Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Does Your Doctor Really Care?

Day 20 of 365 Tiny Changes

They’re finished.  All the medical tests I needed to rush to have done, are completed.  (See Day 13 for details.)

I’ve been poked, and prodded, and scoped, in areas I never even knew I had.   If I had been abducted by aliens, and put through some of these same procedures, I would be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and be making millions by doing the talk show circuit. 

I guess, since I willingly paid my insurance premiums on a monthly basis, and I set the appointments myself, and then gave more money when asked, I don’t get to call PTSD, or do the talk show circuit.  I literally asked to be a medical play toy.  Silly me.

I really should be happy that I have access to such medical treatments, with such good insurance.  It was just a little difficult to think that way when I was going through the process.  Especially the colonoscopy. 

I tried to treat it just like any other medical test, until I drank the prep drink.  This stuff is designed to completely empty my body of everything, and I mean everything.  I don’t want to go into the gory details.  I’ll just suffice it to say, I could have read the entire 5000+ pages of Crime and Punishment while sitting on the toilet that evening. I could have read it twice, accept that I fell asleep...yes, on the pot.

The next morning I had the presence of mind to weigh myself, before I got dressed.  How many other times in my life am I going to have the opportunity to get my true body weight, sans food in my body?  Hopefully, this is the one and only.  Guess what, I’m not that much lighter with no food in my body.  Disappointing, to say the least.  No more blaming the pizza I had for dinner for the “temporary” increase in my poundage.

My appointment was at 6:30 AM.  Which was great for me.  I have a very active imagination, especially when it comes to medical testing.  That early, my mind isn’t engaged yet, and they had some really good drugs to keep my mind off of the Roto-Rooter type snake they were about to shove up my a....

I got home at about 10:00 AM and slept until 2:30 PM.  Guy tells me I had some interesting things to say to him on our drive home.  I have no memory of what I said, or even the ride home.  Ya gotta love good medically prescribed drugs.

The results are still coming in, but so far all tests are confirming that I’m a perfectly healthy 50 year old woman.  Maybe that should be womEn. 

All that poking and prodding and not one medical professional said one word about the fact that I am almost double the weight I was in high school.  I can almost make 2 of who I was then. (Well, really 1 3/4, but just what does a 3/4 person look like?)   I’ll put it this way, if I were eaten by cannibals, the entire tribe would suffer from high cholesterol, afterwards, and be put on a fat free diet. 

I can try to fool myself into thinking I was overly slender way back then, even down right skinny, and I’m just evening it out now, but that’s not true.  I was at the bottom of the acceptable weight limits for my height, back then. 

Is being over weight in the Midwest just accepted, even expected?  Or do I really look like a bruiser that could knock the Doctor out flat if they told me something I didn’t want to hear? 

There have been studies that have proven that the people that live to be 100 years old or older have Doctors who treat them aggressively.  I’m not saying the Doctors are mean or rude.  I’m saying that they are quick to address and treat problems.  How am I going to make it to 102 if my Doctor doesn’t even notice I’m fat at 50?  What good are all these medical tests if I have to look in the mirror and diagnose myself?

Time to find a very young, highly proactive doctor, willing to stick it out with me till the end.  In the mean time, it appears I’m going to have to self prescribe my own treatments.

Tiny Change 20:  Ten minutes of walking, every day.

Doctors beware, the end of the baby boomers are coming of age.  We are self aware and highly demanding.  If you aren’t proactive in your treatment of our ailments, we will find someone who is.  We may be getting older, but we still want it all, and will for a very long time into the future!

Best Regards,


A Day In the Life

Day 19 of 365 Tiny Changes

Sometimes I see something, or hear something, or watch something that really resonates with me.  Things that make me go, “Hmmm.”

Last night we watched a movie called The Sensation of Sight.  It is one of those “day in the life” movies.  Slow moving, quiet, deep movies.  Until recently, I couldn’t stand to watch these type of movies.  Movies that are basically a snapshot of a day in someones life, bored me.  Woodie Allen movies are this type.  BORING!  Sense and Sensitivity is another one.  Could a movie drag on any longer? 

Nope, “day in the life” movies were not my genre, with the exception of one aspect, the cinematography.  These types of movies are generally so slow moving that the director has all the time in the world to focus on the perfect framing of each shot.  From a photography point of view these movies are always a joy to watch, for me.

So to get back to last night’s movie.  The cinematography was wonderful.  The plot was interesting.  It was about a man who observed a tragedy that forced him to look at his life and ask himself, “Why?”  The movie opens with him leaving his wife to begin his search for the answer.  The camera follows him through his quiet search and introduces the viewers to the people he meets along the way.  In the end, through or because of the people he meets, he “gets it”, his answer to why, and is able to move on with his life and go back home to his family.

This movie forced me to realize that each of us are very similar to this man.  We all live in our own world with our own story and our own quest for why.  To me we are all similar to the mythological figure, King Atlas.  We all walk around with our own world on our shoulders.  We meet ,and interact, and even form relationships with, other people, but in reality we still have our own private world to deal with, to carry around with us, every where we go.

As a photographer I learned a long time ago that by simply moving my camera the tiniest of tiny bits I could get a completely different shot.  I even discovered that by not moving the camera, but by waiting for some outside force to change, such as a cloud to move from in front of the sun, I could get a completely different shot.  For example, a photo of a meadow under the warming rays of the sun, or the same meadow under the chill of a cloudy sky, are two totally different shots.  They give the viewer two different interpretations, or perceptions, of the same meadow.  It’s the same meadow, just appearing otherwise through distinctive circumstances.

That is how, I think, we truly differ as human beings.  We crave relationships, unity, sharing, but we all have come to this time and place from different view points, different circumstances.  We live within our own realities.  Correspondingly, it is truly impossible to “know”, or “understand” anyone else.  We have words to help us connect, such as empathize, and sympathize, but deep down we realize we can never “know” how the other person is perceiving their life, in our world.

This may sound sad.  It doesn’t have to be.  We assume that because we can’t truly connect with others it leaves us to live in our own private hell. I think it is a blessing, in disguise.  Just like both photos of the meadow, one with sun shine and one without can both still be beautiful shots, each of us can still live in our own beautiful world.  I believe, each of us has the ability to create for ourselves our own Secret Garden.  A place inside ourselves where we can go, to be quiet and safe.  A place we can use as a jump off point for our perception of the rest of the world.  We can share this place if we truly connect with someone else, but we wouldn’t want to share it with just anyone, because it belongs solely to us, it is of our own precious mind.

Perhaps this is where the beautiful cinematography of these movies comes in.  The camera shows the viewer the beauty all around the characters.   The characters move through the beauty, but don’t really react or interact with it, until, they see the light in their situation, and suddenly,all of Life Is Beautiful.

Perhaps this is one of the benefits of getting a little older.  I’m more willing to take the time and the patience needed to sit through a “day in the life” movie.  I am more willing to attempt to understand the quiet, deep message the writer and director are trying to portray to me.

Tiny Change 19:  Sit quietly, alone for 5 minutes each day to enjoy the secret garden of my mind.

Best Regards,

King Atlas

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mustaches for Women

Day 18 of 365 Tiny Changes

Maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of a flurry of doctor appointments and medical tests, (see Day 13 for details), but I have been really paying attention to the details of my body.  Details like that little mole on my left shoulder, or the toenail on my left foot that looks a little weird since I dropped a 2x4 on it last spring. 

So, this morning, I’m taking a little closer than normal look at my face and OMG!  It’s back!  I thought it would wait until January, at least, but holy crap, my mustache is back!

Apparently, it’s one of the benefits of my Greek heritage.  Whoopee!  I can look at my lineage history and read about great and powerful gods, the Parthenon, the Olympics, and female mustaches. 

Yes, it is a fact, and a well guarded secret, that many Greek women have mustaches.  There are dark Greeks and light Greeks.  My family has descended from the light Greeks.  Dark Greek women have notorious mustaches.  Light Greek women normally don’t.  Until me.

OK, OK, so I’ve known it was bound to re-appear for a while.  In the summer when I get a tan, the hair is bleached out by the sun, so I don’t have to worry about it.  In the winter it appears more regularly than snow on a mountain top. 

Here’s the thing,  today is the day that I really saw it.  You know, REALLY saw it.  I knew it would reappear this winter, but normally I don’t really look at it, I just wax the damn thing off, as soon as I catch wind that it wants to make it’s annual appearance. 

Today, I really looked at it.  It has the audacity to be uneven.  It is definitely much heavier on the left side, than the right.  It’s also darker on the left than the right.  Of all the gray hair that I have on my head, why does this hair refuse to go gray?  I’d much prefer a gray mustache than a dark one.  Much easier to ignore.

