Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Dinner Post Show, plus a Running Update

Dinner last night turned out great, if I do say so myself! Here's the post-dinner analysis:

Guacamole: seriously yummy, although how can you go wrong with ripe avocados, fresh lime juice, and jalapenos?!?!
Chicken w/Mango Salsa: the salsa was out-0f-this-world good. You could put it on cardboard, and the cardboard would be yummy! Tim did a great job on the chicken, and marinating it in 3 kinds of citrus plus jalapeno and garlic didn't hurt it either!
Salad: also seriously yummy, although any time you cut up like 10 things to go into a salad, it's gotta be good. This one had slivers of fresh basil and chopped parsley in it, so you barely needed dressing.
Dessert: good, but maybe not worth the effort. The shortcakes were good and looked beautiful with the chopped fruit and fresh whipped cream, but a fruit cobbler is also yummy and a lot easier.
Brownies (from the night before): Seriously addictive. Since they're made with bittersweet chocolate, they're not overly sweet, and Tim tells me they're wonderful with ice cream (not being an ice cream girl, I didn't try 'em that way). (They don't have many calories when you're only eating slivers to "neaten" the pan, right?)

Running Update

I did a big, brave thing and ran with my REAL MARATHON RUNNER friend Jenny yesterday. We did 5 hilly miles, and she let me set the pace (thanks Jenny!) since I'm only a week back into exercise after a month off. I'd say we ran 90% of the time and it was way fun. And we're running again on Friday!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Returning to a former love

First of all, thank you for the insightful comments and emails. I feel less alone, for sure, and have some great suggestions to consider.

Ok, so I have a hobby that most people don't know about. The reason you don't know about it is because I've stayed away from it for years. The hobby is cooking, and of course I make sure my family is fed, but before depression got its hooks in me, I used to LOVE to cook. But a combination of depression and perfectionism kinda took all the joy out of it for me several years ago.

Well, I've gone through my old cookbooks recently as we were moving back into our kitchen. I got rid of maybe 30 or 40 of them (yeah, I have a big collection) and made sure the best of the best were easy to get to and ready to use. And I've bought a couple of new ones (LOVE amazon.com!) to kind of get my interest aroused.

So this weekend I'm cooking from two books by the same author: The Summer House Cookbook, and The Family Kitchen. The boys are having a sleepover tonight, and I made "Bittersweet Beachside Brownies" for a movie snack. The tomorrow we're having some friends over and here's the menu:

Best-Ever Guacamole
Saratoga Summer Vegetable Salad (a yummy Greek-ish salad)
Citrus-Grilled Chicken Breasts with Mango Salsa
some fabulous bread from Trader Joe's
Ginger Shortcakes with Nectarines and Blueberries

I'm nervous, but happy about risking entertaining. I think I'm a pretty good cook, but cooking is not an exact thing, to be sure. So I'll let you know how the recipes turn out. Oh, and miracle of miracles -- I made brownies and didn't have a single taste. That's astonishing for this girl who once made a bowl of brownie batter and hid it in the fridge (Tim was out of town and the kids were short) and ate the entire thing! No, I did not cook a single brownie. So now you know how amazing today's feat really was, right?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The power of "and" and the fundamental question

In the "About" part of my weblog, I write that I'm trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. That's a kinda cute way of saying something that's really a problem: I honestly don't know what to do with myself these days. Somehow in the decade of staying home with my kids, I've lost the enthusiasm and curiosity that can fuel feeling alive. So much of what I do comes out of obedience and duty.

I had a good role-model of this growing up. Mom struggled with mental illness and prescription drugs, and Dad did everything. I can remember saying I would NEVER be like my mom, which in my childish thinking meant that I had to be like my dad. And he was the ultimate in self-sacrifice. He worked, he cooked, he cleaned, he did laundry -- he did it all and the only thing he did for himself was play poker with some college professor friends once a month.

Now here I am a grown woman with the luxury of both time and funds to pursue anything I might be interested in, yet something holds me back. I fill my days, to be sure, but it's like the Pareto principle in action: "Work expands to fill the time available to do it." So my days are filled with exercise, laundry, straightening up, classroom work, and waiting, waiting, waiting.

I've been considering finding a life coach to work with, because my understanding is that they can help create the accountability and the action plan to move you towards a life of purpose. Sounds good, right? And I know two people: my birth mother and my sister, who actually went to a coaching school and said it was wonderful. I went on the school's website and found this under the "What We Believe" part:

"The power of and means strongly holding and uniting desirable dimensions that are commonly viewed as divergent: being challenging and caring, rigorously committed and flexible, idealistic and pragmatic, passionately alive and professional."

