The Days That Pass Me By

Image courtesy of Hugh Laurie & Word Porn

Our popular New Year’s resolution of the day, and our LAST post focusing solely on New Year’s resolutions, is to Stop Procrastinating.  Oddly enough, the first article I read in my research for writing this one was so spot on and well written that I almost don’t even feel like I can add anything to it.  The article is by James Clear and can be found here.  He talks about Newton’s theory that objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and how this also applies to people and our minds and bodies.  He also talks about a concept he calls “The 2-Minute Rule” where if something you need to do can be done in under 2 minutes, to do it now.  Wash the dish you just ate on, under two minutes, do it now.  Put laundry in the machine, under two minutes, do it now.  He then goes on to starting the first two minutes of something and how that will get you moving and keep you in motion instead of at rest.  I can definitely back up this concept, without ever having had a name for it or made a construct out of it before, I know I can relate very well to the fact that once I start something I keep doing it, but once I take a break I’m done.  I like the concept of only committing to minutes, because I do know I’ll keep going once I start, and I know very well how quickly all those “this will only take 2 minutes, I’ll do it later” snowballs into a bunch of stuff that will take hours.  It’s a drag.

Apart from that approach, every resource I checked unanimously agreed the biggest tasks should be done first, and that you should make a To-Do List (my brain is happy) that has you write down specific times to have each item done by and to list items in order of priority to make sure the big important things get done.  This is more of that time budgeting we’ve mentioned so much recently.  The other thing they all agree on is eliminating distractions.  Close computers, put down phones, tv off, stereo on is just fine and I encourage it.

So whatever you’ve been putting off, get on it today!  At least the first two minutes 😉

The rest of today’s tasks are:

Do some Toe/Foot Exercises.  I don’t remember if I mentioned that I had ankle surgery on my right ankle where I had 3 torn ligaments and a torn tendon that were all replaced with cadaver tissue.  After surgery it literally felt like I had metal rods running from my heels up my shins, despite having nothing but the cadaver tissue and some absorbable surgical screws and the like.  No metal parts of any kind, but I felt completely immobile after getting the splint and cast and whatever else off.  I keep respraining it and as a result have let myself get stiff and lose mobility. So. For me, and for anyone else who might need to build mobility and ankle strength we’re going to do a few physical therapy exercises.  They are mostly very basic, but very helpful.

Spell the alphabet with your foot. First one foot, then the other.  If you feel stiff, do it a few times until you’re feeling looser.  Lay a towel out flat on the floor and scrunch it with your toes.  Try to move as much of it as you can toward you without lifting your heel.  Once you’ve gotten as much as humanly possible, then go ahead and lift your heel enough to get the excess behind your foot and scrunch the rest.  Once you’re out of towel, spread it back out and do it again with the other foot.  Put an empty jar on the floor along with a handful of marbles or something similar.  Pick them all up with your toes, one at a time and drop them in the jar without using your hands to assist.  Try alternating which toes you use to pick them up.  Once you’ve done them all, dump them back out and repeat with your other foot.  If you’ve got a resistance band, loop it over your foot then hold it tight near your knee and flex your foot back and forth against the resistance band, say for 30 times, the switch feet and repeat.  After that you’ll want to do the same but sideways, which is harder to hold, so you may need to put a big knot in one end of the band and stick it under a door, or loop the band under a bed frame or other sturdy piece of furniture, and flex your foot against it to the side 30 times, then change feet and do the same with the other.

Clean Out Your Garage. If you’ve got one.  Or your workshop, shed, hobby space, craft room, storage unit.  Wherever you have STUFF, get it organized, discard, recycle, or donate whatever you’re holding onto that you don’t need and won’t use.  Sweep or vacuum.  Make sure everything you’ve got is usable and accessible and serving a purpose.

Go for a Hike.  Or whatever qualifies as a hike in your particular location.  Whether you’re climbing mountains, hiking a nature trail, walking a path, or taking a little expedition to the forest, just go out and get some fresh air and some time communing with nature.  It’ll be the best thing you’ve done all month.  Take water.  Hydration is important.

Lastly let’s stick with the procrastination theme for our guided meditation and subliminal audio.

That is all you have to do today, and the last of what you had to do for the month! Be proud of yourself, you’ve made it to a big milestone!  I will see you all later on Facebook for the question of the day.

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: I Can Wait Forever
Album: Ghostbusters

(If you go to buy the album, pay no attention to the funky international characters in I think the seller’s name, I bought this exact version, when I go to this page on Amazon it tells me that I bought it and what date, and the songs and artists listed are exactly what you get.  I bought it to replace a CD in a collection that I had that was stolen, and while I preferred the cover art on the original version, this one is cheaper and has the same content.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

I Try Twice As Hard and I’m Half As Liked

The popular New Year’s resolution of the day is to spend more time with friends.  I’m struggling to write it, and it’s not because I don’t want to, but because my brain is in too many places, and because I’ve always had so much trouble even making friends that it’s hard for me to imagine not having time to spend with them, so I’m feeling like all of my advice would be a rehash of my advice for spending more time with family.  Autism is a social disorder, I had my mom buy me a self-help book on how to make friends when I was 10 or 11 and we had moved yet again and I was yet again not fitting in.  That book taught me that people like confidence.  What I have learned from life experience as a confident person is that people are intimidated as hell by confidence.

Anyway.  The reason I’m having a hard time focusing on this one enough to write it is all of the political doings in the US just now, largely revolving around the “Muslim” travel ban, and the protests in response to it, and all of the Facebook politicians who have so many different opinions.  Some make me sad, some make me mad, so far only one actually shocked me.  Last night I was scrolling through Facebook posts in the bathtub and came upon a meme posted by a friend of a friend (I presume, it wasn’t posted by one of my friends so I’m guessing that’s how it showed up in my news feed) that had an angry picture of Trump and told me he was the son of a German immigrant and that Germans are good at closing their hearts to people.  It felt like a slap in the face and a kick in the gut to suddenly see my own (half) nationality being lambasted with such a broad brush.  By the people who oppose Trump and are therefore theoretically supposed to be against racism and against lumping groups of people together by nationality and giving them all the same traits.

So for my own catharsis I put together an album of the pure German blooded Americans in my family that have been fighting for and serving The United States literally every generation since the Revolutionary War, when we immigrated to the new world as farmers avoiding religious persecution and ended up fighting to make our country a country.  We’ve served in all branches of the military, and we served in World War II, against the Nazis.  You show us a Nazi to punch and we’re going to punch them.  Occasionally with a torpedo or a B29 Bomber, but a punch nonetheless.  So there’s some part of me that wants to focus on how to keep the friends you’ve got, rather than how to find more time to spend offending them.  But, these are y’alls resolutions, not mine, so I’m going to try to pull this together.

So. Ideas for how to spend more time with your friends.  Depends a lot on why you don’t have time to spend with your friends to begin with.  Are you studying too much, working too much, spending all your time with your kids and needing grown up time?  Whatever the answer is, finding time is a you job, you need to budget your time like you budget your money.  Cover your necessities first and wants second, decide which are which, prioritize, and look for ways to cut corners by doubling up on spending time with friends while doing things you already do but with their company.

I used to have a bestfriend that lived an hour and a half north of me, we’d usually get together once a month or so, depending on the time of year and the weather, cause icy interstates suck, but since we had to travel to see each other we usually made it a whole day thing, so sure we might go get pedicures or we might watch a movie, but we also did cooking and cleaning and going to the grocery store and chasing her 5 kids around arcades or going out to eat with the whole family, and all of the daily stuff.  We spent the whole day talking and everything, but it was talking while doing things. Talking while pulling weeds in the garden or hanging laundry or packing moving boxes.  We didn’t have to go out to clubs, sometimes in the evening there’d be a glass of wine or a beer but it was at one of our homes.  Having each other as friends that were willing to tackle the mundane tasks together meant we had extra-time available every now and then to do a day trip to some other town or a picnic and hiking or a drive-in movie after all the daily stuff was done, and we did pull off one midnight showing of Rocky Horror.  So based on my personal experience I feel like the biggest thing is if you’re not feeling you’re getting enough friend time then you should talk to your friends about making that time a priority.  Maybe your friends who don’t have kids are struggling to feel like you still want them around when you’re doing the family thing or vice versa. Maybe your single friends don’t want to be the third wheel and you need to leave the significant other home every fourth time or so that you see that friend so they know they still matter on a one on one basis.

Beyond helping out with the everyday monotony while socializing, which not every friend will be awesome enough to do, try to find something you can work on together for mutual benefit.  Did you both make the same resolution or goal for the year?  Do it together.  Be gym buddies or walking partners or do go shopping together and try new recipes together or go on a diet together so you can go out to lunch together with the same restrictions so you don’t have to worry about feeling like everyone else is having to cater to you.  Be travel buddies and take those day trips together or save up together for cruises or shared interest destinations like places that are supposed to be haunted or iconic landmarks or sporting events.

Make some routine time to spend with friends, even if it isn’t the same friend or group of friends everyday on that routine.  Talk to your partner and agree to give each other girls night and/or guys night.  If you have kids then the two of you may have to take turns, but you can also do couples nights or even just friends nights in general, so find a good babysitter that you trust. Usually the older child of a friend is gonna be your go to, but there are also agencies you can go through, and you can always ask an older neighbor or church member that may miss having kids around and be happy to take over for occasional days or evenings.  Be willing to have some guys nights, girls nights, or friends nights at home.  That might be a game night or a dinner party or if you’re adventurous and fun loving maybe a theme party or murder night.  Have some barbecues and picnics and potlucks.

Your friends are your friends because you have SOMETHING in common that brought you together. So, make the most of that. Have play dates. Go to the dog park together.  Start a book club. Start a Bible study. Have a fantasy sports league. (That can work for things other than football, right?  I don’t sports so much.)  Have movie nights and watch all of the great old classics or all the movies that have won an Academy Award, or all the movies that have won a Palmes d’Or.  Go antiquing together.  Start a knitting or quilting circle. Try a new restaurant together once a month.  Explore new hobbies together.  Go out and make some new friends.  You should keep your old friends, but you should make new ones too. People grow in different directions and they need to have room to do that.

Anyhow. Todays daily tasks, which you have like 2 hours to do depending on your time zone or your bedtime, and therefore obviously can be carried over to tomorrow are:

Give Yourself a Facial Scrub.  If you have some left over from a previous project or some store-bought then definitely go with it.  Otherwise, today we’re gonna go with an Oatmeal Scrub.  To make it you’ll want to mix finely ground oatmeal with honey and/or kefir, yogurt, or buttermilk.  Apply to your face and scrub it gently in a circular motion. Leave it on for 15-30 minutes, then rinse it off and wash your face as usual.

