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Oh, We Won't Give In

Monday, December 10, 2012

I think it's really, really easy, to just hang it all up this time of year.

It's dark. There are parties. Your routine is interrupted. People are shoving food at you. It's the holidays! The treats are limited edition. Emotions are amped up. Family is everywhere. Stress levels are through the roof.

It's just a piece of pie.

It's just a cocktail.

It's just a big ole holiday turkey.

It's just eggnog.

It's just potato latkes.

It's just a candy cane.

It's just sufganiyot.

It's just Christmas cookies.

It's just Chanukah gelt.

It's just it's just it's just it's just.

Ai yi yi, what are ya doin' to yourself??!?!?!?

No wonder January is a prime time for starting diets. It's not just that it's the start of a brand-new, fresh year. It's not just that it's the start of a quarter. It's that you're safely past the big ole skeery holidays.

Well, I got news for ya.

That Chanukah gelt?

They'll sell it next year. It's not even that tasty (it's kinda cheap milk chocolate).

That turkey?

You had it at Thanksgiving. And you can have it again in a week or a month. See, they sell turkey all year long. Shocking, eh?

Those potato latkes?

You can make 'em healthier by draining the hell out of 'em.

Those sufganiyot?

They're doughnuts! You can get something rather similar to 'em at Dunkin or Tim Horton's or Honey Dew or wherever ALL YEAR LONG.

This is not the be-all, end-all. You are not putting on layers of fat for the winter (don't you own any sweaters? Cripes, this time of year, doesn't everybody wear their really ugly Bill Cosby-inspired ones anyway?). You are not coming to the very end, where you are never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to have eggnog again.

Now, I love most of the aforementioned stuff. And I can get caught up in the lie that it is oh so special.

It's not.

But yanno what is?

Being together is.

This year, my folks are coming. And then in early January, I am going to them twice (my husband is coming with me the second time), as my mother is turning 80. I will see cousins I have not seen in quite a while (although I do see them on Facebook every day).

This is what is special. This interacting. These hugs. These smiles. These images, whether recorded by our cameras or our memories or both. THAT is what is special.

The rest of it is calories.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLISCIOUS 12/17/2012 8:53PM

    It's not going anywhere...the food that is. What a concept!

Great blog, JES.

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MS.ELENI 12/12/2012 9:35PM

    Happy holidays!

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LALMEIDA 12/10/2012 8:25PM

  Happy holidays!

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PICKIE98 12/10/2012 5:00PM

    SO true!! The last year I had everybody at my home, I had so much food. THEY all loved it because, of course, they are all bean poles, ,,,like 6'6 180 pounds!! Yup!! They eat like the stores will close tomorrow, too!!
One thing I did for myself was to put ALL OF THE FOOD IN THE BASEMENT. I have a very small home, but ten steps to go down to get that food made for lots of leftovers!

Comment edited on: 12/10/2012 5:01:21 PM

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OLIVIANIGHT 12/10/2012 3:02PM

    I don't know what most of those things are but I definitely agree with the principle! If my Grandma is still around at Christmas I'm going to focus on spending time with her. SO much more important than food.

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PHEBESS 12/10/2012 2:47PM


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SEXBOBOMB 12/10/2012 11:38AM

(Says the girl who jumped all over herself to order potato latkes when she found out they had them at the deli on Saturday. Mmm, potato latkes...)

Seriously, though, you're right. It's not about the damn latkes or cookies or cornbread stuffing. And while it's true that holiday celebrations are undeniably food-centric, just sitting at the table shouldn't mean you'll automatically have second, thirds or fourths.

(And even if it does, you're only really screwed if you don't bounce back. Bounce freaking back, people! If you say yes to more than you should this month, just accept that the weeks that follow will require you to work harder in the gym and/or cut back a little more than usual.)

So, hug your grandma, put up with your crazy MIL, enjoy the singularly unique wackiness of your particular and even dysfunctional families -- because you're right -- that is what's special about the holidays!

