Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What’s Your Reading Profile? | BOOK RIOT

What’s Your Reading Profile? | BOOK RIOT

This is a new-to-me blog that I really like, and this post in particular got me thinking.... what is my reading profile?
Looking back over my list of books it breaks down like this:

23 books from 2004-2006
Christian - 7
Historical Fiction - 3
Action / Suspense - 22
Contemporary Authors - all - 14 total, but 6 of them worked on the same series
Series - 2 (6 each)
Based on a TV show - Alias Series

20 books in 2007
Series - 3 (Alias - 6; Transformers -2; The Bourne Trilogy)
Sci-fi - 6
Action / Suspense - 20
Contemporary Authors - all - 13 total, but 6 of them worked on the same series
Based on a TV show - Alias series

21 books in 2008
Series - 2 (Alias - 13; Women's Murder Club - 7)
Action / Suspense - 21
Contemporary Authors - all - 15 total, but 13 of them worked on the same series
Based on a TV show - Alias Series
Made into a TV show - Women's Murder Club Series
(i think i was a little obsessed w/ Alias this year!)

18 books in 2009
Series - 1 (The Chronicles of Narnia - 7)
Christian - 1 + Narnia
Non-Fiction - 1
Sci-fi - 1
Fantasy - 1 + Narnia
Classics - 3
Contemporary Authors - 8
Heart Wrenching - 2
Action Packed - 3
Painfully slow but worth it - 1
Romance w/ biting wit & sarcasm - 2
Historical Fiction - 4
Dark twist on a Classic Movie - 1
My daughter read it first - 8

20 books in 2010
Series -2 (The Percy Jackson Series - 5; Women's Murder Club - 1)
Young Adult Lit - 5
Action Packed - 14
Sci-fi - 4
Historical Fiction - 2
Classics - 2
I thought the movie was better - 1
Best last line of a book - 1
Dark twist on a Classic - 3
Contemporary Authors - 9
My daughter read it first - 5
My daughter wants to read, but I said "not until you're older" - 2

10.5 in 2011 (so far)
I didn't finish / "saved for later" - 1
Contemporary Authors - all
Series - 2 (The Heroes of Olympus - 2; The Kane Chronicles - 2) both are still "in production"
Sci-fi - 4
Action Packed - 10
Historical Fiction - 1
He better hurry up and write the next book because the last line was just mean! - 1
My daughter read it first - 5

Monday, November 28, 2011

My new obsession

I should have known better.
I had been warned.
But I let my curiosity get the best of me.
And I looked.
I typed in pintrest.com in my web browser and immediately was hooked.

Pinterest Logo

I had to be part of the club. I had to have an invite.
I put out a request on Facebook and one of my friends from church hooked me up.
Now all I want to do is find cool stuff and "pin it".
I keep reminding myself: you can pin a million things on your virtual board, but will you actually get around to doing that or making them?
Who knows?! Right now I don't really care.
My artistic hunger is ravenous and must be fed.
When I am too bloated on other people's fabulousness I will take a break... or maybe start posting pics of my fabulousness for other people to pin.
Only time will tell.

Now I must go and add a new "follow me" button to my blog and Facebook.
And if you need a hook-up, I know a guy. He'll let you in.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Steep hills

Last week we had a day when we couldn't make it to the Y to run, so we took a run as a family around the camp. Reminder: the camp is one big hill and some of them are pretty steep. And even though there are 500 acres of land, the roads are condensed into one area so you have to make several loops to actually get any distance. Unless, of course, you brave the road. (might as well run on the highway.) We got in 2 miles that night in about 30 minutes. I had to do the "grandma run" up some of the hills (ie: little steps), but I got in a really good sprint at the end.

Today I ran on the treadmill at the Y, but I didn't have time to do a full 5K. So I ran for 2 miles straight at 6.0 (10:00/mile). Then I did another 0.5 mile with the incline set at 2.0 and the speed set at 5.4 (11:00/mile). Feel the burn baby!

