Wednesday, June 29, 2011

These Things Are Making Me Happy Today

1. 40 minute bike ride this morning through the neighborhood.

2. Coffee on the front porch this morning with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who was waiting for me when I got home from my spin on Cha-Cha.

3. Red birds in my back yard.

4. Eric Clapton's guitar work on Layla.

5. Opportunity to spend some time with my sister tonight.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Look for the things that make you happy.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'll Have What She's Having

The past couple of weeks have been very educational for me. I can feel a shift in my thinking taking place. Even a small change causes a shift in my trajectory, my path and I feel like I need to re-visit and rethink my vision for what I want my life to be.

Turns out, even as smart as I think
I am, I'm not so smart at all. I forget things. I make things too complicated. I get all wrapped up and lost in the minutia. I need things to be simple. With simple, I stand a chance of remembering my truths when faced with, horror horrors, feeling an actual feeling, rather than avoiding or dreading it. Because I can be so feeble-minded, slogans and visions are helpful to me. So I'm working on a renewed vision and recently, I had a glimpse of a part of what I'd like my future to hold.

I was invited to a birthday party given by a friend of mine for two celebrants - one I knew and one I didn't. There were about a dozen of us gathered at CJ's. There was just an energy about CJ, her home and her guests that was at once both strong and calming. I want more of that in my life. As a matter of fact, I'll be hosting the next gathering in August, per the group's request. I want a life and a home that provides that kind of vibe to me and to others.

I also want to continue this path of deliberate-ness, for lack of a better name. I'm trying to give up multi-tasking. I want to be present and aware of each action that I am taking instead of just flying through my days, always waiting and wanting the "next" thing. Being deliberate, even with mundane tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry, seems to keep me centered and grounded and almost allows me to slow down time. It allows me to be present.

I'll continue to live a healthful lifestyle and not use exercise as punishment. I require and WANT far more exercise than I did years ago and so I will just have to trust that I get enough. My motivation will ebb and flow, but it will never go away. I will accept me and my human-ness.

I won't call what I'm feeling excitement, exactly, more a curiousity of what exactly my future holds and how it all unfolds. I look forward to enjoying each and every day until I get there.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Have a vision.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Riding The Fences

Just got in from riding the fences with Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Actually, I was tidying up a bit in the front yard, as I've deemed it the "front room" for flylady zone purposes. So, 15 minutes of sprucing up, accompanied by the world's talkiest cat. I also went for a nice little ride this morning, concentrating on some hill work. Hill, used with literary license.

Starting the countdown and packing for the trip next week. I'll hire my sister to come in every couple of days to water for me, otherwise I'll return to crispiness. The weather in NS is in the mid-fifties to mid-sixties. I hope layers will work for me. I'd prefer a nice 75, but it may not reach that.

Okay, so did you know that you can turn your coins into iTunes dollars at those coinstar machines at the grocery store? Well, you can. And I've got just enough of a credit for one good audiobook to download to my iPOD for the trip. I don't have an ereader, so audio it must be. Give me your best recommendation for a book that had a big impact on your life. Is there a book you reread for inspiration? I'm looking for something in the spiritual/self-help/motivational genre. What do you think I would most benefit from at this point in my life (and I promise not to take offense :-))? There will be some quite time on this trip and I plan to do some more reflecting, inventory work, reading (or listening) and writing. I welcome your suggestions.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get in the zone.


ETA: I've read Bossypants and loved it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading Between The Lines

It's been a productive week. I haven't been particularly verbose here, but I have written a great deal. It's proven to be very enlightening. More is being revealed, as they say, and it with the knowledge comes either acceptance or action. Either way, it's all good.

Body hasn't wanted to cooperate this week at all. That always makes everything a level more difficult, but things are getting better and will continue to do so.

I've had a yearly dose of live performance over the last couple of weeks - from fully pro, to semi-pro, to community theatre, it was all good and fun. Last night's performance was great fun. I'd never attended one of their shows - they perform outdoors and so the shows don't start until 9pm - and they are out in the country a ways - I will certainly go again. What a fun way to spend a summer evening in Texas! I went with a group of friends - two of whom were celebrating birthdays, complete with crazy hats - again, it was grand.

Already in from the bike ride this morning. It was nice. I think I'll take a walk over to the gardens in a bit, before it gets too hot. I've got some errands to run and some chores to perform, but I'm getting strange pleasure out of the simplest, most mundane of tasks, as long as I perform them deliberately. Sort of a working meditation, I suppose.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Silence can be golden.


PS - saw this on a tote bag and it makes me laugh! Love it - not that I need another tote bag. My goal for the week? Smile before even getting out of bed. Sets the tone for the day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

This is Old News

But it's still funny news. My Mother owns Beyonce's cousin, Mariah. Hand.To.God.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's A Marvelous Night for A Rain Dance

The high temps and high, hot winds are just a beating. And we are fortunate enough not to be battling wild fires. It is supposed to break within the next couple of days and we have a fifty percent chance of rain. If I knew a rain dance, I'd do one. The closest I come is the windsprints I do in the yard trying to dodge the sprinklers.

