View From the Trail

January 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm (Day to Day, Exercise, For Linda, For Lorraine, Skeleton Trees, Thank You, Unemployed Posts) (, , , , , )

The Nature Trail, that is. In my quest to exercise every day, but not do the same thing every day, and because I can be lazy and not feel like sweating or jumping around for an hour, I walk our local trails. Sometimes I run them, but it was kind of snowy and slippery and I didn’t want to be carted out of them on a stretcher. So embarrassing when the ambulance and firefighters have to come to the Forest Preserve, hike a mile into the woods, with all their equipment, to find me, and then basket me out like some dumbass who was running in the woods and slipped and fell and broke her ankle. Or leg. Or neck. This is suburbia! They didn’t sign up for that!

Anyway, this is the creek, above. And below are some trees. I will resist posting all of the pictures I took or that my daughter took. Apparently she shares my love of photographing bare branches as much as I do. I find walking to be the easiest exercise ever. This is Monday. Tuesday was The Firm (that makes 3 workouts now if you are keeping track–still looking mostly the same–still trying to curb the appetite and eat better). And I walked yesterday too, just around the neighborhood. Just to get outside. It was cold and deceptively slippery. The sun was melting some of the snow but not all of the snow. Just enough to leave that slick of ice that will drop you on your ass in a heartbeat, while also simultaneously wrenching out your back as you try to prevent the fall. I made it safely back home but only because I was very careful to NOT walk on anything that even looked like ice.

In other news: I still haven’t heard from the hospital. I can call tomorrow. I have two interviews next week that I’m pretty excited about. I have been trying to stay positive and concentrate on losing the chunk because it will help me in the long run to not feel negative about this silly stuff. I’d like to say I didn’t post yesterday because I was all up in the social and political censorship internet issues. Doing my part to keep this a cutting edge, raw and real website, filled with black humor and gripping information about life and the occasional boozing and swearing. Protesting to keep it free and available for you to read. And to protect my right to type any and everything that flows out of my brain into the atmosphere no matter how ridiculous or irrelevant. Even if no one actually wants it or reads it. I think the day was a success. I think the internet made its point. I never know how these things go. Smarter folks will have to argue that one for me. In the meantime my little site will be here if you change your mind. No. I was just seeped in the gloom of winter and joblessness. Feeling the UN-love from HR departments everywhere. At least everywhere in the Chicagoland area.

After I got back from my walk though, I really did feel better. There’s studies about the effects of sunshine on depression. I won’t bog down the paragraph with details, but if you feel bad, and you normally don’t, try going outside for about 10 minutes. It’s an easy, free, painless way to see if maybe you just need a re-boot. Nothing medical here. No belittling any real problems that you have. I always like to try the path of least resistance first before I drag out the big guns. I aim for 30 minutes and see how I feel. I would have stayed out longer, but I had to pee really bad and I didn’t want to risk the hold. Too much? Anyway, when I got home, I got the surprise interview phone call and then it was time to go to watch my daughter play volleyball. Too busy too worry then.

Here’s another thing that my cousin will love. The match was an away-game, and held in a gym that was so freaking hot I thought I was going to pass out. It was in one of those really old schools, the kind that look big from the outside but are even bigger on the inside. Three stories high and a basement, with painted, cinder-block walls, long hallways with high ceilings, and lots of recessed doorways and narrow staircases that give it that old-timey, asylum feeling. The gym itself was a compact room of shiny, wooden planks, with the bleachers hanging over the gym floor balcony-style. One wooden door, set into the back wall, lead into another little gym, with another set of balcony bleachers that you could access from the top or bottom. We parked on the wrong side of the building and had to walk through the whole school and then back outside again to get into the gym. No, not the gym, the “GYMNASIUM”. Carved into a giant stone arch, above a huge wooden, double door with leaded glass and black iron fixtures that we reached by climbing up, not one, but two, flights of concrete stairs, flanked on both sides by red brick, shoulder-high walls. Heat definitely rises. My palms were sweating. And I was wearing a T-shirt. Before we go chucking it up to menopause, let it be known that we were ALL dying in there. I’m counting that too for my exercise log. It’s like the sauna part after a good workout. I feel cleansed.

