Category: Happiness

Things that are Funny: Joe Machi

It’s Friday.  It’s been a long week.  During lunch I was listening to a comic I’ve liked for a while named Joe Machi.  I always say with comedy- all I know is what I think is funny.  I have no idea if you guys will think he is funny.  He is awkward and nervous but the writing is good and it makes me laugh.

To me that was funny the gag about the bank password.

He was recently on Last Comic Standing and he was robbed!!! But I first saw him on Red Eye which is late night on the Fox News Channel (as an insomniac it has provided me with loads of entertainment).

Here’s some more of his sets on Last Comic Standing.

So if you needed a laugh hopefully that did something for you! Thanks for making me laugh Joe! What current stand up do you like?

 

Upstairs Rachel

Hi friends!

I just wanted to give you guys an update on my knee.  This week was huge! I saw improvement everyday and I was very good about staying off my knee as much as possible.  I even had a ticket to Wicked today but didn’t want to push it so I sold it to a friend. 

It’s weird I feel secluded from the rest of the world.  Like I’m in some kind of tunnel or bomb shelter.  I see my roommate and visitors and interact with others (including work) online.  It’s amazing how quickly you can cut yourself off from people.  It is also amazing how quickly the human brain gets used to a new routine, a new way of doing things.  Staying upstairs for days feels oddly normal.

So, what have been doing to keep myself busy upstairs?  Well, a lot of work which has been great.  I met some of my coworkers when they were here for the OR Show and told them some of my ideas for youtube and they loved it!!  They liked it so much they asked my boss if I could participate in a conference call on Wednesday and share them.  I made a power point presentation explaining my ideas and it went great!!!

We’ve been working on this spreadsheet project at work which is fine but I’m really excited to do something a little more creative so hopefully that will be starting after the presentation.

I’ve also been having fun diving into my old VHS collection because my friend Sharla is moving to Malaysia and she sold me her collection and her TV/VCR combo.  I watched Aladdin and Snow White on it.  So fun.

aladdin snow white

I think I had built it in my brain there was a huge difference between VHS and DVD/Blu-ray and there is but not much.  I was surprised how long it took to rewind.  Seemed like forever.

As you’ve seen from the reblog I’ve also started a new blog I’m very excited about.  If you like what I’ve said on this blog about movies please follow me on http://57disneyreviews.wordpress.com/  as I watch all 57 Walt Disney animated films (there may actually be 62 depending on where I draw the line). 

I already have posts on Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia.  I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. The melding of mediums in animation is just amazing.  I love it.

I also couldn’t help but do some shopping upstairs ala QVC.  I know what you are thinking but I sincerely like what I bought.  So cute!

qvc2
these shoes are made out of neoprene (the wetsuit material) and they are great and so cute!

qvc Aside from that I’ve been heating up microwave food, still filming my videos, watching big brother, listening to podcasts, getting my manga read for my next Adventures in Reading, resting, and heading downstairs once a day.  It’s a very exciting life!

I was pretty frustrated last week but am feeling positive today so hopefully next week I’ll be close to as good as new!

It certainly does make me grateful for all those times my knee does work without pain.  It also fills me with even more admiration for my Mother who went through bedrest for 4 of her children.  I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for months and months.

It has been a tough time in many ways but also a chance to think and be reminded of how many wonderful people I have in my life.  How many people all around the country are praying for me and anxious for my recovery.  How many people have been by for a visit or to offer assistance.  It’s humbling to need service but a good experience too and I’m so grateful.

I was very sad to miss out on the Deer Creek swim on Saturday but I went out and finally tried the Bake 360 brunch menu.  So delish!  Thanks to Emilee for helping me do that. 

bake 360In the end I’m just grateful for this time as Upstairs Rachel but also ready for it to be over.  Please continue to send those prayers. 

Love you all!

 

Depression, Anxiety, Robin Williams

I hesitated to do this post because like when Whitney Houston died I didn’t want to just be one more maudlin grab at attention from tragedy.  Everyone probably knows that Robin Williams died yesterday of an apparent suicide.

It’s strange because if you had asked me if I was a Robin Williams fan before yesterday I would have said ‘not any more’.  His comedic riffs seemed outdated and I was not a fan of his recent show The Crazy One’s.

