Friday, December 31, 2010

We've Moved!

Hey there! You didn't lose me. We simply changed addresses.
For more exciting adventures of Marissa, please go to the new home of MARISSOLOGY!!!
We've packed up our gear and taken the goods toWordpress!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chalene Johnson's 30-Day Challenge

This morning came knocking early.  It was exactly 4:17 AM when my body told me to wake up.  After doing what necessitated my way-before-sunrise wakening, sleep was attempted once more. Silly me.  I should know me better than that. At precisely 4:59 AM, reluctantly throwing in the towel for more slumber, I felt around for my cozy sweater and fuzzy slipper socks.  It's astounding what super powers one possesses in the dark. Rather than sit with my coffee perusing the countless paid programming/infomercials available, I decided it was time to put fingers to keyboard and write something.  I'd thought about just slapping up the video I made and posted on youtube yesterday.  This post is really an expansion of what is touched on in the nearly 5 minute video. It's available for viewing after the text.

It won't be long and the new year will have been rung in.  For some of you it'll be a fond farewell to a year that didn't deliver what you'd hoped it would.  For others, like myself, you'll look back fondly on the countless blessings.  But not for long will you look back because it will hinder your ability to look ahead.

As 2010 was being sung in with Auld Lang Syne, my personal resolution was to get healthy -- how often had that been my promise? While the rest of the world was diving in head first on their quests to stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise, etc, ... and ultimately setting themselves up for failure or quitting within a month or so, yours truly was not budging.  It took until March to begin that resolution.  At that point can it still be thought of in those terms?

Here I am 45 pounds lighter and showing no signs of quitting.  Sure, there have been hurdles, stumbling blocks and a full gainer off the wagon.  What's different is that there was never a sense of defeat or failure.  Throwing up a white flag of surrender was never an option.  So, with that being said and statistics about new year resolutions being considered, what has transpired is a change and not a resolution. What's the difference? From my perspective a resolution is null and void if you don't back it up with personal accountability. Just saying it out loud isn't enough. Every single day you have to hold yourself accountable for the change you want to see.  Write it down in several places.  Set reminders of what your goals are in your fancy shmancy phone.  Make a pop up reminder on your computer.  It's easy to let things go to the wayside if it isn't in our face.  Enlist a squadron of support.  Don't ask the person who enables your bad habits to be your buddy. It's difficult when your enabler lives with you, but BE STRONG! I've found so much support online for my endeavors to be healthy.  People who've never shared the air space I breathe have championed me.  Don't discount the value of social networking.  Remember, while our families and close friends love us unconditionally, they are also comfortable with us 'as is' and shifting their personal perception of us is not always a pill they are ready to swallow.  So, do not give up on yourself based on what people close to you feel or say.  Ignore the naysayers and cut out your own thoughts of self-sabotaging ridicule.When you piss and moan about everything you don't have or constantly toss negativity into the cosmos, it will eventually be flung right back at you. Misery does love company.

Change is not easy. The first quest on my agenda is to get organized. Between my promotion to lab manager and developing my Team Beachbody business, it's an absolute necessity to keep order in my life.  Rather than make some lame attempt to go it alone, I'm turning to a pro.  The guru-ess of social media and organization: Chalene Johnson.  Again, this is all about accountability. There's that doggone word again. Dagnabit! But it works. If you're interested in getting organized so you can achieve your goals in 2011, then I strongly urge you to take advantage of Chalene Johnson's 30-Day Challenge. Hurry! Time is ticking away.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Letter

As the years have gone by as a single mother, my friends and family have assured me that my son will one day recognize that it is I who've provided for him.  You see, in the past Mancub, when given a writing project at school, would wax poetic about his father ... his absentee father.  Deep down it always hurt me.  I'd do my best to disguise my envy and encouraged him to be open about his feelings.

On December 15, 2010 I came home after working a grueling 12 hour day.  The 15th also happened to be the day of my first safety and quality inspection with my BIG boss and her boss. Stress so intense you could slice it with a Ginsu.  In the end, that visit turned out to be amazing, but the day still seemed forever long and never ending.  All I wanted to do after that roller coaster was chillax with my son and put my feet up.

It wasn't long after arriving home and shortly after hanging up my coat that Mancub handed me a folded piece of paper.  I asked, "What is this? Is it good or bad?" Knowing very well my son has very little bad to report regarding school.  He replied with a smirk, "It's good. I think you'll like it."

Quizzically, I unfolded the single sheet of paper to see what appeared to be an assignment from his keyboarding class.

It reads:

Dear Mom,

Thanks for being there for me even when things get tough for you especially at work because I know how annoying some of the people can be at work and you work so much, but I'm really happy you work so hard.  You've always taken care of me even though it can sometimes be stressful for you and, for that, I am sorry, but you have to know that I've always been proud to be your son.  I wouldn't be happier with any other mom than you.  Ever since dad left things have been tough for both of us and I know you kept trying to fill both his spot and yours and I have to say you've done a great job with me because without all of your love, I would probably be in a pretty bad place.

I want to thank you for all the things you bought for me and gave to me, Mo-mo and Silver. Because of them it's made it feel like I have someone to care for on my own just like you do with me and it's taught me a lot about responsibility.  I'm thankful for the food you cook for me everyday and don't think for a minute that it isn't any good because your cooking is phenomenal. If there was only one thing left to eat in this world I'd want it to be your food.  There are also the clothes you've bought for me that I'm thankful for because without them I'd be freezing my behind off outside right now. Also, thanks for the games that you buy for me sometimes because I know how much you love me whenever you say yes and I can get one.

There's also our house that we live in. It may not be the best place in the world, but it's still home sweet home to you and me. Besides, if we didn't have that place I probably wouldn't have met Kodi or Brianna, wherever she is.  And there's also the glasses that you've gotten me. If I didn't have them I wouldn't be able to see your beautiful face every morning or read like I do now and it's also your inspiration that I'm thankful for because you inspire me to just get up in the morning. Even though it doesn't look like it at times, but I am grateful for everything you do every day and that's why I'll always be proud to be your son and I'll never regret it. Because without you, I wouldn't be here right now typing you this letter.

Cordially yours,

Your son Mancub

P.S. Please don't ever change who you are, because you're perfect the way you are now.

Through tear soaked eyes I read the letter. Then, embraced my lovely son and told him he just gave me the best gift ever.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Eggnog Shakeology

I've expressed more than a couple of times how much eggnog anything just sets my tastebuds aflutter. However, the delightful, typically Christmastime beverage is ridiculously high in calories and fat.

*whimper and whine*

To the rescue! Chocolate Shakeology.  As if there needed to be more reasons why I'd marry Shakeology if it was a man, thirty days of holiday recipes for both flavors, chocolate and greenberry, was developed.  Included on the chocolate calendar (day 10 if you want me to be specific), is the recipe for Holiday Eggnog.

Hellooooo noggy! Yum. Hokey shmokes, Bullwinkle. Naturally, I had to try it.

Here's the recipe:
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 egg white
1/2 tsp of allspice
1 tsp rum extract
 1/2 cup skim milk (I used rice milk -- it gives a richer texture and flavor)

Wowsers! I admit that when I first began my love affair with Shakeology there was a fear that it would quickly become boring. But here we are 10 months later and still finding new and exciting ways to keep our relationship tasty and tantalizing!  If you'd like more information on Shakeology and the 30 days of recipes, you just need to give me a shout! Comment below, visit my Shakeology website or email me.

PS. To all my brides to be, Shakeology is the ideal way to help you and your wedding party to be picture perfect on your big day!

Bring It! P90X for Christmas

When you're a single gal it's not unusual to make purchases around Christmas and declare that since you have no one to buy you gifts, you do it for yourself. Apparently I'm not alone in that frame of thinking because, statistically speaking, 1 in 4 women admit to shopping for themselves when out spending moolah on others.

