Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (Simple Way #3)

**************Everything within the quotation marks is from the book pictured here.
"Simple way #3: Let Go of the Idea that Gentle, Relaxed People Can't be Superachievers.
One of the major reasons so many of us remain hurried, frightened, and competitive, and continue to live life as if it were one giant emergency, is our fear that if we were to become more peaceful and loving, we would suddenly stop achieving our goals. We would become lazy and apathetic.
You can put this fear to rest by realizing that the opposite is actually true. Fearful, frantic thinking takes an enormous amount of energy and drains the creativity and motivation from our lives. When you are fearful or frantic, you literally immobilize yourself from your greatest potential, not to mention enjoyment. Any success that you do have is despite your fear, not because of it.
I have had the good fortune to surround myself with some very relaxed, peaceful, and loving people. Some of these people are best-selling authors, loving parents, counselors, computer experts, and chief executive officers. All of them are fulfilled in what they do and are very proficient at their given skills.
I have learned the important lesson: When you have what you want (inner peace), you are less distracted by your wants, needs, desires, and concerns. It's thus easier to concentrate, focus, achieve your goals, and to give back to others."
Shaddy speaks: For me NOT to be hurried, fearful, competitive, frantic (all of these lurking stealthily under my calm demeanor) is nearly unimaginable. Whenever I catch myself entangled in these emotions, I try to calm myself. Often, the peace remains with me for maybe a minute or two before I grip up again.
Being uptight is natural for me. I'm always looking at the clock, defying time to advance. Why is that? Because I feel compelled to be doing something all of the time.
I think my tendency is genetic. I think I could change into a more relaxed person, if I really wanted to. I know that I should slow down for health related reasons, but, I'm so used to the feeling of being energized by rushing that I'm somewhat addicted to it.
How about you? Are you naturally hyped up or mellow?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Caution: Extremely Boring

**************I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I have this urge to post something to my blog nearly every day. The problem is I don't have anything of value to post.

I'm stubborn by nature so here I am with no ideas, only the need to show up. I'm going to get up and go do something else for a little while and see if an idea comes to me.
I'm back. How about a sketch of a typical weekday in my life? Just say "yes" or "no." Of course, you're saying "no" but I'm going to pretend you said "yes."

7:00AM After arguing with myself for at least half an hour, I drag myself out of bed.

I turn on the radio in the bathroom and hop in the shower.

I wish I didn't have to go to work.

I put on some makeup and spend as little time on my hair as possible.

I dress in clothes I picked out the night before.

I drink a large glass of water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

I pack a thermos of coffee from a pot Lon made and a jug of water in my work tote bag.

7:52A I pick up my tote bag and hop in the truck.

I wish I didn't have to go to work.

8:00A I arrive at work.

I pour myself a cup of coffee.

I look at the clock, wishing it said 1:00PM, time for my one-hour break.

I tend to my dental office manager responsibilities.

I graze throughout the day on food stashed in one of my desk drawers.

I wish I didn't have to work.

I reach for a second Kashi Trail Mix bar but then remember I want to get skinny.

Whenever I can, I check my blog and read my fellow bloggers' posts.

1:00P I leave the office for my midday break.

I run errands or go to the library (5 minutes away) to read.

2:00P Back to work.

I wish I didn't have to work.

I look at the clock every fifteen minutes, wishing it said 5:00PM.

I take the office deposit to the bank.

I peek at my blog at every opportunity.

I smile and try to be pleasant as patients come and go.

I'm less patient with certain patients than I used to be.
5:00P I pick up my tote bag and head for the door.
I'm smiling and happy with no effort.
5:10 I pour myself a glass of red wine for medicinal purposes of course.
Lon and I fix and eat supper.
I pick out my clothes for the next day.
I spend time on my laptop.

My resistance is down this late in the day, so I sneak a snack.
I put my feet up and enjoy reading a book.
10:00 Off to bed I go.

I frequently wake up Lon with my snoring.

Thanks for sharing my day with me. If you are still here to read this last line, you're a die-hard fan and I appreciate that more than you know.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Treating My Tastebuds

Lon told me this morning that he probably won't be home for supper this evening so I picked up a dinner-to-go for myself at Atlanta Bread during my lunch break. I ordered half a Salsa Fresca Salmon Salad (grilled wild Alaskan salmon filet on romaine and field greens with fire-roasted black bean and corn salsa and pineapple-mango vinaigrette) and half a Veggie Sandwich (lettuce, tomato, provolone, cucumber, red onion and dill sauce on nine grain bread). Does that sound good or what!

Thus, as I write this while at work (trust me, all of my work is done for the day), my dinner is waiting for me in a brown paper bag on the backseat of my truck. When I arrive at home after work, I'll belly up to our pub table and relish my ready-to-eat meal. I'm expecting both the salad and sandwich to be delicious and oh-so nutritious to boot.

