Monthly Archives: March 2014

Let The Day Take You

One of the beautiful things in life, from where I stand, are those moments when you finally get to see a person for who they are –especially when who they are inside is beautiful. A sense of clarity comes over you, and you find yourself thinking, hey, I see you from the inside out. As opposed to just seeing what lies on the outside, which for as much as we allow ourselves to believe is the person, really is not.

I had this type of beautiful experience this weekend, on Saturday, when I got to socialize with my neighbors, Yulio and Natalie, who are from Venezuela, for the first time since they moved next door roughly three years ago. Three years! It took us three years to find an opportunity to start getting to know each other. During that time though, they have always been friendly to us and us to them. Our children always get along great whenever they run into each other, on the rare occasion that that happens, in spite of the year difference in age (their son is five).

See, it wasn’t for lack of wanting to know them. But several other elements came into play. First, both Yulio and Natalie work full-time while their little boy is in day care. Second, like all parents, when employment responsibilities arn’t making demands of your time, the needs of your child, home, and each other are. Third, we live in a neighborhood where most of the residents keep very much to themselves. So, much like us, Natalie and Yulio adapted to this, and kept to themselves for a long while. Of course the busyness of life is a natural killer of social lives, too.

In any case, just shortly before 2 p.m., we arrived back home from our weekly feels-like-the-apocalypse grocery run. My daughter wanted to hang out on her own on our deck. Neither my husband or myself saw a reason why she couldn’t: the weather was fine, and we had the task of putting away our perishables. Our neighbor’s son was also outside, in his backyard. The two chatted, about whatever a 4- and 5-year-old would discuss. She swiftly formulated an idea: Let’s play together. I’ll come over to your house. In the midst of this, I happened to check on her and said “hi” to my neighbors’ son.

Natalie popped her head out to chat with me — even though she was in the process of vacuuming and other housework. After a little comforting “oh, we have that current issue with our child, too” talking, she invited us over for later that afternoon so that the kids could have a playdate. She must have seen the hesitation on my face — I immediately felt like we would be imposing — because as we were going back to our to-do lists, she reiterated that truly, it would be ok for us to go over in a bit. So, I put my sense of being a bother aside, and told her that we would eventually be over.

And this was all my daughter’s doing. I felt a little flustered. But I have to admit, many of the days that started out ordinary and turned out pretty great have always been my daughter’s doing. After all, the day almost two years ago that we happened upon our friends Ivanna, Sofia, and Omar at a local park was the result of my daughter wanting to say “hello” because she wanted to make new friends and saw no reason or felt no inhibition not to go over to them. Yes, as her mother, I see this as both a blessing and a possible curse. Nevertheless, she certainly has an open heart. It is one of the many positive qualities that she naturally possesses, that she is teaching to me all over again.

As I mentioned, at first, I was scrambling to deal with the major change in the day. I still hadn’t worked out or showered…that was all I absolutely expected of myself for the afternoon. Come on, that’s still possible, I cajoled myself. We’ll go next door for about an hour, then exit home, so as to not over-welcome ourselves.

She sped through her lunch like she was in a competition. “Mommy, are you done eating yet?” she asked me four times while I conversed with my husband over our family’s meal. When I went upstairs to freshen myself, I could hear her ask her father “What is keeping, Mommy? Why is she taking so long to come back down?” at least twice. We had to remind her that our neighbors also needed to eat lunch. That we needed to give them a little time before we knocked on their door.

But I didn’t get mad because I got it. I understand that she has arrived at a point where she really wants to have more friends. I do, too. But how do you explain to a 4-year-old all the obstacles and difficulties in making new friends, especially as life gets more in the way?

While the children were playing, I sat and talked with Yulio, and began to see the person inside for the first time, even though I have spoken with him in the friendly way that neighbors sometimes do outside on many occasions. I got a glimpse at the interesting way that he thinks — deeply — and his ease with communicating his thoughts. It was a pleasant conversation that ended with him inviting my trio to have dinner with them, as they had spontaneously decided the day before to have a cook-out and some guests.

I was kind of floored. In a good way. Ok, sure, we’ve been neighbors for three years, but to open your home to me and my family so graciously is unexpected.

