Message from the Universe: “Don’t Take for Granted This Thing Called Life”

The other day after Zumba, one of my workout friends told me about a friend of hers who recently died in her sleep. Her body wasn’t discovered until four days after she passed on. She was 71 and had four sons, but was living alone.

My friend was shaken because she’s not that much younger than her friend. Also, her friend had shown no signs of failing health and was “perfectly fine” when they met up for lunch the previous week. Shouldn’t there be signs when one’s time is coming to a close?

Every now and then, the songs that play on my Pandora station or radio seem to contain a message from the Universe. For example, lines from a song by Anything Box keep playing in my head: “Don’t take for granted / this thing called Life.” In the context of my friend’s news, I realize how unprepared I am if I were to die suddenly, that I need to be more mindful of how I spend my days, and that I need take care of a few things sooner vs. later. After all, there’s no guarantee that I’ll reach the average US female life expectancy of age 78.94.

Here are some things that come to mind: Continue reading

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Lenten Challenge 2017: No Social Media

It’s been almost two weeks since I cut myself off from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Believe me when I say it’s been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Up until March 1 (Ash Wednesday), I had been spending a lot of time checking out my feeds and getting caught up with what’s happening in politics and current events. I hadn’t realized how much time and energy that was sucked up until I stopped cold turkey.  Continue reading

Behold the Starbucks January Tumbler—the Holy Grail of Creativity

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

One of the Christmas gifts HB received was the Starbucks January tumbler, which can be used to get a free grande brewed hot coffee or hot tea through the month of January. It’s the perfect gift for him because he likes his coffee black, and like most people, he depends on coffee to get him going in the morning and sometimes as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Since he works downtown, there’s a Starbucks on every other block, so using the tumbler is no big deal, right?

This year, however, he’ll be working in various locations, which means it’s more effort to keep track of his tumbler and to make sure he’s maximizing his usage. And so, he has passed the Starbucks tumbler to me. He knows that I don’t like wasting things (almost to the point of it being an OCD), and I’ve just figured out a plan. Continue reading

Paper Planners: Never Say Die

As we head toward mid-December, I found myself at wits’ end because people want to give me dates for important events in January and beyond, and my planner only has December plus a day of January left on it. I thought I could wait until after the New Year so I can get my 2017 planner at a discount, but I felt so uneasy jotting things down on the extra blank pages at the back of the 2016 planner, that I couldn’t take it anymore.

With my Barnes and Noble 25 percent off a single item coupon in hand and some gift cards, I ventured out into the chilly night after dinner to find my 2017 Moleskine Weekly Planner (Large Format) so I can get on with my life.

Why bother with a paper planner? Continue reading

Counting Down to Nanowrimo 2016

Nanowrimo is just around the corner. Although I’ve participated since 2007, I have yet to reach the goal of 50,000 words. Like many folks, I make the usual excuses—too busy, too stressed, too tired—but the truth is, I’m always busy, stressed, and tired. And yet, this year feels different somehow.  

How so? I am more self-aware. After ten years of “failing,” I’m practically an expert. I’ve learned how I work and why I don’t. My strength is that I’m a great starter with lots of energy and ideas in the beginning. However, I know that after a few days I burn out, or I lose momentum very quickly once I see how far behind I’m getting. Therefore, I really need to stay on target with little tricks and incentives/disincentives along the way.

What I plan to do differently this year for Nanowrimo:
Continue reading

Happy New Year Personal Reset (How I Lost 5 lbs. in 2 Days, Gained Back 4, and Lost It All Again—One Month Later)

Sometime before last Thanksgiving, my trainer gave me 2 days worth of Orenda Clean trial packs to try out. I was skeptical and leery about using it. First, it’s from a company that appears like a pyramid organization, which I despise on principle. Second, I noticed the powder mixes contain stevia, which I also dislike. Third, it had before/after pictures of people losing 40 pounds after using the program for 90 days—which made me wonder, is this weight-loss sustainable, or will I gain everything back (and then some) once I return to regular food. I put the packets in my drawer and forgot about them.

After the New Year, my trainer asked me if I’d tried the samples. I told him that I had been saving them for after the holidays and was planning to try the very next day. (Liar-liar-pants-on-fire, who got caught and was trying to save face.) So I kept my word and did the program for two days and was amazed at the results. Continue reading

Change Diet, Lose Weight (Go Figure!)

In addition to working with a personal trainer, one of the major factors that has contributed to helping me lose weight is changing my eating habits. What I’ve realized is that no matter how much I exercise, it doesn’t matter if I keep eating crap.

The turning point for me was having a Google Sheet where I record what I eat each day and the fitness activities/steps taken. I haven’t gotten to the point of recording portion-sizes and estimated calories yet. I know there are apps out there that do that, but it’s a pain to go through the lists and guesstimate if the portions/calories are correct.

Instead, I’ve opted to make healthier food choices and trust that my body will tell me when I am full. Note: it’s still a work in progress. I have days when my tummy-is-full sensor is malfunctioning. Or maybe I’m just doing a good job of ignoring it.

What I find amusing is that the idea of having to record what I eat sometimes makes me NOT want to eat. There is something good to be said about laziness. 😉

Anyway, here are some diet tips that have worked in helping me lose weight: Continue reading