About Jill

Howdy!

Hello 2018

Well Hi!

How’s the new year treating you so far? Still keeping those resolutions? Yeah, me neither. Actually, I didn’t make any new year resolutions because I don’t need that feeling of failure so early in the year. I like to fail later, like around mid-summer when I fail to have that tanned & toned body yet again (for the 22nd year in a row). “Fail Later” is my motto! It has served me well.

And while we’re at it, can we all just agree to put off our “New Year New You” efforts until like, March or something? It’s still just too damn cold in January to try to change out of our six layers of clothing into a t-shirt and capris for the gym. Our bodies and minds were under enough stress and strain from the holidays – can we please just use January as a time to relax and hibernate? I’ll be on board for getting in shape when the temps are 50º or above, but until then, it’s going to be a “no” from me.

Not to say I’ve become a complete slug – I move around at work when I can, I stand up and stretch at my desk regularly, I’m taking my supplements and trying to up my veggie intake, but I’m not killing it in the gym. In fact, I haven’t even been to my gym this month – I’m letting all the Resolutioners get their fill first. I may go back next week when it’s not so crowded, or I may go just to sit in the massage chair. I’d get in the sauna but that would mean taking off my six layers of clothing and I already covered that in the previous paragraph, so…not happening.

How about instead of fighting our natural instinct to hibernate, we all just relax into it and give ourselves some grace and compassion and realize that it will be easier to work out when it warms up a bit. If, however, you are already crushing your New Year goals, then by all means keep at it! But if you are playing war in your head with what you feel you *should* be doing versus what you want to do (or don’t want to do), then just give yourself some time to get used to the idea of working out regularly again. Take a breath, start small and easy, and then work your way up to a full-on sweatfest. The gym will still be waiting for you with open arms if/when you decide to get back into it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more hibernating to do.

I need this blanket!! It looks so snuggly! 

http://amzn.to/2Dugtsg

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Merry Christmas!

The gifts are bought and wrapped and tucked under the tree, the neighbors’ gifts are going to be baked tonight and tomorrow, and this afternoon will start my ten day weekend. Woohoo!! I am so ready.

This has been a relatively stress-free Christmas season so far. I think a combination of online shopping, some chill-out supplements, and going to the gym regularly have helped me be a little more relaxed these last few weeks. The hardest day was last Saturday when I went shopping in actual brick and mortar stores and pushed myself too far to get it all done. But other than that, it’s been enjoyable.

Earlier in December I took my oldest and my youngest to see some Christmas lights at a church in Tulsa:

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Honestly, there were almost too many lights.

And then we went to our town’s Christmas parade. There were a lot of really good floats this year, but this one was my favorite:

Won’t you please enjoy my fine video skills?

Also, I took my favorite guy out to my company Christmas dinner:

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Why can I never smile like a normal person in pictures? My selfie game needs work. 

Also, I’ve watched Elf approximately 20 times in the last 3 weeks because it seems like it’s on TV EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I don’t really mind because I still laugh every time I see it.

elf

I might sing along loudly when this scene comes up (every single time). 

So yeah normally by this time I’m a big frazzled mess but this year I’m feeling okay about everything. Tomorrow night we are having dinner with my in-laws, Sunday is church and dinner with my extended family, then Monday is Christmas with just my little fam. We’ll open presents after the kids wake me up at O’Dark Thirty,  I’ll make cinnamon rolls and sit in the inevitable explosion of wrapping paper, and then later we’ll have lunch. After lunch I’ll watch The Christmas Story and slip into a Christmas coma for a couple of hours. Ahhhh…heavenly.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, fun holiday! See you in the New Year!

Merry Christmas,

Jill

 

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Christmas Music Commute

I love Christmas music. I am one of those who, on December 1, will find the radio station that plays ALL CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALL THE TIME and keep the dial parked there until December 25. Our radio stations in Tulsa have changed this year and the station that usually plays all the Christmas music is now playing ALL 80s ALL THE TIME (and if you think I don’t adore the crap outta that, then you don’t know me very well), but thankfully a local Christian station stepped up to the plate and has our Yuletide musical needs covered.

