Cry Me A River.

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Apparently what separates a good surprise from a bad one is a river of tears, something I discovered quite by accident just now. I went to file my weekly unemployment claim and much like Old Mother Hubbard discovered, the cupboard was bare. There was no link to file a claim and then I saw it. In the balance column. $0.00. Three zeroes. No balance. No claim to file. No income. Nothing. No job. No prospects. The shit hitting the fan.

Bad surprise. Took my breath away. Like something breathtaking is good, having one’s breath taken away is quite the opposite. I was a little hung over. Had a good run to sweat it out. Came home and cracked a lemonade flavored coconut water…feeling good…progress.

Wham.

Is it going to be ok? I suppose so, eventually. Though I have no idea how that might be. I gotta believe. I gotta have faith.

And in the spirit of maintaining a positive attitude and outlook, I am giving myself permission to be sad, aggravated, frustrated, and pissed off today.

One day only.

And then I get right back to it and know that I am kicking tomorrow’s ass.

Sometimes you lose battles to win wars.

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Psst…Pass It On…

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As you try to find your stride with making the changes you want to make, I hope you find yourself exploring and trying things and learning about yourself in new ways.

I’m continuing to explore diet and recipes and all that good stuff. There is no shortage of recipes available on the interwebs, so I’ll make a point to keep passing along gems that I find, like this one.

These were absolutely delicious. I can see myself eating one before a morning run, or as more of a dessert, say, with mini chocolate chips added.

Five minutes is all it takes, 10 tops…though waiting for them to harden before cutting feels like an eternity.

Enjoy!

A Very Berry Haiku. Or Two.

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Ah, sweet blackberries.
Sneaking. Picking. Eating. Yum.
Fun times long gone by.

Blackberries remind me of my childhood so vividly, in a multi-dimensional way—when I think of blackberries, I think of my whole family, our family dynamics…I think of fun times and laughing…everyone’s personality captured in a seemingly simple act.

And now blackberries are more than a berry. They’re a symbol of times gone by. But they’re also a sign of things to come. A reminder of the cyclical nature of things that both surrounds us and that we are a part of at the same time.

As kids, my dad would load the three of us into the station wagon and shuttle us of to his top-secret blackberry patch. Somewhere by the side of a road in Braintree, a spot he knew from when he was a kid. Before we’d leave he’d needle my mom about getting the pie crust ready, and once we arrived we set out picking berries for a pie, eating at least as much as we picked, laughing and smiling, and feeling a little like outlaws, huddled in our own secret blackberry palace.  We’d pick and pick and eat and eat and pick some more and eat even more, and would go home dirty and scratched and having to pee and stuffed with berries but still hungry for the pie we’d urge my mom to bake.

My dad started suggesting to me, a few years back, that I get some thornless blackberry bushes recommended by his friend, Bill. Bill always delivered fresh produce from his garden to my parents’, garnering him the nickname “VegetaBill.” (Ba dum bum.) But anyway…VegetaBill knew his stuff so this year I bit the bullet and got six such plants, keeping four for myself and giving two to my dad. We’re optimistic about our crops, although there won’t be anything to pick this year. And it’s hard to believe next year might bear fruit but we’ll see on that.

In any case, we love our blackberries. My mom doesn’t bake pies anymore (she is an awesome baker but never liked making pies), but my sister bakes them for him on special occasions. I’ve never made a pie, so this recipe interested me, because it looked so easy and sounded so delicious. While the word “slump” may have negative connotations, when it comes to this dessert, it’s a surefire winner. I still haven’t decided whether it was better hot or cold, and I still can’t believe that I was able to let it simmer without peeking. I think going outside and stepping away from the pan was a good idea.

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Ah, sweet blackberries.
Tending new bushes with love.
Happiness soon to be picked.

And, on a note unrelated to this post but related to my life, and something worth considering, I give you the July calendar page that hangs at my parents’ house:

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It’s About You And You Alone. Well…But…

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I saw a link to this article on Facebook. And I could tell from the teaser that I wanted to look, but was I ever glad I did.

