Friday, November 30, 2012

Month of Thanks, Week Five Complete!

Thursday: Thankful for an awesome coworker. While in a long meeting on Thursday, I suddenly had what appeared to be an allergic reaction to nothing in particular. My head was spinning, my hearing was going in and out, I could feel my face and jaw swelling and I finally admitted that I needed to go to urgent care. By the time I actually got out of the meeting, the left side of my jaw had swollen so much that I couldn't open my mouth without the muscles seizing up and causing me considerable pain. A friend of mine in the same department promptly dropped everything and drove me to the closest urgent care. She waited with me the entire time and was just all around awesome. Despite the crappy circumstances, she really made my day.

Friday: Thankful that I'm getting better! I'm on the mend. The doctor wasn't really sure what it was, but they put me on some medication that has been helping and I've been icing like crazy. Granted, my head still aches and I am really wary of eating anything now, but I'm also very thankful that there's been an improvement.


I am an avid reader, a deep thinker, and... someone who really enjoys games. Yes, I'll admit it. I am a bit of a nerd. I'm not a "gamer" per se, but I have my video games that I like and I find that life is a lot more interesting if I can put it in terms of a challenge to my self.

A few months ago, I ran across this concept that I'd never heard of before: "gamification". Jane McGonigal is a game designer who had the brilliant idea to utilize gamers and gaming to make the world a better place. Her game "World Without Oil" is an alternate reality game that brings together gamers to solve the world's energy crisis. One of her most famous applications (at least to those inside and outside of gaming) is SuperBetter. She started SuperBetter while battling a concussion gone bad (bordering on brain injury). Her sister challenged her to turn her recovery into a game because she saw Jane getting restless and making things worse for herself.

So Jane invented SuperBetter. It's current form is an online site and forum that's set up like an alternate reality game. It's a way to take real-life goals (anything from battling depression or cancer, to upping your workout schedule) and puts them into game form by identifying all the different components of your challenge that would be in a game: allies, quests, power-ups, bad guys, future boosts, and achievements. It's all aobut taking whatever you're working toward of battling and making yourself the hero of the story and identifying the tools and opportunities all around you each day.

After finding SuperBetter and looking around, I decided that it would be a great way to keep me focused on my current goal: working out more to be able to run a 10K in May for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And I do want to actually run it. I do. That's not an easy thing for me to say. Currently, even walking 10K (6.21 miles) is a stretch for me. But this is something that I really want to do and really feel strongly about.

If you have something that you want to get "SuperBetter" from or for, join me! It's pretty cool and I'm looking forward to the adventure.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Month of Thanks, Week Five

Monday - Thankful for the ability to cook. This sounds cheesy, I know, but I really am thankful for it. I don't know how some people get on not being able to whip together even the simplest of meals, but I do know that I could not live on boxed meals alone.

Tuesday - Hand-in-hand with that first one, I'm thankful for poached pears. They sound like the plainest option ever, but they really are delicious. I had my first poached pear a few months ago and then decided to make them at home last week. So delicious.

Wednesday - Thankful for encouragement from friends and family. I recently signed up to participate in the Cleveland Marathon's 10K next May. While 10K doesn't sound like a lot compared to a full marathon (or even a half marathon), it is a huge step for me. One that a couple months ago I probably would have never even thought possible, much less probable. What has helped is the fact that whenever I tell someone I'm going to do this, they haven't laughed in my face.  Then again, when training starts this Saturday and I'm (supposedly) running outside in the cold, I'll let you know how I'm feeling then.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Month on Thanks, Week Four Final

I'm thankful for...

1) Gluten-free gravy. (No explanation is needed here).

2) Gluten-free cookies that actually taste good.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Month of Thanks, Week Four

Well, I am five days behind, so here we go!

Monday: Thankful for the gorgeous weather we had this week! Seriously, over 60F on Thanksgiving Day? That's practically unheard of. It was so gorgeous.

Tuesday: Thankful for perseverance. I have done a lot in the past three years that I never would have thought possible for myself. And it's awesome to see it come to fruition and see myself trying again and again despite it being a long, hard road.

Wednesday: Thankful for my education. I know I graduated three years ago, but I feel like it's something that will stick with my forever. University was also one of the first places where I really stood up and began to think for myself. It's a lovely thing.

Thursday: Thankful for my body. While I don't take the best care of it (eek!), I love that I can (usually) rely on my body to follow-through. My most recent example of this was yesterday (Thursday) when I completed the 2012 Cleveland Turkey Trot with my family. I am not a runner. I am not the slightest bit athletic. I have also never actually actively tried to walk or run five miles at a decent pace. But yesterday, I did it. I was not fast, I was not even in the middle of the pack. But the important thing in my mind is that I finished. I am so proud of myself for finishing and thankful that I tried it. Granted, my knees are still protesting, but...

Friday: Thankful that I'm not going to any Black Friday shopping today! I worked two Black Fridays at the biggest outlet mall in Michigan. I saw grown women trample each other, break into fistfights over undiscounted merchandise, and pound on doors and windows terrifying workers (myself included). I have not been to a Black Friday as a worker or a shopper since. It's a good part of the reason I have an aversion to "holiday events". And that is why I'm so happy to not be going out into the madness today (though I kind of wish that I could get the deal on TVs, because mine is dying and they're expensive...).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary...!

