10 Reasons I Need to Run the Shamrock & Run 5K

SR&R_MEDAL

  1. Gym Motivation
  2. Thigh Muscles
  3. 25 Pounds
  4. BMI
  5. GLUTES
  6. Bragging Rights
  7. Bottle Opener Finisher’s Medal
  8. Expensive Running Shoes
  9. Focus
  10. Proof I still Can!

Big Picture Goals: Run another 5K, Take a Great Vacation this Year, Retire by 55, Pay off the Car, Pay off the House

Goals for Today: Pay Bills, Balance Checkbook, Get Groceries & Gas, Post Up OWL PROWL Info, Get to the Gym

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful for Jas and my mom who facilitated retrieval of Thing 2′s forgotten flute in the middle of the night just in time for band class today! (I slept right through it but was wide-awake for this morning’s “OMG! I FORGOT MY FLUTE AT GRANDMA’S HOUSE!” moment bright and early at 6am!)

 

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My Regime

Yeah… That’s me. I lost some weight. (As of this writing, about 175 pounds since April 2015.)

So people ask me all the time:

       What did you do?

                      How did you do it?

                        How can I do it?

And I say the following canned response:

“I’m under a physician supervised diet and exercise program.
I eat between 800-900 calories /day on a normal day.
I work out, including strength & flexibility training,
most days of the week, if not all.”

It sounds so simple — maybe slightly less-than-healthy at times — but simple…

It’s not. It’s hard. It doesn’t always feel good. I’m hungry a lot, lol. My muscles ache more than they don’t. My hair falls out. My skin is loose. The metal in my body groans at me to just stop sometimes…
But I have to keep setting the bar higher to keep losing weight & gaining strength, speed, agility… To be the best me I can be. Why? MS. Age. Future Health. Etc…

…and that Physician Supervision? It’s a bi-annual visit where they check my status, tell me how amazingly well I’m doing, warn that my body will start to rebound whether I like it or not eventually… They do blood work. They check for issues and problems. Then I’m off to continue this path armed with their newest directive or tips, which are often less than helpful, lol!

So, I’ve had to do a lot of research to come up with a real plan – Attempting to make the most efficient use of my time, energy, and allotments is a 24/7 job and I don’t take it lightly. My time is valuable and none of us have enough of it to squander.

I try not to tell anyone how to do their thing, but I’ve been asked for specifics on more than one occasion, so I decided to share… For those who are curious :)

 ~ The Regime ~14980748_10208135493766717_8401266265629606465_nLet’s start with the disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. What works for me may not, probably should not work for you. Please consult professionals before you jump on ANY band wagon, including mine! :)

Intake Goal: <900kc/day

This is a rough guideline. There are, of course, days where I eat over this amount and days where I eat way under — And there are days when I have a cupcake and nothing else until supper and others where I spend the evening out and drink more than my fair share of calories! But it’s a good idea of my intake on an average day.

  • Breakfast: < 200kc: 1 Egg (hardboiled or microwaved or sometimes fried), 16 -32 oz coffee + 2tbsp Creamer, 2-4 Splenda
  • Mid-morning Snack: ±100kc: Usually a Piece of Fruit (Usually a banana, apple, or orange, but whatever is in season or on sale is game.)
  • Lunch: < 200kc: VARIES
    • Sample Option 1 – Tuna Packet (<100kc), Half Serving of Crackers, Croutons, Brushetta, or Chips (<100kc), Rockstar Recovery Lemonade (20kc)
    • Sample Option 2 – 1/2 cup of 2% Cottage Cheese + a Tablespoon of Tamed Jalapeños (<100kc), Fresh Vegetables or Half Serving of Crackers, Croutons, Brushetta, or Chips (<100kc), Rockstar Recovery Lemonade (20kc)
  • Pre-or-post Workout Snack: ±100kc: Fresh Vegetables, Protein Shake (Must be less than 110kc) (They say protein within an hour before or after workout will help muscles ache less. Here’s to hoping! :D )
    • My favorite protein shake so far is My Bananas Foster KO – 1/2 scoop Banana Creme Quest Powder + 1/2 scoop Salted Caramel + 1/2 cup crushed ice + 1/2-3/4 cup cold water. Put all of it in a blender bottle or JAX bottle — ShAkE iT uP! and it’s pretty ok. :)
  • Supper: < 300kc: VARIES WILDLY, but my portion needs to fall about between 300-400 kc. I shoot for lean proteins, vegetables, lesser carbs, but we all know that doesn’t always happen :P
  • After Supper Snack (optional & infrequent): Cottage Cheese? Some Yogurt? Sometimes a Sweet Treat — My portion should not make me overshoot that 900kc cap for the day.
  • Supplements: Vitamin D 5000iu x 4/day, One a Day multi x 1/day, Biotin x 4/day, B12 x 2 per day

