Tuesday, March 31, 2009
As the numbers on the scale screamed at me once again the past 3 days, I wish there was a pill that I could take to make my weight return to its previous state.
I know that I could be making wiser food choices, but when I'm doing so many other things correctly, I have let myself off the hook for an 'emotional' eating choice at the end of the day. That is one habit that I must work hard to break.
The best thing that I've done is to purchase ''Wii Fit''. It tracks the days and minutes you exercise. There is a scoring system that the competitive side of me thrives on. There have been several days that I probably would have chose not to exercise but I wanted to put that stamp on my calendar that records my exercise habits. So I was motivated.
Last night, I was beyond tired. I had found myself a sunbeam and waves of exhaustion kept overtaking my need to get moving. I finally convinced myself to just go down and work on some of the 'balance games' on Wii Fit. Maybe not a full blown work-out ... but at least I would be moving. Well, one thing led to the next and by the time I was finished (close to 2 hours later), I had worked out all of the muscle groups I wanted to and gone for a few of the aerobic challenges that get my heart pumping.
And what did I do when I finally got myself wound down for the day? Nibbled on part of a bag of chips. The old me would have polished off an entire bag of chips. The new me can walk away from some temptation. Not all of it ... but some of it.
My emotional eating habit is the hardest one to break. I eat when I'm tired, when I'm bored, when I think I deserve a reward, to get through a tough kid-day and to be sociable. I have several vitamins and supplements that need to taken with food, so I eat when it's time to take these. I eat when I'd rather be in the presence of another human being or so that I can stay awake to watch a movie and because it's a habit.
After reading that paragraph, I can see that it is really no wonder that I'm adding on the pounds! I can't eat and write at the same time (believe me, I've tried!) ... so I should write more.
In this world of 'instant everything', I want an instant solution. I have to remember that it has taken over a year to get my body to this state of disrepair. It will take over a year to get myself back to where I used to be. I just want it sooner!
That said, it is time to bundle the kids and go outside for a walk and a chance to breathe in some fresh, spring air.
It's time. Time to break some bad habits and find my inner self. The one that is inside of the extra pounds that have been added onto this body of mine!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The luxury of having the time to both relax and accomplish great things over the course of a 2 day weekend amazes me. In the land of one day weekends, I raced around in a frantic pace to take care of the must-do items on my agenda so that I could afford that down time.
In my new world, I can go away for a day without a second thought. I can make plans for a short get away. I can run errands on the weekend and still have time to sit back and take it easy. I can push myself hard one day and know that I have a second day, to do as I choose. I can afford to take an entire 'cat day' to myself.
Cat days. I love them! As our cat enjoys his life of leisure (where he can eat, sleep and do what he wants, when he wants), I have aspired to have days like those. I tell him (the cat) time and time again how lucky he is. He looks at me with his soulful cat eyes as if to say "I haven't got it all that great. You won't let me run at large outside!"
It never fails. That greener grass in the other pasture is always beckoning to us, no matter how lush our own pasture is. I can remember my dad telling me that it is human nature to always want more. You will think that you want something ... then as soon as you get it, you will want something else. Something more.
I guess that is what keeps us growing, learning and thriving. That push to be more, do more, see more and live more.
I look at my life, my world and all that surrounds it and I couldn't be more grateful. But yes ... I'm looking beyond. I still have hopes, dreams and aspirations. Thank goodness for that, otherwise every single day would be a 'cat day'.
The best thing about those days of following your whims and doing only what you want to do, is that they are mixed in among days of busyness, demands, doing, going and being all that you need to be doing. One needs that contrast in life, to appreciate the small things.
I am grateful to have 2 days out of every week that can be lived on a whim. I love my 2 day weekends!!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I've made exercise a priority now that we have a new 'Wii Fit'. I don't want to disappoint my Wii trainer. One day there was a problem with the calendar on it and he thought I skipped a day. I was so disheartened, because I hadn't missed the day. Now I feel obligated to show up religiously, to show my dedication to this newly formed habit (this morning, I officially logged 10 hours of exercise after 12 days of working out). I haven't been so encouraged to exercise for a very, very long time.
