Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Look Back 2017

In 2013 I wrote my own version of a bucket list. I've mostly forgotten about it, but every now and then I remember to take a look at the list and see where I'm at. As in years past, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that I can cross off a few more items now!

  1. Travel more - Our family vacations these past couple years have been to military graduations. Early 2016 we toured Chicago and went to a Cubs game to see Kid 2 graduate Navy boot camp. Later that same year we spent time up in the Ozark Mountains area of Missouri during Kid 3's Army boot camp graduation. This summer we spent a fabulous weekend in Charleston, SC playing in the ocean, riding jet skis and touring historic downtown after Kid 2's graduation from Naval Nuclear Engineering School.                                                                                                          The past couple summers we have also travelled to Iowa for my girls national dance competition. (Grand National Champions 2017 thank you very much!)                                                                                                  This past August the kids and I drove up to Kentucky to see the total solar eclipse. It was simply amazing!
  2. Dance more 
  3. Ride in a hot air balloon - I had forgotten this was on my list. Every year our little town hosts a Goat Days Festival (read about the best yoga class ever here). This year the festival had hot air balloon rides and since I was teaching Goat Yoga (the best yoga class ever!), my and the kids got passes for a free ride. We only went up about 50 feet in the air but it was still pretty exciting. 
  4. Finally find a sun dress that doesn't make my butt look huge -2017 is the year I learned to dress for my body shape without hating my body shape. (Finally right?) A job promotion at work took me out of sneakers and yoga pants and in to professional work attire. Fortunately I took the advice of a friend and walked into a store out of my price range to shop for a new look. The sales woman asked if I needed help and I told her not only do I need help is she ready for all  the help I need?! I stayed in the fitting room while she brought me outfits to try on, taking all the stress away from me. She taught me more about how to shop for clothes in that one afternoon than I think I've ever learned.
  5. Skydive
  6. See the Grand Canyon
  7. Not wait for special occasions to dress up - Although I sometimes miss the ease of wearing black yoga pants and sneakers every day, most days I enjoy dressing nice to go to work. I even went to our local Merle Norman and let the shop owner paint me up in adult make up. Every morning I carefully put on my make up with the tricks she taught me. 
  8. Swim with dolphins
  9. Go on a cruise
  10. Whale watching - written about January 1, 2015
  11. Take an aerobics class in Los Angeles with Richard Simmons at his Slimmons Gym
  12. Ride a cable car in San Francisco
  13. Visit all 50 states - Iowa, Kentucky and South Carolina 
  14. Have more fresh flowers in my house 
  15. Take a surfing lesson
  16. Take ballroom dance lessons - written about April 17, 2013
  17. Be more spontaneous 
  18. Publish my book -  Published and available for sale here! 
  19. Attend Summer Solstice in Times Square - written about January 1, 2015
  20. Finish my 500 hour RYT
  21. Get back to a regular yoga practice again- I'm always planning on getting back to a regular practice. Someday
  22. Get back to a semi-regular meditation practice again 
  23. Stress less about finances
  24. Make time to read more 
  25. Redecorate my kitchen - written about January 1, 2015
  26. Take more pictures 
  27. Walk more - I walked/ran the St Jude Half Marathon! For real! 
  28. Get a Labradoodle dog - technically I don't own a Ladradoodle. However, I get to dog sit a Labradoodle a few times a year for some friends. 
  29. Be able to afford a house cleaner
  30. Watch my kids grow up to be healthy, productive adults - Kid 1 is living on his own with some good, sober roommates. Kid 2 is a Naval Nuclear Engineer. Kid 3 is in the Army National Guard and working a full time job with great growth potential. That's 3 productive adults so far! I'm 50% to my goal of 6 healthy and able young adults. 
  31. Stay healthy into my old age
  32. Walk the beach more - After driving 10 hours to Charleston, SC the first thing we did is drive 30 minutes further to get my feet in the sand and run through the waves.
  33. Take more chances
  34. Attend more live theater 
  35. Find a way to combine what I love to do with a way to support myself financially - although I'm not financially stable like I want to be, I can say I am making a living doing what I love to do
  36. Laugh more 
  37. See my book for sale on Amazon - Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom
  38. Be debt free
  39. Care a little less what people think
  40. Paint a baseball field onto my backyard - I don't know why I haven't crossed this off the list before. But I've had a baseball field mowed into my backyard for a couple summers now. 
  41. Take the kids to Disney World
  42. Find balance 
  43. Be happy- I was asked recently if I'm happy. Of course I have times of worry and still a lot of financial stress and fear, but overall, yes I am happy. 

