Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wee, whee, wii, I want to go home!

(Title from "This little piggy went to market")

We always seem to buy toys much earlier than Christmas. I'm ok with that. Over a month ago we bought a Nintendo Wii (the special Red edition that includes a copy of Mario Bros.) and a Wii Fitness Plus balance board and program. And of coures the extra doohickies that you need to make it all work, and some games.

Boy, is this thing fun. I'm wishing for snow days to stay home and play. The Wii Fitness Plus program is pretty great. It tracks the different exercises you do, how long you spend on it, it can measure your BMI and weight (if you choose to do that daily test). It really does make 'working out' fun.

Also, I am starting to get hooked on Mario Kart. I'm not very good at it, but it IS fun. I even think Santa might have gotten us some Mario Kart Wii Steering Wheels, but I'm not sure. I can't quite see any presents that look that shape. Maybe it's hidden in one of those larger packages . . .

Wrapping nostalgia

Sunday afternoon I spent some time wrapping presents. As someone with a family background of serious wrapping techniques, it was a bit disconcerting that I only had two different rolls of wrapping paper to choose from, and I was getting low on Scotch tape. But even harder, which I recall from last year, is wrapping presents on a wood floor with static cling problems, compounded by the fact that I haven't swept the hair or dust up in several weeks. Oh well. Happy wrapping!

My family tradition is wrapping presents to completely disguise them. I guess my mom got sick of us kids feeling the presents and guessing that "this feels like a watch with a pencil tucked in to throw me off" and being right about it. This lead to some very special and/or elaborate wrapping sessions. We would plot and ploy how to disguise something so no one would be able to guess what it was. We sometimes had to save boxes (from cereal, crackers, whatever) for months ahead. (Or maybe my memory gets ahead of me. It only seemed that way with all our plotting.) It definitely makes it more fun to watch someone open a present when they have no idea what it is.

I enjoy those memories, and still try to carry on the tradition. Only surprises when opening presents from me! Just don't mind the hair or two that got caught in the tape as I wrapped it on my wood floor. :)

More lessons from October

I realized that the very same day I let go of a voice mail message, and the associated emotional baggage from 3 years earlier, I also went out and bought a pack of crocus bulbs. I love how crocus flowers look, and that they are among the first to blossom even popping through the traces of melting snow come Springtime. I took time to plant these crocus bulbs, setting an intention for growth, healing, and a wonderful surprise of blossoms in the Spring. I still think of them, now covered in a few feet of snow.

Whether or not these crocus bulbs bloom (though of course I hope they DO!) they are still a touchstone or hopeful thought for me. I can look outside, and know that even now, something wonderful is sitting beneath the surface, waiting to be released. I've always got something good to look forward to!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lessons from October

Yes, this post is months later, but I want to share about an extremely valuable lesson I learned in October. I've wanted to write about this, and Molly's blog post of December 5th rings this lesson even more loudly into my heart.

Molly shared in her blog post that her brother died this past July. This was the brother that had somehow threatened her family, and instigated them completely cutting themselves off from the rest of her family.

Boy does this echo familiarly in my heart. In early October, one Saturday after my yoga class, I came home and checked the caller ID on the phone. I saw the number of a friend, and went to listen to see if there was a message.

My friend had not left a message, but I heard the start of a message that had been saved and saved and resaved. I skipped it as soon as I started to hear it, because whenever I started to hear this particular message, my anger and temper would rise. I listened to old messages and cleaned out the list. I thought about my 'skipped' message, and realized we had saved it through two or three moves, and about 3+ years.

Thanks to yoga, I was feeling calm and centered, and I decided to face this message (demon) and confront it, rather than hide and get mad every time I heard it.

The message was from my aunt. It had to be shortly after I announced that I had left the LDS Church, because I remember the call I had with my aunt that day so many years ago. She was telling me what love really is (and she thought how my spouse treated me was not love). I remember feeling SOOO angry that I was shaking and hung up on her, and then yelled "Fuck you [name]!" because I couldn't say it to her over the phone. (If it were now a days, I'd have the confidence to tell her that personally.) I was just so fed up with everyone telling me what my life SHOULD be like.

