Monday, February 21, 2022

Started my journal

 I only have a minute. I was just excited as I started my slam journal today and wanted to share. U am using the mass book, which was given to me on my trip to Ireland.

This is all I have time for!

Friday, February 4, 2022

Developing Vision-Why is it so hard?


As I work towards my yearly goal word: Vision, I find myself stuck in a world of ...sit and imagine-go blank and want to move on to something else. 

Whatever area of my life I try to apply it to, I find myself trapped in a little box. I try to imagine my career: box. I try to imagine my home: box. Romance: box.

I think there are several factors at play here. First, a lifetime of criticism both from the outside and mostly from the inside come into play. I don't want to dream bigger than I can deliver. My inner critic comes bursting out like Neil Kellerman in this frustrating scene from Dirty Dancing:

 (pretend there is a block indent here, I can't figure it out on here)

"The scene I'm talking about comes where Johnny is 'tutoring' his blossoming love interest, 'Baby', in the dance studio, when up rocks slimeball grandson-of-the-boss, Neil Kellerman:

        Neil Kellerman: "My grandfather put me in charge of the final show. I want to talk
         to you about the last dance. I'd like to shake things up a bit. You know, move with 
        the times."
        Johnny Castle: [enthusiastically] "I've got a lot of ideas. I've been working with
         the staff kids on a cross between a Cuban rhythm and soul dancing."
        Neil Kellerman: [slimeball-ey] "Whoa, boy. Way over your head here. You always
         do 'the Mambo'. Why not dance this year's final dance to...[pause for tension]...'the 
        Johnny Castle: [Flatly] "Right."
        Neil Kellerman: "Well, you're free to do the same, tired number as last year if you 
        want, but next year we'll find another dance person who'll be only too happy..."
        Johnny Castle: [defeatedly] "Sure, Neil. No problem. We'll end the season with the 
        Pachanga. Great idea."
        Neil Kellerman: [to Baby] "Sometimes he's hard to talk to, but the ladies seem to 
        like him. See that he gives you the full half-hour you're paying him for, kid.""

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

On Improvement

 I feel as if I am constantly on a quest to be better. From being a child pouring over my aunt's teen magazine and my mother's women's magazines to ordering fun little books like "14 Days to a Whole New You," from the book form in junior high, I have always wanted to do better.

As a child, conquering my temper was my main area of focus. Oh, I could get mad. It still flares from time to time, particularly when one of the kids are making gigantic messes on a day when my body is already just done. Or when the person I am trying to have a discussion/argument with is refusing to be logical-or bringing up past arguments. Then I will find myself on the edge (you know, the place where the F word abounds). 

One thing that amuses me is how in my 20s and 30s and early 40s I always saw myself as the good guy. Yes, I was too prideful and could get bitchy when my pride was attacked, but my expectations for others were rather high, perhaps impossible. My fear of rejection was so great, I couldn't just relax. I was ever vigilant, ever worried.  And there is some reason behind that-people do exclude and people do talk about other people-even friends, and that sucks. But somehow, you just have to suck it up, and keep moving on. The problem is I don't know how to be open and vulnerable to people and still be detached and self-protective. And I guess you can't. If you want to be open to people, you have to just accept you are going to be disappointed and hurt. You are going to have to pick yourself up, talk about it, and forgive. I can understand that intellectually. But emotionally, there is always this wall that barricades me from the pain faster than I can see it happening. I don't want to detach so easily, but I do understand and accept that this wall once served an important purpose in my life. 

We won't drag all that out here. Let's just say, I don't feel I have reached the previous year's goal word of "connection." 

To me, connection would be having someone to call when I needed to talk (besides my poor daughter), someone to walk with, someone to see movies with. Or several someones. And I am not there. Of course, I have real, pressing daily responsibilities which preclude just being able to go do things, and I am weirdly perfectionistic about my home (which means, I won't let people in, unless it is just so), just may not be my season for that, but it doesn't stop the yearning. 

