Category Archives: Motivation

The world is angry!

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I live in a small town. You know what they say about small towns: Big Hell!
Until recently, I was very content in my small town, living my life, enjoying
the odd social gathering and essentially knowing how my days would begin
and end. The last several months have been increasing my discomfort level
as I hear and see many acquaintances really get into the misery the rest of the
world seems intent on living.

My writing has always been a need for me. I cannot agree with people who say
they “love” to write, for that has never been my feeling. I need to write, I want
to write and get paid for it, but even though I don’t get paid for it, I still need
to do it every single day. Some days it is just a sentence in my head. Some
days I actually draft things out in a notebook the old-fashioned way, with pen
and paper and then I forget how important the particular prose felt in the
moment and I lose the paper, or the notebook until I am clearing off a particular
space and come upon it again.

The social media rants that I voluntarily read increasingly rob me of time and
energy and deplete whatever optimism lives in me; yet I find myself having to
really exercise discipline to sign off or at the very least, put my phone aside to
do other things. It is amazing, I rarely respond to posts even though many of
them stir deep feelings. I get a kick out of those who do because they often end
up saying things I am sure they regret. Not to mention getting “blocked” by the
administrators for offensive and crude language. I can’t entertain the idea of
ever being blocked so I simply do what many others do, read and move on.

I live in a small town that has a large quantity of expats. Although I lived in a
different country and learned its culture well, I am now living in my birth land
and identify more with it. I find that the typical expat (whether originating in
U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia or Africa) believes their new country is somehow
lacking and wants things to be just the way they were “back home”. This attitude
irks me but I remain silent because silence is the path to peace and understanding.

There are so many things that can be said about learning a new language, about
preparing mentally to make a huge move, especially when the one certain is that
wherever you go, there YOU are. I lived in Puerto Rico once. I do remember that
the absence of family and friends was a bit lonely, but it was also tremendously
liberating. I found that I developed some new (positive) traits by not being labeled
or thought of the way family and old friends can see and pigeonhole one. Rather
than wanting things the way they were in my past, I was thrilled to be living in a
completely different culture and learned to love it just the way it was.

I don’t really remember where I was going with this blog, but there it is. I guess
the lesson for today is that if you want to make a smooth transition into a place,
it is best to go gently and quietly into its spaces to first absorb and understand
and then to pitch changes if they are necessary or even wanted.

 

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July is here already!

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It’s the Fourth of July! Celebrations are going on in the U.S. but
where I live (in a tropical paradise), nothing seems to be going
on in quite the same scale as the celebrations of years past.

I feel a bit odd that one entire month (June) went by and I didn’t
post a single entry. It is not that I don’t write every single day,
because I do, it just hasn’t been the kind of writing that I feel
comfortable sharing. Not sure what that’s about.

My husband was away for almost the entire month of June. He
returned quite exhausted and seems to have caught a bug, maybe
on the airplane? I feel bad for him but in a way, perhaps it is best
to let him rest while I catch up on some of the writing that I have
put on the side so I could devote myself to doing the chores that
keep our household running and that he is usually responsible for.
A few more days won’t make any difference, the poor guy has a lot
of things on his mind.

So July! I have continued to have slow progress with my Weight
Watchers plan and I am confident that by the end of this year, I
will have lost most of the weight I have set myself a goal for. It
would be wonderful to begin 2019 (which feels like it is just around
the corner!) in some new clothes…

I have done some serious decluttering in June. I actually got rid of
a good amount of clothing and knickknacks that were not bringing
me any joy. It is amazing how light one feels after disposing of items
that no longer fit one’s life. I finally accepted that I was keeping things
for the wrong reasons. For example, a friend of mine gave my daughter
and me earrings that were crafted by her then-boyfriend, a man I know
and whose behavior has impressed me, but not in a good way. I never
wore the earrings because they were too long for my short neck and my
daughter never wore hers because they were not in a style she liked. But
I felt I needed to keep them because my friend might be hurt if I found
another home for them.

A few months after the earrings were given to us, my friend’s relationship
ended. The artist boyfriend began a new relationship and a year later, that
one also ended. Every morning, I saw the earrings. I moved them from one
side of the dresser to another.  I began to question why I still had them.
One serendipitous night as I was watching Youtube, I ended up catching a
video on Marie Kondo, the decluttering consultant…she has a very unique
way of approaching decluttering. You have to gather all the items you own
wherever you are working. You hold each item in your hand until they either
spark “joy” or not. If they still give you joy, that is your permission to keep
them; otherwise, it is best to find a new home for them.