Well, she called back, and of course I did NOT answer. Her voicemail is the one that I saved. All that I originally recalled is that she threatened my spouse's life. This is why my family does not know where I live. You don't take death threats as a joke. (I'm sure Molly can relate to that.)

As I listened to the voicemail that October morning, from a calm, centered place, I finally heard what she said. She was concerned. I heard her say that she was afraid for me and her family. She accused my spouse of not being normal, and if spousie ever hurt anyone in her family, then, well then she made her threat.

What I saw this as was a very weak, fearful woman, lashing out and trying to act tough and protect herself in the only way she could--by making threats. I finally realized how powerless she must have felt. I thought about this, and I chose to let it go. I finally heard her message, and I chose to let it go.

I stepped outside and went to find a tree to hug. Trees are very grounding (I've used Molly's "Grounding" flower essence, which has lots of tree essences in it). I went and stood next to our walnut tree and wrapped my arms around it. I hugged it and asked for it to help ground me, to help me let go of the negative emotions and to just let go of this bad experience. As I stood there embracing my beloved walnut tree, I realized I had selected the perfect tree for the task! Our walnut tree was the only tree to already have shed all of its leaves. It truly was my teacher and helper in "letting go" of unneeded and unneccesary baggage. It was time.

I felt a huge weight lift from me.

Granted, I still feel estranged from my family, and I feel bad that my aunt, in her well meaning attempt, was the catalyst that pushed us away from each other. Her actions out of fear probably hurt her sister (my mom) more than it did to help her feel any better or stronger.I still have high hopes for healing the rift with my family.

The next morning, after letting go of this traumatic experience, I instinctively or unconsciously began to clear out my office. I believe I had created space in my mental, emotional and spiritual planes, now I began to work on my physical plane.

October was a great month for letting go. Thank goodness for October! It was definitely a celebratory time of letting go!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Season of Snow is upon us!

Earlier this week we had day with highs temperatures of 67 and 68 degrees Farenheit. Overnight, we switched to the Season of Snow. Spousie & I both had Veteran's day off, and we collected the last of the leaves and filled only 3 large compostable bags full (as compared to the 12 or so we used to fill each weekend in October). I knew it was going to be the last time to dispose of leaves this season.

I was actually looking forward to the snow. There was nothing on the ground (or falling from the sky) when I went to bed last night, and I woke up delighted to find several inches of snow on the ground. A veritable 'Winter Wonderland'. There was also snow and ice on the trees, too, breaking branches, and toppling some trees entirely (fortunately we only lost branches, not whole trees).

We pulled out the snow thrower and the shovel and I had fun. Yes, it was cold, and no, I don't like it when my toes are cold, but I am happy to have begun the Season of Snow! Welcome!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Good Reading & Flowers

I am dragging my feet closer to placing a much needed order for flower essences, via

For a fabulous article that proved so insightful to me and for understanding myself on my own journey of healing and making sense of my life–go to that website. On the menu on the left select "Articles" then scroll down and select "On being an Empath" (second from the bottom).

It's a bit long, but on my first read I was completely sucked into it because I finally felt like someone understood me!

Understanding and coming to appreciate my empathic gift I have also learned how to protect myself from unwitting others nearby with messed up emotions that I don't want to absorb or take on. Molly's flower essences have been AMAZING and extremely helpful in this. I'm going to order more Golden Armour, Teasel, and Ladies Bedstraw. (The last one helps me to sleep much better than I do on my own sometimes).

Check out Molly's blog (as I call it) over on the right side of my page. She writes from her own experience and reality, which is a reality that I share far more closely than I do with almost anything I see on TV or in the movies. Her down-to-earth personability and wit keep me checking her blog regularly. As do her phenomenal pictures of the flowers!

