Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I know Christmas is over but isn't this just the truth?  Little kids never get underwear...or socks... for Christmas.  Who in your house got underwear?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Your Day After Christmas

Dealing with another Monday? (Thanks Mike.)

 Recovering from all the fun?

Still basking in the glow?

What is your day like today? 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Take Your Yoga To Kroger

The day started out peaceful enough.  An hour of yoga, zen music, and deep breathing can sucker punch just about any stress that tries to find you.  It works for me.  I'm mellow, all stretched out and limber...at least for now.
No, this is not me but I'm gonna try it.

  • Next stop, Kroger.  In case you don't have a Kroger, it is my closest grocery store, and today everyone is there.  I chose the wide, shallow cart so I don't have to break my neck reaching down into it, wiped the handle with germ-free antiseptic, and entered the zone.  I brought my yoga "peace" right in with me and actually enjoyed shopping.  After all it is Christmas and I am buying totally "out of the norm".  I had the biggest grocery bill I have ever had in my life.  We are good well into January!  But my kids are coming home! 
 I want them to love looking in the frig like they did when they were kids so I loaded it up.  And nice meals.  And plenty of snacks.

  • My next agenda item is wrapping!  Turning on the new Christmas CD a best friend got for me.  Maybe make some hot chocolate or green tea...and go at the wrapping! 

 Number three on my "to-do" list is cooking!  How can I possibly make everyone's favorite things in one day?  Well, watch me.

It's raining outside and cold and grey....downright dreary.  But the pansies I planted yesterday and the cardinals who've just returned brighten it up.  It is a most colorful day, and, as always, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Keep On Believing

  Five 4 days before Christmas!  I vividly remember as a child that I was already completely beside myself 5 days out.  I'd find myself thinking about, "This time next week...."  I took a lot for granted as children do, so even though I knew the week would be a family cocoon full of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmothers, I took that for granted.  I knew there would be divinity and fudge and Japanese Fruit Cake and Lemon Cheese Cake and Caramel Cake but I took that for granted too.

But I never took Santa for granted.  I knew he would come to my house and I knew he would change my life the instant he unloaded his bag  Even though there was no chimney, I knew he would be there because we left the door open for him to come in. My child's brain just knew I would be content for the rest of my life, no matter what, if Santa brought me a new doll.  I had complete faith she would be waiting for me when I got up Christmas morning.  And I was never disappointed.
Can your heart's desire be wrapped in a box? 

There was only one Christmas when my faith wavered.  It was the first year I no longer believed.  I didn't want to get out of bed because I didn't want to be disappointed.  My dad had to cajole me to join them and, in an instant, my fears of possible disappointment were relieved.

I love that child-like faith. I love believing so strongly that you just cannot wait to see it come into fruition because you know it will.  Where is your belief today?  What evokes your faith so strongly that there is virtually no doubt?  I don't think I'll share mine but, believe me, it is still there.  My list doesn't contain a new doll or a bicycle; it contains my heart's desires.  I have a lifetime for them to come true and I know they will!

May your faith hold strong and your joy soar beyond measure this Christmas. Keep believing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

4 Reasons Sad Christmas Songs Should Be Banned

1.  They are sad!  Who wants to be sad during the holidays?  When someone says, "I want to get in the Christmas Spirit", they do not mean they want to get sad!

2.  Even though we are in charge of our own emotions and nobody "makes" us feel a certain way, let's just say "I'll Have A Blue Christmas" does not help us get to our happy place.

3.  When bad things happen at Christmas, who wants to be reminded of them?  Like you could possibly  forget if you tried.  In 1990 I spent Christmas Day with my Dad in a hospital room.  I couldn't have possibly cared less for Christmas that year except I wanted it to be good, i.e. magical, for my kids.  I like to revisit those memories on my own time, not because I am catapulted back there by a song bent on wrecking my day.