When Natalie came down — looking gorgeous for the get-together — she echoed her husband’s invite. I hesitated a bit again, but honestly, I was already enjoying being in their company. There is something very warm about certain people. Some of my friends have it. And so do my neighbors, Natalie and Yulio.

I texted my husband, who seemed to hesitate himself. But when I said “I think we should,” he was into it, too.

I realized what I was doing. Something that I don’t normally allow myself to do. I was letting the day unfold around me without freaking out about it. I was “going with the flow” and enjoying it.

The other guests arrived, and each of them were as friendly and welcoming as Natalie and Yulio. It didn’t matter that for most of them, Spanish is their native language. It didn’t matter that we had just met. Nor did it matter what differences might exist between us. We were all friends Saturday night. Eating. Laughing. Talking about whatever.

During the several hours we spent next door, out in our neighbors’ back yard with the congenial flickering of the candle in the lantern on the wooden picnic table, I also began to see passed Natalie’s outer beauty and started to recognize the light in her soul. When she speaks, a certain charming cuteness emanates from her as she gets into telling you a story or describing something. And like me, she uses her hands as part of her communication.

Socializing. I sometimes nearly forget what it feels like to enjoy the company of others when the relentless cycle of parenting and responsibility and life has you in its grips. It was liberating. It was like a gift. From my kid. It was like she knew exactly what I needed.

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Keeping Calm By Crafting On

I think maybe last week’s post was either too heavy or just not enjoyable all around. I don’t get the sense that many people connected with me last week, even though I was writing from the heart, as per usual. So, I decided to write about something light and fun, something that is a passion of mine. Crafts.

I’ve always felt that I have a creative soul — which is one reason why I always gravitated toward writing — but for the most part, didn’t know how else to express myself creatively or anything going on inside myself. Though, during my time as a Little Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, my first (of two) Big Sister, Risa, whose dad owned a few jewelry stores, introduced me to the joy of beading and making jewelry. I did that for quite a while off and on, and even though I still have a small collection of beads and string at the ready, its been a very long time since I’ve gone through a long period of continuously making any jewelry.

What can I say? Life changed. A lot. The free time I once had went away as my roles evolved. I know I’ll return to that particular vein of crafting though, as I have always wanted to, and my daughter has not only expressed an interest in beading, but has already had me purchase a bit of her own supplies. So, there are times that she asks to sit and make a bracelet or necklace, which of course, come out wonderfully cute.

Back in school, I felt a strong pull toward the arts, but didn’t believe in myself, thought that I didn’t have the skill or talent to do some of the inspiring things that the really artsy kids were doing. I should have realized I was also one of the really artsy kids. I should have had faith in myself…and attended art school instead of the college that I had. Live and learn. Especially about yourself.

Fast forward to my late twenties. You know how I mentioned before, possibly on a few occasions, that I used to work for a chain bookstore a few years ago? During that time, I got to briefly know a very creative soul whom I will just call TS. She even *looked* creative because she knew herself so well that her self awareness translated into her fashion sense, the way she wore and styled her hair, the frames for her glasses, everything. I really admired her and her firm grasp on living creatively. And even though when I looked at her and the awesome things that she made, and felt super inspired, I still was doing unfair comparisons, thinking that I wasn’t worthy to execute crafts to such an extent myself. I was wrong, but I was also warming up to it tons more. I just didn’t know it.

Over the course of about five years, I’ve transformed into a maker of cards. I had a clue a few years back that this would be happening, as I began by decorating the envelopes to cards purchased from the store (how boring is it to just give someone a plain white envelope with their card?) as well as adding small details to the card. That began to become a habit until I realized that I might one day want to do my own greeting cards as thoroughly as possibly from start to finish. Funny though, I actually backed away from it for awhile before completely taking it on. I think I realized that I was entering a whole new world, approaching a whole new self, and it was overwhelming. So, I had to digest it.

Then when I was ready, I committed so fully to crafting and becoming a crafter that it is now a part of me, a part of my life, one dimension of my personality. It’s such a clear and obvious component of who I am that my husband realized that I was in need of some actual space to put my art and crafting supplies that would double as a work area. So, as best as we could we transformed the mess that once was to what it is now. And now, this is where the magic happens.

