A New Start for 2022

I probably don’t even want to know how many of these posts I’ve written over the years, but I’m promising myself that I’m going to finish this new post before I go back and look at the old ones…

Last week I started a new exercise program.

It’s something that was referred to me by my best friend from childhood – apparently he’s gotten kind of hardcore into fitness over the last couple of years and it’s really transformed his life, which quite frankly is something that I could use myself at this point!

I need to lose a ton of weight.

For health reasons, for appearance reasons, for feeling good in my own skin, much less a shirt with several X’s in the size! None of the reasons have really changed, just the urgency as I continue to grow older and admittedly begin to worry a bit more about how many years I still have left. I have some challenges ahead due to genetic issues that were completely beyond my control, but being 60-80 pounds overweight certainly isn’t doing me any favors.

So I’m really trying to work on the whole me – getting better sleep, eating better food, and exercising – with the primary goal of shrinking my waistline and all of the usual ancillary goals that come along with it. I had a good start last fall when I started walking for the Heart Walk, although eventually it got cold and Christmas got busy and I tapered off. This year I want to continue that effort and also build on it with things like this new exercise program that I can do indoors regardless of the frigid Floridian cold snap that may be taking place outside!

I’ve only done a handful of workouts so far, but I really like the attitude and the approach that the coach for this program takes – it’s very kind and understanding and encouraging, not overbearing and loud like so many fitness coaches seem to be. I love how he offers different ways to do each thing based on what your body can handle so that I’m not just worried about my form throughout the entire workout.

Plus, the way he ends it – “You just paid it into your body…” – is a nice sentiment. I’ve been spending a lot of time recently focused on our finances and looking for ways to improve savings and investments and whatnot, so it’s a great analogy to think about investing in myself, too!

Aside from the workouts themselves, I’m also trying to do a lot of other little things – walking the dog a couple of times a week, getting to bed earlier, eating better foods and minimizing snacking – trying to find a good balance between working towards something better without giving myself all of these impossible tasks that I’ll never be able to live up to. I think figuring out what works for me is key because while there are a million different opinions on the Internet about anything and everything, I’m the one who has to act on them in order to see results.

Looking forward to blogging more about my progress – hopefully before 2023 rolls around…

A cute pic of my workout buddy – standing his own ground!

Reprioritizing Your Life

I saw a quote yesterday that I thought was a pretty good statement of the times that we live in today…

People are no longer doing the things that they don’t want to do anymore.

I’m pretty sure it was meant as a jab at workers along the lines of “Nobody wants to work anymore!” but I actually took it to be a little more inspiring than that, like, “Nobody wants to work for you anymore!”

As challenging as it is for some businesses and industries right now, I think it’s a good thing that employees are finally standing up for themselves and demanding better treatment. If a corporation is going to make billions off of selling burgers and fries, the people serving up that fried food deserve to be able to pay their rent – this whole notion of “unskilled work” driving some of the biggest companies towards record profits has got to come to an end.

And yeah, it’s going to mean that some businesses are going to go under if their business model that made sense at $8/hour for clerks and shelf stockers no longer works at $15/hour.

Some interesting statistics – over 627,000 small businesses are created each year in the United States, but 20% of them will fail in their first year and ten years in, that number rises to a whopping 70%! It’s hard to create a new business that can stand the test of time, but underpaying your workforce because your brain is stuck in the days when you started out at $5/hour thirty years ago isn’t going to fly anymore.

It’s great that people are putting their feet down and saying, “If I’m an essential worker, you need to treat me like it!” Work that was done in an office a few years ago can just as easily be done from home and greatly improve the quality of life for those workers, and if companies want to dig their heels in and insist that “We’re better together!” they’re going to find themselves with a dwindling talent pool to choose from as more and more workers prioritize their own wellbeing over the demands of the business that would lay them off two weeks before Christmas if the bottom line demanded it.

At the end of the day, driving people to focus on the things that they do want to do is ultimately better for our society as a whole because workers should feel valued and appreciated for the things they do, and their employers will get better work out of them for it! Sure, you can argue that there are some jobs that nobody really wants to do, but paying a living wage and helping people feel better about their jobs instead of like expendable numbers will go a long way.

