Get Inspired

Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.

It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.

Here is the plan:

1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.

Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).

2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.

It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.

3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.

“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”

Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.

What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?

M.

Sophie’s Girl on Swing.

The Run Happy Formula

With my yogic river guide out of town (no Saturday yoga for me), I took the opportunity to hit the open road after a month of being sidelined by too much stress and a nagging quadracept injury. Luckily for me, the formula for a happy run was in place.

Here are the components, for which (even hours later) I find myself grateful:

1. Running in the cold (this morning’s thermometer hovered around 37 degrees) allows the lungs to fill with crisp fresh air. To say I felt more alive than I have since March isn’t dramatics. It’s the truth.

2. The right gear is essential for cold-weather running, because freezing is never any fun. I left the house wearing my thick, lined running pants, a long-sleeve shirt and jacket, and a headband to cover and protect my ears from the wind.

3. Going slowly, though not walking, there is no hurry and no pressure. As I amp up the winter running, I’m sure I’ll hop back over to the Galloway method, but my favorite way to run is at an easy pace, for as long as I like. Today’s four miles felt right; authentic, focused, strong.

3. Wearing ear pods is controversial. Galloway doesn’t allow it. People say it is dangerous. But the beauty of having music in your ears is that you not only hear, but feel. Choosing the iPod shuffle-option is like an extra step toward total surrender. The last song as I rounded home was James Blunt’s, Best Laid Plans. The man is a poet, and his words made my heart grow wider.

4. A familiar loop doesn’t hurt when you’re busy following your nose. There’s no chance in getting lost and you’re close enough to home if you need to call it quits (earlier than anticipated).

5. A good run always prompts thoughts of the next race. Maybe it’s the endorphins at work, but I’m thinking that the timing is right to train for March’s Tobacco Road Marathon (or at least the half).

A happy run is the foundation for my happy life.

What’s your formula for a happy run?

M.

P.S. I questioned whether to publish this ‘happy post” as it’s a disappointing time for many running friends unable to race New York; monumentally more difficult for the people trying to recover from Sandy’s destruction. New York and it’s people have lived in my heart since I left almost twelve years ago. I wish I was closer to physically help …

Mediation – A Poem

Mediation.

Aggravation.

Horrendous, frustrating situation.

Back and forth around we go,

We’re not happy.

Does it show?

Mediators’ back upstairs.

Shifting, shifting in my chair.

Waiting.

Waiting …

Wait to hear.

Hold breath, she’s back, looks worse for wear.

My dear lawyer calms me down.

My crying eyes; mascara’d clown.

Angry, hearty, “No. No. No!”

Quieting, listening, onward we go.

Copy the paperwork.

Soon we will know … we hope …

Smiling, laughing, thinking some more.

Love myself,

But the kids I adore.

Now it’s dark, my will has tired;

I’m glad it’s this lawyer that I hired.

Sacrificing is the game.

Nothing will ever be the same.

Eating my feelings, such junk was consumed,

Over heartache and worry brought up in that room.

But we did it, we signed it; relieved that it’s done.

Still, ending a marriage is no kind of fun.

Are you divorced? Ever gone through mediation? Pretty rough, no?

M.

The final frontier of my declining healthy living habits (my resolve not to drink DC) was squashed by the drama that ensued in that room. It was a tiny Diet Coke, really, but went amazingly well with the bag of potato chips from under the lamp over there, and the pockets full of Butterfingers I’d stashed on my way out of the house the morning of mediation.

Hyphenated Halloween

Yesterday, as we scrambled to put together costumes for the pre-school Halloween party, my daughters’ personality differences were on full display.

Sophie, generally easy-going and not as fussy about her appearance, made the quick decision to go as a cat. Simple enough; we gathered the all black ensemble; kitty ears, tulle skirt with attached tail, turtleneck, and leggings.

Grace, my mirror, inherited her mother’s discouraging habit of trying on every outfit in the closet (thus mussing the room with tossed, willy-nilly clothes) only to end up in the first frock that began the unfortunate series of events.