The year the Cubs won the World Series

Folly Beach, SC

Hot air balloons rides at night


Not really our own Labradoodle with
definitely our own rescue pup

Grand National Champions

Total solar eclipse, Kentucky

Folly Beach, SC

Monday, December 11, 2017

High Blood Pressure: How Yoga Can Help Stabilize Blood Pressure Naturally

The most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control says 70 million Americans, about 29% of the population, have diagnosed high blood pressure, known medically as hypertension. Hypertension is diagnosed when the top number, systolic, of a blood pressure reading is higher than 140 and the lower number, diastolic, higher than 90.

Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the top three causes of death in the United States.

Although systolic blood pressure tends to rise naturally as people age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries and long-term build-up of plaque, there are ways to naturally combat elevated blood pressure, including yoga.

Click here to read the rest of High Blood Pressure: How Yoga Can Help 

Stabilize Blood Pressure Naturally

Saturday, December 9, 2017

I Went MIA But I Ran a Half Marathon!

Two months!

It's been two months since my last post. That just makes me sad and a bit ashamed.

So to catch you up, here's what I've been doing:

I'm still working my new job and it's still going well, except October was budget time and I've never been responsible for a budget that large before and how do I know how much revenue each department will bring in during 2018 and oh my god what if I budget wrong and this is really stressing me out and then I got sick, just my yearly Southern fall upper respiratory thing but then kid 5 had a serious injury and we were in LeBonheur Children's Hospital for two days and then literally the next day Kid 4 had a very serious injury and she was admitted to LeBonheur Children's Hospital for two days and I didn't even go to work for a couple days but I have the best co-workers in the world and it wasn't even an issue and we are still running to follow up appointments and Kid 4 is still having signs of spinal chord trauma which is pretty scary and then because of all that I forgot I was sick so then I got really sick and gave in and paid $150 for the doctor to tell me I was sick and prescribe an antibiotic but I guess it was too late at that point because a few days later I had to pay another $150 for a different doctor to tell me I was really really sick and I needed a stronger antibiotic  so I came home and slept for 12 hours straight and then 5 days later I RAN A HALF MARATHON!

Along Riverside Drive. This is the downhill part
where I was blissfully unaware of the hill
coming up next. 
I really did it. I ran the St. Jude Half Marathon.

And actually crossed the finish line!

The night before a friend and fellow personal trainer texted me and said "just remember don't get caught up in all the excitement and start out too fast. Go at your own pace."

Good advice.

That I totally ignored and took off like a bat out of hell.

It was really exciting to be running the streets of Memphis with people lined up all along the way to cheer us on.

I was feeling really good and had my best split at mile 5 which is the dreaded Beale Street hill. But I powered up that hill like it was nothing and at the very top got a text from Kid 2 who had been tracking me on the St Jude Race Tracking app.

 Heck yeah! I am moving baby. I got this! But it's also about that point I realized I had got caught up in the excitement and I needed to slow down. My broken foot from last year was starting to remind me that it never really healed properly and it was starting to get warmer outside.

Remember, I hadn't trained for a month since getting sick and dealing with the kids injuries. My last training day had been on an unusually cold day and when I left my house at 6am the day of the race I was dressed for a chilly day.

But at this point I still felt good.

Running along Beale Street

And then, about mile 8 reality set in. Holy hell I still have five more miles to go. And my own race GPS was telling me I was a half mile ahead of every race marker I saw so I was getting really discouraged and a bit pissed off.

Why did I even decide to do this anyway. I'm not a runner. I hate running. This sucks.

About mile nine another text from Kid 2

I did not make it under three hours because those last four miles just sucked. Like sucked big time. The route took us through the less interesting parts of Memphis where there weren't as many people lined up cheering you on.

Honestly what happened was I got in my head here.  We were on the same stretch of road for two miles so it felt like I was getting nowhere, I was tired, I was hot and I was ready to be done.

Finally I could see the mile marker 13 up ahead and I could see AutoZone Park, so I knew the finish line was getting close. I was trying to will my feet to go faster when all of a sudden my phone went crazy with notifications.

It was messages from eight of my lifeguards and two of my kids telling me how proud they were and congratulations and I was almost there. What are the odds that all those messages came through at that exact moment when I needed the encouragement the most?

I powered through and I crossed that finish line like a boss!

I heard someone call my name as I came
through the finish. She snapped this pic of me as I
officially crossed.