And yet, when I heard about it I started to cry.  I’m not sure I can even explain it but it impacted me.

The 90’s were golden for Williams and that was when I grew up. Just like with Houston I seemed to have outgrown Robin Williams but when something like this happens you remember and mourn for a little bit of that innocence which is lost.

3 of his films really stand out- Dead Poets Society, Aladdin and Mrs Doubtfire.

These movies all seem very different but they all contain varying degrees of his manic comedic riffing but also had a lot of heart.

Mrs Doubtfire

Along with Home Alone I can’t remember a movie making me laugh more as a younger person but it had real heart too.

Dead Poets Society came out when I was only 8 so I learned about it from friends when I was in high school and it is one of the first tragedies I remember responding too.  Before that the movies were for fantasy, laughter and entertainment.

Dead Poets Society

It’s interesting a few weeks ago I did my Disney Tag and I mentioned thinking Aladdin was a bit overrated but since I made the video I’ve actually been thinking about it.  I was going to watch it and see what I thought.  I remember seeing it and laughing at all the jokes and great songs.  I don’t know if those jokes bear frequent repetition but I’m going to watch an old VHS and see.

I did say in that video if I could pick any person from a Disney movie to be my friend it would be Genie. After all ‘you aint never had a friend like’ him.

But even Aladdin had a moment of heart for our Genie

I guess I just want to say one more thing.  I think the reason why I cried yesterday doesn’t really have to do with movies at all.  I have seen addiction and depression wreak havoc on my extended family and I think most of us can say the same.

In fact, I have not been immune from depression and anxiety myself.  I’ve spoken about it many times on this blog.  I had a period of my life where I was so unhappy that I honestly doubted whether I could feel happiness again.  I seemed to be presented with happy things but never felt any real joy from them.

I remember my mother asked me ‘why is this so hard? You’ve faced a lot of hard things.  Why is this so tough for you?’

I said ‘because every other time I could see the out.  I could see the ending but I don’t any more.  I feel like there is a black cloud over my life and it won’t go away’.

It took a nervous breakdown to wake me up and make the changes I needed so I could rescue myself.  I will never forget staring at a plate of spaghetti and thinking ‘why isn’t the rest of my life this good?’ It was really scary to jump into the unknown but it was either that or I hate to think what I would have done further down that road.

Life presented me with a way to rescue myself and just after I quit my job I was unemployed for 6 months.  People kept asking if I was bored and I’d say ‘no way’.  What I didn’t tell them is I was healing.  I was remembering what made me special and happy.

And that was when I started this blog because I was smiling again.

I was rescued and it makes me sad when others are not.  Please try to reach out to those you love and tell them you are there for them.  If someone is going through depression don’t judge, just hug them and help them rescue themselves.  Pray for them.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be sad but it was on my mind and I wanted to share it with you.  God is there for you.  He loves all of us and He wants us to be happy.

 I am donating to St Jude’s hospital in honor of Robin Williams. stjude.org/donate

A Working from Home Legacy

Feel like you are at war in the office? I have!  Be like me and work from home.

Just a joke below…

dilbert work from home 1 dilbert work from home 2 dilbert work from home 3 dilbert work from homeGrowing up I basically had 2 stay at home parents.  My Mother was and is a homemaker (my family is 35, 33, 30, 23, 17, 14 so my Mom has always been an active mother of a variety of ages).  She is also someone who made running her home a career.  Her hobbies usually involved bettering family or home in some way.  Countless dresses she sewed for us until her tailoring skills were good enough to make costume after costume for my sisters plays.  She did a Midsummer’s Nights Dream set in the 20s I believe and the gowns and suits were stunning.

So my Mom has always worked from home.  If there was  part of home life she wanted to master it.  Her gardens are always the best in the neighborhood, especially in our home in Utah there were flowers that wondered all around the front and back yard with a large patch of lily of the valley that I will never forget.

I could go on and on about my Mom but suffice it to say where some women see housekeeping as a necessary evil, my Mom see’s it as her calling and what she wasn’t good at, she became good at.

Then there is my Dad.  My Dad has been an entrepreneur for his career. He is perhaps the only person on the planet that could go to law school, not finish 2 papers, and then 25 years later find out he had actually graduated.  That’s just the kind of person he is.  He pursues something 100%, gleans all the good he can out of it and then moves on to the next idea or spot he is needed with no regrets.

