Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “goals

Christmas Fail and Harry Potter Praise

So we didn’t get the tree. I wish I could say I was surprised. In a stunning group effort, my husband Chris did not get the addresses for people he wanted to mail cards to, and I didn’t even purchase the cards had we had somewhere to send them. We are not good at Christmasing, y’all.

There’s a lot more I want to say, but I’m still finding the line for how personal I want this blog to be. Instead, I’ll completely switch topics.

Any Harry Potter fans out there?

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve never been to Europe before, but I’m going next fall to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in West End. Or is it on West End? I would say I was seeing a play on Broadway, not in Broadway. Is is the same for West End in London? Somebody help me please.

Anyway, being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I am so excited to get to see it in person in London before they bring it to Broadway in 2018.

Does anyone remember when Michael Jackson died? I do because it was June 25th, the 5th anniversary of the day my boyfriend from freshman year of college died. I bring him up because I remember how upset I was when his This Is It tour was announced to be NOT coming to America.

At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around travelling to Europe for just a concert. Well, that tour never happened, and Michael currently tops my list of entertainers I regret not having had the chance to see perform live when I had the chance. Luther Vandross is a close second.

I know that ever had I purchased tickets to the concert, obviously I still wouldn’t have seen him. But just accepting the lost opportunity had an impact on me. I promised myself that if it were in my means, I would never miss another important (to me) culture event if I could help it.

That’s why I waited 15 hours in an online queue to get tickets to see the Harry Potter play.

Why did I bring up Harry Potter? Well, I’ve just finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

LEAVE NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS, and now a random picture to fill up some space you don’t accidentally read what I’ve got to say on the matter.

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That’s me and my friend Corey, both very liquored up, at my favorite NYC jazz club: Smalls Jazz Club.

Back to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Albus Severus Dumbledore is such a fuck up.

And Voldemort plus Bellatrix?? Ew. And her husband was fine with it? Double ew.

And all those magical effects? I can tell you there won’t be many high school play productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. *smirks*

The people who said it was hard to follow because it was a stage play? Bullshit, y’all folks don’t have imagination. Almost every set was one from the books (and movies), use your imagination, or if you don’t have enough of that, use your memory! You know what Godric’s Hollow looks like. You know what the edge of the Forbidden Forest looks like. You know what Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom looks like. Come on y’all.

The British are bracingly realistic. The resolution of the relationship between Harry and Albus (both of them, come to think of it), was so messy. Messy, messy, messy. Just like real life. I suppose that’s why so many people, myself included, deeply love these characters. They’re so freaking real.

I’m so excited to see this play. Reading through all the books in a row has perfectly prepped me for watching all the movies in a row. Then it’ll be back to the books, likely next summer, before I go see that play.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them SIDENOTE.

Yoooooooooooo! When they revealed Grindelwald, I was like whaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?

I’m so excited about the actor they’ve cast for Grindelwald. I’m really pleased with the choice. Because of Pottermore, my perception of Grindelwald is a flamboyant genius, whose charm belies his true intentions, and they’ve chosen perfectly to fit my vision of him.

Knowing that this story ends in 1945, presumably with the big duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, well, I’m so excited for, let’s say 8 years from now, when they finally put out the fifth movie. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll do a movie a year, but I just don’t think that’s very likely. It took 10 years to put out 8 movies for the regular series, and those characters only aged 6-7 years (depending on their birth date). These characters are covering 20-ish years. Oh the possibilities…

Harry Potter is a wonderful distraction from everyday life.

I’ve just acquired a 2009 edition of Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them. If you’re up your Harry Potter canon, you know this version of the book (originally published in 2001) is no longer canon. They have recently released the screenplay, which is still not the correct version of the book, though it is with the movie series. The correct version of the Hogwarts textbook will be released in March of 2017.

Lots of chances to give J.K. Rowling all our money!

