Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Final Weigh In


What I gained this year:

I gained an overall reduction in shame. That feeling that Dr. Brene Brown describes as that sickly, sticky red hot feeling that overtakes one. I have an overall reduction in shame. When I make a mistake at work, even a big one, I don't go directly to shame. Or if I do, it's just a quick trip, not something that I wallow around in.

I gained an increased knowing that I will be okay. No matter what happens. I will be okay. Things may be painful and hurtful, but hurt and pain will not kill me. Doing all kinds of machinations to avoid hurt and pain are far more devastating. The dread is worse than the actual event in 90 percent of the cases.

I gained experience in avoiding resentment building. Part of my character defects involve swooping in and fixing and then resentment when things inevitably do not go the way I'd like them to.

I gained another dollop of self-esteem. I gained some freedom from looking around and comparing myself to others. I gained freedom from having to put others down so that I can be more. I gained freedom from keeping score.

I gained a pound of self-confidence and it shows. I gained it in my eye contact, I gained it in my posture and I gained it my countenance.

I gained a measure of faith.

I gained an openness that replaces continues to replace my defensiveness.

I gained connections.

I gained greater insight into what makes me tick, and what adds fuel to the crazy thinking and what will nurture my soul and center me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Plans for The Future: The Mind And Spirit Edition



1. I'm participating in Ellen's Hate-Loss challenge. I love the idea behind this. I began to try to treat myself with lovingkindness a few years ago. I've done a decent job of reducing the ANTs (ANGRY NEGATIVE TALK) but I could do with some practice in replacing it with positive affirmations. I'm looking forward to this and I invite you all to join Ellen in this endeavor.



2. I am giving serious consideration to joining Dr. Brene` Brown's workshop on The Gifts of Imperfection.

3. I will be taking several classes in meditation every Friday in January.

4. I will continue to use and revisit my Twenty Days exercise.

5. I will continue to read and do the exercises posed in this book. And yes, it really is by that guy from The Office.

What are your plans to nurture your mind and spirit in 2011?


Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take good care of yourself. It bears repeating.

-Roxie

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day Twenty of Twenty: Final Day



Bick's mom passed away late last night, peacefully. She was 87. We had planned to head back down to Houston this weekend, but instead, they are headed in this direction and we will all go to her hometown near the Red River to finalize arrangements. Actually, I suspect I will stay back and prepare dinner, I don't really know. Bick is still sleeping after being up most of the night. I will do what I can to be of the most service during this time.

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Day Twenty Tasks

Question Day. Congratulations.

Feel different? You should. In hundreds of small but significant and realistic ways.

If you indeed followed this daily list, you have accomplished what most people only dream about doing, but lack the drive or discipline to do--- bring about a decisive organization to their lives. Most fall back into the inconsistent lazy routine and continue to find themselves trapped; living from daily laundry load to laundry load; wondering why they feel lost and helpless.

Are you now incredibly happy? Did all your troubles at work and home magically disappear? Does your life now have significance and meaning?

No. But it does have a realistic order. And you are the one who decides and executes that order. You are running your own life. Your house is organized, your budget is projected, you understand the dynamics of your thoughts and work. Your base of friends is strengthening. You are making decisions about your significant other relationships.

Are you any richer? Well, a little, you now have $25.00 that you probably wouldn't have had. Take the money, if you would like, and donate it to an organization like Kiva.com, that provides small loans to struggling third world businessman. People, like us in many ways, who crave control over the uncontrollable influences in their lives that lock them in physical poverty and emotional despair.

Those who have followed this twenty day routine have expressed that they feel "more organized," "more aware," " more settled." Hopefully you feel somewhat the same.

If you like, I always enjoy hearing from you. I enjoy your comments and suggestions on how to strengthen the process offered here.
Click the Contact Us for a visit; or david@daytwenty.com.

Your sweetest revenge on an apathetic universe is living well.

Fight the tide. Make lists. Look at life realistically and make your own decisions. Live long. Choose happiness.

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Day Twenty has been a very good experience for me. Am I vastly different than I was when I started? No. But the trajectory has changed just a bit. I have seen the difference my choices can make on the richness of my life. By making eye contact, I am more present, more in the moment. I am making new connections or enhancing old ones. This small change, when practiced, can have a huge ripple effect as I move into the new year with my CONNECTIONS theme.





Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Choose happiness.

-Roxie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day Nineteen of Twenty: Feeling Groovy



As much as I enjoyed Christmas, it's good to be back into some sort of routine, even if it's here at Bick's. Our girls and their boys came over for Christmas and it was quite nice. My Mom and Sis chose not to join us. Games were played, movies were watched and there was too much food. It wasn't horrible, but by the time dinner rolled around, no one was really hungry. Next time, sandwich trays.

We had pretty much decided on a no-gift Christmas on my side of the family and we stuck to that. I was fine with it. We did exchange with Sandy and Aloysius. We were evidently on the same page, as they got me a fabulous new cookbook but the real funny part was that she/they had annotated it. They drew little pictures on post it notes of themselves really enjoying certain recipes. They noted which recipes they really like and what they didn't want to eat. I thought it was beyond adorable! So one day this week, I'm fixing dinner from their selected works.

Aloysius is a starving student who is living in his first apartment, so Bick and I shopped for some kitchen stuff for him, which was great fun. We got him a wok, a Chinese cookbook, some corningware-type stuff, including ramekins. I got Sandy the vintage Julia Childs' cookbook she'd seen at the antique mall a month or so ago, along with some money.

And while Bick and I agreed only to exchange token gifts - I got him a shirt he will probably never wear because it looks "fashionable"!, he hit it out of the park for me - a 2 bike carrier for MalibuKen and a gag gift that I absolutely adore - the lamp from A Christmas Story, my favorite holiday movie!

The Christmas excess was pretty much cleaned out of the house by Monday morning and I was back in the groove. Eating what I normally eat (or as close as I can get being somewhere else) and I bought a bike trainer and went and got Cha-Cha and brought her up here. I spent an hour or so on the trainer yesterday and will do so again. Between the new bike rack and the trainer, I can take my exercise with me, regardless of the weather.

I had made arrangements for a week-long membership at my old gym up here, but it just made better financial sense to buy the trainer, now that I have the new bike rack. I still may follow up with keeping Cha-Cha here when I buy a new bike, but we'll see.

Today's plans include a daytime movie - probably True Grit. We rented and watched the original the other night. I adore the Coen's, so I am looking forward to it, along with The King's Speech.

I've been pondering my intentions for 2011 and have some ideas that I am unyet able to pull into a cohesive message. I do like to keep things simple. If I can distill my wishes into an easy-to-remember something, I'm more apt to pull it out and remember.

And as my Twenty Day experiment comes to a close, I have to say that I am amazed at what I've learned from this. I went into it with my expectations low - I really wanted the discipline more than anything, and honestly, I haven't been all that disciplined - I don't think I've taken more than ten pictures. However, the things that I have picked up - the ways to make/enhance connections and experiences will make it's way into my intentions for the next year.

There are so many things that this little program espouses that I agree with. Keeping the physical environment neat and orderly. Developing plans, doing a little something each day in order to achieve big results.

I have ordered Brene Brown's The Gifts Of Imperfection and am seriously considering doing her 8 week online workship that accompanies the book. See her blog for details. Care to join me?

Oh, and one note on Day 19. On the bit about life coaches, I think life coaches/therapists/counselors are invaluable to this journey. I just wish they were more available and less stigmatized. I think most of us could/would benefit from discussions/tips from objective persons who offer suggestions/solutions to getting out of our rut and into our groove. There is nothing wrong with asking for an assist. We seek all sorts of assistance with other areas of our lives, I don't know why we feel like we have to do this part all on our own. That's my editorial comment for the day.

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Day Nineteen Tasks:


Do your routine. Not mine. Except still put the $1.25 in a glass.

Let's check your routine. Let's review the life skills you are now practicing with these twenty days of tasks.

You are now your own "life coach."

Personal hygiene, taking care of you, is essential to a realistic and organized life.

You're practicing effective time management skills both at home and at work. You're accomplishing much more is far less time; you're finding that the more you do, the more you want to do. You're finding that this efficient behavior relieves tremendous stress both at work and at home, gives you more "down" time, gives you more time to think and plan, and most important, gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride in your work. Your driving your life; not chasing it.

