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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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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