Monday, April 28, 2014

A New Day- A New Question????

The question of the day today was: if you could be any age in your life for one week, what would it be?

My 30s were the best of times and the worst of times for me but that was my favorite decade and one, if I didn't have to go through losing my mom all over again which was the worst of times part, I'd love to be in my 30s forever. I was fit, slim, active, productive, finding success with my work, traveling, experiencing new things, feeling great and having fun. Now.......well now I am not..........I am not fit, I am not slim, I am not active, productive or finding success with my work, and I'm certainly not traveling or experiencing new things and I rarely have fun. I have a year and a half left in this decade and I'm ready for a change but I don't want to get older for that to happen, lol. I want to change me now so that when I'm 90 (which I hope to be one day), I can look back and say, "You know, I think the 60s were a pretty great decade but right now ain't bad either." But still, for a week, I'm picking 32 because I was all of those things and still had Mama, with me and in reasonably good health.

With that being said, I need to figure out a truly viable plan for achieving all of those things again. I can't keep living in the past but I also can not keep living like this. Just last night, I was at a dinner I hadn't wanted to attend because I've been just so bone tired, depressed and anti-social lately, a friend turned to me and asked, "What have you been doing lately to stay busy?" I started answering her, "Planning my high school class's 40th reunion.....on my own! Also, working with a dear friend who is doing a charity run for cancer care. He's fantastic, has had cancer for 8 years and currently undergoing chemo treatment but he's running 113 miles for this cause but I've realized if this cause and run are going to get promoted, publicized, off the ground and actually bringing in contributions, it's up to me." Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to do it, especially with that last one, but my friend then asked another question or really more or less scolded me, "That's great helping others but what I meant was, what are you doing to make money? You are so talented with your art, your photography, your writing but you have to stop giving those talents away!" Then she asked, "What plans do you have to make money from your talents and why aren't you doing it now. I started making the usual excuses: once my studio is finally redone and working, once I'm more organized, once I finish all these other tasks, even once I'm in better shape and more energetic...........then something struck me so hard that it nearly knocked the breath out of me..........despite none of those prerequisites being done, I've been working almost nonstop for the last four years or so; I just have not been paid for my time, effort or talents! Why is that? I say other under value me but that isn't it. People are just happy to get something for nothing and since I'm their friend, nothing is the price they think they should pay. It's not so much they who have been undervaluing me and my work..........it's ME!!!!!!!! I'm the culprit, I'm the villain in my own life, I'm my own worst enemy. I have to gain the confidence to set my price and stick with it, to value myself and set a fair price but one worthy of all I put into the work I do.

So, what's the plan.....how do you build confidence?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Question of the Day

What is the most terrifying moment of your life....and the happiest? My first year in college, I was asked to write an essay on the first half of this question. I didn't hesitate with the answer, I described the night my mother died. My mother was brought back, she survived another ten years. I don't know that my idea of terror changed then though. It is always that first experience of any kind that can be the most terrifying and the happiest. 

I've often said that is the reason we don't experience the joy or thrill or even fear as adults that we often had as children. Part of these experiences always has to be the unknown. So, despite having now experienced loss and grief, fear and danger, happiness and moments of joy, there are few that exceed those firsts whether they were good or bad. 

With a life time of experiences behind me, it all becomes a bit jumbled. I have to sit and think a while and then quiet my mind to find the ultimate of either of these emotions. If I'd ever had children, I'd probably say what I'm sure many of you say, that experience holds the most joy. And I'm sure there have been experiences raising those children where you've been terrified. I don't have those though and so I will sit and think a while longer on the happiness. I may not come up with an answer but I'm sure I'll smile a lot just because I stirred the memories.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I just realized something about the lists below....early morning epiphany! ......... I listed the ways to reach my goals not the actual goals such as lose weight, improve my business, finally finish the house and get it livable again, and overcome my fear of riding. That's an improvement right there. Now, it's time to work on those steps. 
I need to get my life together and organized even my internet life. I know I have too many FB pages, web pages and blogs and it has become almost impossible to manage them all but if I were organized, there is a slight chance that I could manage it, lol. I need to be posting to them all daily in order to up the numbers of followers, likes and sales (should that be the verb or the noun there and did I use the right spelling? I never know. It's like effect and affect; I'm 58 and still confused about that one. And those dangling participles but I'm digressing here.....) Anyhow, my goal for the eight months remaining in this year is the same one I started the year with, balance and organize my life. I got off to a great start but then life intervened, as it so often does, and I fell completely off the tracks. I use to be the most organized person; that was how I maintained the chaos. Now, I usually feel like I'm caught up in a whirlwind.....naaah, way past that stage, this is a monster twister. Still, I'm maintaining hope and faith that I can get control once again. I know the big factors are out of my control but I have to be able to balance all of these little puzzle pieces and make them fit together again. I've laid out my small steps/goals on these puzzle pieces and hopefully, it will make them clearer and more manageable. If I could check off one a week for right now, it would be slow progress but progress all the same and certainly more that I've accomplished in the last four months. So, I will aim for one item from each category each week to start. Hopefully, as some of those become habits and easy to do, I will add others. That's what goals and life are all about, growth and change and hopefully, improvement.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Square Pegs

