Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inventory day

I've decided that on the last day of each month I will take an inventory of sorts to weigh how the experiment is going, look at which goals I am meeting, which goals I am missing and how I need to change my plan to be more effective. My friend is in college and taking a health class, and geek that I am, I was reading her text book a little today. It had a section on behavioral change and how it is most successfully accomplished. I think I'll be able to use some of the ideas from it to help me hone my plan a bit. I'm sure part of the reason I've failed at resolutions before has been that 1) I don't have a plan on how to reach the objective 2) I never go back and assess or refresh the commitment and 3) I give up if what I'm doing doesn't seem to work, instead of coming up with a new plan to reach the goal. So, tomorrow I should have an evaluation or score card if you will of progress for you. It will keep me accountable. And hopefully it will give me an idea of where to go from here.

The textbook had some interesting statistics. It said 80% of people make resolutions. 60% of the resolutions are health related. And sadly, only 10% of people keep the resolution and meet their goal. I really want to be part of the 10% who are successful and not the 90% that give up and quit!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

all around wonderful

So in case you haven't guessed, I was able to figure out how to upload a picture to the blog! Got some good shots in the snow today. Riley and I walked around the neighborhood to find some pretty scenes. She loves to go in the "woods". It's really just a little path beside a very small creek/drainage area between the houses, but it is pretty none the less. And it's a great place for gathering brightly colored leaves in the fall and pretty wildflowers in the spring. I like White House! Small enough to have some really neat small town aspects, but not so far out that we are isolated. We didn't sled today, but we did enjoy getting out in it as much as we could with our limited gear. Even Nate warmed up to it after a while. (no pun intended) And of course, there was the required hot chocolate when when came in to thaw out. Then we enjoyed a big pot of chili and corn bread for dinner. So I guess it was an all-around wonderful snow day. Maybe tomorrow I will brave the roads once the sun comes out and hopefully clears off some of the pavement. Here's hoping all of you were safe and warm and happy today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

snowy night

The snow continues to fall tonight. I think we have at least four inches accumulated on the patio so far. Hooray! Tomorrow will be Nate's first time to play in the snow and we are woefully unprepared. We have no sled, no inner tube and no saucer. I'm hoping we have some mittens for the little guy. He is not a huge fan of the cold. We'll just have to improvise. Riley has played in it a little in the past, but this is the most snowfall this sweet little southern belle has ever seen. I am so looking forward to it! It brings back wonderful memories of all the fun we used to have in Montana. And I'm sure my camera will be going non-stop tomorrow. There are few scenes as beautiful as a snow covered landscape. Even the most mundane neighborhood takes on a magical charm when blanketed in glistening white. Perhaps I can figure out how to add pictures to the blog tomorrow so I can share these moments with anyone who may be tuned in. It's a pity the pictures can't capture that reverent hush snow places over the world. That is probably the most magical part of all. You could always put your hands over your ears while your looking, but I doubt it will have the same charm. :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I came home last night to find my ex and his wife taking care of my little grandson Nate. He's been sick and had to stay home from church. I live with my son and daughter-in-law, so it's not unusual to come home to visitors but this was weird because....well because it was my ex-husband...and his wife. And more than that, this time was weird because it really hit me... I didn't feel sad or upset at all. Usually I feel a little sad after seeing him, and I've always interpretted that as missing him in some way. But over the last year I've realized it is not him I miss. It is that he is the one person outside my family who has shared the greater part of my history. I'll never be involved with someone again who has known my mother and father. (They've both passed away) I'll never have someone in my life who has seen me through the struggles of becoming an adult, raising kids, or figuring out who I am as a person. Although that last part has been done mainly after the starter husband, so I guess that doesn't count. I think this is where the sadness has come from in the past. Perhaps the absence of those feelings now signals I am past the greif of this loss and ready to share my life with someone who is more familiar and comfortable with the person I have become, instead of someone who knows the person I used to be.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

back at it

Back to work today. Spent the better part of the day working on a spread sheet. I had to try and create formulas which involved remembering math terminology, which reminded me of one of the glorious reasons for being a massage therapist-namely that I normally don't have to remember of even think of said math terms. Both of which can bring about an intense headache and a huge pain in the neck! I somehow muddled through the muck of Mathland and emerged victorious with my completed spreadsheet in hand. Hooray for me!!! It's not that I hate math, I just feel better when it's not around. Anyone who can tell me which movie I adapted that from wins the booby prize. :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

silver lining

Slept 14 hours last night! I haven't been this sick in a long time. But I'm actually starting to feel better today. I should be well enough to go back to work tomorrow.

