Thursday, March 31, 2011

Savanah's Paint Job

Here it is. The finished product. Now we will be getting her a desk since she got rid of a lot of old toys. I love the stripes.

I couldn't have done it without the help from my neighbor.

Thank you so much Tracy


15 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-31-2011

The last day of March. Wow. The days go so fast although winter seems to drag on. I look forward to warm summer nights with the sound of frogs and crickets.

There is no school today for my elementary student. What to do? She is scheming about some April Fools trickery. hmmm I'll have to keep my eye on this one!

I am feeling discombobulated this morning. A little off. Perhaps the change to my normal Thursday schedule or the impending weather forecast and gray skies out my window.

Rain with possible snow showers. Another chance of snow Monday. blech

So now I am looking for inspiration. Something to move me.....or the alternative....a nap.

Nope gotta move. Move my body or my mind. For the level of blah I am feeling I need both probably.

I may start my outdoor gardening planning this week.

Maybe that will work. I'll give it a shot.

I'll let you know how that turns out.

Soon I will post pictures of Savanah's new paint in her room. I love it.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogger problems

If you haven't noticed already I am having technical difficulties with blogger. Not sure if it them or my operator error.

All of my sentences are bunching together the second I save a post. So huh, bear with me.

16 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-30-2011

16 days until I officially rule winter complete. 2 days until April 1st. Ahhhh I saw a bug today!! A fly flying. I saw a robin. I also heard the spring call of a cardinal. I promise warmer days ahead.

I went for a walk yesterday and it felt glorious. Although it was only 42 degrees. Can you believe 42 degrees felt good? The sun was shinning and there was no wind. Today should be about 45 degrees. Funny how in September 45 degrees feels frigid. In March 42 degrees feels manageable.

Can't wait to feel 75!!

Happiness #4 - Gratitude

This is number #4 on my list of ingredients.


Why gratitude? Well simply said, You can't be miserable when you are filled with gratitude.

When you are feeling down name your blessings. Don't count them, name them. This one is truly that simple and there is not really any more to say about it.

Just fill your heart with gratitude.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happiness #3 - Worry and Stress

#3 on my list of ingredients.

Dealing with worry and stress effectively.

Everyone has stress, no one is immune. People deal with stress and worry all the time, whether or not they realize it. A lot of times people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. We know these are unhealthy and can damage every aspect of your life. This will sabotage your happiness and your relationships. If you or a loved one is trapped in this hell please seek professional help.

There are a lot of other unhealthy self-medicating ways individuals deal with stress. Eating, hoarding, shopping, extreme exercising. I do some of these myself ......a little. That would be the key. I eat for necessity, pleasure, boredom or escape. I drink alcohol occasionally to take the edge off. I shop and will occasionally partake in a senseless impulse purchase. I guess I don't hoard. Moderation is the key here. Exercise is a great stress reliever for me. Going for a walk. But there are people who exercise all day becoming addicted.

Speaking of addiction I am letting the cat out of the bag. For those who don't know this, I smoke. :( I smoke as a way to relieve stress and I smoke because I am addicted to smoking. Smoking is like my quiet time. It's my 10 minute break from the world. I don't smoke in my house or my car. So I smoke on the porch or the deck. Can you imagine me all huddled up against the Minnesota winter wind standing outside like a damn fool to smoke a cigarette? ridiculous. Do I know how bad it is for me? I do and even more so with my particular family history of heart disease and bladder cancer. So You are hearing it now!!!! I am choosing a date to quit. I will announce that day on that day. I am working up a plan. And a new way to experience that 10 minute break.

Stress and worry will steal from your happiness. And can take years from your life.

I feel the key here is to find ways of dealing with it effectively in a healthy manner instead of trying to escape from it.

Some methods I use:
Make a worry journal
Instead of making mental notes. I make written notes. Staple some pieces of paper together. Each piece of paper gets two worries. One at the top of the page and one about half way down. Then look at each worry separately asking questions and writing down the answers. Is there anything I can do about this? What needs to be done? the steps? Dates to complete steps.

Then I use this piece of paper to make notes. Say one of the steps is to "call Mary to confirm cancellation." I call and leave a message for Mary. I will put that note there, "Called Mary Left message on 2-25-2011. Follow up on 2-27-2011 if I haven't heard back."

