author moments

Brain Dump #1

As I work through a task-driven book on inspiration in 2022, I am given many reminders or smacks in the face on things I should continue to practice daily/weekly instead of putting them on the back burner.

Keeping with the above statement, reading is one thing that gets pushed aside a lot. However I have found that reading a few pages a day at breakfast is very manageable and self-soothing. Almost giving me a calm balance before my chaotic day begins. Not sure how long I will keep it up but for today it’s working for me.

Another is writing. I write on this blog often but not as often as I have in the past. Maybe life gets too messy and drains me of my creativity. Maybe it’s I feel redundant. Maybe I wonder if anyone is reading my entries. However, my inspiration book has told me I should write a brain dump in the morning that will clear my mind for the rest of the day. Ironically I’ve been reading in the mornings and enjoying it. Instead of a daily brain dump I am offering this post as a compromise to my assignment. Hence the title Brain Dump #1. Obviously the numbering will allowing me to keep up with the task should I desire.

In this blog I will bounce around a bit. I will dump out what’s in my brain. Today. Now. In the moment so to speak. This morning I have already read some. I already had a good breakfast of eggs and a bagel. I chose to wash it down with an Alani Watermelon Wave drink for a sweet treat. I spent a few minutes working on my creative project for 2 Chicks and a Pen. An ongoing practice that will payoff down the road, but for now it’s a creative outlet.

I’ve done my household chores. Some sweeping. A little vacuuming. I made breakfast for two kids and myself. I played with my dogs. I did some research on GWVR for some vehicles. This may sound odd but it was purposeful for me. It was also a learning experience. I went outside and felt the warmth of the air. 

I just gazed at my faithful companion sitting by my side as I blog. She is sleepy from playing outside but never far from me. The most loyal dog and not to mention adorable. 

Just before I snagged this picture she was using all her energy to gaze out the window. She was intently listening to the birds chirp outside. Simply mesmerized by their symphony of sorts. She slowly slid down the high back chair to her resting spot. Ah to live like a dog who has a queen lifestyle.

And then there were two. 

It didn’t take long for the younger sister to notice she was guarding mom. They both moved closer to my feet for their siesta. As I write quietly they rest and protect. The sweetest damn thing you could ever see. And how full my heart is to know my fur babies want to be right there by my side even when I do nothing.

Circling back to what I’m reading currently. It’s the Indra Nooyi Book: My Life in Full. I was given this book to read by my oldest. Intrigued, I picked it up. As it started out I was like he isn’t going to like this book but I kept reading. I picked out a few nuggets along the way that I could relate to. I pondered a few things. I read on. I’m about to wrap up the book and still wonder why he chose to buy this book. I had to ask. For he read a quote from her recently in a newsletter we both read. I missed it. The quote caught his attention and triggered the purchase. 

Now I wondered what did I miss. We are very much alike but maybe I was skimming instead of reading. Which leads back to the beginning of this brain dump. I need to read with focus and intent first thing in the morning. This way I am actively reading or engaged vs skimming and maybe missing the finer details. Simply put, if you slow down a bit sometimes you can see what’s right in front of you. That’s an awakening for me.

I guess that leads to part two of my brain dump which is related to pace. The pace of one’s life or my life. I am going to purposely slow down in some areas at times to rediscover or reacclimate to things I may have overlooked due to speed of life. Not sure if any outcomes will change but I’m going to be purposeful about my time.

As I speak about time, I have had to split my time between people and places of recent to cover things out of need. It hasn’t been fun. It’s been tireless work. It’s also given me a chance to reflect on the why’s. The why not’s. The who gives a shit. The who doesn’t give a fuck. And so on. My time is mine. I use it for my purpose(s). My purpose may include others but it won’t include those who wouldn’t do the same for me. That means if somebody around me is knocked down I will help. However I won’t help those who can’t or won’t help themselves and I won’t help those who won’t ever be around to help me when I need it. That’s a mouthful but true for many.

 For now my brain dump is over as I need to run an errand. I hope you had a glimpse into my early morning hours via my brain dump. Maybe I will provide another dump at a later date. And I do mean brain dump not the other kind of dump.

healthy hacks, nature

Porch Sittin’

It was a whirlwind trip to the city. A cozy AirBnB row house was my home away from home. Newly renovated to match today’s modern luxuries inside, but with the charm of the old city neighborhood outside. Street parking was required or you had to park in the alley if you got in too late. I made sure to get the street spot as I wasn’t a  fan of alleys at night.

