Sunday, December 30, 2012

What Are My Resolutions?


Indeed.

Think Think Think.

I know there are people who don't believe in resolutions. To set a goal at this time of year under peer pressure via 'tradition' seems illogical and irrational. The whole New Year's hubbub over the appropriate time to start afresh is just mob mentality.

Then there are people like me, who believe resolutions should be made all year long. You should constantly continue reevaluating yourself to maintain a balance.

I still find this time of year refreshing. I still find the positive in the mob mentality in that it pulls me into a reflective place to do some goal setting.

One of my biggest irritations with myself is financial. I think and talk about money a lot. I hate the way it rules us and the way we need it, but love what I can have or do with it. It irritates me to find such satisfaction in new things when its not the things in life that are important but the people and events that make memories. We will leave a legacy, small or big, when we die. It will be in the memories others have of us. Why get wrapped up in what we have or have to do? Because some of those memories take money to make.

I want to Save Money.

The second biggest irritation in my life is that I have to be healthy to live it. I feel I am not doing the best for myself. I feel like I need to exercise more and eat better and help my body support my mind as I grow older. There are a lot of resolutions made around this same desire. This is one resolution I make to myself continuously and always fall through. It is HARD to accomplish. 

I want to Be Healthy

This involves doctors appointments, a better diet, more exercise, me-time, good rest, and good planning.  I can't just resolve to change my diet. I'll be unsatisfied. I can't just resolve to do more exercise when I know I have a really packed schedule coming up with work, extra work, and classes. I have to attack this problem from many angles at once. This takes some major thinking.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Been Thinking About Resolutions

I have so needed this break! I am recharging my batteries. We have a long run (slow, painful plod) before spring break, unless the snow we just got is any indication that we will have lots of snow days or delays.

Been working on my resolutions. Saw a picture, it said:
*If it feels wrong, don't do it.
*Say "exactly" what you mean.
*Don't be a people pleaser.
*Trust your instincts.
*Never speak bad about yourself.
*Never give up on your dreams.
*Don't be afraid to say "No".
*Don't be afraid to say "Yes".
*Be kind to yourself.
*Let go of what you can't control.
*Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible.

I think these would make good resolutions because all of them would make you feel better about yourself which promotes health via well-being. Now, let's break them down.

"If it feels wrong, don't do it." Common sense, however there are times when you have to choose between the lesser of two evils. There are also things the feel really good but are bad for you. Logic does not play into this statement, so chances are good that living by this credo will find you in trouble. Impulsive people live by this statement alone. You can stay alive, but the kind of life you end up with is probably not the best.

"Say 'exactly' what you mean." Unless you speak to your boss, or you want to get fired. The sentiment here is to stop beating around the bush, to be honest, and not to say the things hurt people if you can help it. That's not how it is worded, however.

"Don't be a people pleaser." This one would be hardest for me, since I desire to be liked and try to keep others happy and the energy around me positive. I have learned to be tougher on my students and teach them consequences. I want to be all sage, like a great sensei who keeps her mouth shut and lets the student fall to learn a lesson. In that sense, I'd fulfill this statement. Or perhaps, I'd just stubbornly go my own way and not follow the advice of others, which is probably the sentiment here.

"Trust your instincts." Here is a head-vs-heart statement if ever there was one! Instinct is often a combination of both. Earlier statements lacked logic, but this implies that you need it. Without logic, you'd be a beast running untamed across the land.

"Never speak bad about yourself." Hello poor grammar. Sometimes, you need to be humble, but overall, this is just good manners. Conversely, don't toot your own horn. Ever since I read in the Bible to let others praise you, it stuck with me. It makes sense. No one wants to listen to a braggart. It is far more valuable to be praised by others and it is worth far more. It gives you cred. If you put yourself down, you discredit yourself and also will believe the negative things. At the very least, it feels bad.

"Never give up on your dreams." I find this one the hardest not to follow. I'm always dreaming. Life is about getting to your next goal. Make a bucket list and go for it! Sure, life sometimes derails you, but don't let it stop you. Ammend them, add more steps in your goals, but keep dreaming.

