Friday, June 29, 2012

FitCity: Goodbye

Sad news this week- FitCity is going away.  You can read about it here.  And you can read my final post here.


Prior to 2010, I never put much serious effort into my health. Up into college, I had been healthy enough (meaning thin enough). After college, I started to gain but never felt like it was out of control. Then marriage and 2 babies left me very aware that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was working towards figuring out what I needed to do about it when I discovered FitCity and then became a Mom Blogger here.

And it changed my life.

I knew I couldn’t write about healthy living if I wasn’t living a healthy lifestyle. Writing for FitCity jump started my plans to make some serious changes in my life. However, when I wrote my first post in February of 2010, I had no idea that writing for FitCity would lead me on a journey of running, cycling, activity on vacations, juicing, connecting to nutritionist and exercise experts on Twitter chats, and even doing a FunRun with Jared from Subway.

Thanks to the motivation I received when I started writing for FitCity, I can say that I’ve done several 5K’s, I’ve done a half marathon, I’ve biked 30+ miles, and I’ve even gone from thick and heavy running shoes to minimalist running.

When I first heard the news that FitCity was coming to an end, I was worried that the motivation to continue finding ways to experience healthy living would also come to an end. You see, even though FitCity gave me that jumpstart, I still have been fighting my own personal battles of getting off track, finding motivation, fighting my emotional eating battles, and so on.

But over the course of these 2 1/2 years, I’ve developed an incredible support system. I have found the inspiration to start healthy living groups in my church and online (through Facebook). The group in my church has been going steady for about 18 months. We have a regular Zumba class, we walk, we do bike rides and 5K’s together. We are planning some great things for the year ahead- like a virtual walk to Jerusalem. My Facebook group (Eat Smart, Move More!) has become a source of inspiration, motivation, support, and sharing. It’s a place where we share our victories over fast food, our struggles with stress eating, our plans to exercise that day, our accomplishments and our challenges. I’m hoping to kick off a pedometer challenge there to get people walking and running – and to get myself walking and running more.

FitCity may be coming to an end but my Fit Living doesn’t. Won’t. Can’t.

I plan to keep connecting to my support system through my Facebook group, my church group, and will be sharing more of my healthy living thoughts and experiences on my own personal blog, Eternal Lizdom. I hope you will join me. One of the things I truly treasure the most about my time with FitCity are the friendships I’ve made with my fellow Mom Bloggers. I’ve come to know these beautiful women and am inspired by them in so many ways.

Thank you to Eleather, Lisa, Jennifer, Amy, Kelly, Danielle, Rhonda, and all the other amazing women and businesses and restaurants and services I have come to know thanks to FitCity.

Because of this online community, I am a stronger and healthier mom that is consistently striving to bring healthier choices to my family, raising healthier kids, and seeking ways to inspire the community around me to focus on health, nutrition, and activity.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Five Dollar Felines @Hamilton_Humane

If you're in Indy and you've been even considering the possibility of adding a cat or kitten to your family, this Saturday is THE day to do it!

The Humane Society for Hamilton County is having their Welcome to the Jungle Event and are offering the LOWEST EVER adoption fees for cats.  The Humane Society is currently way overloaded on felines- there are 400 cats and kittens needing homes right now.

This Saturday from 12-5, you can adopt a cat for as little as $5!  All cats age 5 and older and all FIV+ cats are adoptable for only $5!!  That's incredible!  Young cats (1 year up to age 5) are only $15 and kittens are just $25!

Adopting is, of course, a serious commitment.  The Humane Society takes it seriously, too.  You will have to fill out an application and they will help you find the kitty that suits your lifestyle and your family.  If you have any other pets at home, your need to bring them for a meet and greet.  Adopting a pet means committing to that pet- vet bills, medical procedures now and in the future, food, and more.

I'm really hoping that the daily list (posted on Facebook) of adopted pets this Saturday is so long that they have to post it as a Note instead of a status update!

Cats like...

Snowbella- "On November 22, 2010, someone found Snowbella not far from the HSHC. Because it was a cold day this tiny cat was grateful to be out of the weather. She was painfully thin, dehydrated, coughing & wheezing, several teeth were broken or missing and to top it all off, her tail was broken. Of course she was scared and nervous at all the attention she was suddenly getting. She spent a long time in sick bay recovering from her upper respiratory illness and then later from surgery to remove her tail. Throughout her ordeal, Snowbella was a quiet, gentle girl, content to be in a soft warm bed out of the elements. She showed affection and gave kisses to her caregivers. Now Snowbella is much better and looking forward to being adopted into a new forever home. She wants to be sure her new family will keep her inside and never let her be exposed to illness or injury again. She is solid white with golden eyes, about 7 years old and already spayed."

Beau - " My previous family surrendered me because they were moving and could not take me with them. As heartbroken as I’ve been after losing the only family I’ve ever known, I hope that here at HSHC I’ll be able to find someone who will love me forever. 

I’m a 7 year old neutered male Siamese mix. I’m also FRONT DECLAWED, liter trained, and a total love bug. I get along well with other cats, dogs, and people of all ages. I really get along well with dogs. In fact, I use to sleep on the back of my canine companion as he stretched on the floor. "

Albert - "Hello, my name is Albert. I am in search of a new forever family. I’m not picky either. I’ll live with kids, adults, someone single, a couple, a house full of people and EVEN DOGS!! I am very friendly with dogs and could even make a good companion for your dog. I tried to find my match on e-harmony, but I am just not good with computers. But my compatibility test said that I will be 100% perfect for anyone who loves cats and wants a companion for life. I just need to be loved.

