Site moved to, redirecting in 1 second...

96 posts categorized "everyday life"

June 23, 2014

An apology seems in order


"…I am sorry that I tried to make you into something that wasn't mine."

It starts with this article. (If you read it, this post will make a bit more sense.)

I've read articles like this before. Articles that are designed to help women see themselves differently. Articles designed to enable women to see their bodies as the amazing vehicles for all earthly experiences (which, of course, they are.) And I usually let them touch me for a good five minutes, commit wholeheartedly to changing my body image attitude and then forget all about them and go back to my status quo.

What is my status quo? It's that salvation will always lie 30 pounds less from today. That a thinner me is automatically a better me. That I will be more attractive. That I will feel better. That I will have it all together. That I won't have to be ashamed. 

Every day it's all about what I shouldn't put into this space—this body that ties me into being remarkably human. Shouldn't-a eaten that. Shouldn't-a eaten this. Aaaaand repeat.

No matter how I've tried to truly embrace the whole body love movement it seems like I'm much more for showin' than for blowin'. (And yes, I am quoting Laverne DeFazio.)

Move More, Eat Less—whoops, I mean Eat WELL! I'm full of catch phrases and positive spins. I love alliteration when it comes to all things diet and exercise. I mean, if it's catchy, it's gotta at least be worth 10 pounds in the right direction. Right?

But something happened when I read this article. This idea of being sorry for trying to make my body into something that isn't mine. The pervasive idea that all of us, with some elbow grease and hard work can achieve this crazy ideal of body perfection. If I just smoked enough cigarettes. If I just nailed those 22 points a day. If I just got off that sugar. That gluten. Those carbs. That animal protein. That Cross Fit workout. That Pilates class. That [insert the next life-changing health and fitness idea here].

If I just do everything right, I can have that body. Size 12. Size 10. Size 8. WHO KNOWS? Maybe even a size 6! 

I am guilty of buying into this every single time because of that one time in 2002 when I smoked incessantly instead of eating and got down to a "magical" weight [read: ridiculous weight] for all of 15 minutes.

I know I can do this! I did it before!

But the fact is, until I get right with this ridiculous cycle, it will never be enough. Ever. 


I am 48 years old and look at the legacy I'm carefully, neurotically laying out. The thought that I'll hit 50, then 60, then 70 (if I'm even that lucky) and with each successive decade there I'll be, still muddling through and trying to accept the body that I have with grace and failing miserably.

And writing about it. Over and over and over again.

Of course, that's what writers do. We write. We write to figure shit out. And we keep doing it until we think we know something. Or at least until that something changes, and then we have to figure it out again.

I know I present to the world as a middle aged scrapbooker mom, but I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm a writer first, even if I'm the only one who knows it. 


I read the aforementioned article aloud to Dan. I only got as far as "Dearest," before the tears came hot and fast.

Dearest. Oh my God. I never think of myself in that tender way.

I'm not saying this is some kind of Come to Diet Jesus turning point for me, but it is time to issue this body of mine an apology.

I'm sorry for all the hating. The disappointment. The endless cycles of dieting and exercise. The extremes. The pity parties. The things I didn't do because there was nothing that fit. The throwing my hands up in the air and not caring. The disconnection from doing what is actually needed.

But mostly, I'm sorry for not being tender.

My therapist says I don't see myself accurately (and no, she's not talking about being chubby, because believe me, she'd be the first to point that out). But that I don't see my strengths and weaknesses accurately.

I see my attitude in this category as a weakness. The attitude that is always focused on those 30 pounds. And sure, I can frame it in more positive language ("stronger!" "more fit!" or the best one, "healthier!") but for me those are just words for the same idea: thinner.

I need to work on this. I need to change this. It ain't happening overnight. Just like any developmental shift, it's going to take time.

But hopefully not too much time. I've wasted an awful lot of it to date.

Apologies are meaningless without action to back them up. 

I've got some serious making up to do. 


Over the weekend, we were up at our family cabin and I didn't hesitate to throw on my new swimsuit, go for a boat ride and swim in the lake. And I'm taking that as a very small sign that changing this attitude is, in fact, possible.





June 19, 2014

The Present Participle List for June


Recovering from the end of graduation season. Though we have one more party to hit this weekend, it has been alternatingly fun and a bit sad as, you know, this is happening is done.

Trying to spend more time on the deck. While it's in need of a good stain, it's a lovely space and I need to be outside more often. With bug spray, of course.

Realizing that I've officially become an internet cat video fan because of this clip. The whisper kills me.

Reviewing my new website. I saw the first test version this week. A few tweaks here and there and it's going to be ready. I'll give you all the details very soon but if you like, go ahead and bookmark so you don't miss the changeover. I'm sure there will be many things that have to be fixed in the world of past posts and links, but I promise that once it's live I'll make it all work.