I have tears in my eyes as I type this, which is, I believe, my fundamental question:

Is it possible to be both a good wife and mother AND have a life outside of being a wife and mom?

My painfully honest answer is this: I DON'T KNOW.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Magic of Running

I HATE depression! This morning I woke up with my own personal rain cloud, which happens a lot, and there's NO REASON FOR IT! I feel like Pig Pen from Peanuts with his perpetual dust cloud, and even though that's a cute way to describe it, it's a sucky way to live, when you have no idea when the rain cloud will come, or how long it will last, or how to make it go away!

Yesterday I'd decided I would go running this morning. And I even did laundry last night so my favorite pair of shorts would be clean and ready to go. But this morning with how I felt, it was hard to get myself out the door. But I went out of -- what made me do it? Knowing that running never makes things worse, but knowing that breaking promises to myself feels icky -- that's what made me go. So I was about 15 minutes into the run, when the song "Family Reunion" by Rhymz Suhreal came on. The song made me think about running on the beach in Florida. And that made me think about skipping. So I started skipping, which if you've never tried it, you should. It's hard and fun! So I skipped, then ran, then skipped, then ran, and as I was doing it, I realized that I was smiling and happy. And I started thinking about all the things I could do with my life, and I felt HOPEFUL and that felt FANTASTIC.

So I think I need to start being a morning exerciser. I've always known that exercise helped to regulate my moods, but when I consider what happened today, I think exercise can also help to set the tone for my entire day!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

'Fessing up

Yesterday afternoon I trimmed back our rosemary bushes, which are choking out some really pretty flowers. Then I mowed the lawns. Later in the evening I hit the gym. If you happened to be at the gym and noticed a small pile of dried herbs right by a treadmill, don't worry -- it's not anything illegal -- it's just the lawn clippings and rosemary that came off my shoes as I ran!

Braving the gym

Last night was my first time back at the gym in a month. It felt GREAT to be back! I had to back off of weight a bit (used 85 pounds for single leg press, rather than my usual 100, and used 15 pound dumbbells for bicep curls, rather than 20s), but that's to be expected. Today I feel a good amount of sore -- enough to feel like I did something, but not so much that I need to take a day off. I also did 20 minutes on the ARC trainer and 10 on the treadmill and both felt great. But I skipped all plyos -- I figure it's ok to wait a week or two before I try to add those in!

Gymnastics is cool

Last night I sat and watched my kids do gymnastics for 2-1/2 hours. Years ago I got into the habit of dropping them on a slow roll (just kidding!), because if I stayed, Tucker would find any excuse to come and sit with me on the bleachers rather than listen to his coach. But recently I've made a commitment to stay and watch more. Let me tell you -- I'm AMAZED at what my kids can do. Austin's working on a new p-bar mount where you kind of jump and drop in below the bars, then somehow manage to swing upwards with straight arms and end up above the bars -- it's dramatic, hard, and beautiful! And Tucker's tenacity is inspiring. He's working on a move (I don't know the name) where you go from a handstand on p-bars into a straddle press without (and this is key) ever dropping down onto the bars. So you are fighting gravity the entire way down. All I can do is watch in amazement with tears in my eyes!

Good smells

When I was a child, there was a lady at church (Mrs. Brideson) who always smelled like flowers. Maybe to adult noses she just wore too much perfume, but to me she was the embodiment of all things feminine. I decided that when I was a grown up, I would smell like flowers too. And I do wear perfume every single day. Here are some of my favorites:

Lemon Sugar, by Fresh -- all I can say is YUM! Smells like fresh lemons, but not in a kid-like way
Ralph, by Ralph Lauren -- I always go back to this one
Delicious, by DKNY -- fresh, fun
Red Delicious, by DKNY -- even fresher and more fun!
Index Pear Cassis, by Fresh -- if I had to pick a favorite and wear it forever, this would be it

I normally only have one or every so often two perfumes on my bathroom counter, but I got a little crazy and found a few that I just had to try, which is why I'm so rich in perfume these days.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've given myself a green light...

...to exercise. Although my doctor wants me on exercise moratorium until Friday, I just can't take it anymore. Plus I'm really healthy. Plus plenty of people disregard doctor's orders, right?

