Clean Sweep

on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

After 10 days off, I returned to work yesterday. And I am thrilled to be back! Weird, huh?

The truth is that last week was no vacation at all. I spent the entire week helping my mom clean out her attic (which was filled with all of my grandparent's possessions - who, bless their wonderful souls, were unable to throw anything out) and her rental storage unit (which was full of all of her life's possessions up until 7 years ago, when she moved in with my grandpa to take care of him). This monumental task has been hanging over my mom's head for several years, but just seemed too overwhelming to tackle, so it never got done. Well, now that I am handling all of my mom's finances for her (that's another story altogether), I have been looking for ways to reduce her monthly expenses. At $145 per month, that rental storage unit was clearly a big drain on her finances, so it had to be eliminated. So, I told my mom that it was time to do the big clean out, and thankfully she was more than ready to take on the challenge. We worked unbelievably hard all week to accomplish our goal and, much to our surprise, we actually finished. This truly was a miracle considering how much there was to be done. We both knew that there was a lot of stuff in both the attic and the storage unit, but neither of us anticipated just how much there was. It was far worse than the worst case scenario that we envisioned. At many points during the week, I thought that finishing in time for my mom's scheduled tag sale this past weekend was impossible, but we did it! I am so proud of us and so happy that this weight has been lifted off of my mom's shoulders. She is the most caring and giving person I have ever known and she deserves greatness in her life. Anything that I can do to reduce the amount of stress in her life is well worth it. Even if it makes me exhausted and bruised from head to toe! And, the best news of all...she made a TON of money in her tag sale. Success all around!!!

So, here's to my mom and the great strides she is making in taking control of her life. I am so proud of her strength, her determination and her faith. She is living proof that it is never too late to do anything that you set your mind to. She is tackling issues that she has been dealing with for many years, and this clean sweep is another item that she can check off her list. Although cleaning out an attic and storage space may seem like no big deal to many, getting this done has truly been cleansing for both her home and her soul. And knowing how happy and relieved she is to have this done brings great joy into my life.

But, seriously, I need a vacation to recover :-) Thank goodness we are leaving for the Cape in only 2 1/2 weeks!

Labs will be Labs

on Sunday, May 18, 2008

Woot! Woot!

on Thursday, May 15, 2008

I just ran my fastest 5k EVER! 26:26!!! That's almost one whole minute better than my previous best. Go me, go me, go go go me!

Random (and slightly embarrassing) things that I love

  1. Cherry flavored starburst and popsicles (but I hate real cherries)
  2. Shopping at Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe (although I always feel soooo old when I'm in there)
  3. TV: The Bachelor and American Idol (yes, I DVR these each week and John picks on me for it)
  4. Movies: Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde (although I'm not necessarily a big Reese Witherspoon fan)
  5. Music: Britney Spears and n*Sync (circa 1999)
  6. Turbo Jam (Chalene, the instructor, keeps me pumped up!)
  7. Oprah and Friends Radio on XM 156 (especially Dr. Oz and Rabbi Shmuley)
  8. Going to tanning beds (although I officially gave that up after my wedding)
  9. Hampton Beach (I could seriously spend the whole summer on the boardwalk playing video games and eating sno cones)
  10. Snowstorms (I hate the winter, but I love when we get a big ole' Nor'easter! I just wish all that snow would go away the next day)


on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I believe rituals and routines are crucial for stability and overall personal fulfillment. Not only does the structure of having rituals and routines allow me to be my most productive self, but it makes me feel so empowered and accomplished when I adhere.

I enjoy my morning rituals immensely. On most mornings, I wake up, work out, shower, brush my teeth, make coffee, make my lunch, blow-dry and style my hair, apply my makeup, get dressed, and head out the door. I love listening to my favorite morning radio show while sipping on my coffee on my drive to work. Every morning when I arrive at work, I always check my email and voicemail, and then prepare myself for the day by printing out my calendar for that day, making my "To Do" list, and gathering any and all materials necessary for any meetings and tasks that I have planned.