I’ll certainly be giving her mine. I’ll own the Kindle or physical copy of all her books, even the Pottermore books, which are just gathered assorted writings about the wizarding world. Let’s just be happy I haven’t gone off the deep end and purchased full blown Quidditch robes, lol.

Anyone who’s still reading care to share their favorite escape? Some other escape options for me include: Leverage (TV Series), The Sims 4, and all the DC Comics and Marvel Comics TV shows on Netflix, ABC and the CW.


When You Forget How To Enjoy Life

Do you ever forget how to enjoy life? I don’t mean sinking into a full depression where nothing holds the same joy. I’m referring more to when responsibilities and relationships and work and bills and politics and injustice take over most of your brain power, and you forget to make time for things that suddenly feel a bit trivial.

I wasn’t even sure what I was thinking or how to articulate it, but then Twitter came through for me. A write for The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo posted a piece today that targets a lot of what I’m feeling. If you’re not familiar with her, Google her, she’s got a lot of great things to say.

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Her piece today is called, “What I’m Doing To Get My Black Ass Ready For The Next 4 Years.” I read it and so much of it resonated with me. In it was a call to action, and a reminder for self-love. Seeking out community as well as allies is essential.

In case you don’t understand, the worry of the next four years is almost entirely about Trump. In just the two weeks since he was elected, the ugly underbelly of America has shown it’s ass. A lot of people aren’t sure how to respond.

Here’s what I’ve personally been doing:

  1. Putting my money where my mouth is. I make monthly contributions to Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood. I also have donated money on different fundraising sites to help different causes such as Get Rodricus Crawford Home! and Baton Rouge Legal Defense Fund. And I’ve taken out a subscription for Mother Jones, independent news outlets will likely be our only hope in the coming years.
  2. Adding my name to the roll. I’ve signed a number of online petitions, and I’ve made a number of phone calls to elected officials to make sure they know at least one additional person cares about what bills and policies they support.
  3. Reaffirming for myself what’s most important. I have to be in a position to protect and support those I care about. Making sure my priorities are in order a useful bit of self-care so I won’t have to make hard choices later.
  4. Maintaining my health and wellness. Continuing to try and live healthy and happy will keep my body and mind fortified for what’s coming. And I signed up for more volunteer work, it benefits me just like it benefits others.

When Trump is sworn in, will the sky fall? Maybe not for all of us, but definitely for some of us. In just the month of November, he’s both promised to indict Clinton and backed off from that. He’s promised to build the wall between USA and Mexico and later spent a lot of time talking about everything but. He’s completely full of crap in almost every way possible. The only thing he’s been clear on is his business interests and his need for constant praise.

Trump settled the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million and has an upcoming rape trial. A lot of that is too hard to even process for most people still in election shock. This is all just what’s happening now, while the executive branch is still in transition. No one knows what policy positions he’ll actually land on for anything.

We must remain vigilant because there is no telling what he will do.

I have a lot going on in my personal life, so focusing on both the big and small pictures will be hard for me. Worrying about myself and those closest with me will not always line up with worrying about the world around me. But I’m not going to stop trying to do both.

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I borrowed this image from Ijeoma Oluo’s article. It’s such a powerful image, and it strengthens my resolve every time I look at it.


Protected: Day One For The Second Time

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Let’s Do It Again

Anyone familiar with the Staple Singers? I love music from before and right around the time I was born (this song clearly being almost ten years before). Those people could put together an entire song without ever saying two complete sentences. Good job Curtis Mayfield.

This barely PG song was running through my mind as I was feeling like getting back on top of all the goals I’ve set for myself.

Today is the first day in a while I’ve felt better about work. Things are still up in the air about so many aspects of my department, but at least I’m getting used to it. Having a new boss, having different job duties, and having different employees was really a lot to take in all at once.

I’ve been reading a lot of great blog posts around about how to handle stress. It gave some great tips, but it also just reminded me to acknowledge the stress and not hermit crab myself until it passed. Almost as soon as I looked the stress right in the eye, it dissipated.

