Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who Do You Think You Are?

Have you ever discovered something about yourself that was a complete surprise to you? Sometimes we put forth a lot of effort to make a change in who we are or what we do. Other times, the change occurs without our awareness.
For example, you know those people who workout several times a week? I'm one of them. How weird is that? I'm not sure how it happened. I wish I knew because I'd like to make it happen again if I need to in the future. I've been trying to analyze what led me to this bizarre turn of events, and the truth is I have no idea. I can't connect it to anything else about how I usually behave. But there you go.
And you know that person who is able to prioritize what tasks need her attention? That person who is able to let go of problems that don't belong to her, even when others try to solicit her ownership of the crisis? That person we are all jealous of because she knows she can only do one thing at a time & sometimes needs to say "No?" I think that person might be me. Or at least I think I'm figuring out how to be that person.
Lately, I've also found myself taking some risks with creative activities. I'm less afraid to "waste" art supplies because I don't know what I'm doing or I might make a mistake. I'm not that artsy person who can make something stunning with a couple crayons and some old napkins. I am the person who takes the time to play with the process of art no matter what the outcome is. Because it's fun.
I never used to be any of these people. But as I began to review this past year (and it was a doozy), I realized all these changes have taken place.
What would happen if we could let go of all our predetermined assumptions about who we are and simply be? Who would you be?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Chances are, you did not need me to tell you that. Most of us have had our lives touched in some way by this disease. I know survivors, and people who narrowly escaped the scary diagnosis because of a routine check-up.
Even if you haven't been personally affected by breast cancer, this month you can hardly avoid hearing about it. The media is doing a wonderful job of reporting the medical advances that have been made in fighting breast cancer. All month, people are walking, running, and donating to contribute to awareness, support, and hope. Pink is everywhere. Survivors share their stories of strength, courage, and second chances.
I think it's so valuable that these positive messages are spread to people who need encouragement. People need to know that there is hope, and that physical, emotional, and spiritual resources are available.
I also know people who didn't survive breast cancer. These people didn't get to see hope come to fruition. The the detection was too late, the advances not soon enough. While we move forward in fighting this disease, it's important to focus on what we can do, the reasons we have to keep holding hope. We also need to remember that breast cancer is deadly. It kills people every day. Those people need to have a voice.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Down Memory Lane

Cris has tagged me yet again with an interesting question, in 3 parts. She got them from Mary at relevantblog, who requested that anyone who picks up this "viral" blog post links back to her.
On to the question.

What were you doing ten, twenty, and thirty years ago?

Ten years ago I had just entered my last year of undergraduate school. As a fifth year senior, I was placed with a freshman roommate. Oh my. At the tender age of 23, this was the first time I felt old.
Around this time, I became part of wonderful group of writing friends through online discussion. We have critiqued, commiserated, and celebrated everything writing related over the years.
By the time I finished this last year in school, I had landed a job as a community mental health therapist and moved out into my first apartment.

Twenty years ago I officially entered my teenage years. My father finally painted my bedroom walls light blue. They had been 70's mustard yellow ever since I could remember. I think I had been asking for the room to be painted on a consistent basis ever since I learned to talk.
This was my last year of Jr. HS. I remember I got perfect scores in vocabulary that year, and above 100% in math because of all the extra credit the teacher made available. That was the last time I ever did well in math. I think I won our school's science fair this year as well. I was a nerd.

Thirty years ago, unbeknownst to me, I was enjoying my last few months as an only child. My brother was born when I was 4 years old. According to my baby book, thirty years ago I'd entered preschool and had begun to master walking. My walking was delayed a bit by the need to get fitted for braces, which had to wait until I'd finished a major growth spurt.
I'm trying to recall some things from this time & I know I have memories that go back this far. I just can't think of any at the moment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It's the little things that are most likely to send me over the deep end. Really.
I haven't been able to post because of computer problems.
I haven't been able to watch movies because Netflix has been holding out on me and/or sending me damaged discs.
Once a week, I reward myself for working out with a small candy bar from the vending machine at the rec center. The vending machine didn't work today. Let's not talk about the irony of a candy machine at a rec center focused on health & fitness.
Despite working out several times a week, I haven't been able to lose much weight. I refuse to believe the one candy bar a week is a problem.
And, because I've been working out, I have not done much else. I want to make sure I get this into my routine as a priority. So other stuff (like dusting and laundry and blogging) is less of a priority.
Hmmm. It seems the bulk of my problems at this point are caused by working out. Something to think about.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

