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, July 31, 2011

Week 31--"Buy Used"--Sunday Evening

Buy Used.  "The best way to cut down on packaging and consumerism is to buy used.  Look in the classifieds, and check out yard sales the next time you need to make a big purchase (or even a little one).  Not only are you recycling and extending the life of a still-usable item, but you won't have to throw out all the packaging that new things come in.  And you'll be saving money, too."

Week 30--Sunday Early Morning

I tried to de-stress; really.  I took the day off Thursday, did a little shoe shopping, spent some quality time with my sister as it was her birthday and tried to relax despite running errands and working for an hour that night.  Found some cute sandals at the mall while shopping and wore them for about four hours before the "strappy-ness" of them caused two blisters to erupt on my poor toes.  It wasn't because they were the wrong size, it was simply the placement of the straps.  So, the sandals ended up being a no-go.  But they were so cute...

Friday was just another day, but we did end up going to the movies that evening, which we haven't done in a loooong time.  Captain America offered some good eye candy in the form of Chris Evans and left you wanting to know what happens next as "Steve Rogers" awakens in the 21st century.  It looks like Captain America did some push-ups just before filming this scene.
Saturday we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary in low-key style; I took a nap, took a bike ride and chillaxed.  Aside from taking a two week vacation to really relax, last week was good.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week 30--Wednesday Afternoon--"De-Stress"

How did I "de-stress" yesterday after work?  I hand washed my car in the drive way just like we did when I was a kid.  I don't like to pay for car washes, I think it's a waste of money if you make the time and spend the energy to wash it yourself.  Besides, as my mother would say, "Washing your car yourself makes you appreciate it more." 

It's been blazing hot here in Indiana this summer, and so it was rather refreshing to just take some time, no hurry or appointments or music in my ears...just washing the car.  I even used an old rag and wonderfully fresh smelling Orange-Glo cleaner.  The dogs milled around me, then decided it was too hot and went into the garage.  They even decided to take a drink from the leaky hose nozzle! I do admit, however, that waxing the car is an entirely different story; it requires patience...and a lot of elbox grease.

Today during my lunch break I decided to take a short walk...and boy was it short!  A dress shirt in the middle of summer outside is like being wrapped in a hot blanket.  Tonight's plan to relax and de-stress:  pedicure (myself, of course ;) and Bud Light.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 30--Monday Evening

I don't relax easily; I'm kinda like my dogs when they haven't had a walk for a while...I pace, I keep busy, I organize.  What does that mean?  I have always felt that my brain never stops; I'm always thinking.  Why does this matter?  It matters because it makes relaxing difficult.  Don't get me wrong, I want to relax, but I almost feel guilty for doing so.  Guilt should only be felt if you've done something wrong, right?  It sure isn't wrong to rest; I just need to practice it more often, I think.

Speaking of random things I've thought about today relating to this week's about this:  If you had $40 bucks, (and guys, this is mostly girl stuff, but think creatively) and you had to choose between a mani/pedi or a shopping trip, which would you choose?  Here's how I think this through...

If I get a mani/pedi, it feels wonderful!  There is no re-creating the relaxation experienced at a clean salon with a skilled technician.  They delicately cut your nails and cuticles, use hot stones to massage essential oils into dry, crusty, calloused feet, and paint that fabulous glossy color on your toes that only comes on new cars and shiny red wagons.  However, the experience, in the long run, is brief.  It's an hour of bliss and then, like a new car, your pedicure depreciates the moment you walk out the door.  Most of the time, you're wearing sandals or flip-flops because it's summer, so your feet get dirty sooner and there's a higher chance of "denting" your paint job. 

If, however, you spend your $40 on bargain shopping (for the quality items, of course) and you find perhaps, a cute pair of fabric pumps on clearance and a late-season skirt that you could wear several times over, is the $40 better spent?  You'll have items you can re-use and therefore, cost less per use (if you normally think about cost per unit ;)

I almost always choose the shopping because I love the fun and fashion of clothing.  Besides, I can do my own mani/pedis...but alas, there is not quite as much relaxation in doing your own grooming.  However, I can drink beer while I paint my toes :)

So, which would you choose?

