Saturday, December 28, 2013

Resolution Solution

Hello! I hope everyone had a more fantastic Christmas week than the thought of a thousand Santas tangoing to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!"

This week I was interviewed by author Sittie Cates on her blog! She asked some pretty awesome questions, and if you want some sneak peaks about the future you really should check it out here

Well a new year is almost upon us. You know what that means!?

No, come on now, get out from underneath that desk, seeing another year zing by isn't THAT bad. After all, with every year that passes I'm sure we're getting closer to having flying cars and hover boards! (Back to the Future wouldn't lie to me.)

The biggest downside for me in watching a new year roll in, like a bunch of demon-possessed gorillas in a Cadillac, is the societal expectation to have some kind of New Years resolution.

I don't really do New Years resolutions. I don't see the point in waiting until a changing of the calendar to change something about myself. If I need to change something, I just do it.

So for those of you who are like me who really do not wish to be pressured into creating resolutions, here is a list of super easy to complete resolutions that will pretty much cover you:

1. I resolve to continue to breathe this year.

2. I resolve to not use math unless calculating a tip, doing my taxes or trying to see how many hours I have left to sleep if I go to sleep right now.

3. I resolve not to enter into a wrestling match with an angry pterodactyl (seriously, if you fail this resolution, I want pictures!).

4. I resolve to get addicted to at least one show on Netflix, watch all of the seasons, then feel a sense of loss when I have no more of the show to watch.

5. I resolve not to try to fly from the top of a building wearing nothing but a Superman cape (you need the tights at the very least as well).

6. I resolve not to try to become a professional baton twirler.

7. I resolve to continue my exact level of underwater basket weaving (so, none).

8. I resolve to give up my trash to the garbage truck every week, excluding holidays.

9. I resolve to continue to say no to drugs.

10. I resolve to be as awesome as possible.

There you go, ready made resolutions!

If you have any resolutions of your own, feel free to post them in the comments below!

There are a few more days on this year's book sale charity special for "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus." Until the end of the year half of the proceeds made from the book will be going to benefit the YWCA.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Years this year! May your new year be even more fantastic than the last!

Feel free to continue to follow me into 2014 on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Just Call Me Santa's Back-Up

Hello! I hope everyone has had a more fantastic week than the thought of a thousand snowmen running amok in a shopping mall to the song "Santa Baby!" 

My week ended with me trying to help someone move out of their apartment, in the middle of snowstorm, and getting stuck underneath a futon that fell on me in an icy parking lot. Good times!

Well, Christmas is almost upon us. In case you are looking for that last minute Christmas gift, remember "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" is sure to bring a smile to even the Grinchiest of person's faces. Half of the sales I make from the book this month will be going to benefit the YWCA in their efforts to combat racism, help victims of domestic violence and help the homeless!

In other news, I was interviewed by author Carla Sarett on her blog this past week! She asked me about some of the books that have greatly impacted my life, so if you're interested in finding something to add to your reading list, check out the interview here

I don't know about everyone else, but Christmas sneaked up on me this year. One minute I was just going along, living my life, and then BAM! Christmas is less than a week away!

If you were as surprised as I was, then it is fully possible that you haven't quite finished your Christmas shopping yet either.

It's ok, I've got your back. Today I provide, free of charge, some of the best Christmas gifts that you can give anyone. Even that super-hard to shop for person, who claims all they want is "world peace" but really wants you to read their mind, can be placated with these little certificates. 

(Please click to enlarge and print at your leisure.)

Feel free to stick these in a card, I'm sure no one will complain about these gifts! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! Don't go overboard on the eggnog!

As always, if you wish to follow my exploits you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Conference Conundrum

Hello, I hope everyone has had a more fabulous week than the thought of a symphony performed entirely by using vegetables as instruments!

We are getting ever closer to that magical time of year, or that time of year where you add a little extra kick to your egg-nog, your choice. If you are still on the hunt for that perfect Christmas gift don't forget Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus!

Half of the proceeds from book sales this month will go to benefit the YWCA in their work to empower women, end racism and help victims of domestic violence!

In other exciting news, I was also interviewed this past week by fellow writer Charissa Dufour on her blog, Too Particular.

So if you wanted to know the inner workings of my mind, I'd suggest you check it out!

Well, I spent the majority of this past week at a, program specific, social work conference with my boss. It's a good thing I have an awesome boss.

Oh, wait, I can't call it a conference because apparently that now has a bad connotation to it thanks to some "conferences" (aka multi-million dollar vacations) held by some members of Congress. I must now call it a "training."

When I mention to people that I am going to a conference, their replies somehow denote that they think that I will be sitting on a beach somewhere with a drink that contains some fruity flavored alcohol complete with little umbrella.

This NEVER Happens
What actually occurs is that we end up sitting in endless seminars and "special luncheon" sessions while someone endlessly verbally ambles about some topic that would be fascinating and educational... if it wasn't what we already did at our jobs every single day.

One seminar I went to was so boring that some lady, in the front row, fell asleep and open-mouthed snored for fifteen minutes.

