Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Review OR Haven Found

Looking at this review tells me that I've fallen out of love with the gym. It was cool when I first joined about two and half years ago because I was able to jump-start the weight loss that had plateaued with just walking. Now, I feel like I'm wasting money by going to Cardio and Muscle Class once a week. Although, in the last few weeks, I've been trying to hit the gym more often.

In addition, December marks my one year climbing anniversary of sorts. While December of '09 was not the first time that I climbed, it was when I started climbing consistently and stopped having pre-climbing jitters. I could have never imagined how the rock climbing gym would become such a haven.

Here's how things went down in 2010. I hope that your year was equally productive. Did you find yourself relying on one activity over others? See you on the flip side of 2011 where I plan to rock steady...

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fix Mix

  • Cardio Kickboxing, 1 x

  • Power Yoga, 8 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Belly, Butt and Thigh Blasters!

  • Better Booty Camp, 1 x

  • Belly Flab Fighter, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Dance Your Body Thin!

  • Ballet Sculpt, 1 x

  • Cardio Dance Party, 1 x

  • Dance Toner, 3 x's

  • Get Fix Club Mix, 1 x

  • Smooth and Sexy Moves, 4 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Firm Flat Abs, 3 x's

  • Total Body Fat Burner, 2 x's

  • Upper Body, 6 x's

  • Ultimate Stretch, 7 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp

  • Basic Training, 1 x

  • Fat Burning Blast, 3 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: KnockOut Body!

  • Knockout Body Blast, 1 x

  • Fierce & Fabulous Abs, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates

  • Core Conditioning, 1 x

  • Buns and Thigh Sculpter, 1 x

  • Standing Pilates Sculpt, 2 x's

  • Strength and Flexibility, 3 x's

  • Total Body Toner, 2 x's

  • 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results fat burner

  • Cardio Max, 3 x's

  • Extreme Intervals, 1 x

  • Low Impact Fat Blaster, 1 x

  • Power Sports Drills, 5 x's

  • Rapid Results Kickboxer, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution; Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Sleek and Sexy Abs, 4 x's

  • Stretching, 66 x's

  • Total Body Toner 1 x

  • Adaptive Motion Trainer, 2 x's

    Arc Trainer, 1 x

    Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies, 3 x's

    Bicycling, 40 x's

    Boot Camp Class, 1 x

    Cardio and Muscle Class, 34 x's

    Car Washing, 1 x

    Crunch: Candlelight Yoga, 5 x's

    Drills to Make You Sweat Class, 1 x

    Elliptical Trainer, 1 x

    Lawn Mowing, 11 x's

    Muscle Works Class, 1 x

    Personal Training With Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs, 3 x's

    Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Lower Body Circuit, 1 x

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 24 x's

  • 40-Minute Total Body Circuit, 5 x's

  • Abs Only Circuit, 1 x

  • Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training, 3 x's


  • Ab Ripper, 2 x's

  • Cardio X, 2 x's

  • Raking Leaves, 2 x's

    Rock Climbing, 84 x's

    Rowing, 1 x

    Shooting Hoops, 4 x's

    Stair Climbing and StairMaster, 21 x's

    Step and Interval Class, 7 x's

    Swimming, 48 x's

    Treadclimber, 3 x's

    Treadmill, 27 x's

    Walking, 83 x's

    Walking Pilates, 1 x

    Wii, 63 x's

    Yardwork, 2 x's

    Yoga for Weight Loss, 1 x

    Zen to Den: 20 Minutes Yoga, 1 x

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    Calendar Fodder

    I was going to get a 2011 Women of Rock Climbing calendar and I thought, hell, I'm a woman. I climb rocks.













    It would probably be simpler to just get the calendar. Of course, there was a Groupon for Shutterfly a few days ago and I didn't get it. Bummer...

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Holding The Third Eye

    I laughed at myself when I got hiccups and started looking for one of the acupressure books that I have around. Acupressure has become My Big Fat Greek Wedding Windex.

    Of all the acupressure books that I have around, I've been enjoying Michael Reed Gach's book of late.

    As acupressure evolved, each of the 365 points was named poetically, originally with a Chinese character. The imagery of its name offers insight into either a point's benefits or location. For instance, the name Hidden Clarity refers to the mental benefit of the point: It clears the mind...The Three Mile Point earned its name because it gives a person an extra three miles of energy...(6)
    And who can disagree with this observation?

    Breathing is the most profoundly effective tool known for purifying and revitalizing the body. (11)
    I think my favorite named acupressure point, so far, is Letting Go.

    Depressed? Acupressure's got you covered -- plus a few tips from the author for dealing with depression:

  • Aerobic Exercise

  • Take a Stimulating Shower

  • Deep Breathing Exercises

  • Moving and Breathing Meditation
  • Gach believes that the following elements are essential for personal fulfillment which thwarts depression:

  • Self-Love

  • Mutual Relationships

  • Meaningful Work

  • Goals and Visions for the Future
  • Diet is also discussed throughout the book and I can always use a reminder because, while I've tamed the sugar beast to a certain extent, I'm still addicted to processed foods:

    Diet also plays an important role in building resistance to illness. When we eat processed, preserved, or devitalized foods, we weaken our immune system and our resistance because these foods have been stripped of necessary nutrients and fiber. (118)
    More on diet:

    If you have difficulty concentrating or want to improve your memory, you should stop eating foods that are high in sugar...Eating a lot of sugar also strains the pancreas, which according to traditional Chinese medicine is damaging to your memory as well as your mental and emotional stability. (161)
    Another special reminder for me:

    Pain or tightness in the shoulder area often reflects a person's overall emotional and physical state. A stressful lifestyle, emotional strains, physical injuries, and fatigue can contribute to constriction and pain in the shoulders...

    The shoulders are the repository for much of our tension and stress...(197)
    One more point from Gach:
    Exercise naturally regulates and balances your whole system. (225)
    I'm hoping to acupressure my way out of my constrictions and, I have to say, that I'm still enjoying doing acupressure rituals for wellness.

    P.S. For my friend Hazira, here is information for insomnia.

    Stress, pain, grief, and anxiety can exacerbate sleeping disorders. Peace of mind is essential to falling asleep...According to traditional Chinese medicine, an uneven distribution of energy can also cause insomnia. (131)

    The Gates -- Not Bill and Melinda but:

    Inner Gate (P 6)

    Location: In the middle of the inner side of the forearm, two and one-half finger widths from the wrist crease.

