Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I've Moved

I've started a new blog and, therefore, won't be posting on this one anymore. If you'd like to continue to follow me (though you may not even read this because I haven't posted on here in well over a year), the new address is clayandjac.blogspot.com.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

About Face

This post has been brewing for quite some time, I just haven't quite been able to put it all together in my head and I wasn't sure what the exact context would be. Then it finally all became clear and here we are.

I've been thinking about how we sometimes make decisions in our lives and feel like it's the right thing to do at the time, but then somewhere down the line begin to wonder if it really was the right choice. It can seem okay for a while, but then you get a little distance on things and think "Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe I made the wrong choice." Then come the inevitable questions: What do I do now? How do I go back without looking like a flip-flopper/failure? What will people think or say when they find out I changed my mind?

When it isn't me that has to face these questions for myself, the answers seem simple. What do I do now? Make it right. Fix whatever is wrong. Un-do whatever you did. How do I go back without looking like a flip-flopper/failure? Make the necessary changes and simply face the consequences (keeping in mind that consquences aren't always negative or bad). It's easier than trying to do everything else under the sun to avoid the problem/wrong decision. The shortest distance between two points, after all, is a straight line. What will people think or say when they find out I change my mind? Who cares what they think or say? It isn't their life, it's yours. Besides, after the initial shock or surprise, they will get over it. Chances are, they'll forget you ever had this little bump in the road. You're the only one who really remembers things that involve you.

It's a little more difficult when I have to actually do as I would say. I was going back and forth about something in my head that just didn't feel right, but instead of just giving up, I was continuing to push forward. The problem was that I didn't feel like I was making any progress, I really felt like I was regressing. In my mind, it seemed easy or possible, but when I actually had to attempt things, it wasn't that way at all. As I began to face the reality that maybe I wasn't doing what was right or best, that notion made sense, but I was hung up on what people would say or what they would think of me.

Finally, I had to say "You know what? I can't worry about anyone but myself. I can't put myself, my body, my sanity, my happiness at risk because of what other people will say or think. That's not fair to me and I'm the one who will suffer most." You know Dr. Seuss saying: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." As soon as I realized that and faced the fact that I was being my own worst critic, the decision was made.

I'm not going to run the Marine Corps Marathon after all. It's not been an easy decision, but it is something that's been nagging me for quite some time. For me, it's better to lose the money that I paid for the registration than to spend even more money to go to D.C. and not be able to finish the race or, worse, get hurt, which is a very real possibility if I'm not ready. 26.2 miles is a long way. It's not something to be taken lightly and, frankly, I'm just not there. While I'm disappointed that I won't get to experience the race itself and D.C. from that vantage point, I feel great about the decision. Almost immediately, I felt like a weight had been lifted. (I also may or may not have started to feel like I can actually eat things I want again!)

This in no way means that I'm going to stop running. I just realize that I'm not capable of running a full marathon right now. Maybe I never will be. I do want to do another half marathon, though, and have plans to run the Disney Half Marathon again in January. That is a goal that is perfectly attainable and I'm in a good place to begin training for it. I can also set realistic goals for improving on last year's race.

I know that this idea applies to other areas of my life, too, this idea of doing what's right for me, but not necessarily for everyone else. It's hard to change. It's hard to go back on something that you said you would do or felt so strongly about, but the reality is that things change. Situations evolve and change and you sometimes need to revisit something you thought was a done deal. I think that to be able to face things and say "I was wrong about this" and doing whatever it may be to correct the sitation says a lot. I also know that you tend to suffer less the sooner you're able to correct things. Dragging it out doesn't do anyone any good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Finally! Sort of...

Finally meaning a couple of different things... one being that I'm FINALLY posting again. The other being that I FINALLY got a job.

I haven't had much to write about, at least that I wanted to put out there for just anyone to read. I still write in my journal every day and sometimes it seems that's about I'm good for. I'm also self-conscious about what I post on here. After I click publish, I start thinking that someone is reading it, scrutinizing every word and thinking "Why would she write that?!" At the same time, I own it and about ten minutes later, I'm over it.

