Uncategorized

10 Changes for the Last 155 Days of 2019

As of today, there are 155 days left in 2019. We are well past the half way mark, with 210 days gone for 2019. I feel like 10 changes is realistic for 155 days. Some will be easy. Some will be more difficult. All of them will be not only good for me, but good for the world (or at least the community). So, here goes my 10 Changes:

  1. Shop local. This will be good for numerous reasons. First, I have been really bad about the easy, breezy Amazon Prime purchases this past 210 days. I buy too much or spontaneously. Plus, Amazon is a wonderful innovative company, but it doesn’t always treat it’s workers great and it doesn’t give much to our local community. So, I’m going to try to raise our local tax base, support local business owners and really think about my purchases before I make them. This will include my holiday shopping. So, it will have an impact.
  2. Decrease my single-use plastic waste. I have been feeling more and more committed to this (note it has been a feeling, not necessarily an action) over the past few months. My family uses a TON of single-use plastics. I know I won’t be able to end it, but if I could just significantly decrease it, I would be happy. I’ve been looking at bulk shopping (we have a few places here where you can bulk shop for things like shampoo and conditioner and soaps) and will be doing that as soon as I use up some of things in my house already. Which are numerous. This brings me to…
  3. Use it up! Seriously. I have food items, cleaning supplies, body wash, lotions, soaps, books, scrapbooking stuff…the list could go on and on. And I don’t use hardly any and then I will actually purchase new stuff! Why??? I can’t explain it. But, I do. Compulsively. I have shampoo in my shower, but I bought a tester bottle at CVS two weeks ago and then bought a bottle of shampoo at Trader Joe’s this week. Why? Who knows? Again, those impulse buys get me every time. So, I’m going to do a thorough inventory of my house and commit to not buying anything new until I use up what we have.
  4. Read it or Rid it! I have so many books. That is an understatement. I have books in my room, the hallway, the garage, the living room, and more. I have not been reading much in the last decade and I go to the library pretty often. The books have just been sitting there on my shelves. I took two pretty big loads to the thrift store today and I’m going to make a commitment to only keep what I truly feel is worth keeping and get rid of the rest. I can get whatever I want to read at the library at some point, so I don’t need to have all these books in my home.
  5. Meal plan. I NEED to meal plan. We are so bad at not using food in our refrigerator and freezer. We eat out way too much, pay way too much for food we don’t eat, and we often have no idea how to make a meal out of what we have in our house. So, meal planning is a must. It ties in to #3 – Use it up. I buy stuff and then end up throwing it away because we don’t have a plan to use it. So, I’ve joined Kitchen Winners at Jessica Fisher and I’m going to try to really meal plan effectively.
  6. Digital Detox. I am on my laptop way too much and I tend to overuse my phone as well. So, I’m going to really try to digitally detox this Fall. I’m going to set firm hours for being online. I haven’t figured out exactly how it is going to work (one dark day a week would be nice, but seems a little beyond possible with my job and travel, etc.), but I’m going to put some limits on myself and commit to following those limits strictly. I didn’t take my laptop on vacation last week and it was pretty spectacular. I used my phone a little too much, but it kept dying, so it wasn’t too bad on most days. But, I’ve been bad on my laptop since returning home. And much like my purchasing decisions, a lot of it is not really necessary or helpful.
  7. Engage in my community. I used to be really active in the community when my DD was a baby. We went to a ton of local events and participated in a lot of fun things. But, since she started school, our participation the community has really fallen off. We don’t go to our Farmer’s Markets on regular basis anymore. We don’t do the downtown events when they happen. We skip museum events. I want to re-engage in these events for a couple of reasons. First, I feel like being involved in our community is important. Second, I feel like going to things like the Farmer’s Markets and museum events gives us access to people we wouldn’t necessarily meet or talk to in our day-to-day lives and those conversations can be important. In addition, it is often very fun! Once it is habit, I crave doing those events. But, when you fall out of habit, it seems like a lot of effort to expend.
  8. Do less. Better. This is my teaching philosophy for Fall 2019, so why not make it a life philosophy? I want to do the things I decide are important enough to do better. I’ve been floating through life not really doing well at anything. I now want to narrow my efforts to a few things and do those really well. What will those things be? Parenting, Home Management (including that meal planning, but also decluttering and keeping house better), Teaching and Coaching, and Leading Girl Scouts. That is not a small amount of things. In fact, it is a lot. Which is why I need to get off the laptop and phone and focus on doing them.
  9. Be hospitable. We are getting our backyard redone. It should be completed by the time school begins and we will have grass, an area for a patio table and plants, etc. I want to host people in our home and have dinner and play games and generally be hospitable. Our house is not great. In fact, it is mostly pretty ugly and worn. But, our backyard will be lovely, so we can use that until the rain comes. And maybe even then if we are strategic.
  10. Plan and implement. Last, but not least, I want to use my planner and actually implement the plans I make there. I am notorious at using my planner to write plans down and then ignoring those plans. I was better at using the planner and calendar in the Fall and I forgot way less things, but I would still not follow through with my daily plan and priorities. This next 155 days, I want to plan my days (at least a bit) and then implement those plans instead of just forgetting them. It sometimes feels good to abandon the plan, until the next day comes and I have even more things to do and still the things I didn’t implement.

