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Monday, January 30, 2012

Indy, I give you a proud!

We have a saying in our house: "I give you a proud."

It goes back to Annie's First Communion. My in-laws were in town for the occasion and were getting ready to return home. My mother-in-law said to Annie "You were so pretty and you did such a good job. I'm really proud of you." Then she kissed Charlie and Robbie goodbye and went out the front door. Charlie ran after her, crying, "GoGo! You didn't give me a proud!"

Since then when someone does something good, we often say "I give you a proud for that." And today, I'm saying "Indianapolis, I give you a proud for the amazing celebration you've put together for Super Bowl XLVI."

Super Bowl Village opened here on Friday night. I watched posts and pictures pop up on Facebook and so wanted to be part of the party. On Saturday night, Annie and I went downtown with friends to soak up the super atmosphere.

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We entered the village on the south side of Monument Circle, where the massive XLVI letters stand. (They were designed by a co-worker's son and installed by a crew led by her husband.) There was music and a light show and a general festive atmosphere. Through the weekend, 33 Indy cars decked out in NFL team colors and logos were lined up on Meridian Street. This week, they'll be sent out to locations throughout the city and beyond, though the Giants and P------- and the Super Bowl car will stay downtown. It was a great way to tie together what Indy is most famous for -- the Indianapolis 500 -- with Super Bowl XLVI.

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This awesome pic was taken by Jason Lavengood. Iconic!
Click the photo to go to his website.

We walked to Georgia Street which is block after block of celebration. Fire and Ice Lounges give people a place to grab something to drink and warm up. Free concert stages with local and national acts keep the music going all night long. Tonight the headliners are the Village People!

Food carts and trucks and local restaurants are ready to feed hungry fans. You could even walk up to get some famous St. Elmo's Steakhouse shrimp cocktail for $16 or a 50-piece platter of shrimp for $135!

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There were super volunteers all over the place. You could tell who they were by their blue and white hand-knit scarves. The Super Scarf project netted 8,000 scarves all knit and donated by volunteers around the country. My friend Kathi's came from a woman in California. The note with it said "I made this is May, so when you're wearing it, think of the warm May weather in California."

Some of the volunteers were armed with iPads to answer any questions that might come up. Others were oh-so-hard to miss because they were sporting big ? flags on their backs. Somehow I missed the volunteer sign up opportunities. I really must pay more attention to the world around me.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

There were ice sculptures made by some TLC show ice carvers, too.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I didn't even see it all. We turned off Georgia Street to get a bite to eat before we got to the zipline, so I want to go back to see that. We didn't stop in The Huddle at the old Nordstrom which is set up with bars and dance clubs and Super Bowl merchandise.

Remarkably, we saw very few drunk people and I didn't encounter anyone who was rude or difficult to deal with, although I'm sure they were there. As we walked through it all, I just couldn't help but be so proud of Indianapolis for putting on such an amazing show.

Mike and Charlie went on Sunday to the NFL Experience, which was pretty pricey to get in. They said it was crazy crowded, but Charlie got to participate in a football clinic put on by a Colts player and a Vikings player. He caught two touchdown passes. Not that I'm proud or anything!

The best part of the Super Bowl Village festivities was that it didn't feel like a celebration for just two teams. And it wasn't about the Colts (who are swirling in their own transitional drama right now). It was just a celebration for whomever wanted to celebrate. I'm sure as the week goes on and the East Coasters arrive, it will feel more about the Giants vs. the P-------. But for now, it's just plain old fun!

So, let me repeat: Indianapolis, I give you a PROUD

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rotten deal

Like most everyone, I love a good deal. (Everyone, that is, except Mike's grandmother who thinks if something is on sale there must be a problem with it.) I keep my eyes on the daily deal offers like Eversave and Groupon.

Last summer, I bought a Groupon to a restaurant near my office. $10 for $20 worth of food to South of Chicago Pizza and Beef. And then I promptly forgot about it. Lucky for me, I remembered the deal last week. I printed out the certificate and made note to use it before the January 24, 2012 expiration date. 

Life being what it is, the morning of January 24th arrived and I still had not used my offer. So I planned to  go to South of Chicago for lunch with some co-workers. When we arrived, the smell was heavenly. Fresh bread and melty cheese. Little did I know something was going to stink real soon.

