Enoughness, Part One.

 

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I would be sipping a La Croix, of course.

 

I’m going to blame all of this on Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

And on Lifetime television, which is to blame for so many, many things.

Also, on my children because why not?

Perhaps the dog was involved too.

So, last night as I was sitting on the couch, trying to write an article about prayer and other highly spiritual matters, I flipped on the television (I know. It’s not the best practice to have the tellie on whilst trying to write but it was 8 pm and let’s face it, I wasn’t aiming for a Pulitzer at that point. I was hoping to stay awake and also somewhat intelligible, all at the same time. Thus: Project Runway! It keeps me awake because Heidi’s voice is just scratchy enough in the background to keep the synapses firing. I don’t really watch, folks. I just listen to them cattily eye each other’s work while I type away, until the runway show where they’ve created a wedding gown out of tinfoil and dog food (and yes that has actually happened on that show)

Oh wow. I just put a parenthesis inside a parenthesis without really realizing it. Perhaps I should get back on track. Not even gonna fix it though. I’m gonna own my nutball grammar. That’s how I roll.

Back to me and the couch and scrolling through Lifetime. There it was: that terribly accurate movie about Harry and Meghan. It was just sitting there, in my cue, with the actor/Harry looking all handsome and red-headed and British and royal but yet still rebellious AND sensitive all at ONCE. Yes, also, Meghan actress was great. But HARRY. That’s the stuff, right there. And so, I clicked on it.

But, as so often happens when I just watch something (I put the Pulitzer wanna-be article aside, folks. Harry/actor needed my undivided) I started to feel a bit… peckish.

Ok, that’s not really true. I had a great dinner. I was totally full, actually. But I just wanted to munch, you know?

And then… I ate our kitchen.

If I’d had the chance, and it wouldn’t have been weird, I woulda gone next door (but only during a commercial break!) and eaten their kitchen too.

I am not even going to trouble you with the details of what I inhaled, but let’s just say that Cool Ranch Doritos were involved and I actually don’t even LIKE Cool Ranch Doritos. In fact, I would say? Not much of anything that I scarfed down last night (during the commercial breaks! Of which there were a lot! Unfortunately!) was really all that yummy. I dunno. Is a half of a hamburger bun smeared with honey, yummy? It seemed kinda pathetic, my bun, and all it’s honey.

Backstory: Wayyyyyy back in November I told you about some changes I wanted to make for me. Issues with health and food and my ability to procrastinate so hard on some things that it could be my own Olympic event where I could win GOLD. Which, if you think about it, isn’t so bad… a gold medal and all. But I wouldn’t ever get around to actually winning it.

So, November, I started to do a few things, reallllllly slowly:

  1. I started a running program again. It had been sorta willy nilly until then and did you know? If you try to run three miles willy nilly your thighs say things like, “I don’t UNDERSTAND why you are DOING this to me! This is just mean! Let’s stop right now.”  Thighs that argue? Never good.
  2. I tried to understand that I am actually really and for once and for all a REAL WRITER. Did I mention that BOOK TWO IS COMING OUT? I know. It shocks me still.
  3. I tried to understand food.
  4. And me. Me + food.
  5. Y’all. It’s complicated.

What I’m trying to say here is that I had finally gotten to the point where I needed to address some stuff in my life. And life, as it tends to be, made this hard.

(My husband would like to insert here that it wasn’t “life” it was ME. I make things harder than I need them to be. He says this to me once in a while and I roll my eyes at him and flounce out of the room in a huff. I would like to establish again that it was LIFE that did this to me, and my tendency to overthink and mull and perhaps worry a bit too much had NOTHING to do with it. Flounce flounce flounce. )

The hard truth of it was this: I had gained a heck of a lot of weight and I’m short and I was feeling rather awful about it all – both physically and mentally. You know the feeling. When you avoid reflective surfaces and your pants start saying prayers before you tug them on, and walking the dog makes you question why you have a dog.

Pair all that with this whole public persona thing that goes along with being an author of now TWO books (coming out in August, I promise. I did not make this up). = negative self talk and some really bad choices involving fried chicken.

Y’all. I have issues.

I know this comes as life-shattering news to you.

I think it all sorta stems from the being an alcoholic thing, but I want to tread lightly there, because far too many people in recovery get sober and then think, “Well then! Let’s fix ALL the things!”

No. Nope. NOPETY-NOPE, sober people. Slow down. Getting sober is hard enough.

But, I have some years in recovery, now. And it was time. My heart was telling me. And if I had learned anything in recovery it’s that when your heart says things like, “Dana? You are making yourself sad. Let’s work on this,” I have to listen.