Packing for a weekend up North.

Learning more about Adobe Illustrator than I'd previously known. Me and that program? We may end up friends yet.

Listening to this album by Sam Smith and kind of digging it.

Laughing out loud at this feminine hygiene commercial. Honestly? This is such creative advertising.

Learning about everything that goes into getting a child ready for college. And hoo boy, as many of you can attest, it's a lot.

Working to catch up on Project Life. I got stuck at Week 18. It's Week 25. I plan to do single pages to catch up next week. No stress needed on that project. That's the fun stuff.

Adjusting to the pace of summer. Aidan gets up to go to her nanny job every day. Cole would sleep until 2 p.m. if I let him. Dan is taking two grad courses. One thing I love is that I can start my work day much earlier because I don't have to do morning school stuff which can mean being done with work earlier in the day.

What are you —ing this month?



March 08, 2014

It's my birthday


I know it's Saturday and all but it's my birthday and it's long been my blogging tradition to post it here in a cheap, shameless and easy effort to garner birthday wishes.

And why not? Seriously?


Life is freaking miraculous. Truly.

Plus, at what other time will I have the chance to share this image of me from 1992, taken to honor my second Employee of the Month win at the American Collectors Association?

Life was simpler then. I hadn't yet heard of eyebrow care and I am fairly certain I was thinking: "Is it time for my smoke break?"

I'm off to enjoy the day. Here's to middle aged, people. 

March 04, 2014

I'm bringing sexy back


There is a moment in any given day—you know the one—it's when you realize that it's nearing the end of Day 2 with no shower and you shrug and say to yourself, "What's the point? I smell just fine."

You may or may not know this, but I don't get out much. Oh sure, I go to the grocery store. I hit Costco once every few weeks. I drive my kids to and from school. 

But between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., I'm a self-employed person who is trying to carve out as much earnable time as possible.

In other words, time spent fussing over how I look isn't exactly time well spent.

Granted, I do carve out time every day for exercise. This has been a fairly non-negotiable daily task since January 1. Right now, that means treadmill time every day at 8:30 a.m. No, I'm not running at all. I'm just walking and getting as many steps in my day as possible. 

Many days, I finish on the treadmill, make my breakfast smoothie (almond milk in place of the dairy) and it's already time to sit down and wade through email and adjust my schedule for the day.

Why change out of the orange sweatshirt?

It isn't until the time when I begin actually interacting with people later in the day that I realize, "OH, shit… I am in the same clothes from yesterday."

Most of the time, still, I don't really care.

I'm not exactly sure why this is. Maybe I can attribute it to doing what is actually needed. If a shower is truly needed, believe me, I'll be the first in line.

But sometimes, work and laundry and meal planning and exercise take precedence.

I'm very fortunate to be able to make a living as a self-employed person. Not a day goes by when I'm not grateful for this experience; this set of circumstances.

True, there I things that I did and studied that have helped me to be able to do what I do. Having a degree in journalism and working as an editor in my younger years taught me how to write with clarity. Learning graphic design and computers on the job (in order to keep my job in the 1990s) opened up an entirely new world to me, one where study and application could actually translate to an entirely new career.

Add to that some really amazing mentors who taught me more about how to work with people than anything else, something that I believe is really the most critical component in any worker's skill set.

But still, I am lucky.

Combine that with work I'm trying to do on myself so I can actually be a better all around human and it leaves very little time for style and fashion.

For right now, I'm good.

And it's not like I wear the same orange sweatshirt every day.

I mean, I have two of them.


February 17, 2014

Things I thought I would do as an adult that I actually don't do


There are things...

...things that many normal, well-adjusted adults do. Maybe all of America do these things but they are things that when I stop and think about it, I just don't do and some of these things never even cross my mind.

I'm not talking about life shattering things although when you read my list you may think, "Really Cathy? Really?"

But last weekend, as I tackled a project that I hadn't even considered doing since 2003, it got me thinking: what other things don't I do that many people typically do when they grow up?

The project in question? Cleaning my oven door. 

I had not cleaned my oven door (the inside glass part) since it was installed in 2003. 

Over the years, I vaguely recall thinking: I can't see through the door to what's cooking. Hmmm. What's on TV?

And that was all the thought I gave it.

Keep in mind I do have a  modern, self-cleaning oven and yes, I've run the cycle a handful of times over the years. But the door? Meh. I simply adjusted my opacity expectations.

Once I had to have the oven fixed and the repair guy said, "You can clean that door with a razor blade," and I remember thinking, "Yeah. Right. I'm going risk my life to scrape off that muck? I don't think so."