A few weekends ago, I saw my friend Jane and I confessed something to her. At our last high school class reunion nearly 20 years ago, a group of classmates, including she, asked us to go out with them for drinks after the reunion. I was so thrilled that I called my then best friend, Anne, the next day and excitedly said, "The cool kids asked me to go out with them!" I told Jane that I always felt like an outsider, the class nerd and she said, "Of course you did because in those days, the smart kid was always the nerd because everyone else resented them." Somehow that didn't make me feel any better, lol, because I knew that but I didn't realize that was how everyone else saw me.....oh, of course I realized it, sheesh. Who am I kidding? I guess I was always the nerd, the smart kid and I spent my teenage years and part of my adulthood always trying to pretend otherwise and fit in. It's taken a lot of years for me to realize that we're all square pegs as long as we're trying to fit into someone else's notch and not our own. Finally comfortable in my own little perfectly fitting space. :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Four Rules You Must Follow For Weight Loss

Here are four diet truths to help you achieve your goals:
  • Cutting out sweet drinks is non-negotiable. Sweet tea, soda, and flavored and sweetened milks, waters, and coffees all have to go. Drink plain water, low-fat milk, and sugar-free drinks instead. A study of 810 adults between 25 and 79 years old showed that after 18 months, those who cut out sweet drinks had greater weight loss than those who cut down on food calories. One possible reason: While your body lets you know when it is full of food, there is no way for your body to tell you when you’ve maxed out on liquid calories.
  • Physical activity helps counting calories. Being physically active burns calories while it improves your overall health. Aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week. A brisk 30- to 45-minute walk burns 100 to 200 calories. If you can burn 200 calories through exercise, you only have to cut out 300 calories in food or drink to reach your daily calorie-cutting goal.
  • Strategically eating less drops weight. A study of 811 overweight people who participated in four popular diets found that whether diets were low-fat, high-protein, or a combination didn’t matter — weight-loss success depends on cutting out calories. In fact, you can continue to eat filling portions if you simply replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods that contain a lot of water, such as fruits and vegetables. A study of 97 obese women who ate either a low-fat diet or a low-fat diet with additional fruits and vegetables found that those who emphasized fruits and veggies lost up to five pounds more.
  • Journaling leads to success. Counting calories is easier if you write down (or type in) what you eat, including serving sizes and details such as condiments you may have added. “Research has shown that exercise and journaling really make a difference in long-term weight management,” says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C. A detailed journal will help you identify your successes and pinpoint where you can cut additional calories or replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones.

On Design

Okay, I'm just about ready to get back on the straight and narrow path with my diet and exercise. I think my recovery from the bug from hell is almost complete and well, I have no more excuses, haha. I have started off the last two mornings with hot lemon water but I did follow that up with a peanut butter and banana sandwich and two pieces of chocolate (chocolate slathered, p'butter stuffed pretzels.... oooooh, heavenly!!!) Notice how I hid the chocolate in there with the healthy stuff? Tricky old me, lol. Well, for Throwback Thursday, I'm posting two photos from 26 years ago. I know that this sounds like a cliche, especially to those under 45, but trust me, one day soon, you will be asking this question, too...where did the years go?
 