So often I go through life thinking about what needs to be done. But this really frees up my mind, so I can enjoy moments with my family or just enjoy quiet time with a quiet brain. No nagging question or looming doom! Because I know I am doing what I can and controlling the situation as best I know how. Everything has been captured and is "in process".
1 Minute Meditation
Taking five really deep breaths. On the intake I breath in through my nose and I think the words "clear the mechanism" ( I saw this in the movie For the Love of the Game). I exhale the breath through my mouth making a sighing noise as I let the air out. As you exhale try to relax your entire body especially your shoulders. Just let them droop. Repeat this five times.

Then I stretch my whole body. Doesn't stretching feel magnificent? If my mind starts to wonder back to what I was worrying (obsessing) about. I repeat over and over, "Here and now". When I am done I get up and do something physical or busy work. Fold laundry, clean a room, empty the dishwasher. Just something that makes me move and makes me feel accomplishment. These steps really do help me.

I go for a 30 minute walk. or I put on loud bouncy music. and jump. Just jump for one song.

Stop Procrastinating

I have learned over time that often I create a crisis by procrastinating. If I had taken care of a problem it would not have escalated to the boiling point. If I extinguish a small flame it does not turn into a raging inferno. I have had to examine why I procrastinate. If something is really irritating me I find I put it off. Also if I am doubting my ability to do something I procrastinate.

Here is a current example. 6 months ago I got a crack in my windshield. It was a little irritating to me because it was a nuisance. I dealt with it. Called my insurance, called the window place, got it fixed. It was an inconvenience. One month later a freaking rock flies at my windshield and cracked the dang thing again. I have been so irritated that I have somewhat subconsciously refused to start the process and call the insurance. So I have been driving around with a cracked windshield for 5 months. I keep thinking dang I need to get that fixed.

Now if I really think hard about this I realize a few things. 1. It is dangerous to drive with a cracked windshield. 2. I worry about it. It yells at me every time I get in the car. 3. I'm breaking the law. And the most important. 4. If I had gotten the windshield fixed immediately, I would not have wasted all of this time worrying and feeling angry.

Guess what I am doing tomorrow. Yeah it's time.

Often I write about my worries or frustrations here or in a separate journal. It helps me think through things.

And sometimes I just need to talk about it with someone I trust. I mostly talk to my husband, my sister or a good friend. Getting the words out there helps. Sometimes they give me great advice or a shoulder to cry on. It reminds me I am not alone.

So how do you deal with stress? How could you do it more effectively?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Treasure

Today Jeff and I are going to Pama's home at the assisted living to finish clearing out her things. It is difficult. I am anxious to get it completed. Maybe it will help with some closure.

I have gone back there a few times to work on this difficult task. I would like for today to be the last time I have to go there. When I am there I am touched by the people who come and talk to me. Residents and staff adored Pama. They have told me how they miss her. Everyone was very shocked by her unexpected passing.

The nurses and aides and the director of the assisted living have all made it a point to tell me how peaceful she looked that morning. One said it was like God had just lifted her soul leaving her body peacefully resting. They all said she looked beautiful.

When I go through Pama's clothing I am reminded of the woman that she was. So many of her shirts are beautiful and bright with fantastic patterns. I love it. This vibrancy that belonged to her. This vibrancy that she wore so well.

I remember going to visit her feeling excited to see what shirt she would be wearing today. What earrings would adorn her ears?

The dinning room at the assisted living was beautiful. Two story windows looked out over Lake Johanna. Bird feeders lined the windows. Brightly colored birds, geese, ducks and squirrels provided constant entertainment. I like to remember her sitting there smiling and commenting on the antics of the animals.

There was one thing in particular that I found in Pama's belongings that was endearing to me and spoke to Pama's character.

At the assisted living they would use paper place mats at mealtimes. On holidays and sometimes for no particular reason, instead of just white they would use colorful paper place mats. Fourth of July would be red white and blue with flags, the first day of spring would be colorful flowers, fall would be orange and red leaves. My grandmother would neatly fold them up before she ate and keep them. Paper place mats were beautiful and special to her. That is who she was. She could find beauty and something worth cherishing in the simplest of things.

She treasured life and she was a treasure to those who knew her.

Friday, March 25, 2011

21 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-25-2011

I got most of the snow off of my deck..... again. I actually sat out there in the sunshine yesterday for a few minutes reading a book. It was nice.

The good thing about March snow, it melts rather quickly because of the angle of the sun even when the temp is below 32.