And now it’s May. Seven months later. And last night I ate New Jersey. What can I say? I TOLD YOU I WAS MESSED UP.

I have, also, lost quite a bit of weight since November. I have found muscles again. It has been a process.  A long one. It has involved not a diet or a plan or rice cakes or any of that. It’s involved me trying to figure out me, and that’s not been a heck of a lot harder than eating rice cakes.

Progress, not perfection folks.

I am going to write more about this. I need to. I might even tell you what I did and why and how and all that stuff (people always want to know the ins and outs, and I get that). I just wanted to talk about it what I’ve been figuring out.

It has to do with understanding Enoughness. And yes, that’s a made up word but it’s my blog.

So, this morning, as I am sipping my coffee and contemplating a run with thighs that don’t argue back so much as they did in November, I thought I’d tell you one part of the journey that has finally, FINALLY  made sense to me. And it’s this:

When you eat New Jersey, you don’t have to eat the entire eastern seaboard too.

And you can forgive yourself.

And also? It’s a metaphorical New Jersey, so there’s thank God for that.

 

 

Oh and also? I’m just gonna leave this right here:

 

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I MEAN….IT’S UNCANNY.

 

I will now start referring to myself as, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Momsie.

Has a ring to it, no?

Flounce, flounce, flounce

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What a Momsie Believes.

I was up at 5 AM folks. FIVE.

That’s when, like, ARMY PEOPLE get up. To go run hills and save the world and all.

I did not run hills, nor save the world, BUT I did laundry and read the bible.

Not at the same time. But still.

And THEN I ate a completely healthy and hearty bowl of steel-cut oats (the oats for hipsters!) and blueberries and I felt all BAM! I’m gonna kick some serious BEHIND today. I’m on FIRE! I had OATS that were cut by STEEL!

And then, in about an hour, I noticed this:IMG_7401-1.JPG

Yep, that’s my laundry installation. It’s got a great aesthetic, and I’m going to leave it in the living room for a very long time, I think.

I call this sculpture, Expansion.

Or:

I Washed A Bunch of Clothes But Folding Them Makes Me Feel Sad

And so, instead of dealing with reality, I decided to take the dog on a walk. I figured when I got home, the laundry will have flown away, like laundry does.

Ok, it never does that but it’s a really pretty day. So there’s that.

And I took the dog and we spied this:IMG_7350.jpg

And I wondered if somehow the laundry was trying to tell me something? It made me feel better. Even if it wasn’t about the laundry, somebody, somewhere, was trying to be nice about something. And so, the universe smiled. As the universe does.

THEN, I came across this:IMG_7400.jpg

And I was all, I GOT YOU UNIVERSE; I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING HERE.

And the dog and I strutted home, in the fall leaves, all crunchy and awesome. And I was feeling crunchy and awesome. And Hosmer managed to completely match up his little prancy paws with my ipod.

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Who knew that The Doobie Brothers were Hosmer’s  JAM, y’all?

He was all prancy-prancy and “But what a fool believes, he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away!”

And I was all, “What seems to be, is always better than nothing, than nothing at all!!!” And I think we kinda freaked out an older gentleman who was trying to get in his truck, but I just smiled and waved a lot. And kept singing about fools believing.

And THEN I got home and the universe still had not put away the four tons of clothes in my living room.

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I get it, Universe. There’s only so much that you will do for me. You’re not an enabler, I’ll give you that.

But it still was an awesome morning. So far the art installation of kids’ socks and Star Wars beach towels has not moved. I think it adds a certain touch to house. I might add my whites’ load to it later, to go for a little more height.

And here we are. This is the best song in the history of songs. And there is SUCH good hair going on. Give it a listen, and you will feel all I LOVE YOU, UNIVERSE, too.

Dream A Little Dream With Me.

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Still working on my Change All the Things Big November Plan, and it’s going… sort of ok.

I know, guys! Did that introduction not KNOCK the SOCKS off of you!? Are you not just totally on the edge of your seat? Without SOCKS???

Ok, truth:

Trying to rehab anything is very hard. I mean, have you ever watched Intervention? Not to make light of a serious topic (I never do that. Ok, well yes I do, all the time, but you know my heart’s in the right place. Plus, I am a walking Intervention, so I can poke fun at myself) but trying to get something back from a state of disrepair is HARD.