Taking photos, recording your thoughts, and documenting your activities keeps you focused on the realistic present. Your "happiness" isn't in some foggy far off hopeful future. It's here and now. Simply taking the photo reminds you that good things, significant things are happening; events worth remembering.

You're developing and enhancing a valuable social and professional network. Your effective communication skills continue to grow. You're even dealing more tolerably with those "challenging" people because you understand why you react to them the way you do. Eventually even these people may become part of your networking.

You're now in the habit of considering your actions. You are conscious of your motivations. This knowledge gives you the power to understand why you do and want things. This knowledge of your present actions and past actions gives you the power to control your life.

You have a handle on your finances; typically one of the greatest sources of stress in relationships. You may still be experiencing "money challenges," but at least now you know realistically where you are. You don't have to worry about checks bouncing or "will there be enough" to cover your necessary expenses. And knowing gives you the power to make financial decisions and changes.

Worry, stress, anxiety, avoiding the reality; all these things undermine your self esteem.

Your small daily contribution to the glass reminds you that change isn't immediate. The money in that glass grows; daily, little by little. Do the math. How much would you have at year's end if you continued that small savings every day? Amazing isn't it.

Every small "contribution" you make to your body, your work, your relationships, and your home multiple with the same power of that small $1.25 contribution. Think how different your life will be at year's end.

You don't need a life coach. You have one. The best one you could ever wish for. You have you.

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Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Reach out.

-Roxie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Eighteen of Twenty: On the Road Again



All of a sudden, I've got places to go. Some are work, some are pleasure, some at the behest of and with others and some just for me. Some of the scheduled stops for 2011 include:

Atlanta in February (work)
Seattle in March (work)
Albuquerque, Phoenix and San Diego - solo road trip in April
Destination TBD - a friend who has never traveled abroad wants she and I to take a trip together in July. We don't know where we will go. The destination will make itself known.

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Day Eighteen Tasks

Start looking ahead. Look beyond this website schedule. Discard what didn't work for you. Enhance what did work for you. Work to develop one comprehensive schedule that unifies your daily home and work routines. Work for a schedule that also now projects into your future; where else you might wish to work or live.

Continue to write everything down. Daily. Like a journal. Label with dates and feelings. Stick to the routine however.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities. Fill your day with meaningful and significant tasks.

4. Take photos every day.

5. Friend List

Plan activities through your emails with these people.

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people. List which people in this social and professional network can help you attain your goals.

8. Keep your house in order.

9. Execute a specific monthly budget. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone with whom you work.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

12. Think greatly about your relationships.
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Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Map out a plan.

-Roxie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day Seventeen of Twenty: Serendipity

In a recent comment, Karen recommended a book, The Gift Of Imperfection by Dr. Brene (I don't know how to do that fancy accent thingy) Brown. Within a day or so, Dr. Brown's name popped up again. So this time I took notice and a little action. I found a TEDtalk she gave on YouTube (and I actually thought I'd put it as a favorite link, but I guess not) and found that her work really resonates with me right now. Especially her work on connections, vulnerability and shame. The word connection has also popped up several times as I look to setting my intentions for the coming year. I think I'm honing in on this. Check out the good doctor's website at wwww.brenebrown.com. I can't wait to get the book that Karen recommended. Actually, I can and will wait until after the holidays. I'll want to savor it.

Last night was our final Christmas outing before the actual holiday. We didn't end up going to the actual ICE exhibit, we just toured the fabulous hotel it was in, instead. Way to save $75 dollars. Even so, it was beautiful evening. We then went up and down Main Street in Grapevine, which is all decked out in Christmas cheer. It is beautiful. All in all, I think everyone, including myself, has enjoyed this activity. I don't feel bad about forgoing the ICE exhibit. There's always next year.

I do, however, need to check myself a bit. Dealing with the family dysfunction, including my own, is certainly difficult. It is also insidious. Cunning. Baffling. Just when I thought I was doing the right things, I had some more insight into it this morning. I'm in the midst of a relapse - well, perhaps more of a slip than a relapse. And the thing is, this feels so familiar to me that I didn't recognize it coming on. It is a slippery slope.

ETA: This is me slipping back into my The Duchess of Largesse role.

1. While I have enjoyed the holiday outings, if I dig really deep, I am still hoping for some change. I am not accepting. I am hoping that if I show them that a holiday can be fun without the gift orgy that maybe things will change. I am trying to control. I am still trying to change others. I need to detach a bit. The only thing I can change is me.


2. I am not allowing others to feel the full impact of the consequences of their actions - to perhaps see the true level of unhealthy behaviors that permeate the entire family. Because I feel guilty that my family would have no place to go on Christmas as the rest of the family is in the midst of a multi-month blow-up, that has played a (small) part in my Christmas plans. By trying to mitigate, I am trying to control. This one is minor and it's turning out okay, but I need to always remember and realize - she/they are choosing to stay in their addictions/illnesses -my mother with her compulsive spending/resulting money issues/hoarding and my sister in her (and mine) codependent/X-anon relationships. They could, in fact, choose to host a holiday party of their own and invite me. People have parties all the time. People invite other people into their homes. But I am up in this, trying to make sure that no one feels bad. Change comes at the rate of pain.

3. When told of her plans to buy a small freezer to take over to the other house, I offered an opinion that it didn't make sense, financial or otherwise, they didn't have the space, that it wouldn't be at all useful to have a freezer ten miles away. Are these things true? Yes, I believe they are. Is it my place to say something? I don't think so. No one asked for my opinion.

4. I have to get really real and honest with myself over the kitchen repairs. I still don't have any satisfaction from the insurance company, but I am going to go ahead and go with the very reputable firm and get this finished. It's been four months and getting out from under it is worth something to me in financial and emotional terms. What I've also realized (again) and (again) and (again) is that I need to let go of any notion that a "new kitchen" will change anything. It will not. The new kitchen will soon look like the old one. I cannot fix this problem with new Formica. I need to get real and deep with my thoughts and motivations. I need to better manage my expectations on this one.

Detaching, with love, is a fine line for me to walk. And I will slip from time to time. Slipping back into old patterns and old behaviors. Showing love and compassion without fixing and enabling and then resenting it is a new skill that I am slowly learning. Keeping that balance by first doing no harm.



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Day Seventeen Tasks

Plan your entertainment. Plan your free time. Work on those relationship lists. Work on them with your partner. Share your lists. Listen and encourage them to make lists and compare.

Write everything down. Daily.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

4. Take photos every day. Look how people light up when you give them copies for their desks or mantels.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people.

8. Keep your house in order.

9. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

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Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Acknowledge your true motivations.

-Roxie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day Sixteen of Twenty: Howling At The Moon Down By The River

There's that scene from the movie Independence Day where people are gathered on the roof waiting for the arrival of whatever. Last night I experienced something not like that at all. I got up in the middle of the night, climbed up to the top floor of the parking garage and watched the eclipse. Now I'm not an astronomer, nor do I play one on tv, but I wanted to see it. And I did. It was very, very cool. I can only imagine how fearful it must have made early peoples who didn't understand what was happening. When we get the facts, scary things can become less scary. It's the same way with emotional eating.

I've been giving a good deal of thought lately to my disordered eating behaviors. If I think about it, the most negative of the behaviors fall into one of two camps. The first camp is the real binge-inducer. It's the anxiety camp. It's like this tension builds up and it needs some sort of relief, even if it's bad - thus we have the binge. If this is you, I need not describe any more. I'm pleased/grateful that this trigger at this level has been absent from my life for a while. I've figured out how to stop the the babies from being thrown into the river (ie the stress response)* that is to say I've eliminated a lot of the stressors at the source. Two reasons - I choose to jump in the river less often and there are fewer reasons to do so in the first place. The thing about big and bold anxiety is that it's big and bold and I can now identify it. "Oh, am feeling incredibly anxious. I should go to the gym/take a hot bath/breathe deep/meditation/take some eleviating action." I now do a better job of identifying the acute physical sensations as anxiety, not as a hunger driver, which is how I'd previously wired myself to respond.

