Sunday, December 14, 2008

Introducing . . .

This is my Big Sister.

Isn't she cute? This is kind of an old picture (as you can see by the date stamp) and she's not usually this blonde. But trust me, she's cute.

I adore Big Sister. I look up to her. She sets and excellent example for me. On of her qualities that I admire the most is her ability to see the best in things. She always seems to be happy, or at least content, even when life isn't so great. She's all about "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Now me, I'm more like, "Lemons? I don't need any freaking lemons! I need a boyfriend! What the heck and I supposed to do with stupid lemons?"

Ahem. Sorry about that. Momentary outburst. We were talking about Big Sister.

This is Big Sister and her husband, Brother-in-Law Numero Dos. We'll call him J for short. Or should we call him BiLND? Or #2? Hahaha! #2. Get it? I crack myself up.

Anyway, the only time I really remember Big Sister not being content was when J was out of the country for two years. The last six months, she wouldn't even talk about him. She pined for him. They've been married for 4 1/2 years now, and she's still all stupid over him. It's pretty cute, when it doesn't make me puke.

Big Sister and J have also been trying to get preggers for quite a while. They've had some trouble, with no apparent reason. They've tried all sorts of treatments with no luck, and recently decided to give in vitro fertilization a try. We'll find out around Christmas how successful it was.

Big Sister also recently started a blog, "Que Sera, Sara?" (Isn't she clever?) You can read about her IVF experiences here.

Drop by and say hello. And send lots of baby thoughts their way!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

She's Just so Cute!

I know I promised a real post today, but I'm putting it off until tomorrow. For today, here are some pictures of the most adorable dog on the face of the earth. And she's mine, all mine! Bwah-ha-ha!

She's a little camera shy. It's hard to get her to look.

What? Why must you pester me so?

Fine, take the stupid picture. Go ahead, show me off to all your friends. If you must.


Zzzzzzzz . . . . Snnnooorrrkkk!

This is what happens after I get up in the morning. I let her out, get her some food, let her back in and get in the shower. When I get out, she's sacked out again, all snuggled up in my spot!

And she actually does snore. Sometimes it keeps me awake.

I'm not kidding.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I know I've been horrible about blogging, when I clearly implied I would be blogging every day this month. I promise a better update soon (like tomorrow) and I have a list of my kind deeds, but I needed to share this fabulous information.

My pants are too big! Today, I wore my freshly washed jeans, and I was able to take them off without unfastening them. Just, whoosh!

I think I need to invest in some belts.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Where Am I Going, and Why Am I in This Handbasket?!?

I've been thinking lately about the world we live in.

Generally, I'm an optimist. I know there are bad things out there, but I can usually focus on the good in the world; the good in people. Lately, though, I seem to be overwhelmed by the bad.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't forgotten the good, or given up on it. I know there are great, beautiful things about the world. I know people can be kind and loving and generous.

But there's so much bad too.

It seems like people have no moral code anymore. They don't expect there to be consequences for their actions. It's all so hedonistic - "Do what makes you happy, don't worry about others." I'm not just talking about the big stuff like murder and robbing banks. It's the small stuff that bothers me.

People have affairs.
They give up on their marriages.
They betray their friends, they hurt their families.
People steal from their employers.
They're dishonest.
They speak of freedom and tolerance, but are intolerant.
People kill their babies, when there are so many who want a baby to love.

My thoughts on liberalism and abortion are fodder for another post, but you see where I'm going. It's that people think only of themselves, of what's going to benefit them.

I often feel like the world is lost. I feel like we've lost our sense of purpose. And I remember how blessed I am to know the things I know, to understand my purpose. The world can be a scary place, filled with confused people. I hope that when it comes time to fight for what's right, I'll know I'm on the right side.

I drive past a church every day on my way to work. The other day, after this had all been weighing on my mind, the marquee said this:

"In a changing world, we can trust God's word."

Truer than they know.

P.S. - Kind deed for 12/5 - I invited a co-worker to join me for a spinning class at my gym, which she just joined.

Kind deed for 12/6 - I invited my roommate to come with some friends to the Parade of Lights.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

I've been swimming since I can remember. In fact, I can remember my first bathing suit. It was a two-piece blue and green plaid with ruffles around the top and the waist. It was freaking adorable. And the only bikini I've ever worn. I could get away with it when I was two and cute.

I took swimming lessons every summer, usually with my best friend Katie and her brother Justin. After a while Katie and Justin joined the summer swim club, which met for practice at 6:00am. Even at 10, I valued my sleep and was like, "No freaking way!" My mom still made me take lessons, though, on the basis that it was good exercise. In high school, I was on the swim team for two years, and I worked as a lifeguard.

I've always loved swimming. I think part of it has to do with how graceful I feel in the water. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm decidedly ungraceful on land. Seriously. Anybody. But in the water I'm smooth and light. I also like the feeling of being all alone. When I swim, it's just me and the water. I don't worry about anyone else. In fact, I don't even think about anyone else. Usually.

