New Look, Same Blog

Those of you who log on to read the Souzapalooza Blog regularly may notice a change today. I am taking a WordPress class on-line to improve my blogging and today’s assignment was to try out some of the themes available on WordPress.  The theme is the layout and design on your blog.

Changing my theme had been something I had been tinkering with for a while. I loved the Contempt Theme I had been using however, I did choose it over four years ago. I am not the same person I was four years ago, so why should my blog be stuck wearing the colors of the past?

So, what do you think of the new look? Take the poll below?

The Gratitude Challenge

On Facebook, the Irish Kat nominated me to complete the Gratitude Challenge. Rather than do three a day for the next week, both she and the friend who nominated her, decided to just post 21 items of gratitude at once. Following in that precedent, here are the 21 things I am grateful for!

  1. Indoor pluming – Anyone who has ever had to get up in the middle of the night in December will agree with me on this one! But seriously, I have clean running water in my home and a flushing potty, life is good!
  2. Toilet paper – this really goes in tandem with the indoor pluming. If it wasn’t for toilet paper, we’d all be a little uncomfortable or would have the strong possibility of a weird itchy rash on our parts from accidentally cleaning up with poison oak!
  3. Running – I’m grateful for running and all it has done for me. It has pushed me beyond what I thought my limits were, has proven to me that I am capable of things I never thought possible and it has brought amazing friendships in to my life.

    At one of my first races
    At one of my first races
  4. My health – I am grateful that my body is healthy and strong. So many of us take our health for granted and we shouldn’t!
  5. The wick away fabric – To the inventors at Under Armour, Nike Dri-Fit, Adidas, New Balance, ect ect… that you so much for working on advancements in the field of sweat removal technology from myself and all athletes out there. I think of you all on each run and give you thanks during the last Savasana after 90 minutes of Bikram.
  6. My sister Ka-Ka – She is the only person who knows what I am talking about most of the time and can understand the importance of counterspace!
  7. My Other Sister – Who keeps me from being murdered by potential suitors by arming me with rape whistles, safety kittys and her google ninja skills to make sure they are legit (and some of them have been pretty shady!)
  8. My Job – It keeps me out of trouble for a few hours a day and some change in my pocket to do things like eat and pay rent
  9. RunDisney – This many seem strange but if it wasn’t for the opportunity to run in a theme park, I probably never would have taken an interest in running, nor would I have kept up with it as much as I have.
  10. My Mom – She brought me in to this world and there have been many times she’s want to knock me out of it, but as crazy as she drives me, I’m grateful she is always there for me at the drop of a hat.

    mom & me
    mom & me
  11. Coffee – I’m grateful for coffee, my work area coffee shop, Gregory’s and the good people who work there.
  12. My DVR – When ever I think about my DVR, I think of that quote in the film You’ve Got Mail (although Frank is talking about his VCR it is totally relevant) “Technologically speaking, the world’s out of hand. Take the VCR. The whole idea of a VCR is that it makes it possible for you to tape what’s on television while you’re out of the house. But the whole point of being out of the house is so you can miss what’s on television.” It’s a catch 22, but I love having the back up!
  13. JoeManganiello – because really, he is so nice to look at

    Swoon!
  14. My apartment – I have a roof over my (and Cuff Turtle’s) head. It isn’t much, but it is my personal space and I am very grateful for it.
  15. My car – I love my car. Ka-Ka gave it the name Herbert J. Ichabob (yes, Ichabob, not IchaboD). It gets me where I need to go when my feet can’t!
  16. My friends – I really have a large, diverse, and widespread army of Souzapalooza supporters. I am grateful to each of them and their impact on my life.
  17. Bikram Yoga – for 90 minutes I leave my comfort zone and focus on me for a change.
  18. Boo Bear, Big Man & The Judge – My nieces and nephew who I adore greatly and remind me to strive to be my best so I can be the kind of the role model they deserve.

