Sunday, May 31, 2015

#150: To be a woman in the United States

Thursday night I attended TEDx Boise Women.  There was a livestream of a 2 hour session from the TedWomen2015 conference in Monterey, CA.  Groups of women from around the world tuned in to hear just one session of this 3 day conference.  The lineup was impressive, though I had no idea what or whom I was going to hear when I went.  I just knew that TEDtalks are generally awesome.
from @Mydaughtersarmy tweet

There is no way I can relay what I felt when I heard these four speakers;  all I can tell you is I left full of gratitude that I am a woman in the United States;  that I spend much of my time worry about things that really, truly, are not important;  that millions of women around the world face circumstances every day that I have nightmares about;  that there MUST be something I can do to help.

Until inspiration strikes, I will spread the word about this issues out there and do my best to be present for the women in my life however I can.

I looked for the talks to link here, but they aren't posted on the ted website.  Here's the take-aways for me:
  1. Women in some parts of the world are subjected to mutilation.  I can't even say more.  Google it.  It's awful.
  2. Girls are married off as early as 11.  One of the speakers, Memory Banda, spoke about this issue from her own experience.
  3. Education IS a way out of some types of opression.  Sakena Yacoobi from Afghanistan spoke about the education of women in her country before and after the Taliban.
  4. Billie Jean King was funny and has been working for women's equality even before her stellar tennis career.
  5. Mary Robinson, the first woman president of the Republic of Ireland (who was also the first sitting Irish President to travel to the United Kingdom and meet Queen Elizabeth) is working for climate justice through her foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice (as in people and countries losing their land due to rising water levels).
  6. We are so lucky to be living in this country.  And we have work to do.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

#149: Shakespeare!

Season 4 of Shakespeare begins:  Dial M for Murder.  Beautiful weather, fantastic play, awesome company.

"Culture" friends.  I need a nap!

Friday, May 29, 2015

#148: Belfast reservations!!!!

I made my first and only reservation for my trip overseas this summer!  I'll be going to Galway for a month for the 2nd installment of my masters degree in Educational Technology through Michigan State.  I'm going early to Scotland and staying late in London.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, here I come!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#147: Doing nothing!!!

I have been sitting in this chair since 4:30, and serial watching Sherlock, my new favorite show.  Admittedly, I have done this before but today is different.

This makes the blessing of the day because:
  1. At least for today, I have been relieved of the compulsion to do more, go somewhere, 15 other things I want to do.
  2. While I'm sitting here I can feel my adrenals NOT working.  I believe this is called re-lax-ing, though I'm not entirely sure.
  3.  I don't feel guilty about sitting inside on a beautiful day.
  4. The voice that has been with me for so long, constantly telling me I must do more, get one more thing done, sign up for that one more thing, has subsided today.
  5. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.
And the best reason last:
  •  In all this calm going on this evening, thoughts of creativity and new ideas are popping into my head!  Sudden bouts of motivation to do new things briefly overcome me! 

Is it possible that slowing down and actually doing less will get me closer to who I want to be than doing more? 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blessing #146: Quick recovery!

Today is Tuesday.  This will come in handy in a second.

Saturday morning I went to hot yoga.  All was well.  Then I went again on Sunday afternoon.  It was pretty hard, I felt light headed a couple of times, but that's pretty normal during one of those classes.  I went home and felt pretty drained.  I ate a salad for dinner and started seeing sunbursts and floaters. 

A few hours later I was sitting on the bathroom floor, throwing up alone.

For the record, I did not go back to hot yoga on Monday. 

I ate well yesterday morning and for lunch, but I felt so good I got greedy for dinner.  A few chicken drumsticks and some Mexican rice later plus 2 hours later, I repeated the night before.  I was so miserable last night and I was fearful of a repeat of what happened in November.  After that incident, when I also threw up twice, I couldn't hold down food for a week.  Seven days, 11 pounds, 2 sick days and one hospital visit later I finally kept a meal down. 

