Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, February 28, 2011

February be-gone!

Good bye February. It was a month marked by big, big improvements for me - but I am very glad to see it gone!

  • February was a hugh de-clutter month. Need to do more - as much as we got rid of - there is hardly a dent.
  • February was a hugh improvement in my walking. I went from walking 14 miles total in January to 31 miles total in February. Most of that was done to get rid of my mentally down state - but whatever the impetus, the jump in miles was big. And the jump in my energy levels because of the walking was also big.
  • February marked my mom's 85th birthday - and marked her return to normal health (normal for her, at least).
  • February was a hugh weather improvement month over last February. Anyone in the mid-atlantic region of the US would agree with that. Last February we counted our snow totals in feet. This February ... inches!
  • February produced the most knitting and weaving I have done in almost 12 months. Granted, I had to keep focused, but it gave me the small positive feedback that I needed periodically.
  • And finally ... February marked the start of my digging out from my mental funk, my adjustment to loss ... I have a long way to go, but big improvements. Thank God I have not lost my desire to fight back, to make my life better and to move forward!
I am grateful to February. But glad it is over.

Who knows! Welcome March.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Join the Bucket List Blogfest at MoWrites

A fellow blogger - and my son's girlfriend, is sponsoring a Bucket List Blogfest on her blog in honor of her March birthday. I have joined up and I want to encourage you to join as well.

Whenever I think of a "bucket list" I think of life activities or goals that are outside the normal scope of your everyday life. They are activities that might be small or enormous in scope, easy or hard to achieve, if money, time and life responsibilities were no barrier - you would do these activities before you kicked the bucket!! Since I am closer to kicking the bucket than my dear Mo, I think my list will be shorter. :-)

I think it would be fun to create such a list and see if any of the activities could be achieved. But even more fun would be to read the bucket lists of others. There could be a WOW factor - open up avenues you never dreamed of ... "What a great idea. I would like to do that too!!!"

So please join us in kicking the bucket ... aaa, wrong.

Please join us in the Bucket List Blogfest. Yes, that is better. See you there.

Diet is a four letter word.

No, I am not dieting!

I hate the word "diet" (a 4 letter word as it turns out). That poor little word "diet" is so strongly related to the goal of weight loss that I can hardly separate its real meaning from the implied understanding everyone has when it is said out loud. And I have already expounded in my Soap Box about dieting so I will spare you that rant now.

But I find myself needing to change my mix of foods for valid medical reasons and I am hoping that blogging about this journey will help me stay focused on this goal.

Recently I heard the diagnosis "prediabetic" used in relation to me! ME! Those who follow my blog will remember that I declared myself as "fine"! And my doctor confirmed that I am fine as well. And my blood work declared that I am just fine - except for one tiny little number - that stupid blood sugar number. That little number called "glucose" just had to pop its little head up over the normal range by a few points!! It couldn't be "just fine" like all the rest of the numbers on the page! No. It had to call attention to itself. So my doctor called and left the message to "change my diet" - that stupid four letter word again! Hey, Mr. Doctor, how about saying ... "change the mix of foods" ... or something!!

OK - "change my diet"! I had to figure out exactly what that meant! I understand "low fat" and "low calorie" - but now do I have to figure out what "low sugar" means as well?

(Insert light bulb going on inside of head ... here)

Buy a book!!! Yes, find a book that will explain exactly what kind of food someone can eat or not when they are prediabetic!!! I just love books. And I just love Amazon. And wouldn't you know Amazon had a book on prediabetes. Stop Prediabestes Now by Jack Challem and Ron Hunninghake, M.D. Actually they had quite a few titles because prediabetes is considered almost an epidemic condition these days.

Hey, wait a minute!! Maybe that is how I got this ... I caught it from someone!!! ... Ok, back to reality. I didn't catch it. I think I may have created it. But wouldn't it be nice if I could just blame this on someone else. Oh, well. Back to boring rational thought.

So I am getting educated. So far it sounds like avoiding bad carbs or too many carbs, eating more vegetables, fiber and lean proteins, exercising more and small weight loss is the key. Boy ... doesn't that just sound like every weight loss program you ever heard of in your whole life? Aren't there any new ideas out there!!! :-)

So we shall see. My body has ambushed my efforts before when I tried to eliminate a particular food item from my "mix of foods". I am hoping this book gives me some insight on how to play that mind game. In reality, I have a valid medical reason to make these changes - rather than just wanting to wear "skinny clothes" - not a reason that "carries any weight" with me!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Damp and Delightful Monday

Walking today turned out to be delightful.

