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31 Days - Friday Five

In trying to compile a list of five things that could be helpful for rest and relaxation, I found myself with a lot of choices to narrow down. Because really – there are so many ways to rest, and they each work better for some people than others. So instead, I bring you five lists of things people do to relax. If you are drawing a blank, hopefully there’s something here that can spark your interest.

  1. I enjoy how this list includes making a to-do list as a way to relax. That’s so true for me – making a simple plan for when rest time is over helps me let it go until it’s the to-do list’s turn. I feel like the author of this piece understands me.
  2. If you are stuck in a rut, there is probably something on this list that you haven’t done (or at least, haven’t done in a while). It reads like a reminder of how to have fun.
  3. I like how sensory this list is. Focusing on sensory experiences is one of the primary ways I relax.
  4. Here are some ways to de-stress at work. While I’m not sure how relaxing it would be for my coworkers if I were to scream in the office, I’m sure there would be some cathartic effect for me. Hey guys – Forbes said. *snickers*
  5. And finally, here is my favorite list. These are ways people relax around the work. I personally can attest that smashing plates against walls relieve tension. It also lets your neighbors know what you’re capable of, if that’s of interest to you.

Hope you have enjoyed this week – the recap is coming up!

 

I am spending 31 days running wild.

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Friday Five2

Where do the weeks go? I’ve been reading and writing, and August is crazy, but now it’s September, so here we are. Hello! How have you all been?

Here are five things that have caught my attention/amused me/made me think:

  1. I read many good responses to the Nashville Statement (which I didn’t find as surprising, given the source, as others seemed to), this one being my favorite.
  2. What do you do when you are trapped in a bakery, held hostage by a hurricane? You make pan dulce, of course, for all the people who are going to be hungry afterwards. I love this story!
  3. I added to my to-read list. There are several on this list of non-fiction I’m interested in checking out.
  4. Lord of the Flies as an all-female remake…written by zero females? The people respond, and it’s hilarious.
  5. And because you need more absurd dog pictures in your life, here are dogs masquerading as people you may know.

Happy Friday!

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Dale Bigsby

Photo, squirrel name, and office window credits go to my coworker Jessica. Post title inspired by this Facebook group and NKOTB.

Meet Dale Bigsby. He is the squirrel that likes to hang out by Jessica’s office. Summer days at work are super busy, but not so busy that I can’t go across the hall on occasion to say hello to Dale. Or Tank to his friends. I still call him Dale. Sometimes Mr. Bigsby. We are merely work acquaintances, but I hope that by the end of the summer, we will be on nickname basis.

When I walked in this afternoon, he was in his usual repose position:

Dale Bigsby 2

Dale Bigsby is all of us in this Texas heat.

But he heard us talking about what a cute little one he was, and then he had to get up and check us out. Then he looked like he was about to chase a bird, but upon hearing our counsel (that he probably wouldn’t catch it because birds can fly and he cannot), he decided that continuing his busy schedule of lying down was a wiser course of action.

I feel like this squirrel understands me.

Stay tuned for updates on what I am certain will be a riveting adventure in our budding interspecies friendship.

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Friday Five2

Title reference – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Well, I did it. I turned 42, which really does feel like an answer to something. Getting through this year has felt like an accomplishment. I wonder if this is how every year from now on will be – more aches, less patience with the world and its ridiculous ways, more unlearning and relearning. It’s not so bad, I guess.

Last year at this time, I was freaking out over my blood pressure being high for the first time ever. This year, I am happy to report that it is back to normal (but my heart rate still runs high…because anxiety…working on it) and that my food and activity choices have had a lot to do with that. I have a number of pounds lost, which will make my doctor happy, but I’m happier about other things.

Today’s list is made of stories with which my 42-year-old self identifies.

  1. Addie Zierman’s Of Lent and Emptiness – On fasting/not fasting and Whole30, which I still refuse to try but if I were to try it, posts like this would be what would change my mind. Also, I weirdly miss fasting for Lent.
  2. Shawn Smucker’s On Seeing a Neighbor Hit Their Child, What Maile Did Right, and What I Would Do Differently – I’m mentioned Green Dot training fleetingly, but it is not fleeting in my mind. Scenarios like this go through my head all the time with questions of what would I do, whom would I call, how would I respond.
  3. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Our church is starting the second annual collection of books for our Book Bag Project. We give three or four books to graduates of a local preschool to encourage their love of reading. More and more, I am convinced that writers (and artists and musicians and etc.) have incredible power to unlock story and innovation and progress, and I want to be a part of that.
  4. Cat principles. This is basically a to-do list. Also…I remain resolute in my coffee consumption (just…shhh…).
  5. Sometimes, Ray Palmer is my spirit animal. Also, I love Legends of Tomorrow. And Flash. And even Arrow. And especially Supergirl (i.e., Cat Grant)And will always rewatch Smallville and will always, ALWAYS be angry at Season 4. Fandom squee for life.