I might have more to type for later. But I’m making Jambalaya and it takes time, so I have to go. I already made brownies. And biscuits are in the hopper. I like to cook when I feel bad. It calms me down and gives me something exacting and tasty to focus on. When I post about rice pudding, you’ll know it’s time for an intervention. That’s my go-to, can’t-drag-myself-out-of-the-house food savior. It takes hours to cook and slowly bake and it becomes something more than just rice and milk and sugar. It’s like Bondo for your soul. It fills in the cracks and holes and keeps the bad stuff out until you can figure out a way to get it whole again. I haven’t made it in years and years, thank god. But the last time I did, these cousins of mine, the ones I speak of, were there with me. To sit, and wait, until it got dark, and share it with me. So I didn’t have to eat it all alone. I think about that sometimes. It was a moment that I truly needed help and they were there, like magic.

Sorry about that. This is what happens when you type every random thought that spills into your head. That had me tearing up over here, and it’s beautiful outside, and I’m happy and I’m all better now. On a funny note, now that I really think about it, all our names begin with the letter “L”. How weird!! Anyway, I love you guys. And if I never said it before, I’ll say it now: Thank you!! You guys are awesome.

Alright, really done now. I have food to cook, not so much because I feel bad this time, but because the weather is supposed to turn on us again and a big pot of food just feels safe and secure doesn’t it?? And I need to take care of a squirrel that won’t get off the bird feeder. He will B-BE taken “care of”. How can I get all my fab bird pictures with squirrels hanging around eating all the seeds? (Bird Alert! A blood-red Cardinal and a sky-blue Blue Jay are in my air space. Trying to get them in my camera and out to you. Spent an hour yesterday but I need more!) Also, my kids aren’t home yet so I should probably go see if they left me any messages on their whereabouts. Later Gators!

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BREAKING NEWS! Did any of you guys know that there are bones UNDER your skin??

January 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm (Body and Brains!, Day to Day, Exercise, Losing the Fat, Run. Walk. Weights., Unemployed Posts) (, , , , , )

Sorry if I alarmed you with my punctuated and capitalized headline. This is supposed to be a funny site. If you build it, they will come. More like if you wish for it in one hand, and **BLEEP** in the other…

Yes, already off topic, funny site, although you really couldn’t tell from the last few days or weeks. I still haven’t heard anything about that job, so let’s just get that right out of the way first. Maybe later. Maybe Monday. It’s frustrating and nerve wracking. I mean I can take rejection. That’s one of the reasons I post here. Nobody would pay for this, (I’ve tried—although I might be better at it now, and I should try again) so I just give it away for free. Besides it makes me feel better. Free psych sessions courtesy of the internet. Put it out there and it can’t bother you anymore! Anyway, like I was saying, I can take rejection. I am all for the school of  “rip it off fast.” You know, the whole band-aid metaphor. Give me the bad news. Or the good news. Then we can start making plans for the next thing. But it’s the waiting that kills me every time. So, nothing there yet.

As for these, so called, bones, I am happy and surprised to see that, 1.) Most of mine are still nestled safe and secure under the layer of “thick” skin I posses and cultivate all over my body. And 2.) A few of them are trying to surface for air. As I stepped out of the shower and started combing the rat’s nest on my head that I refer to as my hair (although my mom will, definitely and loudly, stick with the “rat’s nest” description. Or, maybe not a whole nest. Perhaps just a slightly built nest. But I digress.) Anyway, I noticed as I was moving my arm up and down I could see this sort of, roundness and pointiness, at my shoulder level. As I investigated further, I recognized that it was my long lost shoulder muscle and the end part of my collarbone. The parts that give you the look of having a “ball” on the top of your arm and a bone that kind of sits on top. I also noticed my collarbones are trying to make their way out from under my neck fat. Nice image! But there it is.

Again, I was going to give up and NOT exercise today because I hate it. And I want to sit on my butt and feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to listen to a cheery girl tell me to “give it all I got.” I got nothing. So I forced myself to get up and just start. I told myself I could always do it half-assed or quit altogether. I did not wear anything good or even put on shoes. The funny thing was, it did feel like crap at first, no lie, but then it felt good and I felt less bad. So I finished Miss Firm, did some extra ab stuff and some girl push-ups (I had too. The man ones are making me feel like a weakling, the count is still under “1”), took a shower and was amazed to notice these extra bumps trying to make space on my body. It’s subtle, to be sure. No Miss Universe contests just yet. But it made me feel really good that after only 5 days, I can still snap back to even a small semblance of good health and shape. My years are numbered here and I have got to just stay at a livable place, so I don’t have to keep re-building the boat every time I go out onto the water. That’s some kind of mixed metaphor or something, but I like the way it sounds so it stays in without editing.

