Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Blog-a-versary To Me!

Today is the 365th day I've been blogging. One year. This little ole blog is one whole year old. I have to admit that when I started writing last summer, I had hopes I would be typing this post, but there was also this little voice that said I wouldn't make it. I've gone through periods where I get ferocious writer's block and can't seem to concoct a post out of thin air. Then I have more posts flowing in my brain than I can write. This blog is where I turned to when I held Challenge Day with my students and was so moved by them. It is where I came the day we lost a student in a tragic accident. It's where I posted my resolutions, and have asked to be held to em (last check, I'm still all about badassery!). I've shared some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, and trips. I vent and laugh about my crazy son and his adventures. When a dear friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer, I began the Sideline Reports. And most recently, I've talked about meditation, vacation, and sabbaticals.

It's been a crazy year. I am proud of this body of work. But what I'm most proud of is the women I've gotten to know through the blogasphere. Blogs like Sally McGraw's Already Pretty, Karen Walrond's Chookooloonks, Elissa Stern's Dress with Courage, Kyran Pittman's Planting Dandelions, Rita Arens' Surrender Dorothy, Maile Wilson's Daily Relish, and Blondie's Tales from Clark Street. I could go on and on, as my blogroll is giagundous. However, I am trying to be succinct! These are the blogs I have come to rely on each and every day. The ones which make me laugh, cry, feel more human, feel empowered, feel like I'm part of an awesome community, feel connected. I love them.

What defines a blog's success? I have often wondered that over the past 365 days. I don't think it is in ad revenue. Not in number of followers. Nor in number of comments each day. No, To quote Elissa Stern (read the entire post here) "Blogging success is about the loyalty of your readers, whether they continue to come back, and if they establish a relationship with you through regular, thoughtful comments." I have a few regular readers who either comment here, on my Facebook page, or via email. I love them for it. But I also believe what makes a blog a success is when the blogger can look back over her/his body of work and feel proud of each and every word written. I can say that. So, here's to another 365 days of successful blogging. From my little corner of the world here in the middle to yours!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Loss is Unfair

About two minutes ago my husband called and asked me if I was sitting down. He had some bad news. I didn't quite believe him, as he can be a bit of a prankster. Oh how I wish I could go back to that moment in time where I thought it was a joke. There was no prank.

A friend, a colleague of mine passed away unexpectedly this morning. As I've said before, I'm a school counselor. I work with our career tech school, and she was an employee there. She worked with many of my at-risk students as they prepared to start their journeys into career-technical education. This past year she went into the classroom and while their full-time students benefited from her wry sense of humor, her demand for focus, and her big heart, I missed her tremendously. I still saw her on occasion, just not as often as I liked.

After learning of her passing, I honestly didn't know what to do. I paced the floor in tears. My four year-old asked what was wrong. I gave him an honest answer. He gave me a hug, kiss, said he was sorry, and went back to Kai-Lan. After thinking, weeping more, I turned here. My readers and the blogger community I so love is the place I knew I could come to. Loss is never easy. Be it someone who has been ill for months or years and in pain, someone who has lived a full life and goes in their sleep, a young person in a tragic accident, or like my friend who I last saw when I was selling prom tickets and joked she could be my date and now is gone. My heart aches for my own loss, but more for her husband, her son, her family. For her tightly-knit work family I get to be a satellite of. If you are reading this, please send a prayer out into the universe for Edwina today. For her family and friends. That they may find some comfort and healing. Because loss never makes sense and it is never fair.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

On my mountain

I was not going to post at all while I was sitting on my mountain (side note:it isn't really my mountain. But it feels that way, so pardon the literary liberties.) However, I'm sitting on the porch of our cabin rental, reading my third book of the week, listening to a thunderstorm roll in, watching the light change on the Seven Sisters (the peaks we look at-just you wait till I get you photographs of those ladies-whoohoo are they beauties!), and I just have to write.

I have sent this week off social media. Spent it not reading email. Spent it reading books. Reading a select few blogs. Spent it sitting. Spent it cooking, talking, meditating, napping, photographing, exploring, and generally emptying out the garbage from my brain. Let me tell you it feels lovely. At this very moment I feel better than I have in years. I really don't want to come back down off my mountain. I want to wake up each morning and look out the window at the Seven Sisters, drink coffee, eat a giant bowl of cereal, meditate, and go about the day. I want to breathe this forest-scented air deep into my lungs. I want to listen to the insanely loud cicadas as I drift off to sleep. I want to stay where I have NO CELL PHONE SIGNAL.

But, back to life I shall return. I have a garden that needs tended to. A job that needs attention. A house that needs lived in. Family that needs visited with. Friends we miss.

For now thought I will go back to watching these two hummingbirds. Eventually we will eat dinner. Maybe have some more of our vacation dessert caaaaakkkeee. (more on that later too)

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Much better this day

I know, if you check back regularly, I left you hanging. I am sorry for has been crazy-busy here this week! But I am doing much better. Last post I was in the throes of wretched anxiety. Today, I sit here, coffee mug in hand, iTunes playing my favorite playlist of the moment, feeling cool as a cucumber. Or at least, as cool as one can feel when trying to organize a household to leave for vacation. That is what this week has been about-preparing to leave our nest and get away. Over the weekend I would have gladly left early, purchased needed clothing and food upon arrival, and spent extra time at our mountain retreat. Today I'm extremely glad we did not, feeling so blessed for the husband and son I have and the family who are in my life.