And I even have the medal to prove it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Half Marathon Training: 10 Miles

Yesterday I taught my first class in more than two months and it felt so good to be teaching again! I filled in for the new HIIT class at my YMCA. HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training and we all were dripping sweat by the time we walked out of class.

It was fabulous!

Today I did my 10-mile training run in preparation for the St Jude Half Marathon. Although just a training run, I set a new PR for myself. PR is running lingo for "personal record." My time was great and the ten miles felt good.

Tonight, though, I feel like this:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I'm A Crappy Mom: Part (I've Lost Track By Now)

Alternative Title -- I Regret Being Such a Bitch To My Mom

Today began like this:

My 16 year old daughter mad at me because I won't let her take MY iPad on her Mexican cruise she is leaving on in an hour. She storms through the house and on her way out, says to her brother, I hope I never come back!

Being the calm rational mom I am I go storming out, fling open the door, and yell "You ungrateful little bitch! I hope you have a good time on your trip." And then I slam the door hard enough that the windows rattle. 

Yep, I went there.

Kid 4 is acting like a perfectly normal, age appropriate 16 year old girl.

And I'm not handling it very well.

Aside from her general ungrateful, bratty, roll-her-eyes at me attitude, she's a good kid. Straight A's in all honors classes, dances 5 nights/week, teaches dance 2 nights/week, not boy crazy, responsible and basically reliable kid. 

Her teachers love her. Other parents love her.

I actually enjoy spending time with her. 

Except when I want to just run after her, grab her long blonde pony tail and yank her onto the ground and pummel some sense in to her. 

I do understand that at 16 years old, she is genetically designed to be a horrible human being.  I do understand that at 48 years old I should have enough maturity, wisdom and parenting skills not to buy into her 16 year old behavior.

But apparently I don't.

It's almost like she turns me into a 16 year old bratty person too. 

I'm mean really. She is leaving for a five-day cruise to Mexico over Fall Break with her friends. I will be home working. Her brothers and sister will be home bored all week because they don't get to go anywhere and I'll be at work.  

Would "gee, thanks Mom" really kill her once in awhile?

She makes me feel like nothing I do, nothing I can give her, is ever good enough. She has brought me to tears more than a couple times. 

I know we will eventually get through this. And one day she will look back and regret acting this way towards me. And one day I'll see this is nothing more than typical strife between teen daughters and their mothers. 

But until that day, all I can do is try and remind myself that she is very much her mother's daughter.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What It Feels Like To Be A (Half) Marathon Runner

My hips hurt.

My hamstrings are tighter than they have ever been.

My yoga practice is suffering greatly due to lack of time because of training runs multiple times per week.

My yoga practice is suffering greatly because my flexibility has left the country because of all the running.

Reminder: I'm using the word "running" very loosely here.

I've gone through multiple rolls of KT Tape on my broken foot and an old injury on my knee.

I haven't had time to do any strength training in 6 weeks because any fitness time goes to training runs.

Have I mentioned how much my hips hurt?

I took a yoga workshop today and the instructor asked what happened that my hips were so tight? Oh, just training for St Jude I told her.

I'm not sure if it's just here in Memphis or if it's marathon runners everywhere that refer to the St Jude Marathon as just "training for St Jude." This is a BIG race amongst the marathon and half marathon community. Everyone knows it.

There will be real, legit runners there. The kind of runners who are qualifying to run the Boston or New York City Marathon. There will also be the groups wearing funny costumes and leisurely strolling their way along the race route.

I'll be somewhere in the middle. Well, probably closer to the back of the middle!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Practice More Yoga, More Often, For A Healthier Happier Life

What yogis have long believed to be true, that yoga is a fountain of youth, science has recently begun to prove.

  • Practicing more physical poses related to improved sleep, diet, and a lower BMI.
  • Practicing more breath work and meditation led to increased mindfulness and subjective well-being.
  • A frequent practice of gentle restorative poses was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption, higher rates of vegetarianism and lower alcohol consumption.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Best Yoga Class EVER

Today I taught a yoga class to 63 people. 63!

And six baby goats.

Yep, I have officially joined the latest yoga craze and today taught my first goat yoga class.

Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

Our local parks & rec department hosts the Goat Days Festival every year. I have no idea why my small town celebrates Goat Days, except I guess because there are a lot of goats around here. They usually call me to teach at local events, but this was a different call. And one that I didn't hesitate to say yes to!

I really wasn't sure what to expect though. I figured we would have a decent turn out. Probably my regular yoga people and a few people there for the goats.

I never expected 63!

