Sunshine for ’16

The sun broke through the clouds today.

Since Christmas Eve Eve (aka December 23, in case you’re wondering if that was a typo), my little spot on the weather map has been decorated with a constant theme of clouds, fog and rain drops. But today, the first day of a brand new year, I woke up to sun streaming through the slats of my bedroom window blinds.

Coincidence?

Probably…but still…that bright sunshine has me wondering what’s in the forecast for 2016, and of course that leads to thoughts of resolutions and how I might influence the number of sunny days ahead.

I have two resolutions swirling to the front of the list this year. The first is following through on a commitment I made to the Young One last year. Early in the year, we talked about working on a pretty big project together. It’s something we both want to do, and something I think we could both be very good at, but it’s not just any project. It’s a write-it-in-all-caps kinda project–as in a B-I-G project.

It is so BIG, that I never quite had enough courage time to get to it in 2015. Whenever the Young One would ask when we were going to start it, I was always ready with some other task that needed to be completed first.

“When are we gonna do that thing we talked about, Momma,” she started asking sometime around Ground Hog Day.

My response was always a variation of the same theme…

“After we get the house ready to sell.”

“After your birthday party.”

“After your brother’s graduation.”

“After we move.”

Around Labor Day, she stopped asking about it. I didn’t stop thinking about it, however, and I’m happy to say that today is officially after “after”. As of 10:17 a.m. on January 1, 2016, Project Mighty Mo is officially underway. Every BIG project deserves a code name, right?  I may be ready to do it, but I’m not ready to share details, so for the time-being, I’ll be talking in code.

With that resolution launched and sufficiently shrouded in secrecy, I’m prepping for the start of my second one. I’m putting it off until Monday, though, which while it may seem like procrastination, really isn’t. It’s just dependent on the start of the workweek.

While Project Mighty Mo will most likely bring about a good dose of happiness, I am realistic enough to know my shoe shopping habit needs more than what a code-named (aka unfunded) project can sustain.  So with the need to make some money firmly in place, Resolution #2 is the pursuit of professional happiness. That thing that gets me up in the morning and gives me a twinge of sorrow when I leave the office Friday afternoon has been in noticeably small supply lately.

I like where I work, just not necessarily what i do on a daily basis. It’s nothing illegal or immoral, but it’s not professionally fulfilling either. Nothing says, “I don’t wanna go to work,” like the prospect of another day spent wishing I had something exciting to do.

I’m hoping the two mentors I was paired with in December can help me add a little bit of clarity to my response to the ever-intriguing question, “What do you see yourself doing in five years?” Honestly, I’ll feel successful at project “Happy Momma” if I can figure out what I can see myself doing in five months.

If the streams of sunlight are any indication, 2016 is off to a nice start. Hopefully that and a few code-named resolutions are enough to make it the best year yet.

 

 

 

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The Re-Resolution of Stiletto Momma

2014…Day Two. The Christmas decorations are wrapped and boxed again. The bushes lining the house are dark as their formerly twinkly lights are extinguished for another season.

People are returning to their pre-Christmas carol, pre-gift giving lives of work, school and business as usual. “Merry Christmas!” has been replaced with “Happy New Year!” followed shortly thereafter with, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

Resolution? Hmmmm…

I am rarely able to come up with a resolution much sooner than 11:59 p.m. on December 31st. I’m too exhausted from all the party planning, menu making and present wrapping to think beyond the current holiday much less think about how I want to change my life starting at the stroke of midnight.

Then I’m faced with the inevitable failure of actually keeping the resolution. The minute I resolve to get back in the gym, I want a nap. If I resolve to eat a healthy diet, I will immediately start craving Reese cups.

I have never experienced the thrill of successfully achieving a resolution…until January 1, 2012 when I wrote and published the inaugural post of a little blog named after my alter ego, Stiletto Momma. In that post I resolved to simply “Do Something New.”

Yes, it is very open ended and non-commital, but at the time I also threw out a few possibilities like learning photography and Photoshop. I did buy a good camera that year…in September. I haven’t learned to use it beyond what I read in the first half of the instruction manual, and about the only thing I can do in Photoshop is look at my pictures. I suppose that counts, but just barely.

I mentioned one other possibility in that New Year’s post two years ago.  “I’ll start a blog,” I wrote, and because I typed those words and clicked the “Publish” button, I was a successful resolutioner in the very first hours of the new year! Counting this post, I have gone on to write and publish 64 posts as Stiletto Momma–warrior of all things maternal, corporate and pointy-toed!

