Tis the Season – Meet the Family

For all the ways it could have gone, there were no fistfights, duels, or police presence so that’s saying something. Tell me you have similar fears when your family gets together. Humor me. I had a recurring dream of this very scenario, but what was most telling was the fact I washed my hands of the situation and didn’t engage. This boundary training is going semi-well.

Group photo. Many of these family members I have not seen in over 10 years or more. It was by sheer amazement so many were able to be here this Thanksgiving. Definitely owe it to my beautiful, inspiring Aunt Mary Catherine – she’s the ring leader.

It only took 16 tries

My siblings and I. Long story short, my brother and I haven’t had the most solid relationship and repair is difficult. However, this photo means so much to me.

buncha’ clowns

My sweet girls. These two have made my whole life complete. I treasure every minute they can spend together. Once Munchkin was able to wrap her mind around the truth she shares her name with her great great aunt, it got much easier! They even have the same birth month. Mind boggling, I know.

Piano sold separately

Lastly, this simple photo of Aunt Mary Catherine and I. She’s 92 years of joy with the heart and soul of a woman who mixes wisdom with the patience of a saint. I can only hope I am a small vision of her selflessness.

The saint and I

Overall, this family “reunion” of sorts was comforting to my mind. It can be so hard to juggle time with family, work, keeping in touch, etc etc etc – some things tend to fall away. I love hearing the stories and seeing the new faces. Much like the fitness industry, things change so quickly…yet everything stays the same. We all want to be heard, seen. And re-charging the batteries in my heart starts right here.

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I ask you –

Share the juiciest details of your family gatherings. Any shockers?!

What family member are you closest to?

Are you re-charged after family holidays? Or more in distress than ever? – it depends on the family, if you ask me!

When Life Goes Left – Harboring Disappointment in Others

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Offhand I can’t think how revenge will fit into one of my posts, but I’m sure it will somewhere at some point. The word harboring led me down a path to the above quote about revenge. You know, in those moments of exhaustion and disappointment in dealing with people you have no control over, i.e. parents, relatives, etc. In life we do so much to please others, to accommodate them and their feelings, but we end up losing sight of what matters to us. Cue the disappointment.

Similar situation: you’ve worked your behind off in the gym, counted every calorie, drank nothing but water day in and day out ye still don’t see the results you know you deserve. Disappointment and self doubt set it. “Why are you even doing this? It would be easier to give up. Who really cares anyway?” All lines of self doubt. My personal favorite: “That’s what you get, Kel.” Damage is done when this crosses your lips. It must be stopped long before reaching the point of no return. But how?

Pre-gaming a run with a huge bucket of popcorn = never disappointing

By letting go of your expectations. Granted, expectations are wonderful to have. We have them of ourselves and of everyone around us. They’re truly useful! Until they’re not. Until they eat away, leaving you devoid of hope and gratitude. Expectations can even leave you feeling disappointed in the expectation itself! Who’s idea was this anyway?! The holidays always find a way to suck the life out of me. Expectations run high – I must juggle mommy life with work life with relative life with happy life. It’s no secret: I don’t love the holidays. News flash: sometimes I don’t like them at all. Because, as a child, they were a constant source of disappointment. Not like I didn’t get the toy I wanted for Christmas-type of disappointment. Much deeper. And as hard as I try to change the expectation each year, not being able to control how others impact my plans is tough.

When life takes you left, steer right. I was listening to this great podcast the other day (the name currently escapes me…standby) and the host said something to the effect of “balance is bullsh*t”. I’m paraphrasing, but she really did use those words. There’s no such thing as balance?! Wait a minute. From the time you were a small child, a life of balance has been openly discussed. If I don’t have balance, then what do I have? You have an expectation of balance, but balance isn’t real. Unless it’s what keeps you from tipping over whilst standing on 1 foot. The ideal 50/50 is unobtainable. Something in your life will always hold tight to a part of you, be it parenthood, your job, your commitment to yourself, whatever it is. May I say this awakened the part of me that always felt shame for not having it together? If I don’t have this so-called balance crap, but there’s no expectation to have it anyway, why am I wasting my time worrying about it?

Now…I’m not.

Chai has my heart – mostly for its relaxing effects

Mantra: At any moment, I will be pulled into thousands of different directions. I will do my best to navigate what is best for me and the people who depend on me. I am not tethered to my own expectations or those of anyone else. I am free of the balance construct. I will tilt, bend, and list to both port and starboard, but I will not break. I may feel disappointment in others and, whether justified or not, I am allowed to feel this way.

