Thursday, December 15, 2011

baby signs

I'm totally going to teach my baby sign language. Maybe I should teach Greg, too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

oh baby

I am so blessed and grateful that my pregnancy has been uneventful thus far. Besides some minor "ickies" like heartburn and difficulty feeling comfortable through a full night sleep, it is really a wonderful experience. All the tests keep coming back with good results and I feel completely at ease with the whole process. Of course, there are also enjoyable things like pregnancy dreams.

My wonky dreams have touched on different topics:

An entire dream about a waffle iron that was half flat, missing the lovely little waffle craters

Another entire dream about undercooked rice pilaf

One about Harry Connick, Jr. having a crush on me

In another one, a woman was re-insulating my attic. (In real life, she went to my elementary school when we were kids.) The attic was huge, much larger than the house's footprint, and there was a huge picture window that was rotting out and letting in tons of rain water despite it being sunny outside.

My most recent dream involved me spontaneously deciding to run a 10K without any training. All the while I was thinking, "this is probably not a good idea while pregnant," yet I kept running.

One hundred and fifty two days until my estimated due date. That's a whole lot of opportunity for a whole lot of wonky pregnancy dreams.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

get a job???

I must admit that I allow myself to get triggered by the averring of those people with jobs to the unemployed to "GET A JOB!" I'm not looking to complain or whine, but only to open some peoples' minds and possibly foster some empathy towards people that are struggling.

Here's my story:

I was not only working my last full time job for three years, but I was also working one day a week in a private therapy office renting space. Having purchased a home much further away from the full time job, I started searching for, and found, a job in the county that I reside. I did the right thing and put in my required four week notice at my full time job. Well at the three week mark, the new job offer was rescinded.

I requested to extend my resignation to give myself a cushion to continue job searching but the agency did not allow it. Fortunately, at the private group practice I was renting space at, the income was good. I continued my job search for a full time work but at least there was some income for me. Then that office I was renting was no longer available for rent.

I have continued my job search, started renting an independent therapy office, I have registered with two temp agencies, I am sending out copies of my resume to openings every week and even pounding the pavement for seasonal work. I have three college degrees and a solid work history. Does any of this sound lazy to you?

I still have no job. The temp agencies haven't had much. The private therapy practice is growing slowly but not yet covering the cost of my rent and additional insurance so I am not even breaking even. I am considered over-qualified for seasonal work that I am very willing to do. Then there is the fact that, though employers are not legally allowed to discriminate or be swayed against pregnant applicants, it's more difficult for a pregnant woman to get hired.

So, when you say or re-post those "Get a job" sentiments think first because it can be perceived as hurtful. Being unemployed and unable to find work to provide for your family despite trying is a difficult situation to handle. So please don't criticize and make assumptions about us. Are there lazy people in this world? Of course there are. Some of them are even employed and don't do squat while at their jobs, but I assume by your posts that they probably have value to you because they've got a job.

Get a job? I'm trying.

Monday, November 21, 2011

things that i don't understand

I just don't get:
The excitement of the Twilight movies.

Stealing from others.

Hatred of other religions.

Adopting an animal only to neglect or abuse it.

Not wanting to help others.

The appeal of sunbathing.

The Jerry Springer Show.

People that get upset over another person being vegetarian/vegan.

People that enjoy washing dishes.

Those that couldn't fall in love with a puppy.

Getting messy drunk.

People that don't enjoy the outdoors.

Going to the store on Black Friday.

Needing the newest/best/most technologically advanced products out there.

Not liking pumpkin desserts.

There are plenty more things I don't understand, but these are the ones that are on my mind right now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

when i conceived...

...I was still bringing in some regular income and I couldn't conceive of being broke. Now I'm job hunting while pregnant. Eek! What a scary place to be indeed. The good thing is, going scary places, whether a physical location or a situational one, helps us grow. When we stay in a place that is safe, we safely stay the same. That is not necessarily a bad thing if you like the person you have already become. But when life throws you a scary situation, revel in the fact that you will get through it and be better for the experience.

tut tut, It looks like rain

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Double dose of "dang, people are idiots."

Yes, this 22 year old,
while driving drunk and wearing this t-shirt,
Keeping it classy, I tell you.

not-so-extreme couponing

Clipity-clip-clip-clip...coupons that is. It is amazing how challenges in life can change a person's shopping habits. Now don't get me wrong, I've never been one to go on crazy spending sprees (except shopping for Christmas gifts for family and friends, where I'm notorious for over shopping). I have never been one to need the biggest, best and newest technology or toy out there. I even find shopping a chore most of the time. The only type of shopping I actually enjoy is food shopping.

Enter the life challenge: financial strain. This has made frugality a necessity. In the past, I would occasionally clip a coupon or two but then I'd usually forget to bring them to the store. I started to get more serious about couponing. Not like the people on Extreme Couponing. I have no idea how they have the time of patience to do that, but I am amazed at what they are able to accomplish. I also wish some of their tricks would rub off on me.

Last time I went food shopping, I decided to see what I could save with sales and coupons and, to my surprise, I was able to save 77 dollars! May not be a whole lot, but when you do not have much money coming in, every little bit counts. And, I must admit, it was kind of fun. I can certainly see why the "extremers" get a rush out of it.

I'm going to try and figure more of this couponing thing out and try and save. Hmmmm...should I start stocking up on diapers now?????

Monday, November 14, 2011

oozing love hormones

No, that's not eluding to something raunchy. Quite the opposite.

Look at that picture! Boddington can just brighten my day just by being cute while napping. It's noticing these little moments and just being able to sit with them that makes life so full. It also gets the oxytocin flowing. Love, love, love!

Something else that is filling my life and my oxytocin quota: being pregnant. Yes, folks, I am pregnant, with child, knocked up, have a bun in the oven, incubating a child, etc. And it's amazing! I am thankful that it has been relatively uneventful so I am truly enjoying the experience. During the first trimester, I only experienced morning sickness four times for only a minute each. I was also really exhausted the first eleven weeks but that has passed.

It is all so wondrous, being able to see and watch the baby grow and dance on ultrasound. I've seen it's tiny little bladder and even both lobes of it's brain. The best is hearing it's rapid little heartbeat thump, thump, thumping away. I have already fallen in love with this sweet little kidlette who is all safe and sound in my womb. Life is good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

the adventures continue

Holy crow, have I been in no mood to write or what? So much has been going on, some of which I am not ready to write about here yet. (Oh the suspense!) Other things have been trying.

