Category Archives: Lifestyle

Starting To Take My Life Back

I started taking part of my old life back…

In March, working from home, felt like a dream… I had always wanted to work from home or have the flexibility.  Then in a matter of weeks, we were all home.  Trying to manage it all, work, school, household duties, plus trying to avoid catching a deadly virus.   Not knowing what to do and what not to do…and soon it was 6 months later and we were all still home.  Yes, I had learned how to adapt to the new normal and the constant changing of the world.  

At first, I would get up and stick to a routine, working out, putting on real clothes, planning ahead for my workday from home… I have even wrote about it a few times and the importance of sticking to a routine.   But over the next few months, things started to slip… less getting up early, less putting on work clothes, less planning ahead… it had turned into getting up 10 minutes before I turned on my computer. I quickly brushed my teeth and put on my same clothes that I had worn for the last 4 days.  No make up, no hair brushing, and maybe a pony tail.   And I am a routine person.  I love routines and I live for them… they make me feel accomplished.  

After about 4 months of being home, I just felt like I had no motivation.  It was beginning to get harder and harder to concentrate on work while I was at home.   I was constantly bombarded with interruptions from my children.  I could not stay on track with any tasks.  I would try to be the supermom with doing it all, but then I felt like my work was slipping…the thought of another zoom meeting makes we want to throw up.

I could not get back on track.  Being at home everyday was not as fun as it started out to be…. It did not feel rewarding, instead it felt depressing and unmotivating.  I noticed that I was also working all the time, whenever I had a free moment I would hop on my computer to respond to an email.   

So here we are in October.. wondering if Halloween is cancelled… wishing for 2020 to just end.  I am pretty sure the majority of us are wondering what next year will bring.  We are just waiting, we are in limbo, trying to figure out how this will all end.

Honestly, I was tired of it all… and I dreaded spending another long day at home, so I decided to start going back into the office a couple days a week.  I could not wait any longer.  I never thought that I would be choosing to go into the office, instead of working from home.  Working from home was my dream.

6 months later, I was setting my alarm for 5:15 am to go workout, come home quick and get into the office by 8.  I had to dig out my “work” clothes which were buried in the back of my closest..hoping they still fit.   I was packing my lunch and remembering to grab my Diet Mountain Dew as I headed out the door.

It was amazing, how after the 1st week, I felt so much better about myself.  I felt like I had a purpose again.  Just the feeling of laughing and joking with a few co workers in person, was rewarding.  I felt like I could actually accomplish and complete things. It was an exciting feeling, and a feeling that I have not felt in months.    

It also felt like I took a little bit of the old life back…the life before March.  It felt comforting with all the challenges and obstacles that we have overcame in the last 6 months.  It also opened the doors for us to start adding in other parts of our “old” life.   So, the kids and I started to attend church in person again.  What a feeling.

Even with all the changes this last year, I am learning to live a different way, along with trying to adapt to all of it, and doing it without losing our shit, somethings can still bring you back to how things were before…the old life.

-Snarky

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

How Do You Find Time To Juggle It All?

How do you find time to juggle it all?…sometimes, you just don’t.

My son’s birthday is this week and I have felt stretched all week. There’s so many things that I wanted to do for it.   I can feel that my anxiety is rising the closer it gets to the end of the week.   And then I needed to remind myself that it doesn’t really matter what gets done. His birthday will still be here and what is done is done.  I know many times my to do list is longer than I would ever have time for in a week.  

We all stretch ourselves to the max but when do we know enough is enough….How do we let things go and just be content with whatever gets done. How do we know when to just stop before we get completely overwhelmed.   

There is always piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, counter tops to be wiped off, kids to be picked up, binders to be signed, and projects to be done.  My list never ends, I am always juggling, there are days that I think I do not have much to do and then it all comes back to me.  