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Here are the things I have been working on:

  1. Food and all things food related. Like, not eating all the sugar in the house because I am stressed. Case in point: Halloween candy that belongs to my sweet children is STILL belonging to the children and has not been touched by me since that fateful night. I am kind of proud of myself on that one.
  2. Stress level. I am beginning to really appreciate breaking tasks down, and organizing and not waiting until the last minute to get a writing deadline done. And yes, I hear you, editors, cackling away at me. No lie, my mom will plan to make chocolate chip cookies on Friday, and on MONDAY she starts planning ahead by setting a bowl out on the counter. A bowl. She is hard core.
  3. I really really need to stop watching stupid youtube videos. Like, this is just stupid. It’s stupid and bad and stupid. Every time I watch a youtube video (unless it’s Francis Chan) my IQ drops and a cute kitty video dies and I start writing “stupid” too much. Or something like that.

#3 is really not my fault. It all started because I was all #2, and then, I thought, “Hey! Let’s watch cute kitty videos! It will make me laugh and feel better and chortle chortle chortle and the next thing you know, it’s five hours later. It’s physics. An object at rest remains at rest, blah blabbity blah blah blah.

So, the other day I was talking with my sister and she said something really really interesting. She said that her husband asked her, all out of the blue, “Hey, what are your dreams?”

First of all, this now has taken my sister’s husband and put him in the Husband Hall of Fame because holy matrimony that is just the sweetest thing EVER. Like, right now, I am sitting next to my husband and I’m giving him the side eye. And I’m thinking, He never asked me what my dreams are. Huh. I wonder why? Does he not care? Clearly he doesn’t care. My sister’s husband cares.

Ok, reeling it in. Getting off track.

Here’s why the November’s Big Huge Colossal Plan to Change So Much Stuff is occurring:

I need to learn how to dream again.

When I first published my book, I felt like I was floating about in a really happy floaty place called: I Have Always Dreamed of This.

It’s a really nice place. It was all pink and fuzzy and blissful.

Well, actually at times it was also really frenetic and stressful but for the most part I was floaty-floaty.

And then, time passed and I landed back on earth, which is fine and good because we really can’t float all the time. That would be weird and I would never be able to drive my children anywhere, which as you moms all know, that is the reason for my existence.

In the past months I have forgotten all about dreams.

It’s ok. That happens. There’s children and costumes for children (hello October) and appointments and all sorts of animals to take care of who kept getting sick, and I forgot why I like writing. It got buried underneath a pile of laundry, I tell you.

In my life, God comes first. Then the husband, who doesn’t ever ask me about my dreams, then the kids.

And then, somewhere along the way, I forgot that writing and creativity needed to be up there too, somewhere above the laundry. And all sorts of other stuff started to fill in the holes.

I didn’t really realize any of this, when I started out on my Make It All Totally Super Awesome Novemberness. I thought I just wanted to lose a little weight. But instead? This has been a lot of thinking and turning things over in my head.

Funny how that works, eh? Walking away from carbs and eating a whole lotta kale has led to a full fledged epiphany, y’all.

Who knew? Who really knew that kale had that kind of power?

So, I’m halfway through November. I’m finding my groove again. I haven’t eaten sugar for two weeks and I have not died.

In fact, I feel very much alive.

Thanks for listening my friends. I’m now off to snack on some kale pudding.

Just kidding. Kale and I are not at the pudding stage. That’s just crazy.

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Too many kale jokes?

Nah. You can never have too many kale jokes.

 

 

Failure is So the Option

I am working my way through November,  in the midst of trying to overhaul my eating habits, my exercise routines, my writing regimen…

You know, the whole shebang. I want to change my utter existence.

Ok, that’s not true. I think my life has a lot of solid footing, really. But here’s the thing: when we start out (ok, when I start out) on a Make It Better routine we (I) tend to get a little nuts.

Honestly? I am an all or nothing kind of girl. Kinda like this:

You see what I’m getting at here.

I failed.

Here is why:

I LOVE APPLE COBBLER. AND THEN I MADE SOME, FOR MY BOYS, AND I HAD A LITTLE SMIDGEN OFF THE CORNER, JUST A TEENSY BITE I PROMISE.

And I was off to the cobbler races. If there was such a thing. And evidently, there was for me.

Sugar and me are still working it out. Sugar’s all like, “It is clear that you and I will NEVER BE APART. You need me, girl. And IIIIIIIIIII will always love YOUUUUUUUUUUU!!”

Etcetera.

And I’m all, “I am a horrible lump of lumpy badness. Bad Momsie! BAD! I need to go eat a molten chocolate cake to feel better.”

