Weekends

Are your weekends a wonderful time to try new things and go new places? Do they invigorate you for the rest of the week? I realized yesterday, as I was hurriedly chopped veggies for my soup that most of what I’d done this weekend was run around and cook.

This wasn’t what I’d had in mind for my weekend, but that’s what ended up happening. On most weekends I make a pie for the family, but this weekend I made brownies (so my husband would be able to take some with him). My husband is beginning a new “thing” at work that will entail him being gone to a job-site for two weeks; then he will be flying home on a Thursday and returning on a Sunday for two more weeks. This should last for about two months. We’ll see if that actually happens, since flying can get very expensive. But, that’s the plan.

I’m not that worried about him being away, since in the 1990’s when the kids were extremely little, he worked in Russia for months at a time, working on special projects. But, lately when he works away, he usually is within fairly easy driving distance and this time he’ll be about 12 hours away. Not a real problem, but still, it’s been a while since he was gone like this. So my weekend was spent running errands, cooking and baking.

However, I’ve realized that since the snow started with a vengeance in January, I haven’t really done anything exciting or different on the weekend. How about you? What do you do over the weekend, and do you have any cheap ideas for me? I’d love to hear them.

Bing, Bang, BOOM! – It Doesn’t Work Like That

I’ve been having a slight belief issue lately. See, I’ve been Vegan since last April, and been working out fairly consistently for a while now…And, I really haven’t seen much of a transformation. Now, I know all the facts: muscle weighs more than fat; it takes time and consistency to lose fat; and most importantly, stress and not enough sleep are factors in weight loss.

If I look at all the healthy benefits I’ve gained simply by becoming Vegan, I have to admit that I have improved. My digestion is awesome, my elimination is fantastic, and my bouts of sinus problems are almost gone. Look at the great benefits I’ve gotten! I enjoy eating a plant-based diet, and I’ve found fabulous new foods to try. Very good! I’m extremely pleased.

However, my pant size hasn’t changed, and I’m dreaming of little summer dresses, and facing another horribly hot and humid summer in my capris again. Yes, there have been changes…I can feel pretty good muscle-tone on my legs (including upper thighs), but still I cry – look, I’m in my same size jeans! What is going on! There is definition on my arms, and I’m actually starting to get some guns on my upper arms. But, don’t they say you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days???

Oh Dear! Am I being suckered by even looking at those “promises”? Of course! It took time to get out of shape; it will take time to get back into shape. Plus, there is a list of things I’m doing wrong, and I know it: potato chips (need I say more?); Oreo cookies (and, you can never eat just one); sleeping in on some mornings and not working out; living with daily, long-term chronic stress (and not meditating); and last but not least not getting enough sleep.

See, all I had to do was to be truthful to myself, and I’d find out what the real issue was. It’s all in the above paragraph. That’s why I’m not losing weight. Why oh why does it have to take so long? When I tried to get pregnant 26 years ago, my doctor at first questioned if I was even having menstruation – the six-pack abs threw him off. He actually thought I was an athlete. Ha! While I never had the six-pack again, I know that had been attainable (granted, 26 years ago). Where oh where did I go? I know, I became a mother, and somehow I lost myself. I’m still looking for me, sometimes I can see myself waving from the mirror – there are glimpses now and then.

How come a lifestyle change doesn’t work Bing, Bang BOOM! Why the h*ll not? I know, because only something that takes work is worth-while (I’d like to meet the person who decided that little factoid). Well, I guess I’ll just keep on plodding on, after I eliminate the chips, Oreo’s, sleeping late and stress (ha ha) from my life. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’m still dreaming of those little summer dresses.

Change – How Do We Rise to the Occasion?

I dislike change, it can be way too disruptive and I tend to avoid it as much as I can. I like my routines and keeping everything the same. However, if everything stayed the same how would we ever learn new things?

The other morning, disaster struck! My sons’ X-Box 360 decided it wouldn’t connect to YouTube anymore. So, there I was, all set to do my Yoga with Denise Austin, and I couldn’t do it! I have already dealt with my VHS breaking and having to find that same Yoga work-out on YouTube, but now! Oh, No! The problem was compounded by now knowing that the Tae Bo workout I usually do on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays also was no longer available. Didn’t the X-Box know how long it took me to find a Tae Bo I could do?? Well, at that point I was so despondent that I shut everything down and decided I was done for the day. My daughter tried to fix the problem last night, but this morning at 5 a.m. I discovered YouTube wasn’t working. Stupid X-Box!

So, I took care of the problem by using one of my Billy Blanks DVDs – that problem solved. But what about my beloved1990’s-era Yoga work-out? Well, for the first time I did Sun Salutation without Denise’s voice to follow. I usually do this with my eyes closed so I can just concentrate on her voice telling me when to breathe. But this morning I simply concentrated on listening to my own inner voice giving me instructions. Strange, but it worked. Luckily I had the foresight to write down all the Yoga postures in order, so tomorrow I will be able to attempt the standing and floor postures on my own. Will it work? I hope so. I am also stuck with a much more intense Tae Bo DVD, but hopefully I’ll eventually be able to follow along with that.

