Sunday, January 31, 2010


It was actually really tough to decide and the truth is that I bet I will read every single one of the books recommended by you guys. For some reason, the line "awesome witches attempting to control the universe" just grabbed onto my imagination and refused to let go. One can only wonder why, if the goal was to find a book which fits my psyche, that particular line is what drew me in. I suspect my husband might have some choice words on the subject.

But that's neither here nor there.

To answer a few of the questions posted, I most certainly did read Owen Meany (it's in my list I believe) and I still ponder it weekly. Loved it. I also recently read Catcher in the Rye - my awesome sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday along with a fabulous library poster of Adam Rickman (droooooollll....) holding it. He apparently loves the book. Which fits, obviously. The other books will all be on my list in the near future.

And may I just say that my small but dedicated group of friends and family who read my angst-ridden and quirky public diary are tremendously good sports for playing along with this latest adventure. Megan, your Border's gift card will be in the mail but since I might have to buy stamps first, you might have to wait just a bit.

Stay tuned - winner to be announced tonight...

You still have a few hours to enter the what-will-Jenn-read-next contest. There is a book, which shall remain nameless for the time being, which is - so far - my first choice. But that book is still subject to being knocked off the pedestal. It's driving me crazy to not have a book to read and I have $5 in Border's Bucks so I'm itching to hit the book store. If I don't die of hypothermia while I'm selling Girl Scout cookies with my daughter this afternoon (we're selling them at Jamba Juice because of course SO MANY PEOPLE will be wanting cold smoothies in this freezing weather...) - then I'll pick a winner and post before I go to bed tonight. Thanks for playing, guys. You cracked me up - especially the comment about "my type of people." Let's be fair - I don't think I really have a type of person, do I? As mom always said - they broke the mold after they made me! (I think she then always said "thank goodness" - but that's for another post....)

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Truth Will Set You Free

My mom constantly used this saying as I was growing up and it always seemed to sum up the solution to problems for us. It is certainly the case that when I come back to being true to myself, things are much better for me.

That must be life's biggest temptation, don't you think? The temptation to accept another person's truth as your own? For me it's been the temptation to buy into the idea that success has to do with money or things. At the ripe old age of 38, I finally accept the fact that for some people - outer success with things really is the definition of success. Some people find a lot more joy in life when they have a powerful job that gives them a great income and makes others look at them and And there's NOTHING WRONG with that being their definition of success. (It took me a long time to accept the fact that not everyone is supposed to think like me - but I really do accept it now.)

The problem comes when I try to fit into that world. It totally does not work. I know you guys have heard me blab on about it before but it bears repeating - if for no other reason than to remind myself that I need to stay on the right track and not lose my focus.

I know what the truth is for me. I know (or at least strongly suspect) what will bring me happiness. Even if no one else around me gets it - that's not a sign that I'm wrong - it just means that I was made a little bit differently. To be specific, I was created as an ENFP and, for better or worse, that's what I've got to work with. (And that's what my family has to work with as well - much to their chagrin if they are relying upon me for any significant cleaning or organizing.)

So, I think that for the next few days I'm committing that right before I fall asleep and as soon as I wake up each day, I will remind myself that I don't need to change for anyone. I just need to stay on my own track and not get pulled to the side or slowed down in a misguided attempt to make someone else happy.

I'm sure those of you who know me well will say: "Good luck with that one."

But, remember - I'm older now. And much wiser. Just you wait and see.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Contest!! In Need of Book Recommendations

Ok, people...I know my readers are (generally speaking) a bunch of non-posters. And I can live with that (more or less) BUT right now I am in need of some literature recommendations. I have a few books in mind, but they are all business-related and I want recommendations for some good "can't-put-it-down-even-though-it's-2 a.m." books.

Remember that I now allow anonymous posting. So no one HAS to know who you are when you give me book recommendations. Heck, I guess I won't even know who you are if you are mysterious enough - and that's fine with me - as long as your advice rocks!

I suppose I should be all go-get-'em about my blog and offer a prize for the best suggestion, shouldn't I? Alrighty, then...I'm feeling wild and crazy so here goes. Please read the rules carefully. Remember, I'm a contracts attorney so I am compelled to be PAINFULLY clear on all issues.

[*clears throat dramatically*]

1. IF I receive at least 5 posted (not emailed) book suggestions
2. IF at least 3 individuals participate in this corny contest
3. IF the winner feels like telling me who they are (if I don't already know)
The person who submits the suggestion I choose to read first will get a prize. (Probably a Border's gift card so it will be easy to mail. But the specific details of the prize are subject to change, depending upon my general mood. And maybe also depending upon how fabulous the suggestion is.)

Easy enough, right? For bonus points, tell me why you think I'd like the book, using either references from the list of books I've read OR using embarrassing references to my personal life. (Again, for those of you who don't know me personally, you've been given plenty of material in this blog.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How many calories does it burn to haul your butt around on crutches?

I've been trying to track my calories again. In the past, I've used the Livestrong Daily Plate system, which is really great - especially since it's free. It works beautifully when you can type in your exercise so that you get a real offset of what your total retained calories were for the day.

