Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I have found the arrival of a new year to be on my mind a lot lately.  As someone that reads several blogs I have come across a variety of opinions in regards to making resolutions.  One that struck me was someone who said that making a resolution just because it was the new year wasn’t a legitimate reason to do so.  On the one hand I felt a little bit of satisfaction in that I started my Happiness Project in September a couple week’s after I read Gretchen Rubin’s book and therefore I did not fall into her category of jumping on the band wagon of January 1st life changers.

At the same time I wasn’t sure why she looked down on people who do make resolutions for the new year.  For the most part I think she was referring to people who make them with no real plan to execute or intention of being successful for any extended period of time.  And yes, I think that people should make resolutions at whatever time of the year highlights a need for change and not postpone making changes for some future date such as January 1st.

New Years resolutions get a bad rap because people regularly fail.  Maybe instead of starting your fitness goals in January you do them in the spring or start of summer when you can take advantage or the nice weather to motivate you work out consistently enough to make a habit of it.  Maybe people aren’t specific enough about what steps they need to take to make the changes they want, maybe they aren’t ready to change and make a big resolution because that’s what you do at the start of a new year.

I still think that making a new years resolution is a good thing.  It shows self reflection, acknowledging our flaws/shortcomings and a plan to change ourselves for the better.  I think it’s admirable to be able to say I don’t like this about myself and here’s what I’m going to do to about it.  It’s even more impressive when it’s successful.

I already have my resolutions for next month, and the month after that, etc. but I thought it would be fun to think of a few extra little things that I want change because sometimes little things don’t always fit in with the monthly theme.  My extra resolution is sugar.  I consume a lot of sugar on a daily basis.  First, I want to eliminate as much soda from my diet as possible.  Flash argues that diet coke doesn’t have any sugar which is why it’s okay for him to have 3 a day.  Even without the sugar there are a lot of chemicals and who knows what they do.  I also eat an obscene amount of candy.  I cut back when I started my project but it seems to have picked up.  I think afternoons at work are the biggest culprit.  I’ve had a lot of really slow afternoons at my job and mindlessly eating a entire bad of candy helps.  I’ve developed a reputation for being a sugar addict at work.  If a couple days go by without sugar on my desk someone usually comments.  I’m not about to go nuts and eliminate white sugar and flour from my diet and eat only organic produce and free range chicken.  Those are the kinds of unreasonable things that cause resolutions to fail. 

I’m curious to see how cutting back on sugar affects me.  I’m a really moody person and I like to see if that changes without sugar highs and crashes.  Another thing I notice is that I have a hard time falling asleep.  I have always been a night owl and struggled with mornings, but I have also always been a candy nut.  My grandma used to tell me I was going to get diabetes from all the candy I ate.  Maybe I could fall asleep faster and get up earlier if I detoxed. 

Sugar, can it be that you are the source of all my joy and my sorrow?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Social State of Mind

I’ve been thinking about what I need to go out to a social event and have a good time.  In a perfect world I’d like to go places where I was friends with or at least comfortable with no less than half of the group.  I would like to have at least one person that I know is going to stick with me most of the night that I can talk to.  I like to have an estimate of the nights schedule, when we’re going, where we’re going, are we driving or taking a cab, etc.  These things all help, but the number one thing that contributes to me enjoying myself is knowing well in advance that I will be attending a social event.

Flash and I sometimes butt heads over spending time with his friends.  With the exception of the odd guys’ night he wants me to come out with him and his friends.  Being a guy and incapable of making plans in advance they often make ‘game time decisions’ also known as last minute plans.  This makes me crazy because Flash doesn’t seem to understand that many girls, like me, can’t be ready to go out in 15 minutes.  If I’m sitting on the couch, haven’t showered so my hair isn’t washed or dried or straightened, I have no makeup on and I’m wearing sweat pants, we’re looking at an hour to get ready, minimum.  Now, had I known I was going out that evening I would’ve been physically ready to go out, dressed with hair and makeup done, but more importantly I would’ve been mentally prepared to go out.  I would have kept my energy up and my mood in check.  Knowing I would be going out allows me to put myself in a social state of mind.

I kind of feel like an old lady writing this.  What about spontaneity!?  What about those super fun unplanned nights from my youth?  The novelty and rush of spur of the moment plans, the thrill of being included, the excitement of the unknown.  Listen bitch, I am 26 years old.  I am not in high school anymore; a case of beer, a pickup truck and someone’s garage isn’t going to cut it.  Going out is a lot of work and money and I need a considerable heads up.

This month I have found myself going out to social events every weekend and the odd night during the week and for the most part it’s been good.  A lot were holiday parties that I was aware of many days in advance.  For one of the parties Flash was feeling tired and unenthusiastic about going and I, who was dressed and ready, turned to him and said “Well it’s friend month so we’re going.”  Normally I would’ve thought hooray let’s watch a movie in bed, but I had mentally committed to these plans and prepared myself to go.  So I went.

So in short, if you wanna be friends I’m going to need at least 24 hours notice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reflecting Back on 2010 – One Word Resolution

I found this site called Reverb 10, and for the month of December they give a prompt (idea to think about in regards to the past year) for every day of the month.  The very first prompt is called One Word.  What you do is think of a single word or very short phrase that encapsulates the past year and then you choose one that you want be your 2011 word.  For example I have seen some people use RELAX, or FREE TIME as their 2011 word.  It’s kind of like a new years resolution but just one word, like an overall intention.  Nicoleisbetter, a blogger I follow decided that her word for 2010 would be OWNERSHIP, and her word for 2011 would be INTENTION.  Gretchen also did this on her blog and her word for 2011 was BIGGER.  So I started thinking about what my word would be.

For 2010 my word would be LIMBO.  The definition for it is a state of uncertainty.  I spent most of the year waiting for things to happen.  Waiting for my job to get busier and be more enjoyable.  Waiting for Flash’s job to do the same.  Waiting for answers, waiting for change, waiting for opportunities.  A state of uncertainty sums it up perfectly and so does this: limbo sucks balls. 

So what about next year.  I thought about QUEST, or BE HERE NOW (to get out of my head and live in the moment), I debated using FOLLOW THROUGH (to drive me to a high standard of completion on happiness project ideas), another word I thought was TRY (to put more effort in whatever I’m doing and to try new things) and my runner up word was CONSISTENCY.  I’m going to make a list of these words as personal commandments.

I’ve decided my word for 2011 is going to be CREATE.  I like it because it works on several levels.  To me its overall meaning is create your life.  On a smaller scale I want to literally make stuff.  I am a creative person at heart and pursued a design degree.  Even though I work in a design office I find the bulk of my work doesn’t feel very creative.  I do a lot of architectural drafting and to me that’s more technical than creative.  I want to incorporate creativity back into my life.  I used to really enjoy making things when I was younger but my stressful and competitive university experience didn’t leave me a lot of free time to pursue non-school related projects.  I feel like my creative side is a missing part of me and I want to get back into sketching and become better at certain computer programs.  Making cool shit = happier.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I’ve been thinking a lot today about organization. Particularly in how I organize my thoughts, goals and ideas in regards to my Happiness Project. The way that I seem to like to do things is make lists on random bits of paper. I noticed this habit back in university when I found I was rarely using my sketchbook to work out my ideas. I was always putting my ideas on pieces of scrap paper.

There’s something really valuable in keeping a collective record of something all in one place. I seem to enjoy lists, point form lists of the to do nature. This is good except that I write them on post its, pages from those tiny lined notebooks or a piece of paper ripped out of a notebook. I write myself a new list every few days. Once I cross most of the tasks off the paper is discarded.

Why’s this a problem? Well, in school it was because I couldn’t present a cohesive collection of my thoughts and ideas to show my process, but lately it’s been bothering me because I feel like I could be doing better on my happiness project if I had a organization system in place. I have a notebook in which I wrote out all the months and goals I had for each of them. Now whenever I add to the book I simply write on the next available page. Nothing is grouped together. Perhaps a bigger notebook, like one of those ones with sections would be better. I also think that having a system for organizing would help make me more accountable. If I had everything in one place I think I could more clearly set up ways to track my progress, set mini goals, work through ideas in a more clearly defined way… but maybe not.