    Benefits: Relieves insomnia and several other common complaints that can keep one from sleeping, such as anxiety, palpitations, nausea and indigestion.

    Spirit Gate (H 7)

    : On the inside of the wrist crease, in line with the little finger.

    Benefits: Relieves anxiety, cold sweats, and insomnia due to overexcitement.


    And my new favorite acupressure point...Third Eye (GV 24.5)

    Location: Directly between the eyebrows, in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead.

    : Relaxes the central nervous system for relieving anxiety and insomnia. (133)

    And for real, how many times have you instinctively held your third eye?

    (Hmmm, don't know why eye one looks puffy...)

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Just About Everything I Need

    According to Happiness For Dummies,which continues to stick with me, there are certain items that you really need and the rest are wants. Of course, we all know that but those shiny objects still beckon.

    Humans have few actual needs -- the things that are vital to our physical survival. We need air, water, food, shelter, and a certain amount of sleep, and that's it. Everything else -- jewelry, cars, fine clothes, a vacation home, a big-screen TV...are things we want out of life. (Happiness...305)

    And I do feel like I have just about everything that I need or want but here are a few items that I mull over.

  • Black Purse

  • Bodybugg

  • Digital Tire Pressure Situation

  • Ipod Touch

  • Rock Climbing Shoes

  • I love this Confession of...series; This time mall Santa is confessing and the 80-year-old says:

    Because of the physical demands of suiting up as Santa, I have to take care of my body on and off of the job. I get up everyday at 6 a.m. to walk a mile. I take vitamins, and my wife, Marilyn, fixes me balanced meals. My employer, Noerr Programs Corporation, hosts a three-day Santa University conference in July where RBSs (Real Bearded Santas) learn proper posture and sitting and breathing and techniques. I also depend on moms and dads to help me by lifting their kids onto my lap.

    In case you get in decadence mode, check out this article about 10 activities that burn the most calories.

    Happy Holidays and I hope that you have everything that you need and a lot of the stuff that you want.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Overheard Everywhere

  • I see the answer to our question -- Bordeaux.

    Woman to man in grocery store...

  • Once you start treating me bad, forget it. I dig in and, boy, do I dig in.

  • I wear two suits and shorts for a better workout.

    One of my colleagues who is a swimming machine; she does a mile in 35 minutes -- 39 minutes on a slow day.

  • It was broken at the radial head. It was hurting mid-shaft...I kept thinking that I was a baby...

    I didn't go to the ER because I'm an ER nurse and ER nurses don't go to the ER.

    Wasn’t that the stupidest thing?

    Nurse reluctant to go to hospital after slipping on a black walnut and falling. Her arm was broken in two places – at wrist and at radial head (near elbow); she even chided herself for how she fell since she instinctively put her hand out to brace her fall…

  • Woman: You know Pat from SNL?

    Me: Yeah, Androgynous Pat.

    Woman: Only I'm more masculine than androgynous. I always thank God that I look feminine. Otherwise, I'd be in trouble.

  • My heart hurts. I think I'm going to die very soon., A colleague

  • I'm going to risk it and, if I get the flu, frankly, I could use the days off.

    After an announcement that flu shots were being given at work...

  • When I go out to drink coffee, I don't drink coffee.

    Overheard at Work...

  • Everybody's so stressed out. It's just another day. You can't stress out about everything.

    At work...

  • Ugh, no, I don't eat grilled bananas -- that's the other Africans.

    A colleague after someone described preparing grilled bananas...

  • Yeah, closing the barn door after the horse is gone.

    Re: post-theft modified behavior (overheard at work)...
  • Monday, December 20, 2010

    They'll Fire Soon Thereafter

    Abs -- probably my least favorite section of body that I deal with and I actually shuddered a bit when I saw the Jackie Warner cover but was definitely heartened when I found out the ab work included nary a crunch.

    Warner promises a path to sleek and sexy abs –- Jackie-style. There are two (approximately) 15 minute ab routines – one is done standing up and the other on the mat. During the matless routine, part of the warm-up includes punching laterally – loved it. I was huffing and puffing by the time my straight arms (holding a weight) were meeting my lifted knee. Other moves that you’ll encounter include the: Squat Swing, Figure Eight (with weights) -- really dug this move. Tap and push (Loved it.)

    Result of routine: Two days later, my lower ab sidewall was still feeling the Jackie-style love.


    The mat portion of the program is just as engaging as the first once. You’ll kneel on the floor and reach one arm up at a time to warm-up and, actually, kneeling is a good place to be because you’ll find yourself saying a little prayer at some point.

    Those abs should be firing even though it's the warm up Warner says.

    If they’re not firing during the warm-up, I promise you that they’ll fire soon thereafter. Activities that you’ll engage in during the mat routine: Weight between knee -- elbow meets knee (diagonally).

    Swimmers -- a scissor leg move that I also liked. It was a simple maneuver and I felt it immediately.

    (Floor Cam)

    Side Oblique Plank (You'll try to get your elbow to meet your knee while in plank position.)

    Modifications are available. After side planks and, before the next exercise, I paused the DVD to see how much time had elapsed because I was feeling *it.* The display reported that 4:58 minutes had elapsed. I took a deep breath and hit the play button. Next up was a plank twist. I did my best to keep up and drop my hips to the mat as many times as I was asked. You'll get to swim again with knees up (tabletop), shoulders blades off the mat, weights in hands -- arms moving.

    And the words you never want to hear: These are a little bit more challenging -- burpees. I already felt challenged before that B word. Jackie-style burpees are a two-part move that look frog-like. Hands down, frog position – you move your legs in and out. Hips stay straight back doesn't dip Warner advises. About halfway through the burpees, I opted for the modification -- done moving one leg in and one leg out alternately.

    Next up are the bridge, leg circles and a plank with a leg lift. By the time Warner got to leg jacks, my comments had gone from exclamations of Oh God to an important question Are you serious?. Doing Superman never felt so good. And child's pose? I embraced it wholeheartedly.

    The ab workouts are great and a lot of cool moves are incorporated. Yes, the workouts are challenging but feel the challenge and do it anyway. Okay, that's not how the saying goes but you know what I mean...