The end of last year and beginning of this year brought some interesting challenges for me and a few members of my extended family. Five (specific) members of my family, including myself, found ourselves unemployed and unsure of what the heck was happening in our lives. I, thankfully, was probably in the best position of all, if there is such a thing, where I could move back home and regroup. For the others, it was a more urgent matter to find work and, as such, our family as a whole - my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - set our concerns on them. We prayed for them, fasted, and kept our eyes and ears open for potential opportunities. Perhaps our being on the outside of their circumstances allowed us to have extra faith in their behalf.

For me, I wasn't all that worried about finding a job. I did a few contracted jobs here and there, babysat, and helped my dad in his business. During that time, I looked for a job, but perhaps not with the intensity of someone who would be out on the street in a matter of weeks if I didn't land something. For that alone, I am grateful. And I can't help but to have seen how the timing of everything worked out so well.

As of this past week, four of the five of us have found jobs and it's looking pretty good for the last. Maybe it wasn't as soon as we wanted to be employed, but employed we are. And that is a huge blessing. Enormous.

When I found out that everything came together for most everyone within a matter of days, I was amazed. I couldn't help but see the hand of the Lord in this trial that we've all been going through, separately, yet together. When I first found out that my company would be closing, I was sure that I'd have a job before my actual last day, I'd start it as soon as possible and would never have to attempt to collect unemployment. I was completely averse to it. Clearly that was not the way that things worked out, hence not what the Lord had in mind. That I know for sure. Instead, He had other plans for me that I can clearly see and will continue to see the benefit of this period as time continues to pass.

To list all the things that I was able to do over the last five months would take way too much time, but they have not gone unnoticed. And while I wasn't expecting to get a job here and continue to live with my parents, that's exactly what I'll be doing. I've even got a little plan to maximize the benefits of living at home. This all further proves that what I want and think is best for me isn't always what the Lord has in mind and, ultimately, He's in charge here. If I would only learn to really turn things over to him, I might be better off. I do know that as long as I'm doing the very best that I can and am capable of, things will be just fine. I guess I just need the reminder.

Interestingly enough, I just saw a link to this article. It fits perfectly with what I'm talking about, though it clearly written much more eloquently. I especially love how it talks about trials being the Lord's way of telling you that you're prepared to grow more and that Heavenly Father and the Savior love us perfectly and "would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love." So true, yet so hard to always remember.

I'm certainly not saying "Trial over! I'm home free for a while now!" For all I know, I could be getting ready to take on something even bigger. Gosh, I hope not.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Obsess Much?

I like things just so. If you know me (which you probably do if you're reading this, otherwise how did you find me, you lucky soul?!) you know this already. Most of the time, I don't realize when I'm being a little too crazy unless someone is close enough to me to notice. It's usually the weird looks and raised eyebrows that I get from my parents or brother that let me know when I'm "doing it again."

For instance... I like condiments with just about anything dippable (is that a word? yes.) I generally want at least two options and then I line them up in a row and dip in order, trying not to repeat the same sauce twice... until I get close to the end of the meal and then I tend to stick to the one that I'm enjoying the most. When I eat spaghetti, I cut the noodles in a checkerboard-type pattern. I cut the lines one way, then turn my plate to cut them across the other way. This happened last night and I knew that I was going to get laughed at when I saw my brother watching me turn my plate. I have a method when eating a sandwich and corn on the cob. The method for corn on the cob is mostly to avoid feeling like I have butter and corn all over the sides of my mouth. Okay, maybe with the sandwich (especially PB&J), too. I also don't like it when other people wash my clothes because I don't really like the thought of someone doing it differently than I would. Not that they aren't capable or I don't appreciate the help, it just bugs me. (My mom will both love knowing this and think I need to be committed for it at the same time. She's probably right.)

When I write in my journal, I use the same pen (black Pilot G2, .07mm; .05mm is too thin, .10mm bleeds everywhere) every night until it runs out. I generally have at least one on stand-by because it would drive me insane to know that just one page, out of the 200 or so in my journal, is written in a different kind of ink. Even if it's still black. I rarely go back and read what I've written in my journal (because I end up crying), but I never correct anything or cross anything out. I feel like it would be altering history or something. No matter how stupid or ridiculous or sad or insignificant now, it's a part of me and who I am and might just be worth a laugh some day... in the very far distant future, to someone other than myself.