Even though I was always chubby growing up, I never let that keep me from swimming. I loved it too much to let the opinions of a bunch of stupid people keep me from doing it. In the last 50 pound or so, though, I started to let it get to me. I never swam anymore. For a long time, I didn't even own a bathing suit.

When I decided to get serious about losing weight, I decided I would start swimming again. I'll admit that it was hard at first, and not just because of the suit. Swimming is hard, I tell you! I thought I was going to die there for a minute. But it got easier, and it became more fun. It's still hard, but it's relaxing too.

So I've been swimming twice a week for a while now. I always go after work, and the pool used to be dead at that time. I've even been the only one in there before. Now, though, there's always a bunch of people. I'm thinking maybe the people who exercised outdoors when it was warmer switched to swimming for the winter? I'm not sure, but I always seem to have to share a lane now.

That brings me to my kind deed for the day : I offered to share my lane with another swimmer, even though I hate sharing a lane and she was all geared up and I knew she would leave me in her bubbles. Luckily, she was nice enough not to lap me too many times.

That's not really my point, though. My point is that today (and Tuesday) the pool was FA-REEZ-ING! Sure, pools are always a little chilly when you first get it, but you warm up once you start moving, right? Not here. I swam half a mile, and at the end, I was still cold. It was like swimming in tap water! Brrrr.

The really annoying part about it was that I called before I went to make sure the problem was fixed! The girl on the other end told me the problem had been resolved, and yet, I had to thaw out in the sauna afterwards (and this dorky teenage boy came in when I was in there - awkward!). I stopped at the front desk on my way out to talk to someone about it, and the girl was a complete brat. I said that I had called, and the girl said, "Yeah, we got the parts in today and it was fixed today, but it takes a day or so for it to get back up to temperature." I said, "Well, you shouldn't tell people it's fixed if it's not." And she said, "Um, it is fixed." All snotty-like. So I said, "But it's still freezing, so it's really not." Get this. She rolled her eyes at me and said, "Fine, it's not."

That brings me to my second kind deed for the day. I barely refrained from leaping across that counter and slapping Miss Prissy McSnotty-pants silly. It was an exceptionally charitable act, if you ask me.

Man, nothing makes me madder than lousy customer service.

One benefit of all this swimming I'm doing is that my suit seems to fit a lot better. The girls aren't spilling out anymore. In fact, the girls don't spill out of anything anymore, hallelujah. And my clothes are all getting too big. I keep stepping on the hems of my pants because they're too long now that they waistband sits on my hips. I keep pulling them up, and it makes me feel like a gomer. Hard to complain about that, though!

So, even as I drug myself shivering through the frigid waters (okay, that's a slight exageration), I was still pretty proud. I even finished off with my handstand. I always do a handstand at the end of my workout. It reminds me to have balance in my life. Plus, it's the only playing I get to do. And it makes me feel graceful.

Then I went in the sauna until my teeth stopped chattering.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 3

At the end of today I realized that I didn't do anything that was so much kind as not mean. I'm kind of embarrassed about that. Anyway, my thing is that I made an effort to make friendly, involved conversation with my roommate that drives me nuts. I usually go back and forth between ignoring her and wanting to kill her, so it was kind of an effort. Still, doesn't seem especially kind, does it?

Tell me you did better.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness and Sensless Acts of Beauty

In church this week we discussed kindness. We talked about how we could use kindness to bring our congregation closer, about how being kind is a key to happiness. At the end of the lesson, we were challenged to do a kind deed every day this month.

I like to think I'm a kind person. I like to think that I do a kind deed every day without thinking about it. Still, it's an interesting thing to think about. One of the teachers said, "There is so much meanness in the world." That's so true, isn't it? Rudeness, gossip, road rage, intolerance. Personally, I think most of it stems from selfishness. We spend so much time thinking about ourselves that we forget the people around us. We see them as annoyances, instead of people with lives, loves, concerns and joys. Kindness is really the antithesis of selfishness. It's doing something for another person when you could just as easily only think of yourself.

If selfishness is the cause of so many of the world's problems, it stands to reason that kindness could be the solution, doesn't it? Amelia Earhart said,

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."
One kind deed a day doesn't seem like much, but if 100 people do a kind deed everyday, that's 100 people who are touched. 100 people who may do a kind deed the next day and touch another 100 people.

I've accepted the challenge of doing a kind deed a day for the month of December. I'll report them here. They'll probably be simple things, but sometimes those are the most meaningful. I might just post what I did, or I might add it to the end of a post, but I promise, it will be here.

Yesterday I had a nice chat with the checkout girl at Wal-mart. People often take their frustration out on customer service people, but how often to they benefit from good moods?

Today I got the door for a girl who was going into the Jenny Craig office with her arms full of Chick-Fil-A bags (yes, I noticed the irony).

Would you like to join me on my quest to spread kindness? December is a perfect month for it. I'll extend my challenge to you - try and do one kind deed every day for the month of December. You can report them here, if you want to follow along with me. I'd love to hear them.

One kind deed isn't a lot. You don't have to go out of your way. It's a small thing, but it can make a difference in a life, and in the world. Let's be kind to each other!