Unsolicited Comments : Mark It as Spam

We’ve all gotten comments and opinions we never asked for or invited. Things like:

“Oh, you started working again? I guess your husband’s income isn’t cutting it.”

“Your body may not be ideal but at least you’ve got a beautiful face.”

“It must be exhausting having a downs child.”

“You’re so skinny. I wish I could eat anything and not gain weight.”

“I can’t believe you still use the microwave. It causes cancer.”

Think of these messages of ignorance and stupidity as flagged messages in your inbox and send them to the spam folder.

Do we open messages in our spam folder? No, because based on the subject line, we know the content may be harmful or that the message is meaningless to us.

In that same line of thinking, I’ve been relating it to the unsolicited comments I’ve received in real life. It sucks that sometimes these comments are said by people close to us, but the fact is their comment doesn’t do any good. Before letting a hurtful comment fester – giving time to internalize their words, and opening myself up to their message, I simply sort it to spam. The real life version of “unsubscribe” is to respectfully tell them that topic is off limits, what they said was rude, or brush it off by changing the subject.

Don’t open their loaded email. Don’t let their words ruin your day or get you down. Treat spam as spam: delete. Keep your inbox for what makes you feel good and builds you as a person. Don’t let messages that don’t fit that filter ruin the good stuff.

As a rule of thumb, I also sort gossip to junk mail. Bye bye, BS.

 

The Worst Mother’s Day…Though it got Better

Miscommunication is a monster. Outside of evil itself, it is the most insidious thing. Often times, no one is wrong OR right, but the resulting hurt and damage is done regardless of fault. That was what happened here.

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, I drilled my dad. His senior brain doesn’t work like it used to, so I felt that driving down the facts TWICE would help him remember. I told him I had a debriefing all day Saturday for the organization I volunteered with to help plan next year’s event, and that on Sunday, I was covering both shifts for coffee ministry at church so the moms that usually help could enjoy their day. I told him that we should plan on celebrating Sunday afternoon sometime after 2 when I’d be home and my brother and his wife we also done with church and lunch.

He complains that he wants to take my mom to dim sum and insists that’s what she wanted. And dim sum ends at 2. I told him we could go somewhere else.

On Friday, he tells me matter-of-factly that he and my mother are going to dim sum Saturday. It’s exactly what I asked him not do. I was rushing to my painting class so in the minute I had I asked, “Did you at least ask if N and R could go?” He replies yes, he planned this with my brother (N.)

Ouch. Freaking Ouch. I walked out that door with a bullet in my heart. At least my brother and sister in law could go, but what about me? Why did they have to deliberately celebrate when I couldn’t be present at all?

I got home late that night and waited to speak to my mom. I told her I heard about their plans for tomorrow and wondered why they couldn’t do something all together on Sunday evening. She explodes at me (whether she wants to admit it or not) and calls me selfish for wanting to do what I want on her day. She told me it was for her and she could do as she wanted. She added that she in fact, did not necessarily want dim sum.

Stifling showing my hurt, I offered to contact my group and tell them I couldn’t go last minute to spend part of mother’s day with my own mother. This is the second time she has called me selfish this month so I am incredibly wounded. The fact that they planned to exclude me and that my own brother didn’t mention a thing to me was painful. And to add insult to injury, that word selfish was thrown in.

On Saturday, I got up and stayed quiet in my room. I built a bridge and got over all the hurt from the night before and focused on being home after everyone came back from dim sum. I hear my dad’s voice booming to my mom, “She’s still here, did she oversleep for her meeting today?”

Minutes later my mom comes up to my door and asks if I’m joining them for dim sum. As politely and respectfully as possible I tell her I wasn’t invited to join them but if I was invited I’d go. I only meant to not assume, but she translated that as me testing the waters and trying to sound petty. I hear her complaining and tell me she doesn’t want anything and I’ve ruined her mothers day. Then she goes to tell my dad his plans made me feel excluded and they start bickering. I come out and try to say my piece but my dad is yelling at me and my mom is fed up and walks out to the backyard.

My dad then proceeds to call me a liar and says he told me yesterday what he planned to do and he planned it because I wasn’t available.