I’m still not crazy about things at work, but I have a whole new perspective.

Ah, who am I kidding. I feel better because I see a way out. When you fix one part of your life, the rest seems to feel less important. Our lease on the apartment I’ve come to hate is up June 30th.

Obviously, I’ll be turning Project UnPack into Project Downsize-and-RePack. Wish me luck. I really have no choice but to get shit done in the next couple months. If I tell myself that a few more times, perhaps I’ll really mean it.

Since I’m getting my projects back on task, I’ll take a look at being healthy again. My blog was judging me as Day 90 came and went for the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis. I really dropped the ball on that one.

If I start again (for the third time), I’ll start back at the beginning. I’m thinking I should. It was going well when I was making time for it no matter what and when I was utilizing MyFitnessPal.

A new friend I met through UBP13 named Danielle over at Motivating Mommy has invited me to friend her on the app/website. She’s my first friend on that site, so I’m looking forward to using that to get back into it. Can you tell I’m barely effective at utilizing social media?

So with Project RePack, starting over at Day 1 for Tracy Anderson, and finding a balance at work, I’ve got an awful lot on my plate. You know what always smooths things out for me? Shopping!

I don’t really have the expendable income to do a lot of shopping for myself, but I can do shopping for others. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays coming up soon. Today, I just purchased the birthday gift for our twin nieces. We’re getting them these adorable old school style lunch boxes. Want to see a sample of what they look like? Of course you do!

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

If you click the screenshot, it will take you to the Frecklebox website, and you can have a closer look.I purchased two already and the gifts are shipping soon my way customized for each girl. Even though it’s not for me, a bit of shopping really just rounds out my week and takes the edge off.

For clarity’s sake, this wasn’t sponsored at all. If it were, the picture would be better, the post more streamlined, and praise more effusive.

Aside from the shopping-when-I-have-no-money, who’s getting back on track with me? Being healthy, reducing stress, making your house apartment a home? Let’s do this!


Working On My Optimism

I’ve stepped behind the veil y’all. I see people in a different light than I used to. Which people you ask? I’m not talking about the husband, my friends, or my family. They’re all as crazy and lovable as ever. I’m talking about co-workers.

I’ve always described my office as a lovely place to work because everyone is so nice, good-looking, and smart. I like to have pretty and sense everywhere I look and I get that here at work. That makes life easier when you deal with death 12 hours a day, you know?

Since becoming supervisor, I’ve dealt with a lot of revealing facts. People who always seemed so nice are turning into ogres. Dealing with my own inadequacies as a supervisor hasn’t been easy either. I’m certain the person in particular I’m thinking of would also describe me as a monster. Neither of us are monsters; we just want what’s best from our perspective, and our perspectives don’t always line up.

It’s so unfortunate that you can never really replace office politics with warm fuzzy never-ending understanding. I think I’m waking up from my fatigue earlier in the week though because I’m feeling optimistic again. I feel like I have the support of my management and most of my staff. With that support, I feel like we can accomplish anything and make any compromise work.

I’ll probably feel the exact opposite this time next week.

It’s just hard to not get invested emotionally in the situations, you know? I want things to go well. I’m acutely feeling  how the decisions and compromises I make affect the morale and career of my staff. I feel anxiety when I think of it. It helps that no one’s entire career is in my hands. If I stay on the management track, I’ll clearly have to work on being alright with it. But that’s a problem for another day.

I don’t know where my career is going to take me, but I hope it takes me somewhere near where I am now. I like being involved in decisions big and small. I love being on hand to implement new processes. And I really like being in charge of giving what is most likely the fairest evaluations people will ever receive.

I’m all about the numbers and targets set. I don’t let my personal opinions shadow performance. I do let my observations of work color it. And nothing that shows up in my evaluations is news to the person being evaluated because we have monthly status meetings. If I’m ever in charge of developing an evaluation system, it will grow from the way my job does things now.