What did I buy? Well, I made my quarterly pilgrimage to Bath and Body Works. Buy 3 get 3 free is a great lure. Of those six items, 3 were for Mancub. So, technically, the other 3 for myself were free. Don't you feel better already about my spending?  Prior to that I'd pre-ordered a book on Amazon.  Any guesses what it might be? ::hint: look to your right::

2011 I have sworn to myself that I will BRING IT! Tony Horton style and I'm taking my 16 year old son with me.  He and I are starting that amazing muscle confusion, 90 day program known as P90X.  To further my accountability, our journey will be chronicled right here! Every day there will be a brief update regarding our progress.  In your face honesty.  If we slack off, we'll admit it.  Photos will be included along with a smattering of video.

If you're psyched and wanting to join in -- we'd love to have your input about your own journey added to the comments -- get over to my Team Beachbody website and order the program of your choice to BRING IT! in 2011. Check out the supplements, too. You'll definitely need P90X Results and Recovery Formula. It tastes like an orange creamcicle!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why I'd Marry Shakeology If It Was Human

I'm simply going to be honest with you. Until around April of 2010, I had issues. Digestive problems. Now, I know that's not very exciting to talk about, but it's the truth. I chalked it up to getting older. Little by little a list, a long one at that, was made of the foods that agreed with me and didn't bode well once consumed. Quite frankly it became a bit unnerving as I love to enjoy food. While my outlook about eating are healthier and less about feeding my emotions, I still love the flavors, textures and aroma of food.

Then along comes Shakeology. All I knew at the time of first purchase, March 2010, was that I held on to the hope it would help me lose weight. It didn't phase me to inquire about ingredients. My Team Beachbody Coach John Hays informed me that it wasn't a bunch of fillers, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors or colors. Nor does it contain its weight in sugar (like Slim-fast and a host of others on the over-the-counter market).

Once the 30 day supply arrived and I began using it as a meal replacement in the morning, something struck me odd after a couple of weeks. I felt better. I became a regular gal, if you know what I mean. That's when I inquired about Shakeology's magic healing powers. That's what I claim. Beachbody in no way does that. Remember, I'm talking from a personal perspective and experience. Amongst the 70 ingredients is probiotics.

All 70 Shakeology ingredients
Probiotics in Shakeology promote good digestion, boost the immune system and help your body naturally control intestinal pH levels. Well, no wonder I was feeling so much better! My body was being tuned up!

Then, I tried the 3-Day Cleanse. Assured by John, my coach, that it wasn't like that crazy starvation chili-lemonade thing Beyonce' and Oprah have claimed to use to drop weight quickly, I set the date to do it. John, being an awesome guy, did the cleanse at the same time as a support. At that time I didn't consider what time of month it was. Yeah, you totally know what I'm hinting at. It concerned me because I become a ravenous eating machine. I crave sodium and anything junky. Not only that but being cranky and pissy about everything at the drop of a hat doesn't begin to describe the effects of PMS. LOO-NA-TIC! And the cramping? Fahgettaboutit.

OK, this is where you need to imagine a choir of ethereal angels singing in refrain as the heavens open up ... my PMS was curbed while on the 3-day Cleanse. The compulsion to eat junk food and Diet Coke had disappeared. Could it be true that when you give the body what it NEEDS, then you no longer crave the things that are horrible for it? Whoa. Hold the phone, sister! And on top of it I wasn't bloated to the max -- remember, Aunt Flow was around. I lost 6.5 pounds. My crankiness level barely registered as a blip on the radar. Egads!!!

Miraculously, the junk food cravings and desire to drink diet soda were gone! My body was then ready to begin a more intense work out program (Power 90 -- P90Xs mom). Within 90 days I lost 34 pounds and felt better from every facet of living than I had in decades.

It's weird to say something so simple and pure could give me a new lease on life, but it has.  I love how I feel and it all began with deciding to do something about my situation of being obese. Then, committing to a program that works. Also, committing to sharing my journey. As a result, I am seeing success! That success has spread to many aspects of my life.

So, yeah! If Shakeology was a man I'd totally marry it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Attitude is everything

I always considered myself a generally happy person. In spite of life's ups and downs, it wasn't unusual to just keep smiling knowing that a new day would dawn where new opportunities would be presented.  How I viewed myself and presumed others viewed me was slightly skewed from what was deeply felt ... by myself.

Not until the last couple of months did it come to my attention that I'd been wearing a mask.  Yours truly was not happy.  Miserable might be pushing it, but needless to say, if I was me I wouldn't want my own company.  That's pretty damned sad.

Little by little the layers of yuck have peeled away as the inches of flubber have also been shed.  Without a doubt my weight was allowing me to hide; to be buried.  That's not to say every person who is overweight is congruently unhappy.  My weight was an excuse for not pursuing romance or even attention from the opposite sex.

Zoinks! A revelation, it is.

Last week something extraordinary occurred at work.  Without giving much detail -- because I feel it's detrimental to discuss such things in this forum -- I felt exorcised of the self imposed oppression and stifled happiness.  Someone who doesn't know me extremely well, but well enough to promote me looked me in the face and said, "stop it! stop living in the past and look forward."  In a flash like Benny Hinn smacking a drug addict on the forehead demanding that the demons 'BE GONE!', I was healed. It's as if I'd been waiting for someone to give me the permission to stop living on the negative by tethering myself to 'what had been' like a two ton anchor that was pulling me into the abyss of doom.

My body is becoming healthy and my mind is following suit.  Coincidence? I think not.  Feeding the body well and giving it a means of detoxification through a good old fashioned sweat leads to better things from the inside out.

How can I help you from this day forward, my friends?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Look Ahead

"Things will go wrong at times. You can't always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better"
— Tony Dungy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Marissa: The Video

When I first started recording video to post on this blog I used a webcam.  A cheap one at that. The resolution was awful. In a moment my rosy complexion would turn Yoda green.  Then, I bought a digital camera that also had video capabilities. Unfortunately, natural lighting is required as the flash isn't steady when filming.  Recently, I adopted a Droid.  Sure, I could read the manual from cover to cover and watch the handy dvd that came with it, but why do that when I can sit for hours tinkering with it and getting utterly frustrated. Only at that moment do I consult the manual... or the 22 year old who works for me.  The Droid has a cam-corder app.  Seeing that thrilled me to pieces! Plus, there's lighting! The quality isn't too bad once I figured out how to adjust brightness. Prior to that my face was so illuminated that my nose literally vanished off my face.  Trust me, with my honker that is no small feat.  The problem arose when I tried posting directly to Youtube.  The file size was too large to go the traditional route. Wi-fi was required. But I HAVE wi-fi.  We got it so we could use Netflix through the Wii. A good part of Friday was spent on trial and error.  I'd record; then record a shorter version. I even tried talking faster. The video simply would not transmit.  Now I know how Luke Skywalker felt about retrieving the message out of R2D2. By the end of the night I sounded terribly scripted. Plus, I'd adjourned to my bedroom to record as not to get the noises of my son's video game or television program in the background. Oh, and let us not leave out the howling of the goofy cat. You ask what's so bad about being in my bedroom? The God awful, hideous wallpaper. That's what. It looks like a 1977 Rose Bowl float threw up on my walls. This is a rental that I've lived in for five years.  I don't bother to ask to paint/strip/whatever because it's dark and my eyes are closed when I'm in there.  OK? Point being, it is not an attractive backdrop for a blog posting unless I'm conducting some retro, creepy porno involving old ladies.  Which I AM NOT!  So, I tried to hang something on my headboard to disguise the heinous wallpaper. What resulted was the appearance I was attempting to hide something. Bleah.

This is the result of resorting back to my digital camera video feature early in the morning before the cats and child could distract me.  No, the lighting isn't great. Yes, the background is beige. In this house you either get paneling, beige blinds or fugly as hell wallpaper. Or a dirty kitchen -- I've been baking. Shup!