Hello, 42. Happy to meet you.

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Friday Five2

I didn’t strike on International Women’s Day, because reasons and also because today begins a series of days off to celebrate my birth month. I am getting my hair chopped today and treating myself to my favorite shampoo that I never buy because it’s hella expensive. But happy birthday to me. And so today I thought I’d bring you places I love/will love and recommend that you check them out, too, as well as a couple of gems from International Women’s Day that I particularly enjoyed.

[These are all Denton-y or Denton adjacent. Sorry, folks who live afar.]

  1. Salon LaPage – Everyone here is awesome, but I especially love Meredith. I’m picky about hair, so once I found her, I pretty much followed her wherever she went.
  2. I’m so excited about trying Kimzey’s Coffee. I am a sucker for a cute coffee shop. There may be a post about it if I loooove it.
  3. There will be brunch at Abbey Inn on the square. I think I want steak and eggs benedict. Or maybe chicken and waffles with bacon pepper gravy. Or maybe I just go multiple times so that I don’t have to choose just one.
  4. Karen Gonzalez via The Mudroom – My Single Life or Why I Love Women’s Day.
  5. And some ridiculous levity from the Reductress – 4 Men Named Kyle Who Have No Idea There’s A Women’s Strike.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

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Friday Five2

March is my birth month, and you should know that I tend to be obnoxious about the celebration of me. So Fridays on the blog this month are going to be celebratory in nature. I want to highlight things that make me happy to be alive. This may look like, “Look at this awesome person and what they’ve accomplished and also buy all their things in rampant support of them.” Or it may look like, “I love this cause – please donate.” Or it may look like, “This is a simple way to brighten your day. Enjoy!” Or it may look like cute animals, because who doesn’t need more cute animals in their life?

Speaking of things you need in your life, that’s how we’ll get started:

  1. Today (March 3) is National Moscow Mule Day. Do with that what you will. Also, bring me one. But, you know, after 5:00. Because it’s impolite (i.e., against the rules) to drink at work.
  2. MISTY COPELAND HAS ANOTHER BOOK COMING OUT. First, a few words about her. She’s the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.  She calls people out, particularly those she works with, to hold them to the role model standard to which she holds herself. She has founded her own brand of dance wear, called Égal. I’ve already pre-ordered my own copy of her new book, but I recommend it and everything she does ever. It’s called Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You.
  3. Also, if you use Amazon, go ahead and use Amazon Smile. They donate a portion of every purchase to your charity of choice. If you need a charity of choice, I humbly recommend Christ the Servant Lutheran Church of Denton, Texas. 🙂
  4. Support my friend Emily’s GoFundMe for her surgery.
  5. The Float Spot – they stick you in a floaty pod with water and Epsom salts. I want to do this! I feel that water massage would kick traditional massage’s butt. If I do it, I’ll report back.

Happy my birth-month to all!

 

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2015 Year in Review

photo (11)This was a year of abundant expectations followed by abundant distractions. Looking back, there’s no way I could have planned the year I had, but I am satisfied with it in general.

From a numbers standpoint, I didn’t come close to meeting my reading and writing goals. I barely read half the number of books I intended to read, and I didn’t finish either of my works in progress. As usual, the extent to which I read was directly proportional to the extent to which I wrote. That’s something to work on next year.

However, I diversified my reading list quite a bit, which was the reading goal that I considered the most important. And although I didn’t set out to do so, I can see a marked improvement in my ability to make and attain reasonable small-range goals with my writing, which will help with the long-range goals eventually, so I’m happy about that.

My word for the year was fun. I learned five things about myself and fun this year.

  1. Fun is not something I can force. At the beginning of the year, I spent a lot of energy making lists about what I thought fun should look like, and apparently I forgot that I have a full-time job and that I am not independently wealthy, because the things on those lists definitely reached beyond my time and funding resources. Frustrated that I couldn’t make my lists happen by sheer force of will but unwilling to be thwarted, I became determined to find the fun in everything I did, no matter how mundane it seemed on the surface.

Y’all. Some things are boring, and they don’t magically become less boring just because I try to make them fun. In fact, trying to do so is the exact opposite of fun; it takes dull to a whole new level. Just as there are always going to be fools who don’t love me regardless of how utterly delightful I am, there are going to be things in life I need to do that aren’t going to be the best thing ever. And that’s okay. Not every experience has to be a barrel of monkeys.