Output Goal: >2500kc/day

This varies to fit the time I have available and I try to increase my strength goals by 2-5 pounds each week — But this is a good base for my bare minimum of activity if I expect to see any reasonable losses on a regular basis.

First the Music:

Cardio Mix: $150K Girl Lift: Until it Hurts

Note: I Jog/Walk. The slower songs sit at about 115 BPM, while the faster waver between 125 -135 BPM. They alternate so I have a run interval, followed by a walk interval cyclically until I’m finished. :)

I tend to zone out when I’m running or lifting – Slip into a state of hyperfocus that carries me through discomfort. Hey! I have a lot to think about and the rhythmic quality of my footsteps or the repetitive motion of the lift, plus the beat of my music makes it easier to sort stuff out in my ADHD mind.
(No, I’m not kidding. One of the side-effects of my MS is a very healthy dose of Attention Deficit. Medication does help, as does organization techniques and meditation, but insurance refuses to pay for the one medication that actually works for me… So the $500 per 30 pills means I have to spread it out. The last bottle I bought is nearing it’s expiration date, so that should tell you how few and far between I get to take it.)

Next, the Routine:

  • Monday – BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: ARM DAY – Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Chest Press:
        • Set 1 – 35 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 30 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 25 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Lat Pull Down
        • 3 Sets – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Bicep Curl
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Shoulder Press
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Seated Row
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Triceps Press
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Tuesday- BMR: 1650kc + Class Burn: 200-300kc + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc = 2000-2250kc:
    • Strength
      • Group Class When Possible – Usually Pound @ the Y :)
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 150-300kc:
      • 1-2 Miles Speed Training for 5K in December preferably outdoors
  • Wednesday- BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: LEG DAY- Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Leg Extension:
        • Set 1 – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 45 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 40 lbs, 10 Reps
      • Leg Curl
        • Set 1 – 60 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 55 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 50 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Thigh Adduction
        • 3 Sets – 55 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Thigh Abduction
        • Set 1 – 60 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 55 lbs, 15 Reps
        • Set 3 – 50 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Leg Press
        • Set 1 – 120 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 100 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 80 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Glute
        • 3 Sets – 15 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Calf Extensions
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Thursday- BMR: 1650kc + Class  Burn: 150-250kc + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc:
    • Flexibility
      • Group Class When Possible. Otherwise yoga app! :)
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 150-300kc:
      • 1-2 Miles Speed Training for 5K in December, preferably outdoors
  • Friday – BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: ARM DAY – Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Chest Press:
        • Set 1 – 35 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 30 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 25 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Lat Pull Down
        • 3 Sets – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Bicep Curl
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Shoulder Press
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Seated Row
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Triceps Press
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Saturday – BMR: 1650 + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc = 1800 – 1950kc:
    • Cardio – 1-2 Miles Walk, Hike, or Bike
  • Sunday – REST DAY – BMR: 1650 + Cardio: 100-200kc = 1750-1850kc:
    • Cardio – 1-2 Miles Walk or Hike

    ~•~

Only 35-40 more pounds to go. The end is in sight!
No. Defeat is not an option this time. It never was, really…  I just didn’t have the means before.
I remember telling an old friend that I truly believed anything was possible if I put my mind to it… But as I grew older, fatter, more worn, more tired — I just couldn’t. Now? I think I can again… and I’m not afraid — Not afraid to say “NO” and I’m not afraid to say “YES!” I’m not afraid of my opinions. I’m less afraid of repercussion. Less afraid of what you think. More confident. More able.