4.  "I'll Be Home For Christmas".  There are many people who cannot "count on that" as the song says.  They are driving around in their car listening to "Here Comes Santa Claus" and all of a sudden....."I'll Be Home For Christmas" drones in.  It's sad because he'll only be there in his heart.  Well, duh.  On Christmas morning that's just not the same.  It just doesn't get it unless they walk in the door like in the Folger's coffee commercial and you can hug them.  You know the one where Mom shuffles down the stairs in her robe at dawn and there, in her very own kitchen, is her beloved and adored Peter.  He's in-person.  He didn't just send his heart!  This is a good sad!

Christmas carries it's share of sadness.  It is not all about Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree.  That's just the fun part we try to create and recreate and recreate.  Isn't it also such a poignant time.  "Silent Night" is so holy and reverent.  "Sleeping in heavenly peace" is the ultimate joy for so many who are distracted by the stresses of the day.  Christmas is 'designed' to tug at our hearts.  It is about connecting at a heart level.  It's like we all understand for a few minutes at Christmas that we are really all one.  We demonstrate it with the sameness and uniqueness of our celebrations, our decorations, and yes, our music.  That is why it is magical.  Maybe that is what Jesus came to teach us.  Connections, love, oneness.  And even though we may experience sadness, and these songs don't help, that is not what he came to say.

"And the angel said to them, “Do not be sad. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people."    Luke 2:10 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Old Guys Rule

Yesterday was cold.  Not freezing, rainy, or blustery but still cold.  Inside the gym, mid afternoon, it was nice and warm.  Almost no one was there but me.  Looking out through the big windows I saw a frail, elderly man negotiating the curb just after precariously getting out of his car.  He had a cane and struggled to get to the door and, then, inside.  I breathed a sigh of relief when he made it.

He was alone and made his way over to the leg machines.  Again struggling, he carefully got situated and started exercising to strengthen his legs.  This was the easy part for him.  Getting there had required a monumental effort.  I was torn between "wanting to help", and knowing he needed the dignity of his independence. 

On the way home a tall figure hunched way over and bundled up in a big brown coat, hood, and gloves caught my eye.  He was "running", barely, on the side of the road.  I looked over and here was yet another "old" guy on a mission, determined to get his exercise that day.  I'm not a runner, never have been, and I always admire anyone who is.  I really admired this man.  Barely making it, he was putting one foot in front of the other, very slowly, awkwardly.  But he was doing it.
Wonder what he is thinking?

I feel like I live with one foot, or at least a few toes, in the world of the elderly through the experiences of my mom.  So maybe I am more sensitive to their issues than I would be otherwise.  Not sure.  But I just wanted to cheer both of these men. I wanted to say, "Yae!", and clap loudly so everyone else would start clapping and cheering too.  I also wanted to take one home for my mom but that's another story...

Each one of them was doing what he could.  Neither one was saying,

"It's too cold."

"I'm too tired today."

"I just can't make it."

"I'm too old."

They were doing what they could. They were surmounting obstacles. They were embracing the day.  They were clinging fiercely to their independence.  If the exercise doesn't make them stronger their attitudes will. I honor them and wish them whatever they want.  My heroes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What A Fun Experience

As an artist I am always delighted when I get to visit another artist.  I call myself an artist very loosely as it is a life long desire I am finally able to begin pursueing.  Yesterday I visited with a "real artist", Brenda Tustian, a professional who lives near me in a setting as serene and peaceful as any I have seen.  Brenda has been painting all of her life and her work reflects someone very at home in a style she has crafted to perfection.  You may know her as the Santa Claus artist although that unfairly limits her....and believe me, she is not limited!

Every year she has an Open House to share her work up close and personal and to allow visitors to see her gallery ...and, are you ready for this,.... her home.
The Gallery. She paints upstairs.