Not all of the lectures I attended were awful. There was one about how to sell your program's effectiveness to politicians where the lady stood up and basically said, "Make it sound like you're getting people jobs, getting them off of welfare and therefore saving them money. Don't talk about the squishy stuff and make it all about them and you'll be fine," and then sat down.

We all wanted to hug this woman for her honesty.

Another great thing about this conference, I got my own room. Jumping on the beds may or may not have happened.

Apparently this particular conference, I mean "training," also had the unique ability to rob my boss and I, who I like to think of as normally two capable women, of some of our thinking abilities.

At one point my boss and I were in her hotel room working on a project and she picked up a little card that had instructions for who to call if we had questions. My boss read the card and said, "You know, that is the strangest spelling for the name 'Caroline' that I have ever seen!"

I looked at the card and said, "Kim, this is a card telling you to call the Careline."

To be fair, I can't read the word "coworker" without reading "cow-orker" first. 

Then, a little while later I found I had left some materials we needed in my room, which was right across the hall. As I was headed back towards my room I suddenly realized I also had to use the restroom, so I called over my shoulder, "It'll take me a minute, I have to pee."

During this announcement I had been in the process of opening up the hotel room door. And there in the hallway was a man staring at me like I had just smacked him with a fish. 

After a second, I realized that from his perspective I had just flung a door open and announced, quite loudly, to a complete stranger that I had to pee.

We stood there looking at each other for a brief moment before I finally just said, "And now you know," as I strode across the hallway into my own room.

I survived our "training," though, and am now home, rather tired, but mostly unscathed.

I did want to touch on one other quick point with my readers before I scamper away. If you happen to have read and and enjoyed Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus, do me a huge favor, take a few minutes and post a quick review on Amazon or Goodreads.

As a first-time author, good reviews are like gold and will literally make me do the dance that you see to the right of the screen. Thank you so much for all those readers who have posted reviews, your wonderful words mean more than you know!

As always, I hope you all a warm and wonderful week! If you wish to follow my day-to-day exploits you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Special Friends

Well hello everyone I hope your weeks were better than the thought of a Volbeat concert performed by people dressed up in costumes made of marshmallows.

Well it is officially "spit goes klink" cold where I live. Last night we had a wind chill factor of -10 degrees Fahrenheit which is officially frigid enough that I could be persuaded to wear multiple ugly Christmas sweaters.

Speaking of Christmas, if you are still looking for a gift for that special, or even the not-so-special, person, "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" is there to delight anyone on your list. Also, half of the proceeds from my sales this month will be going to benefit the YWCA in their efforts to support domestic violence victims, the homeless and other marginalized populations!

This week "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" was reviewed by staff writer Tania Staley for Readers' Favorite: 

"Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus is a laugh-out-loud trip through the often hilarious and surreal life of Allison Hawn. Author Allison Hawn has a way of constantly getting herself into awkward, odd, and downright ridiculous situations her entire life. This collection of short memoirs will have readers wondering if there is a cosmic force driving Hawn’s life into hilarity. Readers will be privy to the everyday adventures of her life — school, dating, concerts, and work — that somehow always seem to take a turn for the weird. 

With a quick wit and biting sarcasm, Allison Hawn tells some of her more amusing anecdotes from her life, which includes surviving mosh pits, pet sitting twenty-pound cats, contracting unknown illnesses, and much more. These stories will remind readers to take life a little less seriously and enjoy the excitement and weirdness that come with everyday life." 

That was only about half of what Tania had to say. If you want to read the full review you can do so here.   

Well it certainly has been an interesting week in the world of social work. And by "interesting" I mean only on occasion can one be graced by the sight of an only partially-clothed woman, streaking past the conference room you're sitting in, screaming, "Saran wrap is the devil's plaything!"

It's always good to know what Satan is using these days.

That same day I also had a gentleman wander into the temporary office I had set up at another agency.

There was no, "Good morning," or, "Hi, my name is."

Instead the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm supposed to be on 18 different medications."


I blew out a little bit of a sigh and said, "So, I'm guessing, by your use of the word 'supposed,' that you are not currently on your medications."

He nodded fervently. "What exactly do these medications do for you?"

He shrugged, "Mostly they just tell my special friends to shut-up."

Oh goody, who couldn't use a set of "special friends?" I just smirked and asked, "What do these 'special friends' tell you?"

"Oh, you know, they mostly warn me when someone's going to stab me with a thermometer. You get people jobs, can you get me a job?"

Internally this is what I did:

Externally, I just put on my "so sorry" expression and said, "No, most employers can't hire multiple people at once, and if your 'special friends' come along they probably won't be able to pay you all."

I have to say, "special friends" who warn you when someone's going to stab you with a thermometer could be handy, particularly if you were a turkey. 

Anyways, I hope everyone has a splendid week!

Remember, if you wish to follow my exploits you can find me on FacebookTwitterGoodreads!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Finding Motivation Through the Turkey

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful tryptophan filled Thanksgiving!

Mine was full of friends, a puppy, games of pool, football and a cracker dip that I swear had crack added to it.

