Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Happiness Challenge 2011

So I just joined Gretchen Ruben's Happiness Challenge for 2011. I think this will be another tool to keep me on the positivity track for the coming year. If you are interested- details can be found here:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winning Outcomes for the New Year

Last night at Weight Watchers we talked about "Winning Outcomes."  Essentially- goal setting.  The key to what our leader said for me was "When you make your goals, when you make your New Years Resolutions- are you setting yourself up to win or do you, almost as soon as it comes out of your mouth, think Can I REALLY do this?"  She then spent the next bit of time teaching us to reframe the way we approach our goals.  A few examples:

Rather than saying "I am giving up chocolate." (really?  You are GIVING UP chocolate?  How long will THAT last?) why not say, "As long as I stay on plan I can have XXX amount of chocolate a week." ?

Rather than saying "I am tired of being overweight- I am going on a diet."  Why not think "I am going to change the way I eat so that I can shed X number of pounds and more importantly, become more healthy."?

Rather than " I am going to the gym every single day."  How about " I will exercise for 30 minutes on Mondays and Wednesday."

It's all about resetting your mind to something that is achievable, reasonable and fits within your life.  More importantly- it's about looking at it from a positive place rather than "I hate this about myself so I need to change it."

Of course- that means that I have to stop and rethink my resolutions and retrain the brain- but it was a good and timely lesson so I wanted to share it.

I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful New Year's Eve and a bright outlook for 2011.  I will see you then and hopefully by then I will have my goals set for the coming year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why I say "Happy Holidays"

There's a big "controversy" about the use of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" every year.  Some say it's because we have gotten too PC, some claim that they are "Taking Christmas BACK!".  Me- I am afraid that I don't fall into either of those camps.   Here's how I see it.

The world is not all about me.  Yes, I said it- IT'S. NOT. ALL. ABOUT. ME.  Coming from an admitted Princess/Diva- that may shock some- but I am secure enough in my "Princesshood" to know that it's true.  Does anyone care WHAT holiday I celebrate?  Does the guy at the grocery store who grumbled "It's MERRY CHRISTMAS" when I said "Have a very nice holiday" know if I celebrate Christmas?  Or Yule?  Or Hanukkah?  or Kwanzaa?  I sincerely doubt it.  I wonder what he would have had to say if I had said "Perhaps that's YOUR holiday- but it may not be mine!" in return for his grouchy remark. No matter what I celebrate- it's people like him- who seem to be becoming more vocal- that make me want to not even extend well wishes during the season.

When I wish someone a Happy Holiday- I am not making any assumptions about their holiday of choice.  I am merely, sincerely, wishing them just that.  I am hoping that whatever holiday they and their family choose to observe is happy, healthy and safe.  There is no ill intent.  I am not out to steal any one's Christmas.  I want them to have a happy holiday.  Simple as that.  If they choose to read something into that- well, it's their loss.  I refuse to allow it to put a damper on my spirits any longer.  They can take my well wishes or discard them, no skin off my nose.

Now, I am off to celebrate the birth of someone very special this Christmas Eve- my Mama.  So I will leave you with this thought that I just closed out my facebook with:

The holidays are all about family. Family is not only those you were born with or married into but those you choose to allow into your heart. Happy, Happy (and safe) holidays to all of my family. You are each a blessing in my life and I am grateful for you. ♥

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It's just after 4am as I begin to write this.  I have been up since 2:45 when a deer decided that the tree line between our buildings and the houses behind us would be a terrific place for a walk.  We still have ice everywhere from the storm last Wednesday/Thursday and as it ambled through it was cracking through the ice with each step which sent our little Harley girl into fits.  I swear she heard it a block away.  I am not surprised as each time WE step out on the ice to take the dogs for their walk the German Shepherd down the block hears the four of us and goes into a frenzy.  Add to the fact that there is NO ONE out in the middle of the night- no traffic, no people- and you get major reverberation of sound.  Of course- she couldn't go it alone.  She had to get Auggie all wired up to go with her.  It took about a half an hour for them to settle down and really get that they had "scared" the deer away and now they are back snoring while I sit here, coffee in one hand, remote in the other, flipping channels till the world comes awake and I can go into work for a few hours.

Sounds like an aberration, right?  Not so much.  It took me half of forever to get to sleep.  I just couldn't get comfortable.  Then Miss Dog decided she needed to be up on the bed- which I can *almost* do in my sleep but is just enough of an interruption to make me realize that sleep has stopped.  Neither of those things- or the fact that I am up pre-3am- are unusual any more.  It is more unusual when I actually sleep for 6 consecutive hours.