This got me thinking about how I react to change. Usually you have to drag me backwards by my hair, kicking, screaming and crying into a new and unknown future. I did cry a little this morning when I told my daughter about my continued problems, but there was no screaming or hysterics. I managed to downplay the drama (yay me!). I’m hoping that somehow we’ll be able to figure out the problem, but at this point I at least have a plan. This is of course, the most important thing about change. Call me anal, but I’m all about the planning. I can plan for change with the best of them. It’s the coming up with the plan by the seat of my pants that can throw me off. This is a funny thing, since I’m often all about flying by the seat of my pants – but that’s my idea, not something that’s been thrown at me. How well do you handle change?

Have Courage and Be Kind

I went to see the latest Cinderella movie last weekend and have been thinking about it ever since. As those of you have seen it know, Ella’s mothers’ dying words to her are “Have courage and be kind.” That’s the phrase that has been chasing itself around my brain for the past week. Courage is needed simply to live. After all, the list of things that can go wrong in life is endless and often it is courage that gets us up and out of our beds in the morning.

But, I don’t think that’s the meaning of this choice of words, here. I believe they are meant to be taken together. “Have courage and be kind.” It takes a certain type of courage to be kind. Ella demonstrates this courage by her unfailing ability to remain kind in the face of increasing unkindness.

This is a lesson I learned when I failed miserably at showing kindness. There was a boy in my high school band who was just one of those awkward, “spazzy”-type boys. The ones who everyone made fun of. I had never made fun of him, and I knew that he “liked” me. Not only did I know, but so did everyone else. This of course, was “social suicide”, and I knew that if I didn’t want to be put into the same category as this one “spazzy” boy, I’d have to do something. Now, to be honest, I was one of those socially awkward “nerdy” girls with glasses, who thought completing all those extra credit projects was a “cool” thing to do. So, my social cred really wouldn’t have been high to begin with. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was unkind to this boy. And, it was probably the worst thing I’ve ever done, since it was premeditated unkindness. This was the only time I was purposefully unkind. I can’t even describe how terrible this made me feel. I was guilty for weeks, until I finally got the courage up to apologize. He was graceful and accepted my apology, proving himself to be the kinder person.

This was one mistake that I hope I’ve never duplicated. I’ve tried really really hard, sometimes necessitating the biting of my tongue to continue being kind. I have often deliberately ignored nasty comments. I’ve instead perfected the art of “misunderstanding” my mother-in-law and other people, and treated rude comments as compliments instead. Thankfully this art has not been so necessary in recent years, and she is convinced I’m the kindest, sweetest daughter-in-law.

I’ve found being kind can be the most difficult thing sometimes. It has taken courage to be kind in the face of unjust criticism. Of course I’ve had nasty thoughts of my own; however I’ve managed to hold my tongue more often than I ever anticipated I could. Being kind is not a default mechanism. It takes courage to be kind in the face of unkindness. But, if we all followed the advice of “Have courage and be kind” wouldn’t the world be a better place?

Empathy

Empathy can be the most important virtue a person can have. Someone with empathy can gain an understanding of people like no other. Reading about an issue, or looking at photos of suffering, etc. will do no good unless you have empathy for others.

I have noticed a total lack of empathy among some of our “leaders” here in the U.S.  Not only is there a lack of empathy, but there is also a denial of circumstances that can cause most of our social issues in our society.

Not everyone (in fact, less and less people) have an “easy” life.  The costs of living are rising, but the pay that people make is falling.  If it were not for the average worker, there would be no production happening.  We are all important, and we all deserve to have lives that we can afford.  Many people have to choose between food and shelter on a monthly basis.  It’s hard to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” if you can’t afford both shelter and food.

The despair that is created by living in such a manner, in turn creates vast problems that will only get worse.  We can’t blame all the problems on those who are living hand-to-mouth.  These issues weren’t created in a vacuum and will not be solved in a vacuum.

Thoreau-empathy-quote

Look into the eyes of those who are suffering, and ask yourself what caused this?  Then find out why it is happening.  Once you do that, take steps to help others.  Work at a Food Kitchen, if you’ve got money yourself, buy food for a family that can’t make ends meet.  But help!  One act of kindness can begin to change the world.

Poverty in the U.S.

Sparrow  by Paul Simon
Who will love a little Sparrow
Who’s traveled far and cries for rest?
“Not I,” said the Oak Tree
“I won’t share my branches with no sparrow’s nest
And my blanket of leaves won’t warm her old breast”

Who will love a little Sparrow
And who will speak a kindly word?
“Not I, “ said the Swan
“The entire idea is utterly absurd
I’d be laughed at and scorned if the other Swans heard”

And who will take pity in his heart,
And who will feed a starving Sparrow?
“Not I,” said the Golden Wheat
“I would if I could, but I cannot, I know
I need all my grain to prosper and grow”

Who will love a little Sparrow?
Will no one write her eulogy?
“I will, “ said the Earth
“For all I’ve created returns unto me
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be”

http://nightowlnews.com/?p=2921

http://www.fairplanet.org/editors-pick/2483539-children-homeless-in-the-usa/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/07/06/225074/-Suffering-in-America