Just being me… and being good with it!

There’s something I’ve been struggling with most of my life, that I’ve had the hardest time with.  It’s hard to even come up with words to describe it.  So here’s my best shot…

“I’m fat”…  Those words are stuck in my head.  They were there when I weighed 110 lbs., and there still there to this day.  But now I look back at pictures and think… well maybe I wasn’t so fat after all back then?  I think I actually looked pretty good now that I see it in hindsight.

Where did this obsession with my weight come from?  I was actually a pretty scrawny kid with thick glasses and a big smile.  My mom went on every diet there was “back in her day”… (yes that’s her favorite phrase!)  I even did the diet thing when I was about 21 at “The Diet Center’, with amazing results.  The focus was always on weight… and of course health, no matter if it was Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystem, or whatever diet was the latest thing.

Of course, back then, I was painfully shy.  So whenever someone showed an interest in me, I would shy away so maybe no one would notice that I was maybe just a bit chubby.  I let that rule my life, and break down my confidence.  Then I met my husband (now ex-husband)…  Nice enough guy, but very obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t supposed to weigh what he weighed.  Well… he was all of 5’8” with a metabolism of an 8 year old with ADHD.  So I did my best to make sure to get in shape, just for him!  What the heck???  Yes, I said it.  I was so unconfident, I thought I had to control my weight for someone other than myself.

About a month before the wedding, we were out in the woods wandering around, searching for morel mushrooms.  It’s a great spring time tradition in Northern Michigan.  He was having a quietly crabby day.  So I kept my head down, in search of the elusive fungi.  He finally looked at me and said, completely out of the blue, “you know you are getting to be over my weight limit”.  CRUSHED!  I spent the next four weeks on a crash diet, with long walks every night, just to make sure he wouldn’t leave me at the Alter.  What a big dummy I was!  My size 10 wedding dress fit perfectly the day of my wedding.  At the time, it seemed like a victory for me.

So for the next 13 years (with the exception of the year I spend in Chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000) I spent my life obsessing over being good enough for him…  Having a good enough job…  dodging his tremendous mood swings where he would hate on whomever pissed him off at the moment…  dealing with his “Rich people are worthless” attitude, which got him let go from several jobs, and giving children the evil eye if they slightly misbehaved in public, all the while expecting me to stand by his side and agree with his every word.  Dinner out with friends usually ended with “Tracey doesn’t need desert”.

One day my attitude on the whole subject changed when I came home from work, and he had been day drinking with the neighbor down the street.  The neighbor complimented the wax job on my car.  He piped right up to point out the flaws and wax crumbs…  I simply rolled my eyes and walked into the house.

He followed me yelling “I should just leave you”…  At that moment I realized he was very drunk.  So I ignored him.  He left the house continuing down the neighborhood on his quest for beer drinking buddies.  I sat stunned for an hour in my living room, fighting tears back.  I felt like I had failed. When he returned to the house, I looked him square in the face and said “Leave!”  Wow…  the little mouse finally spoke up!  He cried, saying he didn’t remember saying what he said.  So I softened… we went through some counseling which he completely ignored, until I decided to walk into the court house and file for divorce, about 9 months later.

I haven’t looked back since then!  Sometimes to get past those words in your head, you have to let go of toxic people.  My focus these days is on being healthy, and enjoying life.  That’s a #1 priority.  No more living life someone else’s way.  It’s been 10 years since that divorce, and I’m in a good place in my life.  I’m not a size 10 anymore…  but hey…  “I may be chubby, but I’m still cute!”  My truest friends and family don’t seem to mind at all.  Although I may offend an occasional toxic person from time to time.  Sorry, not sorry!


When the cold weather prompts a vacation reminder!

I found this picture when I was cleaning out my files on my computer today… Definitely a keeper!  One of my favorite scenes from a vacation in the Key’s circa 2011.

14 days until my next vacation!  (Does anyone else do a countdown every time they leave town???)

Have Dog… Will Travel!

In 15 days, I’m off on a trip to Florida, with my bestie, Daisy Mae, the Hilarious Havanese!  She loves Florida, chasing lizards and lounging by the pool in the sunshine.  But in the past I’ve driven the 22 hours, just so I didn’t have to put her on a plane.

Well, these days, everyone seems to travel with their pets on airplanes, so I think I’m going to give this a try!  I bought this great travel bag (with wheels) for her to ride in.  It should fit nicely under the seat in front of me on the plane.  My next worry…  she could be a neurotic mess in that bag under the seat… so of course my Veterinarian recommended light sedation, which he advised me to test in advance.  So, two weeks ago, I picked up the goods from him, and gave her 1/4 of a pill on a Sunday afternoon while she was loafing around the house.

No effect…  She stayed pretty much how she always is.  Chasing toys, flipping her blankey’s around, and just all around, being her adorable rowdy self.  So this week, I slipped 1/2 of one of the pills into a cheese treat.  Within an hour, she was in complete loaf mode.  Whew!  I think this will work…  Now the tough part will be to hope that the flight leaves on time.  It’s a straight through flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Punta Gorda, FL on Allegient Airlines.

I think, the two of us are ready for travel!  Perhaps by the next trip, I can get her to cooperate in a service dog program, so she can be on my lap instead of under a seat…  Wish me luck!


Happy New Year everyone!

So far this year I have no insights on resolutions.  Not too sure what’s up with that!  But I feel like it’s just fine.