Today I've been able to eat breakfast and lunch and dinner.  I didn't overdo it and ate stuff that is easily digestible (miracle #1).  Then I realized that my body is getting healthier!!!  Only 6 weeks ago throwing up did so much damage to my stomach I couldn't recover for a week...and now I've recovered in less than a day!  Woohoo!!!  Healing happens!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#145: Listening to my body

Okay, I'm kinda cheating because I'm not really grateful I'm doing this right now, but I am assuming I will be grateful for it later.  My body is trying to tell me something, and I think, perhaps, today, I will finally stop and listen.  It is trying to talk to me through
  • headaches
  • inability/unmotivated to get out of bed
  • constant tiredness
  • acute pain next to my right shoulder blade
  • throwing up last night from dehydration
  • feeling more or less hungover today (even though I don't drink!)
  • gaining weight
  • weird eye floaters impairing my vision
Blah blah blah.  I know, that's a list of ailments.  But today I finally realized/accepted/admitted that I can either keep pretending that this stuff is nothing more than coincidence or I can ask myself what my body is trying to tell me.

I don't think it's saying anything that I haven't heard before.  Plenty of people have told me the same thing: I try to cram too much in.  I don't rest.  A boss once told me that the only thing she had written on my evaluation was "moves too fast".  It's all about fear.  I'm so afraid I won't get enough life packed into this short little time that we get to be here, that I say yes to everything and try to do it all.  Maybe, though, it's not about doing everything there is to do, but rather doing everything that is mine to do? 

My blessing today, then, is that I am willing to stop, rest and consider.  I'm willing to sit still and trust that maybe I am just as valuable a human being resting and taking care of myself as I am when I'm going going going. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

#144: God visited me at hot yoga

Today at Hot Yoga I was really struggling.  Really early into the session I was wiping my face on the big towel that goes over my yoga mat--I had forgotten to bring a small hand towel for this. 

After one such face wipe the gentleman next to me said, "here," has he tossed me a white hand towel.  "I haven't used it at all." 

My first instinct was to decline, but upon reflection, I didn't.  Instead I lay on my back, put the towel over my face and cried.  I was overwhelmed that someone noticed I needed help and helped.  I pulled it together and rejoined the group.

A few minutes later we were doing this pose:

On the first leg, I had a lot of trouble getting my hand in the proper position around my foot. During the part where we reach back and grab our foot, I heard a voice behind me say, "no, like this," as I felt someone's hand on my wrist.  The instructor showed me how to grab my foot properly, which consequently made the pose much easier that time!  Again I teared up.  Finally, at the end, a woman I know whom I have not talked to for years was there and suddenly appeared with a smile and a bottle of cleaner.  I was stunned.  Happily stunned.

I know I was tired and depleted and struggling and some say that this is a recipe for quick tears.  But I think it's more like a recipe to get down to our core, to what really bothers, scares or motivates us.  These two people hit one of my deepest fears: the fear that if I don't remind people that I am around, they won't remember me;  I've projected this fear onto God, so that I believe, or at least used to believe that if I get lost in my own life, fully indulging in the moment or my passions or my job or whatever is mine to do, that God will forget about me and my dreams.

So today at yoga I got a God-shot when three people noticed me, saw my needs and helped me, while I wasn't looking for it; when I was fully engaged in the moment; while I was struggling with what was right in front of me; not hyper vigilant about whether other people were noticing me or not.  I was reminded that God does not forget me; that I can always trust Him and be taken care of.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#143: Act different to be different

If you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got.

This phrase has been my motto these last two months.  I have grown eager for particular areas of my life to be different, so I've been making concerted efforts to some things differently.

Instead of sitting around watching Ever After for the 1000th time, I got on my bike and discovered I love it.  Instead of eating bags of Skinny Pop for dinner I started cooking fish and veggies.  Rather than go through each week getting more and more exhausted, I started going to bed by 9 (well, at least on school nights).  A few weeks ago I realized that instead of feeling envious of people who were loving their jobs I could apply for a new one myself--and I got one!  And then today, after a short break of approximately 2 years, I returned today to hot yoga. 

