Sunday, January 31, 2010

February Designs

I don't consider January a particularly successful month in terms of meeting my intentions. I have found myself more interested in zoning out rather than focusing on that which I aspire to. Perhaps it was the cold and cloudiness or maybe I'm just lazy and unmotivated.

January Intentions Report
1. 1 thing in - 1 thing out. With the exception of grocery items, birthdays and Christmas, for anything new that comes into our home, something of comparable use/space must leave our home whether through donation, gifting, selling, etc.
2. No book buying during this month. I've got oodles to read already. (Done)
3. At least 10 min yoga per day for 30 days. (Not Done)
4. Cook at home from scratch 3 times per week. (Did well some weeks, but not all)
5. Limit refined sugar to once per week. (Limited to 3x/wk)
6. Review finances every week (e.g. record and pay bills). (Not Done)

The past couple weeks I've been reading Suzy Welch's 10-10-10 book. I first read about her 10-10-10 system when she wrote an article on it for O Magazine in 2006. I thought it a valuable concept, but didn't entirely understand it. Luckily I found her book at the library. I'll chat more about it later, but for now I will mention her concept of designing one's own life. Certainly this concept is not hers alone, but when combined with other aspects of the book it spoke to me. Perhaps I just needed to hear it now. I've certainly heard it before, but you know what they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come.

February Designs
1. Continue one in and one out.
2. Continue no book buying.
3. Cook at home 3x/wk.
4. Exercise 6 days/wk.
5. No eating after 7pm.
6. Review finances weekly.
7. Eat at least 1 serving of veggies daily.
8. Almost forgot, limit refined sugar indulgences to once per week.

Though more ambitious than this past month, I think I can do it. I think I can...I think I can...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter - How to Cope

After several weeks of frigid temperatures, I enjoyed a weekend with temps in the 40sF, albeit with rain. Now temps have plummeted again exacerbated by wind chills. I'm finding it hard to be motivated. The only one I know who actually looks forward to going outside is my German Shepherd. It's been weeks since we have had a sunny day. It takes a toll. Even the blooms have nearly all fallen off my Christmas cactus, pictured above just before New Year's in full bloom.

The nice thing about this time of year is that it is a perfect excuse to nest. Declutter, organize, clean, etc. An opportunity to focus on the interior rather than the exterior. But sometimes, all too frequently I want to just bundle up, sit by the fire and stay warm. This time of year I'm also prone to early bedtimes. Crank up the electric mattress pad and jump under the covers. There a small projects to keep me busy. Opportunities are always there, but it just "seems" harder when it's so cold.

How do you make it through the cold and gloom?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Turn for the Better

For the past several months my weekends have only been quasi productive. However today was a bit of a change. Not only did I awaken at a reasonable time but I started my taxes last night and finished them this morning. By noon they were filed. I did return to my lazy ways for a bit this afternoon, but by evening I managed to do some tidying up around the house. I also managed to work on a project.

A few weeks ago I went to Goodwill Industries (one of my favorite stores) and found some lovely wall paper. It was only one roll but it was too beautiful to pass up and at only $1.99 it felt like a steal!

Luckily an idea for its use came to me right away. I have a lovely dresser/wardrobe for which this elegant paper is just right. I'm thrilled with how it turned out. The photo below was taken while I was confirming the fit before using that piece as a template to cut out the other pieces for the remaining drawers. When I placed in all the pieces today, I used low tack adhesive spray to secure the liner to the bottom of the drawer. The effect is quite lovely and the paper sets much more smoothly than in the photo below.

That which we elect to surround ourselves with becomes the museum of our soul and the archive of our experiences. - Thomas Jefferson

It is so true. When we surround ourselves with items that speak to our soul, our home becomes alive and we see joy everywhere. Even the little things like my new drawer liner make me feel luxurious and cared for and it only took $2 and a little bit of effort.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog with an Important Message

I am not a particularly political or religious person though I consider myself quite spiritual and I certainly have no intention in turning this into a place of political or religious dialogue. I try hard to get along with all. However recent events have unfolded which compel me to voice my opinion to the Universe. Since I am not eloquent, I choose to give space to those who are. There is little that gets my Arien temper aflame more so than hate-speak, particularly when it's done in the name of God and in the face of tragedy. It is not my intention to offend any of the wonderful readers who have come here (all 5 of you :) ), and if this does offend you, I am truly sorry.

That being said below is a letter written to the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Lily Coyle. Having lived in the great state of Minnesota, I adore the Minnesotan humour and their overall dedication to social justice. People like Ms. Coyle help me to tolerate the intolerable. That being said, I give space to Ms. Coyle's letter below.

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press,
so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean
bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that
action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is
totally humiliating.