I've created a busyness in my life that I am not entirely sure is all good. I need to have goals and a purpose to my days. But I have riddled myself with routines and schedules that I feel driven to keep.
When Dale spent the entirety of the day here last week, it through me for a loop. I got done what I had to do in the day ... but it was pretty late in the day before I could turn myself 'off'.
The 'off' signal is important to me. I have my rituals that signal the close of my daycare day. A tidy and vacuumed house, doors locked and the blinds closed means that I am closed for business. I breathe a heavy sigh of relief as I put my day behind me.
The book keeping work has a similar signal to me in my brain. The 'done' pile is completely organized, labeled and put together so that it can be swept away at the end of the work.
The book projects that I am working on are sitting in their pending pile. When I have the time to dedicate to them, they get moved to the middle of the kitchen table to signal 'work'. Back to the pending spot when I don't have the time.
I have spots in my kitchen for work in progress; pending work; and things that are ready to walk out of the door with me the next time I leave the house. These little piles are a constant reminder of the state of organization or disorganization in my mind. I love when my kitchen is clear of these physical reminders of what I must get done.
My wind down routines at the end of the day take place no matter what the time or circumstances. 'Getting my head ready for bed' is a figurative routine as well as a physical one. Physically, I wash my face, take out my contact lenses and brush my teeth. Mentally, I have washed the day down the drain and have my eyes in a state where I can close them and keep them closed. Once my head is ready for bed, my thoughts slow down and I am ready to relax.
I like to have a process in place that keeps me driven and motivated. I don't enjoy the sensation of feeling obsessed. That means that something is out of balance.
I guess the down periods I have are there for a purpose. When I don't take the time to keep the days in balance ... I will have days/weeks where I quite literally do the bare minimum.
What I don't like, is the fact that my life is possibly too full. I like to hope that some day, I may meet a 'special someone' and add a serious relationship into my life. Racing through my days, becoming obsessed with my routines and rituals, needing a certain amount of time to myself, adding more work/people/obligations to my life ... leaves very little time left over.
What am I willing to give up? Right now ... I want it all. The book projects are above and beyond the regular commitments in my life. But they are a passion I simply need to see through. I need to finish what I've started. I know this.
When I look at all of the demands on my time, I know for a fact the one thing that I would gladly give up, if finances weren't an issue. It would be the 10 hours of each week day that I am obligated to my daycare family. It is my job of tending children and all the fluctuations of work and income that stems from that job that is truly draining my resources. If I could wave a magic wand ... all of that would disappear. And then I'd have the energy to pursue new horizons!
Time ... there is never enough of it when you are busy. The alternative ... having too much time on your hands, is not good either. As with everything in life ... it is all about balance.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This year, I have been taking several parallel leaps in my life. The difference being ... that I seem to have a lot more time to ponder the sanity of these undertakings. The words, "Who do you think you are??" and "What have you done??" come to my mind often.
My confidence levels are not high, but I have last years successes to keep talking me into going forward with my plans. The self-talk that is going on within my head seems to be getting the better of me. More negative than positive some days. The negativity is draining.
Then ... I wake up to a morning such as today and I am fueled with confidence and the passion I need fired up within me, to take the next forward steps.
What was different about this morning? Waking up to find emails from some cousins that I have been impacting with some of these 'great ideas'. Words of gratitude and encouragement that I so needed to hear. I've been running on empty the last little while and I needed something to urge me forward.
My immediate family never lets me down and is a constant source of energy for me. But when I reach someone outside of my immediate circle, I feel like the passion that sparked the idea was there for a reason.
The comment that 'someone' has to make the first move has been spoken to me several times recently. The old me wasn't that 'someone'. The new me is trying to be.
It is a frightening venture ... standing out on that ledge and taking a risk. But it is a risk worth taking. Whether or not I fail or succeed is not as important to me, as is to try.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Savoring the moment is quite simply something that I haven't mastered in my life ... let alone, when I am hosting a gathering in my home.