Total distance and time: 2.5 miles in 25:43

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sad day.

Ever since our dog Dixie died last January (which I didn't write about at the time because it hurt too much and we were dealing with the failing health of my grandparents), our other blue heeler Sassy was just not the same.

We had both dogs for 11 years, and Sassy was full grown when we got her so we guessed that she was at least 13 years old. For a while after Dixie died we just figured she was depressed. Then we passed off her lethargy and not-so-spunkiness as old age finally settling in. But over the last few months or so she really took a turn for the worse.

Some days she would have a very hard time getting her back legs to hold her up. Other days Russel would have to coax her to eat. But this past weekend her face was really swollen and she wouldn't eat at all. We thought, "well, the bees are out now and maybe the goober ate one that was aggravating her and it stung her." (wouldn't have been the first time!) But this morning when Russel tried to feed her again she wouldn't even get up. So we took her to the vet, where she would get up and walk some, but her breathing was pretty labored. (like we had been out running and playing) When the doc examined her, she told us that she had lymphoma (cancer) and all her lymph nodes were very swollen. She said that she would only get worse and that since she was already to the phase of not wanting to eat, it would probably be fast and ugly. So we did the best thing for her and let her go. We got to stay in there with her and talk to her and pet her as she passed. But that really didn't make it any easier.

Even though the old goat was a pain in the rear... She ever liked to stay in the pen and would jump the 5-foot fence just for spite. And when you went inside to get the leash to take her back to the pen, she would stand in the ivy & underbrush just out of reach. Would pee on the porch all the time. Herded you all the way to her food bowl poking her nose into the back of your legs if you walked too slow. Always had to stand behind you. Wouldn't fetch a ball to save her life, but would run out and bark and nip at Dixie every time she was bringing the frisbee/ball/squeaky back to you. Sneezed with me during pollen season. Had the most annoying high-pitched bark for a 45 pound dog. Wouldn't let you pet her without wrapping her front legs around your arm. Usually let her ears droop down so she looked like Yoda. Would shake the fool out of her stump of a tail every time you came home. And just in general wanted to be a part-time free-roaming "How you doin'?" gal -- part-time lap dog. She will be missed.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting Stronger

Pushed through to 1.5 miles at 6.0 (10:00/mile) before pausing to check my heart rate, then kept going to 2.4 miles at 6.0 before my bladder made me stop. Final time for first run 24:45. After my potty break, I ran an additional mile in 9:48. Most of that was at 6.0, but I sprinted for as long as I could at 7.5 (8:00/mile).

After a good stretch I hit the weight machines, but I only worked out my legs. We ran out of time, and I was tired!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Crunched Day

I only had 20 minutes to run today. But I got in 1.9 miles. I ran one mile at 6.0 (10:00/mile) without stopping. I took a heart rate check while walking for about 0:30 then kept going for the remainder of my time. 5K in 30:00 here I come!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Closer

I did it! 5K all the way through at 5.5 speed (11:00/mile). I paused once to check my heart rate, but that was less than 30 seconds. WooHoo! Final time was 33:51. Now I need to increase my speed some to get to my 30 minute goal.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pushing Through

I have been trying to increase my distance at my current speed of 11:00/mile. I had been getting stuck at 2 miles, so today I pushed through and just kept running. I had to cut myself off at 30 minutes (and trust me I was NOT complaining!) because people were waiting for a treadmill, but I ran the whole time at 5.5 (11:00/mile)!! My distance came to 2.74 miles. I'm pretty confident that I can keep going through the whole 5K distance if no one is waiting for a spot, but we'll see.... 5K under 30 here I come!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Pain Day!

Today I didn't have time to get in a full 5K, but I did run 2 miles without stopping at 11:00/mile pace. And it didn't hurt during or after. I was stiff all over from the weather all day, but while I was running my knee and ankle didn't hurt, so Yeah! I finished my time out with a 0.25 mile cool-down for a final time of 26:12.... had to leave time to stretch before running out to pick up the kids.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just keep running, just keep running....