Everyday, I find pieces of 17-year-old Hollie, before the wreck, before hardship and disease, before adult life stood on her shoulders — and it feels good! (I mean, she’s the sauciest bitch I ever knew and if I’m gonna be trapped in here with anyone, lol, I’d want it to be that scrappy bit!)

~Hollie

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De-Escalation

Read This:

The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About

Consider This:

De-escalation. Why… Why do I do it?

Maybe it’s because of my high school boyfriend who, on many occasions, beat 16-year-old Hollie black & blue because he was emotionally immature, untreated bipolar, and I wouldn’t back down.

Or let’s point to the little shit who, while waiting for my cue backstage at my high school musical, proclaimed me “Fuckable”, then proceeded to grab my breast. (Yeah, I hit him hard enough that when he smacked into the set it shook the entire production… As I’m sure I was heard yelling at him “You little fuck! You made me miss my cue!”)

Maybe we can point to the guy that was older than my father who would come to my eatery counter several times a week to make lewd requests of me while waving a $1 bill around (as if a $1 tip was going to somehow make him appealing), then wait by my car to make more aggressive and horrific suggestions.

Perhaps it was my female boss at that same job, who told 18-year-old me that it was probably nothing and to ask my boyfriend if he’d come hang out there at close if I felt uncomfortable, rather than offer help.

Maybe it was a different boss who, in later years, dinged me on my annual review because I wasn’t friendly enough when he came into my office. (When asked if we would have this conversation if I were a man, I was told probably not.)

Maybe the countless men & boys who didn’t want to take no for an answer and either shamed me (because, of course, I “was lucky that they even noticed me.” Because I was “fat,” “ugly,” “stupid,” “obnoxious,” or some other thing that made me too undesirable to love.) or who forcefully took what they wanted in one way or another are to blame.

Maybe it was the counselor who, when I explained that sometimes I feel out of place or upset by the way I’m treated by others, told me that I needed to try to be gentler. More docile. More feminine. People would like me better if I metered myself.

Perhaps it’s the well-meaning lover who told me to be something I am not so that his friends would like me more.

Maybe it’s the jerks who wrote slurs and epithets about made-up sexual encounters in Orange Day-Glow paint all over my car in the middle of the night.

And so many more…

For whatever the reason, I did this for eons. But I find it disgusting, aggravating, annoying, and stupid. That I should fear retribution for speaking my mind like a man? This is acceptable?!

That I should fear degradation, pain, maybe even death for telling you what I think? Especially when a man can walk into the street and say exactly what’s on his mind with little more than a cursory glance – this is okay with you?

Apparently it is, because none of us bother to talk about it. None of you stop doing it. Nobody seems to do a damn thing to stop it… Including me.

Except that I DO try. I tell little girls that they are worth more than that. I point out the inequalities. I try, desperately, to teach them to be accepting up to the point of where they might compromise themselves… I tell other women about the fantastic things they’ve done. I try to hold them up rather than tear them down, even though my background, upbringing, and even some role models would do the opposite. I try so hard to elevate the experience for them, for me… Because it’s my responsibility as a human being to elevate my situation and that of my children… And sometimes, I succeed in making them feel empowered. Helping them feel as if they have a say in how their life ends up. To eschew the marginalization and the general fear, uncertainty, and pain of it all…

But I often feel like a hypocrite. How can I tell these children the world is something it is not? How can I make the world bend to them rather than they bend to it? How can I do any of this if I compromise myself on a moment-by-moment basis each and every day? How can I stand up and tell them to be proud of who they happen to be and know that I altered my body by losing weight – sometimes in a very unhealthy fashion NOT because of health problems. (Even though I agree with people who state I am staving them off by losing all this weight verbally, internally I reserve that I HAVE NO PHYSICAL ISSUES FROM BEING FAT! What I have won’t be cured by losing weight.) Not because of joint aches, heart issues, diabetes, or any of the myriad problems associated with it and that I have none of… No. I did it to be pretty. To be accepted. To not be a “fat lady” joke anymore. To not be disrespected.