It’s strange that I don’t have a better system for this. I think I have a mild case of OCD. I count things with my feet. My left foot is one, my right is two, the left is three, etc. I have this weird compulsion to count certain types of things as even multiples of 5. If I count window panes along the front of a house and I come to the last one and I end on my left foot at the number 15 I have to recount them, continuing on until I reach thirty (even multiple of 5). I also have this weird need to have things be in their place, any prolonged clutter makes me crazy. I’ve stopped being compulsive about these things but I still do them. You’d think that this kind of ordered thinking would lend itself well to organizing this project.  Right now I have a journal that I’ve abandoned for the blog, a secondary journal in which I sometimes write quotes and to do lists, a big notebook at work that I was trying to write in work related stuff like notes from design books and hours logged on online tutorials and I also have my Happiness Project notebook that has my original ideas for every month and some random lists and ideas.

My plan is to get a new five section notebook and try to do everything Happiness Project related in this one book. It needs to be something that will fit comfortably in my purse so that I will always have it with me when I have a thought or need to make a list. My plan is to start making smaller resolution charts and putting them in this notebook. Right now I plot out a big 18” x 36” resolution chart that I put on my wall. I liked the idea of a big visual to keep me on track, but my walls are filling up with charts, affirmations, notes, etc. It’s becoming clutter and that just won’t do. Originally I thought Melissa and I would both put up big charts and we would be accountable to each other by putting our progress out in the open but Melissa works in a more unstructured way. She doesn’t chart her progress, she sets a goal and aims for it but doesn’t mark yes or no every day. This means that my chart is 100% for my benefit only so I’m ready to try something different. I like the idea of a notebook that has a scrapbook quality to it that I can go back and read through once I’ve filled it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

Friend month, so far so good.  I have sent a lengthy email to some of my friends, others cards, others texts.  My birthday was this past Tuesday so between texting and Facebook I briefly made contact with a ton of people.  I spoke to my grandparents and parents on the phone and went out for dinner with 5 of my friends, one of which I rarely ever see even though we live in the same city.  Emailing has been good, I feel more connected with several people.  This was a good month to do friends and family because between birthdays, holiday parties and the actual holiday itself I haven’t had to go out of my way to plan social events, I’ve simply had to agree to go to them. 

Also, this month I attended a housewarming get together for a friend of Flash, tonight I am going to a birthday party for another of Flash’s friends and tomorrow I am attending a Christmas party in which a lot of Flash’s friends will be attending.  This is me being very social.  Next weekend I have another Christmas get together with girls, I’ll be spending Christmas at home with my family (I will be doing the 11 hour drive home with a friend of mine), on boxing day there is a big social in my hometown that most everyone who’s home goes to, and shortly after that is New Years. I think my friends and family goals will be more of a challenge in the new year when big events aren’t so frequent and I have to make the plans.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Greeting Cards, It’s What Good Friends Do

I sent a friend of mine a card when she moved into her first home last week.  The front is a sparkly winter wonderland scene and inside it has a generic congratulations.  So I added a more personal touch with this note:

OMFG you better like this g dang card. Do you know how hard
it is to find a good ‘new home’ card? It’s f**king hard.
I spent countless minutes searching through multiple card stores for this.
You know why it’s so hard? It’s because they are all filled with
newlywed crap and Christianity paraphernalia.

(Cue dry heaving noises)

And I was all like, this is bullshit, step your game up Hallmark,
don’t you know atheists buy greeting cards too?
So then I thought, maybe I’ll buy a goofy Christian card and draw a
little devil peaking out from behind the corner of the house like where’s Waldo.
Then I thought, whoa, what if that little devil becomes an evil portal,
like a little Hallmark voodoo doll? What if it brings some satanic shit into
your new house and suddenly it is 3:00am and you’re standing in a
trance beside the bed staring down at Justin all possessed and shit
and things start moving on their own and no one wants to come to your
house because it scares them and then one of you mysteriously dies and well…
I just don’t think I could live with that.

Congrats on your first home.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Beware of: Friend

I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good friend and inevitably I started thinking about bad friends.  I can think back to multiple conversations with friends of mine in which they were frustrated with one of their friends and after having a few of these conversations with the person I turned to them and said, “Remind me again why you’re friends with this person?”. 

As I’ve gotten older I have begun to notice a pattern among women that are bad friends.  The one thing that seems to be consistent is that they haven’t been able to keep or maintain any female friendships from their past.  Now the past is going to be relative depending on how old you are, but for me at 25 from your past means from high school or university/college.  Lots of people lose touch with high school friends, I get that, but if you haven’t made and kept any genuine friends from the past 10 years then there’s a reason.

I find that women who don’t have girlfriends fall into two main categories: they are either relationship freaks or bitches.  Relationship girls are the ones whose boyfriend is their entire life, they move in together too fast and become each other’s world.  This girl is often a sort of chameleon, she becomes whoever she needs to be to fit into her boyfriends life and usually has low self esteem and very little sense of who she is.  This girl’s friends consist of her boyfriend’s friends and their girlfriends.  When the relationship ends the girl not only loses her boyfriend but all of his friends as well.  This girl is never single for long and jumps from serious relationship to serious relationship.  If you have been this girl’s friend before you were either a friend of her boyfriend or someone that only ever hung out with her during the few weeks that she was in between relationships. 

The other girl is the bitch.  This girl has a what’s in it for me attitude.  She’s one of the stereotypical cool kids, acting like she’s better than most people, tricking you into feeling special for being worthy enough to be included in her life.  She’s a lot of fun, very social, seems to be constantly making new friends.  She’s only interested in your hot single guy friends, connections at bars and restaurants, discounts through your job or friend’s jobs, a cottage on the lake and asks for a lot of favors – in other words she’s using you.  This friend just wants to have fun.  If you were friends with this girl at some point you may have mysteriously grown apart but still hear from her randomly when someone you know is throwing a big party or to see if your friend is working at the bar tonight and could he get her in.  You may also never speak to this person anymore because there is a very good chance that she hooked up with your boyfriend, your ex boyfriend, several of your crushes or all of the above because she only cares about herself.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December – Friends and Family

I love my friends and have always felt like we had a special kind of relationship with each other.  I have had my best friend since I was in pre school and we have maintained that close friendship for 20 years.  Another big group of my friends are my girlfriends from high school.  I was always so proud of the fact that we all stayed friends even though it’s been several years since high school ended.  We’re low maintenance friends.  I feel like we have an understanding that we are all in different places, both geographically and in our lives, and that when we need each other we’ll be there, but we don’t have to call each other all the time.  When we’re both at home or in the same city, we’ll get together, we try to plan a girl’s weekend once a year, and I know if I ever really needed any of them they would be there.  Another group of my friends are the post high school friends.  This is probably the smallest group of friends but they are special because they are the most recent genuine friends I’ve made.  In many ways I could argue that they almost know me better than some of the friends I’ve had for 10+ years because I’ve spent a lot of one on one time with them in recent years.

Even though I’ve been glad to have low maintenance friends, I sometimes take that for granted.  I think I’m a good friend, I’ll definitely be there in a crisis, but as far as being involved in my friends regular day to day lives I don’t make much of an effort.  I would hate to wake up one day and realize that we’ve become strangers.

This month is going to be a bit different from the others.  My resolutions are not going to follow my daily checklist type tasks.  I’m not looking to be obsessively calling or emailing my friends every day.

My resolutions are to try and maintain more regular contact with my friends/cousins/grandparents.  For almost all of them I plan on doing this primarily through email.  I think my goal will be to send a substantial email every other month.  At first I thought monthly but I’m pretty boring and I’m not sure if I could write an interesting enough email every month.  For my best friend I am going to make the effort to call her instead of her always calling me.  I haven’t had a long distance plan since I lived in my parents house so we have developed this system where she calls me.  It’s really not fair and I should make more of an effort in initiating conversations.

I also want to keep better track of important events in my friends lives: a course they are taking for work, a sick relative, a party they were throwing or trip they were taking.  I feel like these things will be mentioned to me and then a couple weeks will pass and I’ll forget about them and then won’t follow up with my friend on it.  I think I need to write these things down on my calendar and then later I can send them a quick message asking how something went.

I also want to be more open to the possibility of new friends.  I have been very closed off to meeting new people for the past year and a half.  Friendships require a lot of time and energy and I’m guarded about making these kinds of commitments.  I don’t believe that more is more, I am only interested in genuine friends.

So my goals are:

  • email friends and family at least every other month
  • keep track of, and follow up on important events in friend’s lives
  • be more open to new friendships

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Soooo after the quarter point on our happiness journey I have gone back and read every entry that Kirby and I have made since day 1. I am starting to really notice how incredibly different we are! Me and Kirby's Happiness Projects couldn't be any different really and I think it's such a clear indication of the differences we have, and how together, those differences make our Happiness Blog perfect. We come from two totally different perspectives, with totally different goals, totally different ways of tracking, even the way we blog is opposite.