Billy tried out for Elk River Cheer yesterday. I hope he makes it. He told me how fun it is to just be himself, jump around and yell. I am proud of him. He is fearless and he knows himself very well.

No school today for Savanah. So what to do? hmmm I'll think of something.

One week from today.......will be.......April 1st. Oh boy. I used to be a big April Fool's Day prankster. Then I figured out my family really didn't enjoy the tradition as they took the brunt of the torture. So I stopped BUT I threaten each year. I make them wonder, "What is she going to do to me this year?" That in itself becomes it's own fun prank but with less casualties.

Another post on happiness on Monday.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

22 Days to go : Freakin Winter 3-24-2011

Why write about happiness?

Because it is March in Minnesota and happiness is hard to find!! Just breath...spring will come..eventually.

Some people are born with a genetic abundance of happiness. I am not one of them. Some researchers say 50% of a person's happiness is determined by genetics. That means 50% of my happiness is determined by me. Now I know that my genetic disposition for happiness may be low. My parents were some of the most unhappy people I've known.

But what a wonderful thought that my attitude and my reaction to circumstance can control a portion of my own happiness.

So the way I see it, the rest is up to me. I am no psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor or great philosopher. I am just a normal but determined, Joe, who struggles with depression and anxiety.

I love being around people who are just naturally joyous. You know the ones. But me.... I have to work a little at it. Sometimes I don't suceed.

I am intrigued by discoveries about myself and others on this journey of life and pursuit of happiness.

So I write. Maybe my writing will help someone else. It certainly helps me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Have Had it!

Oh man, I'm pissy, pissy, pissy. seriously irritated!!

grrrrrr. I think all of Minnesota is done. Everyone has a slight to large scowl on their face!

Not sure what to do with what I am feeling. Gotta think this through.

Wish me luck or duck.

23 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-23-2011

Okay so as I watch the snow falling and I see 1/2 inch of ice and 6 inches of the white blah on my deck, I am trying to focus on positive thoughts. hmmmm let me think.

It's going to get colder the rest of the week. This will slow the melting therefore decreasing the flood threat. Okay I'll take that positive.

The snow fills in the wicked pot holes. Okay that is positive.

School was closed today because of the snow. This gives Billy a chance to catch up from being out of school last week. He also needs to do some serious reading for his report due next week.

I also got to sleep in. That is good.

I don't have to go anywhere today. That's good too. My honey made it to work safely.

So there you have it.

That's all I got.


Happiness #2 : Passion

As my grandmother was the happiest person I've known, it seems appropriate to continue with the search for happiness topic.

This was #2 on my list of ingredients.

Finding and Pursuing your passion.

This sounds so easy, doesn't it? It is not as easy as it sounds but......It's not as difficult as you think either.

To find your passion. Ask yourself some questions. First (oddly enough) take others out of this equation. We all experience great joy just being with our family or doing things for the ones we love but I'm talking about you here. So when you are by yourself.......

When are you most happy? What are you doing when you are most happy? List a minimum of three things but no more than six.

Your answer will be unique to you. It could be mountain climbing, reading, playing tennis, skydiving, driving, singing, cleaning, training your dog, etc.

Mine happen to be: (in no particular order)






Helping others

These are my passions! Just because it is my passion doesn't mean I am accomplished at this task or that I do it often. It means I am happiest when I am doing these things. These things move me, make me feel fulfilled.

Again take your family out of this equation. Of course my children and my husband are my passion too.

But also remember what we talked about yesterday. How is your relationship with yourself? You can't have a great relationship with someone else if you don't have one with yourself first. Nurture yourself as you would a child.

Pursuing your passion

Now I can feel the angst with this one. Do I need to quit my job and become a mountain trail guide because I love to hike? No you don't. You can and more power to you if you decide to take your passion to that level.

But I am also a realist. I have lived paycheck to paycheck. I understand the needs of my family and myself to survive and thrive. I have responsibilities to myself and others.

So I need to think of how I can pursue these passions and still live up to my responsibility.

Think of the impossible as possible.

Here is an example: Your passion is to become a nurse. You need to go back to school but you work full time supporting your son as a single parent. Look into night school. Even if it is one night a week. People, including yourself, may be tempted to say or think with a groan, "That will take forever." I say "NO, if you never start, then IT WILL TAKE FOREVER." If you can't afford to take the class or have daycare issues. Even if it seems completely impossible and truly it is just not feasible. Don't give up! So it may not happen now but that doesn't mean you can't make it happen in the future when circumstances change.