I of course celebrated Thanksgiving night in the traditional way, with an absolute food coma. I won't disturb you with a picture of myself in my food coma state as it was not a pretty picture. Instead enjoy this food coma reenactment with a corgi puppy:

As the day before yesterday was Black Friday (which I am proud to say I did not even attempt to partake in), marking the official start of the crazed holiday shopping season, I feel it an appropriate time for a little bit of a shameless plug.

If you're looking for a fun, bizarre and entertaining gift for this Christmas (or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate) Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus is sure to pleasantly bemuse even the most humorless person in your life!

Also, money from every copy of the book sold in the month of November and December will go to support the YWCA in its efforts to fight racism, help victims of domestic violence and empower communities for social justice.

Well I spent Black Friday in my traditional way, sitting in my apartment, watching cheesy movies and writing!

The only time I left my abode was to go to the gym in an effort to burn off a bit of the Thanksgiving stuffing. I was pleased to see the gym bustling with new faces who were probably there attempting to do the same thing.

I have been going to the gym on a daily basis for over five years now, and I've noticed, no matter where I'm living or what gym I'm in, there tends to be a surge of new gym attendees every year about this time.

The gym boom usually starts right after Thanksgiving, growing in numbers through Christmas, reaching its peak right after New Years, when the Resolutioners show up, and tapers off around February. 

I'm not going to lie, getting into a workout routine and sticking to it is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but it has been absolutely worth it. Am I model thin? Oh hell no! But I am healthier and stronger for it. It genuinely makes me sad when I see the tapering off that happens in February.

I really want to encourage those who find themselves this season in the struggle to start exercising, either for the first time in their life, or after a long break. Which is why this week's post is devoted to the lessons I learned when I started regularly attending the gym, which I hope will help some of you stick to your gym-bound goals.

1. Do not start out trying to conquer the entire gym.

Seriously, take it easy and slowly work your way into it. No one starts out day one at the gym able to do three-hundred pound squats. The result of overdoing it on your first day will most likely be you walking this:

And having no motivation to go back to the gym ever again.

2. Set clear and realistic goals.

What do you want to accomplish by your excursions into fitness land? Be specific. The more specific your goals, the more likely you are to truly pursue them.

You want to lose weight? How much? You want to be stronger? How many pounds more do you want to be able to lift? Be as specific as you can. It's a lot easier to shoot for, "I'd like to be able to bicep curl 45 pounds, " than, "I'd like to be stronger."

 Also, try not to make these body-based goals. What I mean by that is while, "I want to be able to have abs like Ryan Reynolds," is a nice goal to have, it's also one that is based not on fitness, but on appearances.

I have a bad knee that hurts when I do basically anything. My goal when I got back to the gym was to be able to run one mile consecutively without my knee giving out. I was able to progressively work towards that goal, and now I run as part of my daily workout. Am I graceful gazelle on the Serengeti? Nope! But I can run without excruciating pain.

3. Remember that change happens over time, not immediately.

There is no magic wand for fitness, though dear heavens I wish it existed. It all takes work. So don't be discouraged if you don't look like Emma Stone after two workouts, keep at it!

4. Don't dwell on missed days.

If you haven't worked out for three days, don't let that turn into three years. Accept that you have missed a few days, and resolve to not make it four days.

5. Don't compare yourself to others at the gym

Believe it or not those super fit people you see at the gym did not just wake up one morning looking like they belonged in underwear ads. That is why they are here too.

True fitness takes on all shapes and sizes. I am short and definitely no skinny-mini, but I can high pull 140 pounds at 10 reps, power squat 165 pounds for 20 reps and can spend 20 minutes on the rowing machine at 100 percent resistance rowing a 2:30 min/500 m pace.

Your body's definition of fit is going to look totally different than the person in the gym right next to you, so don't try to compare.

6. Find a workout buddy or a class to go to.

It's a lot harder to skip out on workouts when you have a scheduled time to go and someone who can guilt trip you into going.

If you do decide to start taking a fitness class, make sure it's one you enjoy. If you choose to do Zumba and you hate dancing, you will last approximately half a class before deciding you have better things to do with your time.

I've also found social workout tracking sites, such as Fitocracy to be hugely helpful in staying motivated. Plus, they help you see the progress you're making, which is just awesome. 

7. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Seriously, I've been going to the gym consistently for five years now and there is still some equipment that I have no idea what it's used for. There is a reason that gym employees exist, if you don't know what something is, or if something will work well for you, then ask. Don't spend hours of time pointlessly doing something that will do you little to no good.

8. Get rid of your excuses.

There are a million and one reasons not to go to the gym. I'm sore, I'm tired, I ate too many nachos and now I feel gassy, I just don't want to...

Stop! Just stop! Stop thinking of the gym as a chore and instead think of it as an investment in your own health, longevity and happiness. Even if you work out from home for twenty minutes a day you are still doing something that is going to help you live a better life. So what excuse can trump that?

Well, I hope some of this helps! What are some things that you've found useful in obtaining your own fitness goals?

Remember, if you want to follow my adventures I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.