That makes Day 5 of exercise. In a row. In case you missed that count. And Work Out 2, of the Firm’s, “see results in 10 workouts” sticker promise. I have low hopes for tomorrow. It’s Saturday and we have plans. Bowling starts again and there are things to be done, but maybe if I plan it right, I can keep the pace. Gotta keep the ship sealed tight if you don’t want any leaks. Rump frump frump. That’s supposed to be like a stodgy man giving you the business. Huuh-rumph! Later.

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One winter snow storm, after weeks of unseasonably and globally warming temperatures, delivered as predicted!

January 13, 2012 at 12:40 am (Body and Brains!, Day to Day, Exercise, Losing the Fat, My Mom, Run. Walk. Weights., Unemployed Posts, Weather) (, , , , , )

No snow pictures yet. Maybe tomorrow. Please enjoy this decoration from the kids winter band program.

As for that snow prediction, you can thank me. Or blame me. Or call me a witch. I predicted this days and days ago. I told everyone who would listen that there will not be any snowfall, no matter what the news says, until the day I get called for an interview. I haven’t had one really important place to travel to for months. No place to go that would really matter if I couldn’t make it for any reason. I said the day that I have to go on my first job interview will be the day the snow comes to call on our humble community. Welp…they called me last Thursday to set me up for today at 9am and the weather men started predicting, “Snow Watch! Doom! 2012!” on Monday. It never fails. Monday Tuesday Wednesday, 50, balmy, sunny…Thursday: RAIN! SLEET! ICE! SNOW!! Turn off the lights.  Lock your doors. Leave town. Buy all the supplies at the CVS.  You can NOT escape SNOW in the Midwest in the WINTER! Seriously. I had to go to the CVS to get toilet paper and I kid you not, the cold case was completely empty. No milk, no eggs, no meats, butters, etc. And alot of the shelves looked all bare and picked over. Scary.

As for me, I really did have an interview today and I really did drive in the snow. But it was only going home. To make a boring story even less anticlimactic, it was just starting to mist a bit on the way in and it was lightly flaking when I left. However, as I got closer to home and side tracked towards my mom’s house in Beecher, which is more south than me, it really was coming down thick and wet and sticky. (I had also gotten another call from another place and I had to go fill out an app. Maybe two’s the charm?? We’ll see…) Then I decided to go see my mom. Cause I’m cool like that. And she did not disappoint.

I’m already feeling down in the dumps because of the weight issues, the job issues, the general lack of a life issues, and the fact that even though I think my interview went well, and I brought in all of the info that they asked for, and I got a mini tour of the place in addition to meeting HR and the managers, they still just thanked me for coming in and told me they would call or e-mail. I guess that’s how it goes, but I don’t know. I hate to jinx it by saying anything but I figure it’s after the fact so it probably doesn’t matter. And even though my mom knows all these things, because she read my last few posts, the first thing she said to me, the very first thing, and I am not exaggerating in any way, shape or form, when I walked into her house was, “Oh! You should have put your hair up instead of wearing it down like that. Oh it looks so messy! Pulled back would have been so much better!” And she made some hand gestures while pulling on her frosted scrags. Really mom?

Don’t worry, I said that right to her face. I even told her I was gonna write about our little visit. (Hi Mom! Hope that internet is back up and running so you can read this!) I even wrote down all the other gems she had to share with me because I didn’t want to deprive any of you, especially my sissy Amanda, of my mother’s supreme hilarity and lack of tact. I guess technically, her other comments were meant to be nice. But, well, I’ll let you guys judge that.

Let me just get my notes here. Ok. After she criticized my hair and made us coffee and put out some cookies, we tried to get her computer to work. No luck. As we sat down at the kitchen table, my mom picked up the cookies and said, “You probably don’t want these right? I’ll put them away to make it less tempting.” She had been reading my posts so she knew I probably wouldn’t want them but it was the only snack she had that goes with coffee. Then she said, kind of off-handed, “I expected you to be bigger.” I said, “What? What do you mean?”