The Living Room
 Brenda actually opens her home to many she now calls friends as they follow her work through her website and shows she produces around the country.  Her work hangs in homes and offices of many we might call the "rich and famous" as well as every day people.  Here is a friend you might recognize who owns several of Brenda's paintings.
 This was my first visit and I was so impressed.  First of all she lives way out in the country, down a winding road, and then down a Gone With The Wind driveway. I can only imagine Brenda gains much of her inspiration from her surroundings.

If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift, have a close look at her work, especially how she personalizes it for you.  As a new artist, I am always inspired by original work such as Brenda's.  I hope you will enjoy perusing it too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Part 2 Update. Sleep More. Weigh Less.

Sleep More, Weigh Less   Part 2

NEWS FLASH!  Popular post update:
The original post below from way back in January 2011 needs an update.  It gets a ton of new readers every day so I simply must share the latest with everyone.  Drum roll.  All sleep issues in my house have been resolved!  No more sleeping in another room to get a good night's sleep.
"What worked?", you say.
I'll tell you the two things that fixed all my sleep problems.
  • Going to the gym.  Whoa.  Don't leave yet.  Here is how I now use exercise to get a great night's sleep.  I go to a class a 8:30 AM.  It may be Pilates, or Yoga, or Total Body Sculpt, or Spin, or Step.  It usually includes cardio and a good sweat! If you hate the gym or have never gotten into it or worked out, try going to a few classes.  They are fun with good music, you are not alone, and they work.  And many gyms are cheap now with no down payment or contract.  Look around close to your home.  Driving far isn't a good idea.  Honestly, I could never get myself to the gym at night or late afternoon but that might work for you.  If you can, mornings are just so much better.
  • Getting up early.  My morning routine is described below and it hasn't really changed.  Getting up early is, for me, a great habit.  We're all different but it works for me.  When I sleep in I just don't get sleepy at night....hence I don't sleep as well.
I can almost promise if you incorporate these two things in your life, you will sleep better.  You may even start sleeping like a baby.  And you'll gain muscle and lose fat.  Why not try it if you just can't sleep? 
Original Post:   Part 1.
A good night's sleep! It makes us feel better, look better, handle the day better, be in a better mood, perform better and on and on. And, as we've all heard by now, the better we sleep, the more it will help our weight loss. If you are asleep, you cannot eat. That's obvious but there are scientific studies about what goes on in the body during sleep that backs up the weight loss theory. Since, for many of us, trying to lose a few pounds is a way of life why not look at this simple strategy?

Maybe it just isn't so simple. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to get a solid night's sleep. Some people don't have this issue but many do. What about you?

At my house, our sleep time has gradually turned into a 3-ring circus. And we are old codgers who should really be settling in for a long "winter's nap". To start with my husband's work schedule has him going to bed around 7:00 PM! I'm a night owl so I don't climb in the crib until 12:00 or so. No matter how quiet I try to be, my settling into bed usually wakes him up. The dog is so happy when I finally join them that his tail wagging adds to the "unsettling".

At 4:30 AM the clock goes off. Hubby might hit the snooze a couple of times, more interruptions. Then he gets up. At 5:30 I get up because we like that time together and I like making his lunch. My spiritual time is at 6:00 AM so I don't go back to bed when he leaves for work. Furthermore during the night he makes at least one trip to the bathroom, the dog may bark once and walk around the bed to sleep beside me and then beside hubby. Throw in a little snoring and you have quite an evening shaping up. Don't envy me!

Our solution, and we both hate that it has come to this, is to sleep apart a few nights a week. It's not just that sleep correlates with weight loss. It's also one of the most effective factors of healthy aging. There are other less drastic steps the experts advise us to take. A lesser known sleep inducer is tart cherry juice which
contains melatonin, downed before bedtime. I'm going to try that one. Having a personal care routine is said to help, enjoying a mini-snack from this food list, or even having sex. I say, whatever works!

If sleep is a serious issue with you it may be worth checking to see if you have something that can be treated like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or plain old insomnia. It's very worth seeing a doctor if you suspect any of these conditions.

