life has to be challenged.

I was watching Bode Miller being interviewed at the Sochi Olympics. He was talking about the changes in his life the past few years, and how the past year has been especially difficult. The guy who for years and years insisted results don't mean much to him declared he actually did care about this one. "It's almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths," said Miller. "Some days ... medals don't matter, and today was one of the ones where it does." He wiped away tears in the finish area after someone mentioned his brother. Apparently, life is kicking his butt, but he just keeps "pushing through it".

Sometimes life is a challenge. Sometimes life is to be challenged.

I never pass up the chance to have a new hero. I never want to miss words of wisdom... accidental or not.  I thought about what it would mean for "life to be challenged".  To confront life.  To wrestle life.  To not just recognize that life can be challenging which we all know it can but to look it square in the eye and issue the challenge back! And suddenly, when the prick and sweet sting of happy pinged off my brain, I felt like I'd tripped over the holy grail, or at least my own itty-bitty version of it, No Sir, Life!!! this ain't goin' down like that.

Life has given me a new mantra and I know exactly where it's to be tested.

Occasionally I suffer from the moody blues (not the band although nights in white satin could send anybody digging around for a pill bottle).  There are days I'm so melancholy that I want to take a couch vacation.  That's what I call it when I take a family sized bag of chips and a bowl of salsa to the sofa and watch t.v. for hours unkempt unwashed and undressed (well dressed in what I slept in).  I take no phone calls and no prisoners.  I am on Couch Island where I am a castaway surviving only on mango, coconuts and the fish I can catch with the spear I carved out of a tree branch.  Wait. That's not me... that's the movie I'm watching. 

It's an exercise in despair.
Since I entered the mood swing house of fun a few years ago, this particular scene plays out about every 6 months. Thank you seasonal affective disorder. I joke about it but if you suffer from this, you know it can be really tough.  

I woke up last Wednesday morning to the familiar pang of angst and I knew I was in for a day of Survivor: Couch Island.  I fluffed the sofa pillows, sprayed my hair with dry shampoo and tried to figure out how I was going to get nacho cheese Doritos home delivered.

Then I remembered those inadvertent words of wisdom, my new mantra Life has to be challenged.

I quit the couch and vowed to take the upper hand.

I showered, got dressed and shaved my legs like I had a purpose.  I know you're thinking "way to throw down the gauntlet" but if you've ever had a run in 
with the blues, you know that getting started is the hardest part.

I put on make up and gave myself a fresh haircut (I'm afraid this happens more than it should, and twice just last week, but I'm at Defcon 1 here people).

I took a moment and wrote in my non existent gratitude journal.  I keep it in my head sometimes,  yeah I know that's not how it's supposed to go.  But, Oprah says that helps.

I cleaned the parts of the house I'd been neglecting.  My mom says that helps.

Most importantly I made myself an itinerary that pushed me to the outside of the house.  Away from family room furniture and fried corn.  Out into the world.  Where new experiences and the sun live.  I ran mindless errands.  It didn't matter.  I was averting the temptation to curl up into a ball or at least making it logistically unsavory.

I was proud of myself for not going quietly into the night... or onto the sofa.

After all that, did the fog magically disappear?  Not completely.  As I sit here Friday morning - it lingers a bit.  Still, I feel victorious.  Like the past year that was kicking Bode's butt, I'm feeling stronger.  It will take practice no doubt but I've got the road map to success... life has to be challenged.


1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.


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