Girl School for Grownups

Like having a big sister, but better because I can't boss you around!

Wasted Time

Most people who own a computer have done this at least once or twice. I’ve done it more like three or four times, which makes me above average, right? Here’s the scenario: I go to my computer to do something. Then I see something else. And that leads to something else. And now 45 minutes have passed. And usually at this point I’ve not done what I set out to do, nor am I happy or rejuvenated. I’ve just fallen once again into the black hole of the internet. Damn.

I posted about this on Facebook, hoping to get some answers. Because I have the very best friends, I got lots of interesting feedback, and I know I’m not alone in my struggle to stay away from meaningless activity at the screen.

Holly Block Dillon, a life coach, asked an interesting question: how is it negatively impacting your life? I had no problem answering this: “It’s like junk food — satisfying in the moment, but a bad idea in the long run. It takes time away from things that matter to me and makes me feel lazy and unfocused. I feel anxious when I see projects that I could be working on, but I’m not.” The negative effect is enhanced when I start my day by getting onto the computer and checking email and Facebook.

Knowing the why got me to ask Tim if he could find software that would limit the hours I use the computer. (Love that I have in-house tech support here!) Because I’m a shitty sleeper, middle of the night is especially dangerous for me, so I was hoping to limit internet access from say 11 at night till 6 in the morning. He said one way to do it was with parental control software, but then I had a fit and we didn’t talk about that again. 🙂

He was able to find free software that limits loading new pages, and that’s been on my computer for about a week and a half and it’s helping. I don’t have any answers when it comes to too much time on a smartphone. There are benefits to being older and one of them is that I prefer my desktop to my phone by a lot, so that’s kind of self limiting already.

My nephew, Jackson Miller, recommended RescueTime and I’m going to try that too. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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When a workout is more than a workout

I’ve been living in self-condemnation for a while now. It’s not good. Living under a blanket of shame makes you quieter, smaller, until

you

just

want

to

disappear.

Today I remembered a workout I did long ago. It’s from Zuzka Light (who has an amazing story of moving from shame to freedom) and I think it’s called “Get Down, Get Back Up Again.” As she describes it, you set a timer for 12 minutes. (Of course, I did 13, because of the beauty of odd numbers.) Place a chair or an aerobics step in front of you. Lie down on the ground. Start the timer.

Now get up any way you can. Once you’re standing, put one foot on the chair and press up, lifting the knee of your opposite leg. (You end up on top of the chair on one leg, with the other knee raised, which is why doing this near a wall is a helpful thing.) Then step off, and lie back down on the ground. And repeat, switching the knee you lift. Do this for 13 minutes.

If it sounds easy, try it. If it sounds hard, you’re right — it IS hard. While I was doing the workout I was thinking about failure and success and how to get back up. And the song “I’m So Sorry” by Imagine Dragons came on. The words really resonated today:

About time for anyone telling you off for all your deeds
No sign the roaring thunder stopped in cold to read
No time
I get mine and make no excuses; waste of precious breath
No time
The sun shines on everyone, everyone love yourself to death
So you gotta fire up, you gotta let go
You’ll never be loved till you’ve made your own
You gotta face up, you gotta get yours
You never know the top till you get too low
Listen to the song. Try the workout. And make today amazing, friends!
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Bulletproof Coffee update

I’ve been doing portion control and increased exercise for a while now, so maybe it’s more than the coffee, which I’ve been doing for maybe 2-1/2 weeks. But today I got brave and did an InBody weight and body fat test, and the results are good. Like body fat is down 5% good. I may have found my new breakfast normal. Except for on weekends out of town, where French Toast is always a part of the morning meal.

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Mother’s Day again?

I hope I wasn’t the only selfish child who dared to utter the words, “Why isn’t there a kid’s day?” when the topic of Mother’s or Father’s Day came up. For the record, I did celebrate my parents when the time rolled around. And I came to understand the magnitude of what they gave me when I became a parent myself.

I have an uneasy relationship with this “holiday.” It feels manufactured (because it is). I hate the idea of creating an obligation because of who I am. And yet as an adult  I did want to honor my parents each year.

Here are some ideas for ways to honor your parents on the Hallmark-iest days of the year.

  1. If your mom or dad is one who really enjoys a tangible gift, think about something they use or do often, and buy something to elevate the experience. If your mom loves gardening, get her some colorful ergonomic hand tools. If your dad loves his car and washes it often, get him a car squeegee (it’s a real thing and it’s very cool) or something else to make car washing nicer. An avid reader might love a beautiful bookmark. Most parents don’t need a lot of stuff, but something truly special from you will be treasured. This strategy also works if you have one of those “it’s complicated” relationships with your parents.
  2. There are parents (like me) who appreciate gifts but would prefer something more personal. So a card that’s written in really floats my boat. One year I wrote a list of lessons I’d learned from my mom throughout the years. I hope she loved it because a lot of love went into making it.
  3. If you live near your mom or dad, give them a card and write in it that you want to take them out to lunch. (The “and then do it!” goes without saying, right?) Time spent with my kids one on one is invaluable to me, and I’ll bet your parents feel the same.

