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How about now?

The comedian Kevin James has a bit in his stand up act about unlocking a car door for a passenger. You know how that goes, you hit unlock just as they lift up the handle and the stupid door doesn’t unlock. So you try again and it happens again until somebody changes the behavior. The Kevin James version is hilarious with the passenger uttering a never ending stream of “Now? No, now? How about now? Wait…oh, now?” until James finally screams in desperation and orders the passenger to go sit on the curb.

I think we’ve all been in that sort of situation whether it’s unlocking the car door, or waiting in line or egads, at the DMV. We have these moments that can be frustrating and a little confusing, and sometimes a bit ridiculous. At times it might be better to voluntarily step back in the moment, just to try another tack. Trying something new can be good it can stop the cycle and fast track everyone involved to the finish line. And, sometimes it’s just easier to go sit on the curb.

My problem is that we’ve had several years of crazy and ridiculous and I think I’ve defaulted to sitting on the curb. Somewhere along the way I got tired of asking, “Now?” At some point, I gave up and decided to avoid the back and forth, the frustration and parked my butt on the curb.

Recently though, I am finding that sitting on the curb is not that satisfying.  And I think I’ll bypass the crazy part too.  I am ready to stand up and yell over the top of the car.  “Unlock the damn door!  It’s time to move on! Right now!”

Open road

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Dread…

thermometer

I’ve lived in Arizona all of my life.  The summers are hot, someone suggested earlier that you would get used to the heat or you could be like me and my husband, another AZ native and get to the point where you can’t stand the summer.  It hits 100° mid May, stays 110° and hotter through June and July and if we are lucky it might cool down in October.  One year it was 100° on Halloween, I was not amused.  It makes life difficult and for the past five years or so it’s really affected me.  I know Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most commonly attributed to the winter months but it can also hit some people in the summer as well.*

The causes for SAD are difficult to  pinpoint, some research blames the lack of light, others suggest that diminished activity may also be to blame.  I think anytime your regular life activities are limited it can cause problems.  If you want to take a walk and you can’t, it doesn’t really matter if it’s too cold or too hot.  It may sound overly dramatic but at times it feels as though you are trapped in your house, sneaking out in the early morning or late into the evening, even then the temperature is often still hovering near 100°.  It can be a bit unbearable at times and in the past I’ve really struggled to stay positive during the summer months.

For several years we would vacation for a week in the later part of July.  We would enjoy the 70° weather and then come back to the tail end of monsoon season.  The temperature would still be 110° plus high humidity and the transition from the cooler weather to the uncomfortably warm would send me into a funk.  In those times I remember feeling very hopeless and trapped.  It seemed a cruel thing to spend a week in nice, cool weather only to once again be dropped into the hell that is Arizona in the late summer.  Again, this will sound overly dramatic but I almost felt like I was being punished.

We’ve since moved our trip into August and that has helped a lot.  Now we spend those hot, humid days preparing for our trip; packing, talking about what day we are going to do what and most of all, looking forward to vacation.  I think this is important, you have to have something to look forward to.  In the past, when we got home we’d have to look forward to the weather cooling down.  At the end of July, October feels really far away.  Now when we get home most of the humidity is gone, the temperatures are a little lower and it seems just that much easier to handle.  Also, we are that much closer to October and hopefully, cooler weather.

Someday we will move out of Arizona.  It’s bound to happen given how much both Sully and I dread the weather here but for now I can deal with the weather as long as I have something to look forward to.

*You can find more info on summer depression at WebMD.

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Respecting the process…

Ok, so Wednesdays from now on are going to be about writing.  Hopefully I will have some updates on my own progress but today I will post some advice from one of my favorite authors.  Kevin Hearne writes The Iron Druid Chronicles, an urban fantasy series set here in Arizona.  I found out about Kevin from a friend that has known him for years, they met through teacher type activities while teaching at two valley high schools.  After Kevin signed on with Del Rey he was able to quit his teaching job and writing is now his day job.  Check out his website to get his whole story and to check out his awesome books.

Writing Encouragement No. 1

Hearne Hounded

Some thoughts on word counts and respecting your own process

Kevin posted a bit of conversation that started on Twitter and added some of his own thoughts to this entry on Storify.  Kevin encourages everyone to do what works for them individually.  He points out that there is ‘no One True Way’.  The important thing  is to do what works for you so that you can finish the story.  If it’s finished then everyone can read it.  Wise words from someone who has been there.

Click here to get the full post on Storify.com

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Recharge…

Ok, I am starting the third week of the second three week session.  The first two weeks have been interesting, I’ve done great with my strength exercises and my morning and nighttime routines.  I have not been great with my walking or drinking water, walking has actually been a bit of a fail.  There’s been a lot going on but this week I am going to get back to it.

Today there was a fundraiser for my brother in law.  There was a big turnout and I finally got to see a friend that I haven’t seen in about 15 years.  We keep track on Facebook but it was really good to see her in person.  I checked on Sully and Boo when I got home.  Both of them are feeling better but not quite 100% yet.  I ran back out to pick up dinner and by the time I got home I started feeling not so good.  After dinner I took my allergy medication and curled up with a blanket.  I took a short nap and felt much better.

I am sure I am fighting something off, either Boo’s cold or something else that is floating around.  Hopefully, I can get some sleep and recharge my system.

 

Phase 2:  Day 15
 
No walk today, but I really wasn’t feeling well.
 
I did my upper body strength exercises in short spurts when I was feeling a little better in the evening.
 
My morning and nighttime routines are going much better than I thought they would be.
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Listening…

Today the Arizona State University (ASU) Facebook page posted this status:

Tell us! If you could go back in time and give your high school self advice, what would it be and why?