And why admire me for this?! I have done a million things more admirable than lose weight! I’ve done so many things deserving of compliments more than the size of my ass, the thinness of my neck, the cut of my clothes. (Not that I hate the compliments — Quite the contrary, I love the positive attention — But there’s more to me. So much more.)

  • There’s my 165 IQ that used to make me (jokingly) referred to by my first REAL boss as The Human Calculator and by friends (seriously) as The Psychic. (Not any more – MS has stolen so much from me :/) An IQ and upbringing that led me to start reading at the age of 2 1/2. Big words. Newspaper words.
  • Or maybe the fact that I was crushed in a car at the age of 18 and told I’d never walk without a walker or double canes ever again. That my left arm and hand were so badly damaged that I’d never use it properly again. The nerves, tore and stretched, would never allow me to open my fingers without using the other hand. That it would be impossible to carry a pregnancy full term, if to viability — YET I walk. I run. I dance. I play guitar. I sculpt. I carried TWINS almost full term.
  • That 9 years ago I suffered an MS attack so horrific, one of the best neurologists in the city believed I’d be crippled, mentally deficient, or both within weeks. That the damage would be so replete that I’d have to have constant assistance to exist… That the nerve damage would never repair because we all know nerves don’t regenerate… BUT THEY DID! I’m one of the lucky very few that regenerate, sometimes not fully and not like they were before … but it comes back and IT REGENERATES WITHOUT HOLES!

That I’ve recovered from Bankruptcy and again own my own home. That I lead a Girl Scout Troop that is, at times, admired for the wonderful things they do. That I find time to work out almost every day. That I volunteer my time to help others. More… More… More… Those things are admirable.

And none of them are about what I look like, the weight I’ve lost, the physical manifestation of my soul…

~H

Reflection on 2015

So, it’s New Year’s Eve — Another year older and another year wiser, right? We’ll see on that last bit. :) Still, the older part is definitely true.

MILESTONES:

Took the family on a 14-day trip across the eastern half of the country with stops in:

  • Washington D.C.
  • Columbus, OH
  • Parkersburg, WV
  • Chicago, IL

Where we traveled by:

  • Plane 3 Times
  • Subway More Times than I Care to Count
  • SUV 1 Time
  • Boat 2 Times
  • Cab Also More Times than I’d Like to count!
  • Passenger Train 1 Time

We experienced:

  • Union Station DC & Chicago
  • The Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History
  • The Smithsonian: National Air & Space Museum
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The Potomac from a D.U.K.W. where plans flew directly over out heads
  • An extremely painful Upside-down Flight Simulator
  • The Washington Monument but no ride to the top as it was closed for maintenance (bummer)
  • Indian Kabob Feast
  • Ford’s Theater & the home where Lincoln died
  • Hard Rock Cafe D.C.
  • The National Archives
  • The Magna Carta
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum D.C.
  • The White House
  • The Haunted Blennerhasset Hotel
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Days Inn, Downtown Chicago where Frances Bean was rumored to be conceived and I played my guitar deep into the night
  • Kumas Too the most brutal Hamburger Join EVER!!
  • The Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago
  • Manny’s Diner and their delicious Reuben
  • The Chicago Architectural Society Evening River Cruise
  • Chicago’s Field Museum the home of Sue the T-Rex
  • Navy Pier
  • A 150-foot Ferris Wheel
  • The Waveswinger, a permanent carny ride
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • UNO Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza
  • The John Hancock Building and their Tilt Attraction
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Willis Tower (formerly Sear’s Tower)
  • Giordano’s Pizzaria with the best deep dish in Chicago and fantastic fried mushrooms that reminded me of Grandma Ina’s morels!