I knew a lady who so wanted to become a teacher. She married right out of high school. Didn't go to college, had three children. When the youngest of the three started school, so did she. She became a teacher. And a great one.

Now assuming your pursuit of your passion does not involve career change, what does that mean? Make time in your life for your passion!!!! If you love to sculpt with clay, schedule it in your calendar. Love yourself enough to fulfill your passion. Make it happen. You owe this to yourself.

Now on the flip side, I hate to bring this up at all. But I have to. I would feel neglectful if I didn't. My mother had a passion for painting and craft projects. She allowed this passion to become an obsession. It took over our home and her life. It became, to be brutally honest, more important than anything including people. She lost her relationships (#1 on the ingredient list) and filled that void with paint. Sad but true.

Recognize a few key points:

Nothing is impossible even if it is not possible right now.

Your passion does not need to be your job. That would be great but not always realistic. You can pursue a passion outside of employment.

Don't let your passion become your obsession.

Your passions may change as you change.

Sincerely and Passionately,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This sucks!

Okay tomorrow I am getting back to the weather therapy. But......

This sucks!!! We are under a Winter Storm Warning. 6-10 inches of snow. I just got to see most of my grass. Damn. Sorry But seriously, "Are you kidding me?" "Are you freakin kidding me?"

I will say this...I knew it was coming. I tried to pretend winter was over. Heck we had a few 50+ degree days. For a few blissful days I did not wear a jacket. I told Jeff, "Guess we are done with measurable snowfall." He just gave me a knowing smile. He knew.... It was all just as cozy lie.

These are the worst days of winter. The tease of spring and then BAM, the cold wind and frozen precipitation slaps you across your face. A whole week of temperatures not getting above 37 degrees. Yes this is the true test. The true grit of the Minnesotan needs to be summoned.

I will embrace my insanity over the next 10 days.

Then I will say hello to April.


Today Pama's body was buried in her beloved El Paso Texas next to her adoring husband. There is comfort for me in that.

I also found peace with letting her body go. Not by the means most people would think. Like thinking, what would she want? Or, that is just her body. Her soul is already with the Lord. Although those things are true and significant, one thing in particular helped me. I thought of Pama watching from heaven seeing my uncle and I fighting over her body. Angry actually probably very hateful words would have been said. That would make her sad. She loved us dearly and loved her son unconditionally. So with that thought and mostly God's help I am at peace.

I am slowly traveling the path back to the living. It is part of the grieving process. For the last week almost all I could think of was my Pama and my tragedy. Necessity pulls me back to reality. I think to myself, "Now, where was I before my world flipped?" Ah oh yeah. Canceled doctor appointments need to be rescheduled, vet appointment, bills need to be paid, etc. The world will continue to turn without me participating.

Now thoughts of Pama come and go. Sometimes I feel a little guilty as if I am forgetting her. I am not. No one lived life more beautifully than Pama and she would want this for me too.

This will be a dance of course, two steps forward, one step back. I am sure as I clean out her room. I will take one giant leap backwards. But again I will move forward towards living..... with Pama as my inspiration.

I think all of this is God's way of healing the broken heart.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Searching for Serentiy

I am asking God to help me grieve and replace my anger with peace.

I need to write my problem to release it.

My uncle, Gary did not take good care of my grandmother (his mother). Her house was damaged with a leaking roof and broken windows. Her clothes were falling apart. She had no food in her house. Her bank account had been depleted. She was being given unnecessary percocet to keep her in a confused state of mind. (my uncle would take half of the prescription for himself) This is how we found her in September 2006.

Since 2006 and being in our (her grandchildren) care she hadn't required narcotic pain killers once.

We fought a three year battle to get guardianship of her. We all sacrificed so much. Our savings were depleted and relationships were tested beyond limits by stress. We survived it. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Pama flourished in our care. She truly enjoyed the last 5 years of her life. Surrounded by her daughter until 2009 and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved where she lived. She was by far the happiest most grateful person I have ever known. She never complained.

She journeyed to heaven Monday morning peacefully while she slept.

While making funeral plans we were suddenly informed my uncle is taking possession of her body. She is being shipped to Texas to be buried there.