Normally when I'm sick I do a lot of TV watching. This time I did some reading. I also worked on my website, did some work on organizing old photos, balanced my checkbook and spent some time with the grand kids. (Nate's been pretty sick too) So being sick and at home hasn't felt like a total waste of time this go round. I guess every cloud has it's silver lining!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Tess' Adventures in Wonderland, AKA Walmart.

Who knew that a shopping trip to Walmart could be so exhausting? When I stare in envy at the woman rolling by in her nifty motorized shopping cart, I realize I should not have braved Wonderland in my condition. Not only did it feel like it took 3 hours, but I'm sure I'm  buying all kinds of things I absolutely did not need. I actually put in my cart a tuna press/strainer, whatever that is. I feel a little like what I imagine someone with ADD might feel, distracted by any new and interesting thing around the next corner. Wait, wasn't I just down this aisle. Oh dear, I can't remember. Wow look, the clearance aisle. And here's the craft aisle and then the office supply aisle. I'm done for now. And what a great time to forget the shopping list! 

Moral of the story...never try to navigate Wonderland when you are sick. It can be a very dangerous place indeed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24

24 days down, 341 to go

I don't think at the end of this experiment I will be terribly anxious to turn the TV back on, but who knows what the next 341 days will bring.

Tonight driving home from across town there was this incredible piece of sunset. It was as if there was a small amphitheater hollowed out from the stormy sky into the clouds. That was the only place the sun could break through as it set down on the horizon and it radiated this cathedral-like rose colored glow onto the cloud amphitheater. It was so perfect and otherworldly that it made me feel as if I would hear angels if I dared to roll down the window. Thank you God for the incredible gifts you give to us so freely,  if we only care to pay attention to your handiwork.

Ok, I know it's nothing to do with TV, unless you consider it heaven's regularly scheduled commercial break. So sue me for being random!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ebb and flow

Yesterday was a great day as far as productivity goes. I went to the chiropractor, went to McKay's and traded in my old books, exchanged the DDR for one that works with XBOX 360 (I got the wrong kind last weekend), paid my bills, took my car in for it's 30,000 mile service, took my kitty to the vet for her shots, got to speak to my wonderful brother in CA (who I haven't talked to since before Christmas-long overdue I know) and then had a great night hanging out with a brave friend and the grand babies. We tested out the Dance Dance Revolution game and found out just how uncoordinated we really are!

Now today is a different story altogether. I was supposed to do a photo shoot this morning for a motivational speaker and then head out to Lebanon for an all-day dance workshop. But I feel up to little more than laying on the couch. I really hate being sick! Mostly because of what a huge waste of time it seems. But sometimes I think it is the universe's way of saying you need to take a day to rest-part of the ebb and flow of life and energy. So today is more of an ebb day, a regeneration day. Think I'll put Nate down for his nap and take a little snooze myself. Send your healing thoughts and prayers my way if you think of it. I can use all I can get for sure!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

an example

The coolest thing happened to me today! A friend of mine told me I had inspired them to start writing again. She said she normally plays Tetris for a while before she goes to sleep, but now instead is going to do some writing. How awesome is that!? Not that there is anything wrong with Tetris, I love it. But I don't think anyone is going to look back at the the end of their life and say, "I just wish I'd played more Tetris, you know. I never got to the tenth level!" But I'm sure there are lots of people who look back and wish they'd tried to write that book that was in their head. Or kept a journal of all the wonderful, sweet things their child had done growing up. That's why I'm putting TV aside. I don't want to look back one day and regret all the things I didn't do, because I spent so much time watching it's hypnotic flickering lights, no matter how entertaining they might be.

And if I hadn't embarked on this adventure, I might never have inspired my friend. I'm not sure I've ever been an inspiration to someone before. I'm sure I've been a warning. You know how when you see someone do something really stupid, and then you say to yourself, "Please God, don't ever let me do that!" But that's a different kind of inspiration. I like this sort much better!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