Before class started I introduced myself, asked who had any yoga experience and asked about any health conditions I needed to be aware of. All the usual questions at the beginning of a yoga class.

It was probably 60% people who had some yoga experience and 40% who were just there to try it out.

But definitely 100% of the people were really there for the goats.

We began the yoga just as the baby goats were led into the pen. And I immediately lost everyones
attention. I told them no worries, I know you are really here for the goats so just have fun.

And we had so much fun!

The goats just wandered around while we practiced. People would stop to pet the goats or take goat selfies.

The farmers that brought the baby goats did a great job making sure the goats made their way throughout the big crowd by placing small  amounts of goat food on peoples yoga mats.

The biggest question I've gotten all day since goat yoga is "did the goat pee or poop on anyone"?

At the very end of class, one goat did pee on a woman's mat. But she had a good sense of humor about it and decided she will just buy herself a new yoga mat.

I saw a couple goats dropping goat pellets as they walked, but fortunately goat poop isn't like cow poop. It's smaller and doesn't stink!

The next question is when am I going to teach goat yoga again?

As soon as possible! The farm owners told me they have two more goats back at the farm who will be giving birth in a couple months so hopefully later this fall I will get to play with some baby goats and teach yoga again.

Teaching yoga at special events always reminds me of how much I love teaching and how much I am meant to teach. A friend took this picture below and said I looked so pretty. No, what you are seeing is happiness. I got to do what I love and teach yoga, to a large group of people who might never get to experience yoga and there were cute baby goats to play with.

My happiness cup is overflowing today.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Yoga For Toned Arms: Not Just Push Ups

As both a yoga teacher and a personal trainer, I spend equal time in the quiet of the yoga studio as well as in the noisy gym environment. Avid gym goers often ask me how best to build strength without looking too bulky. Of course, I recommend yoga.

While strength training in the gym requires the use of heavier weight to overload the muscles, yoga uses pure body weight to provide a more balanced and functional approach to strengthening and toning muscles. Yoga also has the advantage of toning both large and small muscle groups in balance with each other. Traditional weight training isolates one muscle group at a time, potentially leading to imbalance and injury.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Half Marathon Training Update

It is going surprisingly well!

So far.

A few months ago I decided to run the St Jude Half Marathon. I kept it pretty quiet at first, because, well, I wasn't actually sure I could complete a half marathon. But I had a training plan and I planned on at least trying it.

Then word slowly got out and the real runners I know got all excited and started inviting me into their running club events.  Of course I want to be one of the cool kids so I bought myself a fancy running belt and crazy expensive socks. I definitely need new sneakers, but those will have to wait a bit longer until I save up some money.

I am about six weeks into training and I dare say I am actually enjoying it. My longest run so far has only been six miles, so there are still plenty of miles for me to regret this. But I'm getting a lot more confident that I will actually finish like this:

My broken foot isn't giving me too much trouble. I tape it up real good for the longer ones and that definitely helps. 

Since I'm feeling a lot more confident now I am readjusting my goals:

  1. Complete adequate and appropriate training
  2. Stay injury free
  3. Stay motivated - this may end up being my biggest challenge. I just started a new full time job that requires about double the time I've been working, so fitting in training runs as well as cross training will be difficult.
  4. Finish the race in under four hours

Monday, August 7, 2017

6 Tips To Eat & Drink Your Way To A Healthy, Hydrated Body

As I write this, it is 97 degrees outside with a heat index of 109. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for the past week with no end in sight. Even by Memphis standards, it’s hot outside.

Like other extreme weather events, excessive heat has caused numerous deaths in the past few years. People who are at greater risk from excessive heat include children, elderly, those already ill, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, diabetics and athletes who train outside.

Lean body mass contains up to 75 percent water while fat only contains between 10 and 40 percent water. Therefore, those who are overweight are also more prone to dehydration.

Since for most of us it’s neither possible nor desirable to stay inside air-conditioned buildings full time, the best defense against the heat is to stay adequately hydrated.

Water not only maintains a safe body temperature during excessive heat or exercise, but it also carries heat away from the internal organs before serious damage can occur, which can lead to heat stroke and even death.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

This year families have the unique opportunity to experience a rare solar phenomena: a total solar eclipse. While eclipses happen in some part of the world with regularity, this year’s eclipse will be visible in just about every part of the United States on Monday, August 21. Here are some ways you can make the most out of this amazing event:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reading Pet Peeves

August 2 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

My biggest pet peeve when I read a book is having to go back a chapter to read it again because the story line doesn't make sense!