Situated at the foot of our basement stairs, adjacent to our laundry room, my craft area looked unloved, which was the opposite from the truth

Situated at the foot of our basement stairs, adjacent to our laundry room, my craft area looked unloved, which was the opposite from the truth

The Craft area, post-IKEA makeover. Much better, no? Totally my haven. Can't find me? Did you look here yet?

The Craft area, post-IKEA makeover. Much better, no? Totally my haven. Can’t find me? Did you look here yet?

If whenever you are looking for me, and I can not be found, make sure to check my haven, where and how I approximate zen. Check my craft area in my basement. It’s a sure bet that that is where I’ll be. I end up there via distraction whenever I walk by. Like when doing laundry, or getting something from the pantry, or checking on whichever family member is currently knee-deep in a video game. I end up there when it feels like the world is falling apart all around me, and I can’t cope with anything by any other means. I end up there when I feel like I am falling apart and need to hide from the world. I end up there a lot. I keep calm — and reclaim calm — through crafting.

Aside from using this hobby to deal with life, I’m also into it simply because I love it. And just like when you cook with love, people can tell, the same is true when you are making cards. I hope it wasn’t lip service, but friends and family — both those receiving the cards and those who get to see them — give me compliments. More importantly though, they express that they can see that I put a lot of thought, time, and love into what I create. And so, this seems like a good spot to share some of my recent projects with you from over the last five or so months, so you can see some of what I’ve gotten to share with those in my life:

BIRTHDAY CARDS

This was cut from a file folder, that caught my eye in the store, which is how I choose my materials -- instant inspiration. This is the front of the birthday card that I made for my friend, Kathleen. -- October 2013.

This was cut from a file folder, that caught my eye in the store, which is how I choose my materials — instant inspiration. This is the front of the birthday card that I made for my friend, Kathleen. — October 2013.

Here is the inside of that same birthday card. I love birds and flowers, and so I tend to use them a lot in my cards, especially for birthdays.

Here is the inside of that same birthday card. I love birds and flowers, and so I tend to use them a lot in my cards, especially for birthdays.

This one -- made for my sister -- was also cut from a file folder. December 2013

This one — made for my sister — was also cut from a file folder. – December 2013

Inside left of my sister's card...

Inside left of my sister’s card…

Inside right...

Inside right…

...And the back.

…And the back.

I have fun making all of my greeting cards, but especially so with this one. - December 2013

I have fun making all of my greeting cards, but especially so with this one. – December 2013

Inside left...

Inside left…

...Inside right...

…Inside right…

...And the back! ;)

…And the back! ūüėČ

This one was completed more recently for one of my aunts.

This one was completed more recently for one of my aunts. – March 2014

Putting together the inside of this one was very much like completing a puzzle piece. - March 2014

Putting together the inside of this one was very much like completing a puzzle.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES

Made for my husband for our last wedding anniversary. - November 2013

Made for my husband for our last wedding anniversary. – November 2013

Inside. This was one of my quickest projects -- not by choice. Completed in three hours the day of our anniversary. (Usually, I have several sessions with a card, sometimes as many as a dozen. I like to have time and to take time.)

Inside. This was one of my quickest projects — not by choice. Completed in three hours the day of our anniversary. (Usually, I have several sessions with a card, sometimes as many as a dozen. I like to have time and to take time.)

A simple back, but I like it.

A simple back, but I like it.

My friend Andrea, and her husband celebrate their marriage about a week after me and mine do. Using some materials from their invitation and reception two years prior, I created this for them. - November 2013

My friend Andrea, and her husband celebrate their marriage about a week after me and mine do. Using some materials from their invitation and reception two years prior, I created this for them. – November 2013

As hinted here, they did a Day of the Dead theme, which was very cool and playing off of the importance of loved ones -- both living and dead -- very sweet.

As hinted here, they did a Day of the Dead theme, which was very cool and playing off of the importance of loved ones — both living and dead — very sweet.

The back, which I finished watching the end of the series Copper, which I feel influenced my work. Nevertheless, it was still cohesive.

