Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Halfway There

I love good food. I like to try new dishes. I enjoy checking out restaurants (not that I have the opportunity to frequent many these days). There’s nothing wrong with that. My problem is mindlessly munching when I’m not even hungry. When I’m stressed out and have so much on my to-do list that I don’t even know where to begin, I nervously chew on anything within hands’ reach. I also eat out of boredom. Actually, that’s probably not quite accurate as I technically haven’t been bored since the Reagan administration. As a single mom to six kids, working two jobs, “boredom” isn’t really part of my vernacular. I suppose it’s more of a stress-related eating. When I’m “bored” (which really means, I just don’t want to do what I should be doing), I eat.

The thing is, that mindless food shoveling never satisfies me. I know, on some level, that the only thing that will solve my hunger is to get to work on that never-ending to-do list. The only thing that will make me feel full is the sense of accomplishment that comes from tackling those chores we always seem to put off until tomorrow. The thing that always makes me feel better is re-centering my life and getting my priorities back in order. I know what works for me – God, family, work, etc. But I have a hard time remembering that from day to day and sometimes get lured to the lazy side where fun comes first.

I’ve also been so wrapped up in caring for my kids that I’ve utterly forgotten about myself. My kids have been my priority for a reason and if that meant that I didn’t have the time for myself, that was a sacrifice I was more than willing to make. I love it when exercise fanatics say that anyone can find time to work out. I want to punch them in their faces and proclaim it my boxing workout. Looking back over the past couple years, I honestly don’t think I could have found a spare ten minutes in my day to exercise. My kids had a tough time adjusting to the divorce and the move and any spare time I had rightfully went to them. Given the chance, I honestly wouldn’t go back and change it.  I’ve done what needed to be done.
However, the result of stress eating, in combination with the complete and total lack of exercise, for years was a huge butt, a lack of self-confidence, and the feeling that I was going into cardiac arrest when I climbed the stairs. 

That has recently changed. Now that my kids and I have settled into a new routine and have found our places here in Florida, I’ve been able to shove my guilt to the back of my head and take a few minutes for myself every day. I’ve done Bikram yoga, step aerobics, aqua fitness, and walking. I still hate to exercise, but I force myself to do it every day. I’ve been eating healthier foods, avoiding the junk, and putting a stop to the mindless munching (at least most of the time). And you know what? It’s beginning to pay off.  Here are some before and after pics.  Well, they’re not actually after pics yet; they’re more of halfway there pics.  What do you think?

(I feel like throwing up when I see the fat pictures.  I can’t believe I’m putting them on here for the world to see.  But I love looking at BEFORE and AFTER pictures because I find them inspiring.  I hope you do too.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Capturing Family Memories

 Sometimes, I worry that I’m a candidate for Alzheimer’s. All too often, I walk into a room and stop in my tracks, stand there, and stare into space, wondering why on earth I walked into the room in the first place. I know I had a purpose for walking over here. It’s so frustrating! My kids will ask me, “Mom, did you sign the permission slip? It’s due today” and not only did I forget to sign it, but I can’t even remember where I put it! I fear my memory is failing me. Maybe it’s old age. Perhaps it’s because I have too many things to remember. Or maybe I had one too many adult beverages in my younger days and I killed off a few too many brain cells. Or, most likely, my kids have sucked the smart right out of my head.

Whatever the reasons, I fear I’m losing my memory and it’s becoming increasingly important to me that I document everything on video so that when I’m old (okay, oldER) and in a home, my kids can show me home movies of them doing the crazy things they do and I can understand just why I have no memory (or hair) left.

I videotape holidays – opening presents Christmas morning, hunting for Easter eggs, etc. and I videotape those special occasions – baptisms, school band concerts, vacations to Disney World, etc. But my favorite things to record are those ordinary moments. I love to watch old videos of the kids simply playing, or talking to each other. I like to remember how the kids looked when they were little. I love hearing their cute little voices (which weren’t asking for money or car keys) back then. I wish I’d taken more video of my kids over the years and I intend to start recording more now because it’s never too late to start. Plus, I’m creating quite the collection of embarrassing material to show to the kids’ future boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses. Heh heh heh.

