Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gearing up on New Years Eve

With a flood of post-baby-delivery hormones and the resulting emotions, I've been feeling and thinking a lot of things over the past week, mostly in a sleep deprived middle of the night stupor fading in and out of network infomercials... but you get the idea. It looks something along the lines of this:



Oh, yeah.. that's Ivy Grace. She's the newest little member of our sorority, and she's pretty freaking awesome.

But, back to me... I mean, it is my blog.

Tomorrow is 2014.

Did you get the memo? 2014. Good Lord, that seems sort of big in a Back to the Future kind of way. 2014. For me, that means it has been 3 years since my triumphant "Year of Mara" or so Shannon likes to call it... 3 years since I went out and tackled my lifelong body issues. Lost 100 lbs in a year. Became a runner. Go hot (unlike Got Milk, which is my current state). Wore heels. Shopped in sizes unattainable even in high school... ok, I could keep going and going and going on this list. You get the idea. 2011 rocked.

A lot has happened since then. I need not catalog that. But over the past week. I've come to grips with where I am, and where I want to be, and they are not currently in sync. Thus..

Yesterday I got on the scale. Oh, the horror.

Today, I put on the clearance Old Navy exercise pants in a size I swore I'd never buy again.

And tomorrow, it is 2014.

I will be back out there. I know I can do it. I've done it before. I will face the fact that I will not be able to just throw on my Garmin and log 5 miles. Fact is, my Garmin isn't even charged (is it in the closet? in a box?) and running is pretty much a dream right now. I've got work to do before the real work can even begin. And that's ok. We all start somewhere. I know where I am starting. There is this pesky little issue of post-c-section recovery as well, so I'm a realist. I can only do what I can do . Are those pain meds talking?

The numbers aren't all bad. I've dropped 30 lbs since delivery, but I've still got plenty to go. And so, without further ado, the first in a series of goals for 2014:

To lose 20lbs by my birthday.

If you don't know my birthday that makes it easy for me to fudge. Ha! So, basically 20lbs by April. I think that is totally attainable.  Losing 20lbs will be the confidence booster I need to keep going. I'm doing this the old fashioned way... nothing fancy, nothing easy. I'm tracking calories in and calories out. I'm going to get moving. Same old recipe I used last time. No gym membership. No counting points. No fancy gadgets (that comes later). Just me facing my demons in the kitchen. If there was anything that 2012 taught me, it is that you can burn 1,000 calories a day (by running 8 miles) and still gain weight if you consume 3,000 celebratory calories when you are done. I've learned my weakness despite knowing my weakness all along:

It is food. Quantity and quality. Food. I just like food a tad bit too much.

So, food.... you've been warned.  I'm taking back control and 2014 will be mine... bewahahwahhaha!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Making (and keeping) Friends

Yesterday afternoon I had this innocent but upon further reflection perplexing conversation with my oldest who is starting Kindergarten at a new school:

"So, did you make any new friends today?"

"Her name is Kara."

"Well, that's nice. What did you do with Kara."

"I ran around with her.... and, I asked her to be my friend, and she said no."

"Well, that's too bad."

"And she's my BEST friend!"

Obviously, conversations at this age are all generally a bit perplexing. But some background info. Before my girls went off to their new big bad public school 2 weeks ago, we did some innocent role playing on how to approach a new friend, how to ask if you can play with them, how to ask them their name and introduce yourself. Seems simple enough. My kids have been in school before, but this was the first change where they were old enough to have nerves or a sense of unease, so I figured I would give them the cliff note version on making friends. Be nice. Be polite. Ask to participate. Ask to share. These have always worked well for me, in any case.

My conversation with my oldest diverged into my monologue that went something like this:

"Well honey, if she said no to being your friend, all you can do is continue to be nice, keep being her friend, and maybe she will just naturally become your friend without having to ask."

This all made me a bit sad as you can imagine. Every parent wants their kid to be accepted and liked. I don't want my kids to be the homecoming queens, but just a nice decent circle of stable friends would be good. Of course, this made me wonder about me, about how I've made and kept friends over the years. Will my kids see in me a good friend to my friends? What have they learned from my behavior about friendship that will be a model for them? This train of thought made me even a bit sadder...