not feeling so hot

So, yesterday I totally neglected my blogging duties due to illness. I'm coming down with some kind of congestion/cough thing...yuck! In fact, my whole family has...we are now officially the phlem family. So yesterday, after I put in a full day at the spa while coughing my fool head off, I headed to Panera for my favorite soup. Since my mom has been gone for over twenty years, it is the closest thing to mom's chicken soup I can get. It is my all-time-must-have-when-sick "thing". I ate my soup, came home, took a hot bath and went to bed. And tonight is going to be a replay of the same, sans soup. It is supposed to be a busy weekend for me, so I'm hoping all the vitamin C will kick my immune system into high gear and get rid of this crud! What do you do when you're sick? What makes you feel better? I'm the kind that likes to be left alone to rest. Some like to be babied and taken care of. It's amazing how we all experience the same things, but relate to them in such a kaleidoscope of different ways. I guess that's what keeps life interesting.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I just finished my first book selection from my trip to McKay's yesterday. I spent the last hour and a half reading the last of it and now my entire body is a giant prune. Yikes! I had to finish it though. It was one of those books that is uncomfortable to read, because it is a little too neurotic and a little too real. And I think for me a little too close to home. It was called "Welcome to My Planet", about a woman who slips into a depression, becomes addicted to tv, keeps looking to a boyfriend or husband to make her life complete and happy, doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, always feels like she is missing "something" in her life, etc... All I can say is I've got the t-shirts for all those destinations and none of them were fun. So I had an urgency to finish the book and see how she turns out. And thank goodness it turned out well. (I get way to involved in the emotions of the story sometimes, can you tell?) She , like me, begins to learn about being present in her life and making choices that take her to a better destination. Which is what my whole focus is with this blog. Hopefully, I am accomplishing it in a slightly less painful and neurotic way than she, but the most important thing is that I am accomplishing it. One choice at a time!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

book lover's heaven

Anyone who lives in Nashville and loves to read should know about McKay's used book store. Or maybe they shouldn't. I found out it can be a very dangerous place.

I went there today to trade in some books I'm done with. I went in with twenty books to trade and came out with those twenty plus at least ten more! The line was too long for trading-in, so I decided to just look around a bit. Then I find they have the Dance Dance Revolution for X-Box for $20. A few minutes later I have a cart and several books on CD.  Then I find the Italian language section and the photography section. Now the cart has several more items in it. That's when I find the bargain fiction section. Oh MY!! It's like literary crack. 

But at least I got lots of fuel to stoke my imagination's fire. Hopefully it will overflow into my writing. Plus Riley is gonna LOVE DDR...can't wait to see her having fun. Maybe next time I'll actually get to trade in those books I was planning on getting rid of.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not what I expected

Well, today I did not accomplish what I'd expected to accomplish. But I did accomplish other things that were just as important. My son and I cleaned out the garage. My main focus was to be able to get to the pilates machine that I have yet to test out and that I can benefit greatly from no doubt. I did get the area cleared and ready, but still no test run. So my flabby core is still....well flabby. To make room for this year's box of financial papers in the storage area, I took up an old year's box to shred the contents. And as I sat overheating my poor little shredder, it hit me how very grateful I am to not have such a mountain of bills any more. But even more so I am thankful to not have the name or the life that I had then. Looking back, it's weird to see how unhappy I was. I wish I had not spent so much time living a life I did not enjoy. But that is the past and this is my present. In the present, I feel fulfilled in my work, happy with my relationships, comfortable in my skin, blessed in my home and confident in my ability to change and adapt to what life brings me each day. I'm in a really good place. So I accomplished a lot today, in an unexpected way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day fourteen

We had some technical difficulties with the internet last night, so I could not make this post until this morning.

 "In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it."
-Jane Smiley

We will do whatever it is we truly desire to do. We may try to make excuses, or give reasons, or validations, or justifications, but in the end we do things because we want to do them. We may not even understand why we want a certain thing. But the heart will have what it wants. It is like a spoiled child, pestering and nagging and making you generally unhappy until it gets it's way. What is your heart's desire today? What is motivating you? What is moving you? Do you like the outcome, or do you need to change your thoughts and attitudes so that you can change your actions?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day thirteen

Thirteen days into the experiment:

I have a little rash on my arm and my friend Sharon at work says it must be from  TV withdrawls...she says I'm having the DTV's. I on the other hand, think it's going really well. I've done a lot more dancing in the last two weeks, spent more time with friends, exercised more, (2 miles on the elliptical tonight) done more writing, more experimenting with raw food dishes (ask me  about the pumpkin seed pate some time) and have actually lost 5 pounds! As experiments go, I'd say this one has been all good so far. I'm excited about what is to come. Oh, and that's the other thing. I'm feeling very upbeat and dare I say it- optimistic. Not that I'm normally a pessimist, but more of a pragmatist. Maybe I'm focusing more on the possibilities instead of the obstacles. Whatever it is, I like it. So onward and upward! What things would you like to see shifting in your life? What are you willing to do to help them move? Something to think about. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

new story

This won't be a long post tonight, since my tail is draggin', as thy say down here in TN. But I will let you in on a little secret. I'm working on a new story and I think it's going to be really good. I have the characters outlined in my head and the plot already sketched out. Tomorrow I start putting ink to paper. I can't tell you what it's about yet. That would ruin the surprise. You're not one of those folks that sneaks a peak at the Christmas gifts before the big day are you? I thought not!