Then last week, I was Googling how to really clean the Ceran glass cooktop (part of the oven I'm forced to clean weekly) when the term "painter's blade" came up. 

Painter's blade? Dan, do we have a painter's blade?

Within 3 minutes, he produced a silvery object that holds, you guessed it, a razor blade.

All of a sudden I heard the voice: "You can clean that door with a razor blade."

And that's exactly what I did and now you can see the lasagna as it cooks.

It felt miraculous.

I felt so grown up. I did this!

I'm sure my mother is reading this thinking, "I didn't raise my daughter to not clean an oven door for 10 years," and perhaps she's right, but the reality is, she did. It's how I turned out. But it's certainly not any fault of hers. It's what I choose to do or not to do.

Here are some more things I don't do: I  don't make beds (unless the sheets have just come out of the dryer or company is coming). I don't clean windows with any regularity. I don't have the cleanest bathroom in the land. I don't use bleach on my whites. Hell, I don't even separate out my whites 95% of the time. 

I guess it goes without saying I don't have a cleaning lady. I wish I did but there are places where my dollars are better spent (read: therapy). So for the forseeable future, all these things I don't do, well, they remain firmly in the I Don't Do column.

It comes down to what you value. I do value time spent with my family versus time spent making every physical aspect of my life perfect. I do value those minutes I save not making my bed every day.

At the end of my life, I don't want people standing around at my funeral saying, "You know, she always made the beds and had a really clean oven door."

What are the things you don't do? And why?

By all means, use the comments as your confessional. I am all ears.

February 05, 2014

The Present Participle List for February


Longing for just a few more degrees every day. 

Diffusing lavender oil in my office while I work.

Drinking tea exclusively since I gave up coffee back in November.

Loving this post about an amazing teacher at A must read.

Watching the first season of Sherlock.

Reading Michael Pollan's latest book, Cooked.

Trying to find balance between work and house cleaning.

Listening to Beyoncé's latest album at the urging of my daughter. It's Beyoncé's world, people. We are just lucky to live in it.

Planning meals every week so I don't do the whole eat like crap thing.

Moving with more regularity thanks to my treadmill.

Working on new classes for later this year.

Sorting paper and digital files for taxes.

Trying to make myself leave my office once a week to get some writing done in a different location e.g. coffee shop, library, etc.

Having little success with the aforementioned.

Playing again with paper and making layouts.


What about you?


November 04, 2013

Look for the positive: a story of three good things + a printable card download for you


One of the things I've been doing since starting therapy nearly four years ago is working to eliminate the negative in my life.

Now before you think I'm talking about getting rid of negative people or negative situations or negative influences, let me stop you: I'm talking about getting rid of the negative behaviors in me. Negative behaviors encompass all sorts of tasty things. Things like being evaluative and judgmental. Things like being completely self-absorbed. Things like only seeing my perspective. I could go on and on, but that's what I pay my therapist for.

The good news is that the work is really starting to pay off. The bad news is that I've lived so long with negative behaviors as my normal, that living in the positive is something very new and sometimes pretty tricky. In fact, it's something that I actually know very little about. 

Living in the positive isn't about being happy and always having a kind word to offer. It's more about living in a life-affirming, nurturing, responsible and loving way. And yes, that's a pretty foreign world to this girl.

Both Dan and I are working this process in ways that are unique to us both. (Hey, that's a positive!) His work and my work, while there are convergences, let's just say we each have our own version of normal to unravel.


As I've worked to make changes over the years, one thing I've discovered is that when you really start to shift how you respond to your life, it feels weird. It feels yucky. It feels not like you at all. It actually feels pretty threatening.

For example, I used to cling to the idea that I was high strung. I was just emotional. I was over the top. I was too sensitive. I was a regular Sarah Bernhardt. You name it, that was me.

It was just the way I was. I had no choice in the matter.

Without getting too therapy-esque, the fact is that while we are born with a certain bill of innate goods, we can use those goods for, well, good, or not so good.

I cultivated the not so good and then just conveniently brushed it all off with, "Well, that's just the way I am."

Imagine my surprise to learn that I didn't have to freak out if something didn't go my way. That I could really think clearly and look at facts and make a choice in how to respond?

(Side note: yeah…that only took about two years to actually put into regular and consistent practice, if you're wondering.)

Long story short: kind of like trying to lose weight, making personal changes doesn't always feel good, but the rewards can be nothing short of miraculous, even though they're simply based in real life stuff.

So the other night, Dan read me this article called "Stop Glossing Over the Good Stuff (How to be Positive)," and it really resonated with me in terms of living in the positive, so I wanted to share the link with you. 

The reason is because in the midst of making changes, because it feels weird, because it doesn't feel like you, it's very easy to do things to take you back to something that does feel like you. For me, one way would be finding something to complain about. Even in a life that really is pretty amazing when you break it all down, finding things to complain about is something that ties me to the old me and serves to make me feel more normal. But that version of normal is not actually the person I want to be.

