Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Talk

I woke up yesterday morning and breathed a heavy sigh. I knew it had to happen. I would have to sit someone down and have "the talk."

I was fed up, tired of the crap, and needed to give this person a swift kick in the behind and tell her exactly what I thought of the situation at hand.

I didn't want to do it. I hate confrontation and I knew she would resist my approach, but I also knew it had to be done.

I had to be honest, harsh, brutal, and firm. I knew it would be hard... and it was.

Who is this person I had to have "the talk" with? Who had upset me so? Who was making me worry and fret and put me in this unhappy state?

I'm ashamed to say that it was me.

As I rolled out of bed, I could hear various pops and crackles and it just drove the nail further into the coffin. It sounded like my vertebrae were just knocking around in my body like large, loose, clanking marbles. But this was no fun game with colorful glass orbs. This was my life. This was my health. This was me knowing that I needed to firmly kick my own ass.

I started the conversation in my head, "Okay, muffin top, you and I simply have to part ways. I just can't have you around anymore. I love you, but you're hurting me and dragging me down. You're bad for me and I know it. I just can't ignore these feelings anymore. I need to move on. I need my life back."

You're going to think this is ridiculous, but as I silently gave myself "the talk," I had tears welling up in my eyes.

If you look at the picture of the muffins here, you will see what my belly looks and feels like. Overstuffed! Bursting out of the container.

I knew it was time. I could tell I was nearing my "time to do something" weight and a simple step onto the scale confirmed it. I was at top weight, my self-imposed limit, my doomsday. My body was rebelling, fighting me, and had been flipping me the bird for even suggesting we should get healthy again.

When I lost the 15 pounds after doing the Creative Bioscience challenge, I felt pretty good. Wow, what a difference 15 pounds can make. I now feel uncomfortable. My clothes don't fit. I don't want to move, and if and when I do too much moving, my back goes out like it did after vacation. I am weak and my body is vulnerable... to itself.

Why do I feel so shameful about it?

  • I know better, that's why.
  • I can do better, that's why.
  • I am better than this sloppy existence, that's why.

I used to be a Beachbody coach. Working out was a passion of mine. I inspired other people. I ran a workout group online. I felt like a superhero. Now, I just feel like the villain. A pizza and cheese fueled villain. Sigh. I feel guilty. I have let myself down.

I am reflecting deeply on why I haven't felt satisfied lately and it all boils down to two things. One, I'm not physically fit and therefore I feel sluggish in every aspect. And two, I'm not happy with my home health care job.

I could give you a list of 50 reasons why working out is good for me. One reason is that I don't have back problems when I work out. Why? Muscles support the skeletal system. If the support system isn't strong, neither am I. I wobble and clank around like an old empty freight car. I am carrying dead weight. I am rusting.

This winter has been rough. I haven't been able to go do my home health care job very much because of the weather. If it's too cold, she won't let me come because my car might break down and I'd be stranded in the cold. If it's too snowy, she won't let me come because I might get stuck. If it's too wet, the roads flood and I have trouble even getting there. Mostly, I agree with the logic and have not been wanting to take any chances. However, one of the things I do for her is to walk her dog, which gives him (and me) much needed exercise. No work. No dog walk.

My home terrain is not conducive to exercise. My road is one of the worst in the county and the last to clear of snow and ice and the rest of my walking path was snowed over or too icy or too muddy this past two months. I haven't been walking my dogs since - oh - fifteen pounds ago or so. I love walking out here in the spring, summer, and fall. But this winter, I hate it. I don't even want to go outside. I don't like temperatures under 60 and it's been far under that. I just want to curl up in a ball on the couch and hibernate.

Sure, I've used my hula hoop and done an occasional workout, but it wasn't until yesterday that I got serious with my lazy self. And boy, did I kick my own ass. I am soooo sore today. I did a whole RevAbs workout without missing a single exercise and I did it with weights. I woke up this morning and my whole body knew I had been in a fight. I think everything but my fingers, toes, and nose is sore.

But this time, I am winning, not the villain. So I did another workout today, a P90X Stretch one hour long workout. Tomorrow, I will work out again. And again. And again. And again. I will beat myself into submission.

I remember what it feels like to love working out. I want that feeling of love again.

I remember what it feels like to love my job. I want that feeling again.

Sure, I love the lady I take care of and she is "family." However, as I crouched on my hands and knees scrubbing dog poop out of her carpet last week and as I scrubbed her bed sheets where she had soiled them, I thought to myself, "This is my life." And I was sad.

I love writing, not cleaning poop. I'm forty-four years old. I'm smart. I can make a living writing. Why am I doing something I'm not passionate about? Both times I've taken the home health care job, it started as a favor, helping someone out. Somehow, it became life; a life I'm not passionate about.

I don't know exactly how I got here. All I know is that it's time to kick some Cindy ass. Join me?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! Now, Put Your Penis Away.