It's 4:15, so I've less than an hour to go before I scoot out the door from work. In five minutes, I'll be home and tending to my growling stomach. If I can control my appetite, I'll snap a picture or two of what will soon disappear.

You're probably wondering why I think this is blog-worthy. Well, it's like this. Lon's tastebuds and mine sing to the tune of differing foods. He wouldn't enjoy this particularmy meal so it's a treat for me to do my own thing. His schedule is mostly unpredictable, so I won't be surprised if he comes waltzing in the door just as I take my first bite! If he does, I'm prepared to simply smile sweetly and say, "So sorry, Charlie."
News Flash: It's 6:15 and my plate is clean. To my great delight, I wasn't walked in on while I devoured my tasty salad and yummy sandwich. I'd like to eat Atlanta Bread's cuisine regularly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Come On Down

Other than being a non-demanding month after the madness of November and December and also being my birthday month, January is the pits. Here in Wisconsin, the weather can get you down. The sun packs her bags and leaves for weeks at a time. Everywhere I look, the snow has lost its bright white color and its sparkle and has deteriorated to a dingy layer soiled with dirt and grime with wide stretches of dead grass joining in the dismal scene.

Now that we're both down in the pits, how do we get out?
Help! Help!

Monday, January 25, 2010

An Easy Way to "Read"

*************I've been listening to the audio version of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. During my twenty minute drives to and from NorthPointe four times a week, I'm making good use of my otherwise dull driving time.

The Beloit Public Library has a huge selection of audio books. I'm looking forward to experiencing a goodly number of them this year while I'm en route to NorthPointe and wherever else I drive. With so many wonderful audio books sitting on the library shelves just waiting for listeners, I'm thankful for this golden opportunity to take advantage of them.
Do you listen to audio books? Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Age of Innocence is an excellent book and it's audio version is read extremely well by Dick Hill.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Birthdays Are A Laugh!

After a certain age, like around 39, birthdays are much easier to cope with if taken with several strong doses of humor. If we're to age gracefully, we absolutely MUST make it a laughing matter.

There's something else I'd like to make perfectly clear. I may be aging, but I don't have old-age wrinkles, most certainly not. They're good old-fashioned laugh lines.
I got a kick out of these birthday cards that I received this year. I hope you do too.
(Are you a Jane Austen fan? If so, check out my previous blog post).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Attention Jane Austen Fans

*************PBS is featuring a Masterpiece Classic all-new Jane Austen miniseries. The matchmaking begins with "Emma" to be shown on Jan. 24th, Jan. 31st and Feb. 7th at 9/8c; "Northanger Abbey" on Feb. 14th at 9/8c; and "Persuasion" on Feb. 21st at 9/8c.

I learned of this miniseries when I passed the information desk at the library yesterday. I helped myself to one of a large stack of bookmarks available for library customers promoting these upcoming presentations.

I will definitely be tuning in to PBS to enjoy seeing these books written by Jane Austen brought to life. How about you?
(Interested in Jane Austen's book, "Pride and Prejudice"? If so, see my previous blog post).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Praise of "Pride and Prejudice"

I just finished reading the final page of "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and sadly closed my beloved copy of her book. As always after enjoying the company provided by an excellently written book, I know I will miss the entertainment it has provided me. In lieu of applauding the book in my own words, I offer you the first paragraph of its preface written by Frank Swinnerton:

"It is probable that no English novel written in the last hundred and fifty years has been as well loved, and so often re-read with delight, as 'Pride and Prejudice.' Other books surpass it in stormy grandeur; other novels by Jane Austen herself, richer in detail or more gracious in beauty, are sometimes preferred by her ardent admirers; but 'Pride and Prejudice' has a bloom, a laughing causiticity, and a quite specially familiar charm, which make it universally a favourite. It is like a merry sister in a family of attractive girls; and one never thinks of it without a smile."

"Pride and Prejudice" was written in 1796-1797. I can't say that the manner in which it is written is easy reading but any difficulty overcome is greatly rewarded. Since I do my reading in the evening when I'm definitely not in full possession of my mental faculties, I often had to go back and reread sentences in order to comprehend the intended message. Occasionally, I'd give up and simply go on without total comprehension. I understood enough to ensure that I cherished every page and couldn't wait for the certain delight of the next.

I highly recommend "Pride and Prejudice" and am certain that I will be taking it off the shelf again within a few years and spending splendid evenings with it open on my lap.

(If my attitude of writing seems more formal than usual, I attribute that to the hours I've spent reading this novel that is based on an entirely different place and time. I can't help but attempt to emulate Jane Austen's manner of writing. Fear not; the real me will undoubtedly soon return).