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Best Moments

    A question posed by Happiness for Dummies:

    If I asked you to identify the ten best moments of your life, could you do it? (100)
    I can barely remember what happened two months ago so here are some best 2010 moments:

  • Bones -- The Discovery Of

  • Catching A Glimpse of Definition in My Biceps

  • Commitment to Self-Care

  • Discovering the Wonder of Acupressure

  • Getting a Feel for Front Crawl Breathing

  • Getting A Globe Vienna

  • Lifting My Voice i.e. Speaking uP

  • Rock Climbing Accomplishments

    (Ascending 5.9 felt really good)

  • Securing Organizer

  • Three Week Vacation

  • (I went. I saw. I bowled.)

    Gratuitous Bowling Picture

    What about your best moments of 2010?

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    The Habits of Happy People

    I have to say that Happiness for Dummies did not knock my socks off the way The Happiness Project did but the author made a lot of valid points.

    People are more playful when they’re happy – they’re interested in golf, tennis, marathon running…Happy people are more likely to exercise on a regular basis. (190)
    Here’s W. Doyle Gentry’s four-ingredient formula for happiness:

  • A feeling of safety

  • A sense of satiation

  • A sense of perspective

  • Quietude
  • Someone must have really talked to Gentry about the importance of exercise because he frequently mentions it and cites a study done by two psychologists who found:

    Those employees who were low on the hardiness scale and who failed to exercise regularly had nearly seven times more illness than their co-workers who were hardy exercisers…(83)
    In addition to reminding folks to be grateful and to be true to themselves, the author also gives out homework. One task is to identify the best moments that have occurred in your life. Gentry also has suggestions for what to do if you’re no longer satisfied with your regular routine. The last suggestion in this segment says:

    Stretch, moving beyond your usual comfort zone. (109)
    This reminded me of one of my teachers who used to constantly say stretch your mind. Most of my stretching, of late, has occurred via rock climbing and swimming where I’ve really had to get out of my comfort zone.

    Gentry says that there are three core components when it comes to making sense out of life:

  • Order

  • Affiliation

  • Meaning
  • I liked his suggestion to have rituals for the beginning and end of the day. He has one suggestion to send close friends emails and wish them a pleasant day. Later on, he expands on the idea:

    If you want to have a happy relationship…you have to let the people closest to you know how much happiness they bring to your life. Happiness should never be taken for granted – it needs to be shared. (140)
    The author talks about healthy selfishness, a concept that I embrace wholeheartedly. Here are a few of Gentry’s examples of healthy selfishness:

    Catching up on your sleep when you’re exhausted.

    Exercising several hours a week at your favorite gym. (208)
    If you’re still not convinced that healthy selfishness is good, Gentry gives another reminder:
    Remember: You need to leave room in your life for yourself. (213)
    Gentry expands on the idea of healthy selfishness by discussing the importance of creating energy:

    Some things in life take energy and other things create energy. Regular exercise creates energy – it leaves you feeling refreshed and renewed. A good night’s sleep does the same thing. Laughing creates positive energy. Hugs create an infusion of energy both for the hugger and the person being hugged… (211)
    Earlier in the book, I liked Gentry’s advice to walk away from annoying situations. I also like what he says about coworkers:

    Never view those with whom you work as the enemy. (224)

    As I was writing this up, I realized that Gentry did cover a lot of territory. He talks about raising sane children, eating a healthy diet and he, eventually, gets back to the E word:

    What’s the best form of exercise? According to a friend of mine who owns and operates his own health facility, the best exercise for you is the one you’ll agree to do…(290)

    Have a favorite For Dummies book? Feel like sharing a best moment?

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    The Gospel According to My Father

    My father was a Marine who loved to talk about his Parris Island days. His brother told him that he needed to turn in his badge when he got his hat shot off after responding to a domestic violence situation as a police officer but the turning in of the badge did not happen.

    When someone dies, I try hard to remember the things they said. It's funny because the sayings pop into my mind at the unlikeliest of times...

  • Don't bring a knife to a gun fight.

    My father's typical joshin' around with his buddies.

  • That's not even a dog; I should shoot it.

    About Thatch, my brother's Cocker Spaniel. We had Doberman Pinschers when I was growing up...

  • (That's Brutus, one of several Dobermans.)

  • You gotta die somehow.

    To one of his associates that was flirting with me.

  • She's the world's oldest teenager.

    My father about his sister.

  • You'd rather eat cake than cornbread?

    My father to me. I was the pickiest of eaters but never about sweets.

  • Baseball is interesting if you understand the game.

  • I don't like chicken. We had so much of it when I was growing up.

  • My father: You're a part of me. So, if you go over there, it's like I'm going too.

    Me: What if I can't figure it out?

    My father: You're smart. I know that you can do it.

    Me: You're spoiled.

    My father: You are too.

    My father schmoozing me to go over to my aunt's house and help her figure out a deep fryer. He had promised her, around 7:30 a.m., that he would come and help. It was round 2 p.m. when the schmoozing started. I went to help my aunt and we did figure out how to get the thing going without blowing ourselves up. In the meantime, I was fascinated by how much oil went into the fryer.

  • I hit him so hard that he went back to writing poetry.

    My father about a poet that we knew who referred to himself as Hurricane R during their football playing days.

  • Doctor (before knee surgery): Do you exercise?

    My father: I chase women.

  • When your mother and I were courting, we went to a carnival and the Ferris wheel stopped. We were stuck up at the top but I didn't care. I was satisfied just being with her.

  • You're gonna have to start calling me by my first name.

    After my father spotted a gray hair in my head. In essence, I was cramping his public persona.

  • This is the best milk that I've ever had. This is the best pineapple that I've ever had.

    My father after major surgery.

  • When I die, I want Dora to sing Danny Boy at my funeral.

  • I hate to tell you this but, if you see a squirrel, don't try to avoid it. You'll end up hitting other people's cars and causing lots of damage.

    (My father's advice while teaching me how to drive...)

  • No one else can drive but you. You have to watch out for everyone and yourself too.

  • A look over your shoulder will save your life.

    (More driving advice)
  • Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Redemption Song

    I guess you could call this a debriefing, of sorts, from yesterday's experience.

    Ironically, as I was waiting and waiting for the chiropractor and upset that I didn't follow my first and second mind to walk out the door, I was thinking that I hadn't gotten properly angry in a while, which is good because when I get angry it takes me so long to come down from that anger high.

    Initially, I had no idea how long I had waited since I don't normally wear a watch and, like a casino, there were no clocks in the chiropractor's office. I watched as he went from one room to another -- sometimes at a frenetic pace -- manipulating people's lower bodies on weird tables that rotated.