At times with certain people, I've been a good friend. I am brutally honest, and probably self absorbed, and I don't reach out, and I forget stuff, and so, yeah... basically not a great friend. My best friend is my hubby and that is probably (and should be) the relationship I nurture the most. But even there, I am lacking. I am not romantic or giving. I take, and I give... most I give in ways that are easy or please me. Girlfriends are harder. I've always gravitated to a small circle of friends but I've moved (literally) so much, that a budding friendship in NH, or MN, or WI... well it always ended before it began. Add to that my inability to reach out when I am feeling the most alone, and voila! The perfect recipe for not a great deal of friends.

I think about the people in my life, the closest friends I have known the longest, and they're usually the ones that have made an effort to see me over the years. I am forever thankful for that effort. Time, money, babies, have prevented me from taking the affirmative in maintaining the conversation..  and then I wonder: maybe it isn't just me. Maybe we all are losing our ability to make friends?

It really is all a conversation. Maybe my blogs, and posts, and random Internet musing are a way of just putting it out there for anyone that is listening. Maybe following the advice I gave Miss XJ: just being out there and friendly, and maybe my friend will just become my friend without having to ask. Maybe it is easier this way, cause I'm lazy, and well... you get my point.

If there is anything redeeming about the recent discussions of friendship we've been having, it is this. My youngest, upon discovering Claire's at the mall this weekend, happened upon a Doc McStuffins Best Friends necklace. Hubby explained what it was, why there were two necklaces, and what "Besties" were. Miss P declared (not surprisingly) that she wanted the necklace.

"Who do you want to give the second necklace to?"

"My sister."

Seems maybe we are getting some things right.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Lobsta in the Pot

If  you are like me (and frankly, I'm sort of hoping you are not, cause it certainly would be a lot less stressful to be less interested in this stuff than I am), and you read the papers, the editorials, peruse the Sunday news shows, and have a general familiarity with the left and right voices in the elite media, you might be suffering from a bit of whiplash these days.


Without much fanfare, we've heard about the following developments in the past month:
  1. Benghazi Whistleblowers (So, who really did tell the military to stand down?)
  2. IRS targeting Tea Party / Patriots and other right leaning groups seeking non-profit status under the tax code (What was Douglas Shulman doing at the White House 157 times?)
  3. The DOJ secretly seizes Associated Press phone records (Oh Eric Holder... you faithful soldier you.)
  4. The DOJ names James Rosen a co-conspirator and obtains personal and business emails and phone records. (Fox News... no shocker there. What was it Valerie Jarrett said: "After we win this election, it's payback time."...?)
  5. Verizon and other major cell phone companies have supplied the NSA with all domestic call meta-data (Domestic! We don't stop Russian students when we are given warning, but we need all those American cell phone records! Um, how about we just listen to threats that are actually given to us saving us $80MM in the process?)
  6. The major internet suppliers have handed over foreign internet data records under a NSA program called "Prism" where personal emails, chats, videos, etc., can be seen by our intelligence officers in real time. (The UK is worried about the US spying on British citizens... um, these are our biggest Allies.. me thinks we aren't making any friends.)
"The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." -Stephen King.

Any one of these developments, in and of itself, is unsettling. In sum total, it is evidence of the un-mitigable risk of large government, the cult of personality that is the Obama administration, the complete perversion of the founding principles that our government was founded upon. We've sacrificed individual resourcefulness for community sloth. We've voted for the "give-me" instead of going out and earning it. We've been sucked in, snookered, and lied to. And it isn't just Obama, it has been coming for a long time, and we've just let it. We've never stood up and said: Enough. We're the boiling frog (or lobsta) in the pot instead of a chicken in every pot.



Obama meets with the Chinese President to discuss cyber crime. I can't help but laugh at the irony. "Don't worry, Mr. China, you don't need to spy on us. I've got that covered."  China, leading communist power, is thriving due to capitalism. America, the shining beacon on a hill, a capitalist republic, failing due to an imploding social welfare and unionized public pension system and over-regulation. We've tied the hands of our innovators. We've shut down our industry. We've shipped it overseas.

But back to my point: Scandal! No, not really. There will be no smoking gun. We will waste days in hearing after hearing learning of IRS YouTube videos and other ridiculous such nonsense. Lois Lerner will move from asking politicians not to run, to stonewalling IRS applications, to pleading the 5th, to overseeing Obamacare enforcement. Do we need another reason for a flat tax and a postcard tax return? I think not.



