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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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

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

Grandma Lee Says “Put Your Best Foot Forward”

While I was growing up, my mom [whom I refer to as Grandma Lee] always insisted that we “put our best foot forward”—that is, look our best before we leave the house. She claims that every time she goes out of the house wearing something unflattering or looking just thrown together, she ends up running into someone she knows or enters a situation where she wishes she had put some effort in her appearance.

Anyway, her words hit home today. Continue reading

Tips on Preparing for a Piano Competition

The Princess has a piano competition in a couple of weeks. I know she’s a bit nervous, as am I. All we can do is put our best foot (and fingers) forward and prepare for it as best as we can. If she messes up, no big deal. It’s all about the experience of preparing and presenting oneself with poise in a high-pressure situation. No big whup, right?

Funny thing is, she’s playing a piece that I also played in a piano competition many years ago—Beethoven Sonatina in G, first and second movements. I think she plays it better than I did, but then again, my mom wasn’t as trained as I was to be able to help me practice and prepare more effectively.

Nevertheless, the Princess faces the same challenges—to not play too fast (due to nerves), and to remember to play expressively with dynamics while maintaining technical control and to appear to enjoy playing.

So what does one do to prepare? Here are some tips: Continue reading

Tips for Making Change Happen (Part I)

Yesterday while waiting for the Princess to finish her swimming lesson, I was reading Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success (Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler). The title caught my attention as I browsed the new non-fiction books at the library. I thought this book was appropriate with New Year’s around the corner. I know we still have Thanksgiving and December, but let’s face it. The year’s almost over. ;-P

Although much of what I read was common sense, here are some useful pointers I got from the book:

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Post Mortem: Meany Mommy’s Summer Learning Plan (Part II)

Looking back at my list, I can’t help but laugh at my optimism and foolish determination to cram knowledge into my poor daughter’s head. During summer, no less. But hey! I deserve credit for trying.

One thing’s for certain. Summer is tougher than the school year to keep her focused and motivated. I’d like to blame it on the heat, but I think all the physical activities take a toll as well.

Things that have helped: Continue reading