Although our Happiness Project is a perfect example of how opposites attract (and make awesome roommates) I would like to take a minute to list a few things Kirby and I have in common so that y'all know why we have mad love:
  1. Our shared love for "Glee" and knowing that the show wouldn't be the same without Becky the Cheerio
  2. Our love for Mexican food (Our first roommate dinner was at Julio's Barrio)
  3. Our hate for stuck up biatches (we both know who this is, in particular)
  4. Our appreciation for a clean kitchen
  5. The things we know are just that way, but were never discussed, like why do I have the left side of the fridge, and she has the right? If individual items linger over to the other side, one of us returns them to their rightful space. The top shelf is for shared items like margarine, salsa and ketchup.
  6. Our ability to know exactly when the other doesn't want to be spoken to, for at least an hour
  7. Our love for comments about the interesting folk that live in our building
  8. Our love for movies....we

In compliance with showing proofs of love, here are a few things that I adore about Kirby:
  1. How she always keeps a can of Chef Boyardi mini Ravioli in her cupboard for the Sundays that i'm too hungover to move or make myself anything
  2. How she hates leftovers, and therefore I usually have an already made meal in the fridge once a week
  3. Her love for cheese....we always have cheese (right now? fresh parm and her fav, cheese whiz)
  4. Her love for breakfast foods
  5. When I catch her dancing
  6. The way she laughs out loud when something is REALLY funny
  7. Her cleaning ethic. This girl puts Danny Tanner to shame (she steam cleans....fact)
  8. The fact that she taught me to drive a standard in 2 hours, in the snow
  9. Her patience...
  10. Her perseverance. This chick is strong :)

    I'm happy to be on this journey.

End of 'Work' Month....still a work in Progress

Working on Work has been good. I've been really in tune with bad habits and the process of being successful and working towards my goal. The oh so lovely Kelly Cutrone once said "Getting good at something requires consistency and repetition. Show up, do the work, do it hard, win the prize." When I broke things down, it was quite simple. I know how to do my job well, I just have to show up every day with a positive attitude and give it all i've got.
My boss, Special K, once told me that sales isn't very difficult. When you walk into that office, it's your curtain call, but the face on and before you know it those 8 hours have passed and you've done a good job, something you can be proud of. When you walk out of that door, you take off everything and leave it on stage. Don't bring your work home with you. THIS is something i've mastered. Between the gym and my oh-so packed social calendar, I hardly worry about work when i'm not there, I hardly ever bring it home with me, and I very rarely go to the office on the weekend.

There is one aspect of the WORK goals that I failed at: getting to know my co-workers. I really wanted to but...everyone is busy. I have done a good job at making an effort to talk to more people, just small comments here and there, and I feel good about that! I've also solidified the people I think I relate best with, and tried to be more open minded to those that dance to a different tune! I appreciate that all the people in my office are different and we are all very good at what we do. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone better!

At the end of the day, I love my job and am looking forward to continually working to get better. Not every day can be the best day, but there's a piece of everyday that I can be my best.

On on to the next on on to the next (thanks Jay Z)

Mmmmmmelissa the Mmmmmarketing Mmmmmmmaster

Relationship – End of Month Summary

So I was looking through my old posts the other day and was reading my end of month summary for boost energy in which I included an image of my resolutions chart with my red and black Xs on it.  I laughed when I saw it because it looks like I nailed my resolutions that month, hardly any red Xs.  Granted, I was giving myself credit for even attempting certain goals.  I would’ve given myself credit for working out if all I did was go to the gym and stare at the wall.  My resolutions chart is currently riddled with red Xs.  I have pretty much given up on waking up early and working out with the exception of yoga so those two rows of the cart are almost completely red.  I will say that the black Xs that go on my chart feel more valid, like I genuinely earned them.


This month was ok.  It brought up a lot of weird emotions.  I found myself easily irritated and overly emotional.  I consider myself to be someone that does a fair bit of self reflection, having this need to constantly find ways to improve on everything.  This month’s resolutions made me hyper aware of myself and all my neurotic crap. 

I came to realize that Flash has flaws, but most of the time things become issues because I make them issues.  I am a big part of the problem.  That’s ok because I can change myself.  I can make a conscious effort to be aware of the part I’m playing in creating negative situations, to let things go, to take time for myself when I lose my perspective or need to breathe.  I also realized that Flash is genuinely happier when I’m happier.  I used to think that Flash made stupid jokes all the time because he liked the sound of his voice, or as a force of habit from hanging around with guys all the time, now I see that he is doing it for me, in the hopes that I’ll laugh.  Just this past weekend he made a particularly clever joke and when I laughed his face lit up.

I’ve cut back on nagging, I’ll mention something once or twice and then I’ll drop it.  Proofs of love was fun, but I don’t think buying gifts all the time is necessary.  I do feel a shift in my thinking.  I’d say the biggest lesson I learned this month is just be more appreciative, focus on the good things and let little things go. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Epic Life Changing Shit Have You Achieved?

I’m annoyed with my happiness project today because it feels like nothing is happening.  You know why?   Because I’m looking to make changes, EPIC changes.  I want to look back on the happiness project and remember it as one of those times in your life that stands out as different from the rest.  During these years I was in University and during that year I lived in that city and during that year I did a happiness project and changed my freakin’ life.

It has almost been 3 months since I started this project, that’s 90 days people.  You know what P90X is?  It’s a 90 day workout program where you commit to working out six out of every seven days for 90 days.  And do you know what happens to those people that follow through?  They are super jacked and amazing.  They commit to one goal and it changes their life.  Booyah.

So WTF Kirby I say to myself.  What epic life changing shit have you achieved?  Um, I’m not always thinking strangers are stupid and I eat less fast food.  Wow… how lame is that?  I used to read a couple fitness blogs but I stopped because I thought they were annoying.  It was always the same crap: I did the my workout today, and then three days later they’d be all like I haven’t worked out in three days, life’s been crazy, and then they proceed to list off 10 excuses for not working out.  I’m like, bitch that’s annoying, step your game up.  Maybe you should call it this is why I’m fat instead of your fitness blog.

So what’s my excuse?  I don’t know!  I’ve structured my happiness project to include lots of smaller resolutions and maybe this is great if you are really diligent in your efforts to be perfect with these little goals every day but I am not.  Should I just do one or two big goals?  One of the things Gretchen discovered during her project was that you manage what you measure.  I like the idea of having lots of goals and keeping track of them, and I’m finding that tracking my progress does keep me from letting things slide for more than a day or two, but there’s something missing, something to keep me motivated enough to strive for a higher standard of completion every day.

I have these bursts of motivation or frustration in which I feel inspired to rework the project, make changes, do better.  They I’ll get into a really lazy low mood and everything suffers for several a couple days.  My moods are my downfall.  The irony is that Boosting Energy and Attitude month were done first in the hopes that they would help alleviate the severity or frequency of these low moods.  So half assing my boost energy goals and discarding most of my attitude resolutions hasn’t helped matters.

Maybe the way Gretchen did her project doesn’t work for me.  I remember reading the Happiness Project and thinking to myself that this woman was a time management machine, how did she fit it all in?  I thought, if Gretchen can be a writer with a husband, two small children and a ton of social commitments and still find time to improve in all these areas then I can totally do this.  Turns out Gretchen Rubin is a freak of nature.  I work regular hours at a job that is relatively stress free, I have a dog but no children, no husband and very few social commitments.  In other words, I have more than enough time in my day to do this project.  I’m going to start re-working my resolutions.  I think it’s all about figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Working on Your Work is Hard Work

So...I mean this. Working on doing better at work is hard work. I...AM...EXHAUSTED. My job is quite demanding, and trying to do what I already think I do pretty well, even better, is difficult. I guess when I went in to this I wanted a couple things to improve:
-my self motivation
-daily productivity

For the most part, i've been doing well. I really wanted to focus on staying positive, when it comes down to it, there's no "i" in OfficeTeam...well, there "office" but the word TEAM is bigger and it really takes all 3 legs of our tri-pod to do what we do. We have a great team and I want to be contributing to that everyday.
Today...was a rough day for me. I've been feeling under the weather and I've barely been sleeping this week and it's FREAKING -40 everyday for the past 7 days....and I got super cranky today, and I let it get me. Towards my team I tried to keep my light hearted demeanor and humorous attitude, but to some of my support staff and other co-workers I was kind of rude. Not through words, but through just straight up ignoring. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all right?!....right? haha. I just wanted to be left alone. It's year end and the pressure is really on to put up big numbers, and everyone is feeling it. Even more reason for me to keep a calm head, and try to let things slide. Tomorrow is Thursday (the new Friday, whoop whoop!) so i'm going to breathe, stretch, shake and let it go. Tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow is a great day, and I love my job ---and not like Emily Blunt circa Devil Wears Prada "i love my job, i love my job." ---I actually really do!!!!
I am blessed. In the spirit of American Thanksgiving, let me give thanks to all the things that I have, and all that is in my future.