If this adoption stuff doesn’t work out for me fast I might have to try and get better with computers. I am about 4.5 old. I came to the shelter on January 27, 2012 as a stray. I am very friendly and I am also told that I’m pretty sweet. All the ladies love me. I am FRONT DECLAWED. My adoption comes with all of my shots, a vet visit, a microchip, a 5lb bag of food, 30 days of pet insurance and LOTS OF LOVE!!"

Personally, I wish I could go and adopt a few of these sweethearts.  I really like cats- but my allergies prevent me from ever having one in my house as a pet.  We currently help feed a handful of neighborhood cats so the kids and I get our cat-fix that way.  

Seriously considering heading to HSHC on Saturday and expanding your family to include a feline who needs a home.  You'll be my hero- and a hero to that animal.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To the Survivors of Sandusky

In case you've been disconnected from the world, go read this to understand what this post is about.

To the young men who survived the abuse of Sandusky,

I want to thank you.  Thank you for your courage in speaking up.  Thank you for your bravery in taking the stand against this evil man.

Because of your courage, this man was brought to trial.  Because of that trial, I was able to teach an important lesson to my daughter.

We have been talking about privacy and respecting your body from early on.  We have spoken honestly about body part names and have also spoken directly about never letting anyone see them or touch them and to always tell Mommy or Daddy or another grown up right away... to run away if you can if someone talks to you about your privates.

Because I am also a survivor, I am especially cautious about what I say and how I say it.  I want to safeguard my children and empower my children but I don't want them to live their lives afraid of other people.

I had the news on this past weekend and there was blurb covering the verdict in Sandusky's trial.  The footage was showing Sandusky leaving the courthouse and getting into a squad car.

I called Teagan into the room (Zach was around but he came and went during this conversation).  I wanted her to understand that this man doesn't look like a Bad Guy.  He looks like a perfectly nice Grandpa type of guy.  But he's dangerous and evil and has done horrible, terrible things.

I explained to her that he was an Important Man at a College a long time ago.  I explained to her that he did something that other people thought was very nice- he started a camp for underprivileged kids to learn about football.  But he was really a very bad guy because he used that camp to meet young boys that he could hurt by touching their privates.  I explained to her that he probably threatened these boys that he would hurt their families if they told anyone so they kept it a secret for a long time.  I told her that these boys grew up and became young men and have come forward with the truth about what he did to them and now he is going to jail for what he did.  I reiterated what we've said before that no adult should ever ask to see her privates, to touch her privates, or do anything that makes her uncomfortable.  I affirmed our previous discussions that no matter what the person says, you have to tell Mommy or Daddy right away, no keeping Big Secrets in our family.

It was a hard conversation to face.  It was hard to introduce my daughter, even through the safety of a TV screen, to the face of a rapist, a molester.  But it was so important to make these talks we've had a little more real.

My greatest fear as a parent is that my child will be hurt the way I was hurt, shamed the way I was shamed, controlled the way I was controlled.  The family isn't ready to know about Mommy's story, Mommy's past.  When the time is right, it will be shared.

So again, I thank you.  I thank you for bringing this very important topic into my home in such a way that there was still a sense of safety for my child that this Bad Guy is in jail.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heat Exhaustion Ain't No Joke

Our community had a festival this weekend.  It's an annual event.  And part of the tradition is the Sunday afternoon parade through town.  My church has a float that the kids ride in while several adults walk behind and hand out candy or a trinket to the onlookers.  We participated in the parade last year for the first time.

I didn't want to do it this year but Teagan and Zach did.  And they needed people.  Jeff couldn't join us but the kids and I walked the 1.2 miles from home to the gathering point.  The kids rode on the trailer and I walked.  Well, first we waited a long time.  Meeting time is 3:00 and we didn't start actually moving until about 4:30 (parade started at 4).

After about a mile into the parade route, I realized I was crazy thirsty.  My mouth was dry and my lips felt parched.  I grabbed my Gatorade but knew I needed to be careful about how active I was being (I was dancing and being silly to keep the kids entertained).

Then Teagan had an urgent potty need.  I could tell by her face and body language that it was truly urgent.  We were near some local businesses so I lifted her from the trailer and we ran to the nearby pizza place and she used the bathroom.  I ate a few ice cubes from the drink machine and enjoyed the few minutes of cool.  Then we ran back to the street.  And the float was about 1/4 miles away.  We walked quickly down the street, got to the corner and started jogging for a brief stretch before I said we had to just walk, no more running.

By the time our total distance (from home to meeting point and then the parade route) reached 3 miles, we were finally caught up to the float (where Zach was patiently waiting for me).  We were also right at the point where I needed to gather the kids and the backpack because we were near home and it was our "bail out" point.

Thankfully, Jeff had left home and walked over to the parade route.  I texted him to tell him where we were and that I needed help.

I got the kids to a shady lawn and told them to sit quietly- Mommy felt really sick.  I laid down in the dry, crunchy grass and waited for Jeff to get there.  He found us and I don't think he realized that I was in bad shape.  I don't think I realized that I was in bad shape.  He offered to walk home and get the car and come get me but I just wanted to keep moving forward.  It was just 1/2 a mile to our house.

I was slow.  I stopped twice to enjoy some shade.  I hunched over my knees once, thinking I might barf.  I stopped and squatted once because I thought I was going to fall down.

Teagan walked alongside me most of the way, keeping her hand in the small of my back.  That kept me focused.

We got close to home and Jeff sent Teagan ahead with house keys to get the door open.  I got inside, got to the bathroom, got my shoes off, and the dry heaves hit.  I stopped to pant a bit and stripped off my shirt and socks.   A couple more attempts at barfing with no result and I decided it was time for a cool shower.