First off, hurricane Irene swept through. The hurricane itself left us unscathed. Unfortunately, while we were under mandatory evacuation, the burglars decide to not evacuate...until they robbed my house blind. The positive outcome of this (a positive outcome of being robbed???) is that some relatives not only replace the window that was smashed out for entry, but generously replaced all of the windows that were original to the house (1960).

On the work front, the office I was renting at didn't work out. (They gave me NO notice, just left me a voice message that I can no longer rent the office the day before I work. Yes, a voice message. Coincidentally this was the week after they brought in another therapist who they were friends with and gave her many hours, including the one day I rented. But that must just be coincidence.) Luckily I found an amazing office to rent. Now to get on the marketing and get me some clients.

On the personal front, life is great. Everyone is healthy and well. My nephew is growing more amazing every day. The rabbits and dog are sweet and loving as always. Though I still feel the need to rescue another dog, right now is not the right time. Doctor said I'm vitamin D deficient (really, Melissa, but you tan so much???? ha ha ha) so I've added that to my daily supplements. We'll see how that goes. Two weeks and I feel no different but maybe it's making an internal difference. Guess I will find out next blood test.

I'm enjoying the leaves beginning to turn bright colors and the crispness in the air! Well, I'm off to run some errands with the puppy and visit my folks to see their new kitchen floor. Oh, and I've got exciting stuff in the works. Will definitely write about it soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

giving back (survey)

I've been thinking a lot about charity work, giving back to the community and improving the world around us. I really want to get your thoughts about community and world needs and see what you view as important. Please take a moment to ponder the following questions. Then copy/paste them along with your answers in the comment section for this post. Thanks and lets make the world a little bit brighter today!

What do you feel are the most important global societal/environmental issues in the world today?

What charities/organizations do you know of that are addressing the above issue(s)?

What are the needs in your local community? (please include some description of the town or type-of area you are referencing, i.e. urban, suburban, specific town name, state, etc.)

What charities/organizations are addressing these local issues?

What would you like to see improve in your local community?

What type of volunteer/donating/causes are you involved in?

If money/time wasn't a factor, what cause would you get involved?

What are the everyday things you do to try and make the world a better place?


Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Love you all!

_Melissa_

well hello there

It's been a while. What have you been up to this past month?
As for me, life keeps happening whether or not I am blogging about it. Just a few things I've been up to: working on building my private therapy practice, tried to bring another dog into the family which didn't work out, organized my book shelves, planning for the next adventure (more on that later), and transitioned from pesca-lacto-ovo vegetarian to lacto-ovo vegetarian. I've been enjoying lots of organic and homegrown goodies this summer, as well as having a fenced in yard to let the dog romp leash-free. Taking my vitamins every day has been on an upswing, but exercising every day has not (tsk tsk). My toe is broken...again...the exact same way I broke it a couple of months ago (who the heck put that couch leg there?). I've been feeling detached yet completely connected. Tomorrow my beautiful nephew gets baptized. (I will bring my fire extinguisher in case I burst into flames when I enter the church.) I find myself bubbling over with love in my heart and want to share it with the world.
Okay, your turn. Go!

Monday, June 27, 2011

shake your booty

I declare today Shake Your Booty Day. At some point today do a little booty shaking dance of joy, just because. In case you need some inspiration:
This is the start of week two of only working one day a week. Let me tell you, this is wonderful! (One of the reasons I feel like shaking my booty.) I feel alive again. This may have to do with the increase in sleep and decrease in stress.

Of course, having less work doesn't mean I am sitting around eating bonbons. Having a new house, there are lots of projects to get done. Many of which are creative and fun, others, well, those are tasks but must get done. Maybe if I shake my booty while doing them, they won't seem tedious.
I am loving spending more time with the animals (two rescue rabbits and a rescue dog in case you are keeping score) and taking lots of walks. I am loving having time to make some new and exciting vegetarian meals. I am loving having time to engage in creative endeavors. I am loving fully embodying the joy in my life.
fill your day with
joy
and
booty shaking.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ninja for hire

I sit here with my glasses smudged and bleary-eyed, sipping my morning java. Working my tail off trying to tie up loose ends at the job but knowing there is only so much I can do. After all, I'm only human (despite having a tail to work off). Each morning of the past two weeks my mind immediately starts the preemptive reviews of tasks I will face at work that day. It is really starting to get annoying. The stress of impending deadlines with no flexibility is practically giving me night sweats (eh, not really). Knowing the tasks left, I requested some extra days for me to be diligent with my I dotting and T crossing, but was denied. So, I've broken cardinal union rules and worked extra unpaid hours and even did some work at home. Luckily, this will be over soon as Saturday is my last day.

Saturday will come and go and I will finally be able to sleep easy. "What? How can you sleep easy??? You are going to be under-employed, Dr. Schnookleheimer!" This is how: I put on my accounting green visor and crunched some numbers. I figured out how many clients I would have to see at my private practice to cover office rent, pay for supervision/training and make the same salary a week as my full time gig and realized it is very doable: 8 clients. I recalculated a number of times because I couldn't believe it. Eight. Dang! I can do it in one full day. What??? Yes, you saw that right: one full day (or two half days).

Now let's compare:

F/T job:
1- 35 hour/5 days per week
2- huge commute (gas $$$)
3- earning money for a large agency
4- 80+ person caseload that I have no control over
5- supervisor, program director, compliance manager, utilization review committee, assistant agency director and CEO to answer to
6- minimal room for advancement

Private practice:
1- 12 hour (including supervision/training)/1 or 2 days per week
2- almost half the commute
3- earning money for myself
4- caseload I control
5- I'm my own boss
6- advancement by growing my business as I want

I'm no accountant nor am I a career coach, but I'm thinking this change is a good thing, no? 
And I will have time for my true full time gig: NINJA!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

come here, let me take a nibble

Since the all out attack I received from mutant mosquitoes, I have officially passed the incubation period for any funky mosquito transmitted yuck and not a single symptom has come up. 
Have no fear.
You won't catch anything
if I bite you.

my life is not a timeline

I wasn't going to write this morning but while downing my second cup of coffee something is compelling me to get some of my thoughts out in writing. So here it goes:

The past few months I have been working six-day work weeks. Five days at a full time gig and one day at a private office. The full time place is where I've been for three years. It was always a distance to travel to but once I moved into the house my commute became much too long. Gas prices and all the extra time in the car became too much, so I started looking for another place to hang my hat for eight hours a day. A few resume submissions later, I landed a three-day position working with the geriatric population. Though it was the same commute, it was only three days and I would be traveling towards the lovely East End of Long Island. It is a beautiful commute passing farm stands, vineyards and quaint towns. I figured, what the heck. I would gain experience working with the only population I hadn't focused on so I said yes.