"Don't be afraid to say 'No' or 'yes'." Let me combine these for length. Basically, be decisive. This is my greatest fault. I take too long to decide on things. I allow others to weigh in and pressure me. I don't think a resolution in this area is going to break me of this.It's a right-brain, left-brain battle that makes me who I am. Cautious, careful. I do like some spontaneity, but I usually want a plan.

"Be kind to yourself." ALWAYS! I know some people are masochistic, and things happen where we torture ourselves, especially emotionally, so this piece of advice that seems unnecessary really is. If you can't be kind to yourself, you don't love yourself. If you don't love yourself, you have to start by loving others and by being kind to others. You can't expect the world to just be kind to you out of the blue whenever you need it. The rest of the world needs this advice, too.

"Let go of what you can't control." Wow. How do you know what you can't control? If something is out of control should you stop it from careening into the wall and breaking you or just let it go? If you are in charge of your own destiny, then the things you cannot control are the other people in your life. Sometimes letting them go is the hardest of all.

"Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible." Well, at least this statement takes into account that you can't isolate yourself from drama. It happens. Bad things happen. Drama makes good TV but no one wants to live it. I guess the opposite of this is to seek out drama and jump right in. Considering this point of view, stay out of business that isn't yours!

I think I may just go back to resolutions that promote my physical health. It seems there is too much gray area in this emotional stuff. If I keep my body healthy, then I will live long enough to let time heal all wounds. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ferris Wheel Scalper

We went to the fair, and  I had already bought my tickets in advance. I paid half price, because advance tickets were on sale.No waiting in long lines a the ticket booth! Score! It was 'dollar ride night' or 'one ticket a ride' night, because the tickets were one dollar a piece.


Simple, right?


Well, MY tickets are different, they are striped and printed on them is .50 because they were a special deal. The man at the giant slide handing out wool blankets explained to the girl taking tickets that the striped ones were some 'online deal' and they were good.


Every ride accepted them as one ticket. The Tilt-a-Whirl dude had no idea what special was going on, just took whatever you gave him. He looked at our tiny ticket squares - that's what they were this year - with amusement, and also like they were psychedelic. He was really nice, but I think he had just woken up. I had the feeling he'd probably let us on for a sandwich... but I digress. Just because I was frugal, didn't mean my tickets counted any differently.. until the ferris wheel.


I (and my son) get up there and the man says, "He needs to ride with you."


And I say, "Yeah, there's two tickets."  I give an encouraging smile.


"No ma'am, it's dollar ride night, these tickets are 50 cents. It costs a dollar."


Confused, I attempt to straighten him out. "I paid a dollar PER ticket, it's one ticket to ride."


"Look Ma'am, this says 50 cents. It's a dollar to ride." He shows me the ticket, where the .50 is printed clearly.


"These are ADVANCE tickets. Each ticket is WORTH a dollar. The lady said.."


"Well she told you wrong! Take it up with her! Go on." So I turned and ushered my son back down the entrance ramp.


"Fine." (I always have to have the last word, don't I?)


"Mom, we aren't going to ride the ferris wheel?"


"He kicked us off, he wanted two tickets instead of one."


The man watched me for a good 30 minutes after that. He was thinking I was chicken for not going to the office and complaining right then. He was thinking I had PLANNED to dupe him, that I was devious.


Hopefully, you people know me better than that.


While my post is mostly about a miscommunication in the terms "Dollar ride night" and "One ticket per ride night", I was reminded of this story (rant) by a link to this crazy policy in a New York restaurant.


After reading about the way the man was treated over some 'policy' (It's always easier to blame the system isn't it?) I was thinking of the daycare policy that made me leave the daycare.


The contract sets forth that parents who pay cash must pay the daycare provider during holidays and vacation days that they are closed and not working. I was not working either, and not getting paid, so I was unable to spend money I didn't have. I explained that I could pay her back over time, but that was a breach of contract. If they let me do that, then they had to let ALL the OTHER parents do it too. If I did not pay, and chose to withdraw my son, I could never return. I didn't.


