Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year's resolutions

Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? If you haven't, good! Don't.

They. Don't. Last. 

Maybe I lack the self-control to maintain the absurd commitments but I think many of us aim for unattainable goals every year.

Instead of setting myself up for failure, this year I am going to make small, manageable lifestyle changes. Those changes for me include:


  • 1 gallon of water every day
  • 3 days per week of exercising
  • Better evening and morning routines 
  • Reaching out in kindness more
  • Be able to do a split again

I am a pretty good water drinker but I can never keep track of how much I've had. And I'm certain it's not a gallon. I can never remember how many times I've refilled my glass or Nalgene so I ordered a gallon glass jug and will pour from that to more accurately keep track of my water intake.



As far exercising more regularly, Jesus help me. The two things I dislike the most in life are being cold and getting up early. When my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and I can already feel the chill that will engulf me if dare I get out from under the covers... It's tortute.

I wanted to get a head start on my exercising goal so I started back yesterday. I want to be able to scoff at everyone who shows up to the gym on January 1st and be like, "Omg they're so annoying, I started a full week before you losers!!"
I did my first deadlift yesterday and as a result I got my first callus! Well it's just a blister at the moment but has great callus potential if I keep this up!




My sophomore year of college my roommate and I were laying around one day and started talking about what we would do if there were a fire. Our bedroom was on the second floor and we wanted to see if we would be able to save the other one. We took turns playing dead as one of us tried picking up the other to carry to safety. 'Tried' being the operative word. Jen was so tiny but I could barely walk two feet once I laboriously got her off the bed. We were laughing so hard it made exerting any strength impossible but also because my upper-body strength is zero. Add that to my New Years resolutions: getting strong enough to carry someone to safety, but hopefully never have to.

I think that's where my better evening and morning routines will kick in and help. Getting to bed at a good time, having my gym clothes laying out, water bottle ready to grab and go, etc. Those little things make getting up slightly easier. Not a lot easier! But bearable. The kind of bearable where you know it probably won't kill you it only sort of feels like it. 

2014 has been full of manageable lifestyle changes, ones I didn't anticipate but am glad I stuck with. I want to keep at it. Reaching out in kindness to people isn't necessarily a resolution for just 2014, it's something that's been on my heart the past few months that I've been working on and want to continue to make a point of until it becomes more of an effortless habit and less having to remind myself. 

I hope you all take a moment to rethink any New Years resolutions you've already made. Are they achievable? Will any of them improve the lives of others and not just yourself? (I am asking myself this also.)

Want an accountability partner? Message me! I promise 90% encouragement and only 10% harassment ;) Really though, if you would like daily, weekly, or monthly accountability and follow up for any new or old commitment you're wanting to stick to I would love to partner with you. Feel free to email me at betholiviahilliard@gmail.com 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the universal feelings of being unemployed

It was around 2 yesterday afternoon when it hit me. A wave of "Oh, thank God, I'm not the only one!" swept over me.

I was sprawled out on the couch, still in my pajamas, hadn't brushed my teeth yet, and watching Netflix when I realized that I'm not alone. It was during the episode of Parenthood when Adam has been laid off and has been desperately job hunting for over 6 months. He was also still in his pj's, on the couch, watching whatever happened to be on at the moment. He hadn't shaved in days and there were fast food wrappers scattered every where. Is it 2pm? Is it 8am? When you're unemployed you don't really know, or really care. You no longer tell time by the clock but by which soap opera is on. It's a sad, pathetic world that you don't quite understand until you've been jobless for a couple weeks and your sofa is starting to have an actual indentation where your butt has been for 18 hours a day for the past month.

Then the mentality of 'If I can't make any money I certainly shouldn't be spending any either!' takes over and you get to the point where you feel so useless you dig through the pantry (for the 100th time that day convinced that something yummy will magically appear if go check just one more time) and come across crackers that you don't even remember buying. Seeing them brings far too much joy than a pack of crackers should ever bring a person. You slather on some possibly expired cheese and top it with dollop of jam.

I popped the entire thing in my mouth and I got a big ol' bite of stale. Stale doesn't even begin to describe that cracker actually. It was horrible and barely edible. So I added another layer of cheese and ate the rest of the pack.

Unemployment doesn't just effect your eating habits, it's an all-encompassing day-to-day life altering time in your life.  From the outside it looks like you're incredibly lazy and maybe that's pretty accurate. But a month of vacation from work and a month of unemployment are two very different things. You can't truly enjoy this new free time. If you're not busy filling out job applications or sending in your resume, you're going on a much anticipated interview wearing those heels that make you look far more professional than the questionably homeless looking woman you were an hour before.

When you don't get a call back after a week, two weeks, a month even though you feel like you nailed the interview you begin to question yourself in some peculiar ways. (Because of course I assume I was the most qualified and experienced person they interviewed, duh.) So what could it have been? Was it something I said? Did I make a yo' mama joke?! Oh crap, I do that sometimes when I get nervous. I'd remember if I'd done that though... hopefully. Was it how I looked? Was my $200 suit not professional enough? Because really, if they could only see me when I first wake up to compare to how I looked at the interview they'd not only be shocked but impressed by the transformation.

I don't think I ask for a lot out of life. I'm a pretty low maintenance person. I just want to pay my bills, maybe lose a couple pounds, and it'd be nice if Netflix would stream Bring It On. That's not a lot!!