If you'd like to be part of the next DEAR MARISSA, then send me your questions! My email is wildhair65 at gmail DOT com

Dear Marissa: Just Bring It!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lady Jane

Lady Jane -- You will be missed
This is dedicated to Maureen, Michael, Justin, Kris, Alisa, Kailey, Andrew and Ryan:

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Truth Hurts

All credit given to the above website. Thank you!

2010 is quickly coming to an end.  While holiday parties are still in full swing and gorging yourself is likely part of the festivities, I want you to be a forward thinker. Think ahead to your waistband sinking deeper into your middle.  Consider the buttons on your shirts crying out for mercy.  No one is shrinking your clothes, buttercup. It's time to Decide. Commit. Succeed.

Who is going to get you there? YOU! Invite me to be part of your journey whether it is to get leaner or lose 100+ pounds.  I recently did the Shakeology 3-day Cleanse and lost EIGHT POUNDS!. It's gentle (no, you won't be pooping your pants when you sneeze or laugh really hard.) What this cleanse will do is prepare your body for healthier eating and exercise through detoxing yourself of all the buttery cookies, bacon wrapped everything and alcohol consumption it has been subjected to between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom at a Barbershop Choir convention
My mother is no longer walking amongst in the land of the living.  At age 51, June, 1981 she left us after a battle with cancer. I miss her just as much today as I did then. Probably even more since the anger has departed and now all I have are precious memories of the woman who birthed 8 children and longed for more. However, my birth wasn't the easiest and she made me her caboose.  It's best described as ending with perfection. Smile.

Today I wanted to share with you a story of eggnog.  Many people don't care for its texture or flavor. As for me, gimme, gimme, gimme! Let's not trouble ourselves the high fat and calorie content as you walk with me on the path of joyful memories.

Please to enjoy, Mama's Christmas Eggnog

Ever since I can remember I have loved eggnog. While passing Fannie May Candies I eyed a sign in the window advertising their new item: Cheesecake. Like Homer Simpson spying a donut I muttered, "mmmm cheeeeesecake..." I adore cheesecake, too. Fannie May has brought together two of my favorite holiday treats! Eggnog cheesecake! Again, I mentally take on another character; Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf. I was subconsciously singing in the mall, "CHEESECAKE! I loooooooooove cheesecake and eggnog..eggnog cheesecake.. I-WANT-TO- EAT- IT- NOW!" I'm sure my co-worker was unaware of the scenario blaring through my head. Had this truly happened I'm sure I'd still be explaining to mall security how I managed to escape from my straight jacket.

When did the love affair between eggnog and my taste buds first blossom? I can't recall the first time my tongue lapped up the delicious dairy-nog, but I assure you it was non-alcoholic. I do know that my mother made it from scratch. I cannot tell you how she concocted my most favorite and beloved holiday beverage. The treat she made far surpasses any gunk you can buy pre-made. Her's was smooth, not too heavy or thick. My taste buds were doing the dance of the Sugar Plum Faeries as it slid down my throat. She'd dollop frothy egg whites on top with a light dusting of nutmeg. My eyes would dance wildly with excitement just awaiting that first sip. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve were the only occasions eggnog was brought to the buffet table. I suppose that made it all that more special to me and still is to this day.

Each Christmas season I am rabid for eggnoggy products. Eggnog to drink. I cut the commercial stuff with 2% milk...too thick. Eggnog Latte' at Starbucks. Eggnog ice cream at Oberweis. I bought a quart of Oberweis eggnog to add to my coffee in the morning. And now, Eggnog cheesecake at Fannie May. I'd probably use eggnog flavored toothpaste if it were on the market.

Eggnog brings me back to the happiness that was my childhood. The thrills of traditions created by my beautiful mother. Her image in the kitchen; singing her favorite Christmas songs. Her voice a sweet sound. Her song erased any sadness or disappointment I may have felt. Momma's Emeraude perfume lofting in the air. It's melodically stuck in my nasal cavity.

You see, drinking eggnog is more than just consumption of a holiday beverage for me. It's chocked full of beautiful memories. It's not only a memory of a punch bowl filled with a creamy concoction; it's recollection of admiration and love. Not only my regard toward my mother, but her regard to me as her child. She created memories that are sacred.

Everything was perfect at Christmastime. She taught me that wrapping a gift wasn't just a means to keep it secretive, it was to be done with loving care. Each fold of the paper was her way of giving of herself. Every gift inside was a piece of her heart and soul. My mother didn't haphazardly slap on wrapping, sloppily apply the tape or smack on a bow without care. She was an artiste.

She worked in customer service at Montgomery Ward when I was a wee tot. I loved going to see her there at Christmas. She was the master gift wrapper. I think people came to know she'd not only don their package with the shimmering foil paper, but she'd treat their purchases as if she'd bought them herself for someone special.

There was a lot to learn from my mom. I often wish she was here to counsel me in my day to day life. I suppose in many ways she does. She had far more patience than I. Mom could turn around any one's frown, sadness or dismay. I think over time it became a curse. No matter who she encountered, people loved her.

My Dad wrote a short Christmas story with my Mom as the main character. I hope to find a copy of it and share it here. After years of observing how my Mom pulled together Christmas (even if the money wasn't there), my Dad speculated that Santa had to be a woman; his wife. Mom created magic at Christmas. It was truly the most incredible homage any man could pay to his wife; the mother of his 8 children (after her death he remarried an extraordinary woman; through that union 2 more children blessed our family and new traditions would be made.)

Christmas is a glorious time overflowing with memories. Love is what abounds in my heart because of the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my parents. My enchanting mother taught me that Christmas is magic. It's not magic that comes from a wand or a potion. It's the magic you feel in your very soul.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Something funny leads to good deeds - You'll know I'm your Secret Santa if you don't get anything

This card inspired an idea that has always been stumbling around in the back of my mind each year holiday gift giving season rolls around.  I'm a grown up with a big girl job.  If there is something I want, I buy it.  For several years I have not participated in the gift exchange at work. This act has led people to call me a Grinch.  My actions, or lack there of, have nothing to do with my lack of Christmas spirit.  My heart is full of giving and light all year long but especially during this time of  year.  Rather than buying friends and family items that will likely end up on a shelf collecting dust or re-gifted at their work white elephant exchange, my money goes toward donations to less fortunate people.  In years past, I have been a recipient of such gifts that made giving my son a Christmas possible.  Out of the blue I was showered with generosity. 

Pay it forward.

When this card was posted on my Facebook wall along with the comment "because you don't need anymore crap, I'm spending your Secret Santa money on food and toys to donate to a worthy cause." My friend Brett commented, "I directed all my fans to send my gifts to St. Jude's, Smile Train, And Toys For Tots. Or any other great children's charities they can find."

Don't you just dig that? Nothing would make my heart grow and glow brighter if you donated a gift to my charity of choice this season and just let me know who you are honoring in the comments below. If you choose another charity, PLEASE share it with a link. Let us all be able to bring joy to someone who has been down on their luck or have lived a lifetime of misfortune.  Your kindness may be the little thing that gives them hope.

Project Angel Food "For LIFE, for LOVE, for as long as it takes"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Motivation vs Inspiration

As part of a promise to myself and coaching through Beachbody, I partake in daily personal development.  It might be viewing a Joel Osteen clip on youtube, reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen or, more recently, listening to a Dr. Wayne Dyer audio book to and from work in my car.

Now, this may not be something any one of you reading this finds interesting.  Some of you may think my choice of authors/orators is bumpkiss and foolishness.  But guess what? I take away with it what is useful to me toward improving myself inside -- the outside will follow suit as I continue on the path of having a love affair with moi.

