Monday, August 31, 2009

Sign in the Yard

There is a sign in my yard. Here we go. Ever since we moved into this house four years ago, we knew we would eventually move again for a little more space. I picked this house in haste as I was pregnant and ready for four bedrooms in a hurry. Our realtor says we are right on target. We owned our first house for 5 years, this house for 4 years but when we end up in our next house, I don't want to go anywhere for a long time (like 20 years!)

I have been working non-stop for the last month on getting this house ready for that sign in the yard. Many thoughts in my head. Mallory has watched too much tv, and I will be oh so glad when preschool starts up. I miss yoga, I need the destressing. I haven't been to yoga in at least 3 weeks. I wake up at 4 in the morning thinking about this house stuff. So many details, finances, keeping the house straight, where to hide jewelry, laptop, financial papers. (They are locked up now!) The house is as ready as it's going to be, I was going to try to do touch up paint in the 2 hours before we had a showing yesterday but George said no, thank goodness.

We have staged, we have cleaned, I have decluttered constantly, brought bags of donatables to Connections for Life, put a few plants inside and out, added pine straw outside, stored furniture and pictures, and painted. There is no wonder why I'm exhausted. This house looks better than it ever has AND Riley is learning to make her bed. I LOVE the look, less everywhere, clean lines, no junk anywhere (well, hidden very well.) Poor Mallory likes to make tents and hide under things, there is nothing to hide behind any more. Everything is up.

Now the wait begins, who will come and look, will it be sold in a timely?? manner. Do we know where we want to go? All of this makes me think at times, do I want to do this anyway? And in the end, I do but it is so much change and uncertainty. Living with uncertainty with grace. Selling your house is not a big deal in life compared to other more important things like health but I will be glad when it's done.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plus Size

I saw a story on the "Today Show" about this photo that was in Glamour magazine. There was a huge response from women who were congratulating the magazine over publishing a picture of a real woman. The model's name is Lizzie Miller and she is a size 12/14 and has a tummy. This is plus size. Don't get me started on that one. The average American woman is a size 14, but that is plus size. Aaarrrrggghhhh.

I also just read a story (I admit in People magazine) over another model who had anorexia, came to terms with it and began eating again and become a plus size model. She decided to stop starving herself and working out 8 hours a day. It described how she ate nothing but lettuce and water during the day and would get up in the night and "steal" a spoonful of peanut butter and then after realizing the fat she was taking in would try to spit it out and then go to bed hungry again!! What models have to do to stay that size is incredibly sad, demeaning and that is what our culture looks up to and puts on it's magazines and on top of that, there is airbrushing.

I just saw a few minutes of "The Devil Wears Prada" the other night. I am always drawn in when I come across it on cable. High fashion does seem so useless to me at first glance. To me, the movie tried to make sense of it, in that they spend bookoodles of money, time and energy on, just the right look for an issue. And then you end up with the cerulean blue sweater that the character Andy has on (I had to look up how to spell cerulean, because I'm not sure I was aware of that color before.) And in the end, I have to say it's all about art, people expressing there artistic talents and that ends up trickling down to what I the consumer can choose to buy. But what is sad is that they have women who are human coat hangers pouting down the runway, and are hungry. The models make a lot of money being that skinny and some fall trap to eating disorders, drugs, etc. to maintain that weight. And the crux of all of it is that THIS is what makes me feel bad about myself and my size. AND THE REAL POINT that I'm learning is that I'm letting it make me feel bad. There I got it!!!

(An ironic side note in that Meryl Streep the consumate actress who played in the movie, is a size 12/14 from what I gather from her remark in response to a reporter mentioning her 14 Oscar nominations and she retorted, "And I'm a size 14!") There was a bit in the movie about two being the new four and zero being the new two and that six was the new fourteen. That hurt, but once again, I let it hurt.

People magazine use to be my guilty pleasure but now I realize it may be doing more harm than good (and I'm getting tired of Kate Gosselin being on the cover, GO AWAY KATE!) It is just fun to look at the pictures and see what the celebs are up to. And a more redemptive reason is that I really do like their book, music, and movie reviews (can you smell rationalization!) Yet, after reading another article about once again another actress losing weight and this case it was Melissa Joan Hart, I had the thought, I need to stop reading this. Her beginning weight is my goal weight. And I need to STOP comparing myself to others, especially those whose living depends on how they look.

