Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 New Year's Resolutions

I have not been into setting new year's resolutions the last couple of years. In general no one ever follows through with them but I have learned that setting a goal is good for me to actually get something done. Maybe I was the only one that didn't follow through? (Not!) With 2010 coming tomorrow, I have three areas of focus, and they are not new but I have a newfound desire and new skills.

It has hit me once again as I'm typing, that balance is a huge component of life. I have found that the more organized I get, life flows better, and yet the more flexible I am within that organization, the easier life is, less stress.

One area of organization that I need to focus on is incoming paper. Between the mail, bills, receipts, school papers, children's art, husband's papers, etc., it piles up on kitchen counters, and everywhere in our office/spare bedroom. My goal is to have no receipts lying around and for the ones that I need to keep to be in the pretty purple file folder. I have almost finished going through all of the old ones and have to stay focused for all of the incoming ones. My future is to have all papers dealt with in a timely manner, but I'm going to start small with receipts.

Another area that I want to focus on is new meals to prepare. I want to find new dishes that my children have not tried and that are easy and tasty. Both of them like to help me bake but perhaps we can push the envelope and find new foods other than plain meat, starch, & vegetables that they will actually eat. This does mean more work for me and with extracurricular activities in the afternoon, I cut corners. Yet I do want to try some new things, even if it is just two new recipes a month. That's my goal!

Lastly, I'm still on a decluttering movement and I hope forever will be. You can't stop with this one or "the stuff" takes over again. I have a friend who did not buy stuff for a year. I want to hear more about that. I know I could not embark on that, I can't let go of buying stuff just yet, but I realize when you bring more stuff in that defeats the purpose. One area of declutter for me is books and magazines. We have three sets of bookcases and room for no more. George ordered a Nook (Barnes & Nobles' E-reader) for Christmas for me. At first, I resisted this idea because I wanted to hold a book in my hand. And then I thought of how much easier it would be without the bulk. Over the last few years I have thought, why do I keep a book? for how long? For reference? My downfall (?!) is that I just LOVE books. I like having them around. But I need to be choosy with the ones that I keep around. My goal is to go through them again with a more critical eye, and have every book fit in a book in the bookcase and none lying on the top!

The last area is in the area of physical fitness. I make a pledge to ignore all of the excessive diet information that will be presented the first few weeks of January...because I have learned all too well that diets don't work! But I want to add an activity and that is stretching. As I can't go to a yoga class every day, I have started incorporating yoga stretches after I get off the treadmill at home. This activity I want to add in more frequently per week. Maybe even stretch if I don't get on the treadmill.

So off we go, a new year, which is a chance to wipe the slate clean. Perhaps that is what is nice about new year's resolutions. It is appealing. But as I have learned, changes can be made at any time during the year. And if you have nothing new in your toolbox of life to attack 2010 with, your behavior will be the same as 2009. I learned a lot about myself in 2009, time to put it in play. Happy New Year! Hope the tools in your toolbox are sharp and ready to go. : )

Monday, December 28, 2009

Losing weight isn't everything

I have been in therapy for over a year with the intention of finding out what my weight problem was about. It feels like it has been forever, but I realize that you get out of what you put into it like many things. I went with the purpose of losing weight and drum roll please.....I GAINED weight. I didn't know this ahead of time but it is part of the process and was to be expected during the "make food legal" period which was what I needed to do.

After two different commercial diet programs, the diabetic diet after my PCOS diagnosis and years of reading about nutrition I had not allowed myself to eat many foods that I had determined as being "bad", or at least not eat them and enjoy them. I would end up eating some of them binge style but had guilt out of the wazoo.

When I was on the diets, I drove George crazy when it was time to go eat at a restaurant, as I had to find the one that offered plain salad with grilled chicken or some other dietish food. That is just no way to eat, especially in South Louisiana. It is still hard in certain instances to enjoy food that use to be labeled, "bad" or a poor choice. But I'm making much progress.
At Halloween, I thought oh no, there is going to be candy in the house, and then I stopped and thought, there already IS candy in the house. I have kept M&M's, peanut butter cups, and Snickers in here by order of the nutritionist. Early in therapy, she asked me what my favorite foods were and I had a hard time answering. Especially when it came to sweets because I didn't allow myself. That was kinda sad. I have really been exploring foods and knowing what I truly like, and what I can leave by the wayside. I have also become high maintenance when ordering in a restaurant, that use to seem rude to me, but now I know what I like and how I like it and...I deserve it.