I’m very emotional at this point, like any fucking human being would be. I walk outside and tell my mom I’m sorry and that I want her to have a good Mother’s Day and didn’t mean to cause all this. She is freaking out that the neighbors will hear me and is further angered by my actions. I. Can’t. Fucking. Win.

Finally N is on the phone and several phone calls later we finally resolve enough to go to dim sum.

My dad is losing his marbles. It’s frustrating but also sad. I could hear by the way he answered my brother he never took time to understand me. I was telling him my schedule and to plan to celebrate on Sunday after lunch. He took it to mean I was too busy all weekend. His lack of rationalizing is what made him assume that dim sum was what my mom wanted, and that the priority of night church service was more important that working around his schedule to celebrate when we could all be together. N tells me on the phone he specifically told my dad to tell me that while they’d go to dim sum together, the main celebration would be on Sunday.

So yeah, the first half of our celebrating was hell in a hand basket. Even at dim sum, the first half hour felt so awkward, with everyone contemplating if they were even in the mood to eat.

Once again, I had to remedy how I was feeling inside and I went out of my way to be nice to my dad. My mom and my brother told me to excuse him for his actions because he’s getting old and any grudge I held may turn sour if anything happened to him. I know that to be true, but the fact that I have a right to feel hurt is what really complicates things. Much later in the day he finally told me he was sorry and didn’t wish to see it turn out so badly. I’ll accept that.

N+R had to run after dim sum (gotta celebrate both sides, so two brunches!) , and we did get together on Sunday. This is R’s first mother’s day, as she’s expecting, so we did a little photoshoot. That was probably the highlight this year. They got to use those pictures to announce publicly via social media that they are expecting. And you know what they say, “It’s not official until it’s facebook official.”

Now I can freely share I’m going to be an auntie.❤

A Great Workout and an AMT Review

My posts tend to get pretty heavy and pedantic. I don’t really write to delight or keep the attention of my readers (although I appreciate all of you!). But I also don’t like keeping a negative focus. So, I have good news and a much shorter post this time around.

Last night I watched my heart rate climb, felt sweat pouring down my brow, coached myself through two cramps, and ran my heart out on an AMT for 20 minutes. I gave it my all! There was something gratifying about being the heaviest person in the little line of machines and going faster than all of them with my head in the game. I stepped down and the pay off was immediate- my legs felt like they weighed a ton each but I was so pumped.
Have you seen an AMT? They are like ellipticals 2.0. but so much more. It stands for Adaptive Motion Trainer and the beauty of it is a more fluid motion and broad range in strides.

 

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                          The AMT-885 from Precor                             Photo Credit: amtfitness.com

 

Imagine a machine that allows you to bounce so that your movement isn’t rigid and isn’t guided by a track or wheel. You can bounce up and down like skipping on a jumprope or swing your legs far apart and feel like prancing gazelle. You can change your stride length from zero to thirty-six. You get a full range that feels like you’re running on air without the pounding of a treadmill or the stiffness of a crosstrainer or elliptical. You can go up and down like climbing stairs or do big large ovals like treading water.

I like that this is much less impact than running on a treadmill or on concrete but still gives enough bounce to get the benefits of some impact. Impact is a friend and foe to one’s body, especially with obesity. I know that some impact on my bones and joints is a way to keep them healthy and strong but I also know that high impact exercises work against my body since I’m carrying way more weight on my frame than I should. When I first tried this machine at my gym, my knees were not happy. I was dealing with knee problems and so I approached this machine carefully and tried to limit my time on it to 10 minutes initially. I found the impact really helped and feel my knees to my knowledge are benefitting from it!
I typically do 20-25 minutes of cardio followed by weight machines and then wrap it up with another 5-15 minutes of cardio at a more leisurely pace for cool down. I’d like to increase that number to 35 minutes of cardio, some weight machine, some free weights, and a 10 minute cool down.

I have a book coming my way to help me learn more about the machines and exercise moves so I can confidently do them with the right form and knowing what muscle areas they target.

If you have this type of machine available at your gym but have been intimidated to try it, I say give it a go! It’s so much fun!

Living and Existing

More spewing and self-examination. You’ve been warned of this wordy whirlwind!