The most important aspect of all of this is that I want to model healthy body image, self image and eating habits to my daughters (and by that I mean, eating until I'm full and then stopping). They are going to be exposed to so much more media than I was as a young girl. I have to instill in them acceptance at any weight but the teenage years are hard. So kudos to Glamour for putting a "real woman" in the magazine, and I know it won't happen often but I will celebrate when they do. I also buy Dove products because of their campaigns showing real women. But the work to be done does not have to do with what is out there but on what is going on inside and that is what I have learned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

House, House, House

I have been working on the house everyday for three weeks?, a month, I'm not sure. It's looking good, but we still need more room. I'm going to put up some before and after pictures in the very near future.
I have a post I need to finish about the "plus size" model. I haven't been able to finish it but it's coming. Very impactful on the work I'm doing about weight and self image.
We are taking pictures today to put the house on the market, woo hoo!!! I have to get back to work.

Friday, August 14, 2009


You know, decluttering has become my favorite pastime. And it seems with a young family there is a perpetual need. At least, I have job security. Recently a long awaited for desire came true. I have always wanted a professional organizer to come to my house and help me transform it (he he he). I did have a person come to help me with my house, but she is a "stager." We are putting our house on the market and our realtor recommended Cindy to help us make the house look more buyer friendly. Our goal is curb appeal, minimalism, as well as colors to make the house look more spacious, depersonalization, and things like that. Who knew staging would make me want to stay in my house...(well they did tell me that it happens sometimes.)

I do still want to put my house on the market (although this is a LOT of work) but my house is looking so good that I have entertained once again how we could add on some more space. It just can't happen the way we need though. George wants bigger spaces in spots that are tight, like in our master bathroom and in the kitchen area where the refrigerator is in the wrong spot as well an extra room to put my treadmill (yes, I use it) and Mallory seems to want to sleep in her own room again. So we shall proceed, but I am so enjoying what has taken place so far. I have woken up giddy in the morning, thinking my house is getting in order.

The first day, she went through my kitchen and put everything that was "undesirable" on the granite island. (that is for any potential buyers - all counters are slab granite) It took me a week to clean off the island and find where to put necessary things in a hidden spot. The house feels so much cleaner, lighter. I wake up in a good mood because there is a freeness in the house. We have proceeded to: move and remove furniture, take down a ton of pictures, change curtains, shower curtains and rugs, add curtains, and go through playroom closet. And then my job is to then take care of all of that extra stuff that has been removed. I have gone through so many "spaces" in our house, the big spaces (entire rooms and closets) to the little spots, like under the bathroom counter cabinets, kitchen cabinets, mudroom closets, and drawers. It is very time consuming, but each thing gets me closer to my goals. The first being getting the house ready to show and two, having less stuff to move when the time comes.

I have realized I need goals. I can work hard but it is helpful for me to have a goal in sight. Knowing I am working toward the master plan of selling the house, and thinking a house that we might want is slipping away, I work harder. I learned this about myself with the mini-triathlon and it's good to be reminded about setting goals or having a specific motivating factor. I need it to get me going some times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Airport Drama

When we took our last vacation that involved flying, my husband thought I wasn't anxious enough when we were packing up and leaving the house to get to the airport in a timely manner. I was irritated at him, because I didn't want to feel or look anxious, I just wanted to use my yoga skills and be zen, calm and clearly think through all of the steps that must be taken and do them. Well...George showed me!!

We drove all the way to New Orleans, got to the off site, long term parking where George had made a reservation and thank goodness. There was one parking spot left and we had to wait while they found that one spot. Clock ticking. Timewise, I thought we were doing okay. All of the massive amounts of luggage we had were transported to the bus we caught to the airport. We arrive at curbside check-in. (Side note: This is when I learn that you now have to pay $15 for each piece of luggage that you check-in and more if you exceed luggage pieces per person, which we did.) In the middle of the outside check-in of our bags, the automatic alarm goes off that signals it's too late to check anymore bags. The attendant has to then go inside and figure out how to finish checking us. This takes at least 15 minutes or more and she has to print our boarding passes as well.