The back, which I finished watching the end of the series Copper, which I feel influenced my work. Nevertheless, it was still cohesive.

BIRTHS/BABY SHOWER

My friend Shannon, who lives several states away, was pregnant with her second child. I knew I wouldn't get to see her, so I made this. - February 2014

My friend Shannon, who lives several states away, was pregnant with her second child. I knew I wouldn’t get to see her, so I made this. – February 2014

Inside...

Inside…

I like how I used baker's twine -- which I use a lot of in my card-making -- on the back.

I like how I used baker’s twine — which I use a lot of in my card-making — on the back.

For my friend of 20+ years expecting twins (who will be along very soon!), I made this. Let me tell you, it is next to impossible to find baby materials for twins. That's ok. I used my creativity!

For my friend of 20+ years expecting twins (who will be along very soon!), I made this. Let me tell you, it is next to impossible to find baby materials for twins. That’s ok. I used my creativity! – February 2014

:) Inside...

ūüôā Inside…

...The back, which I wish I had gone lighter on, but still cute.

…The back, which I wish I had gone lighter on, but still cute.

VALENTINE’S DAY

This is the front of the Valentine's Day card that I made for my kiddo. :) - February 2014

This is the front of the Valentine’s Day card that I made for my kiddo, who loves to tell any squirrels that she sees “Happy day, Mr. Squirrel!” ūüôā – February 2014

Inside. Another squirrel, of course. I still grin at how flippin' adorable these owls and cupcakes are.

Inside. Another squirrel, of course. I still grin at how flippin’ adorable these owls and cupcakes are.

Ah, right. Gotta admit something -- this was a pre-cut card. I covered much of it, but those stripes were not my doing, just my catalyst.

Ah, right. Gotta admit something — this was a pre-cut card. I covered much of it, but those stripes were not my doing, just my catalyst.

Since I have two sweethearts, here is the Valentine's Day card that I made for my husband. - February 2014

Since I have two sweethearts, here is the Valentine’s Day card that I made for my husband. – February 2014

And the inside, naturally.

And the inside, naturally.

I currently have some other projects in the works, but because you are probably now on picture overload — but more importantly, because the recipients haven’t received them yet, I will reserve them for another post about crafts and my love of all things related.

I hope to eventually have the experience of making cards for a wider array of occasions and life events — such as graduations; career advancements; retirements; and even though unfortunate when needed, sympathy — because I think it will make me a better crafter to have to stretch my mind and creativity around and through what I haven’t worked on yet.

I also want to extend myself by including other techniques — both ones that I’ve learned in classes, as well as ones that I haven’t tried yet — as I feel that that will keep it exciting and interesting.

Further, our children, ourselves. What’s better than a hobby that both calms me and brings out the best in me? When my child is attracted to it, as well. My almost-four-year-old daughter loves creating crafts, too. No surprise as kids emulate their parents. Of course, it’s heart-warming that she has picked up on one of my positive qualities.¬†Here are pictures of a few of her card projects:

This is the front of the birthday card that my daughter made for her uncle. (Pre-cut cards are great for when your kid wants to get in on creating paper greetings!) - February 2014

This is the front of the birthday card that my daughter made for her uncle. (Pre-cut cards are great for when your kid wants to get in on creating paper greetings!) – February 2014

Inside, some sort of picnic involving retro tech (because her uncle likes food and computers :D ).

Inside, some sort of picnic involving retro tech (because her uncle likes food and computers ūüėÄ ).

And the back. Cupcakes. Dinosaurs. Sounds like a party to me!

And the back. Cupcakes. Dinosaurs. Sounds like a party to me!

Another pre-cut card made it super easy for her to make this Valentine's Day card for her Daddy. - February 2014

Another pre-cut card made it super easy for her to make this Valentine’s Day card for her Daddy. – February 2014

Inside that same Valentine's Day card, made by my little lady...

Inside that same Valentine’s Day card, made by my little lady…

...And the back.

…And the back.