This morning I heard a song that is not new, but that I had never heard before, and it is my new favorite. It’s just such a cute song and I wanted to share it with you here. This is the unplugged version, which lends a certain rustic quality to the sweetness of the song.

Sidewalk Prophets Hey Moon from the Merry Christmas to You cd

Also, this morning, I heard this groovy little number and I won’t lie, there was much shoulder-shaking on the highway as I drove into work:

I so wish there was a video to this song with GoGo boots and pixie-haired dancers doing The Pony.

Percy Faith Orchestra Happy Holiday from the Christmas Is…album (ooooh, you can even get this one on vinyl!)

And then…a woman called into the station and requested ON PURPOSE the Christmas Shoes song *shudder*. Why do people have to be so mean? Aren’t we supposed to be kinder during the holidays? This woman, bless her heart, said this song was one of her favorites. And she was serious! I just can’t even with that song…JUST. CAN’T. EVEN. I mean, if you like this song, great, but please let me help you in your need of musical taste. That song is not real music – it’s emotional propaganda whose sole purpose is to make you cry. I don’t need anymore melodrama in my life…I live with two teenage girls who more than fill that need, so please take your syrupy sweet sad lyrics elsewhere. I’m not even going to link to the song – you can Google it if you haven’t heard it. (And this concludes the Grinch portion of my post today)

In related news, yesterday I overheard one of my coworkers saying that he hates Christmas carols. What??? How can anyone hate Christmas music? Anyway, being the sensitive-to-everyone’s-needs person that I am, I stampeded over to Youtube wherein I found and texted the following songs to my coworker:

 

 

And finally,

My coworker adores me now and is not at all annoyed. *snicker*

 

What are your favorite Christmas songs? Or conversely, if you also are not a fan of the Christmas music, which one do you like the least?

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source

 

 

Listen Up!

Since I am so avant garde, so cutting edge, so on the brink of the next big thing, I have discovered a new type of media: stories told in an audio format. I believe they are referred to by the millennials as “podcasts”.

Go Google it…I’ll wait…

I like listening to podcasts while I work because it keeps me on task and makes the day a little more enjoyable. And there are as many different kinds of podcasts are there are genres of movies, so I think there really is something for everybody. These are some of my favorites:

When I need my faith in humanity restoredSincerly, Hueman

This is a newish podcast that tells stories about people who are making a difference in the world and having a positive impact. When you feel like the world is a hopeless place, this podcast will give you oodles of renewed optimism.

When I need to laugh: Mortified

Mortified is a series in which adults read from their childhood (mostly middle school/high school) diaries. Beware though, sometimes episodes can get a wee bit raunchy – not all episodes are that way, but a few are…just so ya know.

When I’m feeling sentimental or emotional: Terrible, Thanks for Asking and Strangers

I LOVE TTFA and Strangers mostly because the episodes stay with me  – I find myself thinking about them for hours after listening. These episodes make me feel all my feelings.

When I want that Stranger Things vibe to continue: The Polybius Conspiracy

Bobby claims he was abducted by the makers of a new arcade game back in the 80s. Follow this series when you want a bit of nostalgia for the days when you used to spend your Saturday afternoons (and all your dad’s quarters) at the arcade.

When I just want good storytelling: This American Life

Probably the granddaddy and gold star of podcasting, TAL is so good at what it does. With years and years of archives, there is no shortage of stories that will interest folks of all walks of life. This is what I listen to when I don’t know what I want to listen to.

Other notable audio gems: Serial (this is how I got started listening to podcasts), S Town, Missing Richard Simmons, In the Dark (I just started listening to this one – I’m only on episode 1).

So anyway, that should be enough to keep you busy for awhile. There are so many podcasts now that it’s hard to sort through them all. What are some of your favorites and when do you typically listen to them? Sound off below!