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 14 – Time to Shine!

Look at this happy kid!

Tonight was Christopher’s Christmas program at school that he’s been looking forward to for weeks. Seriously, we’ve been listening to Holly Jolly Christmas for I don’t even know how long … which is fine because not only is it cute because he took it so seriously, even asking me to print out lyrics for him to practice with and recording himself singing to watch back later, but apparently his singing is contagious and before too long Matthew and David were belting out their favorites, too… πŸ˜€

So getting to see all of his hard work pay off and how proud he was all dressed up and looking sharp was really awesome, despite how hot and sweaty the actual show was with a certain little brother wriggling uncomfortably on my lap the entire time!

It took me like five tries to get his tie right, but he made those Santa dogs look good. πŸ˜‰

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 13 – The Purr-fect Present…

In hindsight I feel kind of dumb, but I honestly had no idea that the one and only Eartha Kitt of Catwoman fame was the original singer back in 1953 to perform the iconic holiday hit, Santa Baby!

Admittedly I roll my eyes whenever this song comes on, namely because I could never afford a girl with such expensive taste in Christmas gifts, but picturing Catwoman weaving this tale of greed and lust as she toys with a captive Bruce Wayne (or maybe even Batgirl!) makes the song a little more palatable…

Just for fun, here’s an article that totals up what this insatiable vixen’s wishlist would’ve costed, although I’ve got to think you could probably shop around to save a couple of hundred million on the yacht at least. πŸ˜‰

https://www.mcall.com/opinion/mc-opi-santa-baby-gifts-costs-20181214-story.html

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 9 – Snorkeling for Santa

Kids are nuts sometimes.

Despite installing a solar heater for our pool this summer and loving it for months after that, I don’t think we’ve been swimming since the end of October because it just got too cold and the heater couldn’t get the water to a reasonable temperature during the day.

Mind you, “reasonable” this year after we got the heater became 90+ degrees, which just about feels like bathwater, so needless to say we’ve gotten pretty spoiled… πŸ˜›

That said, somehow we found ourselves swimming not once, but twice over the last couple of days! For the first night, we had gone out just to float boats in the hot tub that they’d built that afternoon and somehow one thing led to another and two of the three of them were in the water while the third played on the side and I supervised from the comforts of dry land. The next time, I noticed that the water was up to 82 degrees, so I decided to take the plunge so to speak because I honestly prefer to be in the water whenever the kids are anyways.

It was still pretty cold!

I mean, not enough to immediately send you squealing for indoors – maybe moderately relaxing at best – but I toughed it out because if we’re being honest, this summer I learned that the pool is an awesome way to tire them out which ultimately just makes the rest of my time before bed with them so much easier! Plus, they had a blast because the only swimming they’ve had for a month and a half has been 30 minutes a week for swim class!

Here’s hoping we get some warmer days during Christmas break that push those temps upwards of at least 85 degrees to give me a fighting chance… πŸ˜‰

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 8 – Old Enough to Snoop…

So apparently the kids have figured out where we keep their Christmas presents.

Granted, it’s not really much of a hiding place as it is a giant stack of boxes in our bedroom closet that’s supposed to be off-limits, but I guess on more than one occasion Christopher and David snuck in there while I was taking a shower and were poking around.

Christopher allegedly even took a bunch of pictures with his iPad, though he had deleted the evidence by the time I was able to check…

It’s frustrating both because we genuinely want them to be surprised on Christmas morning and also because we want to try to preserve the allure and magic of Santa Claus for at least another year or two, but at the same time I’m not gonna lie … I totally knew where my Mom hid our presents in the back of her closet and I was probably about their age when I started poking around to try and catch a glimpse at what new Nintendo game I might be getting for Christmas that year.

As a funny aside, though, I’m pretty sure they haven’t entirely pieced it together yet because upon finding a couple of Jurassic World Lego sets (that are clearly for him), David came and asked me if I was going to share the Lego sets that are in my closet because I guess he thought they were for me instead! Which, I mean, is sort of valid because I do have various sets sitting around still boxed that are for me, but not being into Lego Jurassic World in the slightest, those ones are definitely his.