I had submitted my required four weeks notice at my full time job and was thrilled about this new adventure in my career. The first two weeks I had jury duty on top of the full time gig and my private clients.My exhaustion has been evident to everyone around me. Forgetfulness, stress and insomnia have taken over my days. Then, last week a bomb dropped. The job offer had been rescinded by the higher up boss. I was so taken aback I just responded with an "okay, well thank you anyway" and hung up the phone.

My head spinning, I couldn't even think. Later that day, my iced tea cap reminded me "the sun will come out tomorrow"
and I got this photo
which promptly reminded me that there are more important things in my life. Everything will be okay.

I have always believed that I land the jobs I am supposed to have. It took me a few days to find the lesson in this rescinded offer and the loss of ground but last night it hit me. I have learned to let go of the fear. I am surrendering to the unknown and it is okay. There are some options and, ultimately, none of them are wrong. They are just the next choice I make and if that one does not work out, there will be another choice to make later.

The lesson:
My life is not a timeline, it is a river with many twists and turn. There is even and eddy or two every now and then. Sometimes you have to flow with water and see where it takes you, and other times you have to swim like the dickens to get what you want. It is always vital to have a picnic on the bank on a regular basis (ah, self care). Currently, I need to surrender and flow with the water. It just feels right.
Now where are my inner tube and water wings? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

i think i can, i think i can, i...i...think i need some rest

Sorry about the scarceness of posts lately but I've been working my tail off. I only have a week and a half at my full time gig and I am trying to finish up lots of loose ends there...all while building my private practice, preparing to start the new job out east and keeping up with the house. My sleep has been awful and my memory is shot, too.

I'm doing my darnedest to keep my head above water and not let myself get sick. That is what happened at the end of grad school.
Stress, pressure and life plus a cold = a lot more badness.

I've been taking my vitamins and trying to get my veggies in but am doing very little self-care besides that. A true example of what NOT to do at times of stress. If anyone has some extra tips, hints or ideas to help me through the next couple of weeks, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

son of a biscuit

There a few things more annoying in the morning than waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle and that is what happened this morning. hrumph! I had ample sleep but I hit the eye-opening point when I had just entered into the "remembering my dream" stage (and it was an interesting dream, too). I sat there in bed feeling like I was just run over by a semi. Kind of a crumby way to start the day, eh?

A couple of cups of joe later, I am starting to feel as human as I possibly can. I predict this is going to one of those want-to-giggle-at-everything days. At least this makes these kind of days amusing. Now, for some reason, I want biscuits.

Happy Friday, critters! I'm off to work.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

choke on this

Ever choke on food? I mean seriously choke on food where you needed assistance in order to continue living this human experience? Proof that traumatic events, even not-so-overly-traumatic ones, can stay with us I have a vivid memory of the one day I seriously choked. When I was a kid hanging out at my childhood friend Krista's house (she lived right behind me, so I just had to hop the fence) her mom made some hot dogs for lunch. Lo and behold, I took a bite and it went down the wrong pipe (probably due to being distracted by the deep and intriguing conversation of eight year old girls).. I remember not being able to breathe or cough but remaining strangely calm. Krista's dad acted quickly, moved me to the edge of the deck and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on me dislodging the obstructive meat-like conglomerate from my windpipe. I remember my eyes were teared up but wasn't upset afterwards. Thanks to Mr. M, you are able to read my stupid tales and ranting blogs. And, boy, did that hot dog chunk fly! I couldn't eat hot dogs for a while after that.

Here's some interesting info: 

On this day in 1974, Henry Jay Heimlich published his "Heimlich Maneuver" in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. The article was called "Pop Goes the Café Coronary." Less than three weeks later, the maneuver was used successfully in a restaurant in Bellevue, Washington. As of 2006, the American Red Cross recommends the "five and five" approach: five sharp blows to the back, followed by five abdominal thrusts if the back blows are not effective.
Heimlich's son Peter has dedicated a website to exposing what he calls his father's "50-year history of fraud." He writes: "At age 48, I came to realize that my father was a danger to others and to himself. Since then I've done what I could to bring the facts to public attention in order to expose the 'poison ideas' circulated by my father and his cronies, a motley crew of hacks, quacks, and narco doctors." Among other things, he accuses his father of stealing the "Heimlich maneuver" from a colleague, faking his medical credentials, and deliberately infecting people with malaria to cure them of AIDS, cancer, and Lyme disease.
(The above section from The Writer's Almanac 6.1.2011)

In honor of this day, go choke on something but remember this sign:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

little house on the bay

Yes, a very productive weekend and morning.

Mowed the lawn with the new reel mower. It works awesome and so quiet. I started mowing the same time as the neighbor across the street with the same size lot. He was pushing a gas mower yet I finished mowing before him. Helps to not have to stop to fill the tank.

Did a mess-load of planting flowers and vegetables.

Put up chicken wire around the raised beds.

Moved some large rocks to line the beds flanking the front entry. Glad the previous owner has not picked up their wheelbarrow yet.

This morning:
Two loads of laundry including drying using the clothes line.

Did some more unpacking of stuff.

Cleaned the rabbits' cages and discovered the Beatrix (the new rescue rabbit) can jump over the dog pen.

Paid some bills.

And now I am off to work! Only three weeks left at this job, which is bittersweet. More on that later.
Happy spring!

Monday, May 30, 2011

unfinished business

I opened this "new post" window about an hour before I started writing. Appropriate, considering I am writing about unfinished business. Now, I'm not referring to things from the past with no closure. Those things I let go of with ease. What I am mean are the massive to do lists in my mind and trying to get to all the tasks. Inevitably the list continues to grow so I never seem to get to the end of it. I'm pondering on why it seems to take me a disproportionate amount of time completing things.