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Auntie Babe and Uncle Allen

My mother had two sisters, the older, Marcie and the younger, Babe. Babe's real name is Dorothy, but being the youngest of the three girls, she was nicknamed, Babe, and it stuck.

Babe and her husband, Allen, have been loyal fans of my writing ever since I began sharing it. They think I'm awesome and can't understand why I haven't been published yet!

My father passed away in 2000 and my mother in 2007. I miss both of them more than I can say and will always cherish the countless memories I have of them.

Babe and Allen have helped fill the void that losing my parents has created. I greatly appreciate the e-mail messages we send back and forth, Babe's comments on my blog and their combined interest in my NaNoWriMo novel (which I'm sharing with them as I edit it).

Allen and Babe have family and friends of their own yet always find time to include time for me in their lives.
So, this post is my way of thanking two people who mean a lot to me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back In The Pond

I missed working out at NorthPointe on Friday AND yesterday because with my head cold I just didn't have the energy. Today I felt good enough to go at it again. Mind you, I didn't go full out. I limited my workout to 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer, 2 sets of 12 reps on the upper body weight machines and another 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

Man, did it seem good, mentally and physically, to be back in what is presently, my normal routine. I'm very set in my ways and when my agenda is interrupted for any reason, I feel like a fish out of water, greatly disturbed and literally gasping for air.

I know that such an attitude is pitiful, but unfortunately, it's my natural reaction.

Wasn't it I who wrote just a few days ago that I was going to "Let It Go," when faced with things like this? Where did that person go? Could she be that wishy-washy that she's forgotten her vow already?

No, I haven't forgotten. Habits of thinking are hard to break. All I can do is recognize that I've slipped and to go forward with renewed strength in pursuit of becoming the person I'd like to be.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Come On In By The Fire

I've come down with a bit of a cold and haven't had the ambition to create anything interesting for my blog. The best I can come up with is a few photos of the nightlights we keep burning day and night during the dark winter months. They add a warm feeling to our home when we most appreciate it.

Oh, and perhaps you'd enjoy seeing a couple of other sources of warmth in our southern Wisconsin home. Since we keep the thermostat dialed down, I use an electric heater in my reading/writing room which in appearance imitates a fire stove while my husband basks in the heat from our wood pellet stove in the family room while he watches TV.

I hope all of you who are experiencing winter weather are keeping warm as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm An American Idol Groupie

Normally, I don't watch television. I'd rather use my free time to read or write. Unfortunately, I'm addicted to American Idol. Lo and behold, this season's competition begins this evening. Every year I resent being drawn away from my favorite pasttimes, but every year I find myself glued to the television for more hours per week than I want to admit.

I suppose I could take my laptop with me to the family room which would allow me to make positive use of the excessive commercial breaks. I normally never sit through commercials. I jump up and rush to brush my teeth, wash my face, pick out my wardrobe for the next day, pack my workout clothes and other such necessities. It's amazing what can be done during lulls in the show.

I'd like to be a contestant on American Idol, but I hesitate. I only have one song that I can sing without emptying a room. I can belt out Paper Roses quite brilliantly (well, maybe not that well) with Lon as my captive audience, that is, as long as he has a cold Miller in his hand and a few empty bottles strewn beside his chair.

What would you sing if you were auditioning for American Idol? Or, is your dream to be a judge on the show?

Of course, to be honest with you, I wouldn't go on American Idol for anything, even if I could sing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Looking Back

************For the heck of it, I thought it might be fun for us to share some things about ourselves. I'm curious to know how many brothers and/or sisters you grew up with and the influence you had on them or they had on you.

Here's my story. I grew up with four brothers, two older and two younger than me, and zero sisters. (Seated in the 1955 photo above in our pajamas from left to right are: Tommy, Bobby, Shaddy, Carly and Johnny). If you can picture us as a sandwich, I was the sweet inner layer nestled between two slices of bread on my left and two on my right. If you were to ask my brothers, I'm sure they'd differ with me on that description. I suspect they'd compare me to the fuzzy mold that grows on bread when it gets pushed to the back of a pantry shelf and eventually reappears in its multi-colored and shocking glory!

Being the only girl, I suspect I MAY have been spoiled upon occasion, similar to that disgusting loaf of bread I mentioned earlier. Crying got me out of drying dishes and into pretty clothes I just HAD to have.

My younger brothers suffered greatly under my attempts to teach them addition and subtraction in mock classroom settings. I operated under a "spare the rod and spoil the child" teaching method. Poor Carl and John! It never dawned on me that fear is NOT an effective tool for instruction. In contrast, my older brothers wisely kept their distance from me to avoid similar unpleasant encounters.