Anyway, improvement. I feel I have shown growth over the past few years. I feel angry that lessons which should have been learned early were not-but what can you do with that? I mean, it is what it is, right? I need to talk and identify feelings more with my kids, so they don't have to figure so much out on their own-not to make my life easier-but to make theirs easier.

But you want to know a secret? Nature is there. She is coiled up in the pit of your stomach, and no matter how much you learn to tame your pride, and how much you struggle to keep your eyes open and be honest with yourself, she is always ready to strike. Maybe the real truth isn't that I don't trust others. Maybe it is that I don't trust myself. 

There is an argument that people don't change-not really. And whenever I feel the flare begin to flame in my belly, I understand this. Our nature is always with us, always awaiting its chance to strike, tear apart, and build itself up. Our higher self must remain ever-vigilant, ever aware of this impending destruction. Our higher self must calmly hold the reins, guiding us ever-onward and upward. It isn't an easy fight, and it is one I have poured my soul into through my prayer journals (but wait, there's more!)

And so, we keep moving forward. I have my journals begging for growth, peace, clarity, wisdom. God DOES answer prayers-but the path he leads you on is not the path of least resistance. To the external eye, it may seem as nothing is happening. To the seeker however, the path is present and difficult and real. 

Let's finish up with up with a little Oceans, shall we?

I long to be in the mountains.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

On Vanity


Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

 Off Topic

I had a draft of a time management post started, but then I realized-I am not a step-by-step advice giver. I could write a post about how to manage time, but first of all, I wouldn't follow it and second, it would be dull and dry. I just have to write what I am FEELING in the moment instead of what I think would be most logical. 

Guys, I am getting old

 Sometimes I don't see it. I put on my makeup, feel okay about myself, shudder at how old my classmates on Facebook are looking, thank God I am aging better, and then later in the day, glimpse this old woman in the mirror and actually am confused. is a SHOCK that I look as old as my classmates. Sometimes the grey and the fading eyes and the wrinkles and crepey cheeks are just blasting out through the reflection, and I can't reconcile this with how I feel inside. 

I don't FEEL old

I am young. I am a stumbling toddler, making big mistakes, just figuring out this world, and the confusion that is other people, and you are telling me I am over halfway through this life? How is that even possible?

Always the supporting role, never the main star

I love this clip from this movie. BUT,  he calls her beautiful...which deep inside, does that mean those of us average people should NOT expect to be the leading lady? Does that mean we should accept our role as "best friend" or "supporting actress?" 
Iris, by the way, is an ISFJ in the movie. She makes me think being an ISFJ might be okay, even though MBTI communities usually detest S's.

I was never a show stopper. Catcalls were rare and nonexistent after 35. I never had people buy me drinks like they do on TV (course I was always married and at home making babies-and when I wasn't I was at home watching a movie and sipping chardonnay (until I discovered red wine-which is so much better-or champagne/spumante (Heaven in a crystal glass)). But...maybe that is because noone asked me to do anything. I always went to college and work functions WHEN ASKED. Unpopularity, hurts people, but I digress. Anyway.  But slowly, over time, I have found that you just sort of cease to exist on the physical realm. Like men will talk to you about serious things and work issues, but they'd prefer to talk to the 30 year old with the waistline and flirty lashes. Anything you have to say would be better respected coming from someone who doesn't have spreading agey freckles climbing up their arms. 

And eventually you become okay with that. Whatever. I prefer attractive men myself. I am not interested in your paunchy beer belly and thinning hair. Gross. But I am willing to see past it to the person within, if you can make me laugh and have a soapy-clean smell. 

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

But there are things I WISH I HAD done when I was younger. I wish I had gotten a nose job. Taking a few millimeters off my schnoz probably doesn't matter at this point in my life, but in my 20s, I could have enjoyed it. I should have gotten a boob job. Not for MEN exactly, but just so I could have known what it felt like to have pretty feminine breasts when I was young. Why not? None of these would have CHANGED my life-but it would have been nice to experience. 

