Monday, January 13, 2014

On the Outside, Looking In

I read a quote the other day that made me sit up and take note. This is long.
...when shame has been completely internalized, nothing about you is okay.  You feel flawed and inferior; you have the sense of being a failure.  There is no way you can share your inner self because you are an object of contempt to yourself.  When you are contemptible to yourself, you are no longer in you.  To feel shame is to feel seen in an exposed and diminished way.  When you're an object to yourself, you turn your eyes inward, watching and scrutinizing every minute detail of behavior.  This internal critical observation is excruciating.  It generates a tormenting self-consciousness which Kaufman describes as 'creating a binding and paralyzing effect upon the self.'  This paralyzing internal monitoring causes withdrawal, passivity and inaction....To be severed and alienated within oneself also creates a sense of unreality.  One may have an all-pervasive sense of never quite belonging, of being on the outside looking in...  This also has to do with the sadness of losing one's authentic self.  Perhaps the deepest and most devastating aspect of neurotic shame is the rejection of the self by the self.
Woah.  Yeah. I have spent my entire life feeling like I just walked into the middle of a long, detailed conversation and have tried to talk my way through it.  It's exhausting.  And I think I'm done with it.

Know what else is exhausting?  Self-discovery.  :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fit and Fabber Program of 2014!

Back in 2013 and 2014, I created a program called the Fit and Fab 2014 Program. It's not as catchy as the snazzy FAB FIT FUN product boxes people now know, but it was an insanely successful program. We started a blog with the weekly challenges, but I've converted them for a new product I have, so I'm only sharing the original post for my trip-down-memory-lane personal blog. I'm reposting on May 20, 2021. 

This was a MUCH more simple blog in which every post just sits on top of the last post. It looks here like it's showing up as separate pages.

  1. Joining the 2014 Fit & Fab Program

    Those who choose to join Fit & Fab 2014 will receive a program T-Shirt, some Cards to hand to friends, support and encouragement in developing a healthy lifestyle, the opportunity to join fitness programs and challenges with fellow employees, and an invitation to a Facebook group offering support and motivation. 

    The goal is a renewed commitment to health and wellness for a new year.  The individual will achieve a healthier lifestyle that leads to feeling FAB-you-lous! 

    To join the program, simply complete a weekly journal.  The journal must indicate which four of the fourteen possible wellness topics you focus on that week.  The four topics do not have to be the same four topics for the duration of the program, but they must be four of the listed topics.  The weekly journal page will be reviewed, so it needn’t be painstakingly personal, but it does need to show thoughtful reflection on each of the topics that are reflective or what activity and the duration of that activity for the active topics. 

    The Reflective Topics are as follows:  Tick-Tock (sleep improvement), Stress Busters (managing stress better to feel less stressed), Mental Challenge (exercising your brain to improve its overall health), Positive Attitudes (becoming the glass half-full person instead of the glass half-empty), Daily Affirmations (talking nice to yourself), and  Spirituality (learning about new spirituality or enhancing your existing relationship with a higher power).

    The Active Topics are as follows:  Gym Rats (using a gym regularly), Tick-Tock (sleep improvement), Couch Potato No More (taking action to avoid sitting on the couch watching TV in every spare moment), Hydration Station (how did you get more water?), Mental Challenge (exercising your brain to improve its overall health), 10,000 Steps (how did you get more steps?), Fantastic Fruit (what new fruits did you try?), Valuable Veggies (how did you prepare a tasty veggie dish?), Community Contribution (how did you improve the community?), Meal Planning (how do you create better meal plans and execute them, and how well do they succeed?).

    Every topic can be reflective, and every topic can be active.  The last two paragraphs offer guidelines.

    Your topics can change every week.  The first week, you may focus on water, fruits, veggies, and walking.  Awesome.  Write about how much water you drank and how that felt, how you added fruits, what kind of veggies, and how you added steps.  Next week, you may choose to get better sleep, challenge your brain, come to the gym, and increase your spirituality.  Journal about how many hours you achieved, what kind of brain challenges you completed, what you did at the gym and for how long, and what new spiritual activity you completed.  Or you may choose the same four as the first week:  water, fruits, veggies, and walking.  It doesn’t matter.  It only matters that for that week, you’re focused and feeling better every day.