But I will tell you it has something to do with Woodstock-which will make my kids laugh because they already think I'm a hippie. And it will make my friend Annie laugh because she thinks I am not. But hippie or not, I think the story is going to be fun. So keep your fingers crossed and send lots of good vibes my way man...peace!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

making time

Day Ten

"You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it." Charles Buxton

When I told a friend about this journey and it's purpose (to make more time for important things in my life) they told me I would end up filling the time all too easily with trivial things. I can see how that could happen and it concerned me somewhat. So I began examining my purpose a little more deeply. I don't expect that just because I cut out TV time, I'll be able to "save the world" and that is not my purpose. My purpose is to have a more positive influence on and in my portion of the world and the circle of people that I touch. I like to say that if I have laughed, loved, connected, danced, learned, grown or helped someone in any given day, then it was a good day. By conciously making time for these things, by making them a priority, I am making my world better in tiny little ways every day. Right now, for me I think that is enough.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

better pictures

When television came roaring in after the war (World War II) they did a little school survey asking children which they preferred and why - television or radio. And there was this 7-year-old boy who said he preferred radio "because the pictures were better." ~Alistair Cooke

Day Nine:

Are there still "better pictures" in my imagination? I'm hoping I haven't let that particular muscle atrophy so long that it cannot be exercised back into usefulness. I saw a strange story on the news and it sparked my interest. I thought it would be great material from which to make a short story. But to this point, I haven't been able to put any meat to the bones. Perhaps I need to find my muse. Or perhaps I need to not be afraid of walking on these wobbly legs and falling down. I need to write, whether it turns out wonderfully or poorly. At least I will be writing. At least I'll be exercising the muscles of my imagination. I know 99 % of the time when I read a book and then see a movie adapted from it, I like the book better. Maybe that means my pictures are pretty good after all! But just in case, if there is a muse out there looking for work, I'm a would-be-writer in need of inspiration. So let's get together.

Friday, January 8, 2010

in front of the tv

Day Eight:

I did not watch any TV today, but I did spend a good bit of time in front of it-playing Wii. And I had a blast. I've not laughed so hard in a long time! I spent time with good people, we prepared a meal together and shared it, we laughed and got our blood moving. Then I drove home safely on snow covered streets and spent a few minutes outside before coming in the house just soaking up the beauty of the snowfall at night. Reminds me of Montana. I had a good day. No, I had a very good day. In fact, life itself is just good right now. And I am so very grateful for every moment.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

live deep

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
-Henry David Thoreau

Do those words strike a chord in your soul, as they do in mine? Do you want to live deep? Or are you content to wade around in the shallow end of the pool, never venturing in far enough to sense the exhilaration that comes with not being able to touch the bottom?

I had an incredible experience this summer. I went down to Florida to camp out for a week at the beach. It was a very spur-of-the-moment vacation and possibly one of the best I've ever had. During the trip, I tried something I'd never done before. I went snorkeling. They took us out on this huge catamaran and we got to snorkel and explore the underwater world for quite some time. I had one very zen moment when I completely relaxed and allowed the rocking of the ocean to move me in perfect rhythm with the swaying seaweed and the undulating fish. It was really quite trance like and lovely. 

But then later I missed an experience and I think I will always regret it. They took us out into the deep water and threw out this line with little buoys attached. Then they told us we could jump in and wait for the dolphins we'd spotted to come closer. But I didn't do it. I was fine near the island, where my feet could touch if need be, but dive in out here in the middle of the ocean where anything could be lurking? I just couldn't do it! My brave friend Jules did though. She was the first one out there and went to the limits of the line. And the dolphins came and swam under her and by her close enough to touch. And then they went and got some of their dolphin friends and brought them back to see the silly looking creatures in the water and swam around all the brave ones. And I stood on the deck and watched, and laughed and clapped. I loved every minute of it. But I missed out on diving into the deep and experiencing it for myself. I don't ever want to do that again. I don't want fear to keep me from experiencing something extraordinary. I don't want fear to keep me from living deep! 
And I don't mean that in just the grand-occasion kind of way, but in the ordinary day in and day out moments of my life. There are always opportunities to risk and experience life more fully. It might be taking the risk to open up to someone and reveal more of myself, or to love someone, or to help someone or to stand up to someone that needs to be stood up to. 