In the day to day, these changes seem pretty small, but they add up.  Just putting in an application led eventually to a new job.  The key is to keep saying yes to the opportunities that present themselves.  No, wait.  The key is to recognize the opportunities when the present!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blessing #142: A new job

This week, I was offered and accepted a new job in the school district!  I'll be moving to a junior high closer to home.  I'm so excited!
  • I now get to know what it's like to work at a traditional school.
  • I can ride my bike to work.
  • A few friends already work there, and they say it's full of wonderful people.
I'm also super grateful for the 4 years I've been at my current school, which was my first contractual teaching job.  Some of the gazillion insights I gleamed at my current position:
  • I learned boundaries (thanks to students that don't have any) quickly.
  • My teaching improved quickly.  Because students have no filter and just absolutely disengage when they aren't interested or don't get something, I tried new stuff a lot to help them learn.
  • I learned that student behavior is generally not about me.  Their acting out almost never has anything to do with me.
  • Students really do want to learn.
  • Students really just want to please their teacher (sometimes way, way, WAY down deep).
  • I can easily go to Costco every other day (school is right by it).
  • Teenagers are people.
  • Teenagers care about each other and the people in their lives.
  • Some teenagers go through more by the age of 15 than some of us ever go through in our entire lives.
  • I am a good teacher.
  • I have more patients than I ever thought possible.
  • To say no.  Then say no again.  Then keep saying no until they stop asking.
  • People are more important than math.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blessing #141 Graduation!

Graduation was tonight, and I heard the two best graduation speeches ever by our speakers.  Seeing these kids graduate who generally wouldn't if our school wasn't around, is inspiring.  Every student has a story that will break your heart, be it teenage pregnancy, juvenile detention, homelessness, abuse, cancer, emigration to the U.S., drug problems....the list of obstacles our students face is immense.

To be witness [and sometimes participant] to such a gigantic accomplishment is an honor.  It makes going back to work on those really hard days worth it.

And sometimes a former student gives all her teachers a rose!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blessing #140: Early morning runs

Finally I did it.  For the 2nd time this entire school year I got out of bed at 5 and went on a run.  I've spent a lot of time this year thinking about running and not nearly as much actually moving my body.

There are so many side effects of pre-work exercise:  my metabolism burns faster all day; I don't worry about fitting in exercise the entire rest of the day; I feel calmer most of the day; I have more energy the entire day; I suddenly feel free to do whatever I want to after school.

#139: My adrenals turned OFF!!

Yes, I can tell.  Last night I didn't even write because I was busy basking in the CALM that overcame my physiology some time around 7 p.m.

It. Was.  Amazing.  I wish I knew what I did so I can replicate it, but I'm just gonna be grateful it happened.

All the sudden I experienced
  • Calm all over my body
  • No anxiety
  • Clear thinking
  • Freedom from a sense urgency
  • Creativity flowing through my brain
  • I swear I felt my body switch from storing to burning fat [I gain weight when I'm stressed and let's just say I've been contemplating new jeans].
Because I felt so good, I went to bed and read a book and relished in the fantastic freedom of calm!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#138: The end of the rainbow

I found the end of the rainbow tonight!

I'm so glad I went on a bike ride:
  • The rainbow thing
  • I saw cattle
  • I saw a llama
  • I found a new route to road bike on
  • I went up hill and felt like I had gone 20 miles but really had gone 2. 
  • It was hard
  • It got the ick moving around and my perspective changes
  • I didn't eat ice cream when I got back; I had an apple instead
  • my bike rode beautifully--I got a full tune last week and it rides beautifully!  
  • My bike is now quiet!! (see above bullet)

Monday, May 18, 2015

#137: Brene Brown [again], this time on On Being

On Being is a radio show on NPR about meaning and spirituality.  A friend heard Brene Brown on it a few months ago, and I just got around to listening to it today.  It's awesome!  It was just what I needed to hear.  Brene's topic hasn't changed, but she talks about different subjects since the setting is not a Ted Talk or a conference.

Today what I heard that changed my attitude [an adjustment was necessary again today] was the discussion about parenting.  Hearing these two women talk about the fear and vulnerability and love that comes with being a parent touched my heart regarding my own parents.  How difficult it must be to raise a child and send her out into the world, not sure if you've equipped her properly for the life ahead!  Instead of the resentment I used to feel towards them growing up (you ruined my life!), now I just feel compassion.

Anyways, Brene Brown continues to help me transform my life.  Listen to her yourself and see if she can help you!  Here's the link to the episode of On Being.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blessing #136: Owl Banding!!!

