Friday, March 24, 2017

Ten Songs - Friday Reflections (Actually on Friday)



PROMPT: Put your iPod on shuffle. List the first 10 songs that play and how you feel about them.


Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol
Sometimes when I hear a song from my youth, a song that I thought I understood the lyrics to, but later learned that I really hadn't a clue about, I feel like an idiot. This is one of those songs.  Back in the day, I really thought that Billy was singing about having no one to dance with and, to my credit, it was partially inspired by him watching some Japanese kids dancing by themselves (if I'm remember correctly from his autobiography). It wasn’t until I was a young adult when the lyrics I wait so long for my love vibration and I’m dancing with myself took on a whole different meaning.

Goodbyes - 3 Doors Down
This is a song that I had never really given much consideration to before last fall; since then, however, it has taken on significant meaning. I have cried to this song many times and ironically, it seems to randomly come up a lot when I shuffle my songs in the car. Back around New Year's, I started skipped this song every time it came up. Listening to it for this writing prompt was, to be honest, a little difficult, but at least I didn't cry.  It still made me sad.

Can’t Stop Loving You - Van Halen
Listening to this song, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  I have memories of this song from my teen years, but I don't recall having any feelings towards it one way or another.  I like it, I've always liked it, but I don't think I ever really listened the lyrics until I listened for this prompt.  I understand this song very well now.

Drive (For Daddy Gene) - Alan Jackson
This song is rather bittersweet for me. It reminds me of my father, who starting letting me drive when I was 13 years old. During my teen years, my father and I spent many, many hours in the car together as I refined my driving skills. Even though he and I are not very close anymore, this song reminds me of a very special time when we were.

Burn it Down - AWOLNATION
Whenever I hear this song, I automatically recall the scene from the episode of Sons of Anarchy that it was featured in.  It was a high speed chase involving motorcycles and guns and Jax Teller (the show's main character) in all his badass, alpha male splendor.  This song makes me want to drive fast and I find myself always singing the burn it down, baby, burn it, burn it down part of the chorus. 

Cryin’ - Vixen
This song makes me feel like I'm in high school again, full of raging hormones and convinced that I know everything about life (even though I still don't).  It also makes me very nostalgic for a simpler time, a time before mortgages, taxes, and adult responsibilities.

Old Blue Chair - Kenny Chesney
In this song, Kenny sings about a chair that he has spent a lot of time sitting in, a chair that has been an indirect witness to his life.  I love this song because I've had a similar relationship with a chair that sits on my mother's deck in West Virginia.  

I've seen the world from a bus windshield
But nothing compares to the way that I see it
To the way that I see it, to the way that I see
When I sit in that old blue chair

Amen.  Nothing compares to the way that I see my life and the world as when I sit and view it from my Mom's brown, wicker swivel rocker.

Wind of Change - Scorpions
This is another song that takes me back to high school.  It was during those years in which many revolutionary waves occurred in central and eastern Europe, eventually resulting in the fall of communism. I remember being so awed with the events that I saw play out on the evening news every evening, even as a self absorbed teenager, for I knew the world was changing and that I was witnessing history in the making. 

Back Where You Belong - .38 Special
My best friend and I have a very special place in our hearts for .38 Special. They are one of those bands who always seemed to have a song playing in the background throughout the various stages of our lives. She and I have seen them in concert together 3 or 4 times.  Hearing this song, and most .38 Special songs, always makes me think of her and the good times we've had together.

You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi
Every time, and I mean every time I hear this song, I'm instantly transported back to that day in October 1986 when I stepped into my neighbors basement to watch some MTV with him and I saw the video to this iconic song for the first time.  I swear, I instantly fell in love with Jon in that moment  and, as I've said on here before, my life changed.  Bon Jovi has provided many of the songs to my life's soundtrack.  Listening to this song always makes me feel young and happy and a little bit giddy.