I am struggling with this on so many levels. First, How can I give her back to someone who abused her? I know this is just her physical body and her soul that I adored is already in heaven. But still it feels so wrong.

Also, I (my family as well) have taken care of her now for awhile and just as I did for my mom when she died, I feel this huge responsibility to see her safely to her final resting place. I feel I owe this to her, she deserved to be treated respectfully and I need to ensure that happens. I am letting her down by letting her go.

I cannot stop this from happening so I am trying to deal with my anguish. It is hard enough to just say goodbye and give her to God.

So God I am asking you take great care of this special lady. She holds my heart, please fill it with serenity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Rough Day

I am having a rough day. All my emotions seem just at the surface of my skin. Tingling and bubbling.

I go through the motions that I must , calling and planning. Hiding my sorrow in busy motion and a numb professional voice.

But truthfully I am heartbroken. No one can quite know what my grandmother meant to me. She was the matriarch of our family. My hero, my friend, my inspiration, my heart.

I could always depend on her for a smile, a chuckle. Her joy and gratitude radiated to all that knew her.

Last week my niece, Cara interviewed Pama for a school project. Cara asked her, "What lessons have you learned in life?" Pama answered, "Tell the truth. Be yourself. Don't let anybody push you around."

Pama had medical conditions but they seemed under control. I thought I would have some warning. I thought her health would decline in a way that the doctors and I would know.

When I saw her last Friday her eyes lit up when she saw me from across the room. I wish I had stayed with her longer. I kissed and hugged her goodbye. Told her I loved her. As I walked away I turned to look at her, she was waving at me. I went back to her and kissed her again and told her "I'll see you soon."

In some ways I wish I had known in a little over 48 hours my chances to be with her would be gone.

I am thankful she passed the way she wished. She had said, "I don't want to know when it's coming. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, and hopefully I'll have lipstick on."

I think most people, myself included, hope to pass on into heaven so peacefully.

I have never known someone who lived so vibrantly.

I know where she is now but selfishly I regret. I just wish I had more time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An early morning phone call today literally brought me to my knees.

My beautiful Pama passed away last night in her sleep. The ache in my heart is almost unbearable. She has been reunited with her beloved daughter and husband. She is with her parents whom she hadn't seen since she was a young child when she was placed in an orphanage. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was 5. She is with her sister.

They are all together now, welcoming her into heaven. My heart grieves so for my own loss.

On Friday when I saw her, she told me she wanted to have a picnic. I promised we would when the weather got warmer. She looked wonderful on Friday. Happy. I asked her how she was feeling. She said great. She joked with her usual wit.

I miss her. The sun will not shine so bright. Or maybe as my husband said the sun will shine brighter.

I am filled with sorrow knowing I will never see her again or hear her laugh.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

33 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-13-2011

Sunday Quotes

"Immature love says: I love you because I need you.
Mature love says: I need you because I love you." -unknown

"What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?" -unknown


Saturday, March 12, 2011

34 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-12-2011

Saturday Quotes

"Never hit a man when he is down - he might get up again." -unknown

"You laugh because I'm different. I laugh because I just farted." -unknown


Friday, March 11, 2011

35 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-11-2011

Sending out prayers to the people of Japan. Unbelievable!

So we are now......

35 days remaining until I declare winter completely over. April 14th!!! You know I am practically a meteorologist?!

Daylight savings time starts this weekend. I am doing the happy sunshine dance!

Look for another happiness post on Monday!

Happiness #1 : Relationships

The first of my ingredients for happiness:

Strong fulfilling relationships with your God, your family, your friends and yourself.

This should be first because if you don't have these then well, nothing else really matters.

Not that everything needs to be put in order in life but I struggle with which one to talk about first between Your God or Yourself. ( I don't mean which is more important, more like which comes first the chicken or the egg.) Actually I think I just figured it out. Perhaps they need to be cultivated simultaneously.

Your relationship (or not) with God or Allah or Adonai or Jesus is your own. I don't want to argue it or change it. But I will say this, having faith in something much bigger than myself has given me peace and happiness. I suggest searching out your faith and strengthening it.

Your relationship with yourself requires you to love yourself. I know that sounds cliche. But..... You should treat yourself as well as you would your best friend. Or your child. Respect. kindness, caring, sympathy and very importantly FORGIVENESS.

A favorite quote I have heard, "Treat others how you would treat yourself. Not better than yourself."