So, there you have it, my 10 Changes to Make in the Last 155 Days of 2019. Let’s do this!

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Willing

Well, it is another Five Minute Friday on a Saturday. I had the best of intentions of writing a post yesterday and I have two others that I started earlier this week and never posted. Sigh…I really do write blog posts regularly. I have 120+ drafts that I have started and never published on this blog. But, I’m going to get this one written and published right now.

This blog is one of those things where I am willing to do something, but do not actually follow through with doing it. This is a contradiction of sorts. Willing has at its foundation “will” which is a commitment of sorts. So, why don’t I follow through on things like writing, finishing and publishing blog posts? Why don’t I follow through on things like exercising and eating well? Why don’t I follow through on making my life better? Often times, I think willing comes into conflict with fear and causes hesitation. Or maybe it is less fear and more perfection. What if it isn’t good enough? What if I do all the things and I still don’t achieve what I want to achieve? What if I do achieve what I want to achieve and it isn’t that great? At this point, I don’t even really know what holds me back. I just know that I hold back. I guess I need to focus more on the process and less on the product. Baby steps. Small actions. Willing to act, without knowing exactly what the result will be.

____________________________________________________

That’s it for today. It isn’t very long, but it is done and I’m going to hit publish on it. We’ll see how much I’m willing to DO this week.

Uncategorized

My Obsession: Ladies Solving Murders

I have talked about my obsession with Murder She Wrote on this blog before, when I visited her house and in my discussion of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. I am still obsessed with Murder She Wrote (which, by the way, has the first five seasons on Amazon Prime now), but I have also realized that I really just like TV shows and movies with women solving murders. Right now, I’m watching one of my favorites, “Rosemary and Thyme” which is a great British show that doesn’t have enough episodes in my opinion. I love all the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries movies, including Murder She Baked, Aurora Teagarden, Mystery 101, Hailey Dean Mysteries, Morning Show Mysteries, Emma Fielding Mysteries and Chronicle Mysteries. What do they all have in common? Women solving murders! Mostly average women, with regular jobs, solving murders! There aren’t many channels that put women in the leads as often as Hallmark does and on Movies and Mysteries, they not only get to fall in love (as they do on the regular Hallmark Movie channel), but they also get to figure things out that no one else can. They are smart, charming and brave. I love that. PBS and the BBC also have quite a few shows with women solving murders. The aforementioned Rosemary and Thyme, Miss Marple, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (of which there is a new, updated version I have yet to see), and so many more.

I’m not sure why the murder mystery genre is my favorite (I also like men solving murders, just not quite as much as the ladies). I think I like that the loose ends get tied up. I like that there is critical thinking and reasoning going on. I like that the leads have to be smart, read people well and are always on to something that no one else can really see. I also think I like the slight predictability of them. My life is unpredictable enough, I don’t need unpredictable TV shows in my life. I also like the personalities portrayed. And I like the normalcy of it all. They are going about their jobs, like baker or librarian or gardeners or writer, etc. and they are still able to get the information needed to solve the crime. They are able to manage it all, but often with some help from those around them. And most of them are characters who I would love to have as friends.

So, there you have it. My obsession with murder mysteries, especially those with ladies leading the charge.