What we've done is set up a behemoth government - "A Little Shop of Horrors" and we keep having to feed it or it will eat us (Feed me Seymour!). And here's the thing: administrations come and go, those folks sitting at the desks at the IRS, they stay the same. And they're union, and they're pensioned, so do you think they have an interest to keep fiscal conservative groups who want to do away with public unions, and reform pension plans, from raising political funds? You bet they do. Herein lies the problem. The government is now so large, it is incapable of fixing itself. We've got a couple of good voices of reason out there, but funny, once they get to DC, it all goes down the drain...... along with our tax dollars..... and yet! DC's economy is booming! DC real estate is up!

Does anyone else find this all as vexing as I do? It seems not. That is worse than any scandal on the list. Voter malaise continues to grow in correlation to the size of the bureaucracy and before we know it, our founding principles will be turned on their head entirely.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what  you can do for your country." 

Well, actually... I really just want to know what I get.... By the way, Obama, can you hear me now?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tanks and Cheetos

An old friend asked me recently how my writing is going. My writing, as if such a thing exists. As if there is a dedicated shelf on our old Ikea shelves for those precious Mara authored volumes. I used to expel all the daily garbage that goes thru my head into a journal, so for portions of my life, those volumes exist. But lately? Nope. There are no volumes. There's still lots of garbage going around in this head, and I should probably be more productive in actually trying to quantify those thoughts, formalize them, memorialize them for all time, but nope, not today.

Or maybe not....

I've been feeling rather tired as of late, and grumpy, and a bit moody. I am currently chastizing myself for tearing into a big bag of Cheetos, and now my finger nails are a lovely shade of neon orange. Other than the Cheetos, I've actually been doing fairly well on the Eddy-reunion-diet-tour. (Reunion with what? - You ask. Nothing, but it has a nice ring to it, no?) I've been breaking a sweat every day and keep the calories under control. I haven't been hungry either, which is a plus, and other than the Cheetos, I've been fairly good at keeping the junk under control. So, boo-yeah! Go Eddy!

... I think the country collectively has gone thru quite an emotional roller coaster this past week. I look out my window, and with the desert in bloom, and the palo verde covered in yellow, I can't quite grasp the horror that my friends and countrymen experienced in Boston this time last week. Of course, I think it is natural to wonder, what would I do if I had a terrorist hiding in a boat in my backyard... but despite that very natural response of wondering what my own fortitude would be in such a moment, I tend to be less emotional and more political. I know, I know, always Eddy with the politics. I don't know what it is in my DNA (Dad, maybe?), that makes me a political animal. But while others are wondering what they would do with a terrorist in their backyard, I have a much broader fundamental concern - not what would MY reaction be, But what should our collective reaction be? And this is where I pretty much annoy people, cause I seem incapable of just accepting and trusting. I really, intensely, sympathize with the founding fathers in their distrust of government... and so my mind starts to wander.... if the mainstream media has anything to say about it, I'm in the minority. But you know, I don't think that I am. I can't imagine everyone in this country is A-OK with tanks rolling down the street searching for a 19 year citizen-boy who failed Marytrdom-101 but being taken alive at the end of this.... but I'm wading into dangerous territory again.

So, I'll eat some Cheetos and stop writing. Resume normal complacency on an otherwise seemingly normal day in this country. Or at least, what seemed extraordinary last Monday may be the new normal. I, for one, truly hope not.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yo-Yo

There is no shame in starting over. Only in quitting.

This blog, this attitude, this diet, needs a renovation. Life is a journey, and unfortunately not all of that journey is forward. Sometimes we fall back, into old habits, old attitudes, old ways. I've been doing a Yo-Yo all year, my first year in Phoenix, from conviction and doubt, from acceptance to denial... you name it, I've felt it, every high and every low.


And what I've learned is this: It is okay. 

Yep. That's my nugget of wisdom: It is okay. 

It is okay to fail and doubt and wonder. It is okay to re-prioritize and change. And it is even better to come back and remember what it feels like to feel good, to feel like the best Eddy, the most energized and upbeat Eddy I can be. Because, as we've all learned tragically this week, the only thing I can control is me, and whether, when the moment comes, I run from fear of evil, or I run straight into that evil and be a force for good.