    As always with these programs, they evolve and change as new inspiration hits, so there may be short contests with prizes and cash available to participants.  Only participants will qualify.  We will give advance notice when possible so other employees may join at those points.  Sometimes adequate notice will not be available – for example, we may join a last minute 5k with a prize to those who sign up and an award of $50 for the fastest time.  To be fully eligible when the time comes, participate! 

    This time, to avoid the usual trouble with our busy environment and employee turnover, etc, we have completed enough weekly newsletters, special fitness episodes, and a handful of handouts that will differ from the weekly newsletters to last until the end of 2014. 

    There’s no penalty to start later and no penalty to quit, so keep watching.  For those of you ready to be Fit & Fab in 2014, indicate your interest by turning in the first journal page by Monday, January 13, 2014, with your first four topic choices. 

    Good luck!  I hope you want to make the effort with me to be Fit & Fab in 2014!             

                                                                                                                                                                                        Kari Kounkel, 01.06.2014

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  2. Want to try something new??

    The latest craze to hit the diet and food industry is actually pretty exciting to those of us wanting to feel better and stronger in 2014.

    Introducting…  Meatless Mondays!

    The Mayo Clinic is definitely on board for this “craze” that may become more than just a fad or craze, because it really makes good health sense.

    Here’s an interesting – and alarming – statistic:  the National Cancer Institute studied 500,000 people and concluded that those who a mere 4 ounces (or more) of red meat daily were (GASP!) 30% more likely to have died of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who consumed less.  Highly processed meats, like lunch meats (OH THOSE NITRATES!), also increase the risks.  Those who ate mostly poultry or fish had a lower risk of death.

    There are some really amazing ways to get enough protein in our diets without eating red meat specifically – or any meat at all.  Foods high in protein include eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.  Foods like seafood, nuts, and seeds contain fat that is considered oil (liquid that can actually move freely through our bodies), whereas red meat, poultry, and eggs contain fat that is considered solid (which solidifies in our bodies and is more difficult to eliminate).

    For those of us interested in being good stewards of the earth, and being more green, going meatless makes great sense.  You will be seeing a series of posters on Meatless Mondays explaining how our environment is impacted by the production, processing, and shipment of meat.  You’ll be shocked!

    This is yet another way to make small changes so that before you know it, you’ll be Fit & Fab in 2014!

    Sample Meatless Monday Menu

     Orange Marmalade Baked Oatmeal
     Roasted Chestnut Soup
     Honey Vanilla Poached Pears
     Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta
    The recipes can be found on the Meatless Mondays website: This week’s featured recipe is also meatless, Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Cilantro Pesto. 

    Gym Rats
    The first week of 2014 workouts begins January 13.  Get ready!  Go to the gym and get your cardio on!
    Hydration Station
    Water can help control calorie intake, especially if it’s used to replace high calorie drinks.
    Fantastic Fruit
    Fruits add so much color, texture, and general appeal to your plate.  Load up!
    Getting enough sleep improves your memory.  A process called consolidation occurs during sleep.  Check it out.
    Mental Challenge
    If it takes six men one hour to dig six holes, how long does it take one man to dig half a hole.  (What’s half a hole?)
    Valuable Vegetables
    Green, yellow, and orange veggies are sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins B-complex, A, and K.
    Stress Busters
    Manage your time well.  It’s okay to say “no”.  Laura Vanderkam suggests happy people manage their time better. 
    Positive Attitudes
    Positive people bring out the best in others, and so achieve greater success in their careers and relationships because they are positive.
    Community Contribution
    Want to try delivering Meals on Wheels?  Delicious and healthy meals are delivered to homebound people.  Give it a try in January.  See Kari.
    Couch Potato No More
    Last week we suggested leaving the remote near the TV.  This week we’re thinking why not stay away from the TV completely?? 
    10,000 Steps
    Set daily reminders for your walks.  Maybe you want three 10-minutes sessions rather than one 30-minute session. 

