Oooooh, weee! What Up With That?

In case you haven’t become acquainted with it, here’s the blog title reference:

What Up With That?

What I’m referencing, by thinking about “What Up With That?” personally, is an examination met with surprise with where I see my interests taking me as well as NOT taking me. I don’t know if I am suddenly clear-minded or crazy, but it seems to me that a lot of stuff is suddenly making a lot of sense to me.

I think it’s because I’ve been given a lot of time to think the last few weeks and my Lenten Observation Routine (a.k.a. LOR) forces me to spend time with my own thoughts in a structured way, as a opposed to idle thoughts that led to nowhere but frustration as has happened time and time again in the past.

Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

1. I really don’t miss my singing group. I miss the people. I miss the music. But the two together? No. Don’t miss driving to rehearsal. Don’t miss being frustrated at rehearsal. Don’t miss being pissed off at people who weren’t pulling their weight. Don’t miss feeling like I was letting everyone down when I wasn’t feeling like doing things I thought I should be doing as a leader of the group. Ultimately, I believe I have really made up my mind. As much as I would have laughed at the idea of quitting a year ago when I first got an inkling I was actually unhappy, I feel so much better not prioritizing my life around it.

2. Just because you free up some time in your life, doesn’t mean your life is suddenly empty. Shoot — I am still busy! But it’s great because I can now pour my energy into activities that actually interest me. I have experienced the strengthening of friendship with two neighbors in the matter of weeks simply by being around to go on a walk with them! I’ve gotten more in touch with my neighborhood because I was able to go to the neighborhood meeting last week.

3. Even though I feel like I haven’t lost any weight, I feel better now that I am walking, drinking so much water, and sticking with a plan. Even though my overall plan is just to do this LOR for 47 days, I have a tendency to add things as it makes sense. I have started recording beside my LOR chart each day a tiny list of events that happened that day as well as my overall mood. I’ve thought about journaling my food intake, too. I have put myself under a microscope, so to speak!

4. Even spiritually, I have put myself under a microscope. I love reading the daily lectionary. It’s really cool to see how my mood and issues weighing on my mind shape how I read the Bible. I can honestly say this because the Psalms repeat really frequently, and even though I know I read that self-same Psalm last week, I am looking at it totally differently this week. Also, I feel this structure is episodic – I am following just a portion of a book of a Bible each day, so it’s like watching three shows and picking up where I left off yesterday. This is a great, manageable, interesting chunk of my faith each day to digest. I feel I am really living my faith, walking closer to God.

5. Along with fringe benefits like becoming closer to my friends in my ‘hood and feeling healthier, I feel better able to tackle some matters at hand. I got my dog to stop going nutso on walks when he encountered other dogs. But now, I don’t think he likes walks, so I have to figure that one out next. I feel that having this problem is interesting rather than frustrating. I don’t feel down on myself about it like I would have in the past.

6. I am better able to act on things that draw my attention. I’ve found a new voice teacher who sounds amazing. I’ve applied for an internal position at work. I’m considering dropping more activities to possibly change careers if I am hired for this other position at work. I’m excited about other possibilities for me at work as well as some other locations. But I have faith that God will guide me to the correct action. For some reason, one job possibility my mother-in-law sent me did not strike me as interesting, when a year ago I would have already submitted my resume.

7. Also in the feeling better category: aside from getting up to pee at night because I am drinking a gallon or more of water each day, I am sleeping better. I feel refreshed. I don’t really feel as though I need caffeine when I get to work, so I usually serve myself some coffee to enjoy the flavor, and then I rarely finish it. Also, I am disinclined to drink as many alcoholic beverages. It’s difficult for me to drink an entire glass of wine at dinner on weekend night, whereas in the past, I would have had at least two. It’s as though (and is probably the case) my body feels caffeine and alcohol are toxins.

8. This is almost 100% a happy post. I am happy I am not perfect, that I have stuff to keep working on. This was my mission when I set out on this blog — to live lightly and laugh often, right? I feel like my current practices have me honoring that so much better than my old ways.

This is just two weeks in on the LOR. I totally realize that I am a creature of habit and that once Lent is over, I’ll possibly lapse and be bored with this routine I’ve established. I do miss HGTV very much, but I also feel I’ve gained so much by having time to do things and I know that these healthy practices will continue to pay off big time.

In renovation news, our new tile guy started today! Hooray!!! Yipeee!!!!

Yeah, he rocks. What I thought would take him several days he did in one day. He’s not done, but he is what my boss would call “kickin’ butt and takin’ names.”

Last time we checked in with the progress of the bathroom, we were here:

Bathroom how the old tile guy left it

Within the last 10 hours (this morning through now), we are now here:

AH-mazing progress!!

Here’s another shot:

So pretty!!!!

And, look, he was able to get this done, too!

Shower floor and curb - DONE

This is astonishing progress. Josef kept me posted all day with updates about what the new tile guy had accomplished. He sent me pics, too, and each one made my heart a little fluttery and lighter. What an amazing feeling to see the finish line edging closer and closer, and so rapidly! What a blessing this guy can work so quickly. He was certainly worth the wait, and I think he’s worth his weight in gold, so far!

I’ll keep ya posted when he’s grouted and done more.

Happy Pi Day, Big Middle!

The inner math nerd in me giggles about today’s date every year. Also, the person in me who likes to celebrate EVERYTHING is happy to have a reason to celebrate today. Oh, and we’re so close to St. Patty’s Day! Two celebrations in one week! I know, right?!

