Thursday, January 27, 2011

Add That to the List

My lists have lists.

It’s true. My lists sprout other lists, and those grow little piles of paper, and from there a jungle of lists spreads throughout my house.

I can’t help it. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m a little unfocused (understatement!), or stress has finally gotten to me, or my brain just works in circles, but if I don’t make lists, I’m lost.

The problem lies in the where of it all. I list things on envelopes, on the backs of notepads, on post-its and index cards. I list things on calendars and official letters from school. I list things on a whiteboard and on library receipts. These lists get all mixed up, and then start wandering my house in a hungry pack.

I am not particularly more organized because of my burgeoning List Herd, but I do derive extreme satisfaction from checking things OFF whatever lists I can find.
One helpful list I’m trying to keep this year, in my so far completely unsuccessful attempts at a year of zen, is a calendar list. I took an extra calendar and I am trying to list the things I do that are steps towards my goal of positivity. I write down when I exercise & what I do (Gilad! Or “run 3.04 in 36 minutes, knee at 2.6  “ ). This way I can see that I am not as much of a lump as I usually think I am—and I can keep track of my preparation for the Jersey Shore Relay in April.

I am also writing down a little “V” for when I remember to take my new vitamin, Stress Plus Zinc. Really. That’s what it’s called. How could I NOT buy that? I’m not sure taking stress in pill form is a good idea for me, but the bottle made me laugh. Normally when I buy vitamins I take them for a week and then forget until the bottle reaches its expiration date. Hopefully the calendar will help me remember to try and be healthy.

This blog and my daughter’s Caringbridge page also get a notation. I need to keep on top of writing. Filling in “blog” or “CB” on the calendar keeps me up to date on getting the blender-y ideas out of my head and into a computer.

I also decided to write down what books I read. In childhood I was a voracious reader, I devoured any book I could get my hands on. After college my reading dropped off, and once I had kids, reading got relegated to vacation time. Once I went back to work I HAD to read a lot, and now I am trying to read more for my own mental health, fun things not about modern history. So far this year I’ve read “La’s Orchestra Saves the World”, “A Thousand Sisters” (a must read, but NOT fun at all), and a book on cd for the car about “An Organized Mind “(yeah. Still working on that). I am midway through “Founding Foodies”. . .

Honestly, I only really started reading for fun again when my daughter started needing to get books for school from the library. The new releases are right next to the Children’s Section. But writing these down lets me see progress. I am not always floundering.

I also note roadblocks like “hospital day” or “felt like road kill”, just so I can avoid beating myself up over days where I AM a lump. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to call a doctor and actually get some annoying things checked out. I listed local doctors to call. Ahem. That’s a step, right? My calendar will hopefully help me narrow down some of those roadblocks to health that I need to ask a professional about, and guide my understanding of what issues are perhaps stress related . When Road Kill Day is the day after Hospital Day, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out there might be a connection.

I guess my calendar is really a list AFTER the fact, almost like writing an outline after the essay or story is done. But this list in reverse helps clear the cloud of incompetence I normally feel like I live under.

The other day I found a list my 8 year old made to cover What We Need To Do at the fundraiser we run in March. She included pictures and numbers, and left her list in the pile o’ lists I have in my kitchen.

Huh. Who knew list making was genetic? I should make a note of that somewhere. . .

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cookies for Breakfast

As usual, there is a song stuck in my head.

It’s more of a jingle, really, but it is stuck. Maybe because I am eating Cinnamon Life in an attempt to not eat leftover Christmas cookies.

“Well, you can’t have cookies for breakfast, but you can have Cookie Crisp!”

I have several thoughts on that.

When I was a kid, we never had cookies for breakfast. We had cereal. Generally store brand, always healthy. Toasted Oats, Krispy Rice, Corn Flakes, and the occasional
Grape Nuts. Never did a cookie masquerade as part of a complete breakfast in our house.

Granted, my mother did pass on her childhood lesson of “put sugar on your cereal”. So even though I wax on about how we never had sugar cereal as kids, except for the uber-treat of the occasional vacation box of AlphaBits (which is hardly a sugar cereal), we sort of ALWAYS had sugar cereal.