The second camp is a bit more nefarious. It's the "I just want something to feel good camp". Today (because I tend to paint things with a big old brush - lightbulb moment - I need to change that self-talk. It's not TODAY, it is right this second and I want something to feel good.) is complete crap and I want something good. Now for most folks, having a little treat, a little pick me up isn't a bad thing, in fact, it might even qualify as treating oneself well or practicing lovingkindness, but for someone like me, it just triggers MORE. I want to feel MORE good. I want to feel MORE good longer. These symptoms are more obtuse and are more difficult for me to pinpoint. It's just a low-level malaise. It's harder to recognize and it's harder to stop. But I do have some success if I call it what it is, rather than concentrate on it as some sort of personal failure. It isn't ME, it's a behavior.

But just like with the eclipse, if I know the facts behind these events, they become less scary. Being obese didn't make me anxious, being anxious made me obese. Being obese didn't give me low self worth, Low self worth gave me obesity. Obesity was just a symptom. Sometimes I have to treat the symptom, but I am more successful if I treat it at the root cause and stop the babies from going in the river in the first place.


*A group of people are standing at a river bank and suddenly hear the cries of a baby. Shocked, they see an infant floating--drowning--in the water. One person immediately dives in to rescue the child. But as this is going on, yet another baby comes floating down the river, and then another! People continue to jump in to save the babies and then see that one person has started to walk away from the group still on shore. Accusingly they shout, "where are you going?" The response: "I'm going upstream to stop whoever's throwing babies into the river."



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Day Sixteen of Twenty:

Revisit your M-F schedules. Make changes to fit your unique lifestyle. Post these lists. Incorporate other family members into your schedule.

Now is the time for that consideration of your "significant other" relationships. A couple of key questions here. What has been their reaction to your disciiplined work with these tasks? Are they contributing to the work/chore schedules? Are they curious about what you are learning about yourself? Are they asking questions and stealing looks at your lists?

Or are they apathetic and resentful? Do they say things like, "are you still working on that stupid thing?" Are they attempting to guilt you for the time you seem spend on these tasks and not on them? Does doing a budget threaten them?

Like it or not, their reaction to your work here is a crystal ball into the future of your relationship.

That's one of the benefits of having excuded a direct consideration of these relationships up to this point. You were testing the value of this relationship. You know now, in your heart, whether or not the relationship passed.

How they reacted to you during these days is a true snapshot of your relationship dynamics. This dynamic, this way that you interact together, will not change significantly as your life goes forward. It CAN change, but it will take massive work; work that may or may not be worth the investment of time and energy.

You need to apply the same scrutiny now to these personal relationships that you used so effectively on the other aspects of your life. Remember? Lists of what you like and don't like. List about why you feel attracted to this person. Lists about what needs this person fills in you. Lists about activities and interests you share.

Most importantly, lists about what each of your REALISTICALLY contributes to this partnership. Whose doing the emotional and physical work here.

A line from the hit musical Pippin somewhat harshly yet very aptly summarizes it. "Is the fornicating you're getting worth the fornicating you're getting." Then make some decisions. Choose actions to execute those actions. It really is just that simple. And do it now. Life is short. The tides continue to change. Procrastination is self esteem's biggest enemy.

Write everything down. Daily.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities.

4. Take photos every day.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people.

8. Keep your house in order. Make of schedule of the things you want to change.

9. Plan a specific monthly budget. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone with whom you work.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

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Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Know your enemy.

-Roxie
139.5

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day Fifteen of Twenty: Centering and Soothing


Day Fifteen Tasks

Keep reviewing what you have written. Look back at your lists daily. Review from day one forward to see how you have changed.

Write everything down. Daily.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Daily chore list.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

4. Take photos every day.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people.

8. Keep your house in order. Make of schedule of the things you want to change.

9. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

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Finally, I'm feeling a bit more back to normal. I've not been feeling bad, just off my game. Energy was unfocused and enthusiasm was pretty low. I hope that this recent experience served to reinforce something that I already know. All of these things come and go. When times are fabulous, they will end. When times are not so fabulous, they will end, too. So just hanging in, trying to mostly good things, being mostly successful and giving myself a bit of a break until the next wave of motivation/momentum/mojo propels me forward. Expecting maintenance (or anything) to be static is folly.

I did venture back on the scales this morning after a multi-week absence. I don't know that I've ever stayed that far away from them. I think it was a good exercise as I know I didn't have enough room in my head for my stuff and the scale's stuff.

This program has been very helpful in helping me center and soothe and open up a different perspective and way of relating. Like all things, it will take a lot more work to keep up with it, so I just need to remember the benefits that I've garnered from it.

Other than a few dog walks, no big exercise happened this weekend, but I swear to you that SadieLu gets me about as zen as anything. What a calming, peaceful presence. I fixed a nice dinner for us when Bick came back through town to pick her up. These flying trips down south are tough on him. He looks tired. And now his sister is in the hospital, too, as well as another brother-in-law. And his Mom didn't really know him this trip, but her kidneys seem to be still working this week.

I still need to get around here and figure out a breakfast and lunch option. The larder is getting bare, as I'm getting ready to pull out of here for the holiday, so I haven't stocked up. I suspect I won't starve. Exercise today may be a walk outside, as it is supposed to be a beautiful day and I need to soak up as much sun as possible. We are hoping for nice weather after Christmas, as we are thinking about grabbing a place on the coast for a few days. That way, Bick can be closer to his family and we can get a little time to walk the beach, if it's sunny.


Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Put the oxygen mask on you first.

-Roxie
141.5

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day Fourteen of Twenty: Tiny Treasures


Swapping up the format a bit. Day Fourteen is another effort to create and enforce a habit. And it's working. No, I'm not taking a lot of pictures, but I did take two last night. The benefits that I am gathering from this experiment come in the shape of more meaningful communications and connections. The woman at work that gets on my last nerve? This week, using this methodology, I was able to step outside of my "irritated" self and offer both some encouragement and kuddos on a job well done. Interactions with most everyone from clerks to waitstaff has been enhanced by increased eye contact and just a bit of slowing down and staying in the moment.

Last night was a prime example of this. I took my mom and sister to dinner at the new hotel in town - in their casual dining restaurant (with a Groupon!) and it was just wonderful. We went really early, so it was pretty empty. We got a wonderful table with the Christmas tree on one side and a beautiful fireplace, complete with fire, on the other. The hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The meal was wonderful and the service was fabulous. I actually took pictures here. I haven't looked at them yet - hopefully they turned out. But the icing on the cake was our exit. We went back into the lobby as all of these beautifully dressed women in ball gowns were coming into the hotel for some sort of party. So we just stopped a watched for a few minutes. It was so fun. Then as we were leaving to walk back to the car, I spoke to and/or complimented several people that we passed. My sister's comment "Since when did you get so friendly?" The truth is, I didn't know that I wasn't until I made the decision to open up - open up my posture, open up my face, open up my smile and really connect. Now that I say that, I hope I'm not bordering on creepy!

ETA: picture of me and my sister from last night. She's rocking her new regime and has dropped 35 pounds.

Our Christmas light viewing adventure was fabulous. Oh my goodness. Horse drawn carriages all over the place, amazing, amazing homes beautifully decorated. It will be hard to top this. One more outing is scheduled for Tuesday, then it should be clear sailing until actual Christmas, other than a trip to the grocery store. And speaking of grocery stores, since I've got SadieLu today, I won't be getting over to the Middle Eastern grocery in Plano today, but I think I can send Slater up there, as he works close - of course he won't have a clue as to what to buy. But I think if we send him with a recipe, the staff, which are supposed to be very helpful, can help him figure out what he needs.

Another of the tiny treasures I've received this week is from my super secret boyfriend, Ewan McGregor. Now before you go and assume, let me tell you that I've never even seen Moulin Rouge. Nor any of the roles for which he is most famous. Nope, my love began on The Long Day Round - a documentary film starring he and Charlie Boorman as they ride their motorcycles around the world. It's an amazing series. I saw it several years go and now it's playing on Current TV and so during my lunch break gym time, I get to see bits of it all over again. It makes me happy. Amazing travelog and so much more.