My clothes were sopping wet with sweat.  I stood in the shower and kept turning the water cooler and cooler and just letting it run down my face, over my head, into the small of my back.  I felt dizzy so I kept one hand on the wall at all times.

Got out, sat on my bed, felt pretty awful.  Sipped Gatorade, put on very light clothing.  Sat by a fan.  Zach came with a little handheld fan he had gotten at the parade and would fan me to help me feel better.  Jeff got ice to put in my Gatorade bottle.

My legs hurt- muscle cramps and soreness that I hadn't felt in a long time.

I Googled "heat exhaustion."

The first article I read confirmed what I suspected.  I had been taken down by the heat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating,weaknessnauseavomiting,headache, lightheadedness, andmuscle cramps.

Profuse sweating- check. Weakness- check. Nausea- check. Vomiting- kinda (dry heaves). Lightheadedness- check. Muscle cramps- check.


Treatment- cool the body.  Get out of the heat, cool the body, hydrate.

Even 2 hours after getting home and definitely feeling better, I still felt off.  Recovery was slow.

I got to a borderline of a dangerous place and it sure sneaks up on you.  After heat exhaustion can come heat stroke- and that can be fatal.

So as the summer continues to heat up and as young people and teens I know gear up for marching band camps and practices and as friends work outside on their yards and as friends work on outdoor activities like running and cycling, please be cautious and aware of your body's signals.

When I felt that extreme thirst, I should have asked to ride in the pickup truck to cool off.  I should have stopped walking, gotten into a cool environment, and worked on hydration.  Instead, I thought I could "push through it" by just getting a good drink.  Then I pushed myself physically to get Teagan to a bathroom in time and to get us caught up to the group again.  I think that the time in the pizza place and the ice cubes allowed my body to cool a smidge and then the jogging made my temp shoot up again.

Things I did right were drinking the Gatorade throughout the time I was active and in the heat and wearing a brimmed hat to shade my face.  I also asked for help- when Jeff was trying to meet up with us for the walk home, I texted him that I needed help.

Please be cautious when you spend time in the heat.  Take breaks, find shade, find air conditioning, hydrate like crazy.  Pay attention to your body- it will give you signs that something is wrong.

Take care of yourself!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Flashback: Aerobics!

I happened upon a video on YouTube and got hooked on watching a whole series of them.  Since they were so completely entertaining to me, I simply had to share them with you!  The really wacky thing is, they're kinda motivational, too.

I think this one was the inspiration for the term "cougar" based on the woman in the white leotard in the opening...

Then add 10 years and check out the competition in 1996! This time it's one act from the global competition- these guys are amazing!

This makes me long for those Saturday afternoons of nothing on TV but random sports.  The Association of National Aerobic Championships still exists and still holds competitions.  And it looks like the next USA Showcase is in Vegas next month!  Looks like the championship is now International.

Hey! Aerobics can even be a praise thing! Check it out!

I'm thinking back to high school when I started working out- back when it was easy.  Jane Fonda, Tae Bo, Callanetics, even Paula Abdul's video!

What are your favorite memories of exercise?  Do you remember when you were first introduced to the idea of intentional fitness?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mommies Wanna Have Fun, Too!

I want to spend my weekdays at summer camp with my kids at the YMCA.  

The first 2 weeks for Teagan were cheer and then dance.  She came home happy and loved every minute of it.  She learned some cheers and dances but also walked in the woods, went swimming, sang songs, and more.  Zach's favorite thing about camp is spending all day outside and walking in the woods.

Teagan's 3rd week of camp is the main camp and she LOVES it.  She comes home filthy from head to toe every day.  We've set aside 5 outfits that will be camp clothes for the summer and have a specific pair of sneakers to ruin.  They spend all day outside- eating, walking in the woods, creek stomping, singing camp songs, watching the counselors do skits.

It's made me realize how much I want to have summertime fun, too.

So yesterday, we did.  Jeff wasn't able to join us as he was off at a gaming thing all day.  But the kids and I made the very best of it.

We started with the community run- I did a 5K (I walked while my friend Carol jogged beside me) and got back to the park in time for the kids' fun run.  Both kids did awesome! I ran the short distance for Zach's age group with him.  Teagan did her 2 laps around the ballfield on her own and did great.

We had an issue on the walk home but it didn't ruin our day.  Then Jeff was off for his day of gaming and the kids and I were off for a day of fun!

I had to giggle.  My phone decided to skip the traditional "pocket dial" and went for the "running belt pictures."  After the third click sound, I finally figured out what was going on.

We started with our weekly trip to the farmer's market.  The kids love getting honey straws and a special pastry for Sunday morning and I loved getting honey, maple syrup, and some lemon balsamic vinegar.

Given that we know we're ruining at least 2 of Teagan's pairs of sneakers, we knew she'd need a clean pair for everyday stuff and for cheer practice.  Shoe shopping!  Zach got light up Spiderman shoes, Teagan got sleek white sneakers, and I got some new sandals.

Then it was off to lunch.  Sushi!  The kids love a treat like a special sushi meal at our favorite sushi place- Wild Ginger.

As we left the restaurant, I looked up and saw the coolest rainbow ring circling the sun!

Then we spent the afternoon at the YMCA in the pool and splash pad.  2 hours and 30 minutes of sun.  I got some reading done, I swam a few laps at adult swim, and the kids played and played and played.

Finally, it was time to decide what to have for dinner.  While I generally prefer to avoid the festival that happens in the park in our neighborhood, I told the kids that if we found a close enough parking place, we would have dinner there.  So we did.  Corn on the cob, ice cream (one of the best strawberry shakes I've ever had), corn dogs, and cotton candy.

