Saturday, December 22, 2007

2008 in 2008

112/2008

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne

This book challenged me in ways I am still working to digest.
It is forcing me to really look into my core and decide if I am living the life I truly believe.
How much courage and conviction do I have to live life the way I believe it should be lived?
I do not identify as Christian, but reading quotes from the Bible in this context have made me rethink my relationship to Jesus and Christianity. I am not sure where this is leading, but it is interesting to ponder.
Some quotes...
147 For us, belief is only the beginning. What really matters is how we live, how what we believe gets fleshed out...
149 We need converts in the best sense of the word, people who are marked by the renewing of their minds and imaginations, who no longer conform to the pattern that is destroying our world. 150 Conversion is not an event but a process, a process of slowly tearing ourselves from the clutches of the culture.
163 Simplicity is meaningful only inasmuch as it is grounded in love, authentic relationships, and interdependence.
167 The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.
What I am struggling most with in all of my readings is the need for community. Claiborne's whole premise is that life is based in community, that we will only all prosper in community. Right now, I do not have a community engaged in these thoughts or work. I am unsure how to find it. I guess if I begin to live the life I want, the community and I will find each other.


Monday, November 19, 2007

2008: Year of Non Fiction

I have been a reader my entire life. I love escaping into other worlds, getting glimpses of how people live, think, love. I love ingesting the artful, delicious language of writers, allowing their words to transport me across time and space. I love being a part of the creation of new worlds, partly based in reality but focused on the characters' specific needs.
I have always been a fiction reader.

As I spend more time with non-fiction texts, however, I am learning how they can serve the same purpose. They are telling a story; they are creating a world for me to enter into.

My reading goal for 2008 is to read 15 works of non-fiction.
  • Pankaj Mishra's An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World
  • "I wholeheartedly recommend the two books by David Hilfiker that find reference in this program: Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen is an extended version of his early booklet that caught my imagination. It has a long and helpful bibliography in addition to all the information it contains. Not All of Us Are Saints: A Doctor's Journey with the Poor is an eloquent and moving account of his family's experiences. "


  • Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life Roberta C. Bondi Abingdon Press, 1995 ISBN: 0687038928

    To Pray and to Love: Conversations on Prayer with the Early Church Roberta C. Bondi Augsburg Fortress, 1991 ISBN: 0800625110

I learned of these from Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett, my favorite public radio show!

I want to choose works that will make me uncomfortable, works that will force me to enter into the worlds of those who are suffering. I want books that will strengthen me and give me guidance on my path. I want books that will challenge me--challenge me to work harder, be better, do better, live better. I want books that show me the world, not through the beauty of a created person and landscape, but through the beauty and ugly of the world already created by God.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Me, by the Numbers (odd version)

1--pets I have had (? the best cat EVAH)
3--college degrees (undergrad and grad) I will have when I'm done with my MLS
5--days we will spend at Disney World
7--years until I turn 40
9--years since I taught my first class

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Me by the Numbers (even only)

2--number of children I have (L and M)
4--number of countries I've visited (France, Belgium, Chile, Canada)
6--number of schools I attended K-12
8--number of grandparents my kids have
10--number of miles I completed last week (walk, elliptical, stairmaster)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Only one thing to say...

GO BLUE!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Real Impact of Simple Living

The New Friars is an insipiring and historical look at people living Jesus' hard teachings, the ones about the poor and outcasts. The people profiled are not serving the poor from their comfortable homes; they are living with them, building relationships, and serving them as sisters and brothers.

Usually books like this make me feel bad that I am not doing enough, whatever that means. This book was different, though.

Bessenecker makes it very clear that this path is not for everyone, and that those of us not called to do this work do not have to wallow in helplessness. There is plenty we can do to support their work directly, as well as impact the communities in which we presently life. In addition to the Franciscan brothers and the sisters of Poor Clare, St. Francis established a third order "made up of men and women living sacrificially and simply in the work-a-day world while supporting and praying for the first two orders". From our lives of relative comfort, we can still live according to the underlying qualities embraced by these new friars. They are:

  • Incarnation—tearing down the insulation and becoming real to those in trouble
  • Devotion—making intimacy with Christ our all-consuming passion {I think this is perfectly applicable to people of all faiths.}
  • Community—intentionally creating interdependence with others
  • Mission—looking outside ourselves
  • Marginalization—being countercultural in a world that beckons us to assimilate at the cost of our conscience


 

Bessenecker also provides a list of ideas on simple living compiled by Daphne Eck. Here is an excerpt:


RELATIONSHIP

Cultivate a closeness with God.
Practice regular hospitality.
Help each other, emphasize service.
Always speak the truth. Develop a habit of plain, honest speech. If you consent to do a task, do it. Avoid flattery and half-truths. Make honesty and integrity the distinguishing characteristics of your speech.
Don't judge.
Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
Consciously seek to identify with the poor and forgotten. Start by visiting hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes.
Schedule "simple" dates with your spouse.
Teach your children.

ACTIVITIES

Make your commitments simple.
Don't overwork.
Fast periodically from media, food, people.
Elevate reading, go to the library.
Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Cut down on the use of addictive, non-nutritional food and drinks such as alcohol, coffee, tea, soda, sugar, chocolate.
Simplify Christmas and other holidays. Develop the habit of homemade celebrations.

PACE AND ATMOSPHERE

Slow down.
Do not exhaust your emotional bank account.
Lie fallow.
Say no.
Restrict/eliminate television watching. Turn off or mute advertisements.
Learn to enjoy solitude.

POSSESSIONS AND FINANCES

Cultivate contentment, desire less.
Resist covetousness and consumerism.
Buy things for their usefulness, not their status.
Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Benefit from places of "common ownership" (parks, museums, libraries, rivers, public beaches).
De-accumulate. Develop the habit of giving things away.
Offer others the use of your possessions.
Develop a network of exchange.
Avoid impulse buying.
Don't buy now, pay later.
Avoid credit cards if they are a problem.
De-emphasize respectability.
Simplify your wardrobe--give away excess.
Learn how to make do with a lower income instead of needing a higher one.

APPRECIATION

Be grateful for things large and small.
Emphasize a joyful life.
Appreciate creation.
Send cards of encouragement and appreciation when others are not expecting it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

good green news

walked to field trip
turned off heat
shopped at farmer's market
carpooled to class
bought flannel sheets at thrift shop

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

discomfort

Why is discomfort such a central component of change? Is pain always a stop on the road to a new life?

How much discomfort am I willing to accept on my journey? How much am I willing to put my family through?

Discomfort and I have always had a bad relationship. I was never allowed, in so much as I could be protected, to experience it. As an adult, I have run away many, many times when it came knocking on my door. Even when it was the only thing between me and my dreams/goals/plans. I rationalized it by changing my dreams/goals/plans, but since they keep recurring in different forms, they are still there but I am not yet ready to confront and embrace the discomfort on my way to achieving them.

One crystal clear example of this is my attempts at weight loss. I am unwilling to begin a diet because of the discomfort I might experience as my mind and body adjust to the changes. As much as I want the end result, I am not willing to crawl through the muck to get there.

I want to get to where discomfort and I have a healthy relationship with respect, give and take, and acceptance. I want to be able to acknowledge and accept my feelings of discomfort but not let them deter me from the path I am choosing. I want to be able to simply say "This is hard" and move forward.

Monday, November 12, 2007

public service announcement

...and my new philosophy of life

If you can't go somewhere and celebrate without inserting your personal drama and issues into the ceremony, stay the %&$^*#@ home!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

totally exhausted

Friday 4:45 am--leave for wedding 10 hours away by car
drive, listen to insipid children's literature, find iPod in pocket, smile, escape the car for an hour, arrive in Sibling City, eat cheesesteak, visit R's alma mater, take kids to see Famous Cracked Bell,
drive to BIL's house, socialize, socialize, socialize
Friday 10:00 pm--put kids to bed

Saturday 11:00 am--go to BIL's house for wedding
Sunday 2:30 am--finally go to bed
Sunday 8:45 am--leave for home 10 hours by car
Sunday 7:45 pm--finally arrive home

Saturday, November 10, 2007

notes from the road

Being in an environment where my values are not the norm and the way we live is foreign is no longer stressing me out and making me question where I stand. Rather, I am feeling motivated to strengthen my values and increase the visibility of the changes we have made.

For instance, I am no longer embarrassed to collect our cans and bottles for recycling at home. That act had a positive outcome as I learned that my BIL and soon-to-be SIL actually do recycle some stuff sometimes.

It is also interesting to note how the body adapts to environmental changes. M woke up this morning with a bloody nose because the heat is set at 72 here. It was incredibly stifling.