Clean your Stairway if you’ve got one.  Any stairway.  Whether it’s to a second floor or a basement or attic or cellar, or third floor, whatever stairs you’ve got. Dust any wall art you’ve got, dust and polish the banister or railing, sweep or vacuum.  If you’ve got any jackets or clothing or what have you slung over the railing get em put away or washed or hung or wherever they need to be.

Do some Core Exercises.  You know what they are.  Get on those crunches and other mat exercises.  If you’ve got a yoga ball to do your crunches on go for it!  In addition to crunches, add some oblique crunches, some planks, some side planks, and some reverse crunches.

Lastly, we’re gonna do another guided meditation and subliminal audio to soothe sinuses and relieve illness, because I’ve heard all the cleaning has kicked up some dust allergies, and I’m feeling some sinus gunk myself.

That’s it for today. Finally 🙂  I’ll see you all on Facebook VERY soon for the Question of the Day.

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.

Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Some Nights
Album: Some Nights

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

We Don’t Pull The Strings

Unknown Source

Our popular New Year’s resolution of the day is Get Out of Debt!  We like this resolution, it’s healthy, it’s achievable even if it is daunting, and it’s something everyone with any debt at all should actively be trying to do.  So, the first thing you need to do to get out of debt is to stop adding to your debt.  So STOP borrowing money.  That means no loans, no payday loans, no credit cards, no in-store financing, no big purchases that you can’t pay for in cash, stop it!

Your second step to living debt free is to get your interest rates as low as possible. This may mean transferring all of your debt to one single card with the lowest interest rate, and cutting up the others. This is the only time you’re allowed to open a new credit card is if you can find one where you’ll qualify for a lower interest rate than anything you have now, get it, transfer your debt over, if you get an interest free period then yay for that bonus, and get rid of all of your other cards. Do not add more debt to the picture.

Once you’ve got everything moved to the lowest interest rate you can acquire, get a minimum of $1000 put away in your (interest accruing) savings account.  Leave it there untouched until you have a true emergency that needs it.  The biggest pitfall to getting out of debt is not having an alternative way to pay for emergencies.  So your debt  increases every time you have an emergency and need to borrow money to pay for it.  That’s discouraging, you feel like you’ll never meet your goal, and it’ easy to give up.  So spend a little time paying minimum balances while you create yourself a safety net.  Yes paying minimum balances will continue to allow debt to grow (unless you managed to get that card that gives you a few months interest free), but not as much as you would have if you were adding more debt to it to continue having interest rates tacked on to.

Both while in savings mode and in paying off debt mode you need to create a realistic budget, and stick to it.  We touched on this in our post on saving money.  You’re going to need to log how your money is being spent, look for opportunities to cut on spending and increase on saving.  If there aren’t any then you need to look at getting a second job.  If math is really a struggle for you (me too) then look at getting a budgeting app to do some of the work for you.  You may still need to do the work of logging your expenses and income and all of that, but the app can do all of the mathematical side of seeing how you really spend your money, when you need to pay bills, and when you’ve reached savings goals.  Some apps will sync up with your bank account to track your spending and income and essentially analyze your budget.  Our recommendations for budgeting apps with the end goal of paying off debt are Mint, Level Money, and if you want a little more control and are willing to do a little more of the legwork yourself Wally.  Don’t forget though that these apps are just telling you what you’re doing with your money already, they aren’t necessarily going to tell you what you SHOULD be doing, that part is all you.  If you really want to pay off all of your debt and particularly if you want to do it quickly you may have to live bare bones for a while.  We promise you WILL survive 🙂

While you’re paying off debt any extra money that comes your way (like, you know, your tax return) should be put towards paying off that debt, even if there are more tempting more fun things to do with it.  You’ll have more money to spend on fun things when your debt is gone and you’re not paying for interest rates and giving away money you don’t get to enjoy.  Don’t just think about your tax return, we used that because it is that time of year, but think about any extra money you may come up with, if you have things to sell on eBay or Craigslist or Etsy or to an antiques dealer, or if you get an inheritance or a settlement in a court case, or win the lottery.  Pay off your debts before anything else.  Multiple sites that I visited learning the tips and tricks to paying off debt informed me that people got second jobs delivering pizza and payed off their debt very quickly.  If you’ve got a license, a car, and determination, why not?

If you weren’t able to consolidate all of your debt, then decide how you’re going to go about paying it off.  The most logical way might be to pay for your highest interest rates first and work your way down, but it may also be the most discouraging.  Many people find it more motivating to pay debts in order of the smallest debt to the largest regardless of interest rate so that they can celebrate little victories and milestones to keep them focused.

If you’re really in too deep and there’s no foreseeable way to both pay debt and have food and shelter, then it may be time to look at whether filing bankruptcy is for you.  I have never done it, so I don’t know a lot about it, but it seems to be every Coloradans favorite pastime.  There are different kinds of personal Bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 is designed specifically to eliminate unsecured credit card debt.  Chapter 13 is designed to stop mortgage foreclosures, allow you to keep nonexempt property, and lower your secured debts that are worth more than the property that secures them (your collateral.)  A huge difference between them is that with Chapter 13 you will probably have to pay back a portion of your unsecured debts.  No bankruptcy will eliminate liens, so while it might eliminate the debt, that property can still be repossessed.  Additionally, no bankruptcy can eliminate child support, alimony, or student loans unless you can pull off showing that student loans will cause you undue hardship, essentially proving that not only can’t you pay them now but that you will almost certainly never be able to pay them in the future ever.  Virtually no one meets that standard.  If you’re going to go the bankruptcy route, talk to a lawyer. Find out whether it is the right move for you and if so which option is going to be the best match.

My next suggestion if this is your resolution for the year is to go back and read those entries on saving money and spending less and put them into action.  The more money you create out of the money you already make, the more money you can put toward paying off your debt.

Otherwise, for today:
Iron your clothes. It’s Sunday, you’ve got some time, and it’s a great way to start of the week looking your best. You probably remember your mom or grandma ironing, but when’s the last time you did it instead of throwing your wrinkled clothes in the dryer to get the wrinkles out?  Ironing looks better. It’s a noticeable difference, and for me it’s a really soothing activity to smooth the wrinkles out of everything. Makes me wish I had a great big steamy hot chunk of metal to use on life.

Clean out your Attic and/or Basement.  Or crawlspace even. Wherever you’ve got storage space, get in there and do some cleaning and organizing and donating or recycling or tossing out  It’s hard to get rid of things, but if it’s living in storage and you don’t see ever using it again, give it to someone who will.

Do some Cardio.  What kind is up to you. Go for a run, a jog, a swim, a hike, a bike ride, get on the elliptical, climb some stairs, go dancing… whatever you want to do, just get moving.

Then because we haven’t in awhile, we’re gonna do today’s guided meditation and subliminal audio on improving our complexions.

That is all you need to do for today 🙂  I shall see you on Facebook in a little while for the Question of the Day.  I have been adding a Fact of the day the past couple of days, but don’t expect that to be a daily thing, I use it if I feel like the question needs some context.

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Money Changes Everything
Album: The Essential Cyndi Lauper

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

But Remember I Love You, Too

Unknown Source

syn·chro·nic·i·ty

ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/

noun

 1. the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

“such synchronicity is quite staggering”

2. a bitch.

 

So, I have all of the topics for every given day preselected, and on that day I just go and look and see what my topic is and then do any researching needed and do my writing.  Lately I feel like the universe is toying with me. I don’t want to write about this topic today, it’s sensitive. But I’m going to do my best.  Because y’all deserve the best and because I told myself I’d make this work daily regardless of what I felt like or what was going on.  So without further ado…

Today’s popular New Year’s resolution is… Spend More Time With Family.

Step 1) Have family.

Step 2) Be nice to your family so they’ll want to spend time with you.

Step 3) Make time for your family and don’t go “Oh well, I screwed this one up, let me get another one.”

Alright, all family drenched crankiness aside.  Family is a wonderful thing.  Family knows everything there is to know about you and still mostly puts up with you, flaws and all. And you do the same for them.  There aren’t a lot of people in the world you can say that about, but hopefully you can say it about your immediate family, and even better if you can say it about extended family.  There’s something really special about the validation of a family member and it’s an amazing feeling when you discover that relative that you’re a carbon copy of that just gets you in every way and makes you feel like it’s okay to be you.  There’s not any part of your family you shouldn’t be making more time for whether it’s your kids, spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, they all have something valuable and wonderful to add to your life, even if sometimes they bring some awful with it.

So.  How to spend more time with your family.  The FINDING time part is going to be up to you, I can’t fix everyone’s schedule on an individual basis, you need to decide whether it’s bringing less work home or extending deadlines or actually taking vacation days (which most Americans don’t bother to take, probably largely because we don’t get to be sick without fear of losing our jobs, but you have to decide a good balance), or sacrificing some of your nights out at the club, or maybe not having your kids in so many extracurriculars.  The time is there, you just have to make it.

The easiest way to spend more time with your family, if you aren’t already doing it, is to have dinner together.  Even if you’re really strapped for time we all have to eat.  Every night might not be possible because of invites from friends and special events and whatever, but have family meals scheduled every night at the same time and set the expectation that everyone be present at least 5 nights a week.  Family dinners are important quality time that promote conversation, can be a time to share in your faith by saying grace, ideally would be a source of gratitude although we know kids are never really going to thank you in real time for the food you make them, they’re going to appreciate it when they’re older and living on their own, and when you see extended family they can be an easy way to get everyone interacting. Your kids may not have anything to say to your aunts and uncles they’ve never even really heard of, but everybody eats.  Let your kids help make dinner too, and as they get older have it be their sole responsibility once a week.  They’ll get satisfaction out of having done it themselves, you’ll be preparing them for life in the real world, kids love to help cook, and hopefully you’ll only have to smile through a few choked down failures if you teach them the basics and how to follow a recipe and some easy to make meals.