“Oh well, the way you made it sound I expected you would come lumbering into my house looking like a big stuffed elephant like you put on your website. I was wondering, ‘how much weight did you gain in the last month?’ I mean, I just saw you.” While she’s telling me this she is also gesturing with her hands and kind of holding them out in front of her to indicate how “stuffed” she expected me to be. And she went on, “I would say you’re not like an elephant. More like a baby moose.”

Uh huh. I said, “Well geez mom, thanks. We were just at Cabela’s and the moose they had there was actually bigger than the elephant. So thanks a lot. I’m as big as a moose. That’s much better.”

Bring it home mom: “No, I said a baby moose.” Just holding her coffee cup, sitting across from me, drinking and comparing me to the wildlife. I stared at her for what seemed like a minute, and I really don’t remember if I was actually thinking anything. But for some reason when my mom says stuff like that it just makes me burst into laughter. I guess maybe because I never expect it. So I laughed and I said that I am writing all of this down so I don’t forget and I thanked her for giving me my next article here. Cause really, let’s face it now, some of these posts are turning into mini-novels already.

But back to Rita. She said, “See? What would you do if I didn’t give you something to write about?” Hmm. I just don’t know.

So that’s my mish mash story for today. Haven’t heard anything back from the interview. So I wait. I felt so bad I wasn’t even going to go exercise, which is exactly the time I should go. Thanks to a movie due back to the video store today, my unwillingness to drive on the unplowed streets where I live, and the fact that my daughter suggested it to begin with, we were able to sneak in almost an hour of walking, about 1.7 miles, in unshoveled snow. It’s like walking on sand, but in boots and jeans and coats and hats and gloves. It was actually quite fun and a pretty good work out. My legs were burning! And my calves are sore. But that makes FOUR days in a row. Now I need to go to bed because I am tired from the stress of worrying about everything and nothing.

I’ll throw in another animal shot to keep things even. I think they’re bucks, not moose, but you get the idea. And for those keeping count, my push up total still stands at about half of one. BUT, I was able to hover above the ground, in the down position for much longer than yesterday before my chubby gut hit the floor. Then I pushed myself back up and called it “one.” Have a good night.

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Just because this starts a whole new year. One week late.

January 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm (Body and Brains!, Books, Day to Day, Exercise, Losing the Fat, Movies, Phone Camera, Pictures, Skeleton Trees, Unemployed Posts, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