    Meal Planning
    Shop strategically on the day that works best for you.  Consider when produce is the most fresh, and be flexible with your list.
    Daily Affirmations
    I release the drama of my past and consciously create my
    Be impeccable with your word:  speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    Recipe of the Week:  Red Lentil Rice Cakes w/ Cilantro Pesto
    For the Cakes
    11 cups water, divided
    2 cups dried small red lentils
    1 cup uncooked basamati rice
    ¼ c coconut oil, divided
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 small onion, finely diced
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    ½ cup panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs
    3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    salt and pepper to taste

    For the Pesto
    1 large bunch cilantro
    2-3 TBSP walnuts
    2-3 TBSP miso paste
    2 TBSP lemon juice
    1 clove garlic
    1 tsp kosher salt
    2 TBSP olive oil

    To make pesto: pulse together all ingredients except the oil.  Drizzle oil in while blade is running until emulsified.

    Makes 15 small cakes.  Calories per serving 204.  6g Fat.  28g Carbs.  9g Protein.  1g Sugar.  266mg Sodium.

    Boil 8 cups water, lentils, and salt in medium saucepan.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, drain again.  Combine 3 cups water, rice, and salt in a pot, bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20  minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Combine rice and lentils.  Heat 1 TBSP coconut oil.  Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic and sauté 2 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Add to rice mixture along with cilantro, breadcrumbs, egg whites, and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Heat 2 TBSP coconut oil in skillet.  Drop by ¼ cup rounded spoonfulls.  Cook approximately 2 ½ minutes each side.  Serve with Cilantro Pesto.

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  3. Ready to welcome 2014 with a new you?

    Building on our 13 in 13 program from 2013, Fit & Fab in 2014 adds one element to our 13 lifestyle tips.

    The 13 original Health & Wellness tips were in the following areas:
    Getting to the gym
    Drinking enough water
    Adding fruit to your daily menu
    Getting enough sleep
    Challenging your brain
    Adding vegetables to your diet
    Finding healthy ways to beat stress
    Keeping a positive attitude
    Contributing to your community
    Getting off the couch
    Making daily affirmations
    Planning healthy meals
    Walking 10,000 steps every day

    New for 2014:  Recognizing your own spirituality! 

    Most – if not all – of us recognize the presence of a higher power.  For some it’s the Judeo-Christian God, for others Allah.  Some may call it the Great Spirit or Zeus.  The Wiccans recognize the power of Nature and the Goddess. 

    Regardless of the manifestation, spirituality matters.  According to Dr. Karen Dunn, “spirituality is a core aspect of who we are.”  She continues:  spirituality is “an awareness of a being or force that transcends the material aspects of life and gives a deep sense of wholeness or connectedness to the universe.”

    So how might we improve our sense of spirituality?  Ralph Waldo Emerson, great American Transcendentalist who was an essayist, lecturer, and poet in the mid-19th Century suggested “make your own Bible.  Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”  Add to that collecting those events and people that have like the blast of a trumpet, and you’re on your way to having your very own personalized spiritual guide.  Stop in the front office this month to grab your own journal to start your own.

    Watch for this newsletter each Monday and spend some time looking at the fourteen boxes on the reverse.  Each one has one of the fourteen headings and an idea for implementing something new in your life to achieve wellness in that area.  Start with one box at a time.  As you start to feel better and stronger, implement the ideas in a second box.  Before you know it, you’ll be Fit & Fab in 2014!

    Reminder:  Gym memberships from January to March are available!  Sign up in the front office.  We will be posting three workouts a week for individuals and two group workouts.  This was fun last year, and for some people, wildly successful.  Join us next door at The Rink!

    Memberships are paid by payroll deduction, and are $15 a pay period.  Members who go to the gym 15 times a month get a $10 refund.  Members who go to the gym 20 times a month get a $20 refund.   Anyone attending more than 20 times a month get a full refund.