(note: the title of this blog must be sung to the tune of "Just keep swimming" by Dory from "Finding Nemo")

Well, now that my 5K Challenge has passed, I need a new goal. So here it is: to run a 5K in 30:00 minutes or less. I would like to be able to do this by the Cheerios race, but I don't know. My knee and ankle have both started complaining. I thought it was just the cold snap the past couple of days, but that might be wishful thinking. So, I am going to really focus on strengthening the muscles around both my knee and ankle as well as some serious stretching so I can "just keep running. Just keep running. Just keep running, running, running. What do we do? We run, run, run." (did I get the song stuck in your head? hee. hee. hee. -- that's my evil chuckle)

I did run today. Since my 5K challenge is changing, I decided to focus on extending the length of time I can run at a faster pace instead of getting in my 3.1 miles in a shorter time. So I pushed past my comfort zone and ran a full 2 miles at 5.5 or 11:00/mile. This left me with 8mins in my 30:00 minute allowance at the Y. So after my heart rate came down and I no longer had a stitch in my side, I did a couple of "sprints" at 7.0 (about 9:00/mile I think). I was only able to go about a quarter of a mile each time, and I rested for about 2 minutes in between, but it felt really good. The fear of being propelled backwards off a treadmill can make anyone run faster!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

5K Challenge -- Day 17

Today was the day. I made my time official for the Race to Nowhere.
And what was it you ask? Hmmmm....?
I got it under 35:00. Yes!
So, now I am going to work on getting it to 30:00 or less by April 16th for the Cheerios Race. (not that I can actually run in it, because I have to work it, but that's my deadline.) An added bonus -- if no one else beats my time in my age group I win! I know, I have already won because I have come so far, and I met my first goal. But bragging rights don't hurt either!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 16

Tuesdays are busy days at our house. Add to that it is the 1st and work compounds that. So.... I didn't get to actually run today. But, Russel and I did walk about 2 miles around the Outdoor Center during Julia's soccer practice. Better than nothing!

Monday, February 28, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 15

Well, we're in the home stretch. Got to make my time official by Friday. I was kind of bummed when I realized I had gotten the dates mixed up, but Audri (one of my work peeps) told me something that made me rethink it a little. She said that it would be good to go ahead and get my time now and then keep working on it and time it again right before the Cheerios race. She said I would be surprised by how much better it would be by then. So that's what I'm going to do.

As for today's run..... really happy! 35:17 !! That's 0:45 off my time from Thursday, and I didn't do anything (nothing at all) between then and now. But I will confess that I really pushed myself today. I ran the whole first mile at my faster speed (10:30/mile) which meant that the other 2.1 miles were harder to maintain at a decent speed. But I mixed it up and threw in a few 0.3 - 0.5 mile bursts of quick runs to make up some time. A couple of those I pushed all the way up to 10:00/mile (6.0 speed setting).

More to come soon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 14

So, I realized today that the deadline to have my 5K logged for the Race to Nowhere is March 5th not March 15th. Gah! That means I have to do an official run by next Friday! I'm thinking it is going to be hard to get to that 30:00 minute goal I had set. Which is kind of a bummer. BUT - I will keep going and try to get it to 30:00 by the Cheerios race on April 16th. (in all reality that is probably a more realistic time frame to meet the goal).

Where am I now?  36:02!
I switched up my run a little tonight. Full disclosure: it was unintentional, but it worked out well! I started off faster (10:30/mile) for the first half-mile then went down to my steady (12:00/mile) for the bulk of my run. At the end I cranked it back up for the last 0.4 mile to finish.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 13

36:50!!!! Yea!!!!

I ran 2.6 at 5.0 (12:00/mile), then because I knew people were waiting for a treadmill (like I had to wait 20 minutes! over the courtesy 30 minute limit) I cranked it up to a 5.5 (10:30/mile) for the last half-mile. Now that I'm home, I really really need to stretch.