So yesterday I did a 35 minute walk/run/lunge/high kick workout. It felt FANTASTIC! Then last night I lifted weights at home. Boy, taking 3-1/2 weeks off has an impact on how much you can lift. Today I'm sore, mostly in my lower body, and it feels good, good, good!


My tastes in music are eclectic and range from classical to electronic to old school funk to rock. Right now I'm pretty stuck on Zero 7, a band from the U.K. I particularly like Somersault and In the Waiting Line. And two songs that are perfect for power walks or lunge walking are "You're My Best Friend" by Queen (so uplifting!) and "Then Came You" by Dionne Warwick.


Although I don't like going to bed hungry (I've been a "cereal before sleep" girl for decades now), I'm starting to get used to it. Weight is holding steady in the mid-130s, which means all my clothes fit loosely, and that's good. My hope is to stay disciplined with food while adding exercise back in and see where that takes me. Zero concerns here about needing to gain weight -- gimme some Starbucks chocolate chip cookies and See's candy, and I'll be up 5 pounds in no time!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stepping off the roller coaster?

Firstly, thank you for the oh-so-nice comments and e-mails. They warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. One in particular came at exactly the right time -- thanks Jen!

Ok, so right now I'm doing pretty good, but the entire weekend was an emotional roller coaster. Friday I did NOT get the green light I was hoping for, which was hard to accept. Saturday I decided to go on a walk (which is ok), adding in a few (300) lunge walks and some light jogging. Ok, it was wrong, and I can tell I'm not ready for running yet. But the lunges felt great until today. Holy crap -- how did I ever do thousands of lunges in a day?!?! It was only two months ago that I stopped, but I'm seriously wondering if I just made all that up, cuz lunges are HARD HARD HARD! But it feels good to be sore.

Today salvation came in the form of a River Cats baseball game. They're the AAA team for the Oakland A's, and my kids were invited by our neighbors to go. So we had six hours to ourselves, and we used much of that time to unpack the last of the boxes -- hooray! Working on them together wasn't nearly as overwhelming as trying to do it alone, although going through the old crafts stuff was a little hard as I looked at crayons that Tucker had colored down to little stubs -- that boy has always loved art -- and came across projects the kids had done years ago. But we did it, and it feels great to be box-free and moving closer to order than we've been in a while.

This week I'll post pictures of the new kitchen. Austin saw a picture of our old kitchen on the computer, and commented, "I didn't realize how bad it looked before!" Truth is that it didn't look bad before, but it's pretty darn nice now -- thanks Tim!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not so good

When I don't write here, it's usually one of two things: either I'm depressed and can't find a reason to write, or I'm so busy that I can't find the time. Well, the last few days it's been both.

It's 3 weeks since I exercised. I'm hoping my doctor gives me a green light tomorrow -- I've been SO good. And I've been eating clean, so I've dropped a few pounds in this time, which is surprising, because lack of exercise PLUS stress (remodel is almost over, but much of it happened last week and the week before) usually means MORE food for me. Anyway, I've done really good emotionally up until about yesterday. But now I'm not so good.

I feel like a failure -- like I can't get on top of my life. And evidence of my shorcomings is everywhere -- the boxes that hold the kitchen stuff that needs to be put away, the bills and budget that have to be done, the loose ends that seem to appear everywhere I look. And try as I might to rationalize this -- I'm still not back to full energy, I've been working on Art Docent stuff for the kids school this entire week, progress IS being made in unpacking -- the overwhelming feeling is one of failure.

I'm not writing this to complain, although it may sound like a complaint. It's just where I'm at. I work very hard to stay on top of life, with food in the fridge, bills paid, no huge piles of paperwork to deal with. Believe it or not, my "natural" state is one of chaos. I grew up as a huge slob and stayed that way until I got married. Then my lack of order caused conflict in my marriage, and I bought every book on organization there is, read and reread them, and have turned into someone who is not naturally organized, but has come to appreciate the peace and quiet that an organized home can bring. So living in chaos isn't working so well.

The other very real aspect of all of this is that I exercise to help manage depression. So 3 weeks of not exercising is kinda a big deal. I need to be grateful that the first 2-1/2 weeks went so well, and that I only have a little more time in recovery mode.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The difference between 10 and 12

Mother's Day was wonderful. Tim and the boys cooked our first meal in the new kitchen -- french toast and scrambled eggs for M day breakfast. Went to church, went shopping, had lunch out, worked around the house, floated in the pool (my best thing), had dinner, watched Survivor with our neighbors, and to bed. I was treated to flowers from both kids (purchased with their own money, which is a BIG deal), a hand-made card, and special treatment all around. Perfect day, in my opinion.