Make it a wonderful day, and stop to say hi to the flowers (don't just smell them)!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Trip to the Zoo

Spousie & I went on a date to the Zoo last night. We were planning on leaving when we realized we hadn't seen the bear exhibit yet. We were close to it, so we headed to visit the bears before going home.

Two of the three bears were tussling. Not in a ferocious way, but one had the other pinned down, and it seemed reminicent of my brothers squabbling as I grew up.

I would love to see the hip joint of a bear. Any time I watch bears I am fascinated by how wide their back legs can rotate around. They might have a ball and socket joint like a humans, but a much wider range of motion. Think of all the funky yoga poses I could do with flexible hips like that.

Then again, I probably wouldn't be able to walk upright either!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I did the Fish pose today!

I started attending yoga classes a few months ago. It's something I've been interested in trying for a long time, and finally took the plunge once I found a Yoga studio nearby. I have really enjoyed it.

I usually attend twice a week, one Yin Yoga class, and a Hatha Yoga class. I like them both. This morning I went to the Hatha class, and we worked our way up to Fish pose. I had read about it in Yoga Journal, and was a bit, hmm. Well, I wasn't sure how it would work out for me. (I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it.)

Yet I did it! I had the help of my instructor, as a spotter, and I did it! AND, I am interested in trying it again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

12 year Anniversary & Yay Spain!

I watched the FIFA World Cup matches today, and was cheering for Spain (and Germany. Of course I'm happy with the outcomes).

I thought about why I was cheering Spain-because I lived in Spain for a year and a half, and love the Spainsh people. Oddly enough, I realized that today is my 12 year anniversary of returning from my Mission in Spain back to the United States.

Man, has a lot happened. Boy, have I changed and grown so much. Wow, is my life so different, and also, so much better.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tip toe through the Maples

We've had more rain this year than in the previous year or two (since being in our house) and as a result, we have a new problem:

My lawn is now a rainforest of mini maple trees.

I kid you not. I cannot walk to the back shed without counting at least 15 maple saplings in the grass.

The concept of "Reforestation" takes on new meaning when you have 5-6 maple saplings growing out of a crack of your wooden deck.

Spousie wanted to replant the trees, didn't like it when I would just pull them up. Spousie is now over it. We're going to try to save a few that have grown the most and are the strongest, and hopefully the rest will dry out with the weather.

Just be careful as you "Tip toe, through the Maples!"

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Graduation Days!

On this day, June 4, several years ago I graduated from High School. I spoke at our graduation ceremony. I spoke from my heart, but there is one thing I wanted to say and didn't.

"Don't be an Ethan Frome*. The world is so much bigger than [the city we graduated from]. Go out, explore and see it."

I've been very blessed to have done that. I've visited other countries, been able to travel to all corners of the United States, and really see a lot of variety. And I love it!

I remember the chant we repeated so often our senior year of high school. It simply was the year of our graduation. I remember at the end of Graduation Day feeling a bit scared, uncertain. This year that I had been chanting about, the event that I had been anticipating had come and gone. Now what was I supposed to do?

I wasn't quite certain, but I was filled with expectations: attending college, going on a mission, getting married, starting a family. All of these were big scary intimidating things.

Now, more than a decade later, my life is very different. I don't have a list of expectations for myself. The world is wide open for me to explore, and that is what I'm doing. I'm gardening, taking yoga classes, as well as learning TV filming and production. At some point, I hope to add sewing and more to my mix of learning and exploration.

At this point in time I've got a wide open sea, and my own personal star(s) to sail by. I trust myself much more these days. I know I'll get to where I want to be, and where I want to be and what I want to accomplish will be of my own choosing, not something others expect of me.

Happy sailing! Good luck new Graduates! May you learn to trust yourself.

*Ethan Frome was a book we had to read in English; I hated the ending.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Touching History

Today I attended an event for women veterans. I myself do not belong in this category, but I wanted to learn more about the women veterans in my state. It was so neat to see women of all ages, who had served in probably all the different branches of the military.