Finally, my relationship with food is slowly changing during this trip. I was not willing to continue to eat for taste even when my body says stop. This has always been a HUGE problem for me. I was also willing to wait and experience the signs of hunger in order to eat what I really wanted, not what was immediately available.

Friday, November 09, 2007

green on the road

super simple tips for staying green on the road...

bring a reusable cup--sigg, kleen kanteen, or otherwise.
it can be filled up with water, soda, or anything else.

keep a bag in the trunk for recyclables. We are traveling to a state with no bottle/can returns. the amount of waste is staggering. I am walking around my in-laws collecting bottles and cans to bring home and recycle. I can't return them for $.10 (that's illegal), but I can put them out on the curb.

keep cloth napkins in the car.

slow down. the gas savings are significant. (I'll admit this is the hardest one to do. It is soooo tempting to want to get there..and FAST! Especially with two young ones in the car.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Freeze Yer Buns Update


The heat has been off at least 4 hours each day. I have been diligent about turning it off when we will be gone for more than 3 hours. I am not sure if this will be a good idea when it gets really, really cold, but for now it works!
The maximum temp is holding steady at 65.
Nights are at 62. We will be moving down to 61 in December and 60 for the remainder.
Layering is a good thing.
Cleaning is actually a good thing when it's cold because it gets me moving. (This one is still in the theoretical stage.)
The kids have flannel sheets on their beds. I am working on getting some for our bed. I would also like to get (eventually) flannel duvet covers. Our down comforters are really toasty, but they take a while to warm up.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

ABCs of Me

A--my middle name has 3 of these
B--L would not be caught without at least one ball in his bed each night
C--Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite books.
D--I have never had a dog.
E--For the past 3 months, the only eggs I've bought have been from within 20 miles of home
F--I took my first solo cross-country flight (from NJ to CA) before I was 10
G--I am enjoying my journey toward a more green lifestyle
H--I lived in Houston from 5-9th grades
I--We lived in Evanston, Illinois for 4 years.
J--Motherhood is an extremely challenging and exciting journey.
K--I walked from Ohio to Kentucky across the Ohio River.
L--I can't wait to become a librarian.
M--Go Blue!
N--R thinks my 2-3 hours naps are too long to be considered naps.
O--Oreos were L's first cookie.
P--My life never had so much pink and purple until M turned 3 and decided those were her favorite colors.
Q--I really, really, really want to learn to quilt.
R--Running a marathon is a goal of mine.
S--Second graders have too much energy.
T--That makes them really fun to teach
U--I believed unicorns were real for a very, very long time.
V--R and I were vegetarian for 7 years.
W--My wedding took place 11 years ago.
X--Next semester I will beable to explain XML.
Y--I have been unable to get into yoga.
Z--My family likes going to the zoo.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Trip to the Farm

Our afternoon trip to the farm was amazing. It was drizzly, cold, and dreary, but the kids' wonder, amazement, and curiosity made it feel warm and bright. We saw a calf, piglets who were cuter than anything (I can totally relate to Fern from Charlotte's Web. Those pigs are just too darn cute to be put down.), a turkey who had lots to say about his friends' upcoming fate, a mama goat and her quadruplets, and another mama goat and her twins. We got to help load the animals into their pens for lunch. We also got to ask the farmer lots of questions about the animals' lives on and off the farm.

The kids and I went with friends—one for each of us. The kids all play really well together, so the moms get to have lots of good conversations. This was one of those trips I never would have attempted on my own. It was cold and rainy and the place was deserted. L, M, and I would have been ready to go within minutes.

I am so happy to be able to give my kids these kinds of experiences. When we walked into the chicken coop, the first thing out of M's mouth was, "Thanks for the eggs, chickens." She has already made the real connection that eggs come from chickens, something I didn't think about until recently. Since we are not raising them vegetarian, I want them to get to know animals and make the connection between the way they are raised and their suitableness as dinner. I hope by exposing them to farms regularly, talking about where our food comes from (remember picking those blueberries this summer?), and being committed to living a more local, nature centered life (including when the weather is less than perfect) will give them a foundation for low-impact living.

Monday, November 05, 2007

connecting the dots of my brain (Not!)

  • I prevailed against my demons and cooked dinner, even though it was the last thing I really wanted to do.
  • The dinner is completely LOCAL (within 20 miles). We are having meatballs, smashed potatoes, and collard greens. Even the butter and eggs are local.
  • I am cold. The heating challenge has just begun and I have a lot of adapting to do.
  • I have been religious about turning off the heat when we leave for longer than 2 hours.
  • We went to L’s basketball practice as a family tonight. I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes.
  • New plan—10 days of pushups = 1 song from iTunes. I have recently rediscovered the nurturing power of music to my soul and this is a good way to gain some much needed strength while earning additional songs for my collection. This is the beginning of the snowball effect—the more songs I have, the more I am going to want to go out and walk, the more I will want to do pushups, the stronger I will be, the more satisfying my walks will be. Go ME!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

holidays, consumerism, and kids

The Sunday paper brought with it some very unwelcome companions today: the Target and Meijer toy preview magazines. These glossy, attractive mini-catalogs were very popular at the breakfast table. The kids read and reread them, talking about what they wanted. It was very hard for me to acknowledge their excitement without a)buying into it and encouraging it or b) putting a huge damper on it by talking about the social and environmental ills associated with most holiday consumption.

Now that the season is upon us, I am going to have to work these issues into our conversations. I want them to understand why I don't want to spend money on cheap (and not so cheap) plastic toys. I want them to make the connection between their consumption and someone else's labor. I also want them to make the connection between their consumption and the environment. What happens to the packaging? Howdo the toys get here from China? What resources are being used to make the toys? The folks over at New American Dream have some good tips and resources to get me started.

I am working hard at trying to make Christmas more experience-based and less toy-based, but that is going to take lots of time and energy on my part. We have to develop ways to lessen the short-term thrill of opening a ton of presents on Christmas day. Instead, I want to focus on having adventures and doing activities that will make long-term memories.

Another component of this is making the holidays a process. Decorating the house and tree are events in and of themselves; I need to treat them that way by involving R and the kids.

I would love to create photo books for the kids of our vacations and other special things in their lives for Christmas. I don't know if I will get to it this year, but that is definitely something they would love, and it would fall right in line with my values. It will also encourage me to use the wonderful new camera R bought. ;)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

being in the moment

I just had lovely evening with M. We went swimming at the Y, had dinner at Panera, and took a quick tour through the Salvation Army, where I found her Christmas present. Of course, she now knows about it because she was with me, but this will be the one from her parents and I'm going to make it fancy so it's all good.
Her swimming is coming along really well. The only thing holding me back from encouraging it is the damage it inflicts on her hair/scalp. I don't have the energy/time to redo her hair everytime we swim. I know that's a pathetic reason, but if she really ends up choosing swimming as her activity I will totally support her. Obviously.
Anyway, back to the pool. I followed her lead--played her games, let her decide what tricks to show me, swam/sit where she told me. When she finally said, "I'm ready to go." I didn't question her to make sure, I just swam out of the pool.

One of the main messages I'm getting from my reading of Pema Chodron is to minimize and not reinforce the negative behaviors/thoughts/ways of being while reinforcing the positive ones I am striving for. Being with my kids in mindful, meaningful ways is a behavior I want to nurture.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Project Garage--Day 2






This job can best be done in chunks. I spent 20 minutes today cleaning and loading the car. I made some noticeable progress. I am going to need R's help to load the big piece of furniture into the van so I can take it to the reuse center. It's a great feeling to see progress after only 20 minutes.
For the first time ever, our curbside trash can will not close. I am both proud and embarrassed of this fact. First, I am proud because it means I am detaching from my possessions and willing to only keep that which is meaningful. But, I am embarrassed because we had so much stuff to begin with and because we did not take good enough care of it to let someone else use it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

garage--before





Organization Day 1—reflection, planning, and pictures

1. What do I want the purpose of my room or area to be?

Storage—bikes, car, toys, lawn and yard equipment
Pantry—additional space for kitchen supplies

2. What do I need in or near the room to serve that purpose?

Shelving
Hooks
Bins

3. What can I remove from the room?

Items we no longer use—double jogger, furniture, toys, duplicates
Items we can store elsewhere
items that need to be put together to be used elsewhere

4. What problems do I see with the room?

Not enough places for things to go off the floor
storage tools are inadequate

5. What organizational tools might solve those problems?

See #2

6. What habits need to change to solve the organizational problems?

Putting things away when done
Not buying more than I can comfortably store in the space available
Using what I have before buying more
Timely removal of recyclables, returnables, and items for donation

7. What kind of a budget do I have to create the organized room of my dreams?

$200

8. What kind of a timeline is necessary to organize the room?

This needs to be done this month because the weather is getting colder.