    I kept thinking that I didn't even really want him to touch me because he was in such a frenzy. There was not one thing -- not one that was relaxing about the few minutes of acupressure that he did provide. In fact, I was praying that he hadn't done damage. I was also miffed because I didn't have anything to keep me occupied. Not a book or an MP3 player. When I go to get my hair cut, I take a book because there's always the possibility that waiting will occur. This clown didn't even have magazines in his office. I digressed though.

    I had gotten off of work (two hours) early because we had our annual holiday party and I felt like I just wasted the gift of precious, extra time. In addition, I was supposed to meet my friend Hazira at a certain time then we were to proceed to another friend's home (Asmira) by a certain time. I'm not going to mention the fact that I wanted to stop by Big Lots to find Wasa crackers and such.

    I threw three people's schedule off. When I picked up Hazira, I was good and angry at this point and, when I get angry, I can't talk. I can bang on the steering wheel but I can't talk. Don't worry. The banging is brief and I have yet to break my hand in this manner...

    We arrived at Asmira's and Hazira sat down for an interview with a student. Asmira told me that I could just chill out and I asked if I could use a computer so that I could dispense with some of the yuckiness. Asmira quickly set me up AND brought me a huge mug of green tea with a touch of organic honey and lemons on the side. The cup said The Boss. Hee-hee.

    After I wrote for a bit, I got busy with Asmira's Wii. Then, we had dinner of baked fish, vegetables, salad with Craisins, walnuts, blue cheese and spinach, Russian bread etc.

    It was a great meal and the company was great too. I laughed especially when Asmira's husband came home and told me that The Boss cup belonged to him.

    Whenever I've been a guest at Asmira's house, I feel immediately at home. The house is warmly decorated but that's not it. I feel as if I could stay forever. It has the feel of a bed and breakfast or sanctuary. What it is, though, is Asmira -- her hospitality is huge.

    After 11 p.m., we were joking about overstaying our welcome. Asmira told us how Bosnians joke and say:

    We are going to bed so that the guests can go home.
    It sounded much better when she said it but what I'm going to say is that my evening was redeemed by Asmira's hospitality. Thanks woman and my apologies to Hazira for a rather intense ride...

    I'm pretty much pain free -- another valuable realization from yesterday's experience.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    The Littler Waiting Room

    I'm so gullible. I went to an acupressure workshop and the chiropractor's office kept contacting me to come in for an acupressure session which I was looking forward to. I thought it would be a nice Friday evening treat.

    I get there and I wait and I wait. I toy with the idea of leaving when someone comes to tell me that they are sorry for the delay. I wait more. I finally get taken back to a room and I think of that Seinfeld episode where you think you've made progress only you get taken back to a smaller room to wait even more.

    I think I waited for about an hour and a half and ended up with about two minutes of an acupressure session then was told that the vertebrae in my neck are out of alignment and that is what is causing my shoulder discomfort. Really? Seriously? In addition, I can come in for x-rays in order to really ascertain the situation.

    I'm so mad at myself and can't believe how naive I can be. What a waste of my time...

    Scene from The Ex-Girlfriend Episode of Seinfeld

    JERRY: Waiting room. I hate when they make you wait in the room. 'Cause it says "Waiting room." There's no chance of not waiting, 'cause they call it the waiting

    room, they're going to use it. They've got it. It's all set up for you to wait. And you sit there, you know, and you've got your little magazine. You pretend you're

    reading it, but you're really looking at the other people. You know, you're thinking about them things like "I wonder what he's got. As soon as she goes, I'm

    getting her magazine." And then, they finally call you and it's a very exciting moment. They finally call you, and you stand up and you kinda look around at the other

    people in the room. "Well, I guess I've been chosen. I'll see you all later." You know, so you think you're going to see the doctor, but you're not, are you? No.

    You're going into the next waiting room. The littler waiting room...

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    How To Say Goodbye

    I don't do Weight Watchers -- never have -- for some reason but, of course, I saw quite a few posts about the new points system.

    This title caught my attention recently:

    Outrage: Weight Watchers forces us to eat fruit!

    The company rolls out a smart new diet plan with more emphasis on health -- and a furor ensues

    I really dug the ending of the "outrage" article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, a Salon magazine writer.

    We have a lifelong relationship with our bodies, and like love, that relationship is healthier when we put good things into it. And like love, sometimes that takes thought and effort. Yet the basic notions of more apples, fewer cookies and stopping when you're full that Weight Watchers are embracing makes a lot of common sense. Common sense is still there in all of us -- right there in our guts next to the Sabor de Soledad -- and if we take the time to respect and listen that wisdom, it will reward us in ways that, unlike a weekly points system, are incalculable.

    And speaking of Mary Elizabeth Williams, she really hit the ball out of the park with her article Elizabeth Edwards: Don't call it "losing" to cancer which she wrote yesterday morning before Edwards died and I thought Edwards' last epistle to the world was profound and I was deeply moved:
    I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that...
    What a gracious way to say goodbye; so glad that she had time...

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Overheard at the Pool

    I've had a real swimming jones of late and I'm happy to report that my front crawl breathing is getting better. I was able to swim 200 yards (not consecutively) without pulling up. In honor of my success in the water, here are things that I've overheard at the pool.

  • Father to son at pool: Move your arms in wide circles.

    Son: I'll go down.

    Father: I won't let you go down.

  • Father to son at pool: I'm ready when you are; feet all the way to the edge.

    Son: (Sound of jumping then peals of laughter.)

  • Just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, Same father to son.

  • I'm the boss, Father to son before the father's two quick laps before the start of swimming lessons.

  • Swimming instructor: You're eight years old. You're a strong boy. You've stopped three times. Go. Go. Go.

  • Son to father about swimming: I don't think I'm made for this.

  • Father to son: Kick your legs and move your arms in a circle. If your head goes underwater, breathe out of your nose.

  • I don't know how much longer I'll be able to swim, a man at the pool with limited vision.

  • How do we swim?, Teacher

    Streamlined., Her two students

    (The teacher played a game with her students. Every time she said streamline they were to raise their arms straight up in the air.)

  • We’re going to rock and roll but only our shoulders.

    Same teacher re: the backstroke.

  • Instructor to kid on diving board: I need to see your toes. I need to see your toes. I see your toes.

    Kid then uses toes to head in the other direction.

  • Father to son, Number one: don't breathe too much...