I joined a group of ladies and got talking with them. They were all Marines. One was a Marine veteran from World War II. I will admit my ignorance that I had no idea that there were women Marines during that time period. I had heard of WASP's, or Women Air Service Pilots, but I guess I was (and still am) pretty clueless to the role women have played in the military throughout our nation's history. It is something I want to learn more about, and today I got to reach out and touch a bit of that history, by talking with those women. It was fascinating to me.

I won a door prize at the event–a necklace. I felt a bit awkward–I think the person who donated it thought it would go to a veteran. I wondered if I should give it to a woman veteran. I made my peace with the issue and realized I will keep it, because every time I wear it, I will think of our country's women veterans, and their amazing legacy that hopefully will come to light someday.

I don't believe in God, but here's a sentiment I agree with: 'God bless our women veterans!'

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The silver mist that follows me

On one of my last few days at my last job, I took a half day off. I got my hair cut, and then went to the Audi dealership and bought a car.

I needed a NEW 'do and a NEW car to start my NEW job and NEW outlook on life.

And let me confess: I LOVE MY AUDI!

While trying to learn a lot of new things at work and feeling my head spin, every time I get into my car I feel a Zen moment. It's quite. It rides (and glides) so smoothly. I have seat warmers (Heaven!) The seats are comfortable. And another thing I love--

The silver mist that follows me!

The headlights on this baby are so much more powerful than my last car I keep feeling that I've got my high beams on. When I drive at night I always see a silver or grey mist up ahead, and I kept forgetting that, omigosh! It's my lights! I LOVE it! I'm not scared that I will run over any late night pedestrians or dog walkers in my neighborhood anymore.

So, go check it out, and prepare to drool! www.audiusa.com

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Upsetting the Apple Cart

I gave my supervisor notice that I accepted a new position and will start March 15. I gave her almost 3 weeks of lead time. I am in the process of training a replacement. And I am SOOO glad to be getting out!

The company I work for definetely has some plusses, like a fairly laid back company cluture. On the flip side, this is also a serious drawback. Some people spend time surfing the web or reading. As a part-time employee in one of the busiest departments, I usually will just notice this as I walk by. Also, there are some very negative co-workers. I don't work with them directly, but as a highly sensitive person, I still feel the effects of their negativity. I'll mention "office politics" and that says enough. On weeks when I have worked full time, I am very emotionally exhausted at the end of the week. So, I have been covertly (during my non-work hours) seeking a new position, which will start soon.

It seems that once I gave my notice and this became public knowledge in the office, the whole work environment became even more unbearable! I've heard of employees becoming petty, and the toxic nature just seems to bubble more frequently to the surface.

I wondered if it was just in my mind--thinking tha because soon I won't have to tolerate this crazy environment for much longer, that my perception has changed. But I think I've come to see it a new way.

I'm upsetting the apple cart.

There has been really low (as in NO) turnover in this company. I read HR blogs and know that low turnover can say a few things about this company. And I'll say them. It screams "We've got great benefits!" It also says (between the lines) "We're nice and we hate to let people go, even under-performers and people who suck at their job."

I'm all to keenly aware of this after almost two years. I am probably the first person to have chosen to move on from this company. But I know I can do more, make more, contribute more and in more meaningful ways to me (and commute less!) and not have to suffer the energetic drain from this environment any longer.

So perhaps, by taking this unprecedented action, by upsetting the apple cart and moving forward with my life, it's causing the others around me to think and reflect a bit more on their own lives and positions. Maybe they are sick of working here and feel stuck too. Maybe they are beginning to think--'there's more for me out somewehere else." I truly hope so. There are some really awesome employees there, that get treated like trash.

I've got one more week to train, then pass the baton and move on. And let me say, that despite all the chaos and crazy of the last few weeks, I have not burt my bridges. My supervisor told me that if things don't work out at my new place, she would welcome me back with open arms. She also expressed her appreciation of me training my replacement.

