Monday, January 27, 2014

I don't know about you, but I want LESS...

Each New Year I try to congratulate myself for another year well lived and envision resolutions that will help me improve. This task can be somewhat overwhelming. So this year all of my goals are for less. I feel overwhelmed, overstimulated and out of balance most of the time, so this year I just want less…
1)Less comparing myself with others. I’ve never been able to do this without coming out on the bottom.
2) Less self-defeating self talk. I am not very kind to myself. The things I share in my head would never be said to a friend.

3) Less resistance to change. Change is the only thing that is a constant. I want to be more zen when faced with changes, especially the ones that are unexpected or that I find less desirable.
4) Less regret. To regret something means we remain in the past, never able to move on. It’s true I’ve said and done things that I wish had played out differently but once I’ve said I’m sorry there is very little I can do but move on. Continuing to regret just keeps me making negative, self-defeating comments to myself.
5) Less anger. While I’m not normally an angry person, I just want less of that. My mantra this year is to recognize that because someone is “for” themselves it doesn’t mean they are against me. We all have different motivators. Sometimes the “fall-out” or consequence of someone being “for” themselves will make my life difficult. I choose not to believe that was their goal.
6) Less worry. Things will usually turn out the way they turn out no matter how much I worry. Worry just sets me up for anxiety. I would rather enjoy the sunset for the sunset’s sake than to worry that it won’t be as glorious tomorrow.

7) Less excuses. Own it. Sometimes you will say the wrong thing. Sometimes you will not perform the way that is expected. Okay, my bad, now move on.
8) Less need to impress others. It has been my experience that most people are not paying enough attention to anything outside themselves to notice anyhow.
9) Less control. I want to fly by the seat of my pants more. Have more spontaneity and more last minute adventures.
10) Less food. Seriously, we are the most under nourished, over fed people in the history of the planet. There is so much excess and abundance. And if you really need a doughnut, it will be available tomorrow. 

11) Less expectation. No one else is responsible for my happiness. They don’t have to “get me”. I am the master of my own mood.
12) Less television, newsfeeds, facebook, pinterest. Truth is, I’d rather read. Neither of my parents were schooled passed the 12th grade until later in life, but education was so important to both of them. They told me if I could read, I could do anything. That is the best advice I ever received and it continues to serve me and bring me joy to this day.

And my wish for you is that you may find less this year as well. Happy 2014.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Krispie 1996-2014

This week our family pet went to heaven. She has been a member of our family for more than 17 years. That's longer than my son, any of my son-in-laws as well as any of my grandchildren have been a part of my life.
Krispie was one of a kind. Her mommy was a full blood Bichon Frise and daddy was a full blood Beagle who broke into the garage when the mommy was in heat. None of her litter mates survived puppyhood. We didn't much care about her ancestry as much as the role she would play in our family. We kind of viewed her as a dust mop with a tongue. She taught my children to care about something besides themselves.

We've loved her since she was a puppy. But we were never great pet parents. Fortunately, she didn't require much care. She was fed, and walked and played with. She had limited experience with the vet and the hairdresser. She wasn't very social. I'm sure she mostly thought she was one of the kids, other dogs didn't interest her.
She loved to herd her family. We would restrain her on the deck in the backyard and give all the kids a head start around the house. As soon as they were out of sight she became uncontrollable and would launch herself down the stairs in a game of capture the kids. The goal for the kids was to get all the way around the house and to the backyard without being caught. They never made it. She always had them rounded up and bunched together.
She considered chasing balls but only on her terms. When she had to visit grandma when we were out of town she slept on top of the picnic table and refused to eat unless grandma put gravy on her food.
We waited to get her first trim until she was 13 years old.
We put it off because I was afraid if we trimmed her and left her for a family vacation, she might get low self-esteem and feel abandoned. I didn't need to worry. After her first trim she came home strutting her stuff and showing off her bandana. She co-habitated our garage with our cat "dingbat". It was an uneasy relationship but it was limited to cold stare downs and distance. When Krispie returned with her new hair cut and smelling different she jumped at the cat, who previously only ignored her, but since she smelled and looked different, the cat reacted and so ended the cold war. From then on, since Krispie learned she could make the cat react with a hiss and yowl.
One of my first memories is Krispie as a puppy in my front flower bed. Not in front of, but in. I had leashed her out front when I crossed the street to the neighbors and came back to find her cowering in the marigolds. What she lacked in courage she would make up in heart.
I've wondered what was so magical about Krispie that she could live so long. Tongue in cheek I think the summer she ingested rat poison from the garden probably had something to do with it. The rat poison was a blood thinner and as she aged and we would witness one stroke after another and think this was the last one, she would shake it off and get up and start wagging her tail.
We learned not to trust her near the garden not just because she ate rat poison but because she was a thief. She loved all things red. She'd start in July nibbling raspberries and strawberries and advance to tomatoes by fall. She gave us more than one scare when she left the garden with a full red beard until we saw the tomato seeds.
In her later years, we wondered about her eyesight, and her hearing. But I think she just got more selective with time and only heard what was most important to her. Her dementia though was a little scary and we worried that she would wander off and not be able to find her way home.
I'm sure there is a special place in heaven for pets that love and teach their families as long as Krispie did. She wasn't the smartest, or the fastest, the bravest or even the prettiest but she was the BESTEST dog ever.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sometimes the person you most need to forgive is yourself....

