Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I've moved to Wordpress...

.... it's just easier to make pretty and post updates.

https://chasingsnowplows.com/


https://chasingsnowplows.com/


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Angergy

I was warned.

Before my 4-day intensive residency program for my MSW program, my friend and co-worker, Emily, told me that it would get me all fired up and excited about social work.  I rolled my eyes and assured her that it would be painful and the longest 4 days of my life.  Emily is just good people. One of those positive, 'rah-rah- GO TEAM!!' people that we all wish we could be instead of the snarky, eye-rolling bitches that we mostly are. And by we, I obviously mean me ;-)  So Emily telling me that I was going to love it, really didn't hold a lot of water. Sorry, Emily.  lol

Well damnit, she was right.

Every class for those 4 days left me feeling like I need to DO SOMETHING!!  MAKE A CHANGE!! Opening day we had speakers talking about the importance of social work on the macro-level.  BIG CHANGES.... LAW changes.... POLICY changes... FIGHTING FOR CIVIL RIGHTS CHANGES!  I barely waited until the break before texting Jessi to tell her that I believe she is a social worker at heart.  She LIVES to argue for change and, while right now it's just limited to social media and in-person stuff, I KNOW she has it in her to change the world.

By the end of the 4 days, I had decided that in the interest of personal growth, I needed to do some work, and perhaps my field experience, working with those victims of domestic violence.  The reason?  Well... there was a long pause just now before I could bring myself to type the word "victims," because, I don't see women as victims. I see destructive choices that hurt children, and themselves.  I have done a lot of soul-searching since I made that
decision, and while this is something I need to continue thinking about, I don't think I can do my field experience in that type of situation at this time in my life.  I do work with people from time-to-time as a crisis worker who are in domestic violence situations, and I honestly have no trouble with it.  I have empathy for them, and am fully there with them in that moment.  But when I don't have a person in front of me living that life, I have a pretty strong bias.

Our final small-group project was to pick an issue and do a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation.  We chose to present on veteran suicide because of all the recent press with the 22 pushups a day challenges to represent the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide.  We slayed our presentation, and I learned a lot from a veteran in our group about military culture and the struggles they face when they come home, and it has me sooooooooo pissed off.  One odd fact that I didn't know is that the suicide rate is higher for veteran's who DON'T get sent to fight!  And there doesn't seem to be an explanation for this anywhere?

OK... I will stop rambling now, because I could easily continue, and talk about rape culture.... elder abuse.... sex trafficking....  racism....  SO MANY THINGS BOUNCING AROUND IN MY HEAD!!

Good thing I am back to exercising to burn off some of this angergy.  <----- HAHA New word!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Vegas-on-a-budget trip

Bellagio fountain about to explode!  One of a zillion free things to do in Vegas!
This trip almost didn't happen for us.  We had some dooooozy car repair bills and actually looked into cancelling, but it was non-refundable-- and we already had our flight tickets to Dallas for my school program, so we needed somewhere to stay anyway.  We figured there was plenty of free stuff to see, even the hotels themselves are attractions.  So if all we could afford to do was walk around, and sit in our hotel and stare at each other (lol), we'd still be on VACATION! 

We booked a cheap on Expedia at Excalibur, which included a flight on Spirit Air.  At the time, we didn't know about Spirit Air and their trick, tricky ways.   They even charge you for your carry on bags! So, sometimes Spirit LOOKS cheaper, but once you factor in bag costs, it’s possibly way more! In this case it was still way less as long as we kept it to one carry-on and a ‘personal item’ for each of us.
Loooooooong travel days are killer
Where we always fail:  Getting there-- we spent around $200 on our first loooong day traveling. With flight delays and shenanigans we were in airports, cars, and shuttles from 8am to 2am the following day!  When you are stressed, stranded, and annoyed, it’s easy to just say, “fuck it!” and eat and drink whatever you want.    It’s the waters…. the iced coffees, and the ”I’m starving and I just want to sit down somewhere and relax and eat real actual food” that get us on days like that. I have to be really careful about what I eat on travel days too because of my propensity for motion sickness and restless legs. 


From now on we will be traveling with water bottles to refill!  And healthy snacks.   And a more realistic budget of dinner in an airport restaurant instead of delusions that we won’t eat at one ;-)

For the Eating--Before we left,  we had decided to avoid the buffets due to the high cost. BUT, after our first day in Vegas, we learned how quickly snacks, meals, and iced coffees add up and ended up saving money the next 2 days by getting the all-day buffet wristbands that were good at Excalibur and Luxor. Both are mediocre, typical buffets,  but Luxor felt less like a cafeteria, so we mostly ate there.  Pretty sure I ate my weight in watermelon this week. 