When I left the house it was very overcast! The temperature was in the 40s. Not a bad combination for a walk, but I got no more than 10 minute out when it began to rain gently - more of a heavy mist. I considered turning back and getting on the treadmill, but the treadmill is not as much fun and I was already wet. So I motored on.

I am very glad I did.

I headed for my shopping center. I decided to walk under the overhang of the stores and around my Harris Teeter. I haven't "walked" my Harris Teeter since last summer.

This past summer I took a picture of the Grocery isle. This is the Pharmacy isle. I know you have all been waiting a long time to see this picture. If you are really good readers - and comment a bunch - next time I will show you the Produce section. :-)

Anyway, once inside the store I was sure I looked like a drowned rat. My coat was soaked on the outside and my hair (no hat) was plastered to my head. By the time I made a few swings around the store and the center, the rain had stopped. So I headed back home. It was a very different walk and longer than anything I had done this year - 57 minutes and 7496 steps. I usually walk 40-45 minutes and go 5,000 to 6,000 steps. By the time I walked back in the house I felt GREAT!! (and wet!)

As I suspected, my walking mojo is returning again and it is making a big difference in how I deal with my life. Just delightful.

Hope your Monday is the same.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons Day

Saturday was a game day with friends. We meet with this particular group every month and it is a very long standing relationship of about 30+ years. We call it D&D for Dungeons and Dragons, because that is how it all began. When the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons came out, this group was formed. But it has evolved into a role playing game built on rules of various games. And the creative adventures are developed by my imaginative husband. In the picture is my character sheet and my dice as well as the current fiber project I work on during the game.

My son has been part of this game since he was 7. His girl friend plays too - and, of course, his dogs come. Meaty is pretty much bored by our game, and at one point while he was sitting by my sliding glass window, he rested his chin on the glass and began to snore. Too bad I can't put sound effects in this blog. It was too funny.

When he isn't sleeping propped up against the glass in the kitchen, he is sleeping on Milo's butt - the only thing Milo is good for (from Meathead's perspective) is a pillow. :-)

It is also interesting to see in the picture how much Milo has grown. He is now 31.5 pounds of pure muscle. The standard for his breed - the top weight - is 28 pounds. And let me tell you, when he is pulling on his leash, he can knock you down if you aren't being careful.

That night my daughter and I had 3 dogs overnight. The 5 of us slept crunched together on the pull out couch in the livingroom. We call these evenings "sleep overs" but that is a misnomer. Not much "actual sleep" occurs. Milo is very vigilant when sleeping with my daughter so any movement by the other 2 dogs, usually causes a bit of dog-swearing by Milo with growling and nipping. And then that night - the cats who didn't want to be outdone, knocked a folding chair down the basement steps. Milo and I both jumped out of bed for that. I knew immediately what it was, but I just wanted to be sure no cat was laying injured at the bottom of the stairs.

It was a "fun" Saturday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Walking, heat wave, and stink bugs

Walking continues ... better this month than last.

The sky was most amusing.

While I was walking I looked over my left shoulder and saw this angry dark sky.

And over my right shoulder was this beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds. Go figure. Mother Nature isn't sure exactly what she wants to do.

Increasing total monthly mileage ... that is what I have decided to focus on this year. At least that is what I plan to do right now. Check back in 15 minutes and I will probably have changed my mind. :-)

The February weather has been pretty fabulous - actually compared to February 2010 - it is a heat wave today. In fact, I was totally overdressed on my walk for the 73 degrees it is right now. Wearing jeans, a long sleeve polo shirt, and wool socks, I was sweating bullets by the time I returned home. Others were more appropriately dressed: shorts, short sleeve shirts and sun hats. For February 18th, it felt like a May day. But the walking was good and I have now changed into my summer clothes (it is February 18th for gosh sakes!!) and I have a large glass of ice water by my side. Life is good.

And, of course, with the warm weather came the first stink bug. I am typing here in the living room, and I can hear Milo snorting around in the kitchen. A quick check revealed that Milo had hunted down a stink bug and was terrorizing it. Those pesky bugs are probably hatching in the millions outside right now, but this one found its way into my house and it is now floating in the toilette. But the TV news reports say that this should be a bad year in this area for stink bugs - "of biblical proportions" - I believe they said. And since they have no natural enemies here it probably will be very bad indeed.

