Resolutions Review: did you get control of your weight, fitness, money, and work issues? (Plus power poses.)

It’s Resolutions Review Week, here at The Paranormalist.

Why? More pointedly, why now, in late February? Because most of us made some resolutions just seven weeks ago, whether we admitted it aloud or not. Now, in the trough of this extreme and exhausting winter, we are at a challenge point. If we’ve been “good,” we’re feeling deprived and tired. If we’ve been “bad,” we have slipped back into the same old pre-resolution, habits, and we don’t care … because, hell, it’s hard enough to just get from one (frigid, ice-coated) day to the next, right?

(Apologies to my readers who live in reasonable climates … here in most of the United States, it’s been a rough winter.)

This week, I’m donning my Miss Mary Sunshine persona and sharing my thoughts about a few amazing life-hack tools I found. (You should appreciate that; this particular mask pinches and smells funny.) Still, some combination of desperation, determination, and good luck has allowed me to actually make real progress on a few of my 2014 resolutions, and (in the name of karma, or something) I have to share what is working.


Photo by Don O’Brian
(linked to original)

The truth is, I didn’t make my resolutions on January first. Long-term readers know that our family is coming of a pretty brutal period (during which we experienced: cancer, eldercare issues, sudden unemployment that lasted 11 months, losing our house, moving into an apartment, etc.)  We’ve been trying to rebuild our lives for about two years. For most of that time, we’ve been consumed with just hanging on. Following Halloween of 2013, though, I had a bit of an emotional crash — the stress of the previous years finally caught up with me.

I stopped being able to write fiction.

After about a month and a half of unrelenting writer’s block, I decided I might as well be doing SOMETHING useful, so I set out on my quest to fix everything else, in the hopes that relieving some stress would ignite my creativity.

I didn’t find all the fantastic tools I wanted right away. There were some false starts. As weeks passed, however, I found some treasures and a few things started to come together.

Now I can tell you that in the last 3-4 months I’ve:

  • lost 10 pounds without really dieting
  • started working out regularly
  • taken control of our financial situation
  • saved over $1000.00 – in a real savings account
  • increased my hit traffic here at the blog substantially (On this one, I’m not quite sure WHY it’s happening, but I’ll take it.)


  • I’ve started writing fiction again.

So, what has been working?

This intro to Resolution Week is already getting long, so I’ll start the series by sharing a quick link to one of the flakiest helpful techniques I stumbled on. I’m going to assume that you, like me, are a special kind of (paranormal) person — one who is simultaneously open minded and skeptical.

Power Posing:

wonder woman

(linked to Wonder Woman on IMDb)

I warn you, the idea seems silly. If you watch the whole 21 minute presentation, though, you might be persuaded to give it a try, based on the psychological and neurological science cited in the video.

Perhaps you’ve already seen Amy Cuddy’s viral TED Talk, Your body language shapes who you are. The idea is that our brains are hardwired to take cues from the body language of the people around us, and this capability is unconsciously applied to our own personal body language too. We come to believe things about ourselves based on the body language we adopt. Now, this is obviously a chicken and egg thing, but the question remains: if there is a feedback loop, can we really “fake it ’til we make it?”

I don’t yet power pose daily. In fact, I hardly ever do it at all. I just forget. Right after I watched the video, though, I tried to adopt a regular practice. I wrote in my personal journal:

A funny thing happened today. My husband likes it when I greet him enthusiastically when he gets home from work. You know, if I stop whatever I’m doing and go to give him a kiss before he can even get his coat off. I know it makes him happy. 

I thought I’d be funny today, and be waiting for him at his parking spot. I went down and was just sort of slumped against the wall when I remembered I hadn’t done any power poses yet. So I did. Just the Wonder Woman stance. 

Next thing I knew, I’d decided I might as well walk laps in the big underground garage of the apartment complex while I waited. It was probably my third lap before I started to wonder if the power posing energized or focused me in such a way that I started to do something good. Just a thought. 

My biggest take-away from this video was a realization that the position I adopt while writing matters. I happen to be one of those people who has always walked and stood confidently, but I tend to slump and fold in on myself and shrink when I’m seated. Now, when the words are feeling confined or cramped, I change the way I’m sitting and I stretch out a bit. It’s just one little thing, among other hacks that I’m using, but it helps.

power rangers

PS: A whole lot of yoga poses already tap into this idea, I think.

Photo links:
Warrior II
Yoga @ Midway Castles
Happy 50th Francine


wrimoprog: 02/24/2014: 35 + 31 = 66/80


Paranormal day #17,061: dreams, dreams and more dreams.


Here at my “professional blog,” I’ve been concentrating on all the good buzz-words: creating quality content, and organizing a schedule of evergreen / pillar posts, and thinking about SEO. I’m fine with all that, and it’s been paying off in terms of total hits, but sometimes I feel like I get a little lost amongst those things.