So, back in December I told you all that I was finally coming to terms with my body even though I knew that I was overweight. And then in January I went for my physical, found out my cholesterol was a little high, and challenged myself to run a 5K. Well, in training for that 3.1 mile run, I have dropped a pants size and become noticeably toner. Now, I should say that in my newly enlightened state I am indifferent to this change, but that would be a lie. I am loving it! So there. I confessed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 12

Had a good run today after church. Still at the 37:24 mark on my 5K, but I did 2 miles of that at 5.0 (or 12:00/mile) which is progress! Probably could have done it faster if we hadn't gone to the Y right after lunch.

Russel and I stayed at a friend's house Friday night while the kids were in Perry with the grandparents, and Saturday morning we jogged around their property. I think it took about 40 minutes, we forgot to look at the time when we left. That was harder for me than being on the treadmill because of the uneven ground and hills and trying to set a pace and trying to set a pace where Russel (Mr. 6'1") can actually run too! I walked several times. But it was a good change and kept us from slacking off and eating junk food.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 11

Last night, while waiting on the copier to print out some stuff for work, I did some weight machines at the Y (all legs and core work).

Today I ran my 5K while waiting for the printers to finish up an almost 3,000 page project for work that was due at 11:30 this morning. About 15 minutes in my legs started telling me they did not appreciate what I had done to them the night before, but I pushed through, and they shut up. At mile marker two, I got a phone call from the printers saying that they were done with an hour and a half to spare! Talk about making my day! So after I hung up the phone I got back to it at regular pace (4.8 or 12:30 / mile) for a while then I ended up pushing myself hard for the last 0.6 -- I bumped up my speed to 5.5 (10:30 / mile) and pushed through to the end. My final time for the 3.1 miles was 37:24 !!!!  Full Disclosure: I was sucking wind HARD when I got done, but I did it. Now, I need to increase my time at that speed, and I will make my goal for sure.

After I delivered my forest of paper before my 11:30 deadline, Russel came by and took me out for lunch. And then, just for grins, we went back to the Y and hit the weights. I did all upper-body stuff today, and I know that my arms are going to be fussing at me tomorrow.

Oh, and it's official! I have registered for the Race to Nowhere. No turning back now!

Monday, February 14, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 10

Woo! Hoo!
I ran the entire goal distance -- 3.1 miles -- without stopping!
First time ever.
And, I did it in 38:49 minutes.
Only 8:49 minutes over my goal time.
I have about 45 - 50 days to shave that off before I run it for official time in the treadmill race. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 9

After two days off I got back on the wagon, or treadmill in this case. And because the Y was far from crowded and I wanted to see how long I could go, I ran (most of) my 5K. It took me 41:18, and I only walked 9:18 of that. The last 6:18 was my cool-down / I'm-going-to-fall-off-this-thing-if-I-don't-stop-running-but-I-will-get-to-3.1-miles!-time.
Here's the run-down of the whole thing:
I warmed-up on the bike for 5mins, then did a pre-run stretch. I pumped out 15 mins on the treadmill before slowing to a brisk walk for 3 mins to catch my breath and find a motivating song to start back running on. Then I pushed myself until I couldn't go anymore (18 more minutes), and walked out the rest of my 3.1 miles.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 8

After lunch I hopped on the bike at work for a quick 5 minute warm-up.
Then I went and stretched my legs really, really good. (i just knew that if I didn't they would be screaming at me after the workout i did yesterday!)
Then I got on the treadmill and went straight into my run for the day.
15 mins @ 4.8 (12:30 / mile)
2 min breather @ 3.5
8 mins @ 4.8
5 min cool-down
Total distance 2.2 miles in 30 mins.
(and FYI -- even with the stretch.... my calves were screaming at me!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 7

Full body pilates workout today.
Arms are a little shaky now, going to hurt tomorrow.
But it is all worth it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 6

This morning Russel and I went to the Y to get our workout in before work. (not to be confused with getting up super early! he didn't have to be at work until after lunch)

I ran 2.14 miles in 30 mins.