 

 

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Holiday Sanity Savers

Every year around this time, I start to get all panicky and sweaty and wonder how in the world am I ever going to get/buy/do everything that needs to be gotten/bought/done before December 25th?? Every year I think surely THIS will be the year that finds me  weeping uncontrollably into Santa’s beard when I pass by him in the department store and yet every year, I somehow make it through. All gifts end up wrapped and under the tree, all Christmas goodies get baked and delivered to neighbors, and on December 26th I high-five myself and give myself a pat on the back for making it through another holiday season.

I started to get that sweatypanicky feeling again today, but then I remembered that there has never been a Christmas, not a single one, where I wasn’t able to do All The Things. I had to remind myself that I’ve always had enough money for gifts, I’ve always managed to buy what I needed, and Christmas has never, as of yet, gone down in flames in a fiery crash of tinsel and bows.

I can handle this.

You can handle this.

WE CAN HANDLE THIS.

And because we have skills /technology/support at our disposal to help us do ALL THE CHRISTMAS-Y THINGS.

What might those things be? Glad you asked! Take a gander at what we’ve got going for us:

  • We can delegate. If you’re like me, you have kids who are nearly grown adults who are more than capable of clearing the clutter and vacuuming the living room so the house can be decorated. Or maybe you can call a friend over to help you clean and decorate. Or maybe you just hire someone to do it because you are just OVER IT this year and it will be money well spent. Point is, don’t do it all yourself by yourself – enlist the help of someone close to you (or someone you can pay, whatever).
  • We can schedule things ahead of time. Did you know that you can schedule a text message? I only recently learned of this amazing bit of technology and it is a game changer for me. Sometimes I want to send a text but the person receiving my text might be sleeping or in a meeting. With my Galaxy phone, I am able to compose the text, then schedule when I want the recipient to get it.  Need to send a text to Janet reminding her to bring cookies for the class party, but you know she’s getting a massage right now? Schedule that text to be received in 4 hours when you know she won’t be blissed out on lavender massage oil and Enya. Need to remind your college student to pick up a pie from the excellent bakery next to the university but you know he’s in class right now? Schedule it to be received when he gets out of class. See? Technology is a little bit helpful. *Edited to add: I’ve learned that this may only be an Android thing. Sorry for getting your hopes up iPhoners. 
  • We can adopt the “less is more” attitude towards Christmas decorating (and spending and eating): Did you know that there is no law that says you have to put up every single decorative holiday item you own???? Truly!! Pick out the things that you actually love and display them. It’s really okay if you don’t set out the ceramic Santa that Aunt Linda made in her Beginner Ceramics class that she took at the Vo-tech twelve years ago. Really, let’s just let that sad little guy stay in storage this year, okay?
  • We can embrace online shopping. I mean, if you haven’t already. Seriously, take advantage of the fact that you can have most of your gifts delivered right to your door. RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR. No crowds, no beleaguered sales-people who can’t answer your question, no impulse buys that blow your budget…only the soft clickety-clack of your keyboard or phone. Aaahhhhh. So nice and quiet.
  • We can take time to enjoy and appreciate the little things: Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while sipping hot cocoa, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, delivering some blankets and food to a grateful shelter (human or animal – either one is fine), the absolute silence of nature that comes with that first heavy snowfall (don’t you love that??? I love standing outside and being in awe of the quiet), snuggling up with those we love the most…let’s try and do more of these things this month, shall we?

I am going to try my hardest to not be a Grinch this year. I will enjoy this season and float through it with ease and grace and style…okay maybe I’ll just try not to trip while I gingerly tiptoe my way through it. Either way, I will remember to be mindful and appreciative of everything this month has to offer.

Do you have any Holiday Sanity Savers of your own? What do you rely on to make the season merry and bright? 

 

 

 

Thankful

In my last sad, depressing, Grinchy post, I lamented that I just don’t enjoy the holidays as much as I used to. I bemoaned the fact that it was all just too much pressure and too much money and too much time.