I'll only dig myself deeper into the depths of humiliation if I continue on, thus, I turn the stage over to you.

Tell me your most revealing sibling stories. Remember, true confessions reap repentance and hope for possible forgiveness.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Heave, Ho, But Then LET IT GO

I'm entering 2010 with the resolution to LET IT GO as my daily mantra.

Instead of holding on to anger, resentment, fear, anxious thoughts and all other forms of negativity, I'm reminding myself to let them go. As soon as I realize that I'm carrying the tension that results from harboring unhealthy emotions that result from negative thinking, I remember to LET IT GO.

As I practice my resolution, I sense that eventually I may often stop reacting negatively in the first place and, thus, I won't have the need to LET IT GO.

Perhaps my effective use of this technique has something to do with my age and the many years I've been trying to live without unnecessary stress. The bottom line remains certain, that is, I definitely feel more in control of my emotions than ever before.

I'm looking forward to a brighter future.

(Please view my previous post titled "My Cherished Book Collection." I accidentally published this post sooner than I intended. You can click on the words, "Older Post", located below the comment box to view my book collection post).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Cherished Book Collection

Many, many years ago, while visiting my cousin, Lynnette, I fell in love with her beautiful collection of leather-bound books. She had acquired these volumes from the Easton Press which features the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written.

Even though, at the time we couldn't easily afford it, I also joined the book club. Over the months and years that followed, I accumulated quite a collection. I eventually cancelled my subscription, but am considering signing up again in order to add some more classics to my bookshelves.
Each volume features: 22kt gold accents, illustrations, moire fabric end-sheets, gilded page-ends, and a satin-ribbon page marker.

If you go to the Eaton Press website,, you can view the wide variety of collections available.

I've included some photos of my collection. I don't normally indulge myself with such extravagances, but I've never regretted these acquisitions.
I recently reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I'm searching for the DVD by the same name whereby I can see the story brought to life. Last weekend, I watched the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice and truly loved it. So now, I'm planning to reread that classic novel once again. I absolutely never tire of reading literature of this quality and timelessness.
(If you missed it, you may want to go to my previous post titled: What's a Married Woman Doing With a Date Book?)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's a Married Woman Doing With a Date Book?

I found this date book at a T J Maxx store. The price ***************printed on the book by the manufacturer is $16.95 U.S. I paid $6.99. Can you believe it? I absolutely adore bargains like this.

In case you can't read the words on the front cover, here they are:

Sometimes the people whom we've known for only a short amount of time have a bigger impact on us than those we've known forever. Unknown

The cover page (pictured below) for the month of January has a quote as well:

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness. -Pearl S. Buck

Every page in this date book is beautiful, decorated with the artwork of Sharon McCartney or with lovely borders. Several note pages are included at the end of each month's section and a number of pages for addresses completes the book.

The book is created by BRUSH DANCE. On the back cover is this notation: "The Brush Dance is a Yurok Indian healing ritual where being true to yourself means giving your best to help a person in need. Being true to yourself is the one and only Yurok Indian law."


Guess what I'll be using this date book for? Keeping track of my workouts, what else?

I think of you, my blog readers, when I read the quote on the cover. I've, indeed, known many of you for only a short time, yet, your impact on me is great.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Overachiever? An Idiot? Or both?

(Perhaps you remember these photos from a previous post).
I joined Northpointe after my holiday gift pass expired. Excepting for the holidays, since November, I've spent a few hours every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Northpointe.

Typically, TWO of my four workout days includes the following exercise routine:

1. Stationary bike-20 to 30 minutes

2. Treadmill-run 1 mile

3. 2 sets of 12 repetitions on all of the following weight machines-leg press, chest press, seated row, leg curl, shoulder press, bicep curl, tricep pushdown, ab crunch, fly, calves, preacher bicep curl, torso, lateral raise, leg extension, low row, leg adduction, and leg abduction

4. Treadmile-run 1 mile
5. Elliptical trainer-30 minutes

On the other TWO days, I do approximately the same workout as above, minus the weight machines.

After nearly killing myself, I enjoy the steam room and a shower. This morning, I didn't do any of the above. Instead, I swam, sat in the steam room for a few minutes and finally relaxed in the whirlpool for the first time. Could it be that I'm coming to my senses?

I know I shouldn't be working out as hard as I am, but until I get a grip on myself, I'll keep on with it. Oh, I almost forgot. On Saturday mornings, I take a yoga class before doing all five of the workouts listed above.
Inevitably, my workout routines will undergo changes. I hope to take some of the many other classes offered. I'd like to try all of them, but not all in one day, I promise.

Needless to say, I'm often too pooped to come up with anything of value to put on my blog. Hang in there with me and hopefully I'll start entertaining you properly again.