But today I feel sad, and it's because my kids are growing up. Tucker is 10, and I got kisses all over my face, a million "I love you's", a specially folded napkin and an "m" carved into my french toast (!), all done whole heartedly and without embarassment. Austin is 12 and his expressions of love are quieter. He reached for my hand or my arm probably 10 times yesterday, gave me hugs, and when I was tucking him in, told me that a day isn't enough time to say thank you, so I should have a whole week.

Why do I feel sad? I think it's because I know that the no-holds-barred expressions of love will end soon. It doesn't mean there's less love -- if anything, as we get older, our love becomes more and more real. But the innocent sweetness of kisses that cover your face -- well, I have tears in my eyes as I type this, and it's because I know it doesn't last forever. My prayer is that my memory will be strong enough to capture what it feels like to be loved by my children right now and that I will remember how kisses on my whole face feel, both on my face and in my heart.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Posted by Picasa This picture was taken about a year ago in Hawaii. I'm trying to use it as my profile picture, and needed to post it to get its URL onto my weblog. I look at this picture and think how much I love my husband and sons, and how much I can't wait to do my favorite thing in Hawaii, which is to swim beyond where the waves are breaking, then swim underwater. It's scary and exciting at the same time and I just love it.

We are heading back to this same place in a little over a month and I CAN'T WAIT.

25 Things About Me

A bunch of fun blog people are doing 25 things lists right now. I have no idea where the idea comes from, but it's a lot of fun. So I'm going to play:
1. I don't think I can come up with 25 things in the time I feel I can allocate to blogging, which isn't a whole lot of time.
2. Although I don't work, I spend most of my time feeling like I don't have enough time. I'm working on this.
3. I think gentleness and good-naturedness are the most underrated qualities in this world, and I actively seek to cultivate them in my life and with everyone I come into contact with.
4. I grew up thinking I'd be fat and crazy by the time I was 25. My mother struggled with weight issues (still does) and is mentally ill. So in my late teens/early 20s, a lot of my wild behavior was fueled by the belief that my body and mind would be gone soon. At 22 I found out I was adopted. I was hugely relieved.
5. I LOVE my parents I grew up with, and there's no doubt in my mind that your parents are those who raise you.
6. I LOVE my birth mother and extended family and actually feel more of a mother/daughter connection with her than with my mom, but that's because of my mom's mental illness.
7. I hate that I struggle with depression. I think that because of the depression,l I come across as very self-sufficient, because when I feel low, the need feels so scary huge that I can't risk sharing it with anyone.
8. Sometimes depression even gets in the way of my relationship with God. But we're working on it. :)
9. I use exercise and medication to keep balanced. People think I'm all disciplined when it comes to exercise, and I want to say, "Yeah, you would be disciplined too if without exercise, the YOUness of you ceased to exist!"
10. See, there's a benefit of depression.
11. I'm depressed by all this talk about my stupid struggle. (Truthfully, I'm just bored with it.)
12. I LOVE my husband, but didn't even consider dating him when we met. We met in an AA meeting and was still in school and was/is younger than I am (3 years). At the time I was dating someone who was 15 years older than me, so I saw Tim and thought "Nice kid." 3 years later I married that nice kid!
13. I think I got the better end of the deal in my marriage. Tim thinks the same thing. That's good. But I'm right!
14. I am an excellent cook, but my kids gymnastics schedule makes it very hard to like cooking at all. I'm hoping the new kitchen helps to change this!
15. Before I gave some of my cookbooks to the library, I had maybe 300 cookbooks that I've collected over the years.
16. Now my collection is pared down to a nice managable ... well ... I don't really know how many I have, but it's closer to 100 now.
17. I use cooking software called Now You're Cooking to manage my cookbooks, because I do use them. I put all the recipes my family likes best into the software, otherwise I'd never be able to find a recipe I wanted to make again.
18. I grew up feeling like I wasn't a very good girl. I must explain. My mom's unavailability made me think I missed the connection and life lessons that most girls get from their moms. (Again, I LOVE my mom, and I feel sad for what she struggles with, and what we've all missed as a result.) So I felt like I didn't do girl stuff (hair, makeup, clothes, etc.) right. I've since learned that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
19. Because of those feelings, shopping is frightening for me. But it's getting better.
20. I love being a boy mom, because the idea of parenting a girl frightened me (see #18).
21. I have six nieces, and I love them with all my heart, so I do not lack in girls to love -- hooray!
22. My sons -- well, I could go on and on about what I love about them, but right at this moment, I love most that they are quick-minded, fun, gentle, and loving.
23. Because I have only boys, my house is boy central sometimes, and that makes me crazy a lot of the time.
24. I am a big multi-tasker, and have done like 6 other things as I've written this list (moved laundry to the dryer, gotten drycleaning ready to take in, etc.). I am shocked to find that I'm at the end, and even more shocked that I know there are things I could keep going on.
25. I am at my happiest when Tim, Austin, Tucker and I are together laughing. And I wouldn't trade my life for anything!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I love blackberries