I'm still trying to work out a system for managing things around here. So far, I'm doing it okay, but I'd like to get my planning done so that I know - it's it Tuesday, it must be edging day - that kind of thing. As I've said, I've gone back to flylady for that very same reason - just to not have to think to much. To have it already laid out. My inspiration over the weekend was to link up areas in the yard with zones in the house! So flylady now manages my yard work, too! Brilliant, I say.

So this week is Master Bedroom. Not much to do inside, but I can concentrate my external efforts in the outdoor "room". Speaking of inside, I did get quite a bit done this weekend in the way of organizing things to fit my strengths and weaknesses. Weakness: I hate paperwork. If left to my own devices, I will let it pile up like crazy. I need to make it easy to file/handle. So I've set up my office in my teeny, tiny kitchen. Two file totes in an open area by the "bar". It is unconventional, but it's close, it's easy and I'll use it there.

Scored a lot more treasures from the moving neighbor's curbside. The most perfect of all was a gorgeous roll of fabric with more than enough to recover a little Danish modern chair that I have and to slipcover two pillows for the Barge! Seriously, this is exactly what I was looking for. Also, two posters and one print that will look perfect (some, not all) in my bedroom. I just need to wait for a sale on framing. I picked up a galvanized tub that will the perfect ice bucket for outdoor gatherings. Plus, a beautiful huge black art bowl/display piece. It's a little too big for me, but I think it will be perfect for Pebbles' place. I'll take it to her tomorrow. Oh, and a new beach towel, since I don't have one. It's the perfect color (lavender and white striped) to match my bedroom. I'm thinking of trying to figure out a way to make it into a makeshift area rug (runner) until I find a real one that I like.

And speaking of rugs, I bought a rug for the dining room, but got in home and put it in the space and didn't like it. Took it back and bought another runner again. I first bought this runner to go in the living room inside the front door. I bought it at a Tuesday Morning in Dallas, while shopping with Pebbles. I got it home and the scale was just off. It looked like it was just floating and didn't relate to anything else in the room, so I returned it to a Tuesday morning here in Fort Worth. When relating this story later to Pebbles, she asked me why I didn't put it in the hall? Too late, I said. "It's already been returned".

Saturday night when she came over she commanded that I get my straw yoga mat out of the hall, telling me that someone was going to get hurt! And yea, a couple of folks had actually slipped a bit. So when I returned the rug I'd purchased for the dining room, lo and behold, there was the same runner that I'd bought in Dallas and returned to this store some weeks before. So I bought the same rug again. And it's lovely in the hall. The straw yoga mat will be used to go under my ironing board so that spray starch doesn't get all over my floors.

Got in a bike ride (not long) on Sunday and another one already this morning. Tonight I'm going to my first neighborhood association meeting. Tomorrow night I'm going to Pebbles' and Slater's for dinner and then we are going to see Canned-Meat-Product-A-Lot. And I am so excited. Wednesday brings a Nova Scotia planning meeting. I understand the weather is rainy and cold there - sounds heavenly.

It was a productive weekend on many, many fronts. I kicked the tires and lit the fires, in a manner of speaking.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Do a rain dance.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Letting Go: One Fingernail At A Time

This weekend has been an exercise is personal growth. I've spent quite a bit of time in tears - not the wailing and wringing my hands kind, but just the sadness, griefy kind.

Valuable Lesson in Letting Go: Avoiding isn't letting go. Out of sight, out of mind really doesn't do much in propelling one forward and it isn't a real strategy for acceptance.

So here we go with a lament-y post regarding Bick. Just some things that I need to get down. I have had no contact with Bick for nearly three months. He sent me a card/note a couple of weeks in telling me that he loved me and missed me so much and that he hoped someday things would be better. I did not respond. He sent me a "Happy Easter" text on, well, Easter, obviously. I did not respond.

Time passes. I've still got quite a few things up at his place. So about two weeks ago I contacted him, telling him only that I'd like to make arrangements to pick up my things and giving him a list of what they were. Some emails/text were exchanged, but I kept my interaction STRICTLY business. There were hooks being dangled, but I didn't bite.

I get a text on Friday telling me that he misses me. And you know, I'm sure he does. I honestly believe that he loved me as much as he was capable of. But nothing has changed. And my realization was that I still wanted it to. That some part of me was holding on to the hope that he would somehow come to his senses and COMPLETELY CHANGE WHO HE IS IN ORDER TO SATISFY ME.

That is not acceptance on any level. I know who he is. He knows who he is. And we both know he isn't going to change. I'm not in any danger of returning, but the real understanding came with me accepting responsibility for my own life and actions. And turning him loose in my mind.

This is where I have to stand by my belief that things do work out. They do. By whatever belief-system we have. Personally, I only have to look at what has happened to me in the last eighteen months to know that, to see it in my own life. The house hunt is the PERFECT example. I kept getting thwarted - and as in the case with the first house, in a really spectacular way. And then there were houses being sold right the second I decided to pursue them. Or sellers dillydallying around until I'd finally lost interest. And then, with this house, a random find followed by a miraculous 20K drop in price. And now I'm here. In a house/neighborhood that fits me to an absolute T. Despite of all of my best efforts to grab and hold onto OTHER things that came my way.