There is one particular passage that has stuck with me as I listened to Wayne Dyer discuss what it is that makes him do what he does in his lectures and seminars.  What persuades him unknowingly to take on projects. 
Motivation is an external force while inspiration is an internal force. Motivation is focusing on the external – a goal, an outcome, an achievement. Inspiration is focusing on the internal – energy and intuition. Inspiration is being in spirit or in connection with a higher Intelligence. Motivation is based on a motive which is individual experience.

Whoa! Can I get that on my coffee mug, a tee shirt, a banner on my bedroom wall? Maybe it's trivial for you, but to me it means following what I feel is intrinsically driving me. That thing you cannot see, but offers up the sense there is something much greater.

Let's just say that I'm listening to the voices of inspiration and that motivates me beyond a realm ever thought to be worthy of a quest so great.

Friday, November 26, 2010

LensCrafters Friends and Family Sale

LensCrafters Friends and Family Sale

Say what!? I've been an associate of Lenscrafters for 14 years. I'm proudly part of the company that made ONE HOUR eyewear a possibility. Even more exciting is that I'm the lab manager at my location. Wave at me and my colleagues as you walk through the mall! 

Former clients, we urge you to come back and see what's new.
Click the link above and print out the valuable coupon.  Use it between December 12-15. Stop by or call in advance to set up an eye exam. Plan ahead and bring in the family for great savings at America's leading eye care company. Let Lenscrafters be your "trusted partner in helping you to see and look your best. That is what we do, and that's all we do."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yam glop vs Sweet Potatoes

The shelves of Wal-Mart, as I entered the store, were lined with one of the most disgusting canned items known to man (besides peas -- am I right, Angie Bailey?) Yams.  Candied yams to be more precise. First, let me say I question the validity of said claims that the item sloshing around in heavy syrup is, indeed, a yam. Hey! Look at the photo. Underneath the word YAM is the truth. Yams and sweet potatoes are not one in the same.  This product is a mushy, detestable glurp in a can. It was a staple side dish at all the Thanksgivings at casa Rapier. Dump the can of candied yams into a casserole dish; cover with a pound of mini marshmallows and bake until golden brown. Yuck! I suppose it comes from the era when it was all a parent could do to get a kid to eat a vegetable so they'd slather it with cheese food or enough sugar to kill and entire nation (and it is) to make it palatable. You may as well give a kid a king size Hershey bar and call it a veggie.

It wasn't until I moved to Georgia that I learned of the glory of a sweet potato.  It's hard to believe the southern fried capital of the world didn't manage to destroy the simplicity of the orange tuber by coating it in batter and throwing it in the deep fryer.  Paula Deen surely adds a pound of butter per potato.  Oh, there are some jacked up recipes that make me question the sugar to potato ratio.  Sorry. I digress.

Consumption of the sweet potato for me requires nothing more than baking or microwaving.  No thank you to the butter and brown sugar.  Truly, they are sweet enough on their own if you ask me. Perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, but nothing more.  I'll cook a couple ahead of time and refrigerate for later use. Once cooked and cooled, the skins are so easy to peel off.  It's not unusual for me eat a sweet potato for breakfast. Just slice one up and, with a spritz of non-stick spray in pan, warm until the natural sugars brown the outside. This can be done by baking, too. Super easy side dish that doesn't rob you of the nutrients or flavor.  Heavy syrups suck tushy, kids.

My rule: When it comes to vegetables, K.I.S.S them -- Keep It Simple Sunshine

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Rissy senses are tingling!

Normally, I just read my horoscopes and get a chuckle.  But the past couple have given me exactly what I need to hear.  Quite honestly, deep down I am just a hippie chick who believes the cosmos-really-knows-me-best and delivers it if I keep my eyes open and my mind even opener. Just go with me on this and my mutilation of grammar.

(Jul 23 - Aug 22)

Your day can be mixed with contradictions because you may intuitively sense that you're on the edge of something big ... and although it's exciting to think that there are no limits to your far-reaching ideas now, you might have to face an unexpected obstacle. A seemingly insignificant social event can set you in a direction that is very advantageous to your career. Combining business with pleasure isn't always a wise idea, but today it may be just what the doctor ordered for your success.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'O' to the 'M' to the 'G'!

Check out this horoscope!  I can dig it. Yes, please and thank you! Give me a double helping.

You are stepping into a fun-filled phase when your life lightens and you want to express yourself in a more playful manner. Even if it's challenging to find everything you're seeking, you are still more willing to move forward with anticipation now, rather than shut down in fear. It's certainly more pleasurable to be with someone you like than spending your time alone wishing for company.

Tell me more!

Listen, my brain is a cavalcade of mish-mash lately.  Bear with me as I try to regain my ability to write cohesively (if that is ever possible with me) and form a decent  blog post.  In the meantime, this handy Facebook tag-a-long will be quite useful.  Thank you to my friend Angie Bailey of Catladyland for bestowing this upon me.  It came in the nick of time -- that's what friends are for!

These rules apply if you're going to do this on Facebook. I'm not changing things up for the sake of the blog.

To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your title as "Getting to know each other!", tag 25 people including me (tagging is done in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.

1. What time did you get up this morning?

 2. How do you like your steak?
Rare -- meaning, I rarely eat red meat. It's nothing personal against cows nor is it a moral statement. My body dislikes it.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Wow, it's time to go to the movie theater. I can't ... wait. It's coming to me. "How To Train Your Dragon."

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Of all time or just currently? Old shows: The Bob Newhart Show; Dick Van Dyke; The Brady Bunch (shut your pie hole); I Love Lucy. Current programs: The Good Wife; Glee; Castle (me-to-the-yow @ Nathan Fillion); Community (another me-to-the-yow @ Joel McHale); The Soup.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I've been so few places.  This is a blank options area. Just take me away!

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Nothing beyond coffee. I know I should eat sooner, but it doesn't bode well with my stomach if I do. Today will probably be steel cut oatmeal with a drizzle of coconut nectar.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
There is little that I do not covet.

8. What foods do you dislike?
Canned sardines; herring; pickled pigs feet

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
In the home of a friend

10. Favorite dressing?
Raspberry vinaigrette or Bleu Fromage

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Saturn L300

12. What are your least favorite clothes?
Bra -- but it's an evil that must be worn; hence the sub-title of my blog

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
I'm game for nearly any where -- Australia since they speak English-ish.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Why can't it just be full?

15. Where would you want to retire?
I need year round warmth. In fact, for the other travel/locale questions, make it year round warm places. K-thanks.

16. Favorite time of day?
The time I get home from work, whenever that may be.

17. Where were you born?
St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee, IL.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Is ball room dancing a sport?

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
Oh, the possibilities are endless

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
Angie's reply is way funnier than any one I could come up with "Tito Jackson"

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
None of you really intrigues me, but for the sake of sport, I want to know every thing about each and every one of you equally.

22. Bird watcher?
Only on the interstate at 80mph

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I'm a mid-day person

24. Do you have any pets?
Dos gato

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
I'm on a quest to find the key to my chastity belt! Who has a metal detector?

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
A grown up

27. What is your best childhood memory?
With all sincerity I had many.  Riding on the back of my Dad's motorcycle and hanging out with him at his barbershop springs to mind first.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
I'm a person who lives with 2 cats. I have never had a dog.

29. Are you in a relationship?
Only with myself and imaginary lovers.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Click-it or Ticket!

31. Been in a car accident?
A couple small fender benders.

32. Any pet peeves?

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
Yes, please.

34. Favorite Flower?

35. Favorite ice cream?
I don't crave it often. Usually fruit based flavors. Chunky Monkey makes me happy.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
In the sea of all that sucks, I'd say (same as Angie) Jimmy John's because it's "freaky fast!" The crusty wheat bread is yummers.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  
I didn't

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Uh, I knew there was something I didn't do today. Do Facebook messages count?

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Well, in a world where people are ass deep in debt this might sound terribly unusual, but I do not possess a credit card.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
This word spontaneous -- can you define it, please?