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 10 min run @ 4.8 (12:30mins per mile)
  • (quick stretch for my screaming calves and hamstrings)
  • 10 min run @ 4.8
  • 5 min cool-down

Oh, and as an addendum to Day 4.5 -- I did do a good ab workout on Friday when Julia was home sick.

Super Commercial-Bowl 2011

Our favorite commercial of the night, hands down is... 
Volkswagon: The Force
I mean seriously, how cute is this little guy! He could so be one of ours! Love.

Here are our Honorable Mentions:

Mini USA: Cram it in the Boot 
(pay attention, you might miss it.) 
(and if you don't know what "the Boot" is, that's what the Brits call the trunk)
My first thought was "Oh no they didn't"

Chevrolet: Eco Misunderstanding
Reminds me of when my grandparents were living with my mom and dad!
"Who asked you?"    "Turn up the volume."    "Eco. Eco. Eco."

Chevrolet: T3
just because I love Bee

Pepsi: Love Hurts
of course he ducks....

Pepsi: First Date
as I have always said: 
men's brains are like waffles 
(one thing at a time)
women's brains are like spaghetti 
(multiple things intersecting and leading to new paths all the time)

Best Buy: Ozzy vs. Beiber
gotta love Ozzy. "What's a Bee-buh?"
and for those of you who didn't realize, the bad wig dude behind Ozzy and Sharon at the end is Justin Beiber!

Pepsi: Torpedo Cooler
just because we love seeing the punk get nailed in the "money-maker"
(yes, we love watching AFV and Wipeout w/ the kids for the same reason)
and the cute "bad boy" doesn't hurt either (wink. wink.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

5K Challenge -- Day 5

So, what happened was.... I was supposed to run yesterday, but Julia wasn't feeling well, and we stayed home all day. I didn't want to take her with me to the Y in case she started running a fever again because she would get the other kids (and adults) there sick. So I ran today.

Now I have to explain about the enormous leap in difficulty that I added today.
I ran / walked outside on the road at the Camp. (instead of the treadmill) Why this makes such a big difference you ask? A) I don't possess the natural ability to pace myself at a slow speed. Not good for a beginner. 2) I had to carry a bottle of water. There was no cup holder like on the treadmill. and 3) Camp Road is one big, nasty hill. And I am not exaggerating. Anyone who has ever driven it can tell you. Killer.

So I won't lie and say that I ran the entire 3 mile loop. I didn't even run half of it. I walked all the uphill parts, and at a decent pace too. Not a Sunday afternoon stroll here. But on the way back down the hill of death I did run several chunks of road. 

But the thing I am most proud to brag about..... my time. 45 minutes! That's all it took me to tackle the evil monster we call Camp Road. I had estimated an hour minimum. I told Lisa (who lives at the bottom of the hill at the Camp) to send out a search party if I wasn't back in an hour fifteen because I had visions of me splayed out on the side of the road with a pulled hamstring, severe muscle cramps, or the victim of a "drive-by" turkey pecking. (it could happen) But it wasn't necessary! Yay me! Now, will I be able to move tomorrow? That remains to be seen.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review

Koontz delivers again! 

Nail-biting suspense. 
Laugh-out-loud moments. 
History mingled with "that sounds plausible" science fiction. 
And those moments when you just can't read fast enough to find out what happens. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

test results

Got my lab results from the blood work they did with my physical. The only thing abnormal was my LDL was slightly elevated (26 points). We have already started cutting back on fried foods, but I guess I am going to have to cut back even more on the french fries.  :(   Guess I will be substituting the side salad more often when I do eat out for lunch.

5K Challenge - Day 4

Cross-Training Day! Woo! Hoo!
(can you hear the sarcasm in that?)