Besides everything that I want to get done, I also feel like my kids always need something from me.  One of my kids will walk in and talk to me… Minutes later, I think to myself  that I have no idea what they said because I am completely preoccupied with something else.  They sometimes ALL want to talk to me at the same time and I feel like my head is going to explode.  

Right now with working remotely, I will be completely engrossed in work and I will not even know what I agreed to with my kids… for all I know, I could agree to getting another cat at times.  It’s an overwhelming feeling, when you are trying to get it all done…and give everyone the attention they deserve.  Its this constant juggle between what I want to get done and what they want me to get done for them.  

I have now learned to just stop and tell them,” Can we talk about this after dinner or after school tomorrow”.   I want to give them the time to talk to me and discuss what is on their mind, but I also know that I can not give them the attention they deserve right then.  And in return, I am trying to teach them that I can not always just stop in the middle of everything.   

My middle schooler is famous for trying to talk to me about buying something after 9pm at night, I now have to tell her that we need to talk about this in the morning.   All summer she would wait until late at night to ask me about her plans for the next day or about me buying something…the list is endless.  My brain can not function and make smart decisions by that time at night… 

My son said to me last week, “You promised to read to me at night and you haven’t done it all week”. And I thought to myself that he was right…every night before bed something else came up… And the things that came up, were so not important.  They were unloading the dishwasher or folding the laundry, which can obviously wait.  

So this week, I have made it a point to read to him every night. I have stopped whatever I was doing and read to him. For that 20 minutes, I was completely committed to him and his ninja fart book… that he has spent every night laughing at hysterically.  

I have looked at my to do list this week many times and just started to cross off the items one by one that I would never complete… like who really cares if the house is cleaned or the guinea pig cage is cleaned.  Honestly, the only thing that matters to my son is that he gets Dominoes pizza and his special chocolate cake.  And the rest can wait….

-Snarky

 

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Masculine Femininity

Masculine Femininity…I was reading my devotional this morning and it talked about the drive, the doing, the go-go-go that we can easily live with every day.  I am realizing, as I sit here, how different my life is now, than it was a few decades ago.

Growing up in the Boston area, I was surrounded by that mentality.  Go. Get. Do. And I took it on like a tight leather glove.  I had a FT job working 9-5 in Corporate America.  Working my way up the corporate ladder, stepping on whoever I had to step on, getting where I was going and being dang proud of my success.  I learned at a young age that if I wanted anything in my life I had to grab the bull by the horns and go get it.  

I also had a PT job a few nights during the week and on the weekends working at a local restaurant/bar.  I raked in the money as the bartenders acknowledged…I was one of the best.  They called me BoomBoom, as I zoomed around the bar selling more drinks than 3 other waitresses put together.  I got it done AND had soooooo much fun in the process.  The PT job brought out the joy in my heart while the FT job brought out the drive in my blood.

As I sit here today, 900 miles from Boston, now living in Fort Wayne, I can clearly see how the personality of Boston molded me into a woman on a mission, with tenacity, discipline, and gumption.  My masculine energy took over as a single mom.  The masculine essence of being organized, goal oriented, accomplishing, doing, etc. is what allowed me to raise my son on my own.

But that girl changed over time.  I realize now that it was necessary for me to survive.  I do not live to survive now… I live for love and heart felt moments, and happiness surrounding me.  I live with feminine essence engulfing me, the soft, wild, captivating energy.  The relaxed life with a space full of giving and receiving light, joy and radiance.  I still have masculine tendencies which help me get the lawn mowed and the pictures hung.  But it’s my feminine tendencies I love most.

xoxo

Your God-girl

Tracy

Time Is Valuable, Use It Wisely

Your time is valuable… Its one of my favorite sayings…  And I have to remind myself of this because it is valuable.  You will never get that time back…

As I was talking to my friend the other day, she was mentioning how she had just met her friend Ryan.  It took me a few minutes to remember who Ryan was and then it hit me… I said, “ Isn’t he the guy that you went on a few dates with and then never returned your texts or phone calls, why are you meeting him for drinks”.    I still shake my head, but I have been guilty of it too…

Do not fill your time with emptiness.   It took me a long time to figure out that I could choose my time. I could choose who I spent it with.  I could choose what I did.