Go for after dinner walks or bike rides at least once a week.  It doesn’t need to be a big expedition, just 20 or 30 minutes around the neighborhood is perfect.  It gets everyone active and people are in happier moods while they’re generating endorphins, and the ability to walk side by side instead of having to make eye contact can make it easier for kids to confide or open up about things that are bothering them or parts of their life they want to let you know about but are uncomfortable with.
Plan a family night that once a week you all spend together.  What you do is less important than that you do, but do have something planned so it doesn’t fall flat.  Take turns planning. Let everyone in the family rotate picking something to do on Family Night.  Give them a budget (which might be set at $0) and tell them it’s their turn to pick. Even if they say they don’t want to, set the expectation that it’s their responsibility.  They may just be at that age where showing enthusiasm for family time is lame but then when the night rolls around they give an eyeroll and an “If I HAVE too, I guess mini-golf isn’t TOO bad.”  If they stick by their family time is lame stance, don’t fight about it, just have your own backup plan ready and too bad they’re part of the family, they’re participating.  One night of the week will kill no one, and which night of the week it is doesn’t need to be set in stone. Be flexible so you’re not ruining the big party, dance, whatever.  Family night doesn’t have to mean just family either, if your kids still think you’re cool enough to show you off to their friends, let them.  Also be prepared to stick by your word on doing what they picked.  If you find yourself playing a video game you haven’t got any idea how to play, that’s okay, mash some buttons, that’s what most kids are doing when they start anyhow.  Plan bigger family days once a month or once every few months, whatever your budget allows for, and take everybody on a day trip to explore another town or visit an amusement park or a museum or a circus or something special that might cost a little more than your average family board game night.
Have the occasional nostalgia night amongst your family nights where you look at old pictures and watch old home videos and talk about relatives and recount family stories and about who you were before you were mom or dad, and maybe occasionally toss in some stories about the cute or funny things your kids did that they might not even remember.  That doesn’t mean embarrass them.  Most of us like to hear about ourselves if it’s something good or something happy or something before we can remember.
Read with your kids.  It doesn’t really matter how old they are.  When they’re little it might be before bed, snuggled up.  When they’re older it might mean a chapter a night from a beloved book while you sit on the floor or they sprawl in a beanbag chair.  Even older it might mean reading the same book independently but simultaneously so you can discuss it with each other.  When things break, let your kids help you fix it.  When they get older it might be more of a make your kids help you fix it, but younger kids love repair work and DIY and seeing how things work. And all kids are learning life skills when they get to help fix things.  When they get older maybe that thing they’re helping to fix is an old car you bought cheap that they’re helping to get in working condition for when they can drive it.  I wanted to help my parents paint the walls in our house when I was a kid. I was given an emphatic no.  I’m now willing to have kids just to have someone to paint the walls.  If kids want to help you do something, let them help.
As kids turn into teenagers and spending time with them is harder, they’ve also become real people with real interests and things they’re passionate about. Learn what those are and be willing to spend some time in that world. Maybe that’ll mean volunteering together, maybe it’ll mean dressing like vampires and writing bad poetry, maybe you’ll learn some really interesting dance moves. Whatever it is, if your teens are receptive to you checking out their world be prepared to do it.
If you’re so completely strapped for time that none of these ideas work for you, well, I think you need to reevaluate your life and your priorities personally, but your kids are important enough to make time for. Maybe that means everyone gets up 15-30 minutes earlier to spend time together in the morning. Maybe it means skyping from the office.  While it sounds kind of cliche and embarrassing, kids say that finding notes in their lunchboxes from their parents is one of the ways they feel most special. Just keep it to a note, not a singing card and no confetti.
If you’re doing the modern families don’t have to live together life, make the most of the time you do get with them.  Still be their parent and not their friend, kids want you to be their parent, but still do all of the above on the days you get to spend time with them and pay special attention to creating opportunities to talk.  On your days that aren’t with them still make a point of once a day skyping or facetiming or old fashioned phone calls if nothing else.  The two biggest things a kid needs from their parents are love, and learning how to navigate through life as an adult.  Be a part of that.
So. Today, spend some time with your family.  Apart from that:
Steam your face.  There are specially made face steamers, but you can also boil some water and pour it in a basin and throw a towel over your head to tent it and trap the steam and direct it at your face.  Give it 15-20 minutes. The idea is to open your pores and let them unclog. Once you do cleanse your skin really well, and drink a lot of water, let it get the toxins out.
Clean your living room shelves. We’ve been doing the living room really piecemeal, because it gets most of the use out of every room in the house and can be a big one to tackle all at once.  The shelves should be just about the last thing in it at this point, and I’m willing to believe that no matter who you are you’ve got some kind of shelves in your living room.  Where else would you put your media and electronics and knick knacks?  So.  Dust, polish, organize.  My DVDs go alphabetical. I would never suggest that everyone should be as OCD as me. But DVDs should go alphabetically.
Do some yoga for strength.  
All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Warrior Pose
You know the drill. We like yoga.  So get to a yoga class or get a good yoga dvd or watch some yoga instruction on YouTube and focus today’s yoga on building strength.
Lastly for today, we’re going to listen to a guided meditation and/or subliminal audio focusing on achieving a healthy weight.
That’s it for today 🙂 I will see you all later on Facebook for the Question of the Day!


A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Family Portrait
Album: Greatest Hits…So Far!!!

I am for real kinda floored by the amazing CDs Amazon is giving away for less than $5 when I paid $20 or more for them.  This one I bought twice at $20 or more cause I got one for my mom too.  P!nk is amazing.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Pure, Pure Herringbone

Unknown Source

The popular New Year’s resolution of the day is (drumroll please)…. Get rid of old clothes!  If I had remembered this was it’s own separate popular resolution I might not have focused so much on it in my do something for charity article.  So.  I’ve been digging deeper, but let me start by reposting what I already shared, cause it’s absolutely relevant and important information:

“Whatever clothes and accessories or other linens you have that you can’t or don’t wear or use, donate either to a shelter or to Goodwill. If people go to Goodwill and tell them they need clothes to get a job they get hooked up with professionally appropriate clothes for free. At least they do here, but I assume it’s a company-wide policy. Any clothes that don’t sell in their stores get auctioned off by the pound, and anything left after auction gets sent to textile recyclers. If you have clothes that are so worn out and faded or stained you don’t think a charity will want them, put them (washed and dried and nicely bagged) in one of those clothes donation bins you see around town or find another clothing recycler (Goodwill won’t take them anymore according to our research.) A lot of that clothing that we consider too worn out or faded or stained to be usable is actually sent to other countries that have a large demand for second hand clothing, if it’s beyond use for them it may be recycled into wiping and polishing cloths or recycled into fiber for upholstery, insulation, or furniture stuffing. Never never never throw away clothes, and don’t let it sit in your closet knowing you will never use it again because you just don’t know what to do with it. Donate it. It WILL be used.”

So knowing all of that I decided to delve deeper and rather than look for what specific charities do with clothing donations, I went a little broader and googled only “Donate Clothes.”  Those two words brought me an ad for Donating Clothes to Charity via PickUpPlease.org (as discussed in my charity article PickUpPlease provides virtually all funding to Vietnam Veterans of America), a link for Donating Goods to the Springs Rescue Mission (one of our biggest local charities in Colorado Springs for homeless people), Women’s Resource Agency (who seeks workplace-appropriate clothing, suits, interview-appropriate clothing, and career clothing.  Any clothing donations they receive that don’t fit into those categories is sold once a month along with overstock and the proceeds are put back into career readiness for women, girls, and families in the community), links to Clothing programs Pikes Peak Area Colorado, Colorado Spring Clothing Donations (which lists 13 programs the provide clothing to those in needs), Places to Donate – Springs Bargains, Donate Stuff Goodwill Industries, Where to Donate Used or Old Clothes to Charity, ClothingDonations.org, Donate Clothing in Denver, and then some more informational articles about exactly what happens to clothing that is donated.

So if you’re looking to get rid of clothes, you can of course consider having a garage or yard sale first to see if you can make money off of it.  If that’s more work than you want to go through, or if you end up with leftovers after you’ve held your sale, or you take things to consignment shops to sell which I know nothing about but you still have clothes leftover you’re looking to get rid of, my first suggestion is to google “donate clothes” and see what specific options there are for your community and who might actually NEED clothes.  I would choose those organizations first.

Beyond that then we’re left with those previous options I mentioned of clothing bins or Goodwill and The Salvation Army.  Or the trash bin. There are a couple of important things to know when deciding which of those options get your unneeded/unwanted clothing.

Let’s start with the trash bin.  American’s put 10.5MILLION tons of clothing in landfills every year.  We donate only 15% of our used clothing.  Cross the trash bin off the list. It might be the most convenient, but it’s the most harmful, and the most selfish.  If we donate or recycle our used clothing (or unused clothing, as there’s plenty that turns up unworn with the tags still attached), 45% of it gets re-worn as second hand clothing, 30% of it gets cut down and used as industrial rags, 20% of it gets ground down and reprocessed (as upholstery, furniture stuffing, carpet padding, etc.), and 5% is entirely unusable.

So, eliminating landfills, then we’ve got the convenience of those clothing donation bins that are all over the city.  Those are awesome, except that they mostly are marked with things that make you think you’re giving your clothing to charity and really you’re giving it to for profit textile recyclers. For profit isn’t always a bad thing, but I wish they’d be more upfront about it. I know I’ve put some really nice lightly worn clothes in those bins that wouldn’t have gone there if I’d known they weren’t charitable like they implied.  For that reason specifically I recommend using those bins ONLY for your clothing and linens that are beyond the point of use as clothing.  Use those bins for the stained, the ripped, the entirely threadbear, the truly unusable.  Unusable to you is still almost always usable to them.  And recycling is a good thing, even if it’s for profit. Every recyclable product is recycled for profit, whether it’s paper or aluminum or plastic or glass or clothes.  Just know that that’s what you’re choosing to do when you do it.

After you’ve gone through your local charities, and everything that’s truly unusable to drop off in those bins, then turn to those bigger charities like Goodwill and the Salvation army.  They get so many clothing donations they can’t possibly even try to sell all of them in store, only about 20% of donated clothes end up being used by someone in the local community. But that doesn’t mean the rest goes unused.  They keep the best of the best and let it stay on their racks for a certain length of time (usually a month) before pulling it if it hasn’t sold, everything unsold or not picked to put on the rack gets compressed into blocks of clothing that weigh half a ton each.

Those cubes of clothing then go to those textile recyclers where they would’ve ended up if you had tossed them in a bin.  But at least at this point charities have had the option to cherry pick from them what is useful, needed, and sellable.  From there they’re cut open and organized by types of clothing in 200 broad categories like baby clothes, jackets, denim, khaki pants, sweaters, etc.  Then they’re sorted by quality.  Some small percentage ends up in vintage shops, but most of the wearable clothing is sold overseas to used clothing vendors.  The majority is sent to ports in sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and China.  We export a billion pounds of used clothing every year.

When it arrives there the bales are again cut open and picked through by buyers.  The African used clothing market is getting very picky and demanding higher quality and current fashions, thanks to the wonders of the internet.  No one wants to be seen as poor, even if they are, but Africa also has rising incomes and cheap Chinese imports of new clothes are starting to be much more prominent.  Anything they deem unusable or unsellable then goes back to the textile recyclers to turn into wiping rags or furniture filling or upholstery or carpet padding or whatever. There ARE some websites that will tell you this is all a bad thing because it’s taking away business from the people in these countries that could be supporting themselves making clothes.  While I’m sure it does impact their business, the fact is that the demand is high enough that these countries are importing NEW clothing from China alongside our USED clothing, and they’re going to find countries to import from whether it’s us or not.  Don’t let your heart feel so much for the clothing manufacturers in these countries that your clothes go in landfills. That doesn’t help anyone and it hurts the planet.