Now I feel like I’m talking about work too much. But I just wanted to get something down because I’m feeling pretty strongly about it. I love my job and I feel like I’m rising to the challenge of taking off the rose-colored glasses. At the very least, I’m soaking every moment up and trying to learn as much as possible.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn something real about being a supervisor. If I’m in charge of people, I will be damn good at it.


Get On With It

You ever have one of those moments where you feel like you should write a new blog post, but you don’t really feel like writing a blog post? I have recently found a cure for the blog writer’s block. It’s other people’s blogs.

If you are like me, you read a lot of blogs. My current ‘follow’ list has 63 blogs on it. This is a lot considering I purge my blog list every six weeks or so of blogs I find I no longer have an interest in reading. I’ve become quite attached to the blogs I read and people who write them. Most of them are personal blogs, with a few political, photography, and cooking blogs thrown in. Reading about the latest goings on in the lives of my fave blog writers has become a real part of my life.

There are times when I need more though. When that happens, I make my way over to the blog of one of you people who comment a lot on my blog. If you have responses for me, I know you respond to the other far more interesting things other people have to say. So I’ll go to a blog you read or recommend or comment on a lot. And every now and again, I strike gold.

Last night, my gold mine was a blog called Baby Kerf. I don’t read a ton of mommy/pregnancy blogs, but I love this one. And after reading a couple recent posts, I felt inspired. I felt like I should bring my butt back to my blog and write a post. I figured now was the time to just get on with what I’ve been avoiding talking about.

But before that, I want to talk about the husband. He was totally right about the long ass road trip to Virginia. It was an amazing weekend and we all had so much fun. I love his family so much, and spending time with them is just as high on my list of fun things to do as spending time with my family. I really feel blessed to have married into such a fun, warm, and caring clan. When I write my Fifty by 50 post about Virginia, I’ll explain exactly why I know I belong in this family. Two words: wine tasting.

Okay, I’m getting on with it. I’ve stopped working out. It wasn’t on purpose. First I was busy, then I was sleepy, then I felt stressed, then I was sick, then I was out-of-town. And before I knew it, two weeks had passed. I did so good from July 31st to September 14th, but it just went awry. It became easier to sleep and drink water and sleep and sulk and sleep and blow my nose than to hop around and do ridiculously angled leg exercises for an hour each day.

Even though I feel like a complete failure, I’m not out of it. I have learned a big ass lesson about balancing life’s priorities. Having this big wedding in Virginia to go along with the husband’s CD release party was just too much. I knew things would get this way before this part of September arrived, and I didn’t plan accordingly. The weather changed and I got sick. Things got busy, and I didn’t focus on getting enough sleep. Time got short, and I stopped making home-cooked meals.

One thing piled on the next and I let it happen. It was like a slow-moving car accident, which is never fun to witness or be a part of. So, I definitely won’t let this happen again. There will be many times in life that we will be busy and stressed and sick and sleepy. That doesn’t mean I can let my short-term goals fall apart because then my long-term goals won’t get reached.

There will be a two-week gap on my calendar. Luckily, the Tracy Anderson Method allows you to pick up where you left off without skipping anything. So I’m still on day 31-40, but I will finish it out and keep moving and keep on track. I don’t know if I’ve gained any weight back or not. Based on how my clothes fit, I haven’t gained any size back so far. I attribute that to my vigilance about my diet. I’ve been avoiding processed foods like the plague and not too many processed sugars or fried food.

Now that I’ve outed myself, and I can breathe a little easier. Yes, I faltered, but I’m picking myself back up again. I’ve learned a lot about how much my health means to me. I’ve learned about the best ways for the husband and I to handle stress. And I’ve learned that no matter what happens in the short-term, I can re-focus if I stay committed to my long-term goals.