Before I could even look at the menu, the cashier saw the Groupon voucher in my hand and said, "You can't use your Groupon. It's expired."

"No, the expiration date is January 24. That's today, so I have until the end of today to use it."

"No. It's Groupon's rules. It's expired and you can't use it." Then I looked beyond her shoulder to see a white board with the same SOL message. 

"Well," I said, "Then we're leaving." And my two co-workers and I went down the street to Tortas Mexican sandwich shop, where we had a delicious lunch (I recommend the #4 - Luis Miguel), although the service was a little inconsistent.

When I got back to the office, I lodged a complaint with Groupon, took a poll of my Facebook friends regarding expiration dates (all 19 people who commented agreed with me), and left a message on the South of Chicago Facebook page:

"Really disappointed that you did not honor my Groupon Indianapolis today. The expiration says January 24, 2012. I should have had until close of business today to use it. And I was not the only customer turned away. The ill will and bad experience that I will be sure to share with others will cost more than the $10 you would have eaten had you honored my Groupon."

I was going to blog about the experience, but opted to go to bed early. Plus, by then I had simmered down a little bit. 

It wasn't until the middle of the night last night when I was awake (as usual) that I read South of Chicago's replies to my FB message. The first reply said,

"You can use your coupon for face value up until July 22."

Funny, that gal at the counter didn't mention that. Just nope. Sorry. If she had offered that, I might have been willing to accept it and place an order using my so-called-expired certificate for $10 off. That might have taken the edge off some of my frustration.

Then I read the second reply and got angry all over again. I'll let you see it for yourself:

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Seriously? One of the benefits of being engaged in social media as a business is so you can communicate with your customers, resolve difficulties and let others see how you take care of those who try to support your business. I think South of Chicago Pizza and Beef missed that in Social Media 101. 

There was no "I'm sorry for your experience" or "There was some confusion" or even "Please call us at xxx-xxxx so we can work on making this better." Just a childish mocking of me -- who you can be assured will never be a customer. 

On a positive note, I also received feedback from Groupon, which said:

I'm really sorry for the trouble with this! You were correct in your understanding of how the expiration works. I'll talk to the business to see if we can get that cleared up for them. I've just canceled this order and issued $10 Groupon credit to your account. The credit is available in your account immediately and does not expire.

At least someone knows a little something about how to treat customers.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

An uncomfortable position to be in

It's been an unusual year to be an Indianapolis Colts fan. On one hand, our team was abysmal. Our quarterback sat on the sidelines all season. Our record (2-14) looked more like the score of a first grade basketball game. The Colts owner made a game of sending cryptic messages via Twitter, almost just to amuse himself to watch everyone wondering what he meant. And after the season was over, the coaching infrastructure exploded (which actually might be a good thing). But despite all of that, there was a silver lining to the 2011-2012 football season: We are to be at the center of the world stage that is the Super Bowl.

PhotobucketAll of the city is abuzz with Super Bowl XLVI (that's 46 for you not up on your Roman numerals) fever. People from hospitality workers to restaurant staff to government officials to ordinary citizens are psyched and ready to share that well-known "Hoosier Hospitality." Volunteers wearing hand-knit blue and white scarves will be out in force to make sure our guests leave here with the feeling that Indianapolis is a city that is worth visiting again.

There's just one (very big) piece of broccoli stuck in our proverbial service with a smile. The Patriots are coming to town. If you're an Indianapolis Colts fan, it's a given that you hate the Patsies. You hate Bill Bellicheat and his whiny quarterback. The name Pa------ (I can't bring myself to type it out again) makes your blood boil at first mention. And their fans? About a 110% on the obnoxious meter. I'd venture to bet there is no team more hated by Indianapolis Colts fans than those Minutemen who will be coming to our house on February 5.

The thought of them playing in the Super Bowl in our stadium is bad enough. But the thought of them winning the Super Bowl here? Well, I just might have to start a Facebook petition to raze Lucas Oil Stadium and start all over. It would be like Voldemort throwing a party at Hogwarts while Harry Potter was forced to serve drinks and clear tables.

But this is Indiana where "Hoosier Hospitality" is more than a tourism slogan. I know that we can put our wands and our cursed charms away and greet our guests with cheerfulness and a desire to put on a spectacular week-long show. When those New England fans and their team return home (hopefully sans the Vince Lombardi trophy), I hope they'll go back impressed with the spectacle this "flyover city" put together. I hope they will talk about the friendly people, the world class service, and the stellar party Indianapolis threw for the occasion.