Rather than accept a late payment by a parent who pays cash, they chose to fill that spot with a kid on assistance from the state, WHO DOESN'T PAY WHEN THE CHILD IS NOT IN ATTENDANCE. The state doesn't pay them for vacations, so why should I?


I get that a business needs to know it's costs and income, but partial payment is better than no payment. Even the state sometimes pays them late.


In this case, the anti-discriminatory policy discriminated against ME, the PAYING parent.


Policies are weird.


So are carnies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Deserve A Cookie! Extrensic Motivation

Oh how we bribe ourselves! Sweet, luscious treats for a job well done.

Something annoyingly trivial, mind-numbingly menial, repetitively monotonous? Give yourself a tasty morsel or a fun reward when you get through it!

It’s not every day that you do something offhand and get immense praise and gratitude for basically doing nothing at all. If life were like that, we’d all be self-righteous.

Of course, this self-rewarding thing can get out of hand: “Didja see that? I just picked up that litter and threw it away! I deserve a cookie!”

So to balance us, we need to remember to get through dinner first. If we don’t eat our dinner, we don’t get dessert.

That said, self-discipline is hard to master. Skipping to dessert is so much more fun, less time consuming, and it feels more rewarding. The short term happiness feels nice. But then we kick ourselves because the job is still not done, sometimes people are angry, and we may even have to do it the hard way or all over again, but now, the cookies are all gone.

And you can’t buy more.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Consumed By Dreams And Creativity

I've been so CONSUMED by thoughts of my potential job lately that I've lost sleep over it. I'd really like to know whether I have it so I can get on with my life!


Life has not stopped this summer while I have been planning for a job that might not turn out to be my future.

1. Since we have had a drought and record highs, I've been a good dog mommy, giving him a place to cool off.

I had him in the garage, but it was beginning to stink up the whole house, so as soon as it was cool enough, out to the pool he went!

Swimming has been huge this summer, both at home:



And away. 5 year old can swim without floatation devices in the shallow end. 9 year old is diving for sticks at the bottom of the deep end. :) I'm so proud!



2. We saved up and went to Holiday World this year, and spent 5 hours in the water park. Sorry, no pictures. I was swimming and sliding! It was just too much hassle to wrangle an expensive camera and the locker would have been too hot and wet for it.We also got to enjoy the Dive show. I felt like I was exposing my boys to some culture. :)


3. This week we will enjoy our local fair. I'm hoping to see two of my (potential) students there. They have horses entered in the Horse and Pony Show, which is going on today and tomorrow. I am going tomorrow (Monday), but much later than the show. I have already bought the ride tickets (at half price, woot!), so after we walk around in the heat and see all the animals, we will meet up with hubby and ride the carnival rides. This will conclude all summer activities we had planned. Then the month-long stretch until school begins August 14th.


4. We have been to the library twice to check out books. If the 5 year old 'reads' 13 books he will earn a new library tote bag and a frisbee. He said, "Hmm.We need a new frisbee," as if he were analyzing the potential of purchasing something expensive and weighing the pros and cons. If he'd had his little hand on his chin, it would have been perfect!

5. I have also managed to be creative, which always makes me feel better. I did some creative journaling, adding designs and pictures to quotes, worked on the counted cross-stitch I've had for 10 years, and wrote the beginning to a fabulous novel. 

I cleaned out my scrapbooking stuff, in the hopes of making more room, but instead I created more piles of projects! Then I contemplated getting out my special art supplies and showing the boys how to use them.


We did get out the modeling clay. The boys had a great time with it, even though we made a mess on my table cloth. It is vinyl, so it cleaned right up.


The more I do, the more I want to do. Summer is a great time to catch a creative bug!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Really Must Want This

I took the boys swimming in Nana's pool, and my sis-in-law and her two best friends, who are practically Nana's adopted daughters and family themselves, show up. Pool party! Our kids had a blast.

But the thing I realized most was that I couldn't shut up about what I did for the last two months of school. I really had nothing else to say. They aren't teachers, they are all going into nursing in some manner, so did they really care? Not really.

Why did I keep talking? I think I had to get it out. 

I guess up until then, I hadn't realized how much I want to get this job. See, I was subbing and teaching a middle school class of kids with severe mental disabilities. I loved it. Yes, it was stressful at times, but it fit me.

