Sweet Silver Lining

just watching the clouds…

What We Do With Our Days January 27, 2012

Filed under: entertainment,family,raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 10:04 am
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It’s amazing to me how much time people waste, myself included. I stayed off Facebook last night and cleaned the kitchen, washed clothes, and took down our Christmas tree, and I was amazed at how much I got done in a relatively short amount of time. In my defense about the tree, I left it up for ambience so Jamie and I could celebrate Christmas together when he got home last week. It was nice to have everything still Christmasy when he tore into packages. :o) Anyway, I used to spend lots of time sitting at the computer, mostly waiting on Jamie to get on at night so I could chat with him. I guess I could have been doing other things, but I was always afraid I’d miss him getting on. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on there at all since he’s been home.

 

I have definitely been realizing just how much time I can waste, even more so now that I’ve worked three jobs at once. Since my night class didn’t make and I’m not traveling almost an hour one way twice a week, I now have a nice chunk of “free time,” probably about 7 extra hours each week, time that I had before I started working at EMCC but really didn’t realize I had. I just wasted it at night, I guess. A big help has been cutting out most television, though. Years ago when I had an 8-5 office job, I’d come home, plant my butt on the couch, and watch probably 3-4 hours of t.v. every night! I just can’t imagine that these days. Of course, that was before I caught the running bug. Another time-sucker was playing computer games, which I rarely do anymore, primarily because I know how addicted I can get to them. I was into the hard-core RPG’s that immerse you in the environment and storyline and could suck away 5 hours, and it would seem like only 30 minutes had gone by! So after staying up late cleaning and putting stuff away, I STILL got on FB for a little social networking fix last night! I know, terrible.

 

Is there anything wrong with devoting your time to something “useless” like excessive t.v. watching, Internet surfing, or video game playing? Who determines what is useless and what isn’t? It seems to me that stamp collecting is an utterly useless hobby, but to a stamp collector, it is a perfectly valid use of time. It really all comes down to how you view your own time and the activities you do to fill up that time. If gardening is important to you, you devote your time to it. If slaying dragons and giants is your choice of entertainment, then you do that when you have free time. If playing a sport is what you like to do, then you don’t see it as a waste of your time. I guess what becomes an issue is how your activities affect the necessary parts of your life, like spending time with family, cleaning and taking care of the household, getting enough sleep for work, etc. For me, whatever I do that is taking up my free time, I feel like it should have value I can see (artwork, healthier body from working out, writing that I might be able to sale eventually, learning something new, etc.). I guess I am practical that way. I do surf the internet for entertainment and watch movies sometimes. I guess someone who sits in front of a t.v. for hours each night could argue that it’s their “unwinding time” or their choice for entertainment, and I can see that. Most people believe that blogging is a waste of time, but I love expressing myself in that way of I have a little time to write. Sometimes we need to cut each other slack about our choices of activities.

 

I suppose one of my pet peeves is that people often say, “I don’t have time for that,” when in reality, what they mean is that they don’t MAKE time for it, whatever “it” is. For instance, if you want to learn how to play an instrument, you’ll swap an hour or two each week from television to lessons and practice. Even working three jobs plus doing arts and crafts to consign at a local shop, I still cleaned the house each week and worked out regularly, because those things were important to me. Had violin been more important than working out and improving my health, I would have taken up lessons again in place of exercise.

 

What got me to thinking about all of this is what I want to do with my free time now that the English Composition class didn’t make. I of course want to spend more time with Jamie, and we have been really enjoying the extra time. When he goes back to work on the night shift, I know I probably won’t see him as much in the evenings, particularly when earlier when he’ll be sleeping. I hope to get my exercise equipment set up in the workshop soon so I can workout without waking him up too early. I’d also like to set aside a little bit of the 7 hours regained each week to get back into writing. The difficult part about that is devoting that time to just that and then sticking to it. I might also pick back up on my violin lessons, particularly if I can find a teacher closer to home. I definitely like to keep myself busy. :o) I feel like I’ve wasted too many years being lazy or doing “hobbies” that seem pointless to me now. Our lives pass us by so quickly, and we waste so much time on things that aren’t important. I want to focus on doing activities that I can find value in, things that I can look back on in 10 or 20 years and say, “I’m really glad I did that,” rather than, “What did I do with all that time I had?”