Soft hands, feet and pretty toes (Googling "manicured toes" get you some interesting images...but I digress)

Or a cute outfit? (not a plaid person, but the skirt is cute.)
Petal skirt

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 30--"De-Stress Yourself"--Sunday Evening

De-Stress Yourself; "Sometimes the best way to take care of the world is to be sure you are taking care of yourself.  You are an environmental hazard walking around as a stressed-out time bomb.  Learn to recognize your own signs of being overly stressed, and so something about it before it seeps out while driving, at work, or at home.  Although it's great to be oriented toward caring for others, it is essential that you know when to make yourself a priority."

This week's task comes on the heels of a stressful week--it can be stressful in the moment of "speaking up." However, speaking up can be cathartic if done in an assertive manner, professionally and respectfully.

I need to plan some ways to de-stress this week.  Any ideas?  Pedicure, massage, shoe shopping...hey, how about two weeks to myself with a few good novels at this place watching these sunrises?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week 29--Speak Up!--Wednesday Evening

Just have to devote a line to my 100th post!

Speaking up at work can be difficult, requiring tactical maneuvers and timing.  Speaking up with family can only be accomplished through prayer...before, during and after gatherings.  Don't get me wrong, I love my family and its members dearly; however, the best aspects about having a large family can also be the most difficult aspects of being part of a large family. 

It's important, as I've tried to move to the forefront of my consciousness this week, to be assertive and say what you have to say, honestly and frankly...or  concede to the consequence of silent suffering.  A friend said to me today, "Create your own opportunities or wait for one to open up; those are your choices."

Say what you need to say, when you need to say it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 29--Speak Up!--Monday Late Night

Time to speak up; that's what I'm supposed to do this week, isn't it?  By the way, I like what Oswald Chambers said about justice: "Never look for justice, but never cease to give it."  So while I am challenged to speak up! about injustices this week, or speak up and speak my mind, I won't be disappointed if I don't see justice or experience it throughout my day. 

I finished reading a book this morning (Jesus Did It Anyway by Dr. Kent Keith) and the title of the final chapter was...drum roll please... Making A Difference.  How apropos.  I'd like to share some of the selections from this chapter that made a difference to me:

"We have all that we need (to be deeply happy)--the resources, the teachings, the gift of grace, and daily encouragement.  It is up to us to take these gifts and live our faith.  It is up to us to do something."

"God has given us each many gifts.  We are on this planet to use our gifts."

"How do you serve others?  How do you make a difference?  Here are five ideas to keep in mind."

1.  Be the real you.  You have to be the authentic you. 
2.  Don't worry about making a difference in terms of power, wealth and fame. 
3.  The difference you are called to make may be right in front of you.  If you see a need, right in front of you, take action.  Do what you can.
4.  You may make a difference that you did not plan to make.  God may take you by surprise.
5.  Remember that little things make a difference.  You can change another person's life by doing something that is simple and loving.  The impact can be amazing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week 29--Speak Up!--Sunday Afternoon

"Speak Up!":  Next time you witness an injustice to someone, read something that infuriates you, or experience something that pisses you off, speak up.  Express yourself through direct verbal confrontation (of the Ghandhian nonviolent genre, of course), or write a letter directly to the source.  How will the other part ever know what they did if you don't communicate?  And where were you planning to redirect that pent-up anger, anyway?"

Yes readers, that's right...the phrase, "that pisses you off" are the author's words.  Make me feel a bit more normal that a woman who wrote a book about making a difference used this phrase.  The challenge for me this week is not to speak up, but to do so in a Ghandhian manner. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Week 28--Saturday Afternoon

An update on re-using the paper coffee cup:  It did NOT last.  After the second day, the seam had absorbed quite a bit of coffee and since I put creamer in my coffee I was leery of the dairy-sitting-out-something-growing-issue (even if I rinsed out the cup).  The seam started to look black and I suspected some growth or the cure for cancer, perhaps, so I tossed the cup.  I now see the reason why those sturdy-looking paper cups are tossed after single use--not willing to take that risk ;)

Week 28--Saturday Morning

This final week's post for "Re-use as a State of Mind" is inspired by celebrity fashion faux-pas from this past week.  I can't help myself...they are the ones who wear it in public for all to see...