This kind of setting has some leeway in how you teach. Every day is different. You are responsible for all academic areas. You are also responsible for life skills. It's a HUGE job. It requires flexibility, thinking on your feet, people skills, technological skills, caring, compassion, teaching ability, planning, scheduling, teamwork. I could go on and on.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Music and I Have A Love/Hate Relationship

Confession:

I can't write when there are songs blaring from the other room. My family is in a anime music video mood. The music isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but I have a ficly to write and I can't think!
 

Like many of you, songs conjure up images that turn into moods and stories. You zone out and start typing away. But for me, the song has moved on and the mood/scene is gone before I can capture it. :(

Lyrics always traipse into the work, too. That's not always bad, but I find myself not being imaginative and sticking with the first idea that popped into my head. I end up following the story of the song itself.

So I am at war with the song.

This happens most times. If I want to capture the scene, I have to freeze, pause the music, and write it immediately. It will morph and change if I continue to listen.

By listening to the music, I can't hear myself.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Update

I have been REALLY busy!


The re-cap:
1. I took a leap of faith and told my building principal that I'd like to become a long-term sub for the Moderate/Severe mentally Handicapped room at my school. Within 2 weeks I traded assistant positions and began to learn the ropes.

2. I was sent to another middle school to observe the program there and get inspired to make the program at my school as similar to it as possible. Wow! I was truly inspired.

3. The teacher retired, leaving me in charge for 2 months. I have made parent calls, instituted a discipline plan, and experimented with science labs, schedule changes, and tried to hold down the fort while allowing everyone to keep their sanity!

4. I fought with the state over my license, but in the end, it was renewed.

5. I am ending the year with praise, hope, and ready for summer break. Boy am I ever ready!


I want to get back to writing.
I want to clean my whole house.
I want to play with my kids.


Most of all, I want to sleep in!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Food and Art


I totally want to eat a white chocolate starfish.

Seriously, check this out.. Andie's

Making candy like that looks like so much fun. I'd be so fat, though! I'd eat the scraps and broken ones..

Food can be a comfort. I'm noticing more and more as I grow up how food has taken a more comforting role in my life. Not that I'm sad all the time, but I feel better when my pantry is stocked.

My diet has been pretty good, overall. It's the dinner that gets me. I want to carb up and go to sleep after work. I haven't slept well this past week, which makes me more tired, and becomes a vicious circle of lethargy that is not allowing me to write, blog, or think.

Plus, I want to eat something sweet for dessert to feel like the meal is over. I've been trying these awesome and healthy cookies, but they are expensive. For cookies.

Food should be fun and energizing! I remember shredding baby carrots for my brother because he'd eat them in a new shape. We'd have a picnic on the floor, or make faces on our plate with food. It was good food too, veggies, fruits, sandwiches.

Some people give up a certain food for Lent. That started last week. I have a 'beef' with this, because the practice is about sacrifice and replacing something with God to get back in the habit of daily worship or prayer, not a competition or dieting strategy, but I digress. If I were to give up something that I eat a lot of, it would have to be fried foods. That same food can be baked or grilled. I'd still enjoy it. In fact, I received a George Foreman grill for Christmas, and I haven't even used it. Sad.

So let's look at something happy and artful..

There! That's better!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who We Are

So many answers, responses, and takes on this topic! After my blog post, a slew of people began commenting on this topic all over various sites I visit. It started popping up everywhere!


A Scientist's point of view:
As individuals in a culture we are forever re-inventing, this collaboration of investigation with the universe is the very essence of a meaningful life. -Adam Frank


(Poorly phrased and with a comma splice, but in essence, we live because we keep questioning things and seeking answers.)

This ties in with my fellow writer's response on my facebook wall:

We are the sum of our experiences. That's who we are. It's an entirely different matter if the question that you're *really* asking is "What kind of person do I wish I were?" -August Rode


Hmmm. Some of my life's choices I choose to forget, therefore, as a sum of my experiences, who I am includes negative numbers!