See, I was never supposed to have to deal with any of this stuff.  I was supposed to have inherited only the good traits from my parents, leaving them to keep their bad ones.  But, nooooo, I get the bad ones too.

I look like my Dad.  This was especially so when I was younger.  Every body said so.

One time, when I was about 35, I had some land line telephone issues.  I was still using my married name at the time.  This telephone repair man came to my house and is working on my line and turns to me and said, “How’s your Dad?”  Huh?  So, I say, “How do you know my Dad?”  He said, “ I worked with him, before he retired, and you look just like him.”  Holy cow, a perfect stranger, knew who my parent was, just by my looks!  That’s some strong genetics.

The benefit of taking after my Dad, is that he is tall and slender and has brown hair.  He is 76 years old and doesn’t have a gray hair on his head.  He does have gray hair in his beard, though. 

When I was much younger, I thought I was home free in the gray hair department, because I never intended to grow a beard.  Funny those genes of mine.  I have a head of gray hair that started when I was 18, and now that I DO have facial hair, it doesn’t have the grace to turn gray, like his.  We’re not going to discuss the fact that I’m no longer tall and slender like him, either.

Here’s a little secret.  If I can see my mustache when I look into the mirror, other people can see it, too.  Ugh!  I try to pretend this isn’t true, but when someone is looking at my upper lip instead of my eyes, or even my breasts, I know my secret’s out.

I grew up in the 70’s.  The era of “Anything you can do, I can do better.”  The era of NOW, the era of Billie Jean King whipping Bobby Riggs on the tennis court.  The era of equal rights for all, especially women.  Yet, the right to have a mustache or not, has not carried over successfully to women in our society.  No, only men can wear mustaches.

So, in the ways of the great Greek warriors of my heritage, I am preparing for battle.  As a female I only have a few options to get rid of this nemesis.  None of them cheap and none of them easy.  There is bleaching, but I have sensitive skin.  There is electrolysis, but I have a thin wallet.  My only choice left, waxing. 

There is no finer torture than waxing one’s face, especially the tender upper lip.  Oh, if men only knew what we go through to remain, not beautiful, but just acceptable, they would be honoring us like the goddesses of Greek mythology.  That might make the torture more bearable.  But alas, I must fight on, alone, me against my unwanted facial hair, and I will win!  If only I can find where I hid my box of wax strips.

Tiny Change 18:  Keep unwanted facial hair at bay.

Hey, I never said that all 365 changes had to be serious. 

Best Regards,


Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Life of Purpose

Day 17 of 365 Tiny Changes

Clear Definiteness of Purpose (Napoleon Hill)
Mission Statement (Steven Covey)
Big Hairy Audacious Goal (James Collin and Jerry Porras)

These are all terms for self defining a purpose for a life.  My purpose.  The idea is to verbally create a clear, compelling, vision, for the ultimate goal of a lifetime.

What is it that I want to be, do, create?  What is the legacy I want to leave behind?

These purposes can range from raising and mentoring my children to lead a life of purpose, to creating a bank account of a billion dollars, or both.

Success does not always equal purpose.  Some are successful with no purpose.  Look at some of the headliners of today, especially out of the sports and entertainment industries.  Young people who have been successful in creating fame and fortune for themselves, and then get off track by partying too hard and getting arrested for one socially unacceptable act or another.

I think these people reached their goal of stardom without a purpose behind it.  They met their goal and then didn’t know where to go from there.  They probably didn’t have a mentor to watch out for their personal interests and to guide them properly to the next step in their life.

I have done some research on Andrew Carnegie.  He was an industialist at the turn of the last century.  He was one of the wealthiest and most influential men of his day.   By the age of 29 he had his mission statement for his life in place, and he lived a very goal oriented, purpose filled life.

Though he had what would equate to billions of dollars by today’s standards he wrote that, “Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately; therefore should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character.”

Character appears to be the element missing from some of today’s newly wealthy.  A person of strong character can lead a life of disciplined purpose, instead of throwing away everything earned on frivolous partying and trouble making.

Carnegie argued that the life of a wealthy industrialist should comprise of two parts. The first part was the gathering and the accumulation of wealth. The second part was for the subsequent distribution of this wealth to benevolent causes. The philanthropy was key to making the life worthwhile.

The last 18 years of Mr. Carnegie’s life was spent solely in the endeavor of giving his money away.  Perhaps, his most famous act was that of donating money for the construction and stocking of neighborhood libraries.  All told there were 47 Carnegie Libraries built here in the US,  Canada, and the UK.  His goal was to be able to make available to the masses books and information so that they might educate themselves to improve their lives, much as he had done.

Carnegie had the ear of Presidents and other political leaders, world wide.  He also was a mentor to Napoleon Hill, one of the first personal success writers. 

Mr. Hill, believed that everyone needs a mentor.  He also realized that not every one had the opportunity to meet and befriend the type of people who would be willing mentors.  His solution was to create a virtual Master-mind group of one’s own. 

He suggested that one read and study famous, successful, people from the past.  He said a group of 4-6 was best.  He even suggested pictures of the people chosen for the Master-mind group be hung in a place where they could be seen daily, as a reminder of who each man was, and what he stood for.

I have been to many seminars on sales, leadership, and personal growth.  In many of them, the question of how a mentor can be found and convinced to champion someone, comes up.  The answer is always, pretty much, “Good luck, with that.” 

Napoleon Hill’s version gives the control back to the mentor seeker.  A book, or video, can never turn anyone down.  The mentor is chosen at the seekers desire.  The Master-mind group is developed from hundreds, even thousands, of lives, spanning hundreds, even thousands, of years.  Any one who can be studied is a potential member of my Master-mind group.

Once the Master-mind group is chosen and their lives have been studied to the point that I understand their thought processes, I can pose any question to my group.  By focusing on each member and how I believe they would react to and answer my question.  I have the minds of 4-6 highly successful people at my beck and call. 

I’ve actually seen this technique of a virtual mentor put to use in the acronym WWJD, “What would Jesus do?”   I think, many people would choose Jesus to be a member of their Master-mind group.  Some may choose Mohammad, some may choose Lee Iacoca, or all three.  It’s totally a choice.

I need Master-mind group of mentors that I can go to when I’m stuck in my progression of changes toward leading a more successful life.  I have actually been a fan of Napoleon Hill for several years, and have read much about him.  He is the first member of my virtual Master-mind group.

Tiny Change 17:  Choose and study the second member of my virtual Master-mind group.

I’m looking for suggestions of goal oriented, character driven, disciplined people, from the past, as potential members of my Master-mind group.  Please forward any names that come to mind.

Best Regards,

Napoleon Hill
Andrew Carnegie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fixin' to Get Ready

Day 16 of 365 Tiny Changes

I went shopping, yesterday.  No, I didn’t go out there with all the mad Christmas shoppers.  I went grocery shopping, instead.

Grocery shopping the day after Thanksgiving is the most pleasant shopping experience.  The shelves are full and there are few other customers to maneuver around.  I totally believe in going where others aren’t, if at all possible.

For me, grocery shopping is a whole process.  First I write up a menu for the week, for both meat eaters and veggie eaters.  I’ve always done this.  I like to cook from cookbooks.  I’ve never bothered to store recipes in my head.  I write out the menu to make sure I have all the ingredients on hand for the meals I intend to cook.  I hate running out to the store at the last minute for that missing onion, or whatever.

My next step is to make a list of everything I need to purchase.

Next I get out the weekly ads.  I determine which store has what I need, and which store has the best sale going.

Next are the coupons.  I match up the coupons to the sale items.  If there are items on my list, that aren’t on sale, I match up coupons for these items, too.  If I have any.

Some people take their whole coupon binder into the store with them.  I don’t do this.  I leave my binder in the car.  I have a smaller binder of just the coupons I plan to use, that does go with me into the store.  I want to make sure that I keep to my list.  If I discover an off list sale that I just can’t go without, I can always run out to the car for the extra coupons.  That’s the test of whether I really need it or not.  Am I willing to go back in to get it?  Usually not.

Yesterday, I went to 2 stores to get everything on my list.  Sometimes I’ll go to three or more, but it wasn’t necessary, yesterday.

With the exception of the fresh produce, and some meat, that I will need to replace, I shopped for the whole month. 

So how did I do?  At the first store I saved 45%.  The second 27%.  A total savings of 35% based on total money spent.  Not bad.  I bought $600 worth of groceries for $400.

My goal is to save 45-50% every time.  I’m not there, yet.  The reason is that I sometimes need to purchase things that aren’t on sale, or I don’t have a coupon for.  I’m not totally prepared for all of the things I need to purchase, yet.

Just because I’m not prepared to be able to purchase every item I need at a discount, doesn’t mean I’m going to wait to purchase ANY items at a discount.  I’m going to go out and do the shopping the best that I can, with the supplies that I have.

