Saturday, August 04, 2007

Getting Older Rocks...

Remember when you were a little kid and you were so excited to get older that you corrected people who said you were five when you were really five and a half??

When did you stop counting the half years? When did it stop being cool to get older?

My son is turning 9 on Monday and is all about his new age. He likes it so much that he has been trying it out for weeks. "Yeah, I am almost 9." "When I am 9 I am going to have my own computer." "9 year olds don't have to go to bed at the same time as their sisters, right Mom?" No hanging on to the last vestiges of being 8 for him.

Yet, I have so many friends who do that 29/39/49 and holding thing that I have to wonder what it is about aging that makes us want to go into such denial that we will actually pick a year and stick with it.

I get the mortality thing--that for many getting older represents that slow march toward death. I suppose if you are paying attention to the news, the constant images of age-related disease and disability could be a little disconcerting. If you look at it that way, it makes perfect sense that you would want to convince yourself that it ain't gonna happen to you because you have no intention of moving from this spot thankyouverymuch!

Maybe it is because I love who I am at 36 and wouldn't choose to relive any of my past. Maybe it is because I hang out with people who are older than I am and they seem to be having so much fun. Maybe it is because I have been called a baby by someone at every age I have ever been* and am looking forward to the age when that stops. Maybe I am the one in denial and don't choose to see the correlation between birthdays and illness.

Regardless, I love getting older. I love adding days to my calendar and reams to my memories.

Ultimately, I think it has more to do with being okay with who I am right this moment while also looking forward to the next iteration of Gina. It is like a birthday every moment with the gift being the discovery of what growth and delight and deepening and love and joy I get to play with now.

So, here's to birthdays and half birthdays and 127/365ths birthdays. Make a wish and blow out your candles. It's your birthday and getting older rocks!

*You know how it goes: "Oh, you are (fill in age here)?? You are still a baby!!" What is it about that dismissive statement that makes me want to do violence??

Friday, July 06, 2007

Watch this...


Walgreen's is doing something right!

Love it!

(And I haven't forgotten about the MegaChallenge 210... back soon with an update!)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The MegaChallenge 210

We just wrapped up another MegaConference--and it was fantastic! About 1000 people were there (this number--uncharacteristically for me--is accurate) learning, networking, and eating gobs of buffet-style food.

As I reconnected with the folks who inspired me to undertake the MegaChallenge a couple of years ago, it occurred to me just how far down my priority list physical fitness has fallen. Yeah, I am still below goal weight. And I even manage to take long walks and work out a couple of times a month.

But it ain't enough.

So, we have officially re-issued the MegaChallenge. Only this time the stakes are higher as is the goal. Last time we did it for the glory--and there was some of that--but we didn't actually complete the workouts. We haven't decided what carrot we are chasing, yet. That's still up for discussion. We have determined the benchmark. You ready? We will complete 210 workouts before the next MegaConference. (Of course, if you read the title, you already knew that.)

So, for all y'all who want to jump on board, here's your chance! What do you need to do? I dunno--maybe sign up in the comments? If we get significant interest (as defined by me--it is my blog, right??) I may even approach Renee over at Fatfighters about posting our progress there or some such.

Who knows? The MegaChallenge 210 may become the tipping point that turns the trend to obesity on it's cream-filled head.

A girl can dream.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stuck Under a Pile of Laundry...

Send help!

I know everyone has to deal with laundry. Well, I suppose there are folks who toss aside their just-doffed clothing with the expectation that the Laundry Fairy (be it mom, wife, butler, or actual magical nymph) will remove it, clean it, dry it, fold it, and return it to the drawer where it belongs. Ignoring those folks (two of whom live in this house) the rest of us have this issue on an on going basis.

Gina, are you seriously going to do a blog post on laundry?

Why not??

Well, you have only posted like 4 times in the past 4 months. Couldn't you update us on something a little more--well, exciting??