I recently read a book that alternated chapters writing from first person current time, to first person past time and then third person past time. What? To make it worse, the third person past time kept changing names for the same person.

I kept getting confused and having to go back and reread.  When I went to Goodreads to leave a review most of the other reviewers complained about the same issue. I still gave the book three stars though because the story really had potential. Also, I don't believe in publicly bashing anyone. If the book was truly horrible or I couldn't even finish it, I wouldn't even leave a review.

Side note: To my fellow writer's out there, please, please be a considerate reader and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. You know how much authors depend on reviews to move their book up in search engines and ratings. The more reviews (not even necessarily all fabulous reviews) the higher up the book is placed and more people will see it.

Then I had to wonder, how did a book getting these kind of reviews, with so many people saying the story line doesn't make sense, get a publishing deal? Especially considering how many good writers there are out there who would give their eyeteeth to be published. 

When it comes to the writing and editing process, my pet peeve is that it just doesn't always come as easily as I would like. Sometimes the muse strikes and I can write for hours. Other times, I have to bang my head against the computer before I can barely type out a few coherent sentences. That's frustrating, but just part of the process I suppose.

This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Key To Happiness Is Time

Today was a  typical Sunday - my normal one day off per week. Me and the kids did the usual grocery shopping, house cleaning, back to school shopping, yard work, laundry and meal prep that normally happens on our "day of rest".

Just as I was about to start dinner, the one night per week I try to make a sit-down healthy family meal, I stepped outside first to find kid 5 teaching his puppy to jump through a hoop. I've been telling him for awhile now that I really think this dog could learn some neat tricks.

She's a rescue pup, so we aren't totally sure of her lineage, but based on the way she can jump we are thinking she definitely has some Jack Russell Terrier in her.

Well, after just a quick minute, he had that dog jumping through the hoop almost a foot off the ground!

I bet we stayed outside almost an hour just playing with the dog and taking video of her jumping.

Eventually we remembered we were hungry and I came inside to make dinner.

After dinner I stepped out back to talk to Kid 3 about coordinating all our schedules for the week. Each of the kids drifted out to follow me and we all sat outside for over an hour as the sun went down.

Not only was it the first Memphis night that wasn't sweltering hot, it's also the last weekend we have before school starts back again.

We all just felt laid back, relaxed and unhurried. Of course, though, being siblings it can never stay totally relaxed. Kids 4 & 5 challenged each other to a race, then a rematch, Kid 6 got a little loud trying to make everyone laugh and the dog was running around like crazy in the middle of it all.

It was fabulous.

I realized the key to everything tonight was time. I took the time to enjoy being outside, the time to just be with the kids without having a schedule or accomplishing a to-do list. I had the time available where I wasn't working, wasn't worried about getting back to work and wasn't worried about how to make more money  -- I just simply took the time to enjoy life for a bit.

I'm normally so busy trying to earn enough money just to get by that I don't feel like I have time to take time off.

I've always heard that money can't buy happiness. My response has always been I am willing to try! But tonight I realized that if money could just buy me more off time, more down time, I could be happy.

Money would relieve so much of my stress. Allowing me to enjoy the time I do have.

I realize that sounds like a greedy statement. But the reality is I am raising 6 kids on a single mom budget. I'm one of those Americans who has way too much credit debt, not from family vacations or shopping sprees, but from buying gas and groceries and kids sneakers. Not to mention school fees, car insurance and everything else that comes along with raising a family. Those expenses that you can't just cut back on.

Financial stress affects every part of my life. It even seeps into the fun times by making me think I shouldn't be just sitting here doing nothing, even if it is enjoying time with my family.

Down time is time that could be working. A nice meal is nothing more than another charge to my account. I keep a running total in my head of expenses during trips away for graduations or dance competitions. Believe me, adding up costs really takes the fun out of fun times.

But somehow tonight I forgot all that for a little bit.

I just enjoyed my time with my family and remembered that is why I work the way I do.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

When Multitasking Doesn't Work

As a freelance writer, I have to fit in my writing any time and any where I can. Late at night is the most common writing time. With a close second being while my girls are dancing.

Most of the time that works out pretty well.

Except for when it doesn't.

I am currently sitting in the back of a conference room as about 75 teenagers participate in a tap dance workshop with some well-known tap teacher I've never heard of but the girls were quite excited about. I am currently supposed to be working on current science-backed research to promote yoga as an optimal alternative health practice for low back pain.

Yeah, this isn't working too well.

The music is loud

The tap is loud.

The girls are thirsty.

And hungry.

And tired.