Uncategorized

Back and Ready to Blog

Well, I’ve certainly said that before on this blog. Here and here and here just to link to a few. So, I am surely saying that with a bit of doubt in the back of my mind. But, I think I have figured out a few things and reading What to Expect from KEF this morning clarified a few of them for me as well. I hope to follow along with her own return to her blog with my return to my blog. I’m going to go through and choose the things I really loved to do on this blog and leave the rest behind. I’m not going to be focused on “monetizing” the blog as everyone seems so focused on telling me to do on the web. If I don’t make any money on it, it still gives me a space to write and hopefully commune with others who have similar interests, challenges and lives. I’m not going to be focused so much on finding all the right things to write about, but instead am just going to be focused on writing. Hopefully, I can find some things worth saying without having to worry about what those things are. I love going back and reading the past posts (and will be cleaning up my categories and tags to make it easier for others to do that as well) and I know that every once in a while, writing here has given me something that I needed.

So, just to give everyone an update on my life. It is summer. I am teaching a summer session that has one more week. I still struggle with lesson planning, grading (I’m behind in this right now) and managing all the classes I teach. But, I love it. Teaching is definitely my jam and always will be. So, I’m working this summer on simplifying my classes and assignments and making it all easier to manage, while also meaningful to both my students and me. My theme for next year is “Teach less. Better.” I am really trying to apply to that to all of my life. “Live with less. Better.” I am still a Girl Scout leader and excited to go into my second year of Juniors with my troop. Unfortunately, I think that I may lose my co-leader from the last two years who was awesome. She is moving. But, I trust that someone else will come along if she decides not to commute in from 20-25 minutes away twice a month for meetings. We shall see. My 10 year old is still going strong. We will celebrate the 10th anniversary of her receiving her heart transplant in exactly two weeks. I’m trying to figure out the best way to mark that monumental date. We shall see. But, shortly after we are going to see Hamilton (her favorite musical) in San Francisco and that will be a great gift to both of us! I will be teaching at both my four-year University and 2-year Community College and coaching the Speech and Debate team at the University. My daughter is also going into her second year of 4-H. Last year, we barely dipped our toes in with that, but this year, I hope she gets more active and involved in those activities.

So, bottom line is, I’m living a busy life. Too busy at times. And although I would like to simplify large portions of it, I don’t want to give up the fun things we do and all of the benefits of my two jobs. So, I have to work on simplifying what I can, managing what I can’t/don’t want to get rid of and finally being a more present person to my daughter, my husband and myself.

Hope you’ll join me for what I hope will be the second half (100 won’t be a bad age to live to) of this crazy life of mine.

Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Measure

Joining up at Five Minute Friday again this week. March has been a rough month for me and I can honestly say I’m glad to see it come to an end, but I’m also recognizing that April may not be much better. Today’s prompt for FMF is Measure. So, here goes:

How do we measure our lives. It is such an overwhelming task. We live for years and years and years if we are lucky and during that time, so much comes to pass. Good things, bad things, difficult things, impossible things, easy things, fun things, joyful things. But, how do we truly measure our lives? I started this blog ten years ago and my focus was getting “more” out of life. Having something “more” to show for my forty years. But, ten years later, I’m not even sure what that would look like. I’m not sure I would know if there was “more” to show. Because I don’t know what should be showing up, what I should be measuring.

We use a lot of measurements in our society. What do you own? What have you accomplished? How much money do you have in the bank? How many friends do you have? What awards have you won? But, do those really measure anything meaningful. I mean, some things measure meaningful things. Accomplishing things that help others or make the world a better place are good. Money is good if you use it the right way. Friends are valuable. But, how do you truly measure any of those things? Accomplishing one really meaningful thing may be better than accomplishing numerous less meaningful things. A small amount of money used well may be more meaningful than a ton of money used poorly or left in the bank. Friends can be deep and truly inspirational, but they can also be surface-level and actually decrease our self-awareness or self-acceptance.

I guess I will probably never have an answer to this question. But, I do know that God has set forward a meaningful life that can be measured in a meaningful way. We just don’t always have the tools to do that and we need to trust as we move through life. We need to look for opportunities to do meaningful things.