What's the point now? I could improve upon these flaws and still be the most invisible person in the room (and since I will probably never have intimate relations again, I can just wear a padded bra-I mean, there is no one to worry about disappointing at this point

And here I stand

So I get the celebrated creams (I like Estee Lauder, but when I am broke I use CeraVe or Olay) and smear them on my face and you know what I get? Soft, smooth wrinkly, crepey skin. You just can't erase 48 years of living and sun. 

And this is the point where we reach way down deep and Oprah our way into acceptance and joy and self-love. We remind ourselves that each age spot is really just a brilliant, fun day we spent soaking up the sunshine being alive. Our wrinkles are signs of the laughter we have had. Our grey roots represent the wisdom we have acquired.  We are supposed to believe in our own beauty and imagine ourselves the leading lady even if society is turning away.

And that is all true. Hopefully we are also working on smoothing out our kinks, taming our negative impulses, growing our soul, and understanding God and the world better over time. 

But damn. It'd be nice to have all those memories, laughter, and wisdom wrapped up in a perpetually 28-year-old body.

Monday, January 17, 2022

On Vision-Why Developing it Matters to Me


Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash


My focus word for the year

Vision is the word I have chosen as my focus word of the year. It is something most of us probably like to think we have, but many of us truly do not utilize vision to the fullest extent possible. If you had asked five years ago if I had vision, I would have said, "Yes, of course."  However, aging has a way of making you look at yourself differently and embrace your faults and shortcomings in a kinder, more whole-hearted way. And I don't operate from a place which utilizes vision. 

Now is this TRULY a shortcoming or just a manner of being? That, my friend, is wholly dependent upon your values and how you wish to live your life. For me, it is an area I just feel the need to expand upon. 

What is vision exactly? 

To me, vision is the ability to use your imagination to see how things might be different or better in the future. Vision is looking beyond maintaining the status quo and picturing a way to make things better. Vision may or may not be about bending things more to your will, but ideally, it is based on constructing an enhanced future with greater depth and meaning. 

I often feel as if I going through life partially asleep. Physically it feels like there is a lulling, foggy weight sleeping on the frontal lobe of my brain and behind my eyes. I feel as if I am truly NOT completely awake. While it is possible to operate in a fairly complex manner and maintain a challenging life half-asleep, it can also lead a sense of complacency with what is and sleeping through life watching Netflix reruns and living for the next donut opportunity. It's a smaller way to live. 

And again-it's okay. If you work hard and are relatively good (most of us are neither as good nor as bad as we think ourselves to be, I imagine), you will live a fairly fulfilled life in the half-asleep state. You will enjoy your animal comforts, love your children, laugh at jokes, and enjoy the sensation of a soft pillow and a conscience-free heart. And for many that is enough.

But if, like me, a persistent, nagging feeling is tugging from within-pressing on your eyes, rousing your forehead (it's truly a physical sensation for me) shaking the cloud hovering just over the front of your head, it may be time to search for more. 

I cannot imagine this is a one and done affair. I can't spend 30 minutes imagining a future, write it out and be on my merry way. First of all, I am out of practice when it comes to imagination. As a child, I would lie in bed at night envisioning ways of making my mark on the world. I was to be a martyr, universally loved and cherished at the  moment of my death. People would KNOW. Now though, martyr dreams are out-I have  a family to raise, and frankly, it just doesn't sound appealing.  I have to sit and DO the hard work of planning. And I am out of practice. As much love as I have for self-help books, I always skip over the workbooky aspects of them which require putting onto paper your thoughts and plans. I thought it was because doing so was a waste of time and slowed down my intake of ideas from the text. I know now, however, that it was sheer mental laziness, impatience, and a way to consume ideas without truly digesting and fully incorporating them into my life. I thought it was mental freedom, but it was actually mental neglect. 