I jokingly ponder if I have developed ADD, but check my DSM-IV just in case.

I'm not good at staying on just one task for any length of time.

I get bored with mundane or routine tasks.

I want to jump in to all the creative projects and can never decide which I want to do first. This leads to a severe case of "project jumping" (starting lots of tasks and switching from one to another instead of giving my full attention to one and completing it).

Same thing with books. I'm inevitably in the middle of five books at once.

Being tired enhances lack of focus. My weeks of jury duty while working two jobs did not help. Luckily the trail is done and soon I will be working four days a week.

With the new house, there is so much more to do to make it feel and look as I want it to. I want to be completely done but there are a lot of time consuming tasks, I need to be more realistic with the outcome of this. Or I need to hire someone to help with the tasks I don't feel like tackling.

Sometimes tasks lead to minor setbacks. Sure a huge amount of the gardening was done yesterday, but now I am trying to quell the itch of mosquito bites (they must love the taste of Melissa basted in essential oils). Now, I am avoiding a few tasks I have to do outside. They can wait until I itch no more and wear a hazmat suit for protection.

I'll writer more at another time because the other side of unfinished business are internal changes. They deserve their own post. Plus, I am off to tackle yet another task. Which one? Not sure yet. We'll see when I get up from this chair. Now where did I put my hazmat suit?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

dang

I forgot the arugula, but the dinner was good none-the-less.

i'm a hog

No really, I am! Well, not in the gluttonous sort of way. In the community sponsored agriculture (CSA) way. Yup, joined the H.O.G. (Hamlet Organic Garden).

I am overjoyed! This was the first week and it included head lettuce, arugula, radishes, oregano and thyme. Keeping it simple, I've enjoyed a crisp salad with homemade Italian dressing. Added some store bought organic grape tomatoes and soy chick'n for a delicious meal. Another head of lettuce for a side salad to some pasta with the remaining arugula wilted in with some garlic, sun dried tomato and olive oil is on the menu for this evening.

I love that we are getting new, fresh organic veggies every week. I hope to try new ones that I haven't cooked with before. It's a summer adventure, I tell you. I must admit I have never bought radishes before. I am surprised I had forgotten how tasty they were. Definitely going to include them on my shopping list in the future. Additionally, I like that the whole season is paid for in advance. This guarantees I will be getting my veggies in even on tightly budgeted weeks.

As for home gardening, I've already planted tomato, green beans, cucumber, mint and strawberries, and built two more raised beds for additional planting. Spaghetti squash seems to have planted itself from the compost. I'm excited to see how they do. Luckily, the deer are more attracted to the hastas and the chicken wire is keeping the neighborhood cats out of the garden.

Here's to healthy eating!

Friday, May 27, 2011

i'm a listasaurus

I have never owned a vehicle with a trunk
I love the metal clang clang clang of railroad crossing gates
I want to own a wellness center with retail space and a resource library
I have never had a cast for a broken bone
I started dying my hair at age 16
I appreciate all of my past relationships, even the ones that made me sad
I was engaged three times in my life
My favorite color is orange but I am very drawn to blues
I once considered joining the FBI
My top two weirdest first dates: one included going to a shooting range, the other was a thrash metal show followed by watching a meteor shower
I get mental blocks with names and titles
I'm digging this song right now:



and this one:



What was your name again?
I wonder where all the poets have gone
Experiencing music and art feeds my soul
When I'm tired, I eat
I believe that cereal is an ideal meal in a bowl with rice milk
I love the smell of a box of crayons
I am extremely tactile and can get fascinated and focused on the feel of a single texture for a long time
If I were you, I'd make a list too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

no contempt

No, I have not been arrested for contempt of court, but my brain has. I've been behaving myself best I can. I'm finding this jury duty thing rather boring. It is, however, helpful to view the lawyers as if it were in a bad sitcom. Prosecuting attorney is this attractive, young, very professional, no-nonsense lawyer and the defense is, well, kind of goofy. Professional... but goofy. This makes the whole thing much more entertaining. Of course, I am paying attention to the case (which I cannot discuss), but I need to find the entertainment factor as well.

Now, onto something (not) completely different:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

i'm number one, i'm number one, i'm number...

Not only have I been selected for jury duty, but I am juror number one. 

Hello!
My name is
juror #1

So with the way my mind works, I started thinking of things I would love to do (if it weren't going to get me a contempt of court charge). Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section (I am still trying to caffeinate myself).

Announce the verdict in the character of Flo from the Progressive commercials
"We, the jury, find the defendant has "guilt and glitter"
or 
"You're INNOCENT!!!! YYYYAY" *blow a party horn*

Present it in the voice of Sesame Street's Count
One, One juror says guilty haha ha ha
Two, two jurors say guilty haha ha ha

Have a #1 foam finger with me at all times

Put a smiley face and a letter grade on the written verdict

Grab the judges gavel and replace it with a children's squeaky hammer

Put a smiley face sticker on the judges gavel and remind her to "smile, the jury loves you"

Wear a party hat and an over-sized "birthday girl" button every day of the trail

Wear hockey gear and hang a sign that says "penalty box" in front of the juror seats

Listen to the trial with an old fashioned ear horn "so I don't miss anything"

If the judge allows note taking, start drawing a court artist rendition of the courtroom in crayon

Have guilty written on my eyelid and wink at the defendant

Wear the same outfit every day of the trial but in a progressively bigger size. When questioned, tell the judge "I got exposed to some experimental perfume from my husband's company"


I will gladly accept other ideas you may have, my creative little buggers, and welcome any gifts of foam fingers. Now off to The Duty!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

pow! right in the kisser

I sometimes say stupid things.
I like colorful things.
I adore colorful people.
I'm obsessed with the cuteness of my rescue pets.
I think cold wet dog noses are therapeutic when they precede a doggy kiss on your cheek. 
I have too many unfinished projects.
I consider myself and unfinished project.
I once stabbed my own foot with a pitchfork.
I learned that horsing about with someone who is holding lopping shears is a bad idea.
I love portobello mushrooms.
I am allergic to mushrooms.
I believe I am two inches taller than I really am.
I love the smell of citrus.
I am addicted to tomatoes and tomato products.
Books I cannot read are ones that bore me within the first three chapters.
I hate doing dishes.
I like doing laundry.
Sometimes my honesty holds me back.
My poker face is broken when peoples' actions are just plain illogical.
I haven't gotten punched in the face...well, except that one time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

words from a mini-shrink

I have learned some lessons both in life and in my practice. Here are just a few things to consider:

You may not be able to change a strong-willed, hormonal 12-year-old or a stubborn, angry adult, but you can change how you respond to them. You cannot control what another person does but you can control how you respond. Imagine someone throwing lit matches at you. Are you going to respond like paper and catch fire or are you going to respond like water and diffuse their attacks? The first way, (i.e. fighting back) will often lead to an escalation of anger with no productive resolution. The latter of the two, you respond to what they are throwing at you rationally, even if they are being irrational. There is more of a possibility of resolution this way. Incidentally, this often indirectly facilitates change in the other person.

