Saturday, April 09, 2016

HEADING BACK TO REALITY

Two short days until I must go back to reality.  I've spent two weeks and three days trying to get my balance back ... trying to find myself amidst the "stuff" of my life ... trying to establish boundaries once more.

In two short days, I could be off and running with my new habits ...

OR

I could witness the wheels falling off and go spinning off into the pucker brush.

It's a 50-50 kinda thing, y'all.

As I look around my house, there are pockets of STUFF that still need to be cleaned up.  There are certain areas of improvement to be made.  I mean, my office.  We shall not mention that space in my house.  Because oh my goodness all the stuff ... alllllllll the stuff.

Why is there always a dumping ground for all the stuff in my house?

Clearly, this question ... this one right above here ... this begs the BIGGER question: Why do I still have all that stuff?

It's a learning curve, y'all.  It's a learning curve.

But as I look back, I have been successful at creating some habits. I've been successful at attempting to make a space that is much more comfortable for me and The Cat ... lest we forget The Cat. Not that she would let any one forget her, mind you.

I am going to take these last few days to really soak up myself ... the things I love to do the best ... I am going to enjoy some fun ... and enjoy the simple pleasures in life ... like the simple pleasure of the first drips of coffee as it hits the pot while its brewing.

I am going to enjoy the sun peaking from behind the clouds ... I will enjoy the lavender lilacs attempting to bloom despite the subzero temperatures. I will attempt to take none of this life I have been given for granted.  I am going to try to participate more and observe less.

I have uninstalled Facebook on my phone.

I have decided to read more and watch TV less.

I am going to listen to more radio ... listen to people more ... just listen more.

Oh yes, the idea of making lunches every. single. day. makes me want to crawl into a ball and hide.  But, it is all part of it.

I am heading back to reality with a renewed sense of self and some strengthened boundaries and a "I think I can" attitude....

Thursday, April 07, 2016

A WINTRY SPRING?

I just stepped outside ... 

I just stepped outside in my yoga pants, t-shirt and hoodie.  

Y'all, it's cold!  

Like, I might see snowflakes flying cold!

I love living in The Bluegrass State.  We have winter, and then BOOM! One day in March, all of a sudden, Spring arrives.  

It arrived a bit early this year, so I suppose we were on tap for a little cold snap like this, but dang it! I wasn't ready!  I put all my winter gear away (GLADLY!).  I giddily packed away all my winter hats, scarves, gloves and boots.  I put the winter sweaters on the HIGH shelf in my closet.  It was only going to be t-shirts and light coats for me!

Listen, I realize when July rolls around, I will be the one complaining about how dag-blamed hot it is ... how I HATE using air conditioning ... how I feel so claustrophobic with my windows all closed up .... 

But right now ... oh boy! Do I ever need the warmth and sunshine.  I get cranky without the sun and some balmy 70* temperatures soothing my soul.  

Perhaps I will go curl up on the couch with a good book and pretend that I am laying out on a sunny beach somewhere in some exotic locale!

SPRING BREAK 2016!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

HABITS, RESTORING ORDER, AND FINDING MY CHILL

I don't know why it is, but I am always in DESPERATE need of Spring Break.  I have no clue how the wheels fall off my organizational bus so quickly in the new year.  They always do, though.

Perhaps it's the depressing winter months ...

Perhaps it's the ridiculous pressure that falls upon teachers' shoulders as we move toward "Testing Season..."

Perhaps it's cabin fever ...

Perhaps it's the gray cloudiness ...

... the ever present feel of death in nature, what with the naked trees in dormancy ...

You know, maybe it's all of it!

Whatever it is, my mental health is dependent upon Spring Break.  I say no to a lot more stuff during Spring Break. I become a hermit. I become more introspective. I get to know the four walls that surround me much more intimately. I get into an attitude of organizing, purging, decluttering, cleaning, restoring order ... it all happens on Spring Break because I crave it!

I've come to know this about myself: I need order. I look like a free-spirited fluttery thing that sorta flies by the seat of her pants.  The truth is that appearances are smoke in mirrors. I function better under a structure. When I have a schedule, there are no questions asked.  I do what needs to be done. I go where I need to go. I follow the directions.  I do what's asked of  me. I expect others to do the same.

Yes, I am a rule follower.  If you don't give me the rules, I feel naked, exposed.  I am not sure what needs to be done.

There are people out there that think this is a bad thing ... being a rule follower.  Listen, it's just how we function.  Some function better than others. That's what puts variety in life, and, after all, variety is the spice of life, no!?

Don't get me wrong.  I love a good, spontaneous trip to an out of the way place.  I really do.  However, I love to have a plan.  Nothing wrong with that.

I get to Spring Break, and I think I feel I've been functioning without a plan.  Perhaps, in recent years, I have been functioning without a plan, professionally-speaking!  Who knows!

