28 February 2010

Conflict Resolution

Can I hear a big shout out for Springtime? I hate to keep ruminating over the weather but I'm really using my newfound meditation skills to envision blue skies, green grass and warm breezes. How 'bout you? In the meantime, until it's official arrival how about we work on some other projects needing attention? One such project calling my name is how the heck am I going to juggle the spring sports schedule successfully without making myself and others around me into whirling dervishes. Well, ok, so that probably isn't going to be possible, but I am going to try to at least get everyone where they need to be with the proper equipment and without getting a speeding ticket...maybe. Scheduling with three active boys is difficult; frantic at worst, chaotic at best. But that's the way it is. I do invest in an amazing calendar to keep our days decluttered to the minute. www.timemine.com creates the most well organized calendar I've found. It is presented in many sizes and styles to suit the various needs of different family structures. Check Borders, only place I can find it without online ordering. I go for the big kahuna and it works for me. Doesn't fit in my pocket or my handbag, for that matter, but it does keep us incredibly on track. Using multiple highlighters helps too. Each child is assigned a designation, whether it be an initial, a color, etc. As soon as I get my hands on the schedules I carefully enter practices and games; doublecheck then highlight accordingly. I prefer using initials myself so if I have to erase, I'm not leaving confusion in my wake with color designations applicable to none. I definitely use a specific warning color when there are conflicts that present issues; and there always are, especially when the weather dictates a rescheduling. This is when it can get really tricky and I usually have to engage a backup plan like a carpool. Of course, once the sports are entered into the calendar then we have all the other obligations that take place. CCD, music lessons, band practices, concerts, orthodontic appointments., etc. It's a finely tuned orchestration that is never set in stone but with good communication (thank goodness for my iphone!) and an up to date calendar (don't forget to immediately make changes as soon as you get the information!) then I think we can get through the next four months. Everyone in the household knows the routine and it works like a well oiled machine come late April, and thank goodness for that! At least I hope it will this year! Too many stumbling blocks to count but I will persevere. Talk to me in June and see how we did. Good luck to you too! Let the frenzy begin! Thanks for reading! Miriam

19 February 2010

"Snowed" Again!

I'm sitting in my warm cozy home for the second weekend in a row having two additional feet of snow dumped upon us. This week the warm fuzzy feeling I had last week about being couped up and productive has been replaced with an uncertainty and a slight fear of what's to come. MORE, they say! Honestly, these events of nature give me pause and remind me that life isn't always controllable. Are we ready in case of an emergency at all times? Y2K kind of paralyzed us a bit. I tracked down the suggested emergency kit list, filled a huge Rubbermaid with all the recommended items the five of us could need for a 72 hr. period; fearing the time it would take our country to reclaim some balance when the entire computerized world we live in crashed at midnight, 1/1/00. Nothing happened... nothing momentous, anyway. But here we sit, again paralyzed as the East Coast has been dumped upon by mega amounts of snow, sleet, rain and the 50-60 mile an hour winds summoned to totally destroy any progress we made shoveling. Thinking of homes without power, major highways shut down, plow trains called in, emergency rooms and outpatient services at hospitals vacated, how do we prepare for a disaster should we be called to? I don't know if I have enough milk to get us through until Tuesday, when it is suggested that life will return to normal. For goodness sakes, how long will it take for all of this snow to melt? And God forbid a calamity occurs that no one is the least bit prepared for. I know, fatalistic. I'm a first born, a planner and a tad bit of a worrier. But really, are you ready for an occurrence that will take total control away from you? And how will you handle it? Visit www.ready.gov/america/getakit for a list of what you'd need in your home preparedness kit. You at least can now be a prepared scout! Trees are dropping on power lines and if someone were to need emergency care, could they get it? Just saying. Think about your plan, your family's plan and how you'd prepare and communicate your plan with your children. Back in the 40's there were air raids, in the 60's fallout shelters, in the 90's terror attacks. Are we preparing for the coming of the second ice age for goodness sakes? Global warming? I think not. But what? Just remember to be prepared. And P.S., it's snowing again Tuesday! Thanks for reading! Miriam

13 February 2010

Inspiration of Blizzard Proportions!

Many people feel trapped or restricted when foul weather dictates their comings and goings. I, on the other hand feel liberated. Firstly, I can't believe how much snow is still coming down on top of what is already here. I guess that's why they call it a blizzard! Therefore, I'm taking full advantage. Luckily, I don't really have anything of major importance that can't be rescheduled. I feel liberated because it is forcing me to stay at my home and besides the cardio chore of shoveling, which will come later, I am invigorated by the length of my to-do list that keeps growing as the snow keeps piling. There are so many tasks that go undone at the house when we have full lives, either working full time outside the home or managing the schedules of our children. Basically, all this is put on hold for me and pretty much everywhere I look I can find a pretty good project to occupy my time. In Organize This, my Daily Local News column, I talked about organizing photos and how daunting that can be. Today with digital photography we many times take the photos but it doesn't go much farther than that; they are stuck on an SD card for perpetuity. I make sure I promptly load them to my computer, print out a hard copy and also create a CD version for storage. I think soon I will create an offsite account like Picasa for one more secure method of safe keeping, but not today. My list is calling. Use weekends such as we just had to really dedicate yourself to a few at-home tasks that you have been putting off. And I mean pick a doosie. The laundry can be done between runs to the gym and the store. Focus on something that has been nagging you for a while and get to it. Sometimes it can become a game or family affair if you get everyone else involved. Each family member can do something towards an end in one manner or another. This will surely speed the process and enable you to tackle a couple of these long lost chores while you wait to be shoveled out. Don't forget while you have your nose to the grindstone to glance out the window every so often to admire the beauty of nature. Don't let the negative thoughts of getting it moved out of the way or how you'll get to work tomorrow ruin the miracle of nature. There is nothing more spectacular than landscape covered with a fresh white snowfall. Just to give you some ideas of what I'm planning on accomplishing; I am going to cozy up to a fire and get caught up on my reading requirements for a class I'm taking. I'm going to read from start to finish for once, not chunks between pick ups and drop offs at guitar lessons. Laundry is on my to-do list because there is always laundry. I have a plethora of thank you notes to write, then there's my filing on my desk that is piled almost as high as the snow! If I get through this I have to practice my drums. Yes, I did say drums. Again, never too late to emulate Phil Collins. I feel this task will have a two-fold effect. The boys and the hubby will tire quickly of hearing me banging on the crash cymbals and possibly head outside and get the shoveling started. This could leave me some time to bake a few goodies for their hot cocoa break. Baking is something I never seem to have time for anymore. I'm feeling pretty good about my short list so far. Enjoy your progress this week! Thanks for reading! Miriam