41. Like your job?
Sure! This week I love it. I have my reasons for why. If you work with me then you already know.

42. Broccoli?
??? Mulva?

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Damn! I keep intending on taking one of those things

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

45. What are you listening to right now?
Gene Simmons Family Jewels on the telly

46. What is your favorite color?

47. How many tattoos do you have?

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?  
How many readers does this blog have? I don't know either, but consider yourselves tagged and if you have a blog, provide your adoring fans with a link back to my little humble spot in the blogosphere. It's only fair!

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 
7:24 am

50. Coffee Drinker?

Only every single day of the year!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One ringy-dingy

Here I am noshing on a Honeycrisp apple. If you've never eaten one then you're truly missing out on one of nature's most delightful snacks. But that is not what this post is about.  Nope. I just wanted to explain the reason my keyboard is sticky -- an excuse for my typos, by the way.

I worked all day and it wasn't until around 4:30 that I was struck with a serious case of the yawns.  My sleepiness can be blamed on staying up later than my usual 10:30 PM bedtime.  I know! Outrageous party animal am I!  It was around 12:30 AM when my phone was going dead for the second time. Obviously the cosmic gods were telling me to go to bed. You see, Saturday night brought some serious catch up with the best friend I've never met.  My house phone battery went belly up -- yes, I'm a weirdo with a land line. Immediately after that I grabbed my cell which had been charging.  I knew my Blondie gal in Cali and I had babbled and laughed for a few hours.  It wasn't until this evening that, out of curiosity, I checked the call log to see what time she originally gave me a jingle.  The digital read out let me know the exact time of 6:20 PM.  Please note above the time that I remarked when we finally hung up.  Damn! I imagine how long that call would have taken if we were textaholic teens.SIX HOUR PHONE CALL! It was just what the doctor ordered.  One more reminder that it is not necessary for me to lead a total solitary life.

In the course of that phone call I drank a bottle of wine that had taken up residence on my kitchen counter since April 2010.  Without being able to fully explain why, it was the most therapeutic bottle of wine ever to pass over my lips.  Shot to hell was my diet for the day, but what a cathartic sense of relief for it to no longer be a reminder of a 'once upon a time' that will never be.  Even though my phone-in-friend couldn't toast with me, she was along for the ride.  I let her know the story behind the Cabernet sauvignon.  Normally I avoid red wines as they always leave me feeling like crap the next day. Clearly the forces of good karma were with me as I didn't suffer a hangover. 

I'm really not sure where else to go with this post.  Typically there's an attempt to connect the introduction to the final sentence.  This time not so much. I hope you enjoyed the middle. Consider it like eating an Oreo sans cookie portion.


I realize that nothing has been posted here since November 16. Five days! In blog days that's like a months.  Sorry. I've been preoccupied with work.  Not to mention there really isn't anything interesting or amusing taking place in the House of 'Riss.

I'm working out regularly.  Oh yeah, that's not news.  I paid a visit to Kankakee Natural Foods. It is not nearly as vast as Whole Foods that all my friends seem to be enamored with, but it's a nice little store with all the essentials. It'll be a cold day before this community sees the likes of Whole Foods, me thinks. Wal-Mart is simply no place to find the best in natural or organic foods.  That's not to say I'm a health freak/warrior.  But variety of tofu is not readily available at the mega-mart.  Nor is coconut nectar, coconut juice etc...

Now that you've come to my blog aren't you happy I haven't been blogging lately? Seriously, could I be more boring?  When my day off finally gets here I will write or post a video blog to spice things up.  In the meantime, check out my older posts.  You know, back when I had an imagination and a life beyond the walls of an optical lab.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free for the holidays

You've seen it. You want it. Don't put it off! Commit and get 25% off retail price.
Summer weddings? Graduation? Bikini weather?  It will all be here before you know it.  Do you see your pharmacist as much as you see your kids? Maybe it's time to take control of your health care. Let's do this thing together!

It's FREE until the end of 2010.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Face it, lady, we're younger and faster! "

Ladies, let's face it! Being a woman is difficult in the realm of ... well, nearly everything when compared to men. That's particularly true when it comes to losing weight.  Difficulty goes up when you're a female over 40. Now I'm over 45 (just turned in August) and I read articles about the collection of belly blubber thanks to my ever decreasing estrogen levels.  Seriously, hormones can just suck it!! Hey, at least my libido is decreasing, right? With no applicable suitors hot on my tail, I guess that's a perk.

Another downside of trying to lose a lot of weight at my age is that ye olde metabolism is ridiculously slow. Imagine Barney Fife trying to push a stalled Amtrak uphill while wearing stilettos. In the snow. Yes, it's laughable!

Working out is my best defense partnered with eating right. It's ever apparent that, unlike my early to mid twenties, that doing 45 minutes of high impact aerobics four times a week and eating 'as usual' will not get rid of the gushy-mushy-tushy.  In order to drop the squishiness that is my thickened torso is to eat low-fat, low calorie, high fiber foods AND workout 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes or more.

Helen Mirren: Hope for women of a certain age
One day I will post a video of me working out.  Put on your Depends because it is guaranteed to make you shit yourself with laughter.

My Cat-boy Featured on Catladyland!

Kitty cats and video games.  The two things that my son loves. Our cats only give me attention when he's not around. Otherwise, they snub me for his attention.  I don't know what it is, seriously.  They dash away from me and run under beds.  Yet, with Mancub, they willfully go to him.  Silver is especially skittish with me. There's no chance of me holding her in my arms.  She becomes this spastic, skin shredding psycho.  With Mancub she's docile.  She anxiously awaits him each morning.  Every night after he showers she paces for him to emerge. Then, she races to the couch, meows as if commanding him to sit down so she can hop up on him and snuggle.  What really gets to me is the smug look she gives me as she cozies up to Mancub.

After posting a few photos of my son with his furry companions, my friend and fellow blogger Angie Bailey asked if Mancub would like to be part of a regular feature on her blog Catladyland: Men Who Love Cats.  I asked the boy and he was more than happy to partake.  Click that link and read all about it. While you're there, check out the hilarious mewsings and photos of Angie's fur children: Phoebe, Cosmo and Saffy.  If you're on Facebook, then make sure you 'like' her Catladyland fan page. Each day she and friends post photos, videos and anecdotes about the curious world of our most beloved felines.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Now I know how Joan Rivers felt filling in for Johnny Carson

The title of this post is nearly longer than the actual post itself.  When my friend Clark Brooks asked me to guest blog for him earlier this month I thought there was no possible way I could possibly fill in for him.  Clark is unique in his writing style.  That is intended as a form of flattery.  His ability to take what one might consider a mundane observation and turn it into an entire blog entry leaves me awe stricken.  Without a thought of what I'd write about, I sat here at my eight or more year old Dell computer handed down to me by the sister of a good friend when she got all fancy shmancy by upgrading to a Mac.  What transpired is pure gold.  It's as if the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald overcame me and my deep seated mental issues became my muse.  Please, go to Clark's blog, aptly titled, Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness and read my entry.  But do not stop there. Peruse his other mindless ... err, well thought out rambl... err, read his stuff. I promise you'll be entertained.

Proud of those who served

I am that girl who wells up with tears each time our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, is played. While I prefer it being sung clearly and as written without vocal acrobatics, it's the sentiment and what it represents that brings forth a great sense of pride and humility. 

There is no possible way my simple words can ever exhibit how grateful I am for those who've served in our great military and forged ahead regardless of the circumstances that lay before them. They've given without thought to self.  They've sacrificed greatly for our freedom.  

All I can offer is THANK YOU. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Inside out

This is it!

Once again this girl is on her way to improved health and fitness!! Aren't you just thrilled for me? I could use some back up to hold me accountable through the holidays.  The tab labeled "join my team" is calling out to you.