Ok, I’m working on this. I have some ideas for yummy treats to help with the cobbler urges. I also need to embrace the mind blowing idea that having a wee portion of said cobbler CAN ACTUALLY be done. I know, right? Do you mean to tell me that you can eat just a SMALL BIT of something tasty? And that’s IT? That’s just weird.

What can I say? I have issues.

What do you tell yourself when you mess it all up? Do you throw in the towel? Do you keep going? Do you vow to be good in ALL the things? Do you drive yourself crazy? Do you ask a lot of questions and irritate your readers??

 

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Insert Motivational Quote Here:

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*Taps mic*

Hello? Hi. Hi there. I’m Dana. Your motivational speaker. So….  How’s everybody doing today?

I’m here today to tell you more about The FABULOUSNESS THAT IS NOVEMBER and light a fire under that tired-out soul of yours.

If, that is, your soul is actually tired. Perhaps it’s all shiny and ok. Mine was not, so here I am.

This morning I walked the dog and and did some sort of nonsense called Fitness Blender, where sweet and annoyingly chipper Kelli tells me to squat, and I squat. Sometimes she adds kicks to the squats and this makes me feel all flair-ish, so there’s that.

The weather was cool and foggy and I BLASTED this song while I walked sweet Hosmer. All rather simple things.

But I have to tell you, Hosmer was so GRATEFUL for a walk. (He’s grateful for anything, really. My days with him are a regular immersion in furry gratitude. Case in point: He is currently sitting on my feet looking at me with such adoration he basically has become his own emoji.)

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Picture is blurry because dog moving. He keeps trying to come in to lick me.

Also, I have worked on THIS:

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This is not life shattering, I know. Every month, I get out my felt tip pens (all the pretty colors!) and I plan my month. I used to color code it for children and adults and all… but then I realized pretty much all of it sorta morphed into all children all the time, because they consume my life, so I just use colors that make me happy.

Also, I draw turkeys really badly.

But, I guess what I’m trying to say is… (*clears throat, attempts highly motivational voice*)

IF YOU PLAN TO PLAN, YOU’LL FAIL TO PLAN.

Oh wait. No, other way around. (*clears voice again, all the while realizing that motivational speaking might not be my jam*)

If you fail to plan… you can plan.. to fail? Right? That’s it, right?

Right?

We’re only on day 2, people. Progress, not perfection.funny-pictures-cat-does-not-think-plan-will-fail.jpg

Walk Away from the Quinoa

Guess what day it is????

It’s FRIIIIIIIIIDAY! And you know what that means, don’t you???

Linking up with my Five Minute Friday with the lovely Kate Motaung today. There’s no place I would rather be.

Today’s theme?

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There’s some options with this one.

I could go all grim and literary and “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE” ish. It would be literary, I guess. But heck, I don’t really feel like going for Dante’s Inferno today. Life is hot enough.

Or, I could go all biblical and talk about living life with Jesus with abandon, and then providing seventeen thousand memes from Pinterest on what that means. Some of those memes will have a smiling woman with perfect hair smelling daisies in a field, because this is what you do when you start living your life fully. You smell daisies in a field. And you get good hair.  Or, there will be at least one with a kitten trying to do something heroic, like facing down a rottweiler, “with abandon.” The cuteness will touch our hearts and almost all of you would NOT envision the kitten becoming kibble in the next frame.

But I would.

So, we’re going to skip these ideas and go for the best option:

Abandon the quinoa.

Ok, bear with me here. Let me explain.

Last night’s dinner involved me opening a package of bean burritos. This caused me some guilt. I felt bad as I ripped the bag open and all those frozen bricks of poor nutrition spilled out on the cooking sheet. And, as I stared down at them, the dejected lumps of beans and carb overload, I thought,

“I must make this right.”

I know. In the spectrum of bad choices frozen burritos might be perceived wearing white after Labor Day bad. Which, to be honest, I am not even sure is a thing anymore. But, still. Dinner was highly uninspired. So, I thought…

QUINOA! QUINOA WILL FIX THIS! IT FIXES EVERYTHING!

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I was under the supposition that it’s super healthy. It’s the kale of grains. It will, with one healthy spoonful, make my meal so off the charts good for you that my family will start glowing with vim and vigor, and recruiters will show up at the door to enter them into Olympic events.*

Alas, it was not to be.

Quinoa, as my son put it, “Tastes like cat litter.”

I have to say I agree. Quinoa is little balls of despair. If virtue had a taste, it would not be quinoa.

If sand had a healthy big brother? Quinoa.