  1. I don’t understand spontaneity. For me, it is a stealer of joy. I have the soul of a planner, and I embrace it. I revel in the anticipation of upcoming events. Even if it’s something as simple as a whole glorious Saturday spent at home, knowing that it’s coming makes my whole week better.

But then the call comes. 9:00 a.m., Saturday morning. “Hey, what are you up to? Want to get breakfast?”

Yes. Yes, I do. Breakfast is – hands down – the best food outing, and you are my beloved friend. Delicious meal + spending time with you = a double dose of my favorite things. Of course I want to get breakfast with you.

The problem is that, knowing I had the whole day to do it, I put off doing laundry until I had no clean clothes left, and I just finished hand-washing all my bras, because I didn’t have plans to go anywhere. So I will show up for breakfast in clothes from the least smelly pile, looking like a toddler dressed me and wearing the old jogging bra that is a size too small. And that last mound of laundry will stare at me, judging me, throughout the next week, because a sudden outing means that I no longer have time to finish it all.

Had you called on Thursday and made plans for Saturday brunch, I would not be in this predicament. I would have happily done a couple of loads of laundry Friday night, giddy with excitement about seeing you the next morning. I could have worn normal things to have breakfast with you and still finished all the work I wanted to finish.

I could have had it all.

Spontaneity not only robs me of the joy of looking forward to having plans with my friends, but also robs me of time needed to accomplish what I meant to do instead. I don’t understand what’s appealing about that, and a year of trying to understand has not cleared it up.

  1. I don’t think I’m in the minority on this subject. Many of my friends who claim to love being spontaneous do not actually behave accordingly. I call bullshit.

Early in the year, I made an effort to adjust to them. Just because I don’t like spontaneity doesn’t make them wrong. They can like what they like. And it didn’t seem fair to expect them to always do things my way. So for a couple of months, I intentionally pared down my schedule to the basics. I left as many weeknights free as possible, and I was able to free up almost all the weekends. If no one called me to do something during my free time, I picked something to do and texted someone to invite them. Worst case scenario – I would have a reading night if nothing came up.

The results? If I had followed these guidelines for six months instead of only two, I would have reached my reading goal this year.

I didn’t see any of my friends more often than I usually do. In fact, I spent a lot more money at coffee shops than normal, because when I stopped making real plans, I hardly ever saw anyone. I would go to the square just to be around people, which is out of character for me. It takes an extreme amount of solitude for me to get tired of it.

I have more fun when I make plans, and I don’t think that’s rare. I think most people feel more valued when their friends go to the trouble to set time aside for them.

  1. I have a harder time having fun when I’m alone in public. The only exception is spending the occasional afternoon reading at the coffee shop or wine bar, although I won’t actually be alone there for long. Strangers love to talk to me when I’m reading. They just can’t help themselves.

When I go to a movie, I want to go with a friend. If I’m going to sit still in the same place for that long, I want someone I know sitting beside me. I don’t always need to talk about the movie afterward, but I want to have the option to do so.

If I’m shopping for clothes, shoes, or books, I want someone I know to be in the store so that we can engage in immediate celebration when I find something I love. I have zero interest in delaying that particular gratification.

Grocery stores stress me out, but if go shopping with someone, my anxiety level is significantly lower. I sometimes don’t even have to remind myself not to hyperventilate.

Going to a party by myself? NOPE.

One concern I had at the first of the year was that I had become more reclusive, as evidenced by my spending more nights at home by myself. As I began to make more of an effort to go out, I discovered that it wasn’t my disposition that changed; it was my company. The people I used to go out with when they, too, were single are now spending their evenings at home with their families (which is healthy – I don’t begrudge them that). If I really want to go out more often, I just need to find more people.

  1. Not teaching this semester has been fun. Really fun. I thought I would miss it, but I haven’t missed it at all. I miss the paycheck but not the job. And now that I’ve joined the church choir and have taken up TV nights with Tammy, I’m not sure where I’d even find the time. I don’t feel that fond nostalgia you get when you are at peace with moving on but still enjoy the memories. The memory enjoyment phase may be on its way, but it hasn’t shown up yet.

This sheds a curious light on my plans to get a PhD. That’s a lot of money to spend on a degree if I would be earning it just to have it. I know that the value of an education extends far beyond getting a job, but there are less expensive ways to further my education. And if I am changing careers – if I really am done with teaching – and the new career doesn’t require the diploma, I’m not sure how badly I want it anymore. I also feel a little panicky at the thought of deciding to let it go, so I’m not ready yet. But letting it go for good is now a maybe that I haven’t considered before.

 

So that’s my year in review. How was your year?

 

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