Pilates: arms, butt and back of legs
Holy Cow! My arms are going to hate me tomorrow! They are already complaining, and I didn't even do all the reps or as fast as the chic wanted. You gotta start somewhere, right?

Yoga: trying ones on the Wii I haven't done before (meaning they are a little hard)
standing knee (thighs), palm tree (to strengthen my ankles), downward facing dog (abs w/ hamstring stretch), dance (ankles, hips, core), and some sideways leg lifts (shoulders, obliques) -- total time: 14 minutes

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 3

Yesterday I was supposed to do my cross-training, but I went to the dermatologist and had a spot removed from between my shoulder blades and they told me to try to not aggravate it for 24 hours. So..... I did it today.
20 minutes of Yoga on the Wii, followed by 20 minutes of Pilates for core and lower body. Yes. My legs are sore. The Yoga poses I did today were: Half Moon (to stretch sides), Warrior (thighs and core), Tree (ankles, balance), and Chair (calves, thighs, balance).

I also ran on the treadmill today at work during my lunch break.
2 min warm-up @ 3.5
18 min @ 4.6
2 min @ 3.5
8 min @ 4.8
5 min cool down
Total: 35 min for 2.25 miles

I think those numbers are close to being right. When I was just over the 2 mile / 27 min mark I hit the emergency stop button with my hand! Gah! I was in the zone, trucking along that last stretch and BAM! Full brakes. Good thing I didn't slam into the machine. That would have been embarrassing! But in my haste to get restarted, I only got one glance at my workout summary. So, I know it is close if not 100% accurate.

More stretching tonight for sure!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 2

So, still at it. Yesterday was Sunday and therefore my self-appointed "day of rest."

Today we went to the Y and I hit the treadmill. I decided to not take it easy on myself and after my five minute warm-up at a brisk walk, I pushed myself to 15 minutes of running at 4.6 (or about 1 mile every 17mins). Not exactly record-breaking, I know, but considering that I haven't really pushed myself with a cardio workout of serious proportions since my running class in college, and I am now over 30..... I'm very impressed with myself. I then walked at a brisk pace for 2 minutes (or until I quit sucking wind and the stitch in my side went away) then went right back to running at 4.6 for another 5 minutes. I used the last 3 minutes to cool down, and I ended up with 2.1 miles in 30 minutes. Now, to squeeze another mile in there by April..... I think I can do that.

If you are wondering why I always keep my cardio to approximately 30 minutes.... it's a courtesy rule at the Y. They like everyone to keep their workout to 30 minutes per machine to give everyone a chance to use the one they want. You can go over that if it is very empty, but it's Monday. Everyone was feeling guilty for eating junk over the weekend and gorging at the all-you-can-eat buffet after church, and therefore tonight it was far from empty! And for me, I want to be able to run the 5K in 30 minutes or less. So having the 30 minute block helps me gauge how well I am progressing toward my goal.

Tomorrow, cross-training. Yoga or pilates on the Wii....maybe some Just Dance.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 1

Warm-Up:  5:30 minutes on the bike for 1.54 miles
Treadmill:  10:00 minute run at 4.5 pace, 6:00 minute walk at 3.5 pace, 5:00 minute run at 4.5, 6:00 minute cool down for 2.0 total miles in 32:00 minutes

Actually felt pretty good. Didn't have to push myself until last minute of first run, so I have a lot more confidence in myself to be able to do the 5K in a pretty decent time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Year - Healthier Me

I've never had a problem with getting older like some women do. I don't mind telling people that I am 33 years old. After all, I don't really look it. Most of the time don't act it. And I certainly don't feel it. In my head I am still 25. But I wouldn't want to be 25 again.

Getting older has made me more comfortable in my own skin. I know more about myself now, and I actually like it. I've stopped worrying about my body and how it measures up to the "Hollywood" standard. My husband loves how I look, and that is all I need to know. I have stopped caring what number is on the clothes label and just get what looks good on me. (Notice how I didn't say I look good in? That's another trick I've learned. I wear the clothes. They don't wear me.)