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SAD January 18, 2012

Filed under: hEaLtH,raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 4:30 pm

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is an appropriate acronym, is when you tend to feel depression at certain times of the year, usually during winter. The world is so cold and gray paired with Vitamin D deficiency from too little sunlight, which makes some sensitive people struggle during the winter months. It has even been suggested we have adapted beyond the hibernation response for animals in winter months but still feel its effects. I get so crabby during the cold months. It’s so noticeable that when we do have a few days of unseasonable warm, sunny weather, I feel almost instantly better, like my head has been dark and foggy and someone finally opened some curtains and turned the light on. I think SAD is why I have such a hard time keeping myself motivated during winter. I get completely drained during the winter months. I don’t want to do anything that I generally like to do, such as running, cooking, cleaning (ok, so i don’t really like to do that, BUT it is 10 times more difficult to make myself do it in the winter), painting, writing, etc. In addition to decreased energy, another symptom of SAD is sleeping too much. During Christmas break, I was getting 10 and 12 hours of sleep a day easily. I am still sleeping too much on the weekends and often take long naps in the afternoon during the work week whenever I get a chance. This time of year, I always wonder if I’m showing signs of narcolepsy or have some other serious and undetected illness; I get so lethargic that I could believe it! As soon as the days start warming up and I get my sufficient doses of daily sunshine, I have instant energy and a mood boost. I want to run and garden and clean. I am biding my time until I feel like myself again. I’m tired of feeling SAD. I’m just tired.

Do you feel the effects of SAD each year?

 

A Soldier’s Coming Home! January 16, 2012

Filed under: family — dragonfly180 @ 12:16 pm
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Jamie called me from Ireland Saturday night to tell me that he’d be in the states by the next morning. He arrived at Ft. Hood, TX, at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I am so excited that this tour is almost over. I am ready to have him in my arms again. I am thankful that God gave me patience through this and blessed me with caring people to surround me with love and with help if needed. I am most thankful that God protected Jamie through this second deployment to Afghanistan. A life without Jamie is a just a shadow of a life, a dream where realism is elusive and the edges are a blur. In less than a week, my waking nightmare will be over, and life will resume in its lovely, peaceful, bright way.

 

2012 Movies January 14, 2012

Filed under: entertainment — dragonfly180 @ 1:01 pm
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i absolutely love watching movies. i’d rather do that on a friday night than anything else. i am pleasantly surprised by the lineup of good movies coming out this year in light of the pitiful ones hollywood produced in 2011 (seriously, i could count on one hand the movies that i thought were really good). so i thought i’d post some that i’m interested in seeing this year.

it came out in December, but i still have yet to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. i really liked the first one, so i’m interested to see how Downey does in this one.

one that everyone seems to be talking about is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. i’m hearing, though, that the Swedish version is much better, so i’ll probably go see this one first so it’s not ruined by a better version! i’m really not fond of subtitles, either, so the Swedish version has been in my netflix queue for a good while now, as i’ve passed over it for other movies.

another one lots have gone to see is The Devil Inside. if you know me at all, you know that i LOVE a good scary movie. i also really like seeing movies about demonic possession, because the scary movies that i believe are more likely to happen in real life (spiritual strife, serial killers, natural disasters, etc.) are much scarier and more entertaining to me. BUT i have been hearing that the end of this movie is horrible, so i’ll maybe watch this one on dvd. definitely not shelling out $8 to be let down by a crappy conclusion.

another movie i’m looking forward to is Coriolanus.  i mean, i AM an English major, after all. of course i’m going to get excited about anything by Shakespeare. And Ralph Fiennes is strangely sexy to me, although i don’t think the bald noggin really works for him. AND it has Gerard Butler in it. oh yes, i think i will like this one. not sure if i will go to the theatre or just get this on netflix, though.

