September 5, 2017

This is like my third attempt at this blog post.  Ugh.

It was going to be about learning to be better to myself.  But it was sounding lame, cliche, and uninteresting.

Its hard to be good to yourself.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  I’m trying.  Today, I sat down at 11:00 and took twenty minutes to eat a lovely peach and some Marin Cheese Co. brie on my back porch.  I love sitting on my back porch, looking out over the vineyard, sipping my coffee.

Twenty minutes just for myself seems so indulgent.  But I’m beginning to understand that its really not.  Just like texting with my friends and posting in my blog is not indulgent.  Neither is taking the dog on a walk or working my horses.

Collapsing at work and having my doctor tell me that I need to follow up with a cardiologist (finally got an appointment) sort of puts things into perspective.  But I’ve been surprised that I’m finding it so hard to be kinder to myself.  I always have wondered about the people who are told, “If you don’t make lifestyle changes, you’re going to die” but fail to change.  And, here I am . . . one of them!!

Its really easy to blame others:  “My husband doesn’t help enough.”;  “My job is too stressful.”;  “I’m so busy with the kids’ activities.”  But, realistically, it comes down to me, myself and I – my choices, my decisions and how I deal with the things life throws at me.

I can talk to my husband about our division of tasks.  I can have my kids help out more and take on more responsibility because they are 12 and 14 years old now.  I can find healthy ways to deal with my job and other stress.  I can take a look at our household schedules and see if it can be managed differently.

And I can stop feeling guilty about 20 minutes on my back porch, drinking good coffee and reading the paper.



How to be Different

Apparently, I need some lifestyle changes.  After collapsing at work out of the blue (caused a huge commotion), I went to see my doctor yesterday.  (I refused to go to the ER with the nice paramedics.)  My doctor called me a “textbook case of the healthy person who drops dead from a heart attack.”

Well, hmmmm . . . She was concerned when I looked puzzled at her order to “spend the rest of the day doing something for myself.”  I have plenty of things that I’d really like to do for myself but they never seem to happen.  For example, 3 days ago I picked some fava beans, found a recipe and have been wanting to make soup.  Fava beans are still sitting on my counter and they don’t seem to be making soup themselves.

How is that possible?  How can I not even find time to cook food that I want to??  What the heck do I do all day?  In my opinion, I don’t do much.  But when I tell my girlfriends, “I did this and this and this today . . . nothing!” they’re like, “wow, you did all that?” My doctor says I tend to minimize.

So, o.k., I need to lessen my “constant state of stress and anxiety” (more doctor quotes) and that’s great but HOW??  How do I just start being different?  How do I make space for myself?

I think I’ve asked this question before here in my blog.  Maybe the better question is: How do I not feel guilty about making space for myself?

I mean, we’re not talking about me going on a shopping spree or something.  We’re talking about soup!!!  Healthy soup that the rest of my family could eat.

I did finally announce to my 12 and 14 year old kids that they get to make their own school lunches and unpack their lunch box when they get home this year.  My husband was thrilled at this declaration.  I’m not exactly sure why – he rarely if ever made their lunch; he just seemed to be upset that I made lunches for the kids.  The kids were less than thrilled.  Me?  I felt guilty.

Late Afternoon Lull

Made it home from work, went to the grocery store, stopped by the vet, managed to eat lunch (with just a little bit of ice cream involved), picked the kids up from school, and now I’d really like to just sit for a while.  I’d like to sit, stare out the window and watch the rain.

But no . . . I really need to unpack from work this morning and gather tomorrow’s client files (wonder if there are reports I have to read?), the groceries should be put away (don’t worry – the milk went straight into the fridge), school lunches have to be unpacked and remade, laundry is waiting to be folded, and the rest of the house needs to be cleaned up.

Then there’s dinner, horses to feed . . . blah, blah, blah. . . .

Can’t I just sit and watch the rain??

My accomplishment for the day was leaving the package of frosted sugar cookies at the store.  Good job, Me!!!

Husband just called to remind me that he’s done at work earlier than normal and will be home for dinner.  Yay?   That just means that all of the above has to be done that much sooner.