Same 'ole Mel, but smiling more!

P.S. I am doing SO much better at drinking water and herbal teas! But I will never give up my morning grande pike with room. AND a new study says coffee helps with brain cancer. TAKE THAT, REWIND IT BACK.
P.P.S. I love my family....they are lovely people. The texts I wake up to from J-Bear are precious....just precious.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Me versus We

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about alone time and balance. 

I have always been someone that was comfortable being by myself.  I was in a conversation in which a friend of a friend was in a toxic relationship but was terrified to leave her live in boyfriend because she was scared to be by herself.  Not like, scared of burglars, like scared of sitting in silence in an empty room scared.  I remember thinking that was ridiculous.  I am by no means scared of being alone, but I am noticing that I am rarely by myself.

Let’s rephrase that - I am never alone.  Flash and I don’t live together, but we probably spend as much, if not more time with each other than couples that do.  Now, because we don’t actually live together, I feel like when we’re together we need to be doing something.  Meaning, I don’t feel like I can just up and go to a random yoga class if Flash is over because he doesn’t live there and I’d either have to ask him to go home or leave him there by himself.  Most of the time it’s fine, I plan out things I’m going to do in advance anyway.  It’s not that I want to go anywhere, it’s just that I’m aware that I am accountable for how I spend my time.

My workplace is small, I have 4 coworkers.  It’s a design office where everyone spends their entire day at the computer with their headphones on.  It took me a while to get used to the utter and complete silence that permeates the office every day.  The office is set up in such a way that we cannot see one another.  Three of the four coworker are in partially enclosed offices and one sits right beside me with a divider wall between us just high enough that I’d have to stand to see him.  Even though I feel isolated at work, I am aware that I am not alone, that someone is regularly looking over my shoulder.

I’m sort of in that place where I’m always in the presence of people.  My boyfriend, my roommate, my coworkers, my dog.  I’m craving some space.  I decided to do the happiness project because I read the book and though it was great, but also because of this nagging feeling that always follows me around, this general dissatisfaction with life.  I’m not happy with my progress in the project so far and I’m starting to think that I’m not staying in touch with why I’m doing this, what I want to get out of it.  I feel unable to think about what I want when I have to factor another person into my decisions.  What I eat for dinner or what I’m going to watch on TV or when I’m going to run errands, all these decision are affected by the fact that I’m not doing them by myself.

Maybe I need to take a book and go sit in a coffee shop by myself, or just schedule in some alone time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Whenever I picture the week of extreme nice in my head I see a 50’s Stepford wife dancing around her house, but instead of a partner she holds a big chocolate cake in her outstretched arms.

This week hasn’t felt very extreme.  I can think of lots of things that I could buy for Flash, but I feel like the point of this week isn’t gifts.  It’s extreme nice week not Hanukkah (and the fact that Christmas is coming up makes me even less inclined to spend much money on presents).

So far I have given Flash a Starbuck’s gift card, bought him breathe right strips, mailed him an I love you card, cleared out a drawer in my dresser for him, bought him diet coke at the grocery store and made him lunch for work.  I also got him a season of a show he likes and will probably give it to him tonight.  None of these things are very extreme.  Gretchen’s husband didn’t seem to notice when he was the recipient of her week of extreme nice but she ended up deciding that was a good thing because it meant her behavior didn’t seem all that out of the ordinary. 

It doesn’t bother me that Flash hasn’t noticed this week is special because I don’t feel like I’m really going all out.  I probably could have made a bigger production out of how I game him things to get a bigger reaction.  Done goofy things like put little bows on presents I bought or doing a little Ta-Daa! song and dance when I gave him something but I’m working on not expecting praise/appreciation so I’m almost trying to downplay my efforts.  Flash has excellent manners and always make sure to mention things and thank me for them.  He called me as soon as he got his card in the mail to let me know it made his day.

So it’s been good.  I haven’t got the same sense of accomplishment I got from my weekly goal of trying a new recipe every night, but I still feel successful in my efforts.  I think it’s nice to give little non-practical gifts once in a while for no reason.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week of Extreme Nice Relationship Edition and Mid Month Recap

The first couple weeks of relationship month have been interesting.  I think there are still some dots that I'm not connecting. I mentioned previously that I have had a couple situations where I realized that I should probably just let of what was bothering me go, because it wasn't really a big deal, but couldn't.  Knowing that I should let something go doesn't seem to be enough, I think maybe I need to better understand why it has upset me in the first place. You know, try to solve the root of the problem not just the symptoms.

The past week has been very up and down. My affirmations and extreme nice game have been going pretty well, I got a massage as part of my resolution to do something extra for look good feel good and I’ve been doing my yoga twice a week.  I bought a deal for 12 boot camp sessions for $20 so hopefully having a different type of class will inspire me to incorporate the gym back into my routine.  My relationship resolutions have been sporadic so I'm going to try another weekly goal to get myself back on track and be more consistent.

Shanghai Starbucks by Jian Shuo Wang

So this week is my week of extreme nice – relationship edition.  The goal is to make the effort to go the extra mile in appreciation and proofs of love.  I started it off by attaching a Starbucks gift card to Flash’s steering wheel last night so that he would find it this morning when he went to work.  I have little gifts planned for the week and I’m going to try extra hard to be perfect with my resolutions.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wham! Pow! Bam! Silent Fights and Strange Dreams

Flash and I don’t really fight, but we came about as close as possible to one last night.  I was annoyed from something he had done the night before, and my anger and frustration carried over to the next day.  I thought to myself, this is a great chance to work on my relationship resolutions.  Was I overreacting?  Yes.  Would this matter in a couple days?  Probably not.  Did this help me let it go?  Nope.

We went out to dinner, and how lovely that our booth had it’s own little flat screen TV with the game playing on it!  Having a football game 8 inches from your boyfriend’s face does wonders for conversation.  I was trying my best not to say anything about the night before, but it wasn’t working.  I could tell he was aware I was annoyed, I don’t hide it very well, but he just chose to watch football as a way to avoid it.

After dinner we got to my house and I told him just to drop me off.  This is code for I hate you and am punishing you by not letting you stay over.  He replied with something like, fine by me, which is code for I thought I was coming up but I’m clearly not so I’m going to make you think I didn’t want to anyway.  He then maturely sped off as soon as I slammed the car door.

Like the mature adults we are, we pretty much resolved it a couple hours later via text messaging.  Was this situation almost completely of my own making.  Yes.  Do I realize that if I had just tried to be pleasant and make conversation about something else at dinner that this whole thing probably wouldn’t have happened.  Yes.  Does that make me feel like things could have gone any differently.  Not really.

That night I had the strangest dream, it involved Flash, my ex, and a friend of my ex (let’s call him Yankee) that I once thought I might be more than friends with but wasn’t.  I go to a bar to meet up with Flash, and my ex and Yankee are both there.  I go up and give Flash a kiss.  Yankee gives me a weird look and says something along the lines of “Wtf are you dating that guy?” and proceeds to be very flirtatious.  At this point I look over and see Flash and my ex being buddies, laughing and having a great time.  Yankee pulls out a present for me (which I can remember thinking was weird because he didn’t know I was going to the bar that night).  It’s some mini portable printer type thing.  Flash leaves and my ex comes up to me and tells me to go easy on Yankee because he has a broken heart and that it took him a long time to get over me.  My ex then gives me a hug and we hug for a long time, one of those hugs that says a lot of unsaid things and brings closure (as much closure as a dream hug can give I guess).  I then proceed to go looking for Flash, the sun is coming up but the streets are still full of people from the clubs.  I see him from a distance and try to get to him but somehow end up in a building that it a mash up of my elementary school and something else.  I wander though the gym and into some huge bathroom full of people that are in party mode and all the bathroom doors are broken and I start freaking out about losing one of my boots only to realize later that I am wearing it.  This is the point where one dream starts merging into another and I never do find Flash.