We always look both back and forward. Therefore we see what we've made of ourselves and what (or who) we want to be. We set goals, we set benchmarks, we pat ourselves on the back when we reach those goals, often bragging, seeking confirmation from others that we are awesome, and we press on. (Hey, I just summarized life!)

On ficly.com, a challenge to include the line: "It's the choices that make us who we are."

Quotes from the entries:

It isn’t what we have that defines us,
It’s the choices that make us who we are. -In Night's Arms

“It’s the choices we make that defines who we are. Without that, we give up our responsibility to ourselves. If we choose to fight for a better world, we do it with open eyes knowing that we will pay a cost.” -Robert Quick

"You’ve got it mixed up. It’s who we are that determines the choices we make, not the other way around." - memento


Ah! So which comes first, the choices or who we are?


We make some choices without thinking, because of who we are,

Ex. running into a burning building instead of away


while we make others because of who we want to be.

Ex. The old me would have told my mother everything, but the new me wanted to keep this secret to build a better bond with my sister.
Some people can change who they are. They can give up old ways and take on new ones. We grow and mature from child to teenager to adult and change, don't we? Since we CAN change, then parts of us can be forgotten, at least mostly. Therefore, there is always hope for a better future.
:D



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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's Get Spiritual

My church's youth leader writes these one-page newsletters and hangs them in frames in the bathrooms. They are called "Stall Talk". Cute.

Anyway, she quoted Henri Nouwen (1) who says we all answer the question
Who Am I in one of three ways:
  • I am what I do
  • I am what I have
  • I am what other people say about me

Since I have been preoccupied with this question myself, and feel like a youth this newsletter is addressing, I thought it appropriate to ponder how an adult would answer these questions.

First, I thought about the
extremes of any one answer.

I am what I do.

I am a teacher, a mom, a tutor, a writer. I know plenty of people who claim a title like this and that is it. They are the ultimate That.

The ultimate Mom, giving their every waking moment to their kids. They wear tattered clothes, have disheveled hair, maybe let themselves get fat from unhealthy eating, maybe wrap themselves in home cooked meals, maybe stay up late washing clothes, taking care of pets, and cleaning house so they can get up early and run the kids to all their practices and lessons.

The ultimate teacher, at school 16 hours a day, copying, tutoring, researching, running 6 or 7 clubs and sports.

Can it be destructive? sure. Can it be rewarding? sure. It's how much and how far and how taxing on your health the stress of the title is.

I am what I have.

Greed. Power. Any of the billionaires with several estates and personal jets and maids and servants and lovers and money to throw at whatever vice amuses them at the time.

Or the fabled 'Joneses' who have to have the newest car, nicest house, best clothes, and perfect presentation.

I am what other people say about me.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, or worrier.

The way people talk behind your back! They think you are (insert adjective) and so you will be!
Either
the extreme of this person changes to fit every social situation, often back-stabbing others and being two-faced, or this person is so worried about what others think, they get an ulcer!


But the idea here is that we are NOT these things. The idea is that we are a child of God.

(I know, I never get all religious up in here, and
God is a sticky subject on the internets. But it's Sunday. So I said it.)

The POINT is:

Saying that we are who we need to be breaks the cycle.

See, when you ARE one or all of these things; you are doing what you feel you are supposed to do, you have the things you feel you need, and people are saying nice things about you, you feel really uplifted and happy. When you start to slip from this precipice, you feel down and sad and wonder how to get that feeling back. It's cyclical.

But by looking at yourself through a different perspective (saying you are right where you need to be, you don't have to listen to naysayers, you can do something slightly different and make it work) you can break the cycle.

I can't count how many times something from my religion has been simply about doing or thinking things differently.

Really.

How many places can we go to get a different perspective? Just drop everything, the baggage, and stop in your tracks, your path, your cycle, and breathe and begin to gain new insights.

Perhaps in yoga or spiritual training or some kind. Perhaps in church or synagogue or meditation or prayer. Perhaps in therapy, or on the bus, or lying awake at night when everything is still and quiet and the tears have all dried on your cheeks.

These places and times are few and far between. At least going to church or a regular meeting increases the chances that one of these reflective moments will occur. If I am taking time to look at things with fresh eyes as often as once a week, I can center myself and break out of any cycles I am stuck in.