There are different ways I can handle this. One is to get a book which organizes a life path-where I just need to fill in the blanks. Another might be to determine which paths to focus on before I spend time envisioning the future. Yet another is to just sit quietly and let the dreams and visions unfold to determine what I want. Even now, I just want to think about thinking about it. I don't want to DO it. It's hard. Thinking and imagination, for those out of practice, is HARD.

Always have to make the plan...

Since this is a yearlong focus, I will be blogging at least monthly on my progress in this area. 

  1. First, I need to determine which life areas I wish to focus on applying vision. 
  2. Next, I will need to spend time allowing my imagination to soar as I envision ways to improve, alternate possibilities, and how to go beyond "drink more water and get more exercise," to creating a truly unique life experience which awakens and challenges me. 
  3. Finally, I need to put it into practice. 

For me, this is the satisfying part. Writing out what I plan to do is usually enough to make my brain hit that little checkmark tab on and I think, "Done." I need to move beyond a simple plan, into true thought and imagination, and finally application. 

I need to keep shaking myself, keep waking myself, and keep demanding I stay awake and aware.

When I return I plan to have an outline of the areas in which I want to focus my vision. 

See you soon.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Junk Journal or Make a Smash Book? Tough Decision.

The view from my window. Note the patched screen? My next husband MUST be handy. ;o) Really just a good ole ST who can fix things  and leave me alone, will be just fine with me. If only I had the resources of Murphy Brown and could just hire a painter/handy man to get things done. But alas, there is the need for intimacy and someone to take along on trips and movies. Those experiences are generally better with another human-and men are cute.

The second area I wanted to focus on this year is creativity. I have been intrigued by the lovely junk journals I have seen, including the one I purchased to use for photos when I went to Ireland. I was going to share some photos of it, but it is currently misplaced. It will show up eventually.

However, getting started has been a challenge for me. First of all, I threw most of my scrapbooking papers away last year. Over the years, I get less and less sentimental. In fact, a lot of the stuff I have, I now have because it was a gift and I am waiting for people to die so I can toss it out. So I want to get started, but I don't want to spend a ton of money on supplies. 

That is why I started thinking about smash books rather than junk journaling. Junk journaling suggests pulling out pages and sewing and covering bindings and oh, I could do it...but it isn't a start quick and get it done thing. And I am impatient.

What's the difference? This lovely article sums it up:

Junk Journal Vs Art Journal Vs Smash Book

So I think I am going to start with what I have. I have various journals and old books. In Ireland, my almost-ex-husband (just one more week or two), bought me an old religious text at a used book store. I used it to journal and sketch with oil pastels. It wasn't a work of art-je ne suis pas une artiste-but it was fun.


These are oil pastels:

Photo by Kai Tremblay on Unsplash

And so I ordered some paper ephemera which finally came in after about 3 weeks, and am ready to get started. Here are my goodies!

Now of course, part of me can't help but decry the lack of authenticity in my goods. These are made in China to look old. They will not have the charm of a truly repurposed postcard, for instance. However, they are within budget and get me off and running AND I can slowly start adding more "real" items to my collection of supplies. 

Whilst looking for my Ireland junk journal, I found this day calendar from 2017. It must have been a Christmas gift which was tucked away and forgotten. Oh well.

I'll post pictures on new blogs as I create. The goal is one post per area I wish to work on, per month.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Getting Fit-Why is it so hard?

This pic is absolutely not me. It makes my neck hurt just to look at it. plus I just couldn't pull off that shade of haircolor.

 I am looking at the first branch of my plans for the year, and that is the ever-popular one: Fitness.

Just saying that makes me want to jump under the quilt, cover my head, turn on my side, and dive into the quiet world of fantastical imagination (usually centered around romance, because that's how I roll). 