It was an infographic showing average ages and finish times for most common race distances (5K, 10K, 13.1, and 26.2). I discovered that I consistently run faster in the race distances I’ve run (no marathon for me) than the average, which is awesome because I am also substantially older than the average female runner!

Yippee!

If I had been slower, it would have given me a challenge. But I wasn’t. So I’m going to take a minute to enjoy how far I’ve come, and then get right back to my training tomorrow. I’m above average, and am thrilled about that. But now to motivate myself to achieve even more!

The moral of this story?

You can do it? Go!

Choose Wisely: How Do You Respond?

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I think, sometimes, and maybe even a lot of times, the natural tendency is to play victim. There are varying degrees of victimhood, from the overdramatic (those who think they were born with a target on their back, and they are the Universe’s favorite shot) to the subconsciously negative (nothing ever goes right), but in many of those cases, we find ourselves or others riding the wave of whatever it is that is affecting us. And right there, in that sentence, the problem is illustrated: we can ride the wave of what is affecting us, or WE CAN CHOOSE TO REACT DIFFERENTLY, AND CREATE AND RIDE A DIFFERENT WAVE!

If I could have a superpower, it might be the power of choice. It’s not always easy to reframe, reshape, and create new context for thoughts or impacts or events. But, when we do, we almost always create a swing from the negative to the positive.

The quote above was something I read yesterday, and I’ve been reflecting on it since. At first I thought, “Cool.” But then as I thought more about it, I thought “Why did I think this was cool? What does it really mean?”

I continued to think about it, subconsciously, passively, as it rolled lazily around in the recesses of my brain. And that led me to two primary thoughts:

1) It is really important to think about and process what we hear or read or see, but that thinking needs to be more of an exercise in mindfulness and growth v rumination and paralysis. (It’s important to expose ourselves to new thoughts and ideas, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.)

2) We have the power to choose how we respond to everything.

Those two realizations opened up my mind to this quote, and with it came my lesson in the words. (Bear in mind that I am different than you, I am a unique makeup of all my unique experiences and my unique makeup, and thus your response may be completely different, but no less “right” than mine.)

“The most precious thing in life is uncertainty.” Yes! Uncertainty about what will happen or what will be, that unpredictability, that’s what makes life exciting and interesting and precious. Self-knowledge, knowing that I can and will (try to) choose wisely in the face of what that uncertainty ultimately delivers gives me the confidence to know that whatever comes I will be ok, and that ok-ness is in my power. If we always knew, we’d always be bored, and that would become a different kind of negative cycle.

So embrace uncertainty, make the power of choice a superpower, take care of yourself in how you respond, and start living an interesting, exciting, and positive life! Go!

UPDATE

Just read this quote:

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Live limitless. Be possibility. Go. Now. Start!

You can do it!

Savory Oatmeal Strikes Again!

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I was hungry. (What’s new?). Didn’t have much in the house. (Whats new?). Wanted to eat healthy. (What’s new?) (See a pattern here?)

I also didn’t have many calories available to me, so what to do?

The easy answer would be something like cereal, which I had last night for dinner. Or eggs, which I had this morning for breakfast. Or oatmeal with blueberries, because they were in the house. But I really wanted dinner oatmeal. And so, in five minutes, I was eating a big delicious nutritious filling bowl of savory oats, done like this:

Microwaved 1/2 c of Quaker Quick Oats.
Warmed a half serving (61g) of Goya low sodium black beans with a little chipotle spice blend.
Stirred 1/8c of shredded Mexican cheese into the cooked oats.
Added the hot beans and mixed those in.
Topped it with a serving of Trader Joe’s salsa verde.

According to my pal, MyFitnessPal, that was a 265c dinner with 12g of protein. I’ll take it.

You have to start to get and gain positive momentum. So go. Start. Now.

And let this remind you of the power and value of choices, which we have at every turn. I could have gotten a takeout meatball sub, which I always love. Or a pizza. But I didn’t. And that might have tasted better, but I definitely wouldn’t have been happier than I am right now.

You get what I’m saying?

Go. And be good to yourself if you ever do choose the meatball sub!