When 2013 rolled around, I knew exactly what my resolution would be.

Do Something New!

However, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, 2013 was a witch of a year and a wicked one at that.  I couldn’t get around to deciding what “new” was going to be, so I stayed with what was working, and I blogged some more. Pretty soon I was blogging about what was really on my mind–my ongoing battle against Crohn’s Disease.

thegreatbowelmovement.org

My prize pack from TheGreatBowelMovement.org gave me everything I needed to raise IBD awareness in 2013.

In my quest for answers and information, I ran across what has turned into one of my favorite websites, www.thegreatbowelmovement.org, which has been making Crohn’s and Colits (the two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) cool since 2010. The founders of this non-profit encourage patients and caregivers to talk about their diseases in an effort to raise awareness. They even sent me a cool prize pack complete with intestine socks and an “Ask Me About My Crohn’s Disease” hoodie.

My 2013 “new” turned out to be writing about something that has been a part of me for almost 25 years. I may have lost some readers who weren’t interested in learning about the woes of a sick person, but embracing a new mission of raising awareness for something I know quite a lot about encouraged and empowered me in a time when I needed to feel strong.

With two successful resolutions under my belt, I’m ready to declare the 2014 version. Any guesses on what it might be?

DO SOMETHING NEW!

That’s right. I’ve decided on a new “new”, and if you’ve been following along for the past few months you could very well have an idea of what it might be.

I am a writer. There, I said it. I am a writer and this year, I intend to write with more dedication and purpose than I have in a long time.

I have a master’s degree in journalism, but outside of internships during college, I have never worked in the field. Maybe I was just waiting around for the blogosphere and digital publishing to be born. Whatever the reason, I graduated from Penn State with a journalism degree and immediately took a job in marketing.

The next one was in fundraising (another form of marketing). When I tried technical writing next, I found my skills were wasted writing about boring things like databases, and moved back to marketing. I had found myself a niche, and that’s where I’ve stayed for over 20 years. I was a marketer with writing skills.

keyboard

The Hubs gave me this cute little keyboard for my iPad–perfect for a blogging resolution.

Now, I want to be a writer who knows how to market herself. You can expect to see more of Stiletto Momma in 2014. I will soon be launching a Facebook page, and I might even start Tweeting. If you’re lucky, you could get a glimpse into this impressive shoe collection I’ve been hinting at. We could even do a contest or two!

I’m starting this blog re-energizing effort with the WordPress Zero to Hero program where my favorite blogging platform will give me a daily task for blog improvement during the month of January. Today’s task is to introduce myself to my readers. If I’ve done my job, you should have been able to pick up a few nuggets of me from the above ramblings, but in addition to being a chronically ill writer who markets (or a marketer who writes) and makes unoriginal New Year’s resolutions, I am:

  • a momma to two amazing children–a six-year-old tomboy and a 20-year-old all-American boy.
  • an adoptive momma to that six-year-old who was born in Russia and became a US citizen five years ago.
  • an Army momma since the 20-year-old is a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point. (Go Army!)
  • a football momma because that cadet also plays on the offensive line for the Army Black Knights and has been working toward that goal since he was five years old. (GoArmy!)
  • a football wife because the Hubs played football at Penn State once upon a time, coached our son for most of his football career and will accomplish seemingly impossible tasks to avoid ever missing a Penn State Nittany Lion game or a Pittsburgh Steeler game.
  • a doggy momma to the Furry One and the Fluffy One who, like the rest of the family, have clever pseudonyms in this blog because it is my choice to blog about them, not theirs, and they deserve a little bit of anonymity.
  • a fairly decent home cook whose specialty is anything her son requests and anything her picky daughter will eat.
  • a lover of shoes and all things fashion.

I am Stiletto Momma, and I resolve to make 2014 blogtastic for everyone!

What’s your resolution…or un-resolution…or re-resolution?

Bring It, 2012!!

Last night as everyone was counting down 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…, I was thinking, “Here we go again.”  Another year. Another set of resolutions. Maybe this is the year, they will still be with me when the ball drops on 2012.

I have a few things I’d like to do in 2012–some of them ambitious and some just general common sense things most people resolve to do every year.  So, for the record, here is my list of things I’d like for the new year, and how I’m doing with them as of 8:00 p.m.  on January 1.

In 2012, I will:

1. Do something new…

I’d like to learn photography and how to Photoshop more than just a box with some words in it. I’d like to write a book about the odd dysfunction that follows my extended family, but somehow skips over and around my immediate fam. Those are longer term goals, though, and they require a little more planning and organization than I had time for in the latter half of December when I first started thinking of this most unique of my New Year’s resolutions.