All right! Okay! Enough about the 8 loads (count 'em!) I did today. We'll talk about something else. I was on a roll, though. Laundry happens to be a big deal around here.

Oh! The magazine with my rant about that Combating Autism Act came out. Of course, they deleted all of my exclamation points and question marks and sighs and acks and it reads like a research paper--but it is in print. (Why do editors do that??? They get all excited about a piece and beg you to let them publish it and then strip it of everything that made it yours to begin with...) You can see it here. Scroll down to pages 12-13.

We are also on the cover--along with several pics I took during our last lobbying trip to DC. They put more of my shots inside around a piece written by another family that went on the same trip. It seems I am a photo-journalist, too! Whoda thunk?

And as long as I am "outing" myself by giving you a link to the magazine--which contains pics of me and my child along with my real name--I might as well add a picture to my profile and include a link to my other* website. Sure, some might see it as shameless self-promotion. They obviously don't know me very well.

So, there you have it. I have morphed into a laundry-doing, homeschooling, photo-journalist, author, webmistress, blogging, life coach.

Heavy on the laundry.

*Y'all have had a link to on the sidebar for over a year. If you google "autism" and "iep" my little site will come up first--and I have done nothing to promote it evah... kah-cha!! Just goes to show what having a site sit there for 6 years can do. LOL

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sorry, Ma'am, It Must Be Your Modem...

I have been online since before $Prodigy had graphics. Yeah. I was one of those nerdy girls who get all BBSed up at the turn of the 90s and shared lists of CDs with people who lived across town.

In the process of going from local BBS to $P to GNN to AOHell (who coopted my GNN account through some deal with Satan) to Mindspring to Earthlink (who did a similar thing to my Mindspring account--and I still think they should have become MindLink... I'm just sayin'!) to DSL to Cable I have dealt with a tech or two or three.

I have to say that as much as I love having lickity-split cable access to y'all, and a wireless router that allows me to talk to y'all from anywhere on my expansive property (don't get excited, you can walk it in under a minute), I am not fond of dealing with the cable company when things go wrong.

Why's that, Gina?

Because they have like 40 silos of "service" and none of them know a hootie patootie about anything else.

After the 95th price increase in a week, I called to see why I couldn't get TV and Internet for less than a decent car payment and, Lo, the clouds parted and they discovered that if I added a phone to my TV/Internet package they could bundle my services and knock $40 off of my bill. NO lie. It went from $129 to $89 a month--but only if I agreed to let them install a land line.

I haven't had a land line since before we figured out that Y2K was just a ruse to get all of the retired techies from the 60s back into the cubicles. So, although I didn't know what I would do with unlimited anytime minutes (as long as I didn't leave my expansive property--so claustrophobic, no??) I caved and let them roll a truck.

Well, a month later the phone guy shows up and does some magic and wha la the 40 year old phone lines are talking to my cable line and people can call my house and leave me voice mail and then call my cell phone and say, "I tried calling you at home and didn't get you there, so I figured I'd try you mobile." (I have a log book of calls so that I can compare time stamps and make sure that the message from Margaret is really one I should return and not three gave-up-and-reached-me-on-the-cell-phone attempts ago.)


Only... sit down... now my TV and Internet are for shit. No kidding. I can't get On Demand. (What will I do without 24 hour access to Noggin?? No seriously!) One TV gets no signal at all. The cable boxes all say it is 12 noon. I can't send an email. I can't post on my blog. I can't surf. Forget updating my websites.

So, I have spent about 80 hours on my new land line begging my cable company to pretty please return me to my real virtual life. Only they can't. See, the phone guy evidently screwed something up when he cast the spell that made my cable talk to my household wiring. But since the phone is working fine they can't fix the other problems.

So, fine. I call the "Internet Division" and repeat my tale of woe. They tell me it is a phone problem--after all it all went wrong when he came out, right? Um, okay. But aren't you guys like related or something? Nope--different division. Sorry, let me transfer you.

