It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Direct Effect

Years ago there was a commercial, I don't remember what it was for, but it showed people going through their day with a big ole frosted donut stuck to either hip.  We had some good laughs about it at work as we were frequently digging into a box of early morning donuts.  I made the comment that we better take two, one for each hip so we would stay balanced!   It was funny, but that thought of "wearing my donuts" has always stayed with me. 

I was recently reminded of this in another way.  A week or two ago I didn't go to the grocery store over the weekend.  I had food, enough to get through the week, and there was no need to go, or so I thought.  The problem was I didn't have the right kind of food.  I didn't have any fruit for one thing, and the food I did have was an odd assortment that included frozen dinners and convenience foods.  On Wednesday of that week, in the interest of time, I pulled into the golden arches and picked up a combo.  After I ate it I wasn't hungry any more, but I realized that I wasn't satisfied.  Then I realized why I had been feeling like I was stuck in neutral all week...I wasn't eating right.  It was so simple, but I had ignored what my body was trying to tell me.  "I need some fruit, please.  I need a balanced meal, please."  What you eat directly influences how you feel!

I resolved to do better.  True, I don't come home hand cook during the week.  But I've found I can still eat good, healthy, satisfying meals with just a little effort.  One of my favorites is couscous salad.  You can make it with just about anything and it turns out good.  It is a simple, easy to prepare meal that is very healthy.

This makes a great snack, too!

Another simple meal is to just slice an avocado, sprinkle with a little salt, and splash with lime juice.   If I have a tomato I will chop that to go with the avocado.  I ate the one in the picture with a few multi-grain pita chips.
Avocados are very healthy and delicious!
So, no more excuses this weekend.  I have to make a "banana run" to the store!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Deep down in the heart feel good joy

I have discovered that I need joy in my life.  Probably a lot of people need joy in their life and, like me, don’t realize that they need it. 

Several afternoons ago I was sitting on the deck after work, as I try to do weather and time permitting.  It is a peaceful, relaxing time for me and gives the dogs plenty of time to do their exploring and doggie business.  That afternoon there was a nice breeze, the neighborhood was quiet, and the hum of traffic seemed far away.  I was sitting there, lost in thought, when I noticed that the wind was blowing Baylee’s beautiful fur.  Even her ears were pushed back and she looked like she was riding in a convertible with the top down!  As I smiled and chuckled to myself I realized that that was probably the first bit of joy I had had all day; the first real joy, deep down in the heart feel good joy!
And then came the realization: I focus too much on the serious things of life. Work, school, house work, obligations, have to do this and do that all the time.   I need joy in my life, not just the happy moments that are on the surface but that deep down feeling of happiness and completeness.  Joy!

This morning joy came to me in a strange way.  When I went out with the dogs, coffee mug in hand, I noticed that the edge of the deck was wet.  That’s strange, I thought, and what is that noise?  Peering through the semi-darkness I realized that one of the sprinkler zones was running.  Long story short is that the system had malfunctioned during the night, the back yard was soaked, and I couldn’t get the system to shut off.  Thank goodness I have good sprinkler repair folks; as soon as they were open I called and they sent a guy over to shut off the water to the system (it is easy, but I didn’t know how).  I cleaned up and left for work, an hour late, not irritated but just not in the best humor.  For some reason my mind drifted into memories of several things that had happened on my first trip to New England almost three years ago.  It was a good trip and those good memories brought joy flooding into my heart; real joy, with that deep down contented feeling.  I had not been looking for joy, but remembering a pleasant time was the trigger to bring it to me.  It was exactly what I needed to lift my spirit and start the day right.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, where?
Down in my heart, down in my heart.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay!




Monday, May 20, 2013

Planning Ahead

Recently I was going through some old e-mails at work.  They seem to accumulate at a fast pace, no matter where I receive them.  One of them was one of these daily motivational type e-mails that someone occasionally sends to me.  Before I deleted it I skimmed through it and liked what it said because it dealt with planning ahead and staying ahead of yourself, both items that I seem to need help with these days.

The e-mail started with the remark, “The time to repair your roof is when the sun is shining” and I had to smile at the image in my mind of someone on their roof in a driving rain trying to fix a leak!  I did some checking on the phrase and it is actually a quote attributed to John F. Kennedy.  The concept of planning ahead and taking care of the necessary items before they become problems is well illustrated.  You get the meaning, loud and clear.

For some reason in the last few years I’ve lost the ability to think too far ahead of myself.  I have everything written down on the calendar and I know what is coming up, and what I have to do to be ready for the event or deadline.  That is good, but that is where the organization seems to break down.  I find myself running right up to the last minute with everything, and then have to rush into the next project or deadline.  I know days or even weeks ahead that something is coming, but I can’t seem to start getting ready for it because I‘m working on the current deadlines.  It is a repeating cycle.
I think the problem started because I fell into the convenient trap of procrastination, what a monster that is!  This started in the work place where I assumed the habit because others around me procrastinated.  Then it spilled over into home and personal activities.  It is so easy to look at something and think, “Oh, I’ll do that tomorrow.  No rush, I don’t feel like doing that today.  Tomorrow will be okay.” Putting things off got me started on the wrong track and it became an easy path to follow.  It is easy to procrastinate, real easy. 
The problem compounded when I found myself too busy to sit down, think through activities, and plan ahead.  I had too many things to do, too much to think about, too many places to go, too many, too many, too many of everything.  If I needed a plan or a to-do list it was just a quick note jotted on a scrap of paper.  Now, this system worked but not efficiently. 

