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Posts Tagged ‘balance’

3 Signs I am Drowning and How I Fixed It

February 8, 2011 13 comments

I am still treading wine, but drowning more than drinking.  I just returned from two back to back business trips.  I realize many people travel every week for work, across countries and continents – they’re amazing, I am not.  I am tired and my body hurts from lugging my ginormous (technical term) laptop all over the place in heels.  I was ready to spend some time at home and get back to normal, then my old pal Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) showed up…

My little diva has been sick for the past couple of days with a 103.5 fever and sleep disrupting killing cough.  I have tried to catch up on work and home life while “functioning” on 2 hours of sleep over two days. (Why was this so much easier when the kids were babies???  Don’t say I am getting old – I am fragile and can’t take that right now!)

Here are the signs that things were slipping in my world:

  1. There was soy sauce and wine on the table, I meant to put soy sauce on my brown rice…
  2. I put a carton of milk in the dryer – of course  I didn’t turn it on (because my husband walked up)
  3. I lost my son’s homework, my daughter’s valentine’s and my… (I can’t even remember the other thing!) all in one day! They were all found, including the thing I don’t remember losing, by somebody else.

There are plenty more examples, like my inability to string a sentence together to save my life, but I think you get the drift.  I have hit the proverbial wall and it is not made of cheese, chocolate or wine corks. 

I told my friend this morning, “I just need to get organized and catch up on everything and I will be fine”.  This sent her into hysterical laughter. I am pretty sure my friends only keep me around for the entertainment value.  She gently reminded me that being “caught up” might be too ambitious and I would miss all the fun in the meantime.

So guess what I did? 

At  12:05 I was sitting in my home office, in my pajamas, unshowered and decided to meet a friend for lunch.  This gal is rarely in town and was 10 minutes from my house.  I looked at my work email, my to-do listsssss (did you catch the emphasis on the plural lists) and walked away.  I set a new record for fastest shower and walked out the door at 12:10. mostly clean, no make-up and a big smile.

I have to tell you a spontaneous lunch out is incredibly therapeutic.  The to-do listssss continue to grow, but I am no longer drowning, because really, what is more important – expense reports or lunch with a great friend?

I knew you’d agree.

How do you keep your head above water?

I looked nothing like this at lunch today, but I was happy.

Why I Eat Cookies

January 31, 2011 13 comments

Today has been a roller coaster!  I was scheduled to be on a plane right now headed for another business trip.  Then, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport, my meeting and trip were rescheduled. 

I am thrilled to stay home because I just got back from a week-long trip on Friday.  It was long days of meetings and social events in the evenings.  By 2:00 every day, I was ready for a nap – so I had a cookie instead. 

Once home, I was still tired and didn’t feel like I had enough time this weekend to get everything done.  I ran around until I was close to sleeping standing up – so I ate cookies to keep going.  Sugar is my caffeine.  By last night I had accomplished all I could and enjoyed a bottle (yes, a bottle) of wine, which then affected my judgment so I ate another bag of cookies.

When I got up this morning, I was melancholy about my trip.  I had been home less than 72 hours and needed more time with my husband.  What you’re expecting me to say next is “and I really needed more time with my kids”.

Except I don’t. 

From the moment I walked in the door on Friday, my little pumpkins were lunatics.  They set new temper tantrum records.  My husband was so sweet to share with me that they were great until I came home…  It is so odd, I was sad to part with them this morning, I gave them extra hugs and kisses and truly didn’t want to leave.  But now that I get to stay home, I would like to hide in my office, eat cookies and read a book.  What award do I win for that?

But I am congratulating myself on knowing where I am at and understanding what I need.  I need cookies.  I need rest.  I need cuddling with my kids.  I just don’t want the other stuff like discipline, homework, laundry and bedtime rituals.  Hmmm… I think the business trip might be more restful than parenting…

So I have decided today is I eat cookies day (and it is clearly not ‘I am a literary genius’ day).  You are welcome to join in the celebration.  This is guilt free indulgence.  Will I eat cookies in lieu if my parenting duties? No.  But will the cookies make the duties easier? You betcha!

Next time I will make this brief, I’ll quickly tell you about the isolated times when I don’t eat cookies.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  How do you cope on crazy days?



Treading Wine

January 28, 2011 19 comments

I know what you’re thinking – “Paige, don’t you mean treading water?”

Do I ever mean water over wine? Not unless we’re talking about laundry and I rarely talk about laundry.