Anyway, back in the swing of things with my workouts. On Team Beachbody there's a schedule for the workout program that I am using --  TURBO FIRE.  When I log into the WOWY Supergym, it tells me which dvd to use.  The rest is up to me.  Plus, each time I log into WOWY I'm entered for a chance to win cash or prizes.  No longer am I doggin' it and taking the easy way out.  My mind tells me I can jump and tuck so my feet and legs do it. Kind of. I mean, I'm not four feet off the ground with my knees under my chin, but I DO leave the ground.

Today is the renewal of eating well.  That is harder than a marathon series of sumo burpees.  Focus is my champion right now.  To further motivate me I'm turning to the two weddings happening in my family next year.  I'll need a dress.  Not just any dress but a traffic stopping number. No, I'm not going to take any attention from either bride.  Sheesh! What I did yesterday was search online for my fantasy dress.  Will I buy it? Highly unlikely but the printed photo has taken an in-my-face spot on the refrigerator door.  Much like a fantasy man, the fantasy dress will likely be a poor fit and totally unsuitable. The point of it is to inspire me to steer clear from unhealthy habits.

Launching into life with a new attitude has been necessary yet it was being avoided for plethora of excuses.  Let's just say I'm having to overcome some major mind blockades.  The past is unrepairable. Therefore, I am forging ahead and making myself learn from it, but not live in it.  Oh, it hurts like hell to let go of replaying the idealistic sentimental phrases whispered in my ear once upon a time.  Time and focus on someone who deserves the effort is going to get me through it.  That someone else is me, by the way.

The first step had to begin at the top. In my efforts to feel good I made a major change.  What a dramatic way to express my new attitude, eh?

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm starting a love affair

It's rather cliche' to say that I'm a work in progress.  Aren't we all? Sure, yours truly needs a lot more work than the average gal.  At least when I look in the mirror that is the resounding affirmation.  It's not my appearance, though that is part of it.  It's what goes on beneath my thinning mix of gray and brown locks. 

The other day I posed a question on my Facebook wall about online dating site.

So, who out there has found a decent human being to date through an online dating service? My curiosity is for .. uh, research. Yeah, that's it.

If you're a long time reader of this blog then you know of the dating woes I've experienced at the hand of and eHarmony, as well as, meeting men the traditional way.  What came of that question in the thread was an unraveling of Marissa.  What was even more surprising (to me) was an outpouring of compassion, reassurance and thoughtfulness.  What I learned is that I don't see in myself what other people see in me.

That is my starting point.  In spite of all the improvements that my body has under gone in the last few months, it isn't transforming my ability to love who I am.  Allowing myself to be tethered to the past has been the proverbial anchor around my feet.

Today is the beginning of my most challenging love affair.  That which is with me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Dreams May Come

The other night I awoke from a dream.  It wasn't like any other dream that disturbed my slumber.  Awaking wasn't due to something shocking or upsetting.  However, it was rather curious.  For the past couple of days I've been thinking about it.  Seeking consult from websites that give hidden meaning to the symbols in dreams left me with few answers.  That is why I'm writing about it.  I'm hoping someone reading this will give me some insight.

It's not uncommon for a parent to dream of protecting her child.  In my dream, Mancub is in tow at his current age and size.  I'm leading him as we venture through snowy terrain -- a mountain.  Along this journey we encounter treacherous caverns that are wide, but we will never make our destination (unknown at this time) if we don't leap over them.  The one in particular that I remember was daunting.  I look down and see nothing but darkness.  But my stride is long and I make it across.  Once on the other side, I tell Mancub that he can do it and not to be afraid.  "Look at me and jump to me!"  He does and clears the crevice and high fives me.

It dawns on me at some point that I was foolish to leave where we began.  I feel overwhelmed with panic and express it to Mancub that we should have stayed where we were.  "If we hadn't left then they'd be able to find us."  Rather than turn back and attempt to leap over the giant separation in the mountain, we forge ahead.  That's when we come to a place that is not snowy but draped in warm browns and greens.  Mancub is cold from our trek and I make a large bed for him covered in soft comforters and countless pillows.  It is when I was tucking him in that I awoke.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking the chain of pain

It was a rule in the household that no one -- at least the girls -- was allowed to date before turning sixteen.  Oh sure, of the five girls in our family I know at least one caused an uproar to change that law. Another may have dated but did so quietly under parental radar.  As for me, I usually adhered to rules rather than cause a ruckus or question authority.  Being the youngest afforded me many lessons learned by proxy.

As a youngin' I always had friends who were male.  That's not an uncommon situation.  Once in junior high school boys became less appealing for friendship and moreso for 'going with'.  Naturally, the family rule of 16 kept me from openly pursuing a boy to date.  I developed crushes.  These would be big crushes on boys who possibly didn't know I was alive let alone like me in return.  But, I'd spend each morning primping in hopes that I'd catch the object of my affections glance.  Even if effective it would have been pointless.  It wasn't permitted and I surely couldn't go behind my parents backs.  Lucky for me there was nothing to fear as no boys approached me with such interest.  I was their friend or someone who was stupid enough to let them copy my spelling homework.

High school rolled around and along with it came new faces and boys who were taller than me. Rule of 16 hung over me like a doomsday cloud.  Crushes came and went. Most lasting longer than necessary.  Because there was not a snowball's chance in hell that I'd sneak around, I managed to become infatuated with boys who were impossible to attain.  They all had girlfriends or were wildly popular; out of my league.  I was a choir geek who still listened to Barry Manilow while Pink Floyd THE WALL was all the rage.  If anyone had a crush on me it wasn't made known.  Over and over this pattern repeated itself.  I was always told that this would help me develop healthier relationships when the time came to date.  That suggestion has proven to be completely untrue.  What seems to have happened is that I gain interest and infatuation with men who are entirely unsuitable or unattainable.  It's seems to have reached addiction proportions. 

I know this makes me look like a complete dipshit and a fool, but this theory came to me while I was doing dishes only minutes ago. I dated a lot in the first part of this decade. I was, for lack of a better term, a serial dater.  In other words, nothing blossomed from a couple of dinners and a movie.  Since I returned to Kankakee in '05 my dating life has been six feet under. There were a couple of mishaps two or three years ago. I wrote about them, naturally.  In that time of dating doom, I have experienced infatuations only experience the familiar sting of unrequited or unrealized feelings.  A couple of them have been long distance. A recipe for failure in this 'must have it now' society.  And one was a long lost love completely and entirely unavailable.  That hurt the most for a myriad of reasons that I can't go into. It just did and now I have to get over it.

This is where a new chapter in my life must begin.  Learning what emotional foolishness has held me back and making certain I do not repeat it again.  Einstein's definition on insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shaken not stirred

Everyone knows that when you are on a quest for improved health and, more specifically weight loss, you must reduce or totally eliminate empty calories.  Alcohol is a ginormous cavern of pointless consumption in regards to fueling the body.  On a side note, if you have not given up the booze, even a couple drinks a week, that could be stunting your endeavors to see smaller numbers on the scale and waist band size.

With all of that being said, I bought a candy apple red martini shaker last year when Target had their holiday merchandise marked down to nearly nothing.  I couldn't resist it.  Like a beacon it beckoned to me.  Impulse buying at its finest and the justification that it cost as little as a 2-litre bottle of Diet Coke.  Since that purchase it has resided in a cupboard.  That is until recently.  After a super intense workout like Turbo Fire, it's necessary for me to refuel and hydrate.  Beachbody offers a great product called P90X Results and Recovery Formula.  It isn't just for users of P90X, of course.  It tastes like an orange cream-cicle I enjoyed as a little kid. Yum! The only problem is that I end up with chunks or a collection of the powder at the bottom of my glass. That is not so yum. Putting it in the blender seems like more toil than it is worth. I'd have to wash the blender vessel for the second time of the day -- I use that to make my Shakeology meal replacement.

