Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting Off My Lazy Butt

I've been a little lax the last couple weeks about my excercise. It's been cold and rainy so I didn't really want to go out walking but today I decided that I'm going to end up sitting on my a$$ all winter if I use cold as an excuse. I walked down to the store to pick up some veggies and stopped by the library to get some reading material. Fate decided to reward me for walking and both of the books I wanted (but didn't dare hope to find) were sitting on the new arrivals shelf waiting for me. I love these authors and reread their books almost every year but I'm too cheap to buy them in hardback so I get them at the library and read them. Then I have the leisure to find them at a used bookstore for adding them to my home library.

Birthday Party Wrap Up

Well, just because a birthday party is absolutely wonderful and went off with minimal issues doesn't mean it didn't take a lot of work and require a recovery period after :P

My nephew's birthday was last week and we went a little overboard (I blame the grandma) for the party. It was awesome. A Circus theme was chosen so we had face painting (my long suffering and good sport of a husband), a clown making balloon animals (me), bean bag toss, a petting zoo (two goats and two little pigs), a little race car track, a jumping jupiter, and a bunch of games. If most families tried to pull this kind of party off it would take quite a bit of money but we did it for hardly any. The most expensive part of the party was probably the Jumping Jupiter and that only cost $100 to rent for the weekend because we could rent if from the base recreation dept. Every member of the family was able to contribute something whether it was cooking, crafting, making a bean bag game out of scrap wood and paint, or getting some friends to lend their animals to the cause. I love my big crazy family especially when we're being crazy in a good way.

Me in all my clowny glory. We were talking about the costume and realized that Mom made it more than 20 years ago. It's been worn by almost every member of our family at one time or another and been everywhere from a VBS in Barrow, AK to a children's cancer ward in Romania.

A bad shot of the wonderful bean bag toss game Mom made out of a piece of scrap wood.

My sister being a good sport about all the random flower balloons her son wanted her to wear that we eventually just made into a hat to free up her hands.

My hubby painting a "pink sports car" on my (hopeful) future niece.

My nephew and his Grandpa playing in the jumping jupiter.

The duck pond.

Mom makes the best birthday cakes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Really Weird "Fangirl" Moment

Just in case you needed any confirmation that I'm a few degrees off true North ....

I follow "a great leap in the dark" and "the tiny house blog" and while I'm not entirely sold on the "tiny house" concept for myself (I love my fabric stash), I really admire the ingenuity of tiny house builders and the underlying reasons for which they build that way. To that end, when my hubby and I saw a mobile "tiny house" on our drive home today I simply had to follow and get a picture or two (and a really weird look from the man in the truck hauling it).

Coming up on the tiny house. You can see its sister house up ahead.

A closer view as we pass. I love the sign over the door

"Motel 3 - no phones - no cable - no room tax - no vacancy"

Pay-It-Forward ... Soon

On the off chance I actually have any readers :)

Sara, the owner of the wonderful blog "Blessed Simplicity," has allowed me to enter her pay-it-forward giveaway. I am very excited about this whole concept. I had read about the giveaways in other blogs but I was always reading about them months after the fact or just to chicken to ask to be included. I am planning and plotting the project I will do for my pay-it-forward giveaway once Sara is done with hers. I've got the fabric all picked out and several ideas of things to make (I guess it says something about me that the fabric determines the project and not the other way around). Keep your eyes open and I'll post for victi... um I mean ...volunteers when it's my turn to pay-it-forward.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogs - A Window Into Someone Elses World

Ok, I have to admit to a very serious psychological problem ... insatiable curiosity and an inability to blindly believe what the news media tells me. I can't help but think that most news stories are pushed that little bit extra to make the issues or events seem a little bit more interesting. So, when I hear a news story about a polygamous family or niqab wearing french women, I try to find several blogs written by people who are in the culture or situation to try and get a better, more complete, perspective. Often times I don't completely agree with the belief systems I encounter, but I always appreciate a well thought out point of view and I always appreciate having a better understanding of the people I share this world with.

So, if you think the blogs I follow are a little disjointed, this is why. And thanks to everyone who lets it all hang out (even if you sometimes have to put up with ignorant comments left by idiots who probably haven't read more than three words of your actual blogs). I appreciate your courage and I want to grow up to be just like you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tearing the Place Apart - No, Literally

This weekend my parents, honey and I did demo work in the MIL apartment attached to our house. The MIL apartment is the oldest part of the house and the previous owner didn't really take care of it. It was a sad collection of patch-job repairs and unupdated electrical work. We decided that rather than adding our own layer of just-make-it-work repairs, we would gut it down to the frame and start from the beginning. We found a few surprises along the way - random places where the wall had plywood instead of Sheetrock, an old door that had been turned into a counter top in the kitchen, a weird wall made of 2X2s and hard board.

(honey, mom and dad at the scene of the disaster)

(loading all the unsalvagable debris to go to the dump)

(Part of where the kitchen used to be. I'm standing where the cut up old door/counter top used to be)
(Where the bedroom used to be taken from the living room. The weird gap in the flooring is where the 2X2 and hardboard wall was)

(Where the living room used to be. Taken from the bedroom. Honestly, this is a good thing)

At the end of the day it was so wonderful to be able to look and see the progress we'd made in turning our house into the home we want it to be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Loot !!!!