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I ask you –

Is this psychology degree paying off or what?!

What is your most prevalent emotion?

Tell me what in your life sucks the soul from you.

Vaccinations / Frozen II / Thanksgiving

The past 2 weeks were a lot to talk about so I’ll get to the point:

I was inoculated against diseases. Yay bandaids. No photos, please.

First time movie experience with Munchkin – Frozen 2 for the win!

Elsa attire or bust

She dressed herself then had a lengthy conversation with Nanners.

My running buddy

Watched a Christmas Parade! Yay all the candy. My yay is silenced.

Photographer-in-training, i.e. me

There was Thanksgiving + family (post forthcoming) + a lengthy drive in many directions.

Holiday cheer in written form

There wasn’t a lot of running happening the week of Thanksgiving, but I managed to get in 2 fairly good runs. Saturday afternoon was a bust, so the 10 miler on Sunday was rough!

Hope you all had a great time, as well!

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I ask you –

What holiday(s) is/are your favorite?

Parades are so much fun, no matter your age – naysayers?

On average, how many cards do you mail a year? (not counting bills…people still do that, right?)

Abbreviated Day in Photos, part 482

Have you read the story of the person who changed their Roomba to curse when it bumps into things? That’s me! I’m the cursing Roomba! How do you think the gym gets clean? Fairies?!

The other day I mentioned a need for someone to follow me around and take notes of the great things I dream of when running. It’s mostly nonsense and can span the range of highly emotional to very inspirational. Any takers? Bring your own golf cart.

That time I fell into a washing machine (not really) but it’s very possible

Friends and family joke about the volume of calls I’ve made to local law enforcement on the drive. Seriously though, I see the most random s**t! The other night my own neighbor tried to run me off the road in his white challenger. If I hadn’t been too tired to fight back and also fearful he had a gun, I would’ve stopped and yelled. I’m only assuming it was a male, I really don’t know. Women must band together. But I would’ve yelled at her, too!

Here’s a few other random things:

Lucky Charms. Yes. The end.

Cereal and books – all a girl needs

Look at all these leaves! One day it was 75° and beautiful out. The next was 25° and wind gusts to 40mph. The aftermath –

Nevermind the sucker

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to you all. I will return next week with stories of family, humor, and, let’s hope not, violence. But have you met my family? Anything is possible. Please answer all collect calls.

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I ask you –

Is there a patent on the cursing Roomba or is there still room for me in that market?

What’s your favorite cereal? – Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch: my top 2

Where are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Any tips for keeping my sanity?

Weekend in Photos…random (wo)man

Had a date night with my little Munchkin over the weekend –

Braum’s – it’s a southern thing

The next morning, we longingly stared out the window because we knew it was our last day of warm weather for awhile –

How else will I rid my home of Halloween candy if she doesn’t have a ‘lollipop’ each day?

On Monday, a beautiful Veteran’s Day punctuated with snowflakes –

Photo captured the day before the snowflakes

Working from home was a whopping success minus the support desk tickets I’m constantly submitting because I have a horrible knack for programs requiring testing to malfunction mid-test and I can’t complete them. Ugh.

On the bright side, my Christmas decorations, tree, and lights are in place. You can bah humbug me all you want, but a) with Munchkin’s blended state lifestyle we make the most of every holiday and b) did you realize if we put up our Christmas extravaganza December 1st, then we only have approximately 4 full weekends to enjoy them? I’m not home much during the week so in order for me to experience the entire holiday season, I must start early!

Excuse the train off the tracks – typical of our lives aka a train wreck

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I ask you –

Weekend activities? Anything fun?

What are your thoughts on those who decorate early? (To be clear, I have never, NOT EVEN ONCE, been a proponent of this until I had a child.)

To please thank a Veteran.

What’s New?

Much like spring cleaning, join me on this exploration of old and new stuff I’ve located in my house (aka mind and body) in no particular order

Pixel-y and beautiful

Book writing: let’s add some more stuff to my fully-loaded proverbial plate and take on the project-in-progress of many years. I began writing a book the year between my undergrad and grad school. As life got more hectic, I put it away and haven’t revisited it since. No better time than the present! In developing myself as a person, a woman, a mom, I decided to begin writing again. There’s no EDC (estimated date of completion), but I plan to maximize effort after December’s training cycle comes to a close. Which brings me to another topic…

Training: is going well! Committing to a plan to run 4 days per week is definitely less stressful than the previous 5-6 days a week. Even knowing I have to run both days of a weekend is somehow easier to accept than I originally thought possible. On other plans, I would dread the weekends. I was a super b-word until I got my one long run in and I would feel like a complete failure if Monday came and it hadn’t been done. Now? I run Saturday and Sunday. It’s a normal part of conversation. The schedule pretty much runs itself (puns for life). I aim for outdoor running – occasionally I can’t make it happen, but usually I’m successful. The only pitfall was the length of the runs. With some slight adjustments, I’m back on the track to success.