9. What is my plan of action?

a. take first batch of items to be donated
b. sort toys with the kids
c. take second batch of items to be donated
d. make bins for donation
z. purchase new items and complete organization (I want the purchasing to come last because I cannot buy my way out of this problem.)


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

jumping in headfirst



wow! this fall y'all giveaway is leading me to all sorts of new and exciting things.
This one is HUGE for me. I am going to tackle the garage. I would like to be able to park at least one car in there this Winter. I would also like to be able to keep the door open for longer than 5 minutes without feeling embarrassed. This is the final month to get it done, because there is likely to be snow before it's over.

I will take and post pictures on Thursday.

bloom where you are planted

I LOVE where I live.
I can...
drop my daughter off at dance class and walk through the arboretum to sit by the river
buy locally grown eggs at 3 stores and the farmer's market
walk to 4 thrift and reuse stores
make connections with strangers about people we know in common

trying to win a free dyson

I am entered in this contest over at The Domestic Diva
http://thedomesticdiva.org/blog/2007/10/21/contest-dyson-pink-vaccuum/

I hope all of my imaginary readers go enter and support the contest and Dyson.
I have heard wonderful things about the Dyson vacuum.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Post A Day Keeps the Blues Away

I am going to participate in NaBloPoMo this year. I need some motivation to write. I have all these posts in my head, but I can't write them down. Instead, I have been posting lists and incomplete thoughts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Finally on the same page

R. and I had a calm, productive conversation this morning about the state of our house. We are both frustrated. There was no yelling, blaming, or lamenting that we don't have time or money to keep our house. Instead, we both acknowledged that we do in fact have the time; we have just not been spending our time doing it. We I finally admitted that it is not money or the need for organizing equipment that is keeping our house in this state. It is the people who live here. It doesn't cost anything to put my shoes on the shelf in my closet. It doesn't cost anything for the kids to keep their clean clothes off the floor so we don't spend 20 minutes washing, hanging, and folding clean clothes when we do laundry. It doesn't cost money to use the items in our pantry before buying more, which will save money, time (additional trips to the store), and space. Right now we have the space we have, we are not expanding the space, so we need to live peacefully within our means.

One of our biggest frustrations is that the hour or two we have allotted for cleaning daily involves so much back-work that we don't get to the projects that will actually improve our house. For example, instead of just being able to sweep the floors, first we have to clear out the shoes, toys, and books that were not put away. This takes 15 minutes that could be used to clean out the closet or the top of the refrigerator. We also realize that we have a pattern of one person checking out while the other cleans. If we both cleaned at the same time, we would get twice as much done. Instead, we end up doing the work of one person not two, which explains a lot. There is also the problem of the kids—we need to get them involved. Once R. and I get in a routine, we will begin helping the kids. First, however, we need to do the work ourselves.

What am I doing right?

I am feeling down today. So, to cheer myself up I am going to list what I am doing that's good.

  1. I have drastically reduced my dryer use. I would guess I use the dryer once for every 8 loads.
  2. We have eaten out about 50% less over the past two weeks.
  3. I have gone to the farmer's market each week for the past 4-6 weeks.
  4. Turn off the TV/cable at the switch at night and during the day.
  5. Packing L's lunch on schedule.
  6. Emptied my closet of all unwearable clothes.
  7. Bought food from local stores
  8. Did not buy coffee out, even though I really, really wanted it. The tea I had instead was wonderful!)
  9. Wrote my case study which is not due until Nov. 14

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crunchy Chicken’s New Challenge




I have committed to 65 during the day and 60 at night.

I am also committed to using other sources of heat when possible. This means:

  • Working at the library or coffee shop that already has the heat and not coming home when M is at preschool.
  • Using the fireplace more and encouraging the kids to play/read in the family room.
  • Showering at the Y after activities, so we don't have to use the space heater or heat lamp.

This will be a difficult challenge to sustain, but I have already taken one first step to help. I bought a small quilt from Salvation Army that works perfectly as a window quilt in M's room.

Other things I need to do:

  • Buy thermal underwear, slippers, and warm pajamas for everyone.
  • Find and use flannel sheets (buy if necessary).
  • Learn to start a fire in the fireplace.
  • Cover/insulate the windows, especially those in the bedrooms.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

reflection

I’ve had a mixed week. I only made it to Step once, but I rode my bike to help with reading workshop. I didn’t do school work each night, but I did start a paper early. I didn’t cook or clean well, but I did go for a walk with a friend.
I have spent time reflecting and pondering who I am, who I want to be, and how to get there. I feel good about the path I am on—it is the path of consciousness. I am not working to change my habits or diet or create an extensive exercise plan. On the contrary, I am simply becoming aware of my life and the ways in which I spend my time. I am making myself conscious of my actions in relation to my goals. If I watch a Lifetime movie instead of working, it is going to be because I consciously decided to do so. When I eat dessert, it is going to be a conscious choice.
I need to increase my awareness of my life and the world around me. One of the reasons I am unhappily back in school is because I was not aware of the essence of the feelings and desires I had; all I knew was that I felt fulfilled when I was in school. I did not take the time to get to know what they were. Had I done that, I would have been able to look at my life and find opportunities for me to have those same feelings and desires. I would have seen how I what I am already doing can fulfill the needs I wanted school to fulfill. I would have spent more time looking at what I truly want to do/be in the world, and made choices based on a more accurate picture of myself, not the outdated one associated with my academic career.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Day 1

I did it. I completed a project that isn't due until Wednesday. I worked on it too much while the kids were awake and needing interaction, but this is an important first step. Tomorrow I have another project to complete a huge chunk of as well as spend one hour researching. I should be able to get it done without impacting the kids as much.

Tomorrow:

Log

One hour research

PTO

let's try this again...

regular posting to resume shortly.

i enjoy having record of the thoughts and plans i've made. some have been successful; others not so much.

i am having some of the same thoughts i had in May. This means that it is time for action---i've got to hold myself accountable for the things I want and plan to do.

I have divided my life into 4 major areas:
school and work
family and community
home and earth
body and soul
and I am going to create challenges and plans that will enable me to support each of them.

SCHOOL and WORK

Decision #1: I will continue to work at WCC for the remainder of the academic year. I will not continue on there during 08-09. I don't want to leave them in a lurch; I want to honor my commitment. I want to continue earning $$ to pay for school.
Decision #2: I will take one class each term, with a graduation date of May 2009. This will have the least impact on my family, and enable me to finish what I've started.
Decision #3: I will not take a particular class Winter term because it meets on Saturday and I must have one weekend day to spend with my family. Part of my discontent comes from feeling disconnected from my entire, immediate and extended, family.
Decision #4: I will spend 2-3 hours daily on schoolwork. This will enable me to complete course work without getting into panic or catastrophe mode. It is going to be difficult, and will mean working when I really don't want to, but it will ultimately make my life easier.

I will post weekly about my progress with decision 4. This is going to be hard! I am not naturally a planner or scheduler. But to finish this degree without causing my family undue stress, I have to do it. Also my mom is going to be working full-time now, which means that she can't watch M while I study. I can also use those hours (if I finish studying) to work on my house.

Friday, June 15, 2007

July Challenges

CHALLENGE #1


There is a new challenge in the blogosphere that I am peripherally participating in. It is the Eat Local Challenge. See crunchychicken.blogspot.com for the details and more info.
Here is what I am committing to:
  • visiting the farmer's market at least 4 times
  • purchasing local eggs and butter from co-op (we already get local milk)
  • purchasing bread from local bakeries
CHALLENGE #2: "Say Cheese!"
This challenge involves taking and organizing pictures and home movies. While I am by no means a scrapbooker, I would like to have albums for each of my children.
Goals:
  • to upload, burn to cd, and print pictures
  • to take at least 5 pictures of the kids weekly
  • to label and organize home movies
  • to gather supplies for albums for kids (by year?)

Homecaring Challenge Update

Challenge update:

One week in, and progress has been made. It won't be done by Wednesday morning, but I feel good about what I have done so far.



clean desk in kitchen
clean counter in kitchen/dining room
clean windows
organize kitchen cabinets and pantry
clean office
organize master closet and drawers
frame and hang pictures and artwork
vacuum couches
clean stairs
change camp schedules and fill out forms
fill out preschool forms
clean cobwebs in basement
take rug to reuse center
organize toys and books
purchase and assemble bookshelf
purchase and use power strip for living room
clean front porch
paint and decorate bookcase for M's room
clean oven
organize linen closet
upload, organize, print pictures
clean van
sweep and mop entire upstairs
sweep and mop downstairs
redecorate seasonal table
organize cds

Sunday, June 10, 2007

time to redirect

So, our utilities have gone through the roof this month. Our total gas usage is almost where it was last year, and it's only June. Our electricity is higher too. I really need to figure out what is going on and how to change it. I am frustrated that things are not changing in my house. Part of that is feeling that I am the only one who's trying. I don't know how to get the rest of my family involved.