My plans for yesterday did get changed a bit. Bick called and asked me to keep SadieLu, so he dropped by on his way down south and I've been enjoying puppy company this weekend. So while I didn't get in the big calorie burn yesterday, I did do a thorough cleaning/organizing/winnowing of stuff in The Closet, followed by a trip to donate extraneous items to the Goodwill. Closets are cleaned, drawers are organized, shelves are cleaned and straightened. Fridge cleaned out. Under the sink(s) cleaned out organized and consolidated. And right now, I'm enjoying the very zen-ness of it all - with a great cup of coffee and my favorite dog in the world.

I'm putting together a how-to manual for The Closet to leave for my house guests next week. So that is my arts-and-crafts project for the day.

Weather is supposed to be a bit warmer today, so she and I will do some dog walking a bit later and then I'll fix something for Bick and I to eat as he comes back through town.


Day Fourteen Tasks

Write everything down. Daily. Same pattern now. Don't slack.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities. .

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities. Fill your day with meaningful and significant tasks.

4. Take photos every day.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people.

8. Keep your house in order.

9. Continue keeping receipts.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Treasure your treasures.

-Roxie

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day Thirteen of Twenty: The Baker's Dozen


Day Thirteen Tasks

It took you years of actions to become who you are. Now you are becoming conscious of these actions and choosing what and what not to do and think.

Write everything down. Daily.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities. Look for ways to work cooperatively with co-workers.

4. Take photos every day.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people. Always look in their eyes.

8. Keep your house in order.

9. Plan a specific monthly budget. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Today promises to be another productive day. Plans include buying a new pair of running shoes and perhaps a jogging suit/track suit for decorative purposes only. What cute ones have you seen out there? I need some ideas.

I've got my bedding in the wash right now. I will put the sheets for The Barge (sort of a daybed/couch thing) on my bed, so that I won't have to wash bedding again before turning The Closet over to the Poolville Pagan's offspring who are coming into town next week. They were going to be put up in a local hotel, but it makes no sense to do that when they can stay right here in the heart of this development.

That reminds me, I need to get a key made today, as well. I don't know what I will do for exercise today - I haven't checked the wind forecast. I'll admit to being a wind wimp. I just don't like to ride in the wind. The cold I can dress for, but the wind is unrelenting. Or I guess I could bus my bike far away and only ride home in a tailwind? Now that's a thought. Even after all this time, I haven't bussed my bike.

Had a lovely time last night doing what I hope is our new holiday tradition. I fixed dinner and then we headed out to see several of the areas' best light displays. It was great fun. We've got more up on tap tonight. We take on Dallas and the professionally decorated area in the tony part of town. Pebbles is sad to miss this, but she has her office Christmas party tonight. Dinner tonight will be in the casual dining grill of the newest convention hotel in town. I'm looking forward to that, as I've never even been inside. It is supposed to be gorgeous. Groupon Score!

Food has been decent, as has exercise. I'll think I'll hit my on-foot challenge of 500 before years end. Lately I haven't been exercising on Friday. A coworker has gotten into the habit of asking me to lunch on Friday and I do hate to turn down such opportunities. I just have to figure out how to make it up elsewhere. I guess I can declare Friday and Sundays off. Although with Bick being out of town, no reason Sunday has to be an off day this weekend.

Continuing to plan our very-laid-back, no-one-gets-stressed no-gifts-to-be-exchanged (or very few) Christmas Day. Bick wants to grill steaks and the rest of the meal will be simple as well. Baked potatoes in the crockpot, green salad, and Brussels sprouts are on tap. The fun stuff will be just the noshy stuff. I'm preparing a baked brie thing and for our actual dessert, I'm going to try my hand at preparing that fabulous, wonderful, amazing dessert we ate (several times) in Istanbul. I may wander over to the Dallas tomorrow to the middle eastern market for the ingredients. I'm also on the lookout for Love Actually to be the premier entry in this year's Christmas movie fest, along with an indie film Pebbles is procuring for us.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Establish some new traditions.

-Roxie

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Family Tree

Further reflections on yesterday's conversation. It is full of Freudian 101 angst and just a way to put some thoughts down:

As I look to get to a comfortable place in my relationship with my own mother, yesterday's conversation brought two things to light and today I will find a way to thank her for them without going into detail about my Aunt. 1. Despite our issues and her issues with Pebbles, she would never, ever talk about me or my sister or Pebbles in such a manner. 2. She has never, ever said a bad word to or about my Grandmother. She hated the way the family "teased" grandmother.

And all of this has started me to thinking more about my Dad. And what our relationship was really like. And this is not to dig up bones, but to try to get a better grasp of what makes me tick. In the past, some of these insights have proven to be invaluable. Example being, when I realized how much of my behavior was a direct result of need/wanting affirmation and I realized that I would have to do a little self-parenting as there was a whole set of life-skills that I just didn't possess. Or when a therapist suggested I read up on the symptoms and pathology of ACOA, even though there were no alcohol issues - that the compulsive spending/hoarding issues had much the same effect on the family dynamics. With those insights, I was able, to some degree, to put away the negative talk and pick up with assessment in a lovingkindness sort of way. To be able to say to myself, "Self, wow, you are acting just like an XXXX would behave in this situation, is that really what you want? What can you do to change the situation?" Which was much more helpful than "You stupid idiot, what the hell are you doing? Screwing things up again?" stuff that I engaged in for a long time.

Which brings me to my membership in the Dead Daddy Club (tm) ABCHAO. When a parent dies young, especially tragically, it's almost as though they are canonized. I haven't done any real research, but I expect there are some pathologies that are pretty similar across children. I was always told how much my Dad loved me and there is no reason to doubt that. However, this morning I have to wonder just how good he was at parenting and how much of this kind of stuff I internalized? I don't remember a lot and what I do remember has more to do with my failures than anything else. Is that my memory or his legacy? Who knows. I suspect the real truth lies somewhere in between.

1. The dieting thing - I was not a fat child. I was round faced and I was bigger than my cousins of the same age. My mother looked like an Amazon compared to those less-than-five-foot adult women in his family. And yes, I may have had some pudge, but what I was left with was that I was fat and fat was unacceptable.

2. More family lore: My dad wanted a boy. He had a name all picked out. No girls name considered. When I arrived "a split tail" as he said, he still called me by the boys name. My mom changed the spelling of it to feminize it, but all my family and most people up home know me by that name. I find it really interesting that I didn't select it as my nom de net.

3. I got boy gifts from him. I don't believe in giving only gender specific gifts, but this was a bit different. Guns, race tracks, and even a motorcyle when I was about 9 or so. I do remember him getting so upset that I couldn't ride it. I couldn't hold it up and when I'd try to turn, I'd fall over.

4. I got ski lessons as a gift. We lived about an hour and a half from a ski mountain and he wanted me to learn to ski. So he contacted a friend of his from high school who was the chaperone for the high school ski program and arranged for me to take ski lessons. I think I was 7. I know that I hated every fucking minute of this. Here I was, this little kid on the ski bus with all of these high school kids going up the mountain to take lessons and to ski by myself. My mom said it broke her heart to send me up there, but Dad wanted me to learn to ski and so I tried. Anxiety, I feel, has plagued me most of my life. Was it innate to me or was it a result of things like this - trying to do more than what I was capable of?

5. And the last of the family lore. The last time my mom talked to my dad before he died, they were walking out to the plane on a Sunday. And they were fighting. He wanted her to keep me home from the fair so that I wouldn't "embarrass myself" by showing up riding an $85 horse, having had no formal riding lessons and having to compete with all the doctors and lawyers kids and their expensive "purebreds". My mom told him that I had worked hard and that I was going and that I was good. I went to the fair on Wednesday and won every class I went in. His plane went down on Friday.

ETA: Okay, dial it back, Roxie. It was a county fair, not The Grand National. You are not National Velvet.

This isn't about laying blame. People do what people do. This is about putting together some of the pieces in my life. Examining those "truths" that I've carried though my life to see if they really are true. To view things with some age and perspective, some recovery and some other tools that the ten year old me didn't have. And with that, I can sort of get to, "Well, it's no wonder" rather than flailing myself with a wire whip - it's just more pebbles to the path of self-acceptance - because from what I see looking back, I came from a performance-based system.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

She's Just Fat; She's Not Flawed


I am still seething. And I know it's more about me than it is about her, but I am so angry.