My GS troop & I helped lead World Thinking Day and Daisy Lock-in activities for our Service Unit.

I have lost 80+ pounds since my birthday in March. I have gone down 4 dress sizes. Cleaned out my closet and discovered a new wardrobe of clothes I hadn’t worn in 6+ years.

My Print Plant was sold to a different company effective January 1. We were just notified on December 22. It was, to say the least, a little shocking… And yet not. I saw it coming some time ago, but still hoped the things they told us were true.

We ripped the deck off the back of the house and are prepping for a patio.

I performed in front of a large group while traveling- Me, My Guitar, a Terrible PA, lol! I didn’t get booed away! :)

We purchased a living room set, a new fridge, and a new stove.

We visited family and friends across the US.

We had our traditional Christmas Eve Seafood Boil and Present Opening.

The Fight is In Our Bones…

This is a recurring thought for me on an almost daily basis… And not just with my kids, but with everything: Please understand that I tried and I often persevered through challenges untold and hardships unnumbered, through a million shattered everythings, through heartbreak and confusion, through pain, all of this and so much more that I don’t even share just to be here for you, to do what needs to be done. Through the haze I have come and I pray that you will understand that it may not be perfect, but I’m here and I try and I MAKE SHIT HAPPEN. That my tribe, the people like me, we MAKE SHIT HAPPEN, through every wall erected, through every barrier placed, through every petty, insignificant, rule… we push on and WE MAKE SHIT HAPPEN. It won’t be perfect. It sometimes won’t even be good. But it’s better than if we hadn’t done it at all and it’s a good sight better than those making the rules and erecting those walls might have done.

I guess I simply wish the world was a little more understanding. A little kinder. A little more than I normally expect it to be. So I don’t have to fight so hard.So I don’t feel like I am constantly against those barriers, pushing and scratching. Because one day I won’t be able to fight.

There will come a time in the not so incredibly distant future when I will be barely able to stand, let alone charge at those walls. And I hope that there will be somebody like me to fight them for me. I hope that my legacy is that I have shown the world how to fight, how to stand — How to be that one pinpoint of light in the darkness. That one fist in the air.

Things will change and we all will have our great moments. Everyone is a star and we all garner our praise where we can get it…

But I hope that when I’m dead and gone the Tale of Hollie, My story and the memories of me, are strong enough to live on, spurring others onto something better than where they might have been. Even if it’s just in one small thought, a stray memory, one momentary pause, then all this might have been worth it.

Christmas Gifts from Mom & Dad

Christmas Gifts from Mom & Dad

Crazy Town In My Backyard: The Wounded Mother

 I’ve been dealing with a lot of bizarre behavior from outside the hive lately. A girl involved with me and my children has taken to lying, backstabbing, gossiping, throwing tantrums, and really exhibiting inappropriate behavior at almost every turn. If this was a child, you’d immediately wonder what’s happening at home to make her behave this way. But since this is a woman in her early 30s, it makes me question what didn’t happen at home to make her think this is normal behavior for an adult woman?

On the perfunctory, she seems ok. A little fake most times, but I assume her life isn’t exactly how she wants it, and dammit – Fake it until you make it! :) She’s smart enough — Not Mensa but not eating dirt, either. Sure her intelligence is a little on the lower end, but I think that’s from lack of exposure, not from inability.

Her clothes are always nice enough, her house seems ok. She is constantly on about the newest diet or exercise routine she has started and how well it’s working, though you can’t ever quite tell from how she looks what it’s doing for her. Again, I always assume it makes her feel good. She’s no beauty queen (who is really?) but she’s not a hag, either… Pretty average all the way around, really.

Yep, just your average, stay at home mom with both kids in elementary school and a day full of time to do what needs to be done or pick up a few babysitting jobs.