Today we spent about 60.00 on eating out and things for the house.
On Friday we spent $11 on a b-day gift for L's friend.
Yesterday, I spent $3 on food and R spent $10 on food.

I am feeling very discouraged and not sure where to turn. I want to make a difference, but I am stuck. Emotionally and physically stuck. I hope this is a temporary blip and that I can get back on track. Actually, I know this is a temporary blip; I will get back on track.

Just when I thought things were getting better, they are going in the opposite direction. What the %&^$ ?! This really took the wind out of my sails. I am redoubling my efforts because I don't want to be a failure at this too.

Friday, June 08, 2007

CHALLENGE: 12 days of homemaking

In twelve days, we leave for our family vacation. In 17 days, we return home. I cannot and will not return to my home in its current state. There is literally not ONE room in the house that is clean and/or organized. Well, ok the garage is both clean and organized, but I just did that last week.

There are many things that need to be done, including:
  1. clean desk in kitchen
  2. clean counter in kitchen/dining room
  3. clean windows
  4. organize kitchen cabinets and pantry
  5. clean office
  6. organize master closet and drawers
  7. frame and hang pictures and artwork
  8. vacuum couches
  9. clean stairs
  10. change camp schedules and fill out forms
  11. fill out preschool forms
  12. clean cobwebs in basement
  13. take rug to reuse center
  14. organize toys and books
  15. purchase and assemble bookshelf
  16. purchase and use power strip for living room
  17. clean front porch
  18. paint and decorate bookcase for M's room
  19. clean oven
  20. organize linen closet
  21. upload, organize, print pictures
  22. clean van
  23. sweep and mop entire upstairs
  24. sweep and mop downstairs
  25. redecorate seasonal table
  26. organize cds
So, working approx. 2 hours per day on homecaring, I expect to have a much cleaner, brighter, more welcoming home. I will do this with minimal expense; it really just requires time and commitment.

car-free #4

Wed
--walked home from Y

Fri
--walked to playdate

Low Impact Week Days 5-7

overall, fairly successful. i would give myself a B-.
I did not drive to the Y specifically for exercise.
I did not watch tv and use computer at the same time. (I did not reduce my computer usage enough, though.)
I did end up shopping at Salvation Army. Baseball pants for L and clothes for M. Spent $10.55.
I did better limiting her tv time, but she still watched more than she should because of my schoolwork and need for naps.
L slept without pull-ups. He had three accidents out of 7 days, which isn't great, but it's better than pull-ups. We are applying no pressure, and he is starting to get invested in it as well.


another thing not on list, but related to lowering our impact...
we did not eat out at all this week (m-f). this is huge for us.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Low Impact Week Day 4

completed opt-out forms for credit cards, etc.
Woke L up; dry morning
combined all errands and activities
shopped at locally owned stores
joined my local co-op (Spent money on something other than food or gas, but this is really a long term investment.)
M had tv time only in the afternoon--one video and done!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Low Impact Week Days 2 & 3

ate at local restaurants
walked outside
have not used computer while watching tv (or vice versa)
no pullups for L (only one accident so far)
have not purchased anything except food (this means I have had no need to drive anywhere, thus using less gas)
removed name from another catalog


tomorrow: I will call the ALA; 1-800-545-2433, press option 5 for a Member & Customer Service representative.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Low Impact Week Day 1

no tv
removed my name from 3 catalogs

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Low Impact week

Low impact week begins tomorrow, June 1 and continues through June 7.

Here's what I am committing to:
  1. I will walk outside this week for exercise. I will not drive to the Y for the sole purpose of exercising.
  2. I will not watch tv and use computer at the same time.
  3. I will not purchase anything other than food or gas.
  4. I will limit M's tv time to either morning or afternoon, not both!
  5. L will sleep without pull-ups. I will wake him up to go potty. (those are a huge percentage of our weekly trash.)
  6. I will purchase groceries from locally owned stores and individuals as much as possible. (Without having to drive across town for them.)

car-free #3

Tuesday
walked to library

Wednesday
walked to pool

Thursday
walked in neighborhood instead of driving to Y

UPDATE: end of May--10 car-free errands, 90 more to go.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

transformation, or how 85 minutes on a treadmill can change your life

I completed a 10K this morning on the treadmill at the Y. My time was 85:10. I didn't go all out because I didn't want to be exhausted all day. In fact, it worked out really well because my legs were sore, but not too sore to play some tennis with R and L at the park.

I realized that going back to school is no longer a goal of mine. I am going to finish the MLS program, but I have put the thought of a doctorate out of my mind. I enjoyed spending the evening at the park with my family and want to be able to give them more attention and actively participate in their lives. I realize how much I miss by working on weekends. I will be doing it for at least the next year, and then who knows. I don't want it to be a permanent thing; I enjoy all of us being together!

I have grown in the 2 years since I started thinking about school and doing something with my life. I now realize that I can make homemaking as intellectually challenging as I want it to be. All the things I am learning about (or wanting to learn about)--cooking, gardening (ha!), reducing our eco-footprint, housekeeping--are just as challenging if not more so than school.

I still want to work; it is good for my mind and soul. I like being a part of a community. Seeing people in the grocery store or at L's school that I 'know' from the library makes me happy. It is a small way of building community.

What I have realized is that life is what you make it and school was always it for me because that was all I had to concentrate on and I was good at it. Now that I have other things that need my attention and other things I want to spend time doing, there is no longer room for school. Or, a need for that matter.

To that end, I have decided that a happy family is more important than a 4.0 (which is impossible now, anyway, but that's not a story worth telling). I am striving for a 3.0. This is no longer my life; my kids and my family are my life and they are worth more to me than the satisfaction of an A. School is no longer my calling; that ship has sailed. I am looking for a new calling; one that combines my family and my needs, not separate them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

stepping out of the box

Today at the indoor playplace I inquired about their recycling procedures. I felt weird doing it, but I am glad I did. It turns out that they do recycle and are waiting for the plastic recycling container. In the meantime, the workers recycle any plastic bottles they see sitting around. The manager made a point to mention that they also recycle all their cardboard and she showed me the sign showing that their cups are made of corn.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

car-free #2

Monday
Walked home from Y (3.5 miles)
Walked to upper el school for field day.

Thursday
Walked to the post office to mail a package.
Rode bike to video store.

Friday
Walked to library.

Saturday
Walked to the mall.

starbursts of progress

*I rode R's bike to the video store tonight. I definitely will not be getting a bike trailer any time soon. I have to get much more comfortable on a bike first.

*I cooked dinner tonight. Salmon cakes, rice, and salad. I cooked enough rice for tomorrow's mean as well. Advance planning! WooHoo!

*I haven't eaten after dinner 8 days out of the last 10.

*I was at the Y at 5:30 this morning.

*Today was a buy-nothing day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

you can't know where you're going...

unless you know where you are!
so, I downloaded our monthly electric and gas usage stats to see where we are.

the good news is, we are below average for electricity, and right at average for gas.

the bad news is, we are using way more electricity this year than last. I am going to spend the next two weeks really looking at where we can cut back. I have already started unplugging the toaster. Our tv and dvd are connected to a light switch.

My goal for the next year is to decrease our electricity usage each month from the previous year. I would like to have our yearly total for 2007 come in at 5000 or less. Unfortunately, we have already used over 50% of our total.

What to do?
electricity
--unplug radio in living room
--turn off kids' cd players
--switch one cordless phone to a regular phone
--watch less tv (L's idea)
--have more stove/oven-free meals
--unplug computer
gas
--install shower start and valve
--do laundry all in one day (to use residual heat from dryer)
--hang more clothes (25% of each load)

I am also going to begin saving gas receipts so I can figure out how many times we fill up and calculate how much we spend over the next three months. Then, we will attempt to curb our driving so that we fill up one less time per month. This may mean me being without a car so R can drive the one with gas.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

car-free #1

Today I walked to the mall with M to get her 4 year old pictures taken. I can't believe that was my first time. The mall is literally a 25 minute walk with her in the stroller. The longest part is waiting to cross a major street.

I not only got in 3 miles walking, but we both got fresh air, she got a chance to relax and think, I got a chance to relax and think, and she spent less time in front of the tv because we didn't have an much time when we got home before school.

The major challenge for me in learning to use my car less is going to be planning. I need to think ahead about what needs to be done, and plan accordingly. I also need to slow down and minimize the things I need to do on car-free days. It will take more time, and I need to remember that so I don't end up frazzled and stressed.