By emptiness, I mean do not fill your time with activities and people just to fill your time.  Be choosy about the dates and friends that you keep in your life.  Your time is valuable and it does not need to be given to those that do not appreciate you.  It does not need to be given to events that you really do not want to attend.  Or people that do not encourage you in your life.

I used to say yes to people and gatherings, just because I did not know how to say no.  I was many times let down due to the group of people that I was with.  Or I did not really have any interest in attending the event.  I had to really start thinking about what I got out of it for me.  It might sound selfish but its true.

Do I want to attend a party with 20 people that I do not know well and would end up making small talk?  Or would I rather go for a long walk and watch a good movie…  I had to start thinking about what I wanted in those times. Was I talking myself into going or was I excited about it…

About 6 years ago, I was completely committed to a weight loss program.  I was 100% focused and was working my butt off to reach a goal.  When I first started, I had to decline going to a lot of events or going out to dinner with friends.  I wanted to succeed.  I knew I was not strong enough to say no to all the temptations.  Unfortunately, I had friends that did not understand and would try and talk me into still going out to get my favorite nachos or drinks.  The “ohh come on its only one night”… It was incredibly hard to resist.  I had to say no and some friends did not understand.  The ones that did, offered other suggestions, like going for a hike or a walk.   Those are the friends that I want.  The friends that stuck with me and supported me to the end.

You should want to spend time with people that give you the encouragement and confidence that you crave.  The ones that back you up when you need it and support you throughout life.

Its hard to get to that point in your life, where you are ok choosing what you want.  Think about what you really want to do in your time.  Think about who you want to spend your valuable time with.  I am totally good saying “no” to something and in return doing something by myself that I really love.

Are you saying “Yes” just to fill the emptiness?

Do you really enjoy being with that person or are you just saying “yes” to be polite?

Does that person make you feel good about yourself?

Are you talking yourself into attending that event?

Do you want to go to a movie with Tony from accounting that has a huge crush on you? Or are you just doing it because you have no other plans on a Friday night?

I have to continuously ask myself these questions from time to time…because I know my time is valuable.

 

-snarky

 

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Is It Toxic?

Is it toxic?

If you’ve been wearing rose colored glasses your whole life and you’ve grown accustomed to the view,  it can be tough to see that what’s right in front of you, is toxic.

If you’ve been living a life of justifications for certain behaviors and you are so ingrained in those reasons, it can be tough to see that what’s right in front of you, is toxic.

If you’ve listened to the negative stories that others have told you and you’ve believed that is the truth of who you are, it can be tough to see that what’s right in front of you, is toxic.

So where do you begin?  Can you decipher if someone is toxic for you or not?  Can you differentiate between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one?  Can you see, hear, feel, know… when something is not okay for your life?

If you say No, No and No, to the above.  It is time to begin.  Start now.

You’ve got to get rid of the unworthy story you tell yourself, the belittling advice you believe, the negative behavior you accept.  You’ve got to rip off the old ways that keep you stuck in a world of unjust.  A world of no hope, no joy, no excitement for the beautiful woman that you are.

Can you stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful & wonderful, how captivating & lovely you are?   As you say it…do you believe it?

That is a good place to start.

Change your glasses, create new behaviors and write a colorful story.

You will be amazed how fantastic it will feel to take the first step, to see that what is in front of you IS toxic, and that you CAN start a brand new journey down a brand new road with a life you haven’t dreamed of……yet.

 

xoxo,

Your God-girl

Tracy

Wine, Me & Getting Healthy

In addressing my weight and deciding to get healthy one thing I have to address is alcohol. I LOVE wine.