  • Father to son: Streamline. One then the other. Never put both arms down at the same time. Any questions?

  • Father to son: You streamline with the backstroke too but instead of looking down, you look up.

  • Definition provided by recreation center: open swim means that the rec area, slide... and lazy river are available to children and adults for play.

  • What happiness do you have to report?

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Stuff People Say To Me

  • I'm in a size 10 and they are getting tight; I don't want to go up to a size 12. I started going to the gym. I'm also going to try the cabbage diet and see what I can take off in two weeks with exercise and diet...

  • That's ridiculous. One my colleagues when I told her that I had spent 80 minutes at the gym the previous night in order to stave off hibernation syndrome

  • If you're not losing any weight, why do you need to buy new winter tops? Hazira, one of my friends

  • I've gained 50 pounds but I'm happy. I'm too busy to cook and, when I'm on the go, I eat fast food. I know that I shouldn't eat fast food but Iranian food takes two to three hours to cook....I'm not small but I'm not too big. I'm still at the point where I enjoy dressing up.

  • Nice teamwork. Sophie to me after I did some drumming on Patti's forearms after she tackled The Gift of Flight a.k.a The Forearm-Killing route.

  • There's a Groupon for an advanced rock climbing technique class. A hint? from Patti

  • I have gray matter. I just don't use it. I'm so into my body.

    I drink a gallon of water a day -- not because I like water but because my coach tells me that I need to...You need to drink more water.

    Thanksgiving is not really that big of a deal to me. I think we should be thankful every day. Also, people see Thanksgiving as an opportunity to be a glutton and I don't do gluttony. A grappler, stepper and yogi.

  • Anyone said any interesting stuff to you lately?

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Being 'Drea

    There's this part of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project that continues to stick with me. Well, there are quite a few parts of her book that stick with me including the cut people slack portion of the program.

    Rubin talks about accepting true likes and dislikes and how that acceptance frees you up to do other things. In embracing true likes and dislikes, Rubin lists things she'll never do.

    But I have to admit it -- being Gretchen and accepting my true likes and dislikes bring me a kind of sadness. I will never visit a jazz club at midnight, hang out in artists' studios, jet off to Paris for the weekend, or pack up to go fly-fishing on a spring dawn... 122
    Of course, I think this is an exercise you have to be careful with because you don't want to put something out there that you might potentially want to do and then you've mentally and verbally put the kibosh on it -- not cool.

    Having said that, here's my list of things that, although I might like them, will probably never happen in 'Drea's world:

  • Girly Girlishness

  • Hooping It Up Professional Basketball-Style

  • Replacing Rick Steves

  • Synchronized Swimming

  • Hurrying about in The Amazing Race

  • Frequenting Parties

  • Amusement Park Enthusiast

  • Sewing or Crocheting Competently

  • Mastering Trilingualism

  • Walking a Wire Professionally

  • What are some of your true likes?

    ...I realized that just as clearing away my nostalgic clutter and my aspirational clutter in January had opened up more space for the possessions I really use in the present, relinquishing my fantasies of what I wished I found fun allowed me more room to do the things that I did find fun. Why worry about jazz clubs when I really wanted to design my own Book of Hours? Be Gretchen. (126)

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Month-End Review, November

    Just got back from the pool. Normally, Tuesday belongs to Kate but since my quads and legs, in general, are still tender from this situation, I took it to the water --a fitting choice in more ways than one since I was crabby and teary. I wanted to swim until my arms couldn't move anymore and I wanted to float the length of the pool.

    One of the best things that happened this month was a feeling of being in sync while doing the front crawl; the breathing has been better and I worked my way back up to 25 laps.

    And, oh, I got back on the treadmill for the first time in ages. It was strange hitting the machines after a long hiatus.

    And one of the best things tonight? I feel renewed -- after swimming, floating, taking a hot shower with ginger and bergamot soap and pushing the boundaries of the speed limit.

    Here are other things that invigorated me:

    10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts

  • Ultimate Stretch, 1 x

  • Upper Body, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Stretching, 4 x's

  • Cardio and Muscle Class, 2 x's

    Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 3 x's

  • Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training, 2x's

    Raking Leaves, 1 x

    Rock Climbing, 7 x's

    StairMaster, 1 x

    Swimming, 4 x's

    Treadmill, 2 x's

    Walking, 4 x's

    Wii Fit, 17 x's

    What did you find renewing this month?

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    When A Minute Lasts Forever

    One minute is an eternity in Jackie Warner’s world. I learned, at least, from previous experience not to wear glasses while attempting a Warner workout. So, before I popped in this DVD, I took care of eyewear matters.

    Warner aims to cut your workout in half by doing compound moves and she drives your body “straight into the cardio zone.”

    The warm-up consists of plié squats, running in place and reverse lunges with torso twists. At one point, Warner tells her cohorts that she hears them breathing (during the warm-up) and that they are going to be in a world of pain. While it's not technically a world of pain, be prepared for a gut check.

    The first segment is dedicated to glutes and shoulders. Every exercise is done for one minute and, as indicated above, I’ve never seen a minute last so long. You’ll get into a runner’s lunge while executing a rear delt fly while your ribcage is on your leg. To work on your balance, you’ll do a curtsy then a side kick with weights on deck.

    Don’t worry about delayed onset of muscle soreness since your glutes and, later on in the program, your quads will give immediate feedback.

    I really liked this shoulder circle move (that I'm doing in video). In fact, my shoulders feel pretty good after this routine.

    It’s good to document because it makes me realize that I’ve come far but there's still progress to be made. It’s good exposure therapy. Okay, I’ve been watching too much Obsessed on Netflix but exposure therapy is working...

    In addition to glutes and shoulders, quads and arms; hips, chest and back; core and more are all implemented in this time saver routine.

    During the hips, chest and back segment, I really liked two exercises – a push and pull with a row for the back and a kind of burpee move where you place the weights by your feet, walk your hands down, do a push-up then walk your hands back towards the weight and do a shoulder press. It’s taxing but doable.

    I’m not a huge fan of lunges and there are quite a few lunges to contend with but they are also doable.

    A bit of advice: I would not do this workout with anyone else at home. I had to get a bit noisy to gut it out…

    Are you a noisy worker outer? If so, do your housemates give you strange looks? Also, if you get through this workout without stopping, please let me know. I had to stop numerous times but it’s good to have goals you know…

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    The Gospel According to Patti

    That's Patti a.k.a The Tenacious One over to the left -- lead climbing a route outdoors and what follows below is her gospel.

