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!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 35--"In Person"--Tuesday Morning

This week's card reads, "In Person:  Surprise a client, a friend, an associated, or your partner by using the old-fashioned method of communication:  Show up in person and hand-deliver a message.  Yes, of course your time is extremely valuable, but every once in a while show your face; give your e-mail, voice mail, fax machine, cellular phone, and your express mail carrier a rest."

I already have a plan to surprise some former colleagues tomorrow for lunch, or at least a brief "Hello" if they are not free for some grub.  When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand?  Or, better yet, when was the last time you stopped by a friend's house to make a call and took some cookies or wine?  I have a new neighbor, a Southern transplant, and she has been so kind as to call me in the last month a couple times and ask if I'd like to come over and chat.  I'm not used to that, but it's a nice feeling.  She called just last evening to let me know I could bring over the dogs to run in their yard this week if it fits the schedule. Looks as though I will be making a house call today or tomorrow.  Simple acts of kindness can often make such a difference...isn't that what this year is about?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 34--"Massage Me, Massage You"--Tuesday Morning

So I did get a massage yesterday for my birthday.  It wasn't as relaxing as I imagined, probably because my body was so tight the therapist cautioned that she didn't want to overdue working out the gristly knots and cause me pain.  It was, at times, relaxing, but also painful--but the good pain--the pain you have to endure to get to the long-lasting relief.  It probably would have helped if it hadn't been a year since my last massage.  Once over I decided to join the monthly program to receive one massage a month at a discounted rate.  Time to take care of my body.  I will say I was impressed with the cleanliness and peaceful air of the massage therapy spa.  It's also very close, very close indeed--in case I need an emergency massage!

It's never a good sign (as a woman) when your husband compares your latest fashion purchase  to a "dream catcher."  Luckily I didn't purchase a skirt or a crocheted top; I wanted to try out a cute headband (one that I thought was tasteful, but apparently not) with a 1920's vibe.  It was a slim satin-covered headband with a few chestnut-colored feathers positioned just so it cupped your head when you wore it.  The look I was shooting for was one of ambiguity.  It wasn't supposed to look like a dream catcher on my head. 

With my short hair and lots of layers on top, I was able to make it look as though, instead of sitting on my head, the decorations were "intertwined" with my hair.  However, the dream catcher analogy combined with the beginnings of a headache convinced me to return said hair accessory and abandon the idea.  It really was a classy accessory...just not something one would wear daily.  Bummer.  What really sealed the deal, however, is when I turned around, (a look of seeking approval in my eyes) wearing my coquettish headband and Ronnie smiles then begins to sing the theme song from Disney's Pocahontas, "I look once more, just around the river bend..."  'Nuff said. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 34--"Massage Me, Massage You"--Monday Morning

Today is my birthday; I don't feel any different this year than last, with perhaps the feeling that my body is slowly deteriorating at a cellular level--you know: crow's feet, achy joints, and puffy morning eyes.  But I'm not upset about it; it's the cycle of life. I bet this sounds rather depressing but it's not intended that way, it's merely a verbal reflection of the feelings of the moment--transitory and fleeting...

I'm going to like this week's task:  Massage Me, Massage You:  "Learn how to give and receive a massage.  Adult education programs often teach massage classes, or check out bulletin boards at holistic health-oriented stores and centers.  Knowing how to give a good massage is a real gift, and receiving one is pretty close to achieving a state of nirvana.  It's amazing how healing a little touch can be."

I own a massage table; I use it sometimes for private clients when I'm personal training.  It's useful for both massaging sore muscles but good for stretching post workout.  With my educational background in exercise science, I would say I'm pretty good at massage--however, I would like to learn the "official" massage strokes for the different types of massage--Swedish, Deep tissue, etc. 

I checked out a few massage technique books at the store, and most of that is what I already do.  I bet the best education is hands on--no pun intended.  There's a massage school downtown, and I checked into it as a way to enhance my professional credentials but it is more expensive than anticipated and its probably not a good idea for me to be a full-time massage therapist having had four surgeries on my right arm.  I would need massage after work!