So I talk to the phone people again.

And, again they mute the headset and laugh their asses off and then come back and tell me that I'll have to talk to the TV people.

And I call the TV people--who I swear are the very same people in the Internet Division, only they pretend to be completely new people--and I give them my 19 digit customer number, my 64 digit serial number from the cable box, my phone number, the ISBN off of the book I am reading, and three redemption codes from the My Coke Rewards program--just to make nice--and they say, "Hang on. I am going to transfer you to the automated agent."

And before I can say, "WTF??" I am off into some digitized version of troubleshooting hell.

Claire and I are best friends now. But it wasn't always that way. It took a while for me to get used to her saying over and over, "I'm sorry. That isn't a valid entry. Choose from the following menu," before I was able to bond with her.

She asked me about a bazillion questions including whether my TV was on channel 3 and my cable box was really powered off and my VCR was recording Dukes of Hazard reruns, and my watch was set to daylight savings time and my teeth were flossed. I only threw the phone once.

Eventually, I was able to convince Claire that I really wasn't faking my lack of a picture. So, she gave me back to the breathing TV people who said, "We can send someone out, ummmmmmm, Tuesday." At this point, a week seemed like a flash, so I jumped on it.

Then a couple of hours later, Claire's saccharin sister, Danielle called to tell me that they would actually be coming by in a few minutes and would that be okay? Um. Lemme think. Yeah?

Five hours later not one but two cable guys showed up at my door. They wandered around and scratched their heads and played with their massive walkie-talkies and pretended that they were solving the problem of cold fusion and came to the conclusion that everything* was working fine except for my modem.

Which is actually their modem that they leased to me until I threatened to sue them for charging me $6 a month for 6 years for a $30 piece of plastic. But, now, according to their records it isn't their problem.

But they would be happy to lease me a new modem.


So, I install a new modem. And the Internet speed test swears on its digital momma that I am blazing along but I still can't send an email or surf or upload my websites.

Oh, and the TV isn't getting a signal because--well, er--because you need a new cable line run from the garage through your neighbor's yard around the moon and back and we just can't do that because we have a subcontractor who does that and he is booked until at least Y3K. Do you want us to give you his number?

Maybe Claire will know what to do.

*According to my thesaurus, "everything" means: an amount or quantity from which nothing is left out or held back. According to the Cable Guys, "everything" means: our little meter says that you are getting a signal. Too bad, so sad if you can't actually see anything on your TV or access the Internet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Words Never Fail Me...

My boyfriend (yes, it is official and exclusive and terrifying and very, very good) bandies about his credentials as a writer--and rightfully so--to the point where I sort of forgot that I, too, have been known to put together some sweet syllables on occasion.

I have suddenly rediscovered my penchant for prose as I have tossed off the yoke of higher education*. (Yeah, I said I put together sweet syllables on occasion. At other times, I put together clashing cliches and hide behind my anonymity.) Without volumes of Kirkpatrick to dig through (love him, but his name comes up every 3rd sentence at Joe's Pretty Good Grad School) I have time for all sorts of writing and--gasp--pleasure reading!

There are 40 books on my nightstand. These are my "get to them soon" books. My book purchasing is an illness that I will never even attempt to overcome. I see a book that looks interesting, I buy it. I read the first 75 pages and then get distracted by another pretty cover. It goes on my nightstand. Eventually I am penniless and want something to read, so I go back to one of the toss offs and re-discover why I bought it. Eventually I finish them all. (Well, except for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which was officially thrown across the room at page 640 and left to be walked on for a week until I finally worked up the strength to pick up the 40 pound doorstop and put it on a shelf. Ms Clarke, get thee an editor!)

Anyway. The pile of books seems to grow faster than my children. Which has led me to discover one advantage to being the only adult in the house; no one else can tell you that you have too many of something! It also means that no one moves your stuff--and if they do they are smaller than you and you can bribe them with candy and stickers to get it back.