So, I'm a week back in taking control of what I am doing, and not just letting the emotions of the day buffet me from moment to moment without anchor. I'm in control of this. I need help and can't do it by myself (thank you God), but I am tired of sabotaging my own well being.

I'm 6 days off sugar. I'm 6 days in on calorie counting and consistently exercising. If past performance is an indicator of future performance, I've been good for a couple of weeks then fall back... but I want to feel good again, and I want to be healthy, and if I keep my mind on that, I'm hoping that I can stop this Yo-Yo before it happens again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lets be intellectually honest, shall we?

I posted this on Facebook, but I think it is worth repeating here: And here is where I differ with many Republicans: All these posts about Gun Violence vs. Abortion. If you support freedom, for example freedom of speech, then you have to allow for ugly speech as well as the good. Same thing with personal freedom, if you support the liberty to protect your person, then you also should support the liberty to do with your person as you will, whether it be drink a Big Gulp or have an abortion. That is an intellectually honest position. It may not be a moral position but part of religious freedom is not infringing on someone else's rights to do as they please. Same can be said for gay marriage. Why should I stand in the way of someone else's happiness to enter into a marriage contract? Who am I to say no? How about I won't judge you for being gay and getting married and you don't judge me for owning a gun and driving an SUV? And I'll say it again, who will be the spokesperson for reasonable conservative positions while all the politicians put their head in the sand or stick their necks out with their idiocy? Imagine a government that doesn't have its tentacles into every facet of our lives.... imagine how much freedom we would have over our own destiny, not entitled, not fair, just free to be whomever, however and wherever we wanted. Imagine how much we could impact the national deficit if we stopped all the intrusions into our person space and Americans just stood up and said to Big Government: "Get the hell out of my business!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Here it comes... the Political Rant...

(I am patting myself on the back for sensitively sparing my Facebook friends.... well, this time. Close browser now if you don't want to hear me speak reason to crazy).



Ok. Straight off. I don't own a gun, although I acquired some thru marriage. I've never held a gun, never shot a gun and never thought I'd want to have a gun in my house. They scare me. Normal right? They're freakin guns. All of them are meant to kill, meant to protect. Some, in my very limited knowledge, appear to be more deadly than others, but they are guns. So, like, what does it matter? It's like the difference between getting run over by an SUV or a Tank. Either one is going to hurt pretty badly...

Likewise, there are some seriously scary people out there. Some are walking time bombs. There is no way to prevent them from doing evil, whether it is with a gun, a 747, a box cutter or an ice pick. Evil exists, we can't legislate it away. 

Today, news outlets are reporting that Obama is considering enacting Gun Control (in whatever strange porkfilled, carved out, ineffective way) perhaps by "Executive Order" if necessary. Apparently, the  "gun violence" in this country has reached such a critical point, that it demands immediate action (this may be news to some of you, if we don't act now, we are all going to die!). Worse, the White House makes the very unsophisticated argument that "if we save only 1 life, the effort is justified".

What was it Rahm Emmanuel said?

"You never let a serious crisis go to waste. 
And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Ok. Stop. Stop the crazy train. It is time to get off.

I am not without a heart. I am shocked by the Newton shooting. Horrified by what happened in Aurora CO. Terrorized by the Tuscon massacre. Frighted by Fort Hood (oh dear, remember that one? Don't say the word, don't say it... terrorism).

But in the grand scheme of things.... In the big big picture... Take a step back.

Is gun violence really the absolutely worst crisis facing this country since what? 9/11? Is the violence so bad that we should circumvent the documents governing the founding and process of our storied country? Are we are unable to go about our daily business for fear of being shot on the street?

Or are we living in the age of manufactured crisis such that our President can slam whatever "executive order" down the throats of Americans without recourse?

Whether or not you'd like to believe it, the 2nd Amendment has a purpose above and beyond the niceties that get bantered around the liberal media, like "Hunting". The 2nd Amendment is essential for maintaining individual liberty, ie. to prevent America into morphing into some sort of government other than a democratic republic. It is no secret that the first step in the seizing of power from a population is to take away their guns. When the guns go, so does the ability from stopping a criminal or some other nefarious character (a govt official?) from coming to your door, knocking, invading and taking (or raping?) everything and everyone you love.

