Monthly Archives: October 2011

Fall Weather

Fall has definitely arrived here in Oxnard. The day was chilly, overcast and damp, and both Liam and I felt like we couldn’t wake up or get warm all day long. What is it about gray days that make it seem like 6:00 o’clock in the morning all day? It was definitely a hot-tea-and-comfort-food sort of day, which for me means carbs and sugar – not the sort of thing that fits into my healthy eating plan these days. Needless to say, it was a struggle.

I was working on a post today about my mom’s little Boston Terrier being attacked by the neighbor’s pit bulls and the amazing lack of help she’s received from the county Animal Control department, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I am so frustrated and discouraged with the situation right now! The callous disregard the local law enforcement and Animal Control officers have shown to her is so disheartening.

I saved a draft of my post and will hopefully be able to finish it tomorrow. When I started my blog, I promised to be honest and real in my posts and intend to do so with this one too. I just need to ruminate on it a little more before I post it.

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one Thing You Should Know About Me

I saw a Twitter thread on Manual for Living today that intrigued me – what’s the ONE thing we want to know about YOU, for today at least. I replied that the thing I’d like everyone to know is that I have enough items on my “to do” or bucket list to fill many lifetimes.

I saw a funny cartoon once that said, “If it’s true we will live until we accomplish everything we’re here to do, I will never die, because I’m so far behind!” On the one hand, I feel excited that there are still so many things I want to do and learn and experience that I wonder if I’m going to be able to fit them all into this lifetime. On the other hand, I tend to get overwhelmed sometimes by how many things are on my to do list at any given moment – everything from “wash the dishes” to “write more curriculum for Stir the Embers” to “list those 15 hats I knit on Etsy.”

I like having plenty to do and I am more motivated when I have something to look forward to or work toward. Crossing items off my daily to do list is really rewarding for me. I think the disconnect and the overwhelm comes from having things on my list that I feel like I SHOULD do, rather than just things I WANT to do. When my day is full of tasks that don’t seem as important or enjoyable, I feel like I’m wasting my time and not accomplishing the important things.

I’ve read a lot about how to combat that feeling of overwhelm, but I really think it comes down to perception. To borrow a popular adage, “there’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Writing about writing

Today is one of those days that I’m really struggling to write. It’s odd, because writing is usually pretty easy for me, but when I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to say, it can be a chore, which it definitely is tonight. I’ve heard that one way around a block is to just start writing anything until the muse strikes (or bites, in my case), but now that I appear to be getting some real readers (as opposed to the amazing amount of spam comments I’ve received after blogging about dental phobias), I’m suddenly feeling shy, or at least uninspired.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of creative writing lately (here on the blog and for another outlet which I can’t give much detail about right now), and have really enjoyed it. I also have a Stir the Embers writing project to work on – we’ve been taking some of our introductory workshop material and turning it into an online course or downloadable content for the website. Usually, my big challenge with writing is finding the time to write, and when I do make time, finding a place that is conducive to writing. I’m not much for sitting in a noisy coffee shop banging out the Great American Novel, but sometimes that’s all I’ve got.

I haven’t been particularly inspired by the daily WordPress suggested topics lately either, but with any luck this is only a temporary block and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled blog posts tomorrow.

Health Improvement Progress

I want to write about some progress I’m making toward my health improvement goals for the year because I’m proud of it. I had a bit of a health scare about a year ago and ended up getting a complete blood workup and physical exam, the result of which was a diagnosis of obesity, menopause, hypothyroidism, elevated cholesterol, borderline high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome (which is fancy way of saying pre-diabetes). I’m happy to report that today, my hormones, cholesterol and blood pressure are back into normal ranges and I’ve lost almost 25 pounds, with more coming off each week. I am walking aerobically 3-4 times per week and will be walking in my first half-marathon in January, which is something I never thought I’d do. I’m sleeping better, I’m breathing better, I’m feeling better (physically and emotionally) and I’m looking better, and I really feel like the positive changes I’ve made over the past year are sustainable, long term ones.

At 46, I have a better change getting down to my goal weight and staying there than I ever have in my life. I’m looking forward to dancing regularly again and hoping to be able to start running as my strength and endurance increases. I may even get back into armor and start fighting heavy weapons and rapier again!

I’ve tried to improve my health in the past, and have done so on a temporary basis, but this time I believe it is permanent. So what’s different this time, beside new prescription medication (better living through modern chemistry, as Grif likes to say)? This time, I know I can do it. I didn’t really think I could do it before, but now I know I can.

One Post Per Day 2011 Challenge – Halfway

Today is October 16th, which is halfway through October and therefore halfway through the One Post Per Day Challenge. It seems appropriate at this point to reflect on the exercise of writing one blog post per day and to recount any successes and failures so far.

First of all, I’m proud of myself for actually getting one blog post per day up on the site since October 1st. Some have been better than others and most have come about fairly easily. I am enjoying the discipline of writing something each day and I think it is helping my creativity.

As for “opportunities for improvement,” I haven’t had any comments (other than spam) on any of my posts, which is both a disappointment and a huge relief. I’m still feeling a little bit vulnerable about putting my thoughts out there for the world to see and comment on, so I really haven’t done much to publicize or encourage folks to follow me, but it is out there in public, on the internet, easily Google-able (is that a word?), so I suppose it’s only a matter of time before someone I know finds this and reads it. And as of right now, I think I’m okay with that.

Going forward, my goals are to continue to write one post per day (sometimes on whatever is rattling around in my head at the moment and sometimes taking the suggestion of the One Post Per Day bloggers) and to commit to one post per week at the Stir the Embers blog, which I’ve woefully neglected since June. I may also start doing a little more fiction writing, since I’ve done a bit of that in the past few weeks and found myself really enjoying it.

