Friday, February 26, 2010

Flowers Make Me Happy

Last Friday I got flowers from my job.  It was a thank you for my work on Hearts for Homes, which I will give a full update on next week. 

Every time I look at them I am happy.  Not just because it was a great way to show their appreciation, but they are a respite from this awful winter.  They really are a living example of positive mental health.  And really, any time anyone wants to give me flowers, they will give me a smile that will last so long.

When they were fresh I took a picture and turned it into a painting on Photo Shop to make them last forever.  Here it is, I hope it makes you smile too.

Yours in health,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Swiss Cheese Memory

Play me in trivia and I will likely send you away in great defeat.  Ask me what I had for breakfast this morning and I will draw a blank.  Show me a mediocre film from the 80's and I will tell you who the guy halfway through the movie once played on TV in the 70's.  Ask me when I blogged last, you guessed it, I forget.

It's not that blogging isn't important.  Or that dropping off bags I had (forever) for a friend of my mom's isn't important.  I have been told that I am too busy and that is the problem.  I then wonder why on earth I know the artist and title to match an obscure 60's song a listener calls for - but I couldn't remember to give my boss a set of  checks for five months.  You would think my mind would have some sort of prioritization.

When this first started happening I thought I had early on-set Alzheimer's - and no, I am not joking - that's nothing to joke about, it's a terrible disease.  But truly there are times I can't find my cell phone, but I remember something from a meeting six months ago when somebody needs to write an e-mail.  I'm not whining, just a bit confused, which is what the lack of memory has lead to. 

But then I did remember something, exercise seemed to have helped when I was really going at it every day.  I think I need to buckle down and fill-in the holes in the Swiss cheese.

Yours in health,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oatmeal is Whole Grain Happiness

O.k., if I could eat anything for breakfast everyday and get away with it - egg McMuffin or world's best chocolate donut.  Needless to say that isn't realistic AT ALL.  So, I have found my way to oatmeal.  Huh?

I know, there are not even in the same family.  But I find a big bowl of oatmeal with just a bit of brown sugar and nuts satisfying.  The whole grain has a whole list of happy side effects and the nuts are monounsaturated fat heaven.  The bit of brown sugar isn't great, but compared to my other options - at least it is real sugar.

The greatest part is I can usually make it to lunch without needing to snack.  Or if I am really famished, adding a banana mid-morning will get me through.  AND of course, it is substantially healthier than some of the options I would love to have.

So, thank you Mister Quaker - your oats rock!

Yours in health,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

!ntuition is in Bed, why aren't I?

We finished up all of the edits on the March/April edition of Intuition Magazine today.  The cover is just as beautiful as I wanted it to be.  There will be no mistaking - it screams SPRING!  The issue will hit stands starting March 11 and we wanted to give everyone hope that this winter will abate. 

When we had that original conversation, in October, we were thinking it would be just a couple of weeks to spring when the magazine hit stands.  Sadly we realized today that it's actually going to be at least a month, quite possibly six weeks before we lose the last of our snow.  Some of the snow the city of Des Moines has had to hoard away at their dry lake probably won't melt til June. 

This is crazy, I mean more snow last night?  And more forecast for tomorrow?  I was talking to my friend Amy Sweet today and we have decided it's time to just set the damn record already.  I mean, before last night's snow, we were about 15 inches away from the snowiest winter ever.  Now, we're about 10.5.  I would hate to have suffered this much without something to cling to. 

Look at it this way, if we do hit the record, our grand children will all get an earful of what our grandparents gave us - "You think this is snowy, well it's nothing like the winter of 2009-2010..."  I mean some things are meant to move through the generations right?  Of course, we can't really compete with the uphill both ways thing, but we can say cell phone reception was horrible and the satellite dish crapped out - that will scare future generations.

Oh dear, I just read back through that, I'm a little punchy...  I think it's time to make like Intuition and go to bed.

Yours in health,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Proscrati-Nation

!ntuition Magazine goes to bed on Friday.  Again, I am waiting until the last possible minute to divulge the devils inside my soul.  This time though it's not because I can't figure out how to start, it's that there have been several things happen and I am not sure what to tell.

I am hoping to journal a bit tonight and that it will just reveal itself through my putting pen to paper.  Wish me luck!

Yours in health,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

I love my mother, she loves me.  I love my nephew Caelen, she loves him too.  He loves fried chicken and mashed potatoes, so all of us must too.  Either that or go without most Sundays when he visits.  :)

I have posted about this before, (a long time ago) my mother shows her love through cooking.  I can go back to my earliest memories and find mental images of her cooking her heart out in the kitchen.  Or see in my mind's eye the nights she spent getting perfectly decorated cookies ready for my home room parties in elementary school.  This is simply who she is.

I struggle with that sometimes, because it makes it more comfortable for me to make excuses around food - I mean food means love, my mom says so!  That has no merit though in the end, because she doesn't force me to eat to prove I love her too.  She doesn't fill my plate with too much of her amazing mashed potatoes.  She doesn't make me eat her molten lava cake too.  Nope, I do all that, all by myself.

That was really crystallized today for me when my sister-in-law asked if I got sick of eating the same meal every couple of weeks.  I said no, it's the only time I eat these foods, so it's not a big deal. 

And then I realized, it really isn't. 