I'm not saying any of this to say that some ONE better is in my future. I do not know what the future holds. I just know that I have to let go of the past. And live strictly and completely in today, loving the life that is here now while anticipating the journey forward.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love(d) and respect Bick. I've let go of him. Now it's time to let go of the fantasy.

So this evening, I'll make use of my new fire bowl and write down the things it's time to let go of and have a little ritual. Not that I believe that the ritual has any power in and of itself, but the physical act of doing this, along with the writing, can serve as a touchstone and a reminder, should I start to wander backwards.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of Artichokes and Dust Mops

Dinner was delish last night. I chose a starter as my entree. I'd had a nibble of this one other time and it was wonderful. Grilled artichokes served with grilled lemon halves. Probably brushed with some garlic butter/oil before grilling. Added a side of grilled asparagus and called it yummy!

The play. Well, it was good but I wasn't. At intermission the line to the ladies was very long, so my friend and I set out to find another one. By the time we got back, the show had started and we had to wait until a fight scene in order to be seated!! I was so embarrassed. Luckily, we found two empty seats on the aisle and didn't have to disturb everyone to rejoin the rest of the GNOs fourth row, center! They thought we decided to leave at the break (I almost said half-time!).

Got home to find my delivery from Flylady. I ordered a special broom, dust mop, damp mop and mop pads. I've never had tile nor wood floors, so these tools are supposed to work well on those surfaces. And yes, I probably could have found them elsewhere, but using flylady was a life-changer for me in the battle against clutter. I learned how to keep house from that website and so I feel really good about giving back by ordering my supplies from her/them. Consider checking them out if your house is out-of-control. It can get a little hokey, but I opted for the daily digest, rather than the emails. And since I'm looking to establish systems here at the new place, I've joined up again after an absence of many years. Just until I get a system for maintaining things inside and out.

The kids are supposed to come over for dinner tonight. I may look for a grill or I may look to just pick up a no-cook dinner. I'm leaning towards something with Costco's lime/cilantro shrimp. I just to figure out how to serve it so to satisfy the son-in-law. Or what to serve it with. Something to think about.

Did not sleep well last night, so I am really dragging this morning. Since I'm sitting here writing this, I'm obviously not doing my outdoor exercise this morning. I'm getting ready to butcher the lawn and then will probably head over to the gym later in the day.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Clear away the clutter.


Friday, June 17, 2011

What The Day Brings

Today promises to be just grand. It started off with a curb-side treasure find - a portable firepit! Plus, some plastic shelves that may fit in my closet and hold my workout gear. I'm looking for solutions to this one that don't involve another piece of furniture. I don't want to crowd the space, but having the workout gear folded in the top of the closet requires me practice my standing vertical skills (of which I have exactly none) - so another solution is in order.

I took Cha-Cha out for a spin this morning - again, just grand. Today, I concentrated on doing the streets with more climb to them. Tomorrow might find me singing the "Hill Street Blues". (loved that show).

Tonight promises to be a grand time - dinner here
at one of my favorite places, followed by a live performance by the local Shakespeare company with three of the GNOs.

Saturday - I haven't decided what to do for my exercise on Saturday - maybe a riverside bike ride. And then I will pull the trigger on the baby Weber grill in time for Pebbles and Slater to come over on Saturday afternoon.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. May your day be as you like it.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Gratitudes

I was reading a story in the local paper this morning. As I was reading about a man from the county south of here and his struggle with a rare and debilitating illness, parts of the story began to crystalize. I know this man. I dated this man (briefly) prior to meeting Bick during the whole online dating debacle (Hi Karen! (she and I were having a convo re: words such as debacle and our propensity to use them)) back in the fall of 2005. He was a successful, local (to me at the time) small business owner with a nice life. Now at 50, he has lost it all because of this rare condition he didn't know that he had. Luckily (I hope), he's been accepted into a trial thing, but the costs will still be 150K. And there is no saying that the experimental procedure will even be successful. He really was a nice man - drove and raced muscle cars. Funny thing is, I was just reminded of him a couple of weeks ago. We had gone hiking out at Mineral Wells State Park together once and that's where I ended up on my bike with Talia the other day. It was from that trip with him that I knew how to get to the climbing area. Just shows to go you - live everyday to the max and don't be always wishing for tomorrow, as you never know what it might bring.

Took Cha-Cha out for a spin this morning, just through my neighborhood. Talk about grateful - just pedaling through this area fills me with gratitude. There are some charming arts and crafts bungalows around here, some darling tudors and a few cottage-y places. I like to think of CSH as a cottage, but really it has no cottagey elements, other than the gardens. I am so very fortunate to live in an area that just by being in it makes me happy. Happy and grateful by osmosis. I'll take it. I don't have to own those houses, just being close is enough.