And best of all, without having to go on vacation or drive any distance, or reserve a hotel room... I got to have a mini vacation right in my neighborhood, in my community, and with my kids.  I relaxed, had fun, and ended the day completely wiped out.  My kids laughed, played, and realized that they have the Coolest Mom Evah.

Unknown Mami


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Just got home from my 3rd annual Fishers Freedom Festival 5K.

Hadn't really wanted to do it this year.  Had seriously thought about skipping it after the ups and downs of the past week.

But then Christy went and picked up my packet for me.

And then Carol texted me to ask if I wanted to do the event together.

So I went.

Carol has been training off and on- certainly more than I have.  She's a penguin like me- slow but steady.  Her endurance is definitely better than mine.  We walked 5 minutes and then started jogging.  Saw my family so I walked so I could gather hugs and cheers from the kids.  Ran to catch up and realized that I could walk Carol's jog speed.

It was perfect.  Had I walked on my own, I would have easily slowed to a stroll.  But because Carol was jogging, I had to keep my walking speed up.

After we crossed the finish line (ran to it, yahoo), I headed to the baseball field to meet up with Jeff and the kids for their fun run events.  The event was far more organized this year.  They had the outside of the field roped off and distance very set.  The 3 and under crowd ran the distance from home to first.  Short and sweet.  The 4-6 crowd did 1 loop around the outfield area.  And the 7-9 crowd did 2 loops.  Zach wanted me to run with him and we made it about halfway around when he slowed to a walk.  He wasn't all that into it- pouted the whole time.  But he did it and got his medal.  Teagan did great- ran the first loop really strong, got halfway through the second loop and slowed to a walk but then ran strong for the last little distance to get her medal.

As we walked home, Teagan suddenly began to criticize Zach for not wanting to run and for walking.  We reminded her that when she did the fun run last year, she cried, too.  We reminded her that it was a FUN run and that what mattered was getting out there and doing it.  A few minutes go by and she announces that Zach basically failed because he didn't run.  "It's a fun RUN, not a fun WALK."  And the snotty attitude was on strong.

So we stripped her of her medal and balloon.  She huffed off down the sidewalk.  Jeff gave her a minute and then went to talk with her.  I ambled along with Zach.

It wasn't until we got home and I had showered that her attitude finally adjusted.

Now we have to figure out how she can earn her medal back.  Any ideas?

End of day report: I didn't tell her what needed to happen.  I told her that Zach requested an apology but I didn't want her to give it until she really felt sorry for having said things that hurt her brother's feelings.  She gave him a beautiful apology and he sweetly accepted it.  I told her I needed to figure out how she could earn her medal back, we talked about "unsportsmanlike conduct."  And this evening, I gave it back.  Throughout the day today, with no prompting, she asked Zach to run with her down our neighborhood sidewalk, she "swam laps" with him in the wade pool at the YMCA, and her attitude was cooperative and helpful throughout the day.


Friday, June 22, 2012

I've Been A Mushy Carrot

I had a big long rambling post written and deleted most of it because I wasn't making the point I wanted to make...  bottom line is that life is stressful and has been for a while.  This passage from a devotional I receive daily in my email from the Upper Room really hit home for me yesterday.

If carrots, eggs, and coffee beans are boiled, the effect on each item will be different. The carrots will soften, the eggs will harden, and the coffee beans will change the color of the water and spread a delicious aroma. The boiling water symbolizes problems or pressures in our life. The carrots, eggs, and coffee beans symbolize different human reactions to problems or pressures. The soft carrots represent people who grumble, complain, and pity themselves when faced with problems. The hardened eggs represent those who become stubborn, rebellious, and angry at God during tribulations. But the coffee beans represent people who obey and trust God, changing the atmosphere around them while spreading the fragrance of Christ.

I've been a mushy carrot.  I was giving in to the weight of all these little things and I was downright pitying myself.  Yes, the frustration is sincere.  Yes, the stress is real.  Yes, I've been handling it with as much grace as I could and it's been a process, a growing and changing and ebbing and flowing kind of year.  So maybe some time to wallow in mushy carrotness was allowed and maybe realizing how overcooked I was is what I need to get back into gear.

When I'm a coffee bean, I know I'm changing the atmosphere around me.  I've gotten that feedback before in various situations.  At work, for example, I often get feedback that my positive attitude in the face of pressure and high stress situations is appreciated and noticed.  To me, that's grace, that's being a coffee bean.

Which are you?  A carrot, egg, or coffee bean?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Top 10

I have a nifty little widget in my sidebar that shows the top posts of all time on this blog.  That's based specifically on page views direct to those links so it doesn't take into account posts read by those who just show up on my page.

The post that has the most direct page views?  Me posting about my birthday last year.  3,015 page views.  That's crazy!  There is nothing special or brilliant about that post!

Big drop from 3,015 page views to the number 2 spot- a post I wrote in March about Love.  It has 786 page views.  It's a post with more "meat" to it, more thought and emotion.

What slays me is that Blogger seems to have changed their Stats area and I can no longer really dig in to my stats.  I would love to know more about those 786 page views and where that traffic came from.  My curiosity about those 3,015 hits is kinda nutty.

I've always taken some pride in my "I'm An Ally and I Give A Damn and I Love God, too" post.  It's generated the most comments and discussion.  In terms of direct page views, it is staying on the Top 10 list with 287 hits.  But it's the kind of post I'd love to have generate more traffic.  It's a passion topic for me- just like my post on Divorce.

Some of the writing I've done for local tourism or sharing about local events make my Top 10, too.  Like my post about Santa Claus, IN and my post about last year's Dig IN - A Taste of Indiana event and sharing my feelings about the Tragedy at the Fair.  

