ten pounds.

Last spring I reasoned that what I lacked was support.  You know, a group of like minded individuals working towards the same goal.  Armed with new fervor, a renewed sense of purpose, I joined Weight Watchers.  The first meeting had me so pumped and ready that I was sure this was my ticket to size 6 jeans.

It was Weight Watchers, all right.  I sat at each meeting and watched while everyone else lost weight.  After 10 weeks I’d lost 4.9 lbs.  That just wasn’t fast enough for me, so I dropped out and gained my 4.9 lbs. back in about 4.9 weeks.

Over the summer, one of Chuck’s business acquaintances mentioned that he’d bought his mom a Nutrisystem package for Mother’s day, but she didn’t like the food, so he had a whole box of stuff to give away.  Chuck asked me if I’d want to try it and I jumped at the opportunity.  We’d been accosted by ads for NS for the past several months; all these super skinny women talking about how they feel so sexy and energetic and how easy the program was to follow, and men who boasted that their wives didn’t think they were disgusting anymore.  I’d watch longingly and think, gee, I wish I had her body.  Chuck would watch longingly and think, gee, I wish Cindy had her body.

So, I got the box of food – minus the program instructions, mind you - tried the food and it was awful.  I was famished the whole time and 3 meals a day of food that doesn’t require refrigeration is just wrong.  Defeated, again, I decided a lifetime of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) just wasn’t my cup of tea.

But, you know me and my convictions…

Back to my New Year’s resolution for 2008; since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided to make this year be the year that I lose 50 lbs.  70 lbs is my ultimate goal, but given my current age (44) and the fact that I’m not as active as I used to be, it may be a bit unrealistic to think I can get back to my high-school graduation weight.  At this point, I’m just looking to get back to my pre-fourth-pregnancy weight. 

So far this month, I’m down 5 lbs.

How, you might ask?  I decided to give Nutrisystem another shot, and signed both Chuck and myself up for the program.  This time, I got the program instructions and what I found was that the MREs are just a small portion of the plan.  We’re supposed to supplement with dairy, fruit and veggies.  Duh!  That makes sense. 

We’re 10 days into the program and I haven’t felt hungry, deprived or even a small tinge of buyer’s remorse.  The program isn’t cheap, but given the drop in our dining out budget (I track our spending with Quicken), I think it’s going to work out to about the same monthly expenditure.  The biggest budget savings I expect to see will be reflected in the business register.  Chuck dines out nearly every day and by bringing his NS lunch to work with him, he’s no longer spending that money.

Anyway, I feel very positive.  I think this time will be different.

Stay tuned.


Ready for the new year

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Thursday, 06 December 2007

I say this every year and every year I mean it:  I can’t believe it’s only 3 weeks until Christmas.  What happened to my 2007? 


It seems like just yesterday I was marveling at my mother-in-law’s collection of Sterno cans, batteries, plastic sheeting and bottled water, accumulated in preparation for the apocalypse expected to occur at 12:01 AM, January 1, 2000, when every computer in the world would crash and airplanes fall from the sky, our banking system lose everyone’s money and microwave ovens spontaneously explode.


In 2000 we welcomed our second baby, Chris, to the family.  He was such a beautiful baby – perfect.  His eyes were strikingly deep blue and testified to his intelligence as he discerned the world around him.  He would watch closely the movement of my lips when I spoke to him, as though processing how it was I made these various sounds.  Indeed, when he did begin to speak, it was with clarity, amazing imagination and a well developed vocabulary.


2001-2002 saw big changes for us.  My mother-in-law passed away, leaving us her apocalypse provisions; the company Chuck worked for was bought by another and they let most of their corporate officers go, including him.  We stood at that fork in the road and I supported his decision to take the path less travelled.  What a bumpy road it has been!  Bootstrapping a business is not for the feint-hearted.  In addition to the job change, we (and our wonderful insurance company) endured a $150,000 mold remediation to our house, then sold it and downsized our lives. 


2002-2006 are the dark years for me as I struggled with depression and progressive reclusion.  The change in lifestyle of not only leaving my own career to be a stay-at-home mom, but with the financial instability and struggles that go along with starting a company have taken their toll on me mentally and physically. 

            We started home schooling in the fall of 2003 and, frankly, it wasn’t my idea.  However, after meeting lots and lots of home schooling families, lots and lots of prayers and research into curriculum, the decision was made.  Although it hasn’t always been easy or fun or even consistent, it has been an amazing experience to teach the boys to read, do math and learn about God’s creation and how things work – and HIStory!  Our favorite subject is history.


In 2007 I decided being a recluse was not healthy for me and especially not healthy for the boys, so we joined a general co-op and I organized a history co-op to meet weekly.  I’ve put a priority on getting the boys out of the house often and we’ve switched to a more demanding curriculum.  It’s been the best year ever.


Now the end of the year is closing in and, for the first time this decade, I’m really looking forward to what the next year has in store.   Oh, and should an asteroid hit the earth, or the active volcano called Yellowstone National Park blow her top, we’re ready.  We’ve got a fine collection of Sterno cans, plastic sheeting and batteries.


Let it come.


It's Raining, It's Pouring and the Old Man is Snoring

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Monday, 15 January 2007

It's raining sleet, in fact.  And the whole house is snoring.  Today is Day 8 of my new sleep schedule, where I get to bed by 10PM and am up at 3:30AM, and it’s going swimmingly.  I’ve grown to cherish my blissfully quiet morning hours, and I'm equally jealous of my sleep hours.

The rest of the family is growing accustomed to the schedule, too.  Chuck’s been handling the boys’ bedtime book reading and then I make my appearance to “tuck” them in.  After that, if they venture down the hall to our room for anything besides a life-threatening emergency, they face the Wrath of Mommy. 


It used to be that, sometime after the boys had been tucked-in for the night, Alex would send his scout down the hall to see if they could come and sleep in our room.  You see, Alex perceives that Chris, at 6, has already honed the art of argument and is able to construct such a convincing – if illogical – filibuster, that Chuck and I often relent due to utter mental fatigue.


But now, with my new sleep deprivation schedule, the boys are quickly learning that Mom and, to some extent, Dad have adopted a zero tolerance stance toward bedtime stonewalling.  Oh, they might still pad down the hall to test the waters of Mommy Meanness, but they come as a pair now.  Alex is far too good a kid to throw his little brother into that lake without a life-vest.  The good news is that, regardless of whether their attempts are met with a bellow (GET   BACK TO   BED!!!!!!) or hissed through gritted teeth (get.  back. to.  bed.), they no longer cower in fear and peer at me as though they’re seeing the very face of Beelzebub.


I think this is going to work.




How Many Ways Can You Spell Zzzzz?

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Tuesday, 09 January 2007

I ran across an article, I don't remember where, about the use of sleep deprivation to treat depression. 


What?  Sleep deprivation to treat depression?  The article caught my attention because a) I’ve been suffering mild to moderate depression for the past several years and b) the concept is contrary to everything I'd ever heard about sleep and depression. 


Haven’t we all been drilled on the importance of getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night, and the damaging side effects associated with any less?  I’m a contrarian by nature and skeptical of most “widely held” beliefs, so the subject was begging me to do a little research.

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