My mind starts racing forward days in advance of the big event. The day of the event, I'm racing to prepare all that I think that I must do in order to pull off a relaxed gathering. As we gather, I am constantly fretting about the needs of my guests - drinks, food, seating, is everyone relaxed and happy, when to bring out the food, when to put the food away (and how do I accomplish it in a fashion so that everyone around me continues to feel calm and relaxed). My ears are fine tuned to hearing what my guests may be needing, but I miss out on the visiting and the stories. I'm so busy living in anticipation of what's next, that I miss what's actually happening.
This is something that I keep repeating, no matter how much I know better. I have sporadic successes, and then I'll add a new twist or challenge to a gathering and I'm back at square one.
Yesterday was a lesson. If I could rewind the day and redo it, I would know a better way of living the day and finding myself in the moment, instead of 5 minutes ahead of where I was at the time.
To be able to slow down the world around me and focus my full energy in that moment is a continual challenge for me. My job of providing care for children provides me opportunities to practise this art every minute of every day. But my mind is continually anticipating the 'what's next' in order to keep one step ahead of the chaos in my mind that reigns, if I am 2 steps behind.
I started running '2 steps behind' on Thursday ... and I never managed to feel caught up until I had my house back in order, late last night. Did all the chaos I created in my mind serve any purpose??
Do less and accomplish more may be the lesson to be learned here. No one expected more out of me, than I did myself. I created my frenzy and I paid the price.
I saved one piece of dessert for myself to savor as my guests took their leftovers home. Today, I sat down, sat still and savored that piece of dessert. It was divine. In the quiet reflection of the day, I brought myself to where I wish I was yesterday. And I was so glad to have kept that 'little piece of yesterday' to savor for myself today.
I don't have an 'undo' button in my life. But I do have a 'redo' button, where I'll take the lessons learned from yesterday and put them to use for the next time.
Friday, March 20, 2009
The antics on the computer screen that Andre is watching is the two of them getting to know one another:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I was watching 'Snow Buddies' with the kids (actually, I started watching it first and the kids came and joined me) a while ago and I had to run for a pen to capture the deep thoughts that came with the story. I believe that some of them are Buddha quotes:
"Sometimes the greatest journeys start accidentally ... and end with a higher purpose"
"Although life may lead to where you least expect it, have faith that it is where you were meant to be"
"Sometimes ... you just have to have faith"
Montel Williams was on Oprah yesterday, talking about his challenges with multiple sclerosis(which he was diagnosed with 10 years ago). Although the disease sounds impossibly hard to cope with on a day to day basis, he decided that there must be some purpose to him having it. He can be a 'face' for multiple sclerosis and talk to people about living with whatever they are personally living with 'after the diagnosis'.
As I typed out these 'Snow Buddies' quotes, I thought of how aptly they all applied.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I was able to repair my vacuum cleaner instead of replacing it. My kitchen sink kept backing up so I called in Son #2 to help. He spent hours this afternoon trying to maneuver the pipes enough to get things running again. While he was here, he picked up and installed some carpet molding (which I've needed since last summer). I paid him for the materials but he said the labor was free. Then a learning game for the kids (that I bought some new games for this weekend) stopped working. None of the stores carry it anymore so I will get a free replacement from the company - I just have to pay postage. Now ... all I have to contend with is a leaky roof.
Is everything breaking down at once? Or does it just feel that way??
But now that I'm in this 'catch-up' mode, I'm just rolling with the punches. Dealing with things as they come along. Nothing is piling up in the corners, in my mind or anywhere else. I don't like dealing with backlog. In fact, I even got my income tax done today - I'm ahead of the game on that!
Ahead of the game. Now that is a place I like to be ...
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Things were piling up on me. Piling up around me, piling up on me, piling up in my mind ... I have been feeling a little weighted down this past while.
I think my 'action plan' is working. I am working my way out again. It feels great.