Donate your clothes in good consciousness in the hierarchy of where they are most needed and will get the most use. Local charities, then national charities, and only put the unusable in the collection bins.  The rest will sort itself out by people who know where everything is needed.  If you want to help out those businesses that are being deprived of work from all our used clothing exports then the best thing you can do is stop buying so much clothing to begin with. We’re buying vast quantities more in clothing that we ever have, and so much of it shows up at the donation centers never worn.  Buy secondhand yourself, for you and your kids and especially babies whose clothes are so lightly worn for such a small amount of time that used barely makes a difference.

So, get in there and clean out your closets, donate things where it’s appropriate to, and feel good about it, but don’t feel so good about it that you take it as a pass to go on a shopping spree.

Otherwise, our little tasks for today are:

Paint your Fingernails.  What you paint them with is up to you. You can do a fun color or something business professional minded or a coat of clear or one that works for you gentlemen out there too there are nail strengthening coats you can paint on that are clear and dry like nothing is there.  If nothing else you can paint your nails with olive oil and it will help to keep them stronger and healthier too.

Clean out your Refrigerator. This is probably self explanatory, but if it’s expired, get rid of it, if you’re never going to eat it, get rid of it. Take everything off of one shelf at a time and windex it or lysol wipe it or whatever you need to do to feel like it’s clean and then put things back nice and neat and organized and do the same for the next shelf or drawer.  Don’t forget the door. Lots of expired condiments like to hide out there.

Swim.  Again, freestyle swimming is one of the best kinds of exercise you can do. It’s awesome cardio, and it works your entire body. If you’ve got access to a pool use it. If you can get access to a pool make it so.  If you have no access to a pool then pick another form of cardio that works your whole body and give it a good twenty minutes.  If you do have gym or health club access consider a good steam in the wet sauna too to open your pores and sweat out the crud. Be sure to drink a lot of water afterwards.

Lastly, today’s guided meditation and subliminal audio are going to focus on motivation.

That’s it for today!  I will see you on Facebook later for the Question of the Day!

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Shoppin’ For Clothes
Album: The Very Best of the Coasters

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

I Don’t Care Too Much For Money

Source Unknown

Just incase you weren’t convinced that money is the root of all evil I thought I’d leave you with that little image burning into your skull if you dare to make eye contact with it.  Which brings us to today’s popular New Year’s resolution:  Spend Less Money.  Somebody shoulda hooked these folks up with the ones who wanted to save money.  But maybe it’s not about saving, maybe it’s they don’t have the money to spend to begin with, or maybe they have more than enough money but end up with a ton of crap they don’t want or need. Who knows.  Spending less money will depend, of course, on what you’re already spending money on.  So.

As with all bad habits the first step to breaking it is usually to keep a log or a journal, tracking just how your bad habit is occurring and playing out.  In this case it would be a spending record detailing every individual item you buy (not every purchase total), how much it cost, and whether it was a need or a want.  How much is it costing you to throw on that pack of gum every time you go to the gas station or grocery store?

Speaking of, when you do go to the gas station, are you topping off your tank by rounding up to the next dollar?  Knock it off. It’s bad for your car, bad for the environment, and bad for your bank account. Don’t become too loyal to one gas station either.  If, like most gas stations, there’s another one a block away from your usual fill up spot of choice, pick the one that’s lowest priced on the day you’re filling up, they’re selling the same product.  Don’t drive out of your way across town to save a few cents, you’ll lose any benefit of it in the gas taken to get there and back.  Do buy gas from reputable name brand stations.  There’s one gas chain that as far as I know is local here to Colorado Springs or maybe the surrounding area, and they always have gas significantly cheaper than everyone else.  The collectively understood reason for that is that they’re adding water to their gasoline. Whether that’s true or not I dunno, how people know, I dunno, is the lower pricing suspicious enough for me to pick chains that I trust? Yup.

Proper car maintenance is going to save you money on both repair work and on that gas bill too.  Make sure your tires are properly inflated, experts recommend checking them weekly, and say that keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your gas mileage by up to 10 percent.

Cut out any and all fast food. You don’t need fast food and you pay too much for it.  If you do find yourself ordering fast food or take out or delivery don’t get drinks to go with it. You have plenty to drink at home and it’s more expensive from restaurant establishments than it is in the grocery store if you absolutely have to drink something other than water.  Don’t buy your groceries from the gas station or convenience store.  Buy your groceries from a grocery store.  They’re going to have better pricing.

When you go grocery shopping, shop with a list.  Pick a day of the week to plan what you’re doing the rest of the week.  It would be a great day to do your grocery shopping and cook for the whole week in advance refrigerating and freezing things until you need them, thereby making the most of your grocery budget and saving yourself time too.  When you make that list planning out your meals, plan it around the sales ads you get in the mail or newspaper.  Plan your produce around what’s in season instead of what has to be grown in a greenhouse or imported further and therefore is going to cost more.

When you grocery shop, plan on shopping the perimeter of the store and only entering aisles for necessities.  Aisles are where they put the less healthy, more expensive, pre-processed foods that will hit you in the pocket book and in your health.  The perimeter of the store is going to have your fresh foods, produce, baked goods, meats, dairy, eggs, bulk…  You really can get everything you need to live off of from the perimeter, but you may want to make an occasional venture into an aisle for rice or flour or other dry good staples, just know what you’re after and stick to the plan and then escape back to the perimeter.  Check out different parts of your grocery store to see what they may have stashed in different areas that might be significantly cheaper.  Often that will be in the form of a bulk section, but you may also want to comparison shop the pricing of spices from the baking aisle with spices from the ethnic foods sections.  My usual grocery store even has a weird almost hidden section of bagged spices shoved over in the corner by the lunchmeat.  It’s cheaper than the baking aisle, but who would ever know to look for it if you didn’t get really familiar with the store?  Saving on groceries wouldn’t be complete without this one… we all have heard it, but you need to actually follow it:  Don’t shop when you’re hungry.  Everything sounds good when you’re hungry. Everything is a necessity when you’re hungry.  Eat a snack before going in, bring a water bottle with you if you need to, but whatever you do, don’t shop hungry. Stick to your list.

Whether it comes to groceries or paper goods or cleaning products or virtually anything disposable, don’t get too loyal to one brand.  Get loyal to the cheapest acceptable option, which may be whatever is on sale when you do go shopping.  Sometimes that’s not even going to be name brand.  Try out some store brands and see how it goes.  I’ve never found a store brand peanut butter I didn’t hate, but it didn’t kill me to suffer through that jar and then resume buying the cheapest acceptable peanut butter I could find (Skippy. It’s always Skippy.)    Different people have different tastes and different priorities.  I’m really particular about textures.  I might hate store brand peanut butter but it might all taste the same to you.  I love store brand canned or frozen vegetables more often than not.  I’m pretty okay with store brand cheese. You might think it’s revolting. I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that store brand cereal tastes just like its cartoon character toted counterparts. The only way to know is to try things, so try them. When the cheaper generic brand works for you then stick with it. In the end most products are created equally and you’re just paying for the name.

When you have coupons that make something cheaper than your usual give it a shot.  But ONLY use coupons for things you were going to buy anyway.  Don’t buy something you don’t really need or want just because you got it cheap with a coupon.  If you’re going to get serious about couponing, get yourself a coupon organizer wallet so you always have them on hand when you make that grocery store run and can find them easily, and go crazy on online couponing sites to find things that will save you money on the products you do already use regularly.

Do not watch infomercials.  Do not window shop. Do not browse at the mall.  Do not check out online stores.  If you need to buy something then go and buy what you need and get out.  Stores like to fill up their fronts with non-essentials and displays and impulse buy types of things because they know you’re going to see them on your way to what you really need.  Don’t look around, walk quickly, with a purpose, and if you can help it don’t use a cart, you buy less when you only buy what you can carry. Do not browse clearance racks or sales items unless you specifically need something that’s likely to be in those places, like shopping clearance racks for baby clothes.  They’re babies. They care very little which clothes they spit up on. Don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s a bargain.

We talked about savings accounts, but I don’t think we even touched on checking accounts.  Are you using the one that’s right for you?  Your checking account should be free. The only fees you should have for a checking account are overdraft fees, and you shouldn’t be spending in a way that encounters them.  Is your bank close enough to home to avoid excessive gas on bank trips and to be able to use your own bank’s ATM without having to encounter fees to use an out of network competitor’s machine?  If you live in a state with a TCF Bank they get my endorsement happily.  They have got a slightly “low class” kind of reputation because of their policy of doing business with anyone who hasn’t written bad checks with them before, even if they’ve written bad checks from other financial institutions, but don’t worry about their class reputation. People are going to judge you for what smart phone you have, not for what bank you use, and personally I think it’s great that there’s a bank that’s willing to give people a second chance so people aren’t forever paying fees to check cashing companies. I got my first checking account with them when I was 16 and allowed to work and have never had anything but great service.  This was after using a bigger more national bank that was charging me all sorts of fees I didn’t understand and they couldn’t explain and were claiming I overdrafted when math showed I clearly didn’t so I finally said give me my money, I’m going somewhere else.  TCF was close by and a very nice change with no fees and tellers who didn’t pull anything over on me for being young.  When I was 18 and moved to Missouri we didn’t have TCF Bank and I used Guarantee Federal the entire time I lived there and had the same experience. Great service, no account problems, no fees, no minimum balance, even earned interest for having direct deposit set up.  That’s the way things should be, you should be able to trust your bank.  When I moved back to Colorado in 2005 I made the mistake of choosing a local bank near my work that was forever airing commercials about their great personal service and how nice it was to support local businesses. Fantastic concept, except they never told me I was getting charged a fee any time I called to check my balance, and their service really wasn’t so pleasant or quick and I had to be on that side of town to use the ATM because there were no other branches.  I eventually figured out the mysterious fees, found a nearby TCF Bank, moved everything over, and never looked back. So I’ve been back to being a happy TCF Bank customer since circa 2007.  Still no minimum balance, still no fees unless I overdraft (which I don’t), free replacement cards when mine have been lost or stolen or they thought my account could have potentially been subject to a data breach (if it was I was never affected beyond getting a new card), they’re friendly and they’re fast and they have locations all through town and surrounding cities, so I can use my account without ATM fees.  Going back to overdraft fees, my bank offers “Overdraft Protection” on my debit card where if I go over they offer to cover it, but I get charged a fee if they do.  I’ve opted out of that overdraft protection.  I don’t need snowballing fees, and if I have to go an extra day or two living on ramen or not driving fun places when I feel like it, then so be it.  It’s worth it to live in discomfort for a few days than to dig myself a hole I can’t get out of.