DVD Extras

Over at Little Nuances, Lee recently discussed how he doesn't like to watch the commentaries and extra stuff on DVDs. I can understand his unwillingness to spoil the movie magic. I completely agree with him that the alternate ending of Rocky Balboa was totally unsatisfying. I wish Stallone had never even contemplated filming it that way. But he did.
However, I still find myself drawn to the special features on DVDs. I like hearing about how other artists approach their craft. On the recent live action version of Charlotte's Web, the commentaries gave some wonderful insights into the film. The opening is not the same as it is in the book. Instead, the director researched E.B. White's early writings on the book and selected one of about 17 alternative openings the author himself had considered. The director thought this opening played out better on film. Maybe, maybe not, but I can certainly respect the effort he went to in remaining true to the story.
As for spoiling the movie magic, I've watched the extra stuff on the Lord of the Rings trilogy almost as many times as I've watched the movies themselves. At one point, the commentary delves into how they computer animated some of the horses so the real ones wouldn't get hurt during the intense battle scenes. I suddenly realized that the honest question in my mind was "how did the Nazgul know to only swoop down on the computer generated horses?"
If you know anything about the story, you know the Nazgul are fictional and therefore also computer generated.
I guess the magic is still intact for me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Top Ten Random Thoughts

  • I got a new catalog from Levenger today. I just promised myself I'd stop spending money. I need some more reasons not to get the new fountain pen on the 1st page.
  • I also just updated my Shelfari widget. Let me know what you think.
  • I just got a new coffee table. Upon placing it in front of my sofa and putting the remote & some coasters on it, my friend Kathe & I sat down to admire it. She said "it needs a bear." She knows me too well.
  • I've started working out on the treadmill at the local rec center. I can comfortably walk 1/3 of a mile. My goal is to walk 3 miles by next Mother's Day. It's cheating to move the decimal place, isn't it?
  • I asked Kathe if a different color paint would help my ugly kitchen counter. She told me nothing will help the ugly kitchen counter. Good friends are honest like that.
  • I recently discovered chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Yum.
  • My computer is running really slowly and that is going to impact how much work I get done tonight.
  • I know 2 people who are done with their Christmas shopping already.
  • It's hard for me to enjoy Fall because it basically just means that winter is coming. But the weather is good for sleeping.
  • I'm on the hunt for some good pillar candles and I haven't found anything I like at this point. Good candles are harder to find than I thought.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I've Been Writing

The main reason I haven't written on the blog recently is because I've been caught up in other writerly pursuits. I've been writing an article. An actual article, on a publishable subject. Although, the article has a way to go before it will be publishable.
I've also written some promotional material for our church's Spiritual Gifts program.
The writing group I belong to has been reading and discussing Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner.
So you see, I've been writing. Just not on the blog. However, I have added a new link or two that you might want to check out. I hope to be adding more soon. Old Fashioned Girl's blog is interesting. I like a lot of her insights. Stop by and take a look.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Some Minor Observations

I meant to post last night. I was all impressed with myself and motivated after last week's streak of 3 posts on the days I actually intended them. Then I had a workshop yesterday on "The Grieving Therapist." So when I got home, I was a bit drained. A little too incoherent to post.
I did want to point out that I learned a few things. In the first place, just because I have a PaperSource near me is no reason to keep me from visiting the PaperSource out in Evanston, because, after all, when do I get out to Evanston? And what if they have something at that store they don't have here? As it turns out, they did have some gel medium I need for a few transfer techniques I've been wanting to try. They also had some ribbon I needed for a gift I'm working on.
Oh, wait, what did I learn at the workshop? Well, it was nice to be in a room with no judgement. No one was saying "gees, it's been 6 months, aren't you better yet? You're supposed to be a therapist you know." I came away with a few tips and tricks for taking care of myself while staying focused on my responsibilities and not backing away from the commitments I've made at work.
Sometimes the validation at this sort of thing is worth the price of admission. We talked about how as women and as therapists, we tend to be, umm, flexible with scheduling time for ourselves. The thing is, when the depletion reaches a critical level it's like a survival reflex kicks in. And suddenly, manicures become a matter of survival. You'd think a manicure lasts about a week, right? That's what I always used to think. But that manicure I gave myself yesterday, that was for yesterday. What about today? I need something for today.
It used to be that if I filled up "the well" I could live on that for a while. This whole idea of daily "me-ness" is driving me up a wall. I'm all for a bit of self indulgence, but I've got stuff to do! Reading, socializing, and manicures have become as essential to my daily routine as showering and eating. Everything I put into the well yesterday has been consumed, evaporated. So even though my nails are just lovely, I need another manicure.