A person feels back in control of life when you take control. I'm taking the lead and moving forward.
I'm back in the land of living my life. It feels very good.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The past month, I have frittered away my Saturdays. Sleeping in, moving at a snail's pace, not accomplishing much more than updating blogs and sending emails. I have not even been out of bed by this time most weekends.
And here I am, pumped and ready to go! It feels great.
I have 5 hours between the time I drop my vacuum cleaner off to be repaired and when I must pick it up. Those hours are earmarked for 'the book project'. I must deduct travelling time and time to nourish myself ... but it is my goal to sit down and dive right back into that project today and tomorrow and the next day. And from that point on ... a little bit every day will get me to the place I want to be.
I have loved my lazy weekends. But it feels so good to be up and ready to tackle the day. There is not a moment to be wasted today. I'm on a roll ...
Friday, March 13, 2009
An entire weekend awaits and I hope to make the most of it. Time for errands; time to work on my book project; down time and hopefully a little bit of leeway so that I don't let myself get stopped in my tracks if I get interrupted along the way.
I have so many niggling thoughts and chores that have been weighing on my mind. Today, I came up with a plan of attack.
I have an action plan!! Emphasis on action! I am done sitting here not doing anything. It is time to get moving. Time to put one foot in front of the other and just do it.
I think winter is zapping all of my energy ... but it's coming back.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Lately, the smallest of things are feeling so huge. I've been putting things off. Which in and of itself isn't bad. But it overwhelms me when it starts to pile up. I don't like a back log of stuff on my mental to-do-list. I think it goes back to my lazy-house-keeping days when I let things slide so badly, that housework became something I dreaded.
Yesterday, I managed to deal with 3 of those trivial tasks. When I say trivial, I am not exaggerating. I made a banana loaf out of some ripe bananas that had been staring at me for days; I baked the potatoes that only had a small shelf life left; and I called to get an address for a letter that I wanted to mail. That's it! Not doing these trivial little tasks was draining my energy.
I have much, much more that I should be tending to, to feel caught up in my life. But I couldn't believe how energized I was, by simply doing these 3 small things. It (almost) makes me want to write up a fresh to-do list, so that I can cross several more things off of that energy draining mental list that is running in the background of my mind.
I spent 4 hours playing 'catch-up' with my book keeping work today. Small little jobs that would take minutes each day. But instead, the pile gets left undone. I have no control over the work flow, with this job. I do whatever work she brings me, when ever she brings it to me. Immediately. I cannot stand unfinished work staring at me, lurking in corners and hidden in a bedroom. It overwhelms me when I have these huge jobs that have piled up over the months ... but it feels so good when it gets done.
Now that I've given myself this pep talk about 'just doing it', when it comes to big jobs, little jobs and every job in between ... I have a big job that I have been wasting my energy not doing!
It is no different than the months of book work that I end up working on. To quote myself, "It would take minutes each day ..." if I worked at it slowly and steadily. Minutes ... compared to hours.
The energy expended not doing something is usually more than simply getting the job done. Just do it!!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Here are a few clips that we've accumulated of Andre over the course of the year. He is big on grooming and I think that he thinks His Favorite Boy is his kitten.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I recognize it, I know that it is within my power to change it. But I have allowed myself to feel these human qualities before I charge into the next phase that I must live and grow through. This past weekend, I simply felt vulnerable.
Several cups of coffee and a conversation with a 'friend from the past' opened up doors that I chose not to walk through yesterday. They were just words. But words that had the potential to open up freshly healed wounds and put old feelings back on the table.
As we ventured down this old, familiar path I wasn't swept into the vortex of old emotions. My feet are very firmly placed in today and I know that this is where I need to be.
We touched on the whys and hows of the breakdown of the relationship. We were walking down a road that I didn't want to follow. A person can talk in circles and go no where, when trying to analyse the reasons that started the process of the tumbling of that delicate house of cards, that is a relationship. There are always two sides to the story. It can be the smallest of incidents that set the wheels in motion. Or it can be a very subtle feeling that festers and grows.