Only when I had children did I realize you don’t have a natural instinct to sugarify cereal. To paraphrase South Pacific, “you’ve got to be taught”. Somehow, in one of my rare moments of early maternal competence, I realized this…and thus my children have never put sugar on cereal. I am still agog about this. They don’t know that people do this.

Granted, I face a tricky situation on those rare occasions I eat cereal for breakfast. Old habits die hard, and I have had to become a pro at stealth-sugaring. Ahem.

For years my husband only ate dry cereal because he thought he hated milk in cereal. Eventually he realized he hated sweetened milk, sugarified by the cereal. Yes, he is weird that way. Thankfully, this was not a deal breaker for our marriage.

I do find it kind of obnoxious these days that in the push for Healthy Eating, the really good for you cereals are exponentially more expensive than the Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and anything with freakishly tinted mini-marshmallows. Cereal with marshmallows is a Rubicon I have never managed to cross. Ew. But to be budget conscious AND healthy is a very challenging prospect.

I do make my own granola now, which is both healthy and naturally sweetened with honey and applesauce. Yay me!

But more days, I just have cookies for breakfast. Yay me?

Because in the final analysis, I am a grown up. Who says I can’t have cookies for breakfast? Cookies have grains and eggs in them. Some cookies even have fruit. So I can have eggs and toast with a fruit cup or one Linzer tart cookie. Really, a cookie is so portable, and such an efficient way to get all of those healthy foods in a few delectable bites.

I exercise regularly, and try to make healthy meals…so I find the world is a better place if I have a well timed choco chunk cookie before work.

As a mom, I did finally actually buy a box of Cookie Crisp. My kids were enthralled—you CAN have cookies for breakfast!—even as I was underwhelmed. I make really insanely good cookies. Cookie Crisp just doesn't compare. Alas! The disappointment after all these years of pining after those tiny cookies that stay crispy even in milk!

I can't complain. I’ll just stick with the leftover Christmas cookies, because really, those are the breakfast of champions.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Movin' Right Along...again

I would like to say I have blogged reams in the last months and that some mysterious blogosaurus simply consumed the posts, leaving nothing for anyone to read.

I would like to say that I have filled screen after screen with witty commentary and reflections on my fascinating existence.

To quote Groucho Marx, I would like a trip to Europe.

If I had ruby slippers I could tip tap tap them together and voila! these wishes would become reality. I do have a pair of exceptionally cute red shoes (ok, maybe more than one pair. Maybe more than 2…ahem), but none of them seem to possess the key wish-fulfilling properties of ruby slippers.

Alas. But I am resolved, as much as I ever make New Year’s Resolutions—which is never—to actually try to put some words in this blog on a regular basis, even if a roaming blogosaurus threatens to devour them, and even if I have nothing witty or fascinating to say. Red shoes optional.

My one true resolution for this year is to work on being happy so I can be a real support to my children, the ones who have something to truly put happiness in peril. My spouse asked me the other day, in response to me stating a need to avoid an annoying conversation (oh, the holidays!) by going to my “happy place”, “Do you even have a happy place?”

He was kidding, but I, of course, was utterly crushed. (I haven’t made any resolutions about melodrama, so I figure that was an appropriate response.) He’s right. I have to re-locate my missing happy place. As part of that, I need to keep writing. Writing keeps me from hiding under a rock, or the bed, or anything I can manage to fit under. Writing gives me the path to FIND the happy place, because if the words get all glommed up inside me, I can’t navigate a path out of myself. Does that make sense? Silence becomes the rock for me to hide under.

I’m not sure if that’s deep or cheesy, but hey, that’s the vaguely self indulgent perk of a blog, walking the deep/cheese line.

Seriously, I may be brief, or silly, or just meh in this blog, but I am determined to not let 2011 roll over me until at least February. “Movin’ Right Along” was NOT supposed to represent the Steam Roller of Life working its inexorable progress over my formerly 3 dimensional neurotically creative self. I need to reclaim progress, live my life (instead of letting life live me), and WORK at happy.

As inspiration, I am using Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project as a handy reference…I highly recommend this book, it’s a really entertaining and insightful read, and at least for me, I felt like GR was talking out of my head sometimes, which was both unnerving and endearing at the same time. Check out her facebook page for a great community of people who are thinking Happy is a good thing. : )

Carpe 2011!