Ah, it's the day of love. And I, well... I could care less. I love my husband and he loves me and I am not the least bit insecure about that. He tells me every single day how much he loves me and makes me feel like a queen. End of story. No special day of love needed here, thank you. I am sooooo over worrying about that kind of crap. It's just another over-commercialized holiday for retailers to capitalize upon (said everyone, everywhere in a town with a Walmart).

So in lieu of goo-goo-ga-ga love posts, today, I'm going to tell you about some uninvited Twitter love.

I love social media. It's an important part of my writer platform. It's how I meet my fans, followers, friends, colleagues, and like-minded writer-type individuals. I've even embraced Twitter, to some degree, although the 140 word limit makes me cringe.

I have a system; a system which recently had to change because I was... I was... accosted by an unwanted penis.

When I get a new follower on Twitter, I receive an e-mail telling me so. It shows me their profile information and if I choose to, I can follow right from the link in the e-mail or I can investigate further and take a look-see into their full profile and read some Tweets, look at some interaction, and make sure they're not a spam account or just something I'm not interested in having in my feed for whatever reason. You Tweet about sports scores 100 times a day? I'm probably not going to follow. Sorry.

So, I get this "you have a new follower" e-mail and I glance at the profile. It says something about Jesus Freak, so I go to Twitter's site and pull up the full profile to give it a look-see and see if I want to follow, because you know... I love Jesus and all, but the freaks can get on my nerves. Let's face it, you don't want that in your face 24/7 either.

I'm reading some Tweets just kind of like doh-ti-doh-ti-doh and tra-la-la-la-la-ing about my normal business, when all of a sudden, I see it in my peripheral vision.

What the ???? Is that what I think it is?

If my computer had 3-D technology, I swear it would have put my eye out. PENIS!

I had to do a double-take. I was transfixed, out of sheer surprise penis-ing. I had no idea a Twitter background could be pornographic. I swear to God, I'm not lying. It just never occurred to me. I use it for fun, for business, for networking and cool or funny pictures, to connect with other writers, but certainly not porn.

Shouldn't there be a warning if there's going to be rated X material on the page? A disclaimer? A 'check here if you want to view strange penis' box?

Then, because I am who I am and because my mind works the way it does, I thought this:

Now, to be fair, it was a lovely penis... being held by an equally naked woman who was holding a coffee cup and using the penis as a creamer dispenser.

If I were into porn, which I am not, I'm sure I would have been delighted with my find. As it turned out, I  felt a tad bit violated, in an oooh, I've made a terrible mistake kind of way.

As I sat there thinking, "My eyes! My eyes!" and trying to figure out if I had done something wrong to arrive at this profile and what I should do about it, I realized something important. I love my husband and I have no interest in having anything to do with strange penis or unfamiliar naked people.

I blocked the account so I wouldn't accidentally go there again and I made myself consciously aware that Twitter has a whole universe of material I might not care to see and I need to be a little bit more keen to that in order to avoid getting some accidental eye-strange. Some people are into that kind of thing and that's fine for them. Go. Find your penis. Enjoy.

I, however, will stick with my one true love, my husband. And I'm totally happy with that. My perfect Valentine's Day morning? A cup of coffee with my mate and my Coffee-mate. Bliss.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm a Top Ten Firepole Marketing Contest Entry!

I placed in the top ten this time in the Firepole Marketing Ultimate Guides contest! Any likes, comments, RT's, shares, etc. on the article are much appreciated. You guys are what makes it possible for me to succeed and what makes me keep on going when I get tired of dealing with people.

How to Play Well with Others (Even if You Don’t Feel Like It): The Ultimate Guide to Why, When, and How to Deal With People

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Facebook Attacks, Do You Bite Back?

I love Facebook. I love it more than Twitter, more than LinkedIn, and more than corn. That said, there are good things and bad things about being a Facebooker. Facebookist? Facebabbler?

I try not to let a few bad apples spoil the bag of juicy goodness, but wow... sometimes, you just bite into a worm!

Here are a few highlights of the lowlights in my Facebook year:

If you've never eaten at Denny's Diner, you are missing out. It's good food, family atmosphere, and affordable. As an added bonus, you might get lucky enough to get the waitress with the blue glitter eye shadow who calls you "Sugar." It's open all night, so no matter what time your cravings hit, they're there for you, baby. They're there for you night and day, with pancakes.

I was thrilled to become a Brand Ambassador for Denny's in September '13 and excitedly cruised their Facebook feed to grab a link to help promote their BYO (Build Your Own) Omelette promotion. I thought it was awesome that they were doing something to fight hunger. What I found on their thread shocked me. Look at the comments!

I was truly appalled that people were not only against this promotion, but that the would come to Denny's page to slam them in the very thread promoting their charitable act. How dare these people slam my Denny's!

I felt sorry for Denny's and hated that they were attacked in this way. I bit my tongue and didn't say what was on my mind on the Facebook page, went to our local Denny's, and sampled the omelette. I was perfectly satisfied and happy. It was a good experience, just as I anticipated.