My aunt (Dad's little sister) called me tonight to chat. She lives in my home state and she was giving me the rundown on the rest of the family. And I've decided tonight that I don't like her very much anymore; which is tough, as she was always my favorite aunt. Her son (her pride and joy) was killed in an automobile accident several years ago. He was the divorced father of three.

The aunt was telling me about the Christmas card she's received and how her grand daughter looked in it. I think the granddaughter is probably 10 or 11 and from what I gather is rather overweight.

"She just looks awful. She is so fat and she's wearing a bright green t shirt and it's three sizes too small. All you can see is her big belly. I don't know why she didn't stand behind Santa to hide all of that. Her Dad would roll over in his grave."

I said "She's just fat, she's not flawed." And I got off the phone as quickly as I could.

I don't know this child. I don't even know if she is fat. I do know that being fat in that family was the worst thing you could be. You see, my Grandmother was fat and everyone, including her husband and her children derided her about it. My father had me on a diet at the time of his death - offering to pay me a dollar for every pound I lost because he didn't want me "to look like Granny". It's only been recently when thinking about my grandmother did I remember how much she actually endured at the hands of her family. And I grew up thinking that I was this whale of a child.

I am angry for me. I am angry for Katie. I am angry for my grandmother. I am angry at my grandmother for allowing her children to disrespect her so.

Day Twelve of Twenty: A Change In Strategy



Here's Day Twelve.


Day Twelve Tasks

When we rehearse plays, we practice the same lines and movement until we know them well enough to truly own them. Well rehearsed plays are carefully constructed improvisations. The lines and actions stay the same, but the execution always changes.

Write everything down. Daily.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities.

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities. Track your daily accomplishments. List the projects that you have successfully finished.

4. Take photos every day. Print and label.

5. Friend List

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people. Always look in their eyes.

8. Keep your house in order. Implement schedule of the things you want to change.

9. Plan a specific monthly budget. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am a firm believer in The Easy Button. I like to make decisions when they are easy to make, not when they are difficult. If boundaries are set before faced with a decision, then the decision becomes easier to implement because the decision has already been made without the added pressure of being in the moment. Controlling what comes into the house is a prime example of the Easy Button. If I can make one decision to NOT bring something into the house, then I don't have to make the hundred decisions about each bite of it. In the Abstainer-versus-Moderator debate, I definitely fall on the Abstainer side of the house.

It is interesting how making these strategic decisions can have such a large impact on success or failure. I'm having a helluva time keeping out of the baked goods and sweets at work, it seems. I haven't had this much trouble in ages! I'm sort of looking at me and asking WTH? And yesterday it dawned on me - it was a change in environment. A couple of things have happened that have altered my course and not all of them bad - 1. I've given up drinking Diet Coke after noon. I've been very successful with this. I've switched over to the add-powder-to-water lemonade drink mix. I still haven't been successful with the water plain. The second change is the remodel at work. Our offices just underwent a major remodel, which included adding a kitchen with a long counter (see buffet bitch from yesterday) on the other side of the hall. The water fountain was moved into the room behind the kitchen. See the problem yet? Well, every time I go to fill up my she-hates-water-but-drinks-fake-lemonade bottle, I must run the gauntlet of holiday treats brought into to the office. We are an office of 16 people. Yesterday there were four cakes and various other baked goods sitting out on the counter. Yea, well, duh. It took me a while to realize that I need to change my ways. The Ozarka water fountain thingy will not be seeing my hide. I'll find my water someplace else. I'm pressing the Easy Button on this one. What I don't see can't dimple me.

Today's food is planned and nearly packed. Gym at lunch. I'm fixing a quick dinner for me and my sister and then I've got to go grocery shopping. I will hit the gym after that.

No new insights on the project. Still concentrating most of the eye contact. And if there was a major takeaway for me, this is probably it. This was a bad habit rooted in years ago and it needed to be addressed. It had just never really been pointed out to me. I am grateful for this opportunity to address it. Never really dawned on me that it was something I could change. Yet another one of my beliefs about myself that turned out to not be true.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Not every battle is worth fighting.

-Roxie

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day Eleven of Twenty: Marathon Dreams


Day Eleven Tasks (Yep, I'm still following the program.)


Every day the wheel is reinvented in a thousand new ways.

Day 11 through 20 requires that you follow through with what you've started. Every day, evaluation and reevaulation. Every day, looking at what you want done and deciding to do it. Routine isn't boring; it's a tool that helps us track the thousands of details that require our attention. Routine helps us sustain our control over our actions and decisions. Routine helps us compare yesterday to today so we can continue to improve the process of our life; to make it meaningful and significant. Routine helps us document that we are successful, shows us our accomplishments, helps us plan for our future.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

When you know you are clean and smell great, you feel better. Depressed people don't worry about how they look on the outside. They are consumed by their innerself. Change the outer and the inner will follow. Physical actions incite emotions. Stand like you look confident and you will feel confident.

Again, continue your morning routine without clothes. If you want changes, investigate diets or exercise programs that will help you achieve the changes you desire. Do you need to change? You need to keep you body healthy and if you health requires change, then you need to do it. Healthy is not the same as movie star beauty. Feeling like you need to change so your body looks like a brushed up photo on the cover of some film magazine is meaningless. Even the real stars don't look like that, so who cares. Work to accept and be comfortable with your body.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

3. Continue your daily list non productive activities. Look how much you are now getting done! You are absolutely an asset to the company. You should be very proud of the work that you contribute and integrity with which you make that contribution.

Continue working to eliminate non productive activities. You will find that you enjoy more things at work because of your increasing sense of accomplishment.

4. Take photos every day. Look how people light up when you give them copies for their desks or mantels.

5. Friend List

Soon some will respond. Don't expect all to respond. Bridges will be constructed. Your social life will soon be enhanced.

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed. You should now have trained yourself to find ways to thank people. You are hopefully now unconsciously watching for actions people do that are worth recognizing. You are now looking for the good people do; not the bad.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Continue writing down and memorizing the names of new people. You are also doing some very important social and professional networking here. Always look in their eyes.

8. Keep your house in order. Make a schedule of the things you want to change.

9. Plan a specific monthly budget. Continue keeping receipts. It makes you acutely aware of where your money goes.

10. Continue finding ways to like everyone.

Again, it makes no difference to them. Only to you.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

Stick with this schedule every day.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dreamt I ran a marathon last night (or tried to) in blue jeans (wearing pantyhose underneath), no socks, a puffer coat and I was carrying something. I show up at this place and find out I have to run this marathon in order to get a key to a locker somewhere that has some of my valuable stuff in it. Oh, and part of the course ran through a museum, but once outside the course was no longer market. Okay, Amateur Dr. Freuds, what are your thoughts? HA!

I am taking a break from commenting (mostly). I find that my words have left me and my comments have become perfunctory, rather than what I'd like them to be. So rather than force it, I'll be spending a bit less time on the internets, concentrating instead on some of the evaluation suggestions from my little exercise. I hope to be back with renewed energy soon.

The sans clothing time has been interesting. I haven't decided whether out of sight - out of mind is really better. I don't have a body "image" problem, I have a body-ravaged-by-obesity problem. And it shows. So I don't know that visiting/concentrating on getting comfortable has done me that much good. I will say that I'm not so startled by how I look each day, so there is that level of comfort. But I really have to work on being accepting of the things I cannot change. There is still work to be done in getting to the point of not letting what I look like from the outside get too far inside my head. It will erode my confidence and stifle me.

This is part of the same larger issue of what-is-somebody-else-thinking-about-me? Which probably is not much. I'm using Bick as an example here and choosing to make my thoughts about him pretty much how everyone else sees things (save the "flabby ass" comment from an asshat in my past). Bick has gained weight recently. It's pretty common and it's not just a little bit. His pants just keep riding a little lower and lower. I know it, but it doesn't enter into how I feel about him at all. It's a non-issue. While I know this, somehow I don't SEE it when I see him. So I've decided that in my own private land of unicorns and rainbows and cute little kittens, that is exaclty how everyone else looks at things and so I can cut myself a break. I don't know that this round-about method of acceptance and serenity is the most healthy, but I'm working with what I've got here.