Lately I’ve been doing an awful lot of personal blogging at a secret location — daily blogging, in fact. It’s felt good to just babble, and the denizens of the secret location seem to like it when I do. I think, maybe, this blog needs a little babbling too.

Remember the definition of “paranormal”?

Para- / par-ə / Prefix. ”Alongside, near, beyond, altered, contrary to.”
norma/ nawr-muhl / Adjective. “Conforming to the standard; usual; regular; natural.”

Truth is, no matter how much I love all that is traditionally paranormal, I spend an awful lot of my life just the tiniest scootch to the left of plain-old-normal. And that means that I deal with all sorts of mundane issues and problems. It means I have the same kind of personal dreams as about 99% of the population. It means I’ve got to use this time of year — when ghosts and monsters and Jacks are far from the minds of most folks, including me — to pursue my non-paranormal dreams.

In the next few days, I’ll share a couple of tools I found to help me with my own classic (if mundane) resolutions: creating a healthier body and improving my financial situation. I’ve been using them since before January, and I think they have had amazing results. (I’m down 10 pounds & eat vegetables occasionally now, AND I have more than $500 in an actual savings account For me, these developments are nothing short of miraculous.)

Now is the time to deal with snow and cold and ice. It’s the time to get through each day in such a way that will lay a good foundation for future, more-paranormal-activity-friendly months. It’s the time to do the WORK of keeping one’s New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s what I’ve been mostly doing in these last couple of months.


Still, the light changes a little each day. In 37 days, it will be equinox, and I can feel it coming. I covered a shift at the #ParanormalHotel last week, just to help out in an emergency. As I drove over at 5:57p it was not yet dark.


By the way, a couple of weeks into the job, Langston had an especially bad night, in an especially bad weekend, and ended up being let go. He made a questionable judgement call and the consequences were really expensive for the hotel owners. The decision came down that he’s not mature enough to handle the night shift. Since then, he’s found a new job working at the deli counter of a local grocery, so it’s all good. 

Sometimes, when the wind stops blowing and the sun shines, I can sense the promise of spring in the air. The other day, when The Boy and I driving to school with the windows rolled partially down, we heard this:

It was only one refrain, and we couldn’t see the little guy, but we both instantly smiled. Sadly, the invisible bird was a bit premature, as the weather is not actually spring like at all. I remember having winters like this as a child, but The Boy doesn’t … it’s been that long since we had this much snow and cold here.

Even in this state of hardy snowmobile-loving, ice-fishing souls, the zeitgeist is that we’re DONE with this crap:

#hauntedphotoaweek #chilling

#hauntedphotoaweek #chilling #fucksnow


I’ve been sleeping often, long and deep for a couple of months now, but I think that’s coming to an end … thank God. I hate feeling tired all the time, and I especially hate descending so deep into unconsciousness that I don’t dream. Or at least don’t remember my dreams.

Apparently, two nights ago, I talked in my sleep. The Ogre tells me that I rolled over to tell him, “I didn’t think your horns would be so big.” He attempted to get me to expound, but that’s all I’d say.

I’m going to assume that I encountered a satyr or a talking beast of some sort in my dreams, because I don’t want to be consorting with demons, conscious or not.

Of that, I have no memory, but I had a dream within a dream just last night. Creepy as hell. The dog and I had fallen asleep on the sofa. At some point, he decided to move to the floor, which woke me slightly. I re-positioned myself and drifted back toward sleep. Then I “realized” someone was standing across the room, in front of the TV, (which was off) just watching me. The presence was male and not benevolent, but not terribly threatening. At least he didn’t make any move to approach — which was creepy in its own way, because it made me understand that it wasn’t just one of my menfolk. He was large, and had a sort of dark energy about him. I couldn’t make out any details. I actually tried to see him more clearly, so I could determine if he had anything that could be termed “horns.” As far as I could tell, he didn’t.

Then I “realized” I was dreaming. I got up and went to the bedroom, to cuddle in with Ogre. When I got there, I tried to wake him up a little, just so he could soothe me. But he wouldn’t wake. I grew increasingly insistent and scared. I was shaking him and shouting his name when I woke up … on the sofa.

(Yes, I had seen the latest Walking Dead episode earlier in the night.)

Once I’d actually gotten up, gone to the bedroom, and easily awakened my husband, I felt much better. The moment I knew I had just been dreaming, the events of the dream became story fodder. And that’s why I love dreaming, even when it’s frightening. It means I’m going to be able to write fiction more easily soon. In fact, it means I’m going to have to.

And that brings me full circle back to the first kind of dream in this post, doesn’t it?