However, the inward, more intimate problems she faces are so complex and deep seeded, I tend to label it Borderline Personality Disorder. If you haven’t dealt with this disease from the outside, then you don’t realize that, like this woman, they want everyone to love them so much that they do all the shit that makes people want to run in the opposite direction. Every thing is always black and white, and most generally, the world is out to get them. Often feeling picked upon when there is no assault happening, they end up driving themselves crazy while they drive everyone away. And that is this woman — She is very insecure, clingy, needy, and accusatory. She lives her life under the assumption that all things either belong to her or they are out to get her. She lives in this constant state of fear that at any moment what she has is going to be taken away. This leaves her with a really dramatic life, full of battles that wage constantly unbeknownst to those she’s battling against. Passionate friendships and love affairs that are, eventually, ripped away from her by the demons in her head and the unending need to possess and control — and mostly if not completely without the knowledge of the supposed loves and friends she’s lost.

Because of these things and so many more, she is left having more problems than solutions:

  • She has a real problem with authority.
  • She has a real problem with not being in charge.
  • She has a real problem with anyone having more than she has.
  • She has a real problem with me!

Although this is pretty common in your standard primary and secondary schools, the proving ground for relationship interaction throughout most of your life. It’s not so common once you get past the age of about 20. Not to say I haven’t encountered it in adulthood before. There was a bizarre incident in college that ended up with a girl following me around campus, spinning lie after lie about her life and why she needed me to help support her emotionally. She was exhausting and selfish and all the things a good friend just really isn’t – at least not all the time ;)

She started calling me constantly, meeting me as I came out of class. She even got her unstable husband involved when I stopped paying as much attention to her. (He posted up horrible comments to a group of very angry young men in my name online — Posting up my phone number, address, email — the whole nine yards. Was horrendous and took me pleading with one of them who actually showed up to threaten me in person to help me fix this spiteful bunch of crap. He was pretty apologetic when he showed me the posting he had been moved to respond to and realized I honestly knew nothing of this and was horrified that someone had done this to me.)

She kept calling me, off and on, and driving by my various homes until I moved out of divorce and got rid of a land line… and even now, nearly 15 years later, she stalks me online, sending friend requests and asking if I wanted to hang out via private messaging on various sites. I block, she pops up as a new permutation of her name. Just a ton of trouble that one.

So when I smelled a bit of the crazy on this new friend, I steered clear. Actually, I did whatever I could to stay out of her sight. I placated. I catered. I cowed. I shut down, turned off the emotion chip and just existed when she was around. It just wasn’t worth it to fight with her and certainly wasn’t worth what crazy provides when it’s angry, sad, or hurt. Avoidance was my best friend and I used her right up.

But eventually, I was the one she was after – gossiping about me behind my back, lying about me, distorting the facts about our interactions. I had suddenly become the villain in her passion play of martyrdom and self-pity and it was effecting my relationships with other people — Because what do you believe? The salacious tidbits from one mouth hungry, and loud, and needy  claiming to be your very best friend ever or the understated denials from another who understands that she’s dealing with a crazy person who would twist whatever she aid into a slight against her so she says very little?

Exactly.

So, there she is. Crazy even though I ignore her. Even though I’ve dispatched her from pretty much every facet of my life. Even though I avoid her like the plague. Crazy she is and crazy she will be until she finds a new person to single out — Then she’ll be crazy to them!

It”s Finally Here:

Youth! Edition #1
in blazing duotone!

Measuring 2.75″ x 4.25″, it may be diminutive in size, but not in our hearts ;)

FrontCover

Created for a design class, this edition features grown-up me sporting a few of the hairstyle I had as a kid. From Trendy and On-point to Failing and Gasp-worthy, all are represented here. Take a peek into my world as I am transformed by pen and ink into a teenage girl again… Or my hair is at the very least. :D

Printable Available Here, as a PDF. Just print on both sides of your page, then Fold & Cut like this… and it’s yours! OR you can PayPal InfamousMsH@gmail.com $2 for printing and shipping and I can send you your very own copy all made up as it should be! (Make sure to include your mailing address in the PayPal comments section :)   Personal remarks in the margins & signed copies are included upon request if extra is added in — I just love tips! :D )

 