(P.S. Just found a post on Living The Balanced Life with lots more excellent sleep info! Check it out.)

Share with us what helps you get your zzzzzzzzzzzs. Sleep and be healthy! Sleep and by thin(ner)!

PS: Photo Credits: www.likeablequotes.com


dianne's blog said...
Sandra - Love your blog. I've never had problems with sleeping until recently. Between my husband's snoring and getting up in the middle of the night, I've thought about sleeping apart, just can't bring myself to do it.

Also on charitable giving. We pay tithing and it just seems to work. I'm not sure how, but it does. Thanks for your comments on my post.
YayaOrchid said...
Wow! I am really enjoying reading your blog, you've got such nifty helpful info, especially about aging (I'm 53). I'm following you now LOL!

I find that if I listen to the sound of my breathing, I mean just focus on it, before I know it, I'm in dreamland. And yes, probably routine does help a lot.
Real Life In A Minute said...
Thanks Dianne...I hate sleeping apart too! We never did this in our younger days...and not too often now.

YaYa, Thanks for the visit and breathing tip. I know that but forget to try it!
Crystal Mary said...
Restless legs, insomnia...Magnesium is the answer. Just do a little web research and check it out. For a patient brought in with a heart arythmis, madnesiun i.v. is given first instance...also helos constipation anxiety, depression...and it is simply epsom salts.. The miracle mineral. Blessings always to you.
Real Life In A Minute said...
Crystal, thanks for your valuable information. I really appreciate it.
Essie the Accidental Mommy said...
Yep, the husband has sleep apnea and uses the machine. It only helps about mmmmm, 60-70% though.
Me, I love my sleep and always have. It is a priority!supp
Marla said...
I have heard this many times regarding sleep and weight being connected. I am a night owl. Might explain the weight. :-)
Real Life In A Minute said...
Me? I'm a night owl too....I try but I love nights! Awake!
yulz said...
Stopping by the SITS.

and ... I'm a night person too ~
Esmeralda said...
Ironically, I just got to the weight loss part of Taubes' book and from what I've read so far, the studies he cites are all about general weight loss -- there's no distinction regarding % body fat. The studies he cites are all over the place, from 1917 to the fairly recent Hirsch studies with the obese. One of the studies mentions weight lost during bed rest. Hmmmm Now, that's something I'm sure we all want to know more about.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Were You Thinking in 2011?

If you know me, you know I'm always all about the New Year.   But first of all we have to get all we can out of 2011 and it's still going strong.  Here is a "look back" meme idea I saw at Suko's Notebook.  I loved it so I'm sharing it, and you get to see it too.  Maybe you'd like to participate along with us.

The idea is "to take the first line, or title, of each month's first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year."  It forms sort of a collage of your blogging life through 2011.  Should be interesting for me as I rarely look back, and I am so nicheless.  I took a break from blogging for a few months in 2010 and then "started again" January 2011.  So 2011 really was a new start blogwise.  I can't wait to see what overall picture I've painted!  So here goes.  You too?  It would be fun.  If you join in, leave me your link.

January:  The Salvador Dali Exhibit has been at The High Museum in Atlanta for a few months and I finally I got to see it today.

February:  I've been following a piece of Suze Orman's advice for the last 3 or 4 weeks.

March:  I'm excited about the 'little' goals I set last week and thanks for your encouragement. 

April:  I have a computer in my back pocket! 

May:  Bob Greene, Oprah's personal trainer and author of several "get healthy" books, recently talked about the things we can do today to grow younger! 

June:  Barefoot And Blogging

July:  Who knew this river park was so close to my house?

August:  Today is payback day....and since it's the Sabbath, actually by now it's Monday, it's an especially good day to say "thank you". 

September:  Here’s a word puzzle you might like.

October:  Oh my goodness, this makes a yummy drink! 