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CHEETARA79 12/10/2012 11:33AM

    "You don't have to eat the whole thing." That is my mantra. I agree, focus on socializing not on food. Eat the heavy, rich foods in moderation. Save your appetite for a home made treat rather than the Entenmanns cake that just came out of a box. It's the holidays. Make it special!

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SAINTBETH 12/10/2012 11:30AM

    So true! Happy Hannukah!

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Well, They Think They're so Cute When They Got You in That Condition

Monday, December 03, 2012

As much as I blather on about empowerment, the truth is, I am in the thick of low empowerment. And this comes from looking for work.

This is not my first rodeo, kids. Hell, it's not even the first time I've looked for employment since I starting SP, nearly 5 (yes) years ago. It is my ... drum roll ... third.

Egad, that's a lousy track record.

So I am casting about for some ideas as to how to minimize this time out/help to lay-off-proof the rest of my career. And I keep coming up with Web Design and Development. Now, God knows I am no visual artist. I really do stink at such things. And I have little patience for things like moving something over a tiny fraction of a millimeter. Pixels? Fuggeddaboutit!

But I have been doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work for quite a while, and I am thinking it's time I actually learned some theory from people who knew WTF they were talking about. I also know HTML, but I don't know it that well. Again, it would be good to learn it from masters, and to correct any bad habits I may have gotten myself into. Furthermore, of course, this is a skill set that is still wildly in demand.

Also, for every long-term unemployment stint I've ever been in, I have always gotten out of it through some form of education. It has happened enough times that I am thinking it's not so much of a coincidence any more.

As for weight loss, efforts have stalled. Things aren't bad, but they aren't great, either. Things could certainly be improved. What kills me is - and Mr. j and I were discussing this yesterday - is I have already plucked the low-hanging and middle-hanging fruit when it comes to weight loss.

Eight 8 ounce glasses/day? Try eleven.
Lift 10 pound weights? No, I lift 40. Every day.
Walk 30 minutes per day, three times per week? I walk 50 most days.
2000 calories? Try 1600 - 1800.
Low carb? Yes, and so much so that it threatens to give me a vasovagal response (that's fancy talk for me getting dizzy, a condition I have had for years. I am not anemic or anything like that; I'm just prone to fainting).
I have been on thyroid meds for decades, and my dosage level is closely monitored.

I know one thing I could do would be to become more careful again with weighing and measuring. But after that, truly, I'm not really seeing anything to do that I am willing to commit to. Calorie cycling? No, no, a thousand times, NO. Real people do not live like that, and the last thing I need is to be obsessing over food like that.

Truth of it is, I am not asking for advice in that area. Right now, I'm just venting.

I need some more empowerment in my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 12/3/2012 5:39PM

    Some of us luck into the perfect job - others take longer to find their passion and then find a job that fits it. (And the rest live lives of quiet desperation.)

So - if you think this is your passion, go for it!!!!! We spend nearly 1/3 of our adult lives at work - you might as well love it!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 12/3/2012 3:51PM

    I think you ought to write copy for web stories... these are funny and there's a lot of dull websites out there.


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PICKIE98 12/3/2012 3:26PM

    You already know what the answer is dear, push through that wall of indecision and make your landing on the planet design, no loss if you go elsewhere from there.

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MS.ELENI 12/3/2012 1:53PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 12/3/2012 12:31PM

    Hearing you Jes...right there with you re: the struggles over food. Does sound like the web design could be your niche...go for it!


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PYNETREE 12/3/2012 9:52AM


OK...You've vented, sounds like you know what to do, to get where you need to be.


