Saturday, September 30, 2017

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I can't seem to get anything done. It's not just my studio and revamped workshop that I've been promising to have finished for two years now....in my defense, I was sick a large part of that two years...... and it's not just the work that we HAVE to do on our house. No, it is also any sort of personal regime I try to start...diet, exercise, establishing some helpful or healthy habit.

So, I came across this author. I saw a video she'd done on FB. Evidently, I signed up to follow her at some time but I don't remember doing this. The author is Gretchen Rubin and after hearing her talk about the topics that have been concerning me, I downloaded two of her books, The Four Tendencies, which talks about the four personality types concerning getting work done, meeting deadlines and what's holding us back...I'll spoil the ending, it's ourselves...surprise!....and The Happiness Project, which follows the authors year long quest for more happiness and fulfillment in her life.

I've just started reading The Four Tendencies and already I can clearly see my problem with not being able to stick with any project to the end. I mean I'm amazing at planning and I'm pretty good at starting but finishing....well, our house has been a torn up mess for sixteen years now!!! I filled out a quiz....there is a link within the book...and I was told I am an obliger. As soon as I read the description, I knew this fit me like a kid glove. I will do anything others ask of me. They ask and it doesn't matter how I feel or what I have to do, I drop it all and go help them. But obligers can do this for others but not for themselves. If it is something that is personally beneficial, it doesn't get done. The big picture problem....my husband Steve is an obliger as well. For years, it has irritated me and often hurt my feelings that he might be too tired to fix something here but let a friend, family or neighbor call him and he's out the door. I thought it had to do with me but now, I can see, he's just like me.

So, what is the answer? We have to trick ourselves into thinking we're doing the work for someone else. That shouldn't be hard. I've had two people ask me this week when those coloring books will be published. So, I will finish the books for them. There are people who have been patiently waiting on new carvings for two years or longer. I will consider getting the work done on the house in general, studio and workshop as a deadline I must meet for them. I think eleven years is sufficient time to be over my burnout. And as for this house tumbling down around our ears, I think since the giant leap in our home owners insurance premiums...over $6000 a year I'm sad and ashamed to say...., I think Steve should see this as a deadline that MUST be met. He can say it's for me, he can say it's for our bank account but I think he can find that outside motivation needed to get the job done.
all of her books are available on amazon.com
Okay, this is a mock up that I did on the computer of a sign I want to make for our entry. I know this is probably in the distant future at the moment because there is soooo much more we need to be working on both me in my workshop and studio and us, as in Steve and I, on the house. But...I'm a planner and it is nice to have ideas to aspire too. Besides, I already told Steve to be on the lookout for barn wood. lol

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Epiphany

I've been at an emotional impasse for quite a while now. I know that many of you probably realized this before I did. I have so much that I need to be doing but it's so overwhelming that I end up doing nothing which then leads to frustration, depression and even less progress than before. Realizing this was half the battle. The other half will be figuring out exactly what is holding me back. I think I know but it's too personal to discuss here. It involves someone who has had a profound effect on how I think of myself. This influence is for the most part not positive. I'm terribly conflicted about this because, well, there is no solution. I don't know if there ever was. I am who I am and they were who they were. They are gone now and the conflict is coming from how I feel about my own emotions and reaction. I'm angry but I feel guilty for the anger. How do I deal with that? Before you start empathizing and get depressed yourself, this post is not all gloom and doom. Once I finally admitted to myself what has been bothering me for months, years, what's been holding me back, some of that burden was lifted. And the good news, today, I made real progress for the first time in a while. No, it wasn't with my diet....I did start recording what I eat once again on myfitnesspal.com this morning (hint:it's free and very thorough!) The sad part, once I recorded what I had for breakfast, I saw that I was over half way through my entire daily allotment of calories and waaaay over what fat I should be eating....ouch! lol And the progress isn't with exercise but I am moving more and walking more and just plain doing more....than sitting in a dark room, wrapped in a blanket, watching the dumb-down box and feeling depressed. So, that is progress in a way but still not what has me fired up. I have been doing some needed research for my work even if I haven't picked up a pen, brush or knife for weeks. Still, not my progress even if it was informative and helpful. No, my progress is something that is no big deal for some but major for me, I've been cleaning. Cleaning spots that have not been touched for a while, washing windows and improving my view, gathering up things to donate to KARM while de-cluttering and becoming more organized and efficient. Sure, it might not be exactly what I need to be doing or should do but it has energized me, banished the depression and has me feeling positive for the first time in a long time. Sure, I need to work on the diet (and cut a lot of sugar and fat, lol...I'm ashamed to say that I had a cranberry-orange muffin with sweetened cream cheese for my lunch!....but I don't really regret one, sinfully sweet, delectable bite. ;) .) I also need to start working out, walking, lifting weights, stretching, yoga wouldn't hurt. I'm at my highest weight this year and I'm over it. It's time to have this fat pack it's bags and leave. And I certainly have work on my work that needs to be done. There is a coloring book for adults to finish that I've been promising forever, carvings that I've promised for even longer and a new project of my own I want to get started on but I sincerely believe that those things will come. This putting my house back in order will lead to balance in the other aspects of my life. And, on that positive note, I will say good night; it's time to feed the ponies and walk the dog and then rest after a very fulfilling day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Change is on the Way!