Enter my shiny, red martini shaker.  Water, ice and 2 scoops of Results and Recovery Formula and shake, shake, shake! Voila! Delicious and totally free of lumps. Smooth sipping. From now on I'll be using it when making my Shakeology on the go! It will raise an eyebrow or two, for sure.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Something is awry

For no apparent reason my mid back aches, snakes up to my head and ears; turns south and makes my belly ache just ever so slightly. I'm not getting sick. However, I am tense for reasons unbeknownst to me and I can't help but feel something is amiss.

It's going to be one of those days. You know what I'm talking about. Unless you're one of those people who claims they never ever feel like crap or just get the sensation that it's going to be a struggle.  Yeah, yeah. You can save the mind over matter speech.  Today, I am not buying it.  My Rissy senses are tingling and it's not due residual feelings brought on by seeing the UPS guy bending over yesterday. That's a welcome biochemical/physiological woooo dawgy! mind and body experience.  No, this is something all together different.  Today is a day of Murphy's Law.

It's going to be rough out there, kids.  I will tread lightly.  It is truly a shame I do not possess Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.  At work on this day it would be nice to simply be unseen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

As Suspected

It is the subject of a lot of yapping on Facebook: Glee's version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  If you read my post yesterday (of course you did), you're aware that I was disappointed in the casting of the show within the show. I'd given the writers a break by assuming it could have been due to a sub-plot story about censorship or decency.  If you watched the program then you know imposing a safety net on my judgment was correct.  There is no denying that letting a diva-esque girl fill the platforms of Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter was a stretch.  My son, who has never seen the original, enjoyed the vocals.  He said he could have done without the ensemble of the patent leather bustier and knee high boots.  I'm still peeved that Magenta's solo in "The Time Warp" went to Quinn (Dianna Agron) rather than the more salacious Santana (Naya Rivera). Hands down she could have given the tune the deviant edge it requires.  Milquetoast has no place in Rocky Horror.  Even Emma Pillsbury's version of "Touch-a, Touch-a Touch Me" had more raciness and fire -- she's as Wonder Bread as you can get. That is until Quinn sang.  Was I the only one wishing Puck was in the episode? I know Mark Salling is pursuing a solo career, but cripes! The show's delinquent could have ruled the stage on this installment of America's favorite show about dorks and song birds.  Another thing, were you hoping Meatloaf would have filled his old role as Eddie? Maybe it was just me.

OK, kiddies. I need to go work out before heading out for a long day of work. 

Keep it groovy!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

That's a crock!

It's my day off and I have intentions of doing very little beyond my daily work out and viewing movies on Netflix.  Dinner is being made via the Crock Pot.  Man, what a lovely invention. Thank you Rival company!! Set on low is a pork loin with red potatoes and carrots.  With a little help from low-sodium/low-fat mushroom soup and a sprinkling of various seasoning, I hope for a nutritious and delightful meal by the time GLEE comes on tonight.  It's the Halloween episode where they reinvent "Rocky Horror Picture Show."  I'm a tad hesitant due to the previews that have circulated the Internet.  Quinn as Magenta bothers me.  Her rendition of "Time Warp" is so white bread that it is oozing Hellman's Mayonnaise.  Apparently, the sultry Santana also plays Magenta. They should have left that song up to her.

I know! You're gasping that I've criticized my not-so-guilty pleasure show.  My favorite program in the last decade is under fire of my own critique!! "No Marissa! Say it isn't so!"
Damn it, Janet! They've toyed with something classic. Here's the real shocker.  Mercedes is Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  This is the roll played by Tim curry. In drag.  HELLO!!!!! What the hell!? Sure, the girl can sing, but I'm not fond of taking an iconic, cult movie and turning in to something safe. Maybe the plot line of this episode explains why they've deterred from the original so drastically.  Perhaps there is some censorship sub-plot.  This won't detract me from loving the show. Nope. This isn't a jump the shark moment.  Fonzie hasn't strapped on the skis just yet.

Fo' realz, yo!

The stories you see late at night while your hand infiltrates the confines of the Cheetos bag are true.  The results are genuine.  They come from hard work and dedication.  The subjects in the success stories are accessible. The trainers are available for real time chats.  BEACHBODY is the real deal, y'all.  How do I know? I'm one of those success stories (in the making). The people you see on the dvds are my social network friends.  The coaches who support members of Team Beachbody are also my support squadron.

What can I do to help you become the next Beachbody success story?

Beachbody Fitness sampler video

Friday, October 22, 2010

Watch it!

Once again it's all about me. Here's the link for the video down yonder just in case the embed doesn't work. Sorry if it feels like you're on a bumpy road while viewing this vlog entry.  Still without a tripod, I just extend my arm out and shoot.  Hey, at least I'm not making the infamous "duck face" then entire time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reality bites

I have been working too much.  That fact became glaringly obvious yesterday evening.  It's ridiculous that my son has suffered the consequences of the shortcomings of my work place and I have to fix it. 

Tuesday brought me a day off. Finally.  I'd worked 8 days straight with the majority of those days keeping me away from home due to working until closing (9 PM). Mancub and I haven't spent much quantity or quality time together.  He sees that I am stressing.  He's not a selfish boy. He's compassionate and due to that, he has spared me any additional stress. Or so he thinks that is what he's doing.  But last night all that he's bottled up came to a head and he let out how much he hates his school and the kids that inhabit it.  He's a big kid, but a gentle giant. He's easily upset by rude remarks.  They know it and pick at him.  His efforts to ignore it are often futile.  The beasts know if they keep at him he will eventually display how much they are bothering him. Then, the desired result comes to fruition. 

We'd gone out to practice driving. His driver's education teacher told him he needed practice turning his signal on and braking.  He was hesitant to go out driving, but made the decision that practice was required.  At one point he failed to look to his right at a yield sign.  I had and no cars were coming.  When I pointed out that he hadn't been observant and the consequences of not paying attention -- we would have been struck by a vehicle where my side would have been impacted, his eyes welled up with tears.  Shortly after that we returned home and he sunk into the couch.  His body language was that of defeat and sorrow.  As he removed his shoes, I apologized for being harsh.  He removed his glasses and wipes his face.  It was then that I asked if my absence the past couple of weeks bothered him.  At that point my otherwise stoic child began to cry. I reached out my arms and he stood to hug me... breaking down on my shoulder.  He now towers over me when we embrace, but for that moment in time he was my wee little boy again.  We sat on the couch where he collapsed in my embrace and just sobbed.  That's when he confided that school was horrible and he's near a breaking point.  He's endured harassment for years, but we manage to find resolution through diligently following through with administration.  The fact that it is necessary makes me furious and nauseous.  To consider what my son faces day in and day out enrages me to a point where I want to march in and lay into every single kid and adult he encounters. 

Once he regained composure, it was my turn to offer some comfort beyond holding him.  That is when I found myself giving him the "it will get better" talk.  I shared with him the recent news about kids his age ending their lives because it was the only way they saw freedom from being bullied and terrorized. It was emphasized how vital it is for  him to talk to me no matter how tired or stressed I may seem about work. He always says things are OK.  Now I'm aware that I need to be specific when I ask how his day was rather than being generic with a blanket question.  My job will not take precedence over his sense of emotional security. 

It sickens me that he's enduring such crap.  Here is this amazing boy who tries to see the best in everyone. Teachers adore him and he is penalized with spitefulness from other students. As I said, he is compassionate and generous.  He works hard for his excellent grades. That is all he wants to do, but even that seems to bring him grief from his peers.  He's tried to sympathize that many of those kids come from shit homes all the while recognizing that he doesn't have an active father in his life.  He has me. We don't have a lot, but we don't behave like we're owed something from the world because of it.  He doesn't act entitled of empathy because his father isn't around. Society doesn't shun him because he's a product of divorce.  I don't know what kind of lives the cruel kids live in, but I'm tired of my child being subjected to their way of life.