another one i wouldn’t mind seeing but may wait for dvd is Underworld: Awakening. i love kate beckinsale and the underworld movies thus far have been pretty good, but this one apparently has Selene  (and all the lycans and vamps, i guess) battling humans. doesn’t that kinda make her a villain? it promises lots of good action, so it’d be a good date movie, but if our theatre only shows it in 3D, i know i’ll be waiting for the dvd release.

so that’s it for January, but there are lots more great movies coming out as the year progresses. definitely looking forward to sitting in a dark theatre surrounded by the sound of well-written lines and awesome music scores and immersed in a good story that lets me escape for a while.

 

 

Nice Walk Yesterday January 9, 2012

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 11:34 am
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my friend Samantha and I went for a nice walk yesterday after church. her parents live next door to me, and she and I are doing the Warrior Dash together in April. she hasn’t exercised at all since around the time she found out she was pregnant sometime around the first part of last year, so we had to get out and get started on our training for the Warrior Dash.

it was warm for january but was also threatening to rain all morning, but after we left her parents’ house, the sun came out, the air really warmed up, and it turned out to be a beautiful day. we walked almost 3 and a half miles total, but it didn’t seem that far because we chatted the whole time. we were actually sweaty by the time we were through, even though our pace was pretty slow. my calves are so sore this morning, which surprised me since i’ve been running some this past week. i guess walking is just a different motion, though.  it is going to be a challenge to teach an hour long Zumba class tonight with sore calves. one of my biggest fears is catching a calf cramp in the middle of a song. i have issues with my calves anyway.

i’m so glad Samantha is out moving again and getting in some exercise. not only is it necessary for good health, exercise just makes you feel better if you get into the habit of it. and it was such a pleasant change to have someone to talk to during a workout. so many of my workouts are solo. we plan to try to get out every Sunday for our weekly walks, and i’m really looking forward to them.

 

Dear Saint Nick… January 3, 2012

Filed under: family — dragonfly180 @ 1:09 pm
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every month, the unit puts out a newletter to us through email to let us know what’s going on with our guys and gals half way around the world. although the stories are pretty vague, there are often pictures and an occasional joke or funny article written by one of the soldiers. i got december’s newsletter in my email inbox a few days ago, and i quickly opened it thinking that maybe, just maybe, they’d let us in on demobilization plans (nope). i got all the way down to the 17th page in this .pdf document and happened to see this:

Dear Saint Nick,
Thank you for taking the time to read this. As you know, I’m once again in a foreign land in the service of my country. Most days we have just about all we need to get by. We have plenty of food, we have work to keep us busy, and we have our fellow soldiers to keep us company. So, you can probably guess what I’m going to ask for will not be too heavy for your sleigh and the reindeer to carry.
Since I’ve been here, all I’ve been able to think about is how hard it must be for my sweet wife, Cyrena, to keep up with everything and to manage it all by herself. She gets up early each day, feeds our dog and cat, walks the dog and somehow finds time to email me with something positive to brighten my day. She goes to work to teach and care for the kids at the high school where she works and she comes home each day, dead on her feet. She then goes to a gym, teaches a fitness class, and then two nights a week she teaches a night class at our local community college. She somehow finds the time to keep our home in good order and she even mails me letters and packages with lots of love and goodies inside. Most recently, she sent me a photo which I pinned up in my tent so I can see her sweet face before I go to sleep and when I first wake up. On Sundays and on Wednesday nights, she goes to our little country church to worship and to grow in knowledge and in faith, always keeping our church family updated on our situation here. She does all these things because she is the strongest and bravest woman I’ve ever known. She has kept me from falling apart and she does it all without any thanks or recognition for what a beautiful person she truly is.
Santa, this year, I want you to send her so much love from me that it completely surrounds her and keeps her warm even if snow blankets our home. I want you to send Cyrena so much thankfulness and gratitude from me that she will feel it was all worthwhile. Please give her a big box of patience to allow her to endure just a little longer until I can make it home. And most of all, tell her I am a better man because I married her.
Thank you so much, Santa, and I hope you get plenty of rest before your long ride through the night! God bless you!