I’m in existence mode a lot and I’m finding that sometimes it’s just what we do to survive. Inspirational posts tell you to live each day like it’s your last – and that’s valuable, but not always plausible. Sometimes, you are storming through trials, mundaneness, sickness, depression, exhaustion, rough work days, etc., and you just need to coast through that part and recharge so you can truly live and be renewed. The clincher here is that you aren’t supposed to stay E mode. Existing is like driving in the slow lane: your journey is gonna suck if you don’t merge over and end up just riding it out there the whole time.

My biggest problem right now is the house being a rotating door. It’s not about me not being gracious or a good hostess, it’s the stress of sharing a bathroom and trying to get ready for work and getting a call late at night in a panic from my mom saying relative X is coming over that evening or the wee hours of the morning and to clean up and be ready. I can’t do this. This is effing up my schedule and sanity. Is it worth moving at this point and time? No. But I’m putting my darn foot down. It’s true, I don’t have all my shit together – and so when more people are here, I freak out and have to put myself in E mode to get by. The messiness I’m trying to resolve can’t be tackled when guests are here and I HATE when I’m blamed for stuff laying around when the reality is it’s not all mine, it’s just easier to lump it in as MY problem.

Back to the first paragraph. The problem with my first sentence is the “a lot” part. I feel like I’m in a junky car that just can’t keep up to speed to stay in the L lane, so I switch back and forth and depend on E to get me through.

So I’m fixing parts of my car (me) first.

Sanity – my week and a half long trip should help with unwinding and best friends are good medicine. I hope to get in a lot of love and laughs and come home ready to thrive.

After my trip this month, I’m chomping down on the bit as far as diet goes and upping exercise. I’m so glad my boyfriend is on board with me – he helps me out more than he knows! And he even enjoys the crazy diet foods I make.

I’m also in the process of adding three rules to help with cleaning and sanity:

1. Tidy my desk before bed. This is my command center. I gotta keep it accessible and ready to work at.

2. Keep my bed clear so I can sleep without folded clothes and whatnot.

3. Remind myself that it’s better to stay sane and recluse in my room than drive myself mad trying to be Holly Good Hostess. I don’t need to wait hand and foot on people. It’s a fear based on being a people pleaser but I need to let it go.

If I can commit to those changes I have a clear space for studying and creating and also for better sleep. The rest of my room can slowly change but I need these two spaces to work in my favor.

A Week of Disappointments

This is pretty much a big rant. You’ve been warned.

It all started when my brother decided last week that the house he lives at must be worked on. My parents and I discussed this briefly and somehow I became the horrible one for suggesting that if my parents were paying for repairs, it should be done on their timeline. They felt rushed, I felt rushed, we both didn’t know why he couldn’t push it out a week if the contractor told us to start when we were ready. But they were mad at me for not being gung ho.

That’s how I became the horrible one. With the race being that weekend, I really didn’t want 2 people and 2 more dogs and moving furniture to be part of the mix.

It happened anyway. We discussed it Monday and on Tuesday, I spent my afternoon driving out and moving boxes and books and directing heavier furniture to clear three rooms worth of stuff with others.

Tuesday night, I readied a space for 2 extra bodies and 2 dogs who are apprehensive of change.

Wednesday evening, I come home and find out my SIL is sick and my brother recently had a stomach bug.

Thursday I get chills, discomfort, and a fever at work and leave at lunch.

Friday I don’t feel better and take the day off to rest so I can be ready for the race on Saturday.

Saturday comes. I’ve spent half my night in the restroom. I have to fold my cards and tell the crew I can’t be there for the event.

All because my timeline doesn’t matter. Because, you know, I haven’t been working on this event for the whole year and meeting Saturday mornings planning this. So it was a bigger inconvenience for my brother than me.

I don’t think so. He also denies my being sick has to do with him or his wife. I think the fact we all had the same symptoms, touched the same surfaces, and were under the same household suffices as enough evidence to that.

So no race, no free time, no workouts, no eating good foods. This week was full of disappointment. I bawled my eyes out Friday night knowing I wasn’t getting better, and then Saturday morning, when the reality sunk in, that I wouldn’t get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Two vacation days gone, one year of work to not see it in action, and feeling terrible both physically and emotionally. That was this past week.

