Hello, again. Let's upgrade.

Life is wild. It really is. I will spare you the details of the craziest ~4 years of my life. Instead, I want to share what I have been inspired to do because of all those trials:

  • Writing to live. I have returned to writing in a lot of different ways. I have a personal journal, a work journal and a learning journal. I write appeals and those are really, really taking me back to my journalism roots - be factual, be compelling, be genuine. I am in the process of writing a FY17 plan, helping me back to my management roots, which is an exhilarating feeling. Writing, all of my writing in the last months, has been cleansing. The act of writing calms me down. It helps me learn. It helps me work through problems. Writing is life.
  • Reading: books, blogs, articles -- all the reading. Well, I'm like a million books behind schedule already, but I'm trying my hardest and the reading I'm doing is helping me with my writing, as it should. Plus, I'm reading a lot more news and professional writing to support my work, which is great.
  • Learning hard AF, daily. Something I realized while viewing old Facebook posts was that I used to post more quotes and more thoughtful statements. I do that when I'm learning a lot and my brain is running on all cylinders. While I'm not particularly interested in going back to sharing more on Facebook, I do want to get back into the groove of SHARING KNOWLEDGE. With everyone: my coworkers, students, friends and, frankly, complete strangers. I'm kind of addicted to sharing information and that's my librarian background talking. Good thing I got this here blog, eh? Plus, as I mentioned, I'm keeping a learning journal, where if I don't decide to share online, I have a little book with big learning nuggets. 
  • Regularly hearing the song of my creativity muse. This I have found to be true: when I read and write more, creativity comes easily and naturally. When I was in K-8, high school and college, I wrote excessively. I had things to say and a platform to say them on, through homework assignments, newspapers, etc. Now, I still have things to say and have found that there are still platforms, new ones, for those messages. My work, my life, my reading and my writing all combine for me to be more creative, spread good messages, and find better ways to tell stories. What a time to be alive.
  • Listening. Well, if there's ever been a crappier Gemini, only child, attention deficit disorder-ridden, passive listener than myself, I have yet to meet or know of them. Active listening is a huge area of growth for me. I don't do anyone any favors by not listening. I must be better. I have improved, but not nearly enough for my liking. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
  • "Change my life." This is what I replace "diet and exercise" with. I'm not on a diet. I'm changing my life to include nutritious, planned, homemade meals. I'm not exercising more, I'm trying to change my life where I get up and move every single day. If I don't eat well or exercise every day of my life, than I'm not being good to myself. Diet and exercise plans are temporary. I want to live a long, active, truly healthy life, with a few fun and glorious departures from responsibility, like champagne cocktails, ladies' brunches, Opening Day (and the rest of the season), and beer festivals. 
  • Getting in good sleep and waking early. All I have to say about this is that this is the pinnacle of being a 30-something. I find the Sandman is knocking on my door promptly at 10pm each night and, well, I am happy to oblige. The next morning, my early curfew is rewarded with energy and the will to conquer the day.
Hope you can into some of these grooves in your life. It's not easy. You have to make the time and commitment. When you're brain and body are active, you are your best.


Onions got ya' down? Chill.

From On Food and Cooking about onions and how to keep them from making you teary-eyed (emphasis added):
One sulfur product is produced in significant quantities online in the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo: the "lacrimator," which causes our eyes to water. This volatile chemical escapes from the damaged onion into the air, and lands in the onion cutter's eyes and nose, where it apparently attacks nerve endings directly ... Its effects can be minimized by prechilling the onions for 30-60 minutes in ice water. 
Soaking them also makes the skin easier to remove as well.


A New Way to Grieve - with Food

At This Dinner Party, Talking About Death With Strangers Isn't Taboo

Talking about grief and the loss of a loved one isn't typically dinner conversation. Many people, even those struggling to cope with loss, will avoid talking about such heavy topics, especially over supper.

But a fledgling nonprofit designs dinners specifically for young adults to get together and talk about their experiences with loss.

In cities across the country, the group The Dinner Party advises 20- and 30-somethings on how to arrange these gatherings.


Sugar and such

Man, I had no idea that sugar had so many names. Here are 50. That is excessive. Speaking of excessive, I ate my weight in cookies AGAIN this holiday season. I took a few no-sugar days and am thinking about trying this 30-Day No Sugar Challenge. Heck, I'd be happy with 20 out of 30. And let's be honest, I'm gonna' do February. Moderation in all things, including moderation :).

Be careful. Sugar is delicious, but makes you fat. Good luck to all trying to lose some weight in this New Year and get healthy. It's hard, but you gotta' keep on keepin' on.

Happy New Year!


Year of Gratitude - Day 365 - Reflection

I am grateful that I took on this writing project. Though I didn't fill out the entire year, I did a lot more writing and positive thinking. I needed both of those. I will likely back-fill all the missing days with other thoughts on gratitude, but I am happy with what this was. Is.

Happy New Year!


Year of Gratitude - Day 364 - New running shoes

I'm grateful to have purchased some new running shoes today. I'm grateful that my bud recommended RUNdetroit, a great running store right in the heart of Midtown. Grateful to keep business in my beloved hometown, Detroit.


Year of Gratitude - Day 358 - Christmas Eve

Being with family is the best part of the holidays. Usually in the morning there is brunch with my husband's family and then we celebrate Wigilia with mine. It was a little more somber this year, but I was grateful to spend time with my family nonetheless.


Year of Gratitude - Day 357 - Holiday Music

Christmas Carols, the holiday jams and season's greetings spoofs. I love it all during this time of year. I love the radio stations that rock out the holiday spirit 24/7. I listen to the Pandora Christmas Music station shamelessly.

Fun Fact (well, maybe not that fun): December 24, 1818: Father Joseph Mohr first performed his song Silent Night 196 years ago today. Nearly a century later, in 1914, German soldiers on the Western Front sang the song from the trenches and were joined by their British opponents. (Thanks, Goodreads.)

Finally, Michael Steven BublĂ©. I am a fan. 


Year of Gratitude - Day 356 - Shepherd's Pie

I've never been thoroughly satisfied with this dish when I've had it at restaurants. Today I finally made it myself and it was delicious. I also learned a new twist on mashed potatoes - mashing them up with carrots and adding just a bit of cheese and thyme. So great. Very grateful to have found this recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/shepherds-pie-11.


Year of Gratitude - Day 346 - Choir Music at Dearborn Performing Arts Center

My mother and I went to see the Dearborn Holiday Choral Festival at the Michael A. Guido Theater. It was absolutely wonderful. I love this theater and it is even more awesome around Christmas time. Support live performances!