This is day five of their National Dance Competition and these girls are wore out. These workshops are supposed to be their reward for a week of intense dance competition. Except my girls, and our dance school, have done so well we have been invited back to dance again tomorrow in the big showcase where all the first place winners compete against each other.

It's actually quite an honor for our little dance school.

But, we are tired.

Ironically, I volunteered for parent duty for this, as well as the next two workshops spanning over six hours. My theory was I would look like the good mom volunteering to sit with the girls for six straight hours of booming music while at the same time have six hours to do nothing but write.

I am reading current scientific research, but in my head I hear step ball change, step ball change,  shuffle shuffle out. Good now do it faster!

And of course when I hear, now put it together go!, I have to look up and watch as they dance to the choreography they just learned a minute ago.

I'm not sure how much scientific writing I'll get accomplished today. I may need to let the girls know I'll be just outside under a shady tree somewhere if they need me.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rule #1 Of Writing

July 5 Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

The writing doesn't actually happen unless you sit down and write.

Just sit your ass down in the chair, the bed, a comfy couch - it doesn't even matter where. You just have to sit down and starting putting words to paper / blank screen.

You can think about writing. You can plan to write. You can make time to write.

But you have to actually do the writing.

I spend A LOT of time thinking about writing. I normally have posts written in my head while exercising, driving or even mowing the grass.

Yet lately I haven't taken the next step to actually write them down.

In fact, I've done more writing about not writing these past few months than I've actually done any real writing.

A few years ago I wrote an Elephant Journal post titled Being A Writer Is Easy. Re-reading it has inspired me to once again be a more disciplined writer.

This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

YouTube Tutorials are #FakeDIYNews

My kitchen counters look terrible.

Really, they're bad.  The original counters were installed in 1994 the year the house was built. A couple years ago I decided to believe a Pinterest lie and I painted my counter tops as a cheaper alternative to replacing them.

There actually is no alternative possibility of replacing them. It's just way too out of my nonexistent budget.

I really liked the way the counters looked painted and I was so proud of myself!

For about a week.
Peeling paint over old counter tops

And then the places on the counter tops that got the most use started peeling and flaking. And it got
worse as time went on. And then more worse.

I am honestly embarrassed by the looks of my kitchen counters.

A realtor friend told me about the new trend of self adhesive granite film. It's like old fashioned shelf paper, but more durable and for the counter tops.

At just $10 per roll I figured if it didn't work I wasn't out anything major.

But, of course, I did my due diligence first.

I read the product reviews, watched a couple YouTube tutorials, and followed the pre-cleaning instructions.

And then I opened the first roll. Here is what I learned:

  • A 17.71" x 78" roll is not as much as you think it is and does not cover as large an area as you think it will.
  • Using a DVD case to push out any air bubbles (as recommended by the YouTube tutorials) actually makes small scratches in the brand new granite-looking paper.
  • Which leads me to believe it is, in fact, not more durable than shelf paper.
  • I am unable to cut in a straight line.
  • Air bubbles are not easy to see when looking down, but are really visible when looking from the side. 
  • I think the YouTube lady lied about how easy this would be.

After all that, I'm undecided whether I like the new look or not. Obviously it's better than the old wore out look.  And I will probably like it more once it is complete.

I ran out of paper so there are some patches not covered. I'm going to wait a couple weeks though before buying more just to see how durable it is.

What happens after it gets wet? After someone puts a hot pot on it? Or doesn't use a cutting board? How well is the self adhesive stick? Will the edges start to peel up?

If any of the above isn't good, I'm not sure what to try next.

I think it looks good. I'm a little concerned about the corners
peeling up though.

I'm going to leave it looking messed up for a
couple weeks to see how durable it is before
I finish the project.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Very Loud Very Crowded Week


I've said that more than once this week. Kid 2 is home on leave from his new Navy duty station so all six kids are together for the first time since Christmas.

It's been a week of picking on each other, instigating trouble, inappropriate jokes, extremely loud video game playing, moving back and forth between bedrooms, all ganging up on me for fun and other obnoxious behavior.

I absolutely love it and have been smiling all week.

It's really interesting to watch them interact with each other knowing their time is limited. To see how although they are all mostly young adults now, they still revert to child-like sibling rivalry. They really are growing up yet they are strongly bonded together.

My hope is that someday they will all be grown and independent, yet still gather together at my house to make a mess and make me crazy.

That will be my definition of a parenting success.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Quit Writing? Never

June’s IWSG Day Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I've taken many breaks in my writing.