Standing amidst the candy-colored, tulle mess and finally pleased with her costume, I realized two things; Grace and I are very good examples of the power of genetics, and I need to get going on my punctuation re-education; this time placing focus on the hyphen.

According to Lynn Truss (Eat Shoots & Leaves), the hyphen is, “…hard to use wrongly.”

So why, then, do I feel so afraid them – not just at Halloween?

After a morning of Internet investigating, here is what I’ve learned:

1. Hyphens are very good at letting a reader in on a joke, also helping to imply that a raised or lowered voice will add emotion to the punch line.

i.e. My daughter has a face that looks like her aunt Janine – her attitude is all mom.

2. Hyphens can be used to connect or separate sentences, but are also appropriate when combining two words; creating compounds.

i.e. In Grace’s fifteen minute costume tirade, she was a butterfly-fairy, butterfly-princess, cat-princess, princess-bride, before rounding back to the beginning, settling on the original and most, “This one doesn’t tickle,” butterfly-fairy.

3. When two describing words come after a noun, they are not hyphenated.

i.e. I love apples when they’re caramel covered.

4. A hyphen can be used to join two (or more) words that act as a combined adjective before a noun.

i.e. I hope they have caramel-covered apples at the Halloween party this afternoon.

5. Lots of words can be connected (or combined) with or without hyphens.

i.e. The hair-splitting screams came from the bedroom were spooky.

i.e. Grace’s screams were hairsplitting.

i.e. Hair splitting screams are not a good way to start the morning.

6. Hyphenate compound numbers.

i.e Is it weird for a forty-one-year-old to wear a tutu?

7. Hyphens should be used with the prefixes self-, ex-, and all-, and with the suffix -elect. They can be used with other prefixes if it helps to clarify a confusing word or spelling. Here is a great list of examples (much better than my own).

But here is my attempt …

i.e. Pre-adolescence is going to fun!

i.e. It is unacceptable to leave your room a mess.

i.e. Re-education (with the prefix separated by a hyphen) looks less confusing to me than reeducation.

8. Probably the first time I was ever made to be afraid of the hyphen was when learning that they are needed in sentences when the word doesn’t fit on the line.

a. Divide line breaks at the place where the hyphen already exists.

b. Between syllables.

c. With words that end in -ing, they need to be separated at the place where the final consonant and root word are split (i.e. run-ning, or speak-ing, or dres-sing).

9. Saving the best for last, if you happen to use an Apple computer and want a longer hyphen, as opposed to a tiny word-spacing hyphen, press the alt button, while also pressing the hyphen at the upper right side of the keyboard.

i.e.[-] vs. [–]. Nice, right?

In approximately four-and-a-half hours we will revisit the “hyphenation Halloween-costume-fiasco”, as we attempt to ready ourselves for today’s afternoon Halloween house party (house-party?).

Without the help of a hyphen, what-oh-what would we be?

Are you dressing up for Halloween? What are your kids going to be? Any hyphens involved?

M.

Pumpkin-princess. But does she really need a hyphen? The debate continues …

Judging Youth

When you judge a person for the mistakes of their youth,
You are not highlighting their ill-fated decisions.

What you are doing,
Which is far worse,
Is highlighting your own inhumanity.

Ever felt like this – whether you are the one judging or like you are busily fighting off the inhumanity; wielding off judgement with your mightiest sword? How do find your own humanity in either case? How do you find peace amidst the fray?

M.

CC Skye Pearl Peace Ring $230.00. I’ve been looking for a “divorce” ring. My left hand misses adornment.

Well Hello There, Tumblr!

I have recently discovered Tumblr.

Yes, I am late to the party, but finally, I’ve arrived!