Lady Gaga re-using the "ribbon" nozzle on the icing tool to decorate her dress.  She also used a bolt of lace from Jo-Ann Fabric and tried a Spanish-inspired wedding veiled look from about a century ago.

Fergie dons some sort of cardigan--but I'm not sure.  It looks more like an old curtain to me. Sorry Fergie, this is not your best ensemble...

Dana Delaney (I really don't know who that is) sports what looks to be the tail of a furry animal.  Garfield?  Tigger?  A lemur?  It's unknown, but what I want to know is why? 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week 28--Friday Afternoon

"Reuse as a State of Mind." 

Use #101 for a regular rubber band:  waist extender.  This (photo below) is what happens when they make jean waists that fit when you stand, but cut you in half when you sit.  I have to thank my Mom for this remedy; it is such a versatile remedy because you can single or double loop the rubber band depending on how much lunch you ate :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 28--Monday Afternoon

There is no option but to drink cold beer; below is the wording from the weather channel for our city.  Notice the highlighted portions...Whoa! is all I have to say about going outside today.  I've changed into home clothes and started on my second beer.  The only way this can get any better is to finish off the evening with ice cream--mint chocolate chip to be specific ;)

I used my "re-usable" lunch bag today--zebra striped with pink handles and plan to recycle those beer cans.  I'm not sure the paper coffee cup will last all week.  It looks might sad already...I'll post a pic mid-week and we'll see how she fairs...stay cool!

FairTonightTomorrowTomorrow Night
Isolated T-StormsIsolated T-StormsIsolated T-Storms
Fair Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited. Isolated T-StormsIsolated T-StormsIsolated T-Storms
Feels Like: 112° LowHighLow
Past 24-hr:
Precip: 0 in
Snow: 0 in
Chance of Rain:
Chance of Rain:
Chance of Rain:
From SSW at 9mph
W at 11 mph
NNW at 10 mph
N at 8 mph
Through 11pm: Partly cloudy with temperatures slowly falling to near 82F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Week 28--"Reuse as a State of Mind"--Sunday Afternoon

Reuse as a State of Mind:  "Pretend that nothing you use can be thrown away.  What are all the alternative uses you can think of for what you formerly, casually considered 'garbage'?  All plastic containers can be reused; plastic bags can be washed and reused; wide-neck jars can be used to store food; wrapping paper can be reused.  And what things can you set aside to be used for kids' projects? (Even if you don't have kids, preschools might need 400 yogurt containers).  Get used to reuse.

Honestly, I think I do this pretty well; spending my childhood with seven siblings in a small house and learning to be "creative" with resources has prepared me to reuse and find new uses for many things.  However, I'm sure I can do better.  To start this week off, I will reuse my morning coffee cup.  A good friend of mine owns an espresso machine and has her own supply of paper coffee cups.  When I visit her, she gives me an espresso "for the road."  The cups are sturdy and I hate to throw them away.  So, I will keep this one clean after each use and reuse for the morning drive.  Let's see if it can withstand two-three morning cups of "Hot Joe" for a week...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 27--Tuesday Afternoon

I admit, I don't feel like I can do much about this week's task to Make an Ideal World.  It's far too overwhelming for me to think about.   Ideal may be in the eye of the beholder.  What I find ideal in my world may conflict with what a Russian spy finds to be an ideal world.  A politician will certainly describe an ideal world differently than a miner or advertising agent, don't you think?  Or, do you think that when it really comes down to the heart of the matter, most people want to live in the same conditions?  If so, what are those conditions? Peace?  Prosperity?  Perhaps we should ask Sir Thomas More what his ideal society looks like...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week 27--"Make an Ideal World"

Make an Ideal World:  "What does an ideal world look like to you?  Make a list of all the things you would want in such a world.  Take a look at your list and pick one items that is particularly compelling.  What could you do now to make that one ideal aspect one step closer to reality?  Are there any non-profits that are already working toward that ideal?  See what you can do alone, or , better yet, with others to work toward actualizing that ideal."

I can look at this week's task a couple ways:  One, I can list ideals for the entire world and humankind in general.  Or, I could list characteristics of an ideal world--within my sphere.  Let's try a bit of both for today.

