Friday, March 29, 2013

Defining "non-negotiable"

Since the plan I most often use is called the "survive by the seat of your pants plan" I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and plan ahead. I was recently introduced to the idea of defining my plan by what my plan is NOT. Most of us are very clear in what we don't want. What we do want is more cosmic and general without the specifics. We want world peace, a happy family, no drama.
I have one of those lives that is overwhelmed with "busy" but I'm not entirely sure that anything is ever accomplished. I haven't found the cure for the common cold. I can't understand most foreign languages so that leaves me out of the whole world peace thing and I rarely have a clean kitchen floor. As for no drama I just turn off the television.
Sometimes getting to the next great thing requires a gentle nudge or push out of your comfort zone. Even with a safety net, change can be scary. Defining what you want is scary. You have to be clear on what is most important to you and you must be willing to remove the less important things from your life. Other than your core values, importance is relative to where you are in the cycle of life. When you are a mother with toddlers it may be getting them through the day without having to retrieve objects from their nose, keeping their little fingers out of light sockets and outlasting them until bed time. With teenagers the importance may be placed on a car with a great safety record and more airbags, as well as an afternoon nap so you can stay up until curfew.
Often we can be faced with two equally good options. No worries, pick one and get on with your life. But when faced with something that may clearly have consequences you are not willing to deal with, you have met a non-negotiable and should run the other way.
It's true non-negotiables may create limits, but they won't leave a bad taste in your mouth. I think this camel needs a rinse.  So pick your battles, identify your non-negotiables and have a life that you create instead of the one that just happens to you because you aren't sure what it is that you really want.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The shopping experience

So I will readily confess that I am not a "fashionista". I leave that to my youngest daughter. I would leave it to my other daughters as well, but my oldest has four young children and it's difficult to color coordinate all the different substances and body fluids she comes in contact with every day with any designer line of clothing. And my middle daughter is too much like me and we just are not good shoppers. If you can't find it in 10 minutes and walk out of the store with it then it is just not worth the effort. While my daughters lived at home they at least kept me from embarrassing my self. Many times they would look at me cross-eyed and I knew to take a hint that the black and red plaid sweater didn't go with the brown tweed skirt. They later told me that brown tweed goes with nothing.  And since my son and husband say "it looks fine" with both eyes closed. I was forced to seek a professional intervention to prevent further poor decisions in the fashion department.
So Saturday March 16th found me at the South Towne Mall with a professional shopper named Alicia. She does a really good job and I highly recommend doing it.... if you like shopping. However, for me it was a form of torture that would have me spilling all my government secrets. The truth of the matter I'm not loving the 3 way view in any dressing room and is there some reason the lighting is always dim in there? It's not hiding anything. I learned all about the rise of a jean and leg length and how to avoid that gap in the back of your pants.
That being said, I had some success. This is what four hours of shopping looks like. Way beyond my ten minute limit.You'll notice no jeans. That's because just because someone (ie Alicia) tells you they fit, it doesn't mean you want to wear them home. Having to nearly dislocate my thumb while standing on one foot and sucking in my breath to button the jeans, is not my idea of a "fit". It doesn't matter that they will stretch out with wearing because in 20 minutes I will succumb to bad heart rhythms, the kind not conducive with life from holding my breath.
Yes, I've decided I like a fair amount of stretch in my denim. 20-30 % is good with me. They may not be as strong but I will be able to breathe. And any day I'm breathing, has to be better than one that I'm not.
I was blessed with a curvy shape. I've tried to celebrate and embrace my uniqueness. I've also tried to be modest in my attempts. My frustration with shopping is most people want me to flaunt my assets. So I had hoped to learn some valuable techniques to dress down my uniqueness. However, Alicia confessed that she was dressing me in an attempt to live vicariously. So there you have it. If you have curly hair you want to straighten it and if you have a slim figure you hope for curves. And sometime you make your peace with your body type and have a good day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Surviving an overnight stay at the Denver Airport

On a recent visit to Missouri I had more adventure than I planned for. It started with responding to a "sick emergency" during flight where I was more than likely expected to the one strain of flu virus I am not immunized against, but that is another post.
On my return flight I had planned for a one hour layover in Denver and arriving home at about 11:30 p.m. Standing at the appropriate Gate in Denver though I learned that my flight was delayed. Delay is good, it happens. Denver was experiencing the weather phenomenon known as snow and ice and I had already spent an extra half hour in the air doing right hand turns waiting for permission to land. The slipping and sliding on the runway on landing was marginal. So since recovering from the "flu" my stomach was empty and somewhat interested in the offerings to be had. Being cautious though I really wondered just how "fresh" fresh was at 10:30 p.m. and chose to remain hungry instead.
As you go through life you often wonder if you will ever have to use anything you learn in school. In the defense of algebra I use it all the time in delivering the correct dosage of medicine. I've often puzzled over the whole point of word math problems though. You know the ones that start with a train pulling out of the station in Chicago and you walking across the tracks in Springfield, Indiana 4 days later and whether or not you will hit by a train. I've always surmised if you didn't look both ways before crossing the tracks then it's your own fault. In any case, I have proof that airline professionals didn't get the point of word problem math either. My plane was leaving Toronto at 11p.m. to meet me in Denver and have me board by 1:40 a.m. (the delayed time). It's a 4 hour flight from Toronto. With my limited understanding of algebra I can figure out that "x" is 3:00 a.m. That's when you start to get that niggling feeling that maybe you aren't getting on a plane anytime soon.
So since the wait would be longer than I anticipated I chose to focus on my dental hygiene. Retrieving the toothpaste from the interior of my roller bag I realized that I have not secured my unmentionables as well as I should in their zippered pouch. Once secured, I drag my roller bag past two waiting areas feeling like "all that and a bag of chips". Standing at the sink, brushing my teeth I'm startled by the bright blue sock balled up on the floor. It looks just like one that I wear. Further investigation reveals it is my sock and while I secured my unmentionables, I did not however secure the entire suitcase and dragged it flapping open into the bathroom. That's got to be better than dragging toilet paper on your shoe out of the bathroom right?
Sleeping overnight in an airport is mostly impossible. Is there some reason why all the chairs are so uncomfortable? Is it so we will find the seating arrangements on the plane such an improvement?  Since no one has ever died from one sleepless night, I survived. Probably as well as my daughter, taking care of her infant. Sleeping like a baby means waking every three hours with wet pants. And so how did you sleep Monday night?