Statistically, people spend at least 30% more if they’re using a credit card, debit card, or checkbook, than they would if they were paying with cash.  Cash buyers are less impulsive because they physically see their money going.  That is only a statistic, it doesn’t apply to me personally because for me once I break a twenty, the rest of that bill disappears on little buys of things I don’t need. But if you haven’t tried the cash spending habit, see how it works with you.  Maybe you’ll even find yourself spending less online because there’s less in your bank account if it’s in your wallet.

Do NOT use payday loans. Just don’t. I can’t in any way stress that enough. Payday loan practices should be illegal, if an individual lent you money and charged those kinds of interest rates they’d be called a loan-shark and they’d be prosecuted.  I have more than a couple of friends who have made young impulsive decisions that they HAD to buy the newest cellphone to replace their 3 month old model or they HAD to buy their girlfriend a wedding band and ring set that they couldn’t afford and didn’t need yet, and they are still trying to pay those bills off as they’re approaching their 30s.  It’s worse than a credit card. Don’t do it.

Speaking of credit cards… it’s okay to have one for emergencies. Don’t use it to buy food, especially not fast food, or any of your normal every day bills, use it for when your radiator cracks and you need a new one and don’t have enough in savings to cover it but legitimately need a car to be able to get back and forth to work so you have to do something, and pay it off as quickly as you can, or for the unexpected vet bill that you need you pet to be okay but didn’t know to budget for. Don’t get store brand cards.  Just don’t.  They exist entirely because the store knows you WILL spend more money there because you have a card to do it on and may be racking up some minimal reward points to use towards spending even more there.  No store brand cards.  Only reputable independent credit cards, with the lowest fees and interest rates your credit score will allow for.  And truly only use it for emergencies.  It’s 2 in the morning and the bar just let out and you need tacos is not an emergency.

Be mindful of your every month bills like your home utility bills.  If your water heater’s thermostat is up high enough that your water is ever scalding, turn it down.  You don’t ever need it that hot, and you’re paying more to keep it at that temperature.  Something I learned when my water heater was out of commission and I was waiting for the replacement parts I ordered to repair it with is that my dishwasher, just a normal, standard, actually smaller than most dishwasher, heats water on its own.  I dunno the mechanics behind how it does that, but if you think you need scalding water to get your dishes clean, your dishwasher is totally taking care of that for you.  Only run it when you have enough dishes to fill it, and choose the air dry option.  Or if you really want to save some money wash your dishes by hand.  You only need to buy a drainboard to dry them on once, and it will save you loads on both your electric and water bills (no pun intended.)  If you think you need scalding water to get your clothes clean, well, surprise! you actually don’t even need hot water to get most of your clothes clean. Most of your clothes are going to be slightly dirty at best and modern detergents are going to clean them just as well in cold water while making your colors last longer too.  Save the hot wash cycles for the truly dirty clothes that you wore to the gym or on a long hike or on your latest archaeological dig.  Clean out your lint traps. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it every time laundry comes up.  It saves you on energy by drying your clothes faster, and not cleaning your lint trap is a fire hazard. Clean it every single load.  Change out your furnace/air circulation filters every 6 months at a minimum.  They get full of crud and your system has to work harder to push through the dust and pet hair and dander and lord knows what else they’ve been collecting.  Install some ceiling fans in your most used rooms that you can use in place of the air conditioner on days that aren’t in the triple digits.  Most homes here in Colorado don’t even have air conditioning and we get plenty hot in the summer.  Windows and fans can do wonders.  Keep tabs on the thermostat for your heater too. Most people prefer it colder at night.  Either program your thermostat to make that change at a certain time, or just manually move it down at bedtime.  Your energy bill will thank you.  Even during the day do you really need your whole house at 73 degrees?  Or can you keep the house at 68 and use a space heater or a fireplace for the rooms you’re actively using?  Don’t forget that cooking at home is going to make the house warmer too.  One more reason to get used to cooking instead of so much take out.

Speaking of cooking at home… rethink your entertainment budget and date night options.  You don’t need to go to dinner and a movie.  You can go to a matinee followed by coffee and pie at your local diner, or you can stay in with a homecooked meal, some stove popped popcorn (Jiffy Pop is fun and you know it) and Netflix or Redbox.  If you like the ritual of getting dressed and primped and putting on your best manners for date night, you can still do that, there’s no reason you can’t be fabulous in the middle of the day or in your own home which is kind of extra cute.  Also change things up sometimes, it doesn’t always need to be movie and food, you can exchange massages, read each other poetry out of library books, have a picnic in the park, go hiking, dance in your living room instead of at the club.  If your date night is really about socializing with other couples start hosting game nights instead of going out. If you’re used to a night out with the girls start a book club or at home spa treatment days. If you’re used to a night out with the guys pick whoever has the most awesome HD TV to watch the big game or host a poker night.  Check out what your city has to offer for free entertainment. There are community events ALL THE TIME that most people know nothing about. All it takes is a little googling.

If you have some awesome money saving tips to share, let us know in the comments!

Today’s list of tasks:
Time to deal with your leg hair.  Ladies this especially means you, but it’s not uncommon for men to get on board with hair removal anymore either.  If you like your leg hair and want to keep it, that’s your prerogative and you’re not alone, I’ve got friends who go “eh, it’s blonde anyway, no one sees it except this guy I’ve been with forever and he doesn’t care” so if that works for you then that’s awesome, just make sure that it’s clean and address any ingrown hair situations.  If your leg hair is more of a byproduct of depression or “it’s not like anyone’s going to ever see me anyway” then get up and go grab your razor or waxing kit or hair removal cream.  Maybe no one will see it with that attitude, but when you get more active (and you will) and when you’re feeling better about yourself (which taking care of grooming habits is a big step towards,) then you never know who’s going to turn up. But whether anyone else sees it or not, do it for you.  I personally hate the feel of body hair of any kind, it makes me feel dirty and itchy and gross, and I think shaving is also an awesome way to get rid of dead skin, they seem to go well together.  If you like the feeling of your silky smooth legs then who cares if anyone else is going to feel them. Do it for you.  If you’ve been with that same guy for lots of years and just sort of take for granted that he’s okay with it, maybe surprise him with a pair or nice smooth legs and see if the extra effort doesn’t spark a little extra appreciation or effort of his own.

Clean your dining areas. Yup, we have cleaned them the past few weeks on an individual basis, today we’re going to do them all because you’ve already done the deep cleaning and can today do the spot cleaning and general upkeep and not have it be too much to fit into one day 🙂

Use some upper body weight machines at that gym I trust you’ve joined by now.  There are a LOT of them to pick from, and you can use as many as you want to, but for today I’m going to ask you to keep an eye out forthe Cable Biceps Bar

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Cable Biceps Bar

the Cable Triceps Bar

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Cable Triceps Bar

the Chest Press

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Chest Press Machine

the Incline Chest Press

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Incline Chest Press Machine

and the Lat Pull Down.

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250 lbs, Lat Pulldown Machine

Do at least 15 reps on each machine, at whatever weight you feel comfortable with that isn’t TOO easy, but isn’t so much a challenge that you’ll hurt yourself or be unable to finish the 15 reps.  Either before or after the weight machines, depending on your own personal preference, get in 15 minutes worth of cardio on a machine that’s going to work your arms.  The best option for this is going to be the rowing machine, but you could also use the skiing machine or an elliptical and get SOME arm work out of it.  As always, if you don’t have a gym membership, try to improvise the exercises as best you can at home.  Grab that trusty broom or mop handle and go through the motions, it may not give you as much without the weights involved, but it will still increase your range of motion and your muscle toning.  For the Cardio still do something that involves your arms.  You can do jumping jacks, or lots of overhead reaches while you keep your legs moving even just stepping side to side or simulate that rowing motion while going for a jog or jogging in place in your living room.

Then to finish up today we’re gonna do another general mental tuneup guided meditation and/or subliminal audio.

That’s all I’m going to ask you to do for today 🙂 Be mindful of those spending habits, and I’ll see you on Facebook later for the question of the day!

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Can’t Buy Me Love
Album: A Hard Day’s Night

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

We’re Here To Handle Things Together

Source Unknown

Good grief.  I went to bed early last night thinking I’d get up early today and be on top of things and have it totally together and nope, none of that worked.  Some time in the middle of the night I heard what sounded like someone pounding on my backdoor. My glass sliding door inside my fenced in backyard.  My biggest fear out of every possibility in life is coming face to face with someone or something (I’m terrified of aliens… absolutely terrified and intrigued and can’t resist them even though the scare the hell out of me.) unexpected that is watching me or waiting for me.  So there was absolutely zero chance that with as groggy and medicated as I was that I was gonna go look at the back door.  These are not unusual medications for me mind you, they’re all medications I’ve been on months or years except lyrica which has only been a few weeks, but so far as I know has been blamed for no hallucinations.  Had I been more alert I would’ve gone and looked down from the bathroom window to see what was going on… the last time someone pounded on my backdoor I didn’t think to do that till after my boyfriend suggested it but it was snowy and while whoever wanted in wasn’t there anymore I could see footprints going from gate to door and back.  This time there’s no snow so I couldn’t do an after it’s quiet check.  So my clever plan of action was to lay in bed not moving or breathing waiting to hear if there was any sound of smashing glass or continued banging and hoping if I laid quite still enough it wouldn’t be aware I was even there and hoping the cats were close by and not by the door.  I dunno how long I stayed in this petrified state but enough that when I did wake up at 9 something I felt freaking exhausted.  No noticeable anything outside, no broken glass, everything looks like it did before. I think the answer is probably neighbor kids playing pranks that if I do ever catch them at it I will be introducing their skull to my baseball bat -_-  But either way everything looked normal.  And I sat here at the computer feeling tired and thinking “I’m gonna get a jump on today’s entry, but first I’m going to listen to yesterday’s guided meditation that I didn’t get a chance to listen to the full thing when I posted it and I could use the relaxation.”   Big mistake.  Anytime I meditate, guided or not, I fall asleep.  EVERY time.  Coming to you from the girl who before medication and before meditation slept a whopping 3 hours a week on average.  So here it is after 3 o’clock and I’m just now awake and have checked in with the boyfriend who has the flu and checked out my swollen knee that looks worse today than it did yesterday when my ankle (that I had surgery on) collapsed and sent me crashing into my hope-chest. Impressive bruising but I think I can survive without a return trip to my podiatrist.  So all of that to say, good morning! I’m sorry I’m coming so late again, it’s just been a crazy kind of night/day/something.  I now have remarkably congested sinuses that make my face swollen and hard to see over and make me sleepy at the same time but that’s okay, we’re gonna do this, it may just be slow going.