I think we need to find a better hiding place next year if we’re going to keep this little ruse up much longer, though… 😯

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 5 – Colors of the World

Apparently these came out last year and Crayola has been working to be inclusive of various cultures for decades, but this was the first I’ve seen them while wandering around the store this evening and I just thought it was really cool to have a box where any child could reach in and grab something to color with that looks how they look regardless of the color of their skin.

In comparison, you’ve got maybe six shades in your standard box of 64 crayons that resemble skin tones … a couple beige, a few browns, and black … whereas these sets just do a better job at something super important like allowing kids to feel represented in their own creative works.

Doing our best to be thoughtful of other people is how we move forward as a culturally rich society and I just thought that this was such a simple, yet fantastic idea. Plus, to stumble upon them during the holidays when “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men…” is in the forefront of our minds – kudos, Crayola!

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 4 – Merry Mario-Mas!

For what it’s worth, I’m not super crazy about the Mario Kart iOS game because I feel like the controls are a pain in the butt compared to the console games that I love … but for some reason Christopher likes it so every once in a while I feel obliged to indulge the kid…

…and yet today was kind of neat because they were celebrating Christmas in the game!

I’m a complete sucker for stuff like this, so driving around lit up Christmas trees on the course made barely being able to control my own car a little easier to bear.

And if that wasn’t enough, for the extra point here’s a neat compilation from all sorts of wintery video game levels that makes for some nice ambient holiday music – how many do you recognize???

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 3 – It Was Beginning to Look a Lot Like Savings…

This sketch is technically from last season on SNL, but I love it so much it’s one of those videos that I have to watch whenever it pops up on social media because I’ve never understood how you would surprise somebody with a car unless you’ve got stupid money to give a gift without letting the person pick it out for themself.

Seriously, I hate it when people try to give me things for around the house because I’m just really picky about stuff that I have to see every day, so if I had to drive it … and then also make the payments on it afterwards?!

Then again, with that 0% APR, we should probably be good, right?

2021 Holiday Advent Blog – Day 2 – Movie Thoughts … 8-Bit Christmas

When I first stumbled across the announcement for this movie, I was super excited.

I mean, if there’s ever been a movie that seems to be tailored for me, this has got to be it, right?!

That said, by the time I got to the end of it – frankly, I was kind of bored and disappointed…

I mean, I like Neil Patrick Harris just as much as the rest of us, but the entire story is a flashback-style didn’t sit great with me off the bat. It took a while before I made the connection that it was basically a geeky remake of A Christmas Story, though I didn’t think it focused quite enough on the actual video games to pull it off.

There were some nuances that just bugged me, like the Power Glove being included even though it didn’t come out until later, and in the trailer there’s a scene where a janitor is describing a Black Friday stampede seemingly for the NES … only to find that in the movie, there’s a different logo on the wall because he’s actually talking about a stampede for Cabbage Patch Kids instead!

I know that they do that in movie trailers from time to time in an attempt to maintain surprises – in Avengers: Endgame, the part in the trailer where Captain America is arm wrestling Thanos shows only a couple of Infinity Stones in the gauntlet, whereas in reality that was at the end of the movie and he had collected all of them except for the Mind Stone.

I get it, but I don’t really like it.

As for the disappointment at the end – *** SPOILER ALERT *** I was really cheesed that we didn’t even get a big moment with him unwrapping an NES and going crazy on Christmas morning because it felt like the whole movie had been building to that, only to decide at the 11th hour that they wanted to end on a completely different kind of movie. Again, thinking that video games were the focus of the movie, it was a disappointment to instead have a story about a kid who played video games but also did a bunch of other stuff.

I think that trying to make a new Christmas movie in particular is a challenge because so much of what we love about the classics is nostalgic … just like those games themselves, a lot of them aren’t really very good movies these days, yet they transport us back to a simpler time when we were kids and that’s half the reason why we get such a kick out of revisiting them year after year after year.

So I guess it’s tough for a movie that’s made for my generation to really hit when they don’t fully commit to the concept, whether they set out to make a video game movie and just slipped on the proverbial icy patch along the way or if the Nintendo was really just a prop in an otherwise father and son tale all along.

I think they could’ve done the NES a lot better than this.