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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Got The Low Down Blues

At least, I had them this week - those mean old misr'y lovin' low down blues.  And I got to thinking about them - about where they come from - not the sadness blues that come when  your Mama dies or the sickness blues that come when you're in bed with the flu, but the mean old misr'y lovin' blues that just come when there are way too many happy things in your life but something made you think of the one thing you really hate about your life and from that moment you just got downer and downer, bluer and bluer.

And after I'd felt crummy for long enough (Thanks, Mom) I got to working on untying that knot. I got to asking myself, "What triggers that downward spiral. Why am I investing so much emotion, painful emotion at that, in something that is either in the past or I've been living with it for, oh, maybe 62 years, or it isn't really that big a deal? What makes me pick at a scab? "

Mind now - I had to wrestle with it for a few days but at some point yesterday it struck me.

I get the blues when I'm wanting to be RIGHT more than wanting something to WORK.

One of my mottos - one of the defining things I've always claimed about ME is that I would rather make things work than be right. It is why I am quick to seek compromise, delegate responsibility, give my trust - it is why I've adopted FAITH as my guiding word for this year - perhaps for the rest of my life! (though there are so many other words that describe concepts I want to embrace)

When it's more important for you to be RIGHT, you'll argue with someone who's doing what you want him to do, just not the way you want him to do it.  Or worse yet - you won't tell him how ticked off you are when you come home and find the dirty dishes are still in the sink.

I mean - if you wanted it to WORK  you'd just say "put the dishes in the dishwasher before I get home"

If you want to be RIGHT there are all sorts of things you can say. "Can't he see these dishes need to be put in the dishwasher? How selfish can he be to loll around here all day, and leave this mess for me to clean up? When I've been at WERK all day!  What does he think I am? His SLAVE?"

What?  Huh? Why would you think that's been going on at my house this week?  emoticon

The great thing about thinking about problems is sometimes you find an answer that can be applied to Other Things. Things like motivation to reach your goals. Try this idea on for size.

When you want to be RIGHT the most - you will be mad that you can't eat a bag of M&Ms and 2 slices of pizza and slurp down a milkshake and stay slim. You'll resent it and eat those things anyway and claim you were tempted beyond reason or everyone else was doing it or the American food advertising industry is out to sabotage you.

But when you want it to WORK you do things differently. You either say no to the nutrition-less food or you chose the nutrition dense food or you drive past the fast food stands. Those are actions that will fix something you don't like. It's not a judgement call. It's a deeply personal decision. You decide if you want to be RIGHT or if you want things to WORK.

And here is the secret, fun, added bonus:  When things  WORK .... you ARE right.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Mesopotamian New Year

The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March.

Read more: A History of the New Year 

I believe I want to channel my inner Mesopotamian and start celebrating New Year in mid-March. I will still clean out the detritus of Christmas and probably even buy me that new journal that always seems to hold such promise, but as for the New Year's Resolutions and the Goal Setting - well - this is the second year I haven't been able to get around to it no matter how many snow days I ended up with. Since I'm all about living a HAPPY life first - and since the pressure of setting goals and sticking to them is not giving me the Martha Beck Rat Park feeling - I hereby give myself permission to select March 21st as my New Year Goal Setting Resolution Get Your Act Together time.

Until that no longer feels like fun either.

Besides, I reached my goal weight about mid-March 2 years ago and the idea of being at goal each March does feel like a visit Rat Park.  (btw, Rat Park was an actual lab setting she described where rats who had been addicted to heroin were placed in an environment with every thing a rat could want, along with the option to stay on heroin and what do you know - they all quit lapping up the water with the narcotic in it and just drank fresh water. She recommends you only do things that give you that Rat Park Feeling.  I concur.)

So let's get down to goal setting.

Right now I am 1.8 lbs away from the top of Weight Watcher's range for being at goal. They give you a 2 lb wiggle space and for me that is 152 lbs. The number one goal then, for the month of March is to drop that 1.8 lbs. You would think that would be easy ... but it is not. It's extremely difficult because at 153.8 my clothes fit well, I like the way I look in the mirror and I feel great.