My loot from the "case lot" sale on base (kinda like Sam's Club meets the Commisary).

Yes, I know my kitchen is a little messy. Live with it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are You Happy?

ARE YOU HAPPY by Headup.

I'm Pretty Sure My Dog Thinks I'm Crazy

This afternoon I needed to get some work done around the house, and in the spirit of my new git fit goal, I decided to put on some music that I can't help but dance too. So, here I am, cleaning my living room and putting away clutter in between spins, shakes, and hip bumps and I look over and see my dog watching me with his head cocked to the side and I realized two things at once. 1) I'm pretty sure my dog thinks I'm crazy. 2) Since I was doing this cleaning dance in front of a huge picture window and it was just dark enough to make me clearly visible to the whole neighborhood, I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm crazy too. (All things considered, they mights as well realize I'm a little off now and not when I'm leaving the house in belly dance or SCA garb)

I didn't spend my entire day dancing around my living room though. This morning I went for a long walk to the local library. On the way back from the library all the muscles that have been accustomed to the easy life and aren't very appreciative of the new and interesting ways I'm finding to make them work in my new dance class decided to start complaining at once. I was dying. A walk of less than half the distance I walked on Tuesday seemed twice as hard. I was pretty sure I looked quite pitiful but having someone stop and offer me a ride was a confirmation I didn't need.

Back to Happy Thoughts

While I was at the library, I found this wonderful book on canning. A few weeks ago my MIL taught me how to make and preserve my own jam with the raspberries I had picked. I'm in love. Homemade jam is so much better. You have more control over the ingredients that are going into your food and it allows you to preserve what you've grown or picked yourself. Since then, I've been on a canning kick. I've made Raspberry Jam, Strawberry/Raspberry Jam (although I didn't know to agitate the jars so all my strawberries ended up on top), Blueberry Syrup, and Raspberry/Chipolte Sauce (a great sweet/spicy BBQ sauce substitute). I'm excited about the recipes in this book and can't wait to find a great deal on some produce so I can try them out.

My pretties -
Raspberry/Chipolte Sauce, Blueberry Syrup, Raspberry/Strawberry Jam, Raspberry Jam

Letting it All Hang Out

So, in the interest of total honesty, I'm periodically going to post pictures of myself as I travel along my fitness journey. That way I can't cheat (which of course I would never do).

Current Reality (me - happy but with room for improvement)

Goal (yes, that's me 5 years ago at 160 lbs)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Returning to one of My Great Passions - Belly Dance

About five years ago, I started taking belly dance classes with a teacher I absolutely loved. During that time, I was probably in the best shape of my adult life (the aforementioned 160 happened during this time). I really enjoyed the classes and they helped me get into shape, build cardio endurance, and self esteem. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I had to move to a different state. I've taken classes in almost every location I've lived since that time but I've never found a teacher whose style was so in sync with all the elements of the dance I love (I even found one crazy stalker belly dance teacher but that's a story for another time).

But, hopefully, that's all changed. I've been taking classes for three weeks with a local teacher and I love it. Here's the first line from her website -

A passionate enthusiast of world barefoot dance forms focusing on the movements and rhythms rooted in the Middle East

"world barefoot dance forms" That makes me so excited. Once I read that line I knew I had to try her class. But wait it gets better ...

That's my teacher. Doesn't what she's doing look fun? That's what I want my belly dancing to be like. Not contorting into an uncomfortable position just to look good, not dancing to please a crowd or look sexy. Instead I want to dance joyfully and exuberantly. I want to make my body so happy my heart and mind can't help but follow.

If anyone's interested, here's a link to her website. Come take classes with me.

So, What's with the blog?

Why am I doing this? Simple ... accountability. Lately I've found several areas in my life that I'm not entirely happy with and instead of living with it or whining about it, I'm Doing Something About It. My hope is that this blog will be a place for me to vent my frustrations and celebrate my victories throughout this process. Whether anyone reads this blog or not, it still supplies me with a written account of what I have accomplished (or not accomplished) throughout this process.

So, now that we have the boring mission statement out of the way, what exactly am I trying to improve?

1 - General Fitness - yes, my weight is a problem but so is my lack of cardiovascular endurance. I used to work in an appliance warehouse and now I feel like a wimp. I would like to get my weight back to 160 (it's 236 now) and be able to jog a mile.

2 - Make My House a Home - We have a house that needs a lot of work and I want to participate in the refurbishment of my house and apply my thrifty skills to helping us accomplish our goals with minimal output of cash ('cuz we don't have a lot).

3 - Feelings of Aimlessness - I've been dealing with feelings of aimlessness for a while now. We've had to move three times in the last three years and I wasn't able to get a job due to locations and the short amounts of time we would be at the various locations. I'm going to work toward getting my teaching certificate to establish a career that can travel with me to the various places our family gets stationed.

4 - Living in Harmony With My Surroundings - I would like to reach the point where we are consuming less and contributing more. I would like to establish a garden next spring and plant fruit trees that can help feel my family down the road.

And I'm pretty sure some of the other random stuff that happens in my life will find its way into the blog as well.