I wonder how many things I’ve put off beginning, because I’m not 100% totally prepared for it?  How much time have I wasted “fixin’ to get ready”, to begin a new direction in my life. 

Now I’m not talking about new projects.  I have way too many of those started.   I’m talking about the big life changes, like starting a new business, or finding a more fulfilling job, or traveling the world. 

I’m talking about finding a way to lead a more fulfilling life, by not getting stuck in the mire of, “Well, I’ll do it when...”, and the when never comes.

If I had waited to be perfectly prepared to go shopping, yesterday, I would have spent $200 more than I did.  So it wasn’t a perfect shopping trip, but it put food in the house for less than I normally to spend, for the next month, which was the real goal.

I have chosen to take a year to realign my life.  To wade through the bog of less than perfect self caring, unfinished projects, and self limiting habits and beliefs.  My “when” is 349 days away.  Each hour, each minute, brings it closer.

I am not “fixin’ to get ready”, for a new way for living.  I am getting ready for a new way of living.

So what am I missing?  I don’t know, yet.  Up to this point I have committed to make changes in sort of a random, what ever hits me today, kind of way.  It's probably a better idea to take a look at my life by breaking it down into areas. 

How about I break it down into relationships, work, health, and creative/mental?  Perhaps, if I take the time to review each of these areas of my life, I will be able to determine the specific changes needed, instead of just stabbing in the dark.

Tiny Change 16:  Step back and make a living plan of the larger changes needed in the specific areas of my life, to better able myself to determine and make the proper tiny changes.

This change is a little bigger than normal, but I feel it will help me scribe a better map to where I want to be at the end of the year.

I welcome any input or feedback you may have. 

Best Regards,


Progress Review

Day 15 of 365 Tiny Changes

OK, so I’m cheating.  I didn’t take the time to do a post, yesterday and I’m posting 2 entries, today.  I could have posted yesterday, after all, I was awake until 3 AM this morning. 

Sometimes, I just don’t feel tired enough to go to sleep.  I’ve stayed up for almost 48 hours, on occasion, because I just wasn’t tired.  Other times, I go to bed really tired, but wake up after 3 or 4 hours, feeling fully rested and ready to get on with my day.

These weird sleeping disturbances used to bother me.  I used to fear that I would be overly tired later in the day if I didn’t get my proper 8 hours of sleep.  I used to wonder why I wasn't sleeping "right".  I don’t worry any more.  I figure, my body knows what it needs, so I’ll just go with the flow, and see what I can accomplish in a longer day. 

Yesterday, I definitely had the time to post.  I just didn’t.  I think it was because I know I haven’t had a really good week of following through on my promised tiny changes.

It’s bad enough that I have to admit it to myself, but one of my tiny change commitments is to report my progress to my readers, who span all across the world.  I have to admit to the entire Internet that I am not following through.  Ugh!

This could be really embarrassing.  I could really beat myself up.  Call myself a failure.  Throw in the towel and give up the whole idea.  Why not?  I’m not being totally successful at what I’ve set out to accomplish, so why not quit?

But, I’m not embarrassed.  I’m not beating myself up.  I’m not a failure, and I’m certainly not throwing in the towel on this wonderful idea.  Why not?  Because I am determined to be totally successful at what I have set out to accomplish, and I can’t do that if I quit.

So, I had a so/so week.  Every day is a new day, and I can re-commit to my goal every day.  If I let a few tiny changes fall through the cracks for a day or two, it doesn’t really matter, I can catch up.  That’s the idea of making tiny changes.  None of these changes are so large that if I get behind I can’t catch up, quickly.

I’m attempting to form new habits.  Some are seeming a  little easier to incorporate into my day, than others.  That’s OK.  Breaking habits that are holding me back, and creating new habits that are more in line with the way I want to live my life, isn’t easy.

When I review the areas I’m having the most problems with, I noticed that it is the areas of relationships and health. 

I haven’t been very thankful to others.  Ironic, this was the week of Thanksgiving. 

I haven’t been eating my fresh fruit and veggies.  This is just laziness.  I haven’t felt like going to the grocery store to pick any up.

Today I will catch up on the thank you cards and messages, and recommit to doing this on a daily basis.

Today I will, also, recommit to eating the fresh fruit and veggies. 

Tiny Change 15:  Review progress and recommit to the promised tiny changes, daily.

Attempting to realign my life is a little more overwhelming than I had anticipated.  However, I think, by being kind and gentle with my self, and giving my self some room to adjust, I can be successful, and eventually, it won’t be overwhelming, because, it will be who I am.

Thank you for the world wide support I am receiving for my year long endeavor.  Please keep your comments and messages coming.  Your caring thoughts definitely make this easier.

Best Regards,


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tiny Blessings

Day 14 of 365 Tiny Changes

I was driving home from my parents home, where we celebrated our family Thanksgiving.

I fall asleep easily behind the wheel, so I was trying to come up with a topic that would keep my mind engaged and awake.

So I started thinking about my family, which is a huge topic, literally. 

My Mom grew up in Michigan, my Dad in West Virginia.  They settled in northwestern Ohio when I was three months old.  They left their parents and siblings behind and started a new life on their own.  We didn’t have a lot of money when I was little, so we didn’t travel back to their respective home states very often, and their families rarely made the trip to visit us, so I didn’t get the real understanding of what an extended family was, while I was growing up.

For holidays it was usually, just us, my parents, me and my 4 siblings. 

On Thanksgiving morning, we would get up, turn on the Macy’s Day Parade and watch with wonder at the giant black and white Charlie Brown, and Snoopy balloons, and wait for Santa to come at the end waving to us and wishing us a Merry Christmas.  We knew the holiday season had officially begun.

Mom would be in the kitchen cooking enough to feed all of us for the next week.  The house was always extra warm on Thanksgiving, due to all the baking and cooking.

In the afternoon, while my parents watched the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers square off, we would play, either inside or out, depending on what the weather happened to be that year.

It wasn’t elaborate, but it was our Thanksgiving, and it was enough.

We really don’t know our extended family, so it's easy for me to look at my parents as sort of the top of the pyramid that is our family. 

There are my parents.  There are me and my 4 siblings.  There are our 8 children and 3 step children.  There are their 5 children + 1 more sometime around Christmas.  Add in the various, spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, and we have a pretty tall pyramid going.

With the exception of one of my sisters, and 2 of the grandchildren, we all live within a one hour drive of my parents.  The majority of us are only minutes away.

Holidays are a little different now.  They are big, they are noisy, they are chaotic, at times they are crowded.  We no longer fit around one table, we take 3, now.  The food no longer lasts for a week, it’s usually gone by nightfall.  It’s no longer just my parents watching the game, it’s anyone who can fit into the living room, sometimes standing room, only.  The kids play where ever they can find a spot, sometimes inside, sometimes outside.  The adults spend time catching up on each others lives, because even though we live so close to each other, our busy schedules keep us apart most of the year.

It’s still not elaborate, but it’s our Thanksgiving.

I am truly blessed to have the family I have.  We’re not perfect, we’re not even exceptionally close, but we know we can count on each other in a crunch, and it is enough.

Tiny Change 14:  Acknowledge to myself and the universe at least one blessing I have been given, each day.

I hope that your Thanksgiving was filled with the blessings that you find fulfilling.

Best Regards,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Day 13 of 365 Tiny Changes

I’ll admit it.  I’m a professional procrastinator.  Well, I don’t get paid for doing it, so maybe I’m not a professional, but if I did, I’d be earning a 6 figure income.

I didn’t used to be a procrastinator.  I used to really stay on top of the things I needed to accomplish.  I think the turning point came when I had kids.  With kids, nothing ever goes as planned, especially when they’re toddlers.  I think it was then that I started pushing “things” off.

I think work also trained me to be a procrastinator.  I began to notice that a lot of “Priority ONE” issues at 10 AM, became “Priority NOT”, by 3 in the afternoon.  If I was patient, the issues either solved themselves or didn’t really matter any more.

I also found that when given an assignment by a boss, especially one that was given to several different people, say a report of some kind, the first one to get it done always seemed to have to do it over.  The boss either wasn’t clear with what they wanted or they had changed their mind some time between the assignment date and the due date.  If I let others be the guinea pig, I only had to do the report once.

So for me procrastination has paid off, sometimes.

Until now.  Guy, my domestic partner, works for a company that has a habit of being bought and sold.   He has left the house for work every morning, gone to the same address, sat at the same desk, for something like 25 years.  During that time he has worked for 5 different companies.  On December 1st it will be six.

We found out this past Monday, that we will not have any type of medical insurance with either company during the month of December.  They gave us notice of 6 business days!  By the time Guy got this information to me and it had actually sunk in, I had 5 business days to get appointments scheduled.  Around a Holiday!