Love it! I love the taste, the way chilled wine feels on a hot summer day. I love the tipsiness and the stress relief. I even love the lowered inhibitions.

I can be very closed off sometimes. I have the unfortunate habit of my mouth being like a steel trap, of overthinking every word before I let it slip out. I feel like that can make people feel lonely, like I’m not opening up to them, or I’m disapproving, which sometimes I am, to be fair. A glass of wine definitely causes my words to flow more freely. That is often a good thing, because it makes me easier to relate to and frankly, more fun. There have been times when I absolutely think I am more likable and also like I can relate to my son better. I am not sure why, but I have heard other special needs parents say it too.

When I was younger, I was not really a drinker. When I turned 21, I had a baby at my birthday dinner. Not long after, I was pregnant again. I was definitely not a drinker during that period. However, I lived near Napa and worked there. I became interested in wine and discovered a love for it, the way all newbies do, the sweet stuff first. During that period, it was just for enjoyment when socializing. I was low carb and it didn’t fit well into my diet.

But then I got to a different period of my life, one where I was stressed out most of the time. It was sort of a state of being for me for several years, maybe a decade. My ex-husband was deployed and I had two babies to care for alone. I was fortunate because I was able to stay home with them, but with a son who would literally climb the walls, and who I did not understand, it was a stressful time, with no partner.

During that period, my son was diagnosed with ASD and I delved into learning everything I could about that. I probably had undiagnosed PPD, but I was definitely depressed. My life felt hopeless. So, I would swing the pendulum from stress monster/helicopter mom to blubbering basket-case in the same day. Of course, I waited for the kids to go down for a nap or to bed for the night before falling apart.

But then, my mom and my stepdad would see how stressed I was. They tried to help me, and they did, tremendously. A lot of times that help was in the form of bringing me a bottle of wine. At that point, I would probably drink half a bottle per night. I would feel relaxation that I hadn’t experienced in so long and it was very, very welcome. It was a habit I had for maybe 6 months.

When my ex came back home we moved across the country, which was hard for me. But I got out of my wine habit for awhile.

It was a sad time in my life though.

I had a good friend, my father, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother all die in a short few years. In that time I took up running and I went back to school when the kids were in school. I would drink socially, but not every day or even every week. I was also very unhappy in my marriage, but he was was gone half the time. My life was hectic, but I loved being able to stay home with my kids. Until homework started…

I found that a glass of wine made homework time with my son infinitely easier. It gave me much more patience and gave me something to enjoy while sitting with him for hours. The problem became when I wanted another glass while I made dinner and then another when I put them to bed. For my wine drinkers, you know this equals a bottle. So, then I was drinking a bottle a day. This went on for several years. It may not have been every single day, but it was often. And this doesn’t include parties when I wasn’t responsible for anyone else and I let loose. My weight crept up, I say crept, but it really ran full speed ahead. I gained 50-60 lbs in a year. I wasn’t running, it wasn’t good for me.

But I continued. I did it until my ex retired and I went back to work every day. I would still indulge, but mostly just on the weekends. My weight stabilized and I even lost some. The thing was at this point, it was no longer something I leaned on to get through the storm, it was becoming the storm, slowly. For about 5 years, this was the schedule, I didn’t drink much if at all during the week, but I did on the weekends. And sometimes I took it overboard, making up for the week. I drank when I went out with work colleagues. I drank at parties and barbecues, but I lost 30 lbs during this time.

For the past 3 years I haven’t really stuck to the only on weekends rule. It has been a really rough period of my life. I decided I wanted a divorce, went through that life shattering process, had a series of unfortunate encounters with men, and lost my job. So, I leaned on the tried and true. But the problem is that it caused as many problems as it helped. In this time, I have completely stopped drinking for periods of time, been on benders, and done the drinking wine at night thing. I have always been in control of how and when, but I give myself permission and then I do. And I gained back the 30 lbs I lost.