Keeping in mind those two things (the getting to keep what you want and it staying where you put it) imagine just how juicy it is to re-discover an entire collection of books that you are absolutely dying to read just sitting there beside your bed and actually having the time to read them!

Are you salivating?

Oh! The titles I am cracking (or re-cracking) this month! Everything from The Fabulous Friendship Festival to The Female Brain to The Field to Finding Your Own North Star. Wait. Those are all in the Fs. Just so no one gets the mistaken belief that my nightstand is organized alphabetically... to The Namesake to Why Moms are Weird (Hi, Pamie!!) to Sex, Time, and Power.

I have had a book-a-day habit since 2nd grade (Hi, Mrs. Williams!!) and just feel so blessed to have continued access to this alternate reality. I am working diligently to pass my addiction on to my kids. I suckered them in with picture books before they could hold their heads up. Then we moved on to reading chapter books out loud on car trips and while they played in the floor with their toys. Once I got them hooked, I taught them the code and now they are reading on their own.

If there is anything any sweeter than kissing my children good night, it is hearing my 8-year-old son say as I tuck him in with a biography(!!), "There's nothin' like a good book."

* Grad school is going on the back burner for the moment. The issues I mentioned last fall have never been resolved and have escalated and the school is in a huge upheaval that won't be settled in my lifetime and I am over beating my head against that brick wall. Perhaps another program at another school will be a better fit. Perhaps I should just get off of my ass and get a job. Hey! I might just do it!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No seriously...

It has not been two months since my last post!

I have thought all sorts of incredibly important and insightful thoughts. Didn't I post about my 36th birthday party, complete with band and chocolate mousse? No? Well, how about the incredible St Valentine's weekend at the state park covered in snow? Not that either?? Okay, surely I told y'all all about my real, live, paying client that officially kicked off my life coaching business, right? Right???

Oh, guys, I am so sorry!

It seems the more I have to say the less able I am to drop by ye ole blog and say it.

Well, I will tell you that the blog has proven to be slightly beneficial for my writing career. (I didn't even know I had or wanted a writing career!) My rant on the language surrounding the Combating Autism Act was picked up by a magazine. It seems that at least one other person thinks it is high time we think about the language we use when discussing diagnosis and disability. I won't re-rant here. Just wanted to send out a woot! for the record.

And because this entry is officially all over the map and is begging for some sort of cohesiveness, I will end where I began:

As of right now, it has not been two months since my last post.

See y'all in June...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Well, if it shows up in O...

You know you've made it when you show up in O. You know, that little magazine put out by that lady who seems to have endless ability to influence the world around her?

Well, before you get all excited and send me a comment saying, "But, Gina, I didn't see you in O!!" Lemme point out that, no, I am not exactly in O. Weight loss blogging is in O. And, since I have a weight loss blog (shush, it is, too!! or was... whatever!) I am, by association in O. So there.

Anyway, now that we are all agreed that I am famous and "in" let's move on to the point. Yes, I have a point.

Reistad-Long (the author of the article in O) comes to the conclusion that blogging helps us lose weight (well, duh!) but her explanation as to why totally fit into my whole, "Dream it, Plan it, Say it, Do it" philosophy." She says, "Anyone who has achieved a significant behavior change knows that success is an ongoing process of staying aware and making the right choices."

Change is an act of intention. You want to make the change. You believe the change is possible. You tell others that you are going to make that change. And wha la! You change*! It is a deliberate act of will.

I am living proof. Go back and read my entries. I double dog dare you to. Three major life changes started here... I shaped my overweight form into my (as of this morning) 143 lb comfort zone, I eliminated my wasband from my immediate surroundings, and I discovered my "balance is everything" mantra. And you know what? When I declared that I would lose weight to the whole world and I wrote about it and kept that promise to myself--deliberately--I did it. And when I came to the conclusion that a divorce was the change I needed, same thing. And when I read myself saying, "balance" every other sentence, I recognized that it was a key to my bliss.