Holy crap!  I had been putting off all of my Dr. appointments until some  time in December.   I thought about just letting them slide until I realized that we had met our total family out of pocket deductible of $2000 for this year, and we have no idea what type of coverage we will have for next year.  I had to get these appointments done, now.

I did discover that nothing lights a fire under doctors appointment schedulers like the fear of insurance cancellation.    Here is what I was able to accomplish.

Tuesday, 11/22/11, called the eye doctor at 9:00 AM, had an appointment for myself at 2:00 PM.  When I was at the appointment they were able to schedule an appointment for Guy at 5:00 PM, giving him time to get there from his 3:00 Dentist appointment.  Glasses are ordered, eyesight safe for another year.

Tuesday, 11/22/11, called my primary care physician, to get a referral for my baseline colonoscopy. Appointment scheduled for 10:00 AM on Wednesday, 11/23/11.

Tuesday, 11/22/11, called the Woman’s Center at the hospital and was able to schedule a mammogram for Friday, 11/25/11, at 10:30 AM.

Tuesday, 11/22/11, called the Woman’s Health Center around the corner, and was able to schedule my annual female parts inspection for 9:30 AM next Monday, 11/28/11.

Wednesday, 11/23/11, saw my primary care physician, obtained the referral I needed.  Scheduled blood tests for this Friday, 11/25/22, , before my mammogram.

Wednesday, 11/23/11, called the Gastroenterologist and scheduled the colonoscopy screening for 6:30 AM next Tuesday, 11/29/11.

Whew!  8 doctor appointments in 5 days, with a whole day of being insured to spare.  Am I good or what?  Now the hope is that everything comes out sparkling clean.

When I really put my mind to getting something accomplished, I can do it.  When others are given the proper incentive to help me, they will.

As I reflect over my past, I realize I have probably lost more than I have gained my procrastinating.  I wonder how much more income I would have had if I had returned all of my phone calls in a timely manner?  I wonder how many more opportunities I might have been offered had I gotten to some of those meetings early enough to chat and get to know the other participants?  I wonder how much more successful I would be if I didn’t feel so bogged down with all the unfinished projects in my life?

I don’t want to procrastinate my life away.  I don’t want my epitaph to read, “Here lies the worlds best procrastinator.  She could have accomplished a lot with her life, but she waited too long to begin.”

I can’t just say, NO MORE PROCRASTINATING, and expect it to never happen again.  There are always going to be those things that I don’t want to do, so I will want to push them as far in the future as possible.

What I can do, is this.  I can modify my “to do” list from just a long list of things to choose from, to a list with target dates/deadlines.

Tiny Change 13:  Give myself viable deadlines for all projects.

This should help me to stay on track and not let things like my health slide unwittingly into the future, never to be heard from again.

Any other ideas or tricks you have for stopping the disease of procrastination, I would be excited to hear about them.

Best Regards,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'll Eat Two Pieces of Fresh Fruit, I Promise

Day 12 of 365 Tiny Changes

I get to stay in my sweats, today.  Woo Who!

I have to celebrate the little things in my day, because not everything always goes as planned.

It hit last night, right after dinner.  I didn’t recognize it for what it was, being so late in the day.  I just thought I was really tired, from all the coupon clipping I had done during the day.

Unfortunately, I knew exactly what it was when I woke up this morning.  A fibromyalgia flare up.  Well, maybe. 

For me, the first sign that a flare up is occurring is melting exhaustion.  The kind where, if I sit down, I simply feel like I could melt into the sofa, and never get up again. 

Then I get the all over body aches and severe pain if I’m touched by anything, even my clothes.  Thus the sweats, because it’s too cold to go naked all day.

I had plans this morning to jump out of bed at 5:30, do a quick “get ready for the day”, and zip out to the grocery by 6:30 to get my weekly shopping done, before the crowds arrived.

This past weekend and the first 3 days of this week are the single busiest week for grocery stores in the USA.  While I want to do my part to keep this statistic accurate, I sure don’t want to be there when everyone else is.  I’m more of a go when others are still sleeping person.

Instead, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30, only because it hurt too much to lay there.  I have slowly taken my shower, done my 10 minutes of stretching, had my cup of decaffeinated tea, read a chapter from a book about getting rich (I still retain hope in that arena),  started a load of laundry, and began working on this blog entry, all within 2 and 1/2 hours.  I am no Speedy Gonzales, when these flare-ups strike.  I’m more of a sloth like creature.  A sleeping sloth.

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by ruling out any other possible illnesses.  I’m always leery about accepting these type of diagnoses.  Like all those people who were diagnosed with MS, and it turned out that they really had a severe allergy to aspartame.  No aspartame, no MS symptoms.  Bad diagnosis?

I first mentioned my symptoms of exhaustion to a doctor in my early 20’s.  He told me I had “tired housewives syndrome”.  I accepted it, because I had 2 babies, was going to college full time, was working a part time job, and my then husband was in the Navy and out to sea.  So yes, indeed, I was one tired housewife.

I mentioned it again, to a Dr. when I was in my early-30’s.  He thought I was depressed.  My children were in their early teen’s, I was a single mom, working full time, with lots of bills to pay.  I didn’t really feel depressed, just a little stressed, but hey, I’m no Dr.  What do I know?

The symptoms have gone from bouts of exhaustion to bouts of exhaustion with all over aches and pains, and now the pain of being touched by anything.

My Dr. now tells me it’s fibromyalgia.

Fortunately, now I have the Internet.  Through my research I may have hit on something that may be the underlying cause, or maybe prove a misdiagnosis.

It seems that some people who present symptoms of fibromyalgia really have Celiac’s Disease.  They are allergic to Gluten, which is found in wheat and other grain products.  This disease appears to be hereditary and I have a sister and a daughter who have already been diagnosed with this.  Fibromyalgia is also hereditary, and no one, besides me, in my family has ever been diagnosed with it.  I’m willing to look into the possibility of anything else, if it can make these symptoms go away.

It’s a good thing I’ve already decided to give up my reign as the Pasta Princess.  I’m going to be a lot more committed to eating the 3 fresh veggies a day, I promised to eat.  Which brings me to the next tiny change.

Tiny Change 12:  Eat 2 pieces of fresh fruit each day.

While I wait for the symptoms to subside, I am going to have a slow moving day.  Maybe take a nap, or two.  I totally believe is being gentle with myself, because I have proven over the years that being any other way has absolutely no rewards.

If anyone else shares in this malady, please feel free to share your secrets of caring for yourself during a flare up. 

Best Regards,


Monday, November 21, 2011

Who's Running This Household?

Day 11 of 365 Tiny Changes

I have a plan.  In fact, I have a lot of detailed plans.  This particular plan, though, is one of the reasons I created this blog.

I plan to start another business.  I have quite a few ideas of what this might be, how it might be structured, and all of that.

I’ve actually owned a business in the past.  It was a residential cleaning service.  The business part of it went very well.  I had lot’s of customers and 6 employees.  The part that didn’t go so well was the personal side. 

Where my business failed was in the personal support area.  I didn’t take the time to really build a team of people that I could go to with questions, or ideas.  There were members of my family that were supportive, but I found that the caring of the family doesn’t always translate into the kind of business support I needed.

The result was pure exhaustion.  My business failed because I was just so tired.  Actually, it didn’t fail, I shut it down, because I just couldn’t carry the load, alone, any longer.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I really needed to bring in a manager at that point.  Someone who could take over the daily running of the business, while I went out and did the PR work.  I was just too tired to realize what I needed, and I didn’t have the outside support system to point it out to me.

The only thing that is worse than learning from experience is not learning from experience.
                                ~ Linda Ellerbee

I have learned from my experience of business ownership.  This time I am going to do things differently.

Part of the reason I was so exhausted was that I was running the business and running a household with 2 young teenagers. 

I had spent a lot of time and energy getting efficient systems in place for the cleaning side of the business.  I spent a lot of time training my employees to be efficient and highly productive.

I didn’t take the time to do the same with my household.  I went from a 9 to 5 job, that left me hours in the day to meet the household needs to running a business out of my home that took 12 hours a day, plus. 

I never took the time to look at the system I was using to run the household, to find places for more efficient ways to do things.  I’m not talking about multitasking, I’m talking about real changes in procedure for the things I needed to do to keep the household running smoothly.  I just ran the household the way I had always done it and continue to do it.

I had my first apartment right out of high school.  You would think that by now I’d have all the kinks worked out.  However, I have found that running a household 32 years ago and running a household today is completely different. 

Back then, the only way outside information got to me was by snail mail, or telephone.  If I wasn’t there to answer the phone, it was on the caller to call back.  If they couldn’t reach me, they sent a letter via snail mail. 

My required response time was also lengthened, because I only had those same two options available to me.

Today, with all the ways I can be reached, my required response time has gone from 7-10 days to 7-10 hours, sometimes 7-10 minutes!