And because I get to combine all my favorite things. A chunk update. Another weather update. And pictures from my phone. Of the sky. At sunset. With a lot of skeleton trees. This is what 55 degrees in January at dusk looks like this year. It was warm today too. I don’t generally go for the no jacket thing just because it’s hotter than usual. I’m the first one to yell pneumonia. And we’re all being lured into poor health by good weather. But I’ll admit I was only wearing a zip-up hoodie and I was getting kind of hot outside. The sun was shining down so bright that I was getting crabby and drowsy. The warm sun just makes me want to lay down in it and take a nap. Like a snake I guess. Or a fat middle aged non exercising chunk of fun. Here comes the chunk part! It’s a tough week. I’m more tired than usual. Kind of achy and greasy. And I was particularly sick of feeling sad and depressed. So I spruced up this old carcass a bit with some new hair color (sorry Amanda…I know you are the only one who should be allowed to fix my hair but I swear I cannot drive for two hours, pay for gas and tolls and feel good about myself until I get a job…the box has to be the cure for now…it looks good by the way. The kids didn’t even notice. They thought something was different but couldn’t put their fingers on it until after I told them. My theory on home hair coloring, or anything really that you try to do yourself, is that if no one notices anything different it’s a good job. Only the glaring mistakes or radical change gets any attention) and some good hygiene and hair removal. However I also ate a bunch of crap that I shouldn’t because it was here and I had to get rid of it by next week when the real work on chipping away the fat cells begins. You will all be happy to know that I managed to eat, er, get rid of, all the chips and dip and most of the cheese/sausage/cracker stores. I also disposed of an entire box of Whitman’s Dark Chocolates, with my daughters help, who interestingly enough HATES dark chocolate but was able to power through and help me save our household for the greater good. I also drank the rest of the wine from the other night and am currently working on the final two bags of Ghirardelli chocolates while washing them down with Jack Daniels. I haven’t cooked in a week or worked out. In fact we have been staying up way too late watching the bad movies we love so much. The kids have to go back to school Monday and I should be working by the next week. (That’s very wishful thinking as I am making it my sole purpose in life–well besides eating all the food in the house—to have a job in another week or two.) I will have a full report on the snacks because I took pics of them. Really. For instance, I found this GIANT potato chip in the bag. I mean it was really big. I don’t think I have ever seen one this big. So of course I took it’s picture. With the dip container and the TV remote for scale. I also took pics of the sky and some more trees, big surprise. And I have a movie list if you’re interested! We watch BAD movies. Like B movie bad. With old stars like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in them. Or Lorenzo Lamas. Remember him? And they usually are battling a giant crocodile or a sharktopus, you know a shark-octopus hybrid, or a giant squid against a giant snake. Some are better than others and some are just terrible. This is how we spend family time. As for tonight, I have to try and hurry this along, because the BF is on his way with another sack full of fast food from the local greasy spoon and we have a special night of, All New Releases!, to watch. They have to be back tomorrow so we have to plan our time carefully. I actually feel a little sick right now from the food I ate today. I know this is not something I should even say out loud, but I cannot wait until I get my dang period! (pardon my french). My appetite will disappear, I can get some energy back and hit the gym instead of the Dunkin Donuts, and burn off the winter weight. From about 10 winters but who’s really counting anymore. I only have about 10 pounds to lose (for each winter) so it’s pretty do-able! I’m excited. Oh! I almost forgot! I finished a book! A reading book. Not a school book. It was the Denis Leary one. You might have read about it here two years ago or so. Sadly, that’s how long it has taken me. I finished it last year. Made it just under the mark too. Like December 29th or something. I still recommend it for anyone who likes Denis Leary. It is funny and easy to read. Even my mom’s brain surgeon said, “that guy is something else…” and he chuckled. So there you have it, a brain surgeon endorsement! I’m just not good with the whole concentration thing in sentence and paragraph form without a lot of pictures to break up the words. Except for when I type. I can really string some letters together huh? I put a picture of the book below so I wouldn’t ruin my sunset shot. Oh! And I also found my first street money of the year. One penny and one dime. I will try and keep that up to date now. Just as soon as I tally up last year and post it under its proper heading. There’s just no excuses for letting all you loyal readers down. You want to know these silly mundane things that have no benefit to anyone.  And I cant even keep up. And truthfully I am not doing much else besides sitting around and thinking about doing stuff. I’m lucky we have laundry. Alright, seriously, let me wrap this up. I know the BF will be here any minute and I want to catch up on my Words With Friends (evil evil evil—addiction in smart phone form) and BeJeweled (the other evil in the world of computers and high tech gaming–that was meant to be funny. BeJeweled is hardly high tech. It’s really no-tech. It’s pretty though. Match the gems for one minute. Try to score as many points as possible. Why, oh why, would that ever be addicting??) Ok, I think I hear a car in the driveway and my liquor glass is empty. Using the words from my son’s first book that he really liked…breathe and think…relax and run…om shanti shanti…Until later…

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New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm (Day to Day, Holiday, Thank You, Unemployed Posts) (, , , )

Well goodbye 2011. Hello 2012. Ugh. I have never been one of those people that really marks the passing of time. Or feels the heavy burden of it wearing away at my youth and counting down the ever decreasing time I have left on this Earth. But this year…a lot of good. Nothing too bad. Things that pretty much stayed the same. That’s what gets me thinking the most. The times when nothing happens. Just stillness. Stagnation. The word isn’t even nice sounding no matter where you put it in the sentence.