It’s beyond nice to share a hobby with your child, especially at the age that she is, where I am always looking for things that we can do together. And sometimes it also serves as a way for me to do my own thing while I’m with her, which is a certain kind of amazing. My hope is that crafting will always be for us a tie that binds. And that for myself, it will always be the healthy coping mechanism that has it already proven to be.

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Little Pig, Little Pig, Let Me In: Unwelcome Solicitors and Other Knocks At the Door

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”
“No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

I dislike solicitors. Majorly. And for all the reasons that anyone else does. One of my biggest peeves is paper shoved into my door any way that it can. If my screen door is unlocked — which it rarely is — on occasion a piece of pesky parchment might appear there. Other times, I find solicitation partially secreted under my welcome mat. But their favorite place to put what in essence is fodder for the recycling bin, is directly into the door handle, rolled up like a scroll. That has proven to be¬†the¬†worst little unexpected annoyance when returning home, arms full and fumbling with the house key while trying to figure out how to produce a third hand just for holding a single sheet of paper!

Another issue that I’ve got with solicitors is their seeming talent at selecting the most inconvenient part of the day to drop a house call. While you’re in dispose on the commode. While you’re just out from a shower. While you’re busy caring for your child. And — teethgrit — while you’re having dinner!

What sometimes tops it all is the repeat offender. In my experience, this is usually the cable representative, who of course, will initially invoke discomfort one deceptively-seeming uneventful evening during dinner. The worst is how I sometimes get fooled by it, as I open the door to a huge smile standing on my steps. Oh, someone friendly! Hurrah! But then once thinking that, I get super suspicious, super quickly. And next thing you know, you’re getting a blah-blah-blah on why their cable is better than the one you’ve got. And oh, I see here that you used to have us as a provider. And so forth. And my dinner is getting cold. And I don’t care, let me close my door. But in reminding yourself that you are trying to cut off a stranger, a small part of your brain says: don’t disgruntle!

In any case, you are positive that you were clear: I. Do. Not. Want. Your. Cable. Service. Yet, he comes back. It might not be the next night. It might not be until the end of that week or beginning of the next. He comes back. And when you open the door, before you can catch yourself, eye roll. (Yes. I did this recently. Even though I didn’t mean to. My thoughts registered across my face before I even knew what I was thinking.) “Oh, is this a bad time?” asked my new besty. Trying to smile through my annoyance at him and my embarrassment at showing that annoyance, I manage to say as syrupy as I can: “We’re¬†really¬†not interested. Sorry. Thanks.” Ugh.

But there is more to it then discovering an unwanted document left by a random visit from a stranger, feeling obliged to answer the rapping of knuckles upon the door, or by repeat visits from those who either don’t understand or refuse to accept “not interested.” I don’t know who you¬†really¬†are. Therefore, I do not want you on my steps. I do not want you at my door. I do not want you peddling your wares. I do not want to have a conversation. Why? Why so mean? Why so antisocial? Because of the risk and vulnerability of it. Because I have a little lady to protect. Because I live with two people who are not only a large portion of my life, they¬†are¬†my life.

You could say that you are Sir Saints Alot from The Church of Absolutely Telling the Truth, but really be a hardened criminal, casing my humble home. You could claim to be a service representative for a well-known cable provider. You could pitch me an offer for new windows, or gutter cleaning, or tree trimming. And it might be honesty. Or, it might not. I have no true litmus to ascertain either way. Also, speaking of religion, a person soliciting their services strikes me the same way as a religious group hawking their version of God — both of you are trying to recruit me. One wants money; the other wants my soul. Can you tell which is which? No! Me neither! Go away, evil solicitors!!

A few years back, solicitation for anything and everything, for pizza, for windows, for gutter cleaning, for the church up the street that isn’t even the denomination that you would consider, got so bad that at one point I threatened some invisible target verbally: I’m going to get a wooden sign for my lawn and stake it into the ground: NO SOLICITORS! And…and…I’m going to adhere a similar message to the front door as well!!! (I might have also shaken my fist in the air. Geez, this post makes me sound very geriatric. Not creeping toward mid-thirties. ) “No. You’re not,” said the husband. Grrr, I’ve got rights, man.