Sand and litter aside, I tried to make the quinoa better. I added so many ingredients to it that by the end of my manhandling of the quinoa it was whimpering, “Just leave me alone… ” and I was considering adding beef jerky to it. Or bacon. Because, as we all know:

BACON! BACON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

Instead, I made everyone eat one bite and I acted like I did too. And then I threw the little granules of edible Quikrete into the trash. Wanna know why? Because in this case…

TRASH CAN! TRASH CAN WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

walk away from you, quinoa. You are not worth all my dreams of healthy meals and phytonutriants (whatever those are) and glowy children who are the next superstrain of humanity. I will no longer feel guilt that my dinners, sometimes, are out of a frozen bag. The next time I reach into the freezer for inspiration I’ll just start humming “Let it go…”

The cold never bothered me, anyway.

And now Frozen’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

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*Possible Olympic Events that My Family Could Do:

  1. Nonexistent washing when washing hands.
  2. Sudden-paralysis walking when cleaning floor.
  3. Power-smashing the brother.
  4. Interpretive Dance with those ribbon thingies (that’s the husband. He ROCKS the interpretive dance, I tell you. Ask him about it! He’ll be thrilled to show you!)
  5. Snark.

 

 

Honesty, With a Side of Children

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Ok, once when I was still in the amateur division of parenting, my two year old approached me as I was inhaling a bowl of Frosted Flakes. His nose became all quivery, like a sugar-seeking drug dog (I don’t know if that’s a thing, really, but it is in my house. They can hear me open a Snickers bar from four blocks away).

I froze.

You see, we don’t eat sugary cereal at our house.

We eat boring non-sugary healthy stuff that tastes like hay, and we like it, whether we like it or not.

And I realize, I am using the “we” very liberally here. Like, “we” as in, “everyone but me because I am special and craving puffy carbs.”

You see, I happen to love sugary cereal. I adore it. I love Bright Yellow Corn Pops and Frosted Sugar Flakes of Thingies and Honey Coated Chocolate Bits of Puffy Non-Grains… I love ’em all. But, I don’t let my kids eat these things because that would be bad. Therefore, I hide the boxes in the lower cabinet with all the messy  tupperwear that leaps out at you, so they avoid it. And when my two year old comes sniffing around while I’m sneaking a bowl, and asks, “Wats dat?” I say:

“It’s spicy, honey. And it’s broccoli. So… spicy broccoli with milk. You wouldn’t like it.”

I have decided that it’s not bad parenting to lie to your child, so you can inhale your bowl of Sugar Frosted Momentary Hope and Carbs in a Bowl, because ultimately, you will be a better parent if you are able to eat it in peace.

It’s the putting on of the oxygen mask, first, mommas. We all know the story – if you’re on an airplane, the steward always tells you – IF WE’RE PLUMMETING TOWARDS EARTH, PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST, THEN PUT ONE ON YOUR KID. OR YOUR HUSBAND. EITHER WAY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU FIRST.

It’s the same with Netflix, people.

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Mama needs to watch things before her littles watch them. So, if she happens to binge her way through the entire season of A Series of Unfortunate Events before they can view it…  Look, the show says it’s a SERIES, people. It must be watched as thus. I mean, my children take everything I say literally, so they need to let me do so too, once in while. Especially when it comes to this show. It’s just that good.

Also, cheating might have happened with the husband. Netflix_CheatingGif_TheCrown.gif

Don’t worry. It wasn’t all that serious. And, it wasn’t over The Crown, because, my husband wouldn’t watch a British biopic, however awesome, if it came up, said, “I say, old chap,” and politely whacked him over the head.

Anyhow. A while back? We might have been watching House of Cards together? And we might have stayed up until nearly 1 am one night because we could not stop? And then we finally went to bed? And might have said, “I can’t wait to find out what happens”?

Yea. I finished out the entire season without him the next day.

He still has no idea. I act shocked and appalled at all the right moments, and if all else fails, I make sure there’s lots of popcorn to distract him. This is tough, because I do have a total knack for shouting out, right before the big, bad political thing is about to happen, stuff like,
“HOLY KEVIN SPACEY. THERE’S A BIG BAD POLITICAL KEVIN SPACEY THING ABOUT TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW. YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. UM NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW.”

The husband is suspicious, I think. But, I think he’s been totally cheating on me with this:

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He won’t admit to it, but I am sure he is because last weekend he made a Victoria Sponge.

So, we’re even, I guess. But I got the better end of this because: MORE SUGARY CARBS.

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As a #StreamTeam blogger for Netflix, I watch and review Netflix’s many offerings, and then blog about it. It’s a great gig.