Monthly Archives: February 2019

When Something Goes Wrong in The Best Possible Way

My tire pressure light had been coming on and then going out for over a year.  I mentioned it to my mechanic whenever I got an oil change or inspection, then he would check the pressure and send me on my way.

So, when I was driving home recently and it came on, I wasn’t surprised.  However, this time it was accompanied by a familiar thwop thwop thwop noise.  I had a flat and started praying I made it to somewhere that I could safely pull over before it completely deflated. I made it to a gas station and called Triple A.

The phone attendant was very nice but my heart dropped a little when she said it would take 40 minutes to an hour for someone to get to me.  I busied myself with getting all the crap out that I had stored in the hatchback.  I had barely finished when a van pulled up next to me.  It had been less than 10 minutes but sure enough, my help had arrived!  Matt had the donut on and my deflated tire in the back in what seemed like no time at all.

I asked him if I could drive on the donut long enough to pick up ICE MELT on my way home.  He smiled and explained that the donut is a 50/50 tire.  “As long as you don’t drive over 50 miles an hour or for more than 50 miles, you will be fine.”  I thanked him and we were both on our perspective ways.

While I was on my way to the Big Box store to get the ICE MELT, I noticed that the bay was open at MAAVIS tire.  It was almost 6PM and I figured they must be on the verge of closing.  It was worth a try though because I had an early meeting at work the next morning.   I went into the office, prepared to beg for mercy.  No groveling was necessary, however, as it turned out to be their late night.  What are the chances of getting a flat on MAAVIS’ late night? The guys let me leave the tire there while I went to pick up the ICE MELT.  Shortly after I returned, my tire was patched and I was on my way.

I actually made it home in time to stop at the library before it closed and return an overdue book. I raced in literally as they were about to lock the door.  The woman at the circulation desk said she couldn’t take it because she already shut the machine off. Then another woman at the children’s desk said she could sign it in for me.

Getting a flat tire is not exactly fun but I felt such gratitude for everything that transpired afterward.  I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome under the circumstances.  It was almost magical.

The Missing Link to Proper Portion Control

I was watching a video by Jennifer L. Scott, aka The Daily Connoisseur, about portion control.  I have seen her food videos in the past and was under the impression that she ate like a bird.  This video seemed no different at first.  To make matters worse, she described how she rarely finished what seemed to be relatively small meals.

Then she said something that caught my attention.  She said, ” I don’t do this because I am depriving myself or because I am on a diet or anything.  I just try to be very present and mindful when I am eating. And so when I do that, I just find that I am full. When I am preoccupied.  Let’s say I am eating my dinner and I am also surfing the internet, I am not going to be aware when I am full.”

I was struck by this statement because I am always preoccupied when I am eating.  I often eat while I am on the internet or watching tv.  Have I been eating too much because I am not being mindful when I eat?  I had to test this out.  So, tonight after I cooked my dinner, I portioned half of it into a smaller than usual dinner plate and put the other half in a Pyrex storage container, reasoning I could get more if I needed it.

I sat down at the dining room table and ate in silence like an adult. No tv or Ipad or phone-nothing but me and my meal. I chewed slowly and thoroughly. I definitely tasted what I was eating more than usual. I noted the texture and various flavors. I also added some additional seasoning which I rarely do.  When I had finished, I asked myself if I felt full and satisfied. I decided that I was both full and satisfied. I put the other half in the fridge for tomorrow night.

After dinner, feeling comfortably satiated, not stuffed, I decided to take the dogs for a walk.  All three of us enjoyed this impromptu stroll immensely.  Had I eaten the entire amount of food that I had prepared in front of the tv, I really doubt it would have happened. I probably would have sat there staring at the tube, feeling uncomfortably full and barely remembering having eaten.

Portion Control + Mindfulness while eating = Game Changer!  Thank you Daily Connoisseur!  I am definitely going to use this approach from now on.

Here is the video:

How to Find the Flow

I mentioned last week that even though I need to write that I tend to resist doing it. Often, my biggest excuse is that I am too tired.  Sometimes, the little battles of life wear me down.  More often than I care to admit, I am too pooped to do anything but watch TV at the end of a long, hard day.

Watching TV might be a comforting distraction but it doesn’t do anything to improve my life and it’s not going to provide me with the satisfaction that I get from being creative.  Also, I know that if I do write that chances are, I will feel better.

Today, I asked myself, “how can I get into the flow?” This is what I came up with:

1. Remind myself that my intention is to write.

2. Pray for help to get into the flow of writing.

3. Sit down and write.

I tried this new ritual out today.  Then I finished a chapter and started the next in a novel that I began writing many months ago.  Today is Saturday.  The real test will be mid-week but  I would call that a good start!

What do you do to get in the flow?

Stephen King Never Liked Carrie

I am reading Stephen King’s book titled, On Writing.  I was surprised to learn that he didn’t like Carrie, the character that is- it’s clear he was ecstatic over the money he earned from that blockbuster. He writes, “I didn’t much like the lead character.  Carrie White seemed thick and passive, a ready-made victim.”

He goes on to mention that Carrie is based on two real girls from his high school. He reports with no emotion that both these girls were dead by the time he began writing Carrie in his early to mid-twenties. One passed during an epileptic seizure. The other took her own life shortly after the birth of her second child. He ends the chapter with:

“I never liked Carrie, that female version of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold but through Sondra and Dodie I came at last to understand her a little. I pitied her and I pitied her classmates as well, because I had been one of them once upon a time.”