Want to capture your own family memories on video? We’re giving away two Sony Handycams! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on any Sony-sponsored post (including this one) with an answer to the following question: what’s your favorite family memory? Contest runs through 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 30th, 2012, and you may enter once per post. Contest is open to U.S. residents only.

A big thanks to Sony for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It Takes a Special Brand of Crazy

Would you like to know the special brand of crazy to which I was married? Sure you would. Throughout the divorce and all the horrible things he did to my kids, I strived to keep my blog a neutral place. I haven’t bad-mouthed my ex (well, at least not publicly), but this latest proof of his idiocy just has to be shared. No more Mr. Nice Girl.

My awesome friend, Eric has been watching my house back in Chicagoland. The house still hasn’t sold, so Eric comes around and checks on it for me. Because the kids and I are planning on staying at my old house when we go home to visit, Eric has been stopping by, making sure everything is in order (water, electricity, and gas are turned on, etc.) Recently, he noticed that it looked like someone had been going inside. A couple of the windows were cracked open a bit, so Eric made sure they were locked. He bolted the front door and changed the combination lock on the back door. A couple days later, Eric stopped by and discovered that someone had been inside the house yet again. And this time, the person had taken apart the kitchen sink and written a note which he left on the counter.

Eric took a picture of the note and sent it to me with the words, “Does this look familiar?” There’s no question that it’s my ex’s writing.

My realtor said the “For Sale” sign keeps disappearing too. He’s replaced it numerous times. Eric found it in the back yard the other day.

Now, you have to understand that the house is mine. I got the house in the judgement for divorce. My ex signed a Quit Claim Deed. It is mine and he has no right, nor reason to be there. He’s trespassing, and apparently breaking and entering on my private property.

I spoke to him yesterday and asked him why he’d been lurking in and around my house. He refused to answer me, and instead started ranting like the person I know him to be.

But, it gets better. Today, I got a letter from my mortgage company in regards to my Illinois house. It states that they received my request for a loan modification and although they got my paperwork, they’re still missing several documents.

Whaaaaat? I never requested a loan modification! I moved out of that house almost a year ago! It’s been on the market for over a year. I’m going through the short sale process! I called the mortgage company who informed me that it was my ex who requested a modification earlier this month. A loan modification on the house for which he holds no interest. According to my mortgage company, he also told them that I was living there with the kids. I faxed over all the documentation proving the house is mine and that he has no claim to it.

What kind of crazy would break into a house and tear apart a sink? What kind of crazy would think he could get a loan modification on a house he doesn’t own and hasn’t paid a penny on for years? What kind of crazy would think this would work despite his lack of any documentation at all?

But, it gets even better! Apparently, he sent the mortgage company pay stubs. Pay stubs from a JOB. Hello child support! Of course, by the time I pay a lawyer and take him to court, he’ll most likely have quit his job and be surprisingly out of work again.

So, to my Illinois friends, if you ever see Joe lurking around my house, go ahead and call the police. He’ll be on his bike because they kinda frown upon it and take away your license when you get 3 DUIs.

THIS is why I’m being super-picky and selective when it comes to this whole dating thing. I’m fighting my attraction to the guys with the addictions and mental health problems that I can “fix if only I love them enough”. I want someone who isn’t crazy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

25 Random Facts About Dawn - Part 2

I know you were all enthralled with my first edition of random facts about myself. I'm sure you've all been on the edges of your seats, waiting for the second installment. Okay, okay, it's late, I'm tired, and I have nothing else to write about except how burned out I am and how ready I am for school to be out. And I guarantee, reading about my frustration with my students wouldn't be entertaining for anyone! I suppose I could write about how I went back and gave Bikram yoga another chance, but it was still as hellish as the first time. In fact, this time I realized the studio was sandwiched between a Pizza Hut and a Subway which is just ironically evil. So instead, here are the last 10 ordinary mesmerizing facts about me.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