Just got off the phone with Mom. Had a fun, laughing conversation. It's really strange how things work out. I pursued recovery because of my relationship with Bick. And I think that relationship was always supposed to be temporary. The lesson there was to help me work through and heal my relationship with my FOOs. I'm not naive enough to think my work is done, but I am enjoying a lot more peace where that is concerned. And I'll take it and be grateful for it. And I was able to provide some tech support to Mom without losing my patience. That, dear friends, is progress.

Possible fun things on the horizon. Pebbles' college friend, Bailey, has taken a professorship in The Netherlands starting this fall. She will be over there for the first year by herself while her BF finishes up in New Haven. Pebbles and I are talking about making a trip over there either this fall or next spring. Granted, another big trip wasn't on my agenda (or budget), but when there is an offer of a place to stay along with a weekend tour guide, you almost have to figure out a way to do this. Pebbles is working on the "mileage" angle to see if we can score the flights. It's fun to think about, anyway.

Food has been good. Exercise has been good. Living in the moment has been good.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find something to be grateful for.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blinded By The Light

So yesterday afternoon was my dentist appointment. With the dentist for whom my sister works. Guess what I did before the appointment? Checked for strays. Know how I have to check for strays?

Picture the Evil Queen from Snow White - sitting at her new/old vanity looking into a lighted, magnifying mirror, wearing her glasses, with a mag lite in one hand and a pair of tweezermans in the other. That's a helluva lotta light and magnification. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, especially when faced with the dentist light and HIS magnifier.

The good news is I had the best report ever on my dental health. All of this work and money and floss is paying off. One more graft and I'll be done!

Went for another run this morning. Short and slow. And then waited for the cable guy to give me back my internet access and streaming Netflix. Done.

Did not get the full night's sleep last night - thunderboomers woke me up in the night, but didn't bring very much rain. Only enough to spot up MalibuKen.

Tonight's plan includes yardwork (which means windsprints to dodge the sprinklers) and reading.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take a good look in the mirror.


(SIDEBAR: I so hate blogger these days. It takes two or three or four attempts to do anything!!!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I must be living in some fantasy land. Last night? I slept for eight hours and seven minutes. Eight.Hours. I cannot even begin to recall the last time I slept for that length of time. And it's about the third night in a row where I got plus six and half hours. Must be some sort of alternate universe. So, I got up, laced up the brand-new Asics, braided some heather and ribbons into Glitter's mane, threw a Fascinator Hat on Jimmie Dale Gilmore and headed for the track. I'd decided to run again.

Just to see how it felt. Just for a mile. Just because it's easier to exercise in the morning this month. Just because I've live close to a slightly-cushy track. No more hard pavement pounding for me - the hip and the arthritic neck just won't stand for it. But this morning, just after the first few strides (if you could call what I do striding - Pebbles calls in prancing) I knew I had it. The mile. Not a long distance, for sure, but it was comforting to think I just go out and churn one out.

I went back through my old blog to search for my entry about the first time I actually ran a mile, but I can't seem to find it. I think I started with the C25K which I believe was more about timing than mileage and then I switched over to mileage somewhere about the two mile marker. Anyway, nothing to report about the magic of that day back in December 2005.

And in other looking-back news, with a heavy dose of "things work out", every morning I read from a couple of dated inspirational books. Today's reading included a sticky note from last year - to include in my daily prayers/meditations - Dana and Anne H - who were having issues with vehicles. It was just comforting to know that those things have worked themselves out. Both ladies are mobile these days. Always nice to see proof that things work out. It certainly helps with the whole faith thing moving forward.

And in other enchanting news (may be tied to the sleeping thing), I've read another book-a-day. That makes three since Saturday. Three books. Yes, they are pop-culture trash, but it's words on a page! I almost hate to have the cable/internet hooked up at CSH tomorrow. Hate to break the spell.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take a unicorn for a run.


Monday, June 13, 2011

No Shrimps, No Barbie

I didn't buy a grill, after all. I went with the intention of buying the Baby Q portable, but they didn't have any in stock and the others of this family were very expensive. I saw other grills at about half the price. Any grill recommendations? I don't want to spend over $200. I hate the idea of buying "disposable" as the reviews say these things will only last a few years, but the thought of dropping serious dough makes me cringe. I do know that the Baby Q portable has lasted Bick for several years of heavy use with no problems. Hmmm. I'd have to get a stand/table for it. Still undecided.

Saying goodbye to The Closet today. I'm turning in the keys. I'll be without internet service after work hours until Wednesday. The Closet served me well. It provided me with a good, healthful place to live - not to mention fun and very hip. It was the right choice for me to make at the time. Life at the Collinwood-Smythe House will be just as good, but in a different way.

No more access to The Closet means that I have to buy a dryer and quickly. I need to measure the opening (although I'm assuming these are pretty standard) AND the connecting stuff in the back, as several reviews have mentioned that larger capacity dryers push out into the room more. I don't have the space for that, so I just need to watch it.