I feel that today there is much more reason to find ways to streamline the household responsibilities, just to be able to stay on top of all of the outside influences.

I have read some of Iyanla Vanzant’s books.  In one of them she wrote something that really hit home with me.  I’ll paraphrase it.  “There are people out there trying to save the world, and they haven’t even figured out how to keep the dishes out of the kitchen sink.” 

That is where I’m at.  I have spent so much of my life focused on other peoples wants and needs, my own kitchen sink is piled high with my own dirty dishes.  (Figuratively speaking.
We do have a dishwasher.)

This year is about not only washing my dirty dishes, but drying them and putting them away.  It’s also about building a support system, a sort of a mastermind group that I can go to for help and advise when I launch my new business. 

First things first.  In order to do this I need to create a better organized day.  The place to start this organization is the moment I wake up.

Tiny Change 11:  Take my shower, immediately upon waking.

I’ve been getting side tracked with other activities first thing, and have had to stop my forward progression in the day, to take my shower, before I can leave the house.  Better to get it out of the way first thing.

Feel free to share any shortcuts to running a household that you have discovered.  I may never get these dishes finished on my own.

Best Regards,


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Mornings

Day 10 of 365 Tiny Changes

It’s Sunday, my favorite day of the week.  I never forget what day it is on Sunday.

On Sunday, I can sleep in, wake up any time I want, and not feel guilty about it.

The reality is I still wake up at the same time I do every other morning.  The difference is, I’m the first one up and out of bed.

There’s something special to me, being the first one up.  Maybe, it’s because I get the whole silent house to myself, but it’s different knowing there are still others in the house.  I get the whole house to myself, at other times, too, when every one is gone.  But it’s kind of a lonely silence, then.  The Sunday morning silence is the kind of safe, happy, silence, that hugs me into the day.

When the others get up, I am the first to greet them with a good morning.  That feels good, too.  To be the one to welcome my family into the day.

It’s also my favorite day, because Sunday is the day I get to indulge the extremist side of my personality.

I’m not normally an extremist about anything.  I am more of a gray area person.  I don’t live my life by black and white rules.

I had a friend tell me once, that I did firmly believe in black and white rules, but for other people, just not myself.  While she may have thought that was true, I firmly believe there are 2 sides to every story.  Honoring the gray area is where both sides can be heard.

My one exception being couponing.  Yes, I am an amateur Extreme Couponer.  I watch the show, when I can find it on TV, to get hints.  I’ve read books, and have signed up for coupon web sites. 

On the show, these women are able to shop for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars of groceries for almost nothing.  I haven’t been able to accomplish that feat, yet.

I have been able to save 64% off the retail price of my items, by combining manufactures' coupons, store sales, and store coupons.  That has only happened twice. 

When I watch the show, I get this feeling that the person they are profiling isn’t doing a “normal” shopping trip.  They aren’t purchasing the groceries they need for the week.  They have created a special list, just to get to the lowest bottom line at check out, as possible.  I’m not THAT extreme.  I shop for what I need, although it does pain me deeply when I have to purchase anything not on sale, and/or without a coupon.

It’s our money.  If the manufacturer, or the store, is going to offer me a way to purchase their product, and keep more of our money in our pocket, I’m all over it.  It’s a win/win for all of us in so many ways.

I’m a numbers person, so after doing the whole intense couponing thing for a month, I ran the numbers.  I averaged all of the money saved from all of the shopping trips I had made, during that month.  I found that I was able to knock off 40% from the retail price.  Not bad.  My normal weekly shopping trip was running me around $150.  It now runs me closer to $90 for the same items.  That leaves me about $240 a month extra. 

HA, who am I kidding?  There is no extra, in our budget.  That leaves me $240 more for college expenses for the youngest of our 4 combined children.

So I will continue to clip coupons, and research what store is offering the best sale on what product, in an effort to up the weekly savings and keep more of our money in our pockets.  I’ve learned quite a few shopping secrets along the way, and I do enjoy the challenge.

It is somewhat time consuming, though, and I can get backed up on my clipping and sorting of those little money saving pieces of paper.  I could stand to be better organized at it.

Tiny Change 10:  Check one web site each day to clip new coupons and file them immediately.

The Sunday paper is here, waiting.  I’ve got to find my scissors, and glasses, and get to work on my favorite Sunday morning activity, saving money by cutting up newspapers like a 5 year old.

If you would like me to share some of the couponing secrets I’ve learned in my endeavor, message me, and I’m happy to share what I know.

Best Regards,


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Accidental Vegetarianism

Day 9 of 365 Tiny Changes

I woke up this morning at 5:30 AM, hungry.  No surprise, since I went to bed at 1:00 AM, hungry.

I am a vegetarian.  One of the things I dislike about being a vegetarian is that I’m hungry a lot of the time.  It’s not the, oh, I think I could eat a little something, kind of hunger.  It’s the, OMG, I am STARVING, kind of hunger.  This feeling comes about 2-3 hours after I sit down to a meal.  I get up satisfied, it just doesn’t last. 

I think, to be a good vegetarian I need to become more of a grazer.  I have a friend who does this.  She takes the time to cut up lots of different veggies.  She puts them in zip lock bags and carries them with her where ever she goes.  Whenever she gets the urge, she will munch.  She swears by this method.  Oh, to be as prepared and she is.  She must have been a scout when she was little.  I’ve never asked.

I am actually an accidental vegetarian.  I didn’t plan on becoming one, it just sort of happened one day.  About 2 years ago...(fade to black and white).

My Guy’s parents came to town.  When they come, they like to plan family gatherings with members of the family we don’t talk to, or think of, when they aren’t visiting.  I don’t even remember most of their names.  (Hey, it’s a big family.)

A few summer’s ago “The Body Exhibit” was in town.  This was to be the family event for this year.  I didn’t want to go, but nobody asked me, specifically, and my ticket was purchased for me.  Not one to like to be considered the family snob, I put on a smile and left work early to attend.

I am not a fan of the human body.  I should rephrase that.  I love the beauty of the exterior of the human body.  I took life drawing in college and aced it.  (Of course, most of the models were male.)  Moving on...

I am not a fan of the interior of the human body.  I don’t even like to watch when someone shows off their double jointedness.  It makes me queasy.  Any time that I have had to deal with any sort of injury or blood, I have to fight to keep my lunch.

When I was in 8th grade, I stoved a finger in gym playing basketball and passed out cold walking down the hallway outside the cafeteria, from thinking about it.  I wasn't even looking at the bruised, swollen finger, I was just thinking about it.  The bump on the head I sustained from the hard floor, didn’t help my queasiness at all.

Back to the exhibit.  It was actually a very interesting exhibit.  First of all, I just never realized that one could still see what race one might be without the skin, by just muscular structure, alone.  It makes sense, I had just never thought about it. 

There were a lot of really cool things to look at.  Lots of things about the body, that I had probably learned during some science class, but never really understood until I saw it in this exhibit.

I was able to detach enough from myself, and my queasy stomach, to really get a lot out of this show.  Little did I know it would lead to a lifestyle change for me.

I did mention that it was obvious that the specimens in the exhibit were asian.  In fact they were Chinese “volunteers”.  I don’t want to think any more about that statement.

Sometimes event planners don’t think.  I don’t mean the museum curators.  In this instance, I’m referring to the members of the family that planned this excursion.  After the museum visit, we met for dinner, at some of the planners’ favorite CHINESE restaurant.  Really.

I didn’t eat any thing but vegetables that evening.

The next morning I woke up and opened the freezer and saw a big roast I had stored in there, and that was it.  I swear, I had seen that same piece of muscle at the exhibit the day before.  I am forever a vegetarian because I can’t stand the thought of eating muscle.

I am really a horrible vegetarian.  Most vegetarians I know are waifs.  Me, I’ve gained 20 lbs. as a vegetarian.  I could blame it on my age, or too many hours sitting in front of the computer, but the reality is I eat too much pasta.  I could probably start a whole new branch of vegetarianism called pastatarianism.  I would be the princess of the pastatarians.

I have visited both the east and west coasts and have found that being a vegetarian is much easier there than here, in Ohio.  Living in the Midwest, it is not the easiest thing to be a veggie eater.  One would think with all the farms we have it wouldn’t be so hard. 

We Midwesterners love our meat.  Most of the restaurants I’ve been to offer very few, if any, vegetarian dishes.  If they do, 8 out of 10 times, its some version of pasta veggies, just pasta.  Perfect for pastatarians, lousy for real vegetarians.  They are sometimes willing to remove the meat from the dish, but don’t decrease the price.  I hate paying $15-$20 for a plate of food that only cost them $1.50 to prepare, including overhead.

I’ve determined if I want to stay healthy I need to get on the path of being a proper vegetarian.  I’m going to have to eat more vegetables.  Oh yeah, and fruit, too.  More vegetables and fruit, and a lot less pasta.