For the last several weeks I have been struggling to tread wine.  You see, if I was struggling to tread water, I would have simply gotten out of the pool (or lake, or ocean).  But wine is complex, sometimes surprising, occasionally corked, but usually delightful, just like life.  So therefore, treading wine is worth the struggle.

So what I have been struggling with that has kept me off-balance (and writing very little) for the last few weeks?  I think I have it mostly figured out (how’s that for confidence and conviction?).  I have shared on occasion that I haven’t always been happy in my job.  The thing is, I love what I do and I am good great at it.  But I am a perfectionist and it had gotten out of hand.  I had gotten to a point where nothing felt good enough.  My confidence was slipping and my self-critical side needed a beat-down.  It had started to spill in to my personal life.  Everything felt hollow and I had stopped trusting my own instincts.  Very few people knew how it was affecting me, because, like my dramatic diva of a three-year old, I can put on a show.  The irony is during this time, I received a promotion, a raise and several accolades and still didn’t feel like my work was good enough.

But I am very fortunate, I am surrounded by smart, caring people (and a few paid professionals) who have helped me get things under control.  By examining my perfectionist tendencies, I realized that perhaps I am a wee bit… off-balance, unrealistic and um… crazy.  As I thought about the standard I was holding strangling myself to, I had to laugh.  It was absurd and not the level I hold others to.  My higher self-bar was not because I thought I was better than the average person and could deliver more, it was because of that pesky perfectionism.  This may confuse you since I talk about mold in my shower and all of my follies, but there are parts of life where I feel safe being “normal” and parts where I wasn’t giving myself that same luxury.  (Trust me, the mold is still in the shower and I think the whole house needs dusting).

So I have perfectly cured myself in about two weeks.  (When you’re done laughing, feel free to continue reading).

Welcome back, need some water or a kleenex?

In lieu of an instant cure, which I was dismayed to discover does not exist, I am being more thoughtful about my goals, my decisions and my feelings.  I am letting myself off the hook a bit.  I am taking risks again and know that sometimes I will… eek… fail, and gulp… that’s good for me.   I am also reminding myself that my job is only one facet of my rich, tannin filled life.  I am treating myself the way I would treat any of my precious friends and family members: with support and encouragement.

I know that I will have to keep an eye on that bothersome perfectionist side and I may have to occasionally smack her around, but just being aware makes me feel so much better!

So I am again successfully treading wine and enjoying it.  Not to mention that cabernet-colored skin is more attractive than some of my spray tan debacles in an effort to avoid my natural pasty white color!

Thanks to a Mad Women who inspired me to share the hard, not always funny, parts of life.

I Beat Murphy’s Law… For Now

January 14, 2011 21 comments

Do you ever feel like:

  • Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) is a big mean guy swinging a heavy bat – usually at your face or gut?
  • The moment you get off the rollercoaster of life, you step onto a merry-go-round?
  • Just when you get on a good healthy eating and fitness kick, you get sick, injured or somebody sends you a box of chocolates?
  • You can have a quiet work week and then everything hits on Friday?
  • Nobody drops by unannounced when your home is immaculate and you are put together, but your new neighbor drops by the day you forego getting dressed to re-organize and deep clean your house.
  • The simplest of mistakes can have the biggest impact?
  • You forget the one thing at the grocery store that has no substitute?
  • Your kids only sleep in when you’re already awake?
  • The movie you’ve been dying to see was on TV the previous night?
  • The 50% off Border coupon expired yesterday?

I had a week like this.  But you know what?  That Murphy guy is nothing but a bully.  I turned on him, stole his bat and beat his ironic ass – we say bottom in this house- into the ground.  I have been in pajamas (figuratively and literally) all week, just trying to survive.  But now, the sun is shining, I have taken a full shower (with a razor and everything) and am re-claiming my happy life!

They say that what goes up must come down.  But what comes down and breaks, can be fixed with superglue and a martini!

What are your brushes with Murphy’s Law?  How do you bounce back?

How I Am Going to Get Smart

January 11, 2011 24 comments

I am used to be smart.

I have never been a news junkie, but I at least was up on the world and could follow an adult conversation on current events.

Then I had kids.

Between my full-time, job, my two cherubs and all that those two worlds require, I have run out of news time.  Well that’s kind of a lie.  My husband has the same life as me, parenting included because he’s my better half.  But, he still reads the paper, watches the news and reads internet news every day.  It is embarrassing to be with co-workers and not have any idea what they are talking about.  People assume because I work and have adult conversations, I am current.  No way.  At work I discuss work or I get updates on people’s families, lives, etc. 