Even if we do still hate them and the team which shall not be named.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This one is for all the kids (Mine and yours.)

Yesterday I wrote a letter to my daughter Annie (and her friends and all other teenagers). The letter was in response to the suicide of a beautiful, talented, well-loved 16-year-old girl. The message was "Have someone." If you haven't read it yet, please do so here.

Today my mind has been filled with aching for this child who felt such deep despair that she made a tragic decision. I've prayed for her parents and siblings who must be wondering "why?" I've imagined her friends, gathered and wondering what they missed, what more they could have done.

I don't presume to have any answers. But I do have another message for you, Annie. And for Charlie and Robbie and all of us.

Be someone.

Be someone who is willing to walk across the cafeteria or the playground to talk to the person who is always standing alone, no matter what others might say.

Be someone who steps outside of your circle to partner up with someone you don't know very well for the science project or the sit-up challenge in gym class.

Be someone who smiles and holds the door open and says "I like your hair" or "You are a good artist" or "How was your weekend?"

Be someone who really listens -- puts down the cell phone, the video game remote, the laptop and listens with your ears, your eyes and your heart.

Be someone who hears what others are saying...and what they are not.

Be someone who refuses to laugh at another person's expense.

Be someone who isn't defined by a group or a label like "hipster," "jock," or "nerd." Instead be someone who has friends in all those groups and who can bring people together.

Be someone who is honest, who doesn't sugarcoat your own life. Be real so other people can see that we're all in this human-ness together, that we all struggle.

PhotobucketBe someone who lets others know that they matter.

Be someone who isn't afraid to break a friend's confidence and go to an adult if you think they are in danger.

I know it sounds like a tall order. But I know you can do it.

I believe in you.

Love,
Mom


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A letter to my daughter (and yours)

Dear Annie,

Today I learned of the death of a young girl from Indianapolis. She was 16 years old -- just a year older than you. Like you, she was into theater. Her friends described her bright smile, the way she brought life to a room just by walking into it. That reminds me of you. By all accounts, she was well loved.

Yet, yesterday this bright, sparkling girl took her own life.

I didn't know her, but her news of her passing took my breath away. It hit too close to home for this mom of a theater-loving, smiling, laughing, well-loved teenage daughter.

And so tonight, I'm sitting here writing this letter to you -- and to your friends and to any other teenager who happens across this post. What I want to say is this:

Have someone.

Have someone, an adult, in your life that you can talk to. Of course you can talk to me or Dad. But I was a teenager once. I know that sometimes your parents are the last people you want to talk to. And that's ok. We don't have to know everything. We might want to, but we don't have to.

But have someone who you trust to tell those things to. Have someone who you can confide in; who will keep your confidence and who will also know how to take care of your heart; who will know when to just listen, when to step in and do something more.

And to your friends who might be reading this, if you need someone to be that person in your life, I am here.

I feel like I should go on here to say how much you are loved, how much joy and pride you bring to my life. Those things are true and I hope you already know that.

But I think I just really want to say have someone, because no one could replace you in my life.

Love,
Mom

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In honor of Maggie
and in support of To Write Love on Her Arms

Biggest Loser: Home run for Cassandra

 

Tonight on The Biggest Loser, it was Cassandra's night to shine.

PhotobucketThe 25-year-old from Michigan stepped up during a Chinese food challenge and ate 2 fortune cookies to earn a 2-pound advantage at the scale and the right to create black team-red team faceoff pairings on the scale. (She was the only one from either team who ate anything.)

But it wasn't just chowing down on 60 calories worth of cookies that made her night. She put herself up against Conda for the weign-in faceoff. During workouts in the gym, Dolvett set the two head to head in a squat thrust competition. Cassandra took her first victory then.

Conda alleged that Cassandra cheated and refused to give her props for the victory, though she did pony up the Subway sandwich that the two had promised to the winner. So during the last chance workout, Dolvett set the two up for a rematch, doing a ladders exercise. Cassandra won that handily. Even that wasn't enough to shut up Conda.