    Big Man, The Judge, & Boo Bear
    Big Man, The Judge, & Boo Bear
  19. Water – I drink water all day long (Hydration is key for Bikram Yogis!) I love me some high quality H2O and I am fortunate to live somewhere that it is both clean and accessible.
  20. My gift of gab – Although both my sisters will tell you this is a curse, my ability to chat it up all sorts of people has been a blessing. I have met many different people and had many wonderful adventures thanks to my chatting amongst strangers
  21. My Blog – Because how else would I be able to share all these wonderful things with you?

 

Getting It Done!

I work out!

It is important for me to make exercise a priority. This weekend was very busy and I skipped my work outs. As a result, I’ve been making a conscious effort to squish some exercise in where ever I can this week, so I don’t lose momentum towards my goals. Although I have lost 3.4 lbs since the first of the month (yes, I’m patting myself on the back), I’m not really feeling as strong as I have in the past and I have some worries about my upcoming races.

Sometimes we have to reframe our thinking about exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to be schlepping to the gym or attending a structured class. Exercise can be walking to the deli that is a bit farther at lunch time. It can be playing with your dog. It can be playing in the yard with your kids. Being active and keeping your body moving is the key. Many people tell me they want to work out but they can’t find the time; yet they tell me how they “did nothing last night”. Why wasn’t that time used to work out?

Monday night I had dinner plans after work but I had a two-hour gap between work ending and dinner beginning so I went to the gym. I got 3 miles in on the treadmill, as well as a good walk to the gym, and to and from the restaurant. According to my fitbit I hit 20,561 steps / 9.37 miles!

This morning, I went to the gym before work. I use to go before work all the time, but then I fell out of the habit. For me, going before work takes a lot more planning, since in order for me to pull this off, I have to pack my work clothes and get ready at the gym. This takes a little getting use to but once I get in to the swing of getting up a tad earlier and making sure I have packed all my necessities, it gets easier. I managed to get another 3 miles under my belt this morning. Go Me!

But like I said, maybe going to the gym isn’t right for you. Perhaps you don’t have access to a gym. Maybe you aren’t ready to tackle a class or are unsure what to do at the gym. Perhaps you don’t feel confident to try. Here is something I do, that might work for those of you having self doubts, aren’t ready for the gym, or feel like you “don’t have the time”

Rather than getting up at the commercial breaks to refill your water-glass or have a snack, why not work out? Do a few rounds of push ups, sit ups or the dreaded burpee. The average commercial break is between two and two and a half minutes. See how many sets you can do in the first commercial break, and then try to top that during the next break. There are tons of ways to work in high intensity intervals in to your favorite TV show commercial breaks. In fact, if you go to The Fitness Board on my Pinterest page (found HERE) I have pined a few commercial work outs that you may find me doing in the next few weeks as the new season of TV shows start. This may seem silly, but these two to three minute intervals will start to add up. Soon you will start to be able to do more, go for longer legnths of time and you may even see a few pounds drop off. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the body of a goddess. A little bit every day, slow and steady will win the race.  Just ask Cuff Turtle:

Cuff Turtle  - Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Ups, Downs, and In Betweens

The Souzapalooza Blog…Celebrating the ups, downs and in betweens of my life.

What does that mean?

I love having a blogging medium to share whats going on with my life. I love how real life friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, text me “Really glad you are blogging again! Reading your blog helps me feel connected to you”.  It makes me happy to be able to provide a connection even if I can’t be present in their daily life. I’m always appreciative to get feedback about a recipe I’ve posted or an observation I’ve made from those who know and follow me.

My favorite thing however, is to get feedback from people who don’t know me, except for my writing in this space. People who have found some sort of bond with me thanks to something I’ve written about. That my ramblings have resonated with them in some way. Hopefully I’ve made them smile, or perhaps I’ve provided comfort in knowing they are not the only one who thinks/acts in a certain way. What ever the case, I’m happy to have them here!