You will make mistakes. That is okay, everybody does. You will be wrong. Accept it, admit it, learn from it. MOVE ON!

Be your own champion. Learn to accept praise from yourself. Pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments. Be proud of yourself. Humbly become your own biggest fan.

I want to make something clear though. This acknowledgement of your worth has to come from honesty. We all know the most annoying of people who think they are God's gift to the universe. We know this about them cause they are constantly telling us how wonderful they are in one way or another. My guess is that 95% percent of these people have debilitating low self esteem. They spend all of their time desperately trying to convince others and themselves that they are not worthless. They are not worthless. God doesn't make worthless.

Define your worth with truth. Remember your many accomplishments and more importantly your failures and how you learned from them. This exercise is meant to be done alone. Or with the help of a best friend. The person who knows you best.

If you first have a good relationship with yourself, the other relationships will follow suit.

All relationships should be based on respect, honesty, kindness, communication, and forgiveness. If you can accomplish this with yourself you can accomplish it with anyone that you care about.

One last word on this. No relationship is PERFECT (oh how I hate that word!). Expecting that would be disastrous.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 64 Freakin Winter 3-10-2011

I changed today's post. I renamed the original to "Ingredients for Happiness". I decided to make that whole discussion different from this winter dialog. So I will continue our winter count simultaneously with my happiness hunt.

But now I have decided something else new. Do you remember when I said I was going to call April 14th the end of the Freakin Winter shenanigans? Well I am sticking to the April 14th date but instead of counting up (ex. Day 64, Day 65, Day 66) I am going to start counting down!!! Yay! So as of tomorrow the blog will say "35 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-11-2011" the following day will say "34 Days to go - Freakin Winter 3-12-2011". and so on.

Warmer today. Sun is shinning. I hear melting outside. dripping Drip Drip Drip.

Careful, could be compared to Chinese water torture. ;)

Cause it can't melt fast enough for me. Okay I take that back. I don't want it to melt too fast because it will cause flooding. I guess I'll just have to be content with the drip drip drip.

Hang in there,

Ingredients for Happiness

Okay so I posted about my sock fetish the other day and how the more outrageous fun socks I have on my feet the happier I am. That is the truth too.

But......I've been thinking a little on the happiness thing again.

Happiness I think has just a few ingredients. In searching out happiness I think people try to make Tamarind Marinated Chicken Breast In Coconut-chickpea Flour Curry. Many ingredients, lots of steps, lots of stirring, waiting, prepping and care.

Maybe happiness should not be that difficult.

Here are my key ingredients. (in no particular order)

Strong fulfilling relationships with your God, your family, your friends and yourself.

Finding and Pursuing your passion.

Dealing with worry and stress effectively.


Accepting of the truth.

Engaged in the moment.

Removing the word perfect from your vocabulary.

Having happiness doesn't mean you will always be happy.

And really I think that is it.

You know those silly psychological tests and profiles you take with HR? While taking one once I really started to question the questions. Such as

"Would you consider yourself to be happy?
0 - never 1- rarely 2- sometimes 3- often 4-always."

Well if you caught me on a great day I'd say "3". Then again this could have been my day! I was late for work cause some dingle-berry rear ended my car. Spilled my coffee all over myself. My boss is pissed at me. Have a huge project to complete and need to leave early to see my kids basketball game. So on that day my answer would be "1".

My point here...... Happiness will ebb and flow. If you think happiness means being happy all the time then you are looking for (the dreaded word) perfection.

Perfection to me has finally morphed from something to strive for, into one of the dirtiest, most nastiest, most self deprecating, most self loathing words in the dictionary. Honestly, in the dictionary the synonym for the word Perfection should be Pain. Perfection = Pain. Perfection is Painful! Sounds like the name of a book. hmm?

I would like to visit each of these ingredients individually over the next few weeks.

Should be an interesting exercise.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 63 Freakin Winter 3-9-2011

Somebody jokingly compared me to the inspirational Christian speaker and author, Joyce Meyers. I found this so amusing. I don't know much about Joyce Meyer but I think she is successful in helping others.

And I surely can't speak to heavenly matters. I have my beliefs which are personal and personalized to me. But maybe I can speak to earthly matters. Matters I feel passionate about. Helping others, the search for happiness, organization. Surviving winter intact.