You’ll have to forgive me for this depressing post. I feel happy that I am pretty healthy (except for that acute case of FAT-itis I picked up over the last year, that my mother was kind enough to dx for me so that I can take the proper course of action—although that won’t be tonight–wink wink). And I did finally graduate and get that RN license. My life’s goal. However, I am currently 2 weeks to 4 months behind all my classmates on the job and experience getting. I totally and completely underestimated how much having a job and earning money and being a vital part of society has on my own personal self-esteem and general disposition as a woman in the world. Also it just sucks being broke. And as always, I am grateful and happy for my two gorgeous and hilarious children. My reason for living pretty much and never giving up. Except that neither one will be here to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new as both have abandoned me for better and more exciting evenings of fun and celebrations. Traitorous spawn of my loins! The boy will be off with his dad and uncles (who are the same age actually, but that’s another story, so we just call them cousins because it is easier) and he will be spending the night hanging out with other teenagers, playing xbox and acting like teenage boys do. Crazy on the Pepsi and snacks and late night shenanigans. The girl is with my sister and her children and friends. Actually, now that I think of it, is at this very moment, having a New Year’s Eve party at a place my sister found where they do a package thing for the younger crowd. Then they will go home and celebrate again by eating snacks and having “drinks” while watching TV and one of the shows that they have to ring in the new year. Hmm. It’s rather sad when your kids have more going on then you do. Oh well. Hopefully they will at least call me at midnight. Or send a text. Ooooh!! and Eewww!!…look at me turning into one of those old, sad, mom ladies, crying because their kids never call or come over! Yikes! I am definitely on the slippery slope to old age. Poopers!

I didn’t really have a plan so I guess it’s my own fault. One of these years we are leaving town and I’m spending New Year’s in Vegas. Or Hawaii. Yeah Hawaii sounds really good. Maybe the Caribbean. Someplace warm and beachy. I know I’ve said that before. Well, not this year. This year is just me and the BF. (Who I am also very grateful for and extremely lucky to have in my life. Thanks honey. Even at my lowest moments I can still say I have a boyfriend and that’s something. Love you.) He thinks I won’t be fun but he’s wrong. I’m just playing sad and despairing. Once I get some junk food and a drink in me the party will be rolling over here. For now though, we still have to go out and get some stuff for tomorrow. We are making appetizers for a family get-together for the New Year Day. It’s something fun and new we are trying to keep our extended family together and in each others lives. It’s so easy when you are little. Anyway, I hope it’s not too crazy out there. I hope the stores are still open. Then we can settle in and find something to do I am sure. My brother-in-law said this, about tonight, when I left my daughter there the other day, “If I can’t go out to the bar then I want to sit home and stuff my belly full of as much food as I can.” Wise words brother. And pretty much MY plan for the night too. So thanks for that! I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Despite the above paragraphs, life is pretty good. And I hope it’s good for you too. But if not, then I’m glad this year is over and we can start brand new in just a few hours! Even though some of these days can really break a soul, I truly believe that as long as you wait for just one more of those days, you always have another chance to do something different. Now who’s gonna argue with that?

Have a safe and Happy New Year! Don’t drink and drive please. That kind of chance is NEVER worth it. Wake up alive tomorrow so we can get this new year started! I have some goals and resolutions too I guess. The usual stuff, weight loss, job, school, etc…maybe I’ll post about it tomorrow or later on. But, as a treat to my loyal readers, and something I usually never do, I posted a snazzy self portrait of myself! Lucky! That’s me in the red ornament above taking a picture of myself. Looks just like me! Oh and I also used red to highlight the first sentences. Cheers!

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Thank you unemployment for this Merry Christmas!!

December 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm (Christmas Spirit, Day to Day, Exercise, Holiday, Home Improvement, Unemployed Posts) (, , , , , , , )

Yep, still don’t have a job! Humiliating. Sad. Depressing. We finally got some snow today and all my decorations that I will bother to put up are up. It looks really cheerful despite my lack of employment outside my own house! I dread going anywhere that I might know someone because they always ask…Job?? And I have to say…No. And then they say…Ohhhhh, really? Well…don’t worry…blah blah blah…in that sad, feel sorry for me, but wonder what the hell is wrong with me, voice. I can’t take it anymore. Everyday I have to think of a new reason not to hang myself from the rafters. And then I remember, one, I don’t have any “rafters” and two, even if I did, my house isn’t big enough or built well enough for me to be successful at the hanging thing. My ceiling would probably just come down all around me and then I’d be alive but with a giant hole in my ceiling that I would have to clean up! Better just to stay alive and wait.