Uncategorized

My Broken Spring Break

Today has been great. It is my first official day of Spring Break and my husband and I dropped my DD off at Art Camp this morning at 9 a.m. and went to a leisurely breakfast at one of our favorite places in town. We then came home and did some catch up work we both had and then I went to pick up my DD at Noon from Art Camp. She wanted to eat downtown and get a book at our local used bookstore, so we did. It is a beautiful day after many weeks of rain and clouds and cold, so we ate outside and enjoyed the sunshine. We then came home and her friend came over and they have been playing independently and I’ve got a few projects done around the house and for work.

But, I am feeling a little sad because tomorrow morning I am driving away from town with a bunch of college students and going to New York for the remainder of my Spring “break”. My daughter will spend the week with my husband and his parents are coming up at the end of the week to go to a family friend’s funeral on Friday. I would love to be here spending every day in a leisurely way and seeing my in-laws and being there for my husband at the funeral of his good family friend. But, instead I am traveling and spending approximately 10 hour days at Hofstra University while many students compete in Speech and Debate. And I love Speech and Debate and the opportunities for travel it provides to me and my students, but when it cuts into my family time in such a big way, I start to feel the pull of home. Such is life. No one’s job is perfect and no one’s life is perfectly balanced. But, it still feels a little disappointing.

I am trying to approach it as a bit of a working retreat to get my life on track. I am not judging, so I have the days relatively open to getting things done (around providing my students meals, rides and advice, of course). But, it is always harder to get things done at tournaments than it would be at home. And every week I don’t spend with my DD feels like one I may live to regret. I don’t like to think about things that way, but I almost have to. I am trying to view it as my husband’s gain because he doesn’t get to spend time with her nearly as much I do, so this is good for them. I won’t be here to interfere with them spending time together.

My other goal while I am gone is to figure out what I can possibly do differently moving forward to make my life what I want it to be. It isn’t easy for me to figure out what I can do to make things change because I often feel kind of trapped in what I’ve become. But, I have to view myself as more of a caterpillar rather than a fully formed butterfly. Or maybe I’m a chryssalis since I’ve already lived my earlier life and hopefully I can figure out how to break out of where I’ve been and do a little more with what I’ve been given.

Life is a series of challenges. I am finally feeling ready to take some of them on before they come barreling down the road at me. I am ready to approach them first and preemptively deal with them!

Uncategorized

Nancy Drew is Back and Reminding Me Who I Am

There is a new Nancy Drew movie coming out in five days. It is based on the first book, The Hidden Staircase, and it looks like a winner from the trailer. I am also hopeful because Ellen is in on the production level.

Nancy Drew has always held a special place in my head and my heart. I’ve watched all the old TV episodes (cheesy to be sure), all the movies (including the old black and white ones), and read all the books multiple times. I have even read a few of the early reader ones with my daughter. Nancy Drew represents all that I wanted to be as an elementary school student. I wanted to be confident and adventurous and independent. When it came right down to it, I was not very confident, I was only a little adventurous and I was not at all independent. But, I could dream through Nancy Drew.

As I grew older, I never let go of all the memories tied up in Nancy Drew. I never owned the books. My mom and I would walk or drive to the library once a week and half the time or more I would check out Nancy Drew books. I moved from Nancy Drew to Hardy Boys because they were next to each other in the library, but the boys never measured up to Nancy. I watched the TV show where they joined the two together. My friends and I often pretended we were in a Nancy Drew plot and our lives were truly adventurous, while we were simply going between each other’s houses on the wild streets (not at all wild), hiding in bushes and looking for clues along the way. We had quite the imaginations.

When I became an adult, I began collecting the books again, convinced I would read them all again with my own daughter. Alas, she has not really liked them (they are a bit outdated when you get right down to it) and we have a set of books that have gone mostly unread. But, they are there to remind me of my youthful self. They are there to remind me of my dreams. They are there just in case I feel the need to visit Nancy once again and remind myself of all that I once wanted to be.

Now, there is a movie, set in the modern day, with Nancy as the lead. She is smart and spunky and confident and adventurous. She is there to remind me who I can still be and hopefully to show my daughter all she can be. I will be in a theater on Friday seeing this movie with my own 10 year old daughter. I will think of my mom who loved the Nancy Drew series and often read the books to and with me. I will think of my elementary school friends who role played Nancy Drew plots with me so often. And I will think of all the different Nancies who have come and gone, but always signaled to girls that they could be more than some would give them credit for.