I was craving human contact yesterday. If there wasn't a living, breathing person with feelings that could be hurt on the other side ... it would have been tempting to just fall into a familiar and comfortable set of arms.
I had just put a voice to my feelings the day before:
"For the first time in a very long while, I'm a little bit lonely. I'm missing 'being part of a couple'. I've been content in my single status for almost 2 years. But I don't want this to last forever ... and I'm afraid that it could."
It was shortly after I wrote those words that I consciously thought that I wouldn't even want to meet someone right now. I wouldn't want for someone to fall for the me that I am, when I feel like this.
This is the place that I have been in, when I've rekindled old romances in the past. You can't form a healthy relationship when you are not feeling your best self. I can see now, that those relationships were doomed from the moment they began.
I turned down a well intended invitation by this person yesterday. I quite literally told him that I was not going to say yes, just because he is a living, breathing soul.
I said 'no' to repeating the mistakes of my past. I believe that this is the turning point that I have been waiting for.
A little bit lonely is okay. It's better than a whole lot miserable.
Quote from 'The Secret':
"When you don't feel good about You, you are on a frequency that is attracting more people, situations, and circumstances that will continue to make you feel bad about You."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Yesterday morning I woke up at 8:00 am. I went straight to the computer and I 'played'. All day. It was almost 7:00 pm before I finally pried myself away from the computer desk. Kurt and I tried to go and see a movie but since most of the people in our city had the same idea, we nixed that idea in favor of finding a cheap movie at WalMart. We picked up supper, bought a few snacks and spent 1 1/2 hours watching a movie together. And what was I thinking during the last half hour of the show? "I wonder if I got an email ..." Which I had.
I lead a very home-based life. I take care of children in my home for 10 hours of every week day. I do book-keeping which is delivered and picked up to my door. My hours are quite committed, so I do find a lot of solace in the fact that my work, my relaxation, my enjoyment and my free time is all enjoyed from the comfort of my own home.
But when I think about the lack of face to face contact that I have at times, it is frightening. Thankfully I am not shying away from the idea of that. I've started attending a group dance class to push me out of my comfort zone and put myself out in the real world with real people. I seem to always have some type of gathering on a back burner and I invite small groups of people into my home on a semi regular basis. I jumped at the chance to join my family on Friday night to support and appreciate a family member's creative talents. I'm not afraid to leave the confines of my oasis here at home and at my computer. But do I enjoy it ... too much??
As I was reading the ''Chicken Soup for the Soul'' book that I got for Christmas, every time an author would strike a chord with me I would Google their name and read a little bit about them. I stumbled across one author's blog and I now check it on a daily basis. The talent, knowledge, imagination and process of writing a fiction novel intrigues me. I love to write, but I don't have the imagination required to put together a piece of fiction. I write what I feel and what I know. I am spellbound by the words that this author puts out into cyberspace and she inspires me. I have found a one sided 'virtual' friend that doesn't know I exist.
Yesterday, as I spent the entirety of my day at the computer I found a link on this authors blog that I followed and found a 'Mom and More' blog. The very first entry that she wrote struck a familiar chord with me (eavesdropping on children's conversations). I felt compelled to make a comment on what she had written because her words spoke to me. In my experience with kids, my daycare and the blog that I set up for my daycare parents I make it part of my job to continually eavesdrop. So before I went to sleep last night, I went back to her blog and found that she had replied to my comment. Her words meant a lot.
I woke up this morning with some of yesterdays words and thoughts ringing in my mind. I wrote of my 'virtual world' as I signed off of an email. I thought of the blogs that I read that inspire me - unbeknownst to the authors. I thought of the comment and reply that I did make to this one author and how the words of a virtual stranger touched a chord in me. I thought of the blogs that I author and wondered about my 'audience' (if there is one). Do my words make a difference? Or is my existence only in my mind ...
1. Having the power of acting or of invisible efficacy without the agency of the material or sensible part; potential; energizing.