More than feeling crotchety about this — though, I will most certainly be That Old Woman, the one who glares daggers out her front window — it is also an issue of fear and of protection. (And honestly, due to fear and the desire to protect myself, my daughter, my husband, our home, I¬†already¬†check out the neighborhood scenario a dozen times a day, just without the icy death stares that I will surely one day dole out.) Can you blame me though? Afterall, ourselves and our loved ones are just too high a cost. We take lots for granted, including our own lives, the lives of our spouses, our children, at least on a sometimes-basis. Everyone and everything that means anything to us can be taken away in a blink. Life can change dramatically in an instant. This is whether we are thankful for what we have or lack any idea of our fortunes. I feel that once you realize this fully, it can not be unrealized. It just becomes one of the repetitive thoughts rolling on replay in the back of your mind. At least it has for me. The thought of not having either one of them…it’s unbearable.

Recently, a very apocalyptic thought-process developed in my noggin in regards to all this, due to the February 23 episode of The Walking Dead, “Claimed.” (Though, honestly this wasn’t the first time that show messed me up for a week or longer.) A particular scene involving the pink bedroom that Michonne discovers while clearing a house with Carl got to this momma. Michonne comes upon the corpse of a mother and her four children. The scene takes awhile to unfold, but once it does, it’s clear that sometime after the outbreak, that mother landed on the hardest decision of her life because of love, because of it probably looking like the only decision, because of all the ugliness that she figured awaited them. I’m being vague for those who might not have seen it. For those who have, you know what I’m referencing. It shook me. How plausible is a zombie apocalypse? No, really. I’m serious. I don’t want to end up ever having to make that kind of choice, which is one of the most difficult decisions a mother would ever have to make.

In my distrust of virtually everyone, I lock my door up as tight as Fort Knox as I can daily. Even when the heat of the summer also poses intrusion. It drives my husband crazy, who is immediately inviting ventilation via the screen door before he even drops his keys. And like most people probably trick themselves into believing, I think that as long as that door is double locked, I’m safe. Being inside our four walls creates this deception. Truth be told, any incarnation of a horror-inducing zombie or the Big Bad Wolf can show up on my front stoop (yes, stoop. I’m from Philadelphia. It’s just what we say there) and blow my house down, in spite of being made of bricks.

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Fitness Freak 2: To Those Who Might Not Understand

No, I can not skip a day! I need it, even when several other things require attention. Even when the day is overbooked and the hour is dangerously close to dinner. I didn’t put in four years of hard work and accumulated time, nor see the numbers on the scale go up and down, then up and down again on several occasions to slack off now.

I made a commitment to myself. There is no skipping. Only moving forward, moving toward the current goal, followed by the next goal. How do I bring myself to do this every day? Just like with anything in life, put one foot in front of the other. And I remind myself of all the reasons why I do this, why it has become so very important to me.

My husband teases me in those hours pre-workout, calling out my silent but intense mood and penchant for reminding anyone around me as often as I like that I still need my daily workout, as a type of rage. But I’m not really angry with anyone. As I try to explain every time, exercise is part of me now. I get a pent-up feeling. I do some kickboxing (or cardio, or weight-training, or whatever. I mix it up each time to keep my body, my mind, and myself from getting bored and impatient), that feeling is released, and all is well.

Even better, recently discovering in mid-February that a pair of pants that I bought just as fall was beginning that I only looked ok in then, now fit pretty damn amazingly. It’s beautiful when you throw on a piece that made you feel a little meh before, and your “just-to-see” moment turns into a “well, hello there, you cute thing” moment.

So, what¬†do¬†I do when I can’t workout for a day, or — oh, man! — two? I don’t know. Good question. One that I tried to find a solution to as the weekend (February 22-23) of my close, longtime friend, Andrea’s baby shower approached, requiring us to go out of town and rent a hotel room. Can I do planks, jumping jacks, crunches in said room? What about lunges, or push-ups? Will my family kill me? Or — I didn’t want to explore this option, but — or, will I just have to accept not doing extra physical activity all weekend?