My belief is nobody escapes childhood unscathed. Even the most well meaning parents will do and say things that hurt their kids. Why? Because we’re imperfect people trying our best to figure it out. I used to feel really awful about all the ways I could have been a better mother. From being a CASA and seeing some really horrible family situations, I can assure you that if your parent or parents loved you and cared about you, you have something to celebrate on Mother’s and Father’s Day.

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The magic? of bulletproof coffee

Several years ago I heard about bulletproof coffee, aka coffee with special fat mixed in a blender. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But it tastes like a latte. There’s a guy who has a website devoted to the bulletproof lifestyle. He says you will do better with special reduced toxin coffee beans and his “brain octane” oil instead of coconut oil. I bought his beans and the oil when I first heard about it. The beans tasted bland. The oil seemed like oil. And my life was kind of chaotic so after about a week I was no longer willing to go through the effort to make the special coffee.

Recently a friend told me that her husband was doing bulletproof coffee and loving it. My life is not a chaotic as it once was. And the idea of steady balanced energy (as opposed to the jittery anxious energy of my morning diet Monster) seemed worth trying. Once again I bought the special oil, because c’mon, if anyone’s brain needs the brain octane oil, it’s mine.

Now three weeks into this adventure I have some good things to report.

  • I *do* have steady balanced energy for many hours after my coffee.
  • I have more self-control when it comes to high carb or sugary snacks.
  • I get full faster when I eat lunch.
  • My waist is more defined and my stomach is flatter.
  • I’ve dropped a few pounds.

One of the real tests of the magic happened last week. I’m working as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate — the best volunteer job in the world!) and had a chance to attend a CEU workshop. The all-day seminar was titled “Trauma-Informed Decision Making.” I thought, “Great. It will be interesting and I can just kick back and listen. Easy day.” Nobody told me that seminars that address trauma can be butt-kickers for people who’ve dealt with trauma themselves. In the morning session I bounced between feeling nauseated and sad. And hey, guess what? There were hundreds of Noah’s Bagels with every flavor of cream cheese spread you can think of. For free! In the back of the room. A bagel could have been just the thing to diminish the bad feelings. And there’s nothing wrong with saying yes or no to a bagel. But I know my brain and body operate better on fewer carbs. And although the temptation to numb out with food was strong, my internal control was stronger. People, this is new territory for me. And it was everything to do with feeling satisfied from my fat coffee!

If anyone has tried bulletproof coffee, I’d love to hear your experience. Oh and if you want a guideline to making it, here goes:

  • However much coffee you want
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons* of coconut oil (or the special oil if you think you need it)
  • 2 teaspoons high-quality butter (like Kerrygold or another fancy schmancy brand)
  • 1 packet Splenda (the bulletproof guy would shriek in horror at this, but I like how it tastes)

Mix all of this on high in a blender. Enjoy. * if you have a sensitive tummy, go slow on the oil at first. It can cause hurry poop if you’re not careful. 🙂

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First poem

Writing a poem

Seems so easy.

I used to think that poems had to rhyme

But now I know that they don’t.

So do words just drip from your brain to the page

Or is there something more to it?

My heart knows there’s something more

Some inexpressible quality like that of pixie dust or butterfly kisses

An intangible essence where the heartstrings are gently strummed

By the words as they unfold.

I long to give words to the quixotic moods of my heart

And to have an unknown someone feel

Really feel

What it’s like to be me.

But my keyboard doesn’t have the right keys

And my mind can’t quite conjure the right turn of phrase

To make it all make sense.

Like much of life, perhaps poetry is defined not by its ending

But by the very fact of beginning, of trying

And if I begin and try, again and again

Perhaps I can write with pixie dust and butterfly kisses

Sprinkled among my words.

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It’s been such a long time

Hi friends. Is there anybody out there? It’s been more than a year since I’ve written. Why did I stop? Well it was a whole bunch of things, but the main one is that I fell into a deep depression, and depression lies to you, and what I was hearing inside my head was “you have nothing interesting to say and no right to write.” (I may have perfected the art of self-sabotage here. I always wanted to be really good at stuff. Perhaps I should have specified the kind of stuff!)

So now the depression is under control (new meds, better habits and some time living mostly in the land of ok-ish-ness) and I think it’s time to write again. Writing this is my public line in the sand to help me to follow through and write.

Thanks for listening.

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