Month: July 2013

A great way to end the month

Today is the last month of July and the last month of the #julyproject. At the beginning of the month, I made a commitment to post at least once every day for a month. This post marks #36 for the month. I posted every day and on a few days, I threw in a bonus post.

I plan to continue the daily post — at least for the next couple of weeks to finish up the #startexp — and overall a commitment to more regular posting on the blog.

Earlier tonight, the team I work with won an award for a project we did for the National Audubon Society. I was one of the co-leads on the project and super excited about the award. We were the only award winner in the Digital Media: Nonprofit Sales category.

We’re working on some really great projects right now at work.

While on this trip, more than one person has remarked that I look happier than they remember seeing me. And, I think they are correct.

I still have some things I need to work on, but I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

I feel like a writer again, for the first time in a long time.

Despite a few mistakes, I feel like I’m doing good work at work.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction with personal aspects of my life.

Here’s to continuing to move forward.



Ode to a ceiling fan

One of the best things about upgrading from an apartment to a “house” — especially one recently built — was the upgrade in fixtures. I’ve lived in apartments for so long that I forgot what it was like to have light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc. (Or, maybe it’s just that I’ve been living in the wrong apartments.

One of the great things about my new place is that I actually have three ceiling fans — one that keeps the air circulating upstairs in the bonus room, one in the living room and one in the master bedroom.

The one in the master bedroom is my favorite.

For the past couple of years, my allergies have been getting annoying. During the day, they are usually just a minor annoyance. But, at night, they were causing me to wake up horribly congested. I know that they have also been impacting my sleep quality because on the days I would wake up feeling the most congested were also days that I would feel the most fatigued.

One of the first things I noticed after moving in to the new townhouse was even after the first night, I didn’t wake up congested. I had over a month of mornings where I felt good, and it felt like I was sleeping better as well.

I’m on a business trip this week and staying in a hotel. The past two mornings have been pretty lousy with a stuffed up nose, watery eyes, and a junky chest.

I’m looking forward to getting home this weekend and sleeping underneath my ceiling fan.

Seeking moments of clarity

Open road by Kai Süselbeck on
Open road by 
Kai Süselbeck

There are times when I’m driving on one of my long road trips, and I realize that I’ve been driving for quite awhile with no sound other than the road.

At these moments, I tend to have my most important moments of clarity.

I tend to usually have a lot of noise in my life. For example, right now I the TV in my hotel room is on, I’m typing on my laptop and my phone is right next to me — occasionally beeping with new notifications.

I don’t know why it takes me going on these trips to find moments of quiet, but I’m glad I do have them once in awhile.

There were a few times when I was driving yesterday where these moments happened — mostly about money and some commitments I need to make to myself for my future.

Maybe I need to follow my nephews’ lead

Several months ago, my sister asked for my netflix username and password so she could watch a documentary that was available via streaming.

Since then, her family has used my netflix account occasionally. One of Netflix features, especially for streaming, is that it shows you what shows you’ve recently watched and then gives you recommendations for shows you might also like.

My nephews’ viewing habits have totally disrupted the algorithm that Netflix uses. I watch shows like British crime dramas, Masterpiece Theatre, Grey’s Anatomy, PBS shows produced by Ken Burns, documentaries about the Civil War or World War II, etc. My nephews watch things like Borat, Nacho Libre, How I Met Your Mother, horror movies, etc.

I always find it fun when I log in and they’ve watched something and it’s completely disrupted the Netflix recommendations.

Sometimes I see the shows they watch and compare them to what I’ve watched and chuckle.

The other day I was thinking that maybe I need to follow my nephews’ lead and add a little more “fun” and comedy in to my netflix viewing.

What inspires you?

Today as part of the Start Experiment (#startexp), Jon Acuff asked all of us to post about what songs inspire us. I’ve posted a link to this song before, but one of my “get off your butt” songs lately is definitely Kelly Clarkson’s People Like UsI think it’s amazing. Really, most of Kelly Clarkson’s songs are songs that encourage me to “get off my butt”.

I go in phases with music. There are times that I prefer music to anything else and then there are times where my radio spends more time on NPR and I don’t play much music in my house … it just depends.

I do love a good show tune, much to my nephew’s chagrin when I get to choose the playlist for unpacking.

With the #misfitconf, #goodmisfit and #startexp, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect about what inspires me and what I need to inspire me to do even more.

The biggest thing is getting rid of the inner critic in my head. The one that was planted there a long time ago after years of people told that I was worthless and was never any good.

The inner critic is especially strong in two areas of my life — my writing and my personal fitness.