I just spent the last half hour or so making some minor changes to the layout of my blog, which is what made me think of all of this. I intentionally set up my sidebar at one point in time, but just about every time I make any sort of aesthetic changes, I end up changing the order of the items in. I will rearrange the order, change the heading(s), something. And, inevitably, I think to myself "Who put these like this? It makes no sense!" while I'm making said changes. As if someone else did it! I will also edit the layout of any given post if it doesn't match the basic formatting that I've set up for myself (font, type size, justification. colors vary based on my mood, the topic, and the one I last remember using, which should be avoided.). Blame that one on the day job I used to have.

That's just how off-my-rocker I am. I'm calling it situational Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, self-diagnosed, of course. There is a rule for just about every situation, but they don't necessarily apply to similar situations. And when there isn't a rule, or even the idea of a rule, in place... Heaven help me. I may not end up in the fetal position on the floor, but it's probably written all over my face. Go ahead, point and laugh.

P.S. As I prepared to post this, I was given a handful of Reese's Pieces and I am making sure that I don't eat two of the same color piece back to back. Straight jacket for one? Right here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Keep Going

Lately I've been struggling with my runs. I've been going at 5:30-ish in the morning and, while I love having it out of the way, it's been rough. I began to wonder if I was just way out of my league with the ladies I was running with. I mean, I most likely am. M is a maniac and literally laps me every time we go. If I were able to keep up with her, I'd probably be able to compete in the olympics. But I figure that I should keep going with them because it's easier for me to go if I know someone else is going and maybe one day I won't suck so bad.

My brother and I have gone running a couple of times since he's been home, too. We decided to go tonight, since neither of us had anything going on. When my dad heard this, he suggested that we ride with him to our church building and then just run home. I didn't think it was a terrible idea, but thought it was like eight miles or something and knew Coley wouldn't go for it. When I mapped it out and saw that it was right at five miles, he said no problem.

We hopped out of the truck at the church and started our warm up. As we approached the causeway, I couldn't help but think "What the heck did we just do?" I almost forgot that I was doing this voluntarily. Luckily, I remembered and I just pushed myself. The causeway was a little different than it is before dawn. There were a lot more people to maneuver around and a lot more traffic, too. Those things helped keep me going. Especially the stretch where all the guys are fishing. There was no way that I was going to let them see me stop running.

We stopped at 7-11 for some water, but other than that, we were on the move constantly. We got home before my dad, which was the only real goal. We never would've never heard the end of it had he beat us home. It turns out that we only walked about a mile and a half of the entire five mile run. I was quite proud of myself and it showed me that I do run better later in the day, after having had the chance to eat and drink water throughout the day. When I run in the morning, I don't eat before I go. There a couple of reasons for that. One is that I'm just not hungry (I know, I know. It's shocking that there's ever a time when I'm not hungry.) that soon after waking up, or that early for that matter, and another is that I would have to get up a lot earlier to be able to eat and digest my food, so that I won't get sick while running. It's the price I pay I guess.

We were feeling it before we ever got home, so I'm sure we're going to be sore tomorrow. I already had all kinds of sore muscles from working out on Friday and yesterday, so it'll just continue. While I was training for my half marathon, there were several weeks straight where something hurt. I had almost gotten used to it. When I stopped running or working out for a short period and noticed that nothing hurt, I missed it. Who misses sore muscles?! Crazy people, that's who.

But I'll tell you what. Sore muscles mean things are happening. As Jillian Michaels says, "When it starts to hurt, that's your body getting stronger." And she ain't lying. I am definitely not dropping weight like a Biggest Loser contestant. In fact, I'm not losing weight at all. But what I do have are some sexy arms and toned legs. I'll take those things with sore muscles any day.

Did I mention that my next run is in less than six hours? Maybe I'm becoming a maniac...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chore Chart

When we were kids, my parents were never really all that strict, but I guess they didn't really have to be. We didn't have set bedtimes that had to be followed. We also didn't have specific chores that were tied to allowances. We would clean our rooms (well, I would clean my room), do the dishes and take out the trash when asked, but there wasn't a rigid schedule.

After have four adults back in the house, each bringing with them their own habits, priorities, and preferences, my mom decided to come up with a chore chart. When she first mentioned it, my brother and I were like "Is she serious?" We didn't think she really was, so we joked about it for a couple of days. Perhaps that's where we went wrong because, with each joke, she was reminded of the idea and would threaten to really make one.

