Welcome to my blog about my journey through this book and it's challenges. It's a simple exercise, but it's good for me. I hope you enjoy the blips and slips and funny moments. You may even learn a thing or two too!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 9--Sunday Night--"Buy Recycled"

Mother Earth, treehugger, "going green"...all words to explain what I am not consistently--conscientious about the planet.  However, I have been attempting to recycle when I see an opportunity.  In fact, I took a load of aluminum cans and a box of fashion magazines to the recycling center today--before this week's card was drawn. Go me.

Buy recycled; "So sometimes it's a little browner and sometimes it's a little grayer or sometimes it's a little rougher and often times it costs a little bit more, but buy recycled whenever possible anyway."

This week it looks as though I am to "make a difference" for Earth. I recycle; I use plastic bags from weekly shopping trips to super-mega marts as trash bags around the house.  I also put into use the re-usable grocery bags--now what I need to be better at doing is using those recyclable green fabric bags so I don't end up with a mountain of generic plastic bags.  Duh me.

One thing I don't do is buy loads of bottled water; I re-use plastic bottles--which, as I found out, is not a bad thing if you clean the bottles after every use.  Found this recycling symbol.  I like it; it's a cross between modern and art deco with a bit of African textile look to it.  Go Earth!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Week 8--Friday Night

What a week!  Contending with a migraine flareup starting Monday, a night class, two sleepless nights, one twelve hour sleep fest and a co-worker party last night made for a week that threw my entire sleep/wake cycle off!  I did, however, re-watch in the wee hours of the morning two very good movies:  The Young Victoria and Jane Austen's Persuasion (2008 BBC Version).

As to how I fared the last three days not walking away angry...I do remember walking away from my desk frustrated with customer service...but I simmered down with a nice walk around the office later that day.  I've spent the remainder of the last two days hence sleeping or working on projects.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 8--Tuesday Evening

I apologized quite a bit today; not, however, the apologizing for no reason but honest requests for taking up people's valuable time to hear me complain or vent.  I simply felt a pressing urge to do so. 

Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself speak?  Sometimes I need a break from me; no anger today--except a brief flood of frustration for the current medical billing situation in our country, of which I am one of millions paying too much for necessary medical care.  Nite.

Week 8--Tuesday Early AM

I'm happy to report that I did not walk away angry on Monday, and from a certain perspective, several events occurred that normally would have pushed me off balance.  From a bird's eye view these events included two sessions of constructive criticism--always exhausting.  A frustrating phone call, and finally, news that I would have one more hoop to jump through to meet a short-term goal.

It's not to say that I'm not discouraged a bit by today's events--the wind in my sails has died down a bit--but I was not as passionately reactive as I may have been a few weeks earlier.  In truth there are very few reasons to be angry--it's such an exhausting emotion--it sucks the energy out of every cell.  Speaking of energy, I'm wiped out!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 8--Sunday--"Don't Walk Away Angry"

This week's card choice is:  "Don't Walk Away Angry." 

The card reads, "Learn how to fight fairly.  Fight to resolve differences, not to win.  In fact, maybe after a short respite and a few deep breaths, you could shift what started out as an argument into a constructive discussion.  Taking a mutually agreed upon break is one thing, but giving up or walking away angry is another.  This only prolongs and escalates an angry mood indefinitely.  If you find your fights quickly get out of control, consider reading a book on fair fighting or seeking out a third part to referee."

I italicized a section of the description for a purpose; I have never heard this advice explained in this manner.  Fighting not to win is contrary to our contemporary culture, seen often in movies and advertising.  Besides, capitalism is all about being the "big dog."  What do I take from this?  On first blush, it appears that being angry over something is not a bad thing in and of itself; anger can indicated something is wrong.  As the Bible reminds us in Ephesians 4:26, "Be you angry, yet do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath."  The key, then, is to constructively use anger. 

I see many people use their anger and fight to be right; they fight to justify their position (even when in the wrong), not aware that they manner in which they fight harms even friends and family.  What a powerful emotion...

From are nine steps on fighting fairly:

"How to Fight Fair in your Marriage and Other Relationships."
  1. Be Respectful.
  2. Keep the problem the problem.
  3. Stay on one subject.
  4. Use time-outs as needed.
  5. Listen for understanding.
  6. Don’t mind read your partner
  7. Try to see things from your partner’s point of view
  8. Seek to solve the problem.
  9. Forgive and accept each other.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week 7--Saturday Night

Today marks my last day for this make a difference card to "Be in Nature" for the week.  We walked the whippets on the Monon; it was wonderful.  The whips were happy, I was happy, my hubby was happy, the warm sun was shining, the wind was cool, people were out and about and smiling, and the river's water was strong and flowing rapidly.  Today, simply, was a perfect day to be outside!

The Monon Trail

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 7--Friday Night

Beautiful day again here in central Indiana; I loved it!  Sun--I crave sun--not the boiling, broiling, crustacean-inducing-color giver of summer, but the gentle, warm, energizing sun of late Spring.  I swear I'm a solar day in the sun for me will go a long way for peace and tranquility (that may be going too far).  Let's just say that a full day's sun--heck--even twenty minutes of sun exposure will energize and enhance my mood.  If you catch me outside, you're much more likely to catch me smiling and carefree.