Yes maybe I should become the uplifting winter advisor! hmmm I will lift myself and others out of the despair of winter. We will tug, pull, push, pray ourselves into spring. Barely keeping our head above the 76.8 inches of frozen h2o precipitation.

Interesting. Not sure where to go with this but I am sure willingly to let it will take me somewhere.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 62 Freakin Winter 3-8-2011

Ahhhhh Ode to daylight savings time.

What Daylight Savings Time Means to Me

A later sunset.

Warmer days are on the horizon.

Spring rain.

Melting snow.

Hope and light.

Joy and rain.

Thunder and lightening

A mai tai at sunset sitting on my deck.

The glimmer of possibility.

Dreaming of warm summer nights.

Bonfires and frog catching escapades.

Cling tight to the inevitable. Spring will come as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 61 Freakin Winter 3-7-2011

It's hard to wake up and feel upbeat when you see new snow (even just the two inches) on the ground in March. Anyone (well except the die hard snow mobilers) in the Twin Cities would tell you, it has been a long winter. Everyone, with few exceptions, would also tell you they are physically aching for spring. In some ways it almost makes it more difficult because you are surrounded by people feeling the same angst as you. The scowl on the faces around you shoveling once again. On the other hand it gives you a sense of community because you are all scowling in unison.

I do find myself searching for that one smiling face. And I found it last night.

Sitting with my grandmother (somewhat senile). She kept smiling at the "beautiful falling snowflake". Her words not mine! Then she says, "It doesn't snow here much." God Bless her!

It has snowed 76.8 inches so far this winter.

Love you Pama!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 60 Freakin Winter 3-6-2011

Sunday quotes

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." -Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who follow the crowd are quickly lost in it." -unknown

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 59 Freakin Winter 3-5-2011

Saturday Quotes

"Progress always involves risk - you can't steal second base with your foot on first." -unknown

"Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." -Ben Franklin

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 58 Freakin Winter 3-4-2011

The key to happiness. A question that has been asked in every language throughout the ages. A question pondered by great philosophers, theologians, prophets, brain surgeons and yes.....rocket scientist. Even the common folk such as myself have pondered this wish when we have time.

The greatest minds of the earth present and past have looked to the heavens, thrown money into a well and wished upon the falling stars for this very thing....Happiness.

Many a birthday candle I have blown out wishing for "Health and Happiness".

Thousands of authors have written tens of thousands of books on this very subject. Happiness, How to find it? How to keep it? How to make it? How to feel it?

Out of all the answers to this question I have recently found but ONE answer to the question that rings true in my heart (well besides that provided by faith in God)..................

ONE Key and Truth to happiness. Can you believe it? After all these years in my tireless search and wanting. I have found it! And I am going to share with you this secret to happiness. Are you ready?

The key to happiness is looking down upon thy feet and seeing this.

Who freakin knew?

In all seriousness...I know this sounds strange, but weird unusual fun socks make me happy.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 57 Freakin Winter 3-3-2011

Well at least all is right with the world now. My honey was out of town the last few days. I miss him fiercely when he is gone. He is my sunshine when there is none. He's my rock. He's the one I give a knowing look to when I've had it and I'm done. He's the one who gets my special smile only meant for him.

I'm very lonely when he is gone.

Besides that I am damn sick of being "in charge". I need someone to take over! I need someone to take over for awhile, heck even just a few minutes.

I am breathing a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 56 Freakin Winter 3-2-2011 COLOR

I know I have been moaning about the lack of color in my world for weeks now. The bright hues of spring and summer.

But this is ridiculous.

I am tackling one of those inside projects I spoke of the other day while winter still has her hold on me. I have been wanting to do this for some time now. I am painting Savanah's room. Now my daughter professes, "I am not a girly girl." Which to be honest is fine by me. I want her to be her own person. So there will be no pink (she can't stand pink) or purple (she tolerates purple) in her room.

I am a little irked with myself! Every time I start a massive project like this I mean to take before pictures. I always forget. So well anyways, here is just after the start. I will post after pictures too.

Savanah is the epitome of life to me. Always moving, loving nature, inquisitive, caring about living creatures. She will be a tree hugger. Which again is fine by me. I have no doubt she will work with animals. She sucks up as much knowledge about animals as she can possibly hold. She can tell you things you would hardly believe she knows. She knew more about "lemmings" when she was three years old than I know now.