I truly want to reclaim my life.

What do I want in my life?....balance.

Where am I right now?.....overwhelmed, out of shape, over weight and stressed.

Am I enjoying my life and living it to the fullest?.....no.

Why is that?.....because I spend all of my time hiding from the problems and things that are overwhelming me and dreaming constantly of how I know my life can be....but I can't live in a dream.

It's getting to the point that I'm afraid I won't wake up. It's like I'm in a walking coma. I have to make changes in my life and I have to start now. It is time to rise and shine and get on with my life. Life is not over just because I'm over sixty or because I'm constantly reminded that there are far more years behind me than there will be in front of me. But I also can't give into the myths, both good and bad. The "good" one is that life is suppose to be easy now. We are suppose to have set ourselves up on easy street at this point and just be cruising. That is really bad because it makes you feel like a failure if you're not at that place in your life. The "bad" myth is that our lives are basically over, we are going to keep declining until we land in our graves and there is nothing we can do about it. I've let myself get in a bad place. I've become more sedentary, I have the worst diet of my life and rely on take out way more than I should and I'm stressed beyond reason and feeling like a royal failure at life and overwhelmed by my problems. But, I'm lucky that I've remained reasonably healthy even though I'm fat, sedentary and out of shape (lazy.) So, as I said in previous posts, I'm ready to go to battle. This old girl still has a lot of fight left in her!

Here are a couple of articles you might find interesting. This article is about getting fit after 60 and it has a fitness evaluation test...which surprisingly, I did pass even though it wasn't with flying colors. The next article says that there is no better time than now to get fit and that applies double if you are over sixty and the benefits are almost miraculous! It offers tips for getting in your best shape.

Of course, it isn't just about fitness. I do have great plans. I have plans to redo this entire house and that isn't just the elbow grease that needs to be applied to clean and repair...some major repairs...but also, all the little details that will turn this tumbling down wreck back into a home. I have plans to get back to work after a very extensive hiatus. I'm an artist so my work is portable for the most part but, in order to get back to the wood sculpture and fulfill the orders I have waiting, I have to get my dust and spiderweb covered workshop back in order, too. My horses have been neglected far too long but getting back in the saddle will require jumping both emotional (fear) and physical barriers. I could go into the other parts of my life that I want to bring back into balance but working on those three things will help to bring everything back to where I'm functioning again....and hopefully thriving in all aspects of my life.

I promised that I would keep you posted on my progress, especially progress on the house and my work but there has been little progress so far. But, like I said before, the only time to start is NOW.

Those beautiful horses I was talking about:



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Silver Linings

Not every gray cloud has a silver lining; some only hold rain. No, I'm not being philosophical; this musing is based in reality. I was painting a lamp yesterday outside by the woods. Sure, the forecast that flashed up on my phone called for rain but they are never right....until they are. The paint job looked terrific but it was drying very slowly because of the high humidity. So, I left the lamp sitting outside to dry while I went inside to do other chores. It wasn't until I heard rumblings of thunder that I thought to check on the lamp. Thankfully, it was just sprinkling but the lamp and shade were covered with droplets. I tried wiping....big mistake. The towel took off still wet paint with the water. I got some canned air from the office and blew off the remaining beads of water and touched up the paint as much as possible. It's no longer perfect but I'm still liking the new color and it's  the perfect little lamp for the bedside table. Excuse the spots on the wall. My husband did that but the walls will have a new coat of paint this weekend. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

How to Lose Weight Without Trying

As many of you know, we've had a lot of our stuff packed away for years-long story. Well, I'm finally going through all of that stuff and it is like a treasure hunt. I'm finding great things I'd forgotten about having or having gotten as a gift and it is like my birthday and Christmas all wrapped up in one. Then there is the stuff that makes me wonder, what was I thinking? Why did I even bother packing this away when I could have tossed it years ago? It's an adventure but the finding and the tossing are making me feel much lighter and I haven't lost a pound. lol
One thing I found was this beautiful little vase that a friend gave me years ago. I'd completely forgotten about it but it was a wonderful surprise. I know exactly where it's going once I get all of this work done. Right now, it's waiting patiently with my other vases on an old dresser.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

How Cute Is This?