  • Do your hands ever get sore?, I asked in child-like wonder. My hands get so tender while climbing at times.

    Patti turned her hands over and discussed the merits of calluses that have fallen off. Yeah, they get sore but I just don't talk about them because my knees are sore, my back is sore and my elbows are sore. Your problem is that you're not sore enough....

  • If I start it, I'm going to climb it.

    Mike and I were trying to figure out the The Skull Cracking route which had a challenging beginning. It looked impossible to start so we called Patti over. Patti is like that Mikey kid in the Life commercials; she'll climb anything and, sure enough, she did. Once the belay was off, Patti said, That one's all about balance.

  • I was attempting to climb Girl Power, a challenging 5.9 route. I had attempted it several times before I concluded that maybe I wasn't tall enough.

    Patti: How tall are you?

    Me: 5'3

    Patti: I think you're taller.

    Me: (Crumpled brow)

    Patti: I certainly think I'm taller...

  • The move needs to be deliberate and controlled, more advice from Patti as I tried to ascend Girl Power, a 5.9 route.

  • What happened to muscle memory? Me after trying to get over the arête of Girl Power

    Patti: You gave it new memory.

  • You know that part that you always get stuck on? Step on that rock instead, do a drop knee and it'll just shove you up to the top...

    Patti's advice after I climbed Pacman Revival, a 5.9 route whose crux continued to baffle me.

  • After not being able to get over the arête of a route...

  • Me: Are you going to show me how to do it?

    Patti: Well, I'm going to either show you how to do it or how not to do it.

  • The ladies at work told me that I'm a hypochondriac.

    I told them that I'm a conversationalist and I talk about what ails me.

  • Patti: That's like a dangling modifier.

    Me: Wow, I haven't heard that in awhile. Anybody see that comma splice? This conversation has really taken a turn for the worst.

    Mike: No, it hasn't; we haven't talked about colons yet.

  • Patti: You're doing excellent. It took me a year to climb 5.9's and, if I weren't climbing better than you right now, I'd be disappointed since I've been climbing for three years.

  • If I don't say it enough, it's because I don't say stuff like that. Remind me in nine months and I'll tell you again.

  • Remember, I'm the cool one -- after Patti gave me advice on how to tackle a burly 5.9*

  • I always tell my kids it's all about the attitude.

    Patti to me after a series of pep talks about climbing goals, not going against the grain of routes, having fun and not being hard on myself after I mentioned that I had hit the proverbial wall when it came to climbing.

  • Don't be a purist.

  • Patti to me after I struggled with Now That's More Like It, a 5.9 route; I insisted on going left even though I had lots of footholds on the right side. In addition, I didn't want to cheat my way up by using holds that didn't belong to the route.

  • Patti: I'm going to climb this (Now That's More Like It) even though it's hard.

  • Me: :o, That's mean.

    Patti: (Chuckling) Are you still surprised about that now?

    *Patti acknowledged her coolness after I told her what Gingersnapper wrote...

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Stuff That Moves Me

    My mother sometimes tries to get at my motive for eating certain foods like Greek yogurt and organic sugar. Does it have less calories?, she wants to know about the sugar.

    Well, I let my mother take a gander at a Cooking Light that I had because she had been looking for quesadilla recipes; she ended up cooking edamame succotash for me. I was so moved that I didn't even ask about the bacon type. I also have not knowingly had butter in ages; it's a slippery slope, you know...

    Edamame Succotash

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
    Cost per Serving: $2.47


    1 slice center-cut bacon
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 cups chopped sweet onion
    2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
    1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons torn basil


    1. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon.

    2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through bell pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon and basil.

    Nutritional Information

    Fat:12.1g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.3g,poly 3.6g)

    Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2010
    Cooked anything interesting lately or had someone cook something interesting for you?

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Squeezing My Toes

    I went to the library to get an acupressure book. After this post and this one and not to mention the other one and the last situation, who's surprised?

    I saw that The Acupressure Atlas was on the shelf and was too impatient to request it and have it delivered to my regular library. That could take days, after all. My decision to pick up the book was a good one since I haven't browsed the library's shelves in ages; it's such a cool feeling to slow down, look at all those spines and be tempted by a title, pick up one and it inspect it further.

    My eyes fell on such a cool book. Cooler than cool. Self-Massage for Athletes.

    I have found the routines for massaging feet, quads, hips, knees and shoulders extremely helpful.

    Here's an excerpt from the routine for massaging your feet:

    both hands over your foot for warmth.

  • Try gliding your knuckles over the bottom of your foot...

  • Squeeze all five toes together a few times, then roll your whole foot at the ankle, relaxing and surrendering to the sensation.

    Squeeze & Roll
    each toe, gently pulling, twisting, and stretching it...

    You'd be surprised how good squeezing your toes together feels. Or maybe you're not...

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    The Fun Dihedral or Overheard At The Gym, III

  • Male climber: You're selectively nice.

    Female climber: Silence.

    Female climber: More silence.

    Female climber: I'm going to be selectively nice and let you take Metrolink instead of giving you a ride.

  • He has a strength to weight ratio that I can only dream about.

  • Chris, one of my climbing partners, regarding his son who scampered up Grab the Jug, a 5.8 route.


  • On belay?, Climber

    Belay is on
    ., Person taking belay certification

    You can't answer that question
    ., An Upper Limits staff member

    The would-be belayer had not taken enough slack out of the rope.

  • At this point, I'm not running my schedule; my schedule is running me.,Chris

  • I don't really eat meat but I'll eat Pappy's ribs., A woman's comment when a discussion about said ribs broke out.

  • So, it's better to have climbed and lost than to not have climbed at all?

    After explaining to Jerry (Mike's brother) that, while one should follow the designated route, sometimes we climb out of our comfort zones, get practice and make our way to the top any way possible.

  • This is horrible -- Sophie about halfway up a gnarly 5.11b.

    As Sophie got towards the top, she did this awesome move were she swung her body from right to left to get over the arch.

  • Sophie is strong., An observer watching Sophie climb

  • I don't like this route (Billy Goat Chips). I probably need to do it out of antipathy., Chris

  • That dihedral is really fun., a climber suggesting a route to Patti and me.

  • But, um, yeah; it's a 5.11a called Top Kill.