For the record, there's nothing like getting the final jeopardy question right to make an unproductive- still-in-my-pajamas-haven't-even-stepped-outside kind of day feel worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Adventures of Skinny Pete




If someone had told me on Friday morning, "Tonight you will be standing outside at midnight, soaking wet, with a golf club in your hand." I probably wouldn't have acknowledged their absurd claim. Me? I don't even golf! What are you talking about?!

Alex and I got home Friday evening around 10 and our cat Skinny Pete wasn't on the deck like she normally is. She gets to sleep inside at night so she is always home by sundown because she's excited to come in. She comes when you call just like a dog does, so I stood outside whistling for her. Nothing. 15 minuet later I tried again. Nothing. I had an early day on Saturday so around 11 I went to bed. 

Alex decided to get the flashlight and walk around the neighborhood looking for her. He got about halfway down our driveway and heard a squeaky meow... and there she was... 30 feet up in a tree! We started brainstorming ways to get her down but the tree she was in doesn't have any branches low enough for one of us to climb even with a ladder. I called the fire department and they put me in touch with animal control because they don't bring their fire truck to save kittens from trees anymore! Apparently it's not 1954. They laughed at me. They said she'd come down on her own as long as we left her alone.

We took his advice and went back inside only to hear the terrifying sound of a cat fight. We ran out there to see another cat up there with her that was attacking her!! A cat double her size that torments her on a daily basis was chasing her all over the tree clawing her. My 'oh heck noooo!' instincts kicked in and I took the fire department's second recommendation--I got the water hose. He suggested spraying her until she came down. 

Let me remind you guys of a few important details:

It's midnight at this point.
It's 35 degrees outside.
I only have on cotton pajama pants and top with bedroom slippers. 

Ok, now back to the ridiculousness.

We unwind the longest hose we can find, turn it on as high as it will go, Alex is shining a flashlight on the evil cat so I can aim, I have the hose in one hand and a golf club in the other just in case this thing jumped 40 feet out of the tree and attacked me. 

Alex said, "What are you doing with a golf club?!" 
"Ummm... just in case I get attacked!"
"Beth, I've seen you curl up the fetal position and cry when a stink bug landed on your head. You'll end up only hurting yourself with that thing. Go put it back."

He had a point.

I took aim and with all the I-am-so-cold-this-better-freaking-work determination in the world as I pressed the trigger and sprayed the evil cat. And you know what that cat did? It stared at me as I sprayed it and didn't even budge!! "Bring it on, you stupid woman." was the look it gave me. I panicked and dropped the golf club so I could grip the hose with both hands, I stretched my arms out straight in front of me, and jolted back and forth, up and down like a mad woman. The cat casually walked further up in the tree out of range of the water as if it were saying, "Woman, please, you're embarrassing yourself." The only good thing was that now Skinny Pete and the evil cat were on opposite ends and far from one another.

I was so determined to get the cat wet that I hadn't noticed the attachment on the hose was leaking and half of it sprayed the tree and the other half sprayed me.

So now it's 12:30 in the morning, 35 degrees, I have on cotton pajamas, and I am soaking wet. 

I am getting frustrated so we go inside to regroup and come up with a new plan. I just knew Skinny wouldn't come down as long as that other cat was up there with her. After some googling and reading what others did we rigged up a pulley system and got to work!

We tied a metal truck strap to the end of an Ethernet cord and Alex tried throwing it over the branch Skinny was on. She was really high up so after 20 minutes of trying I was starting to feel a little defeated. The metal strap wasn't heavy enough so even when Alex did get a good throw and made it onto the branch she was on it wouldn't  fall back down to us.

I stormed off and came back with a brick. Alex looked at me silently for a few seconds before reaching for the brick. A mutual glare of, "Are you serious?!" "Yes, I am serious." was shared. He tied the cord around the brick and after a few throws it got over the right branch and was weighted down enough. We got a laundry basket and put her favorite blanket in it with a bowl of her food and some salmon and attached it to the pulley and raised it up as close as we could to the branch she was on. When we had it in place I whistled for her and she started to come! But then she saw that cat looking at her and wouldn't budge another inch.

We secured our end of the cord to a bench so we could go inside and see if us not being there would help. We went inside and opened a window to be able to listen for them fighting. It was silent for 20 minutes so Alex went out there to check the progress. A few minutes later I hear him coming back inside... with her in his hands!! He said he shined the flashlight on the laundry basket and saw two little eyes glaring back at him but couldn't tell which cat was in the basket which was a little terrifying. He lowered it very quickly so she wouldn't get scared and jump. Skinny had eaten all the food in her bowl and was just chillin on her blanket. Ha!! 

The other cat was still in its spot high up in the tree so we grabbed our collection of stuff - a laundry basket, blanket, food bowl, brick, Ethernet cord, metal straps, golf club, water hose, and a handful of flashlights and called it a night.

She was very grateful for our help. The next day she was gone for several hours shopping for the perfect gift hunting down an appropriate present to say, "Thanks, y'all, for going to great lengths to get me out of the mess I put myself in." Every time she has ever brought us an animal it is dead, very dead. Like, completely dead. I can't stress the deadness enough. I wrongfully assumed this one was dead too. I was recording the video to send to Alex to show him Skinny's gift to us. And then... well, you can see for yourself.








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