Won't happen in this country you say? Overreacting Eddy! We are too first world and civilized for that. Well folks, so was Europe... are we so dumb that we can't see how much today is like the 1930s? We proceed in this country as if our debt isn't an issue, while if we just look across the Atlantic, we can see what happens to a country (Greece) that spends itself into oblivion. We are blind to the actions taken by our President, who reportedly does so out of his own benevolence, he knows better for us, better than we do for ourselves. He writes executive orders to ignore our immigration laws, by passes Congressional approval for appointments by way of Congress being on "vacation" when they aren't, he punts the ball on our fiscal mess, has us all believing that 8% unemployment is something that we should celebrate, we laud higher taxes like it delivers us from evil, and speaking of evil... what is the cut off now? You're evil when you make $400K? $250K? Since when do we punish success in this country?

Obama has succeeded in tearing apart this country at the seams. He has systematically exaggerated a catastrophe when it suits his political purposes, and somehow gets around answering to anyone when it doesn't. He has neutered our Congressional representatives, laughed at our legislative process, and has a Attorney General that will waive a legal wand and opine in his favor when asked. We've sacrificed religious freedom for government provided (I almost said free, but no, it isn't free people) birth control. We're going to take away our right to protect ourselves from tyrants to save "one life" but don't forget, we've got a war on women, those GOPers might take your right to an abortion way.

But more than that, he has silenced dissent. If you don't agree with Obama these days, you pretty much keep your mouth shut for fear of what will happen to you for speaking up. He has silenced dissent. But even more amazingly, he has marginalized it. He has taken the, oh, say, 49% percent of this country, the majority of the House of Representatives, and several states, and made them all look like total wackos. He has turned the House GOP into a laughing stock and has made it known he has personal vendettas against certain state executives, my own Jan Brewer, among them.

I'm incensed.... (if you haven't noticed). I'm shocked and awed that no one sees that magnificent and awful  (in all senses of the word) transformation that is going on in this country.

I could get into the whole "saving one life" argument... lets take away cars, alcohol, cigarettes, Big Gulps... but I can't even go there right now. It is so demeaning that this is the intellectual level that one must stoop in order to refute this administration. Especially when everyone is all emotional and like lemmings: "Oh, Obama, you are so right.... deliver us from evil."

I wish someone would stand up. Stand up! Speak truth to madness. Can we as conservatives set aside the culture wars? Set aside trying to bring "God" back into the political institutions? Or worry about people saying Merry Christmas and our nattivity scenes? We've got bigger fish to fry! We've got to save the fundamental liberties of Americans, preserve our great institutions, put the process back to right, re-affirm our checks and balances. If we don't do it now, if we don't all get on the same page, Obama will be appointing a Supreme Court justice and it is all over folks. All we've got left is the courts, and Obama has already got those so backed up with challenges of his abuses of power, that he's probably betting that by the time challenges get to the Supreme Court on his "executive order" on gun control, he will have his chosen justices there to defend him and his tyrannical edicts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weeks 2 - 3: Keep Calm and Run On

So recently there was this big holiday where people celebrate and stuff themselves silly. I'm vaguely aware of it. I'm not entirely sure what tipped it me off, but scale seems fairly good evidence of it.

Eat too much Fudge, the Scale will not Budge. (An Eddy Original)

But I'm totally ok with it. I put that food in my mouth. I'm accountable.

I've got other small victories I'm celebrating. I've been hitting the road, lacing up the Brooks, and trying to get some miles back on these legs. It is harder now, the running part, my cardio fitness has suffered and yes, I've gained some weight. It makes me slower and sound like a panting Labrador. But I'm just going to keep going out there, go a block, or a corner farther than last time, and it will get easier.


The last time I did this, it took me from May to August to get up the courage to sign up for a 5K. So, it will take some time, and that's ok. I've got time. Easy come easy go. It took 9 months of depression and feeding my fear to get me here, it will take 9 months of work to get me back.

Miles logged last week: 11 miles
Goal for this week: More than 11 miles

I'm staying mum on a weigh in..... I'm trying to decide what day I will log my numbers. I've always tortured myself with Monday, so I might wait until then. I'm feeling empowered by getting out there and more encouraged with each day that I'm conquering my cravings. Onward and Upward!

If you'd like to join me, I'm on MyFitnessPal. Send me a friend invite: marallewis. Lets support each other!