Those are great words to hear. I truly HAVE appreciated working there and learned a lot of things. But it's time for me to move on and learn new things.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Well, here's wishing you a Happy March Day! I sent Happy March Day cards to family members across the country (I hope they arrived today) and gave them to friends and coworkers.

A friend and I are reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach this year. A big focus is on finding/uncovering/discovering or getting reaquainted with your authentic self.

Nothing could actualize this better than a celebration of Happy March Day and cards sent all around.

Happy March Day began probably more than 15 years ago when in high school, I forgot to send my valentine cards to my friends. Well, rather than wait a whole year to use the cards, I created a fun and zany way to use my cards up anyway–Happy March Day!

To make a Happy March Day card, you can use pre-existing valentines cards, or make a heart shaped card. The fun and zany-ness comes from how you morph or convert these cards. Any time it says "Happy Valentines Day" you scratch out "Valentine's"' and write in "Happy March Day" (Yes, to the point that it will say "Happy 'Happy March Day'".) If it says "Be my Valentine", in this context you scratch out the word "Valentine" and scribble in "Happy March Day Pal".

Happy March Day is easy to celebrate–it's goofy and fun, and about friendship. Valentine's day has too much stress about romance and all that jazz. Happy March Day is about platonic relationships, celebrating friends and family that you can be your (goofy) self with.

So, Will you be my Happy March Day Pal?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Belated Ground Hog Day!

So the groundhog saw his shadow and we've got 6 more weeks of winter. Well no duh! It's early February and Spring doesn't start until mid-March. Of course there is 6 more weeks of winter.

I know the "story" may have more to do with folklore and myth about an end to cold weather. Now a shortened time period of that would be greatly appreciated! But even if not (c'mon, we've had snowstorms in May out here) I'm ok.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Email clutter-bleah!

Well, I got bit by the bug this weekend-yep, that decluttering bug. I kindof enjoy when that bug bites. I started clearing out the bottom of my closet (which was needed) and then while I was checking my email I started deleting massive amounts of old emails (also sorely needed).

I didn't notice how many emails I had originally, but after deleting about 2 full screens of emails I noticed I had a total of some 800+ emails. I kept selecting, and deleting many many emails. Some I wanted to keep and sorted them into the appropriate folders.

I now have about 250 emails. I think that is doable and worthy of a "YAY for me!" because I let go of about 66% of my emails. After exiting I realized a whole other batch of emails (a weekly e-zine I subscribe to) can also probably go, but I'm not going to worry about that just yet.

My criteria in deleting: -
-If I sent it to myself (like I forwarded some good info from work) and haven't opened it yet, it's gone.
-I am on a list serve that sends out sometimes 10+ emails a day. I deleted all the old ones. I'm usually pretty good about clearing them out as the come in, but the volume is so great that I can't keep up. I know that the day for me to unsubscribe to that list serv is coming rapidly closer and closer. But all of the old ones are GONE. I read what I wanted to, deleted all else.
-I also get mailings about twice a month for a committee that I volunteered with about a year and a half ago. I could have become more active in that organization, but decided (long ago) that it was not really my passion. Plus, I got a job, so I haven't attended a meeting since. I still get the emails. I deleted all of those, and I probably should unsubscribe to that one too (but sometimes they do put out useful locally appropriate information; and they don't come so often.) But the day will come when I will unsubscribe to that one too.

So be mindful in your emails. Don't subscribe willy-nilly to all sorts of things. You might feel important because you get all these emails. But then you get a cluttered inbox-which can cause stress because for some insane reason you may feel obligated to read every last email. Don't ever think that, especially with your own personal inbox. Only subscribe to the things that will delight you and engage your mind, things that will inspire you. Why bother subscribing to news and doom and gloom info. That's out there for me to deal with enough, I'm not going to invite it into my inbox (nor my house!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meeting MN organizers-and my favorite organizing tool!