Anyway.  Today’s popular New Year’s resolution is one that if you’re keeping track you’ve probably been wondering where the hell this one’s been, but the resolution is…. Lose Weight!  I know that, while this is popular enough that it probably applies to most of us, it doesn’t apply to everyone.  There are people at a perfect BMI, people that love their bodies exactly as they are, people that have been battling eating disorders and need to gain weight, not lose it, so do NOT feel like this resolution needs to apply to you if it doesn’t. Just like the quit smoking didn’t apply to me because I don’t smoke… I could’ve started smoking to know what it feels like to quit and go through that with all of you, but it would’ve been counterproductive and I don’t expect or want anyone to participate in anything that is going to negatively impact their health.  So if you fall in one of the alternative categories that doesn’t need or want to lose weight then your assignment for the day is just to do something especially healthy for you towards maintaining or achieving your ideal weight.

For the rest of us, losing weight is such a prevalent need in our society that I try to throw in SOME kind of fitness everyday in the daily tasks, where you may have noticed I keep suggesting you join a gym.  If you have joined that gym, make sure you actually go to it.  Gyms make their money off of people that join when they’re feeling motivated and then stop coming and are either under contract or are too embarrassed or too lazy to call and quit their membership.  They like when people aren’t coming so they don’t have to worry about having enough space or enough equipment or the wear on their existing equipment or all the things that actually having customers who use your services entails.  Don’t be that person just handing them money with no return, get in there and break a sweat on a regular basis.

Losing weight sounds really easy from a mathematical standpoint where the simple formula is: calories consumed < calories burned.  That sounds so simple.  But it doesn’t take in to consideration things like muscle weighing more than fat or stress creating cortisol that makes your body hold on to any and all energy sources it can, which it will also do if you start working out and dieting and it’s not used to that idea and you don’t take any or enough rest days, it will go into panic mode and keep everything that it can.  All of that can be really frustrating when you think you’re doing everything right and your body just refuses to cooperate. Your body thinks it’s protecting you, so if you’re exercising and eating right and not losing weight, you need to convince your body that it’s okay and that you’re not going to hurt it and it can let its defenses down. And that’s why it’s important to start somewhat slow and gradually increase so your body gets used to the idea, and it’s also important to give your body that rest. Not just on rest days, but on workout days too, it needs a little calming time for meditation or yoga or anything that puts you in a relaxed state and alerts your body that you’re not under attack and things will be okay.

I don’t know if I’ve talked about it here before, but I have relatively severe tachycardia.  My heart rate thinks it should be hanging out around 145 bpm instead of the normal 60-100 bpm.  I’ve done all the EKGs and X-rays and ultrasounds and echocardiograms and the whole deal, and my heart beats in perfect rhythm, just entirely too fast.  So the doctor’s have no solution for me other than they think the biggest problem is my anxiety level, and other than that I should be trying to lose weight.  It’s a challenge when you’re starting with a heart rate of 145 and you go to do cardio and your heart wants to explode and you have chest pains that didn’t exist before.  It’s a challenge, but it’s not an end all.  I mostly focus on swimming as it’s a great full body exercise that I’m capable of doing, but I do make myself do other things and keep changing it up daily and do my best to try to eat healthy as well.

When I discussed diets with my Cardiologist she said she didn’t want me to be following any diet because my blood pressure and all of those sorts of things are fine so she doesn’t want to limit me from any food, she just wants me to be mindful of portion control and such.  She said the best weight loss program is Weight Watchers, but that because it’s expensive she recommends using MyFitnessPal since it does the same things as Weight Watchers but for free.  I’ve put off using it because of my oral surgery things having me on a steady diet of ice cream and soft carbs, but I went ahead and created myself a new account on it just before I started writing.  I had an account from years ago, and I like it when I remember to use it, but that account from years ago had the stats of a much smaller person from before my major ankle injury and every time I’ve tried to use it since then it has been really frustrating and discouraging to see my starting weight so much lower than my current weight, even when I’ve done amazing and lost 5 lbs in a week and want to be celebrating that.  So I decided starting from scratch was the way to go.  I don’t remember off hand how you go about adding friends on that particular app to keep tabs with and motivate each other and have friendly competition and cheer on successes and all of that, but friends are a great resource to have, so if anyone wants to use it with me, you can use it for any goal whether it’s weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain, and you should be able to find me I believe if you search by email address or user name.  So, if it asks for an email address I went with our less formal dailyreasonstolive@gmail.com, and if it asks for a username then it is of course, dailyreasonstolive.  You should see our gold butterfly logo when you’ve found me 🙂  I’m also anemic, have a low B12, and low Vitamin D, so while I’ve started taking supplements there’s also going to need to be a special focus from me on things like dairy, meat, and dark greens.  Hold me to it.

So really, that’s your big project for today.  Join me on MyFitnessPal, if you’ve got a gym membership use it, and do something extra special for your body today, whether that’s in the field of food, or exercise, or relaxation, just do something that is going to benefit you personally, that your body will thank you for.  Take a good first step today.  I’ve got lots of plans for things we’re going to be doing and trying throughout upcoming weeks and months, and if you ever find one that works really well for you then I want you to stick with it and ignore me when I talk about the next one to try.  Everyone’s body is a little bit different. Everybody’s lifestyle is a little different.  Do what works for you.  If you need variety and want to try things when I suggest them then by all means go for it, but if it doesn’t work out for you, remember to go back to that one that did.

Beyond that, today’s little list of tasks is:

Trim your hair.  If it needs it, go to a  barber shop or walk in salon and have them take off anywhere from half an inch to a couple of inches to take care of the split ends.  If you want an entirely new style go ahead and make it happen today.  If you stay pretty on top of things and aren’t due for a trim just grab a pair of scissors and a fistful of hair and go through and spot the split ends to snip individually.  Each one gone is a little healthier and a little less frizzy.

Clean Your Yards: This was intended to be posted MUCH earlier, so it’s okay if you need to shuffle this one over to tomorrow, but we’ve done porches and patios, let’s get out there into the actual yards and take care of whatever needs taking care of, get any trash that’s found it’s way into your yard thrown away properly, if you’ve got any clutter about the yard put it away in the house, shed, garage, or patio, wherever it belongs when it’s put away.  Weed.  Dead weeds, live weeds, any weeds, pull em up, and try to get the roots so they don’t just come right back.  If you’re still losing leaves, or pine needles, or just haven’t taken care of them yet, bust out the rake and get em piled and bagged.  If you live in a climate that still has you cutting the grass then get out the mower and get it taken care of.  If you live in a climate that still lets you have flowers or gardens of any kind then water and weed and dead head and whatever else you need to do for your particular garden.

If you’ve joined a gym (there it is again) get on some of the weight machines that are going to have you using your lower body.  Try to do at least 15 reps on each, and look specifically for the

seated leg press,

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Seated Leg Press Machine

adduction machine

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Adduction Machine

abduction machine

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Hip Abduction Machine

calf raises

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Calf Raise Machine

and leg curls.

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Leg Curl Machine

Add in 15 minutes of cardio that will work your legs too. The good news is pretty much ANY cardio is gonna work your legs, so you have your choice of stationary bikes, recumbent bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines, treadmills, stair masters, and ski machines.  If you’ve got no gym access and no home gym, then again it’s going to be a matter of trying to recreate exercises at home, which is a little trickier when it comes to leg exercises that involve weight machines, so you’re mostly going to be looking to work the same muscles.  Do some jump squats.  If you’ve got a resistance band, use it, even if you just use it to walk sideways across the room and back.  Lay on the floor on your side and do some left lifts, both with your legs straight, and with your legs at 90 degree angles.  Do some hamstring raises by standing up and moving back and forth from all of the weight on your toes and ball of your foot with you heel raised and just hold it for half a second and come back down.  If you’ve got a BIG resistance band or a sturdy belt, or a yoga strap, lay on your back and loop whichever of those you’ve got around your slightly separated thighs and push your thighs apart is opposite directions as hard as you can against that strap.  Rest for a few moments and do it again. And again we’re shooting for 15 reps on everything.  You have essentially the same options for your cardio except probably not the rowing machine or skiing, but go for a walk or a jog or a run or climb some stairs or whatever cardio gets your legs involved and aim for a good 15 minutes worth.

Then for today’s guided meditation or subliminal track we’re going to go for another detox to kick things off with our special focus on healthy weight today.

I shall see you all on Facebook shortly for the Question of the Day!

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Get On Your Feet
Album: Greatest Hits

Amazon is going stupid crazy with their prices on CDs I already own.  $5.99 for Gloria Estefan’s greatest hits.  There’s not a single song on this album I don’t love with every fiber of my being. So I’m just saying, if today’s song worked for you in the inspiration department, or even in the enjoyment department, buying the CD is well worth the $6.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

I Won’t Be Made Useless

Quote courtesy of President Ronald Reagan

Today’s popular New Year’s resolution is another vague one, but I think in this case I like that.  The resolution of the day is “Help Others.”  That’s it, and that’s all.  Just help people.  It’s different from the “do something for charity” resolution because you don’t have to be helping with a specific cause.  You can, if that strikes your fancy, but this one is more inclusive of helping just everyday people in the world that you either see all the time or happen to encounter in passing.  So for today your big project is that if you see anyone that needs help with anything, big or small, help them.  I haven’t had a chance to do it myself yet, but I’ll be actively looking for opportunities all day, and today I’ve been on the receiving end of helping others before it was even assigned.  So I’d like to thank community member John and his co-workers for designing our beautiful new logo, without pay.  It was incredibly generous, and they did a beautiful job and I am absolutely in love with it.

For anyone who might not know what it is that the semicolon butterfly symbolizes, I feel like a combination of two quotes sums it up beautifully:
The Semicolon:  “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
The Butterfly:  “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

That all directly depicts precisely what this site is about and why it was created.  Every day our journey could be over, and we could choose to be done, and we could give in to all of the struggles and troubles and pains, but we’re choosing not to. We’re going to use as many semicolons as we need to use and we’re going to let the struggle transform us into something stronger and more beautiful every single time.  The logo was pre-decided and supposed to have been ready in time for our site launch on New Year’s Eve but it didn’t end up working out with our IT guy’s schedule, and still hasn’t.  I haven’t got the artistic skill or technical knowledge to make it happen myself, only the vision, so I’m truly truly thankful to the men who took time out of their day to take care of that for me.  I needed the lift and it was a disproportionate source of stress for me and I wasn’t up for facing another month of having no logo and it felt like a REALLY BIG DEAL.  So. Remember that while you may think the thing you’re helping someone with is small and really no big deal with your knowledge and your talents and skills, it can make a world of difference in someone else’s life. My stress level had been escalating daily.