I thought about buying a stackable dryer and then when the washer goes out, putting a stackable washer with it. That might be an option to free up a bit of space (maybe for a full-size dishwasher ;-)) kitchen-adjacent.

Got up and went outside just before daylight to get the sprinklers going - an early heatwave/no rain plague has set in. I just had to laugh out loud - I was adjusting the sprinklers and I looked up to see a beautiful white bloom on the vine growing on the top of the privacy fence. I thought to myself "I didn't know I had anything blooming that big and white on the fence?" Turns out, it was Jimmie Dale and her tuxedo-white chest tiptoeing along the fence, coming from the front yard into the back. That cat has an amazing sense of where I am, everytime I walk out the door. (oh dear god, I'm now talking about cats - I have no "edge" left - if you see me shopping for elastic-waisted pants and the Queen's handbag, just shoot me).

Set the sprinklers and then walked up to the track to get in some mileage. Not enough for weight management, but more for habit and centering. June is a tough month for me to get in my exercise.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Avoid wrinkles.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Feeling Groovy

Hello Rut Groove, I've missed you. I've long said that three days can make such a difference in "feelings". In three days, I can return to healthful living and the optimism and energy level that usually accompanies such great self-care. I think this is probably day three and I'm loving it.

Great ride with Talia yesterday, lovely visit and a great lunch out. Another Groupon bites the dust! She came into town this time and we did some "urban riding". Great fun. Later, I went to the library, checked out a few books and last night I read a book. It's been so long since I had the attention span to do that. Seriously. It wasn't great literature, but it was just grand to curl up and read. Welcome back, Roxie. Where the hell have you been?

Took Cha-Cha out for another spin this morning. Just a short ride, as my back was bothering me and rather than getting better, it seemed to get a bit worse, so I just came home. Got lots on my agenda today, including buying my first gas grill. I'm returning the microwave that I bought the other day and I got a gift card from work as a gift for participating in the wellness program. Between those two things, I think the portable Q grill will be mine. Grilled salmon, anyone?

Had an interesting conversation with Talia re: body image and cosmetic surgery. One just never knows how other people feel about certain things. What looks perfectly fine to one person can seem almost unbearable to someone else. No judgments here on Talia's or anyone else's feelings - getting this stuff out and talking about it is a good thing, I think. Again, let me say how grateful I am to have enough recovery that the recent break-up hasn't sent me into the "if onlys" - if only I was X or Y or Z. Having or being XY or Z doesn't change a thing. I'm happy to say that I'm pretty happy with me, just as I am. That has not always been the case with me, especially after facing some rejection.

Rest of the day looks to be great, as well. Some errands, followed by some at-home beautification (mani/pedi). The kids did not make an appearance yesterday, so it's possible they might this evening. If so, salmon for everyone!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. In this moment, things are perfect.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Feet

No, I haven't exchanged the new running shoes yet. The title refers to my experience this morning at the local Gas N Go. I ran in to use the ATM and to pick up a couple of boiled eggs (food was CRAP yesterday) for a protein breakfast. And as I was standing in line, the man next to me says he just has to tell me that I have "pretty feet". Lordy, is my freak magnet turned on again? Where the hell can I go to get that thing permanently turned off? I do not have pretty feet, even in the best of circumstances and I was actually thinking to myself earlier in the morning that I am overdue for a pedicure. I've deemed Sunday afternoons as mani/pedi time. And since I'm now a gardener again, my nails/fingers/hands look like a diesel mechanics, despite wearing gloves.

A long overdue shoutout to Shelley and her giveaways! I won some of her homemade granola and bless my soul, that is some good stuff. I used some of it, along with some homemade strawberry jam I'd received as a housewarming gift, to tort some brie at my party this week. Yummy!

I don't have any plans for today, although I really wanted to stay home and organize my closets. I'm still trying to optimize the space that I have and still need to move some things around. My task for this weekend is to buy a stepstool of some sort. There are some high shelves in this house and I need to put rarely used items in that space.

Plans for Saturday include an early morning bike ride with Talia. Then later on in the day, Pebbles and Slater are dropping by on their way to her HS reunion. Yep, a decade since the little darling graduated. I'm coming up on ten years of writing online, as I started just as she went off to college. A lot has happened in those ten years. A.lot. And the vast, vast majority of it has been wonderful, even though it might not have felt it at the time.

Sunday will be Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance, meaning early morning lawn butchering, followed by a meditation session at church. Plus, the aforementioned mani/pedi and perhaps a scrubbing down of MalibuKen, as well.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get Happy.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Best Defense

The best defense is a good offense. Last night's gathering went okay. Fewer people than expected showed up and I had too much food. If I'd slaved over a hot stove, I might have been upset, but I just did a Costco run, so no harm - no foul. However, it is never a good idea for me to be around that much snacky food. Ever. So after all my guests left, I packed up everything and took it to the office for more sharing. I guess I get the food pusher badge for this week, but there ain't no way that stuff is staying around at my house. Well, not the snacky stuff. I kept the fruit and vegetable tray leftovers.