I want to become a professional organizer. Well, not really, that sounds so rigid, sterile and Non-Fun to me. I want to be a decluttering consultant--I want to help people declutter their homes. I have experience doing this and have a BLAST when I do it. The thing is, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is an industry and association that is recognized, recognizeable and reputable. So this may be the angle I take to get where I want to be.

I went to my first Minnesota NAPO chapter meeting this Monday. It's National Get Organized month, if you didn't know. This meeting was, hmmm. Interesting. That's a good non-committal "Minnesota nice" type of description. It was good in some ways and sort of a let down in others. Definitely more good than bad.

I do have to report--at this meeting, due to it being National Get Organized month, different organizers were showcasing some of their favorite organizing tools (boxes, bins, racks, etc.) I already know what I would promo if I were to do a demo next year.

My favorite organizing tool comes in all sorts of colors, shapes, sizes and materials. It is sometimes called a "circular file". Yep--the good ol' garbage can is my favorite organizer. Why? Because I need to 'Let Go' of a lot of stuff before I can even think about organizing it. I think a lot of people can stand to let go of a portion of their things prior to organizing. (You can also add recycle bins and paper shredders to my top 3 pick of organizing tools.)

Before I was married, once I cleared the crap out of my apartment and just sat with the space, (the lovely, free, energizing gloriously empty space) ideas came to me of how I could organize what remained.

So forgive me. I know that's a cool box, gadget and doodad, but I will still work on letting go of what needs to be gone before I start organizing it. Here's to a Decluttered 2010!

Letting go Lessons from the Monster Dash Race

Okay, so this post is only 2 months past due. I ran my 5K race on Halloween, and we've now had several other holidays pass between now and then. But I want to list some of the important lessons in "Letting go" that I learned from my 5K experience.

The was a 5K and a 5K-9 race (The 5K-9 being a play on canine, meaning people ran with their dogs). The 5K-9 race started 10 minutes after the regular 5K -to try to space out the runners I guess.

Well, I was only a few minutes into the 'race' before I had to deal with issues of letting go. The original bulk of the runners had spread out and already passed me by. Soon I was surrounded again (only temporarily) by a new pack of people AND their dogs. I reminded myself "I let it go" and let go of my ego. I had to allow myself to be ok with being passed by people running with their dogs who started 10 minutes after I did. That was a testament to how slow I am. But I let it go.

I tried to enjoy seeing the dogs all dressed up in hilarious costumes, often matching their owners. I thought that perhaps people who have dogs run more often, or are more used to running and it makes sense that they run faster than me. Either way, I was going to finish the race, at my own pace.

Throughout the entire race I had to keep reminding myself "What matters is that I am DOING it" as I kept getting passed by hundreds and hundreds of people-literally. Maybe even thousands. This can be a serious blow to the ego if you don't let it go. I don't think I passed many people. I kept my mind focused that speed wasn't necessary, the accomplishment came from actually doing it.

When I did finally make it to the finish line--there was no one there cheering for me. Everyone at the finish line seemed to be looking for their particular friend/spouse/whatever. Throughout the race there were people along the sidelines, cheering us runners on. My lesson was to take any cheering and feel as if it were for me. While I knew that none of them were there for me personally, I used the anonymous cheer-us-on'ers and mentally thought of them as cheering for me. I took any form of encouragement and acted as if it were specifically for me. Crossing the finish line was not super climatic, because there was no one searching for me there. But as I crossed it, I felt my accomplishment--I did it! I quickly moved away from the throng still searching for loved ones who would finish behind me (yay! I wasn't last!) and I bumped into my running teacher. She had a sticker for me!

She had little stickers for us each week during our 6 week running class. There were times during the class that the thought of sticker at the end kept me motivated:) and my own personal "I'm DOING it, that's what matters" mentality.

The sticker at the end of my 5K was an awesome little reminder of the BIG accomplishment--that I DID it. And I didn't let the ego get in my way. Yay me!