My goal is to complete 100 car-free errands between now and Aug. 31. It shouldn't be hard. Walking to the library
Walking to the pool
Riding the bus downtown
Walking to the grocery store (Yes, this means doing some shopping at a store I really don't like, but I can at least get the basics there.)
Riding the bus to other places of interest
Walking to the mall
Use the local post office (plan ahead to avoid needing express mail)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

points to ponder

If I didn't wait until the last minute to get things done, the 30 minutes each day I spend would be enough. Because I have waited, however, I need to do 3 hours in one day which just isn't practical.

In some moments, I see great progress being made. In other moments, it all seems very overwhelming.

I have to eliminate the fantasy of having an entire week to get everything done in my house. It is crippling for three reasons: 1. it won't happen anytime soon (if ever), 2. if I had an entire week to myself, I would not spend it all working on the house, 3. I don't want to feel rushed; this is a process that will take time.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

weekly goals apr 30-may 3

bake cupcakes for M's party
make rice krispie treats for school on Tues--done Tues morning
Clean M's room and basement for party --spent time on both Monday (about 2 hours total), still not done
Organize dress up clothes for party
Buy jewelry for party --done Monday
Decorate house for party
Plan treasure hunt for party
Plan/buy food for party--done Monday
Thank you cards

walk M, T, W, Th
run 2 days

pack clothes for trip
pack car toys for trip
twist my hair
do M's hair
L's clothes to and from cleaners

cook from pantry/freezer
clean bottom cupboard--sort tupperware for Mom

now for a look at the numbers

I spent some time today looking at our finances and updating spreadsheets. We are definitely making progress. It is slow, but each time I update and the final number goes down, I feel better.

I rolled the payment amount for the Honda into the CC payment as soon as it was paid off. I did it officially through the credit union. We thought we might just do it ourselves each month, but I knew how that would end up. It would get absorbed into our monthly vortex and never make it to the cc.

Spending time with our finances helped strengthen my resolve to spend less and more wisely so that we can get out of debt. Looking at the numbers makes it easy to see how $50 here and $25 there can really have an impact on the bottom line. What will bring me more happiness--a pair of shoes or watching our debt shrink? I won't lie--the shoes. BUT, I am retraining myself to make it the debt. It's not as if I need the shoes. If I did, I would buy them. I just want them. But, I also want to be debt-free. So, who wins?

I need to remember to check the numbers more often. Now that we have been making progress for an extended period of time, I get excited instead of frustrated. I see progress, however small, as a triumph. It serves as a motivator to do what I can to continue the downward trend.

still...while moving

5k in 38:40.

Running is still difficult.
I am still counting minutes after about 5.
I am still excited about it.
My body is still not sure about it.
I still have a long way to go.
Still, I have come so far.

failure and learning to let go

I just received a scathing evaluation of a project I completed for a professor this semester. He basically implied that my work was useless and the project was an utter failure.
I was very upset, not only because it is probably one of the first truly negative professional reviews I have gotten, but also because I felt blindsided. I tried contacting this person many times throughout the process, and never heard back.

I am not going into details because I am working on letting go and moving forward.
What I have learned:

I am too attached to what people think of me and my work.
I am unable to separate myself from my work; an indictment of my work is also a personal one.
I need to be more assertive and get what I need. (Even if that means being a pest.)
I catastrophize. (This is not the end of the world. My work was adequate for the other two professors.)
My intent and underlying feelings about things can manifest in different ways. (I did not want to take the project. I only took it to allow the class to move forward. Maybe the negative feelings were evident in the end result.)
I am not perfect. I can and will make mistakes. I need to work on processing, learning from them, and letting them go.

I can't stop thinking about it, though. I am working on acknowledging the thought and moving on. If I can't make the thoughts stop, I can reduce their power and hold over me.

what i'm doing right

To rejuvenate myself and refocus my energies on reducing my footprint, I am going to make a list of the things I do that are in line with how I want to live. Every time I do this, I hope the list gets longer.
Here goes...

  • L takes bus to school.
  • we recycle consistently.
  • I use reusable bags 80% of the time.
  • I buy used.
  • we use the library.
  • I use reusable water bottle about 60% of the time.
  • I walked around the neighborhood this morning, instead of driving to the Y.
  • I have been making iced tea to drink.
  • I have been decluttering my house.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Random Dots of Monday

  • Today I experienced an actual cost of being disorganized. I only got to work out for 15minutes instead of 25 because I didn't have everything I needed to take M to swimming at the Y.
  • Living in the moment with the kids and my family is difficult. I am shocked at how much I tune out what is around me. I will do better.
  • Not reading blogs is not as difficult as I anticipated. I am slowly weaning myself off them.
  • My house is slowly coming along. I will have approx. 10 bags and boxes of stuff to donate on Thurs.
  • I cooked dinner for my family today!
  • No one watched tv today.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

reflection

I had a very productive week.

  • I finished one project for school, and completed about 60% of another.
  • I bagged up 21 clothing items for donation.
  • I started organizing our bedroom closet.
  • I ran twice and walked daily.
  • I cleaned the downstairs floors.

reflection

I had a very productive week.

  • I finished one project for school, and completed about 60% of another.
  • I bagged up 21 clothing items for donation.
  • I started organizing our bedroom closet.
  • I ran twice and walked daily.
  • I cleaned the downstairs floors.

Computer Turn-off Week Challenge

Ok, I am doing it. I am taking back my time and energy and putting them into my kids, house, husband, and community. School is over, and I have no reason to be online all day. Checking email once a day is plenty. Besides, my husband has to be online for work, so if anything important gets delivered he can let me know.

Reading blogs and internet surfing are becoming a problem for me, seriously. I hope that stepping away and getting involved in other projects will help me regain a sense of balance.

This is what I will allow myself: A maximum of one hour per day online. It will occur after the kids go to bed, no "peeking" at my email during the daytime. This one will be hard since the laptop is always there, tempting me, taunting me, CALLING OUT TO ME!!! I think I will put it in the office and treat it as a desktop.

Here is what I hope to accomplish during the week:

  • read my book club book, The River Where Blood is Born
  • organize my bedroom closet and drawers
  • gather items for donation pickup on Thursday
  • bake at least one thing, preferably two
  • organize M's clothes and bedroom
  • put plants in blue outdoor planter
  • paint trim in living room

Thursday, April 19, 2007

running progress

5K 38:30

I am running at least 5 minutes at 5.5 mph.
My walk breaks are shorter and less frequent.
My legs are feeling stronger and less jiggly.

I have been doing at least 15 pushups daily since Sunday.
My arms and upper back feel stronger.

I have walked 30 minutes each day this week.

I am more aware of what I eat.

Monday, April 16, 2007

laundry

GOAL: to reduce the amount of laundry our family produces

Steps to get there:
1. hang up, fold, put away clothes that have been worn but are not dirty
2. reuse cloth napkins more than once (pick one for the day)
3. reduce the number of clothes we have in rotation
4. help the kids determine which clothes are truly dirty and teach them to put them away appropriately
I can finally tell that I have taken over 5 carloads of stuff to the Salvation Army, put 10 boxes of stuff out for Easter Seals of Toledo, and recycled who knows how much paper, in an effort to declutter my house. There are still lots of hot spots in the house, and lots of things that need to be organized, weeded, decluttered, but overall I can see progress. It is a nice feeling.

The next steps are going to be more time consuming and less visible to the eye--dealing with pictures, organizing the basement and office.

The most important upcoming step is developing these processes into habits that I do daily. There are areas that never get cleaned because I have to declutter them first, and then I run out of steam.

running progress

Mon, 4/15 1.7 miles in 20 minutes!

Mon 4/8, 39:30 5K; 60:00 4.5 miles; 86:00 10K

Friday, April 13, 2007

road trippin' with the kidlets

The kids and I had a GREAT time on our adventure to the Land of Anne of Cleves. I loved the museum dedicated to noisy music earlier generations hated. I realized again how important music is to my psyche and how much I enjoy it. I would love to go back there by myself so I can spend as much time as I want listening, watching, and learning about music, musicians, and the societies they create.

The kids loved the children's museum. They spent time in the Egyptian desert (a huge sandbox), explored various community locations, and did an excellent job negotiating with other kids. I, unfortunately, had to police other people's children because their parents weren't paying attention.
The hotel was great. We ordered room service, went for a swim, and watched a lot of tv. (There were two televisions, so L got to watch Sports Center ad nauseum and M got to indulge her love of Nick Jr. ( a treat reserved for hotels and grandparents' houses)

I, too, got to indulge my cable tv habits. While it was great for an evening of relaxing on vacation, I am sooo glad we do not have cable at home. I am not strong enough to resist it's pull, and would fall very easily into a couch potato lifestyle.