So what am I doing while my husband keeps up on current events?  Facebook, Twitter and blogging.  Or reading, but I bounce between literary masterpieces and vampire books.  Hmmm… as I think through my recent reads, there has been more smut than ‘noble’ books.

But I really want to know some of what’s going on the world.  The news is depressing day in and day out and I get sad thinking about what my grandkids and beyond might inherit, but I really do want to be more aware.

And I have a solution…

One of my wisest, and up-to speed friends (why does she keep me around) reads “The Week” and turned me onto it.  She even gave me a subscription.  (Is she trying to tell me something?)  My first issue came on Friday and I read it cover to cover on Sunday in between breaking up fights and by allowing extra Wii time.  It was great!  Before I go on and on, I must make it clear.  I have no affiliation to this publication, I am not being paid to endorse it, nor do they have any idea who I am. – For some reason I don’t make the top of their Rolodex (Rolodex? Who says that these days?) Ahem.  They don’t follow me or seek my editorial contributions.

Back to my free endorsement – it contains well-organized, straight-forward summaries of what’s going on in the world.  For big issues they summarize multiple perspectives and give credit to the original source.  Do you know what this means?!  I can cite the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (just to name a few) all in one decade.

I am on my way to being sounding like a smarty-pants!

Does this mean you’ll see some extra intelligence in this blog?  Not likely.  I am exhausted and can’t remember any of those brainy quotes!

What do you do to keep up on the world and still make time for YOUR world?

Lesson from My Polygamist Same-Sex Date

January 10, 2011 24 comments

I have been having a polygamist, same-sex relationship.  Online, no less.  What would my grandmother say? 

Who is this group of women?  Fellow bloggers. 

My expectation of blogging was simple: to have a creative outlet for myself, a personal playground.  I did not expect to make friends online.  And then I did.

Yesterday, I took the next step in the relationship.  I met some other bloggers for lunch and wine tasting in Napa.  Whitehall Lane hosted us for a fabulous wine tasting that was delicious and educational (ask me about glass corks).  Who doesn’t bond over wine???  We then had a fabulous lunch at Brix.  There was singing, mooning and threats of motor-boating.  It was right up my alley. 

As I drove home reflecting on my afternoon, I felt blessed to have spent a day with exceptional women.  But as I chatted with a close friend about my experience, she said I sounded numb.  She said I was saying wonderful things, but lacked my usual animation.  I thought about it and realized, I lacked emotion because I had some deep thoughts brewing.

Somewhere along the way, my blogging expectations became more complex.  I started watching my blog stats and wondering what it would be like to be one of those celebrity bloggers.  I started thinking that turning my hobby into something more might be my next goal.  After meeting these amazing women I was ready to go home and go after that goal. 

But here’s the problem with me and goals:  I am a crazy overachiever.  My competitive spirit can cloud my judgement, reaching the goal becomes more important than the journey.  I often say I could never be on the Bachelor, because I would want the rose even if the guy was a creep.  I set goals for myself and when I achieve them, I feel lost.  I expect that the next achievement will keep me satisfied.  And it doesn’t.  I end up failing to fully appreciate the experience.  I fear that I could diminish my passion for writing if I take it too seriously.

I think it is great to turn passions into careers or have goals for your hobbies.  I met women yesterday who, for them, this is more than a hobby and I revere them.  But for me to have balance in my life, I have to catch myself.  Motivation is good in moderation.  I need an area of my life where I don’t push my hardest.   

Does this mean I don’t have secret dreams of turning writing into something more?  Of course I do.  Would it be great to make a little wine and lunch money while doing something I love?  Uh, yeah!  But I need to slow down, take time to smell the cabernets and enjoy my new polygamist same-sex relationship.

Do you have something that gives you pure joy without stress?  Is the journey or the destination more important to you?

12 Steps to a “Mature” New Years Eve

January 1, 2011 11 comments

I am recovering from my exhibition of class and maturity. Here are the twelve steps for a mature and dignified New Years Eve celebration:

  1. Get a babysitter.  I am a responsible parent.  Usually…
  2. Dress up – we looked classy and mature
  3. Go to a burger joint – we were overdressed, but the food is yummy
  4. Play college drinking games like Circle of Death (our rules are slightly different, but you get the idea)
  5. Pull the fourth king (yep, lucky me) and pound a cup of champagne, Chambord, Jack Daniels and Diet Coke.  Ugh!
  6. Have a hula-hooping contest.  No, I am not kidding.
  7. Liberate the kids superhero masks and take pictures.
  8. Decide the anonymity of the masks is perfect for toilet-papering and choose a victim lucky recipient.  Our choices were the family who just had a baby and bought a new car or the couple who left our soiree early.  (We only attack people we know.  It’s a sign of friendship.)  We chose the neighbors who left early.  That’ll teach ’em…
  9. Convince the sober driver (yes, we had one) our idea was a good one.
  10. Go to my house to steal toilet paper. I snuck in thru the garage so as not to wake the kids tip off my husband who had left the party fifteen minutes earlier and had told me not to go TP’ing…).
  11. Toilet paper the neighbor’s house while wearing superhero masks and take pictures.
  12. Regret our decisions this morning when it was pouring down rain

Needless, to say, I had to make an apology call today, after getting up with the kids at 7:00 am.

I know what you’re thinking.  You think that I make this stuff up, that I couldn’t really be this immature. 

Think again. 

Happy New Years!

Would you like to be my neighbor?

New Years Un-Resolutions

December 31, 2010 3 comments

AHHHHHHH!!!

I feel better now.  Wait…

AHHHHHH!!!

Okay, all better now.

Why all the screaming you ask?  (If you didn’t ask, just humor me.)

Well, you see, today is New Years Eve and you know what that means…

No, not drunken debacles.  Well, yes, there may be those, but that didn’t make me scream.  At least not yet.

I am screaming because the mere thought of making a New Years Resolution stresses me out!  Seriously, if I haven’t been able to accomplish as task as of now, why is a specific date going to make it any easier?!  It’s not.  It’s just going to add pressure. 

I will be sitting at dinner with a few friends tonight and we will be talking about what to give up.  Yes, I am aware resolutions don’t have to be about giving things up.  They can be about starting things like going to the gym, taking more time for ourselves, blah blah blah.  Our group tends to focus on the what can we give up to be healthier.  Aka, what vice can we give up to make more room for other vices.  I call this phenomenon the vice exchange and have done scientific studies and experiments on the topic.  Go ahead, click the link to learn about the vice exchange, I’ll wait right here. 

Welcome back.  Back to giving stuff up – We have one gentlemen in our social circle who gave up chips one year, crazy bastard – (you know you were thinking it too!)  He made it the whole 365 days and then went two more months just because. (Insert more name calling here.)  So the next year we all decided to give something up.  I know, I know – if your friend jumps off a cliff…  Anyways, I gave up ice cream.  As you know, I am a sweets-aholic.  But I figured if I could keep cake, cookies, candy, etc I would be ok.  The first few months went great.  Yep, I was a superstar for not eating ice cream IN THE WINTER!  But the minute the weather warmed up, my will power cooled down.  I ate ice cream in April.  Nope, I didn’t even make it until a heat wave when it may have been medically necessary to consume frozen dairy products.

This was two years ago and I haven’t made a resolution since.  As you may have read, I have given things up for bets and I give things up for Lent, but a whole year of not doing something, or starting something for that matter?  SCARY! 

So my resolution is not to make a resolution.  Resolutions don’t allow for balance in the normal chaos of life and I am all about balance.  I prefer, rather, to be “mindful” of certain things.  So here is my (da da da da – that’s trumpets):

2011 Mindful List:

  • Be real.  I swear in real life.  Not around children or relatives, but with friends.  I approach this blog as if chatting with my friends, so may see more frequent swearing (like calling my chip-quitting neighbor a bastard).  Swearing is the real me.  Also included in the real me is inappropriate humor (I will use a filter though – you’re welcome), bouts of craziness (you may have already suspected this one) and a severe case of ADD.
  • Judge myself by the same bar as I judge others.  I am tougher on myself than others, so I am going to give myself a break and be more accepting of me, the way I am accepting of my crazy (not a judgment, but rather a compliment) friends.
  • Drinking water.  It reduces headaches, helps chapped lips, promotes clear skin and can prevent or reduce hangovers.  Water is my new BFF.  But Captain is still my boyfriend.
  • Exercise is not the enemy.  I feel better after a good workout.  I can eat more sweets and still fit into my clothes.  I can visit with my friends while working out.  I can waterski and wakeboard without severe injury.  I’ll be mindful of the benefits of kicking my own ass.
  • Sweets are like house guests – they are better in small doses.
  • Instant gratification is not always the best option. I am not sure I belive this, but I will be mindful of it (or be reminded of it when my credit card statement comes).

Well, I think my list is already too long for me.  So let’s talk about you. 

What are you going to be mindful of in 2011? 