Every day is a choice.

Every single day I have to remember to smile and exercise and drink water and sleep.

Every day.


Thirty Days Down, The Rest Of My Life To Go

Now that I’m past Day 30, I feel even better in terms of energy, mood, and self-image. When I look at my pictures from Day 1, Day 10, Day 20, and now Day 30, it’s really just amazing. In fact, I’ll post the old pictures

Aside from feeling amazing, the biggest notice is how my clothes fit. My largest clothes are becoming quite roomy. I figure by Day 60, I’ll have to get rid of some of my clothes because they will be too large. There are several items of clothing I haven’t been able to fit into for months that are starting to fit. I have a great pair of wide leg pants that button on the side. I can button them again, and I’m hoping to wear them in public in just 10 short days. They are perfect-for-fall pants after all.

The husband and I are going to a wedding in a couple weeks in Virginia for one of his cousins. God willing, I’ll be wearing this great dress I haven’t worn (or really fit well) since the day I met the husband. And I’m considering Halloween outfits that aren’t swamping my body. Halloween seems to be the time to run naked through the streets and claim you’re dressed as a “Sexy Bunny” or “Sexy Puppy” or “Slut #3.” Maybe I will just go as Slut #3. It will be hard to get me not to if I have any kind of lines on my tummy representing the start of a six pack.

Even when I feel like doing nothing and next to nothing, I still have energy. In that moment of doing nothing, I still know I could get up and do something, I’m not so pooped out that I have no choice but to lie down. The husband just started doing P90X (because he’s a crazy person). It’s been such a change in our house with both of us working out and making a more concerted effort to be healthy. When we’re working this hard, it makes everything else seem worth it somehow. Putting in work on the apartment, planning our schedules around work so we still have fun, and just hanging out and doing nothing is better. When you’ve worked up a sweat and can feel the burn, you feel like you’ve accomplished something that day. So just chilling and playing video games that night is nothing but fun and you feel no regret about it.

Taking care of my skin and my body has always been a priority, but when I’m working up a sweat 6 days a week, it’s even more important. I use lots of Mary Kay products on my face that include a toner, exfoliates, and has sunscreen. I use the Proactiv body wash. And Dove and Oil of Olay round out the pack for soaps, deodorant, and lotions. My hair isn’t an issue because I have locs. I can’t imagine how African-American women with hard to manage hair work out all the time. I guess those are the ponytail women. I honestly am glad my hair is locked so it’s not ever an issue.

I finished my Tracy Anderson food program after 30 calendar days. This was well before the 30th Metamorphosis Day. Since that time, I’ve just been trying to eat healthy (except for the evil ass cake week) and not overdoing it. The weight loss has continued, so I imagine I’m doing something right. I no longer eat anything canned or over-processed, and that has helped a lot. I eat a lot of lean meat, fresh fruits, fresh vegetable, and home-made baked goods. And now I’m basically following one of the P90X diet plans with the husband. The meal plan reads exactly like what we’ve been eating recently anyway. Each lunch includes lots of veggies either in soup or salad form with lean meat. Each dinner includes meat, some starch/health carb, one grain, and veggies. I think that even once we’re not taking their meal suggestions, it should be no problem to stick with this meal format, which isn’t too far from what I was eating on Tracy Anderson’s plan.

I’ve come up with some amazing recipes too. I made a citrus cilantro vinaigrette that doubled as a marinade for a chicken mixed greens salad we had for lunch the other day. More people would eat healthy everyday if I was cooking for them, trust me. Since I’ve had the baking bug recently, the house always has fresh cookies, or cake, or brownies to be found. They are definitely not low-fat, so we have to make sure we don’t overdo it. So far, except for the chocolate cake, it hasn’t been a problem. That chocolate cake is the first recipe I didn’t cut in half or into 1/3, so I can only blame the large volume of cake. The fact that it was still around after 5 days was trouble enough. When I cut a cookie recipe down and only make 8-10, it’s gone before we even get set to overdo it.