This is evening there were fireworks scheduled for 930pm. An air show began in the afternoon but lasted to the early evening. There was a lot goign on this weekend. Roads were closed. Weather was perfect for outdoor activities. people were enjoying life outside today. The night was calm. The temps were high 70s. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for porch sittin’ in between activity.

I was motivated by a woman I saw on her stoop earlier in the day. Not sure how long she stayed out porch sittin’ but when I return home she had a friend. They were giggling, catching up on life and just hanging out: life seemed so simple in that moment. It also gave me time to pause myself and think about how I too enjoyed porch sitting with my nana and aunts in my childhood.

Off I went to grab a book to read a little while there was still daylight. I heard a few jets still passing in the distance from the air show. I heard those passing by on bicycles. I saw a group with motorized razor scooters. A jeep. A motorcycle. Some walkers. Just a couple cars. In between pages I’d pause to listen to the birds chirp. I might have swatted a few bugs too. 

As night came, I flipped the flashlight on phone for a few extra minutes of light to read the last couple pages. The quiet time was good. The environment was very welcoming. The street seemed like and intersection of hope and expectation. The street, the name, the words all crossed my path in different ways in the last 24 hours which was a weird coincidence as I sit on the porch.

Some days we go through life checking off boxes and doing what is expected of us hoping for different results. On rare occasions, we choose to explore or wander. It’s this times when growth happens. It’s not hoping for change that gets you a new result it’s changing yourself or environment that’s yeilds a result. My expectation of myself is simple. I expect to change, often. I expect to grow, as much as possible. 

My porch sittin’ was amazing today. If you haven’t been porch sittin’ in the city take a trip. Find an Airbnb not a hotel. Blend into the community. Eat where the locals eat. Shop where the locals shop. I bet it will be a trip to remember.

author moments

What I Know for Sure, 2021 Edition

A group of friends recently shared their thoughts on “What I Know for Sure.” This task, based on Oprah’s essays and so on, was a pleasant challenge.

I jotted mine down in quick scribbles. Nothing really took too much thought. I just did 20 in no particular order. Most of them are pretty basic. There was some head-nodding as we shared at the dinner table. Here’s the list I shared:

1.) The most important approval in my life is my own.

2.) I feel better when I move first thing in the morning.

3.) I can do without way more than I imagined (e.g., cheese)

4.) The main thing I can control is my own choices.

5.) Focusing on what I can control eases my anxiety.

6.) Bring food, a book, and something to do with you.

7.) I can provide guidance, but walking the walk and being an example is the most powerful, grounding thing I can do for others and myself.

8.) I can’t expect anyone else to prioritize my physical, mental, and emotional health – that’s my job. They also may not understand what prioritizing those things look like. That’s also not my problem.

9.) Garbage in, garbage out – reading, media, food, all of it.

10.) Most people are doing the best they can based on what they know and are capable of at a given time.

11.) Play is important at every age. Laughter is, too.

12.) Local places beat chains.

13.) If it’s worth it, go for it.

14.) Nature heals, redeems, centers and grounds.

15.) Writing matters.

16.) Dogs are amazing and make most of the people in my life happier than other people do.

17.) Most things that seem like a big deal really aren’t that serious.

18.) To be on time, leave at least 15 minutes before you think you should. Always leave a buffer.

19.) Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give other people.

20.) Thank people often for things big and small.

Most of this stuff is not groundbreaking. What I marvel at is how my list would have changed from even 5 years ago. I didn’t work out in the morning. I was beset with anxiety most of the time. I didn’t spend much time outdoors. I didn’t write for myself. I didn’t like dogs. Life is changing. I am changing. If my list stays the same, have I really learned or grown? What will the next 5 years bring?

I have a number of friends who are on the cusp of this time of great change with me. It’s wonderful to share such an exciting and transformational time with people. Instead of a stumbling, fumbling block it can be a launch pad.

What do you know for sure, right now?

author moments, business

Reading is Wise

Reading and comprehension can be overrated at times depending on who you ask. However, reading, simply stated, can be wise.