Northern Michigan is frozen…  We have a heat wave today at 20 degrees fahrenheit!  Wintertime…  it’s here.  So, I’ve booked a plane ticket for my dog and myself to head south at the end of this month for a few days of fun and sun (and work too, of course). The big challenge will be to get my 12 lb. ball of energy, named Daisy, to be able to settle down on the plane.  18136955_10155827168812069_1224365527_n

It’s just not easy being this cute sometimes!

One thought did run through my head at midnight.  I have a pretty good life…  If you look around at midnight and think “there’s no place I’d rather be”… you know your friends are the best!

In the meantime, I’m just going to continue being me.

“Side Hustle”… I love this phrase!

This year I turned 52…  I’ve been working at my current job for almost 27 years now.  When I got my SEP statement at the beginning of the month, it dawned on me, that I might actually be able to retire someday!  But do I really want to retire?  Maybe I will just look into doing something else with a little less stress involved someday.

Then I saw the term “Side Hustle” on the internet one day… Let’s take a look at this!  A “Side Hustle” can be an extra way to make money on the side, in addition to your job.  It can be a monetized blog, a direct marketing consultantship (not sure if that’s a real word, but I’m using it anyways…), weekend bartending… even selling crafts at a craft sale.

So then my brain started ticking!  Hey… if I start a side hustle now, maybe someday it can be my main hustle?  I do love my blogging, so yes, I’m hoping that someday it will pay off with Ad clicks and views.  For now it’s only about $.25 per month… but it seems to be growing each month.  It’s worth a shot, and I love writing, so why not?  Blogging is one of my favorite side hustles, even though the payoff is minimal for now. Feel free to share my blog if you like it!

Of course there is always direct marketing.  I’ve been involved with one company for a couple of years, just for the benefit of a discount that I can share with friends.  But, their products are constantly changing, and my best sellers are now discontinued.  This month I decided to jump ship. So that’s where my Mary Kay business came in… (Yes… check it out at www.marykay.com/tpeal).

Mary Kay has been around since 1963.  The company is older than I am, and, lets face it… I love the products and the pricing doesn’t send people over the edge.  Good products sell themselves, and if people really love them, they want to use them on a regular basis.  So why not jump in?  For $99.00 I bought my starter kit with a giant bag full of goodies to share with friends.  I can choose to keep an inventory on hand, or order them as my customers need them.  Personally, I’m loving the products I’m using.  So… of course, this side hustle may actually be a good option for me!  If anyone ever wants to sign up for a Mary Kay business, I recommend it, and I can even show you how!

My third side hustle (why just have one?) came to me last winter when the snow was coming down in buckets here in Northern Michigan.  I didn’t have any desire to leave the house, but I was bored silly!  So to keep my mind off the bitter cold outside, I took an online class for my Real Estate Salespersons license.  So I’m now a licensed Realtor with my license in escrow.  I’ve always been fascinated with the real estate industry, and since my full-time job doesn’t allow me the time to practice this profession, I keep my license in escrow with a local company, and refer clients to some of the best realtors in the industry.  In return I can make a little commission off it.  It really paid off last spring when I sold my house (referring the sale to another realtor), and bought my new house.

None of these are “easy money”… they do take work… and I honestly enjoy taking time to work on them.  Someday I’m hoping to end a blog with “The Pay Off is real!”  In the meantime, why not hustle.

That’s all for my lunchtime blog for today…  back to bean counting!  Happy Holidays to everyone!




Lunchtime blog… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Now someone get me out of here… ;)

Yes, I live in Northern Michigan… It starts snowing here about November 15th (sometimes October 1st, depending on the year…) and it never stops until about March 31st.

When I was younger, I loved that first sign of a good snow storm.  I kept my downhill ski equipment loaded in my trunk so I could head on over to the hills (Michigan has hills, not mountains.) and ski to my heart’s content.

Somewhere along the timeline, my preference changed…   Most of my ski buddies quit skiing, or moved away.  Now I prefer a nice sunset with palm trees in the silhouette!  It just happens with age, I guess.  My love for Mogul hopping has turned into a love for sunshine, boating… and crafting by a fireplace if I can’t travel.  Occasionally I spy my ski equipment stashed in the corner of my garage and think “maybe… just maybe it’s like riding a bike”.  Well… it is, until you wake up in the morning and every muscle in your body is locked up in pain.  It’s worth it now and then just to get out there and feel that rush, and know that “I’ve still got it!”…even though jumps and bumps are more or less off limits, because I just don’t want to break any bones.

The view from my office window in the wintertime, does not include sunshine.  Just white fluffy flakes falling from a cloudy sky.  Sometimes they aren’t so fluffy… those are the ones that pile up fast and heavy on the ground.  Then you have to shovel… A LOT!  It’s so cold out there sometimes that my eyelashes freeze up and my face hurts!

Friend: “Want to meet for drinks after work?”

Me:  “No… I wish I could, but I have to get home and shovel two tons of snow off of my sidewalks.”  (At least I got smart and hired someone to plow my driveway!)

This is my common conversation this time of year.  My adorable 12 lb. dog loves that she gets to race around outside while I shovel.  She goes back into the house with a face full of snow balls that melt all over the floor in a big puddle.   I guess the bright side is that I can count that as quality entertainment.

My brain needs sunshine… warmth… sea shells…  Yes, I need to plan a trip to somewhere warm with palm trees and sunsets!  Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy the beautiful view from my office window.  “Sledding anyone???” I say, as I pour myself that hot cocoa with some favorite creamy liquor infused liquid!