I held each pair in my hands. Waited for the “joy” that never came. I made
two beautiful packages for these lovely items and then placed them with
other “treasures” I was giving away to the local Animal Shelter for their
fundraising campaign. It felt so good to send the earrings to a place that
I know will find someone they can bring joy to.

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In and On Plan

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I begin every morning with fruit. Early this morning, I realized I had
finished the last of my blueberries yesterday morning and completely
forgot to buy new fruit. Then I remembered I had a lovely salad left
from yesterday’s lunch which included two slices of tomato! Tomato
is fruit…so I added a bit (a lot actually) of cottage cheese and voilá,
my dilemma was solved. If only all of life’s tribulations could so easily
be remedied.

It has been a hectic week. I have travelled to the U.S. for just a few
days to take care of some very necessary errands and I am fully aware
that two of the ten days are traveling days so don’t really count. It is
eye-opening to see just how little one can actually get done in a week
in New York. Life here is hard, it seems much harder than when I was
younger and living here. Living in a tropical paradise where everything
moves slower has definitely spoiled me for the hectic pace that is kept
here.

I find I am more sensitive to the sounds, smells, and attitudes than I ever
was before. Although I excuse people because the pace of New York has
always been very fast, I find myself feeling disoriented and quite out of
touch with what the population of New York finds important. Listening to
the news is always disconcerting, journalism finds its success in sensation-
alizing everything but there is no doubt there are situations of violence on
every corner of this melting pot, patchwork quilt or mosaic, pick your term!

My visit is coming quickly to an end. I am blessed by having the most loving
children and for them I am grateful. My work here for the moment is done
and I will be back late in the summer to get any shopping done that I want.
For now, I will enjoy my last day in the company of my children, taking nice
pictures to share with my husband back home.

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Cauliflower pizza, anyone?

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A lovely head!

I did a terrible thing today: in anticipation of tomorrow being garbage
day, I decided to clean out my refrigerator! No, that’s not the terrible
thing I did! The terrible thing I did was to throw out almost an entire
week’s worth of vegetables that my husband and I purchased at the
farmers market just last week.

I don’t know what comes over the two of us when we visit the place. It’s
like all those colorful vegetables are shouting to us that they want to come
home…and that they will be cooked…only to end up in the compost bucket
time after time.

In the last few months, since I’ve been watching what I eat, I have become
a bit more interested in trying out new recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I used
to love cooking, especially when my children were young and I was a full-
time (and happy) stay-at-home, home-school Mom. But then the kids grew
up and moved away and now it’s hubby and me and we spend a lot of time at
home (semi-retired) and I have embraced this “new life”.

My husband enjoys cooking and so for the last few years, he’s been more or
less responsible for the meals we have for dinner. Of course, he also enjoys
eating and snacking and has a penchant for things like pepperoni, potato chips,
chocolate…thus, we have both gained a fair amount of weight in those same few
years.  I know no one was forcing me to have the extra calories; I am human too
and although I don’t indulge in pepperoni or chips (no sacrifice really, it’s not my
thing!), almonds, chocolate and cake are definitely on my list of favorites.

Since I joined Weight Watchers in December, though, I have definitely been off
most of those goodies. Not that WW “forbids” anything, I just feel that if I am
dieting, it should feel a like a diet. I am one of those people who feels a need to
have “rules” that I will feel disappointed about breaking. I know, I know, but
there you have it.

Last week when we were at the farmers market, there was an enormous cauli-
flower for sale. It was sold by unit and my husband found a much smaller one
that he preferred but he deferred to me since I had visions of making a pizza
with a cauliflower crust. I don’t know what possessed me to think I was going
to actually tackle that project; to begin with, it involved getting out and dusting
the food processor and making cauliflower rice! It never happened and today
when I found myself tossing the entire head, I was overcome with pangs of guilt.
If we had purchased the smaller head, it would have been a nice side dish for one
of our few dinners at home this week. I told my husband that from now on he
must not humor me when I lose my head momentarily like that!

 

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A slow journey, the weight loss route!