The Body Blues and Greens

Ok, none of my clothes are fitting, I look like I'm in my 2nd trimester, and the scale has gone back up to where it was a month ago. THIS SUCKS!! What it really means is that a) I don't exercise enough to support my eating habits, b) I can't take two weeks off from exercising, and c) I need to make some hard choices about my diet and live with them.

I am recommitting to the diet portion of my exercise plan. I will never become a better, faster runner with all this extra weight. Especially when my life gets crazy and I can't exercise, I need my diet to make up for it.

I need to spend some time figuring out why I sabotage myself. Every time I make significant progress, I find some way to undo it. What is up with that?!?!?

I have to commit to a vision of myself as I want to be. I think I am not able to see it. Or, seeing myself as a runner is less about my body and more about my mind. I need to join the two so that I can lose weight, tone my body, and become faster.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

running and the art of letting go

Something I am truly enjoying about my running adventure is that I cannot make it go faster. I can't stay up all night and have a finished product in the morning. I cannot send my kids to my mom's for 2 days, work on it nonstop, and be done. No, this is truly a process. One that will take time, lots of time, and even then will not be complete. This is in stark contrast to the way I normally accomplish things in my life. I am an 11th hour girl; I push the limits of time.

Through running, I am experiencing the benefits setting mini goals. I am learning to value them and treat them with the importance they deserve. Running is also teaching me about the need for consistency and regularity. I cannot take 2 weeks off and jump right back to where I was. I must go back a few steps and build up from there. If I want to continue to progress and not just reach the same goals over and over, I need to run regularly and consistently.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

daily graditude

1. not getting a ticket during M's dance class
2. someone turning in my wallet
3. not getting a ticket at the Y
4. my friend
5. my car
6. heat (the temp dropped 40 degrees)
7. high speed internet (can take classes from home)

Monday, April 02, 2007

I am a runner

Believe it and you shall see it.

Well, that is certainly true in my case. I have been thinking of and identifying myself as a runner for the past two weeks, and I am seeing it. I am seeing it in on my watch (the number of minutes spent running). I am seeing it on my feet (they would rather be running, however slowly, than walking during my walk breaks). I am seeing it in my choices (going out for a 30 min. run while my mom was here). My mind's eye is seeing it in my body of the future. In short, I am seeing it all around me. Actually, what I am truly seeing is me--me as a runner.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine! Actually, I feel better than fine; I feel amazing!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

moving out of lurkdom

I think I am going to start commenting on blogs more often now. I have been lurking for a very long time, and if I want to continue reading them, which I do, I need to participate. I also need to push myself to put my thoughts and opinions out there, and not keep them bottled up inside.

I am not sure about linking back here, though. This is really not a public blog, although I guess it could become one.

So, my plan for April is to comment at least 10 times. Who knows, I may even learn to like it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

brain vs. body

i am not able to focus my efforts on exercising, running, and losing weight because i am focusing on school.

i can't wait until may so that i may redouble my efforts on the body front. i feel horrible, and it's because i haven't been running. my body needs it, but my brain needs to get this work done so i don't fail.

UGH!

friendship

what does it mean to drop a friendship because the other person is acting in ways that you don't approve of? how can one remain friends yet be true to one's own values and beliefs. on the one hand, it is not my life that you directly are affecting and even if so, you have to do what's best for you. on the other hand, you are the company you keep. aren't you?
what does it mean for the solidity of a friendship when you have seen two of this person's close friendships dissolve because the friends did not behave in a way she deemed appropriate, and their choices led them to a lifestyle and reality that's different from hers? how safe should i feel in this friendship? is this a friendship that will sustain me through a difficult time, or is it at the mercy of this person's whims? do i want a friendship with someone who can throw away a friendship like that? i know that i do not have the best track record when it comes to friendships, but i think i am able to take each of my friends where they are and be their friend regardless. we all do things others don't/won't approve of, but aren't friends supposed to be there for us in spite of/because of our faults.

I am struggling because i like this person and feel she has good energy overall, but the way she is treating my friend ( who used be our friend) is giving me reason for concern. I feel a need to pull away from this person because i don't like her actions, but that feels quite hypocritical. Shouldn't I be able to be her friend despite her faults? a difference is, i guess, is that her faults can/will have a direct impact on our friendship while my other friend's shortcomings and choices do not really impact me at all. (except for the fact that she moved.) I am not sure what to do and how to do it. I am really torn.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

up and down

up: my weight
This is not a surprise. I didn't exercise all week, and my eating was not what it should have been. I am not falling off the wagon. I am taking it all in stride.

down: the amount of Access projects I have to do
I am doing much better than I was for Excel.

Today was a good day. I was fairly focused at work today, completing 3 projects and outlining the rest. I should be able to take it a week early, which would end my semester that much sooner. It would also let me get moving on my research project and learning HTML and DreamWeaver. Most importantly, however, it would let me reconnect with my house and kids.

I am soooo excited about my upcoming trip with the kids. It will be a blast.

I am feeling disconnected from my friends. What can I do to make it different???

I cooked today before work. NBA put it in the oven. Small steps...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

off the wagon...

...but not out of the race.

This week has been horrible exercise and eating wise. I don't expect my weight loss trend to continue. Tomorrow will begin week 1 again.

I have not binged, however, which is progress for me.

My cooking has been nonexistent lately. I need a spark to get me back in the game.

same soup, warmed over

Friday was a relatively good day. I packed another full van load of items to donate/recycle/dump from the garage. I also rearranged things to make it more kid friendly.
This summer I think NBA and I are going to try and hang drywall in the garage and rearrange hooks and shelves. I also want to get the floor redone (do it ourselves) with that special garage paint. M has been sleeping better since we started cleaning it, so I want to get it finished. The door is open a lot during the summer and my vanity is kicking in a little bit. I am tired of having 'that' garage.

I also cleared off the shelf between the kitchen and dining room. My goal for the next 30 days is to keep that clear, save a candle and/or flowers. It makes a huge difference in how the house looks.

Thirdly, I cleaned up the excess stuff in the dining room. I still have to figure out what to do with the top of the cabinet.

Fourthly, we decided to really make the basement more of a playroom. The problem with the living room is too many toys. Moving many of them downstairs will make a HUGE difference.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

don't know why i am posting...

...but here i am.
nothing much to report. i passed my excel test, totally threw off NBA's schedule, and got a major headache. last night i ate two bowls of raisin bran after dinner. i have a ringing headache right now. i think i am just exhausted. going to bed early tonight should help. i can't take my customary break after finishing a test/project because i have TOO much left to do. i can take tonight off, but i must accomplish at least two things on my list tomorrow.

signing off...

Monday, March 19, 2007

the domino effect

i spent naptime today listening to school lectures instead of napping. after naptime i spent 20-30 minutes decluttering. (20 more Christmas bags gone. That is JUST RIDICULOUS!!!) I also did art with the kids, helped L with his homework, and cooked dinner.
I am incredibly tired, but i feel better because i got some stuff done. I don't know if I can commit to not napping everyday, but today feels really good because of it. I made progress (small steps are steps) on a number of fronts. If i just keep going, it will get done.

i am a runner

I RAN FOR 25 MINUTES TODAY!!!!
I COMPLETED 2 MILES IN THOSE 25 MINUTES!!!!
this is the result of my working out these past 3 months.
i am very excited, if you couldn't already tell. ;)

my new goal: 2 miles in 24 minutes. (once i meet this goal i will be able to meet my 5k 40:00 goal because even walking the last mile will put me in at 40 min)

i feel so good. i am so proud of myself. i really didn't think i would get here. the reality of running an entire 5k is becoming clearer and clearer.

weight loss is still important; i am on week 4 of weight loss( I hope). BUT, I am much more interested in developing my identity as a runner. the weight loss will come. my attention and focus needs to be on building my runner's body. this means incorporating strength training and stretching more consistently.

I am not going to jump too far ahead of myself here and make huge projections about what i want to do, so for now i will just concentrate on my 5k goal. i think i may ultimately revise it to 30 minutes or less, depending on how my training progresses.

Looking ahead to 2008, though, I might look toward an 8k/10k as a goal. If I am running 3 miles comfortably by fall/winter, doubling that will not be as daunting.

Given my life circumstances right now, it makes much more sense for me to bang it out at a higher intensity because i don't have the luxury of time. knowing that I can do 2 miles during M's swim class is great rather than worrying because i don't have 45 minutes to complete 3 miles.