In my life he has been in paid employment as a photographer, framing store owner, computer program designer/manager, ESL computer lab installer, board member, various roles at JWA, Grabber, Impact, Grabber Construction, Kobayashi and Poler to name a few.

Probably the most influential time of my life was when he founded a company called Linguatronics.  He had spent the years in the late 80s, early 90s working on a program to help Japanese people learn English.  That’s what brought our family from Utah to Maryland.  Being in the DC area meant we were close to so many other metropolitan cities and he could promote his new product, as well as other products.

Eventually this morphed into installing computer labs in colleges to help with ESL and other language courses (Linguatronics).  There was a software that helped teachers to communicate with students while learning.  They could take over the students screen, talk to them and help them in other ways.  I’m not sure how many labs were installed but by the time we moved to California in 1998 (7 years) he had exhausted his leads and was needed to help with the family businesses.  Things transitioned and changed once again.

But I was basically grown up by then so my greatest memories are the Linguatronics era.  My Dad had co-opted the dining room into his office.  This meant the french doors of the dining room had glass and we could see in and watch him work.  I remember him being constantly frustrated when we would take his office supplies- particularly his scissors.

‘Where did you girls put my scissors?” he would ask in exasperation.  We had no idea.

When we moved to Maryland I started middle school and my sister Anna was a year old, so we had 1, 9,11 and 13 year old.  My Dad has always had different sleep needs than most people so we didn’t see him a lot when it was late and we were home from activities or in the morning (now he is a great early riser but not back then).  I think back to looking through the glass and always being able to see my Dad.  What a blessing that was.  He was working 70+ hours a week to make that business work and they had a small toddler to deal with (although Anna was the dream sleeper.  She will moan and groan about sleeping in the laundry room but I think that noise made her sleep like a rock to this day!).

When my Mother got pregnant she had to go on full bedrest meaning my father would become Mom and Dad for the entire pregnancy.  My roommate just asked me if my Mom got up for church or other small things and the answer is no.  I remember one time when my brothers mice turned out to be pregnant and he woke everyone up in the middle of the night that she got up.  She was up for my sister Megan’s baptism and to go to the doctor but I don’t recall any other times.

When I was 15 my mother got pregnant again and so my freshman year was spent, family-wise, on survival mode.  I was probably not as helpful as I should have been because I found the whole situation to be incredibly stressful and worrying.

If I felt that way imagine how my Dad must have felt.  Here he has 4 children including a 5 year old in kindergarten, 3 teenagers at different spiritual and emotional levels and working 70+ hours as a self-employed businessman.  The amount of pressure must have been enormous.  (And he was young men’s president during this whole time!)

I remember as soon as we found out my Mom was expecting we would transition to paper plates and all of the kids would be assigned days to cook and chores.  My Dad at one point had a complicated chart he called ‘The New Order’ which was just overcomplicated and a little crazy to actually work for a while.  Then he tried a ‘New Order 2’ which was less effective… 😉

My Dad also was determined to not let the massive garden my parents had worked on go to pot with my Mother on bedrest.  One day he saw a farm stand and was convinced it would be a great idea for his kids to sell tomatoes on the side of the road.  Remind you- I was 15 and somewhat surly.  There was no way I was going to be selling tomatoes to all my friends unless we were starving.

My father was undeterred and proceeded to plant 36 tomato plants. From what I read 1 tomato plant can produce as many as 25 tomatoes so we had nearly 1000 tomatoes at the end of the summer! And of course, we never did the tomato stand, but we did learn how to can tomatoes from Sister Saunders at the ward, and my sister Megan sat Anna in the red wagon loaded with tomatoes and went door-to-door giving them to our neighbors.

I wasn’t going to share that story but I think it displays well how intimately my father has always been involved in our family.  This is not the aloof businessman that some of my friends had.  I can’t think of a single time in my life when my mother said ‘wait till your father comes home’ because he already was home.  And despite being insanely busy we never felt like my father was busy.  In fact, if you had asked us at the time we would have said he did very little (shows how much kids know!)

He has always had the ability to merge life and work and friends and anything else in his life pretty seamlessly.  Just today he was writing an email, helping someone at the house and hear about my upcoming date on the phone.