So, How would an adult answer these questions?

Pretty much the same as a teenager, but with more experience! These questions plague us just as much now as they did years ago. You constantly strive to become someone. You have to reset your goals and build up.

In Sapphique the character Jared says: "Life is a series of stairs up which we climb. ..Your horizons have moved." Thanks Catherine Fisher!

Who am I?
I am still learning. And that's okay!

Footnotes:
1. Read about Henri's POV here.


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blogger Interview: 10 Questions

1. As a blogger, what do you draw inspirations from for your posts?
Life, other blogs (like Dasia's where I stole this list from), rants, and other thoughts.


2. If you could swap blogs with another blogger for a post, who would you switch with and why?
This is why I have 3 blogs! I can talk about all my favorite things.. be different people..no, I am always me. One blog is for encouragement of others, one for writing topics, and one for being me.

3. If your blog had a theme song, what would it be? Why?
This blog, it would be my current favorite, 'Hey Hey' by Superchick.

4. What is your writing process for a post?
Lightning of inspiration strikes, I start typing, edit as I go, make it all sound pretty good, publish, re-edit when I notice mistakes. :)

5. Your blog requires a cute, new, mascot - what would it be?

Baby painted turtle. First of all, I had one, just like this one, that I rescued. Here's mine:

Plus, I'm all tough on the outside, or want to be, but really a softie in the inside.


6. Do you feel you express your "true self" on your blog?
I do. I have had to delete posts because I was too real on here, too embarrassingly real.

7. What is your biggest online pet-peeve?

Let me get back to you.. I can't just throw pet peeves around at every beck and call. I try to be tolerant, so I forget the things that annoy me. But when I find one, I'll let you know..

8. If you could live in a fictional universe, where would you live? Why?
I used to imagine part of my property growing up was Terebithia from the book, and part was a haven for the Ewoks. So, somewhere with a forest and friendly furry creatures. :)

9. You're having a bad day, you're upset, you're angry, or you're sad - what is your go-to comfort?
Chat friends. Ficly stories. Facebook posts. Something to get my mind off of it and cheer me up. Talking to people is often the best. I don't even have to talk about my problems, I could help them with theirs.
You thought I would say 'my husband', but often he has already had his say, or isn't really involved, or is too involved.

10. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Oo! I just wrote down a new one:

No matter how you feel, Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up.

Unless of course you have the stomach flu, you should be active and present in your life. If I don't get dressed up and lounge around, I'm not going to be productive.

The rest of these questions dissolve into silliness, asking about vampires, the end of the world, movies based on your life, what would you change, etc.

Let me sum up with this:

  • I'd like my life to have a carefree sort of 'Eat, Pray, Love' vibe,
  • I have no idea who would play me, and if there was a movie about it, it would be boring.
  • 2012 should be about becoming who I want to be the next 30 years of my life.
  • I will try to keep all my bad habits out of my blog, because one thing I need to learn is to keep more personal details to myself!
Thanks Dasia for posting the original!


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Want to be Aunt Meg

I wrote this based on the character of Aunt Meg in Twister. Events are fictional.


When I ran away from home at the age of 9 with a Barbie suitcase, I went to her house.

When I and 3 of my best friends needed a place to sleep off a party, we crashed at Aunt Meg’s.

When I showed up at 2AM, soaking wet with nothing but the clothes on my back, she gave me an old t-shirt while she washed my clothes and let me use all the hot water to shower. Then she made whatever warm drink I pleased without asking about what brought me to her house at such an ungodly hour.

Best of all, when my mother called, ranting and raving, she calmed her down and didn’t make me talk to her if I didn’t feel like it.

Even if all she had in large enough quantity to feed me was pancake mix, it was the most delicious meal in the world.

She was technically my great-aunt, my grandmother’s older sister. She had long silver hair, which she wore however she pleased.

It wasn’t until her funeral today I learned her first name wasn’t Meg.



I want to reinvent myself into this character. :)

The first step is allowing people to come into my house and use or wreck my things and not get upset.. :/

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