  • I saw the Reel Rock Tour and realized that I have been such a pansy. I'm going to take my climbing to the next level., Kristen

  • What are you taking to the next level?

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    GPS For The Body

    Most of the books about acupuncture and acupressure point this out but this gem is worth repeating:

    In ancient China, physicians received a fee only as long as their patients remained healthy. Treating someone who is already ill, they taught, is like starting to dig a well after you have become thirsty. We can learn from them to care for our own future health by eating well, exercising appropriately, and learning to calm the mind and body with relaxation and meditation...(20)
    I like this tip about how to apply pressure:

    9). Keep your pressure at a maximum of 15 lbs. (You can teach yourself what 15 lbs feels like by pressing on a bathroom scale with your thumb or fingers). (61)
    Finally, another reason to use the scale besides weighing myself.

    In chapter eight, For Best Results: Take A Holistic Approach To Your Health, I liked this advice:

    11). Be Happy. Make a conscious choice to be as happy as you can...In the long run, most difficulties tend to work out; bad feelings dissolve; a solution to problems is found. So get plenty of exercise, listen to music, dance, sing, visit friends, meditate...(78)
    If nothing else, besides fueling my curiosity about acupressure, this book reinforced, for me, how dangerous not dealing with stress can be.

    From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the main effect of stress on the body is the disruption of the smooth flow of ch'i or Life Energy, which is the forerunner of many illnesses...(361)
    I loved how this book described the pressure points. Plus, instructions are given for acupressure, reflexology and shiatsu to deal with various conditions. I felt like I had a GPS to the acupressure points since they were described so accurately. And what can I say? I have a thing for global positioning devices.

    What are you reading?

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Stuff I Like To Hear

  • Student massage therapist: You have muscles on top of muscles...

    Me (inside voice): Thank God; that explains the ten pound (three month) increase in weight.

    Student MT: I wish that I had 30 more minutes to work on your back.

    Me: (Vigorous laughter) Um, yeah, I wish you had 30 minutes too.

  • Me: Why do these things always happen to me? (regarding a colleague who gave a four day resignation)

    Friend (HC): As my mentor likes to tell me, it's not you; it's human nature.

  • Acquaintance: You look amazing. Do not lose any more weight; stay in the amazing business -- if you know what I mean. Okay, I'm going to stop before you think that I'm hitting you up for a loan.

    As we were leaving:

    Me: You don't have to walk this way.

    Acquaintance: Hey, don't try to monopolize all of the exercise.

    Me: (Chuckling)

  • Barber's mother: Look at you.

    Me: (I perform a 360 degree turn).

    Barber's mother: I'm talking to you; you've lost more weight. You don't even look like yourself anymore...

    What kind of stuff do you like to hear?
  • Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Filling The Well

  • Bought

  • One of my colleagues was headed to Target and, for some reason, I thought about washable markers and The Artist's Way.

    Filling the well involves the active pursuit of images to refresh our artistic reservoirs.
    I don't even know if this quote was the one I had in mind. Maybe it was something about pleasing your inner child.

    No matter, I had fun.

    I was headed to the climbing gym and was inspired to write mental tenacity on my arm after seeing this article, How to Push Past the Pain as the Champions Do?

  • Done

  • Self-Reiki Treatment

    While I'm not sure how much it helped as I was doing the treatment at 2:00 a.m. when I crossed that line between sleepiness and peppiness, some of the Reiki holds did feel refreshing.

  • Watched

  • Discovered gem while watching Acupressure Massage -- where to treat heat in the body; the point is on the colon meridian at the crease in the elbow.

    Recently, I've been hit with waves of heat in the upper body. Stress? You decide.

    FYI, if you were going out to lunch and wanted to suppress your appetite, you could use Pericardium Six which is two fingers up from the wrist crease in the center.

    I also like this point which is a master acupressure point.

    Someone may need to take my markers and pens away...

    Have you bought, done or watched anything interesting lately? How are you filling the well?

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    The Gospel According to My Aunt Al

  • My cousin: Can you put on your glasses and take a look at this...?

    My aunt: You need to (drag on cigarette) get out of this house (i.e. go to the hospital).

  • My aunt was flipping channels when she landed on Lord of The Rings which I told her that I had really enjoyed.

    Me: Have you seen Avatar?

    My aunt: I don't watch that kind of s*@t.

  • My aunt: Come on, now, work with me...

  • A statement that my aunt makes when she feels someone is being too diplomatic.

  • About my Sunday malaise:

    You can't win; you have five days stacked up against two.

  • Mental illness is rough.

    A comment that my aunt will typically make in connection to difficult coworkers.

  • Regarding my cousin's possible depression...

    She (drag on cigarette) just gonna have to shake it off.

  • On why she will not loan people cigarettes.

    If you smoke, you need to have your own cigarettes.

  • You must not know how to hang up.

    After I got kidnapped into a rather awkward conversation.

  • How long have you been working? Ain't no end to work.

  • I don't see why they (commentators) are still discussing it; they gave them the points.

    On the Green Bay (28) Dallas (0) game (score) right before halftime on Nov. 7th when the Packers intercepted the ball and there was a question about whether the player's knee was down before the ball was swiped.
  • Saturday, November 6, 2010

    The Art of Being Called Out

    You know that route in your sleep.
    That's what Patti said as I walked towards Steller's, a 5.8 route.

    The rightness of her statement made me walk over to Have Fun, Be Fun, a 5.9 route that I had tussled with before and that I really didn't want to have anything to do with. I wasn't able to climb halfway up and that route, by the way, was no fun at all.

    While I was at it, I tackled Where The Beer Flows Like Wine, a 5.8 route that is quite, as Chris would say, burly.

    I felt such a sense of accomplishment after taking on those routes and the next time that I tried Have Fun, Be Fun, I made it just a little bit further along.

    Route Tally for Nov. 6th:

  • Kristin's Farewell, 5.8

  • Life in the Pack, 5.8

  • We (fear) the People, 5.8

  • Have Fun, Be Fun, 5.9 (rainbowed)

  • Photosystem, 5.9 (rainbowed)

  • Six Week Warrior, 5.9

  • P.S. Have, Fun, Be Fun still owns me but I keep going back for more...

    Is there something that you keep going back for more of?

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Avoid Stress Whenever Possible

    Since I went to this workshop, I've become occupied with acupressure and I would love to go to another workshop but, for now, I'll have to be satisfied with having read Acupressure and Reflexology for Dummies.