Recognizing, as I do, the power of declaration, I want to set other goals and share them here. I know the power of this forum.

But... you knew there was a but...

I have hesitated to transform this blog into a rest-of-my-life blog for several reasons. The main one is that I am somewhat concerned that my still-unstable wasband will find fuel for his indignation here. I don't want to hurt him. He has lots of work to do to find his balance. I tried to help him, but it was beyond my ability (and beyond my responsibility!!) I still hope he will land in his bliss (though so far he has landed just about everywhere else), but I have to make sure I don't give him the power to derail mine.

So, I am trying to figure out how to share what is going on and what I am going to work on and still feel "safe."

Okay. I have said for years that living in fear is not living. My first act of deliberate intent is to declare that my blog is a safe place. I expect the people who visit here to be supportive and caring--just as they always have been. If you are the boogey man, move along. I am sure there is a blog out there for you. This one is for folks who believe, like Richard Feynman, "The key to success is to make people dream."

Here's to living that dream!

*For those of you who are screeching, "Buuuuut Gina, it isn't that eeeeeeasy!!!" I will say again, it is a deliberate act of will. If you have mixed feelings, your results will be mixed. If you are only doing it because your mom, boyfriend, therapist, horoscope, or Oprah says you should, it ain't gonna go very well. You know this. I know this. The universe knows this. Now put down the sleeve of Oreos and get focused on what you want. (And if what you want is the sleeve of Oreos, you will pick them right back up. No judgment... I've done it, too. They are soooo good. especially with really cold milk...)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rockin' my world 2.0...

Okay. I lied.

This is the coolest site ever.

Click on "Custom Radio" and put in your favorite artist or song and it will create a radio station just for you.

You can customize it.

You can create stations for your every mood.

You can ban crappy songs from ever playing in your kingdom.

You can plug your laptop into your surround sound system and wonder how you got so lucky as to live in this incredible time.

Life is about to change for you.


I'll wait here. It's okay. They're playin' my song...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My fine is $280.50...

Like TJ over at MPMB, I was a pool pee-er. How the hell do I know that about TJ? Weeeelllll...

There is this little survey floating around Blog Land. If you haven't already done it consider yourself tagged. Leave me a comment so that I can come check out your fine.

Here’s how it works: You don’t have to confess your answers, just the amount of your fine. (Not per incident!) Tally up your score and post it on your blog with the title… ”My Fine Is…”

Yeah, my total is $280.50. I've heard that isn't so high. I'd better get to work!

Smoked pot — $10
Did acid — $5
Ever had sex at church — $25
Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you — $40
Had sex with someone on MySpace — $25
Had sex for money — $100
Vandalized something — $20
Had sex on your parents’ bed — $10
Beat up someone — $20
Been jumped — $10
Crossed dressed — $10
Given money to stripper — $25
Been in love with a stripper — $20
Kissed some one who’s name you didn’t know — $0.10
Hit on some one of the same sex while at work — $15
Ever drive drunk — $20
Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk — $50
Used toys while having sex — $30
Got drunk, passed out and don’t remember the night before — $20
Went skinny dipping — $5
Had sex in a pool — $20
Kissed someone of the same sex — $10
Had sex with someone of the same sex — $20
Cheated on your significant other — $10
Masturbated — $10
Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend — $20
Done oral — $5
Got oral — $5
Done / got oral in a car while it was moving — $25
Stole something — $10
Had sex with someone in jail — $25
Made a nasty home video — $15
Had a threesome — $50
Had sex in the wild — $20
Been in the same room while someone was having sex — $25
Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars — $20
Had sex with someone 10 years older — $20
Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 — $25
Been in love with two people or more at the same time — $50
Said you love someone but didn’t mean it — $25
Went streaking — $5
Went streaking in broad daylight — $15
Been arrested — $5
Spent time in jail — $15
Peed in the pool — $0.50
Played spin the bottle — $5
Done something you regret — $20
Had sex with your best friend — $20
Had sex with someone you work with at work — $25
Had anal sex — $80
Lied to your mate — $5
Lied to your mate about the sex being good — $25

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rockin' my world...

or at least my laptop is this very, very cool interactive and free (for the lo-fi version) online streaming music player.