I heard a babbling brook yesterday while finishing my exercise bout; it wasn't quite as "babbling" today since the snow has all but vanished.  However, the sound of running water over stones was music to my ears.  Why is that sound so comforting to many people?  I have one of those Zen-inspired indoor water features; the water trickles from the top to the base and in between runs over two or three ceramic outcroppings creating the softest sound.  I like it. 

Reflective moment:  I hypothesize that when humans partake in the splendor, beauty, and sheer unpredictability of "Nature" they tend to think outside themselves, believe in something more than themselves and put it all into perspective.  Perspective keeps us grounded; being a "grounded" person can positively affect others' lives and perhaps even make a difference.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 7--Thursday Evening

"To be, or not to nature.  That is the question."  For me, it was a glorious hour communing with the fresh air, strong wind and slightly overcast, patchy clouded sky.  I decided that since it was once again above 60 degrees in Indiana in February, I would take advantage of it. 

Work today was particularly draining; not that it was bad, per se, just...draining.  After eight hours, I was happy I had brought along my workout gear, so I decided to leave.  I changed and drove over to the neighborhood across the pond from our office. 

It was a reviving walk/run; I started my jaunt with my fancy new iPod (thank you husband) but decided I really wanted to just listen to the sounds of nature--feel and hear the wind, the sound of the gravel under my shoes as I ran, and the chirping of birds.  I eventually returned to my motivational music near the end of my exercise journey (more tired than when I started), but all-in-all I believe I enjoy outside runs sans music.

Nature today reminded me of an excerpt and scene from Jane Eyre when Jane first traverses the grounds of Thornfield Hall after a dreary winter, "It was a fine, calm day...the ground was hard, the air was still...I walked fast till I got warm, and then I walked slowly to enjoy and analyze the species of pleasure brooding for me in the hour and situation."

Our Indiana sky this late afternoon looked something like this:  overcast yet fresh (without the mountains
in the distance).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Week 7--Wednesday Evening

Today, I took a walk after work and enjoyed the balmy 50 degree temps in Indiana.  It was great--beautiful sunset, birds singing, geese...honking, and snow melting.  Being in nature and enjoying that smell of fresh air does wonders for me.  It was sunny earlier today and I just welcomed the respite from sitting at a computer.  Perhaps I will be able to talk another walk tomorrow if it's warm enough.  Nite folks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 7--Tuesday Evening

I did not get an opportunity to enjoy nature today; in fact, I enjoyed the Tuesday late afternoon, pre-dinner Wal-Mart crowd before heading home.  Why?  It was an opportune moment to finally tie up some errand loose ends.  Have an appointment tomorrow that will require me to be outside...let's hope it's sunny and warmer!

Week 7--Tuesday

Nature is beautiful...and currently cold where I'm located.  However, since we Hoosiers feel the need to wear sandals and shorts as soon as the mercury hits 40 degrees, I took a nice brisk walk outside yesterday evening.  It was great!  I was not, contrary to my heritage, wearing shorts--or sandals.  I was appropriately dressed.  Speaking of appropriate cold-weather dress, check out this link if you desire to "Be in Nature" in a cold weather environment:

Tonight's agenda:  another walk/jog but at a different locale.  Until the heat returns to the land of corn, here's a nice view to take your mind off dry skin, chapped lips, turtlenecks and hot tea:  Ahhhhhh...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 7--Sunday, Feb. 13th--"Be in Nature"

I pulled a mulligan for this week's card pick; my hubby's original pick of cards this week asked that I babysit--no way--not this week.  Besides, I have a niece and nephew due this summer...perhaps that card will be picked then. So, he re-picked. 

This week's card reads,"Be in Nature."  Now this one should be awesome--I love to be in Nature!  The back of the card says, "For those whose weekly routine involves leaving an apartment to take the elevator to go to the 18th hermetically sealed floor of an office building for five days straight, it may be helpful to find some dirt to stand on during weekends.  Remind yourself what the earth feels and looks like--there really is a planet underneath all that concrete.  And if you venture out far enough, you may even see wild animals (no, not drivers in rush hour, the other kind).

Let's start with enjoying my backyard (though right now it's slightly frozen)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 6--Thursday Night

Not much to say for the last couple days; busy days at work with 2010 end of year wrap up, etc.  Took some time off today to make some plans, will do the same tomorrow and perhaps take the afternoon off as well to re-charge before a challenging few weeks till spring.

I'm finding it hard to re-charge my own batteries--it seems every time I plan to take time for myself, I choose to stay and finish this report, or go ahead and run an errand, or help out with this or that...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 6--Tuesday Evening

Not so much re-chargin' today...more like "sucking the life out of you" day.  Hmmm...I'm glad I was proactive and recharged Monday.  It's important to recharge your batteries daily, I've decided. 