That has been a great example to me as I have chosen to work from home for my career.  I guess that was very natural given the example of my Dad.  I would never have thought it but 3 years in corporate America was enough to convince me the dreams of my youth were really nightmares.  I think of working in a cubicle and having some horrible boss and I feel ill. I wonder if my Dad felt that way too?

He has an office now but it is very close to my folks home and it is next door to the kids school (now they are all in high school or beyond).

My Dad used to take us on business trips (Boston, New York, even Europe) and we had great experiences on a small budget.  I went to see The King and I with my Dad and went to the Statue of Liberty and Plymouth Rock.  I also took my first and only trip to Germany, Czech Republic and a little bit of France when I was 14.

But the work trip I remember most was in Maryland.  I had helped him at a school in Montgomery County (next county over) and he asked me if I wanted to drive home.  Being a kid with unmatched confidence I said sure.  I am not a great driver even now and then-yikes! The belt loop is a massive freeway in DC with about 6 lanes (I’m guessing!).  I was terrified and I remember weaving in and out of traffic and at one point my Dad said ‘keep your hands on the wheel…’.  It was pretty funny.

Another story I wasn’t planning on telling.  Basically my Dad has a way of working without making his children feel like he is burdened or worried.  I have worked with him since 2005 on an almost daily basis and have rarely seen him come unglued or ‘stress out’.  I’ve done plenty of it but he is just a strong guy and a true multi-tasker.

I guess I’ve been thinking about my Dad these last few weeks as I’ve had a career change.  I remember all the one’s he had and looking through that glass door his eyes focused on the computer, and nearly always on a phone call with someone who inevitably became a friend, and we would see at dinner eventually.

My Dad is the type of person who went to Czech Republic and invited a total stranger to come live with us, and when that didn’t pan out said his cousin could come.  He’s just a great guy that believes in people and I think that makes him a great man of business even if every enterprise has not been ‘successful’ it was to him.

People ask me how I can work from home.  Don’t I get distracted?  Well, sometimes I can but I saw my Dad do it every day of my life and he had much more to distract him, but the distraction was and is his happiness. That’s his light and the work is just trappings for helping people.  So, yes I get distracted on occasion, but I know how to use that energy to get my work done and be my best self.

They say that those who telecommute actually get more work  done than their corporate counterparts and that is probably because we are always working.  You can be called or emailed at anytime, which can be a drag but again I have the example of my Dad to help me come close to balancing it all out.

I wasn’t even planning on talking about my Dad that much in this post but he is such a great example to me on how to work, and how to work from home.  He is an example to anyone on how to keep a balanced life.  He’s certainly had his tough periods but in general he is a happy, hopeful person.  When I get in my funks it is almost always because I become obsessed with one part of my life over another.

Luckily I have my Dad to tap me on the shoulder and help me figure it all out.  I really do love him and my Mom.

What lessons about work have you learned from your parents or mentors?  How has that helped you in your career?  Or perhaps you learned what not to do?

mom and dad

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Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve talked about a lot of great literature on this blog but it occurred to me I have neglected one of my favorites- Calvin and Hobbes.  I can picture you my reader smiling at my mention of the name Calvin and Hobbes.

It is perhaps easy to discount comic strips as real art or literature but that is unfair to the thought and brilliance of the medium.  I love Peanuts and Dilbert but also Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin and Hobbes is a strip written by Bill Watterson from 1985-1995.  They focused on the protagonist Calvin who is a rebellious but thoughtful kid who wants to explore and have adventures and hates school.

philosophy calvinCalvin is at one point like Lisa Simpson in his thoughtfulness and grown up sensibilities but also like Bart Simpson in his mischievousness and rebelliousness from the rules.

calvinHe is accompanied by his best friend Hobbes who is sometimes a stuffed tiger and sometimes anthropomorphized.  Hobbes is both the sidekick and the teacher for Calvin.

philsophy calvin 2 philsophy calvin3A few years ago I went to a reading symposium and a woman spoke that was a high school teacher.  She mentioned 10 or 11 books in her lecture and the main qualification seemed to be they were ‘short’ and despite being somewhat dimwitted ‘at least the kids are reading’.  That really made me mad then and it still does today (I will add that I am in the minority opinion on that lecture but I don’t care!).  https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/01/18/writing-and-reading-for-children-and-teens/

Calvin and Hobbes shows you can be entertaining to all age groups while being challenging and thought provoking.  At least the kids are reading is a such a cop-out.

calvin santa Calvin has a great imagination and the adventures he goes on are always full of laughs.

monsters

It’s good for kids to see that parents don’t always know what is the best way.

momI love any art form that takes kids seriously.  That doesn’t assume just because it is children it has to be stupid.  Calvin and Hobbes shows great respect for a child’s intellect and does not shy away from long words or tough topics of religion, philosophy or the meaning of life.