While this ritual works fabulously for me, I have many other areas that I need to improve on. On weekends, I often flounder on my ritual, and let me tell you, it takes a toll. I usually get up and make breakfast and then plop myself on the couch. If I have nothing planned, it can be disastrous. I may sit there for 2 hours or more...bad, I know. So, I am making a commitment to myself starting today. On weekends, when I get up I am going to follow my weekday morning routine, excluding only the lunch making part and the whole going to work thing. That way, I will feel refreshed, accomplished and ready for whatever the day may bring. I also need to plan more for myself to do, whether it be a day out with a girlfriend, a fun activity with my husband, an adventure with my dog, etc... Again, when left up to my own devices on the weekends, I can easily get sucked into doing virtually nothing. The less I do, the less motivated I become. And, without fail, I always feel terrible about myself when I have one of those kinds of days. I don't ever want to feel terrible or guilty about the things that I do, so I certainly don't want to feel that way about what I don't do. I also need to include time in my plans for my necessary weekend chores/errands, including washing our bedding, meal planning and grocery shopping for the week, trips to Wal-Mart for needed household items, taking on a project in the house, cleaning, etc... These types of things are usually reserved for Sundays.

I also need to create better rituals for my weeknight evenings. My objectives for the evenings include Bailey getting lots of exercise each night, cooking dinner and eating at the dinner table with my husband most nights, tackling at least one household chore each night so they don't pile up and overwhelm me on the weekends, and spend some quality time without TV just talking to my husband about whatever is on our minds. Some nights I get home and don't feel like doing I don't. And again, I inevitably feel terrible about being so lazy. On the nights when I'm productive, I feel so fantastic and energized, so why don't I make myself feel like this every night? So, again, I am making a commitment to myself starting today to fulfill this evening ritual set forth.

I know that I can't adhere to these routines and rituals all the time, but having them established and striving to achieve success at them as much as possible will give me a constant goal. I know that I will feel so good about myself when I meet these goals, and who doesn't want to feel that way? This all goes back to my personal mission...I am in control of me and I choose to do whatever it takes feel good about myself, however important or unimportant it may seem. I know how silly this may seem to some, but to me it makes a world of a difference in my mood, my demeanor, and my overall outlook and attitude.

Multiple Posts

I feel I should give a brief explanation of why there have recently been (and will continue to be) multiple posts in a single day. I can no longer access blogger at work. I used to blog when I got bored (and sometimes even when I should have been doing work), but my new division blocks blogger, so it is no longer an option. I rarely blog from home because the LAST thing I want to do when I come home from work is get on the computer. I'd much rather be hanging out with my hubby, cooking dinner, walking the dog, working out, racing, reading, watching name it!

So, what is a recently recommitted blogger supposed to do? I've found my solution. Whenever I get inspired to write something for my blog while I am at work, I write myself an email. That way, all I have to do is cut and paste the text of my email into the blog and voila! 2 seconds and I am done. This gives me the best of both worlds...the ability to write my blog entries when the moods hits me and spending the least possible amount of time on the computer while I am at home. Yay for simple solutions!!!

So, in the spirit of multiple blog posts, I think I might have one more to post (**runs off to check inbox**)

My Gratitude

The world is a crazy place, and there is no shortage of pessimists out there to make sure that we all know just how crazy. From the TV, to the radio, to the Internet...some of the most horrific, unbelievably tragic things you've ever heard day after day. Today's headlines include "Husband killed hours before baby born" and "Girl, 12, trained to work as dominatrix". Even the sports headline on today reads "Baseball's all-time All-Scandal Team". How does one stay positive in their life while being surrounded by the world's negativity, especially when we are inundated by it each and every day?

Personally, I try look for the positive, beautiful, wonderful aspects of my life, however small or unimportant they may seem. I acknowledge all that is wrong with the world, mourn the tragedies, and learn from other's terrible mistakes, but I try rise above and realize that there is so much more to life than what I see on the news or read on the Internet. Yes, I can get negative and be in a bad mood just like everyone else, but fortunately this is the exception for me, and not the norm. I know that for each bad thing there is, there is a good thing that outweighs it. I know that I have innumerable things in my life to be grateful for. So, today, I am forgetting about the negativity. Today I am going to recognize, honor, and be thankful for the wonderful things in my life.