Tiny Change 10:  Eat 3 servings of fresh vegetables every day.

Looks like a trip to the grocery store for me, and soon, too.  I’m hungry!

Any tips anyone out there might have to offer on eating healthy as a vegetarian in the Midwest, I would gratefully accept.

Best Regards,


Friday, November 18, 2011

Commitments, Right or Wrong

Day 8 of 365 Tiny Changes

Today is the one week anniversary of the first posting of my blog.  I feel like a proud parent.  You know, them, too.  When asked how old their baby is they answer in number of days...7 days, 180 days, 3254 days.

My baby is 8 days old today and I am celebrating.

I have been involved in a community of sorts called Life Success Seminars ( since the year 2000.  One of their “sayings” goes something like this.  “My success is in direct proportion to the commitments I make and keep.”  I may be paraphrasing a bit, but the message is still there.

I have made one huge commitment.  To create a dramatically more successful life in 365 days.  I decided to accomplish this by making one tiny change each day.

I’ve mentioned earlier that I am a self-help book aficionado.  I have read hundreds of them over the last 35 years.  One suggestion that I have run across, more than once, is to set a goal and then track my progress toward the completion of this goal.

What I have experienced is this.  The reason that I am setting a goal is because I’m overwhelmed and looking for a better way to accomplish something.  I am not looking to add another task to my already long list of things to do.  Tracking just seems like another tedious, time consuming, annoyance.

However, when looking at the state of my unfinished business, maybe some of these self-help gurus have a point.

I think one of the reasons that I hate to track my progress on a goal, is because it would also be tracking my lack of progress.  Who wants to track their failures?

Maybe I should be looking at it in a different way.   Maybe I should be looking at the tracking as a source of feedback.  After all, I have made a commitment to myself.  If I’m not keeping the commitment, perhaps there’s a reason.  A bigger reason, than I just didn’t get to it, or I just didn’t have time, or I just didn’t feel like doing it, or any of the other million excuses I could make for myself.

Maybe it’s the wrong commitment.  Maybe it’s not a commitment I’m making to myself, for myself.  Maybe it’s a commitment that I’m making to myself, because I think someone else wants me to make it.
I used to work in an industry that gave me direct contact with home owners, or want-to-be-home owners. 

Over the years I had the opportunity to work with high income clients and low income clients.  I was payed commission based on the amount of money the client could spend, thereby making it more beneficial to me to work with the higher income clients.  My employer, not only payed us based on the amount of money that was spent, but based the majority of the other rewards on this.

Over the years, I found that I was much happier working with the lower income clients.  I felt a bigger sense of fulfillment from working with them.  I also felt I was really helping them, and I know I was much more appreciated by these clients.

Every year we would be asked to set our goals.  It was expected that we would set high dollar goals.  This created the cycle of courting the high income clients over the low income clients, and my being less fulfilled in my job.

For me, being less fulfilled led to less productivity on my behalf, which led to a lower paycheck, and on and on.

Every year I made the commitment for the wrong reason.  It was a commitment that the company wanted me to make for them, not the commitment I wanted to make for me.

In my previous job, I had the opportunity to set my new goal every year, or so I assumed.  In reality, I had the opportunity to set my new goal every day.  Every day is a new day.  We can forget the battles of yesterday, and start renewed, and refreshed every morning. 

Keeping this in mind, I am going to track my progress on a weekly basis.  I am going to call each day an “Opportunity Given”.  I am going to call each task  “Opportunity Taken”.  I will review my successes and my not-so-much successes and determine if I need to make some modifications to my stated tiny changes.  This weekly review will allow me to make adjustments in a timely manner, and keep the feeling of failure at bay, and the celebrations at the forefront.

I’m going to share my tracking with you...that way I’m on the hook, to get it done.

Here is week #1:
                                                                             Opportunities Given    Opportunities Taken
Blog, Daily                                                                          7                                        7
Hug Guy, Daily                                                                  6                                       4
Send Thank You Card, Daily                                           5                                       3
Work On One Unfinished Project, Daily                      4                                       4
Work One Task at a Time, Daily                                    3                                        3
10 Minutes of Gentle Stretching, Daily                         2                                        1
Send Birthday Greetings, As Needed                            1                                         1
Totals                                                                                 27                                       23

Not perfect, but not too bad either.  For a numbers person like me, I’m at an 85% success rate.  Considering it takes 3 weeks to set a habit, I think I’m doing ok, so far.  The Commitments seem to be in line with what I really want to improve in my life.  Good for me.

Tiny Change 8:  Track my progress weekly.  Celebrate the successes and realign the not-so-much successes. 

I hope you take the time to celebrate the successes of your day, your week, your life.  That is what life should be about the celebrations.

Best Regards,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

18,724 Days to Go

Day 7 of 365 Tiny Changes

What day is it, again?  I hate waking up and not having any idea what day of the week it is.  I’ve noticed, I never do this when it’s the weekend.  It’s the other 5 days I seem to get lost in.   It’s even worse when it’s, say, noon, before I figure out what day it is.

When I do finally figure out the day, I’m never happy about it.  If it’s Tuesday, I’m thinking, “Damn, I’ve only lived through one day so far this week?  It’s gonna be a long week.”  If it’s Thursday, I’m thinking, “Damn, where did the rest of the week go?  Look at all these things I haven’t even started on, yet.”

Last year about this time, I was loosing track of the days, too.  Maybe it’s the whole cold, dreary, weather thing.  Maybe it’s waking up and it’s still dark, and coming home at 6:00 in the dark, that throws my internal calendar off. 

Anyway, last year, at this time, I got tired of loosing days and decided I would start a count down.  A count down to what?  A count down to my 102nd birthday.

I decided that whatever day of the week it was didn’t really matter.  What mattered was that I was taking full advantage of every day I had.

Sometime around my 50th birthday I stopped counting.  I’m not sure why.

I like birthdays.  Not everyone does, but I do.  Some people like holidays better.  Perhaps it’s because everybody is celebrating all together for the same reason.

I like birthdays, because they are more personal. 

As small children we get it.  A birthday is a BIG event.  I know some children who celebrate their half birthday.  The date they turn 7 and 1/2, or 9 and 1/2.  My niece even celebrates her half birthday with public fireworks, thanks to the local 4th of July celebrations.  Why not piggy back a personal celebration to a large public celebration?  More “bang” for the buck, I say.  (I just couldn’t pass that one up.)

I have a very large extended family.  Christmas was just getting totally out of control, for my budget.  I was spending way too much money for the single event.  So I proposed that we, as a family, have a gift exchange instead, where we would each purchase one big gift instead of 50 smaller gifts.  Save time, save money, save chaos.  Good idea, I thought.  

I also suggested that we then give smaller gifts to each other throughout the year on our birthdays.  We had always celebrated our birthdays with a family gathering and ice-cream and cake, but as we became adults we stopped giving gifts to each other.  I wanted to change this.

I wanted to make birthdays special again.

Here’s the catch with doing that.  We have to think about gift giving throughout the whole year. With a large family, that is a lot of thinking. 

What has happened is at Christmas we now do a gift exchange, but we also give everyone personal gifts, and we don’t give birthday gifts, again.

Buying everyone gifts at Christmas actually streamlines the process of gift giving.  I can go out and power shop for the gifts, in a day or 2.  I can power wrap the packages in an evening or 2.  I can even power disburse the gifts via Mrs. Clause, played by Mom, on Christmas morning, at her house in front of the Christmas tree, with the majority of our large family present.  In fact, if someone isn’t there for the official opening of the gifts, they will always find time to stop by and pick their gifts up within a day or two.  This saves me the time and cost of mailing their gift to them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE the chaos of the massive gift giving and family celebration we have for Christmas.

I’m saddened to realize that I have fallen into the trap of celebratory efficiency vs. celebrating the individual.

Birthdays ARE a big deal, to each of us, whether we want to admit it or not.  It’s the anniversary of the day we landed on this earth to start our journey through our life.  We deserve to have it celebrated by the people who know and love us.  It’s a reminder that we mean something to someone else in this world.  Quite simply, it’s a reminder that we count.

I have exactly 18,724 days until my 102nd birthday.  I plan to be there to celebrate it.  I also plan to celebrate each birthday in between in the best way I can think of.

I also want to make sure each and every person who is currently in my life is reminded, by me, on their birthday, that they are special and that their being here makes a difference in my life and the lives of everyone they touch.

Tiny Change 7:  Send Birthday Cards, they matter.

One more thing. 




Celebrate the loved ones in your life.  They deserve it.

Best Regards,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stetching of a Princess

Day 6 of 365 Tiny Changes

I woke up this morning feeling like a princess.  Not just any princess, mind you, but one specific princess.  The one from the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea.