>> UPDATE <<

NOW YOU CAN HAVE FUNNY HAIR, TOO!

sample

Download THIS. Fold and cut like the one above. Slice out the “Your Face Here” bits, and replace with pics of yourself and – BAMM! You’re a SUPERSTAR!! ;)

Thanks and have a fantastic day,
~Hollie

Reflection on 2014

2014

 

Basics:

  • Age: 36 – As old as Tinkerbell, who’s just God-awful old, according to Mae. (Long story, very silly…)
  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Favorite Food: Indeterminate
  • Favorite Activity: Playing Guitar and Singing
  • Favorite Book: Full Dark, No Stars (King) – Need to find a new one. Any suggestions? :D
  • Favorite Song: Too Many to Choose – Let’s Give a Shout Out to Dallas Frasca’s Better Without You, for now…

10 Highlights
Accomplishments. Best Memories.

  • Really Learning to Play Guitar
  • RockFest 2014
  • Taking Voice Lessons
  • Flowers Finished on my Upper Right Sleeve
  • Connecting with Other Leaders in the GS Circle
  • Favorite Memory: New Christmas Eve Traditions
  • World Thinking Day 2014
  • Helping Thing 1 Progress in School & Connecting More with My Girls
  • Pursuing New Treatment Routes – Some failed, Some Rocked
  • ~Private~

10 Disappointments
Failures. Missed Opportunities.

  • Fitness Debacle
  • Giving Up Voice Lessons
  • Relationship Failures
  • Hardest Thing This Year: Friendships Gone Awry
  • NLE
  • 365 Photo Challenge Falling to the Wayside
  • Putting Trust in the Wrong People
  • Not Knowing When to Give Up
  • Medication & Insurance Coverage Blues
  • Ripping My Abs Mid-summer

3 Game Changers
Unexpected Events that Changed Your Priorities.

  • Disney Trip
  • NLE
  • Nuvigil

3 Things You Focused On
What you Put Most of Your Time Into.

  • Girl Scouts / My Family
  • Study & Performance of Music
  • My Art / My Job

3 Things You Flubbed
Items forgotten or Didn’t Get Around To

  • Live Performance in Public
  • Completing the Ink on my Right Arm (Although, I did get about halfway there!)
  • Finishing THE BUILDING (dah dah dah DUMMMmmm) for yet another year :/ (It’s almost done though!)

Lessons Learned
How does this inform your plans for next year?

  • Be careful who you trust.
  • You WILL NEVER make 100% of the people happy. In fact there is a large faction of folks that WILL NEVER be happy, no matter what you do!
  • You don’t have to love your job to be successful at it.
  • When I remain engaged and vigilant, things tend to end up more positively than otherwise.
  • Sometimes things seem like a good idea at the time that end up being ridiculous later down the line.

Lot’s of things happened this year that, given the opportunity to go back and fix them, I would. However, knowing that regret is a nasty bedfellow and second chances are rare, I’ve decided to acknowledge those mistakes and to move forward with added knowledge, increased wisdom, a good attitude, and a generous heart.

2014 found me rediscovering my love of making music. I found that I really  love playing my guitar and have added to my collection by purchasing several new ones. (Yes, that brings the total to 5 – the original Fender Strat, 2 Les Paul Style, and a Hollow-body + a gorgeous Luna electric/acoustic.) It also found me taking voice lessons from a very talented instructor that I ended up squandering near the end and giving up due to financial hardship mid-way through the year.

I discovered that I really like being a GS leader and I like sharing all these great ideas with my troop. :) I also like being a part of the more encompassing areas of the GS model and hope that it continues.

I also discovered that sometimes new meds aren’t all that great for you… like Techfidera and it’s propensity to put on weight, make you lethargic, and just end up plain miserable… and some that are, like Nuvigil, which has made me feel like a real person again – when I can afford to take it. ($600 / month with no insurance coverage for it and no financial aid from the manufacturer at this point. That means I have to make a month supply last 3 or more… But the difference in my quality of life on the days I can take it make it all worth it.)