I will say, that I have not been washing my sheets daily. Once a week is enough! I still stink at taking pictures and perhaps I will try to add that when it doesn't feel quite so intrusive. The holidays would be a good time to take more pictures!

I will also cop to being a petty bitch. Yesterday was an office birthday breakfast celebration. Everyone, save the celebrants, signs up to bring something. So I signed up to bring an egg casserole because I wanted something moderately healthy to eat. I'd loaded it up with veggies, ran the recipe calorie count and it was reasonable. Everyone else signed up to bring sausage rolls, doughnuts, kolaches, cinnamon rolls, etc. One other person brought fruit. We put our stuff out buffet style. I got called away to a phone call and by the time I got back, all MY stuff was gone. Pissed me right off. Yes, I got plenty of compliments on how good it was, but still. I'm left with all of the crap, as my dish and the fruit was gone. If you are going to bring crap like that, then stick to eating it. And no, one sausage roll isn't going to kill me, but I always have a problem with just one of anything.

So eating yesterday wasn't the best, but I made it to the gym twice yesterday and ate light in the evening. Today promises to be a long day, with dinner brought in on the office's nickel. Luckily for me, I'm in charge of the food, so we are getting food from a place where I know I can get some decent options.

I've got three Christmas activities planned with my mother and sister over the next week and I'm looking forward to that. I hope we can make some new traditions that don't involve lots of gifting. Maybe if I offer this as a viable alternative, things can change. I hope I'm not venturing into the "trying to control" territory.

Still haven't heard back from the insurance company. I submitted copies of the bids showing that I can't get the work done for what they'd offered. If I haven't heard back by Friday, then more follow-up calls will be required.

That's all the news from Cornfield County.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Offer encouragement.

-Roxie

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day Ten of Twenty: Halfway Point

Day Ten Tasks

My schedule is a bit off so this will be tomorrow's activities.

Analysis Day

This is the day we read and interpret what we've written. Up to this day we have been "taking inventory." Now we need to make some decisions; take some action. For the next ten days, we need to follow our routine, with discipine, integrity, and commitment.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

Hopefully, you are getting comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror. The rolls and wrinkles and other perceived imperfections shouldn't be surprises to you anymore. If someone said, "close your eyes and imagine yourself naked," you should have a very realistic picture of what you look like. That's you in that mirror. All of you. For better or worse, but it has to be good because it's you. You're not hiding from yourself under towels or clothing. Getting comfortable looking at yourself is the first step to accepting yourself. Next comes any decisions you might want to make, realistic decisions, about changes you want to make.

2. Bed made. Sheets washed. You deserve clean bedding.

Check your M-F list and do today's assignment. You now have a way to clean your house and keep it clean in way that is not overwhelming. You have ordered control of your physical surroundings. Even if it isn't always clean, you know that it will be, as per your schedule. You don't have to apologize to yourself for "not doing enough" today.

3. No chart today. Instead, take that time, at work if you can, to review your lists of unproductive activities and productive activities. Compute the amount of time that you have wasted during the last week.

Based upon what you see, plan to avoid the people, places, and situations that draw you into wasting time. Based upon your list of work activities that you enjoy, make a list of ways that you can pursue these kind of activities. Again, write it down. Recorded lists are footprints you can follow. No lists, you can't get things done, you'll forget or be diverted by the fires at work that you will have to put out.

4. Review your photos. Print copies of the nice ones and give to the people in the photos. Print a copy for yourself. Label and date.

We never take enough photos. Look how much pleasure you get by looking at photos from your past. You have now developed a habit of documenting your life and memories. If you continue, years from now, you will have more than just Christmas and graduation photos; instead you'll have photographic memories of what your REAL life was like and the people that you really interacted with on a daily basis.

5. Friend List

Check your M-F list and do today's assignment. Friends are essential to your understanding yourself. They provide wonderful mirrors; outlets for entertainments to plan and look forward to. This simple task of connection will strength bonds and encourage activities.

6. Continue the thank you notes as needed. You should now have trained yourself to find ways to thank people. You are hopefully now unconsciously watching for things people do that are worth recognizing.

Continue to print copies and put in a folder.

7. Your list of people's names now should be long. And you should be calling everyone on that list by their name everytime you look them in the eyes to talk with them.

You exude confidence when you look people in the eyes. People enjoy being called by name. It tells them that you care about them. People need to be noticed. They will seek you out and give you back the same kind of courtesy and affection that you are now offering them.

8. You have lists of the things you like about your living space and what you don't like.

We now need to make lists to address changing what we don't like in ways consistent with what we do like. We have the tools now to plan. We know what we want to change; we can now make a schedule to change it. Hopefully very soon, you won't have a list of the things you don't like about your physical environment.

9. You have receipts for your ten days of spending. You have a realistic basis for planning a budget.

10. You have lists of people you don't enjoy being around; and you are finding out information about these people because you are looking for ways to humanize them to you.

You are looking for things to like about them. They are in your life. They will be in your life. You can choose to waste emotion and energy by continuing to dislike them or you can choose to inspire friendship and energy by liking them. They will not change toward you. They are incapable. You can change toward them... not for their sake; for your sake.

11. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

You have $12.50 so far. Leave it there.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Weekend was good, easy and stress-free. Got some Christmas shopping done and a little bit of decorating. Not much newsworthy, but I'll take it. Food had been good, but Sunday afternoon/evening I ate junk and too much of it. Not a binge, but I could have made better choices and I did not.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Review of Day Nine.

The real big thing I'm noticing is that I am more conscious of making more and better eye contact. It makes for more and better connections. The word connections keeps popping up or I keep noticing it more throughout this exercise. Making new connections, making connections in new ways, enhancing existing connections, etc. Making connections is a top contender as my intention for 2011.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Connect.

-Roxie

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day Nine of Twenty: Bonus!



I'm doing the Day Twenty experiment.

Day Nine Tasks

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

No clothes.

2. Bed made.

Check your M-F list and do today's assignment.

3. Review yesterday's hourly chart and make new chart for tomorrow.

Add to your lists of unproductive and productive activities.

4. Two more photos.

5. Friend List

Check your M-F list and do today's assignment.

6. Two more "thank you emails."

Print copies and put in a folder.

7. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

Accumulating tasks... just a reminder--- You should be adding to these lists every day.

Eye contact always with everyone you meet. Making your bed. Photos. Names of any new people you meet. Background notes on the people that you have trouble liking. Growing lists of productive and unproductive work behaviors. Growing lists of things people at work complain about. Schedule of email correspondance; daily list of chores. Childhood memories. What you liked about your work today.


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Yesterday was the office Christmas party luncheon at a local restaurant. And I already forgot my Order Coffee strategy when faced with salty snacks. This time it was warm peanuts, fresh popcorn drizzled in truffle oil and freshly made potato chips. Dove right in. First course was a flight of french fries and homemade sauces. Again, with the diving. I did choose the chopped salad for lunch and ate about half of that, but I chose to top it all off with a cupcake. I'm pegging my calories for that meal alone at about 2,000 calories. I decided to be finished eating for the day after that.

So how did this turn out to be a bonus day? As I was walking back into the office with my boss, he made the comment about it being a gorgeous day, and it was around 70 degrees, no wind, sunny - a picture perfect day for mid-December. I responded with "I'd love to be riding my bike this afternoon." And he said, "Just keep walking to the parking lot, don't even come back into the office. Go. Ride." I wasn't hinting, honest, but it didn't take me long to get to the parking lot and home! I had a wonderful bonus ride yesterday, as the weather is expected to get cooler and the wind is supposed to be high today. I'm still going to try to get in a ride today, but it will probably pale in comparison to yesterday's unexpected opportunity.

Actually cut my ride a bit short, as I remembered I was supposed to go in and sign my lease paperwork. Got there a few minutes before closing time, but the manager didn't have it ready to go. Oh, well. There is always next week. I re-stated our agreement and said I would see him later.