This is my place to celebrate little personal victories, disappointments and just general observations of the world around me. I try to keep this forum a place for positive thinking and even try to see the silver lining in some of the things that haven’t worked out in my favor. Sometimes I just have to vent, but for the most part, I really try to keep things breezy. Life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine; sometimes it is tougher than we expected but as I say very often, sometimes you have to take the sour to enjoy the sweet.

I hope that The Souzapalooza Blog adds a sprinkle of sweet to your day

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Ye Olde Blog Post

HRM Queen Elizabeth addressing the royal subjects of Sterling Village
HRM Queen Elizabeth addressing the royal subjects of Sterling Village

Yesterday, Ka-Ka, Irish Kat and I spent the day floating around between 14th and 17th century at the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, NY. The NY Renaissance Faire has been open, rain or shine, for the past 37 years. Under the monarchy of HRM Queen Elizabeth, Renaissance Faire Village (aka Sterling Village) spans across 65 acres of land and includes 20 different stages, where 125 different performances take place through the day (which are all included with in the price of admission). According to the website, there are 75 costumed actors, 20 independent specialty acts, and over 100 crafts people as well as the over 10,000 daily visitors that come to visit, often in costume. This past weekend was Barbarian Weekend, so there were a lot of “uncivilized” tribal men and women marching through Sterling Village.

Vixens En Guard - Athena, Calypso, and Atalanta
Vixens En Guard – Athena, Calypso, and Atalanta

There is a ton of entertainment scheduled to keep you busy throughout the day, just incase people watching, shopping the endless array of artisan crafts, and savoring the food and drink options isn’t enough for you. In addition to the entertainment acts, there are jousting tournaments, living chess matches, not to mention interactions with Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and the Queen’s court. There are a lot of different shows to see, singers, poets, plays, and comedic acts. Ka-Ka, Irish Kat and I tend to shows that are on the ‘naughtier side'; the ones deemed PG-13 and R rated. We attended two performances from Vixens En Guard. They are a trio of Shakespearean swordswomen with naughty sense of humors. We saw their interpretation of both Hamlet and Coriolanus. Both entertaining and amusing…if you know what I mean (their catch phrase to make anything seem a bit naughtier). On par with the empowering of women vibe at the fair was the team of Tilly & Dolores performing at the Washing Well Wenches show. These wash women are hysterical. The audience gets to participate in a great show and receive good washing! Not to be outdone, Iris & Rose performing toasts, limerick, and songs unfit for proper ladies, but perfect for beer drinking wenches like us!

Marshall Laww's Cock & Bull Show - Next up for Auction, a Sea Captain!
Marshall Laww’s Cock & Bull Show – Next up for Auction, a Sea Captain!

We also went and saw “The Creepy Bard” perform his set of songs inappropriate for children. He was hysterical! You need to go take a trip to his Ye Old Youtube page and check out some of his performances. However, I think the best performance of the day may have been from a seasoned Ren Faire performer with a new show. Marshall Laww’s Cock N Bull Show is the perfect place to win yourself a wench or servant at the “Rent-A-Peasant” Auction. For example, we saw a pretty young “farmer’s daughter” from the audience to be auctioned to the audience who would yell out their offers of farm animal or what ever other barter item Marshall Laww deemed fitting. Incidentally, she was worth two sheep and a pig at auction!

There is one last weekend left in this season, so if you are free, make your way up to Tuxedo Park and enjoy a day in the Renaissance!

 

Chance Encounters and the Space Time Continuum

Tonight I’m going to a screening of Back to the Future at the Alamo Drafthouse. I have always loved Back to the Future. I actually saw this film in the theater with my parents back in 1985. I remember that we missed the first few minutes of the film and my dad fell asleep promptly after getting settled in our seats. For a while, my dad thought the Back to the Future was about Libyans trying to steal a Delorean. Yeah, that is not what it is about. I should alert you that there are spoilers contained in this post so if you haven’t seen this movie in the 29 years it has been available to own, rent or watch on both basic and pay cable, stop reading my blog and seriously go see it. I mean honestly, if you’ve NEVER seen Back to the Future, I’m not even sure I want you reading my blog. I think you need to reevaluate some of your life choices.

