Monthly Archives: September 2009

People always say not to sweat the small stuff, but sometimes it’s the small stuff that can make he biggest difference.

This summer I have been trying to do little things around the house just to make life simpler or prettier or just nicer in some way.  It’s funny what can change your life in a small yet very significant way.

calendar

I am not the most organized of people and with two kids in two different schools this year, I figured I needed to create a way to keep track of who needed to be where, what forms needed to be filled out and returned and what days I have a meeting or Karli is going to be home late etc etc etc.

With school starting last week this has really been my first introduction into the crazy schedule of a family of four.  To help me stay on track, I dedicated a wall in my kitchen to family organization.  I have two white board calendars as well as cork boards and white boards for notes and forms and stuff.  I even found a stick on post-it dispenser and some really cute orange cube push pins.

My office supply fetish is definitely satisfied on this one.  We even have a different color pen for each member of the family.

kitchen_window

Another addition to my kitchen is the hanging fruit basket.  This worked out really well, providing plenty of room for all the fruit bowl items and keeping the onions and garlic separate from the fruit.  By finding a creative solution to the overflowing fruit bowl we also cleared up some much needed counter space, which is at a premium in my tiny kitchen.

Cleaning out the garden window which had previously been filled with all my poor suffering house plants cleared enough space to start an herb garden in that window which had always been the plan and only took me 8 years to get around to.  We also gave the window sill a fresh coat of paint which really brightened it up.  It is so nice to be able to look out that window and see the kids playing in the back yard.   I don’t know if I ever thought we would get there.

pantry

Probably the biggest kitchen impact came from the addition of this giant pantry unit.  We finally got the extra shelves we needed and the drawers we forgot to buy the first time around and it is now complete and a fully functional pantry.  Having this extra space makes all the difference in a tiny house with little storage.   And I finally have all my little plastic storage containers with labels and everything.  Mmmmm, it makes me all warm inside.

house_plants

And yes, those suffering house plants (there are many more) have finally found legitimate homes throughout the house.  I look forward to watching them finally thrive and grow.  Only a few weeks later they are already looking very very happy.  They even all got matching pots in complimentary colors.

It is really amazing how much more alive and homey my house feels now.   Having the youngest to an age where he no longer feels the need to tip the plants over and dig in them is a great relief to both them and me.

towel_rack

And last, but certainly not least is the new over the door towel rack in the main bathroom.  There has never been a really good place for a towel rack in this bathroom and since I am sharing this bathroom with the kids for the time being, where to put he towels has been an ongoing struggle and trial and failure.

But here it is, my big beautiful towel rack.  Like I said, it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.  Ahhh!

Our poor Oscar the cat has been dealing with mats for the first time this summer.   He has never had this problem before so I was surprised when several pretty large mats showed up on his back (at the tail end) seemingly out of nowhere.

It could be that he is getting old or that  Henry is no longer here to lick his back (he regularly bathed Oscar) or it could simply be because he has been laying in the dirt all summer, although that is not so unusual so who knows.

Anyway, the thought of shaving the poor guy wasn’t something I was too fond of, but he was really uncomfortable so we were looking into that.  In the meantime, I set out on a search for any other ideas out there and came across someone recommending putting baby oil on the mats and they would just fall out.

Well, I was a little skeptical and didn’t think that baby oil was such a good idea when cats lick themselves so much.  But, without much to lose I tried a little olive oil, which wouldn’t hurt him should he lick it.  With the first one, I wasn’t even really sure whether it worked because I couldn’t find it or remember exactly where it was.  So I did the largest one next and within a few days it was gone.  Hmmm.

I wasn’t sure how this was working, whether it undid the mat or made it fall off, but they were gone so I did another one.  This time we actually found the mat on the floor so it appears that they are falling off.  Strange, but a few oily days and he is mat free and a whole heck of a lot more comfortable.

So, Here it is in a nutshell..