I used to think my mom was subconsciously sabotaging me, of course she isn't.  Instead, this Valentine's Day, like many Sundays past and future, she is just showing her love.  I'm the one who needs to show some love for me now, and watch how much I eat.

Yours in health,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Tired, but it's a Good Tired

I have been working seven days a week for more than a month and a half.  Monday through Friday it's 10-12 hour days.  Saturday and Sunday I can usually get away with 4 or so.  It's at the point where people are questioning my sanity.  But the truth is, I have a job and this won't last forever.  Soon enough things will slow down and I will get a day off a week and possibly even go home after 9 hours on the weekdays.

Today was a 12 hour day, but it was one of the ones I wouldn't give back.  Yes, it was stressful and yes, it was a day without a workout. (There have been a lot of those lately.)  But among the things I did today was a visit to Unity Place, the building we are renovating with Hearts for Homes.  It was a joy, even through tired eyes, to see the physical place that our work is creating for the women of the YWCA to find safe harbor as they grow into independent, powerful women of Des Moines. 

Each apartment is simple, but compared to the rooms they have been staying in at the Y, it's very nice.  Each apartment has two bedrooms - with good sized closets, two bathrooms and a shared kitchen and living room space.  Downstairs there is a common area where the women can watch TV or socialize.  On occasion, some of the non-profits working with them will hold classes there.

For the women with children, there are slightly bigger apartments and a safe grassy area for the kids to play outside.  It warmed me greatly on this snowy Iowa day to think of kids getting to play somewhere other than in a gym or on concrete as they have downtown. 

Unity Place is right on the bus line.  It's near schools.  It's in a residential neighborhood.  It is a another step toward a normal, responsible life, just like the rest of us.  It is the very meaning of "a hand up, not a hand out".

I've talked a lot lately about gratitude and this project makes me all the more grateful.  I may not be a size ten these days, but I have an abundance of other skills that allow me to make a difference.  And no perfect fitting pair of jeans in the world will make you feel as great as helping someone in need into a new home.

Yours in health,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hearts for Homes

I have had a busier than usual couple of weeks, but it's all for a good cause.

If you live in Des Moines you have probably heard that the women of the YWCA are being displaced because the building is being closed and sold.  When my general manager Del heard he sleeplessly lay wondering what we could do to help.  The next morning he brought the minds of KIOA and DMRG promotions together to see if there were options.  Then the mantle was given to me to find the plan.

Well, very long story short, we are now doing Hearts for Homes.  The fundraising drive will raise money to refurbish a building on the south-side of Des Moines where the women can continue their road to self-sustaining productivity.  In the end the building will be a lasting legacy for those who give, allowing other low-income women to have fresh starts and get back on their feet.

On Friday we are also doing a day-long broadcast and phone bank at Prairie Meadows. 

If you have a few extra dollars, please consider giving to help local people with a local problem.  Prairie Meadows and Polk County will match money raised dollar for dollar.

Yours in community health, Kate

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where does the week go?

I am so busy I constantly have to ask myself, "What day is this?"  And yes, I usually do it aloud.  I get lost in time and sometimes wonder if I am actually asleep or just in a haze.  But, that's because I have a great job that is so diverse I always have a new project popping up.  Then again, busy is good as I have mentioned before because it keeps me out of the vending machine. 

So, it has meant a week of being very good with my food.  Lots of fruits and veggies and no take-out!  I have had two naughty moments - a cookie that Luke's wife Susan (a culinary goddess) made and a second bagel for breakfast after a meeting this morning (too much cream cheese of course).

I could beat myself up, but this is so far from where I had been with my stress eating, I am going to take the medium size victories and remember tomorrow is another day. :)

Yours in health,

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Little Bit of Spring Makes Everything Better!

We shot the cover for the next edition of !ntuition Magazine last Thursday.  It put me in the best mood in quite some time.  We went to the Botanical Center and took pictures inside the show house.  In the end it doesn't look like the Bot Center so much as she is working at a table in her back yard.

The beautiful Stacy Lovan (one of LITE 104.1's Outstanding Women) is our cover model.  Stacy was dressed in spring colors, we had her potting plants and I bought tulips because the ones at the Bot hadn't bloomed yet.  Paige Peterson was our photographer and she has captured the most colorful, hopeful images I have seen in a long time - and that's exactly what I wanted.

When you look at the pictures of Stacy you feel like our Iowa winter might actually abate at some point.  Literally hope springs eternal with these shots, I can't wait to share with all of you when the magazine hits stands in the second week of March.

The biggest thing that caught all of our attention though, besides the great pictures, were the tulips.  I had bought two sets and we took four and put them in the dirt, so they looked like they were coming right out of the pot.  By the end of the shoot the flowers had opened up.  They had bloomed while we were busy concentrating on the look we wanted.

We all smiled and laughed and realized we had bloomed a bit too.  We were all in a better mood after the warmth of the Bot and even the humidity.  It was so refreshing, I highly recommend a visit when you think you can't take one more minute of this winter.

I also recommend tulips.  I sent the purple ones home with Stacy as a thank you and I kept the yellow ones.  They are cheery and bright and give me a sense that not all has been lost to ice and snow.  People at the office are stopping to look for that same reason.  This little bit of spring has definitely made me happier.

Yours in health,

Here is a picture of the tulips I took with my phone (not great quality, but you get the idea):