This arrived in the post yesterday just as I was needing a boost. Isn't he the cutest?
I ordered him from amazon.com. If you want a hunny bunny, too, here is the link.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CLUTTER!

Clutter is ruling my life....or more accurately, RUINING my life!

It's everywhere I look: my desk, my office in general, my kitchen shelves, my closets, my email inbox and most certainly, my mind. So many thoughts, so many things that need doing, so many worries, so many little, niggling problems, they clutter up my mind until it is difficult to think clearly much less come up with a solution. My life has become filled to the brim with mostly useless clutter and it is overwhelming! There has to be an answer to this mess but worrying about it, just clutters up my brain even more and offers confusion instead of answers.

I read an article on organizing your kitchen. I hadn't realized what a mess mine is until I saw the neat, frugally decorated kitchens pictured in the article. One suggestion that seemed feasible to me was to clean one drawer out a day. Suddenly, what had seemed an impossible task, sorting and organizing an entire room at a time, became doable. I can clean one small drawer, or shelf a day and it won't take that much time and effort. Also, like dollars spent, that one small task a day will add up over time. So, I have a plan.....I will make a list of  things that need doing, clearing and in no particular order, small tasks in each area of our home and I will try for a month's time, thirty days, to click off one each day. I will record this task on my calendar only after it is done. Seeing that list of things "done" every day will boost me up and make me feel lighter as time goes on and it will encourage me more and more each day to tackle another small task the next day. It will also be much easier to let go of things and either donate or throw away what we don't use or need if I do it in small bites.

At first, I thought, it is going to take forever to get everything that needs doing done at this rate but I was wrong, it may be slow moving at first but it is still forward progress which is more than what's happening right now. Now, I simply look at it and then turn away because, as a whole, it is too overwhelming, insurmountable. So, slowly will get me to the finish line much faster than expecting too much of myself and never starting.

A Few Random Thoughts on a Few Random Things

MELATONIN:

As those of us who are a "certain age" know, sleep can be a fickle friend. There are times it plays hide and seek with you all night long, giving you a few minutes here and a few minutes there and then leaving you searching for it the rest of the night. There are times it is combative and wants to fight, it will jerk you away from your dreams just as you were floating away and then start punching you painfully in various parts of your body. There are times when it just disappears and abandons you all together, making you feel like a jilted lover. Ironic as it seems, these battles with sleep, leave you exhausted and thinking constantly about that you can not have. As my husband often says, "I'm so tired that I can't stand myself."

My doctor offered me a solution, melatonin. I was skeptical; part of me tends to think of herbal cures as snake medicine no matter how much some friends swear by them. I discovered though that this natural cure was a miracle worker. Just as advertised, I take it and 30 minutes later, I'm dozing off. And it appears to be a sound sleep because when Bodie, our dog, wakes me up every night barking at the bedroom door because (as he says) he needs to pee (when all he needs is to sniff the air and peer about for all those noises in the night), I am so sluggish as I stumble through the house to do his bidding. Falling back to sleep after those nightly journeys into the darkness use to be a problem but now, I drift right off. In fact, it almost feels as if I've been drugged which is the problem and the reason this high praise is turning into a complaint. Yes, it puts me to sleep and keeps me asleep but if I do not get the required eight hours (uninterrupted), I am sluggish the entire day. And who has time for eight to ten hours sleep a night? I was just wanting six max so I had the energy and stamina to finish the eighteen hours of tasks I have in a day.

So, what is the answer? I'm going to try staying on the melatonin for a month...I still have a week to go. Then, I'm going to see if I have trained my body to fall asleep on its own. If that doesn't work, maybe taking the melatonin every other night will. Who knows? All suggestions for a solution are welcome.