03 February 2010

Massaaahhhhhge Inspiration!

Can't de-stress if you're not stressed yet. So, here's a thought. If you add more stress to your life prior to a non-stressful event, will you appreciate it more? This is an experiment I was willed to participate in, apparently, although, not intentionally. Heading to NYC for a long weekend of fun and celebration with a bunch of friends, I decided that a visit to the spa would be just the ticket needed as an pre-weekend activity. Called, scheduled, simple. Well, little did I know I'd have to earn that massage. Being the fully engaged and tuned in person that I am aspiring to these days, I actually paid attention to the 6am traffic report and heard mention of an eighteen wheeler that toppled between here and my destination a short ten miles away. Perfect! NOT! I'll pick up my friend, Virginia who is joining me, head in the general direction then detour to the back roads and avoid the mess. Immediately upon entering the highway, traffic was already at a standstill. No problem, we'll just patiently inch our way up the highway...hey, are we moving or is that just the scenery?...I'll get off the next exit and cut through. What is this I see, a road block? The lovely, winding country roads are totally and completely jammed with clever people who have the same thought process as I do. But still, no worries, My Enclave has OnStar and I'm sure my little friend- in-a-box will save us since the "back" back roads; I can't negotiate on my own. Unfortunately, OnStar is two steps behind me instead of two steps ahead so that didn't work at all. Frustration mounts as our head start has been zapped to already tardy. Now, aren't we heading to a spa to relax and rejuvenate ourselves? Perfect, I'll get all notched up and unnerved and my massage therapist will earn her wages today. OnStar tried to reroute us but to no avail. Then I remembered...I have a friend who lives here in the hinterland and she'll bail me out, I know she will! Thank goodness Sue was home with a stomach bug (sorry Sue, but thanks!) Thirty minutes late to our destination and seeing stars from my bubbling blood pressure we were obviously turned away with a smile, but as luck would have it they were obligingly offering to flip-flop our day so we could lunch first, spa later. All was right again with our world and really, no worse for wear. Luckily the cafe was able to accommodate us early and lunch was ordered. The potato leek soup arrived steaming hot and piquant, anticipated greatly on this chilly January late morning. My friend, Virginia, reaches for her seasonings, a tad of pepper...a dash of salt....but wait...who forgot to tighten the salt shaker cap? Salt soup NOT on the menu! Can we please have a Depends to contain our "laughter"!!! If I don't get to that spa and force myself to relax I'm going to have a conniption! Luckily for us we picked a winner! What an amazing respite. Soothing sounds, luxurious linens and aromas to relax and revitalize, refresh and renew. I don't think I've enjoyed one spa service quite so much as today! Well earned. My advice; stress is never a good thing to have in your life but being able to laugh at it is. And sloughing it off (pun intended!) with a luxurious spa service doesn't hurt either! Thanks for reading! Miriam

02 February 2010

Unexpected Inspiration

"Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man"! How many times did I hear this recited from the lips of my mother? I would be a wealthy woman if I were paid for listening time and again. I find myself instantly repeating this for my boys many times, but I give a condensed version as I don't want them to think I don't have patience myself! Which I do actually have...until I don't anymore. I guess, I probably am a wealthy woman from learning to incorporate this little verse into my daily life. Some times I'm richer for it than others, of course. Things happen that are beyond our control time and time again. We must be as prepared as we can for life's twists and turns. A few ways that we might be successful at this is to incorporate some type of life skill where we can step away from the situation and regroup. For some people it's a long walk or a run. For others it's an intense kickbox workout. For still others it's yoga or meditation. Even journaling can help provide clarity and an outlet for feelings that aren't easily processed at the moment when the stress seems insurmountable. Having other areas of your life decluttered and organized can give you the time you need to learn to practice patience and control. When life is chaotic and disorganized so are our responses to outside pressures that arise. I find when I am on time, have less demands on myself and have "all my ducks in a row" so to speak, I am more able to deal with a suddenly stressful situation more clearly and effectively. Think about when you were last flustered and ferklempt. Were you being pulled in too many directions, dealing with many issues at once and at your wits end with your patience? Didn't you step back later on and think, I could have certainly handled that much better, I know that was a reaction response that exhibited itself under stress. Get proper rest so you aren't dealing with stressors with sleep deprivation. Eat as healthfully as you can. Stay on top of your mail, your chores, your children's to-do list and settle up with things at days' end. Don't transfer more to the next days' to-do list than is reasonable. The patience will present itself when you need it if you enter into a problem feeling free and able to handle anything. Asking too much of yourself is asking for trouble. Thanks for reading! Miriam