I find this interesting for two reasons: 1. It appears the young Stephen King was a bit of a bully himself. 2. Carrie, the story, shows maybe he didn’t quite to terms with his own participation in tormenting the two girls from his past. So, he ended his story by turning this tortured girl into a mass murderer.

It seemed to me that if there were ever a case where a temporary insanity plea would have stuck-Carrie White’s telekinetic killing spree after the prom would have been it.  She wasn’t like Harris and Klebold because she didn’t plan to hurt anyone. That poor girl was tormented at home by her religious fanatic mother and then subjected to her classmates’ cruelty at school. She had no safe place.  Just when it seemed her luck was changing and she was actually having a good time at the prom with the most popular boy in school -who in the book was a writer- go figure, she gets covered in a vat-full of pig’s blood.  It would take a very strong person to not go over the edge after that.

To be completely honest, my tendency to cut this anti-heroine a break might be because I was no stranger to bullying in Junior High.  Seventh Grade was a very hard year for me.  I was always different than other kids.  I didn’t dress like anyone else.  Had I worn the requisite jeans-boots-sweatshirt uniform of the time and permed my hair, I might have looked like everyone else but I still wouldn’t have fit in.  I was more interested in the Middle Ages than Culture Club (Was it spelled Kulture Klub on the album?) Anyway… kids can always sniff out who is different. And for some reason, the tendency is to mock that person.

Thankfully, I wasn’t a “thick, ready-made victim.”  Although, I did plenty of feeling sorry for myself, I did fight back – as my friends, Sylvia and AnnMarie like to remind to this day.  When I couldn’t take any more abuse, I got into the habit I of smacking my tormentors upside the head with my pocketbook.  Mr. C, my homeroom teacher, never said a word.  He seemed hip to what was going on and probably figured that these mean boys deserved it.

Oddly enough, the jocks were highly amused by my method of defense.  After a while, it seemed like, it was less about actually making fun of me than it was about getting me to wallop them. It was like a bizarre badge of honor to be hit by my bag.  I got so used to this that I barely looked up from whatever I was reading. At the moment of abuse, I’d reach behind me, pull my long-strapped purse off the back of my chair, whack the offending party and then hang it back up again.

I wonder if either of those girls from Stephen King’s High School had smacked him with their purse, would Carrie still have been written? Hmmm?

How to Master Life

I am a life-long procrastinator. It’s something I am really trying to tackle in 2019. I had an epiphany about it this morning and realized I have been going about it all wrong.

I have been trying to overcome procrastination by becoming more efficient. I have been studying how to establish good habits. I have been watching endless videos on effective morning, evening and writing routines. I have been trying to establish these good habits and efficient routines, only to get derailed by life events and end up feeling like a failure.

Oddly enough, it was my new favorite hobby that led to this epiphany that changed everything. I started learning how to crochet last April and I LOVE it! It’s one of my favorite things to do. Although, I realized that when I crocheted for a long time, as much I enjoy it, there was still something amiss.  There was a little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, “you know, you haven’t written anything in a really long time!”

It was then that it occurred to me that there are things you need to do like eat, sleep and maintain good hygiene, things you love to do like crochet and then there are things you are meant to do- and for me- this is writing.  The things we are meant to do, often, seem to be what we resist the most to our own detriment.

The truth is when I don’t write anything at all, I don’t feel quite well.  Life is literally draining out of me. I realize that sounds dramatic but there is probably something in your life that produces the same effect.  I enjoy crocheting and it adds a lot to my existence but nothing makes me feel quite as alive and purposeful as having written.

So, why do I avoid it?  Why do I procrastinate? Steven Pressfield writes about resistance in the War of Art as if it is a real life bogeyman who quite literally wants to kill us. Whether this is actually the case or not, it’s really the only compelling explanation I have found to demystify the phenomenon of procrastination.

What are you meant to do? What have you been resisting?

Enjoy The Donut!

This past Thursday, Valentine’s Day, I stopped off to pick up a coffee cake for the breakfast we were having at work. While completing that task, I spied a package full of beautifully-baked, perfectly-sugared jelly donuts.

I am not usually someone who is drawn to sweets. I am more of a savory kind of gal. However, there is something about donuts that I find utterly irresistible! I turn into Homer Simpson. (“Doooooo-nut…!”) Normally, I avoid places that sell them for this reason. I tried to summon up my will power to avoid them even in this instance but after circling them three times, I pounced and they were gathered up with the coffee cake.

I scarfed one down in the car on the way to the office. I felt immensely joyful afterward. Then I became concerned that I might be using food to control my mood. I shared this with a few people at the office, who said, “It’s Valentine’s Day! It’s okay to have a sweet once in a while.”

I think they’re right. Since I am interested in nutrition and self-improvement, I tend to review a lot of content by people who seem perfect in their habits. They live on salads, green smoothies and kale and nary a bit of refined sugar ever seems to cross their lips. While that’s admirable, I think as long as I am making the effort to avoid the bakery 90% of the time, it’s okay to enjoy a donut every once in a while. So far, I haven’t started putting on a scarf and sunglasses to sneak into donut shops on the daily, weekly or even monthly yet… So, I can probably cut myself a break.

Do you have a not-so-healthy food that you find too tempting to pass up?