More Things About Dawn Than you Ever Wanted to Know

Some of the bloggers here have been sharing 25 random facts about themselves. I’m usually kind of stubborn and contrary. Generally, I adamantly refuse to jump on any bandwagon just because. But I liked the idea of sharing obscure facts, so I started looking through pictures and came up with a few nuggets you may not know about me. I’m only including 15 in this blog post because I don’t want to bore you guys with too many stupid facts overwhelm you with too much awesomeness at once.


Friday, May 11, 2012

The Only Thing I Know About Time is That I Don't Have Enough of It

So, apparently the internet world is all abuzz about some Time magazine cover. Yesterday, my inbox filled with over 100 emails from people discussing, analyzing, and picking apart the cover, the article, and the concept in general. “Are you mom enough?”

Well, I don’t know if I’m mom enough and I, quite frankly, don’t give a crap. I didn’t read the article. I don’t remember the last time I read any article in a magazine. Oh wait, last month, in the pediatrician’s waiting room, I thumbed through the holiday recipes in a three year old issue of Family Circle, if that counts.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So, What's So Wrong With Being Wishy-Washy?

I’m a very wishy-washy person. I’ve never 
held many strong convictions. I’m not very opinionated about anything. I can almost always see both sides of any given situation. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay with simply being happy and content. I get along with most everyone because I’m generally non-confrontational. I’m pretty malleable. I can fit in with all sorts of people. I’m content to follow along.

“Would you like to eat here or there?”
“I don’t care.”
“Well, which one do you prefer?”
“It doesn’t really matter to me.”

“How do you feel about this topic in the news?”
“Well, I can understand both sides.”
“But who do you think is right?”
“I don’t know. It’s not for me to judge.

“Would you like this color or that?”
“I don’t care. It doesn’t make a difference to me.”

I don’t say that I don’t care because I’m afraid to speak my mind; it just truly doesn’t matter to me. I hate making decisions.  I hate having a lot of choices.  I make snap decisions because most of the time, I don’t think my decisions make much of a difference in the whole scheme of things. My mom and my sister, on the other hand, agonize over every selection they make.  They can spend months shopping for the perfect dress. Picking out paint colors for the family room inevitably ends up being a year-long project.  Me? I don’t much care one way or the other and do “eeny meeny miney mo” more often than not.

However, when it comes to this online dating stuff, I’m finding that my wishy-washiness is not at all beneficial. Unlike about 99% of the people on the site, I’m not looking for some elusive “soulmate”. I don’t think there’s one perfect person out there for you. I think you can have a good relationship with any number of people. You just need to find someone who is similar enough and choose to love them. So how do I begin to weed through all the guys when I think, “Eh, he seems cute/nice/interesting/funny about at least half of them.

I married the first guy who came along despite the many warnings from friends and family. (I may or may not be so stubborn that I do stupid things just to prove that I can.) This is one area in which I will NOT be making a snap decision. I won’t make the mistake of jumping into a relationship like that again. So, I end up having conversations with everyone because, I like talking to people, and I think I can have a fun time with just about anyone, and well, because you just never know. And it’s taking up way too much of my time. So, I cancelled my membership and as soon as it runs out, I’m done with the whole online dating thing. It’s just not for me. I think this wishy-washy girl simply needs to get a cat to keep her company in her old age.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bikram Yoga is the DEVIL!

A few days ago, a friend told me she wanted to try out yoga and, knowing that I’d been exercising, asked if I’d like to take some classes with her.

“Sure!” I said excitedly. “Yoga sounds like fun!” Isn’t yoga pretty much just stretching? I can stretch! No problem! She found a great special that let us take unlimited classes for a month for $40. Awesome! Before our first class, I ran out to Target and bought a yoga mat so I looked all official and like I knew what I was doing.