.... to me!  I just realized that my five year anniversary of blogging here was yesterday. Pretty crazy to consider. I look back on how much I've written, how much I've changed, and all that those five years have included and it's kind of crazy.

Here's to another five!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Month of Thanks, Week Three Final

Alright, so I was struggling to think of things to be thankful for. And then I thought "How ridiculous is that? I have so much and am floundering for something to be thankful for?" I had to step back and re-evaluate, so here are my thankfuls for the rest of Week Three.

Saturday: The "plenty" that I have. I really do have a lot. And for the first time in my life, I'm at a point where I can pay my bills with ease and not worry (too much) about tomorrow. It's refreshing and kind of amazing.

Sunday: My family. I'm actually at my grandparents' as I type this and it just reminds how great that is (even when we fight -and we do).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Month of Thanks, Week Three, cont.

Wednesday: Coffee! Wait, I said that one already... How about... Water! I drink a lot of water. And it's kind of important to staying alive. Hence the reason I'm thankful.

Thursday: Beautiful sunrises -- so corny, but over the past week I have seen two truly beautiful sunrises from the window near my desk.

Friday: I'm thankful it's Friday. Really. Looking forward to the weekend and just relaxing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Month of Thanks - Week Three Partial

Phew, now that Week Two is finished (that was close!), I can move on to Week Three. Here are mine for Monday and Tuesday. First on my list (especially after this cold, cold morning) is...

1) Thankful for heat --as in indoor heating systems. As in the amazing radiators in my apartment that, when they're actually on, turn my little mousehole into a sauna.

2) Thankful for Jimmy John's Unwiches. So silly. I know. But they're awesome. And the only way that a gluten-free person can ever really enjoy a sub. But they're awesome. 

Oh, and I said I was going to do a 5 mile "turkey trot" on Thanksgiving morning but then I realized that's next week. Re-thinking that now. Hoping to still do it, but holy cow that came quickly!

Month of Thanks - End Week Two

Ack! I'm already falling behind. Here are the Saturday and Sunday thankfuls for last week!

1) Thankful for underground/indoor parking - I'm spoiled and I love it.

2) Thankful for all of the communication options we have available to us - phones, email, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, blogging(!), etc. It's really pretty cool when you think about it. And as part of an Italian family I really should include "yelling" in this list as well, too... Hmm.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Month of Thanks - Week Two, continued

These should cover Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday "thankfuls".

I'm thankful for...

1) Clementines!  Seriously. These things are awesome. They're like nature's candy. So addicting.

2) My Bodum french press mug, without which I would not have coffee in the mornings or at home.

3) Growing gluten-free resources - This sounds so corny, but I can tell you that when I first went gluten-free at about 16 years old, it was so much harder. We didn't have access to all the online resources, the support groups, the mixes, etc.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Month of Thanks - Partial Week Two

Alrighty, I just have a quick minute here and wanted to put these two out here for Monday and Tuesday.

1) Thankful for my car - It's a bit of a beater, but it's been very good to me recently. Thanks for sticking with me, Betsy!

2) Thankful that the election is going to be over tomorrow. HALLELUJAH! I'm so looking forward to not having to listen to (or avoid) all the negative campaign ads and the back-stabbing and the juvenile cat-fights. I've been meaning to set up my wifi and cable since moving into my new apartment and I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it because then I'll have to put up with all that crap. So now that it's finally going to be over, I can finally get back to regular life where I don't have to sneak around trying to avoid political rants at every turn. Granted, I'm still going to probably get that to some degree (thank you, highly polarized and politicized friend- and family- base...), but hopefully by this time tomorrow --or at least by next week, pretty please?-- it will all be over and done with!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Month of Thanks - Week 1

Usually I try to avoid the cliched, hackneyed holiday traditions. But (but!) in this age of egocentricity and materialism, I thought I'd follow in the footsteps of some of my friends and make an effort to be more thankful this holiday season, particularly in November. So, if I try to state one thing I'm thankful for each day in November, I believe I'm already four days behind.  Not sure if this will be a daily post, or if I'll just compile a weekly list, but here we are!

So, my first four! These are actually pretty easy (granted, the beginning usually is).

1) New Job -- I lucked out. I have a great new job, doing what I love, with people I truly respect and who respect me. It's pretty awesome.

2) New Apartment -- About two months ago, I moved into a new apartment. I'm still in the process of unpacking, but it really is fantastic.

3) Safety through SuperStorm Sandy -- Even thought we're not on the East Coast, Cleveland was hit pretty hard. There are people in the area that are still without power almost a week later.  I made it through the storm without my power going off and only minimal leaking (thanks to being on the top floor of a flat-roofed building).

4) Natalie's visit to Cleveland - When you're a kid, you never know who will still be near you for years to come (or who will drop you either, for that matter!). Natalie and I met when I was in Junior High when my family was in Florida. Two years after that, our family was moved to the other end of  the country. Fifteen years after we first met, we're still in touch. And we still manage to pick up exactly where we left off, even if we only see each other once a year. That is true friendship.