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2BMYOWN 12/3/2012 8:03AM

    I dunno about you, but I think web design would be an awesome thing to get into. It's certainly in demand in a big way and I don't look to see that change any time soon, since it seems everything is becoming dependent upon the web, anymore. (sigh) Seems like that would definitely be a lay-off-proof kinda career field. But I can certainly identify with the lack of empowerment. There's something about not being able to find a job that makes you kinda feel like a worthless commodity to people, or at least that is what it did to me. All of my ideas withered to dust, pretty much, so I ended up going back to the nursing, since I could not find one other thing. If I had not had that as a fall-back, not sure what I would have done, other than lose my house and the shirt off my back. I'm thinking that further education is the way to go, but with being unemployed for six months, with no income coming in at all, it's not like I could afford to do even that, so I was stuck like chuck. Kinda makes you feel like nothing more than a passenger in your own life, in a way. People kept telling me all of the nice little inspirational phrases, like 'don't sweat it, don't worry, the universe will provide you with what you need." Well.....I dunno where that universe was 'cause it didn't seem the least bit interested in an old phart like me whatsoever. LOL As for the weight loss, I had to go back on the Medifast plan to get myself kickstarted again because even that seemed to fail me, too. Dunno why this stuff has to be so flippin' hard, but it is. I wish you all the success in the world, if I could send mojo vibes your way, I would certainly do that.

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    Venting's good. Feeling in control is good too. What does make you feel in control? Must be some good stuff? I hope so anyhow. You are certainly in control of my funny bone when you choose to exercise your creative writing muscles. Have I told you this week I lurve you for that?

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Voice Too Loud

Monday, November 26, 2012

I don't have an enormous amount of time to post today as I am, as they say, an hour late getting up. So now I'm chasing that hour all day long.

Except it's about two hours. Ewps.

Hey, I was dreaming that I was pals with Johnny Depp! It was an IMPORTANT dream.

Anyway, it was nothing untoward. We were just pals, going to some dinner that required a lot of stair-climbing. He was also impressed with my weight loss. ;) Wacky.

Anyway - reality time - the year is rapidly drawing to a slamming close. The air is different. It is wintry, yes, but things are itchy and dark and ... off. I've gotten, no lie, a good five phone calls today. Exactly one was job-related. Everything else was various weirdnesses. And, like I wrote above, I don't have the time. But I listen just the same, as I am told of the latest family hullabaloo, or about a proxy vote for some security that I forgot I owned, and I only own maybe 20 shares. Or the hang-up calls, always a personal fave. Whatevs.

In the meantime, it gets rough, yanno? I am getting to a time of year that I truly dislike. I do not celebrate Xmas and Chanukah, though lovely, was not a really big deal when I was a kid. The end of the year is filled with medical appointments that I'm getting in before the calendar closes, and oil burner service and a haircut and one last 5K.

And through it all, I am chasing that hour. Good thing I can run these days.

Enjoy The Who.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yeah. The dark days are tough. We don't celebrate either. Sometimes I wish I had a tradition and a family. Other times I am relieved. Don't want to wish my life away waiting for the return of the light. Or wish away the hour either.

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PHEBESS 11/27/2012 6:47PM

    OMG, don't you love dreams like that???? I'd waste an hour on Johnny Depp too!

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DDOORN 11/27/2012 1:13PM

    Ditto, re: this time of year being "rough." Am so "with" you in that department! I survived Black Friday, er...Buy Nothing Day. Now if we could just kill off the whole commercialism of this time of year...?!? Never was one who enjoyed queuing up with the masses...


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BESEVEN 11/26/2012 11:32PM

    Maybe it's the season. . .or the moon. . .or something. . .but the other night I had a dream I was hanging with George Clooney. So vivid. Sometimes you just really hate to wake up more than others.

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SEXBOBOMB 11/26/2012 6:55PM

    Funny, that, about Depp!

(Personally, I spent most of Saturday night hanging out in a hotel room with Daniel Craig. Waking up was such a drag!)