So what's the big deal about a measly 1.8 lbs?  A couple of things.

1.  Each measly 1.8 lbs I ignore pushes me deeper into weight gain territory. I know that at 155 I do not like how I look. I want more space between where I am and looking and feeling dumpy.

2. At my current weight my body mass index is greater than 25 and did you know that a BMI greater than that is one of the indicators for dementia?  Not something this 62 year old wants to toy with.

3. I truly value the WW meeting opportunity but those measly 1.8 pounds mean I have to pay to go - and that's getting old. Do the math.  I would much rather have the $700 each year to oh, say, buy a clothes dryer for Pete's sake, Bess!

(ooops. a little subject bleed there - the dryer is a different goal)

4. deep in my secret little heart I believe I ought to weigh less than 150 lbs.  I know, I know. but I really do believe I should weigh 145 lbs because I really am an inch shorter than I was when I set that original goal.

Okay - so. Goal #1 is to lose the 1.8 lbs by March 21.

Action steps to take:

1. Make 5 days out of the week 26 point days. This is good because to do that I have to be really careful about the food I chose to eat - it has to be nutritionally dense or I will be hungry and eat more calories.

   a.  Plan out and shop for 5 nutritionally dense daily menus each week

2.  Get in enough activity to make my activity monitor do it's sparkly thing every day. To reach the daily goal, 4 out of the 6 lights have to blink

   a. do the aerobic DVD for at least 20 minutes every morning at 7 o'clock
   b. Check my activity monitor at lunch time. If the third light hasn't begun to glow, take a walk at lunch
   c. check my activity monitor before dinner and if all 4 lights aren't lit up - walk the dogs before dinner.

3. Remember, and say out loud, at least twice a day, the following:

The healthy food choice is a REWARD. yay!

emoticon psst psst - what about the camera?

emoticon  And the clothes dryer?

Oh. Yes. right. TheBrains remind me that I have two other goals that I must act upon.   Left Brain, I have told BH to smack me up side the head if I don't have a dryer by April 1. You know the road is a frozen mess of mud and ice so we can't get a delivery truck down here for a couple more weeks but I swear I will go down to Lowe's and order a freakin' dryer.

emoticon  When?

How about Sunday?

emoticon  Ok.

emoticon And the camera?

I'll make my decision on Sunday too, Right Brain. A camera will have been ordered by Monday.

emoticon  Promise?


emoticon  I'll remind her. I've got it on my calendar now.

emoticon  Okay. But you have to come back here and blog about it then, and over on the other blog too.

It's a deal, Brains. It's March. My Mesopotamian New Year. I'll get these things done in honor of the ancient vernal shift.

emoticon emoticon  YAY!

Monday, February 23, 2015

How To Buy A Camera: a Right Brain/Left Brain conversation.

My camera began to leave smudges on pictures last summer. Looking into the lens from the outside I could see a dog hair spread across the glass. I tried to take it out, shake it out, to no avail. I took it to a camera shop and they scoffed - the cost to send it back to the factory just about equaled the cost of a new camera. No. Of course nobody there knew how to open it up and get that dog hair out. It's just a $300 throw-away item. What a scam that is.

There was nothing for it but to start saving for a new camera. I knew I'd have to do that first or a certain complainer I know intimately and spend a lot of time with would add that to the list of reasons I should do without a new camera. And now, 6 months later, the lens is so scratched it hardly matters about the dog hair, so the need is even more pressing.

So. Now I have the need. I have the money. I've had the argument with Someone. So why haven't I bought the durn camera? I think it's time to check in with TheBrains and see what's going on.

