Sunday, June 26, 2011
I knew that last night my brother in law was going to be playing the role of Osgood Lissard, the villian in "Foul Works at the Fireworks Factory". I hadn't had a chance to see him shine in this one, I had been plotting to get out to see it some Saturday when it played at 6:30 p.m. I dragged my son, and my sister and her daughter along for the ride.
He's in the middle, in black, stirring up trouble. Of interest to Sparkers? The villian has dropped about 50 pounds in the past year, getting some health issues under control in the process, so we're really proud of him on more than one front.
As with the last time, a good time was had by all. We sat in the front row, b-i-l managed a few snarks directly at the mythical nephew (who likes to root for the Empire in Star Wars, being a contrarian). Son behaved himself, though. I was the one who ended up tossing popcorn at the HERO when the hero and villian exchanged barbs and one of the hero's lines dissed Beatles Fans! How DARE he?
Anyway, for those who read these blogs like a serial:
* NO RASH or ITCH from the poison ivy. And it has been 36 hours since the encounter, so I'm hopeful that's a closed issue.
* The dehumidifier did not require repairs! Once I cleaned it up, plugged it in and turned it on, it ran like a champ.
* This morning's "one thing" turned into about three things, since I woke early. All before church... sorted through papers (time-boxing, here, there appears to be a never-ending supply), and shredding all of the records related to the dog and the most recent cat (she's been gone for several years now, but I still had her vet records!)
I also washed the front storm door glass. I kept up the gradual progress on the kitchen. It will probably take me a week to completely get the stove as clean as I want it to be. It is as though I get another three inch square covered each time I do it as a "one thing"... again, time-boxing. But, the grime is going. It shall be history, hopefully before my brother gets here in two weeks.
Yesterday evening's "one thing" involved cleaning the toaster.
What I am trying to get to the bottom of, in my retrospection, is why it takes me so long to take action in the arena of housekeeping.
I came to one insight: I have my support systems spread too far and wide, and too intermixed. The biggest process is that of decision making. I have the trait of leaving pieces of paper around that I want to "think about" or "consider later"... and they end up ALL OVER!
They start out as piles on the kitchen counter. Well, my initiative to "handle today's mail today" got rid of those piles. BUT, as I kept working on my "one thing" each day, I found piles in other parts of the house. This tells me that I slopped my deferral of deciding about pieces of paper until I was in another area of the house, and they got stuck wherever they were when I was distracted into thinking about something else. OR, in shoveling things out of the way in anticipation of guests, I hid the piles of unmade decisions.
"Do one thing" is at least in part "Decide one thing", and finish what I start. I can do this. After all, I *did* make it to my goal weight this time. And knock wood, I'm still here, a year later.
Here's to order, harmony, and a dignified life (with some pre-meditated silliness thrown in, just for fun). And dropping perfectionism and obsession... or at least damping them down.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I'm ta-da-da-dah with my friends... what is it about the aging process that makes a body forget the lyrics? Still, those of us in my age range will remember the tune!
Yeah, those of you who just said, "She's high again" are right. High on those endorphins that come from so many sources. In this case, they are partly from jogging with my son. Jogging. But with my son. Anybody out there have kids? Do they condescend to exercise with you? Seriously, it gets us both out there!
We did two miles on the bike trails at a little under 10 minute mile pace, which for me is the Army 100% pace, and for him is two minutes too slow to pass. Thus the "condescend" to exercise at his mom's pace. We walked the last (third) mile, for the most part. SEE? I told y'all last week that his slow workout would be my race pace!
Poison ivy watch: Nope, no itches yet. A second shower behind me. Yes, I tossed the gloves, and washed what clothing I was wearing. I have my fingers crossed. I might just, between family immunity and taking precautions, have got away with this little lapse in attention, having caught it in time.
"Do one thing" report: this morning, I decided to take on a Saturday project. The dehumidifier. It's been sitting in the basement gathering dust. But recently I'm starting to have moisture issues with all the rain we've had lately, and I have a hankering to see if I can get the thing working again. Don't know if I can but that's my "one thing" for today... to find out.
Wishing all a great Saturday!