Remove Matted Fur in Cats and Dogs

  1. In a small dish, put a tablespoon or so of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil.
  2. Get a cotton ball or cotton swab.  It needs to be something pretty absorbent and easily squeezed.   Softness is also a key as these are very tender for your animal and being gentle is really important.
  3. Dab the cotton ball in the oil and gently dab it at the base of the mat until fully coated.  Be very gentle, but you may have to gently hold your animal in place to get this done.  You do not need to get the underside of the mat, moving the mat that much could be very painful.
  4. Wait a couple of days and check to see if it is gone.
  5. Continue to be gentle in that area as the skin where the matted fur was will still be tender for a while.
  6. Once all the matted fur is gone and your animal has had ample time to heal, give them a good brushing and don’t forget to do it regularly to try to avoid this in the future.  This last step is something I am definitely going to need to work on.

Note: If there are multiple mats you may want to treat them one or two at a time.  This is only because this is oil that you are dealing with and it can be a little messy.  By only doing a small spot at a time you may minimize the mess.  I also found that if I applied the oil right before we went to bed, I could localize most of the oil spots to the place where he sleeps at night and not all over the house.  Another tip, rub a little dish soap into the stains before washing the item with the oil spots to help loosen the oil from the fabric.

I know that I have mentioned this maybe even several times in the past, but I just can’t get over how powerful it is when the same information comes at me from several unrelated sources.  This always confirms for me that I am on the right track.  Lately this phenomena is happening everywhere I look and so gives me confidence that although I sometimes feel like I am dangling from a hook, struggling to find solid ground as life zooms past me, everything is happening as it should and it helps me to trust myself and allow myself to be present to the changes happening in my life.

Funny, that word changes.  In the forum they teach us to differentiate between changes and transformations.  Change is something gradual that you must apply will power and constant attention to to make it happen.  Transformation is instant, more like an immediate shift that sends you in a new direction.  These are the more powerful mechanisms for making significant differences in our lives and I have seen this in several areas of my life and now finally with my health.

I first saw this in action when I quit smoking.  We had heard of this book (The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that supposedly could help you quit smoking with little effort or withdrawals. Now, I had been a smoker for over 15 years and had quit and started countless times. My problem was that I liked smoking, no I loved smoking.   But, I hated being a smoker.   There is a very distinct difference there that I think most smokers can relate to.

So, we had heard stories of several people who had read this book and then simply stopped smoking forever. At this point what did I have to lose, so I gave it a try. Basically the book tells it like it is, separating you from your addiction and helping you to see how it is standing in the way and certainly not serving in any way at all. But the funny thing is that it is really more about the act of reading the book than even what the book says.   At the end they have this list of questions and if you can answer yes to any of them you need to start the book over.   It took reading the book twice to get through the list, but then I put down the cigarettes and haven’t had another since and it wasn’t even hard, like at all.    My best friend even looked at me the other night and said she can no longer even imagine me as a smoker.  Amazing.

Do you need to quit? Get the Book!

The point is that it was my first introduction to the instant transformation I am talking about. It wasn’t hard to quit like it had been the many other times I had tried. It was like something shifted and I just didn’t need it any more. Quite the transformation.

Back when I was depressed and having regular debilitating panic attacks my therapist would tell me to differentiate and identify the depression and anxiety as separate from myself. “That’s the depression talking”.   It was amazing how quickly I started to feel better once I started doing this. I kept telling myself that it was just anxiety and depression and that what it was saying was not true and that I could keep going even though I thought my heart would explode out of my chest and it eventually just disappeared.  In the moment that I realized that I wasn’t the awful person my depression told me I was, it just dissipated and I started feeling better and soon I was better.

At The Forum I learned to separate my stories from my actual experiences and found forgiveness and peace with my past.

Do you see a pattern here?

Well now it has reached my battle with my weight. I was noticing last week that my whole outlook was starting to change. But this didn’t happen slowly over time with a lot of will power.   Yes, I have been thinking a lot about it and have made some changes to my diet and have obviously been working on the emotional aspects, but I was feeling really frustrated that it didn’t seem how much I worked at it, I still wanted to the sweets and junk food and couldn’t keep myself from eating it.  And I still had no desire to work out at all.

I hit my peak of frustration as I scarfed down a brownie on the way to therapy last Monday.   Two bites and I was feeling nauseous, yet I still ate the whole damn thing.  What is going on?