For the drinking-- we bought a bottle of Kraken to save on expensive drinks.  But that ended up being a fail because our room was so far away from everything.  It was also a fail because we learned that we actually LOVE video poker, and all you have to do is play $20 for all the drinks you want as long as you are playing.  They say this is true of slots too, but we played in a few different casinos and the servers around the slots are not in the least bit attentive.  SO, Good Samaritan's that we are, we gave away our almost full bottle to some guy in the lobby when we left.


Bright eyed and bushy tailed BEFORE time-share hell
EPIC FAILURE--When we arrived at Excalibur,  we were immediately pounced on by timeshare reps offering free tickets to shows and a free 2 night Vegas getaway.  We figured, why Not? We had no plans and hadn’t planned on any shows because of brokeness.  (We HAD planned on long days lounging by the pool with a bottle of rum, BUT, 110 degrees and being on the surface of the sun, and staying at a cheap hotel that didn’t put a lot of effort into shade making landscaping cancelled those plans.  If you want shade at Excalibur  you have to pay 50 bucks for the “premium” lounge chairs with umbrellas or under the few trees.)  So, we signed up with the promise of a 2-3 hour presentation that included lunch and snacks.   Holy crap what a mistake! We were there from 1030 to around 4 being emotionally blackmailed with dying mother stories, ‘you will be divorced if you don’t do this,’ we paid 800 to get you here so the least you can do is listen,’ and my favorite—a long drawn out game of good cop/bad cop between our “personal tour guide” and his manager.  ….and that’s not even ¼ of the “techniques” used on us.  I just don’t have the personality for that shit and left there angry and on the verge of tears. All for some tickets to Zumanity, and a trip that I am not even sure is real.  ZUMANITY, btw… WAS AWESOME!  ….but in hindsight I would have just ripped out the plastic and worried about money later ;)


Zumanity!  Next time, we'll just pay for a show ;-)
ONE LAST TIP!!  My BFF got me this gorgeous scarf in Thailand, so I wanted to bring it with me to dress things up a bit.  I used it in Vegas to cover up from the scorching sun, and then to wrap myself in the freezing AC in the hotels.  I used it in the airport to look nice and not like a slob (Don't even get me started on people traveling in PJs and ripped up, dirty clothes.....).  I used in on the plane as a light blanket. I alternated it with another scarf I brought to make it look like I had more outfits than I really did (we packed SUPER LIGHT-- see Spirit Air discussion above...lol)!  Total WIN!  Scarves are my new travel essential!





I FREAKING LOVE VEGAS!!  And I REALLY didn't think I was going to enjoy it at all. CAN'T WAIT to go back!!!

 
Dear Lady Who Screamed, What the heck did you think was going to happen??  Are you new?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Vegas Baby!

Lonnie and I are in the midst of a weird trip.  I have to be in Dallas from August 18 thru 22nd to attend 4 day residency for school, so OF COURSE we decided to make a vacation out of it!

Plan A: fly in to Dallas on the 13th and rent a car to drive down to Austin for a few days, then drive back to Dallas for my residency.  This plan was vacation/recon for our move in a few years; to see if Austin was a place we might like to live.
This plan kind of got scrapped when Jessi moved to Richmond because now we want to stay on the east coast  (well…. We did at the time.  More on that later).

When we decided we didn’t need to check out Austin for recon, we began researching other options and learned that Vegas and New Orleans would be cheaper to fly to add stay at than even just the car rental to Austin!  After  couple weeks of weighing the options  we booked Vegas.
It’s August and Dry heat>wet heat (also we figured, correctly, Vegas would be more of an indoor air conditioned trip)
We have plenty of other trips that can involve New Orleans, NOT in August!  We plan to go on a cruise within a couple years and can sail from there.  We also would like to go down for Mardi Gras sometime.
We thought food costs would be lower in Vegas, and due to recent massive car repair bills, we had to keep this trip on a budget!

So we flew to Dallas,  spent one night at the cheapo airport quality inn, and instead of renting  car, hopped the shuttle back to the airport and hopped a quick flight to Vegas!

Gonna give Vegas it's own post!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Body acceptance AKA Santa

So dusty.....  Time to clean it up and face reality. 
Today I read a post on Emily Nolan's blog about her decision to lose weight.  This decision is huge because she is a large part of the 'body-acceptance-love-the-skin-you're-in' movement.  I don't know her entire life history or anything, but I think she is a plus-sized model.  (Ok... maybe my mind just has her grouped in with Ashley Graham, Danika Brysha and assume she is also a model? ...but I DO know that she was doing something with Lululemon at some point, so I think I am right. ---hey...there is no research team here at Constant Commentary!)  The backlash on these 'not size 0' ladies when they lose weight is absolutely disgusting, but.... I get it.  I would never SAY the horrible things that I see people say on their insta-blog-tweet-fbs, but I get it.