But no sense borrowing trouble. The weather today was letter perfect, my windows are open and the walk was great ... and one wayward stink bug does not an infestation make! (Not yet, anyway.)

Enjoy your day!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett ...

What a wonderful, wonderful book!! The Help raised so many emotions and memories for me.

Kathryn Stockett's bestseller shares the experiences living in a small Mississippi town and the wide racial divides between black women who served as maids to white women during the turbulent 60s. Centered on two black maids, Aibileen and Minnie, and one white young woman named Skeeter, this novel tells how these 3 women who join forces to write a book about "the help", the good and the bad experiences of the black maids in service to white families. The novel reveals several powerful elements: the disgraceful state of race relations in the deep south, the seeds of attitudinal change, and the power of the written word. Told from the perspective of these 3 women, it gives us a painful glance into our not so distant history, and the illogical and degrading practices of segregation. One major theme demonstrates the crazy logic of the time. White southern women were more than willing to turn the care and raising of their children over to black maids, but these same maids were not allowed to use the "white" toilette facilities in the home. From the vantage point of 50 years in the future, you find yourself forcefully pulled into the story and cheering for each little step forward towards basic human understanding. This understanding is eloquently stated by Skeeter as she reflects on her friendship with the maid, Aibileen, near the end of the novel, "We are just two people. Not much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."

During the 60s I was old enough to remember the massive cultural changes that were evolving in our country. But my own experience were not very diverse. In Maryland, I lived in a white neighborhoods, my friends were white and my classrooms were filled with primarily white students. I have no recollection of parental bias with regards to race. They probably had opinions being raised by families with the typical prejudices of the time, and it was never discussed. It wasn't that the topic was avoided, it just never came up. My opinions about race were formed primarily from my experiences as an adult. And it began most strikingly with the death of my father in 1970.

My father supervised a bottling plant production floor, and some of his workers were African American day-laborers who he recruited off the streets. One man, Percy, was a permanent employee, and they struck up a friendship during the 60s. I never thought it was strange, but in hindsight, it probably was an unusual friendship. A few years after Dad died, mom mentioned to me that she had recently received a visit from Percy. In fact, she said Percy had visited her a other times since Dad's death. She had never mentioned it before and I had no reason to ask. But he apparently was checking in on mom to see "how Joe's widow was doing." Mom was grateful for the kind gesture and concern. All of Dad's other "friends" disappeared after he died. But with Percy I recognized another fact. Percy was Dad's friend in life - separate and apart from the family. Out of respect for Dad and their friendship, Percy felt the need to confirm that mom was getting back on her feet independently as a widow ... and after a few years, the visits stopped. Dad never knew about Percy's kind actions, but I knew and I never forgot.

I thought alot about Percy and my parents when I read this book. I received two gifts from them: my parents provided me with a "clean slate" - no inherited racial prejudices, and Percy demonstrated how true friendship can cross racial boundaries.

I'll leave this posting by sharing a story from the book. Besides being a maid for a white family, Ailibeen took care of Mae Mobley Leefolt, the family's two year old child. Ailibeen told Mae Mobley secret stories. Mae Mobley's favorite TV show was My Favorite Martian. One secret story went like this:

(From The Help)
"One day, a wise Martian come down to Earth to teach us people a thing or two," I say.

"Martian? How big?" ask Mae Mobley.

"Oh, he about six-two."

"What's his name?"

"Martian Luther King. He was a real nice Martian, Mister King. Looked just like us, nose, mouth, hair up his head, but sometime people looked at him funny and sometime, well, I guess sometime people was just downright mean."

I could get in a lot of trouble telling her these little stories, especially with Mister Leefolt. But Mae Mobley know these our "secret stories."

"Why Aibee? Why was they so mean to him?" she ask.

"Cause he was green."

(To my readers who are local - I own this book. Let me know if you would like to borrow it.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

85th Birthday!

(From left to right clock-wise,
my husband, my daughter, my son, my son's girlfriend, mom and me.)

"Birthdays are good for you.
Statistics show that the people who have the most
live the longest."
Larry Lorenzoni

This month my mom celebrated her 85th birthday! This year also marks her 5th year of living with us. Here she is with us enjoying brunch at a local restaurant. She said she really enjoyed herself. I am sure this was a treat because she can seldom go to restaurants now. She can't walk too far and in typically noisy environments she has difficulty hearing. But this restaurant, Michael's Pub, is not so crowded and is not as noisy as some. It was a fun brunch for all of us.