The Search for the 10th Doctor

Liam wants to be the 10th Doctor for Halloween this year (I love my budding geek!), so he and I spent the better part of the morning today shopping the local thrift stores for an appropriate brown or blue pinstriped suit. Interestingly, we came across many suit jackets that looked great and fit him well, but none of them had matching pants, so it was a wash today. We’ll try hitting a few highly recommended Ventura thrift stores tomorrow.

If we’re going for authenticity, we really should get a brown pinstriped suit, as that is what the 10th Doctor wore most often. I really expected to find more blue suits than brown ones, so I was surprised to find several brown jackets today. I haven’t even tried the retail stores yet because I’m hoping to find something that will work for less than $50 since he will most likely outgrow whatever we buy in the next six months or so. As much as I’d like to throw a bunch of money at this costume and get him an absolutely excruciatingly correct version of the outfit down to the camel overcoat, I will be happy at this point to find pants and a jacket that match. Oh, and the shoes … do I really want to drop $50 on a pair of Converse All-Stars he’ll outgrow before summer or will the Target knock-offs do?

We ordered the a flashlight version of the 10th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver from ThinkGeek yesterday (love those folks!), which should be here in the next 7-10 days, so assuming we can find a passable suit and shoes tomorrow we’re on track for Halloween.

Grateful

Today was a great day. Nothing in particular happened to make it great (other than Grif getting his first paycheck from his new job – regular income FTW!), but I can’t help but feel happy and grateful today. I have pretty good health, which is getting better every day. I have a great relationship with Grif and we are blessed with a smart, funny, healthy, awesome son. We live in a pretty nice and safe neighborhood in a nice house with electricity, running water, and internet access. I have good friends, close family, no stalker exes (that I know of!), hobbies I enjoy, and engaging work I’m passionate about. I have pretty much everything I could want or need at my fingertips. Life is good.

Half-Marathon Training Update

I had some good news this week about my half-marathon training. I’m not as slow and out of shape as I thought I was. I couldn’t figure out why my pace was so much quicker when I walked laps with my training buddy as opposed to walking straight-aways by myself. I started to have my suspicions when the lap I was sure was a mile square clocked in at .75 of a mile on my pedometer. Sure enough, my buddy confirmed it on Monday – my pedometer is off. I never bothered to set the stride length on it because I assumed my stride was average length, but evidently it isn’t. That means that on my solo days, I was actually walking quite a bit further than I thought, which would explain why I thought my time was so slow. Typically, I average 15-16 minutes per mile, which is just at the pace limit for the half-marathon I’m running in January, so as long as I can maintain that pace for the entire 13.1 miles, I won’t be swept up by the Van of Shame. Of course, I’d like to get faster, so I’ll be working on improving my speed as well as my distance between now and the race.

I have a renewed sense of confidence and purpose now. This looming race is starting to seem possible again.

Writing About Fear

Today’s One Post Per Day writing challenge was to pick one of the fears I listed yesterday (The Top 5 Things I’m Afraid To Write About) and actually write about it, or at least write about why I’m afraid to write about it. How did I know that was coming? Actually, though, having published my top five writing topic fears for all the world to see (and interestingly, that post has gotten the most hits by far), they don’t seem nearly as scary as they did yesterday. Maybe that was the point?

The real challenge for me today, then, is to decide which fear I’m comfortable writing about. The one that keeps popping into my head is my fear of writing about my business. I’ve tried to start several businesses over the past 20+ years and have had very limited success each time. The “failure to launch” part doesn’t bother me as much as embarrassment of having to admit that my grand scheme didn’t work. This is especially bad now that Twitter, Facebook, blogging and the like make it so easy to publicize every hope, dream, thought and idea that pops into one’s head, whether it’s viable or not. In a nutshell, after having told everyone about my latest and greatest business idea and gotten started down the path, it is painful to have to admit that I haven’t been able to be successful at it or make it work like I’d hoped.

The Top 5 Things I’m Afraid to Write About

When I decided to start the WordPress One Post Per Day challenge I signed up for the daily email with a topic to write about. So far, I’ve been pretty uninspired by their suggested topics, but today’s really struck me – Make a List of 5 Things You’re Afraid to Write About. My first thought was, “Wow, only five things? I could go on and on,” but the truth is that I’m pretty open about writing and sharing what I think and how I feel, so now I’m wondering if I can actually come up with five things I’m afraid to write about. Still, if I’m honest (and that was my intention with this blog), here are my top five, in descending order:

5. Politics and Social Issues – My fear here stems from the old adage about never discussing politics, religion or sexual preferences in polite conversation. Really, though, my fear is that I’m not well versed on the issues (I studiously avoid mainstream news outlets) and that I’ll come across as ill-informed (which I am), ignorant (which I am about some things) and naive.

4. Money – having it, making it, keeping it, spending it. I’ve always had an uncomfortable, rocky relationship with money and I have a lot of fear and shame around my income level, my debt level, my credit history, and my financial stability.

3. My business – Specifically, my shortcomings in starting and maintaining a successful business. I feel like I have a lot of great ideas, but I haven’t had much success executing up to this point and I have a lot of shame around that.

2. Traumas in my past – I hope to use this blog to write about all my life experiences, but there are a few things in my past that I’m not sure I’m ready to open up about just yet. It is mostly involving some relationship issues in my teens and early adult years.

1. And finally, the thing I’m most afraid to write about is my true feelings about my relationships, not only with my husband and son but with everyone I’m very close to and very fond of. I’m afraid that if I write what I really think and how I really feel, it might get back to them and they might be angry, disappointed or hurt by what I’ve said.

Wow, that was amazingly cathartic. Maybe I’m not as afraid to write about these subjects as I thought I was.