I don’t really know what it meant, but it was interesting to have a dream like that right after my fight with Flash.  I think maybe it means that I have a lot more baggage than I’d like to admit and that it affects how I act in my current relationship.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Extreme Nice Game

I have started playing a game on my way to work, I am calling it Extreme Nice.  I try to intentionally think only nice things about everything and everyone.  I will drown my judgment in a sea of rainbows and unicorns.

Feeling fake is one of the things I have struggled with in the past, and yes, this feels extremely fake.  I don’t want to pretend to be happy, I want to be genuinely happy.  I’m trying to think of it as learning instead of faking it.  From what I’ve read so far it is believed that an attitude shift doesn’t have to come from some life altering experience in which new perspective and appreciation is discovered.  More often it is done through repetition. 

Yes I know writing lines on the blackboard didn’t seem to work for Bart Simpson, but he’s also an animated frozen in time child so find a better example haters!

The idea is that you consciously make an effort to repeatedly think certain thoughts and over time it stops being a forced effort and comes naturally.  I saw an example of this the other night while watching the Devil wears Prada on TV.  First assistant Emily was very sick and after being criticized by her boss goes back to her desk and repeats to herself, “I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.”

Last month I discussed that in an attempt to be less negative I have accidentally trapped myself in the personality-less neutral zone.  If I didn’t have anything nice to say I didn’t say anything at all.  Extreme nice is my attempt to push my self out of the silent neutral zone and into the positive zone.

The challenge with the game so far is that the majority of nice things I think about the people I see on my walk home or on the train are superficial.  I don’t have conversations with all these random people, so I’m mostly trying to find something positive about the way they look or carry themselves.  Other times I try to think about how almost every person on this train has a family, has a story.  I try to imagine the paths everyone takes each day, the highs and lows they all experience.  It helps to be more patient and understanding of the person who’s being a jerk to you on the phone or the guy that cut me off in traffic if I can think of them as people and not just some jerk that vaporized out of thin air with the sole intent of pissing me off.  I haven’t yet mastered always finding this train of thinking in the heat of the moment, but I’m getting better.

Yesterday I got a letter from my university about the program I left and how my voluntary withdrawal has been denied and they are putting instead something along the lines of being forced to withdrawal on my permanent record.  I found the letter a little confusing but the impression I got was that this would have some sort of negative consequence for me in the future.  I feel the program is fundamentally flawed and as a result the students suffer; this was just one more thing to add insult to injury.  I was immediately annoyed when I read it and this annoyance festered for a solid half an hour before I told myself to stop it.  This is university politics, it’s probably just a formality and there’s nothing you can do about it.  If it affects paths you want to take it the future then you will just have to find other paths.  You have removed yourself from this toxic environment, don’t waste your energy, let it go.

I think this shows progress.  Normally I would’ve stressed about it for a few days, called my mother in frustration, possibly emailed my university program advisor or student advocacy to see what my options were.  All of these options require me taking on the role of victim and it is my experience that it is a flawed system and I would waste a lot of energy accomplishing nothing .  Instead I was able to let in go in a couple of hours.

In a less successful example I lost my patience with a friend of mine a couple days ago.  I avoided lashing out at her (by lashing out at another friend) but the conversation left me extremely annoyed for a full day afterwards.  Two days in a row I failed in my resolution of no complaining over it.  I just couldn’t let it go, and it wasn’t even a big deal.  I think it shows that I need to learn to not immediately react to things.  I have a very short temper and the right trigger will cause me to fly off the handle instantly.  I’m finding if I just wait, do something else for a couple hours or sleep on it I usually find that it doesn’t really matter and am often glad when I didn’t say anything.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Work In Progress!

Today I was 50/50 on my Happiness Project. I came into work so rested and ready to work and had a smile on my face, even after a certain company called me at 7:10am to report an order that they needed by 8am. “No Big Deal!” I thought, taking the call with a smile. To be honest, I somewhat enjoy getting calls on my blackberry, while on the train in the morning. I secretly enjoy the thought of people knowing how busy I am. I literally start work some days at 6:30am, whenever that call comes through!

ANYWAYS, off topic. Today was going really great. I even wanetd my productivity to be so high that I moved into a “call pod” away from everyone else so I could focus and not be distracted! That went really well, and I had a great morning!......then Noon hit.Where my little “Call Pod” is located, everyone leaving the back office has to walk past my desk, and the computer I’m working on. During my much earned lunch hour (I never take lunch…I’ll eat at my desk, while working) I decided to look at some of this season’s Stella & Dot pieces online. I think I’ve earned a new piece of jewellry. Three people that walked past my desk (on their way to lunch, no doubt) made comments like “Working hard or hardly working?” or “Get back to work!”… was all in good fun, but I found myself growing annoyed. I kept it in check, and just laughed it off. Why did this bother me? I guess I don’t like the thought of people ever thinking I’m slacking! With the complete lack of privacy in our office as is I felt like saying “What the hell are you doing looking at what I’m doing anyways?!?” but I’m sure it was just a way to make small talk, soooo…DEEP BREATH, let it go. Done.

Slight mis-step today but I’m back on track. Also, a shout out to my Sask friend who I shall refer to as E, who sent me a lovely little “Have a good Day” text. Being single forrrrr….2 years(ish) now, I forgot how nice those random little messages are. I receive them from Stephanie sometimes but they're more like "FYI, Coach is having a sale, let's go!!!". Although thoughtful, there's something about knowing someone from the opposite sex is thinking about you that just puts a smile on your face. I will make more of an effort for random “proofs of affection”. You know what’s not a proof of affection? Getting dinged an extra $10 to get something with silk in it dry cleaned! WTF. The boy working at the Dry Cleaners was super cute though. I smiled through the $10 charge with a playful "whaaaaat??". Normally I would try to negotiate my way out of it. Today I didn't, I accepted that such is life.

Heading into an extra long weekend, and feeling HAPPY!

Melissa ‘Smiley’ Nadeau

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Contemplating the origins of my nagging

I was thinking today about nagging.  I wasn’t a huge nag before, so why am I one now?  Does it have something to do with my last relationship?  I didn’t want to fight, I didn’t want to sweat the small stuff, but small things left unchecked add up until they are big things.  One of the biggest things I took away from that relationship when it ended was to not always bite my tongue, to not accept treatment that didn’t meet my standards for how I felt I deserved to be treated and that I would make it very clear what was and was not acceptable from the get go.  In an attempt to not make the same mistakes again I would often overreact about small things and have mini meltdowns over any repeated bad boyfriend behavior.  I’ve mellowed out a lot, and what’s left is a tendency to nag.

Then I think no, that doesn’t make sense, lots of people nag and they are not all dealing with having been mistreated by a former partner once upon a time.  Maybe it’s just a learned behavior, maybe we nag if our parents nagged, or it’s some fundamental men versus women thing.  I’m still trying to decide if nagging is the height of selfishness, or if it is an annoying form of selflessness.  Parents often nag children to do things, but they are doing that for the child’s benefit, right?  Things like do your homework.  Pretty sure if I tried hard enough I could think of a way in which that benefitted the parent.  Do your homework and mind your manners because when you misbehave it reflects badly on me as a parent. 

I don’t know why, but I feel like there’s more to it, some underlying reason.  I was bumming around on the internet and found a few interesting discussions.  One woman said that she nagged her husband like crazy to get up and be productive when he was in the depths of depression.  She said that through therapy she learned that she was nagging him as a way to alleviate her own anxiety, that she feels the need to fix the problem and doing nothing makes her feel like she’s going to have a nervous breakdown.  One of Gretchen’s least favorite strategies to quit nagging was simply to do the task herself.  I would have no problem with that, but there are times when I can’t do it myself and I find that stressful.  Maybe I'm just a bit of a control freak, maybe I don’t trust Flash to get things done on his own, maybe I’m worried that if I don’t say anything little things will snowball into big things.

I read an article about nagging on Oprah’s website that says we nag because we care.  The author breaks it down into three types: motherly loving nagging, be like me nagging and aggressive nagging.  Motherly loving comes from a desire to nurture and be helpful, be like me nagging is nagging people to do things the way you would do them, to change into the person you want them to be, and aggressive nagging is when the nagger is miserable and wants everyone else to be miserable too.  This type of nagger is never satisfied and nags for their own benefit and no one else’s.  I think I am a combination of the first two types.  I am nagging for Flash’s benefit, trying to help him follow through on things he claims to need to do, but I’m also trying to get him to do things my way.