Short breaks. Long breaks. Intentional breaks. Life got in the way breaks. And lots of just plain lazy breaks.

But I really don't recall ever thinking I quit.

Have I ever been discouraged in my writing? Sure. Do I go through periods of wild creativity followed by absolute nothingness. Yep.

But quit writing? How would I even do that?

Writing is just a part of who I am. Even if no one else reads it, I need to get the words out. This blog has saved me more than once.

I've said it many times before -- writing is how I get the crazy out.

I will always write in some way. I will never quit writing.

This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What Have I Done? It's A Half Marathon

Friend: Hey we should run the St Jude Half Marathon this year!
Me: Yeah that would be fun!
Friend: OK I signed us up. We need to make a training plan.
Me: What? You were serious? Shit

So, yes, it's official. I am committed to the famous St Jude Half Marathon happening December 2, 2017.

My current training plan consists of:

  1. Ignoring the fact I've never run/walked more than a 5K
  2. Ignoring the fact that in the past 4 years I've had knee surgery and within the past 6 months a broken foot and multiple torn tendons and ligaments in that foot
  3. Repeatedly checking the calendar to count the number of available training weeks between now and December 2 (25 weeks that also include one week I will be out of town)
  4. Completed no extra walking except to sustain life and work obligations. For real. I haven't even met my FitBit step goal one time this week
  5. Intentionally not advertised my commitment all over social media the way the rest of my half marathon friends have done
  6. Adamantly remind everyone that does know I have registered, paid for and committed to the half marathon that I will in fact be walking the vast majority of the race

My hope is I will look like this:

And finish like this:

My fear is it will end up more like this:

As of now my goals are simple:
  1. Complete adequate and appropriate training 
  2. Stay injury free
  3. Stay motivated
  4. Finish the race without being last or having the trolley pick me up to get me to the finish line
It's only 13.1 miles. No big deal. Right?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Step Count Too Low & Calorie Count Too High

I'm in another hotel room tonight, this time somewhere in Georgia. The kids aren't sleeping,  they are downstairs in the hotel pool.

I am sitting on the bed with a whole apple pie and a slice of french silk pie. I'll save the apple pie for the kids but that french silk is all mine.

Fields family vacations are usually active vacations with lots of hiking, swimming, etc. We did do a lot of walking this trip and we spent the day yesterday on the beach playing in the waves. But we have also spent A LOT of time in the car.

We have eaten every meal out this trip. Aside from being very costly financially, I'm sure it is costing me calorie wise.

But you know what? IDGAF

It's vacation. I'm living my life.

My FitBit hasn't buzzed with my step goal one day this trip. (I didn't wear it the day at the beach). I haven't even checked my standing on the weekly challenge.

Again. I don't care.

Earlier today I got a text from one of my personal training clients telling me her dad bought donuts and she was struggling not to eat one. I told her eat the freaking donut! Eat the donut and then go for a walk or something. Just don't eat them all.

You have to live your life.

When we get back home this week I will get back on track. More vegetables and more steps.

But tonight, tonight I'm eating pie.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Well Deserved Vacation and A Much Needed Reassurance

I'm writing this from a hotel bed in Charleston, South Carolina. On each of the double beds are kids 4, 5 and 6 all half asleep and more than half sunburned.

We are wore out from our quick weekend vacation/graduation to Charleston to see Kid 2 graduate Naval Nuclear Engineering School.

Side note: This graduation is a BIG deal! The fail/drop out rate for nuclear engineering is some crazy high number but MY KID MADE IT!

Since the divorce five years ago -- and I can't believe it's actually been five years already -- family vacations have been few and far between. These past couple years vacations were actually trips to see Kid 2 graduate Navy boot camp and Kid 3 graduate Army boot camp.

These vacations / graduations have also been funded and supported with the generosity and help of my dad, the kids grandfather.

Today we spent the day at the beach. We parked our toes in the sand a little before 8am and didn't leave until 2pm. It was a tiring, long, hot and fabulous day.

I needed this day. My family needed a day like this.

A day to "vacation like other families", a day to swim and laugh and play before Kid 2 moves on to his next duty station and we probably won't see him for a while.

As we were jumping through the waves today, Kid 2 and I got to talking about the old days. The days of real family vacations spent in beach side hotels. Vacations where budget were much looser and vacation days much longer than a weekend. Vacations where there was a dad in the picture.

But, much to my relief, they weren't sad or bitter memories. We reminisced about the good times and were finally able to laugh at the bad times. When the memory of a good time turned to a memory of it being ruined by their dad's alcoholism or anger, we didn't dwell in that bad moment. We acknowledged it and moved on.