Linking up with:
#FridayReflections

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lessons Learned from the Movie Hoosiers





The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is well underway. Even though I'm not a big fan of college basketball or the tournament, I do love hearing about the "Cinderella" teams that make it to the tournament and, much to everyone's surprise, make it past the first round by defeating a higher seeded team. This just appeals to my natural love of underdogs. I love, love, love underdogs (hell, I was a Cubs fans long before they won the World Series and before being a Cubs fan was "cool"). 

Undeniably, one of the best underdog movies of all time is the movie Hoosiers, which will celebrate its 31st anniversary this year, is the story of a basketball team from a small town in Indiana who wins the state championship against a team from a much larger school. The movie was inspired by the true story of the 1954 Milan H.S. basketball team, who won the Indiana high school championship that year becoming the smallest school to ever win a single class basketball title in Indiana. 

There are many lessons that can be learned from underdog movies, the most common being perseverance, which is a evident in Hoosiers. Even though Hoosiers is not my favorite underdog movie, I consider it one of the most endearing and most valuable because of the lessons it teaches that has nothing to do with perseverance, lessons that are often easily overlooked. These deeper lessons, in my opinion, are what makes the movie a timeless classic.

Before you can be successful at something, you must possess strong, fundamental, foundational skills 


During one of the team's first practices, Coach Dale, played by Gene Hackman, runs the team through countless drills - passing drills, dribbling while weaving through chairs, and running what we used to call "suicides," but I think are now called “down and backs” or something. It’s apparent that the boys are not used to this kind of practice and one of them asks when are they going to scrimmage. Coach Dale explains, "We don't scrimmage and no shooting either. I've seen that you guys can shoot, but there's more to the game than shooting. There's fundamentals and defense." These fundamental skills are to playing basketball as crawling and cruising while holding onto furniture are to independent walking - fundamental prerequisites. Also, the physical conditioning he puts the boys through is essential for stamina and endurance, two vital skills that are needed to play a game from start to finish, especially when you only have seven players.


While winning is important, how you play the game is more important


We play games for fun, but there is no denying the desire that most of us have deep down inside that drives us to win. Despite this, Coach Dale knew that there was more to basketball than just winning. He knew that many of the skills learned on the basketball court, such as impulse control (passing the ball four times before shooting), discipline, good sportsmanship, and synergy (working cohesively together as one team rather than as five individuals), are lessons that are also beneficial off the basketball court in the real world. 

“Don’t get caught up in thinking about winning and losing,” he told them before a big game. “If you put your effort into playing to your potential, to being the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re going to be winners.”


Second chances are powerful


Coach Dale had coached college before in another state, but was suspended after an incident with one of his players. The principal at the Hickory knew Coach Dale because they attended college together. He knew of Dale’s suspension, but that didn’t deter him from giving Coach Dale a second chance at coaching, something that Dale was apparently good at. It’s obvious that the principal thought enough of Coach Dale and his abilities to give him the opportunity of having a clean slate.

Coach Dale goes on to give to one of his players, Whit, a second chance at being on the team after Whit was coerced by a fellow teammate to walk out of practice on the first day. This is something that he did not have to do, but he understood that teenagers sometimes make poor choices and gave him a second chance. 

Later in the movie, Coach Dale offers Shooter, the father of one of the player's who has a drinking problem, the chance to be his assistant under the condition that Shooter remain sober. Despite his drinking problem, Shooter was very knowledgable of the game and Coach Dale recognized that along with the fact that no one believed in Shooter, not even Shooter's son. Giving him a shot at being his assistant (and later getting himself thrown out of the game so that Shooter had to take over as coach) allowed Shooter to utilize his knowledge, gain confidence, and start to redeem himself in his son's eyes.

 Had Coach Dale not given him that opportunity, then he and his son's relationship would probably have remained strained and he probably would not have entered alcohol rehabilitation. Because Coach Dale believed in him, Shooter, we assume, was able to turn a new leaf.


There are many more subtle lessons that he movie Hoosiers teaches, such as taking responsibility, having respect for authority, and standing up for others. These are just the three most important lessons in my opinion and, as they say, opinions my vary.