I’m finally back to eating normal food although I fear coffee would still be a bad idea for my tummy at this point. ‘Hoping to hit the gym Friday and get back into the groove.

Life sucks sometimes.

Fitbit Bits #4

I still haven’t strapped my fitbit back on since the whole cord fiasco. I’ve gotta eat crow for that. But moving on…

I’m moving!

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That’s a screen capture from yesterday. I use an app called Swarm to privately log in my workouts. Only my friends on the app see my check ins.

My boyfriend is on board with the gym too and that makes keeping the commitment so much easier because on nights we see each other we plan it into our schedule. We do our own thing at the gym but it’s still nice to have a buddy go with you. He lives too far to work out consistently with me but we usually get a gym workout in on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My parents made some hurtful comments last night about me being too busy and that I should focus on myself and my health. Well, yes, I should keep my health a priority, but what the heck guys, what do you think my gym stints and passes on your junk food offerings are? Chopped liver? It makes me upset because it negates all that I am doing and makes me feel like all they see is my outer self. Yes, I don’t look like I’ve lost an impressive amount of weight, boo-fricking-hoo. If they’re going to just judge me by appearance than I will never have their approval. Which is why at this point, I don’t care what anyone thinks, except that if they don’t have words of encouragement, I don’t wanna hear it. It hurts me more because blog-as-my-witness, I’ve told them that after the event this Saturday and my bible study wraps up 1&2 Thessalonians, I am keeping my schedule more open for organizing, cleaning, working out, eating right, etc. They know my intentions and yet keep ignorantly commenting.

On the plus side, I feel better in my clothes even though the scale isn’t moving much. I’m dealing with water retention problems after hard workouts and still haven’t found a good solution. And my event this Saturday is going to be awesome and all the work everyone is doing behind the scenes is worth it. We’ve raised nearly 30K so far for foster youth and that’s before  event day of donations and our silent auction!

12 Days until Race Day!

The race and foster festival is almost here! Like, less than 2 weeks away! I’m so excited. The culmination of our year’s worth of efforts will finally be put to action very soon.

I have so much respect for all charity races now, especially ones that are just starting up. It’s A LOT of work, and there are so many people behind the scenes to make it possible.

You start your year hoping that enough donations and fundraising help spread the message and provide you a backbone for all that happens. Then you run into little setbacks and people trying their hardest to secure a race place and work with the city to set the route and all the planning aspects. You work on race cards and flyers and hand them out hoping businesses will let you display them on their community boards and that they catch the attention of people around town and county wide.

This is my first year on board, for the fourth annual event. Our race numbers are the highest they’ve ever been which is a good sign, and God definitely put a hedge around us as other charity races around our timeframe were cancelled due to low sign ups. Now we are just praying that rain doesn’t get in the way.

I have learned so much about foster youth and some of their struggles. And I know what I currently understand is only a tiny amount. I think I naively assumed for a long time that all foster children wanted to be adopted and one of the primary reasons to foster was to adopt. The reality is that the heart of fostering is providing a temporary home and safe environment where you can foster hope, love, and encouragement. Sometimes that leads to adoption, and sometimes that leads to a child reuniting with a parent or a relative gaining custody. Sometimes children do wish to age out of the foster system with no plan of being adopted. Sometimes they place their loyalty in their parent(s) and refuse. Our race helps pay for things the state may not be able to offer, like orthodontia, extra curricular activities, and learning programs – things that help boost self-confidence and prepare them for a bright future.

Next Saturday and Sunday, we go to the site and walk through plans and do our training with volunteers. We need an estimated 200 volunteers, we’ve grown so much!  I’m just flabbergasted at that. 200 volunteers from all over the county have stepped up, local businesses and big corporations have stepped up, and the feeling of community is just so overwhelming. There are so many hearts unified for a great cause. This is what fuels us for next year.

Scent-imentals

Are you a fragrance fan?

I am. I’ve been a fan since I was little, cuddling up to my mother’s neck and smelling some sort of loveliness on her. Scent often plays a narrative in mood or gives us an extra memory for our five senses. Now that my sense of smell is gone more than half of the year, I internally weep for the delight I took in smelling food and fragrance. I find it’s more important for me to wear something now as I have no idea how I smell and I fear -although my hygiene is definitely in check- that my scentless self might be offensive.