I am no longer the person I was when my mom and stepdad would bring me wine. Then I could have 2 glasses and no more. I just don’t do that anymore. I also don’t get drunk much anymore, but I still drink. Until now.

Now things are wonderful. Now I have someone to share the load. Now my kids are largely self sufficient. Now is the time to kick the crutch, when things are good. So that when that inevitable hardship comes again, I have other ways of dealing.

None of this is hard to admit. Anyone who knows me well knows this stuff anyway. However, if I can help anyone see themselves more clearly, it is worth sharing.

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

Step Away From The Cookie

There’s a book written by Joyce Meyer called “Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes – giving yourself permission to lighten up.”

Which is a bit different from what I’m saying.  She’s saying go ahead, “eat the cookie” and I’m telling you to “step away from the cookie”.

Let me back it up….. you can eat the cookie, heck you can eat all the cookies.  BUT if the 2 you said okay to, leads to 3 and then 3 leads to 4 and before you know it a whole row is gone, well then…. Houston,we have a problem.  

Can you think of a reason why when you give yourself permission to eat 1 or 2 you end up eating 6?  Lack of discipline & self-control? An attempt to comfort an upset emotion?  Starving and there’s nothing else to eat in the house?   Literally.  

My nemesis is dark chocolate.  Have you ever been tempted, lured and teased with the idea that a little isn’t so bad?  So you say yes and then you justify more, with legitimate reasons.  Well first of all, if we have to justify it….it’s a problem.  You see, when you have a healthy relationship with food, there’s permission, acceptance and accountability within your eating habits. Not false justifications.

I used to write down everything I ate.  I’m talking EVERYTHING.  I kept a log like a biologist tracks cell growth.  If I went to a party, I ate before I went so I wouldn’t be hungry and then give into the chips and dip.  I had a very controlled eating plan, yet, I was out of control, really.  

I’ve learned over the years to trust myself, be okay with my anxiety & loneliness, make smart choices, and enjoy an occasional splurge.  If I was hungry or thirsty my body would tell me. I didn’t have to be in control all the time.  I learned to trust myself.

My hope is that you can “Step Away From the Cookie” if you’re there because your heart hurts AND you’d be okay with the heartache, trusting yourself all the while. 

xoxo

Your God Girl

Tracy

No Pain, No Gain

No pain, no gain…


“You will suffer one of two pains in your lifetime—the pain of disciplining yourself or the pain of regret from not disciplining yourself.  That is a hard truth no matter what you think or what you want to believe.”

“You must learn to go to war with yourself on certain character traits, habits and/or addictions or you will suffer from not doing so.”

I have heard the above things many, many times over the last 51 years and NEVER did they sink in as much as they are right now.  At the moment I am watching two people literally suffer horribly on a daily basis from NOT disciplining themselves when it was hard to do so.  Whatever they told themselves on a daily basis for decades that made it OK to not take care of their physical bodies and their health is not even close to worth what they are suffering now— I promise you that it is IMPERATIVE that you take care of yourself— eating right and doing something to exercise on a regular and consistent basis is worth every momentary pain that it might cause you now—to find the time or fit it in or force yourself to do it.  That drink that you don’t have, the cupcakes that you don’t eat, the ice cream you walk away from the cigarette you don’t smoke—whatever it is get it under control NOW.

Do NOT wait until tomorrow, or next Tuesday or your next birthday or for the kids to be out of preschool or for the pandemic to be over— GET ON IT NOW.  

Watching people that you care about live in hell on a daily basis will make you understand VERY quickly that the time to discipline yourself is RIGHT NOW.  Our job in this life is to keep learning and keep pushing ourselves to do better and be better—whatever the hell that means for each of us.  Only YOU can say where you need to start shoring yourself up…and believe me you know where those places are and you know the stories that you are telling yourself about WHY you don’t do what you need to do.