We make it through security SLOWLY, and mind you we have Grandma and a three year old with us, slowing us down. I decide that we need to visit the restroom for the three year old to empty her bladder. George goes on ahead. I'm still think we are doing okay timewise. As I'm taking care of business in the bathroom, my phone goes off, I see it's George and I can't get to it. I'm washing my hands and the phone is ringing again and it's George again. I'm picturing clenched teeth through the cell phone and I hear, "IF YOU WANT TO CATCH THIS PLANE, YOU BETTER START RUNNING!"

Off we go, anxious Riley in the lead running, me with rolling carry on and another bag trying to run, Mallory behind me and Grandma. Mallory begins to cry because I am leaving her, and Grandma who is kicking it at seventy-seven is doing her best to keep up. Riley is looking back at us and beseeching us to hurry up. Mallory is now wailing and decides to sit down on the floor. My yoga training is still kicking in because all I can do is laugh. I go back, grab her hand and walk more slowly, and she is crying the whole way. It takes what seems like FOREVER to get to our terminal. George is seething and fuming and wants to do me bodily harm. The ticket agent is anxious as well. I have never been the last person on board a plane, but we were the last and the gate door shut behind us. Grandma said it took her 45 minutes to let go of the tension. George fumed for about a half hour. I just thought, "Wow, that was a close one!"

On our return flight, we gave ourselves much more time to get to the airport and George got his wish and I was completely anxious, and un-zen like getting ready and throughout the whole return. Everything went smoothly though and we got back to our van at long term parking and our battery was...dead. We lucked out because there was no car parked in front of us (and it was still a full lot) and the driver was able to jump us off. Traveling with the whole family...gotta love a little airport drama and from now on, I must stay anxious the entire time! Screw yoga...

Friday, August 7, 2009

I loved John Hughes movies...

I love to look up movie information. Before I see a movie, I look at the critics reviews and I have learned to navigate by them. Even if it gets panned, I may still see it because of time and opportunity. I then accept that it might not be any good, lower my expectations and then go with it, and just enjoy being out and entertained for 2 hours without children which is a treat. I don't know what they said about John Hughes movies but in hindsight, they not only entertained me but there was just something about them that was special. (And who knew Anthony Michael Hall would grow so tall!!) I watched Sixteen Candles in the last year, and I was still so obsessed with Jake that I wanted to know what ever happened to him. He was so cute and I wanted him to be there waiting for me leaning on a Porsche after my sister's wedding and then sit with me on top of a table and listen to my birthday wish.

Mr. Hughes films just resonated with me. I took them for granted back then but when you watch Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller or others, twenty plus years later, they stand up to the test of time, and that's the sign of a really good movie. I wanted to get up and dance with Ducky in the record store to "Try a Little Tenderness." His movies had GOOD music, and I love music and sometimes I forget to enjoy it. The kids did that to me. (Well you know I did it to myself) Instead of trying to make them listen to my music, I needed to further educate, stimulate them, so I put children's music on and it killed me. Sucked my music loving self into deep recesses that I have begun pulling out again. Now when I put something on that I really like, Mallory & Riley scream for me to turn it down and Mallory says stop singing. That is why the little lady watches DVD's with headphones in the van ALL the time.

The movies that John Hughes wrote that I remember liking were Mr. Mom, the Breakfast Club, the Vacation movies (well the first one for sure), Some Kind of Wonderful, and She's Having A Baby and of course, the previously mentioned ones. I remember liking Mr. Mom back then but after catching it on cable recently and being a stay at home, it hit home in a more meaningful way. The letting oneself go, getting interested in mindless tv (reality shows about Housewives(?) do it for me now not "Young and the Restless") and the monotony of doing the same thing with blessed little loved ones day in and day out but really wanting to do it well. Loved it.

During this past year, I caught Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club on cable, I became engrossed in them and then hit my favorite movie website, IMDB to read more. I eventually got to the point of realizing that John Hughes had been involved in them and read his resume and said, "Wow". I then found the music from the movies that spoke to me on You Tube to experience this nostalgia a little bit longer. (I also discovered that the Jake character was born in Wilkes Barre, PA where George's dad grew up and Jake, aka Michael Schoeffling, allegedly now makes furniture.)

It is sad that Mr. Hughes passed away recently. I will turn on the music from Breakfast Club and let Riley watch one of the Beethoven movies that she enjoys. Thank you John Hughes. You struck a chord with this kid who grew up in the 80's. Thank you for the great writing, and the great music. Teen angst was never so intelligently and comically written.