Anyways, my thirst for color and Savanah's insatiable zest for life gave me the idea for these colors. Along with her comforter. I tested them out on her wall asking her opinion. Which one she liked best. She loved both colors. She wanted them striped. The entire room striped.

Oh Lordy! I have never striped a wall. I am a good painter but I have never really been put to the test like this. I am unsure of my skills.

I have compromised with Savanah. One wall can be striped the rest will be one of the colors. I have come up with a plan.

But as I began painting today I am questioning our choice. Dang this is bright!!! I have to squint as I paint. Oh well, can't stop now.

Oh Well I have to go paint!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hold on....wait a minute here

I just heard my favorite meteorologist, Keith Marler, say something intriguing, something wonderfully intriguing!

Today begins......drum roll please.........

Meteorological Spring!!!!!

What does this mean?

Well here is what Meteorologist Paul Douglas has to say about it.

"Here's the deal: apparently Mother Nature does not consult the calendar. If you look at what is (historically) the coldest 90 days of winter - and who among us hasn't - winter really begins close to December 1, not the 21st. And it ends closer to March 1, not the 21st of March. Yes, as far as the atmosphere is concerned spring arrives today - the coldest days (and nights) of winter are definitely behind us now.

When it snows in March (when the sun angle is as high in the sky as it is in early/mid October) any accumulation tends to melt rapidly, usually within a few days. March snow is - temporary. I know it's awfully hard to believe gazing out at the seemingly immovable glacier in your yard - but most of the snow you're staring out at now will be gone by the end of the month (when the average high will be close to 50 degrees)." -Paul Douglas

Is that not the most wonderful, fantastical, glorious bit of information you have heard all year, well all winter, or this week, or maybe just today?

It's awesome and I am doing the happy dance.

I just needed one person to say it (now I have two people saying it) and.....

I believe! I want to believe!


Day 55 Freakin Winter 3-1-2011

Hello March!!! Remember there are a lot of things to look forward to with the arrival of March.

The problem is at this point we all have really had it with winter. We are on the back side of winter. You would think that would mean coasting into spring. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy. These next 45 days are my make or break point. More often I find myself breaking! I generally define spring as when things start to grow, grass, trees, bulbs.

But...I have a plan! Actually the plan is "to plan". There are two completely different planning methods I use. Feel free to use them both. I do. I suggest doing number 1 then finishing up winter with number 2.

Planning Number 1
First comes the realization. Now Minnesotans all know winter lasts about 5 months (sometimes 6). We also know that come the thaw of spring, the heat of summer and the crispness of fall. We are going to be outside CONSTANTLY. Practically living outside.

I moved here in June of 1995. I loved the trees and green grass and all of that. I was amused that on a nice day everyone was outside. Truly everyone. Having lived in sunny southern California I didn't understand. In California you might choose to stay indoors on a beautiful day because hey....tomorrow was going to be another beautiful day. Having not been through a Minnesota winter yet I had NO CLUE! I learned a cruel and quick lesson my first full year here.

When Minnesota gives you a sunny day above 50 degrees you don't waste it!

Where the heck was I? Oh yes Planning number 1.

I want you to think of all the indoor projects that need (or want) to be started or completed. Decluttering the basement. Painting. Sorting photos. Spring cleaning. We all have those projects. The ones started or just in our head. The nasty visual reminder you get every time a certain closet. Oh the guilt!!! Well stop. Write it down. Then write how, when, what and all the steps to accomplish this task. Then on to the next project.

Now what we are doing here is giving ourselves a deadline. Winter's end. Which I am going to call it....45 days from now! My point here is that once the weather turns you are not going to stay inside to complete these indoor project. Use this time now.

I know what people are thinking, I can see it in your eyes, "That is too early, It still snows past April 14th." Well yes I realize that but....It can snow in spring!! Now that is the date I am picking and if you don't like it well.....too bad.

Winter blogging ends 45 Days from now!!! April 14th. A good day. My brother's birthday.

Now holy crap, you can say to yourself I only have 45 days to finish this. That should keep you just busy enough to keep you from wallowing in winter's pity for the next 45 days. Hell I don't have time to bitch about winter!!!

Planning Project Number 2

This involves planning your outdoor projects. Gardening and Landscaping. Planting. This is fun for me but I can't start this too early then I have way tooooo big of an itch for spring. It becomes a nasty rash further leading to massive spring fever. Which can be quite painful and long. I'll let you all know when I am starting this planning.

So get planning and completing,