Friday, June 24, 2011
My "one thing" this evening started out to be pull a few weeds on the way to get the plastic chairs out of the shed and put them on the deck. Only, as I got close to the shed, I started to pull up some bindweed and suddenly, there in my bare hands were dark leaves in clusters of three!
Oh, dear... my old Girl Scout training kicked in, and I thought, it's poison ivy! Or is it?
Taking no chances I put it in a trash bag and washed my hands right away, avoided touching my face, and put on gloves to finish my weeding, avoiding that tub. I compared against some web site photos, and it looks like the real deal to me.
On the plus side, when my kid brother was at summer camp, he swung into a whole patch of it and never broke out. And when my son was younger, he tramped through a patch in the woods and no reaction. Soooo... here's hoping the familial immunity to the weed applies to me.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Discussing Support Systems is kind of like coming in to the middle of a movie. The first question about support systems is "what is this system supporting?" Which returns one to the start of the movie: values and goals.
Given that you have done the first part: examined your values and articulated them to yourself, and set some goals, it is time to take a look at the systems in your life that support those goals. The systems may be physical (how you stock your kitchen, pantry, etc., where you place your exercise equipment, food and exercise trackers), psychological (motivational images in strategic spots, a personal journal), social (friends and family, Spark people). These all support your goals and your goals support your values.
The other side of support systems is to think about the things one does each day, each week, each month... look at the systems in our lives that make up that routine, and determine: are they working? Do they support our goals? Is there anything, any part of those systems that is "broken" or hindering goals or contrary to values? Then you have a bug in your system and you might want to think about what it will take to fix it.
I work in computers. Sometimes a conscious decision is made to leave a bug in a system because it would be too costly to remove it, and fixing it would not give a benefit big enough to justify the cost. We have to make those kinds of decisions in our choices about life systems, too.
As I am going through my "do one thing" initiative, it is taking me down the pathway of examining my systems. Each time I do that "one thing", I am trying to think about what the area of the house (or yard) is supporting... is my "one thing" today maintaining a system? Is it pointing out a bug in the system?
This morning's "one thing" involved clearing clutter from my vanity. The system that little area supports is the getting ready for the day and the getting ready for the night system. It is part of a personal hygiene system. The clutter I cleared off represented holding on to things that I was done with, or failing to finish the job of deciding what to do with a given piece of paper. My vanity was a flat surface in the area when that decision making process failed to complete.
To keep it clear, I have to learn to put my toys away, even if it means filing "decisions to be made". It is an extension of the "handle today's mail today"... a little further.
This thing is working much like the Spark for nutrition and exercise did... a Spark for a dignified life. Which we all are worthy of. We just have to build the support systems for this, same as for the healthy habits that nourish our bodies.
This can work. This can be long-term, too. With small steps and changed attitudes, avoiding perfectionism... I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
it's about the attitude! It's all about the attitude.
"Do one thing" is a philosophy my older sister read about somewhere and mentioned to me in conversation a few years ago. "When you are feeling overwhelmed... just do one thing." It doesn't matter much what that one thing is, as long as it contributes to establishing order. It should not be a huge thing... as if it was huge you might not start in on it... it should be small.
"Do one thing"... then after you do that one thing you can decide whether or not to do another. And most important, you point to it and say to yourself, "You have done this one thing... you have done well."
I've observed with the Spark exercise logging that it doesn't take much to fulfill one small promise to myself... and that makes me feel good, empowered, and able to continue.
Some examples of my "one thing":
* I pulled five weeds from patio cracks before work. The patio looked better. I felt good.
* I poured eight gallons of saved "gray water" onto dry spots in my yard where I'm trying to encourage the baby grass to expand. I felt virtuous, as I'm being a conservationist of my state's water resources. AND taking care of my yard economically at the same time.
* I cleaned my vacuum cleaner's filters.
* I replaced the light in my range hood and went on to clean the surface of the hood.
* I cleaned the top of the 'fridge.
* I washed my stovetop drip pans.
All of these small things, not as part of "Spring cleaning"... but as individual "one thing" efforts done before work or between work and bedtime. Some days one has more energy to put into a "one thing" than others.
Oh, and I am indeed getting the mail handled each day, so far.
So, it's not just one day at a time... it's "one thing" at a time.
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