Sunday night, she went through with it. Displayed on our refrigerator is a list of household duties down the left side of the page and the days of the week across the top. Then all of our names are scattered throughout the the middle of the page. I did notice today that on Tuesdays, I have no chores. I happen to be the only member of the family with a "day off," which my dad did not find fair. I think it's fantastic. Or I think it will be down the road anyway.

It just so happens that my mom is out of town, working, during this inaugural week of the blessed Chore Chart. I'm not sure how she's going to police what gets done and what doesn't. And, so far, everyone has done something that wasn't their specific chore, so it's all messed up. For instance, retrieving, sorting and distributing the mail is a chore (yes, we get that much mail), but my brother usually gets it every day. He isn't so good about the sorting and distrubiting, so he has been bringing it inside and I have done the remaining steps of that chore. And I ended up doing the dishes yesterday, even though it was my mom's day. I've also done a lot of laundry lately, just to get it caught up. I suppose the point of it all is that it gets done, some way, some how, so as long as that happens the chart will have served it's purpose.

Here's my beef, though: There's no sticker chart to go along with the chores. How am I to keep track of what I've done and show that I'm doing the most chores so that I get the most privileges?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Strange Things Are Happening To Me

My dad has owned a business for the last 20 years. People have always come in and told him their life stories or spilled their guts about all their problems to him. At first it seemed a little odd, but then became the norm. My dad is a pretty compassionate type person. After all, you have to be more caring than the average Joe to be a funeral director. I guess those sort of people skills shine through his personality, whether he's at the funeral home (which isn't often, for the record) or in his store.

I worked for him for about a year while I was in college. And when I say worked, I mean I was actually on the payroll. He would be out doing other things and I would be left to run the place and, like it or not, I was the hired help. Regular customers thought it was "so nice" that I would work for my dad and that we truly had a little family business. I bristled every time someone suggested that my dad retire and I take over. No thank you.

This go around, things have changed a bit. I'm not on the payroll, but am more earning my keep. I use the term "working" very loosely when I describe what I'm doing while in his store. I think I'm just trying not to get sucked in. And if the people that come in keep getting weirder by the day, I'm going to have to start carrying a net with me.

It's rare that I notice if someone's hitting on me, but a couple of times in the last week it's happened and I have noticed. What's strange is that it always happens when I'm working by myself and no one else is standing in the store. After being asked "Are you Wayne's daughter? Do you work here often?" I want to ask if it's really any of their business and if they think knowing my dad is going to really get them anywhere. In case you were wondering, the answer to both of those questions should be a resounding "No." Yesterday a guy wanted to play 20 questions with me because I was answering his yes or no questions with yeses and noes. I was so glad when I saw one of my dad's regulars walk. The guy was starting to really creep me out and I was tired of him not getting the hint.

Late last week, my brother and I had just opened and a lady came in with some postcards that she wanted to mail. She didn't have street numbers or zip codes, but wanted me to find the zip codes so that she could mail them. I tried my best to explain to her that there can be many zip codes for a given city or even street, but she just wasn't getting it. I was finally able to help her with one of them, after it seemed like she was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together in her own special way, and she got mad at me. She proceeded to tell me how it wasn't that hard to give her the information and that I wasn't try to help her. With a quarter of a bagel still sitting in front of me, she then said "You're not even doing anything! You're just sitting there! EATING!!!" I looked over at my brother and we exchanged is-this-real-life?! glances. Then she continued, saying "And you're probably getting paid, too!" Too far, lady. One step too far. I informed her that I was not, in fact, being paid to be here. And neither was he. She said "You're not getting paid?! Not many people would do that." I wanted to say "Not many people are as stupid as we are, ma'am," but I had said enough.

What was even funnier was that she walked outside, waited a minute, and then walked back in like she had never been here before. She asked my brother if we sold stamps and then asked if he was from here, making "friendly" conversation. He looked at me as if to say "Is she serious?" and then said "Yes, ma'am. Born and raised." She said "Oh really? I'm not from here." He just said "I could tell." I almost choked on my bagel that I was stilll EATING.

All I've heard for days from my brother is "You're not even doing anything! You're just sitting there! EATING!" Perhaps I should cut back. But if I were to do that, the mailman might start stalking me on facebook again. And by stalk, I mean searching for me, telling me he likes my default picture, messaging me (just once, but isn't that enough?) and then talking about it when he comes to pick up the mail. All, of course, when my dad isn't around. Classy.