It could be anything--just do it--make time for it.  If you don't, you can't give back to anyone and you aren't much enjoyment either.  You really have to fight for yourself--not a selfish fight, but a fight so as not to let others rain on your parade. I'm daily amazed by the myriad methods people use to impose their will upon others.  Whatever happened to objective discussions???

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 6--Monday Evening

I took the day recharge my batteries.  It was great; thanks to the Lord I can take the day off.  I slept in, did laundry, cleaned a bit, exercised, spent time with my hubby (who also took the day off) and generally chilled.  I was chilled by the frozen tundra called winter outside, but nothing hot coffee can't make better.
I also cleaned the garage a bit and decided to set up a system to recycle our aluminum cans; we don't have city recycling here.  My "system" consisted of an old box--that's about it.  I told my man what it was for and he's good with it.  I actually went through the trash cans in each room to make sure I didn't miss any pop cans (or good opportunities) to recycle.  Watched the end of a movie I've seen several times and didn't wear any makeup (except for mascara of course!)  I'm online because I was attempting to get some work done while it's quiet only to realize I left a crucial piece of equipment at the office.  Oh well...not recharging my batteries if I'm working, right?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 6--Sunday, February 6th, "Recharge Your Batteries"

Superbowl Sunday--love it!  I'm ready for the commercials, actually.  I'm looking forward to those more than the game since the Colts aren't playing.  I will start my annual Superbowl chunky chili soon...and my hubby made yummy dessert!

Week time flies!  Recharge your Batteries; this week's card shows two batteries lying in the sun on a beach, smiling and happy.  The card reads:  "When possible, plug your electronics in, instead of chewing through hundreds of AA batteries.  If you must wear your walkman (shows how old this book is) when you run, invest in nickel cadmium rechargeable  batteries and a recharger.  These are readily available at your local electronics store and are pretty cheap, too.  Never throw dead batteries in the trash.  Special recycling centers will take them, or you can send them back to the manufacturer.  As for your own batteries, taking short naps is still the best was to recharge."

I'm not really a battery user, though I should recycle them.  What I plan to focus on this week is recharging my own batteries by doing things I love.  Ideally, I would prefer to recharge my batteries on this Irish beach at sunrise, drinking cool spring water and reading my favorite novel.  Imagine a cool summer morning breeze gently ruffling the leaves of a wispy tree while breathing in the moist, salty air of the Irish that's my idea of recharging my batteries. 

Now if I can just get to Ireland by the summer...:)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Week 5--Thursday 2/3/11

"Learn to say, 'I'm sorry.' Learn to mean it.  Learn when to say and use it."

I learned a use for "I'm sorry" that I don't think is often...useful, necessary or edifying.  Several times throughout my day, either I or someone else said "sorry" but didn't really do anything wrong.  I don't think we should apologize for being ourselves.  Are we all just petrified of being harped upon?  Speaking up? Sharing what's on our mind?  Afraid we'll take flack for it or be made fun of? Perhaps...

For instance, after lunch at a local restaurant, my friend said, "I'm sorry, but I will not walk on that ice sheet called a sidewalk; please come round and pick me up!"  I tried to help her along, encourage her that she would be's just ice (3 inches thick).  I think she was really afraid of falling--as she should be--it's a winter wonderland outside.  However, she didn't need to apologize to me; she was I picked her up at the door and thanked the Lord I didn't fall on my own toosh in 3 inch heels.

Here's another example--I apologized for being...happy.  I was happy today--I noticed I was happy today--which in and of itself is another blog entry entirely...but I digress.  Why was I happy?  I was happy because I was laughing at an ironic situation--and yet I apologized for my humorous observances.  Why did I feel obliged to apologize for my thoughts on the subject?  I didn't do anything, I was merely an observer to an ironic, humorous, drama-laden situation.  And it was funny.

I unnecessarily say "I'm sorry" way too often; I don't like that about myself.  I have made an effort not to say it so often.  Perhaps I should change my environment if it's that often...another blog entry and digression.  I notice I say it when I'm tired, frustrated, or feel obligated to: perform, maintain a semblance of "togetherness", be professional, strive for perfection, be the smiley one, be the one keeping it together, or be the strong one.  But you know what?  I don't need to apologize. If I'm tired, frustrated, sad, happy, weak, or whatever...I just need to feel the way I feel, recognize it, avoid hurting anyone else while in a  funk--then move on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 5--Wednesday afternoon 2/2/11

Last night I said "I'm sorry" for a different reason than to apologize for my own errors; last night I said "I'm sorry" as a way to acknowledge and comfort someone who had been made aware of some life-changing news.  Saying, "I'm sorry for your loss" seemed appropriate.  I did not contribute to their sadness; I was not responsible for their emotions because of this news. Yet my "I'm so sorry" communicated to that person shared understanding--for I have lived the same loss--the same emotion--and the same sadness.

"Learn to say, 'I'm sorry.' Learn to mean it.  Learn when to say and use it."

I believe apologizing when you are in the wrong is never inappropriate or ill-advised. I also believe that sometimes a sincere, heartfelt, "I'm sorry" as a condolence can communicate so much more than long-winded advice.