The final match-up between the two came on the scale. Conda posted a measly 3-pound weight loss. Apparently flapping your gums doesn't burn many calories. Cassandra buried Conda's 3 pounds with an 8-pound loss of her own.

Yes! Time to shut your pie hole, Conda!

Although she repeatedly beat Conda this week, Cassandra wasn't arrogant about it. She just worked hard and let her actions do the talking. So far, she is the biggest loser in the house, having lost over 11% of her total body weight. Tonight she emerged as one of my favorite contestants.


In other Biggest Loser news --

Joe from the Black Team made history when he became the first contestant to flat out quit. He didn't ask to be sent home in the elimination (the red team went to the elimination room). He just packed up and left because he missed his family. It will be interesting to see how he does at home.

Lauren was the person eliminated from the red team. It was a surprise to her and to me. Most of the people who voted for her to leave cited her drive and her status as single with no kids as factors that would lead to her success at home. So far, she's proving them right because in the transformation moment, she'd lost 53 pounds and looked great. I do worry about how her mom, Gail, will do being on the ranch by herself. Only time will tell. 

Cassandra's grandma, Nancy, was close to elimination tonight. I'm glad she was spared so Cassandra had a terrific week overall. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dudes

I was feeling a little (self-imposed) pressure to blog tonight since it's been a few days, but came up empty in the idea department. So I turned to that never-ending font of ideas -- Facebook -- and asked for some. The first (and only) response I got came from my friend BgKahuna who suggested that I blog about "dudes."

BK is under the almost true, yet still false assumption that he is the only man who reads my blog. But my husband and my dad read it. And a few others who shall remain nameless in case being associated with the 4th Frog Blog jeopardizes their man cards.

Anyway, for some reason, I decided to take the suggestion and go with it, even though BK's suggestion was made while he was hopped up on morphine in the ER.

Which brings me to the first point I'd like to make about dudes. For all the thousands of pounds they can bench press and all the hits they can take in football, what is it about a little nasal congestion and a cough that renders them useless to society for a period of 2-4 days?

Of course, my main frame of reference here is Mike. As soon as he starts to whimper that he thinks he's getting a cold, I cut that crap off at the pass. "You're fine" and I move out of the room. That's not to say he's never been really sick. He has. But when he's really sick, he doesn't whine and complain. He just lays there, which is so much easier to deal with.

Also, I think someone needs to research the selective gender-based dementia that is so common among the male species. Doesn't anyone out there in the academic world wonder how it is that men (and even boys) can remember how many yards Eli Manning threw four games ago and what Jose Conseco's batting average is, but they can't remember to take out the trash or get milk on their way home from work?

And do the words "put it down" or "wipe it off" not have any meaning to those who stand to go pee?

Now, in all fairness, the world needs dudes. And not just the world, but I need them.

Who else would fix the printer and figure out why the internet is not working? Who would unclog the toilets (especially when it's clogged with man poop) and get the heavy boxes of Christmas decorations off the top shelf?

Dudes are handy to have around for boys who want to talk to someone who knows something -- and actually cares -- about video games and for grilling stuff.  And, as I'm sure we'll find out soon, they are much more intimidating to young men who come to court our daughters. Then there's that whole proliferation of the species business, too.

So there you go, BgKahuna. The 4th Frog Treatise on Dudes. Thanks for the idea. (Of course, the man has the idea, but it's the woman who does all the work to make it happen...)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What is wrong with us?

Every year I get a page-a-day calendar. One of those little desktop jobs that you tear off a page each day (hence the name. In years past, I've had calendars whose themes were The Office (funny quotes), the Biggest Loser (weight loss inspiration) and Scrabble (make your best word). I haven't gotten my calendar yet this year. So the other day I was wasting  spending time nosing around Amazon.com to see what calendars are out there.

What I found just really made me wonder about what is wrong with us. Us being the collective "we, the people." I found calendars and book titles that included the following:

  • Insult a Day
  • Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch
  • Life is Crap
  • The Daily Bitch
  • F My Life
I'm no Pollyanna. I know that life is not perfect and I offer my fair share of complaints. (For reference, back up two posts to "Spontaneous Verbal Combustion.") But why would I spend good money putting those negative messages in front of myself day after day? In a line of thinking along "you are what you eat," I think to a certain extent I am -- or I become -- what I surround myself with.