I’m not saying if you see someone trying to do something you know how to do to do it for them.  If someone thinks they can do something, let them, that’s how people learn, but if someone is struggling, offer.  If someone asks for help that you’re capable of giving without hurting yourself then do it. Sometimes helping can be a very small thing to you that feels like a very big thing to someone else.  A smile can remind someone that the entire world isn’t mean and ugly.  Holding the door open for someone regardless of the genders involved can remind a person that kindness and courtesy still exist in the world.  Sometimes helping is listening.  Whether a person is stressed out and unhappy and needs to vent and get something off of their chest, or whether someone just has an opinion that they feel needs to be heard, there are people in this world that no one listens to.  Sometimes they need the validation that they even exist, but the validation that their opinions and beliefs are okay and that they can be expressed whether you agree with them or not. You do not have to agree with what someone is saying to listen to it. Nor do you have to change your opinions and beliefs to validate someone else’s.

Helping can be teaching someone something, it can be giving a sincere thank you to a person who feels underappreciated, it can be offering to babysit for the parents that don’t have time to spend with each other anymore, or making an easy to heat dinner for the new parents who are trying to figure out how to do it all, or for the man who just lost his wife and doesn’t yet know how to fend for himself in the kitchen.  It can be offering to make a grocery run for your elderly neighbor who struggles with bringing things up the apartment stairs. Or offering to take that elderly neighbor’s dog out for walks.  Helping can be, right now in particular, signing a petition or holding a sign or spreading a message and letting your voice speak for the people who can’t or won’t do it for themselves.

Here in Colorado Springs we have an absolute epidemic of people on every single street corner and median panhandling and holding signs and approaching cars that aren’t offering to help them, and a lot of these people are making a lot of money doing it, so I don’t ever offer monetary help anymore.  But if someone has a sign that they’re disabled or out of work and hungry, or if someone has just started a new job and is waiting for their paycheck and saying they don’t know how they’re going to feed everyone the rest of the month, it can be easy and cheap to help.  A bag of apples is enough to keep a hungry homeless jobless person eating for a good while.  A loaf of bread and some lunchmeat and sliced cheese or peanut butter and jelly can keep a persons kids fed for a week.

Help can be mutual.  Maybe you have a friend or coworker that seems like they would benefit from the exercise and social engagement of being your walking buddy or gym buddy.  You both win on that one from forming a new friendship and having someone to hold you accountable and you both getting fit and healthy out of the deal.

I’m sure you all get the idea.  There are lots of ways to help, and lots of people or even animals who need it.  Your mission for today, and throughout the year, is to find those people who need help that you’re capable of giving, and to give it.  And let people help you too.  Don’t deny other people that joy of helping if there’s something you do need help with and they’re offering, don’t have too much pride or independence to accept help when you need it.

Apart from being helpful, your other little missions for today are:

Take care of your Toe Nails.  We did fingernails recently.  Now it’s time to check out the shape of what’s going on with your toes.  Remember that one dollar manicure set from Walmart that had two different nail clippers in it?  The bigger one is for toes. If they’re long, cut em.  If they’re sharp, cut and/or file them.  If they’re rough and rugged file and/or buff them.  If there’s fungus, take care of that.  I’ve never had to deal with toe fungus myself but I will never forget going to one of those cosmetology school student salon places for a trim when I was a teenager and hearing a woman say to the man giving her a pedicure “What’s that green thing there?” and him saying “Well, it looks like fungus m’am.”  She had been entirely unaware that there was even a green thing there until she had someone else working on her feet.  Don’t be that woman. Be aware of your body and what parts of it need help and take care of them.

Have you got a Wii Fit?  When’s the last time you used it.  Pull it out, dust it off, and have some fun with it.  If you haven’t got one, I seriously recommend it. It’s fun and interactive and an easy way to keep tabs with friends and family and help to both motivate each other and keep each other accountable.  Don’t be Kirsty Alley and yell at the board for telling you you’re obese.  It only knows your BMI, obese is a medical term, it has nothing to do with who you are or how you feel, it’s possible to be obese and healthy, but it’s not common.  Either way it’s about having fun, challenging yourself and anyone else who may be in your home, and moving enough to get some fitness in there too.  Fitness isn’t always weight loss, sometimes it’s moving better, sometimes it’s breathing better, always it’s feeling better, so don’t worry too much about your BMI when you use the Wii Fit. Worry about holding balance in Yoga poses or figuring out how to use your muscles to successfully navigate obstacle courses.  If you don’t have a Wii Fit or the means to get one, that’s okay too.  Just do some exercises in your living room. The Wii Fit has some of everything so I’m not even going to tell you which one’s to do, just pick your favorite exercises and put in a good 20 minutes with them.

Climb some stairs.

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250 lbs, Stair Master

If you’ve got that gym membership you can use their stair master.  If you don’t you can climb stairs in your home, office, mall, library.  Anywhere you can find a set of stairs. Whatever you’ve got to work with, aim for going up and down them ten times.  It’s okay if you need to take breaks between trips up and down them, just try to get ten in so you’re really working those quads and glutes and getting the full benefit of the exercise. If you don’t do stairs much you’ll feel it tomorrow, but remember that there is satisfying sore that comes from accomplishing something, and that’s what this is.

Then for today’s guided meditation and/or subliminal audio we’re going to focus again on just kind of giving the brain a tune up and helping it function at its best and full capacity.

Then I have one last thing to talk about before I head over to Facebook for the Question of the Day:

“If I could tell the world just one thing it would be ‘We’re all okay.’ and not to worry, cause worry is wasteful and useless in times like these.”
I know I tell you all every day to really listen to the song and really listen to the lyrics and pay attention.  I want to put a special emphasis on that today.  I avoid taking political stances or soap boxes here though we’re eventually going to get into the nitty-gritty of political issues; I’m going to save any of my opinions for the days we’re actively discussing those things.  However, with so much happening right now in my country and around the world, having marches on all 7 continents. and more to follow, I can’t ignore that in good consciousness.  So, what I will say is that what I want people to know and remember in times where activism is needed is represented beautifully in this song.  Maybe you feel small, and maybe you don’t feel like you can make a difference, but that choice is yours, and no one else gets to take away your power and your ability to act on what you know is right. Don’t let ANYONE, including yourself, make you feel small. When we come together, good triumphs.  The power in political movements comes from peaceful demonstrations. “Where there’s a man who has no voice, there ours shall go singing.” March, but march with love. March with the power of the rights that all people should be allowed and love for the people who could be denied them.  “We’ll fight, not out of spite, but someone must stand up for what’s right.”  The civil rights movements that have been fought successfully in our country to give us all the equality we’ve only recently been able to enjoy and celebrate have been won by people who fought peacefully. Do it with love. Make your voice heard. Don’t do it with hate. Hate is what got us back here.

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Hands
Album: Spirit

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

There Appears To Have Been a Struggle

Before I get into the daily post content, there’s one thing I address every year on January 23rd, and this year will be no exception.

Watch that video. If you’ve never seen it before watch it, if you’ve seen it before watch it, if you’ve seen it every year when I post it watch it.
Justin (JewWario) was a friend and a former coworker, and this video was the last time I ever saw him.   The reason I never saw him again, is because on January 23rd 2014 he chose to end his life.  All of us who knew him, or who followed him online as he was a very popular among the YouTube video game crowd, can only speculate on the reasons for his suicide.  We’ll never know for sure.  I’m not going to throw my speculations out there publicly, but what I do wish is that someone had said to him what he said in this video.  It was so intensely heartfelt that it sounds like it was something he might have needed to hear.  And I wish I had had a last conversation that I knew was our last conversation, so that I could tell him all of the things I valued and admired about him.  As with all people, we didn’t always agree, there were a couple of times that stand out for me that he really hurt my feelings, and I’m fortunate to feel like our last conversation was a positive one.  I try to be genuine with people and tell them when they do things I value and admire and am grateful for when they do them, but if I had known that was our last conversation, there’s more I would have liked to have said about what he meant to me.  And I don’t get that chance.  There were so many people who loved him that I probably can count myself very fortunate in that our last conversation was a kind of “I love who you are, goodbye.” and that’s probably more closure than most people got.  I just thought it was a “goodbye for now.”

Having been deeply suicidal myself it’s maybe a little easier for me to understand how people get to that point, and despite what people say it isn’t through an act of selfishness.  So, based on my whole collective experience and perspective, I have two requests for all of you.  1)  Be aware of the people around you and what they’re thinking and feeling, and whether the way that you’re interacting with them could be pushing them toward this place instead of pulling them from it.  2)  If you ever do find yourself in a place where suicide feels like the answer, talk to someone first, no holds barred.  Talk to as many people as you need to until you find someone that listens.  I’ve had horrible therapists, I’ve had that therapist who’d rather I kill myself than have him continue having to put up with me. He was a dick, that didn’t mean my life was as worthless as I felt like it was. Talk to someone.  If you need to then talk to me.  I may not know you, but I’m going to listen.  I may not be immediately available but the second I’ve got your message you’ve got my undivided attention.  But more than anything, talk to those people in your life that love you, that care about you, that call you their friend or their family.  Give them the chance to have that last conversation even if there’s nothing they can say that will fix everything and make everything better.  They deserve the chance to try, and the chance to tell you all the things they might not ever have said if they didn’t know it was their last chance.

If you can’t make yourself talk to someone you know, talk to a hotline. They exist for a reason. They’re there because they WANT you to call. You’re not bothering them.  You control how much information you give them, they’re not trying to send the police after you.  They exist because they care and because they recognize that every life has value, and they can help you to recognize it too.

Then promise me one more thing.  If you’ve done everything else, if you’ve talked it out, cried it out, raged it out, done everything you can do and still feel like suicide is the right answer, then the other thing I want you to promise me before you do anything is to get some sleep.  Sleep doesn’t fix everything, but it can make a lot of things more bearable and it provides a lot of clarity, and a lot of hopelessness is really truly exhaustion.  So get some real, natural sleep.  No sleeping pills, no alcohol, sure melatonin if you need it, but get some real sleep.  It might end up being a lot of sleep, and that’s okay.  The world will wait for you.

That’s it for the heavy stuff.  The popular New Year’s resolution we’re focusing on today is getting organized.  Again, that’s going to be a pretty big spectrum of standards for different people, as what you may need to organize might be physical, it might be mental, it might be time, it might be space, it might be your whole life.

I’m a big proponent of lists, to me they make everything more achievable. So, from my experience of what does and doesn’t work for me, I recommend making a list of everything you need to organize, and then going through and making lists for each of those individual things and outlining exactly what you would need to do to make those things qualify as organized, and then going back to the original list, putting it in order by priority, and getting to work on it.  How thorough you want to be is up to you and where your bar is on the organization spectrum, but if you really want to be thorough I’d shoot for completing one of those lists per day.  If you really have a lot to tackle it might work better for you to put a little initial energy into every list on day one and then going through the thorough nitty gritty after you feel like you have a handle on things in the broader sense.