Then there's the controversy- like the Summerfest post and the Art Class post.

But what really tickles me is that my post about How I Eat M&M's remains on the Top 10.

Not knowing the traffic sources means I don't know how people came to land on those posts.  Twitter?  Facebook shares? Google + or Google searches?

And it gets me to wondering about all the posts I've written in all the years that I've been blogging... what posts have I written that I felt were really worth reading, that I felt were some of my best, that would make up my personal Top 10?  Are the links in my About Me page really what I value most?

And that gets me wondering about posts I've written that you remember... when my readers, some of whom have been along for the ride since the start, think back on things I've shared, what posts have left an impression?  Made an impact?  Because page views don't capture that information.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Status Quo

Generally speaking, I think I am the kind of person who likes change.

Like most everyone else, I like my change in a somewhat controlled fashion within certain parameters of my comfort levels.

I'm a big believer in stepping outside of my comfort zone.  I believe that when I'm called to do something that really stretches me, that's when God works best in me and through me.

But lately, it feels like change is such a constant that it's making life pretty miserable.

Changes at work that aren't positive changes.

Changes in my child's behavior that aren't good for the family.

Changes in my perception or understanding that leads me to feeling unfulfilled.

I try to focus on the positive.  Jeff and I are doing great.  He's my rock, my friend.  He helps, he's my partner, he's my stress relief.  Zach is in an "easy" phase.  He's a pretty laid back kid and he's smart and imaginative and loving.

But there is so much stress coming at me from so many other places that every day feels like a chore.  Every day feels like another list of things to get through.

It's like I've lost my joy.

And that has become my status quo- my current state of affairs.

And I don't like it.

I had dinner with a friend Monday night because I needed someone to talk to and it was a great talk.  And since then, I've been getting some answers to my prayers that I am trying to sort out.  I've been praying about all of this stress for a long time.  I think I've given it up to God but the stress remains and maybe I just don't know how to actually give up the control?  I don't know.

After my dinner with a friend on Monday, I have received my regular daily devotional emails.  I subscribe to several through various sources and sometimes they are very relevant to my life today and sometimes I just skim them over.  Tuesday and Wednesday were filled with important messages that were very directly guided to me.  I had a meeting at church on Tuesday evening and when our pastor shared our opening worship focus and led our closing prayer, the words were spoken for me.

Here's a summary of what I'm getting right now.

  • My spirit isn't being filled.  
  • I'm not growing.  Or I'm not comfortable with the way I'm growing.
  • I am stretched thin and in danger of tearing.
  • I need the support of my friends and family.
  • When caring for my loved ones, don't neglect me.

And here are some of the tasks or ideas being presented to me as ways to help.

  • My dinner friend brought me a stack of books.  Some are devotionals, some are just books.  Some already called to me just by their title - How to Pray After You've Kicked the Dog.
  • Make a list of everything currently on my plate and then pray over it.  See what can be cut from the list in order to relieve some commitments.
  • Ask for help. I've approached a friend to see about getting housework help. I have friends I know I can talk to about my stress.
  • Continue to keep my spiritual connection strong.  Even if I don't feel like I'm being spiritually filled in the ways I normally expect it, my prayer life continues to remain strong.

A big part of me feels like I am whining.  There isn't anything specifically wrong in my life.  My kids are healthy. My finances are stable. My marriage is good. I have a job and benefits.  I have friends and family.  So many things are exactly right and yet... I'm not happy.  I'm stressed, stretched, pulled, thin, frustrated, and often unhappy.  I don't feel like myself- I miss my joy, my peace, my purpose.  I'm not working out, I'm not eating right, I'm not writing as much as I'd like.  And I feel like there isn't time to get back to those things, there isn't time or energy to keep up.

Part of me keeps holding on to the hope that this is a temporary phase in my life.  "This, too, shall pass."  But it hasn't passed.  Since April of 2011, when my job took the first big hit of massive change by adding on responsibilities, the change has been fast and furious, the stress has continued to increase and multiply, and life has continued to be more and more of a challenge.

I'm trying.  I think I'm trying my best.  I'm surviving each day. I just don't know what I need to do next to fix me, to make this better, to feel like myself again.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FitCity: I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Have you been thinking about taking up Cycling?  Check out my tips on how to get started over at FitCity Indy today!


My friend Amy recently posted about bike riding here on Fit City.  She gave some great tips on riding with your kids.  I want to share some tips on starting to ride on your own.  Cycling is great exercise.  Personally, it’s an activity that I simply enjoy.  I’ve done the running thing and I set and accomplished goals.  But I never came to really enjoy running.  When I ride, I simply enjoy it.  I enjoy the wind in my face, I enjoy feeling the strength of my legs, I even enjoy the challenge of getting up a hill when I think I’m not going to make it. 

How do you get started?

Get a bike. Get a helmet. Go!

It really can be that easy!

You can also start out by heading to a local bike shop and talking to the pros about what kind of riding you plan to do, what kind of terrain you plan to ride on, and how often you plan to ride.  Your local bike shop can also point you towards riding groups or cycling events.

What to Have

The other accessories I like to have are riding gloves, glasses, and my bike bag.  Because I like riding longer distances, having padding to protect my palms is a good thing.  I also like to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from dirt and bugs.  I wear glasses for near-sightedness anyway and have prescription sunglasses.  But even when I am wearing contacts, I wear sunglasses or clear safety glasses when riding.  And my bike bag holds my first aid kit, water bottle (stay hydrated!), has a top clear sleeve for my riding map, and a side pocket where I can slip my phone.