What a treat! The opportunity came up for me to go owl banding today with the BLM--and I took it. 

It was amazing fascinating educational rejuvinating exciting fun windy dirty smelly poopy wonderful slimy dusty bumpy...
Screech owl chick

Different location; dad of this box sleeping nearby

Barn owl CHICK, which makes a horrendous noise
Burrowing owl chick, about a week old!
Screech Owl family- 4 chicks and Mom

Saturday, May 16, 2015

#135: Scotland, here I come!

My Rick Steves guidebook to Scotland arrived, WooHoo!

I'm going back to Ireland this summer to comlete part 2 of my Masters program in Educational Technology through Michigan State.  This year I'm going to Scotland for a week first with friends, and Rick is going to help ensure that I don't miss anything!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Gratitude #134: That changing my attitude changes everything

Upon awakening this morning, I went back to sleep.  No, thank you, I'm not interested in today.  Depression was in my bones, willing me to stay in bed.

As I lay there I realized that I would, in fact, have to go to work if I want to keep getting paid.  I also knew that I would, in fact, go to work, whether I felt like this or not. 

So I had a little chat with God.  It went like this:  Help me.  I know I have to go to work, help me make it throughI do not want to feel like this all day.  After my meditation [read: excuse to stay in bed] I grabbed my phone and Google-d "what the Bible says about depression".  Here's some of what I found (from:
  • Psalm 34:17-18   When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 
  • 1 Peter 5:7  Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
  • Psalm 143:7-8  Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 
  • For the more dramatic part of myself:  Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
  • Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
 And the one that really hit home:  2 Timothy 1:7 
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Thus I began my day, with my head filled with good, loving thoughts that filled me with courage and dispelled me fears, which are at the root of most distress I encounter. 

Even before I got in the car, I was having a better great day.  Norman Vincent Peale was right:  change your thoughts, change your life!  Or at least your day.

    Thursday, May 14, 2015

    #133: Progress not perfection

    Last night I was so unmotivated I just gave up and went to bed.  I got news yesterday that I let steal all the wind from my sails.  I couldn't [read: wouldn't] sit still long enough or dig deep enough to find something for which to be grateful. 

    This morning, however, with the clearer vision of a good night's sleep, what I realize is that: I became a little depressed about something, which is normal, but without going into despair.  A year ago this news would devastate me for an entire month, and I would wallow my way through self-pity, hopelessness and worthlessness.  No More!

    Instead, while I still felt icky, I went to the gym, made and ate real dinner, and took my bike to the shop as I had planned (even though I called to cancel, I changed my mind, resulting in two new shirts for 20 bucks each!).

    I am a princess.  I am spoiled and have gotten my way for most of my life.  This felt pretty good as a kid, and even as an adult, but it was accompanied by a sense of entitlement to freedom from all feelings negative (negative defined as anything I didn't want to feel).  It also produces unwelcome side effects on marriages, relationships, friendships, jobs and my own sense of myself. 

    And so, today, to be able to feel icky, only mildly wig out and to continue the tasks of the day, is an accomplishment.  It may sound small and it looks to me to be easy for the rest of you, but for me this is truly an accomplishment.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    #132: Afternoon thunderstorms

    Afternoon thundershowers with simultaneous sunshine!
     Good for me:
    •  I LOVE listening to the rain hit the carport 
    • I count the lightning to see how far away it is.  Yes, I'm 7 stuck in a 39 year old body.
    • We get rain but not the gloom of a rainy day.
    • The sun came out after the shower passed.
    • Something deep inside of me is nourished by the rain.  Maybe it puts me in the present moment; maybe it washes away my worries; whatever the cause, I feel more grounded and alive during a rain storm.

      (I promise those white spots are NOT my terrbile phone camera, but, in fact, rain)
    Good for Idaho--we had a terrible snow year and need all the water we can get.  Thank Heaven for the rain today!  
    Map from:

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    Blessing #131: This amazing 91 year-old woman!