Go! Right now! Check it out.

Then come back and tell me how amazing it is.

You're gonna thank me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Decisions, decisions...

Yes, I am down to 142.5 pounds, but not in a good way. I have lost weight this week because I have stressed myself into a relapse and can't manage to eat anything.

I am the canary in the mine. I see the big picture. I see the problems and cracks and I am probably a little hyper-vigilant. But when I see it coming, I want to warn folks.

"Get out of the way!"

"We gotta change this!"

"This could be so much easier/sweeter/kinder/effective!"

But sometimes--most of the time--they just don't want to hear it. And I can usually let it go.

Unless it directly affects my life in some dramatic way.

Like People First Language.

Well grad school is affecting my life in a dramatic way. The issues with my team got worse--much worse--over the course of the past several weeks and I went to the administration for help. It seems that was the wrong course of action. They don't want to hear it. And I can't let it go.

Without detailing you to death, let's just say that I am seriously considering leaving the program. This sucks for about 64 reasons, not the least of which is that I want this degree, I love the coursework, and I don't know what I am going to do if I drop out.

But I can't live with this kind of stress for another year. It isn't fair to my children. It isn't healthy for me. Life is way too short to go weeks without sleep or eating because folks won't do their part.

Damn it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

15 minutes of effort...

I am back at my seemingly perpetual task of de-cluttering my world. We are super-blessed around here with generous gift givers and the holidays left us with about thirty million new things to store. Of course, those items all came wrapped in something and were under a tall green something covered in all sorts of sparkly somethings. Now that it is officially "after the holidays" all of those somethings were making me bat wacky and had to get out of here.

But I just couldn't do it.

I am tired. Yes, I will admit it. There are days when I just don't wanna be the grown up! But no one else is volunteering, so up and at 'em!

I don't know where I originally got the idea to do 15 minutes of clutter attack. Perhaps at (she can have credit if she likes) or in some book or out of sheer genius. Anyway, it isn't my favorite way to spend a day, but sometimes it is the only way to get moving. How does it work?


When we do it, we pick 3 tasks that seem overwhelming (today: taking down decorations, putting away new stuff, and cleaning the kitchen won) and rotate those with a fourth something that we actually enjoy (a day-long game of Monopoly* won). We set the timer for 15 minutes and jump on task one. When the timer screams, we switch to the next task for the next 15 minutes. This continues 'round and 'round until we finish. Sometimes it takes an hour, others it takes 4.

Anyway, we did manage to get all three tasks done. My daughter kicked our butts at Monopoly. (Seems at a couple of weeks shy of 6 that she relies on the strategy of "buy it all and watch them die a slow death paying me rent.") I feel much better because I don't have visions of Christmas in April dancing in my head.

*My son got the new Monopoly Here & Now game as one of his gifts. We are fairly Monopoly obsessed around here and have several versions (including electronic ones) but this one is the strangest one evah! Things we like: cool tokens (cell phone, hybrid car, airplane, etc) and properties from all over the country. Things we hate: the money and the money!! It is 10,000 times as complicated to use because the whole shebang has been inflated by--you guessed it--a factor of 10,000. Worse than that? Three denominations are some variant of yellow--including the $100,000 and $1,000,000 bills--and are very easily mixed up. We did have a very interesting lesson on place value, though. My recommendation? Stick with your classic version and order "replacement" tokens from H@sbro. (If you feel that is somehow unethical, then go buy the game and get all giddy when you discover your own tiny St@rbuck's mug token!)