When you have a broken leg, however, it's just plain DEPRESSING. So here's my question - I don't want to cheat but I swear that I'm worn out all the time. I expending calories? If so, how many? It takes me a lot of effort just to get hot tea from the office kitchen. But I'm (obviously) not in an exercise class right now so, according to my official food/exercise log, I'm just eating calories with no offset.

By the way, here's an important tip for anyone else who is trying to lose weight/watch calories - fried okra might be very delicious, but it is SO not worth the jump to the calories that you get when you type it into the old tracking system. Nor is pumpkin bread (see last night's post).

I'm pretty sure that I'm just going to have to do a few crunches and stretches tonight and record the measly calories I burn with those activities so I'll feel as if I'm accomplishing something. In the meantime, if anyone knows the number of calories it takes to wear an annoyingly heavy walking cast and bump around on crutches all day, I'd be ever so grateful for that information.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I've sat down at my computer for the last two evenings to try to blog - because there's been a lot I've wanted to tell you guys. (Or tell myself, depending upon whether or not others are reading this.) After staring at the screen for a while, I've given up, taken my hydrocodone and Benadryl (because the pain meds cause a slight itchy reaction in me so the nurse told me to dose with Benadryl also) and - as one might imagine - have crashed really hard and fast shortly thereafter.

Even without the drugs, I've been excessively tired - my best guess is that perhaps my body is expending a lot of energy trying to heal my (**STUPID**) broken leg. Or perhaps it's affecting my spirit, although I really don't think that's the case. I'm not letting myself get sad about this...I don't think I am anyway. Who knows why I'm this tired. But whatever the reason, the tiredness is part of what's been interfering with my blogging. As a matter of fact, I haven't even kept up to date with my movies and books on the right hand column.

To be perfectly honest, I had no desire to update my movie report because the last movie I saw was The Spy Next Door - I took my kids on Monday while my husband went into work for a while and UGH. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I think that's all I could write about it. In the book department, I think I'm just being lazy because I am reading a new book - I just haven't updated.

Tonight I've been sitting at a local coffee shop while my daughter is at choir practice (I used to exercise while she was at choir practice but that's clearly not an option now with my leg in this condition), trying to get some work done and trying even harder to stay awake. I caved and bought a slice of their pumpkin cake, thinking it would wake me up along with the coffee. It didn't. It just made me feel fat.

I suppose it wasn't all in vain. I mean, I finally posted. That's got to count for something.

Next time, however, I'll try to avoid the empty calories when I'm attempting to break through my writer's block.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Yesterday, my husband turned 40 years old and I wanted to do something special to celebrate. I settled on buying him the opportunity to spend half a day driving some very awesome cars. (Audi R8, Bentley Coupe, Ferrari 430, and Porsche 911) I had a blast riding along with him. Here I am in front of the Ferrari and, I have to say, I've never experienced anything like that. When he revved it up on the back roads, I thought we were going to take off into the atmosphere!

You can't really tell from here but you can see the enormous (red!!) engine through the back window of the car. And when you're sitting in the car, it's like the engine is in the backseat (because, IS) - so that's just wild.

We had fun using cars that, in certain cases, cost more than our HOUSE and I joked that I was the token female representative on the tour. Everyone else was a guy and they all had paid to drive - I just paid to ride along with my better half. That was fine with me - those cars were a bit too much for me to handle...I'm woman enough to admit that about myself! (My husband just informed me that I could have handled the Bentley - I spent a lot of my time in that one playing with the seat warmers and admiring the mahogany/leather interior.)

Clearly, it was a once in a lifetime experience - we ended our day in Fort Worth by getting some awesome TexMex at Joe T. Garcia's. Now I'm posting while we drive down I35 back to Austin. (Gotta love these air cards that give me internet access anywhere.)

What a day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Ok Mom, I know you're too busy....

So here's an experience I'd rather not blog about - but I'm going to do it anyway. I hung out for a while with my son the other evening - we read, maybe watched a show, I really don't remember everything. When I was helping him get ready for his bath I told him what a good time I had and that I really enjoyed spending time with him.

He said: "Yeah. It was nice - but I know you're usually too busy to do things with me."


I told him I was sorry that I made him feel that way and he immediately said: "No, it's really ok, Mom."

Ouch again.

The rough part is that my husband overheard the whole thing and he has (very nicely) tried to raise that subject with me over the past year. So that added a whole new level of cringe-worthiness to the situation. I'm a LOT more present with my kids than I was a few years ago but clearly I have a long way to go. When push comes to shove, I still have not found the right balance between doing what I feel I need to do for myself (to keep myself from disappearing into the woodwork and being unfulfilled) and what I need/want to do for my kids in the short time I have them in my house, to let them know how much they are cherished. Plus, I still need to sleep at some point.

Here's where I ended up philosophically after that experience: I refuse to beat myself up. Instead, I thanked Allah (lately I've been using that name in my prayers, not really sure why) for revealing to me that my son had this perception so that I can change my actions accordingly. I've been trying to remember it each evening so that I can find a little more one-on-one time with my kids.