So yes, I am doing better today. I'm working on adding some daily meditation to my routine. I'm starting to eat better. My little family is going to be doing some walking each day next week to jump-start our fitness plans. And, I'm going to disconnect. Take a sabbatical of sorts. I plan to stay off twitter/facebook/google+ as much as possible. I am taking paper and pen to write, draft, and come up with ideas. But as much as I can, I will digitally disconnect. When I return, I plan to tell you all about the magical mountains, the delectable restaurants, the fun side trips and more. But until then I have suitcases to pack, cookies to bake, a car to load, tomatoes to tie up, groceries to buy, and more. See you soon!

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Nervous Twitches

I hate, no loathe, this time of the month.  Girls you know what I'm talking about.  Those days leading up to you-know-what.  When you're just a bit puffy in the fingers and toes, you get headaches, you want nothing but junk food, and as one of my BFF's says "you get that floaty feeling" (she's so right).  It's just so...ugh.  Well, in the past year or so, maybe longer, I don't know, I've started getting terribly, horribly anxious for a few days.  The kind of anxiety where I feel like I am stuck on a hamster wheel and cannot get off.  Where if I can just be distracted from my brain I am okay, but whenever it gets quiet, say at bedtime, I feel like my heart is going to burst out of my chest and my arms and legs are going to run off my body in four different directions.  It kills me.  Then one morning I wake up and like magic, it is gone.  I can't even tell you right now what is making me anxious.  I'm on summer vacation.  I spent the day with the two boys I love better than anything in this whole wide world.  We ate cake for dinner.  Freaking cake.  Yet I can't seem to type this fast enough because the moment the cursor starts blinking I start thinking.  Ugh.  

Is there anyone else out there who gets this way?  I have been researching natural remedies to this anxiety that may help.  I don't want to eliminate my cycle.  I don't want medicine-I try to be as unmedicated as possible.  I have to take too much for migraines as it is.  I just need some sort of method to cope for three days each month, 36 days each year. 

Boy, when I write it out like that, it seems more awful than I've allowed myself to believe.  36 days is over one month.  Over one-half of this lovely summer vacation.  Half of an entire season if you look at it based on weather patterns.  I know I'm rambling a bit here, but seriously, today is the worst, and I know that tomorrow I'll start feeling a little better and by Sunday I will start to come back to myself again.  If I can just hang in there for about 48 more hours.  And if my family can too.

Unless someone jams this darn hamster wheel for me before then!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adventures in Picky Eating

I used to be what one would call a "picky eater." When my husband met me no matter where we went to eat, it was chicken fingers and fries for me, thank you very much. My knowledge of vegetables ran only as far as the tuber family could take me. Anything green, forget it. Over the years though, my palate has expanded broadly. I merrily order steak cooked medium rare (emphasis on the rare). I bake kale chips whenever it is in season and gobble them down. I could eat butternut squash roasted all fall and winter long. I will kill a platter of crab cakes before you can blink. And, (this totally blows my husband's mind) I've even been known to spread roasted marrow on crusty bread and sprinkle it with sea salt before downing it. Chasing it with a swig with a dry, spicy, punch-you-in-the-mouth red wine. Yes, I said marrow. As in bone. As in, we ordered a giant porterhouse steak for the two of us, and I had heard the marrow was good. It was. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Needless to say, I am not that picky anymore.

However, there is a picky eater in our house. Our son. I shouldn't be too shocked. After all, I come from a family of four kids, and three of us strained the "bits" out of sauce before it hit the plate (the fourth kid just ate the "bits" from the other three on top of his!). But our son used to eat anything you put in front of him-with glee. With gusto. With abandon. He loved any and all food. We still talk about the time he was with us at a fancy Italian restaurant and had part of our braised lamb shank and cannelini beans. Then he hit a wall. I can count the foods he will stuff in his face on my 10 fingers. We worry about nutrition. We fret over anemia (he really just wants PBJ). He even will go 1-2 days with hardly consuming anything other than liquid. Of course the next few he eats like someone hired him to, and he's getting paid in M&Ms and matchbox cars.

This summer our goal is to re-expose him to as many tastes as we can. The school year is so crazy, that meals can be hectic. We have gotten our stubbornly picky eater to consume the following:
Grilled red/orange/yellow peppers and zucchini
Baked potatoes
Hot Dogs (that was a first! Always claimed to hate them before!)
Baked Beans

Most everything he gagged down at first, and other than the baked potato, he pretty much likes it all. This look comes over his face, kind of shock, and he says "it's good!" Like we were trying to trick him or something. We have all sorts of tactics-we "race" him to get bites in, we threaten to drink his precious juice box, we have been known to get treats after dinner and he doesn't if he didn't eat properly (but the next few days shoves pretty much everything into his mouth). Maybe by the time school starts he won't be so picky, and will actually eat the school lunch? One can hope. I just know how crippling it can be to be a picky eater, and don't want my son to be held back in the same way I was in my youth. The world is your plate little man, eat up!

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