I truly and completely love Andrea — we’ve been friends for over 20 years — but I absolutely rued the possible reality of my not working out for an arc of time as long as at least 48 hours. And – AND!- the baby shower was most definitely going to have one of my favorite sometimes-only foods: cake. Oh, god! Cake. How I love thee. This was an absolute stumbling block as there is always cake at a baby shower, plus not only does Andrea love cake as much as I do, but she spends a part of her life as a baker. Was there cake? Heck, yeah, there was cake!!

Several days beforehand, my husband says to me: “You know, I’m pretty sure our hotel has an exercise room.” I had the feeling that he sat on this info for as long as he pleased. Even so, the result of being told that was this woman with wide eyes, suddenly hitting upon hope. It was like telling a kid, yes, you can go in that candy store, buy as much as you’d like, AND then eat as much as you fancy. (An ironic comparison, no?)

Here’s something in the back of my thoughts, though. Just how fanatical am I really about exercise? What I mean is, am I in any sort of danger zone for this to morph into an unhealthy situation, such as an eating disorder? For as much as I used to hate on my body, I never had this sort of concern at all before. And it’s not that my concern is rooted in anything concrete — I haven’t been skipping meals or expelling them in any way other than sweating them out. Just, I don’t want to find myself teetering on the edge. I want to stay healthy and fit, and become more so of both without crossing into truly obsessive behavior that would only harm my body. Not the intent.

Well, for all my worry and thought, here’s what happened: I didn’t have an opportunity to work out that Saturday, the 22nd. I ate a tiny bit more than usual, but still managed to keep most of what I consumed as healthy as possible. That night and on into early Sunday morning, even though the king-sized bed I shared with my three-year-old daughter and husband was comfortable enough, I woke up several times. I was convinced that it was a psychological situation, as I was trying to strike a balance between enough sleep and an early rise in order to hit the workout room. But I realize now that because I didn’t get to workout that previous day, I wasn’t tired in the same way that I am used to from daily exercise.

By 6:45, I was on an elliptical. The last time I had used one was more than four years ago when I owned one. (Inevitably, I felt like it wasn’t enough. So, we sold it.) I only did 15 minutes on that as I found that I was bored. Sports television that early didn’t help. Thanks to whomever left¬†that¬†broadcasting! So, I switched to a treadmill, which I had last used one even farther back, somewhere in the ballpark of a decade ago — ! — when we lived in the apartment that we had prior to purchasing our house. I enjoyed that more, and got a good sweat on. I even fabricated a back story to keep myself engaged: I pretended that I was a South L.A. police officer in Philly on business, and that I was just doing my daily training to be constantly prepared for the streets. I have no idea why this character of myself popped into my head, but I was romanticized by it for some reason, and it made me feel very buff. But¬†have you ever heard of a police officer “on business” and having to travel for it? Me neither. Proof enough that I have never had an actual experience as a soldier of the streets, if you will. I was merely drawing from fictional televised dramas, such as the defunct¬†Southland.¬†Next thing I knew, I had completed my usual 40-45 minute workout, albeit on machines instead of via what I’ve grown accustomed to these last four years — following workout DVD’s in front of my television.

Incidentally, I ate slightly more on Sunday than Saturday, which was already slightly more than all other days! Again though, I kept it as healthy as I could. The best part was when I got back to working out at home on Monday, and I weighed myself post-workout like I always do, I discovered that the scale didn’t have much new to tell me — I stabilized! Yay!¬†The other observation — one I didn’t need the scale for — was soreness where I didn’t expect it and hadn’t experienced since my original initial encounter with exercise equipment, in the inner thighs. Oh, man! Did I get myself good. Three solid days of feeling it, hoping that each day’s workout would cancel out the residual of Sunday.¬†Ok, I’ve heard before that you should let the body rest for a day every so often. But I shake my head “no” to that. It feels counterintuitive. Even so, it ended up looking true since I didn’t suddenly gain five pounds of any weight, fat or otherwise, in the two days that my routine had to differ.

Nevertheless, I don’t like letting a workout pass by. Though I realize, life does what it wants, and will occasionally show me¬†whats going to happen. Not the other way around. So, I’m reaching for the next fitness level, in the hopes that the next time a special event equates to a missed workout, that I will¬†know¬†that it won’t throw me much, as opposed to fret¬†over the possibility that it will.

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