I have received a number of private messages asking how she is doing since the double hospitalizations and the 8 days in rehab in December. It has been an effort, but she is doing much better. She is back to doing all her own activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing independently, coming down for all meals, making her bed, clearing her dishes, and getting ready for bed.

She does her exercises everyday and takes walks - sometimes outside, but mostly in the house. Each week we extend her walk by a minute. She is up to 10 minutes of continuous walking. She complains a lot about it, but that is mostly because I am constantly reminding her to not stop to look out the windows and to walk faster. She grumbles and I nag, but she has increased from 4 minutes of walking to 10 minutes. She practices climbing stairs as well. To my current title of Caregiver, I sometimes describe myself as Drill Sargent! But it is a title that I accept. It would be far easier to just let her sit in a chair and not fight back to gain strength. When I see her doing better even minimally, I am happy to be the Drill Sargent. Of course, each hospitalization has taken something out of her, something that cannot be gained back through our efforts. Avoiding the hospital continues to be our primary goal.

This month she is well, and we celebrate her 85 years of living!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Car Shopping - not fun!

My least favorite thing to do in the world is to shop for a car! But you will do absolutely anything for your child!

The weekend began with the return of my daughter's leased vehicle - a Jeep Commander - very large, very expensive, filled with every bell-and-whistle and getting 12 miles per gallon. Don't get me wrong, the Jeep got her through several terrible snow storms this year and last, but it would be an expensive vehicle to keep both in gas and upkeep, so she turned it in.

This time she would purchase car. The pain and suffering of that purchase looks alot like this ...
  • Our salesman started out like a caricature of every car sales man you have ever seen on TV. My daughter and I had an appointment to meet with a salesman and the moment we walked into the show room he greets us with "And there is the lovely Kristin and her sister." I stopped him short with a withering look and he did improve a bit after he dropped the car salesmen charade.
  • Nailing down the cost of the car always feels like the shell game at a sleazy carnival. There is the cost of the car listed in inventory, and then there is the cost posted on the car, (hopefully the same, but ... ) and then there is the cost less the factory allowance and then there is the cost with dealer profit and then there is the fantasy that negotiation is even possible. Why do you never feel like you got a "good deal".
  • And there is always the "unseen" manager who the salesman consults with in between conversations with the perspective customer. Is that a real person or just a blow up doll staged behind a desk somewhere?
  • And there is the talk with the customer service person to describe all the extra things you can get to protect, to enhance, to improve your car so that you prevent all sorts of terrible situations that might/can/will happen if you don't purchase these extras to the tune of up to $2,000 beyond the agreed upon price.
  • And then there is the talk with the finance person who tries to sell you their financing and takes a second shot at you to include the "protection, enhancements, and improvements" in the cost of financing - "See this will raise your payment only $$ per month, and this other thing will also add on $$ much per month more and then ....." ).
Well we survived and when all was said and done, our experience went fairly smoothly - it only took 3 hours from start to finish and it resulted in this car.

A 2011 Subaru Legacy - in Pearl White.

And a smile on my daughter's face.

The Milo inspection.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taking care of self? Why, yes! I am just fine.

So I went to my doctor yesterday. Just a simple visit to fix a minor problem (of 4 months duration, but who is counting).

He is a good guy. I usually prefer women physicians. But this doctor is someone I worked with years ago, I know his medical perspective (he is not an "over-tester or over-treater"), and he has taken care of my husband and my son for years (at my recommendation), and now my daughter (again, at my recommendation), and several of my friends. He is a good doctor!

He is also good at getting to the "meat-of-the-matter" medically. My minor problem was addressed promptly and an ointment prescription written, but he asked a few other pointed questions, and my few vague answers revealed some simple truths. This winter I was busy taking care of everyone else ... but me! Actually this isn't new behavior for me - most wives and mothers are guilty of this at some point in their lives.

For example: like many people of my age, I have a small problem with blood pressure. It really is a small problem, and I take a low dose diuretic to correct it. Except that all this winter, the pills I focused on were mom's. Oh, I would occasionally pop one of my diuretics and feel noble about it. But I definitely wasn't taking it as directed on the container. One day in January, when I was taking mom's blood pressure (her meds had changed and we were monitoring it), I checked my own! Oops! 140/90. I always run 120/70 or less. Well, I guess "always" is not totally accurate. So I took my meds for 3 days (3 days in a row rather than one day per week for 3 weeks - but you didn't hear that from me) and I rechecked my blood pressure - 110/75! Hmmm! Guess I still need that dag-gon pill after all! Darn! And I may have done some artful administration with my cholesterol meds as well.