I am trying- really trying to find something to be grateful for in the insomnia.  Something positive.  I guess I can  be happy that my DVR is empty-lol.  I can be grateful that my laundry is sort of caught up (still gotta fold it).  I can be grateful that I haven't had the urge to dive head first into my chocolate stash.  I can be grateful that now that hubbs is up- I can get working on dinner.  I only wish I could-when I wake up and can't get back to sleep- be either pain free or coherent enough to get some writing done. Together they are a double whammy of royal pain in the butt.   Oh well- it usually only goes on for a couple of months and then I sleep again.  Let's just hope it gets me through the next rush before I turn into a sleeping vegetable.  :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

We can always be thankful for our guilty pleasures. You know-those things that we indulge in on occasion and we know that we shouldn't  enjoy as much as you do, but really you can't help yourself. Having taken today off to just unwind I have been indulging in mine most of the day.   Here's a small list of my guilty pleasures:

  • Christmas Movies- I have watched a TON of them on the Hallmark Channel this month- I giggle, I cry (a lot) and no matter how sappy- I DVR and then watch as many as I can.
  • Tough Chick music- I usually listen to country music but I have a whole stash of Avril, P!NK and Katy Perry.  Don't tell anyone- but I also have the entire soundtrack to RENT which I could play all day and never get tired of listening.
  • Fun Reality shows of sorts- Iron Chef America, Top Chef (all three versions), Project Runway, Survivor, Inside the Actor's Studio, Undercover Boss, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Oprah's Big Give, Jaimie Oliver's Food Revolution.  Now- I don't like the "too much drama" shows (Housewives, Jersey Shores, pregnant teenagers) or the shows where the protagonist is screaming at people (Hell's Kitchen, Flipping Out) all of those make me kinda gag- but the ones that are done well are just delicious.  
  • Naps- there is just nothing better than a nice long mid-afternoon nap.  
  • Literary Vampire Series turned TV shows/Movies- Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries- yes, the market is glutted with other stuff but these series all have characters that you can sink your teeth into (pun intended).  Even Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Lestat Series fit in there.  
So thats a small portion of my list- what about you?  What are your guilty pleasures?  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

Though I wouldn't say I "wished" for snow- boy is it here.  It's cold- bitterly cold.  The temperature is 21 but when you add in the wind chill we are looking at low single digits.  We have been in a "Winter Weather Advisory" until 1pm and I am up watching the news to see the snow cancellations (160 and counting) since Auggie was whining to get up on my bed at 3am.  Of course- we are not closed- on the very slim chance we will close it won't happen until around 6am.  It's funny.  It seems as if each of the colleges waits to see what the other schools will do before they make up their minds.  I have very little chance of having a "snow day" because finals are over and so it's only the staff and administration who would be going in to the school this morning but I enjoy seeing the list grow longer and longer because that means that there will be that many less people on the roads when I go in a few hours from now.  It's not the amount of snow that is the issue for us, rather it is the up to 35mph winds that will is blowing the snow and reducing visibility and the black ice thanks to the rain before temps dropped.  I don't relish having to clean off my car to go to work though.  I haven't yet stocked up on my "hot hands" so it will be very unfriendly to my hands.  I think I will pack two thermoses so that I can warm us sufficiently when I get there.

The next few weeks will be crazy.  In my work cycle we essentially have about three weeks to do all of the work that we do over the summer.  That means that weekends are no longer my own and that I will be running on fumes by mid January when the craziness is all over.  To that end I have stocked up on good fruits and veggies and last night made my first of many batches of Irish Oatmeal.  The house smells wonderful because when I begin the process I add cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar to the water and as it boils the house smells like snickerdoodles.  In an hour or so, when I start getting ready for work, I will portion out the oatmeal and then some fresh blueberries to add after I reheat it at work.  Just thinking about it and smelling it makes my mouth water.  I am pretty darned grateful that I learned of the steel cut oats because it just sticks to your ribs so much better than regular rolled oats.

I really, really need to get back to blogging more regularly.  I didn't realize until this time period how much it helps me focus and keeps me on the path to gratitude and positivity.  I think I will go back to carrying my little notepad in my purse so that I can jot down things that I want to acknowledge as they happen or as I see them.  That too helps me step back and look at things from a positive angle.

I think that my next wish- being careful with this one- will be to get through this next month intact and to get back on track in all areas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Snow of the Season

I do not, as a rule, like snow at all.  That said there is something intrinsically beautiful about the first snow of the season- especially when it happens over a weekend.  Late Friday night it started to snow in our area, light squalls- just enough to cover the ground and make Harley and Auggie curious.  The weather was all over the place- I had quite a bit of work to do so I ran into work just when it started to sleet.  By the time I left work a few hours later- it was misting rain- just enough to clear away all the white stuff that was on the ground and clear the roads.

I still have a bit of shopping to do so I dragged the hubby out to get working on some of it (one more stop today and I will be very close to done) and by the time we got out of there, there were big fat flakes flying everywhere.  It really was beautiful, like living inside a snow globe that was just shaken.  People in my area aren't very confident on the road in the snow so fortunately we were close to home and had nothing else that was pressing so we were able to go home and snuggle in for the night.

Today- the ground is covered with big, fluffy snow.  Only about an inch but enough to look pretty. It's covering the trees and shrubs, the rooftops and everything in between. The dogs have been out playing in the new white stuff on the ground.  Auggie is so funny, he picks it up in his mouth and throws it up in the air and runs at it like he does his ball. He nuzzles it at Harley as if he were throwing it at her and she just watches him patiently as if she's saying "Idiot kid".  They go out and play for a bit and then realize they are cold and run back to warm up on the couch.  It's as if I have a couple of small children, minus the layers of clothes to put on and take off each time they go in and out.

By tomorrow it will be slushy and muddy and the snow will be back to the snow that I am not so fond of- but today, today I can just enjoy the beauty of it.  Between that and the holiday movies on Hallmark Channel- it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.