I am a runner.
I won't proclaim myself as such publicly, but I have added a new identity to my web. And it feels good.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

weekly reflection

lows--
i had a rough week, motivation wise.
i purged and clean some stuff, but definitely not enough.
i have not worked enough on school work; i am getting down to the wire and finding it very difficult to get going.
i have also been spending money, especially on eating out.
i can't even write coherent paragraphs on my blog.


highs---
i lost weight again this week.
i exercised moderately.
i have a feng shui plan for the living room that won't cost a ton of money.
i bought some new spring pants from salvation army.
i didn't eat after dinner 5 days this week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

bullets of progress

  • The scale has moved down three weeks in a row. Today's number was lower than I have seen in a while. Just 4 more pounds and I will be on to losing new pounds, not the same 5-10 I have been losing again and again the past 2 years.
  • I took a trunkful of stuff to the Salvation Army, ReUse Center, and Recycle Center yesterday and today. NBA and I both used the nice weather to get the garage cleaned out. We still have a ways to go, but at least we can park one car in there. Just in time for the spring showers. ;)
  • I went to bed last night instead of staying up and having a snack. Yes, it means I didn't get all my work done, but I did make progress on my body goal.
  • I finished one preschool task on time!
  • I finished one school related task today. I just have to get it in the mail!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

return

Wow! It's been a month since I updated. Taking the time off and then rereading my old posts really made me value journaling/blogging as a tool. The motivation, hope and progress apparent in my posts is wonderful. They were a great reminder of my journey, and that I am making a difference even when I don't see it.

Some quick updates:

1. 5k in 41 minutes (treadmill with some holding on, but still I did it.) I am getting closer to my goal. It now feels real to me. I am still at the beginning stages, and have a long way to go, but it is in my sight.
2. I have been sticking to my exercise goal in general.
3. I am down to 175 pounds. I have had three straight weeks of weight loss.
4. We paid off the Honda. One 2007 financial goal accomplished!!!!!!
5. I have been purging pretty regularly. I have gotten rid of over 300 things this month alone.


Other reflections:

Today I made a conscious choice to eat breakfast at home and pack a lunch for work from home. I even brought tea from home. I am proud not because I did it, but because I resisted the alternative.

I have started an eating reduction plan that has worked for me in the past. Basically I am not eating anything after dinner. I can eat dessert immediately after dinner if I am not full, but then NOTHING. No tea with honey/sugar, no hot chocolate, nothing with calories. When I did it before I lost 5 pounds pretty easily. It's not surprising, really, because each nightly snack is approx. 300 calories, which is almost 3 pounds a month. So, subtracting that from my daily intake as well as the extra calories burned through exercise will be beneficial to achieving my goal faster.

I am giving myself permission to take a school break this spring/summer. I am losing motivation, and my output is not up to the level I expect for myself, so I am going to stop and regroup. I will have time before summer vacation to get myself and our house in order. I will be able to relax and enjoy my family without worrying about school or doing school work. I enjoy the school work I do, and I want to become a librarian which is why I am breaking now instead of later. I don't want to just plow through and not enjoy it or get the most out of it. I would rather slow down and enjoy the journey. I think my GPA will appreciate it as well.

The sun that has accompanied March has been so wonderful for my soul. My body has not taken full advantage of it yet, but I feel so much better waking up to sunshine, watching my cat sleep in the sun-filled living room, knowing that our evening activities will not end in darkness.

The beginning of new life, the renewal of the earth, is such a powerful time of year. I am feeling it myself. The hard work I have done over the winter, working out, cleaning/purging, is finally bearing fruit. I am seeing small results, just like the tiny buds beginning to appear. With careful attention and proper care, they will continue to grow and blossom. Just like my house and body will continue to come into their own and blossom like the true precious flowers/trees/vegetables/fruits/grasses they are!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wanted: Positive, Healing Energy

I have been feeling incredibly drained, on edge, exhausted, and unhappy most of the time lately. Some of it is my medication--I think it needs to be adjusted/changed. But, most of it is this house. It is filled with clutter and bad energy. I do not feel relaxed being here; I don't feel at home in 90% of the dwelling. That is not good for me, my family, or the house. The house doesn't deserve to be treated the way we (I) are treating it.

I am rededicating myself to making my house a home. I need to rid it of the negative energy, and fill it with positive energy, love, light, happiness, and comfort.

As a start and as a continuation of the seven things project, I mailed 5 boxes today: 4 were full of teaching material that I am no longer using and the remaining one contained my friend's wedding ring pillow (just in time for her 6 month anniversary). I also began the process of clearning out the garage, starting with the 20 cans of old, unusable paints we have in there. I have disposed of 6, and hope to get to at least 10 before bed.

I have to remind myself that everything makes a difference, even if I can't see it right away. The 4 boxes mailed to NOLA were stored in 2 boxes and a storage crate in the basement. I have gained space down there whether I notice it or not. A tree still makes noise when it falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it. So does clearing out make more room even if no one can tell.

I have to work on being in the moment with my tasks. I felt it with the boxes, but now that I am working on the paints, I have this voice telling me to stop and move on to more pressing matters--school, preschool.

Monday, February 05, 2007

weekly goals 2/5-2/9

School
word 8&9
word book from WCC
LIS application
2nd part of research to clients
EndNote Webinar DONE

Body
hair DONE (Mine and M's-an all day affair)
drink 1 qt water daily ( I already missed Monday because we have no water at our house. Busted pipe, yeah!) (Tues,Wed, Thurs)
create food plan DONE
exercise 4 times and for 225 minutes (Mon:45, Tues:45, Wed:50)

Home
Laundry away FINISHED washing, 75% folded, 15% away
dispose of excess paint (10 cans DONE, 10 more to go)
create writing center in kitchen DONE
NEW ADDITION: Donate teaching materials--DONE (sent to NOLA)

reflection 1/28-2/3

I really fell short this week. I had a difficult week. I can't keep having weeks like this because I just get farther and farther behind.

I am very glad that I met my exercise goal this week. I didn't get to the strength training, but the cardio portion is more important to me right now. I will work to get it in this week.

I am disappointed in my school progress. The motivation is just not there!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

weekly goals jan 28 - feb 3

School
Word 8 & 9
schedule exam
research to prof1
research to prof2

LIS application
WinEdt, LaTek

Home
laundry
clean bathrooms
clean M's room
clean L's room
clean our room
cook dinner 4 times
clean refrigerator
M's hair
clean/organize entry closet

Body
exercise 4 times
strength training 2 times
Bed by 10 pm 3 times
hair

Preschool
meet with co-chair
mail flyers to 10 places
enter apps into database
complete M's app

reflection 1/21-27

This week was a mixed bag.
I am glad that I got the preschool stuff mostly done. That was a job I had been putting off because I just didn't want to do it.
I was not as productive on school work as I would have liked this week. I hope I can have a better week next week. I would like to meet all of my goals in that area.
I am proud that I have met my exercise goals two weeks in a row. I feel my body getting stronger, and I am enjoying the process. I am consciously not thinking about diet right now, and focusing on exercise because it is the easier of the two. As I gain strength and tone my body, I will begin incorporating diet. Right now, I need to focus on what's attainable, and watching my speed and distance increase is what's keeping me going. I only did strength training once this week; I will make it to two times next week. That will go a long way in helping me do better in pilates, and become a faster runner. Runner's World just had an article that strength training is a GREAT way to become a faster runner; it is more effective than just running more. My home program is not going to be that life-changing, but over the next 6 months I will definitely see some body changes.
Meanwhile, my house is falling apart. It is dirty. The laundry is piling up. The bedrooms look post-apocolyptic. This is one area that needs immediate attention.

Overall, I would give this week's progress a B. I did not meet all of my goals, but I did do some additional things that were not included.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

reflection 1/14-20

I was fairly successful this week. I did no preschool work, which I find the most tedious and least interesting. I need to make that a higher priority this week.

I am proud of meeting my exercise goals for the week. This will be a fairly easy goal to meet each week since NBA is not traveling as much, I have Pilates each week, and the Y has early hours which I can make with minimal disruption of the family's morning routine.

Putting the debt plan in an accessible place will go a long way toward helping us meet our yearly goal. Updating the changes regularly and seeing numbers go down will be good for our wallet and our spirits.