And being a smart doctor who knows me, he asked more questions about why I fell off the pill wagon - "I've been busy" or maybe I said "Hospitals and Rehab facilities can make you crazy" or some version of the last two months of joy and frivolity - summing it up with "I am fine." He totally ignored my assessment. He asked me about my sleep habits. My response? "I sleep just fine" or maybe I said "I sleep some most nights" or some rendition of that theme. And he asked other such questions that I also answered skillfully or maybe it was partially (my selective memory protects me from remembering conversations with difficult questions to answer - or maybe it is difficult answers to easy questions). Whatever! *sigh*

So my carefully worded conversation with my doctor resulted in some blood tests to find out where I am health wise - (and objectively - since my assessment raised his eye brows). I guess he doesn't put much weight in my medical opinion - the one that says "I am just fine!!" :-)

For the record - I am just fine!

My husband smiles and is waiting for a more professional opinion! Whatever!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#11 Personal Peace

We all know people who seem happy and sunny all the time, as well as others who never seem to have a good day and always see the unhappy side of life. Whether these two sides of the coin are the result of habit, or chemistry or genetics is the discussion of many self-help books.

Being happy and peaceful mentally is usually my default state - what my personality eventually settles down to unaided - regardless of the stress trigger. I would like to say that I am fully responsible for my generally happy and positive outlook on life, but I also guess that there may be a genetic "gift" involved in the mix as well.

But life can send you a massive unexpected curve ball or a loss from the most unlikeliest of places, and that happy state of mind is extinguished in the blink of an eye. All of us have experienced this situation to a greater or lessor extent. You struggle to find answers, adjust your thinking and move on. From my perspective, adjusting and moving on has never required much effort - now I find it requires purposeful action. It should probably be on my list of goals.

That is where I am now: adjusting and accepting a new reality, working my way back to a happy, peaceful state, and moving on. And each day I make progress and the moving on gets easier. These activities help.
  • Think things through and make positive choices for yourself (sometimes very difficult ones), and then live your life with those choices in mind.
  • Time - time is my friend. No matter what the problem is, time and space usually heals.
  • Exercise - walking almost always makes the unbearable - bearable. It doesn't "fix" things, but it provides a brief respite when the world seems better than just a short time ago.
  • Cleaning - when I am unsettled, I find myself ... (I know you will find this unbelievable) ... I find myself cleaning house. Even aggressively cleaning bathrooms becomes a barometer of my mental state. Right now my bathrooms could be cleaner - guess that is a good sign. :-) De-cluttering becomes a focus - simpler environments always settle my mind. Lately I have been a de-clutter maniac.
  • Listening to audio books and pod casts and reading - these mental distractions are effective as well.
  • Seek the company of friends. Thankfully I have an abundance of wonderful people in my life.
  • Pray.
So what do you do when you are looking for a way to redirect your mind and to cope with stress or a loss?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Milo and the stick!

Grandma, look at this great stick!

This is SOME stick!

This is probably the best stick I have ever seen!!

I LOVE this stick!!

Grandma, You know just how much I love sticks. And you are the best grandma ever!! If you let me have this stick, I promise I will never ask for another stick ... not ever!!

You love me, don't you? I can have this stick, right?

Of course, I might need to hide this from mom. You know how unreasonable she is about sticks.

Monday, February 7, 2011

On a Mission

The last 2 days have been fairly productive in clean out, reorganize and de-clutter arena.

For a non-cook, I had one heck of a lot of cook books. At least half of them haven't been touched for a year. Now they are at Good Will making someone else's life taste better. And in doing that I freed up 2 shelves in the basement den, shelves which now house yarn that was living on the den floor for the last 6 months. That is just a temporary move, of course. I have a closet full of yarn that needs sorting and reduction, knitting books that need thinning and shelves of other random books that need to be moved out. Making my surroundings lighter feels good for my psyche.

Then today I took a hard look at my kitchen. Since I am not a hobby cook (I am more of a cook-to-survive cook), I haven't placed much focus on the tools I use. I had 2 pots that looked dreadful inside - coated pots that chips and scratches in the non-stick surfaces. I try not to think about the fact I probably ate some of those little non-stick pieces. And my silverware was really yucky. We had two very cheap sets that were dented, scratched, worn or bent - and missing various pieces. Then today I noticed that a rubber gasket on my coffee pot was torn and hanging, making for a messy brewing function each morning.