The only food in the world that inhabits the intersection of the Venn diagram (remember the math circles where a little part overlap?) of "Foods I love" AND "Healthy foods" is blackberries, darn it.

Well, fresh peaches are wonderful. So is really good salad with lots of "stuff" (Pluto's is a place near us where you get a foofy lettuce base for your salad, then add 7 items of your choice, and I eat that every time I work bingo). So are fresh tomatoes -- and we live near Sacramento which is the tomato capital of the world! Hmmmm -- other than that, bring on the Doritos and donuts.

We were in Palm Springs for a long weekend a while back, and we stopped by a grocery store to get some stuff for breakfasts and lunches. We decided to get some donut holes as a treat. And then a disagreement broke out between the kids, because apparently 1/4 of an ENTIRE BOX is not enough donut holes for my boys (!). Being the loving mom (doormat) that I am, I said I didn't want any (lie). But at the very end of the box, Tim offered me one, and I accepted. As I was bringing it to my lips, I thought, "fresh food is good, raw food is good, five a day..." and so on, hoping that I just wouldn't care for it all that much. Nope. Even as I write this, my mouth is watering, because that darned flour/sugar/fat deep fried covered with more sugar/fat morsel was DELICIOUS!!!

If I were to choose my food based solely on what I like, I'd be as big as a house. I think that's true for many people. So when I eat broccoli, while it's not on my list of favorites, I factor in the nutrition powerhouse that it is, and consider that as I consider how much I like it. And I'm trying to teach my kids to think that way as well. Being athletes, they think of the food/performance connection way more than I ever did as a child, and my prayer is that this will continue throughout their lives.

Maybe I'll go to Costco and get some blackberries.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Waste Your Waist

Disclaimer: there are people who have very real metabolic or disease issues that impact their health in every way. This post does not apply to you.

Have you ever heard someone say that when they had kids, they just couldn't lose the baby fat? Or that when they turned a certain age (usually 40) it was like they immediately gained 20 pounds? Or their metabolism just shut down at a certain point in time? Well, I have some thoughts on these comments (I have lots of thoughts -- good thing I have a weblog, or my husband would be overwhelmed with conversation 24/7!).

First of all, in my experience, people who have had bad experiences with anything are the most vocal. When I was pregnant with Austin, there was a woman in our office who warned me nearly every day about all the awful things (back pain, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, National Geographic boobs) that were going to happen to my body with pregnancy. I'd never been pregnant before, so I had to believe at least part of what she was telling me, and let me tell you, she scared me to death! Other people, even strangers, would offer up their horror stories (unsolicited), and that was frightening too. I started wondering, "How come the people who liked pregnancy don't ever speak up?" And while I don't know the answer to that, I've become convinced that those who have bad experiences are the ones you'll hear about. For the record, I had wonderful pregnancies, where I exercised through both of them, and turned cartwheels on a regular basis, even at the very end -- maybe that's why my kids are gymnasts???

Ok, so back to the age and fat thing that I started with. Nothing dramatic has happened as I have aged. There's not a certain age where I've gained weight or lost my metabolism. When I've gained weight, it's been because I decreased my activity for some reason, and/or increased my food intake. Probably the worst two weight gains for me were these. When Tim and I were first married (almost 17 years ago), we bought a house and moved into it a few months after the wedding. And it was SO MUCH FUN! It felt like the parents weren't home or something, and we celebrated in many ways, one of them being splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream nearly every night. You know, Tim didn't get bigger. I, on the other hand, gained like 15 pounds in our first year of marriage. ("Happy anniversary honey -- pass the donuts!") It's just like that with men and women, isn't it?