What to Wear

When it comes to clothing, the only money I have put into what I wear is to buy cycling shorts.  I’m a woman but I really like my men’s biking shorts best as they have thicker padding than my women’s capris.  Just try on lots of styles and see what is most comfortable.  Other than that, I wear my basic sneakers, my typical workout socks, my regular sports bra, and regular workout wicking shirt or tank.  I’d love to have a bike jersey with the funky pockets in the back but I’m not ready to spend that much yet.

The most important thing you wear when cycling is your helmet.  In the past few months, I have had a cycling friend experience a serious head injury due to not wearing a helmet and another friend avoid a serious injury because she was wearing her helmet.  Wear a helmet on every ride.

Where to Ride 

I’ve really enjoyed Saturday morning rides on the Monon Trail from Broad Ripple all the way up to Westfield.  I also enjoy just riding around my town.  It’s important to know the rules of the roadfor any place that you choose to ride.  You can use websites like MapMyRide or Bikely to find routes that others have mapped.

But the most important thing is to just get on your bike and ride.  Set a time goal to start with- ride for 30 minutes 3 times per week to start out.  Then increase that by 15 minute increments.  Or start with a 5 mile route and then grow to 7 and then 10.  As you gain confidence and passion for this activity, you will gain knowledge and experience and soon you might be inspiring others to come and ride with you!


Monday, June 18, 2012


I've been perfectly happy with my phone.  I have a Droid 3 through Verizon and it does everything I want it to do.

I have Google + on my phone so that when I take a pic or video, it automatically uploads to Google + and I never have to worry about that backup.

I have Endomondo on my phone as my fitness tracker.  I turn it on prior to a walk, run, or bike ride and it tracks my distance, speed, elevation, time, etc.

I stay connected to my social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

And I'm addicted to my email and love getting it live on my phone.

When I was contacted about reviewing the MOTOACTV for Verizon, I honestly wasn't sure I'd have a need for it.  What would it do that Endomondo didn't already do for me?

Let me tell you!

The first thing I really liked about the MOTOACTV was the size.  The armband accessory is the most comfortable armband I've ever worn.  Being active and relying on my phone means using up my phone's battery because the app works better when WiFi is on- but WiFi drains the battery.  Being active and relying on my phone means having to carry my phone which means wearing a running belt or trying to keep track of my phone in my bike bag.

When I wore the MOTOACTV on a bike ride, I liked that I could instantly see how fast I was going.  I didn't have to grab for my phone, unlock the screen and see what the app was telling me.  Instead, a quick glance at the device and I knew if I was slacking off or pushing.

Because my focus has been on cycling lately, I'm really intrigued by one of the accessories that attaches to your bike and helps with cadence.  I didn't have the opportunity to try that but I think serious cyclists would really enjoy it.

Another really cool feature of the MOTOACTV that beats any app I've found so far is that it's smart about when I pause and when I stop.  I can't tell you how many times I forget to turn off the app on my phone and it ends up recording that the end of my workout was a 5 mile course at 40 MPH.  You know... my drive home.  And with the apps I've tried so far, I have no way to go in and edit that workout.  My app auto-posts my workout to Facebook so people think I've got some crazy speed burst at the end of a 15 mile bike ride.  With the MOTOACTV, it is smarted and knows when I've paused for street traffic and when I've stopped long enough to indicate the end of the workout.

I had my MOTOACTV set up to recognize my wireless WiFi at home so as soon as I walked in the door, the device spoke to my WiFi and loaded my workout.  I could then get online and check my workouts, set goals, and even schedule the workouts I wants to do in the coming week.

The MOTOACTV also acts as a pedometer.  And an MP3 player.  It's smart enough to learn your music and performance link, too.  If you listen to music while running, for example, the device will use the data from your run (speed, distance, etc) and the songs you listened to during your run and will determine which songs helped boost your performance!  You can set the MOTOACTV to work for outdoor activities like running, walking, cycling, and even golf but can also set it for use with a treadmill or elliptical machine.

An unfortunate thing about the device?  While it was something I initially loved, the size can be a detriment for a busy mom.  Something small, dark, and square can easily get lost.

In addition to the MOTOACTV, I also had a RAZR MAXX to use with it.  While I never used the 2 devices in conjunction, I have to say that I really wish I could get rid of my Droid 3 and go to the RAZR MAXX.  The battery life is amazing, the camera is far better than the Droid 3, the screen and colors are awesome, and it is the first time I've had a phone without a slideout QWERTY keyboard that I actually really liked.  My biggest hesitation on the RAZR has been the like of a push key keyboard but having had one in my hands... I really liked it and really appreciated how much weight and bulk is removed from the phone by removing the keyboard.  Bottom line is that the RAZR does everything my Droid 3 does.  But it does it better.

If I was more serious about my training and my active lifestyle right now, the MOTOACTV would be something that could easily turn up on a wish list for my birthday or Christmas.  It can definitely act as a tool to help you improve performance, stay motivated, and challenge yourself.

And if anyone is feeling extremely generous and wants to give me a RAZR MAXX just because you love me, that would be perfectly fine with me!


Girlfriend Ride 2012

This past weekend was the 4th annual Girlfriend Ride in Columbus, IN.  This serves as a fundraiser for Turning Point- an organization that serves those getting out of domestic violence situations.

I did this ride last year with 2 friends.  This year, we had a team of about a dozen women riding in the event!