So we took off to the store.

I got a new Kitchen Aid 10 cup coffee pot (my other one was Kitchen Aid and we had it for years - the longest of any coffee pot previously - love that brand!).

Then my husband found a 12 piece pot and pan set of Anolon Advanced Nonstick on deep discount at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and we had a 20% off coupon as well, making it hard to pass up. Minimally I was interested in replacing only 2 pots, but when we found this deal, I was able to get rid of quite a few old pots (2 that were over 40 years old and haven't been used in 15 years). Pictured are 4 of the pieces.

And we purchased a new set of utensils. I went with an old standby, Oneida, in the pattern called Lincoln: a nice simple design with more heft than either of our two older sets. We got place settings for 16 with service pieces. We seldom have 16 guests, but they were packaged in settings for 8. Eight was too few, so we bought 2 packages. The purchases were long overdue - and the time was now.

When the dust settled on the cleaning and replacing this afternoon ... I had created 3 boxes of kitchen stuff for Good Will donation and 3 bags of trash for the county Land Fill. The household spaces where I worked are now less cluttered and more functional. I am still not into cooking, but when I am forced to do so, it will be a pleasure to use my new stuff. And the kitchen surfaces now have a nice uncluttered look.

The downstairs den still has great de-cluttering promise. I also have my eye on my closet, the hall closet, the upstairs pantry, downstairs pantry and the downstairs kitchen equipment storage.

To keep or not to keep - such a question.

Once again I am focused on de-cluttering.

My de-clutter history is limited to infrequent clean outs, sort throughs, pitching, donating re-org days. Whole days. Those days would be preceded by some big emotional event, a bad mood, or a major frustration that would launch me into a whorl wind of activity aimed at lighting my "stuff inventory". Lightening my stuff made me feel lighter and less overwhelmed. My stuff inventory still remains frighteningly high even after years of such frantic episodes. Obviously these clean out episodes haven't come frequently enough.

So I am breaking the "whole day" clean outs, and doing some stuff each day - areas that randomly come to my attention.

In addition, my previous habit of doing a "once thru" on evaluating what stays and what goes and calling it finished seems faulty for me. I did a once-through on books recently - got rid of alot. And when I looked at the "keep" books again a few days later, more popped out asking to be sent to a new home. I believe I get emotionally attached to stuff which clouds my decision making on "to keep or not to keep" and once I thin the crowd of things under review, doing a further review of the same stuff makes tossing stuff easier. And I always feel good making space, thinning the "stuff load" at my house.

Feeling good in getting rid of things is probably just a personal quirk of mine, but how do you handle the act of shedding stuff? How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? Are you a keeper or a tosser by nature? And how does it make you feel once you have lightened your load?

I am off to tackle some other areas that have come to my attention - pockets of belongings that are no longer needed in my life. And while I am doing this physical de-clutter task, I am doing a mental inventory of the same kind - deciding what to keep and what to discard so that I can lighten my load mentally and emotionally as well.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hand-over-hand out of Quick Sand

Have you ever felt like the last 12 months of your life were a nose-dive? Everything you touched, did, saw and felt seemed to have sunk into quick-sand. Progress during this time was seen as not sinking below the level of the sand pit - your head is still popping out - even if it is only your nose! Well, that was my 2010.

This year, 2011, feels different. This year, despite its dismal start, has promise. I am trying to return to the values and activities that gave me so much happiness and peace in the past. The goals of the next 20 years are still my beacon. How to document my progress is still a work-in-progress. But some stuff is falling into place finally.

Walking 2011: This tab now tracks just a few stats for each month. It is enough to keep me motivated to improve each month but not so much to make it a chore.

Reading List 2011: Having a place to list the books I have read in a year makes more sense than writing down who my favorite authors are. I won't review every book I read, just the ones that made a very positive impression.

Fiber Projects 2011: A list the finished fiber projects in 2011 - and the yardage used towards my goal of 5,000 yards of yarn in a year. Pictures will be showcased in the body of the bog.

De-clutter: I am in a "throw out" mood. When my thoughts are turbulent and peace is absent, my mind is not helped by the abundance of "stuff" that fills my house. Clean surfaces, less stuff, organization. I need to do more cleaning out and I will keep my progress listed on this tab.

A good start to 2011.