    I'm so glad I heard this today on the BBC!  This woman is 91 and going strong.  I am inspired...listening to this woman gave me a 50,000 foot perspective life:
    • We are only as old as we think we are;
    • a spirit of service and love gives strength and meaning;
    • Life CAN be fun;
    • Life is supposed to be fun!
    • No matter what my circumstance, I can have purpose and direction.
    • It is never too late to learn;
    • I can learn from anybody!

    Listen yourself:  Here's the link to the episode that aired today on the BBC program Outlook today.  Her interview begins at 26:30, so just fast forward if you want to skip the first few stories.

    Here's an article about her from the Huffington Post, which ran in their "Good News" section, but I preferred hearing her voice.  You'll see what I mean...

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    #130: News flash: I am not the exception

    A friend told me once that if I'm the problem, then there's a solution. That's what today is about:  I'm the problem.

    Just like Alex explains to Gigi in He's Just Not That Into You, I've thought I was the exception.  About many things, but in particular about food.  I was a stick growing up, so I could eat whatever I wanted seemingly without consequences.  For as long as I can remember I've loved sweets, and a steady diet of Dr. Pepper and Swiss Cake Rolls supplied me with all the energy I needed.

    And then. I hit 30.

    Long story short, here I am almost 40, not very happy with the way my clothes fit and finally willing to admit defeat.  I have put on weight not because:
    • I exercise a lot.  I used this one as an excuse forever!  A running book I read 10 years ago promised that if I started running marathons I would NOT lose weight if I didn't change my diet.  I didn't listen.
    • I am allergic to twenty seven things.  I did slim down a bit after I eliminated those things from my diet, but I have replaced the calories within a very short time span.  
    • I live in the desert.
    • I have a thyroid disease.  My doctor just confirmed my thyroid is fine.
    • I have a stomach condition that makes me keep weight on.
    • I have make-me-hungry implant from aliens that forces me to eat sugar.
    • I have a mental condition that prevents me from making good food choices and therefore cannot change my behavior.
    • I do not yet crave good-for-me food.  When I get healthy enough, I will!  Then, look out!  I'm gonna look like Jennifer Aniston!
    • I don't exercise enough.  Obviously.  I need to do two-a-days and then my pants will feel right.
    Today I discovered just WHY I feel like I waddle in certain jeans:  with my one chicken taco I had one entire bag of chips.  Sadly, this isn't actually out of the ordinary (Just Friday I ate all the dried pineapples in the bag at the movies.  That can't count!  It's fruit!).

    Today, however, I looked at the caloric count and logged my food day: 753 calories!!! And it was the small big bag, not the jumbo bag!!

    Thus began a trip to reality for Joy.

    I'm grateful to report I don't have a tumor or a thyroid disease or need to work out more, I just need to stop eating entire bags of chips at one sitting.  At least, let's start there!

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

    #129 for 2015: Boise Saturday market

    After coffee shop talk with two girlfriends this morning, we ventured into the bowels of Saturday market, or it's official name, Capital City Public Market

    Reasons why I love the Saturday Market:
    • No matter how tired, lonely, grumpy, lost, found, hurt or anything else I feel on a given Saturday morning between April and October, if I can get myself to the market, especially on a sunny, warm day, my spirits are lifted and renewed within minutes.
    • I feel like I am participating in my community.  I didn't grow up joining in things, either at school or college or even in my 20's, for that matter.  It is so fun!  I love feeling a "part of".  Participation is the key to harmony, someone once told me.
    • I buy unique Idaho gifts for my family at Christmas time.
    • I get to see friends who work there, and always I run into someone I know.  This is one of the best reasons to live in Boise--I can show up almost anywhere and not be alone for long.
    • I biked down there.  I love not using my vehicle.  It gives me such a sense of...independence?  Contributing to the world?  I'm not sure, but I get filled with such satisfaction when I do regular tasks without my car.
    • Supporting the local economy.  Need I say more?  Most of the vendors sell Idaho made, created and grown merchandise.  My money stays in Boise or in Idaho.
    • I'm pretty sure every time I go there, a little bit of my soul gets healed up!

    #128: Luke Wade!

    At the prompting of a friend in Texas to go see her cousin on his tour through Boise, I went last night to listen to Luke Wade at the Neurolux in Boise.  I debated.  I'd never heard of this guy before;  the only thing I knew was that he'd been on The Voice.  But I told my friend I would go, so I rounded up two friends (who were equally skeptical) and we met downtown.