With those on the back burner for the time being, I’ve decided to start a new blog. To be honest, I’ve blogged before.  Maybe you’ve run across “Tales From The Waiting Room” in your search for the perfect online reading material.  That’s me…chronic conditions and poor view of all things healthcare related.  I stuck with that one for a few months, but I found it to be too limiting, and honestly, too depressing.  I live with Crohn’s Disease every day.  I don’t think I really want to write about it all the time.

So, here’s a new blog–same author, same challenges, different attitude! I am so much more than a patient. I have a family that includes a pre-school child, a college child, a husband, live-in MIL and a dog. I am an internet marketing guru (self-proclaimed).  I am a woman who lives for a shopping spree and has been known to accidentally program the GPS for the nearest outlet mall on the way home from business trips.  I also wear the title “high maintenance” like a badge of honor and am encouraging my four-year-old daughter to do the same.

I am Stiletto Momma!

Resolution 1 progress-to-date: Resolution started (even if the definition of “new” has been twisted a little)!

2. Get Moving…

I used to be known as the Jane Fonda of my social circle. I would head out to lunch with my water bottle in tow so often that the rumor around the water cooler was that I was an aerobics instructor on the side. That was a total fiction, but I do have to say I was flattered by the assumption.  I used to fit in at least four workouts a week–cardio on the elliptical, weight training, Body Pump, Zumba, yoga, pilates.  I subscribed to Fitness magazine and read health and nutrition books for pleasure.

Then Crohn’s Disease kicked my butt back to reality. I’d been in remission for over 10 years, but in 2010, after over a year of “unexplained” pain, I ended up with two abdominal surgeries to fix several strictures in my small intestines.  I was finally starting to get back into the exercise scene (Zumba, how I loved you!) when I started having new abdominal pain.  This time it was sensitive to any pressure on the abdomin–such as the kind you get when you do sit ups, crunches (even the hip-wiggly Zumba kind), and just about any kind of exercise that uses core muscles.  The docs finally found a fistula (another Crohn’s complication)–think of it as a tunnel from the intestines to another organ.  Yeah, ouch is right!  So, we tried a lot of meds, and now I think I’m ready to give the gym another shot.

I have my Zumba DVDs on order, and they should be here by the end of the week. (Who would have thought that distribution for Amazon.com shuts down between Christmas and New Years?)  I was going to try P90X, but I thought that just might be a little too aggressive for someone returning to exercise after a seven-month break! I plan to hit the gym with the hubs on the weekend for some quality time with the elliptical, and maybe if we’re lucky, I’ll shake the dust off the weight equipment in my home gym.

Resolution 2 progress-to-date: Well, I’ve thought about it a lot today. I went for a walk yesterday…and it was in the latter half of the afternoon, so techincally, I can carry it over to today. Right? It’s a rounding error! Okay, I’ll schedule gym time for tomorrow at 10:00 am.

3. Try to eat better…

Yes, this one sounds really lame and something six million other people have resolved to do, but it might just be the hardest one for me to stick with. It all comes back to that CD thing.  Because so many things aggravate Crohn’s Disease, those of us with it tend to eat the same things over and over again.  It’s similar to the old addage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  If it didn’t hurt going down this time, add it to the heavy rotation slot on the menu. Fruits and veggies are now a must along with a good mix of carbs and protein. (Sorry, I can’t partake in the low carb diet.  If I take carbs off my menu, I won’t eat anything. That’s been proven.) And snacks should have some nutritional value. Chips and cookies do not count!

Resolution 3 progress-to-date: In the plus column, I didn’t eat a Pop Tart for breakfast. I forced myself to eat a bowl of cereal (low sugar) before I made the first cup of coffee. I also had a veggie burger for lunch. In the minus column, I had popcorn for dinner, but it was done while spending quality time at the movie theater with my daughter, so it was pretty much justified. Tomorrow, I’ll work in some fruit!

All in all, I’m excited for 2012 and Stiletto Mamma. I cannot wait to purchase the first pair of shoes for the new year. My daughter needs some new sparkly ones too. My son is heading back north for college in a few days, and I’m sure he’ll need something for plane trip…maybe a Snuggie to keep away the draft.  I have a trip planned for myself later in the month, and my route goes right past my favorite outlet mall! And I’m sure as the year goes on, I will have some of that family dysfunction to share.

Happy shopping! (It’s considered a form of exercise!)

Stiletto Mamma