Well.

Let me tell you that I had one of the best Thanksgiving weekends I’ve had in a really long time. Grinch be gone! Maybe having low expectations is the secret to happiness?

I took a short road trip and got to visit with family I haven’t seen in years and HAD THE BEST TIME. I got to see my cousin and her kids, and my aunt, and then I jetted over to my hometown for a quick visit with my BFF and her family. (I’ve got a post brewing in my head about my hometown; I was overcome with nostalgia over the weekend and need to put it into words)

It was just so nice to be able to get out of town and see family, and the town of my childhood and feel connected to something again. My youngest daughter went with me and I got to show her the area where her mother grew up – I think she actually found it interesting!

So yes, now I am looking forward to this holiday season. I’m ready to put my tree up and decorate the house. I’m ready to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and make Christmas cookies. Can’t really say I’m ready to start shopping yet, but that will come.

I think I just needed a change in the Thanksgiving routine. Traditions are great, but when they become stale it’s time to switch it up and do something that feels fulfilling. And I am deeply fulfilled right now.

 

 

 

 

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How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety Like an Adult

It’s only Tuesday and I’ve already seen at least 5 articles this week on how to get through the holidays with your sanity intact. And I’ve read every one of them because I’m already feeling the strain.  No doubt, ’tis the season for all of our anxieties to come shining through like a flashlight in the face!

But doesn’t this seem wrong, somehow? Why do we feel obligated to put ourselves through this year after year? Yes I get that traditions are important but does being super stressed out have to be a tradition too?

Truth be told, I don’t enjoy the holidays any more. I have a hard time finding the joy in it all when it all just feels TOO MUCH. Too much pressure, too much money, too much food, too many things to do, people to see, places to go…and for what? So we can post some Norman Rockwellesque photos on social media? So we don’t disappoint someone in our family? So we can feel like we did it “right”? I feel like the whole thing needs to be reworked.

But until I’m able to escape to the Caribbean for the months of November and December (someday!), I’m going to have to suck it up and deal. And here’s how I plan to deal with it:

  • Radical Acceptance – these holidays are happening whether I like it or not. They just are. So I can accept that I am going to have to do things I’d really rather not do, but since I am an adult I will handle myself with maturity and grace. And then I’m going to reward myself for Adulting so well.
  • Cope Ahead – I can make a plan and do things ahead of time that will make the actual event easier to deal with. That might mean cooking a few dishes ahead of time, getting in some exercise so I feel better, getting more rest, or watching for things I need to go on sale (so I feel like I have at least a little bit of control over my money).
  • Improve the Moment – sadly the only thing I can think of here is having a nice glass of wine or some spiked punch. But maybe it also means having some neutral discussion topics on hand – movies, books, etc – so that if the conversation takes a ridiculous turn, I can steer it back to common ground (this could also be considered Coping Ahead, I think). Retreating to another room for five minutes to watch a funny cat video is also a good way to improve the moment and my mood if I feel like it’s getting to be too much.
  • Find Joy in the Little Things – when my kids all pull together to get the house clean while I’m at work on Wednesday, noshing on my mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing, that glorious nap that comes after the meal, Christmas music on the radio during my daily commute, A Charlie Brown Christmas (along with ALL the Christmas classics), driving around and looking at Christmas lights, baking treats with my kids, making that first batch of the peanut butter balls that makes my husband so happy…these are the things I’m going to focus on. These are the things I’m going to look forward to.
  • Writing – I’m going to write, write, write, either here or privately because I already feel better about everything since I sat down to write this post.

If you love this time of year and you feel like you are on top of it, more power to you (and also, I envy you)! But for the rest of us who tend to feel like we’re caught in the undercurrent of TOO MUCH, let’s just take it easy on ourselves, okay? Let’s agree to do what we can and let that be good enough. Let’s agree to take spectacular care of ourselves and maybe, just maybe we’ll surprise ourselves and come out on the other side of this with some good times and warm memories.