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April has indeed been a very busy month for me. When I began my weight loss
journey in December it was motivated by my disbelief at how much weight I had
gained in the last few years. All my “reasons” for the weight gain were understood
by me, both emotionally and intellectually. When I saw a picture of myself (that I
immediately deleted), I was spurred into action mode.

It is now almost 5 months later. I have managed to lose almost 19 lbs. and wish
it was so much more but I am feeling much better these days that the speed at
which I am losing (slowly) will allow me to “fit” into the idea that going quickly
is not in my reality or future. I cannot say that I have not been hungry on this
program (Weight Watchers) but I also cannot say that I have deprived myself
of healthy or tasty food in the last few months.

I track my food for accountability (personal since I am strictly on the program
“on line”), weigh myself every day (it works for me) and have good support from
those around me. I use the tools available to me, especially the ones that allow
me to see other people’s progress and read their comments.

A new weight watchers enrollee asked others to share their motivations and the
ways in which they get or stay inspired. I began to think about that; I usually
don’t give it much thought, I just do what I do because I know it will get results.
But when I looked deep into my soul, I realized that I am motivated by the most
superficial of reasons: I don’t like what I see when I see myself in pictures!

It’s that simple and that superficial and for now, it is the best incentive I have. I
realized last week that the almost 19 lb. loss has allowed me to consider trying on
clothing that had been relegated to the back of my closet. I am a clotheshorse and
although I have gotten rid of impossible-to-get-back-into-sizes, I have kept those
that are reasonably within my reach. Much to my great surprise and joy, I was able
to fit into a lovely blouse and slacks (size 14…) that I wore to an event last week. My
friend and I took a picture and I did not balk when I saw it; I am beginning to see
the self I recall…it is also worth mentioning that even though I usually drive every-
where I was forced to take a bus last week and I fit into the seat without any discomfort.
All of these non-scale victories are doing wonders for motivation and my self-esteem.

I am eager to continue my slow and steady progress. Just like the turtle, I too will
get to the finish line!

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Changing the Setting!

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I’m the kind of gal who can sometimes drown in a glass of water! I can be
so hands on in certain situations and then a really nonsensical thing can
completely throw me off!

Take my weigh-in day with Weight Watchers. When I started the program
it was established that my day for this activity was Mondays! As with all
kinds of “new” projects, the beginning was just fine, energy was wonderful,
I was delighted with the food plan, the variety, the recipes, etc. So Mondays
were just fine for the weigh-in (I do the program on-line BTW). Fast forward
a couple of months, now you’re used to the program, it starts to get a little
stale, the daily menus are not being planned with as much precision and the
tracking is not as strict so the losses each week are really, really low. This is
also the result of eating a little more on the weekend, using up those extra
points, etc. I began to feel miserable on Sunday evenings, eliminating the
one chocolate truffle I was splurging on because I feared gaining an ounce
or not losing at all…instead of doing something about it, I chose to deny my-
self and that is never a good feeling.

Last night, it occurred to me that I have complete control of how I work my
program. I signed on and found the “settings” button. I changed my weigh-in
day from Monday to Saturday so that I can be “good” during the week and
have a few treats on the weekend, after all, isn’t that what the weekend is for?
Fun, treats and enjoyment. I still weigh myself each morning, it’s what works
for me and today I actually had a lovely surprise but I do have a plan for this
week (a food plan that is) and I know that on Saturday morning, the surprise
will be even nicer! No need to drown in this glass of water!

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Second round elections…

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My mind is ajumbled. Yeah, I know; that’s not really a word, but I bet you got
my meaning just fine!

Lately I have been preoccupied with the second round of presidential elections
that is taking place in my country tomorrow. Tomorrow, the 3rd month
anniversary of my mother’s passing, is also Easter Sunday. I have had plenty of
time and opportunity in the last couple of days for deep reflection and decision-
making. I will be voting for the candidate I feel is best suited and prepared
for the job.  I go from hopeful to desperate when thinking about what my fellow
patriots might do. Many people are returning from the beach early or catching
an airplane from overseas to vote because these elections are that important. This
campaign has been called “the campaign of hate” and in a country that is known
for our Pura Vida attitude and peaceful nature, it is a label that does not fit in
well with what we think of ourselves. I can’t wait until Monday, the day after, so
we can begin to work on all the things that need fixing regardless of who wins.