    We were all happily surprised!  Luke Wade was wonderful!  He performed  his own songs and creative covers of familiar ones.  At one interval he was adorable; at another sexy; then romantic and sweet.

    After the show we talked with him for a second, dispensing loads on unsolicited recommendations on ways to enjoy Boise.  He endured galliantly and took a picture with us.

    Listen to this guy--I find his music real and genuine and delightful.

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    Blessing #127 of 2015: staying up late on a school night!

    It's a Thursday and 10:04 (PM!) and I'm not even close to going to bed!!!  And I don't have to! All the lights are on, I'm in my purple scrapbook room listening to "Who can it be now" on Pandora, being grateful for personal leave.  

    Then I'm gonna go read. 
    For as long as I want.

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Blessing #126: Paying it forward

    Tonight I called a friend and worked out a problem with her.  She knows me very well and is super honest.  For example, she laughs at me when I start whining and says, "poor, poor, Joy."  It stings when she says it but underneath I know that if I live through the pain of looking at myself, without fighting or running away, something in me heals.  There was quite a bit of stinging tonight as I swallowed some chunks of truth about myself that are not pleasant to look upon.

    I was crying when I hung up the phone, but it was a good crying.  My grandmother used to say that tears wash our souls.  About fifteen minutes later a friend called me to help her work out a problem.  In the midst of listening to her, I was relieved of my own problems and went to bed feeling exhausted but hopeful.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    #125: I CAN advocate for myself!!!

    I may have had a meltdown on the way to work today.  Yes, again.  I have just dreaded going to work lately, and I tell myself that it's the time of the year (ask any teacher, they are D.U.N. Done.), or the school I'm at (not my fault! not my fault!) or that I'm in Boise and not Austin or Ireland or the International School in Rome.

    Today I was telling a colleague about "the dread" and started crying again.  She asked me what specifically is so hard about work.  Without hesitation I told her the answer.  I hadn't realized until she asked what exactly was bothering me.

    She said, "Joy.  Advocate for yourself."  Actually she said, "you have to advocate for yourself."  As in no one else is going to do it for me.  As in I am worth advocating for.  As in MY peace of mind counts as much as anyone else in the room. She also assured me that four weeks left of school is WAY too long to cry on your work every day.  In contrast, I'd been thinking, it's only four weeks, I can make it through.

    We made a Google Doc, both furiously typing in subject headings: The problem; My hope; The solution.  We met with the party involved within the hour, and a solution is underway.   

    Oh my gosh!  This requires bullets:
    • I had seen the flow chart of advocating for myself, but had not experienced it at this level--the level where my well-being is enough to go out on a limb for.  I always assumed that other people getting their way was more important than what I want or need.
    • She went with me into the conversation, so I got to see the behavior modeled.
    • I got to continue that conversation later by myself, so I had instant practice.
    • After the 1st talk, my energy was restored.  It's like an energetic leak was plugged.  
    • I no longer feel dread about work tomorrow.
    • Some demon was exorcised or deep wound healed by this.  I don't know how else to say it, but today was the day every cell in my body learned that I am absolutely worth fighting for. 

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015

    #124: The rewrite

    I rewrote my story yesterday on my bike ride.  I've grown tired of the one that has been circulating in my head [and out of my mouth], which contains a lot of self-pity, negativity and whining.

    The new version:

    Isn't it awesome that I get all this time to spend by myself, getting to figure out what I want, love, like and feel.  How great to get to have these new experiences with people, "practicing", if you will, being present, right-sized and loving to people instead of selfishly waiting for them to get out of my way.  It's great to be able to do bike or run or sleep mostly whenever I want to; to have a good job with sick leave and personal days.  Sometimes I buy too much food which goes bad and gets thrown out, but I'm not upset about it anymore; now I think I've learned a little bit more how to shop and take care of myself regarding food.

    Because of this time as a single woman, I haven't gotten distracted from myself as in the past.  I am getting to see some of the root causes for behaviors, some of which have troubled me my whole life.  Every day lately I gain a new insight into myself or the world, and I am so lucky to be able to rebuild my life into something I really want and become the woman I always hoped I'd be.  Whatever bumps are along the way are just assurances that my cart is actually moving down [not just sitting on] the road of happy destiny.