Another reason to celebrate today is that today marks Day 6 of my Lenten Observation Routine (hereafter, LOR). I’m including Sundays, so it’s still 41 days left for me.  I figured it would make dull blogging (and for you, reading) to make an entry each day stating I reached my goals! And, again! And, yet again! And, guess what, again!

So far, as you can probably ascertain, I’ve been able to mark off each day that I have had a gallon of water, walked a mile, not watched TV, and read the Lectionary text of the day. It was surprisingly harder to accomplish the walk on the weekend, and it’s been nice to have something on my list that I am NOT supposed to do, because, in effect, it’s something I don’t HAVE to do. I never thought it would be that way. Of course, would I love to watch TV? Yes. Yes, I would.

I was worried what the change in schedule this week for mean for my LOR, as last week was spring break for school, and while I had work to do as it’s admissions season, I still got to move at a leisurely pace through my day, allowing easy integration of the LOR into my life.  I didn’t sleep in all week, which shocked me, but I got to hang out with the dog while I drank my first Nalgene full of water. By the way, I realized my Nalgene, being purple, is the correct Liturgical color for the season of Lent. Freaky. Anyway, the switch to the full force work week has not hampered my LOR abilities.

It’s been nice to make myself drink the water because I am only hungry at about 10% of the rate I was hungry before. It’s wild. I knew this would happen, but it’s still nice. It makes me feel to stupid for not putting two and two together, but, by golly, LOR is teaching me a thing or two!

Going for a walk has offered a nice interlude for my day as well. And, ever the overachiever, I usually walk more than the required mile. My poor pedometer, though, is not doing so well. I’ve dropped it at least four times, three of which have been on pavement, which is not a very forgiving surface. It still keeps track of my steps, but its display goes in and out of visibility. Might have to find one that can hold on a little better to the tops of my pants as this one slips very easily. Maybe it just doesn’t like its job very much? Maybe it prefers to be on the ground? Maybe I am moving way too much for its liking? Geez, pedometer, give me a break! It’s LOR’s fault!!

Reading the Lectionary text has also been a nice interlude for me. And I fully embrace technology — I either read it from my computer OR my Blackberry. Very exciting. I like reading it, though. I like how there are different parts of the Bible represented each day, and even Psalms listed as being for the morning or the evening. It’s become really evident to me how much music has taught me about the Bible, given that at one passage each day picks up a tune I know that was inspired by the words I am reading. It’s pretty cool.

In other news, I was just walking, feeling all great about being on a walk and enjoying the great out doors, and feeling healthy and all that, when lo, and behold, a neighbor I was passing (I’d just waved hello to her) said, “When did THAT happen??”

She was referring to my midsection.

She clearly thought I was preggers.

😦 Am not.

Luckily she played it off and didn’t even admit to having asked it once I readjusted my baggy t-shirt a little (WILL BE WEARING MORE CLOSELY FITTED ARTICLES OF CLOTHING ON WALKS NOW) and I shot the breeze with her. It was super duper awkward. My high from walking and feeling healthy was totally fizzling and she and I parted our conversation soon thereafter.

I am really sensitive about my midsection. Everyone has a part of their body they don’t like, and for me, that’s the area that, although I am not wealthy and if I were, I would hope I’d spend my money elsewhere, I would get some work done. I have very long arms and legs, but my torso? Totally short.  Because I am 5’2″, it’s especially short. Out of 5 feet, 2 inches, from the floor to my hip is exactly 3 feet. I realized that one day when I held a yard stick along the outside of my leg one day during a science class in high school. I was leaning against, waiting my turn to use the yard stick to measure something for a lab we were working on, and it hit me that the remaining 2 feet and 2 inches contained a whole lot of body – my torso, neck and head. It didn’t seem to me at the time to be an even distribution, and I’ve figured out over time that that’s because it isn’t.

That's me in the middle. Figuratively speaking.

I know, whine whine whine. I want to wear things meant for girls with no boobs and a long torso, but for me, when I try on clothes meant for girls like that, it looks like an ill-fitting couch cover over a sofa. In other words, disaster. It wouldn’t be so bad if my waist were smaller, but, alas, that’s where all the fat collects. And that’s why people think I am pregnant when in fact, I am just built to look dumpy if I am ten pounds overweight as I am now. It sucks.

Maybe I should go eat some pie on this Pi Day, wallow in my self-pity.

The thing that stinks about being mistaken as a carrier of a baby is that I would like to be carrying a baby. Or, even more simply-put, I would like to have the reason I look pregnant be that I am pregnant. It raises too much excitement for folks when they think I am pregnant.  It’s such a let down for both of us when I have to say, no, not yet. And it happens way more than I would like to have happen and it’s upsetting every time.  It’s funny how frequently I can spot another woman with my body type now and I know she must also get asked when her baby is due.

As usual, I try to cope with humor. A few years ago, Josef and I were at a garden center looking at daffodil bulbs to plant in our yard (where is this going???? you ask) and we came across a bulb named Big Middle. Josef, jokingly and unintentionally, held the bag up to my belly and poked my belly with the bag, proclaiming “Big Middle” in kind of a Green Giant voice. Horror quickly chased away the humor in his face when he realized that his joke may have caused me pain as he is fully aware of how sensitive I am about my torso. However, the whole thing just struck me a hilarious, and I even took the joke to as an opportunity to rename my “problem area.” From then on, any time I feel fat, I pat my own Big Middle and try to get over myself, even if just a little.