I’ll get you started:

  • Paige LOVES comments on her blog.  Something as quick as “so true” makes me smile and I love people who are  wittier than me.  There seems to be a lot of folks in this category… hmm…

 

Categories: Balance, Humor Tags: , ,

The (Off-Balance) Day Before Christmas

December 24, 2010 4 comments
Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house,
Not a clean spot could be found, not even an ounce.
 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with haste,
In hopes that I’d buy stuff before it’s too late.
 
With me in my flannels and Chris in his boxers,
We were sure not an ad for Gap or Brooks Brothers.
 
When what to my wandering mind should appear?
The realization that Christmas is near!
 
There were presents to wrap and groceries to buy.
Would I be done in time? Not sure.  No lie.
 
Eight people for dinner, do we have enough wine?
I ran out of butter and must stand in line.
 
The children were plotting all smug under their beds.
In hopes of ensuring I would snap, lose my head.
 
They bickered and fought, Santa threats had gone stale.
Should I send their gifts back through priority mail?
 
I must clean, wrap and cook all day and all night.
With enough caffeine and yelling, it’ll be alright.
 
When I pull off Martha Stewart Christmas you’ll know.
Despite all the chaos, I put on a hell of a show!
 
So as you scurry and prep, know you’re not the only one.
Merry Christmas to you and I hope you have fun!

Blonde Ambition Holiday Tour

December 20, 2010 8 comments

Before you all get too excited, no, Madonna is not doing a holiday show.

The Blonde Ambition Holiday Tour is my plan for the next two weeks.  My plan is to make the most of it being quiet at work, as well as having the kids home, in order to start the new year caught up, cleaned up and with some good habits.  It is the Blonde Ambition tour because I am blonde (thanks to my stylist Yvette) and it’s one hell of an ambitious list. 

In order to organize my efforts, I am separating the list into work and home.  I am officially working this week and next week, but next week will be even quieter than this one.  So I plan to focus on work this week and home next week.  The work list is boring, so I won’t share it, but it sounds something like presentation blah blah blah email blah blah blah hire someone blah blah blah.

Home List (brace yourself):

  • Make it to the gym at least four days each week to counteract the 12 Pounds of Christmas
  • Clean-out my closet and give to charity  – there are some clothes in there that would be better suited for an elf.
  • Help my kids with their charity donations.  Before their birthdays and Christmas I make my kids go through their toys and each fill a minimum of a 12 gallon trash bag with toys for charity.  I explain that they have to give to others in order to receive.  It’s a great lesson on helping those less fortunate AND it keeps my home from turning into residential Toys R Us. (When I got to bed at night, I don’t like any toys in plain sight).
  • Clean-out my husband’s office – This is frightening.  There is paperwork, empty router boxes and my kids’ school work from the last two years in there.  It’s the embarrassing catch-all room and unfortunately it is in the same hall as the guest bathroom, so we need to make it look less like somebody threw up a recycling bin in there.
  • Have at least three playdates for the kids and three “mommy playdates”.
  • Upload pictures to Facebook and make discs for people.
  • Visit family and friends 3 hours away, 1 hour away and 30 minutes away.
  • Host Christmas dinner.  I need a really good dessert recipe that will feed 10 – any ideas?
  • Take down already dead tree and Christmas decorations on December 26th.

STOP LAUGHING!  If you think it’s funny or even ludicrous to come up with this list of things to do during the holidays, aside from surviving the holidays, I agree.  But when else can I get it done?  I miss my friends and family, my kids have spent a lot of time at home with each other and organization and tidiness makes me swoon.  Yes, I want to try for supermom despite repeated reminders from the universe that I crash after a couple of days of trying to do it all.  But yet I keep trying.  Why?  Because I’m a fighter? My meds aren’t right? I am a glutton for punishment?  I don’t know, but I am headed straight for completely off-balance in pursuit of balance. 

It’s Monday at 12:30 pm, how am I doing so far?

  • I took an hour-long beating in one of those circuit classes today.  I should have known I was screwed when the warm-up was a mile run. (For those that don’t know me, I am not an athlete.  For those that know me, you know that is an understatement).
  • My son currently has a playdate and I am taking my daughter to a kids party this afternoon.
  • I am going out for dinner with the girls tonight.
  • I have a load of laundry in the washer – it should be in the dryer, but one thing at a time.

I am off to a good start.  Now you may be thinking, this is boring, we don’t want to hear about all the good stuff you’re getting done.  But trust me, when I fall on stage (we’re going back to the Madonna analogy), I do it with a bang!

Stay tuned for the pyrotechnics!