Jamie

well, that gave me a good cry. what a sweet message to see on the first day of the new year. i’m glad it came late and i didn’t see it at christmas time. i was already a little blue missing my honey, especially on christmas eve. but i know how much i am loved, and i have been given an unbelievable amount of peace and patience through this deployment that sometimes amazes even me. in a few more weeks, all of this will be behind us. i pray that he feels peace and comfort through the otherwise anxious and frustrating process of demobilizing and that the whole unit has safe travels home to their loving families.

 

First Run of the Year January 2, 2012

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 4:45 pm
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just went for my first run of 2012, and it was actually the first run i’ve done in about two months. i haven’t really been feeling like running lately as much as i work, but i started a challenge on dailymile.com with my friends to help motivate us to run 400 miles this year. it was my goal mileage for 2011, but i really didn’t put out much effort last year. i’m hoping i can do it this year, though. 400 miles is only about 8 miles per week. this year, though, i am going to count all my mileage, so that includes any walking i do, too. see, i do this weird argument with myself. i usually convince myself that walking isn’t worthy of counting as mileage (because really we walk every day and everyone can do it, so it’s not that special right? so wrong!), so on days when i don’t feel like running but could easily get a few miles of walking in, i don’t because it’s a waste of time if it doesn’t “count.” so then i burn zero calories all because i think i’m too good to count walking as exercise. i mean, i am a tough half marathoner. i can run 14 miles without stopping. i can train in 95 degree mississippi heat. it’s okay for others to walk but not for me. i can run and run and run. i can’t belittle myself to get on the treadmill and walk for two miles. oh so silly reasoning. egos. our pride stops us from doing so many good things for ourselves. walking is a great form of cardio. you burn almost as many calories as running without the impact of running. i admit that i have listened to running elitists and let their distaste for walking or run/walk influence me far too long. so long as i am moving my butt off the couch, who cares what i’m doing??? with three jobs, i know that i will probably not be able to do 400 miles worth of just running, but i am determined to do 400 miles regardless. i’ll run when i can and walk when i feel like it.

so back to my first run of the year. i was really nervous (as i always am before a run, which is odd after 5 years of running…), so i procrastinated for a few hours. i needed to eat. then, the food needed to digest. then, my dog needed to go out. then, i needed to hydrate. then, my garmin needed to charge. then, i needed a nap. then, i…had no more excuses. i bundled up because this southern girl does NOT like the cold. and boy was it cold! i wore my thin nike livestrong wind breaker, which i love love love. it makes me feel like such a runner (why, i don’t know). anyway, i started my garmin and was off. i was surprised to find that i wasn’t dying like i thought i would after having not run for two months. i figured it was just the cold wind numbing my pain, and i kept going. coming up near the first mile mark, i started to feel a little fatigue, and it was so COLD. the wind was gusting at about 20 miles per hour, and the shady spots in the road were so chilly. i glanced down at my windbreaker, which is a gorgeous blue and along the zipper on my chest in bright yellow is “LiveStrong,” the trademark for the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research. when i look down, all i can see is the “strong” part of the logo, and it made me think about all those people out there battling cancer, living their lives day to day struggling much worse than i was out on the road today, and i picked up my pace. i resolved to finish the run with no walking, not because i was feeling snobbish toward walking but because i knew that i was strong enough to do two miles without a walk break. not only was i going to finish the last mile without walking, i was going to do it stronger and faster than the first, and i did. i am healthy, i am fit, and i am alive (in more ways than merely breathing). that’s what i have to celebrate this new year.

 

to join my 400 miles  in 2012 challenge, join dailymile.com for free and join the FIT IN 400 challenge or click here: FIT IN 400 Challenge