And finally I realized just how much I enjoy my children. We spent countless hours together this year making discoveries, cracking jokes, and being happy. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

Let’s hope next year will see me a happier, healthier specimen ready to conquer the world! ;D

Parenting: You’re Doing It Right? Pretty Much? Sorta?

Fake Fighting

Fake Fighting

When I grew up, things were vastly different than they are now. There was no parent to crusade for or against my teachers to ensure I was getting my value out of the education system… I simply made it work for me. There was no nagging to do homework or endless nudges to do my reading, I just did it. (I enjoyed doing it. I took pride in my work.) In fact, at about the same age as my children are now, I started watching myself before and after school, sometimes for hours. Walking to and from the school a mile+ away in whatever the weather doled out that day — Carrying my packs, projects, and supplies from point A to B the best I could.

Hop On Pop

Hop On Pop

Sure, I was one of a select few that went home to no one, but it suited me. It made it so that there was no question that I would be fine as I decided to take college credit courses while still in high school. It ensured that when I left home for my own apartment in college it really was the next natural step. It helped me be strong-willed, independent, and capable. By the time I graduated from high school, I understood most of the ins and outs… There wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I really tried — Just so long as I didn’t give up.

Will I be able to say the same thing for my children at that age? I fear the answer will be a resounding “no.” Too much judgement and too little real community support has left my children weaker an less self-assured than their potential might allow. Sure, sure, the community is quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong when it comes to child rearing…

Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom?

In fact, it’s so helpful, it will call family services and point it’s finger in your direction for the slightest infraction. But where is the village it supposedly takes to raise a child and not condemn it to the purgatory of bad ideas and little drive?

An older acquaintance was aghast that I would be leaving my children home alone after school for a maximum of 5 minutes as I was sometimes stuck in traffic. “How sad” she said when I, laughingly, told her they would be fine… That I was watching myself before and after school by this age.

How sad?! My response was simply that I found it more sad that most people my age didn’t have the opportunity to really try free fall, even in a limited capacity, before being pushed out of the nest as a so-called adult… And even sadder that most people my children’s age won’t even attempt leaving home for real until they are nearly 30 or older (some never really never leave the support system of their parents) and will have probably never really spent any time alone nor had the opportunity to really get to know nor even entertain or sooth themselves!

Pink & Blue

Pink & Blue?

I see people, even people close to me, who’s parents coddled and helicoptered them into a semi-naive, fairly sheltered state drowning in what often amount to unrealistic goals, little know-how to make them happen, and no tools to call upon when attempting to pursue them. Even as middle age looms behind them, they can’t quite find their way to self-sufficiency… THAT is sad.

So when I read articles like this, I shake my knowing head. I know that I’m as guilty as anyone of bowing to the expected, to the judgmental public, to the gentry, the government, and the rabble… To any opinion that seems valid at the time… but in the end are we doing what is right or just doing what is right now?

I mean, as the article says, I turned out pretty okay, right?

The Mixed Bag

Mixed Bag – The Family Out for Groceries

Mae & Miranda’s ALS Ice Bucket Kung Fu Challenge

The girls and I were challenged.

I knew it would happen eventually and they both knew what it was about, but our challenge came in bright and early Wednesday morning, the day both Mae & I were out sick. You see, our GS troop was challenged by my friend Jackie’s youngest. Mae and I thought long and hard about how we wanted this to go down.

First it was decided that anyone who still felt sick at the time of filming was to be left out for the moment. (That dropped me to the curb…) Then, I shot Mae the “badly dubbed Kung Fu” premise and she was sold. So it was on to them making signs so their intent was fairly clear, me filming each scene from multiple angles (cuz we were using the trusty iPhone), and then everything was handed over to mom for editing and dad for voice over.

Within 45 minutes, start to finish, we had one heck of an old-skool, Kung-fu style challenge video.

They in turn challenged me (is this a double challenge since I was ready challenged as part of the troop) & their grandmother. I promise to take care fo both challenges once I’m over this ick. :)


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