I'm not suggesting that we have to bury our heads or turn away from everything negative. We need to be aware of the way our world works so we can make choices to keep us clear of trouble or to help change things that need to be changed. But I think we also need to spread joy and laughter and learning and other worthwhile pursuits. Maybe that is Pollyanna-ish. So be it.

I'm not likely to choose a daily calendar of puppies or kittens. But you can bet I won't be choosing "F My Life," either. Instead, I'm thinking of this:

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Biggest Loser: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down


Tonight was Week 2 on The Biggest Loser. I thought there were some highs and some lows. Let's call them Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down. 

Thumbs Up:
  • Dolvett. Just because he is.
  • "The girls may have Bob and Dolvett. But I've got a hot nutritionist. I'll listen to whatever you tell me." - Jeremy upon being introduced to the nutritionist
  • The outdoor patio area being called "the prison yard." Did I hear that right? That's awesome.
  • Roy and Christine. Just seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus makes me smile. 
  • No one threw up on camera today.
  • Mafia Mike went home. I think had he stayed there would just be continuous friction.
  • Mafia Mike does look a lot like Alec Baldwin.
  • Minimal (any?) product placements
  • The fast-forwarding of some of the weigh in
Thumbs Down:
  • Kimmy and Kim's wild assumption that their team could lose 94 pounds in week 2.
  • Dr. H. said Joe has an "advanced case of sleep apnea," waking more than 70 times an hour. In my recent sleep study, I was waking 79 times per hour. Doesn't exactly make me feel like I'm in good company.
  • Bob getting mad at Dolvett in the gym. This is not about you, Bob. Keep your focus on the people you're trying to help.
  • A small tray of sushi has as many carbs as 5 slices of white bread and 300 calories? Waaaaahhh!
  • Conda is still on the ranch. She conjures up memories of Vicki. (I wonder if there's a Heba hiding in the ranks.) 
  • Facial hair. Seriously? It's only week 2 and it's already getting out of control. 
  • Alison stirring the pot to encourage the arguing in the elimination room. 
  • Bob's leggings under the shorts look. Show off the legs, Bob. 
Do you have anything to add?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Warning: Spontaneous verbal combustion ahead

Otherwise known as a rant. This is really directed at no one, except myself.

I am 41 years old. Likely, at least half of my life is over. So why do I still have so much to figure out? I'm not talking about figuring out the solution to Pi or if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I'm not even talking about how to get Sharpie marker off my dining room table.

Why can't I figure out a workable and stickable chore schedule for my kids so that the house is not always a mess?  Why can't I figure out an organized solution to menu planning and couponing? Why am I still using the "stack it on the counter and deal with it later" method of dealing with the mail?

I look around at other people and try to see how they do it. That just ends up in frustration and I find myself moving further and further from contentment. For the first time in a very long time, both Mike and I have a paycheck. So what do I think would be great?

To quit my job -- (which, Boss, I have no intention of doing, just a delusional fantasy) -- and stay home to do things like laundry on a set schedule and make dinner most nights of the week and use coupons before they expire and volunteer in the classroom. To have cookies and milk or carrots and dip on the table for an after school snack for the kids to munch on as I sit there and help them with their homework. To know what the basketball practice schedule is before the carpool people send a text message asking if I want to drive there or pick up.

Then there are those people who seem spiritually content. Who don't think at 4pm, "oh crap, I haven't prayed yet today." Those people who have figured out ways to live outside of their own bubbles -- who are actually living and breathing V-words...volunteers. They are out there making the world a better place while I'm making PB&J for dinner because I didn't get to the grocery so there is something real to cook.

Which leads me to what am I teaching my children? I want them to loving, caring, giving people -- and I think that they are. But I want giving of self to come naturally to them, yet I'm not modeling that for them. How do I expect them to learn? Am I doing them a lifelong disservice by not caring if their bedrooms are clean? Should I be more demanding when it comes to insisting that they eat more fruits and vegetables? Am I a bad mom if I'm not vigilant about red dye and high fructose corn syrup?

And those couples who go on romantic vacations or even weekly coffee dates? Who have more to talk about than who is picking up which kid when and where? Don't even talk to me about that.

Obviously, I have plenty to learn from those people who wake up in the morning and go to sleep each night counting their blessings. I have lots of them. And I am thankful for them. But, apparently, I am a "glass is half empty and someone is probably gonna come along and knock it over any minute" kind of girl.