It is funny now that "bad foods" are in the house ALL the time...drum roll please, they don't call to me like they use to. Hmmmmm.

I did have to buy bigger clothes and that was more than a year ago. Letting the size numbers go was painful. I vividly remember getting in to certain sizes when I lost weight with my LA Weight Loss diet. I despised that place. Loved the results until I gained them back, but hated talking nutrition with "counselors" who knew only one spiel. (I never knew how to spell spiel until now...I have always liked that word!)

At present, I have rolls on my body where I don't like them. Months ago I glanced in the mirror during yoga at the Y, and thought who is that person? I just didn't recognize her. But the answer to that is, I have been finding out slowly month by month. There are parts of me I have known for a while, but there are other parts that I'm learning to love. Accepting myself as I am. Let me stop here for a moment. This is so HUGE! (and sadly one my favorite words to say I think is now Paris Hilton's but I digress.) Going hand in hand with accepting myself is not worrying what other people think. So freeing.

I had an experience of going to the same holiday party at a friends house a year apart and both times I had to go by myself as George was working. I remember the feelings of inadequacy, insecurity last year and I was bigger and had to find dressy clothes to wear. This year, I went, ate what I liked, had a cocktail, visited with whom I wanted to and left. It was wonderful, except wearing the high heels, which I have to let that go too. Having that same experience a year apart to compare was very eye opening for me.

So losing weight isn't everything. What IS EVERYTHING, is the acceptance of myself as I am. I believe the weight will take care of itself eventually and I'd so much rather be where I am now than where I was in years past.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 26th

I cannot believe it is Dec. 26th. I wanted to write about my "keep it simple stupid" Christmas. At the end of November, I started with some rather intense "oh my gosh it's going to be Christmas and I've done nothing" anxiety and decided this is THE year to let it go and keep it simple. I did not want to feel that way the entire month of December, so off I went with serious intent and more coping skills than ever before!

I signed up for an advent study that would use up some of my precious kid free time and I have found that the one hour a week has added, not subtracted from the season. The music, the readings, the fellowship have added more meaning instead of feeling like I was adding more duties.

Spontaneously, I let the kids take pictures with Santa after school one day in school uniform and dirty preschool clothes and it was a fabulous, magical, no waiting in line experience with Santa. Relaxing and letting go has made anxiety prone tasks so much more enjoyable. I marvel at how easy some tasks can be when they were the opposite before. Not having an agenda and rolling with life is so much easier.

Now some things have to get done and I'm the one to do it, but whether my return address Christmas card label has an extra space between the name and the address, doesn't matter. And that the girls have stuck on stamps crooked, not a problem. At one point, I was going to search out just the perfect paper to print out a Christmas letter with lots of photos on it, and I thought this is where I need to let go. I just printed it on regular paper and it was fine, not perfect, but just fine. What are we going to eat Christmas Eve, I really wanted take out but George wanted to get a ham and make side dishes, so I let it go. George ended up having a very sick patient and worked until 7pm Christmas Eve and GaGa and I cooked and cleaned for Christmas Eve and Day, and I let it go. Tornado warning storms moved through the area as we were to leave for church service on Christmas Eve, so we stayed in and read the Christmas story in Riley's new children's bible. GaGa wasn't feeling up to par to travel to Ethel on Christmas day, so we went ahead and she stayed behind and was able to rest and relax which was what she needed. Letting go of preconceived notions...

I love sending out Christmas cards but I need to make the project easier for the sheer number of cards that I send. It took me days and I had created a work space in the playroom in front of the television. I will admit that I watched "Housewives of Orange County" while I did this task (not while the kids were participating). I am accepting the fact that this is my guilty pleasure watching this show that has no redeeming value whatsoever but what not to do. I have some inner judge and critic that is saying don't watch that show and don't let other people know you watch that show. Let it go.