The last thing I want to say is that my calves feel and look amazing. I’ve always had thinner legs from the knee down, but now they look pretty shapely and strong. My skinny jeans are actually tight all the way down my leg now instead of just around the thighs and hips. Tracy Anderson wasn’t kidding when she said she’d give me an all-around more feminine shape.


Why Do I Always Want To Read Blogs On Monday?

As a general rule, most of the blogs I read don’t update on the weekend. Unless you’re posting everyday or posting ahead of time, there aren’t a ton of new posts to read. And yet, for some reason, I always get a hunkering to read your blogs on Monday. There is never more than 1 new blog post on about half the blogs, but not much more.

A true sign that I’m feeling bloggy is that I’m commenting on all the posts, adding feedback, even requesting future posts on related topics.

There are moments when I don’t feel like catching up on blogs. I know that when I only read the new posts for about half the blogs. That is, the ones I find most interesting. I think that the personal blogs are my favorites. Those people have things going on in their lives I want updates on, and I get quite excited when there’s a new post.

I don’t think there’s really a point to this post. Yes there is. The point is, write more!

When I’m catching up on blogs at work, I want to have more than 20 posts to read.

You know what I did Monday night when I ran out of blog posts (other than work of course)? I went to ESPN.com and went to the live draft lobby. I joined the first Fantasy league I saw. Yup, I spent time getting a fantasy football team.

I guess that means this season I will have two teams. The draft for the team I picked carefully is later. But I needed something to do on the internet other than shop, so I had a draft. This is my fifth year doing fantasy football. I look forward to it because it makes me feel pretty good. I’m usually the only chick in my league, and I”m usually in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place all season.

Since I rushed into this draft, I haven’t finished my pre-season research on the players, so who knows how my team will do this season. I’m just glad I don’t personally know anyone else in the league so I don’t suffer from trash talking.

I’m looking forward to my other team’s draft. I’m also looking forward to a season of Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Last season lineup changes, crossing my fingers for just one more touchdown, and reasoning bad choices. And of course October, when almost every sport I care about is playing all at once. My birthday month is truly the best month of the year.

Speaking of October, I’ve got to get on planning my birthday trip. My girls and I have been doing it big for our birthdays all year. One of my friend’s birthday is three days before mine, so we do our birthdays together every other year the last handful of years. This year, the plan is to go out-of-town. Not too far away, just somewhere in the Midwest. A nice grown-up weekend away. Maybe we’ll catch a live show, hit a museum. Just explore another city and drink lots of wine while we do it.

I like when I have things to look forward to. Won’t it be nice that I’ll have things to blog about other than my daily ramblings on my exercise/diet plan?


Making The Most of a Saturday

Both the husband and I are trying to be healthier. It’s making life a lot easier that he’s on board. When I make my own food, I just make a few variations to cook for him.

Making adjustments to our budget and diet are proving easier than I thought. It’s in the budget (and sort of in the diet) to have one container of ice cream in the freezer. It sucks to decide I’m finally ready to eat some ice cream only to realize the husband has eaten all of my fave flavor as well as his own. I don’t think he’s mastered the ice cream part of living together yet. At least most of the foods I need for my diet are things he won’t eat on a binge (read: pears, kale, etc.).

In addition to getting our food and money on track, we’ve been getting the husband’s music thing on track too. He’s been so worried about when, where, and how he is going to have his CD release party. He kept trying to push it back.

We looked at the money, the things that still need to be done and how much time we really need. It looks like we can get this done in 5 weeks. I’m so excited. In fact, today we’re going to try and finish his website so it’s fully operational. We’ve got some hours this afternoon to do it.

I look forward to days like this that are so productive. The perfect reward for getting so much done toward our goals will be hanging out with my girl tonight. I never have productive Saturdays, so I finally feel like a normal person.