This week I went to the doctor to get a physical. (all good so far, but don't have blood work back yet) I know that with my family history I need to be taking care of my heart, but since I quit cheering I have been a slacker. Preferring to sit and read a book to getting out and walking, I am not in shape. I have a good figure. My BMI is in the normal range (just barely). But as far as being able to keep up with my midgets.... not so much. I see people everyday at work running and lifting weights. Going to group exercise classes. And all of them able to run circles around me. So I am going to push myself out of my cushy comfort zone and get moving.

My challenge: running a 5K
Confession: I have never liked running. Dancing, yes. Cheering, yes. Fifteen-plus miles on a bike, cake walk. But I think it is the mental game of me versus the road (or treadmill) that has been difficult to beat. It is not a game. It is monotonous. It is never ending. But I am not entering this race to win. I am entering to force myself to get in shape. To prevent health issues down the road. To be able to keep up with my kids!

So there. I have put it out there. I now am going to be accountable to all of you. I am entering the Race to Nowhere at the Y in April.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chew on this:

A friend on Facebook had a link to this article that was posted online by Relevant Magazine: The Dangers of Emotional Pornography. It talks about how we have to be careful to not get sucked in by movies and shows that romanticize love and relationships. It references author Elizabeth Gilbert who discussed on NPR the proliferation of the "Soul Mate Complex" in Western culture that was reinforced by the now famous line from Jerry Maguire "You complete me." And the article also slams all fairy-tale princess stories because they give girls unrealistic expectations of a prince that will rescue them from all their troubles.

While I see and agree (to a point) with what the article is saying, I have some serious problems with the blindly thrown wet blanket on the entire romance / romantic-comedy genre.

Yes. Girls (and women) in general do love the emotional high from a romantic movie / show / book.
Yes. Girls in general do tend to hold boys to the unrealistic expectations set by said media.
Yes. Guys in general do feel the pressure to live up to these expectations.
Yes. Guys in general fight the "jealousy monster" when they think another guy is a better representation of that stereotype.

But are we really being fair to put all of the blame on Hollywood? Where are the parents of all these kids that are binging on romance without having real conversations with them about love and relationships in the real world? Why are they not starting these conversations when their kids are in elementary school and telling them that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a waste of time at their age because the whole purpose of dating is to find the person that you want to marry? When did parents stop parenting? Maybe it was when we were seduced by the emoporn high ourselves.

I also do not agree with Elizabeth Gilbert that the "Soul Mate Complex" is a bad thing. If you think about it, all great partnerships (including marriages) are made up of two people who "complete" each other. One's weaknesses are balanced by their partner's strengths. We should be looking for the one person who brings out the best in us, who makes us complete. Now I know that the other side of this argument is the thought that we should raise our children to be complete in themselves through Christ, to be confident in who they are and not be dependent on someone else to fulfill them or make them feel whole. I totally agree!  What we have to realize is that these don't have to exist separately. You need to know who you are and be confident and comfortable in that knowledge before you can find the one person that complements your soul.

That takes me to the fairy-tale princess argument. This one can only be solved by purposeful parenting. Talk to your girls from a very young age about how and why this is fantasy. How a prince cannot save you from all of your troubles by riding in on a white horse and slaying the dragon. Why getting married doesn't equal happily ever after. You save yourself from your troubles through personal growth and trusting God. Happily ever after comes only through communication, compromise, and hard work. That doesn't mean we should ban fairy tales or squash the desire of our little girls to play dress-up. If we talk to them and help them understand the good and bad, fairy tale princess can teach them some very valuable lessons.

How many princesses do you see chasing after the prince? I can't think of any. In fact, Pocahontas and Mulan thought their "prince" was less than desirable at first and served as the hero in their Disney movies. (which are based on real events and people) We should teach our daughters that girls don't chase after boys. They have to come for us.