Things like this don't get fixed overnight. It's the same dynamic as my weight gain and my broken leg. I WANT to fix both of those things overnight and if I allow myself, I'll become depressed about the fact that I CAN'T fix them right away. So...I'm trying to be grateful for the fact that I do have control over how I interact with my kids and how I eat/exericse (to be honest, I've got less control over the exercise piece now that I have a broken leg...) so I can make a difference with both of those issues - it's just going to take time. Maybe a lot of time. The trick for me is not allowing myself to give up. And not allowing myself to beat myself up.

Much easier said than done. But, like I've said before - one day at a time. That's about all I can tackle.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Leg Hurts

No. Really. I'm not kidding.

It hurts. Like. A lot.

Plus there's the added fun of feeling some sort of weird grinding thing happening in my leg as I move (even though I'm moving with crutches and a splint). I'm truly baffled about the fact that this fracture happened as the result of a very simple running exercise. Not only that, but I was near the end of the group - it's not like I was winning or anything. I was pushing myself hard, but (sadly) even if I push myself like crazy, I'm still at the back of the pack.

In case there was a question in anybody's mind, I am not military material. As a matter of fact, it should be noted that my 10-year-old daughter can beat me (quite quickly and easily) at arm wrestling and has been able to do so for a good few years now. I'm therefore not even 5th grade P.E. material.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

An Opportunity to be Positive

I have been given a unique opportunity to be positive. You see, this past week I began a 5:30 a.m. bootcamp class. I was really pushing myself and determined to get into good shape. I honestly have gained some weight over the last month or so and wanted to really get a new focus on my life. I was feeling pretty darn good about myself and even got a family membership at the Y so that I'd have a good exercise plan when the bootcamp ended in a few weeks.

I went to the pre-break-of-dawn bootcamp from Monday through Thursday and decided I'd hit the Saturday class as well. It was about 20 degrees so I bundled up. Luckily, it wasn't windy so it all went very well. It went well until I broke my ankle, that is.  Yes, I have returned to a cast although this time it's a much more serious one. It's a plaster cast, complete with the crutches - not a walking one like last time.

(In case you're wondering - people keep asking me about this - I'm not entirely sure what happened. All I know is that I was doing a running drill out on the football field when I slipped and felt a crack happen in my foot. As I curled into a fetal position, I figured that feeling (and hearing) a crack probably wasn't a good sign. Indeed, it wasn't.)

I've noticed that the pain level makes that stress fracture feel like a walk in the park - so I suppose everything's relative. Lying in the ER, as the Vicodin kicked in and the tech wrapped my leg in a cast, I felt my mind go towards all the things that seem awful about this situation. (i.e. - paying $200 for a month of bootcamp then having this happen at the end of the first week, feeling even more un-stylish at work over the next month or more  - and having fewer items to wear, feeling like a complete uncoordinated klutz and being horrified at being the one to trip during class). Then I stopped myself and refused to let my mind go there. I had to stop myself over and over and over because it's a bit of a crummy situation - my mind just naturally wanted to scream about how unfair/scary/upsetting/pick-some-other-negative-adjective it all was.

Finally I just accepted that I will learn from this and that good things would come from this experience - even though I have NO IDEA how the good things will play out in the end. Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted about what I learn throughout the next few months. For example, I've already learned today that they still use plaster casts sometimes. Who knew?

Sunday, January 3, 2010


One of my favorite bloggers had a good post about New Year's Resolutions and their complete and utter futility. The only way change works (and I know this but have tons of trouble incorporating the truth of it into my life) is if we take the change in tiny, tiny steps and pieces. This concept is particularly difficult for me, since I am drawn to drastic, dramatic actions.

Although there's nothing terribly wrong with drama (I hope not, anyway) - it's really only effective as a symbolic agent - not as the basis of a permanent change in your life. In order to change, a person has to be willing to look at his- or herself honestly and really see the truth about oneself. After that, the person has to look at the present moment and figure out what he or she can do right that very second to create a small change. Then they have to do it.

But that's only the beginning. The trick is that you've got to do the same thing day after day after day. It's like what my mom always used to tell me about marriage - you don't just decide one day that you're in love and you'll get married. Every single day for the rest of your life you have to wake up and re-commit to your spouse. You have to make that decision over and over or it will fade away.

I've made some major life changes in the past but those changes have started to slip away. It's discouraging to think that I need to re-do all that work but, on the other hand, at least I know I can do it.

All I can do at this point is think 24 hours into the future. If I go further, I'll get discouraged. focus right now is on the fact that I'll be getting up at an absurdly early hour to make it to a boot camp exercise class tomorrow morning. I've just got to get through that class, I'm not going to think past that point until I'm there. I've got to stop making long term promises to myself and pay more attention to where I am right now.

I guess if I had to put my goal into words it would be that I will pay attention and make a difference in each moment. I'll always ask myself if what I'm doing at any particular moment is bringing me closer to where I want to be. If it's not - then I will change directions.