First double digit run went smoothly!

Motherhood: Some days I amaze myself at what I’m able to show her – my patience knows no bounds. Other days we each need a time out and I consider adding wine to my coffee cup. Your shaming has no place here. As a smaller version of myself, mini-me can push every button I have and create ones I didn’t even know were there. And then she smiles. If she wasn’t so cute… Being her mom is the greatest blessing of my life. Nothing compares. At times I don’t know who I was before her, then I feel a tingle in my heart and I know she and I were created to meet.

We drink coffee together. It’s half caff. Shut it.

Lastly, work: busy is an understatement. Building a brand, a vision, and melding the minds of multiple people is a job not for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming. But creating connections between people with the same goals is awe-inspiring. Daily (seriously, not a day goes by) I encounter people who share their stories with me, a stranger. Some are wilder than others; many settle heavily in my soul. It could be a story of perseverance or a synopsis of loss – collectively, it makes an impact. My goal is to bring out the best in these warriors who have come to me looking for someone to help make a difference in themselves. Every task brings us closer. Anytime Fitness fulfilled a passion within me; I can’t imagine not being the face of another’s desire to do so. Also, I got a green light to begin training. Training others, specifically. It’s a natural progression in my line of work while also adding a few tons to my already heavy plate. However, I’m stoked to begin this path again.

Stay tuned for another episode of Kel’s Crazy Life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Always,

Kel

A Muse Amused

Recently it came to my attention the term “self care” is millennial in origin. Forgive me, I had no idea. I don’t really identify as millennial although I’m sure many would argue my point. You see, as a child of the mid-80s, growing up with older parents lent me a perspective of drive and self-sufficiency. Also, I was a middle child. It was hard! Millennial, aka Gen Y, alludes to traits of entitlement and laziness. Most certainly I am not. But, to be fair, I can’t change what year I was born or what catchy name it will be given so here we are. Written from the desk of a Millennial. You’re welcome.

I shall anoint an area of stress free zonage

The topic here is self care which can mean something different for everyone. Your idea of self care might be a glass of whiskey and a guitar (here’s looking at you, Dan). My idea shifts between a cup of coffee and a 35,000 word count book. Or a bubble bath. Basic. At one point I was referred to as a close friend’s muse. We must’ve missed the mark because a muse would never be this funny! Or would they? I take relaxation very seriously. So seriously, in fact, I don’t even know when I have time for it so when it does happen, it’s a very real luxury. Parents, please raise your hands and glasses high.

Inspiration for others I may lack – but I do know we don’t take care of ourselves well. I write this from my laptop, with my desktop computer set at full volume so I don’t miss emails, whilst (trying out my English lingo) juggling the phone and making calls, beside an empty refillable water cup. Nailing it, Kel! Essentially, I’m over-multitasked, dehydrated, and potentially deaf. Let’s not forget I’m a perfect candidate for carpal tunnel. Fantastic.

My home coffee station is self care at its finest

Self care is unplugging and self-exploring. But who has time for that?! You best make time, that’s all I can say. The chance of you suffering from a stress-induced ailment is so high. If you won’t take care of yourself, who will? Is this that millennial notion to believe others will always take care of me, my every whim will be catered to, and my protective bubble shall save me from my own mistakes? Good try.

Even the muse must find her own muse. Or else suffer the wrath of becoming amused. Ta-da. An amused muse. In taking this to a fundamental level, I can only hope I bring inspiration to more than who simply find me annoying and long-winded. I come by it honestly, trust me. Looking for your own muse? Well, sorry, I’m already obligated to another. But I can find you a lovely candidate! Kidding, this isn’t a muse delivery service. However, obligations extend beyond providing another inspiration. The obligation should foremost be to yourself. Do as the millennials do: practice self-care. And amuse yourself.

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I ask you –

Do you have a muse? What inspires you about them?

Self care: take it or leave it?

Are you a Millennial?