I didn't make it workout yesterday at lunch. I got a pop-up reminder to call my sister and take her to lunch. I try to do that at least once a month and it was the first Wednesday. So no workout. I did, however, put on the old Asics and take a walk after dropping up the kryptonite (party food) at the office.

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


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time Changes Everything

It truly is funny how time changes everything. And in ways that we probably could not have imagined. Take yesterday, for example, the issue at work turned out to be an issue with the vendor. That possibility never really entered my mind. I'm so used to assuming the defensive position that it could have been something else never crosses my mind. The good news is that I no longer react (mostly) in a defensive way. If I can take a little bit of time and reframe the issue and move myself from my defensive stance into problem solving mode, everyone is happier. More of that perfectionism getting in the way. Except yesterday, it didn't. And everything worked out just fine.

There are other areas where time has changed my perspective a bit. One area is alcohol. While I don't feel I've ever had an issue with alcohol, it felt really hypocritical of me to continue to parktake while Bick was establishing his sobriety. So for well over a year, I didn't drink. I can't say that it was difficult for me to give it up, but it did require some vigilance, as alcohol certainly is pervasive in most social settings. So when the GNO group was to gather at the house, one of the girls asked me in advance if I would share her wine with her. I said I'd think about it. And I did and I decided to have some wine. I did that night and at another social event a couple of days later. And it turns out that I don't like being "dimmed" even a little. I may make different decisions later, but for now, I'm again choosing to abstain.

Another area where time and growth (I hope) have changed things is with entertaining. The Garden Party (about 20 guests) are coming over after work tonight. And I slept well last night. I'm not panicking or worrying. It will be what it will be. I'm serving all pick-up stuff (see the Buy Versus Build post) and I'm completely okay with it. Everything doesn't have to be special. Nothing needs to be over-the-top. It's about the people and the activity. If I make something else out of it, that's just me trolling for affirmation. Sometimes I don't even know who I am anymore :-)

Missed the noontime yoga class due to work issues, but I did manage to ellipticalize in the afternoon. Today will be a noon workout and perhaps a late evening walk after the guests leave. I'll see how I do.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take a look in the rearview.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Living In The Present

I've got nothing profound to say, other than I am trying to breathe deeply and live in the moment. It just seems so easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, the perceived importance of whatever is going on in the immediate future. For me, I can get all tangled up in the minute details and miss out on the peace and serenity that is available NOW. If I don't stay deliberate, I sacrifice those things in a quick hurry.

Case in point - there is a part of my job where I do not feel as competent and comfortable as with other areas and it is in this area where I inherited a tangled mess of code and reporting. Sometimes, I am able to improve the situation and in others, I make it worse. Yesterday, another issue came to light and I immediately sacrifice all the good of the day to that altar. Within fifteen minutes of the closing bell, I was suddenly in fear and panic. And without even knowing all the facts - I immediately assumed all of the responsibility and "blame" and became fearful. Fear of what? Panicked about what? I did get myself talked down, but it took some journaling about my perceptions versus the reality of the situation. And I ended up doing okay with it last night, but it was a battle to act in my own long-term best interest.

I didn't get in my full hour of exercise last night, so forty minutes will have to suffice. I did break down and buy some new Asics, but not my usual Gel Nimbus'. I'll be testing the running store's return policy, as they were not the shoes for me after a couple of miles walking on the treadmill.

I've decided to return the microwave that I purchased for the new house. There just isn't room for it. The times that I would actually use a microwave just aren't worth the real estate that it would take up in my "skinny jeans" kitchen. So back it goes. I'm thinking that I'll use that money to put towards a Weber Q grill on a stand for the out of doors. I think I'll get much more use out of that.

On tap for today, some sort of group exercise class at lunch. I think it may be yoga, I'm not sure. I hope so, as some deliberate time with me is probably what I need right now.

Tonight will be a trip to Costco to pick up the party stuff for tomorrow's gathering. And other than a bike ride with Talia on Saturday, I don't have much else on tap.

I am, however, doing a decent job of returning to reading. I'm actually reading some prose by a lauded poet. At least for fifteen minutes each evening. Elizabeth Bishop, for those keeping track at home.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Live in the NOW.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Fireworks And Duds: The Week In Review

This week was mostly sparkly, with a few duds mixed in for texture and perspective.

Firework: Literally, there is an annual concert event held pretty close to my home that ends every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening with a fireworks display at 10pm. As soon as the first boom is heard, doors fly open in the neighborhood and folks go out to porches and into the street to watch the display. It's pretty stinking awesome for someone who likes fireworks.

Firework: Learning more to the backstory on the Collinwood-Smythe House. As Pebbles says, "This house has such good karma". My deepest gratitude to the women who came before me and prepared this lovely home.

Firework: Jimmie Dale Gilmore and her early hours. I can now love this cat unabashedly knowing that she has someplace else to go. It's like getting to be a grandparent - I get all the fun stuff and then she can go home!