As I read her post today, I was annoyed at her talking about her focus on the numbers on the scale and at the same time trying to say that we should not focus on the numbers on the scale.  I was honestly just annoyed in general, so I sat with that for awhile.  WHY was I annoyed? Who the fuck am I to be annoyed?  I think it boils down to 2 things:

 1. These ladies are our champions in a world that tells us every day that we don't look like we should, so when they jump ship, we feel betrayed.

2. If they are losing weight, then they never really bought into the fact that you can be pretty AND fat, so we cannot buy into it either.  AND If #2 is the truth, we cannot rest easy (aka LAZY) in just saying "I love my curves!" and burying our heads in the sand about our unhealthy bodies.  And THAT ONE, my friends, stings a bit!


Is there really such a thing as body acceptance when you are fat?  I don't believe there is.  It's a myth.  Like Santa.  Something us chubby girls love to believe in, but when Christmas Eve comes along, we all know that fat bastard ain't fittin' down no chimney.

Sometimes you see things exactly when you need to.  I've been going pretty hard at fitness and eating right.  Since I was anti-scale, I have been relying on the fit of my clothes and how I feel, which is GREAT, however, without those black-and-white numbers, it's easy to get down on yourself when you are "in a mood" and can't see/feel those intangible improvements.  So after reading and thinking today, I dug out and dusted off my scale and learned that I've lost 15 pounds!  ...and THAT, folks, is no myth!  :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Motivation

Some snaps from the 21-day challenge that I just SLAYED AND TOOK NO PRISONERS!!!
On June 27th I went to the doctor because I was a sicky-sicky and concerned about possible Lyme disease.  Not only was the number on the scale was no bueno, but I also had high blood pressure, which has never been an issue for me (except when I was pregnant).  She suspected that the HBP was due to illness, but said, "Well when we make your appointment for your yearly physical, we will want to check that again and possibly need to start treating it."  We all know what that means. Drugs.  No, thank you.

I had already been exercising, and trying (<--note the word trying) to eat right, but I left at appointment feeling the need to kick things into gear and get into shape.  Part of my daily motivation was the August 25th appointment for a physical.  I daydream about going in and having a much better scale number and a normal blood pressure.  I daydream about the doctor (who I have never met) saying something about my weight and being able to say, "Well, as you can see, I have lost weight since my last visit here.  I run 3 miles every other day, and I do strength and flexibility training on the other days, so I'm good!"

Today they called and rescheduled my appointment for freaking October!  A tiny part of me feels like I have lost that 'immediate motivator.'  I was even counting on that appointment to keep me in check during our upcoming trip to Vegas and Dallas since it was 2 days after arriving home.  Just a tiny part though... I have plenty of motivators in my husband, and even moreso the way I FEEL!  I am full of energy and yesterday I suddenly noticed that I had to be more careful shaving my legs because of the definition in my calves LOL!!!! 

I wasn't going to join this month's challenge group because we are traveling so much and have a lot going on, but maybe I should.  I may need those daily reminders and motivators.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The half-empty nest

Today marks 1 month since Jessi flew the coop.  Not-gonna-lie, that first week was ROUGH!  There was a lot of crying, sulking, pouting, moping.....  you get the idea.  Since then, I have been ok, we text every day, and she is still including me in knowing stuff about her life.  Less stuff.  But stuff.  This is what she needed, to get away from my influence, Maine, and whatever else, and to have a chance to figure out what she wants and who she is with no distractions. 

So... during the day.  I am fine.  Yes, there are some songs that come on the radio or things I see that bring on that sting in the eyes.... but I recover quickly ;-)  Being focused on house stuff, weekend adventures, and fitness, has been a huge help to avoid emotional eating or wallowing in my own self-pity.

The last goodbye tackle
During the day.

It's the weirdo nighttime shit that is disconcerting. A few nights a week I have Jessi dreams where I am crying and sobbing hysterically. The other night I dreamt that she and I were driving her down to Richmond, so we stopped at the grocery store and I was buying ALL THE BAD FOOD for the road trip and sobbing as I wandered through the aisles filling my cart with Pirate's Booty and Sour Patch Kids.  


Which do I miss more?  Jessi?  or Junk food!?  LOL

Being a mom is sadistic.  You spend almost 20 years bonding and getting attached just to RIP EM OFF YA ::::insert velcro sound here:::::