When you argue back with a child, you have already lost. It takes a lot of patience and rational discussion to communicate effectively. When there is opposition from a child, give them two or three options (all of which are ones you'd be okay with them choosing) and let them make the decision. This gives them a sense of control (which lowers their frustration) while still getting results with which you would be satisfied seeing.

Self care, self care, self care. Life, even under the best circumstances, is stressful. You need to take care of yourself before you can fully take care of others.


Don't underestimate the power of breath. Slow steady breathing keeps the blood pressure down and the mind focused.

Be very concrete and clear with expectations and consequences when they are not met. This way there will be no question in the other person's mind as to what you want. No point in being vague or wishy-washy.

Acknowledge other peoples' feelings, even if you don't agree with them. "You look like you are really angry with me. Is this true?" (let them agree or disagree and tell you what is really going on with them.) We all want our feelings validated. Avoid that infamous statement "I know how you feel" because even if you believe you do, you only know it through your realm of experience. Their perception is uniquely their own.

Adolescents and teens are learning about themselves and testing the waters. Give them guidelines but let them figure things out for themselves. All of us need to travel our own path.


Adolescents very much experiencing a second terrible twos. This will pass with nurturing and LOTS of patience. Their brains are not developed fully. They don't have the cognitive ability to rationalize fully, instead they are being driven by emotions and hormones.

When all else fails, take a vacation by yourself to a remote tropical island to get away from it all and take a few deep breaths.

music wafts deftly through the crisp air

and it all feels so powerful to me right now.

this is lovely

the road not taken by robert frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

is judge wapner presiding?

Oh yes, I got summonsed for jury duty! Monday afternoon, I get to show up for jury duty selection. Wonder if I will get picked this time? The first time I was summonsed in New York, I was attending community college so I lugged my school books with me and did homework while I sat there for hours only to be told at the end, "Everyone who has not been selected, you are free to go. Thank you for your time." That day felt like a really long study hall.

My second jury notice in New York, well, I had already moved to Colorado. Obviously, I did not have to come in.

Third notice was to serve in Colorado and the notice stated it was even for for a major murder trail! Exciting! They said if you are over 70 miles from the court house, they would pay some nominal fee extra for mileage. I had just moved to Rhode Island and they were not willing to pay for 19000 miles in nominal mileage fees. Shucks.

This time they got me in the right state. For many years Suffolk County had a system where you got a number and you didn't have to come in unless your Friday call in included your juror number. This system is no more. Now they have four chunks of numbers and everyone has to show up. Friday call in now reveals which court and what time you need to be there. So it goes that Monday afternoon I will be going to the court house. To make my day enjoyable, I am going to meet up with my dearest friend for some brunch beforehand. I will have a couple of books with me to bide the time while sitting and waiting. Then I am going to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in many years. Should prove to be an interesting day.

Oh, and I'd settle for Judge Judy if Wapner isn't available. Did you know he dated Lana Turner in high school?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

taking time to smell the trees at 55mph

My way-too-long drive to my full time gig includes a stint on the Southern State Parkway which is a winding, tree-lined, three lane parkway that, when you aren't in a rush, is quite a lovely road (as far as parkways go). With the beautiful weather yesterday, my windows were opened allowing the fresh clean air to swirl around me. To my utter delight I kept getting periodic wafts of fragrant floral scent. Oh, those lovely white-bloomed trees are gently perfuming the air and I am adoring it. What a pleasant commuting experience that snapped me out of my "go to get to work" mindset and brought me back to the here and now. It's these moments, these little snippets of time, that remind me that life is good indeed.

fortran

If 12 = meeting then go to post

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

i should be getting ready for work...

...so to quell my guilt I am multitasking as I type. Just hope I don't get toothpaste into the keyboard. I felt the need to briefly revisit joy and let you all know I still feel that underlying pervasive joy beneath everything.

Underlying: as in lying or situated beneath, substratum, fundamental and basic

Pervasive: as in spreading throughout all parts

Joy: as in great happiness, pleasure, bliss, delight, ecstasy and elation

I don't know where this stemmed from but I am guessing this seed was planted long, long ago and it has been germinating for years. It has been blooming for a good ten years, growing stronger and more fragrant daily. This feeling is there during mundane tasks and celebratory moments alike. I feel this even in times of sorrow, grief, upset and anger.  

That joy is always there.
It is the joy of living and sharing in this human experience.
It is even in the joy of clean teeth and minty fresh breath!

It would bring me even more joy if you feel it too!


Om puppy!


Monday, May 9, 2011

hang up the f*@#ing phone because I drive a lexus

The other day I was irately screamed at by an angry red-raging-faced guy in a Lexus demanding for me to "HANG UP THE F*@#ING PHONE!!!!!" Now, before you get upset about the thought of me driving while talking illegally on my cellphone, let me tell you what happened.

The day was Friday around 5:15pm. I was driving my standard transmission car on a two-lane main road during the rush hour commute. My normal habit at red lights is to put my car in first gear to anticipate the upcoming green light. Well, it was Friday. I was tired. While sitting at a light in the right lane, I failed to put the car into first. The light turned green and I attempted to accelerate to no avail. The car barely budged. In my post-work head space, I looked down at my stick shift in confusion. When I realized it was in third gear I corrected my mistake and began to accelerate. Apparently, all of this took much to much time for Mr. Lexus, who was behind me, and his very important timeline. He pulled up next to me while I was gazing down to see what gear I was in and assumed I was on the phone, distracted from the fact that the light changed.

He began screaming and gesturing for me to hang up the f*@#ing phone. I just looked at him with a calm and rather blank confused stare, wondering why this guy is so incredibly angry.