So, today I met my friend, Sandi at The House of Evil yoga place. We walked in amid all the thin people who look like they do stuff like yoga. The woman behind the counter (who will be known forthwith as Satan) welcomed us. She took one look at the nice, cushy mat I’d brought and told me it wouldn’t do as it offered a modicum of comfort and comfort is not allowed in yoga. I had to use one of their paper thin mats instead. And who knew you needed to bring a towel? I sure didn’t. Although, in hindsight, I would have done well to bring a couple dozen towels. And some sponges.

We walked through the door into the yoga room and were immediately hit with a wall of heat and humidity. The air in the room would make the rainforests of the Amazon feel like a polar ice cap. It was over 100 degrees in there with enough humidity to drown a small child. We spread out our mats and sat down, talking and giggling about the ungodly heat. The rest of the people in the class were stretching and warming up, quietly sitting, and calmly relaxing.

Satan came in and took her place on the platform. She informed us that the class would last for an hour and a half, but it would feel like a lifetime, and would consist of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Then she laid down the law that we were not allowed to drink water until death was about to claim us after the third posture. If we couldn’t do a posture or we felt like we were going to throw up or pass out, we could simply lie down facing the door until the moment of sanity passed and we felt like getting up and torturing ourselves again.

And the class began. Already I was covered in sweat from the intense heat and humidity and so far, all I’d done was stand up. We began with some sort of lamaze-type breathing. As if the air in the room wasn’t horrid enough, it began filling with everyone’s bad breath. The carbon dioxide in the room must have been at a toxic level at this point because everything started spinning and the dizziness threatened to take over.

I gave Sandi a sidelong glance as if to ask, “What the crap did we get ourselves into?” She returned my worried gaze as Satan instructed us to do the “half moon” posture. In this exercise, you bend your body like a tightly strung bow until you can stretch no further. When your ribs actually crack, you know you’ve done it right. This is followed by a “chair pose” in which you kind of squat down while your butt muscles cramp and Satan admonishes you to “keep your spine straight, keep your arms straight, keep your arms parallel to the ground, up on your toes, look straight ahead, keep your spine straight, stretch.” While the skinny, model, overachiever girls in front of me hold the postures perfectly, I teeter on my flat feet, unable to even get up on my toes. I try to avoid looking at myself in the mirrors that cover every surface in the room because the person staring back at me is just plain scary. I giggle uncontrollably at my lack of balance and inability to hold the posture for more than 4 seconds. Satan gives me a dirty look and reminds us there’s no talking in yoga.

At this point, I’m soaked in my own sweat and am a little disgusted to see sweat pouring off the other fools people in the class. Sweat is dripping into my eyes and running in little rivulets between my boobs. Mascara is smeared down my face, making me look like The Joker. The room has got to be at least 150 degrees now and the stench of 30 people’s sweat combined with the unbelievable heat is making me want to vomit.

Next, Satan instructs us to do the “eagle” posture. In this one, you balance on one toe while folding yourself into a position you haven’t managed since you were in the womb. I believe it was at this point when Sandi and I looked at each other and mouthed the words, “Oh my freaking gosh, let’s leave!” We bent to pick up our mats and sneak out the door, never to return. Satan reprimanded us and told us we couldn’t leave. Then she used her powers and locked the door with her mind, effectively dooming us to a slow, agonizing demise.

Resigned to death, we put our mats back on the floor and lay down while I willed myself to die quickly to get it over with. The class continued like this. Heat, a pool of sweat, pain, contortions, Satan reminding us to keep our heads up/down, elbows straight, spines straight, elbows in, index fingers outstretched, no drinking, no talking, no vomiting, more heat, pungent odors, more pain, more heat, more sweat, and occasional blackouts. At some point, we did the corpse pose. I’m pretty sure that was the only one I did correctly.