November:  One of my most popular posts of all time features Dr. Mark Moyad.

December:  Aren't these the most adorable puppies you've ever seen? 

I need to analyze this later and see where my thoughts were going all through the year. There is just no telling!  Thanks again to Suko's Notebook for the idea.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Is Working In Your Life?

Did you hear the story of the elderly lady, probably in her 90s, and her first day in Assisted Living?  As she was shown into her new home, her new room, she exclaimed, "Oh, everything is just so lovely."

Problem was, she was completely blind.  She could see nothing.  She didn't know what her room looked like, if it had a window, if it was light or dark, large or small, or what color the bedspread was.  Still, she had decided she would love her new home.  She constructed "lovely" in her mind and that was where she would live.

I hope, when I am 90, I will have such an uplifting attitude. I plan to.  I hope I will remember that it is always my choice how I view things...including things I cannot see.

On my sidebar there are 5-6 statements that I live by.  I believe all of them at my core.  The one I am focusing on today, as I write this, is "Appreciate what is working in your life."  

Think nothing is working in your life?  Look again.  You may need to use your "inner eyes" as well.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Autism And Puppies

Aren't these the most adorable puppies you've ever seen?  Don't you just want to reach out and hug them?  They live near Fernandina Beach, Florida and are in training to become service dogs for people diagnosed with autism.  They don't look like they are "in training" do they?  But they are.

While learning to serve,  these dogs go everywhere with the current owner/trainer.  Whether it is to church, the courtroom, public transportation, a concert......doesn't matter.  It's very important for the dogs to be comfortable and "know the routine" in every situation.  They are taught to follow their master's commands no matter where they are and under all circumstances.

Some families choose to train their own service dog rather than get one from the agencies that specialize in this service.  It is nice to know both options exist.  Kind of like home-schooling I guess.  Both can work.  Speaking of schools, more and more schools are allowing service into classrooms to assist children who need them.  Petitions are underway if you'd like to further support this cause with your signature.  I just did.

What a lifesaving gift these beautiful dogs are for people who need them.  It seems they are the best form of medicine once they are trained and understand their role.   I don't begin to know scientifically or medically how this works with a brain struggling with autism, but it seems puppy hugs and puppy love reach everyone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Who Do You Write Like?

Who do you write like, ... and why do you write?  Or why do you blog?

How would you describe your writing style?  Short and sweet?  Verbose?  Homey and conversational?  Formal?  Poetic?  Academic?  Literary?  Do you use bits of dialogue or embellish with a lot of descriptive language?  Is your writing delightfully A.D.D. ish and wandering, or organized and straightforward?  Maybe it is subtle and playful before getting to the point.  And on and on it could go.

Arlee Bird, author of Tossing It Out, put me onto a site that was new to me. Maybe I live under a rock or something but I had never even heard of I Write Like.  The site takes a writing sample from you, analyzes your word choice and writing style, and gives you the results.  Kind of like a blood test.  Except you get the results right away and ... it tells you which 'famous' writer your style is most like.

All you do is copy-paste one of your writing samples, like a blog post, for example, and almost magically, you are informed.  For me it says I write like J. D. Salinger.  Sorry J.D. It might make you turn over in your  grave, but I am delighted by the comparison. My fingers fly, then I spell check, correct glaring errors, and leave it pretty much as is.  Very little editing.  Just free flowing thought.  So somebody else sounds like that too?   And somebody famous!  I am exuberant and it will last me all day.

My Hero

 It doesn't matter that Arlee also submitted a sample from the Book of Ezekiel, just for fun, and found the writing style to be like Kurt Vonnegut.  I just don't care.  I write like J. D. Salinger.  I have it in black and white and I'm holding on to it.

So, in J.D.'s words, "I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it."  And I wholeheartedly agree!

Thanks Arlee Bird.  It was a lot of fun.  Give it a try and see who you write like.  Jump back over here and share.    It will be fun.