I stayed the night before the ride at the Holiday Inn Express in Edinburgh with Christy and another friend.  I have to take a moment to rave about this hotel experience.  It's so easy to vent about negative customer service experiences... I want to make a point of sharing positive ones, too.  From the moment we walked in, we were wowed.  The building is beautiful.  The lobby is open and inviting and nicely decorated.  The front desk staff were smiling and happy and eager to greet us.  We asked if they offered late check out as we were hoping to be able to return to the hotel after the ride for quick showers before being locked in a car with our sweaty, dirty, riding selves for the hour+ drive home... and it was no problem.  In fact, they extended the late check out just a smidge more than they "should" to help ensure we would get our showers. And he also said that if we didn't make it back in time, we could use the lobby restrooms to clean up as much as we could.  Up to the room.  We got a 2 bed junior suite so it had a little sitting area and a larger TV and a microwave and fridge.  This room was spacious and clean and nicely decorated and very comfortable.

As we settled in for the evening, we realized we wanted to order a pizza or something for dinner.  The front desk had ample menus and even coupons to offer us!  Then we realized we had forgotten the corkscrew for our bottle of wine.  Front desk had one.  Out friend had forgotten her charger- but guess what? When she went to ask the front desk about finding a store nearby so she could buy one... they had a charger she could use!  The hotel served breakfast in the morning and this was the only weak part of the stay.  The eggs and the sausage gravy weren't very good.  Very salty and a weird texture to each of them.  But the rest of the offerings were awesome- yogurt, cereal and milk, typical breakfast breads.  But the coolest thing was the automatic pancake maker.  You seriously just set down a plate and pushed a button and this contraption made 2 pancakes in less than 1 minute!

So after a pleasant evening in a hotel that exceeded our expectations, we headed to the starting point for the ride.

 Last year, it was gray and rainy for the ride.  This year, it was full on heat, sun, and humidity.  When we got back in the car after the ride, temps were around 91 degrees!  I really enjoyed the ride.  Last year, I struggled a bit by the end.  This year, I was just starting to feel tired and done when we reached the end.  And I think that was partially mental- I knew we were at the finish line.  Had it been another 10 miles, I think I could have done it.

Last year, I got better pictures.  This year, I tried getting pics with my phone while riding and the results were sometimes humorous...

In this one, I was trying to get a picture of my friends riding behind me with a big tractor riding behind them.

And another attempt at a shot of that tractor...

Thankfully, I have great memories of the beautiful farm landscape so the few pictures I did capture are of other fun things.

Like shadows.

And "old" ladies making their riding outfits... fun...

 And best of all, girlfriends to ride with.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

@Summerfest and the Rigged Gig

Life isn't fair.  We all know that.  But sometimes, that unfair slice of life being thrust in our faces deserves to have some attention drawn to it.

I know my blog isn't might and powerful.  I know my blog won't make much of an impact on the situation I'm going to share with you.  But I still think the story needs to be told and shared.

I have a friend at work.  Her name is Heather.  Heather has a son, Dean, and he has a band.  Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes.  They rock.  They do covers but also do their own stuff.  Check out this cover of Adele's Rolling In The Deep.

Milwaukee has this big concert every year- Summerfest.  They had this big contest called "Land the Big Gig."  Shiny Penny entered the contest and was consistently showing in the top 10.  The boys had concerts, went to local businesses with a laptop and asked people to listen to their music and then register and vote for them.  Family and friends promoted the contest on Facebook and through email.  I, personally, gave my 5 votes per day to Shiny Penny.

The day came when the contest results were supposed to be posted.  And Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes was listed FIRST!  Whooohooooo!!!!  A well deserved WIN!

Until 15 minutes go by, the page is refreshed, and suddenly a different name appears in first.  Not even like the second place spot went to first and we have a new 3rd place spot.  Nope- a band not in the top 3 before is now in the first spot.

Say huh??

Now, my friend Heather's son Dean has been contacting the people in charge of this "contest."  And they've given him the run around.  And he finally talked to someone who told him that it was believed that the band had cheated and created fraudulent email accounts to rig the voting.  You might recall that these boys spent their time promoting this Summerfest event and this contest in their community by going to local businesses and asking people to vote for them.  So yes, there were multiple accounts voting from similar IP addresses.  But all were valid accounts from valid people who validly voted for a local band.

It's a bunch of crap.

It's one thing if maybe Shiny Penny just didn't get enough votes.  There were a lot of bands who entered this contest who just didn't get the votes.  That's just life and hopefully you learn from it and move on.

But Shiny Penny worked for those votes, had concerts for those votes, worked with the community for every single one of those votes.

And the "powers that be" at Milwaukee's 45th annual Summerfest have opted to stomp all over that hard work by lying to this young man, by not contacting him when everything first went down, by refusing to give him an apology or rescind the false accusations they have made.

It's a bunch of crap.

Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes should be at that contest at Summerfest.  Period.  They earned the votes, they have the support of their fans and their community.

So what are they supposed to do now?  How do you pick yourself up from having the biggest opportunity of your career unfairly yanked away from you?

I had no plans to go to Summerfest, I had no intention of promoting Summerfest, I hadn't even heard of Summerfest until Shiny Penny introduced me.  I know that my little old voice holds no power over this slice of the industry.

I just think it's a damn shame that something that could be a really positive experience, a really powerful opportunity, is actually just a sham.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Fun Summer

We're only on week 2 of summer break, week 2 of day camp, and it's become obvious that the focus of this summer is exactly where it should be.

We're having FUN.

Well, the kids are having fun.  Insane amounts of fun.  They are loving the YMCA day camp experience.  Teagan's favorite thing?  Hanging out with the camp counselors (teen and young adult girls).  Zach's favorite?  Swimming and spending all day outside.

It's got me longing for some fun of my own.  Some real, let loose, laugh hysterically, enjoy the ride, go where it takes you kind of fun.