    The highlights:

    For maximum benefits to your immune system, use healing arts in conjunction with related techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing. In addition, avoid stress whenever possible. (21)

    And, by the way, I need to invest in two tennis balls.

    The easiest and perhaps best tool you can ever have is simply made up of two tennis balls and a sock. Put the tennis balls in the sock all the way to the toe, and then tie the end of the sock so that the balls are held tightly together. Voila -- an acupressure tool! (28)

    Another highlight:

    Breathe! Your breath is the best tool you have for relaxation. (38)

    In the chapter, Maintaining Good Health, I loved this definition:

    Optimal wellness is expressed not only by a lack of sickness or symptoms, but also by vitality, motivation, and general well-being. (107)

    Say hello to the Grandfather-Grandson Point:

    This point supports and nourishes all aspects of the body-mind and balances circulation. Use for grounding and emotional balance while relieving worry and anxiety. (112)

    And the Inner Gate Point:

    This point balances yin energy...protects the heart meridian from excess stress...(112)

    The Union Valley Point:

    (This point is good for so much, including headaches)

    Use to reduce muscle tension and relieve stress. Promotes downward flow of qi. (112)

    Last highlights:

    Like optimal wellness, emotional well-being is more than an absence of symptoms like depression or frustration. It's an appetite for life. It includes feelings of confidence and self-worth, a desire to fulfill one's dreams, and the motivation to do so. (122)

    Also, when your energy flow is in sync and you have emotional balance, you tend to enjoy more positive relationships with loved ones and interact better with professional colleagues. (311)

    Now, if I can just remember where all of the meridians are and avoid odd stares when I take my socks off, I'll be golden...

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    The Happiness Project

    My second attempt to read The Happiness Project stuck -- not that I wasn't digging it the first time around but I was reading several books at once and The Happiness... was non-renewable at the time.

    I love this book. Absolutely love it.

    About 50 pages in, I felt like if I didn't read another page, I still would have had a remarkable reading experience. It's just so solid and thorough. I could talk about economy of language, tone, fluidity -- whatever, Rubin's book is excellent. As my cousin, Chiquita, would say: dot, period, the end.

    Being a fan of quotes, I even like the way that Rubin effortlessly incorporates them.

    Then I thought of a line from William Butler Yeats. "Happiness," wrote Yeats, "is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing." (66)
    Rubin goes on to say:

    Of course. Growth. Growth explains the happiness brought by training for a marathon, learning a new language, collecting stamps; by helping children learn to talk; by cooking your way through every recipe in a Julia Child cookbook...(67)
    Rubin's book has twelve chapters:

    1 January: Boost Energy

    2 February: Remember Love

    3 March: Aim Higher

    4 April: Lighten Up

    5 May: Be Serious About Play

    6 June: Make Time For Friends

    7 July: Buy Some Happiness

    8 August: Contemplate the Heavens

    9 September: Pursue a Passion

    10 October: Pay Attention

    11 November: Keep a Contented Heart

    12 December: Boot Camp Perfect

    I liked Rubin's Twelve Commandments; her first one: Be Gretchen. The Secrets of Adulthood also resonated with me and, again, number one beckoned:

    People don't notice your mistakes as much as you think. (11)

    Along the way, Rubin makes a commitment to exercise and to unclutter. Rubin classifies clutter along these lines: nostalgic, conversation, bargain and freebie clutter.

    I did suffer from freebie clutter -- the clutter of gifts, hand-me-downs, and giveaways that we didn't use. (27)

    A phrase that stuck with me long after I read Rubin's book was cut people slack:

    During this month of friendship, I happened to read two memoirs that reminded me of something that's easy to forget: people's lives are far more complicated than they appear from the outside. That's why, as apart of my resolution to "Be generous," I meant to cut people slack. (152)
    Rubin posed questions on her blog and included reader responses in her book. I completely related to the husband who hired a professional organizer:

    I have never been so happy to write a check in my life. (175)

    The money that I spent to partially organize my bedroom was money well spent and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    At one point, the author says something about a six second hug -- six seconds being the time for those feel good hormones to kick in. I was telling my friend about The Happiness Project and, one day, when she was feeling stressed-out, she asked me where her six second hug was...

    When I told my colleague that I was reading The Happiness Project, she responded with this question. I followed up with a synopsis of the book and I tried to answer her weighty question:

    What’s that happiness book about? Do you ever feel like with all the happiness/career/lifestyle improvement books (especially from sources like Oprah) that there really must be something wrong that you haven’t been able to transform your life by now?


    The Happiness Project
    is written by a former lawyer who realizes that she’s happy but feels like, given her circumstances, she could be happier and more grateful. So, she takes concrete steps to be happier. Like, she read somewhere that being well-rested is key to being more balanced. So, she took a lot of electronic devices out of her bedroom etc. and noticed that she was more pleasant when she had enough sleep.

    She resolved to stop nagging her husband. She also agreed to do more things that her husband wanted to do. Like, her husband wanted to watch The Shield and she didn’t see sitting side-by-side without communicating as fostering intimacy but she agreed to watch it with him and said that while it wasn’t intimate, it felt intimate.

    Also, she likes children books but thinks she’ll be ridiculed for not liking something more lofty but ends up finding adults who have similar taste. They form a reading club and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

    She makes rituals for her kids – like setting a day aside for them to spend with their grandparents.

    When she gets a bad review of one of her books, she decides to write a letter to the reviewer letting him know that he did have valid points etc. etc.

    I could go on and on but it seems like her happiness project entails not being so defensive, finding out what makes you happy, being dedicated to having more fun etc. etc.

    I’m so simplifying the book but it’s been a great read so far…

    My answer

    Physically, I’ve been working on myself for three years but I’ll have to say that, even though I need to make more changes, 2010 has been huge for me.

    I would say that the number one change has been to be kinder to myself which includes but is not limited to calling myself names i.e. you are such a dork; you are so blah blah blah…

    Another game changer for me was a commitment to being less defensive which, of course, I’m not always successful at but I try.

    I broke down and got someone to help me to organize my bedroom which was mortifying and something I would not have done in the past.

    Another huge change for me is doing something like asking for what I want. So while some of the changes have been intangible to a certain degree, it’s been huge for what peace of mind I do have…

    Have you read The Happiness Project? If not, what was the last book that you read?

    P.S. Pardon the use of like and so but those appear to be two of my favorite words and definitely popped out in my spontaneous email to my colleague.