I hate it when adults have a ‘good enough’ attitude about kids.  This book is ‘good enough’.  This movie is ‘good enough’.  No way.  We as adults have an obligation to encourage the best in our kids and to let them rise to a higher standard than their natural man might appeal too.

Calvin and Hobbes is proof that with a little effort we can find enlightening and enriching material that appeals to a childs demographic.  I refuse to accept a ‘at least he’s reading’ attitude.  We can do better than that.  Calvin and Hobbes does better than that.

calvin-hobbes-read-dinosaurI sincerely wish all teachers when they have an unruly little boy would give said boy Calvin and Hobbes.  Maybe it would help them know they are ok and that there is a purpose to their type of sensibilities.  Maybe they would learn to channel that energy into art or nature or even philosophy.

I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines
I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines

This is one of my favorites.  It’s funny and it really will make anyone, kid or not, think.

bullyThat is brilliant writing I tell you!

Calvin and Hobbes is also full of a sense of play and adventure.  Even knowing the characters takes effort.  There are no movies, saturday afternoon cartoons, plush toys or video games.

calvin and hobbes tv

It’s like Watterson knew what was coming for kids entertainment and instead of embracing it he held off so that hopefully kids would have one thing in their lives they loved that wasn’t spoon fed for them.  When you think of the amount of money he could have made merchandizing it is pretty remarkable; and yet the comics continue to be read by kids and adults alike despite little to no promotion. They are just that good.

These three are just brilliant.

calvin2

This is the last comic strip Watterson did for Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s a magical world…let’s go exploring!calvin-and-hobbes-lets-go-exploringI have a file of my favorite comic strips on my computer and facebook and I turn to it quite frequently. Whether it’s Dilbert in his office, Charlie Brown questioning the world or Calvin and Hobbes on an adventure they always make me smile.  (I need to do posts on Peanuts and Dilbert too)

Do you like Calvin and Hobbes?  Why do you think they have remained so popular? What do you like about them?  Any above that stand out for you?

Heroism and Weight Loss

fat-supermanI’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time.  Everyone who reads this blog is probably aware of my distaste for weight loss in the media.  I know many find shows like the Biggest Loser to be encouraging but for me they are the opposite.

What bothers me is they paint fat people as bad, and reformed fatties as good and that just isn’t true.   As I often say,  ‘a lot of people lose weight in prison’… Losing weight is hard enough without having these types of morality judgments thrown in our face.

So that’s media but this post is a slightly different take.  I would like to talk about how we as a culture often couch weight loss in heroic terms and how this is almost never helpful.

Just the other day I was watching a show and the reporter asked the man how he had ‘overcome his heroic battle with weight loss’.  This is not uncommon phraseology for our average conversation. All of us, including myself, have used such phrases when talking about weight loss.

What’s wrong with that you ask? I mean losing weight is really hard.  Why is that not heroic?

Well, let’s start with some definitions-

Over on about.philosophy.com author Kendra Cherry asked her readers How Do You Define Heroism?  Pretty much every response is something like this:

“A hero is a person who would risk life and limb just to save people or a person. these people standout as brave intelligent and loving. these people need to be recognized”

So what are the elements of being a hero:

1. They are brave

2. They are worthy of recognition

3.  They are loving

4. They risk their own safety to help other people

It is this last aspect that is the most common thread in all the responses.  Another reader says:

“Heroism is when you act out of the kindness of your heart. Whether you’re helping someone on homework, or helping someone who got hurt, the main thing is that your helping someone who is having a hard time”

So, heroism clearly involves being unselfish and serving your fellow men and women especially when doing so is difficult.

indexHow does weight loss fit such a description?  I can’t think of any other change of appearance that is lauded in such ways.  For example, if someone gets a face lift they are often derided, criticized but I’ve rarely heard that when gastric bypass is done.  Why is one surgical enhanced change heroic and another isn’t?