Review of Ruby’s Secret by Heather B. Moore,
part of the Newport Ladies Book Club Novel Series
While this book is part of a series that includes authors Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright and Annette Lyon, it definitely is a stand alone story that may whet your appetite to seek out the other novels that have characters attending Ruby’s book club.
You can always recognize a good story because you have a moment of sadness when it is over. In Ruby’s Secret you become part of Ruby’s inner circle, you learn of her secret addiction to regency romance books, how she takes guilty pleasure in watering her hibiscus and you learn Ruby’s secret.
The book club consists of Paige, Daisy, Athena, Ilana, Olivia, Victoria and Shannon. They are bonded together over a love of books, caring for each other and book club desserts.
At the insistence of Ruby’s daughter-in-law Kara, Ruby accepts the challenge to meet new people and finds herself drawn into the lives of the seniors at Oasis Senior Citizen Center. Before long she is burying old memories in Greece. So follow Ruby on her adventure as she finds hope (and romance) as she learns to let go of the past. True healing for Ruby begins when she can forgive herself.
And another great thing about this series, there are little teasers about the books they are enjoying in book club. That might spark you interest to find another good read as well.
And on a personal note the story did remind me that the past is the past and we often dredge things into our present that have no business being there. The single most important person that we can ever forgive is ourselves. Instead of looking for a way to rewrite the mistakes we may have made in the past it would be better to put our energy into our present and future. Rarely have I found another to be as hard on me as I am on myself. So go out and enjoy a good read and look for clues on how to let go of the past in order to have an excellent future.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Socks prove there is an alternate universe...

I don't really know why I have a "love-hate" relationship with socks. I rarely want to wear them. I find them tedious and not very bright. I must have been scared by socks in my early childhood. I have come to grudgingly agree that they are a necessary evil. I have gone so far to brave the first two inches of early winter snow with my sandals on because then I don't have to deal with socks. So for Christmas, this year like every other year, I needed socks.

I stopped matching socks many years ago when I had three teenage daughters at home. They did not have the most discriminating taste so if they found one to put on their left foot and another to put on their right then they called it a match and out the door they went. The year they all got white socks with different toe stitching they were disappointed because all the tops of their socks looked the same, even if the toe colors were mismatched.
Socks are just sneaky. You put 6 beautifully matched, complete pairs of socks into the dryer and out will come, if you are lucky 5 matched pairs, one random sock and 1/2 of another match. In my humble opinion not enough research has been placed on locating missing socks. Where do they go? My laundry room has a limited boundary of 36 square feet. Not much real estate in which to have socks come up missing.
I tried any number of solutions. I only permitted complete pairs of socks to escape the washroom, others were placed in a holding basket, a virtual guantanamo bay where they languished waiting for a match. To this day, I have soldiers in that basket, their mates have never appeared.
So I'm left with 2 conclusions, either someone in my house wears socks dirty or clean with very little distinction between the two....or...there is an alternate universe where single socks go to party. They must slip out after dark and use some underground railroad with safe houses every so many miles. Maybe I should "chip" one of my socks so it will be returned to me if it ever goes astray like missing pets. Now if I could just figure out which one is going to make a run for it.....