The other big weight gain time was the year when I developed plantar fasciitis AND discovered Starbucks white mochas. The combination of no exercise, after years of shooting for 20 miles of running per week, and easy drinkable calories put 20 pounds on in the blink of an eye. And those were the 20 pounds that Darla helped me lose last year in preparation for the Women's Tri Fitness competition.

So why were those 20 pounds so hard to lose, and what is my point here? My point is this: the stakes DO get higher as time goes on. In my 20s I could lose weight easily. In my 30s it took a little more effort, but could still be done. And in my 40s, it is damn hard to have a curvy waist. (I do know that there are women who are more straight up and down their whole lives.) But if you are a 20something or 30somethingwho has a waist, appreciate it! And if you see one of us 40somethings who has a waist, know that most likely there's a lot of effort (clean eating plus exercise) that's gone into making it be there. I guess the question that applies at any age is "How bad do I want it?" If you want something bad enough, you'll do what it takes to get it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Two Jennifer Aniston movies

Yesterday I did something I've never done before: I went to a movie while the kids were in school. I needed to get some rest (still under doctor's orders to take it easy, which I don't do well), and I thought that sitting at a movie would be a good choice. To make things even better, Jenny, my multi-marathon friend, called just as I was leaving, and when I asked if she wanted to join me, she said yes!

We saw "Friends With Money" and I loved it on so many levels. Some of the reviews said it was a film about nothing, and I suppose that if you need a neatly presented ending, or a typical "characters, problems, more problems, solution" formula, maybe it's not the movie for you. But I found it to be thought-provoking on the biggie subjects like friendship, aging, marriage, choices, honesty. And speaking of honesty, at times the movie's dialog was so incredibly honest that I felt as though I was intruding on the characters' lives, and should apologize or something. In short, I loved it.

Well, it's almost 11:00 pm now, and I've just bailed on "Derailed." Tim rented it last week, and we decided to watch it tonight. He knew nothing about it, and all I knew was that it was dark. Well, in case you haven't seen it .... well, I don't know how to say when I stopped watching, but I'm sure there's a good part of the movie left, and I just can't handle it. I know it's a movie. I know it's just a made-up story. But the intensity and the angst -- well, I just can't do it. Interestingly, however, every October I love to watch "Scream" or "Halloween" or another of the really great horror movies. But the real life "holy shit, this really could happen" stuff? Not for me so much.

Hello, it's me!

I have to pretend this is my second post to even get myself to start writing. The pressure of writing the right thing is intense for that all-important first post!

This is not my first time writing a weblog. But due to some -- well, let's just say there were some "technical difficulties" from my old weblog, I decided to completely delete it and start fresh. And while there's sadness associated with destroying more than a year's worth of effort, it was the right thing to do, and I choose to see this as a fresh start.

Also, my old weblog was very fitness oriented, and although I do love to exercise, it's not all of who I am. So it feels like this is a more true reflection of me.

And speaking of exercise, I'm not exercising at all these days. I'm recovering from some minor surgery, and have three more weeks of forced inactivity. Because I use exercise to help manage depression (and it works really well!) the idea of no exercise was frightening to me. Again, choosing to see this as an opportunity, I'm actually taking this time to learn how to eat clean -- really clean -- and know that I won't die just because I feel a little hungry. So far it's working. My clothes aren't getting tighter, and I can't wait to get back to exercise!

The other thing that's happening right now is we're remodeling nearly the entire downstairs of our house. Monday we head into week 6 of the inconvenience, disorder, and mess of construction. But I think we reached the peak of ick a few days ago, and now we're heading from chaos to order, rather than the other direction. So now we have a sink downstairs (there was no running water downstairs till a few days ago) and the dishwasher is hooked up. If I could find the camera I'd post pictures of what we're doing, but trust me when I say it's turning out great. And when I do find the camera, I'll be sure to share the changes.

Finally, I'd like to say that I believe that quote from Abraham Lincoln with all my heart. There is dignity and self worth to be found in whatever you are -- whatever you are -- when you put all of you into it. I have that quote on a wall in my house (hooray for Wall Words), and I have it as my license plate frame. I used to have it on my mom business cards, but I destroyed them all because they had my weblog address on them. But I'll be back on vistaprint.com to order more this weekend -- again, a chance for a fresh start, right?

Whew! Glad that's done. Enjoy the day!