This article reminds me that complaining, like many other behaviors, is a habit and habits can be changed.

The article asks you to consider three good things to your day, every day. 

Dan and I have both started doing this together and much like consciously practicing gratitude, it reframes your thinking to look for things that add to your life, instead of the things that detract from it. It reminds you how even the smallest of positive things can affect your day. And, it encourages you to really seek them out consciously.

See what you think. 

It's a long article, but I really liked what the writer had to say.

If you're so inclined, download this simple, printable PDF of 3 x 4 cards. Maybe you'll want to document three good things in your day.

Download ThreeGoodThingsCards

Thanks for reading. I don't have all the answers but sometimes I feel compelled to share the things I'm working on beyond how to recolor a PNG file.

Have a great—and positive—day.



October 24, 2013

The Present Participle List for October


Savoring the chilly days of late October.

Finishing up a new class that's been fun and challenging.

Learning how to use my Silhouette.

Trying to make better choices for food and health.

Missing the mark, frequently.

Hesitating on upgrading my Mac to the new OS X Mavericks.

Ingesting Evening of Primrose Oil to help combat hot flashes.

Meeting with Joe, my physical therapist, twice weekly, to get my dang toe moving.

Feeling pain in all sorts of other places, on account of my weird gait caused by the toe.

Thinking, "Man, you sound like such a middle-aged whiner!"

Watching American Horror Story: Coven.

Listening to The Current's live stream most mornings.

Loving my new office desk.

Working to think less about me and more about everyone else.

Anticipating how fun it will be to wear my bee costume next week.

Wishing there was more time in each day.


What's your latest 'ing'? 


October 16, 2013

They tried to make me go to rehab…


Physical therapy has begin in earnest on my big toe.

I showed up last week for my first appointment with Joe, who looked me straight in the eye and said, "Every minute we spend together is going to put you in pain."

I said, "OH, sort of like marriage counseling?" 

He smiled.

I told him I will do everything he tells me to do. He told me I may never regain full range of motion, it may swollen for months, if not forever, and that I may have permanent pain.

Well then. He's a bit more direct than my doctor who simply said, "You won't drive for three weeks."

I mean, it didn't hurt this bad before the surgery. In fact, not even remotely so.

In any case, I decided it was time to lace up and get moving again, pain or no pain. So I picked up a new fitness gadet in the form of a Fitbit Flex. I'm a huge fan of Fitbit. My only problem is that I was tending to accidentally wash them. They only like to be washed once, apparently. This new wrist style FitBit might be the perfect fit, no pun intended. It'll be hard to throw that down the laundry chute. (The clip-on models were always on my bra, ergo, accidental washings galore.)


I set a modest step goal of 5,000 to start. It's crazy how little I was moving and yet how easy it was to hit that mark in one day of simply trying.

My present goal is back to 10,000. I have a number to aim for and every step is good for my rehab efforts.

I realized how gadget-oriented I am. I love the idea of tracking steps. Every little bit adds up, especially when you've been in any sort of forced inactivity.

That, and I love hot pink. And $10 from the sale of each hot pink Fitbit Flex goes to the American Cancer Society.

I know we are heading straight for holiday season central—Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas—but right now, I'm just feeling really grateful for the opportunity to get this middle-aged bod moving again.

Now I'm off to see Joe for my bi-weekly dose of pain. Wish me luck.


September 26, 2013

Halloween... holla! (can middle-aged women say that?)


The Halloween decorating has begun! (Wreath courtesy of Target and spiders hot glue gunned on, courtesy of me.)

Last night, Aidan and I hit Michael's. I'm still a little fuzzy on what happened. There was a lot of limping and I came home with cheesecloth, spray paint, spray adhesive, and… wait for it—GLITTER!

My first weekend project is this bad boy:

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 9.38.54 AM

Next, I will be breaking out my still-in-the-box Silhouette Cameo to make several black bats to adorn my walls. Wish me luck. It's a whole new era of crafting for this simple scrapbooker.

And last but not least, I will be painting and glittering a letter 'Z'. I am afraid, but I'll try and post reports from the field. I can do this.

I cannot think of glitter without thinking of two things: 1) how much it scares me and 2) this clip from Dmitri Martin, which contains the greatest truth in the history of crafting about glitter at 2:30.

I wanted to thank everyone who posted ideas last week and shared their Pinterest boards with me.

Halloween is in the house. Yo.


Speaking of Halloween…


Today is the final full day of the Designer Digitals 3rd Quarter Sale. It's a great time to shop for upcoming holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas! Save 30% storewide. Now that's a treat for sure.