Firework: Seeing the kids' new home and seeing/meeting some of the friends, both old and new. It's great to see the great folks with whom they associate. It's also great to see how they can pull rabbits out of their hats! Plus, lessons learned from my participation.

Firework: Lovely visit with Michele on Friday night and see her big plans for redecorating her very lovely home.

Firework: Fabulous dinner (complete with Groupon) at one of my favorite restaurants. I'm slowly getting over my Groupon obsession and the supply has diminished. I think after next week, I'll have but one left!

Firework: That being said, Groupon for a local hardware store came in really handy. While The Gardener said that she didn't have to water much until August, we are experiencing August-like temps right now. I needed an emergency sprinkler and I was able to get it at a discount. Score!

Firework: Practiced one full day of really good self-care even when I didn't feel even close to good.

Now for the not-so-sparkly.

Dud: Taking two OTC-PM things on Saturday night. They left me drugged and feeling "hung over" for most of the day Sunday. What a waste of a day! I would have done better without any sleep. Never again. There was a lot I needed to do, but couldn't due to the after "glow".

Dud: Realizing that I need to bathe while wearing glasses otherwise I end up striped.

Dud: Seeing the first scratch on MalibuKen. K-Mart rash, apparently.

Dud: First interaction with Bick in nearly three months to arrange for the pick up of the rest of my stuff. I handled myself well, but the exchange has replayed too many times in my mind.

Dud: Only got four hours of exercise in this past week instead of the goal of five.

Dud: Used food to try to feel better. Didn't work. Never does.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Make it Sparkly.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Buy Vs Build

I've got lessons coming at me from all sides these days. I must be in a "willing and accepting" state of mind at the rate things are appearing. Just yesterday, for example, were two prime lessons that I needed to either learn or be reminded of. First, the buy versus build lesson. Pebbles asked me to make some mini corn muffins for her shindig on Saturday. No problem, I said. How many? She said enough to feed thirty people. Again, with the no problem. I decided that 9 boxes of Jiffy mix would suffice. What I didn't figure on were the logistics of actually cooking these puppies. Oh, and the fact that I had ONE mini muffin pan that at capacity used 1/2 a box of batter.

So the decision becomes - do I stop production and go buy three more muffin tins? Who needs four mini muffin tins? Not me, so I call her and ask if I can do regular size. No problem. So I decide that I can mix up more batter and bake both minis and regulars at the same time. Except, well, no. My regular muffin tin won't fit with the silicone muffin tin that must sit on the only cookie sheet that I have. Cut to the chase - I spent THREE hours baking mini muffins on Saturday morning. I only baked up seven of the boxes and still over-made by a long shot. The good news is that I went out into the herb garden and made several batches with lemon thyme. Lemon thyme is a wonderful addition to corn muffins. I would have been much happier to have purchased the muffins ready made. Lesson learned.

Lesson Number Two: things work out, mostly. I show up at Pebbles' house an hour later than anticipated (see above muffin story) to find her house in absolute disarray. I mean, my jaw hit the floor! She had guests coming in about three hours and there were boxes stacked to the ceiling, nothing ready for this party to show off their new house. Except for the 90 pounds of crawfish in the kitchen! But I said nothing, as it wasn't my party. I just asked what she needed me to do and I did it. Not with a sense of urgency, but with a deliberate focus on my singular assigned task. And everything got done. If not perfectly, then certainly good enough. She wasn't panicked. He wasn't panicked. And I didn't charge in, clutch my pearls and begin to gnash my teeth and wail about how this would never work. This is a life lesson that I need to remember.

And I need to remember both of these lessons on Wednesday, when I'm having 20 people over for a quick birthday party and house-peek. I've given up making the snackies, and I'm going to order them today, to be available for pick up on Wednesday afternoon. I'll just keep simplifying this until I get it down to the perfect balance of "nice enough" and "I can enjoy it". I'll spend my energies doing the things that I want to do.

First up, I'm creating a "herb station" for Wednesday. I'm going to get a basket, some baggies, a sharpie and some garden shears, along with a note to "help yourself to some herbs" as a party favor. Today, I'm going to go find some garden tags to get things labeled.

Got another surprise from the Collinwood-Smythe House's owner, once removed. She sent me a long letter, outlining the renovations she had made to the interior, along with about forty pictures of the place, renovations in progress. How cool is that? I'll set those out on Wednesday for party perusal.

And I found out a little background on Jimmie Dale this morning. Jimmie Dale originally belonged to the CSH owner, along with Jimmie Dale's brother, Cottonwood. However, Cotton was mean to Jimmie Dale, so the neighbor across the street adopted her. Jimmie Dale, however, still loved her prior owner's early morning hours (she got up at 4am) and so Jimmie Dale was delighted to see me stirring around at such early hours! So Marlie (my neighbor) and I have agreed to continue the joint custody arrangement with Jimmie Dale (whose real name is Sister (how dull is that?)). These people need me to help with the naming of things.