* * * * *

emoticonHey. I thought we were going to get a new camera.

emoticondum de dum dum dum

emoticonHey you! You're supposed to be picking out a camera. We did the work. We saved the money. You promised!

emoticonHuh? What? God I am sick of winter.

emoticonYou never do what you say you will.

emoticon(Focusing) Don't exagerate. Nobody ever does never

emoticonGrrrr. Semantics. You're always promising to do something and then not getting around to it. Where is our new camera?

emoticonWe have two beautiful new spring dresses.

emoticonWhat's that got to do with it? Why can't you buy us a camera?

emoticonBecause it's a lot of money and I don't know which is going to be the one we want.

emoticonWho cares? they break down after a few years anyway - if you want something different, then just buy a different camera when this one breaks down. Don't you remember that electronics repairman who told us - cameras are now $300 throw-away items?

emoticonAlright - then you just go throw away $300.

emoticonWhat is your problem?

emoticonYou aren't helping any - you have to give me some emotional feedback. What do you WANT in a camera?

emoticonI want one that doesn't leave smudges on every photo - I want one with a smooth clear lens

emoticon(Rolling her eyes)  Thanks a lot. Any new camera will do that ... till you just stuff it in your pocket and let its new lens get all scratched up.

emoticonOh - so it's my fault now. Seems to me we are both using that camera.

emoticon(Sigh) No. It's nobody's fault.  It's just so hard to decide from among 2,030,498,720 different cameras that all cost about the same and if you don't give me some sort of emotional reaction I don't know if I'll ever be able to figure out what's the best choice.  What do you really want?

emoticon(Pausing to feel for a moment)  Well. I want a great zoom.


emoticonAnd I want a viewfinder. or at best one of those tilt out LCD screens

emoticongot it

emoticonAnd I want the ability to set the film speed at least up to, what? 1200? you know, 100, 200, 400, 800 ... know what I'm talking about?

emoticonyes. I do. so - you want some manual controls

emoticonyeah. - and it has to be light! I don't want some 2 pound weight hanging around my neck.

emoticonokay. got that.

emoticonAnd I want it to take really good pictures - a good lens

emoticonOkay so let's tote all that up.
1. Lightweight
2. viewfinder
3. clear photos
4. big zoom

anything else?

emoticonYes yes. I want it to be fast. you know. I want to be able to press the button and catch the shot. At least I'd like it to be faster than the one we have now.

emoticonHmmm. well. That will take some investigating. I wish I knew a real camera expert.

emoticonWhy not ask Penny?

emoticonHmm. Okay. Yeah. That's a good idea.

emoticonAnd heck, you could call Keith too - he will have some advice.

emoticonoh. Oh. Well. Aren't you smart.

emoticon(smirking) I have my own intelligence.

emoticon(Grinning) I never doubted it.

emoticonSo. You gonna pick something out and order it?

emoticonYes. of course. I was always going to do that.

emoticonYeah, but when?

emoticonUmmm. when I have decided.

emoticonWhen will that be?

emoticonLook - it'll be when it is

emoticon(looking stern and slightly rebellious)

emoticonah ah ah - don't you dare start eating blueberry donuts and Cheetos. 

emoticonGive me a deadline then

emoticonwoo woo - who are you to be insisting on deadlines, miss I-Gotta-Feel-Me ?

emoticonRight now I'm the one in charge and you are the slacker.  Besides, I need your schedules and deadlines to feel safe. I wish you would set one.

emoticon(sighs) Alright. But you must promise to not say "wait wait wait" as I'm clicking on the "purchase" button.

emoticonIt's a promise. So When?

emoticonSaturday. Oh. No. Can't do that. we'll be in the car. Monday. I'll do it Monday morning March 2.

emoticonBut you'll do all the rest too? Call Penny and Keith?



emoticon(eyes widening)

emoticonPlease? Please make me feel safe with a schedule?

emoticon(eyes softening and smiling tenderly) Okay. Here's the schedule.  
Today we will call Penny. 
Tomorrow we will call Keith. 
Wednesday we will look at website reviews. 
Thursday we will talk it over. 
Friday we will decide. 
Monday we will buy.  

How does that sound?

emoticonGreat! No. GREAT! Thank you.

emoticonWell, sugar, Thank you too for pushing me on this. I feel better already.

emoticonMe too. 

* * * *

Well - at least they have a plan. Me? I still have my doubts, fueled, I am sure, by this dreadfully long mushy cold icy mud spell of End-0-February weather. Better let them take charge. 

I'll be back Monday with a report.