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MS.ELENI 11/26/2012 6:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PICKIE98 11/26/2012 4:38PM

    Some people have their priorities all out of whack!!
Let me get this straight: You are in a dream with John Depp, got him all to yourself in that dream, and your big disappointment for the day is a lost hour??? I will bet in that lost hour you did a lot of "stair-climbing"!!!!!!!!
I will give you that hour or two, if you dream it again tonight, let the thoughts flow right onto the blog page to share!! Now THAT is a block of time I will help you with,, Answer your phone, make your appointments,etc. i will even go to your family Chanakuh celebration to steer them clear of you if you want!!LOL!
We all know how those get-togethers are warm and fuzzy,, Norman Rockwell if you will...

Share Johnny with us!!

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DOLPHINSINGER72 11/26/2012 3:25PM

    Have a good day. I hope you catch up.

I love your background. That is a really cute dog. :)

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I'm On That Midnight Beat

Monday, November 19, 2012

I guess I kinda have to be. This is a short week. And of course that means cramming in as much as possible during the shortened time frame. Relax? What's that?!?! You silly people.

For someone who isn't working, I actually work pretty dang hard these days.

Part of it is actual work. I do some SEO work for a friend. I also spend time looking for work. I write. I blog (not the same thing - writing for me means fiction; blogging means commercial type stuff). I promote stuff, both my own and for more than one website. I have family stuff like everyone else does. Housework? Eh, when the mood strikes (which is rare) or things are dire and someone is coming over (now you're talkin').

And of course there's the myriad of diet-y, exercise-y things going on.

I am getting rather close to 5 years of doing this. Oy vey and lord a-mighty, that's an awfully long time. It is ... drumroll ... 1/10 of my life.

Ye gods.

I have been doing this long than I was in college. Longer than I was practicing law. Longer than I worked most jobs, I might add (no wonder I always seem to be looking for work).

It's a long, long time.

One thing that happened recently was that I transferred over my iTunes account from one computer to the other. And, in the process, I lost my old playlists, including the one for running and the one with all of my blog songs. But yanno something? I am totally cool with it. Wanna know why? 'Cause it is hurtling rapidly toward 5 years of this. 5! The playlists were getting long and unwieldy. And it was the kind of retentive behavior that, truly, I need to not do so much of. So I am glad to see them go. I re-create what I like. Other stuff, not so much.

It's a clean slate. And that means other things can fill that vacuum.

In the meantime, I hope the start of the holiday crunch isn't too difficult for most. Take it easy and enjoy Van Morrison.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAINTBETH 11/26/2012 10:49AM

    5 years is a long time. It must be working! We can do this.

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GUITARWOMAN 11/22/2012 1:10PM

    You can never lose your purchased iTunes music.

Whatever was in your playlists is also in your library on iTunes.

And in the iTunes servers somewhere in cyberspace.

But, what the heck, new playlists are good too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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DDOORN 11/22/2012 7:58AM

    Can't have too much Van Morrison...sure helps those five years fly by with a spring in one's step! Kudos to keepin' on, keepin' on Jes!

I just inherited my son's old iPhone 4 and am wading into the iTunes waters and playlists. My Sansa Clip has been so simple: just put good stuff on it, shuffle and GO!

Have a terrific Turkey Day! :-)


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WOLFKITTY 11/20/2012 10:20PM

    I've been thinking about my 5 years, too. Next January. It's amazing, but also seems a tiny bit unreal, so I'm obviously still getting used to it.

Actually, around the time that I first started here, I jokingly asked myself that cliched question, "So, where do I see myself in 5 years?" ;) Interesting to see the end of that, and yet the future stretching out before us. There really aren't very many real endings.

Have a good night!

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MS.ELENI 11/19/2012 12:14PM

    I thought it very interesting that you once practiced law. Learn more about you all the time. emoticon

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JOPAPGH 11/19/2012 10:46AM

    Bought this on vinyl when it first came out, but can't remember the last time I heard it. So much so that I didn't recognize your lyric reference, which is rare.