Back to the Future really drives home the thought that you never know how one chance encounter can have a tangible impact on the course of your life. In the ‘original’ 1955, recapped to the McFly children by Loraine McFly while they all eat pizza watching Honeymooners reruns, Lorraine’s dad hit George with his car. Lorraine felt bad for him and decided to go with him to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, where they kissed for the first time and knew they would spend the rest of their lives together. Little did they realize, they’d be living in Lyon Estates with three kids and George is still being pushed around by high school bully turned manager, Biff Tannen, 30 years later. The McFlys seem to be going through the motions of marriage. Lorraine seems to be a bit of a drinker, and George is a push over doing Biff’s reports for work. Marty even comments to Doc Brown how there is nothing his parents like doing together.

Marty getting transported to 1955 and consequently getting in the way of his parents first meeting, sets up the plot line of how to get George and Lorraine to fall in love in an alternate way, and ultimately Marty returns back to the future. As movies usually do, Marty manages to fix things, however when he return to 1985, things seem to be better for the McFly Family. Although they still live in Lyon Estates, their home seems to be a bit nicer. When Marty awakes, he sees the living room much brighter with newer furniture. He finds his brother and sister having breakfast; looking a bit more put together than they did before Marty when back to 1955. His brother is dressed in a suit*, rather than his Burger King uniform. His sister, seems to have a full dance card of men calling her, rather than sitting around on a Friday night bitching about how she never meets anyone. George and Lorraine seem to have a much healthier relationship, very much connected and in love, enjoying tennis together and very interested in their children’s lives. George has even written a sci-fi book, something he would have never had the confidence (or time considering how much of Biff’s work he was doing) to take on such an endeavor.

I often wonder when I meet people, be it person I chat with while waiting for yoga class or on-line at Marshall’s, if something they say has launched my life in to another path and direction? Did the person who cut me off and get me stuck at the red light completely change the course of my life thanks to one poorly executed lane change? What if that guy in the life preserver drinking coffee at the diner, is the person to change the course of my life? Be open to the possibility!

The person sitting next to you could change your fate!

 

*Marty’s brother has a line where he says “I always wear a suit to the office”. What kind of office are your working at on a Saturday, Dave, you smug son of a bitch!?!

 

Change The World With A Few Small Steps

IMG_2049Yesterday DJ Cool and I went for a cup of coffee in the afternoon. It must have been a crazy day for a lot of people because our local coffee shop was packed! It is a small space to begin with, and the fact that there were around 15-20 customers milling about didn’t help. DJ Cool and I stood patiently as about eight people filed their way out when I realized something very profound. Of those people, only two of them said “thank you” to us for holding the door. Seriously? When did we become a society of savages? Is it so hard to extend some manners, albeit common courtesy and say thank you?

As I got dressed this morning, I listened to people calling in to the local radio station to recount their memories of the events surrounding 9/11 and how they recalled the feeling of love and support for each other in the days after. The support for victims and volunteers, stranger helping stranger, bonding together, such beautiful gestures and testament to the resilience of the human spirit in uncertain times. How did we fall so far in 13 years that we barely acknowledge someone doing us a simple courtesy of holding a door or passing us the milk?

Look around. No one smiles at each other anymore. No one talks to their neighbors. Everyone is so sucked in to what’s going on on twitter or Facebook rather than actually living their lives. We live in isolation, wearing our head phones, burying our faces in our iPhones, and ignoring life around us.

Today, I give you and assignment; I want you to put down your phones, take off your headphones and interact with the people around you. Smile at everyone as you walk down the street. Start a conversation with your local barista (as long as there isn’t a huge line, if there is, maybe just thank them for the coffee and wish them a great day). Hold the door for someone, I can’t guarantee they will say thank you, but at least you will have done your part to make the world a nicer place today. Change starts from within. You never know what wonderful things can happen from a small change.

Let me know what positive interaction you made towards your fellow human today and what results it produced in the comments section below.

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