Everything I’ve read comes to the conclusion that nagging doesn’t work and has the negative side effect of drawing attention to the flaws and shortcomings of the other person, which makes them feel bad.  Oh yeah and it’s a super annoying and unattractive habit.  Nagging always leaves me feeling frustrated.  I don’t want to be a nag, but I still want to be helpful.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making suggestions, or reminding someone of something they need to do, and I don’t believe my suggestions are unreasonable.  What’s frustrating is the thing that turns helping into nagging is the other person’s refusal to follow through on the task.  Just do it already! 

One thing the article says is, it’s not what you say but how you say it, so I’m going to alter my approach.  I’m going to stop nagging and simply let a lot of things go.  I’ll ask myself something like, “Does this really matter to me?” or “Do I need to spend my energy on this?”  If not then whatever, Flash can deal with it on his own and I won’t concern myself.  I think it will be a relief to give up any self-imposed responsibility I feel for making sure things get done.  For things that genuinely bother me, or affect me in some way I’m going to try and figure out a better approach, put a different spin on what I normally would say.

I was apprehensive about my no nagging resolution at first, but I am more excited about it now.  I feel like I’m doing a psychological experiment and I’m curious about the results.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NOVEMBER: Work, Work, Play, Work....

I have decided to dedicate November to my job. My friends and family are probably thinking "holy crap child don't you spend all your time working as is?" and the answer is YES....but am I working "smart" as opposed to working "hard"? That's what i'm looking to focus on. Also, I want to create better work relationships. My business has several different division's that we call LOB's and in the nature of our office lay out, we don't really get to comunicate with each other THAT much throughout the day, we're all very busy. I'm going to devote some time this month to get to know each and every person in my office (about 20 that I haven't spoken to that much or know their story). I want to know how they came to be here, what made them chose this industry, what was their biggest success, what is their one piece of advice for the office baby (yes i'm the youngest Sales Rep). I want to be able to learn from all the talent around me and apply it. My goals for work are as follows:

- be nicer to everyone, smile more
- get to know everyone more personally
- hit my weekly targets set by my Team Lead
- don't leave until I feel accomplished that day
- be more patient with candidates
- NO MORE fake gun-to-the-head....body language is important
- when frustrated take a deep breath, count to this worth a freak-out attack
- re-read "SPIN Selling" (the sales bible)

I'm looking for that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I love my job, and i'm starting to get pretty good at it. I just want to keep growing, keep evolving and continue to learn from the successful people and pick up tips of the trade.
A lot of my "attitude adjustment" month goals should assist with this month which is whyI decided to put it right after. I want to be a happier employee and a good co-worker to all!!!

Ready. Set. SELL.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 EVERYTHING....and it's OVER! :)

Attitude month is DUNZO.
I'm not going to lie, i'm happy. I am growing quite tired of my co-workers whispering "HAPPINESS HAPPINESS HAPPINESS!" in my ears when I'm frustrated and annoyed with something. I am tired of not being able to make a sarcastic comment about the brides on "Say Yes to the Dress" who I SWEAR are choosing their wedding dresses in the dark. I quite enjoyed the resultion to swear less and have done an exceptional job. I don't know WHY when I try to put my keys ont he key holder and I miss and drop them on the floor it aggrivates me beyond belief and I usually accompany this frustration with "FUCKKKK YOUUUUU
!!!!" I'm sure my keys didn't mean it (or my impatience to hand/eye coordinate the placement better). My patience levels have gotten slightly better. I am still SO incredibly bad at facially expression my impatience. I clench my teeth, roll my eyes, and often put my fingers to my temples and pull the imaginary trigger (when on the phone!!). I need to not let my frustrations show. When I performing reference checks and ask people "How did Mr. Candidate handle themselves in stressful situations, did they remain calm, cool and collected?" I ALWAYS think about how badly I would fail that questions---> "Melissa loses her s**t and freaks out when people don't live up to her expectations. She often flares her nostrils in anger and slams the phone when something doesn't go as planned." Ewwwww. I'll do better :)

Anyways, I'm definitely going to continue curbing my trucker mouth adn I also quiet like being more aware of my facial expressions and trying to smile more....even to randoms on the street! The other day a man on the train bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am said "Good Morning Beautiful!" which would normally cause me to roll my eyes and cringe, (who hates that compliment? I mean, I know he says it to EVERY woman, but still? Is this the worst thing that could happen?) but instead I paused, smiled back, and said "Good Morning." I have no right to try and crap all over this man's beautiful morning just because I think no one should speak to each other before 9am...and a grande pike place roast with room for creme and 2 Splenda packets!
I've also been doing a much better job at being more friendly towards my co-workers in the morning. When I arrive into work my co-worker Jason (who almost needs a Negativity Project, he is just THAT optimistic and happy, I envy him daily) always greets me with a lovely "Good Morning!" and I say it back, as bright and cheery as I possibly can. I like it from Jason because I know he means it. People who speak just to hear their own voice really bothers me! But in compliance with "not letting thigns I cannot control bother me" this is a free country and people are allowed to verbal diarrhea all over the place :) Sarcasm? Yes!

On that note...I am sarcastic. This is who I am. I will continue to make sarcastic comments because they make me happy and I think they're funny. Other people find it funny too. I was talking to my boss about being sarcastic and she mentioned that that's something she really likes about me. I think if it's done in a humourous manner and doesn't hurt other's feelings that sarcasm is perfectly acceptable. Done!

All in all, trying to be happy all the time and spewing optimism is just not my thing and makes me tired. I will try to be more friendly, and keep the swearing on the minimum, but that's pretty much the only thing I want to carry over from October. That and smiling....because it's true that when you're smiling...the whole world smiles with you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November - Relationship

So I’ve decided that since doing attitude in the second month was unsuccessful I have decided to try and stick more closely to the order Gretchen Rubin did her topics.  That means this month is dedicated to my boyfriend, Flash.  During the month that Gretchen dedicated to her marriage, her husband was aware she was working on marriage, but he did not know the details of her resolutions because she thought that would make him self conscious.  I discussed my resolutions with Flash and he was a mix of excited and apprehensive.

Flash: I don’t think you should do a month for me.
Me: Why not?
Flash: I dunno, because we’re happy, you make me happy.
Me: I think there’s always room for improvement. 
Flash: Well…What kind of things are you gonna do?

(I proceed to list off my ideas)

Me: Do you have any suggestions for me?
Flash: …No
Me: This is not a trick question, I’m serious I’d like suggestions.
Flash: I just want you to be happy, when you’re happy I’m happy.
Me: Not helping.
Flash: Are you sure this isn’t a trick?


So my goals for this month are:

  • no nagging
  • don’t expect praise or appreciation
  • give appreciation
  • give proofs of love

In addition to being a big complainer I am also a HUGE nagger, which I guess makes sense because they are very similar.  I find myself nagging Flash all the time.  He has this annoying habit of not following through on things, it infuriates me to no end.  This annoying habit is compounded by the fact that Flash has a really hard time committing to plans.  He’s a very last minute person, or as he likes to call it, makes game time decisions.  I find that the combination of these qualities often leaves me nagging him to follow through on things.  95% of the time these things don’t have anything to do with me, things like, take your dry cleaning in before you are down to your last shirt or you’ll have to pay extra to rush the order, pestering him to make dentist appointments (which he never did) or get a physician to avoid wasting the day at a walk in, to organize the work stuff he keeps in the car so that he’s not always scrambling to get things in on time, to make an appointment for the car, etc. 

I think that I’m trying to help him be more organized, but at the end of the day he puts things off until he absolutely has to and it leaves me feel frustrated, like my efforts to help are being ignored and unappreciated.  I find myself in the worst mood over something that at the end of the day doesn’t really have anything to do with me.  So I am putting my foot down, Flash is a grown man and he can get his own shit together.  Not nagging is going to be a major challenge for me this month.

Another thing I struggle with is needing all my efforts to appreciated.  Flash has had male roommates for the past several years and they are slobs.  I always clean when I stay at his house, and I tell myself I’m doing the boys a favor because they’re hopeless and I know they like a clean house, they just don’t want to be the ones to clean it.  Sometimes I’ll clean the kitchen and Flash will come in and say “Wow thanks, this looks great!”  And then 10 minutes later will make a huge plate of nachos, leaving all the dishes, garbage and food scraps all over the counters and stove.  This causes what I like to call a rage attack.  “I just f***ing cleaned this place, stop ruining my efforts to do something nice for you!”  I tell myself I’m doing these things for the boys, but really I’m doing it for myself because I can’t stand when it’s filthy.  It frustrates me because I don’t want to walk around cleaning up after them like their mother.  I need to accept that I am really doing these thing for MYSELF and not to expect praise or appreciation.