The motivational e-mail offered the following advice as a solution:  Let your advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. Gain the advantage…through the medium of time. 

I think I just like the idea of remembering when it is the best time to repair the roof!



Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Life of Lacey

Playing on the roof at dusk and observing the human below keeps Lacey busy during the evening.
A nap on top of the human's car is always a good choice.

Of course, the best thing of all is a nap in a sunny spot in the garage.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

A few more words and I'm done on this subject

I feel compelled to add a few more thoughts about last night's post on the computer demise.  Now, this really isn't the subject matter that I want to put on this blog, but I feel like writing this so I have to humor myself and let the words leave my fingers!  Just like those nandina berries last year that I couldn't leave alone.

So, I lost the computer.  The pictures weren't an issue, thankfully.  But I did loose several e-mails that I hope I don't need.  I lost a few contacts; I had never put a lot on the notebook so I didn't suffer too much loss.  And I lost my web favorites, probably the hardest thing to re-establish.  The documents that I think I had on the hard drive were mostly research related.  I also lost all the formatted references I had accumulated in Word.  But, what's lost is lost.  Like the old saying goes, there' no point in crying over spilt milk.

The lesson I'm getting is that I need to organize information.  If I want to rely on digital retrieval, then it has to be in order and stored securely.  A process has to be in place. In re-creating some of the information I realized that I need to get a list of logon's and passwords together and store securely, too.  I know you aren't supposed to do that, but how else will I remember all of them?  What about going back to paper storage, I'm thinking about that as well for a back-up?  I know that paper can be lost or destroyed, but is sure seems simple to start putting contacts into the old paper day-planner again.

Final thought:  Am I addicted to the computer?  Or dependent?  Is it a security blanket for me? Is it a convenience?  Or just a connection with the world? As I picked up the broken pieces Sunday night I was horrified that I had no access to the cyber world and was almost frantic until I plugged the new one in.  The question is:  Could I live without it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One of life's lessons

Life is a learning process.  Once again, I've learned a lesson in a not so great manner. 

Since last July I had been working off a notebook computer. Its small size was ideal, easy to carry around and travel with or take to school.  I had gotten used to the small keyboard and the quirky mouse.  While the picture quality wasn't great, it wasn't bad either.  There wasn't a disk drive, but there was everything else.  I had Windows 7 and Outlook 2010 on it and I was content.  It served its purpose. I knew that I needed to replace the old, large laptop that ran very slowly, but wasn't in a hurry to do so since I had the notebook.

All that changed Sunday night when the notebook met its demise on my deck.  I had dropped it several times before and it had been knocked off the arm of the sofa a time or two.  As it fell I really didn't worry as I thought it to be pretty sturdy.  Or so I thought until I watched it smash into several pieces.  Uh-oh, it's a gonner! 

I now have a new, full size laptop with Windows 8 and Outlook 2013 thanks to this little mishap.  Once again I've had to go through setting up everything like I want and I've had to learn where everything is on the new system.  Fortunately, the only data lost was all my e-mails.  I had been saving most everything else to a memory stick or an external hard drive, but did loose a few documents.  I had a few pictures on the notebook, but as far as I know they were all stored on the external hard drive.

This episode reminded me of the importance of backing up anything I might ever need to refer to again.  In addition, I realized that I need to print out any e-mail that I might need. I had been telling myself for some time that I needed to make sure that I had everything backed up on a storage device and on cd's, now I know that this is a necessity. 

Lesson learned:  back up, print, and, for pete's sake, don't let the computer jump out of your hands onto a hard surface!

Friday, May 3, 2013

May? Doesn't feel like it!

What a small blessing!  The calendar says it is May, but we've been given a small gift here in South Texas.  The weather has been  unseasonably cool this spring; in fact, it feels like a real spring! No complaints from anyone!  We all know the hot weather will be here soon enough.

Last year when February first rolled around that was the end of the cool weather.  It just got warmer and warmer.  This year I was afraid the same thing would happen.  We have had a few warm afternoons with temps in the upper 80's, but then it will cool back down.  A fierce storm went through night before last and the wind was howling until earlier today.  This morning we set a record with 45 degrees; right now it is 68 beautiful degrees.  Is it fall already?  It seems like it; the air is cool and crisp and the sky a magnificent deep blue.   But it is May, so the calendar says

Last night I pulled out the sweats and enjoyed another comfy, cozy evening curled up on the sofa with the dogs.  I had to pull out a pair of boots to wear, too cool for open sandals. Turn on the heat in the house and turn on the seat warmer in the car, too. How nice to have one more chance to use those winter things.

I think there is a trade off here - we had almost no wildflowers this spring, but we are getting a long, extended cool season!

Indian Blanket