I remember back in elementary school I was given a test. It was a simple test maybe ten questions. The teacher clearly stated to follow all directions on the paper prior to starting. Being the headline girl that I am, I completed the easy test. At the end it said the test was not necessary had you read the full instructions at the top of the paper.

Silly me! I wasted time. However I learned a valuable lesson that day. Read. Re-read. Comprehend. Pay attention to detail. Skim if you need to, when you need to but never skip the details. The written instructions.

Now, many times in my adult life I have seen people I know build things or assemble things. My favorite is always the one to watch who doesn’t read and ends up with extra screws or parts. Simply reading, evaluating, processing and re-reading could avoid these situations but often times this isn’t what happens. It does however make me giggle at times.

Case in point. I sold a vehicle to a family member recently. The county charges a percentage of fair market value for tax. This can be thousands of dollars based on value of said vehicle.

Fast forward to a line at the registration office. One is waiting. One is observing. One is reading the posted signs that many will see but not read let alone comprehend.

The fine print on one sign notes that if you exchange vehicles from a family member or property is part of a divorce the tax rate is minimal or greatly reduced.  The reading of said sign saved thousands of dollars for my family member. So excited to see this.

Simply reading in this situation was a wise choice. Sometimes comprehension is an issue for some. Understanding how verbiage on a sign may apply. We all can learn from this scenario.

Read.

Research.

Ask questions.

Knowledge is power.

Passing on valuable tidbits of information that can help others is much needed in today’s world. This scenario may not apply in your area of the world but it may spur an opportunity for you to read, review or ask questions relating to laws or ordinances in your area. Or even remind you to fully read instructions when assembling your next big item.

I’m not big on reading fiction but I am a big proponent of reading fine print, directions, signs (especially when in lines), and terms and conditions. The fine print in some contracts can really get you. Maybe even allow seizure of your property if you don’t pay for something like your mooring at the local boat marina. Hint: this is real life for an acquaintance.

These are all lessons for me as well. I did not know this about taxes in my jurisdiction. I maybe learned from a friend’s misfortune. The list goes on. 

Today I learned something new. I am always hungry for knowledge. I am passing on this tidbit to you. Maybe it will be beneficial. Maybe not. Enjoy your day either way.

perspective

We Interrupt This Program…

I had a conversation with a friend recently about active listening. I don’t remember how the topic came up, but I do know listening is a weakness for me. I am just bad at it. I find it very hard to focus at times. I have a restless mind. I can be easily distracted by the ping-ponging of things I want to check, need to do, or am just curious about. It’s a challenge for me to maintain eye contact and just focus on what other people are saying.

I’ve worked on this weakness several times in my adult life but eventually I stop paying attention. Well, this conversation with a friend brought it to the top of mind and I naturally started monitoring myself and how I behave in conversations.

Just in the first morning of paying attention I noticed that I interrupted people three different times. It happened twice at the gym and once at my job. This was in the span of a couple of hours.

First, at the gym, my coach was telling people something funny I said and I had to jump in and talk over her. Like she wasn’t saying it right, I guess. I don’t know.

Then at the end of class I wanted to give a friend something and they were in the middle of an informative conversation. So I stared at them and waited for them to stop talking so I could do what I needed to do. They did the right thing and ignored me so I just left pretty annoyed. Thinking back, what did I expect her to do?

Finally, the end of the school year takes interruptions to a whole new level. I don’t have a work partner to help manage them this year and my personal workload has increased as well. Time is always on my mind. I try to stay positive but I am sure people can read my frustrations in my body and voice. When colleagues take a long time to tell me what they want and I think I already know what they’re going to say, I jump in and finish their request for them.

Sigh. Here’s what I said to myself after this realization:

Seriously, what the heck?!?!? Interrupting over and over again? Geez. That’s pretty obnoxious.

It truly is. I know that I hate being interrupted and here I am doing it to people. And often.

It makes me think of the book I am currently reading, Ego is the Enemy. The need to jump in and tell my version of the story, add my details, tell someone what I need to say, or speed things up is ego jumping in. My time is more important. My version is better. My needs take priority. My life is always the breaking news. Me, me, me. What am I losing by not listening better? If I claim to care about others, listening is a big part of that.

It’s embarrassing to admit all of this but sharing it can start me on the path to improving it (again.)