I think a lot of the things I nag Flash about are things that will benefit him, but if I’m really honest there’s usually a benefit for me too.  I wanted him to get his car insured in time because that’s the responsible thing to do, but I also wanted to make sure he did so that he didn’t have to borrow my car or so I didn’t have to dive him back and forth from the mechanic when he missed the deadline.  I wanted him to organize his work stuff so he would be less stressed, but I also wanted him to do it so that he wouldn’t be finishing his work in the evening, which takes away from the time I get to spend with him.

Flash is actually a really good boyfriend.  We spend lots of time together, he’s very open with his feelings, tells me how he feels about me every day, tries to include me in everything, is patient and supportive.  I often focus my energy on the things about him that drive me nuts and don’t appreciate all the good things about him.  So I will try to give more appreciation and give proofs of love.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Attitude – End of Month Summary

This month was a real challenge, and I did not rise to meet it.  It was difficult to create resolutions for attitude that gave any kind of measurable sense of accomplishment.  In regards to my post the other day about feeling like a soulless robot, I think I have found another way to describe it.  I have made progress in regards to being less negative; I am more aware of my negativity and have definitely cut back on it.  I would describe the result as being in neutral.  I seem to be following ‘if you don’t have anything nice to think, don’t think anything at all’.  Oh that’s great isn’t it?  Don’t people try really hard to quiet their minds and be present in the moment?  Uh yeah but this isn’t really that kind of not thinking, it’s more like being zoned out.  What I should have been following was ‘if you don’t have anything nice to think, think something positive’.

Did you know?

Avoiding and cutting back on negativity, yes, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, not so much.

I know attitude is pretty huge, kind of unrealistic to think I could change it in a month, but I almost feel as if I moved backwards in regards to attitude this month.  It’s like I rebelled against change and as a result some of my resolutions from boost energy suffered.  My resolution to wake up earlier was an epic fail this month, and other than my twice weekly yoga classes I hardly ever worked out.  I feel like my bad attitude fueled any lack of motivation I had.  I think attitude plays a big part in fitness, so they both missed the mark this month.

I did really well with my resolution to eat healthier meals, and my goal to try a new recipe every night for one week was fun and successful.  I also did well with my do something extra category for look good feel good.  I got a massage, a pedicure, a facial and a laser hair removal treatment.  These things were all part of that spa promo I bought so it will require more planning in the future to do something for myself every week.

I think my resolutions for attitude month need a complete overhaul because they are not working for me.  I think part of the problem is my lack of commitment to following through on my current attitude resolutions.  The other part must be that my current resolutions aren’t working for me, they are difficult to measure and feel like chores.  I need to make my attitude resolutions something that I want to do, something enjoyable and something measureable.

Some ideas for new attitude resolutions:

  • read/say aloud a positive affirmation every day
  • play extreme nice game (where you make an effort to constantly think positive thoughts about the people, places, situations around you) on your way to and from work every day

I also need to put some more effort into mornings and workouts, but I’m going to try to figure that out on my own and I’ll post about it once I find something that works for me.  I don’t want to get into the habit of always blogging about what I’m going to do and then not doing it.  More results, less wishful thinking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why does attitude month make me feel like an soulless robot?

The other night Melissa and I were talking about our struggles with attitude month and I said something perfectly worded that I can’t remember, but the gist of it was that curbing our negative attitudes was causing us to feel like we were losing a big part of our personalities.  Both Melissa and I consider ourselves to be witty, sarcastic people.  If we lived by “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, it would be a very quiet household.  Melissa pointed out that we should make the distinction between attitude and personality, but it’s tricky because I feel like it’s a fine line for us.

I’ve had a lot of moments where I was in a situation and wondered to myself, does this conflict with my attitude goals?  Mel and I often watch Say Yes to the Dress and have a good time critiquing the brides choices.  The other day we watched the last two episodes of Sister Wives.  I was super critical in a fascinated, dumbstruck kind of way.  What kind of woman wants a relationship in which she only spends every fourth day with her husband?  Do none of the wives work?  How does he afford four wives and 16 kids?  Isn’t it kind of selfish to want that many kids?  Families with two or three kids have a hard time giving each child enough attention, they haven’t mentioned once how they think being in this kind of family affects their kids.  After we watched the episode I thought, is this wrong of me?  Am I being too judgmental?  Does being positive mean I can’t have an opinion?

We have decided that with the exception of excessively bitching venting our frustrations and Melissa’s trucker mouth, our goals in regard to attitude are primarily to improve our own internal dialogues.  I think that if we can make real progress with our thoughts the complaining and bitching will quiet down on it’s own.  The only reason Melissa comes home and vents about her frustrations at work, or I have a rage attack or go into one of my moods is because we aren’t able to deal with things in the moment and let them go.  Our frustrations have been building all day, or for several days and our only strategy for that is simply not to express it.  What we are doing is trying to stop the reaction, trying not to be outwardly negative, but the internal dialogue still needs a lot of work.

I think we are both struggling with outward attitude because it feels like it’s taking something away from our authentic selves.  If being happy and friendly makes me feel like I’m not being authentic, then doesn’t that mean…oh I dunno… that I’m a giant bitch?  Perhaps that’s something to be concerned about.  I can remember one night early in attitude month where Melissa and I were watching TV and in an effort to be positive we were not pointing out what a jerk that bride’s mom was or how that woman needed to lay off the eyebrow pencil.  Nope, we sat in complete silence.  If you spend a pretty big part of your adult life being sarcastic and judgmental, it kind of leaves you at a loss when that route stops being an option.  It’s like, how to I contribute to the conversation without pointing out what an f***ing moron this guy is.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Friday: Fresh Linguine with Garlic Shrimp and Homemade Pesto

On Friday I ended my weekly goal of trying a new recipe every day by making fresh linguine with garlic shrimp and homemade pesto, another recipe from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  It was pretty good, a satisfactory end to the week.
I really enjoyed having a weekly goal and will definitely try to incorporate it into other resolutions.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday: Prosciutto Wrapped Pork

Last night I made Pan Seared Prosciutto Wrapped Pork from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  It was nothing special, I doubt I’ll make it again.  If I had to rate my recipes from best to worst I’d say Monday’s fish was the best, Tuesday’s lasagna second, Wednesday’s chicken third and Thursday’s pork fourth.  This doesn’t give me a lot of hope for tonight’s dish.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday: Swiss Stuffed Chicken

Wednesday night I made breaded chicken breasts stuffed with swiss cheese.  It was just ok.  I kind of rushed it because I had hot yoga at 6:45.  I got the recipe from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  I don’t think I cut very good pockets for the cheese or something.  Mostly I think I was in a hurry and did a sloppy job.


Melissa made fun of my pictures, saying we needed some garnish or something.  Maybe I will put the food on a smaller plate next time haters!  I should read up on food photography…

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MID-OCTOBER....never ending!

Okayyyy. Mid October and....I am struggling. There are few points on my Attitude Adjustment that I am doing really well with!!! I have absolutely cut my swearing in half. I save my F BOMBS for reallllly good when I stub my knee or toe on Slone's doggie fence that blocks her from my room. ARG.

I am also doing a great job I think at being nicer TO people. When people drop things, I grab it for them. I've been smiling more to strangers and trying to smile at my co-workers when I walk past them at work. My teammates at work were really helping me out be repeating "happiness happiness happiness!!!" when they saw me getting frustrated. So AT work....attitude adjustments were made and I think I was all around more positive, most notably in the mornings. :)

So....the problems started when I got home- Kirby beats me- haha JUST KIDDING. I had no idea how much I bottled up throughout my day and completely unloaded on either Kirby, Karlee, Lindsey or Stephanie (my serious partners in crime). I would complain about something that happened at work, something someone did on the way home (For I was walking home from work during rush hour, decked out in a Coach purse, a cute skirt suit and a burberry scarf, and a semi homeless man yelled at me "THIS CHICK'S POOR!" and pointed in my face, in the middle of the street......yah.) I lie on the coach when I get home, and complain about how tired I am. I really need to stop....everyone's tired!!! I need to stop using Kirby as a dumping ground.
Okay next...boys. I've been dating....and they're driving me NUTS! I feel like there's this bizarre game, and i didn't get my copy of the rules or something!? So i've been seeking much friend advice. OH that's another thing....i've managed to turn losing my shit...into "seeking advice". I've managed to trick myself into being able to gossip freely.