What does my ideal (for all mankind) world look like?
  • Clean drinking water for everyone
  • Elimination of hunger
  • Elimination of evil
  • Elimination of disease
What does my ideal (my sphere) world look like?
  • Retirement spent doing what I love
  • Extra tall cabinets and sinks
  • A huge kitchen
  • Sunny days
  • Waking to the sound of the tide
  • Pain free body

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Week 26--Share Humor--Saturday Morning

This is the 90th post!  Whoa, I didn't think I'd get here back in the bitter cold of January.  However, the day is young and much to do so I'll tell this week's final humorous story for your reading pleasure.

Sometime while dating my husband, we visited his parents for the weekend.  They lived at the time in an older home they had refurbished.  I really liked the bathroom because it had high ceilings, built-in wall cabinets and intricate tiled floors.  His mom is from the South, and decorates with lots of floral motifs.  The bathroom at this time had white walls, greenish painted cabinets and a tub decorated with a double shower curtain.  It was a montage of pink, red, green and white flowers.  Personally, it wasn't my style but to each her own.  The shower curtain had a valence as well--so it was essentially a curtain across a shower and tub, and a heavy curtain at that.

We had a pretty full day and plans for the evening.  It was my turn to clean up. So I'm in the shower and I realize the water is super soft.  I grew up in southeastern Indiana with hard water--soap never lathered.  It more or less slid on and water rinsed it off.  I'm standing under the water, with child-like amazement that the water is so soft.  So soft, in fact, that the blasted bar of soap is slipping all over the place and out of my hands.  I go to retrieve the bar of soap; as I stand up, I lose my balance slightly and with such a slippery tub floor (and no mat--bad decision in hindsight) I start to sway.  And there, in my in-laws-to-be bathroom, reached the tipping point and fell--backwards--out of the tub. 

Loosing my footing and balance (thanks due to zero friction) I fall backwards over the tub.  In a blaze of fury and desperate last-minute hope, I reach for the shower curtain and pull the entire ensemble down around me. I landed on the cold tile floor, swaddled in the hideous floral curtain.  Thank the Lord I missed the sink with my head, but only narrowly.  My horror would have been ten times worse had I hit my head, passed out and  been at the mercy of the local fire department finding me unconscious on the floor--wet and naked.  What a story they would have had!!  I'm sure had I been observed,  it would have been like watching a train wreck.  It happened so quickly; one minute I'm deep in thought of the water's softness, the next minute I am on the floor, naked as the day I was born, on my back, half covered in slippy soap and tangled in the floral shower curtain from hell.

I had never felt so ambushed, so silly, so embarrassed and so child-like in my life.  It was completely out of my control.  I come to my senses after the crashing of both me and the shower curtain ensemble and the water is still running. Within five seconds I hear my husband's mom at the door, "Honey, are you all right?"  Then five seconds later, hysterical laughter is heard as I tell her, still lying on the floor and through the door what happened.  She laughs to this day about that incident.  My husband-to-be was more sensitive and truly concerned, but had a rueful smile about his mouth the whole time.  I refused to let anyone in to assist me.  I even left the water running, put back the shower curtain and finished my shower...pride and bum slightly wounded.

Imagine falling out of this tub with this shower curtain raining down upon you...except this has doors and a green curtain, but use your imagination...:)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Week 26--Share Humor--Friday Night

I'm sorry to say I didn't have much humor to share from the last two days, though the beginning of the week was full of funny moments.  Since I have no humorous stories to share, I'll share an observation.

Why, when most human beings are in a hurry, do people at the grocery store, (leaving the store) have to walk slowly back to their cars and take the longest route possible?  I don't get it.  If you walk out at a 90 degree angle from the door entrance, across the main thoroughfare to the lot, it's quick and efficient--and--you're less likely to be road kill or someone's winning points in the game of hit and run. 

Why, oh why, then, do most of the people (at least the ones at our nearest Kroger) lolligag around and take their sweet time to make a line as oblique as possible and take as long as possible to walk back to their cars?  Yes, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  However, if you walk most of that line in the middle of the road, it's not safe.  Doesn't the possibility of being hit by oncoming traffic bother them?  Apparently not. They might as well be this guy...

Photo courtesy of a fellow blogger: Nuggets of Gold