    Gym Rats
    The first week of 2014 workouts begins January 13.  Get ready!  Go to the gym and get your cardio on!
    Hydration Station
    Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.  At first, you may visit the bathroom often, but you’ll adjust.
    Fantastic Fruit
    An apple a day really does keep the doctor away.  Feeling really adventurous?  Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
    How many hours is considered “good sleep?”  There are apps that tell you.  Shoot for eight.
    Mental Challenge
    A man sold a horse for $90 bought him again for $80, and resold him for $100.  What did he make on the transaction?
    Valuable Vegetables
    Some veggies are better than others.  For example, the greener the veggie, the more heart healthy!  Eat spinach.
    Stress Busters
    Practice letting go.  Make a conscious choice not to become angry or upset.  Do not waste the thought or energy. 
    Positive Attitudes
    Get back to basics!  Reconnect with an old friend, take the dog for a walk, visit a gallery or museum, listen to music.  Be happy!
    Community Contribution
    Want to try delivering Meals on Wheels?  Delicious and healthy meals are delivered to homebound people.  Give it a try in January.  See Kari.
    Couch Potato No More
    Leave the remote by the tv.  The next time you want to change the channel, get up. 
    10,000 Steps
    For the first week, make a goal to walk 30 minutes.  Try to go outside or to the walking track.  Move!

    Meal Planning
    Prep ahead.  Pick
    your healthy
    snacks and make
    enough for a week.
    Daily Affirmations
    I may hate daily affirmations, but I’m going to give them a try.  I will write them, read them, and say them.  I will let them work, knowing that changing the way I think is slow, hard work.  It could takes weeks to have a new perspective.  I’m going to give this a try!
    Be impeccable with your word:  speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

    Recipe of the Week:  Spaghetti Squash Chicken “Alfredo”

    1 whole spaghetti squash
    12 oz boneless chicken breasts/tenders, cut into small pieces
    ½ bag frozen broccoli
    ¾ c part skim mozzarella cheese
    4 laughing cow garlic & herb cheese wedges
    Seasonings (oregano, basil, chives, black pepper

    Yields 4 Servings.  Estimated calories per serving 246.  7g Fat.  15g Carbs. 
    29g Protein.  7g Sugar.  429g Sodium.

    Preheat oven to 350.  Cut squash in half length-wise, place open-side down on a cookie sheet.  Bake approx. 40 minutes or until edges are soft.  Remove from oven and remove seeds.  Scrape out insides. 

    While baking, cook the chicken and veggies on the stovetop.  Mix with the cooked squash and remaining ingredients until creamy.  Enjoy!

  4. Reposted from, a now defunct blogspot account.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

23 in 23

While waiting at the airport this afternoon, we ate lunch with Jakob.

We were talking about things that have changed or improved since we got married in 1991.  

Here's our list of 23 changes in the last 23 years.
  1. Adam and Jakob Kounkel - and what world changing characters those two are.
  2. Then there's Haleigh, Bethany, Brittney, Megan, Luke, and Ethan - our nieces and nephews who came after we married.
  3. The Cold War went away.  It was a scary thing for those of us paying attention to world affairs.  And the Berlin Wall - that was something.
  4. There aren't anymore encyclopedia salespeople.  And we liked them.
  5. Tattoos used to indicate something about people.
  6. So did earrings in men.
  7. Carseats were sort of a novelty - and so were seatbelts.
  8. Cable/Satellite TV.
  9. Monticello High School.
  10. The house we build at 2197 116th St NE in Monticello.
  11. Remember plain paper faxes?
  12. Nine Eleven.  And the Twin Towers are no more.
  13. The Internet.
  14. E-Mail.
  15. Social Media, Blogs, Twitter...
  16. iPhones.  
  17. Notebooks/Readers.
  18. Digital TV & Music... 3D TV ?!?!?!
  19. Flu shots.
  20. New princesses were born.  Think Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Anna...
  21. New roads appeared:  Chelsea Rd is a personal favorite.
  22. And in recent years, we elected a President of color.  Still.  No women. I find that odd - a bit demoralizing.
  23. Joe and I started our own somethings:  A+ Taxi of Monticello, Inc., and Paddle Pedal & Play of Monticello, Inc.
I wonder what the next 23 years will bring.

Certainly a thought occurs about "development" and "progress" over the last years.

When I wrote my senior honors thesis, I considered the sad fact that everything that was great and beautiful and progressive at one time came from Germany.  And that culminated, really, in the gas chambers of World War II.  

Is there a parallel between that and this once great country?

Of course, I was also pondering this great thought:  was the first decade of 2000 the only time hair fashion actually made sense?