Monday, December 20, 2010
Actually, lots of people do.
Yesterday was the last 5K of the year. It was, of course, holiday-themed so there were Santas and naughty elves a-plenty. Plus an Elvis Santa, a guy with a buncha reindeer, a gal dressed as a Christmas tree, a huge Nutcracker, a guy with a hat with a soft menorah on top and, of course, two guys with Santa hats, sneakers and Speedos (nuthin' else -- oh my).
I love this race. It's just so silly. And, because we were timed with chips behind the bibs, they were able to track everybody! There were a few spots where there were race people with laptops and they'd look up your number and call out your name and town if they could. I distinctly heard them mention Brighton. They may have mentioned my name but I was huffing and also hearing Queen on the iPod so, heh, helfino. At least I heard my city section mentioned. Go Gateway to the Galaxy (Brighton is the Gateway to the Galaxy, at least according to me, because Boston is the Hub of the Universe and Brighton is the Western section)!
Today I'm returning to the gym for the first time in over a week. My cold is gone, despite all that exercising out in the elements yesterday. I am made of sterner stuff than a cold.
What's in store for next year? I am, of course, starting to think of that. More to come later, but I've been trading out the same 6 or so pounds for the past 14 weeks. That's over 1/4 of the year. Ridiculous. That's gotta change. Next year will also bring more 5Ks. And, hopefully, better work/work for pay/no more dependence upon Unemployment (thank you for helping nudge Congress to pass the dang extension already).
I do know that I will be here. I just passed 90,000 freakin' fitness minutes, so I've gotta keep that going. I have so many because I've been here for going on three years. And I count EVERYTHING. And I know you will all come with me.
The chorus of this song is: "Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody left to do the crazy things we used to do before
Nobody left to run with anymore".
Monday, December 13, 2010
Ignore the first minute and a half of intros on the video.
I'll explain the reason for the song later. Right now, this blog is a call to arms.
No. Wait. Louder.
THIS BLOG IS A CALL TO ARMS.
NO. WAIT. LOUDER.
Dammit Spark! Why don't you have bolding??!??!?!
Anyway, this blog is a call to arms.
To what, you say?
Unemployment extensions are running out. I am one of millions of people who are affected. And, in all fairness, my husband is also affected and he has a job. I have two more weeks. Yes, the end of it all is the week of Christmas.
Now, I don't celebrate Christmas, so it's not fraught with meaning like it would be for many other people, but I can't help feeling it's all so terribly Dickensian. As Scrooge said, "Are there no prisons? No workhouses?"
Currently, there is a spending bill to continue the extensions, but it's bogged down because it's getting attached to continuing the Bush-era tax credits. While I don't love the tax credits, sorry, folks, I gotta think about my own interests here. And I'm not the only one! There's a lively Spark group called Laid Off and Staying Strong:
And they are, undoubtedly, only a surface scratching of laid off Sparkies. There are, I am sure, many, many more of us.
Unemployment is different from Welfare. Workers pay into it. I did. You did, or do. Your coworkers do. Your neighbors do. And it's intended to get us all back on our collective feet. But there is a disconnect, because there just aren't enough weeks of benefits. I have been out for a little over a year, and am running out of my second extension. Others have been out far longer. The economy is not picking itself up and dusting itself off fast enough. We still need Unemployment. Why? Aside from the obvious (to have $$!), let's see --
* to pay the mortgage and maintain a good credit rating and not become homeless
* to have discretionary income to stimulate the economy and help us all pull out of this recession
* to purchase exciting luxury items, like thyroid medication, bread and dental floss
* to keep local folk in business like the hairdresser, the fishmonger and the dude who delivers the papers
* to give to charity because, yes, there are plenty of folk who are worse off
* to maintain a sense of self-worth and dignity
You can write to Congress here:
And even if you're from outside the US, your support is still greatly appreciated. Because there's no other word for it -- this stinks. It absolutely and thoroughly and completely reeks. I hate being out of work. I work, actually, but it's for an equity share. I still depend on Unemployment to fuel my dreams and make it so that I can push along a startup company which, in the future, will hopefully start employing people. You know, becoming an engine for the economy and helping to prevent future recessions? Yeah, that.
And now, the song.
It's dedicated to someone here who is more of a political person than I am (most people are): QUEENOFTHEFOREST. Her real name is Mary. And what impresses me not only about her, but about Spark in general, is how we can all get together and really be a force to be reckoned with. Together, we can shape and change the world.
Because when it's time to get it together and tell Congress to give all of us unemployed folk a break, to stop punting this political football around so much that it no longer looks like a spheroid, to get off their duffs and get this passed before the holiday break and remember what it's like to not be so fortunate, to be wondering when savings will run out, to be contemplating how to play Bill Roulette and see what can be late this month, and to be thinking that being healthy isn't worth it because the food is so damned expensive --
then and then and then
Along come friends and supporters, Sparkies as champions.
Along comes Mary.
Along comes Kathy.
Along comes Don.
Along comes Maureen.
Along comes Donna.
Along comes Tracy.
Along comes Ebony.
Along comes Marit.
Along comes John.
Along comes Aurelia.