As a teen, I owned some sunflower scent that I sprayed in my hair and a tiny bottle of Poeme I treated like liquid gold. On my 16th birthday, I was gifted a beautiful perfume in a glass bottle shaped like a lily. It traveled to me all the way from France. For my graduation, my auntie gifted me J’adore. It was so strong and I couldn’t distinguish the notes so it sat sad and untouched for a long time. I couldn’t understand the full beauty of those scents because my young nose was still wrapped around cheapie jellybean vanilla scents from the drugstore and 5 for $20 body sprays at Victoria’s secret (who hasn’t spritzed Love Spell in their lifetime?)

I lived in body spray land until college. That’s when my nose and paychecks offered me the freedom to sniff things in glass bottles rather than plastic. The first one that stood out to me was on the endcap at Target. Not only was it dainty, it was on sale. It wasn’t sweet or fruity like my usuals. It was heavier, woody, mossy, musky, spicy, but still toned down with a good amount of sweetness and some florals mixed with fruit. It was a little of everything. I think the complexity is what won me over. And yes, it was a celebrity perfume. By Hilary Duff. But it was an oriental and most other celebrity scents were sweet fruity scents. And I was shopping Target’s limited offerings. This perfume made me feel quite mature. It was a mental note I needed as I was exploring independence and individual thought.

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With Love by Hilary Duff

Nearly post college, I found two perfumes I gravitated towards because of their lightness. I think this was a combination of preparing for career-hood and office settings. I wanted to smell approachable and pleasant, and I found those qualities in the ever popular ‘Daisy’ by Marc Jacobs (who I just love as a designer) and the more romantic and unique ‘Giulietta’ by TOCCA. I’d say my nose is almost over Daisy. Everyone wears it, and in the heat of summer it’s sometimes sharp to my nose. But it tells a story, and is a gorgeous bottle – the first scent investment I made with a designer label. The first and only scent I’ve been gifted from a man is also from Marc Jacobs. Josh gifted me Lola our first Christmas together. That scent is a bit heavy and old lady, but in the most romantic and refined way. She doesn’t get spritzed much but she brings back happy memories when I see her bottle in my perfume tray. It’s like he gifted me an eternal rose and the contents are the bouquet.

Giulietta is my signature scent. When finding a signature, many people opt for something that connects with them or that is off the beaten path so they are distinct from the crowds wafting Thierry Mugler’s Angel, Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb, and all the top sales from the Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Channel counter. I would say both come into play for me, but it’s the scent that really won me over.

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Giulietta by TOCCA

 

Giulietta is elegant and romantic without being stuffy, like the warmth of a kind hearted woman that is soft and sweet and considerate. The scent is rather clean but feminine and there’s a little fruity floral with a creaminess at the end that just seals the deal for me. She is perfect for the day into the evening, work or pleasure, and while she isn’t as lasting as some perfumes, she lingers on you just like a hug from someone dear. Her label tauts notes of apple, pink lily, ylang ylang, vanilla orchid, rose, and woods.

Now that my nose is dysfunctional, I’ve decided to add a scent to my collection rather blindly. I’ve been enamored by the bottles for years, and even if it doesn’t end up being something I love, it will be a bottle I’ll adore every time I pass by. It is Lolita Lempicka EDT. EDT, because I’m still wimping on the fact it might be too heavy for me as an EDP and the whole nose issue.  It’s supposed to smell like a fairytale, and if anyone knows me, they know my fascination with fairytales and and fables.

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Lolita Lempicka EDT

What scents would you consider signature, or if you’re not into fragrance, do you have any scent memories?

Spring Cleaning

First wave of Spring cleaning: my mind!

Start here this year and I guarantee a better physical decluttering experience of your stuff. You live in your home many hours of the day but you live in your mind 24/7.

Toss out thoughts of self hate and doubt.
Organize your goals and plans for the future so you can access them daily.
Dust off personal achievements so you can see how far you’ve come.
Take care of issues that are keeping you from peace.
Last but not least, save room for good things and don’t let negative things sit in their spot.