You could say that gastric bypass is required where a face lift is not? Well, the research from the Health at Every Size movement would strongly disagree with that assertion, but even if you accept that gastric bypass is necessary I don’t see how it is heroic?  If I break my leg and have surgery on said leg (essentially fixing a problem in my body like GB) does that make me a hero?  No, it makes me a person with a broken leg that was fixed.

I can see no part of weight loss that involves risk to help other people. You can help people get in shape or encourage them to enter a race, but that’s not really the weight loss, that’s your service in the community and amongst your loved ones.  Anyone should be lauded who serves others no matter their size.  That is worthy of the hero label.

What about athletes? Who are they serving and we call them ‘sports heroes’?  One could argue such a term is misapplied to professional athletes but I would counter that most athletes are participating in a team or cause greater than just themselves.

For example, an Olympian is certainly worthy of individual applause but also their gift of performance on behalf of their country makes it worthy of the hero label.

There are a few sports like golf that are truly individual events and then I would say they aren’t really heroes but simply exceptional.  We like them because they are good at something and we are not. Nothing wrong with that!

But I hear you saying ‘Rachel it’s so hard.  Shouldn’t we be encouraging?’.  My answer is ‘of course, we should’.  However, there are lots of hard things we do in life that aren’t really heroic.  If I am a PHD candidate and I complete my thesis am I lauded as a hero? I’m encouraged, congratulated, cheered but unless there’s a disability or something extraordinary I rarely hear the kind of language we apply to weight loss for any other ‘hard thing’ in life.

Why? Because the diet industry in America is a 20 billion dollar industry.  They want you to spend money and what better way to get someone to spend money than to either make them feel really good or really bad about themselves.  A tepid, lukewarm person never bought anything.  They have a vested interest in convincing us that we need to change and that if we make said change we can be the hero.

Now, you might suggest that I am focusing on mere semantics and poor word choice.  I would argue back that according to the Huffington Post the average American woman has dieted 61 times by the time they are 45 and that’s starting at 16 (I would start much younger- 81% of little girls in America have dieted before the age of 10).

Assuming some marginal success in most of those diets, the average woman has been the hero 61 times,  and then fallen sometimes quite speedily off of her pedestal.  Then to make matters worse 35% of women gain more than they lost on said diet.

So, now we aren’t really a weight loss villain (to use the cannon of terms) that is probably reserved for sinful foods and the companies who pedal them but we are something even worse- the fallen hero.  I mean think about what that means.  61 times the average woman not only feels let down with her own frailties but is no longer the inspirational tool for her family and friends.  I’ve felt it and I bet most of you have too.  It is devastating.

images

I actually remember one time my sister telling me ‘you can’t gain the weight back because then you wouldn’t be this person that we admire’.  She was very little and didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but is that not what all of us go through on the roller coaster of weight loss? 2012 I was at my peak of fitness and weight loss, then I had a personal crisis, chronic pain and a herniated disk in my back.  Things changed and so did my body.

I’m not making excuses.  That’s just what happened.  I felt guilty for a long time.  Like I’d let everyone down, which is insane when you really think about it.  What had changed was something in my body.  My other actions were exactly the same.  I still swam my races, I still blogged.  I still worked.  I still held book club and spent time with my friends.  I still traveled.  All of it.  I can’t think of one thing for other people I could do in 2012 and couldn’t or didn’t do in 2013.  So why did I seemingly let them down?

Because I wasn’t the hero anymore. 

That’s why this language about our bodies is so important.  It can have devastating repercussions that can make us feel like failures, and we already feel that way because of the way we look.  The language just piles on. And sometimes it is not just language.  I have friends who’s parents were vocally disappointed in them for their weight loss struggles. Instead of sympathy and encouragement they received pity and disgust.  (Luckily my parets have always been pretty good about letting me live my own life)

What worries me most is if being the fallen weight loss hero is hard for adults, imagine what it must feel like for a child who has so little control over his or her bodies in the first place?  That I do know.  I remember vividly the feeling of disappointment after diet, after diet, not only frustrated at not looking the way I wanted to, which is hard enough for a young girl, but letting everyone down in the process.  For goodness sakes, now these kids are even letting down the President.