First and most importantly, I was not on my cell phone.

Second, if you want to be upset that I took a moment to accelerate, at least scream "LEARN TO PUT THE CAR YOU HAVE DRIVEN SINCE 2005 INTO THE PROPER GEAR SO YOU CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF MY VERY IMPORTANT WAY!!!!" Then I would say, fair enough and touche' Mr. Lexus.

Third, if you really were that anxious to get to your very important destination, why are you wasting your time yelling three times at me before zipping dangerously in front of me from the left lane next to me to the right side entrance ramp you needed to get to?

Not that I don't get angry or annoyed myself, but this guys level of anger was way too intense even if I was on the phone. There must have been veins bulging in his forehead. This can not be good for his health. At least I am able to find the humor in it and, in some odd way, this event brightened my day (despite my concerns for the over population of overly stressed, type-a, Lexus driving angry men in the world).

Drive safely, I keep it in gear!

when you come from good people

I read this list and kept mental track what I do and what else I can start doing to make the world a slightly nicer place. More than halfway through and I realized that I really need to thank my parents for raising me right. They taught me so many things on this list by lesson and example.
A big THANK YOU mom and dad!

syringa, it's springa!

Every spring, no matter how lovely the weather becomes, I must wait for the nearest lilac bush to burst into color and share it's sweet scent before I declare that the season has indeed changed. Once I've filled my senses with all that lilacs have to offer, it is officially spring. I have always silently vowed to the Universe that when I own my first home, I would plant a lilac plant I can closely eye and eagerly await the first fragrant flowers to appear. To my complete delight, while on my way out the door to go to Mother's Day festivities, I looked to my right and saw it: some beautiful blooms bursting open in my own garden. Without pause, I made my way to the purple clusters and deeply inhaled the heavenly perfume. To my even greater joy, there are three lilac plants right there, ten feet from my kitchen door!
Yes, my dear ones, spring is officially here!
 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

see you at cheap johns!

Today, the first day at my new (second) job, triggers those familiar giddy feelings I had on the first day of school. New adventures, new teachers, new classmates and the excitement of going to Cheap Johns for brand spankin' new school supplies. The line stretched the length of the store but it was inevitably filled with fellow classmates to share first day stories with. Ah, heaven! Off to catch the school bus!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

new career?

I love the fact that the community college
in the next county
Amazing.

new adventure

Tomorrow I venture into the world of private practice and I am thrilled. This does require me to change my schedule at my full time gig, but it is all good. Joining a group private practice is going to be a good way of learning how it's done, plus I will be engaging in training of another therapeutic modality. I hold no expectations of this endeavor, just looking forward to the experience. You know when something just feels right? This is one of those things.

I wonder why psychiatrists are called "shrinks" and therapists aren't?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Your opintions requested

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

A person asks you to donate to an organization that you don't like or wish to give to for your own personal reason.
So you politely decline saying, "No, I don't want to donate to that agency because...(insert reason)"

That person then goes ahead and, without your knowledge, donates some of their money in your name to that organization anyway.

What do you think about that?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

need some change?

The question that has been rolling around my noggin this week:

What are you willing to change today?

As a mental health counselor, I am constantly working with people to help them find the means of change in themselves. They often get overwhelmed by the tasks at hand: Reducing severe depression, dealing with auditory hallucinations, coping with family discourse, dealing with intense mood swings, handling emotional reactions in a rational manor or improving their life situations. These are all common topics that can feel like insurmountable tasks.

Empowering people (including myself) to change for the better is never an all or nothing task. Small changes really do add up to eventual larger scale changes. And, yes, there are often setbacks. Life is usually not a straight, smooth path. A minor setback does not equate to failure. The realization that we didn't become (depressed, anxious, overweight, disorganized, frazzled...fill in the blank) overnight and we are not going to change completely overnight.

What are you willing to change today?
Can you replace a self-deprecating phrase with a positive one? No? How about start by recognizing when you are putting yourself down which many people do unconsciously?

Can you make an effort to smile at a stranger and brighten their day?

Are you willing to eat one piece of fruit today than you did yesterday?

How about taking five minutes to do some deep breathing or enjoy something in nature?

Would sorting through a desk be too much? Then how about just one pile of papers?

Can you track your hallucinations to become aware of when they happen and what might be triggering them?

Are you unhappy with a body part (i.e. my thighs are too big)? Can you find the positive traits of that body part (my thighs help me walk through the park)?

Can you go for a stroll instead of napping on the couch for just ten minutes?

Change is stressful for many people, but it is also inevitable. Are you willing to take control of something today and make a change for the better? If today is too much of a time frame, how about this hour? This moment? Something small, something attainable. Then tomorrow, ask yourself the same question. Before you know it those overwhelming tasks will become manageable.

So, what are you willing to change today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

love you life and it will love you (most of the time)

These past couple of weeks seem to be filled with intensity.

Health scare/health scare not existing
Connecting with people/hearing about the death of an amazing person
Being in an unfulfillable place/doors opening
Being asked to be a godmother/not having a church to certify my holy-roliness

It fascinates me how energy seems to find balance, whether it is some mellow medium or at extremes.

What also fascinates me, sometimes in a scary way, are religious extremists. I'm not even referring to the ones you see on the news, as scary as they are with their violence and hatred. What I am talking about are people that have found Jesus/religion (not a bad thing) but then take it to the extreme as if it were an addiction. That's the part that I find scary. I have seen self-proclaimed saved people spew hatred for others because their belief system is the only right one and the others are wrong, wrong, wrong. Seems to me that if your belief system truly is the only right one, then why worry about other peoples' beliefs if they are not directly harming yours? Their beliefs do not make your beliefs untrue, why do you get so upset about it? It's not good for your blood pressure and it certainly isn't good P.R. for your religion: "Our way is right, your way sucks. Hey, you wanna convert?"

I am all for faith, spirituality and religious freedom, but I am against hatred towards others because they don't call their god God. And why attack a holy book based on what you think it says, why not read it and judge for yourself? Reading another religion's holy book does not mean you agree with it. At the very least, read Aldous Huxley's Perennial Philosophy and maybe you will start to realize that there is a common truth throughout all the major religions so there really is no need for ire.