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


Friday, June 3, 2011

Slip Slidin' Away

Alternate Title: All Creatures Great and Small. So last night I slept for a full six hours. Not optimal, but a bit better than I had been doing. Still, I was awake and upright at 4:30 am and starting my day. I looked through my day's activities and needed to mail a payment. So I set down and wrote out a check and then stepped out on the front porch to post the letter. Sidebar: I've never in my whole very life had a mailbox that was so convenient!

And Jimmie Dale was right there waiting for me. So I stepped back inside, grabbed a cup of coffee and went back outside to sit on the porch in the dawn's early light. Problem is, I was wearing my pink silk robe and poor old Jimmie Dale could not find purchase. After sliding off my lap a couple of times, the claws came out and I became a human pin cushion in order for him/her to stay seated on my slippery lap. It was pretty comical albeit in a slightly painful way.

And speaking of comical and animals, last night's adventures at the school track continued. No more Mr. Pervy, but the field was awash in activity. There was group middle-aged Latinos playing soccer on half the field. The other half of the field was taken up by a group of co-ed hipsters playing some sort of Frisbee/rugby thing - but without the scrums. And there was what I guess to be the Tuesday/Thursday boot camp. At one point, the boot campers were divided into three teams, each given a paper with instructions on it and they rapidly dispersed to various parts of the park/field/school yard to perform an assortment physical activities.

One group of probably eight folks was in a grassy area off to the side of the track, all performing planks. And that's when he came in. He, being a rambunctious golden retriever (Hi, Ellen) and as soon as his leash was unsnapped, he made a beeline for the planksters! The dog was so incredibly happy that all these people were down on his level. He ran through the group, tail wagging and giving kisses. His owner was mortified, but the bootcampers just collapsed unto the ground and into gales of laughter. It loses a lot in translation, but trust me, there was a lot of joy happening in that little scene.

Today is an off day for me, exercise wise. Tonight, I'm doing a very casual dinner (read salad) for a couple of friends. Tomorrow I have an early morning short ride scheduled with Talia. After that, I'm off to serve as scullery wench for Pebbles' and Slater's First Annual Crawdad Boil and New Expensive Patio Furniture Disaster. I've been instructed to bring 9 dozen mini corn muffins. Should be a fun time. I'm looking forward to seeing some of her/their high school and college friends that I haven't seen in a while. Or it could be no fun at all and in that case, I'll leave.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get a grip.


Disclaimer: Not a photo of me or my pink silk robe.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introducing: Jimmie Dale

Introducing: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, my erstwhile cat. Not my cat really, just a local neighborhood cat that jumped up in my lap yesterday morning whilst I was out drinking my coffee on the front porch. The cat has a very distinctive "voice" - a high-lonesome tenor, thus the name, Jimmie Dale. Good thing I like cats and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

Jimmie Dale also wandered up in the afternoon and I took his/her picture. Obviously, Jimmie Dale is a smitten kitten.

Got in my hour of exercise on the first of June. Was stuck in an all-day committee meeting, complete with a box lunch. Upon checking out the calorie counts AFTERWARDS, I was discouraged to learn that chocolate chip cookie was 300 calories! That's practically a meal! I could have had the other 1/2 sandwich for greater satisfaction and fewer calories. Ah, well. I mean, it's not like I didn't know it was a cookie. I just didn't think it was that much of a cookie, ya know?

Also saw semi-naked-bald-yoga-gymnastics-kinda-pervy-guy at the track for the first time. Definitely strangeness there - the guy was going around the track standing on his hands, doing some sort of spread-legged move that I've only seen from Bart Connor, then descending into down dog, followed by cobra pose. In teeny-tiny shorts. I don't know if this was a sun salutation or follow the bouncing ball!

Still working on getting things organized, but I think I may have put too much stuff up on the wall. It may be time to edit. Just because I own it doesn't mean I have to hang it. Same for the guy at the track :-)

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


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Goals For June

I have but two goals for June:

1. Five hours of exercise per week.
2. Live in the present moment.

I had a wonderful day yesterday. While I didn't make my yoga class (the classroom didn't get opened in time - I went to the elliptical instead), I did spend some time in the evening at the neighborhood track. It's such a beehive of activity. Last night there was a boot-camp meeting there. That's certainly something to check into. There is also yoga on Monday nights at the community center, which is also within walking distance. Many opportunities to check out.

I did have some insight last night as I was walking the track. While I talk a good game, I really don't live in the present moment. In most cases, if I am in fear, I am in the future and if I am in the future I am throwing away the present.

I frequently engage in "planning", but really, it is just worry about the future dressed up in a business suit. Yes, planning can be a good thing, but constantly staying in "planning" mode is giving fear of the future and it's Wonder Twin - Anxiety, a toehold in my day. Planning is good;excessive planning is not good for me. All things in moderation and have enough faith in myself to know that I will deal with whatever comes my way.

Being in the present, the hear and now, is already perfect. There is no lack right this second. There is no need to worry or plan, for right now, there is all I need.

That's not to say that a routine or schedule isn't good, as it takes the "thinking" out of it. And for someone with tendencies towards obsessive thinking, experiencing the joy of the right now is a big step indeed.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Be where you are, right this second.