I'm not going to fling myself off a bridge or drink my anxieties away (although a little self-medicating with Little Debbie Swiss Rolls sounds good right about now). Sometimes it just feels good to say things out loud. Know what I mean?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Biggest Loser: It's back (and so am I)


The 13th season of The Biggest Loser started on NBC tonight and for the first time in at least 2 (maybe more) seasons, I'm watching. I'm not sure what made me tune in tonight. It could be that I'm feeling -- and looking -- positively portly. It could be that there was nothing better on, in which case, what's the point of cable TV? It could be that mighty fine trainer with the unusual name, Dolvett.

I didn't watch it while doing deep knee bends or jumping rope (have you read my latest Fit City post?). But I also didn't watch it while eating ice cream or Nutella on toast.

Some of the thoughts I had while watching:
  1. If Bob Harper ever leaves this show, the fat lady will have sung.
  2. It's just plain mean and wrong to invite people to the ranch and then send them home before they ever get to set foot inside the gym. 
  3. Is the world ready to handle a skinny Santa (who happens to be from Indiana!)? The next thing you know, Cookie Monster will be eating carrots.
  4. I just might have to dust off Denzel and change his name to Dolvett. That guy is buff.
  5. Other than Planet Fitness, the product placements were kept to a minimum. That was nice.
  6. As someone who increasingly views herself as "older," I was glad Gail didn't fall on the age sword and bow out to someone just because they are younger.
  7. I was really peeved with Ben for asking to be sent home. But maybe in that one week on the ranch, he experienced what my friend Annie refers to as that moment.
The jury is still out whether I'll become a die-hard fan again, but I definitely will tune in again next week.

Monday, January 2, 2012

More numbers

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Yesterday I wrote about 2012 just being a number. And I'm sticking by that.

But today, there are more numbers. Numbers that are more significant to me than a simple change on the calendar.

The first number I encountered was my waking blood sugar level. It's been a long time since I've tested my blood sugar. But lately, I've been noticing some small signs that have let me know that my blood sugar is not well-controlled. That's no big surprise given all the pre-holiday, holiday, and post-holiday eating I've been doing.

This morning when I woke up, I went with the whole knowledge is power idea and pricked my finger for a little diagnostic medicine before breakfast. 165. Not terrible. My doctor likes to see it below 100 first thing in the morning. But not great either. Good to know either way. I tested it a few other times during the day and got similar not bad/not great results.

Then tonight, I got a call from the doctor at the sleep clinic. I have sleep apnea. Well, yes. I knew that based on the fact that they put me on CPAP two hours into my sleep study last week. He explained to me that people with mild sleep apnea wake, momentarily, 5 to 15 times per hour. Those with moderate sleep apnea have the same wakings 15 to 30 times per hour. Anything above that is considered severe.

Being the chronic overachiever that I am, I scored an impressive 79 arousals per hour. Quite frankly, I'm pretty darn impressed I've been able to get done anything during the day considering I'm probably actually only getting a fraction of the sleep I thought I was getting. All kidding aside, there are plenty of reasons beyond fatigue to treat sleep apnea.

And so, I'll be making some health and lifestyle changes. I'm not setting big goal. I'm just committed to taking a more active role in my own health. To check my blood sugar daily. To use a CPAP machine nightly. Not because the calendar now reads 2012. But because I'd like to live to see the calendar read 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond.

It's just a number

I could be talking about age. Or weight. But today, I'm talking about the year. 2012 is just a number. Just one more than 2011. I refuse to believe it's anything more than that.

Because if I heap a load of importance on the transition of one year into another, then I start getting overwhelmed with self-imposed "I should's," "I need to's" and "I must's." If the turning of the calendar is of real significance, then I start fretting about what I did or didn't do in 2011. I start becoming uneasy with what this new year might have in store for me.

I'm not sticking my head in the sand. Two days ago, I needed to stop eating so much and start exercising more. Two weeks ago, home organization was not one of my better qualities. Two months ago, I was challenged to look outside myself and towards others more often. And today, I still do.

But I'm not looking to make a major statement about goals and deadlines and resolutions just because I'll be writing a different date on my checks.

Call it denial. Call it stubbornness. I'll just call it a number and move ahead one day at a time.