Then take the positive energy you have from your beliefs and help your community. Don't waste time on hatred, it's unproductive. Be a mentor, donate time in a food pantry at a time other than the holidays, visit an elderly neighbor, donate money to a cause you believe in, walk a shelter dog, become a foster parent, start a neighborhood clean up, or smile at someone on the street that may even have a different faith than you. Positive energy can balance out as much as angry energy in a much nicer way.

Do good in this world and it will all be good, no matter what god/God/goddess/Yahweh/spaghetti monster you pray to...

and always....Om Puppy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

i'm gonna do it! aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

What makes us move forward? What motivates us to jump in with or without fear to any task that is in front of us? What is the catalyst that propels us into the abyss? As those of you who read my other blog, finding maitri (send me your email address to be able to gain access), you know I am dealing with some "stuff." And though this stuff is by no means positive, I have noticed it has really prompted me to treat myself with greater lovingkindness.
Over the years, I notice that there are different motivating factors in my mind. In my youth, being the first girl in predominantly boy-filled activities was a huge factor. Tell me that girls shouldn't do something and I'd be damned if I didn't prove you wrong. I've been motivated by love by trying to be the best me I could be to help the "us" be better. Anger has prompted me to be proactive. Both anger towards myself (not very "maitri-like" I know) at not doing whatever the task is and anger towards injustices put upon others. I suppose the motivating factor now is a combination of "wake up call" and fear. Part of me enjoys sitting with the uneasiness of the unknown and anxiety and I have cleaned up my diet tremendously.

The positive thing is the moving forward, being proactive and getting things done. I believe that no matter what the motivation, anything that prompts positive action is a good thing.

Now it's time for me to jump! I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

wonder if that sign said no dumping

I never understood the idea of dumping trash. What makes it so difficult to leave things at your own curb, make a phone call for pick up or take things to the local dump. Selfishness and inconsiderateness must be the top reasons. But what I really want to know is, how do you combat it?

I love my new neighborhood more so than I had ever anticipated. There is beautiful scenery, fantastic houses and lovely people living here. Is it possible for those of us who take pride in the area to combat those who do not care?

We are trying to do our part as best we can. Graffiti removal has cleaned up our stop signs, Boddington always gets picked up after (and is leashed) and trash that is dropped or blown near our house is disposed of properly. We are even contemplating posting random "pick up after your dog" signs in front of unoccupied lots, though the loose dogs can read them. I am not seeking a pat on the back for I believe everyone should do what they can to keep the neighborhood clean. What I want are ideas on what more can be done?

Monday, April 18, 2011

i usually like roller coasters

Roller coasters: Seriously love them. The feeling of motion, speed and zero g's. Amazing. However, roller coasters in life, errr not really. The past few weeks have had moments of elation and love of life, potential opportunities of the good kind, and serene, contemplative moments, but there is also some potentially negative events occurring on a bodily level that have sent me reeling. (I will write about this on my finding maitri blog. Email me for permission for access to this blog if you care to read more)

It is just so amazing that us humans can experience so many concurrent emotions. The up and down kind, I am not a fan. The concurrent and dichotomous emotions amaze me. I have written before about the underlying pervasive joy of which I still experience. With the not-so-good stuff happening: one day I am at ease and acceptance, the next it hits me and gives me a feeling of overwhelm. At these moments, I tend towards introversion and withdrawal. I find this is how I recharge myself with introspective thinking and solitude. I know this is only temporary as I will have a deeper knowledge of what is or isn't going on with my body next week. Until then, I will just have to ride the roller coaster over each summit and dip.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

tea study

tea study by misslissa13
tea study, a photo by misslissa13 on Flickr.
I am very much a coffee drinker, but sometimes a cup of tea can conjure up passion from deep within my soul.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

oh deer!

So here is my next post about Mastic Beach, the town with the negative reputation.  We've been residing here for a couple of months and keep finding reasons why we are glad we moved here. Case in point: wildlife. Today on an early morning walk, Boddington and I were greeted by this lovely and curious deer just two houses down the road. As soon as we spied her, we stood still and observed. Curiosity brought the deer about 10 feet from us and I was able to snap a few photos with my blackberry. 

So here is this town that people would respond with halfhearted congratulations when they heard we bought a house here. I am finding more and more proof that it is an amazing place to live. Not only do we get greeted by deer but our bird feeders bring such a vast array of feathered friends you would think you were in a Disney cartoon and the symphony is about to begin. The woodpeckers keeping rhythm, of course.

Just as I don't believe in pre-judging people before knowing their character, I will no longer judge an area until I experience it first hand. If I had gone with my original feelings about this town, I wouldn't have seen the wonder and joy contained within.

Off to our next adventure! Happy Saturday, everyone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

perhaps i need duct tape?

185.365 does it? by misslissa13
185.365 does it?, a photo by misslissa13 on Flickr.
I think I need some duct tape to help me stick with things longer. Now don't get me wrong, many things in my life I have stuck to long term: joy, friendships, relationships, my love of spaghetti squash and 80s new wave music. However, there are things in my life, many of which I love partaking in, that I cannot seem to find the motivation or time to continue. I have been exploring the reasons why and have the intention on changing this behavior (as long as I can stick with that commitment, of course).


Example one: Blogging

I love blogging. I enjoy writing, expressing myself and sharing a variety of topics with the world (however near or far). I tell myself I am going to commit to writing more frequently...and then I don't even log on to the computer for anything. I know this is a good thing since I prefer real activities over virtual ones, but I still find joy in the virtual world as well.

Example two: Healthy Habits

I LOVE veggies, I LOVE exercise (seriously), I LOVE LOVE LOVE yoga. I get into the swing of these yummy habits...and then stop like I hit a brick wall. I feel wonderful all around when I am engaging in these, then stress happens and I let them all go. In my mind I know that continuation of good habits is the best way to deal with stress but it still gets thrown out the window.

Example three: Art

Getting back to creative expression has been a long-time struggle. This one I am finally getting back to within my heart. It has been a long time since I was an art major. My path in life has taken many twists and turns but I truly need to get this back and keep it in my life in order to feel whole.