So, in a perfect world where everyone took all of my advice what would I suggest? How would I encourage others in this hard thing called weight loss? I would treat it like the accomplishment of any other worthy goal.  ‘that’s great’, ‘I can see you worked very hard’, ‘great job’, ‘congrats’, ‘I’d love to go jogging with you’, or any number of responses without vaulting the person up as a hero because of the way they look.

What do you guys think? Have you felt like you were letting down people when you gain weight or fail to lose?  Do you think the hero narrative is helpful or hurtful?  Please share your experience, as this is just what makes sense to me.  Love you all!

heroes03capamericapostyo8

 

 

Phases and Smiles

IMG_20140320_124824

Do you ever go through phases?  What I mean is I tend to get really excited about something and dive into it and then my interest will lessen for a time and I’ll be hyper-focused on something else. I still always like whatever it might be but my focus can slightly change from time to time.

For example, since the beginning of the year I’ve been really into movies. Part of it may be my recent interest in videography and I’ve always liked movies but lately I’ve just found them so fascinating.  There are so many aspects of the art of film that can be analyzed and discussed and even a bad movie can be interesting to think about.

I hope you haven’t gotten bored with my movie posts of late because I’ve had a blast writing them.  I’ve said from the beginning that these are my silly thoughts about life and that can include movies, books, whatever phase I am in.  I love writing about it!

Books!

For those of you who are not into movies you may be glad to hear that I think I’m about to enter a reading phase.  This is partly due to the fact that I swear I’ve told like 5 people that I will read a book for them or with them.

Currently I’m listening to the book by frequent commenter of this blog Christine Plouvier, Irish Firebrands, and am greatly enjoying it.  http://irishfirebrands.wordpress.com/ . I was asked to be a beta-listener for her audiobook and at first the voice took a while to get used to but now I really like it.  It’s a sexy and romantic story about a Mormon woman who’s kids are grown up and feeling brave moves to Ireland and meets a lonely widower.

I’m also reading a book about Margaret Thatcher with my Mom. It was my present to my mother for her birthday.  Not just the book but that the 2 of us would read it together and discuss.  That’s the relationship we have.  When My Mom and I talk about politics we are saying I love you. (How many people can say that about their parents?).  Really just intelligently discussing anything has always been the best part of our relationship.

I also have the book for book club Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which have been a blast to read again.  I’m really looking forward to club meeting and our discussion.  My sister and I are reading Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim together and that should be great.

And yesterday I got the rewards from a kickstarter campaign I did last fall.  It was for a clean romance novel set called Ripple Effect Romance and they are written by mostly local authors and all are women with pretty decent writing resumes.

Even if they are silly I still think I will enjoy reading them. It’s so hard to find clean romance novels but in an age of the death of the romantic comedy I’m missing my cheesy romance! You can order the first one Home Matters on Amazon.  More about the authors can be seen- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/968976456/ripple-effect-romance-series-six-romance-novellas

ripple effectAnd there are others.  Like I said I have a lot of books I’ve been putting off and need to get with it!  Luckily a book phases is coming and I’m enjoying it just as much as the film phase.

Do you guys ever go through phases like this?  I guess I’m just a hyper-focused person.

smiles

Smiles

Presently I have also felt happier than I have in a long time.  It’s strange because there is a lot of uncertainty in my life, but I don’t really care (a big step for me).  I can’t really get into it but just trust me- there’s uncertainty and potential excitement and disappointment.  Fingers crossed for excitement!  (cryptic enough for you).

There are a lot of reasons I’ve been smiling lately.  One is how much fun I’m having shooting, editing, and learning about videos/youtube.  I’m happiest when I’m learning new things and have new projects. The response has even been exciting.  I have a video with almost 3,000 views!!  It’s just fun.

I’ve also had great times with friends- getting to spend 3 nights this week with different groupings of them (Sunday, Thursday, Friday).  I have the best friends.

The weather has been stunning.  Perfect and the air has been clear for once.  The mountains gorgeous.  How can you not smile when you see this out your door?

mountainsI think another reason I am smiling is I finally feel 100% better.  I was so sick at Christmas and it took me 2 months to feel completely better.  I can breathe freely.  It’s just a good feeling to feel strong and energetic again.