Today I am thankful for:

  • warm sunshine after a cool, cloudy day
  • the way that seeing dogs riding in cars with their heads sticking out the window and their ears flapping in the wind makes me smile
  • how Bailey gets up each morning when I do and does a big, exaggerated stretch (usually accompanied by some sort of grunt) and then gets really excited to see me like she hasn't seen me in weeks
  • getting to see my husband each morning before I go to work, even though he is NOT a morning person and hates when I am happy and cheery in the morning because I AM a morning person
  • drinking a warm cup of coffee on my drive to work while listening to my favorite trashy, yet surprisingly funny and entertaining, morning radio show
  • finally having a job that I not only enjoy, but that also challenges me and gives me a rewarding sense of accomplishment
  • my mother, who I can honestly call my friend (and who calls me probably 5 times a day!)
  • my father, who I know would do anything for me
  • my healthy, beautiful, and smart siblings that I am incredibly proud of
  • my wonderfully charming, albeit modest, home that is my special little corner of the world
  • being married to a man that fills my heart with love, supports my dreams, challenges me, makes me laugh, and will get my blanket for me each night because he knows that I am always cold
  • my health and having the knowledge and motivation to constantly be working to take the best care of myself possible
  • my intelligence and my ability to use it
  • my compassionate and caring heart
  • being a friend to those that I love
  • being me, because I am unique.

I have so much to be grateful for each and every day and I am so blessed to have the life that I do.

2 Years!

on Saturday, May 10, 2008

John and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary this week. 2 years!!! It's so crazy to think that 2 years have passed already since that amazing day. I feel so incredibly blessed that I've been married to the most wonderful man, the love of my life, for 2 whole years. I can only hope to be blessed with many, many more years!

My Personal Mission

My new career has led me to a new division within my Company, and this new division has a mission statement. This division wholeheartedly believes in this mission and tries to embody it in everything that we do. It gives each individual something to strive for. It makes us all reevaluate and reexamine our thoughts and our actions and seek out new and better ways to be the best we can. So, this got me to thinking...if my division has set a mission to be the best it can, why shouldn't I? After all, I've discovered over the past few years that I work best and feel most fulfilled when I have and am working toward a goal. When I have goals, no matter how big or small, they give me a sense of purpose and, when achieved, a sense of accomplishment. And, what better goal to have then to strive toward achieving and embodying my own personal mission statement...what I deem the most important qualities in living a purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling life? After much thought and consideration, I've developed the beginings of a mission statement for myself. While I still need to find the best way to sum it all up for myself, I know for sure what it embodies :

To live my best life. To be the best person I know how to be. To be grateful for even the smallest things in life. To live according to my own expectations, not the world's. To live to impress, improve and inspire myself. To live with integrity. To live without regrets. To live my dreams, not dream my life.

I acknowledge and take pride in the fact that my life is in my own control, to do with it what I choose...and I choose to be happy. My thoughts , feelings, emotions, and actions are my own. Everyday I make a conscious decision to do the best and be the best that I can.

Back to Basics

I began this blog because I wanted to be able to express to myself and my deepest thoughts so that I may truly connect with myself and eventually better define who I am. I planned to use this "journal" to document and help me remember all of the changes taking place in my life right now so that I may be grateful for them. At first, I wasn't even sure if I would share my blog with anyone. Although I am not shy, I consider myself a private person when it comes to certain things. I like to reserve some things just for me. After giving it a lot of thought, I eventually got the courage to expose my personal thoughts and shared my blog, although still only with a few special individuals that I feel I can truly trust. To be honest, however, I don't feel like I ever really posted about things that achieve my original intended objective. Sure, I've posted about things that I've done and the happenings of my day to day life, which is fine and all, but I've never really been introspective. So, I've decided to "re-launch" my blog to get back to my basic original purpose...self discovery and self reflection. I believe, more now than ever, that I should constantly be working to challenge myself and to better myself and I can only do so by evaluating my current self and setting goals to become a better self, and eventually, my best self. So, in addition to writing about my daily happenings and such (which I do find important and valuable), I also plan to attack all of the other issues and thoughts that cross my mind, however big or small, important or mundane . I plan to be honest, open, and uninhibited. I plan to seek betterment through learning and growing from my own thoughts and experiences. So, once again, here it goes...