I hope this is a sign of not only recovery for my kids and myself, but also that those bad times haven't damaged us all too bad.

Make no mistake, damage was done. Alcoholism, addiction and anger always damage everyone around them.

But, maybe, at least I hope, that the damage is healing and we are moving forward. Happier and healthier.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Helping vs Enabling

I was speaking with an old friend the other day and I casually mentioned I was helping out Kid 2 with some phone calls to potential rental homes for he and his friends. Admittedly, I made a joke out of it. Something along the lines of "my grown ass Naval nuclear engineer needs his mommy's help".

My friend said, "you know you're an enabler."

My response was fuck off. Well that was my response in my head. What I wrote was "well duh."

This friend was around during the worst of my marriage to an alcoholic. He saw the damage it did. He saw the hell I was put through.

Or rather, he chose not to see all that.  It was all right out there for the world to see, but funny, how "friends" who, after the fact, tell you how sorry they are, don't step up during the bad times and say anything or offer to help.

But, that was then.

As I thought more about it, I thought no, this really isn't enabling. Any of us who have lived with a loved ones addiction get real good at enabling. We might not recognize it or admit it right away. But we know it and we do it.

Until we know it and we don't do it.

Enabling = a young man who sleeps all day, plays video games, gets drunk/ high and can't find the time to make calls on his own so you do it for him.

Helping = a young man who is about to graduate nuclear engineer school is studying for final exams and doesn't have access to his phone until later in the day when most rental agencies are closed so I make a few simple phone calls for him

BIG difference.

But that enabling term gets thrown around, not in a helpful way, but in a way to let us know we are being judged. We're wrong. We are weak.

To that I say, fuck you.

Walk a mile in my shoes. Spend years living with an alcoholic husband and then fighting for a drug addicted son. Get to the point you will do anything, anything at all, to make the addiction go away. Finally find a place of peace in your life, your child is healthy, you - dare you say it - are finally happy.

Imply I'm weak and I'll remind you how strong I have had to be.

I can't promise I'll never enable anyone again. But I can promise I'll never not help my children when they need it.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Just Remembered What I Forgot


I Finally Realized Why I Haven't Been Writing Lately

And it's not laziness!

Well, not just laziness.

I am maxed out on personal training clients at work right now and my empath tendencies are in overdrive. I am worn out from putting all my energy into helping other people that I don't have enough left over energy for myself.

I love my personal training clients and all my class members. I truly do. But I also genuinely care about them. So when they are hurting, I am hurting. When they are struggling, I am struggling to help them. My job, both when training, teaching and as a wellness coordinator is a sort of cheerleader. I need to smile and encourage everyone all day long.

All. Day. Long.

Factor in I often work split shifts, usually 8-2 and then again 4-8, and they make for long days.

So I'm more than a little tired by the time I get home at night.

Well duh. I go through this periodically.

Work a lot - write hardly at all.

Work a little - write like crazy.

It's a crappy balancing act with no balance at all.

It's good that I'm working a lot right now. I need to keep that up. But I also need to balance it out with some self care and some me time. Which, of course, includes writing. I know if I look back through this blog I have written many times about that delicate balancing act.

And, after all this time, I still haven't figured it out.


This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Writing A Book, Just Writing Anything, Is An Accomplishment

Publicity for my book seems to come in waves. There's total silence and zero sales for a month or two, and then suddenly a flurry of activity and sales. I can't always pinpoint what leads to the sudden sales increase, but I am always grateful for it.

Right now I'm in a sales upswing which also leads to more local people finding out about my book. While ninety percent of the people are always positive and encouraging, there are always those few that seem to want to diminish my achievement.

Did you try and get published with Random House?
Oh, my friend wrote a book and was interviewed by (insert name of television person I haven't even heard of here)?
How many books have you sold?
How much money did you make?
I thought authors made a lot of money?
Why haven't you written a second book yet?
JK Rowling wrote her books as a single mom on the train? Why can't you make more time to write?

I remember when the book first came out one guy I don't even know on social media kept telling me it wasn't a "real book" if one of the major publishing houses didn't publish it. He went away pretty quick when I asked for the link to his bestselling book. (He didn't have one of course.)

I'm pretty good about not letting the haters get me down. It's just such a weird phenomenon. I don't know why people are so quick to critique everything. 

I tell fellow writers publishing a book doesn't make you a real writer. Writing makes you a real writer. 

Just in case you missed all the other links I've posted, you can find my book Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom right here on Amazon.

This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.