Last Tuesday, I spent the day cleaning my master bedroom.  Let the order restoration begin!  It was a "most of the day" project that, when complete, made me feel like I was taking back my life ... if only a little space at a time.  I took a day to do other things ... lazy things.  Then I tackled my guest bedroom ... and then my living room ... and then my kitchen ... and then I stopped.  It felt good.  This restoring order in my life felt good.

I have been trying to establish habits ...

  • healthy meals
  • healthy habits like exercise
  • cutting out tv
  • taking time to read
  • making sure the house is picked up before I go to bed
  • daily Swiffering the floors in the house (cat hair, y'all)
  • daily cleaning out the cat pans
  • making sure things are put away
  • getting back to making my bed every day
  • being able to see my counter tops ... ALLLLLL of my counter tops.
It may seem like silliness to you, but this is order to me.  This provides my heart with a certain amount of relaxation knowing order has been restored. I am able to restore my chill.

Until something comes along and rocks my order ...

That thing was a mix up with a hospital bill ... and a conversation with a colleague (a good conversation ... just one that brought up a lot of stress I had pushed aside to restore the order)....

BOOM! My chill was gone ... and I sat on my sofa last night absolutely a wreck ... fretting about everything ... I texted my friend and said, "I am so worked up.  Why am I so worked up?"  

She texted back, "Let it go."

I serve a God of order.  He ordered things a certain way -- provided complicated intricacies in His creation, and so I think He is totally okay with my desire to have things in order ... as long as that desire doesn't get in the way of my spiritual growth. 

But it's a delicate balance, this desire for order. The least little thing can upset the apple cart, and then the order succumbs to complete and utter chaos.  My mind begins that process and then ... well, it's an ugly snowball from that point forward!
Yesterday was the beginning of the snowball.  Had it not been for me taking a moment to shut everything down, grabbing my Kindle, and allowing myself to dig into another world, effectively shutting my brain off.  

This morning, I awoke with only a hint of the nagging stress in my heart.  I started with my new morning routines ... still a bit shaky as I attempt to reign this order in and beat the chaos back.

I looked around and identified the pockets of chaos still in the corners of my house (and heart), and claimed order to those areas!  

It's a delicate balance ... this fight between good and evil ... order and chaos ...  a lot of my stress is self-imposed because of my lack of order amidst the world's chaos.  

Today, I am willing myself to cling to the Creator of Order ... to rely on Him to see order where there isn't any ... to find my chill whilst the world is mentally melting down around me ... 

Habits are hard, but order is good. I will find my chill amid my order as long as I just let the rest of the Stuff go ... declutter my heart and mind. 







Sunday, April 03, 2016

IT'S JUST A DOLLAR!

A friend and I went to a new, local eatery for dinner this evening.  I won't tell you where because, A.) It isn't important, and B.) It isn't my intention to dog any one in this post.

I merely want to make a point.

I decided on a personal pizza.  I initially read the menu incorrectly, so I thought I was ordering a pizza for $8.99.  What I failed to read was the that each topping was $1.00.  I ordered a pizza with ham and pineapple.  Altogether, it should have equated to $10.99.

The server, when she took my order, said, "Oh, I will just give you the Hawaiian without the peppers."

"Great!" I said.  I assumed, since she was putting it in as Hawaiian that it was the same amount as the $10.99 pizza I was ordering.

All was great, including the pizza!  I had a fabulous time catching up with my friend.  Then I got the bill.  With a drink, the bill came to $14 and some change!  Waaaaay more than I expected.

So, I asked to see the menu.  The first issue was my misreading of the menu that I mentioned earlier, but then I looked to see what the Hawaiian cost.  $11.99!  Now, it's nit-picky, I know, but basically what she was doing was overcharging me a $1.00, which, I'm sorry, is just not cool.

So, I brought it up to her, kindly.  I even admitted that it was nit-picky, but a $1.00 is a $1.00, right!?

"Is there something wrong with the bill," she asked.

"Well, it's just that I ordered this pizza, and it should come to $10.99.  You charged me $11.99."

"Right.  I told you that I would put it in as a Hawaiian."

"Yes, but you charged me a $1 extra."

"But you said you were okay with it."

"You're right, I did. But I assumed they were the same price rather than you overcharging me."

"I mean, it's only a $1.00."

Here's the deal, it's only a $1 until it's only $2 and then only $3 and then only $40!  It should never be okay to overcharge a customer.  Ever. I will tip you.  I always tip you, and I always do at least 10% (in case of really poor service), and I will usually go the now accepted 15% to 20% because I get it.  We are all busting our tails for the money.  I will NEVER, EVER short you a tip or make you feel less than you are.  So to rationalize that it's only a $1 is just not a very good technique to validate that you are overcharging me.  Ever.

She fixed the mistake.  To show that I was not being ugly, she received just under a 15% tip.

Those dollars add up, and when you are scrimping and saving to make it each month, those dollars add up fast.

It's just a dollar, indeed!