I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The
way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and
impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with
people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty,
talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have
nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake.
Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing
going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs,
exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent
poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just
saying: Not how I roll.

You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want
to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And
not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave
me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.

Best, Satan


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Where'd the Wagon Go?!?!

Courtesy of

We've all heard the phrase, "fallen off the wagon". We've probably all experienced it too. Well, my inner chaparone apparently left for a little vacation and my inner epicure must have been off duty. Not only did I fall off, when I woke I found the wagon had left town completely.

It's not all tears and failure. After experiencing an absence of ear congestion the past week or so (the first since last spring) I noticed that the ear congestion returned. I don't believe in coincidence so I find this information encouraging. Also, I was reminded of how tired sugar makes me. Not only do I feel a decline in my energy soon after eating refined sugar, plus that mental foggy feeling, I also require more sleep than usual. All information that equals motivation.

Now I've rounded up another wagon and I'm clawing my way back on. I'm still working on my other intentions for this month, though I have exchanged doing yoga daily for another type of exercise due to an opportunity sponsored by the blogger at Well-Heeled. We've begun a 30-Day Shred challenge. A 20 minute workout led by Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser fame. I'm looking forward to discovering my results. I'm ending this post with the quote of the week which is most befitting my current circumstances.

Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Inner Chaperon

One of my intentions for this month is to restrict my refined sugar intake to once per week. I didn't fulfill that intention this past week as I ended up eating refined sugar 3 times this past week. Although I am a bit disappointed, I am pleased to have done as well as I did. Refined sugar is hard for me to resist, I'm a bit of an addict. I am pleased that I managed to only have it 3 times last week rather than the multiple times a day which I had been indulging in for the last several months. Mireille Guiliano speaks about moderation when indulging in such pleasurable treats. Now I understand moderation, but I don't execute it well.

Currently I am reading Victoria Moran's Living a Charmed Life. The author talks about the difference between one's inner epicure, who helps us to enjoy pleasure, and one's inner chaperon. It is our inner chaperon which differentiates between peak experience and the point where that peak experience dwindles into the ordinary. Ms. Moran tells the story of when she was a teenager at an airport speaking with a girl her age. She was hungry and munching on a bag of cookies in response to that hunger. She offered the cookies to her acquaintance who declined saying that she was much too hungry to eat sweets. Ms. Moran, though initially feeling annoyed, recognized that the girl cared enough about herself to wait to eat a proper meal.

This story has helped me to better understand the place of sweets in my diet and how they can be eaten in moderation. I've actually used this a few times when I have been very hungry and not only did it save me from what likely would have become binges, it helped me to understand that I can much more easily control myself around sweets if my hunger is satisfied by healthier choices. Because my hunger is either completely satisfied or mostly satisfied, I don't feel deprived if I have only a little bit of sweets.

Now when I'm ravenous and seeing a refined sugar option, I tell myself, "I am much too hungry to eat sweets" and I understand what moderation is all about. For me, it is primarily keeping myself out of situations that can quickly turn excessive.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quote of the Week

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Word

There was a number of times that I wanted to post something the past several days, but chose to hang out with my kid instead. It's been so rare the past year that I had time to hang with her without the pulls of either her school work, drama with her dad, or my work. This past week we had none of those and it was incredibly enjoyable to be together watching murder mysteries (she's becoming a fan too) and doing little things around the house, oh, and a spot of shopping before the new year. There's no better luxury for less. Alas all good things come to an end. Tomorrow she returns to school and I return to the office.

I've had the opportunity to consider my intentions for this month as well as what I want this year to become. Looking back I can see where I have successfully implemented desirable lifestyle changes that not only made me healthier, but they made me happier. Over the past couple years I've unfortunately moved away from those changes, but I am getting back to them. The past five years has provided me with a smorgasbord of experiences to draw on as far as what works for me and what doesn't. So here I go, or rather, here I am.

Christine Kane in her blog recommended a year or two ago to select a word that reflects our desires. My word for 2010 is EMBODIMENT. To me embodiment means living a life that reflects my values. I have spent past years saying what I wanted, but not living what I wanted, particularly this past year. It's now time for me to live as I know I can and to embody my values first and foremost for my well-being, and secondly to be the role model I want to be for my daughter.

January Intentions
1. 1 thing in - 1 thing out. With the exception of grocery items, birthdays and Christmas, for anything new that comes into our home, something of comparable use/space must leave our home whether through donation, gifting, selling, etc.
2. No book buying during this month. I've got oodles to read already.
3. At least 10 min yoga per day for 30 days.
4. Cook at home from scratch 3 times per week.
5. Limit refined sugar to once per week.
6. Review finances every week (e.g. record and pay bills).