I just hope I didn't kill any innocent children by participating in the campaign. WTF, indeed! Since when do eggs kill children? I must have missed something on the evening news.

Denny's, don't worry. I've got your back, baby. I'll be back for some Moons Over My Hammy real soon, Sugar!

Not once, but twice in 2013, I became involved in doggie drama. Who knew raising dogs could be so much like raising kids? I thought I'd have to fight about my kids on Facebook, but no, it turns out that dogs are a hot-button issue.

On Mother's Day, my Great Pyrenees, Buddy, was shot in the head. It was literally a drive-by shooting. It was traumatizing because unbeknownst to the perpetrators, I was standing right outside and saw their truck. After ensuring my dog was indeed going to live, I did two things. 1) I called the police and filed a report. 2) I got on Facebook and put out an APB on the truck. My post was shared almost 300 times and a local dog related business with a Facebook page championed my cause.

Within 12 hours, thanks to a private message via Facebook, I had the name of the driver and in just 8 more, the teenage boys responsible came to my door to confess. They had their parents with them. I knew one of the boys. They were minors and had made a stupid mistake based on a dog fight I hadn't even known had taken place with my Buddy and a neighborhood dog.

Long story short, we worked it out ourselves and my husband and I decided not to press charges. The boys were severely punished by their parents and worked for my husband for free all summer, as much as he needed them.

We were at peace with the outcome and told the police we had taken care of the situation to our satisfaction. However, Facebook dog fanatics were furious! I finally asked the dog Facebook page I mentioned earlier to take down my post because people were getting so heated and hateful toward those boys and our decision not to press charges.

They were cursing, name-calling, threatening, saying these boys would kill a person if they'd do that to a dog, etc. It got to the point where I almost feared for the boys' lives. I didn't dare tell anyone their names for fear of what might happen to them. I had tried to explain to everyone that we had taken care of the situation satisfactorily and were happy with the result, but people were angry about our mercy. They wanted these boys to go to prison.

What happened to the days of handling things yourself? Why do we have this "make them pay" mentality? We did not want to ruin these boys' lives. We wanted to help them learn from their mistake. Where have we gone wrong in society? It felt very much like a lynch mob and I didn't like it, not one little bit. People honestly could not understand how we could be so forgiving and kind. They did not want us to love our fellow man. They wanted vengeance! They wanted blood. They could taste it. It left a sickening taste in my mouth.

I raise Great Pyrenees dogs and love to post pictures of them on Facebook and see pictures of others' Pyrs. I joined a couple of Facebook groups for Great Pyrenees lovers. I posted a picture of my beloved Maxi talking about how sad I would be to sell her (I'd never kept one of my pups that long before) and put up a post with pics of Buddy and Penny, the parents, talking about how much I love them also. I adore my Pyrs. They adore their Pyrs. What a perfect match, right?

My "baby" Buddy

Sweet baby Maxi

All it took was that one post about Maxi and the attack began. In the span of one post, I was labeled a backyard breeder and was being harassed by a couple of group members in the thread. They pelted me with accusatory questions. One in particular was very nasty and not shy about letting the world know. They misconstrued all sorts of things from the pictures I posted and twisted any response I provided to explain myself into an unrecognizable shape.

I am a reputable breeder. I do everything right and my dogs are not puppy mill dogs by any stretch of the imagination. If you know me, you know that. My dogs are registered purebreds and are meticulously cared for and raised in the best and most loving environment a dog could hope to find. They are like children to me. I was thinking about becoming a certified breeder with CKC and further improving my operation.

In just one post, the people in that group attacked me to the point that I no longer felt I had the drive to continue raising dogs. They took the wind out of my sails. They humiliated me, and for no good reason. They made me look like an awful person. They didn't even know one thing about me or my operation. Nothing. Yet, the phrase, "People like you," being directed at me was enough to show me I was not welcome in their elite group.

I contemplated about a hundred responses. I was angry. I was hurt. I wanted to fight them off with growling and teeth bared. Again, I was shocked at the senseless Facebook attack. I was being attacked this time. The knife had been inserted and it was painful. This wound would require surgery.

In the end, I decided it was best to just delete the "controversial" post, leave the group without responding to the comments, and continue living my life just as I had been before joining the group. I did just that, without a word, and never looked back.

I'm sure they think I tucked tail and ran like a scared pooch, but they are wrong. I simply chose not to bring more negativity and stress into my days. It wasn't worth it. It isn't worth it.

I chose not to bite back. Would you?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Call to Action! Fundraising for My Dog, Maxi's Surgery...

I put a widget on my blog and have set up a GoFundMe page for my 8 month old Great Pyrenees who was hit by a vehicle over Thanksgiving weekend and had a very expensive surgery a week ago. Any donations are greatly appreciated, even if you can't do much. Every drop helps fill the bucket! Even if you can't donate, please share the GoFundMe page with your own social media connections for me if you wouldn't mind. I really like GoFundMe and have donated to many causes, some complete strangers to me. So many great causes out there :) and my doggie is worthy - she is a sweetheart!

Help Maxi