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    #123: NOT mowing my yard

    I know I'm a princess.  I am a Daddy's girl who is used to getting what I want.  I throw tantrums when life gets hard because I have an unrealistic expectation that life is supposed to be easy.

    I also have a wicked-strong work ethic.  I think everything should be done as well as possible and done myself, if it is going to count.  I was that kid who never took money when my mom offered me extra over my allowance--it didn't seem right because I didn't earn it. 

    And it came to pass that I have been doing that ever since.  When I got divorced I kept the same mentality but there was suddenly more to do and only one person to do it.  I just worked harder.  I have been doing everything, like millions of other single homeowners: mowing, edging, planting, watering, calling plumbers and taking the vehicle in for service and cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor and doing the laundry....oh my gosh, what we decide is important in this culture!

    I've considered the option of paying someone to mow my yard, but I never felt like I had enough money to spend on that.  It would cost me $20 every two weeks.  It seemed frivolous to spend money on something I could do myself [never mind that I easily spend $40 a month at Starbucks or Java].  I've been rolling along like this for years, feeling sorry for myself because I have sooooo much to do, especially mowing.  Poor me...

    It was the doctor telling my that stress is affecting my body (my protein and white blood cell counts are low and my hair has been thinning all year) that motivated me to change my mind.  I posted on Facebook for help and my friends' son came over today and mowed the national grassland that my backyard had become.

    Here's what I learned from this:
    • My time is valuable.  Valuable enough to not spend it doing things I don't want to do that could easily be done by someone else.
    • I am worth it!  This sounds weird and Stuart Smalley-ish, but I don't care.  I didn't realize until this kid was mowing and I was cooking simultaneously that I a small part of me didn't think I was worth spending $20 on.  
    • The little things matter.  You probably know already how good it feels to have a mowed lawn!
    • I think I helped others by asking for help.  The kid is richer and there seemed to be a lot of father-son bonding going on.
    • I got to see my girlfriend (we sat and watched for a while).

    Sunday, May 3, 2015

    #122: Getting vulnerable

    I ran into a friend today that I used to be super close to.  When I see her now, though, I feel pain.  Nobody really did anything wrong, we just stopped being able to be in relationship in a healthy way.  We talked it all over months ago and have since not been in contact.  It was hard to go from talking to her once or twice a day to not at all, but if I am really honest with myself, I knew something wasn't quite right.

    This friend sat down next to me and asked me how I was doing.  We chatted like that for a few minutes, all the while my insides throbbing with pain at not having her in my life anymore.   When I didn't want to bear it anymore, I heard myself say, I'm really happy to see you, but it still hurts to be around you, and I think I'm done.  I didn't mean done forever, I just meant done for now, and she totally got it.  Brene Brown would be proud!

    I was immediately proud of myself for speaking up, but as the day went on, I became proud of her, too.  It's not always easy to accept other people's vulnerabilities when laid at your feet, and she handled it so well. 

    I will be forever grateful that she has been in my life.

    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    #121: Andriod phones

     I know I complain about my phone pretty much all the time, but tonight I got out my iPad, that I have had for six months, for the 6th time ever.  So far it is taking me 20 minutes to type this; I don't know how to make bullets; the apostrophe is on a different page than the letters, as is the colon, by the way; there is no Swype and I haven't figured out how to go back just one screen--I keep exiting instead.

    And if I have to type in my AppleID password one more time, I may be the owner of what used to be an iPad.

    Oh, wait! Gratitude.  right. I got carried away! I am grateful for my Android phone!!!!

    Spellcheck? I have no idea where that is, so I apologize!

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    #120: Junk food!

    This is what I consider junk food these days: sweet potato chips, banana chips, dried pineapple and Kombucha.

    It used to be Dr. Pepper, Nutty Bars and Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls;  then I graduated to entire boxes of Capn Crunch, but those made the roof of my mouth raw; boxes of Fruity Pebbles, but they did the same thing; then boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats, but I'm now allergic to gluten;  then entire bags of Skinny Pop; and now this.

    Small miracles, right?