Not as she was at the end of the tale, either.  The story starts something like this...

It’s a dark and stormy night and a bedraggled waif, soaked to the skin, appears upon the steps of the local, available, prince.  The mother-in-law-to-be, decides she wants to test the metal of the poor girl, by putting her to bed upon 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds.

As if just getting on and off such a high bed weren’t enough of a test, in the ways of fairy tale mother-in-laws, she also places a pea underneath this pile of bedding.

(I have to stop the tale here to give you some background on my thinking.  When I first heard this story, at the age of 5 or 6, my experience with peas was limited.  The only kind I knew of were the soft  ones from a can.  So when I heard the mean old woman had placed a pea under all that stuff, I didn’t understand why she wanted to mush a pea so badly, and make such a mess.)

Moving along.  The Princess wakes up feeling bruised and un-rested, from sleeping on 20 mattresses, 20 feather beds, and a mushed pea.  What a delicate flower she was to feel so badly, after sleeping on such soft bedding...

That is the place where I begin living the fairy tale/nightmare.

I don’t sleep on nearly as much bedding as that other princess, but my bed is one of those foam filled, can’t spill a glass of wine, even when your jumping on the bed, mattresses.  When I first lay down at night if feels like I’m in heaven.

At some point during the night, some old biddy must sneak a pea under my mattress.  I am more educated in the ways of peas now and know that they also come in a hard as a pebble version.

This morning I actually looked under my mattress for that damned hard little pea.  It wasn’t there.

At what point did sleeping turn painful?  Nobody warned me that this might be a possibility as I turned 50.  What?  Is it supposed to be some closely held secret or something?  Is the  AARP, afraid that society may choose not to turn 50, and not pay their dues, because they can’t get a restful nights sleep after that?

I am totally OK with the whole turning older thing.  In my head.  My body, unfortunately is not nearly as thrilled with the event.

In fact, I think my body is holding a mutiny against me.  I don’t know why.

OK, I’m lying.  I do know why.

I have to admit that I have not treated it with the respect and dignity it deserves.  I truly expected it to want to hang in there with me to the ripe old age of 102, without so much as a peep of disagreement.  Silly me.

Over the last 50 years, I have abused and neglected my body by ignoring it, and then feeling guilty for such behavior.   To fix the problem, I abused and pushed it some more to get back into shape. This cycle, done over and over, didn’t really accomplish much more than giving my body a voice.  Some days a very loud voice. The very loud voice of pain.

As I get older I also realize that when my body talks to me the loudest, is when I have to do the most counter intuitive behavior I can think of.  Reverse psychology taken to a whole new level.

When I wake up and my foot hurts so much I can hardly put any weight on it, the only thing that makes it feel better is to put weight on it and walk.  In a few minutes, the pain is gone.

When I wake up and my ribs hurt like I’ve slept on a hard  vegetable all night, and all I want to do is hug it close and not move, the best thing to do is lots of elongating, high reaching, stretches.  In a few minutes, the pain is gone.

When I wake up with a back that hurts so much I don’t want to move, and I start thinking maybe today might be a movie marathon day of bed rest, the best thing to do is get up and get moving.  After a while, and a nice hot shower, the pain is gone.

I also have tennis elbow.  I have no idea why.  I haven’t played tennis for 30 years.  I wasn’t so bad my elbow has to punish me for it, now.  I thought my coach took care of that back then.  I haven’t come up with the counter intuitive behavior  to cure that one, yet.  Really, how many choices do I have, bend the elbow, don’t bend the elbow...still hurts, either way.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

So here’s the thing.  I do plan to live for another 52 years.  In order to do this, my body and my brain will have to come to some sort of mutual understanding.  In other words, they will have to learn to get along.  I can’t wake up with my body screaming every day.  No princess could stand that for 52 years with out some sort of intervention from a fairy godmother.

I don’t have a fairy godmother handy, so I’m on my own to figure it out.

With the intention of being kinder and gentler to myself, I am not going to get back into shape by training for a marathon or anything that would send my body into a permanent screaming fit.  I am going to work on appreciating my body for all of its hard work.

Tiny Change 6:  Ten minutes of gently stretching exercises each morning.  Along with some gentle cat like stretches throughout the day, especially the days I’m stuck in front of the computer.

Maybe, with enough gentle love and understanding, my body and brain can come to a lovely fairy tale like agreement and I can live happily ever after.

Best Regards,

Princess Linda

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Multitasking Fallacy

Day 5 of 365 Tiny Changes

Today, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. 

Yesterday, I wrote about all of the unfinished projects that I have to battle to completion.

I think my real problem is that I am an idea person.  Not a finisher.  I LOVE creating.  I even like the start up process of a new idea.  Making the plan, purchasing the materials, getting organized, even starting the project...that’s where if falls off the cliff.  Usually, I get board and/or side tracked on to another project.

I’ve tried multitasking, but failed miserably.  So I researched multitasking, to find out just what I was doing wrong.  Guess what, I discovered the reason I failed at talking on the phone, while answering an e-mail, while finishing a report, while standing on my head singing the BHA song.  It turns out the reason I failed, is because it’s IMPOSSIBLE. 

Our brains can literally only do one thing at a time.  If I think I’m multitasking, doing more than one thing at a time, I’m not.  In reality I’m flipping my attention from one task to the other and back again.  Some people can do this better than others, and some people, like me, shouldn’t attempt it at all.  I am one who should never talk on the phone while I’m driving and I would NEVER attempt to text and drive, unless I was on a suicide mission.

While somewhat relieved to know that I’m not a total failure, it’s still depressing.  Apparently, there are no short cuts to getting my “to do” list completed, outside of hiring someone else to do it.  On my budget, that’s not happening any time soon.

Being ever the creative, I’m putting a new meaning to the word multitasking.  When I say the word, I mean working on more than one project on the same day.  The differentiation being “same day” vs. “same minute”.

I am one to get easily bored or distracted.  I have picked 3 projects to work on over the next two weeks.  They are similar, yet different enough to keep me focused, and they are all in the same location, my bedroom/office.  No wandering aimlessly from one location to another, allowing myself to get side tracked in any other way.

Project One:  Clear all e-mails.   I have 3 separate e-mail accounts, silly me.

Project Two:  Review all photos uploaded to IPhoto and burn the keepers to disks.  I only have 9000 photos to go...

Project Three:  File the paperwork taking over my bed room.  I have about 10 file boxes to get through.

My version of multitasking will allow me to move from one project to the other, as I get frustrated or bored with the one I’m working on.  It will, also, allow me to fully focus on the moment I am living, instead of being distracted and overwhelmed by attempting to do too many things at once.

Tiny Change 5:  One task at a time.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, maybe trying my version of multitasking will give you some relief, too.  Let me know you results and ideas on making this work even better.

Best regards,


Monday, November 14, 2011

Roses In Bloom in NOVEMBER!


Day 4 of 365 Tiny Changes

I woke up this morning and took a look around my bedroom, thought I must be having a nightmare, laid back down and closed my eyes, hoping I would “wake up” again to a bright sunshiny day with a lovely, neat and organized room.

Opened my eyes again, and thought, “Wasn’t Halloween 2 weeks ago?”   No, it wasn’t the reflection of my face in the was the complete wreck of a room that I have been living with for weeks.

It’s not the type of wreck you might think, being a bedroom.  You know, clothes strewn about, shoes under the bed, unmade bed.  (Accept right then it was unmade, because I was in it.) 

The mess I have is from a reorganizing effort.  Yes, it’s true.  In order to reorganize, one must create complete havoc in the process.  The trick is, not to get stuck there.  Which obviously I am.

Guy and I chose to share a domicile in January of 2005.  Since that time I have slowly been bringing the “stuff” from my house, in Phillipsburg, into our house, in Hamilton.  My intent was to sort through the “stuff”, choose who had the better “thing” and sell, donate, gift...the left over.

You try doing this with the things of a man who has a sentimental attachment to EVERYTHING!  For example, I have a Cuisinart, metal and glass, blender that can blend a rock into sand...he has a Kmart, plastic, blender that can’t blend water.  In my book, Cuisinart wins.  In his book...but my Mother’s, brother’s, aunt, gave me that 13 years ago, as a going away present, before she left for the Arctic Circle, so it’s special.

My answer.  Take a picture, and give the thing away.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have a sentimental part in my heart.  But, most of the time I quell it, with logic.  We have 2 complete households of “stuff” to merge.  In my opinion the better “stuff” wins.  More cost effective, and efficient.  We only have so many square feet, and yes, I like to be able to move freely in my square footage, not along designated paths amongst mounds of boxes.

Until recently the answer has been, my stuff stays in boxes, or we have 2 of everything out to use.