Its only Monday . . .

Dinner Successes!

For the most part, I’m responsible for dinner in our house.  My husband is one of those people who can just open the refrigerator, peer inside and, voila!!, about 20 minutes later something wonderful is on the table.  I am not one of those people.

Cooking for me requires planning, a recipe, and plenty of time to chop everything up.  Its a process.  I’m not saying I don’t enjoy cooking, I’m just saying that I need plenty of time to do it.

Husband likes bold, spicy flavors.  I tend to like things that are luscious and creamy.  So, I was super pleased with myself when I came up with a couple of dinner successes this week.  (Thank you Pinterest.)

First up was Chili-Lime-Mango Chicken:  Time to find the perfect marinated chicken recipe you over and over again! Like this Gluten Free Chili-Lime Mango Marinated Chicken Bowl recipe. This Marinated Chicken recipe is super easy to make, healthy, dairy free, and delicious! A great way to learn how to cook with wine and use it in a light marinade.(The above is the photo off the website – mine wasn’t nearly as fancy looking!). The sauce is really a beautiful orange color and was easy to make.  The kids thought it was a bit too spicy even after I added extra orange juice and honey to try to tone it down a bit.  Best of all, husband liked it!!!

Next was One Pan Mexican Quinoa: Pan Mexican Quinoa - Wonderfully light, healthy and nutritious. And it's so easy to make - even the quinoa is cooked right in the pan!

This was really, really easy to make.  My youngest wouldn’t eat it because she doesn’t like corn but everyone else in the house thought it was great.  It is super light and healthy.

Crossing my fingers for more yummy-ness next week!

Fewer Goals, Better Focus

I have a lengthy list of things I’d like to accomplish.  Unfortunately, I never make any sustained progress.  I’ll do good for a week or maybe two but then it all seems to fall by the wayside.  I’m frustrated by this and have been unable to find a solution.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that maybe I have too many goals.  Maybe I’m trying to accomplish too many things at once and therefore cannot focus and make progress on anything.  Here’s the current “goal list” (which has been the same for years):

Become fluent in Spanish.

Go back to riding my horse.

Train the pony to pull a cart.

Lose 10 pounds.

Actually do my physical therapy exercises twice a day.

Walk the dog daily, or at least every other day.

Get the kids to practice their respective instruments.

Focus on the positive – post a positive photo each day.

Do something on my “2017 List” – that’s a whole other list of things to do like “clean out my closet”, etc.

Make scrapbooks.

Decrease sugar; eat healthy.

I completely expect myself to make progress on all of those plus take care of daily life, which for me includes working as an attorney and all that goes along with having kids, a house, a husband, etc.

Is that unrealistic?  I’m beginning to think it is.

So, I’ve decided to try whittling down my goal list for a least a little bit.  I really struggle with feeling like I’m throwing in the towel.  But I’m hoping that fewer goals will equal better focus, which hopefully will lead to some actual progress and accomplishment.

I’m going to start with the goals that have to do with my health.  If I’m not healthy (which I am for the most part), riding, training the pony, traveling, and so many other things will be harder.  If I’m not healthy, it won’t matter if I’m fluent in Spanish or not.

Here’s the new goal list:

Walk dog – Exercise for me and the dog!

Do physical therapy exercises – PT was prescribed to rehab my torn Achilles and to hopefully prevent the other one from tearing.  Torn Achilles equals no riding or walking dog.

No eating right before bed – I’m not hungry so why am I sitting down with the entire carton of ice cream??  (I do love ice cream though.)

Decrease sugar, increase veggies, eat healthy – Hmmm . . . that’s all kind of vague.

Jump rope daily – My doctor strongly encouraged this for cardio and as a “weight-bearing exercise” to keep the calcium from leaching out of my bones.  Apparently I’ve reached the age where that starts to happen.  Currently, I can jump rope for 2 minutes before I feel like I’m going to die.

O.k., that’s enough!  See how my list just gets longer and longer?  That’s what happens to me!!!  Too many goals . . . unrealistic expectations . . . failure . . . feeling crummy about myself.

Its time for that to change.