SOOO I stand here in front of y'all and vow. I will STOP swearing, I will continue to smile, I will stop dumping, I will stop VENTING, and for the time being and until I get to "romance" month....I will stop dating. My patience levels aren't up high enough yet.

I sign off with the following: Attitude is everything. Misery Loves Company. I can't wait until November. I may be a bit of a bitch...but I am damn cute.


Tuesday: Mushroom Lasagna

Last night I made a Mushroom Lasagna recipe.  It was good, but a lasagna takes too long to make on a week night.  Mel and Flash both enjoyed it; even though they had to wait until 8pm to eat it.  I would make it again, on a weekend.  I stuck pretty closely to the recipe but I probably came close to doubling the amount of mushrooms.  Check the link above for the recipe.

fresh out of the oven 

mushroom lasagna

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday: Shrimp Stuffed Sole

My weekly goal of trying a new recipe every night got off to a great start.  I made a Shrimp Stuffed Sole recipe I found online for Mel and Flash.  It was simple and tasty, I will definitely make it again.  Check the link for the recipe.

din 001

I’m pretty excited about my weekly goal.  I think I may try to break up other resolutions into weekly goals when possible.  Even though I am still aiming to cook reasonably healthy meals all month, there’s something more attainable about a weekly goal; it’s easier to be motivated for a week than for a whole month.  Hopefully applying weekly goals to other things will help keep me motivated.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Attitude Week 2 - Recap

Overall this week has been a struggle.  I think my problem with attitude month is that I have an attitude problem.  I get into these weird moods where I lose all motivation for my resolutions, even the really small easy ones.  I get all like, FU happiness project, stop trying to change me!  I’m wondering if putting attitude this early was a mistake, that maybe it would be easier to change my attitude once I’ve increased my happiness in other areas of my life.  Gretchen Rubin didn’t work on attitude until month ten or something.  Just a thought.  I also think that I’m feeling a lack of accountability.  I am surprised by the lack of feedback I’ve gotten from family and friends.  I know that I’m doing this for me and it shouldn’t matter if anyone else notices or cares, but it would be nice to have that extra motivation.

My big failures for the week are still my attitude resolutions and mornings and workouts.  In other words 80% of my project thus far.  I think I need to go back to basics and give up on working out in the mornings.  It’s the last thing that I want to do first thing.  My goal is to find something I enjoy doing in the mornings, and simply work on making waking up before I absolutely have to a habit.  If it means getting up and watching tv, or a movie, or making bacon and eggs everyday then fine, whatever works.

I have done well with my something extra category for look good feel good.  This week I got a pedicure on Wednesday and a facial on Thursday as part of that spa promo package I bought a while back.  So far this package has been nice, they haven’t been trying to up sell or push product.  I also revamped my resolutions chart by narrowing my six attitude resolutions down to three.  They are now give compliments, no complaining and laugh.

This week I crossed several nagging tasks off my to do list:

  • touch up paint on bathroom ceiling
  • scan grandma’s letters
  • fix bedroom clutter
  • organize fitness stuff
  • inquire about broken trunk lever

I am going to try my first ever weekly goal idea.  This upcoming week I am going to try a new recipe every night.  I’m hoping that this weekly goal will be successful and fun.  When I get into these low moods and start thinking of my resolutions as chores, it takes the fun out of the project.  Hopefully I snap out of it soon and get back on track.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This post has been brought to you by the letter F and the letter U

FU Happiness Project.  Or at least that’s how I’ve been acting for the past week.

I have been really frustrated with myself lately.  I have been doing terrible with my Happiness Project this month which is really discouraging because it’s only month TWO.  I won movie tickets last week for a pre-screening on Wednesday night, the night I normally go to hot yoga.  I decided that since I never win things I should use them.  I made two attempts to go to hot yoga in the days that followed; one time the online signup was unavailable which made me worried the class was full, and on Monday the class I planned to attend was cancelled due to Thanksgiving.  I also missed Karma yoga on Sunday because I was out of town for the holiday.  No yoga all week.  This is unheard of, I have been perfect with my yoga classes.  This is one of the few things I have been consistent with and it’s really thrown me for a loop to have my routine messed with.  From there my workouts went downhill fast resulting in several days of red Xs.

I have been reading Women Food and God.  I couldn’t be less religious and would never have got it for myself but Melissa bought it so I thought why not.  Since I don’t feel like I have any significant food or weight issues I thought I’d abandon this book pretty quickly, but it’s kind of interesting.  I would describe it as being more about addiction, how we try to shut down or distract ourselves from feeling things we don’t think we can deal with.  So I’m trying to look at it that way to find something that applies to me.

There is a section on eating in which the author discusses two main types of compulsive eaters: Restrictors and Permitters.  Restrictors are the type of people that like control.  They do really well on crazy diets, lose weight, but eventually the deprivation gets to them and they binge.  Permitters binge constantly, trying to numb themselves with a screw it, life sucks, might as well eat and enjoy myself attitude.  I don’t think I fall into either category when it comes to food, but reading about Restrictors was interesting. 

Depriving myself seems to come more easily to me than adding things to my life.  If I go though something difficult in my life I shut down.  I feel sick with whatever emotion, heartbreak, grief, sadness, and lose all appetite.  I eat and drink very little, not because I’m trying to, I just honestly have no desire to and often realize hours later that I have missed a meal.  I withdraw and have no desire to see people or do anything.  I am getting better at recognizing these depressive tendencies but it’s still hard to snap out of them.  I know a lot of people deal with difficult things the opposite way I do, they eat, they get drunk a lot and they over socialize to avoid being alone.

In regards to my Happiness Project, I find it much easier to stop doing something than to start doing something.  For example, I have done quite well in giving up fast food; I haven’t been to a single drive-thru, but adding exercise into my routine has been really difficult.  Cutting back on negativity is going well, but giving compliments is not. 

I’m not sure what the problem is.  I have lots of small resolutions, maybe it would be better if I narrowed them down to two or three bigger ones instead of several small ones for each category.  This might be less overwhelming since the resolutions list is already quite long, yes they are small things but there are lots of them.  Or maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m sabotaging myself.  Flash is out of town for the next few days and I’m hoping to use this time alone to focus on myself and figure out how to make my resolutions more successful.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Attitude Week 1 - Recap

attitude 003I saw these women on my walk to work the other morning.
They are chatting as though this is totally normal behavior.

After reviewing last months goals I decided I needed to be more organized.  As posted earlier, the month started on a Friday and I had a rough first couple of days adjusting to the addition of new resolutions.  Sunday night I decided I needed to make sure I didn’t start this week off on the wrong foot.  I had a whiteboard calendar sitting around so I put it up on my wall and wrote down what I’d planned to do for my workouts every day on it.  It’s great, I really should have been doing this from day one.  I wrote out a grocery list, bought groceries, printed a small monthly calendar on which I wrote my meals for the week and put it on the fridge.  It is my goal to go over these things every Sunday.

I am still struggling with mornings and giving compliments.  I think part of the problem is that I see the same people every day.  The handful of people I work with, Flash and Melissa.  I think it’s kind of cheating to give the compliments to Mel everyday, I’m supposed to be challenging myself.  So that resolution needs improvement.

As part of look good feel good I am supposed to do something extra for myself every week.  Back in June I bought this promo thing where in an attempt to get new clients businesses will offer an introductory package of services at a reduced price.  I really shouldn’t have even bought it because they usually try to up-sell you on every visit which takes the fun out of going.  The girl wrote the wrong dates on my thing, I thought it expired at the end of November but turns out it expires at the end of October so I booked all my appointments for this month, which I guess works out ok for my resolutions.  Anyway, this week I got a half hour massage.

The nagging task I decided to tackle this week was to get Slone’s hair cut.  I have some other tasks planned for this weekend, but this is the only one I have done so far.

attitude 008 Slone sitting on my desk at work fixated on the treat I have in my hand

Also, in an attempt to be less critical I am trying to give positive reviews.  For the most part I am doing this through compliments, but I decided to also do it by literally giving positive reviews when the opportunity presents itself.  This week I went online and wrote a positive review for the place I get my dog groomed at on Google. 

Happy Thanksgiving!