I will say that knowing how to give good massages makes you the most sought after person at a family gathering.  Suddenly everyone wants a shoulder massage after dinner so they can relax because "no one else is good at it."  That makes me feel good.  I think I will treat myself to a massage today for my birthday...I bet I haven't had one in over a year!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week 33--"Stray Animals"--Saturday Evening

We don't have stray animals in our neighborhood, or so at least to my knowledge.  It's not a problem we've ever had, really.  And so because of that, I did not take a stray to have it spayed or neutered.  However, I did take our newest whippet to be neutered not too long ago.

Speaking of our newest whippet, here he is eating one of his favorite treats: apples!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week 33--"Stray Animals"--Sunday Morning

Stray Animals:  " Cruelty to animals can partly be prevented by taking responsibility for strays around your neighborhood.  Better than just feeding them is to catch them or have them caught, and , if possible, pay for them to be sprayed or neutered--that way, they have a better change of being adopted into a real home."

This reminds me of Bob Barker's mantra:  "Remember, have your pet spayed or neutered!"  We don't have many stays in our neighborhood at all; I will have to think about what I can do this week to meet this challenge.  I did have my new pet neutered a few weeks ago at a nice clinic. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Week 32--Spend Less--Saturday Morning

Ah, yes, disappointment has a catalytic way of causing you to spend more money than necessary.  Take last evening--my sister and I had planned to attend a "Summer Nights" movie at the art museum.  It was a beautiful evening--we were so excited to watch To Catch a Thief on the big screen, sitting on the lush lawn of the amphitheatre terraces on a glorious Friday night.  However, apparently we should have purchased tickets beforehand because it was sold out when we arrived--Bummer!

So what were we to do?  My husband was probably asleep as he had a rough work week, her husband had a friend coming over to play Call of Duty and we were all dressed up (not literally) with no where to go.  What did we decide upon?  After much marinating on the topic, we ended up getting Starbucks and shopping at Wal-Mart for necessities we didn't buy during the weekly shop.  What a juxtaposition...from the IMA movie to Wal-Mart perusing. 

And let me tell you, perusing Wal-Mart at 9pm on a Friday night was just about as interesting as watching a drama.  Oh the people, the myriad of people going about their business.  We encountered lots of mom's lugging their children along, trying to keep a lid on the screaming and crying; an employee (who had such a mundane expression on his face) was pulling a loading cart with a wheel that squeaked, nay, moaned this high pitched shrill every couple seconds and he was unaffected.  You could hear it several aisles over and it was like nails on a chalkboard. 

We were approached by what I guessed as a European man who looked like he was transplanted from a Motley Crue video with quite the salt-and-pepper wavy mullet.  My sis and I were contemplating with animated verbal fluency which dark chocolate bars to buy and weighing the calorie options when this man looked at me and said, "Accent?" 
I must have looked totally confused (because he had an accent) but I said, "No, I'm from here." 
"No, where are you from, you have an accent?" 
"Oh, you're from here." 
"Yes, yes I am." 
Odd, very odd encounter...

At the end of our Wal-Mart journey, I exited the store with three photo mats and a $5 movie.  My sister left with cooking oil and a canary yellow chip-and-dip bowl that was on clearance.  So much for spending less yesterday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Week 32--Spend Less--Friday Afternoon

I was worried (not seriously, of course) that I was going to have to break my streak of spending less money this week because I had a scheduled lunch with a friend I had completely forgotten about.  It was a new place and likely to be way more than I typically spend on lunch in a normal week.  However, in calling to confirm our lunch, we mutually decided we had lots of work left to do and errands to run, and so we re-scheduled our lunch.  Whew!  I almost shot the whole week with one measly salad and drink!