By the time the class was over, I’m pretty sure my body would have burst into flames if it wasn’t for the fact that I was lying in a couple inches of sweat (a combination of mine and everyone else’s in class). Satan cooed to Sandi and me, “Aren’t you glad you stayed?” I vehemently shouted, “No!” Well, in mind I shouted no. In reality, I mustered all my energy to move my head from side to side while whimpering.

As we limped outside into the cool, refreshing 90 degree Florida air, a stream of crazy people walked out, telling us what a great job we did and how it gets easier — all we have to do is keep coming back and pushing through the pain and misery. Satan popped her head out the door and called, “Are you coming back? It feels so good if you keep coming back!”

I laughed out loud. “No, it does not feel good. Sex feels good and I wouldn’t want to do that for an hour and a half in 110 degree heat. I sure as heck don’t want to fold my body into a pretzel do yoga! I have a better idea. Instead of pushing through the pain and misery, I’m going out for margaritas tomorrow, and I will be staying in dry clothing the whole time. Namaste that!”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

And the Torture Continues . . .

I’ve been walking and/or doing step aerobics 
every day for a couple weeks now. Because I was pretty sure I was at death’s door after my walk yesterday, I decided to do a workout video today instead. I have an old Kathy Ireland tape that I haven’t picked up in years. And now I remember why.

I popped the tape in my player and Kathy Ireland appeared on the screen looking perfectly coiffed, makeup beautifully applied, body skinny and toned. I immediately hated her. Before she started, she introduced her mom who was working out next to her on the video. If her mom can do this, I can totally do it too, I convinced myself.

She began in a soothing voice, “Let’s do some warm-ups,” then she proceeded to contort her body in ways worthy of a Barnum and Bailey’s side show. Oh, this can’t be right, I thought to myself. If this is just the warm-up, what the heck is she going to do for the work-out?

“Doesn’t that feel good?” she cooed. No, Kathy. No, this most definitely does not feel good. Lying in a lounge chair, a margarita in hand, and a hot young guy rubbing sunscreen on me would feel good. Stabbing myself in the eye with a sharp stick would feel better than this. Getting hit by a cement truck would feel better than this. But this, this torture you’re promoting, does not feel good, you evil work-out devil.

Why does she have to show off her abs like that? Is that really necessary? I glanced down at my own abs. The only evidence of a six-pack was the jello-like squishiness left from giving birth to my six-pack of kids. But wait a minute! What’s that I see? I think I see an ab! I did one more crunch before the searing pain hit me, making me realize my “ab” is actually just a hernia.

But that’s okay because this week a couple people have told me that my face looks thinner, which, of course, is everyone’s dream come true. I mean, that’s the whole reason I started exercising – I thought my face looked fat. Not my butt. My face. I figured I could stand to trim a few inches off my cheeks. The cheeks on my face, that is. Uh huh. Why is it that the first place we notice weight loss is in our faces and/or our boobs? It’s just cruel, I tell ya.

I kept huffing and puffing, attempting to do sit-ups or at least not die. Why does she have that stupid smile plastered on her face, I thought angrily. Does she think she’s fooling anyone into thinking that this is pleasant in any way, shape, or form? I have a butt cramp and I want to slap that smile off her face. Is it possible for your butt muscle to catch on fire from too many squats?

After a couple more minutes of watching the evil woman taunt me, I decided I’d had enough and staggered over to my scale. Obviously, since I’d suffered so greatly, I must have lost at least five pounds. I stepped on the scale and was utterly shocked to see that my weight was the same as it was before I started the tape! Is it too much to ask for instant gratification and immediate weight-loss after exercising for twenty minutes? I think not!

I collapsed on the floor, gasping like a fish out of water, too tired and sore to get in the shower and too depressed that I hadn’t dropped three dress sizes during my workout. I did what’s becoming a daily ritual for me – I denounced my supermodel plan and embraced my lie around like a slug plan. At least until tomorrow when I’ll devise a new form of torture and force myself to exercise again.

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