STRONG SUITS

We all have those things we are best at. I'm just becoming aware of this and all because my husband, Steve, seems incapable of learning how to use the new universal remote or the Roku. He can turn the TV on and change the channels coming from the antenna but finding the local news on Roku, no. He just hands the remote to me and tells me what he wants. This perplexed me so much. I mean, my husband is a very smart guy. It amazes me how quickly he comes up with solutions to all sorts of technical problems and how repairing any piece of farm equipment or figuring out the exact chemical mix of nutrients his hay fields need seems second nature to him. Then I realized something, how often do I  turn to him with a problem or something that needs to be fixed that I most likely could do myself with a little effort but why bother when it is so easy for him? We all have our strengths and, in any relationship or marriage, I think we quickly learn who is best at what and suddenly, that becomes their permanent job. I'm not necessarily talking about those activities that society has declared "gender specific" but more what each individual is best at. Of course, I've often wished that I wasn't the one so "skilled" at washing dishes.

STRESS

Stress....or as I like to call it, the root of all evil. I will be going along, singing my song and feeling like I finally have my world on a string and BOOM! Something happens, something unexpected and often, seemingly unsurmountable pops out in the road of progress I'm on and snarls at me like the Big Bad Wolf at Red Riding Hood. It shows all of its teeth and it's bigger and much badder than little me; I just stand there shaking in my Mary Janes....well, now days, tennis shoes, crocks or boots most likely. I am frozen with fear, stuck in place and wanting to run but there is no place to go. I'm not talking about real problems like health or death. Those are the ones that often are unsurmountable. What I'm talking about are what I call "grown-up problems." It seems in my case, most of these concern money or time, both seem on short supply. That's when stress raises its ugly head, smirks and pretends to be there to help you. They say stress comes from those cave dwelling days when we needed to be told to either stand and fight or run. Today, it too often tells me to hide. I hide from my problems at least for awhile. Well, first, I cry and then I hide and then I think which seems useless at the time, more like simple worry. But in those times of what appears to be another grown-up problem, depression, when I don't want to leave my bed much less the house, I seem to eventually come up with a solution to those unsurmountable problems. So, even though it is unpleasant and I usually feel like a completely lazy failure during the process, there is a purpose in the madness. During my latest bout of stress induced lethargy and ennui, I realized that the "stress" (yes, lets call it that) is often the fertilizer that makes good things grow. In other words, there are silver linings in those dark storm clouds that threaten to destroy you. Once you weather the storm, your life comes out better in the aftermath. I'm in such a situation right now. Something happened that seemed horrible at the time, seemed overwhelming and yes, unsolvable. After a few days accomplishing little but worry and thought....and a whole lot of prayer!......, the clouds cleared and I saw, not just a solution to the problem, but hopefully, some things I've been wanting for a loooong time on the other side of the storm. I won't or can't go into the details of the problem but let's just say, life will be better not only once we work our way through it but during the process. I've always said that it is the hard times that make us grow, teach us lessons. No, they aren't pleasant and neither is the stress and worry but the other side, we will be better for it.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ok, why am I posting this picture again? I know, you're saying, "Wow, she must be really proud of that wreath!" Well, I am but not for the reasons you think. This small act of DYI helped to bolster my entire day yesterday. I know you're scratching your head and saying that doesn't make sense but here's the answer to your pondering.....Thirty-five years ago, I was a juggler. No, not in the traditional sense since I've never possessed the physical coordination to dance (walk with out tripping) much less juggle. I juggled life then and I never dropped a ball. I was going to school full time (with a 4.0 GPA), working full time (at a factory where I had to lift hundreds of thirty pound motors multiple times in a workday), looking in on my aging parents every day (thankfully, I realized their importance and how much I would miss them when they were gone so I grabbed every moment with them that I could) and still finding time to do things like gather weeds and make wreaths. It felt as if I was actually always looking for something more to do! The past few....probably 15 since the downward slide started at 45....years, I have been searching for me and trying to regain a bit of that past energy and glory. The truth is I've been searching for motivation and a lot of other things that have dropped by the wayside during my lengthy ennui. This one small accomplishment yesterday, making this wreath, seemed to brush away a piece of the fog that's enveloped me and helped me to remember what it felt like to be not only productive but to relish life. I feel like I have regained a bit of me. After the wreath, I went on to accomplish much more in my day, quite a few tasks I'd put off because I felt they had become overwhelming. And now, it is the next day and I'm still feeling that surge of joy just to be alive and able to do something that is simple but fulfilling like gathering materials and making a wreath. I wonder what my adventure will be today?