So I was talking to my therapist about it and she taught me how to differentiate this as well.  There is was again.  She recommended stopping when I felt these cravings and looking at them from another angle, identifying the intensity of the craving by giving it a number 1-10.   Then if you decide the number is high enough and eat the craved food, then identify how much satisfaction you got from eating it by giving it a number 1-10.

During this therapy session, something just clicked and since then I have been following her advice,  which has unfortunately taken the joy out of several sweat treats I was really looking forward to, and yet again transformation has happened.  Not perfection or magical weight loss, but a totally different outlook that seemed like it came out of nowhere.

I have been almost jonesing for exercise and food has lost its power over me. I am even down to just one Diet Coke a day, a miracle in and of itself.

It is just a craving and separate from myself.   That craving has nothing to do with my body’s need for sustenance or nutrition or even something yummy to eat — it is emotional and completely separate.

I think this is part of the message the Jon Gabriel is trying to convey to us.   Just give your body what it needs and realize that you are emotionally separate from your need to eat and your body will start asking for what it needs and giving back what you want from it.

The real test will be how this plays out over the next couple of months.  Please let the weight loss finally come.   I create this possibility for myself and for all of you too.

Buy the Gabriel Method Book Now!

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It has been an interesting couple of weeks since attending the forum.  I have been mourning a part of myself and learning to live in a world where that part me no longer exists.  Of course this is a good thing, but that certainly doesn’t mean it has been easy.

I have caught myself falling back into my depression routines which is pretty frustrating.  I am also noticing new layers or levels of issues to deal with.  This is also a good thing as these are the real issues, the rackets I have built up that were hidden beneath my tortured soul persona.  The good news is that now that I am past all the bullshit  I can concentrate on going after the stuff really getting in the way.  It is like all that anger just wrapped me in a blanket of safety and now I am fully exposed, left to look for and examine the real issues I was just hiding from before.

My therapist is thrilled and I am working on being thrilled, but right now I just feel a little let down.  See there, that’s a racket talking right there.

I have been finding it hard to write.  This post have been sitting in my draft posts in various stages of undone for about a week now.  I ended up having to write it by hand to break through the block and it hardly resembles what I meant to write when I started.  When I think about it, I wonder if much of my inspiration came from my angst and resentment and blame.  This is a new place to write from for me.  This is a new place to do everything from for me.

Although I see the future in a whole new brighter light from a place of knowing I am not only capable but also deserving, insecurity and fear are still rampant and restraining.

But alas,  life rolls along and time speeds past and there is much to be done.  School starts this week and a new stage of life beings for our family. Ada starts kindergarten on Thursday and Ian will be attending preschool two mornings a week starting next week.    This leads to many new challenges and some great opportunities as well.

I am not the most organized of people, another racket I run to avoid being responsible for my own life — See how those can get in the way?

So, this week I have set myself up to succeed and started a fresh school year with a fresh outlook.

Taking responsibility for my life means many things to me.  Much of the big stuff like the wall I put up between myself and others and how angry I was and generally nasty sometimes are gone – vanished like some sort of magic.  What’s left are those things that can make a huge difference in my day to day life.  These include being organized and responsible for remembering what forms need to be filled out, that there is a field trip tomorrow and I need to send snacks to school on Wednesday.  It also means taking responsibility for my health and my body and finally doing what it takes to be a healthy, confident, beautiful woman.

Maybe we can throw in figuring out what I want to be when I grow up as well, but that is the big scary monster in the room right now and a lot of baggage lays between me and that goal, although I have been having some thoughts about what it might look like and that is a surprisingly big step for me.   In the meantime I can concentrate on getting the things I do have under my control under control.

I have already made some big strides.  Today (well actually yesterday but it took me too long to edit this) I have eaten great, exercised, cleaned the house and spent quality time with the kids, while still managing to get some work done.  It is possible to be productive and get everything done.  It’s amazing how much time opens up when you stop worrying so much about how overwhelming it all is.

The challenge will be to keep at it for more than a couple of days.  This is another racket I run.  I have great intentions and a strong start, but the follow through tends to go by the wayside.  I have put many tools into place to assist me in overcoming this weakness and I will share them with you over the next couple of weeks as I discover the successes and failures.  I hope that maybe an idea will spark you to create a less overwhelming life for yourself as well.