Cooking is something I am doing, but not yet enjoying. I still abhor going grocery shopping (hence the lack of a check mark), but I do like the sense of accomplishment when we don't eat out. I felt excited about this week's pizza and Denny's outings because they were something special, something different. It was a way to spend time together instead of having to do it because there was nothing to eat, or I didn't feel like cooking.

weekly goals jan 21-27

School
atype notes for each client:Sunday
adownload/install necessary software
--2 hours per client, initial searching :Sat--one client, prelim searching
--endnote library for each client
--schedule word exam :Wed--attempted; system down
aword 5-6 :Tuesday--word5, Wednesday-- word6
--word 7-9 :Friday--word7
--Mail LIS scholarship packet

Preschool
acall families re: membership
aenter information in spreadsheet
adeposit checks
--set up paper filing system
--meet/talk with Lisa

Me
aexercise 4 times
:Monday (1 hour)
:Tuesday (30 min)
:Wed (pilates)
:Sat (1 hour)
adesign home strength training program :Sunday
--strength training 2 times :Thurs

Home
--clean M's room
agrocery shopping :Monday
--cook dinner 4 times
:Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thurs
atoss/donate/recycle 56 things :Monday--20, :Tuesday--12, :Wed, Thur, Fri (mostly papers and junk; need to go through items more thoroughly next time)
--clean refrigerator
--return all public library materials

Friday, January 19, 2007

found money

Well, NBA's new company is quite different from his previous one. His first day in the office was Monday, and he brought home his new phone yesterday. We are still waiting for reimbursement from the other place. NOT!
So, the real benefit of this new arrangement is that we get an extra $80 per month, $960 per year. YES! And, being the committed people we are to reducing our debt load, we promptly went to our cc account and upped our monthly payment by $80. Sweet! It doesn't seem like a big deal, but for us this is big. The fact that we took care of it right away is a great step forward.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

nature or nurture??

how much of my procrastination is related to my cycle? in that case, should it be called procrastination or am i just listening to my body and taking time off? today was one of those days. i just couldn't get motivated to do anything. I slept for 3 hours this afternoon, and spent the rest of the time aimlessly looking at the internet.

I am now doing my hair and watching my lecture for class, but that will still not be enough to keep me where i need/want to be. However, I am learning to be ok with it, and if I keep myself on track most of the time, these temporary setbacks will not be as detrimental to my progress.

I am gaining a better understanding of my body, and I understand this is a part of my body's process. My mood swings are much better than in the past. They still flare up but not as much as before.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jan 14-20

Goals for Jan 14-20

ameet with research professors
:Tuesday--meetings set with both; one Th, one F
:Thurs--meeting with one prof. UGH! lotsa work for that one.
:Friday--meeting with Prof. Casey. Awesome project!
--set up endnote library for each project
--spend at least 1 hour searching per client
acomplete one note assignments :Tuesday
acomplete word1-3 assignments
:Tuesday--downloaded needed files for word 1-9
:Tuesday--Word1
:Friday--Word2
:Saturday--Word3
--complete word4-6 assignments
:Saturday--Word4
--Complete LIS scholarship form, including essay
:Saturday--resume complete
:Saturday--form complete
:Saturday--emailed references
aexercise 4 times
:Sunday
:Monday

:Tuesday (2.5 mi in 35 min)
:Wednesday
:Saturday (5K in 43 min)
aCOOK dinner at least 4 times
:Monday
:Tuesday
:Wed (dinner in crock pot on Tues night)
:Thurs (leftovers count, right?)
acook one new recipe :Tues (dinner in crock pot)
--clean M's room
aEndNote training:Tuesday
--grocery shopping
adebt plan on Google
:Saturday (worked with NBA)
--preschool membership data entry
--deposit checks
--set up paper folders for preschool entry
agive M bath :Tuesday

roller coaster blues

The highs...

--cooked dinner with what was in the house
--took kids to MLK program. Rated big thumbs up by L. He definitely wants to go back next year. I am so glad. I want to instill in them early that MLK day is a day of doing, not sleeping.
--baked banana muffins with the kids, which they actually ate
--woke up at 6 am to work
--exercised Sunday and Monday
--finished scholarship essay (this was not a successful anti-procrastination process.)
--set up partial budget tracker in google. I think this will help me because it gives me money to spend, just within reason. If I spend my entire home decorating budget by June, well I 'm done until next year. When this happens, I will begin a wish list in the various categories for next year. If we don't use all the money in certain categories, it will be rolled over. The categories will most likely be: home, travel, auto. Everything else will go toward debt. I think we have been more than generous with most categories.
--M has been willing to wear some of her new clothes.
--I decided to keep a paper gratitude journal. I bought a really pretty portable one that I am excited to use.

The lows…
--I have been spending money and thinking about money way too much.
--I have not been doing school work for 2-3 hours every day.
--I have been eating like a garbage disposal.
--I have not cleaned, purged, or organized in a few days.
--M has not had a bath in over a week, because the tub is too dirty.
--Most of M's clothes need to be taken in in the waist, and we have to wait until my mom comes over because I don't have a sewing kit.
--My gratitude journal has been sitting in the car for two days.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

new year, new start

Today is my first day at work in '07. Now, the real procrastination challenge begins.
Theoretically, I have ~12 hours every weekend to get school and FUMCN work done. It should be enough. In reality, however, I spend most of my time here putzing around on the 'net, reading blogs, doing random stuff. Then, I fall farther and farther behind in everything else and have to scramble to get those things done.
Well, no more. I am going to make sure that these 12 hours are productive. I will treat 'net surfing as a privilege that must be earned, not a right.
I have already accomplished two things on my list. This post is my third.
Here are the goals for today:
  1. read application materials
  2. draft application essay
  3. organize 7160 notes
  4. print OneNote material
  5. organize notebooks

I am probably jinxing myself by putting these out here. Last time I did that I had a complete meltdown and spent the rest of the night drinking hot chocolate and watching mindless tv. Today will be different, however. I will come back and update my progress.

Update: as of 1:26 pm, my goals list looks like this:
read application materials (Over 50 pages; I also took notes of points to make in essay)
draft application essay
organize 7160 notes
print OneNote material (did not print; completed an online tutorial and read training materials online)
organize notebooks

Update: As of 4:00 pm, my list looks like this:

read application materials (Over 50 pages; I also took notes of points to make in essay)

draft application essay

organize 7160 notes

print OneNote material (did not print; completed an online tutorial and read training materials online)

organize notebooks

I am quite proud of myself. I did it with a minimum of distractions. A new approach I am working on is making my procrastination activities beneficial. Example: I cleaned out my backpack while taking a break from reading/writing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

balance

I went to the Y this morning with M. She was reluctant to go to child watch, but I bribed her with a snack. Horrible parenting, I know, but I really needed to work out this morning. Anyway, the balance came by only working out for 35 minutes. I got my goal accomplished for the day and she was only inconvenienced for 35 minutes, and she got to eat pretzels and chocolate on the way home.

I am going to plan to only use child watch when NBA is traveling. Even then, I am going to try and use it when L is home to go in with her.

I did over 2.25 miles today in 35 minutes. My speed (not including cooldown) ranged from 4.0-4.2). Granted, I held the bars a lot, but still. Progress is being made!

I have to say it made a huge difference walking into a relatively clean/organized/picked up house. I feel welcomed and calm. Intellectually I have always known that this is a direct result of my actions, but this year I am working on learning it with my whole being. And appreciating that it takes work to get there!


Work: That is the underlying theme of all my resolutions/goals this year. Everything I want to accomplish can be done, I just have to work at it. I have to work to find time to exercise; I have to work each day on my house and school work; I have to work (COOK) to stop spending money frivolously on fast food; I have to work to plan my schedule and errands to lower my eco-footpring; I have to work at doing my hair regularly so I look presentable and professional.
The list goes on and on. So many things come easy and/or naturally to me that this concept of work is going to take some time to sink in. I have no doubt that it will, though.

GREAT KIDS

My kids are amazing. They totally step up to the plate when I need them to.
On Monday, I had a board meeting and NBA is in Las Vegas. I decided I would go to the meeting for 20 minutes, with the kids, and scoot. Well, they lasted the entire meeting. They were awesome! They were quiet and cooperative. (It didn't hurt that there were two plates of cookies in front of them either.)

Then, last night I needed to watch a live web broadcast of my class from 5:45-8. The kids were great again! They ate dinner on their own, they played quietly downstairs, they played noisily upstairs, and solved their problems without me. I was able to actually concentrate!

These are the times I need to remember.

every step forward is a step forward...

...even if it is preceded by 5 steps backward.

This morning I woke up early and cleaned. I am starting to feel a change in my approach. I notice how much more work it is when I miss a day. I am not perfect, but at least this week I only missed two days before getting back to work. I am working toward being much more consistent. If I can get the regular cleaning under control, I will have more time for the decluttering and organizing.

Yesterday, I did Pilates. That was great for my mind and body.
We had a mini-playdate at a park with our neighbors. (We carpooled!) It was great to get the kids outside, even if only for 30 minutes.
I spent the bulk of my day, however, trying to download software. It was extremely frustrating, and I had to keep at it because NBA wasn't home. I ended up getting what I needed through a very circuitous path. It felt good because I did it! I got help from people, but I did the hands-on, actual work.
I cooked dinner.