He's going to address his principal and counselor about the things he's been keeping to himself.  I will follow up via email and parent/teacher conferences.  They may not be aware of what is happening.  I'll give them the benefit of that doubt. It all needs to be documented, though.  Everyone will understand, once again, that NO ONE messes with Mancub and doesn't suffer the wrath of Mama Lion.  No one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shake, Shake, Shake Señora

Back in June 2010 you witnessed me blubbering over my weight loss success due to P90, Turbo Jam and Shakeology.  I'm back on track and it feels good.  What's better about it is that others are inspired by me.  Take a deep breath and swallow hard -- ME? An inspiration? A motivator? How freakin' awesome is that, huh?  And those comments fuel me to work hard to reach my goal of another 60 pounds off my body. Other than being a parent to a truly amazing child, helping others reach their goals is my passion! You won't hear me say this often, but get passionate with me!! bwahahahaha *snort*

Seriously, now is a perfect time for anyone who has wanted to try Shakeology or P90x, Insanity or Turbo Fire and a variety of other dynamic and effective Beachbody products, but considered the price too steep. As a coach you get a phenomenal 25% discount.  Hit me up at Team Beachbody Coach MissRiss or just email me directly at! It gets even groovier.  Beachbody has made it even easier in these economically strained times. The start up cost is waived until the end of the year. Watch this video and get in touch with me.  You, your family and friends can get a jumpstart on a healthier lifestyle. Let's start 2011 in better shape both physically and financially. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Steam heat

Rather than being that little steam engine who chug-a-chug-a choo choos its way up the mountain and glides down when it reaches the other side, I blast full steam ahead into a new project.  What happens when you blow your wad of excitement and energy at the beginning of the race? You haven't anything left to finish it. 

In school I was always great at sprints and hurdles in physical education.  It's surprising that ability never encouraged me to try out for the track team.  Long distance running was not my forte.  My life, in general, embraces a similar facet of junior high school P.E.  I get really passionate and excited about an endeavor only to not give a rat's ass about it just as I start to turn a corner.  There are literally three books and two audio books that were tapped into months ago and I've yet to finish them.  Short term goals and I get along famously.

Another tid-bit about Miss Riss that I recognize is this: If progress isn't apparent regularly, I peter out.  If results aren't immediate, I throw in the towel.  My recent weight loss is the first thing I can measure that I didn't give up on because the desired results weren't achieved in a relatively minimal amount of time.  All attempts to do so in the past were laughable and futile.  With that being said, as a 45 year old woman that isn't saying much. Yet, it's saying a lot with the past considered. I have a secret to tell about this though. I haven't managed to drop any more weight since I hit 40 pounds. FML. It's my own fault.

What is additionally abundantly clear about moi, is it's hard for me to focus on too many major projects simultaneously.  My job as a single parent cannot be compromised.  Asking me to choose between my child and .... well, anything, will get you punched in the face.  Mancub is 16 now, but he's still in need of his mother.  I was his age when I suddenly found myself motherless.  However, my family was enormous.  Mancub doesn't have siblings or a participating father to turn to. Anyway, he's non-negotiable. (Adult men can be whiny pansies when they realize they'll always take the backseat to my child. Suck it up, past and future boyfriends.)  He doesn't need a man in my life to be his father. I'm woman enough to fill both roles. I'm just sayin'.

OK, I was a bit sidetracked on my "I am Marissa hear me roar" soapbox.

With my recent promotion I've let everything else of interest, other than my son, be side stepped. Though, I do have to admit Mancub has given me a smackerel flack for working so many nights rather than being home to eat dinner with him and then take him out to practice driving.  Admittedly, he is justified.  Food on the table and heat in the house and all that be damned, I'm all he has for stability.  Working out, eating right, doing my part to fight worldwide obesity as a Team Beachbody Coach has suffered greatly. 

Instead of just whining about it I am going to be diligent and proactive with my projects.  I've worked way too many hours for my regular job.  My health is not worth risking because of my inability or reluctance to request help.  Too often my demented and sad ego gets in the way of me sharing the burden.  In my case, the reward for being a martyr is flubber belly and thighs; reduced recuperative sleep; and most importantly, lack of quality time spent with Mancub. 

FYI: Long term changes do not happen overnight. I said I'd be diligent. I didn't say a magic genie popped from a magic lamp and granted me three wishes.  Forced changes do not bode well with my tender psyche.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speaking words of wisdom

When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

My mother's name was Mary. Whenever I heard this song as a kid I presumed everybody knew my mom was a great listener and giver of advice. As I grew up I realized that Paul was singing about a more widely known woman named Mary.

The mother I spawned from passed away in June of 1981. Just when I was in dire need of matronly advice, she was gone due to the ravages of cancer. I was a confused teen on the cusp of finally being permitted to date. Sixteen was the age at which girls in our family were allowed to have a boyfriend. All I'd had were crazy crushes that were never realized due to the restrictions placed upon me. Still, having my mother tell me how to handle myself or get over the painful heartache of nonreciprocating crushes would have been fantastic.

Because mom had always shared her tales of paranormal belief, I lived in fear of such unearthly visits from loved ones. The idea of being face to filmy face with someone did not appeal to me. So, I remember telling my mom during one of our rare conversations during her illness that I'd prefer she not haunt me -- lovingly or not. Once she passed away I regretted making that declaration.

After years of living in denial that mom was indeed gone forever, it became abundantly clear that I was a 20-something in dire need of her mother. As calendar pages flew by and became a decade, I truly wanted my mother's guidance. My sisters, father and step-mom tried to fill Mary Caroline's shoes. However, at no fault of their own, their attempts fell just short.

Call it what you want, my subconscious longing or paranormal visitations, she came to me in a dream. For the first time a dozen years, my mother sat on the bed I shared with my then husband and she told me as her hand brushed the hair from my face, "You can go now." This time was unlike any other as any such visions always took place in the past or at the home where I grew up. At that moment I awoke disappointed that the vision of her was gone. But suddenly the inner turmoil I had been feeling about my marriage was gone. Mancub's father and I had talked for years about leaving Kankakee and starting new in another state. It would test the resolve of our marriage and his theory that we were strained because of the involvement of my family. That was 1997. We moved to Georgia and divorced in 1999. Looking back, I believe my mother's message about 'going' really meant that I could leave my marriage and find happiness on my own with Mancub.

My nocturnal pow-wows with mom have been few and far between since that night in 1997. My visions, for lack of a better term, have been merely seeing her in passing. No comforting talks on my bedside occurred. From time to time I'll dream about a moment in my childhood that involved Mom, but no heart to hearts take place.

That is until recently. I haven't talked a lot about my personal life much lately on this blog. I've touched on it, but nothing in depth. My career is not up for grabs as blog folly. Such shenanigans can lead to job loss. Interpersonal relationships have proven to be perfect blog fodder when the object of my affections doesn't read the posts or happens to be such a flippin' dirt bag that he's no longer welcome. At which point I don't care. I always change names to protect the stupid.

With all of that being said, I've bottled up a lot. My role at work has changed so I am not at liberty to just spout off. There's a path that must be followed in order to bring resolution. And my personal life is so complicated that you'd think I was a pathological liar or testing out a theme for a romantic comedy screen play or cheesy Lifetime movie.

Because I have so much pent up, it was clear the other night that I desperately needed comfort that only a mother can give her child. In the room where I currently sleep, Mama Mary sat at my bedside and calmed me.  No longer was I tossing and turning and frantically out of control. Still sleeping, she sat next to me and sang while she brushed my hair from my face.  I tried to speak, but words didn't come.  She quieted my nerves and calmed my soul.  I felt myself awakening and I fought it. More time with my mom was needed but early morning broke and I was back in my bed alone with nothing but darkness surrounding me. My eyes scanned the room in search of a spark of light or a twinkle. Anything to indicate it wasn't just a dream.

What I know from this is that in my times of trouble my mother Mary comes to me ...