Have you seen the movie Hoosiers? If so, what lessons do you feel the movie has to offer?

This post originally was featured on Jenn's blog, Quirky Pickings, last year when I appeared a guest blogger.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring '17 Goals & Winter 2016-17 Goals Report Card


Happy first day of spring to all my northern hemisphere neighbors and happy first day of autumn to those of you living in the southern hemisphere!  

I'm not sure why I'm so excited for spring's arrival, for we've  had a lovely spring here in Kentucky for most of the winter.  I mean, seriously, the magnolia trees were in bloom here on February 24 (sadly, only to be frostbitten on the 26th) and there were several weekends in January and February in which I walked outside in shorts.  Perhaps I'm just excited for the passage of time, to be through with the blahs and grays of winter, to see more daylight and sun, to have more opportunities to be outside, to be one season closer to summer, or more specifically, closer to summer break.

There are several things I want to accomplish before summer rolls around. Before I reveal them, allow me to share how I did towards my winter goals.

WINTER GOALS
December 21 - March 19

  • ✗ Lose at least 12 more pounds (shooting for a combined total of 40 by March 19).  Once again, I fell a little short of my goal. HOWEVER, I did manage to lose 9 pounds for a combined total of 37 to date.  Despite not meeting my goal, I'm still very pleased with my progress.  
  • ✔ Continue walking a minimum of 3 days a week for at least 45 minutes per day.  Completed, for the most part.  Looking back at my activity on my Fitbit, there were 2 weeks in which I didn't walk 3 days per week.  The first was the week of Christmas and I only walked twice that week.  But, I made up for it by walking four days the following week.  The second was the week when I had the flu, but I did manage to walk two times before I fell ill and I walked 4 days the week before, so it definitely averages out.  
  • ✔ Do one adventurous activity.  Completed on 1.14.2017.  On this day, I participated in a jiu jitsu based self-defense course for women. You can read about my experience here.
  • ✗ Complete Erin's Book Challenge 6.0  Did not complete.  DISCLAIMER: The challenge isn't officially over until April 30, but I really wanted to finish the first round early, so that's why I set it as goal to finish by today.  I came close, finishing 7/10 categories.  I trust I will finish the challenge by the official end date, though.
  •  Do something touristy here in Louisville on my birthday (February).  Did not complete.  I took a personal day on my birthday.  I got a massage, had lunch with my husband, made some returns at the mall, and then came home and took a lovely afternoon nap. Even though this is *technically a DNC, I don't consider it a fail because I did exactly what I wanted to do on that day.


So...  2/5 = 40%  Despite this dismal percentage, I'm not disappointed.  I lost more weight, I continued to exercise, and I learned some valuable self-defense strategies.  So what if I didn't finish a book challenge early or do something touristy on my birthday, especially when I did exactly what I wanted to do?

I think that's the important thing to keep in mind when setting goals.  Sometimes goals need to change and sometimes goals need to be abandoned altogether. Obviously, some goals are more important than others in the grand scheme of things.  It's all about being fluid and keeping things in a proper perspective.

Okay, so having said that, here are the things I want to accomplish this spring:

SPRING GOALS
March 20 - June 20

  • Lose at least 13 more pounds (shooting for a combined total of 50 pounds lost by June 20).
  • Incorporate core exercises into my exercise regime 2-3 times a week.
  • Have all my end of the year paperwork (report cards, ESY data and graphs, ongoing progress data logs, etc.) completed and filed on or before May 22.
  • No clothes or shoe shopping during the month of April.
  • Do at least one activity in the mountains (ride ATVs, zipline, whitewater raft).
  • Make eye appointment and get my vision checked.


So, what about you?  You have any goals?  Feel free to share if you do.  Have a great day!


Linking up with:
Life According to Steph

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Recently Read - Vol. 16 (Feb. '17)



Happy Show Us Your Books Tuesday!  February was a good month for me in terms of reading, although I didn't read many.  But, isn't reading more about quality rather than quantity?  Of the two books I read in February, I gave them both a rating of at least 4.