This weekend is The Girlfriend Ride and it will be fun.  I'm also feeling a little stress.  There are more people going this year and I'm feeling torn about how I divide my time.  I want time with everyone who is going but our group is big and we will ride at different speeds and... well... I loved this ride last year and will love it again this year, for sure.  (That link I just shared?  If you didn't read about our Ride experience last year, I encourage you to do so! We had an amazing, miraculous experience on our way home.)

We have no vacations or getaways planned for the summer.  No time off.  I have personal commitments that I am looking forward to in August and September.  But I need some summertime fun.

Maybe we can repeat a trip we've done before?  Maybe an overnight or weekend in Louisville, Cincinnati, or Fort Wayne?  Maybe some other nearby city?  Maybe a trip to Holiday World?  Something new-to-us like Indiana Beach?

I think of fun things like the rental of that little peddle surrey in Louisville or the Duck Boat in Cincinnati (never done it but think it would be fun!) or the Children's Zoo in Fort Wayne...

It's no secret that my already full work life went into overdrive 18 months ago.  And there is no sign of improvement on the horizon.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting smaller and dimmer as more rocks continue to rain down to block the light.

So much stress in the place where I spend the majority of my time doesn't make it easy to relax and be fun and spontaneous.  And I am feeling like I desperately need some kind of fun...

What are your fun summer plans this year?


Monday, June 11, 2012


Are you a fan of something?  Maybe a certain superhero?  An author?  A band?  The kind of fan that you buy every comic book, see every movie, buy the books in hardcover?

There are a few musicals that I consider myself to truly be a "fan" of and RENT is one of them.

I remember when RENT first hit the musical scene.  I remember the buzz about this little show... and then it went to off-Broadway and the creator of RENT, Jonathan Larson, dies the night before opening night.  That caught the attention of the media... but the amazing music and story of the show is what has kept it alive since that 1996 opening.

There is a local community theatre - Footlite Musicals- doing a Young Adult production of RENT in July.  Just knowing it was going to happen had me... and then I got hooked into their social media efforts.

They have a Facebook page.

But what got me... are the videos.  From the auditions to the first music rehearsals... I'm so eager for the next video to come out.  These little videos are really highlighting the talent and give you that little taste of the music and characters you love in RENT.

RENT opens July 6 at Footlite.  It closes July 22. I have bought tickets for one performance and am making plans for a second night out to see it twice.  I'm planning to break out the soundtrack and get all psyched and jazzed and ready to lose myself in one of my favorite shows...

You can buy tickets online through Brown Paper Tickets.  And I hope you will!

What is it about RENT that I love so much?  Maybe it's that it came out when I was in college and I was still in my "fight for justice" and "bring down The Man" and "save the world" mindset.  Maybe it was the Shakesperean type tragedy of Larson's unexpected death.  Maybe it was the "realness" of the characters- that Mark and Maureen and Benny and Collins are just like everyday people... which means that Mimi and Angel must be like everyday people, too.  Maybe it's the beautiful honesty of drugs and money and sex and AIDS and fear and the future and... maybe it's the amazing musicality and variety of and breadth and depth of music.

Maybe it's those favorite moments...

The support group... "Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow... from this nightmare?"

The flirtation of "Light My Candle" and the energy between Roger and Mimi.

The power and connection of "Seasons of Love."

The humor of the voicemails.

The deep sorrow of Angel's storyline.

Or just... loving every moment of the entire show.

I wanna know... do you have a favorite something that you simply have to be part of?  Is RENT something you connect with?  Share your favorite moments or experiences of this show!  And maybe I'll see you at Footlite next month!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Day With Family

It's been a while- too long- since I've participated in Unknown Mami's wonderful Sundays In My City!

Unknown Mami

Yesterday, we traveled to Cincinnati to visit family.  It was a gorgeous day.  There wasn't a reason to gather except that my grandmother had requested that my aunt come to visit (my aunt lives in California).  So we planned the dates and everyone saved the Saturday.  My aunt came up from Kentucky, another aunt came from Chicago, my brothers came from other cities in Ohio, and my brother's girlfriend and her parents came from yet another city in Ohio.  It was quite the gathering!

We spent the day outdoors.  It was a gorgeous summery day.  In the 80's, light breeze, sun shining, blue sky.  My aunts had prepared a feast, as usual.  This time we had a summer cook out theme.  Ted's girlfriend's dad manned the charcoal grill for burgers and brats.  My aunts prepared a spread of fruit salad, egg and potato salad, a farro salad, cucumber salad, fresh sliced onions and tomatoes, and stuffed portobello mushroom caps, and a platter of mexican influenced yumminess like guacamole, corn salsa, salsa, tortillas, .

 But the best part was the laughter, the chatting, and the entertainment.  What entertainment?  Slip and slide, cornhole, and even a wrestling match!

This pic cracks me up- I wasn't fast enough!

Jeff wants you to know that he and Daniel won the game against Ted and my dad.  And Zach was quite taken with the game of cornhole- he even abandoned the slip and slide just to watch and then get a turn.

Wrestling... it starts with a hug... but these brothers will always find a way to rough house!  It's fun to watch. One brother actually wrestled in high school and uses that experience.  The other brother is the science-engineering guy and you can see the wheels turning as he figures out how to use physics and such to his advantage.

We have a clever grandma... she has a beautiful garden you can walk through and enjoy and she hid a few small elves in the garden for my kids to find.

It was a wonderful afternoon.  It was relaxing and laid back and fun.  Any family tension or drama was left at the door- not that there is any but any time you bring a lot of people in from so many places and expect them to get along, there can be some toe stepping.  This was a really wonderful day with wonderful memories.

Everyone was laughing and happy.

Well, most of the time.