I have been watching a baseball game for the last couple of hours. I love baseball
but today, I will be the first to admit, it does take a long time…in fact, with all the
technology available these days and the slow connection I have at home, I actually
know from my phone what the television is about to tell me…if I were a dishonest
betting person…the Jays and Yankees are tied right now, bottom of the 7th. I’m
a Yankee fan and this year we have a strong, young team that is a pleasure to watch.

Our preparation for Easter Sunday is unlike any we have had in recent years. We are
doing NOTHING special although I did promise my husband I will make a lovely
batter so he can make us pancakes tomorrow to accompany our bacon and yummy
coffee.  There are no children at home right now, and I am dieting, so that means
there are no chocolate eggs or fancy desserts. Funny, every once in a while I miss
unwrapping a pastel colored Hershey kiss but when I think about how good it feels
to be able to zip and button my pants, I console myself with the thought that it is
only a temporary sacrifice. After I lose the weight this time, I intend to eat mind-
fully and not gain it back.

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St. Patrick’s Day

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My middle name is Patricia and my mom always celebrated
the day by calling me or sending me a card. When her Alzheimer’s
took over, that was the end of that but now that she is up in heaven
I feel she is probably looking down on me and wishing me a good day.

I just spoke with my Dad and remembered with him. I am nostalgic for Mom today and I can only imagine what it must be like for him to have been married to her for so many years (65) and now being alone. Of course, he has his health and lots of great memories but still

What I have learned in this life is that time really does fly; that family can be or might not be everything to one but that those we hold dear should know we love them. We never know when the day will come that we will not have the chance to do it for one reason or another.

Live, love, laugh and let those you care for do likewise.

 

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Welcome Monday

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Yup! It’s Monday, laundry day and YAY, I’m all done. Now I am sitting at my desk
and trying to dash off a few sentences to this blog before I need to get dinner started.

Unbelievably, I actually lost another pound! I say unbelievably because though I
have not been “bad” (as they used to say in WW), I did consume chocolate cake,
cognac and popcorn last week. I tracked everything and tried to stay within reason
by not using all my points but I expected to find that my weight had stayed the same.
To my great delight, the scale registered a tiny loss. It’s not really a tiny loss for me,
one lb. after the week I had is actually very, very good. So I started the week off in a
good manner, feeling positive about the discipline and motivated to make this week
even better. My husband is doing his best to support me and I can see that he is also
considering moderating his own eating habits for the good of his health. I wish I could
do something to help him but everyone must work their program their own way.

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Behind the spyglass…

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Understanding the motivation behind a person’s behavior is something that has always
been of interest to me. Rather than just accepting that so and so did this and that and
is now facing the consequences of the action, I spend some time reflecting on what made
them do it. I used to ponder these things out loud but realized that many people in my
circle were impatient and really not interested so I have become a “closet” thinker. I
believe that in order for me to invent a character (protagonist) that is multidimensional,
I need to invest energy in finding out just exactly what makes him/her tick. It has not
been easy or perhaps I should just say I have not had the discipline or courage to let my
mind simply focus on a subject long enough to grasp their very essence and then turn it
into narratives that will work in a novel.

I live in a really small town. It is in a developing country where recent years have found
it attracting all sorts of people who come here to do tourism and go back home, or those
who find it so laid back and beautiful that they actually commit to living here despite all
the obstacles. Some people are wonderful, bringing with them the enthusiasm they feel
for nature and living in peace. They contribute their time, their ideas, their resources so
that the community can benefit. Other people come with the intention of establishing
communities that they would not be able to have in their country of origin.

In the recent past, I have encountered people whose communities can only be described
as “cultish”, and this is scary. The leaders look pretty “normal”; their message is anything
but. It boggles my mind to see how many reasonably intelligent people are taken in by
these reckless individuals whose motivation can only be financial gain or fame. In the past
I would have exposed them at once but that was not beneficial to me so after turning 60 a
couple of years ago, I turned to the pen as my collaborator in unmasking these creatures.

They make interesting subjects for my narratives and provide much entertainment to me,
and I am hoping to capture their essence to develop my villains. Life is often so much more
satisfactory from the point of view of the observer, sitting a distance away in a comfortable
recliner.

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