Physical health is something that I cannot stress enough— if I showed you right now what I am having to witness you would weep—good people that were vibrant and bright lights diminished now to mere shadows of themselves due to extra weight, bad diets and the inability to get consistent exercise which leads to catastrophic outcomes with physical and mental well-being— and ALL of this could have been prevented if they had chosen their hard instead of waiting for it to choose them.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching this and understanding that you cannot help or save people that will not help or save themselves—so what I CAN do is USE this to make a difference in my life and perhaps in yours too.

I am now getting right up in the morning and doing at least yoga and on most days I am doing the yoga and then a workout of some sort— I want to be running up and down stairs easily when I am 80 plus— PLEASE take care of yourselves—start doing it now—today.

Sending love and light.

 XO, Noelle

 

Sugar, Ahhhh, Honey, Honey

Sugar, ahhh honey, honey…

I watch what I eat every time I eat.  Lately…I’ve been watching my sugar intake.  

I read an article recently about hidden sugars.  What?  Did you know that sugar is disguised within the ingredient list by using an alias?  So the consumer doesn’t realize how much sugar is in the product, the manufacturer uses different sugars so it doesn’t seem so bad.   

Whether it’s natural Non-GMO cane sugar from the earth, honey from the bees or stevia from the plant…. 

There are more than 56 names;

Sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, honey, molasses, chicory root, agave syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, galactose, glucose, maltose, barley malt, turbinado…etc etc.  

Then there’s artificial sweeteners, which you should stay away from at all costs: saccharin, acesulfame, neotame, sucralose & the ever so popular aspartame; found in Sweet n Low, Equal, Splenda & who knows where else.  Although these sugar substitutes help reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, they may not necessarily help with your overall health.  The overstimulation caused by enjoying this artificial sweetness may cause people to consume sweeter intake elsewhere.

Lastly, stay away from high fructose corn syrup; an artificial sugar made from corn syrup, which adds unnatural amounts of fructose to your diet along with excess weight.

Back to my ‘watching my sugar intake’.  The daily allowance for a female is 6 teaspoons (25gm) per 100 #’s of weight.  I weigh 125, which means I can have 7.5 teaspoons (31.25gm) per day.  That’s not a lot to work with since the protein bar I want to eat for my afternoon snack has 13gm in it.  

Ahhhhh…..As I hum along with the Archies, I am reminded with so many other things in my life…moderation is key.  

xoxo

Your God girl

Tracy

The Darker The Better

The darker the better….

I am not talking about my level of suntanning. I am talking about my choice of darker chocolate.

I’m not sure if I should thank my dad’s consumption & sharing of his Baking Chocolate Bar with me when I was a little girl, but today, as I stand here as a grown woman… I could consume Baker’s Chocolate right here, right now.   I could also eat a handful of carob nips, without batting an eyelash.

Are you shaking your head? Are you hearing the words in your head repeat a loud “Ewwwww”, “Gross” & “YUK” with a shriveled-up nose? Oh girl! You are missing out! 😊

I never did fall in love with the creamy smoothness of milk chocolate. And white chocolate? That’s not even chocolate and should be called by another name! haha. Every time I would eat anything chocolate that wasn’t 80% or higher, ready to bite at the bit, I would spit it out. And fudge? Now the words in my head are “Ewwwww”, “Gross” & “YUK” with my shriveled-up nose.

And don’t get me going on the ingredients of the many multiple choices of dark chocolate! I was buying chocolate baking chips for my Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Walnut bites (I know, right!!!!!? 😊 ) Anyway, the package said ‘dark chocolate’ but with further investigation I read 65% dark chocolate. Now this girl knows….that is NOT dark! On went my search.

My most favorite bars ever are:

Hu 70% : 3 ingredients (organic cacao, unrefined organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter)

Madecasse 92%: 4 ingredients (organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower lecithin)

TAZA Wicked Dark 95% : 2 ingredients (organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar)

 

My mantra in the candy aisle: Go Dark or Go Home

xoxo

Your God girl,

Tracy