Anyhow, at least I got to put up decorations this year. I have been neglecting them because of school and what not. I even decorated the inside too. With all my stuff. That includes things like Christmas figurines, stockings, lights, candles, snowglobes…all the things that I never want to drag out and hang or put up because I will have to put it all away again. And speaking of snowglobes, we had a modern day tragedy this season. I stupidly put one of my snowglobes in the large, plastic, lidded (and taped) container I store all my decorations in, including the white tree we had last year (we only get a 4 foot table top one because our space is limited here), and then put the whole thing into the garage last winter. The garage that is outside. Away from the house. I imagine that snowglobe froze right away and then burst and leaked and dumped its water all inside the bin the minute the temperature let it go back to liquid. Then it sat there freezing and unfreezing all winter. As summer began, I see that bin just heating up and broiling and molding for months. We had rain, humidity, extremely high temps. My decorations didn’t stand a chance. When I dragged the container into the house, untaped the lid and pulled off the cover and saw that there was condensation on the underside, I knew it was too late. You would think the smell would have hit me first, but no. And it did stink. If you know what damp, musty, black spotted mold smells like, times that by 5 and unleash it in a 12 by 20 foot room. Yuk. I ALMOST cried. The white tree was totally ruined, brown and black and moldy. All our stockings. The tree skirt. Some frames with baby pictures swirled into colorful destruction. The star. Mason’s mini tree. Stuffed animals. Most of our hanging things. We had to start from scratch. I managed to save a wreath that was made for the kids and me many years ago, that I could not bear to get rid of despite the smell. And I saved the star Mason uses for his tree. Everything else is gone now. But I think it was fine in the end. Fitting really. New beginnings and all that.

I have been exercising too. Might as well right? I can’t get much fatter or I will have no pants to wear. My jeans are at maximum hold. My abdomen  protests every day because of its loose, unelastic shape. I can’t even suck it in anymore without giving myself a cramp. But that still didn’t stop me from baking cookies! I really had no choice. Stevie starts these things and then loses interest, which is probably key to her “trouble” with recipes and getting her baked goods to come out tasty and delicious. (If you scroll down a few posts you can read all about her cookie adventures—pretty funny stuff actually) So I help but then end up having to help more and eventually just finish the whole process or have various bowls of flour mixes and melted butter and sugar granules all over the place. And we end up with cookies that look like dangerous weapons or dog droppings. (You really have to scroll down now don’t you?)

I don’t even like to post here anymore and my numbers have gone wayyyy down! I feel so disconnected! And so neglectful of my readers! After I spend hours filling out applications at various hospitals, I do not feel like typing one more thing. This happens every day. I check all my job apps, apply for any new ones, and then re-check later. Believe me, I should get paid for just doing that all day! It sure feels like a job!

But enough about that. I am not one to sit and mope for too long and I have new and exciting features to brag about and never actually follow through on!!

Birds of the Yard! I finally caught my hawk!! You know, the bird. I have been trying to get pics of it all summer. Success! And my cardinal. And the hummingbirds. And the woodpeckers! Blue ones (not sure what they are called) and the red-headed one!! Even got a yellow goldfinch…somewhat blurry, but so beautiful! I am too obsessed with getting pictures of birds. It drives me crazy. I finally downloaded all the pictures from the camera from the last few months (over 1000) and it was like re-living my whole year in picture form! I forgot we did half the stuff we did!

Which also leads me to ANOTHER new feature: Looking Up! Photo posts featuring the city of Chicago that will actually hurt your neck if you look at them all at one time. Apparently we took A LOT of pictures of the buildings looking up at them. And as I was going through them all, I really felt like I was looking up at them all over again. SO of course, I will share with you! My one or two still loyal fans. Or someone. Strangers probably. I manage to get about 3 hits a day now. Most likely random searches that come up when you are looking for something else. But I’ll take it. Zero is too heartbreaking.

So much more I have football stuff and car stuff and pictures of the sky and trees. If it’s not a picture of a bird, it’s a picture of a tree. Or the sky behind the tree. Or a cloud. I really have too much time. Period. I MUST share! Really, you’ll thank me. My little site will give you nothing but fluff to ease you through the long winter. Who could ask for more?

Alright, I must now go out to the malls today with my kids. They got early X-mas gift cards that are burning holes in their pockets! Here is my tree below. I also have a really good picture of a wreath with lights. I mean, truly, a REALLY great picture. It was a fresh wreath that we adorned with lights because it looked so plain and boring. The picture was just a bonus and a credit to my awesome skills. The suspense! But for now, here’s that tree (ornament/decoration close-ups later!):

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