I haven't dove in as enthusiastically as I wanted. There are a myriad of things that are stopping me. First of all, inertia. It is easier to stay still when you are still. Procrastination is rearing its ugly head. I plan to exercise in the morning, and then morning comes, and it seems like cruel and unusual punishment to do more than sit quietly and sip my French roast and maybe do a few simple stretches and squats. I am only sleeping about 5-6 hours, which overall feels okay, but since I usually fall asleep within about two minutes of turning out my light, I think I might be sleep-deprived.

 I also have a fitness blog and matching Instagram (which I am not ready to share-I don't need my coworkers seeing me in a sports bra at this point in my life), but people are ALWAYS trying to sell something.  This is a problem for me because I get pride doing things for myself. If I figure out how to lose weight and tone up, it means something. If I go the gym and get a personal trainer (which is the ONLY way I see myself going to a gym), good for me. If someone else makes a suggestion-it doesn't mean as much. It robs me of my ability to feel pride in my accomplishments. Plus, saying no is hard for me. Now, a walking/jogging partner (a newbie like me) would be helpful. I think that would get me out the door-but since I have taken on a couple online courses to teach in the afternoon, I don't know when I would get the childfree time for that.

So there are all my excuses. 

On a side note, I was listening to an Oprah podcast on Spotify this morning (while slowly sipping my French roast), and one of the main points being made was how important it was to be true to your word. And Oprah cut in (she cuts in too much-I mean I like the topic, but shush and let the speaker unfold), and talked about how hard it is to be true to our word to OURSELVES. She talked about how easily she could talk herself out of not finishing a workout she had promised herself. And that is so true. When we aren't true to our word to ourselves, we just call it, "Changing my mind." Something to think about.

Knowing all these excuses, doesn't get my ass smaller, though. Actually, I don't "see" my butt, except in pictures, therefore I really worry about my stomach and my double chin. Every pound, I swear jumps to my waist and face.

I have to find ways to build this into my day without a lot of stress. 

I know the easiest thing to do is to put on my sneakers, dress Alec (because he walks in the door and strips his clothes off everyday), and just go out for a walk. There isn't anything hard about that. Except that-people will see me. That stresses me out a little. When I am home, I want to be home. Alone. Quiet. In pajamas and unseen. 

I have my 15-pound dumbbell. The exercise video I do with the weight, literally takes less than 5 minutes, and I feel pretty worked out the next day. There is NO excuse not to do 5 minutes of this a day.

The weighted hula hoop is easy, though it feels too easy and gimmicky to work. Tierney said it was working for her, though. The yoga mat isn't getting a lot of use because, it seems like too much in the morning. 

How can I build this into my day?

I need to have it all set up in the morning. I need the yoga mat spread out on the floor, the weight and hula hoop nearby, and the roku remote ready to go find a Youtube video for Yoga or others (I always used to love Cynthia Kerulik videos-apparently she was a thing for men to gawk at, but I always enjoyed listening to her quiet chatter while working out). It is just a matter of getting the ball rolling. The easier I make it on myself, the easier it will be to do it the first time, the second time, the third...until I feel like a habit has been formed. 

I think a HUGE part of the problem is the idea of fitness is linked with attractiveness in my head. And I will NEVER be young again. I need to retrain my mind to focus on how it FEELS to move lightly and with ease. How good it would feel not to huff and puff. How nice it feels NOT to have heartburn and to have your pants a little to0 loose rather than too tight. 

Now...I have written a whole lot of words here. Until I put them into action that is all they are. Words. I could do a check-in or a fill-in-the-bubble when you do it planner activity, but those don't work for me. My rebellious nature will kick that plan to the door. FREEEEEEDOM!

But now I have a plan. Set everything up the night before. Grab the dumbbell before I turn on the TV. Do the hula hoop the first 10 minutes of salivating over Damon. Just do the danged floor exercises WHILE I listen to my soul-growing podcasts. When I set it in motion, 3, 4, 5 days in a row, I should theoretically start feeling good about the new habit I am developing. Then I will let you know how it goes!