Plans for today include a meeting, some more exercise time, finishing the home pedicure I started last night. I'll head up to Bick's in the afternoon. We've got some Christmas shopping to do and I'm going to try to find a trainer for Cha-Cha. I've almost decided to start looking for a new bike for here and take Cha-Cha and a trainer to Bick's so I'll have some exercise options up there. Sandy's BF Aloysius is a cyclist, so Bick just bought Sandy the new-to-her bike for Christmas that she wanted. If I had Cha-Cha up there, I might have more opportunities to ride with other people.

Pebbles and Slater are in Utah snowboarding this week. I think Pebbles may be wearing her crankypants. Poor Slater. They had quite a few administrative mishaps yesterday. I don't believe either of them are particularly good at planning for any sort of travel (we all remember Puerto Rico, don't we?) and a few of those chickens came home to roost yesterday.

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Results from Day Eight. Let me say right off - with all this maintenance work to be done au naturale, I feel like I've moved a nudist camp in Boca. Next thing I know, they will be asking me to vacuum in the nude, too! Still no photos. Doing the other tasks, but I think I may change up the assignment a bit. I am supposed to send short emails to folks, but I think given the recent discussion, that I will try to make phone calls instead. I need to work on normalizing that behavior for me. It works best for me if I set myself up with an easy out so that I don't feel pressured to have a long winded conversation. So it's "Hey, I've got a few minutes before XYZ, thought I would call and see what you are up to" kind of thing. If I do this often enough, it might just get more natural feeling, right?

As for the childhood memories portion of the exercises, I'm concentrating on memories of my paternal grandmother. What I wouldn't give to be able to have a long conversation with her right now, even on the phone!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Phone home - you've got unlimited minutes.

-Roxie
Still on scale hiatus.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day Eight Of Twenty: Trophies





I am still participating in the Day Twenty exercise. This is Day Eight.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Do nails, eyebrows, ears.

No clothes.

2. Bed made, room picked up, laundry washed, kitchen clean, floor scrubbed. Check the toliets and sinks.

Make a list now; M - F. Assign one simple housekeeping chore to each day. Keep it simple. Monday could be vacuuming living room carpet; Tuesday could be washing towels day. Wednesday may be scrubbing kitchen floor day. No more than two cleaning activities per day; no more than 20 minutes total time required.

3. Review yesterday's hourly chart and make new chart for tomorrow.

Add to your lists of unproductive and productive activities.

4. Two more photos.

5. Make a list of six additional relatives or friends with whom you do not regularly respond.

Make another M-F list. Write the name of each person next to a day. Plan to do a two or three sentence email to the person your assigned to each day. Make a copies of these emails and file.

6. Two more "thank you emails."

Print copies and put in a folder.

7. Take a very good look at your body in the mirror. List three things you really like about your body; three things that you would like to change about your body.

8. At the end of the day, sit quietly in your living room or bedroom and write down the three or four things that you remember most about your childhood. Again, a new page with lots of room so we can continue adding to this list.

9. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

Accumulating tasks... just a reminder---

Eye contact always with everyone you meet. Making your bed. Photos. Names of any new people you meet. Background notes on the people that you have trouble liking. Growing lists of productive and unproductive work behaviors. Growing lists of things people at work complain about. Schedule of email correspondance; daily list of chores. Childhood things.

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I am breaking my arm patting myself on the back. I called the insurance company. I took the next little step. Today I will fax copies of the bids and see what happens, but I'm keeping myself in the game. I did have some insight into some of this based upon Ellen's post from yesterday about phobias. I don't know that I have a phone phobia, but I hate talking on the phone. I do not call people. And sometimes I don't even answer the phone when it rings. And because of this, it doesn't ring very often. And I wonder why my social circle had gotten so small. I'm running out of people to thank on this day twenty project! It's all a part of the deal. I don't know why I don't like to talk on the phone, but I mostly don't. I'm twenty times more apt to send an email or a text than use my actual words. I don't feel any real anxiety or anything, just a sense of dread. But perhaps shedding the light of logic on this, I can do somethings to change it.

I cannot tell you the last time I called someone just to chat. I don't call Pebbles and I don't call Bick unless I have something specific I want or need to know or feel I must tell them. Pebbles usually calls me every weekday morning and Bick calls me every evening. Hmmm, this is all very interesting. Are you a phone person?

Oh, and I do get another award - I finally filled out my expense report from Galveston last month. So I've got one more piece of paperwork to do and that is file for reimbursement for my medical flexible spending.

Went to the gym yesterday at lunch and to a meeting last night with more new people that oldsters. Something about the holidays, I think. I came home and fixed myself a lovely dinner of grilled salmon and grilled asparagus. It was yummy!

Today's plans include the office luncheon. Tonight I plan on working around the house and getting my chores done. I may sneak over and see a movie. Tomorrow the weather should be nice enough to ride, so I'm introducing myself to Clementine Peddleford all over again. I'm looking forward to that! And then some new shoes.


I'm still drinking tea, not coffee, in the mornings. And I am successful at not having caffeine after noon. My Diet Coke addiction is down to two in the morning. From a high of, well, think a really scary number.


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Results from day seven. I've got some catching up to do on the housework. That's on tap for tonight. Still no photos, but I plan on taking some today at our office party.

There were no real complainers yesterday. I dealt with them the day before. Work productivity is good and satisfaction is high. I already keep and follow a monthly, categorized budget. Mostly with the follow. Getting my reimbursements will pull those things back in line. Saving the money, saving the receipts, looking people in the eye. Not much to dislike about The Closet.


Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Acknowledge your successes.

-Roxie

I'm taking a break from the scale, just to see how this feels. Eating has been healthful and appropriate. Exercise has been okay. The only thing left to chance is the timing of my body and how soon it wants to drop some of the weight I recently picked up. It will come. It's not about the number on the scale, it's about being healthy and engaging in healthful behaviors - in mind and body.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day Seven of Twenty: Stealing Home


Day Seven Tasks - More details available at www.daytwenty.com



1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave.

2. Bed made, room picked up, laundry washed, kitchen clean, floor scrubbed. Check the toliets and sinks.

3. Review yesterday's hourly chart and make new chart for tomorrow.

4. Two more photos.

5. Contact friend or relative that you haven't talked with during the last month. Write a short email "catching them up" on your life since last you saw them.

6. Everyone complains at work about something. This seems to be human nature. Pay very close attention about who complains and what they complain about. At the end of the day, start a new list that documents who complained and what they complained about. Record the approximate amount of time that you spent listening to them.

7. If appropriate, include yourself on this list.

6. Two more "thank you emails."

Print copies and put in a folder.

7. If you have not already done so, in your notebook, make a list of your approximately monthly expenses... rent, food, ect. Compute a rough monthly total of these expenses.

8. At the end of the day, sit quietly in your living room or bedroom and write down the three or four things that you remember most about your childhood. Again, a new page with lots of room so we can continue adding to this list.

9. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

Accumulating tasks... just a reminder---

Eye contact always with everyone you meet. Making your bed. Receipts. Photos. Names of any new people you meet. Background notes on the people that you have trouble liking. Growing lists of productive and unproductive work behaviors. Lists of likes and dislikes in your house.


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A good at bat last night - a solid double. Managed to avoid the chips! Woo hoo! What I did was order a cup of decaf coffee immediately upon arriving at the table, which was already loaded down with baskets of chips, salsa and queso. But luckily, my waiter was on top of the job and the coffee really did give me something to do and kept me from feeling deprived. And who eats salty stuff with coffee, anyway? This just might be my new strategy. It worked and it was painless. No white-knuckling here. When it came time to order, I had the chicken tortilla soup and it was all good.

I did have the urge to have more food when I got home last night, but the decision I made was that I didn't want to have to think about (regret) what I ate last night again today. That I didn't have room in my head for thoughts on past food indiscretions. So I just turned in early. No errors.

Made it to the gym yesterday and I also finalized my lease agreement. I didn't get what I wanted, but I did negotiate for a lower than asked for rate and a longer term. I am getting my carpets re-stretched (done yesterday), the carpets cleaned and the apartment repainted. And I am giving myself kudos for stepping up to the plate. I didn't hit a homerun, but I hit a solid single. And I live to play another day.