Without further ado, here are the books I read last month:


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
February 6-12 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 4.5/5

One True Loves is the story of Emma, a woman who unexpectedly has to choose between her husband, who was presumed dead, and her fiancĂ©.  Told in the present tense as well as through a series of flashbacks, One True Loves is the story of love and the capacity of the human heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It elicited a range of emotions in me from despair to heartache to anger to joy.  This is the second TJR book I've read and it certainly will not be the last.


The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
February 13-27 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 4/5

The Bourbon Thief is a clever little mystery centering around a one million dollar bottle of bourbon that is told in the present day and through flashbacks dating back to the late 1970s/early 80s.

Some of the dialogue was a bit wordy and terribly drawn out, but then again, that could've just been due to the audiobook narrator.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and I especially enjoyed all the local Kentucky landmarks that are featured in the book, many of which I am very familiar with.

What have you read lately?  Anything worthy of addition to my TBR list?  If so, please feel free to comment below.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

PS  To all my math lovin' friends - Happy Pi Day!


Linking up with Steph and Jana 


Friday, March 10, 2017

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week (Vol. 27)


I.  Last Sunday, temperatures reached the low 70s here, which allowed me to get in an 8 mile walk wearing shorts and t-shirt.  It was fabulous!  And, I surpassed the 19K step milestone!


II.  I lost 1.4 lbs. last week!  YAY!

III.  This tasty little chocolate covered caramel that was included in the gift basket I received last month for my birthday.  (There are still three more - YAY!)


IV.  Friends and family who have texted, called, or emailed to check on me while I've been sick this week.  (I've had the flu.)

V.  I gave myself permission to eat some REAL ice cream one evening this week when I was feeling especially crappy because I love ice cream and ice cream makes me happy.  It was sooooo good.  Hallelujah I only indulged in the single-serve 200 calorie cup.


VI.  Colleagues at work who helped out me out this week by covering my bus duty and helping me rearrange some IEP meetings.

VII.  Watching Fences on the Amazon Firestick Sunday morning with R.  


VIII.  Watching Manchester By the Sea, also on the Firestick, while drinking hot chocolate and whiskey, trying to break a fever.


IX.  Supportive friends who listen openly and without judgment.  Thanks, S.


X.  Glimpses of spring:


In addition to be sick, this week was also a bit  difficult for me on an emotional level.  I've been working through some things that kind of came to a head this week, so not only was I not feeling my optimum because of the flu, but I was also a bit sad.  It was definitely a week in which I could have solely focused on the negative, but I chose not to.  I do believe it is important to always seek out and acknowledge the little things that make you happy even during tough times.


I hope this finds you having a wonderful Friday and may your weekend be even better. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why You Should Celebrate Non-Scale Victories


For two weeks in February, I experienced gains on the scale.  Now, let me say that I was fully expecting each one.  The first gain was during my birthday week, a week in which I partook in several indulgences: 


And let me go on record as saying that I don't regret a single thing I ate that week. 

The second was after I had been out of town for three days attending a conference.  For anyone who has ever attended an out of town conference, you know how you're at the mercy of eating what's available near the conference center or near your hotel.  Despite having brought fruit and snacks from home, eating my routine protein bar for breakfast each day, trying to make the best choices I could, and walking 20 miles that week, I still had a gain.  Needless to say, even though I was expecting the gains, I was still a bit bummed.  

Back in January, I experienced a weight loss plateau.  No matter what I did, no matter how diligent I was in counting my calories, no matter how devout I was in exercising, the scale absolutely would not budge.  Although I knew a plateau was inevitable, it was still incredibly frustrating because I felt like all my efforts were in vain.

When you're losing weight, moments like these have the potential to completely derail you and thwart all the progress you've made.  I'll admit, during those weeks when the scale wouldn't budge, I was tempted to say, "Screw it!  Why bother?"  But, thankful, I didn't.  Do you what kept me motivated through those weeks of no movement and during those weeks when I had gains? 