Now the rant on design these days. I've often wished I'd listened to Mama's advice about a lot of things but one big one was to get a degree in interior design. It not only would have saved me a lot of wandering about scholastically and never finishing a degree in anything resulting in what I call, a smidgen of ignorance in every subject under the sun but no real knowledge, lol, but it also would have put me into something I really love and enjoy.....BUT I did end up doing something I loved and enjoyed for years even if it took me stepping away for a few years to realize and appreciate the fact that I love and enjoy it and the world is overrun with interior designers these days both professionally and amateur. Which brings me to what I was thinking about while watching that new design competition on NBC on Monday night. The teams were given two family vacation cabins to remodel. Overall they did a great job and the designs were beautiful but after hearing an older gentleman from the neighborhood review group comment on how the new decor was too "fancy and formal" for cabin living, I realized, much like their fashion design counterparts, how most of these high end designers create work that is beautiful but unrealistic for the average family. Shouldn't one of the criteria for redesigning a vacation home be functionality? Couldn't they have created something that was not cliche but still lovely and also able to stand up to children's muddy feet and rough housing or the occasional clumsy spill as well as provide a cozy spot for an afternoon nap? Since these are homes and not showrooms they are designing, shouldn't they be judged just as much on livability as stylishness? Personally, I think both are achievable. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Yesterday, March 3rd, was my friend Huston's 90th birthday. Here he is five years ago, at eighty-five, getting ready to show my horse, Mouse. I bought Mouse from him nearly ten years ago. I've often told him that, when he sold me a horse(that horse, Mouse), he never knew he was also taking on a fifty year old to raise. I love him dearly. He is the best friend anyone could have, the finest gentleman and horseman that I've ever known and just simply amazing. I'm so blessed to call him my friend. I could literally write a book about him and all of the wisdom that he's given to me. I just can't find words good enough to describe how wonderful he is and how much I cherish him and his friendship. I will try sometime though to share a little
Okay, I definitely have some catching up to do but today will not be the day I do that since I'm still struggling to finish my taxes and today is the deadline. It might not be the deadline-deadline but it is the day I promised my accountant that I'd deliver all those calculated numbers so they can finish and file for us. So, this will be short and copied from my Facebook posts....in case the following looks a bit strange.

I've been asking questions of my friends on Facebook. Today, probably as a form of procrastination from finishing these taxes, I posted the following....I will also include one of the answers from a friend and my response.

MY QUESTION: With Sadie glued to my side because of the storm, I think a good question for today is, what are you afraid of? If you've overcome that fear, how did you feel? When I was little, I was afraid of the dark and afraid of heights. I've been told that, when they brought me home from the hospital, I was good until they put me to bed at night and then I would scream bloody murder. Finally, someone realized that I stopped crying as soon as the light came on. Odd to be born with a fear but the fears I have now have nothing to do with darkness or heights. Since my mom's death, all of my fears have to do with either losing control or things over which I have no control. I have a tendency to think of every possible thing that could go wrong in any situation and often the fear that develops keeps me stagnant. I am getting better. It's a matter of faith and trust. The fear I had was paralyzing but when I finally learned to stop over analyzing every thing and to trust, the feeling of liberation, freedom was amazing...and also the feeling of accomplishment. So, what do you fear. Is your fear like mine, basically fear of the unknown or is it fear of some real threat or an item or activity that is very real?

MY FRIEND, JIM'S RESPONSE: I was terrified of the water, learning how to swim...everything about it, so I learned to sail, got my Captain's License, became a diving instructor and spent thousands of hours under the water....I dont know why either, but you asked

MY RESPONSE: Wow, Jim! That was really facing your fears. I really admire you. I forgot about my fear of water....well not really water but drowning since I can't swim. I've tried many times to learn how to swim with little success. And then things happen, like the time I was snorkeling and far from shore in deeper water, my snorkel broke.....just fell apart. I panic and start swimming as fast as I can toward shore. I end up yelling, help me, help me and then realize......as two strangers standing on shore stare at me as if I'm insane..... that I'm only in a few feet of water by that time. Soooo, there is the humiliation factor also but I'm used to that. Cut myself on the reef I ended up on but other than that, unharmed but still, that was my last time even attempting to snorkel or swim.

2ND RESPONSE & MY REALIZATION: Just realizing how much of my life I've wasted being scared of so many things. Still not going snorkeling again at least any time soon. I mean, that can kill you...especially the way I do it, lol. But, it all goes back to the best advice anyone gave me. It's two pieces of advice actually and both from my friend who just celebrated his 90th b'day yesterday. Huston once told me about my constant worry over everything and the many bad outcomes I imagined, "You know, things can just as easily turn out good as bad." And the other bit of advice, "Just stay in the saddle, Sande!" That applies to a lot more than riding and certain affect my habit of baling when the ride got bumpy.