Along comes Eleni.
Along comes Jess.
Along comes Carol.
They all come, and all of those whose names I don't know, or I've forgotten, or I never knew. Because we are a force. We are a MOVEMENT, dammit.
This is a call to arms.
THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS.
And then along comes Mary
and then along comes YOU.
Monday, December 06, 2010
This song is in honor of a lot of things. First off, it's for Lab-Lover (do you not know her? She is TOTALLY fab), who was quoted in the Runners' World blog and I know she loves Bruuuuuuce so I had to.
Plus I actually used to work at Dictaphone. Weird to work for a place known well enough to be a part of pop culture, eh? But then they were sold to Nuance Communications and became yet another mass-produced-named entity, but at least an actual word is their name, unlike new companies throwing the -ly suffix or the word blue or whatever onto a normal word in order to make something not thought of but ....
Well, let's just say there's a reason why such a fake-o word wasn't thought up before. They tend to be butt ugly.
But there's also the whole idea (the song is "Blinded by the Light") of light. It is -- duh! -- December. The month with the 20-darkest days of the year, and another 11 of the 22 next-darkest days of the year (the other 11 of those are in January of course).
Light is hard to come by. It evades us. It hides behind snow clouds and snow storms. It slips away at 4:30 and doesn't return until morning when you're chilled and wrapping blankets over your head and hoping that the alarm was somehow not set correctly even though you checked it so instead of it really being 5 AM or 6 or whenever you're really supposed to be up, that it was magically changed by the alarm gremlins some time during the night and it's really 2 AM and you can sleep for another few hours and wait for -- you guessed it -- the light.
So we compensate. We light Chanukah candles. We put up Christmas lights. Kwanzaa has candles. We crank up full-spectrum lights. We try not to curse the darkness.
And details, details! I find they are swirling around me and raining down on my head. The upstairs bathroom sink is clogged. Unemployment is, yet, again, asking me to call in because they have screwed up my file. And I cannot call them until later this week. They are rather courteous people, but sorry, I really don't want to be talking to them every single freakin' week. I may or may not have an interview tomorrow -- the recruiter and I keep missing each other. The house is cluttered and I am noticing it more because we are inside more. Work is all over the place, with some deadlines looming large because half of the company is off to India for three weeks to deliver scholarly papers.
These are, on balance, not horrible things. The plumber has been called and will be here in 48 hours or so. We are not so bad off financially that the Unemployment check can't be delayed for a few days. The interview is fairly likely to happen, it's just a matter of connecting to the recruiter. The house has always been cluttered and I have to be zen about it and remember that most of that cannot be quickly fixed. The company will be fine over the holidays.
And on and on.
I'll get through this, and so will you.
We will light our candles. We will curse the darkness, too. And, either way, it'll still pass at its own pace, in its own way, much like many things.
I am dancing around the same five pounds, and have been for a while. Now, of course my body is well aware of when I weigh 200 versus when I weigh 199. What my body doesn't know is why that particular difference (as opposed to 201 versus 200) is so important to me. So I can be positive, and patient. Or less positive, and want it to hurry up and, assuming I do the same things either way, it will all pass at its own pace, in its own way.
Light the candle.
But cursing the darkness is, I admit, kinda fun, too.
Keep room in your life for both.
Monday, November 29, 2010
This song has so many bizarre non-title lyrics that it took me a while to figure out which one I wanted. Coulda also gone with, hmmm --
* Like a Llama or an Emu
* A Picasso or a Garfunkel
* Haven't you Always Wanted a Monkey?
So if you don't like the furniture lyric, feel free to grab any of the other three. Mix and match! Collect the whole set! Be the first on your block!
I'm supposed to be blogging here.
I'm in an odd mood. Well, more odd than usual. Cantcha tell???
So I am up a bit this week but it's not tragic and will be gone at some point or another. I am dancing around near getting back to Onederland but I'm not quite there yet. And Thursday morning, before eating anything, I actually saw 199.6 on the scale and all I could think of was, "Dang, now I gotta go have Thanksgiving!"
I have changed. A lot.
And you've all helped.
So if I had a million dollars, well, you know I'd buy you a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel). Huh?
Party on, Sparkies.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I firmly believe that a lot of us are here because of distorted self-images. We might have lied to ourselves about how good we thought we looked -- and did that for years -- and then suddenly, oops, we're huge!
That is what happened to me. I own a perfectly good full-length mirror, but it's in a different room and so it's very easy to avoid it. I would just look at the, heh, mirror in the bathroom, and I could only see my upper torso. While I saw my face was getting wider and wider and more distorted, I would tell myself, oh, it's not so bad. I'd ignore all other cues and signals, such as my own silhouette, or how I looked in reflected shop windows and the like.
Or you might see the opposite, where you think you're huge and unlovable but the truth is, it's not too awful and you deserve to be happy and healthy but you're just not seeing it.
We don't have to go into funhouses to distort our own selves, our own senses of self.
The truth can really be painful, I know. God knows, I know.
But it's got the benefit of being the truth going for it. Be kind, of course. This is not a license to trample on people.
But do tell them the truth.
And you'll find that you tell yourself the truth more often as well.
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