Heaven help me to risk being real and fully present in a world suffocating in synthetics. Help me to live my life deeply and fully with no more regrets!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

educational tv

All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching? ~Nicholas Johnson

Was it teaching me about the things I truly value such as beauty, friendship, love, kindness, joy, sacrifice, sincerity, honesty, and family. Or was it teaching me about violence, hatred, murder, deception, shallowness, greed, evil and the ugly side of life.

What I feed my mind is what I become. Am I feeding it from a bounty of good things? Or I'm I scrounging through the garbage pail for scraps? If "garbage in, garbage out" is true then "good stuff in, good stuff out" should be equally as true. I guess all of you can let me know at the end of the year if there is more good stuff to me than garbage compared to last year.

Day Six

Day Six:

We are having a Winter Weather Advisory tonight calling for 1-3 inches of snow. Of course, this is a cause for major concern here in middle Tennessee-practically a blizzard! My Montana friends will be rolling on the floor laughing at this no doubt. But here, it is serious business. The resort I work for has actually arranged for part of the crew to spend the night at the hotel so that we will have a staff here in the morning. If we didn't, half of them wouldn't show up I'm sure. I guess that is a perk of working for a hotel, or a detriment depending on your point of view.

I choose to look at it as a perk. I'm going to take the opportunity to work out tonight and use the jacuzzi. And then in the morning I can sleep in a little extra because I don't have to drive in to work. I also don't have the stress of worrying about driving in the bad weather. I'm already here and ready to walk through the lovely gardens into the spa. I could get used to that! It's all in the way you look at it. And I am in charge of the way I look at it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day Five

Day Five:

Woke up early this morning before the alarm. Another rarity for me. I think I'm turning into Ben Franklin. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. I think that was one of Ben's sayings. So if getting to bed early and up early can do all that for me, sign me up! At this rate I might even be able to get some sunrise pictures to add to my portfolio. Feeling good about the day to come. I truly have such an incredible life. I need to voice my gratitude for it more often. Thank you God for all the good you've placed in my life and for turning even the not-so-good to my advantage when I allow it. I want to carry this feeling of thankfulness with me throughout the day. It makes my heart feel light!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day Four

Day Four: Well, this could be a record for me. Today is January 5th and I've already gone through my file cabinet and cleaned out the previous year, made files for the new year, and have all the receipts and such put aside for doing my taxes. Quite remarkable. Now I am heading to the kitchen to cut up veggies for lunches. Then I will still have time for a nice hot bath and a little yoga before bed.  I am feeling really good about the changes happening so far. And I can honestly say I have not missed the tube yet. I did have a little pang last night when I heard the kids were watching Desperate Housewives...but then I realized how depressing the housewives and a lot of the other shows I used to watch could be. I loved CSI, House, Bones and all the crime shows. So much death and dismemberment surely is not good to fill your head with before you go to sleep, right?!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day Three

Day Three: Yesterday was a good day. I got some things done that I needed to accomplish. And spent some time planning for the upcoming week. I made raw treats so that I can get my eating on track. (raw almond carob chip cookies and raw fudge brownies) I got containers to organize all my nuts and weird health food stuff, which will please my kids no doubt. You wouldn't think nuts would be a problem, but apparently I have some squirrel tendencies and have taken up a whole shelf in the pantry with my assorted nuts. In my defense, they are a staple in the raw food diet! Heading to Trader Joe's later to get the rest of what I need for the week. This is definitely one of the things I wanted to make time for by cutting out the TV, so I am pleased with my progress for today. Gold star for me!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day One

Day One: I'd asked my son to take away the TiVo while I was at work so I wouldn't have to be witness to the carnage. But of course he did not. So I was forced to witness the pulling of the plug. How very sad! And now there is a big empty hole where the TiVo used to sit. Both literally and figuratively.

I was communicating with and old friend from high school who has recently done her own plug pulling and it reminded me that in my childhood, tv was not a focal point. I watched cartoons on Saturday morning because that was the only time they were on. We had only 3 channels. (oh the horror) And I rarely watched tv at night, perhaps a couple of shows per week. My play time was mainly spent outside riding my bike around the neighborhood, roller skating (on metal wheels), jump roping, playing jacks, and just plain old using my imagination! In summertime we were outside sun up to sun down for the most part. And if we were inside we read books or played games. 

How did I go from that, to being so very addicted to the technology? I guess it doesn't really matter how I got here, just that I'm getting out. Maybe I can even recapture a little of that childhood imagination in the process! It's a bit dusty, but I think it still works.