What I didn’t know, until a friend posted about how much she hates them recently, is that I’ve been using bullet journals for the better part of two decades.  I had never heard of them, and mine are more scribbled and scrawly than the cute impractical Pinterest bullet journals, but the concept is very much the same. Except instead of bullets I use runes to remind me the importance of doing something even if I don’t want to do it.  I feel like this is a really good guide to the use of bullet journaling. It walks you through the how and why and does a good job of keeping things simple and practical so you don’t spend more time on making a cute bullet journal than on actually doing the things inside it.

For me, when I bullet journal, after I’ve got all my bullets made, I make like really ridiculously specific time structured schedules like 8:00 Get out of bed, pee.  8:05 Feed cats. 8:10 Make & Eat Breakfast – Yogurt, Banana, English Breakfast Tea.  8:30 Put Breakfast Dishes In Dishwasher. 8:35 Shower. 8:50 Dress – Green tunic, black slacks.  9:00 Brush Hair.  9:10 Brush Teeth.  9:15 Write a blog about organization.  That sort of thing.  I give myself specific allotments of time to get things done in, because for me being on the Autism Spectrum getting dressed and groomed isn’t enough to really think about how long that will take and I’ll end up feeling rushed through whatever I need to do.  If I make myself schedules through the whole day it’s easy for me to find the time to do it all and also easy for me to transition from one task to the next one without having to think about what it is because I’ve got the list there in front of me telling me.  I alot extra time to the tasks that I know I don’t want to do so I can either spend that time talking myself into it or have time leftover at the end of everything to spend doing some mindless relaxation instead.  It all works really well with me when I remember to stick to it.  My problems come in when I have to factor other people into my schedule and they’re not as reliable as I am and it throws everything off and I get frustrated.

Other people would find my system really overwhelming cause it’s a lot of “oh my god, look how much I have to get done.”  So it’s really just all about finding a balance that works well and is comfortable for you.  If it’s not comfortable, it won’t be effective.  The bullet journal approach certainly won’t work for everyone either, you may do really well with an online calendar, or an old school day planner. (I have one of those too, but do less detailed stuff with it.)

Whatever your method is, I heartily support writing things down, even if it’s a simple to do list.  Our memories fail us more often than we think they will and if it isn’t written down or something with an emotion attached to it you’re more likely than not to forget it and find yourself cursing in your car when you remember something you were supposed to have done a week ago while on your way to something else.

Beyond that, if your organization resolutions revolve around your home, that’s part of what we’ve been working on in the daily tasks this month is getting everything cleaned and put in its place.  Everything needs to HAVE a place that it goes when everything is put away, or you’re never going to be organized and always going to have clutter. If you don’t know where it goes, it doesn’t, and you have mess.  You don’t need to Sheldon Cooper it and put labels on everything, but you should be able to go into a room and have a cohesive flow of where you would naturally want to look for an item and it being there.  So take some time today to spend a little extra effort on whatever room has been the biggest challenge for you and really dig in to the nitty gritty of it.  You may find yourself emptying everything out of cabinets and drawers to start over, and that’s okay. Just don’t get burned out and give up halfway through.  When I need to reorganize a room I first visualize what I want it to look like and then go through putting sticky notes on all the drawers or shelves or cabinets or what have you saying exactly what should be going in them before I start moving things around.  If you know where you want everything to go you don’t have to go through all the trouble of emptying EVERYTHING on to the floor and then having to put it all away again.  You can empty one thing out of the way and then domino moving things where they go until the spot for that thing is empty and everything is where you want it.  You may need to find yourself doing some minimalizing.  This goes back to that post about donating the things that you really don’t need or use.  I’m big on stuff, I’m not someone who’s going to tell you get rid of it all, but do make sure everything has a home it belongs in.  Sometimes that home isn’t going to be inside yours.

Apart from organization, today’s missions are:

Give yourself a facial toner.  If you’ve got some left from a previous task or have some store bought then absolutely feel free to use it, otherwise, the Do It Yourself Toner Recipe we’re going to use today comes from The Crunchy Moose.  Their instructions are simply to mix 1 part raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with two parts water.  So how much you make is up to you and really is only limited by what size storage container you’ll be using, but they use 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar and 1/2 cup water. To use it they advise that in the morning you should wash & dry your face and neck as normal, then apply the toner with a cotton ball.  Allow it to dry, which should take 2-3 minutes and the vinegar smell should be gone by the time it does, and then you can follow with moisturizer and makeup as desired.  Guys, don’t let the makeup option confuse you into thinking only women need toner.  You’ve got skin, yes?  Toner tightens it, shrinks your pores (this is a good thing), removes excess oil, dissolves dead skin cells, evens skin tones, reduces acne, and balances pH levels of your skin.  Those are all things you want.  This toner has you essentially repeat the process in the evening, still washing and drying your face and neck as normal, this time removing any and all makeup.  Then apply the toner with a cotton ball, allow it 2-3 minutes to dry, and follow with moisturizer.  They say the longest they’ve had a batch is 2-3 months and it hasn’t spoiled. They don’t specify, but I’m going to say due to the unpasteurized nature of the vinegar you’re probably going to want to keep it refrigerated.

Clean your Bedrooms. Yup, all of em.  But we’ve been through them all over the past few weeks, so the big chores should be done and now it should be a matter of spot cleaning and general upkeep. You’re welcome 😉

Do some Mat Exercises for your Core Muscles.  We like to strengthen that core. Hopefully it keeps getting a little easier for you every time 🙂  Today we’re going to have you to 15 Crunches, 15 Modified V-Ups, 10 Oblique Reaches (1 on each side is 1), 10 Side Plank Crunches (1 on each side is 1), 10 Russian Twists (1 on each side is always 1), whether you want to use weight doing the Russian Twist or not is up to you.  If the movement is a challenge for you just do it without the weight and get used to the motion.  If you’re not feeling challenged, used as much or as little weight as you want without hurting yourself.

Do a guided meditation or listen to a subliminal audio to combat allergies and sinusitis.

That is it for today folks.  I’m not going to include a song today because I included Justin’s video on the front end, and the juxtaposition of topics just makes every song I consider feel wrong for the tone.  So you get away without an ear worm today.  It will be back tomorrow.  I’ll see you all later on Facebook for the Question of the Day!

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Don’t Hide Yourself In Regret

Image Courtesy of Fit-Healthy-Perfect.Tumblr.com

Today’s popular New Year’s resolution is exercise!!… to get in shape, not lose weight.  Turns out there’s a really good portion of the population that is really happy and pleased with their appearance, but would like to be more fit.  I can 100% relate to that.  I’m not happy with my appearance now, but I think I was a skinny 11 year old that already felt super active and did a lot of running and skipping and bicycle riding and everything and then tried to do my mom’s Dance Aerobics workout tape with her and was winded after the warm up and went “wait, this get’s harder? That was just the intro?  That’s embarrassing.”  I got really into fitness after that and kept it up for a good decade or so.  All through my teen years I was doing at least an hour of aerobics and an hour of yoga per day and walked everywhere I went, so several miles a day.  I dunno why I ever let that fall apart.

So.  I guess the big thing to think about is whether losing weight is an okay side effect of getting into shape and just not the motivating factor, or if it’s really important to you not to lose weight.  Because unless you have no weight to lose they go really closely together.  If you really don’t have any weight to lose you can still expect visible changes to your body.  Being in shape involves toned muscles, there’s no escaping it.

If you do have weight to lose but want to keep it you’re going to want to shoot for exercise that focuses on building muscle and not on burning calories.  This means eliminating most cardio.  I honestly don’t think I can consider a person in shape if they can’t keep up on cardio, but that’s pretty much the only way you can accomplish maintaining weight and still having a relative degree of fitness.  While you’re going to want to focus on strength training you’re also going to want to do fewer reps.  Generally a set is 12-15 reps, you’ll be wanting to go more for 6-8.  You’ll also want to rest more and train less often but harder when you do.  When you do get your cardio on make it shorter and more intense.  Go with speed drills.  You can also do interval training but be aware that it’s going to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle, so if keeping things curvy is your goal it might not be what you’re after.

When it comes to diet you’re going to want to go heavy on proteins and carbs.  Still go for complex carbs and not the junk carbs, like anyone else who is getting in shape.  That means whole grains, oats, and veggies.  Eat them at frequent even intervals throughout the day.  Step up the healthy fat intake.  That doesn’t mean all fats, healthy fats specifically are going to involve things like olive oil, avocados, omega-3s, coconut oil, and REAL butter or Ghee.  There are others, but I trust your googling skills to determine which fats are healthy fats.  Maintain your consistent calorie intake, or even up it if you’re not used to working out.  Lowering your calorie consumption or or burning more calories than you’re taking in is going to lead to weight loss.

Exercising to get in shape should involve a lot of body-weight training.  Body-weight training is awesome because you can do it anywhere, but can also really kick your ass if you’re starting from a point from not being used to working out, so you can gradually step up how many times you repeat things and how long you do them for just like I would advise anyone else to that’s just starting the process of getting in shape.  In particular I suggest you focus on performing glute bridges, jumping lunges, plank taps, planks, push ups (not girl-style, get off your knees), reverse lunges, side lunges, spider lunges, single-leg deadlifts, squat jumps, squats, and walkouts. These are also great exercises for those of you who do want to lose weight, you’ll just do different things with diet and cardio.

Today’s little tasks:

Dress Nice.  Which isn’t to say you don’t always dress nice, but put in a little extra effort today. Feel good about what you’re wearing.  I know it’s late in the day to be weighing in, but whatever your agenda is for the rest of the day, do it dressed nicer than you normally would.  See if you don’t find yourself making healthier and more active choices in the process.

Clean Your Bathroom(s).  We already did all the deep cleaning, so now it’s just spot cleaning and upkeep.  You did the hard work, enjoy the fact that now it’s an easy quick little chore.

Hop on the Treadmill.

All Rights Reserved.
1st Month, 250lbs, Treadmill

Or if you haven’t got access to one then go take a real walk, jog, or run.  It’s all good to me which ever you want to do, but put in at least 20 minutes.

Give yourself a home Whitehead Treatment. Whiteheads are gross.  No one wants to have them.  Whether you’ve already got them or whether this is just preventative, take the time to do it so you can address it either way.  So today we’re going to treat them with a Cinnamon Mask.  To make it just grab a bowl and mix 1/2 tablespoon powdered cinnamon with 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a little bit of water.  Apply the mask to your face and neck, let it dry, and then wash it off with warm water.  If your whiteheads persist this treatment is recommended twice a week.

That is it for today my friends!  Enjoy giving yourself the permission to love your body the way it is while still knowing you can be best friends and develop an even stronger relationship!

A word about music:  We include songs for a reason.  Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much.  Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason.  If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Born This Way
Album: Born This Way

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page