This week's tally of unnecessary expenditures amounts to about $1.08--and that was for a cinnamon biscuit I purchased in the drive through because I felt the need to buy something in addition to using my "free coffee" coupon.  Yes, I realize in buying said biscuit I defeated the purpose of the coupon, but the biscuit sounded yummy and I didn't eat a full breakfast.  See how I justified that? ;)

You know, one thing I've learned about this week's challenge is that if I don't go browse the store or buy something unnecessary (which can happen after a stressful day sitting at a desk), it leaves a lot of time to clean out and organize what I already own.  I see how this works:  spend less on items you don't need, realize what items you already have, and know that you have to spend less in the future.  Here are some tips to spend less money by DumbLittleMan (love the name)

I've been in a super re-organize mode the last couple of weeks which has turned out to be a good thing.  I'm one of those people who feel much more settled when I accomplish the 'nagging' chores that aren't absolutely necessary but make me feel a sense of satisfaction when completed.  And here is said list of these items:  take magazines and cans to recycling center, use the $10 for 10 items dry cleaning coupon I have (next week, of course), re-fold and organize the linen closet, finish my Goodwill gathering and file behemoth stack of papers sitting on the office desk. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week 32--Spend Less--Wednesday Morning

Three days into the week and I haven't been to a retail, grocery or pharmacy, or even a "store."  Not even online...despite receiving two excellent coupons.  One for for an extra 40% off sale prices and the other for 25% off and free shipping on any item. Of course, this week's goal is to spend less, especially on items unnecessary.  Any clothing at this point in the history of my wardrobe is not necessary.  However, there are some really cute items out for fall--I can't promise I won't use that 25% deal next week though ;)

I have brown-bagged my lunch the last couple days and, as expected, feel better about my eating.  Brown bagging lunch not only saves on the food bill, but require you to plan and "think" about what you're going to eat.  It's a good exercise all round.

Finally, there is a new obstacle in my path to spending more than I should...literally.  Road crews just started work on the main road outside the house that leads to two important intersections to get anywhere.  I am not upset, however, because we have desperately needed re-paving of the road.  So, it's one more reason not to be tempted to visit the store and use that coupon ;)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 32--"Spend Less"--Sunday Morning

Shop Less:  "Keep track of (or just notice) all the things you consume in a day.  Did you really need all of them?  What needs were you trying to fill through your purchases that perhaps could be met in another way?  If you must shop, perhaps you could buy blankets or food to donate to a homeless shelter.  Periodically, sort through your stuff and lighten your load by donating all those things you no longer need to a good cause."

It's probably a good things that this week's challenge to make a difference came after last week's "Buy Used."  Because I bought last week.  So, I will be reigning in the shopping this week.  Right off the bat I can think of a few things I don't need to buy--morning coffees at the 'Bucks, lunch ( I can brown bag it instead) and any vending machine cravings mid-afternoon.

And today, I plan to start my Goodwill hunting and gathering within my home.  Last week was spent cleaning carpets, changing up furniture and re-arranging wall hangings.  Looks like my desire to clean out will continue this week.

For what can you shop less?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Week 31--Thursday Evening--"Buy Used"

Haven't really purchased anything used this week...though I did find some killer boots for a great price--they will be perfect when I bust them out this fall and winter.  They are boots with fur, yes, that's correct, like the song--but not really those kinds of boots with fur.  They are comfy suede boots with a ring of fur-ish material at the top. The best part about them?  My toes won't fall asleep from being in too high of a heel. Sweet.

I did, however, recycle a bracelet and used pieces of it to create earrings to match an outfit.  Perhaps I can count that as "buying used."  Besides, I will get several pairs of earrings out of the one bracelet.  That saves me from buying a new pair of earrings!

Lastly, I had to share this picture. Since I posted a picture of Captain America, AKA Chris Evans, I was informed that I had to check out the actor who portrays Thor--also a nice specimen of man meat.  What do you think? 
Chris hemsworth shirtless Thor Movie

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 31--Monday Evening--"Buy Used"

Didn't buy anything today; wait, yes I did--some items at Wal-Mart that aren't good to buy used--pillows, wet wipes and coffee creamer.  These would all be rather nasty if purchased used.

I did, however, bid on an item on eBay.  My favorite pair of black peep-toe pumps by Sofft are dying.  I've had the heels replaced twice and now the ball of the foot is finally wearing down.  I'm sad because they don't make that style any longer, but I found a replacement pair that I think will work just fine.  Are they used?  Actually, no, but they are the price of a used pair ;)