My first thought was get better grades.  This must be some sort of knee jerk response because I had great grades in high school.  I was in the National Honor Society and took honors classes.  After graduation I found out that I was ranked 7th in our senior class.  Granted, there were only 70 kids in our graduating class but I still think that was pretty good.  Either way, get better grades is not something I needed to tell my high school self.

 

listening

I thought about it for a few minutes and then decided I would have listened to my dad.  As a rule, most high school students don’t take much of what their parents tell them to heart.  I was a pretty good listener but this wasn’t one of those times.  Now my dad was pretty awesome, I always refer to him as a Renaissance man.  He played college football at a small college in California, had degrees in Social Studies and Kinesiology, the study of human movement.  He later got a masters in Political Science from ASU.  He taught in Catholic high schools for over 45 years and coached football for over 20 years, two of his teams being State Champions.  Over the years, he also coached swimming and track.  Away from work, he continued the trend.  He could repair just about anything; cars, plumbing, furniture, you name it.  He built cars from the frame up and added on a three room addition to the house from the ground up.  He was also part of the church singing group and a published poet.

To say my dad was in favor of everyone going to college would be a major understatement.  He knew that in order to get a good job a degree would be required.  There were three kids in my family, my older brother and sister, and me.  We all knew that he expected us to go to college.  I felt that a little more than the others, or at least perceived that I had more pressure because I was the brain of the family.  My brother and sister got pretty good grades, mostly Bs with an occasional C every now and then.  My brother was literally the All American athlete, four year letterman in football and track.  My sister was the artist, she helped work on a school mural and was a big part of the drama department.

So, the advice from my dad, I had a conversation with him when I was in college.  I was very upset that a class I needed to take wasn’t going to be offered the next semester.  I was trying to explain that if I couldn’t take that class then I would be behind a semester.  I was really upset and had already decided that I was never going to graduate. He told me to quit worrying about my classes and get back to writing.  I was bit surprised and told him I was going to school so I would have something to fall back on.  He seemed fairly irritated with me and said, “Forget it, go write,” and then walked out of the room.

I’d love to say that I sat down that day and started writing again and never looked back, but sadly, that’s not the case. That conversation definitely stuck with me and I definitely feel that writing is what I am supposed to do.  I wish I had listened to him more carefully and spent more time writing in the years between then and now.   It makes me sad that I didn’t follow through while he was alive.  Hopefully, the universe had a plan with all of this.

Phase 1:  Day 14
 
I had a great walk today.  I walked  nearly a mile in over 15 minutes.  My goal for the Runkeeper app was walk 4 miles from Sunday to Saturday.  I knew I had to walk a little extra, it was my best walk since I started though.  I set personal records for time, distance and pace.  Yay me!
 
My upper body workout went well.  I will admit that I am getting annoyed with my bent row/tricep kickback exercise.  It takes so long to get through one set.  It’s not really hard to do just time consuming.
 
Water = 72 ounces
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Believing…

Remember when I was talking about expectations and that evil voice inside your head?  Here’s something to think about.  I read an article recently, I don’t remember where and I’ve been looking for a week.  When I find it I will add a link to it here.  Anyway, the article basically said that you believe what you say.  So, if you say to yourself, “I don’t want to go play tennis, I am going to suck at it,” the chances are that you will end up sucking.  According to the article studies have been done showing that athletes that said that they would win, would win more often than those that said they would lose.  The athletes didn’t even have to believe that they would win, they just had to say it to make a difference.  

Believe

We’ve all said something and then added, “If I keep saying it maybe I’ll even start believing it.” Apparently this can actually be a true statement.  I wonder what would happen if we replaced all of our negative thoughts with positive ones.  If we replaced ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can’.  Everyone I talk to has that voice that cuts them down.  How often do people say that they themselves are their worst critic?  I have talked to a lot of writers and they always mention that inner critic that causes problems from the first word of chapter one to the last word on the final page.

I think I am ready to quiet the evil voice.  I am ready to replace all of that insidious verbal poison with the good stuff, the truth.

I am funny and smart, and really creative.  I know I have the potential to be a great writer.  I am an awesome mother and fabulous wife.  I am frickin’ fantastic!.

Phase 1: Day 13
 
I had a good walk Gramma’s neighborhood this afternoon.  I was walking at a slower pace but walked for a little over 14 minutes.  So, I can’t really complain.
 
I got my lower body workout done.  I am doing step ups instead of lunges to avoid too much strain on my knees.  I certainly enjoy step ups in place of the lunges, every thing except the sound.  There is a small thud every time I step up and after a while it makes me a bit batty.
 
Water = 68 ounces.  Really good! 
 
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Bye, bye…

I will be happy when 2012 is over, it was tough year all around.  It started off rough with Papa’s medical issues, worsened as his struggle became too much and he went into hospice.   In June, one of our dogs passed, followed by my 2o year old cat in October, and my sweet Labrador, Hunter the next month.   In the same week that we lost Hunter my sister’s husband had a stroke and has been hospitalized since.  

There have been good times in between, a trip to San Diego, a few trips to Disneyland, movies, birthdays, hanging out with friends, chatting on Facebook…  I am thankful for these moments and will never forget how they got me through the year.

Today, I am thinking about 2012, the good parts and the bad parts.  I’ve decided that I will keep what I have learned but I am letting go of the stress, guilt, depression, sadness, anger and regret and letting it fly away.

Bye 2012

I am looking forward to a fresh start.  I have a good feeling about 2013.  🙂