Non-scale victories.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, non-scale victory (NSV) is a term that was popularized by Weight Watchers.  It is  any positive evidence that illustrates the changes that have occurred during one's weight loss journey that  has absolutely nothing to do with the number on the scale.  A non-scale victory could be being able to walk up several flights steps without getting winded or getting your blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels in the healthy range.  It could be something as simple as making healthier food choices or fitting more comfortably into a movie theater seat (which actually happened to me last fall). There are infinite possibilities when it comes to NSVs.  Here are three four of my most recent:

1) When I Completely "Exhausted" One Belt and Could Once Again Wear an Old Favorite

On January 16, the scale didn't budge, but three days before, when putting on my belt, I discovered that using the last hole, the hole I had been using for around 6 weeks, no longer tightened the belt as much as I needed in order to hold up my already loose fitting jeans.  

When I started losing weight in August of last year, I was using the first/loosest hole.  Over the course of 5 1/2 months, I had gone through all the holes, thus rendering the belt useless.  On the same day, I was finally able to wear my old, once favorite belt, a belt that I used to love, but hadn't worn in at least 7-8 years when my waistline outgrew it. 


2) When I Discovered That None of My Shorts Fit Anymore

Two weeks ago, temperatures here in Kentucky got up into the 70s and 80s. Wanting to take advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures, I decided to pack some shorts for the conference I was attending.  I pulled out the storage container where I keep my shorts and pulled out a pair that I had worn last summer to try them on.  After buttoning and zipping them up, they literally fell off my hips.  I repeated this process 9 more times with the remaining shorts and got the same outcome.  This happened during one of the weeks in which I experienced a gain.

3) When I Tried on a Pair of Shorts in a Size That I Haven't Worn in Over a Decade

Due to owning zero shorts that fit, I recently found myself in a dressing room at Eddie Bauer and Old Navy.  Thinking proactively, I took three sizes of each pair of shorts that I wanted to try on - the size I estimated I might be able to wear as well the size above and below it.  When I realized that I had comfortably buttoned and zipped up the pair in the size that I haven't worn in over a decade, I actually got misty-eyed.  The gain I experienced that week was much easier to take because of that dressing room moment.

4) When My Blood Pressure Got in the Normal Range Without the Assistance of BP Medication

Yesterday, during a visit to the doctor to get tested for the flu, which can back positive, the nurse practitioner took all my routine vitals including my blood pressure.  For the first time since 2010, it came back within the normal range without the aid of blood pressure medication.


Non-scale victories are important because they give you other measures of success.  When you are trying to lose weight, it is unreasonable to believe that you will never experience an occasional gain.  Life happens and sometimes it is reflected on the scale.  The same thing goes for plateaus - they are inevitable.  If you are solely basing  your weight loss success on the number on the scale, you may be in for some disappointment because the scale may not always work in your favor.  

That's why it's important to remember that the numbers on the scale don't tell the whole story.  The scale won't tell you about the two sizes you've dropped in jeans or about the increased energy you have or the fact that you no longer have to take high blood pressure medication.  The scale only tells you the numerical value of our planet's gravitation pull on your body.  That is all.

In an perfect world, a weight loss journey would be in a straight line from point A to point B.  We'd start and we'd lose weight every week in a steady and consistent manner.  But, we don't live in a perfect world.  Here in the real world we have dinners out, celebrations, drinks with friends, baby showers, Christmas goodies, Thanksgiving dinner, and Super Bowl parties.  Real world weight loss journeys involve many twists and turns as well as hills and valleys.  

When you have a gain or hit a plateau and feel disheartened, keep the faith. Think of a non-scale victory that you've experienced that emphasizes the progress you've made.  It will be tempting to give up and allow yourself to fall off the wagon.  Don't.  Stay the course and   remember - you are more than the number on the scale and your success is more than the number of pounds you have lost.


Via

Do you have non-scale victory you would like to share?  If you do, feel free to comment below.

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful Thursday!


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