2. Being in essence or effect, not in fact; as, the virtual presence of a man in his agent or substitute.
A thing has a virtual existence when it has all the conditions necessary to its actual existence. --Fleming.
As I continue to allow my computer and Internet connections broaden my vision and horizons, I must force myself to spend time among living, breathing souls. Maybe it is in the over abundance of children and all that their reality brings to 44.64% of my waking hours that has me retreating to the quiet, virtual existence of my computer.
But where am I this morning? In front of the computer. Again ...
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Then ... one phone call transformed my thought waves.
I was invited to join my cousin's family and friends as they were gathering in a nearby restaurant to watch their son perform.
The last real memory that I have of this 'first cousin, once removed', was from a family gathering almost 16 years ago. He and 3 other family members formed a band and they performed a few songs for the event we were celebrating that day. He was 14 years old and was the drummer for the band.
Now, at age 30 ... he is a drummer for an up and coming singer. The music that they make together is amazing. But what really struck home for me, was the fact that this now 30 year old followed the passion of his 14 year old self. What a feat that is ... to continue to follow a path that leads to destinations unknown.
I have a few unsung hero's of the 30 year old genre.
The second one is my nephew, who is an aspiring comedian who has set lofty goals and is striving to achieve them. He is creating a name for himself, doing something that he loves to do. He is following his dream and making it become his reality.
My third hero that was born in the year 1978, is my own son.
He is living a less public dream. He grew up in a home which had a lot of upheaval. We endured a lot of conflict as we weathered his teen years together. He left home under less than ideal circumstances. And he survived.
He created his present day life on his own. He surrounded himself with friends that got him through. He worked loyally, at a low paying job that was going no where ... because it paid the bills. He met someone special and has been with her for over 9 years. He opened himself to new ideas. He was determined to find a way to support himself in a fashion that he believed that he deserved. He researched careers, the job market, the wages and the education he would require to achieve his goal.
He put himself through school. Last spring, he graduated. His education is bought and paid for - he did it by himself. He has been working at his new career for close to a year and is enjoying a standard of life and living that he worked hard for.
All three of my hero's followed their own path. Each of them took risks to get them to where they are today. Each of them believed in themselves.
Success isn't defined by anyone else. It is something within. It comes from following your heart. It comes from following the path that feels right. But it doesn't end there. Once you climb the mountain, you can only enjoy the view for so long before you need to descend back down to earth and envision climbing the next one.
I believe that I've been sitting at the bottom of that mountain for too long. I'm tired and I know that my energy will come from ascending my next new height.
Sitting in the audience last night, I was basking in the glow from someone who was climbing their own mountain. I was inspired.
Friday, March 6, 2009
And boy, is that a sad truth for me today! I have been thinking grumpy thoughts all morning. And that ... in a word, is what I was! This morning.
It is now afternoon. I shall think happy thoughts and become a happier person.
As I was outside shovelling (what I keep hoping) is one of the few snowfalls left of the winter season, I couldn't help but feel for the bird that was singing a lonely tune this morning. I think he was saying "When is spring coming?"
It was only a short while ago that I woke up to hear the cheery trills of the morning birds outside my window, singing songs of joy "Spring is coming! Spring is coming!"
As we face another bout of winter weather, I can't help but long for warm spring days. In the mean time, I found this 'Morning Bird Song' video on YouTube. These are the sounds of summer that I can't wait to hear:
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I have went from immersing myself in a day of memories ... to indulging myself in a full day of doing whatever my heart desired ... and then I have been immersed in work, obligations and errands for the past few days.
The day spent looking back on my life 37 1/2 years ago was fun - pure enjoyment! The day indulging myself in my whims was thoroughly relaxing. I wish I could say that it was energizing - but after 2 days of not accomplishing a thing, I could have easily gotten on a roll of being lazy.
The past few days of 'real life' have been necessary. A person simply wouldn't appreciate the down-time in life, if you didn't have the busy days to compare it to.
And that is about as deep as my thoughts are going tonight. I've run out of words.