I didn't call the insurance company, but I do have all of the information in my briefcase again today to make the call. I hereby hold myself accountable for making the call to the insurance company TODAY. I am on deck with this one.

Today is a yoga day, I think. Tonight I have a meeting, so I may or may not hit the gym after the meeting. It might be a good thing to do - or else hit the running store and drop some dough for a new pair of shoes. I'm on a new billing cycle! It may be time.

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Results from Day 6.

Spent Wrinkle Time and took care of household maintenance. Work has been super-productive, which is great, but may also be avoidance!!!!Still no pictures.

And now for Item 5. The one that got the most reaction from everyone, including me.

Well, number 5 really hit hard today. And I do believe that intimacy is about more than sex. Maintaining intimacy, given our current living situation, is difficult. This past year has been difficult and I don't know how our relationship will go. I don't believe that me moving back in with him would solve this. I do know that I want more emotional intimacy than we have right now - and probably more than we've ever had. Do we love, care for and respect one another? Are we famously compatible? Yes. And I feel I am being kept at arms length. I am not now, nor have I ever been treated badly, but I don't feel treasured. And is it wrong to make him responsible for how I feel? I'm having trouble drawing the distinction. So I've spent some time trying to determine if my wants and needs are appropriate and healthy. Given my traits and flaws, am I seeking and wanting too much external validation? How much is too much? How much is not enough? How much of this is me and how much is him ?

And the most important thing right now is his recovery. He's about nine months in and I couldn't be more proud of the efforts. He is getting ready to go through some rough and rocky times with his family and I hate (am scared, too, I have to acknowledge) to burden him with this. I told myself that I would give him a year to work on getting sober without any additional demands. And the work he is doing is tough. He is learning to be a new man and it shows. He smiles and laughs more, enjoys more, so there is reason to be positive, but I am grieving this right now. This has been what's going on with me since my return from Turkey and was faced with renewing my lease/moving/whatever. And so I have some more really big decisions to make soon. I still want to be treasured and I haven't been clear about my needs and wants.

And this isn't about some grand "romantic" gesture - it's almost indescribable which is unfortunate, as how can I expect this if I can't fully articulate it? How can I expect someone to love me in a certain way if I can't explain it myself? How would it look? How would it feel? What words would be used and when? Those are the kinds of questions I'm asking myself. If I can't answer those, then I can't expect him to magically meet my needs.

I haven't stepped up to the plate. I have not asked for what I wanted. I have taken myself out of the game without even taking a swing at it. And as with other areas of my life - what am I going to do if I don't get what I want?

The Closet is getting repainted - it looks like I've been doing some ThunderDome-type activities on Cha-Cha up the walls. Saved the cash.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Shake off the past strike outs. Every at bat is a new beginning.

-Roxie

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day Six of Twenty: Staying Centered


I'm still on it.

Day Six Tasks, as on their site:

Realistic living doesn't mean you still can't try to jump over the moon, it means simply that you realize there's more to it than simply closing your eyes and blindly leaping.

1. Take a bath or shower. Wear cologne, perfume, deodorant, floss and brush your teeth. Shave. Check your hair; if you haven't had a haircut in the last two weeks, make a note to make an appointment or have it done today.

Again, your morning routine should be accomplished without clothing.

2. Bed make, room picked up, laundry sorted and ready for washing.

3. Review yesterday's hourly chart.

Write down any additional activities that made you unproductive. write down additional activities that you enjoyed. Keep hourly chart for today as well. You will continue this hourly chart EVERY DAY. Best if you can keep an ongoing list or columns of the unproductive activities and fulfilling activities. Remember, helping other people solve work related problems is work. Helping other people solve personal problems while at work is not a productive activity.

4. Two more photos.

5. If you have not been intimate with your spouse or significant other during the last six days, make plans to do so tonight.

Think about it several times during day. When the time comes, don't expect the world to move. Just relax and go with it. If your partner is uncooperative, don't be insistence, angry, or resentful. Simply settle for a hug; that counts for intimacy.

6. Three more "thank you emails."

Start printing copies of each one you send and put in a folder.

7. If at all possible, find a logical reason to email your superior, perhaps asking for clarification on a project or simply to update them on your current work.

8. At the end of the day, sit quietly in your living room or bedroom and write down the three or four things you would most like to change in this unique environment.

9. Put $1.25 in cash in a glass on your bedstand.

Accumulating tasks... just a reminder---

Eye contact always with everyone you meet. Making your bed. Receipts. Photos. Names of any new people you meet. Background notes on the people that you have trouble liking. Growing lists of productive and unproductive work behaviors.

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I was having a good, productive, innovative day when tummy troubles hit in the late afternoon. Perhaps a bit too much spice in the soup! Anyway, I was afraid to stay at work any longer, so I knocked off at about 3:30. Took it easy for the rest of the day. Still no real exercise. I have to work on that.

I am spending time watching guided meditations/affirmations on YouTube each morning and evening. I've got a couple of different playlists created and just sit through a couple presentations each day. It doesn't take too much time to follow the guided meditations and I just can't seem to do it on my own. But I will do something everyday! Via The Happiness Project.

The lease negotiations aren't going well. I made a strategic misstep and I have to try to mitigate that somewhat today. There was a counter-offer made, but I still don't like it. The danger is me letting my feelings about the big rent hike cloud my enjoyment of The Closet. If these owners make these kinds of rent jumps, far outstripping the growth in the economy, then this will have to be my last year here. Plus, they only want to offer a 7 month lease! So I just need to remember that this is a problem to be solved - it is not personal. I am intending to stay for another year. I do not have to take on the whole "buy a house" thing right now. The answers will come in due time. I need to be happy in the action that I'm taking and worry less about the outcome. Focus on the process.

And speaking of focusing on the process, I'm not weighing right now. Food has been good, which, for me, means that it has been appropriate. I haven't had disordered thoughts or behaviors surrounding food. The extra pounds that I've picked up recently will take care of themselves over time if my food behavior stays as it should be. If I take the actions to keep myself mindful, centered and supported, the scale must follow the laws of physics/energy/parchisi and will eventually return to acceptable range. The behavior is far more important than the scale.

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Assessment of Day Five. Spent Shar Pei time and I wore my favorite outfit. Which isn't my favorite outfit anymore. It was my favorite outfit because of it's size. I could wear the outfit and tell myself "Roxie, can you believe it? You are sashaying around here in size X britches." Well, I don't know exactly what I weigh, but I know that I've picked up some pounds recently and so the pants didn't fit as well as they have in the past. They weren't obnoxious or anything, I just didn't get a big rush from wearing them yesterday.

The hourly chart was really interesting. My job is mostly a "big picture" thing. Yes, there are software upgrades that require head-down, butt up work, but I am not in one of those times right now. So in these times, I'm more of a business analyst. I actively look for ways to improve service, efficiency, bottom line. So all of my work isn't done between 8 and 5. Most of the "big" ideas come in the wee hours of the morning or in the shower, when I'm thinking about the day ahead or what thread I saw the day before that needs to be picked up and tugged. So quantifying my productivity is a bit difficult. I've often said I have two gears - park and overdrive. The truth is that I don't much like park, I'd rather things were a bit more balanced (and centered!). Sensing a theme. Anyway, I did come up with what I think our next area of concentration should be, crunched a bunch of numbers, did some analysis work, and talked with the technical team. And yes, I surfed in between. But I look at it like this, if work gets to get in my head before the whistle blows, then they get to give me back some time during the day.

But I did love slicing and dicing and thinking and strategizing this new thread. The day flew by and I worked right through lunch and into the afternoon until the tummy trouble started. And I did work on my internal "eye rolling" when dealing with the two least favorite people from yesterday. No pictures. Did save the money. Good eye contact with everyone, including strangers. Saved receipts - of which there were actually none - I spent $2.00 yesterday on my morning diet cokes. I'm still doing very well on my no caffeine after noon thing. My grocery bill has shrunk considerably.

Tonight is a GNO at a local Mexican restaurant. Chips will be a problem. I need to check out the menu and see if I can get some broth based soup ordered quickly. It seems once I dive into the chip basket, it's hard for me to swim to safety. Need to stop that before it even starts. Strategies, anyone? Bueller?

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Stay centered.

-Roxie