If you haven’t yet ventured over to Tumblrland, here is what you’re missing:

1. Imagery, images, imagination.

2. Youngins with clever thoughts and the inclination to express.

3. Pretty templates; much prettier than Pinterest. Less categorization than Pinterest too.

4. Another avenue to expand your reach. We’re not calling it a brand anymore, are we?

Grow with Stacy posted a great piece about how refusing to add photos to your blog can kill your traffic. In it, she covered a lot of information in regard to imagery that I didn’t know (i.e. how to use Flickr to your advantage), and she’s right; humans are visual and images are important.

Since Mommyland (writings, musings, opinions) leads my parade of social media, I will continue to use imagery to create added interest, much in the way that Stacy describes.

Adding Tumblr to my list of social media stopping points (after Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reader) gives me one more destination on the daily Interwebz calendar of events. The benefit, it appears, is in its ability to open up the window to my soul from a purely visual perspective (there are poems, etc., but the words are far more image rich than the typical blog post).

If you like the idea of a younger audience (be warned, you will come across many a pouting teenage girl – “I vant to be a star”), and love the idea of a visual stream of consciousness approach, log on to Tumblr and follow me.

Hope to see you there …

M.

Body Dysmorphia and the Plus-Sized Revolution

Confession: Nothing in my closet fits me. My skinny jeans won’t zip and my boyfriend jeans fit like the skinnies used to.

Confession: I haven’t run more than three miles in a month.

Confession: Although there are six days in which it’s feasible to exercise my body, I have chosen to do other things the majority of the time.

Confession: I ate a gigantic spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough from out of the garage refrigerator yesterday, not because I was craving cookie dough, but because I wanted the sugar high to get me through the afternoon.

With all of the back and forth I have going on in my head, in regard to food and exercise and health, it occurred to me more than once this week that in addition, I might be body dysmorphic.

How come?

Twice in the past few days, while feeling low about my size, I happened upon images of plus-sized women that I thought had bodies similar to mine. There is a plus-size revolution occurring and the women being held up as images to admire are nothing short of beautiful.

But, I’m … fat?

Since I’m currently squeezed out of my size 10s, I am furious with my body; angry at myself. Compared to the those plus size goddesses, my image of myself is not as kind.

Body dysmorphia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is described as, “imagined ugliness.” It turns out, upon further research that it is a real mental illness and people with dysmoraphobia often go to extreme lengths to manage their perceptions (plastic surgery, hiding from others, etc.).

While I’m not willing to diagnose myself with full-blown BD, I do think that my perceived flaws are skewed based on my expectations of self, and how I’ve once again slipped from, “I am healthy girl, hear me roar.”

I am stuck, then, between my own expectations of how I think I should look, the expectations of what the world views as acceptable, and the reality of what it’s like to live in my own body.

If I use the functioning part of my brain filled with endless information about health and well-being, I can dig myself, once again, out of this rut.

Solution # 1: I’ve ordered the Tracy Anderson mat series to do through the winter with the goal to firm up, confuse my muscles into performing as they should (again), and hopefully gather new information to write a helpful review, to boot.

Solution # 2: I will not buy any clothing, period, until I have become consistent again on the exercise front. If I then need to accept that I fit better in a bigger size, I will accept it, but not without a fight.

Solution # 3: I’ll try to eat more wisely, but am sticking to my belief that weighing myself is damaging to my psyche. Cutting out food groups will also be avoided, as anything completely off-limits will inevitably lead me to consume entire batches of cookie dough, just because I can.

To combine two of my favorite songs (as an homage to the place that I find myself today), here is a mashup (care of Madonna and Gene Sir Harlan) …

What it feels like for a girl … For a girl in this world.

But I’m doing the best that I can.”

M.

Do you ever think you suffer from body dysmorphia or any other body image related issues? How do you manage? How do you conquer?

Image 4 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Belted Wrap Top
Asos Curve Plus-Size Belted Wrap Top.
Image from the Size Issue of V Magazine.
Crystal Renn is a size 12. Gorgeous, no?
An image from V's Size Issue
An image from V’s Size Issue. The depths of my love for this picture run deep, but I wouldn’t be caught dead allowing a picture of me like this to surface. Is it my modesty or insecurity? I’m not sure.