And while some of the more traditional princess stories have been overly romanticized, there are still great lessons to learn. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are put under a spell by the witch and are rescued by true love's kiss. How many tweens and teens are put under a spell by main stream media? Be the voice of true love in their life to fight the pressure of conformity.

Cinderella was oppressed by her step-mother and was rescued by the glass slipper. Or was she? She used her cunning, available resources and friends to escape her jail in order to shine the light of truth and proclaim that she was there and worth being seen. Hollywood tells girls they aren't good enough on their own. Tells them they need the glitz and glam. That they need to be flirtatious and seductive. But it is all a lie. We need to make sure our girls know that they are worth the wait, the struggle, the hard work. The boys should have to pursue the princess. During their journey they will become men.

I love the song Average Girl by the Christian band Barlow Girl. In it the sisters declare that they aren't like the average girl. They are giving up chasing boys and instead are waiting for their princes to come for them. I want my daughter to take up the declaration and not have to deal with the heartache and disappointment that comes from obsessing over boys and instead just wait for the frogs to turn into princes. This goes with the "soul mate complex" -- if you stop trying so hard to find the perfect man and work on yourself, become comfortable in your own skin, you will actually start to attract more of the type of man you want and need. Desperation only attracts predators and other desperate people. Confidence can only be handled by another mature and confident person.

(more songs I love on this topic are Song 4 Tricia (Princes and Frogs) and Wonder (if she'll get it) by Superchic[k]. Some YouTube videos of these songs are below.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Love -- it is complex, wonderful, painful, and always worth it.

My man and I were going through all our important papers the other day to figure out what we needed to put in our new fire safe. Aside from the dust bunnies we spooked (and the subsequent sneezing fit that ensued), I found and started looking through our old shoe box of love notes and letters from our five year courtship. The first thing I realized was that I was smitten, completely head-over-heels in love, with the boy who would become the man I married within the first few weeks of our relationship. The second thing I realized was that if the time-space continuum was ever tampered with and I had to relive that 5 years leading up to our wedding day, I would kill myself. They were necessary for personal growth and shaping who we are now, but my memory of that time had been romanticized over the years, and the times of pain and struggle were wiped away. I don't wish they had never happened, but I have no desire to relive them. Ever.

In reading through the journey we traveled, I was reminded of a poem I read and clung to during year four, my freshman year of college (without question the toughest year of them all). I share it here with you and give some new insights that have come with time and age.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No;

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

valediction: (noun) an act of bidding farewell or taking leave
Whether separated by distance because of travel; or time because of death; or spirit because of doubt or loss of trust, lovers often have to experience a valediction, and in doing so throw themselves in the refiner's fire to be tested, purified and stretched.

But like a compass, they are joined at the very middle, at the soul, and as such can never truly be separated. For while one may wander, the other is a fixed point that doesn't waver and brings its mate back around to where it began, home. And there too lies the heart and truth of any committed long-term relationship. If you can step away and view it from a different perspective, an overview of the thing in its entirety, you will see that each partner at one point or another trades roles playing the fixed foot or the wanderer / explorer / wayfarer.

The journey may be one of self-discovery, or it could be fueled by anger or guilt. But the most important things to cling to during these times of leaning / stretching / hearkening are trust and hope. Trust that your partner is remaining faithful to you and hope that they will indeed return. In the midst of the stretching that will seem like a big thing to ask of the fixed mark, but really it is no different than what we must do every day. Every morning we kiss our love goodbye as they walk out into the world. Every night we anticipate their return. But you can never know for sure when or if they will walk back through that door.

My biggest reward for pushing through the difficult moments, for trusting and clinging to hope is this: the moment, the long anticipated time in each day when I see that my love has found his way home. My heart still skips a beat when I hear his truck coming up the driveway. My heart melts when I see the joy in his eyes when he realizes I am the one who has walked into his office. I still want to run into his arms when I hear his voice call my name. I find myself sneaking moments to stare at him; drink in my favorite parts of him; wonder what he is thinking.

Yes, I am still smitten. Totally. Completely. Passionately.