Letting go. There is also letting go of the ghosts of Christmas past. There is a part of me that wishes I could go back in time and react to some situations in the past as the person I am now, but it doesn't matter anymore. That's where I was then and this is where I am now, I have learned a lot and it has given me great peace. Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas tightly made plans, just being with those I hold in my heart most dearly, and being present and rolling with it. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In My Daughter's Eyes

I have heard this song before awhile back but I must have been meant to hear it again today. I was driving home with Mallory from seeing "The Princess and the Frog" and we were in George's car and so I was unable to listen to my XM radio or listen to my Christmas CD's so I turned the radio on. I was scanning through the channels and bam, I hit a country station, and this song came on. It just took my breath away, it is so beautiful and so true. And I have two daughters so I'm doubly blessed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little Clay...

This is my I have to post something because it's been a week and I haven't finished writing what I want to write, but I do really love this song. And I love Clay's voice and I love the message. (you can stop it at the end of Clay's song - he just introduces Ruben)
I am really enjoying my Christmas music. I play songs in the car and the kids have started trying to guess the song. Do you know how many Christmas songs start off with the name of the song in the first line??? Many. We don't have to listen for long and they guess and we move on to the next song.
Hope your Christmas season is rocking along. Mine is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A few tears on the yoga mat

I have been practicing yoga in a class setting once a week, this is my goal. One day I would like to do more but for now, this is what I can manage. I keep learning more and more about myself through yoga (you would think I would know enough by now, right?). Lately, towards the end of the yoga session, I feel emotions well up in me and I feel the need to cry. Some might think this is a bad thing, for me it is a wonderful thing. Yoga releases "stuff" bottled up and in the twists, and turns, and positions and breathing, emotions are released, as well as toxins. The first time it happened, I was wondering what was going on and now I embrace it. I tend to forget it may happen and bam, there it is. My therapist says that therapy and yoga go hand in hand. I mentioned it to one of the yoga teachers and she said, oh yes, it happens.

For several years, I did not release my emotions. It goes back to the period of infertility that was followed by birth and then postpartum depression. I cried most nearly every day during the two years it took to get pregnant. Some days, I cried off and on all day when there was a bad result and there were a lot of bad results. For those who don't know, it was an awful period full of angst, uncertainty, turmoil, and all of this was then aided by hormone injections. I endured shot after shot, transvaginal ultrasound after transvaginal ultrasound, blood draws out the wazoo, fighting with insurance companies and doctors, waiting for test results, waiting a month or two until we could try again and lots and lots of crying. On top of that was doctor ordered sex (when sex was still on the table - we worked up to the "cup" in the second year). How romantic!? and not what you pictured in wanting to start a family. But we did finally achieve pregnancy, (after one miscarriage) and my beloved first child was born, who I love with my whole being. (And the second child too, who was a miracle in her own right as well, coming naturally!!) And then....I fall into a deep, dark, isolating hopeless depression that scared the bejesus out of me. I understand now, it actually started during the pregnancy, as I was so anxious and worried about EVERYTHING. Anxiety can be a huge part of postpartum depression.

I cried a lot during her first year of life, and especially those first months BUT I worked really, really, really hard not to show it to her (or others really, it is very, very shaming) I put on a smile and I sang to her but it was really, really, really hard. I see video and I'm smiling and saying her name over and over again but what I remember vividly is the overwhelming despair. After I recovered, I did NOT want to cry anymore, EVER. Perhaps this is when I learned to eat my way though emotional uncomfortableness and I'm still doing it. I have gained a grasp on it and it doesn't occur as much as it had been but it is a slow process. Habits are very hard to change. There are many uncomfortable emotions I need to release and let go of and yoga, therapy and writing this blog are all fantastic for me. Thank you for reading and thank you for the occasional comment. Especially you Jana! I know some of you read and don't comment as well. I appreciate your patronage! I'm wiping away the tears and moving on.