Also, I have finally found a swim coach and have been in the water more in the last 2 weeks than I was in the last 3 months!! I am remembering how happy it makes me.  In fact, I made this video I was so happy after my Thursday swim.

I think it took a while for me to get the bad taste out of my mouth after the Slam the Dam treatment and disappointment.  That was very discouraging. Swimming is supposed to be fun.  It’s not supposed to make me feel bad about myself and my swim times.

When I got in the water the last few weeks I remembered how happy it made me and I feel a renewed desire to train, get ready for GSL.  I had actually been debating about even entering this year because it has been so difficult for me in the past but somehow I turned the corner and am really excited.  Like I said, you can’t wipe the grin from my face after the pool.

today

Oh and I also went to an amazing play on Thursday- Big River at Hale Theater Orem.  So great!  Here’s a review of the show on Deseret News.  Had a great time with my parents.  My Dad and sister are going to Germany for a month and it is going to be fun hearing about their adventure.

My Mom and I at the play
My Mom and I at the play

So, life is good.  Some phases.  A lot of fun and a lot of smiles.  Thanks to all of you for reading no matter the phase. I love you all (for real). Thank you so much!

Youtube Glory!

Drumroll….

I am proud to announce the new and improved Smilingldsgirl’s youtube channel- Rachel’s Reviews.  Over the last month or so I have finally taken it upon myself learn as much as I could to make my youtube channel as good as it could be.

There is still room for improvement so I’m not there yet but I’m very happy with how it is coming along.  Today I got the youtube channel art done.  This was created by my friend Joan at  http://www.bitsycreations.com/

In addition to stationairy, posters and cute designs she calls kidlet’s, she has done my custom Christmas and Valentines and my logo for my reviews.  Pretty much anything I’ve thrown at her she’s done, so check out her site for all your graphic design needs.

So cute right?
So cute right?

This is what my channel looks like.  I think it looks pretty professional especially for as little as I’ve had to spend.

YOUTUBE 4My videos are getting better too! I’ve still got to work on the focus shots of the product but if you look at previous videos this is definitely better.

It seems to be working too.  My viewership has gone up 35% in one month.  Not bad!  It’s still very small fry but I’m having a blast doing it, learning a lot and so it’s been totally worth it.

Plus, I’ve also gotten great constructive feedback and some meaningful comments like this:

One lady said  “Anyway, I really like your videos and was just telling my sister tonight she needed to check you out on youtube. Unlike most people on youtube your real, not all made up like it seems most of them try to be, that and your never negative. I love your unboxing videos and between my sister and you I do believe a monster has been created…I now have 5 of them!!!”

That just made my day! (And it made me realize if you ever wanted to do a little service that’s free go onto random youtube channels and give them some praise it really does feel good!).   There is so much negativity out there that sometimes you need extra thick skin to put yourself out there but it is worth it.  100% worth it.

My greatest desire with this blog is to show my life and that I am not ruled by my weight. I can get on youtube, read, write, vacation and swim 5ks, and so can you!  Last year I had an epiphany where I realized ‘what if this is the way God wants me to look?’

I had been pushing a boulder up a mountain my whole life and never quite getting there.  This left me feeling like a failure when I had success after success in my path.  Don’t get me wrong sometimes I would talk the talk of being big and bold but inside I knew I had tried really hard and was still obese.

What if this is the way God wants me to look?  You know, I’m finally able to move beyond the weight loss rut and say, ‘OK Lord. Give me your next challenge’.  I try to focus more on having a healthy life and being happy (and you know what’s funny is I think I’ve been more fashionable and beautiful since this realization.  Beauty is so much more than lbs)

I’ve tried to be completely honest about my life on this blog.  Some people think that is crazy but it has served me quite well.  Even on youtube people can tell when you’re putting up a front, when you are:

‘real, not all made up’.

Could you give a higher compliment?  Not to me.

I know I have my bad days, but that’s part of being human.  However, deep down inside there are always things I am smiling about even when life seems to punch me in the gut. (or leave me sleep deprived for 2 months…sigh)

It’s a good life and  an awesome adventure in blogging and vlogging! 🙂  To learning more each day and having fun! Cheers

(And if you haven’t checked out the site go to http://www.youtube.com/user/smilingldsgirl and please subscribe.  That’d be awesome!)