It’s taken 5 years, but he has finally given in to my way of thinking.  Mostly because I have convinced him that if we can get the boxes out of the garage, he can part his truck in there.  And if we can get the boxes out of the basement, we can turn it into a media heaven.  We have two neighbors that have done this, and he has seen and enjoyed their spaces, so now he wants one of his own.  (Sometimes I appreciate the idea of keeping up with the Jones.)

So, back to the bedroom.  Our bedroom is actually our bedroom/office.  I HATE this combination.  I do find it hard to relax when I have office stuff staring at me.  (Yes, paperwork can stare at you, and it never blinks first.)

We had paperwork/files, in the garage and in the basement and in our bedroom.  Admittedly, some of it was from 1999.  That is the project I am working on.

My thinking.  Take all of the paperwork we had stashed in other areas and move it to the bedroom/office, where I would get so sick of tripping over it that I would sort it and re-file it.

Problem.  It is amazing how many other things I can find to do other than sort through paperwork.

Solution.  Tenacity.

I stepped out my front door to get my mail this morning and was greeted by my beautiful rose bushes, still in bloom.  We have had at least a dozen nights down close to freezing and 2 or 3 frosts, but my rose bushes continue to bloom.  That is tenacity!

They have a job to do, and they are doing it come drought, or freezing temperatures.  They are offering their beauty for as long a physically possible.

I feel like a lazy, slob, being outdone by a rose bush.

I’ve been reading a book that mentioned Thomas Edison.  I already know the story about the 10,000 tries to invent the light bulb.  I didn’t know that when he formed his company he had a guiding principal of one small invention every 10 days and one large invention every 6 months.  Talk about tenacity.  This is why he is one of the most prolific inventors in history.  The other reason is that he has a team that was committed to this guiding principal.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished in numbers focused on the same purpose.

Well, I don’t have a team to work with me, but I can be tenacious just the same.

Besides the paperwork mountain, I have many, many, many unfinished projects, stashed here and there.  In fact, I’ve got unfinished projects from Hamilton to Phillipsburg.  That’s a 70 mile spread.  I would venture to say that I am probably the “Queen of Unfinished Projects”.

I think that, perhaps, I may be using these unfinished projects to keep me from finding and reaching my “definite major purpose” for being here on earth.  (A term coined by Napolean Hill.)

I think that, maybe, if I cleared all the clutter of these unfinished projects out of my life, I may have time to find and focus on what is really important to me.

Wow, just what kind of impact might I be able to make if I didn’t have such a long “to do” list?

I am going to fix this.  I will not be outdone by a rose bush.  I will use Edison’s plan and get these projects completed.  One little project every 2 weeks, one big project every 6 months.

Tiny Change 4:  Work on one unfinished project every day, long enough to get it finished in 2 weeks time.

What stuff do you have in your life that is holding you back from being the best you can offer the world?

Best regards,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soldiers and Other Unknowns

Day 3 of 365

It’s that time of year when I take all of my wonderful, light, airy, cool, clothes and remove them from my closets and drawers and lovingly place them in their air tight plastic containers and dry cleaning bags and put them in the basement until the sun shines warm again.

By the same token I take all of my warm, soft, cuddly, clothes and rescue them from their dark place and put them in my closets and drawers to be loved and used to protect me from the cold sunless days ahead.

Kind of a changing of the guard, I think.  A sad time but a comforting time.

I’m sad to see the warm days of summer disappear, but I glad to know that I will be safe and warm until they return again.

Maybe it’s because we have just celebrated Veterans Day, but this activity turned my memory to the time I stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA. and watched the ceremony of that Changing of the Guard. It was an eerie experience.  Everyone there was speaking in whispers. 

It was a  cool, sunny, fall day, with a light breeze blowing.  We, Guy and I, stood and waited for the change that happens hourly.  When the responsibility of guarding the bones and memories of our dead and missing are passed off to the next soldier. 

It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a ceremonial guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
At this site one unidentified soldier for W.W.I, W.W.II, and the Korean War are interred.  After the identification and removal of the soldier interred from the Vietnam War, thanks to DNA testing improvements, the following statement was added to the empty crypt:

"Honoring and Keeping Faith with America's Missing Servicemen."

As a reminder of the commitment of the Armed Forces to the fullest possible accounting of missing service members.

I’m not sure of what the afterlife will bring, or if there is a way that all of those who fought for our country and have never come home can see us.  If they can, I hope that they feel warmed and protected by the men that are assigned to guard their memory.

The ceremony was beautiful and awe inspiring.  I would have to say it was one of the times that I have felt the most proud of us as a country. 

We have chosen to take care of those who have no voice of there own, no way to tell us who they are and what they stood for.  It is a way of thinking that we have, we citizens of the USA.  We want to take care of those who have no voice, it is our nature as a country, as humans.

I am grateful to these unknowns.  In reality they are all unknowns.  With the exception of a very few people who I have met that have served, or are serving in our country’s military, all of the soldiers are unknown to me.  I may be able to find their name, and see a picture of them, but I don’t know them at all.

What makes a person decide that they want to put their life on the line for the masses?  People they don’t know, will never know. People, or a person, like me.  It is a completely selfless thing to do.  Why would someone do that, for me?

I think that there are a lot of people out there that do selfless things every day, for others...for me.  I’ve just never taken the time to notice them, or what they do.

That is the 3rd Tiny Change I will make.  I will notice and be grateful for the selfless things others do for me.  I will make at least one person each day aware that I am grateful to them, by thanking them for being...them!

Tiny Change 3:  Each day, I will write a thank you note, to mail or give, to someone, letting them know I am grateful to them for being who they are and doing what they do.

If you would like to join me in my endeavor, I would be grateful to you, too.  Just think what a better world it might be if we all knew we mattered to someone, anyone, even a stranger.

Best Regards,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dinners and Hugs

Day 2 of 365

It’s 10:44 in the morning and I just turned the crock pot on with tonight's dinner for my guy, Guy, and my son, Jason.

I’m a vegetarian.  Every day I cook two dinners.  One for the meat eaters in the house and one for me.

I don’t mind really.  I think I enjoy the challenge of coming up with healthy, yet overlapping meals. 

In fact, I just realized the other day, that I actually ENJOY, preparing the evening meal in our household.

Maybe it delineates the business part of the day from the family part of the day, for me.   I usually start dinner at 6:00 PM and, depending how creative I’m feeling, we sit down to a family meal some time between 7 and 8:00.

We kind of have a routine going.  I do the cooking and the table preparation.  Jason, clears the table and loads the dishwasher, and sometimes washes the pans, too.   If not, Guy does the pans.

Our dishwasher is old, but hanging in there.   We have to use the pots and pans cycle to just get the regular dishes clean.  I don’t want to insult it further by forcing actual pots and pans on it, that it won’t get clean, anyway. 

Maybe it’s because of my age, but I don’t mind making concessions if a machine is obviously doing all it can do.  I think I’m hoping others will look at me with the same thoughtful eye, when I’m in my last years.

Anyway, back to the food thing.  I started cooking after I took Home Economics in the 7th grade.  Not by choice, mind you, the class or the cooking.  My Mom, thought that it would be good for me to continue with what I learned in school, by cooking a meal once a week for our family of 7  plus.   (The plus being any neighborhood kid that happened to be hanging around at supper time.)

I learned to cook en masse.  Not necessarily with any flavor, though.  My Dad had what the doctor termed as a “pre-ulcerous condition”.  Totally understandable with five kids in the house.  The prescription was a “bland diet”, and my mother did her best to fulfill this prescription.  We ate, and that what matters.

When I got involved with my ex-husband, I learned from his mother that there was another way to cook.  They had a large family, too, and she loved to cook for them.  It was one of her ways of letting them know she cared for them.  She kind of hugged them with her cooking.

I’m no longer with my ex-husband, and only see his mother once every few years.  But, her hugging with food attitude is still with me.

Unfortunately for me, Guy, is not an eater.  He is the only person I know that can eat one small meal a day and be satisfied.  If I’m lucky he saves himself for dinner.  Sometimes though he eats lunch, so then he just picks at his dinner.  I do give him kudos for trying.  It is kind of sweet of him to at least sit down to the family dinner and participate when he has no interest in the main purpose of the gathering, the food.

My son, on the other hand, allows me to hug him with my cooking and anything else he can find in the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer.  At 6’6” and 225 lbs, he is an eating machine.  When he moves out on his own again our grocery bill will be 1/4 of what it is now.

So where does all this food talk lead to?  It leads to tiny change number 2.
Since I can’t hug my lover with my cooking, I’m going to have to go at it another way.

It’s amazing how many days will go by without truly connecting with the people we care about the most.  I’m told this is normal in today’s world.  How sad. 

Tiny Change 2.  Hug Guy every day.

I hope that as you read my thoughts you, too, are inspired to make tiny changes to your life.

Best Regards,