With my writing, I have a hard time believing anyone is ever going to read or care about what I have to say. It’s one of the reasons for the #julyproject, I’m barely looking at my stats for the blog. I don’t care how many shares a post get or how many people see it. I’m mildly interested by the number of people that follow the blog, but I’m not worried about individual posts. I’m trying to write and put my thoughts out there and worry about “audience” later. I especially don’t want to compare how my writing stacks up against other people’s writings.

With my personal fitness, my inner critic is constantly fueling my desire to be lazy. “You have so much weight to lose, it’s never going to happen.” “You’ve never been successful with exercise before, so why start now.” “You’re just going to hurt yourself, so there’s no point.” “No one wants to see someone like you at their gym.” My goal once I get back from this business trip I’m taking this next week is to start pushing through some of those messages.


Why I love sports

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about some of my favorite things. I mentioned sports in there.

Sue & Liz - SoccerOne thing I failed to mention — that my friend Duncan pointed out — was my absolute love for highlight reels like “One Shining Moment” and others. I’m a total sucker for those, especially ones narrated by folks like Jim Nance or Bob Costas. It’s ridiculous how much I like those things. For the past several years since I’ve owned a DVR, I will record “One Shining Moment” and watch it at least 5-10 times just in that first night after the Final Four is over.

I will add to be clear that even though I like Jennifer Hudson, I prefer the Luther Vandross that started airing about 10 years ago. The biggest problem I had with the version they did a couple of years ago was there were too many clips of Jennifer in the video. It should be all about the tournament — players, coaches, fans, mascots, etc.

Given my complete lack of athletic ability, I’m not sure where this love of sports comes from — especially the sports I love to watch the most.

I’ve spent the past couple of days watching as much of the Crossfit Games online as possible. While my sister loves Crossfit, I will never be able to do even a small percentage of the things these people do. But, I love watching it.

One other oddity about my love of sports is that I have very few favorites — in fact, I prefer watching sports where I don’t have a favorite participating in the event. When I have a team or someone I like participating, I can get a bit anxious and that takes away almost all the enjoyment of it for me.

I enjoy watching people push themselves to their mental and physical limits. I continue to hope that one of these days I’ll be able to find the right combination of personal training / physical therapy that will allow me to make and meet some goals.

Dealing with my “other” medical issues

Perserverance by Katee Goldman on
Perseverance by Katee Goldman

There are days when my chronic pain is really bad, and then there are days when some of my “other” medical issues crop up and are more inconvenient than the chronic pain.

It’s interesting that some people understand the pain, but it’s harder for people to understand how some of the other issues impact life.

For example, for the past 36 hours or so I’ve had crazy bad acid reflux (aka heartburn). This literally makes my life miserable. I feel horrible. Anything I eat or drink is tainted by the bad taste in my mouth. There are very few things things that make it better. No matter how much I brush my teeth, the taste doesn’t go away.

The same disease that causes most of my chronic pain also causes the a lot of the other health issues I experience – especially the gastrointestinal distress. They are all a malfunctioning of collagen and the soft tissue.

I’ve tried things to help get rid of some of these symptoms. Unfortunately, many of the things that help one issue exacerbate other issues. There are great medicines on the market to help with acid reflux, but a side effect of many of them are other issues my body can’t handle.

I find that the most important thing to deal with all of this, like dealing with the pain, is perseverance and just getting through day by day.

My favorites

A lot of my posts for the #julyproject have been a bit deep. I thought it would be fun to do a post of some of my favorite things.

My favorite movies (because who can have only 1 favorite movie):

  • Contact
  • Ever After
  • Some Kind of Wonderful

There are many movies that I can watch over and over and over and over again.

My favorite author:

  • Stephen King

I have a very hard time stating which book is my favorite. Rose Madder is one of the top ones on the list. As is On Writing. The interesting thing is that Stephen King was recently asked in an interview which book he wished he could “unpublish” and he mentioned Rose Madder. That bummed me out a bit. I think that Rose Madder was never a commercial success, but the people that identify with the characters in the book identify with it *very* strongly.

My favorite TV shows:

  • The Big Bang Theory (one of the few sitcoms I watch)
  • Mad Men
  • Downton Abbey
  • So many other British shows – Sherlock, Doctor Who, etc.

Some other things I love:

  • Historical fiction
  • Watching shows on BookTV
  • Real-life crime shows like Cops, The First 48
  • Sports, especially some of the sports that aren’t your typical viewing here in the U.S.

You Are One of a Kind

Last night, I was putting together some answers on a questionnaire about why I participated with the Good Misfits to help build a windmill in Gambella.

While I was answering the questions, the words of David Baeza and Srinivas Rao kept popping in my head:

  • “You are one of a kind”
  • “Everyone has a microphone”
  • “You have to put your unique stamp on things”
  • “Handcrafted does not scale”
  • “Explore outside your boundaries”

These are things that made me believe that what I do with my crochet projects is art.