Congrats on 5 years of Sparking!! I took a break because Spark wasn't cutting it for me but I have dipped my toe back in and I'm starting to feel it again, but in a clean slate, simplified way. (To quote Drew Carey from "Whose Line is it Anyway": "The points are meaningless, like a Democrat in Texas.")

Enjoy your fresh start. Viva la Tabla Rasa!

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MAMISHELI53 11/19/2012 9:28AM

    You did a great job, girl! Maz'l tov! BTW, my daughter has two Bostons, one they bought, and one they adopted ( rescue). They are a stitch! i made a video of them, maybe you'll get a kick out of it - here's the link.

Keep up the great work! Que Dios te bendiga! (God bless you!)

Comment edited on: 11/19/2012 9:31:41 AM

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Not to Put Too Fine a Point on It

Monday, November 12, 2012

My personal life has been quiet lately, and I gotta say I'm grateful for that, as the outside world, between the hurricane and the election, has more than made up for that.

And now I'm ready for, hopefully, something else to happen.


The job search continues, but it is slow again. And that was before the election, so don't say it was due to the election's outcome. Instead, it just seems that things are slowing down. AGAIN.

Very annoying.

Also annoying to know that I went through 5 interviews last month and only 2 are still viable. And I have serious doubts about one of 'em. I am sure the figure is really 1 - I just haven't seen that absolute, final nail rammed into that coffin.


Onto sports.

Or, rather, the weight loss world.

In this area, there isn't a helluva lot to report, either. I continue to trade around the same five or so pounds. I continue to walk and lift weights (er, not at the same time). I shoveled snow last week. And so it goes.

And -- things are kinda dull.

But in a way that's good. For while it may feel routine, the truth of the matter is, life is routine because this IS my life. Daily walk? Check. Healthy food? Check. More water drinking than I'd prefer? Check that, too.

It's true, you lose enthusiasm. And that can lead you to backslide right into ugly, old behaviors. It's boring!

But the boring part, isn't that kinda what we're striving for, anyway? For things to feel normal? For when they feel normal, I think we feel less tempted by other stuff. I mean, why be tempted by uncomfortable things? And unhealthy behaviors, I've found, are pretty damned uncomfortable in the long run.

Have I convinced you yet? I sure hope so.

Now I gotta go convince myself. ;)

While walking. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 11/20/2012 10:13PM

    I confess that I came here first even though I was replying to your goodie because I love this song. ;)

Hugs! I like the tedium. It's comforting. It makes me think twice before driving through a fast food place - - It makes me notice how extra salty take out food is. It makes me miss exercise if I'm sidelined for some reason.

Yay for that kind of tedium. I'll take it over the headaches, lethargy, and back pain, oh and boredom from eating the same gross-y junk food.


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    OMG "The same old ugly behaviors." They are boring. That is for sure.

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DDOORN 11/12/2012 8:31PM

    The new normal...such a quiet challenge, isn't it? No bells & whistles, no fanfare, just plugging away and locking things down so that they are automatic.

Cheers to that and enjoying "quiet times"...gotta recharge so that we're ready for "interesting times"...! :-)


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PHEBESS 11/12/2012 4:16PM

    Routines keep us from backsliding - because the new routine becomes the new norm.

And job hunting slows down during holiday season - it's that last quarter of the year, businesses focus on accounting and partying, and then start a new fiscal year in January - should improve then. Not easy, I know, but true.

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MS.ELENI 11/12/2012 1:51PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JOPAPGH 11/12/2012 11:57AM

    Here's to the new normal, boring and all. Saw TMBG just a few years ago with my son, who is a rabid fan. Good time.

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SEXBOBOMB 11/12/2012 11:42AM

    I'm a TMBG fan as well -- less so of their current stuff, more of their older stuff.

Do you know about this?

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CHEETARA79 11/12/2012 11:38AM

    That song really brings me back. I was obsessed with that album when it came out. I saw TMBG live at WPI back in the late 90s!

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