Perhaps duct tape isn't strong enough. Maybe Krazy Glue? I did hold that construction worker to the ibeam really well. Now, to see if I post again tomorrow... (to be continued)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

toes should not be these colors

It is simply amazing what I am capable of doing to myself. Only I can cause my toes to not only have a faint base of black and blue, but also add a ring of purple and a splat of jet black. But, come on, how can you possibly expect me to see the giant three seat couch sitting conspicuously against the wall and not in the normal path of walking?
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, once a klutz, always a klutz! Yes, I am the same person who stabbed their own foot with a pitch fork when I was 8 years old.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

its a fine year too

its a fine year too by misslissa13
its a fine year too a photo by misslissa13 on Flickr.

the year of birth
for myself
and for this telephone pole
and myself, i am a Pole.
ironic

Monday, February 28, 2011

seeing red

Sometimes I wonder if deep down I am truly just an angry person, but then I remind myself that sometimes anger is justifiable. What are some of the things that anger me? I am pissed off at injustices, both in the world and in my life. Stupidity kind of ticks me off too. And don't get me started on inconsiderate people or those with the "I told you so" condescending attitudes.

The upside is that anger is often a good motivator for me, a sort of fuel for the motivational fires. Right now I am pissed and motivated. I feel it coming from the depths of my soul and the bottom of my feet. I feel the urge to stand up against the injustices that are coming my and my peers' way (sorry to be cryptic, but I will be asked to cease and desist if I go into details at this time).

Maybe if I just channel the coolness of Kim Gordon 


Hey, Kool Thing, come here, sit down beside me.
There's something I go to ask you.
I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me?
I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls
From male white corporate oppression?
Tell it like it is!
Huh?
Yeah!
Don't be shy
Word up!
Fear of a female planet?
Fear of a female planet?
Fear, baby!
I just want to know that we can still be friends
Come on, come on, come on, come on let everybody know

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

oh week, how you are kicking my ass!

Did you ever have a week when you head into work and as you arrive you notice your boss is waiting there with a brand new company car, promotion and hefty raise for you? 
 Yeah, me neither.
My week, thus far, has been quite the opposite and I feel run down. Watching unfair treatment abound, people losing their livelihoods, and others being seen as commodities makes me want to make some changes, for myself and for others. It is awful when you step back and realize that it doesn't have to be this way but you don't have much power to change things. 
 Maybe this salmon going upstream needs to recite the beginning of the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 


Oh, and a bat to beat off the evildoers.


Okay, I may added that last line.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

before after after


before after after
Originally uploaded by misslissa13

Here's a little taste of one of the changes we made to the house. The previous owners really liked pink. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the color pink, but a pink/rose/frilly living room? Not quite my style. Bright and blue = happy.

The gold velvet chair was my grandmother's. Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph well but I love incorporating an heirloom into our decor.  

oh come on now


The Universe is using public access television now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

yeah, hi universe. what are you trying to say?

Two days after I post this blog entry about my struggle between veganism and my taste buds, I stumble across this powerful reminder that what we choose to do daily has an impact (positive or negative) on the world.

Waking Up from The Gaia Foundation on Vimeo.

Sigh, okay, off to organize...for real this time.

time wasting

I am so adept at getting caught up in researching things and distracting myself, that I end up wasting time I could be engaging in productively organizing the house. Case in point: I am blogging instead of unpacking the second bedroom or the kitchen. It is snowing and I have the day off so I have no legitimate excuse to be unproductive. I think I found my motivation: crafting.

So I am going to sign off and clean and my reward (besides an organized house) will be space and time to do some crafting this evening. Nice!

What are you doing today and how are you rewarding yourself?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

poor little tasty crustacean

I struggle. My struggle comes in the form of seafood and dairy. *insert visual of a prawn and cheese wheel in arch-nemesis regalia here* Yes they are my enemy. My enemy in the battle of waxing towards veganism. WAIT! Don't click off this page just yet. I'm not a crazed, militant animal rights coo-coo for cocoa puffs type. Nor do I preach what other people should or should not eat.

Okay, good. You stayed and I know, I know. "Why the heck would you want to do that? Become a vegan???? Bleck! Vegans eat weird food and stuff." Years ago, I never thought I'd want to ever give up animal products in their entirety. Yum, vegetable lasagna with gobs of melty mozzarella and happy sprinkles of parmigiana cheese on top. Why WOULD I want to give that up? Trust me, part of me doesn't. Part of me would jump in a vat of warm gooey cheese and do a few laps before dipping crusty bread into the fondue fabulousness if I had the chance.

"Isn't being a vegetarian good enough? Why deprive yourself some more, Missliss? Wait, you're not a 'real' vegetarian anyway!" True, I am technically a pesca-lacto-ovo vegetarian. My diet for the past eight years has consisted of mostly of veg fare, still including dairy eggs and cheese, and the occasional seafood dish. (I never said I was a good vegetarian.) I started eating this way as an experiment: How would I feel if I cut most meats out of my diet? Survey says: Vastly better. Lots of aches and pains I carried in my joints most of the time dissipated. I lost a little weight and my energy improved.

"Well, why didn't you go full vegan then?" (See the first paragraph, reinsert arch-nemeseses...arch-nemisii? arch-neme...the prawn and cheese guys.) First off, I never wanted to give up sushi and cheese...cheese really didn't seem like a thing to bother giving up.And sushi? No way! Too yummy. As I continued with a poultry, beef, mutton-free diet (alright, I never ate mutton) I realized I really didn't miss any of it. Plus, keeping seafood in my diet made finding things to eat at peoples' houses or restaurants much less of a chore.

"Sooooooo, vegan now? Why?" Mostly for health reasons. If I cut cheese out of my diet there is no doubt I'd be healthier. I am a cheese junkie for sure. (Wait, can you mainline Gouda?) Additionally, I am starting to think about all those little lives that needlessly die so I can have Cajun-shrimp wraps. It kind of seems unnecessary.

My dilemma? Each time I contemplate trying a full vegan diet, my subconscious stomach starts demanding shrimp dishes and everything smothered with cheese! I wonder if it is the thought of being so strict that makes me panic? A few years ago, Groovy and I did a 30 day raw foods diet which was vegan (except the pasteurized cows milk in my morning coffee. Yeah, it wasn't raw either) and I didn't even bat an eye. My cravings and hunger were completely satisfied and I didn't waver one bit. It was amazing and delicious, and I felt great.

Perhaps I am being too hard on myself. Perhaps I just need to put myself to the task of giving it a try and seeing how it goes? Do I smell another 30 Day Challenge? Mmmmm perhaps...but let me finish this calzone first.