Monday, December 7, 2009

He he he....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Image is Everything

I have been intrigued by the Tiger saga...the joke of the day yesterday was, "he is not going to be called Tiger anymore but cheetah..." The media loves to build people up and then tear them to pieces as they fall. And I watch it happen. And I am learning not to cheer as it occurs. I don't cheer but I have certain feelings that come out that make me not proud of myself. And they seem to revolve around money. He has been paid millions to be a public figure representing the game of golf and products and now he wants privacy. That irks me a little. Why? I will have to examine my own shortcomings as well.

Very truthfully but not pretty is the resentment of the amount of money that he has been paid to hit a ball around with a stick. He evidently has a gift and has worked extremely hard to excel at this sport. I'm sure there are "reasons" why he makes that much money, likely to hit a billion by 2010?? I guess people buy Nike products to be like him. Drink Gatorade. Buy a Pontiac or whatever, so there are reasons these companies pay that much money and now they have to gamble on Tiger's future public perception which is fickle. Why do I care how much money he has, I have enough. Hmmmmm.

Secondly, there is the fact that he is a cheater and not just one time but for years and multiple partners. It disgusts me that sports persons and others, who become so rich, powerful and exclusive feel that they can get away with it. Yet the Tigers and others who are getting away with it, they don't even think of it in that way. And here is the kicker after I have just judged mightily, this is the part that I am working to embrace and that is Tiger is just another child of God, who has his own set of problems, and faults but with private estates around the world. He is just like the rest of us, warts and all.

I have been examining carefully crafted public perceptions of certain famous people. I know PR and media strategists have been around a long time but I of the "people fascinate me" variety, have just come to understand them more fully. Take Andre Agassi, he hated tennis. (And wore a hairpiece???) This surprised me, and made me want to read his biography which I am. Andre's Canon Rebel Ad tag line was "Image is Everything" He just showed up to make money which would afford him to support his family, escape his father, Canon told him what to say, he said it, and bam, that became his public perception. He could not escape it at all.

And Andre's father MADE him play tennis, there seemed to be no out for Andre. Did Earl MAKE Tiger play? What is it like to be a child prodigy and the expectations that come with that? As my favorite saying goes, there is a story there. Everyone has a story and I'm not speaking of the dirty details variety. It doesn't matter how beautiful the wife, how much money there is, people are just people and images are only that. One dimensional. People are multi-dimensional. Everyone wants the love of their father,(their parents) and it is an extremely powerful relationship. Did Tiger feel he had to play golf to please his father? Andre, finally at the age of 27, made a decision to play tennis not because of his father but for himself. And he made a wonderful comeback in the world of tennis (I think, I haven't gotten to that part of the book, but my memory is saying he did)

I am still conflicted and will work to let the money thing go. Money or fame doesn't make anyone happy or satisfied, that only comes from within and I am learning that lesson. Tiger does need privacy, a good therapist, and a marriage counselor. Will he do this? Who knows but he is a child of God. And somewhere inside the most prominent sports figure of this century, there is a hole that makes him choose to act out. I hope he and his family are able to learn their truths and live with them. Image is NOT everything.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just to let you know...

With the news of Oprah's show going to pasture in one and a half years, my BFF told her husband, "Carolyn is going to be devastated." I laughed and thought, no, I'm relieved! This is one less show that I have in my DVR that I have to manage and keep the machine from deleting because there are too many on there. I have probably at least 25 Oprah shows in my living room DVR that I juggle because I don't watch it everyday unless it is something I really want to see the day of, then I tape it in my bedroom. Yes, I am DVR high maintenance. Did I mention the one in the playroom in front of the treadmill? I have to have something good to watch while walking...

I WILL be able to live without Oprah. Someone else will get the Big interviews. But I don't think anyone will be exactly like her, in helping other to "live their best life." I don't agree with all she does but she was good at showing humanity at it's finest. With her show ending, perhaps It will free up some time to read all of the good books, that I just don't have time for right now!! But most likely I will still have shows from this year by the time it goes off the air, so I can still watch for a good while...

On the Christmas stress front, I did make my master list, and got a little shopping done. I think what was causing more of my stress was the "ghosts" of Christmas past. Just recognizing what it was is helpful.
Happy December 1!!! Maybe now I can listen to Christmas music....not!