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!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I....have a serious attitude problem. It's "Attitude Adjustment" month for Kirby and I....and I am 5 days in and already struggling.

My Attitude month started off quite differently than my dear Kirbster. October 1st was a Friday, my favourite day of the week. I came into work that morning revitalized and ready to take on this new project!!! I was positive throughout the day and when my co-workers made negative or sarcastic comments I would try to counter it with SOMETHING (i.e. least she called us back eventually and didn't end up on the 'island of lost candidates'-people who never, ever, return your call-) That evening I went to my girl friend Karlee's house and watched the Football game and we had good- GOSSIP FREE- conversations and chatted about life and it was really nice.

....with that being said....I have been really struggling with my attitude since. Work gets stressful and I freak out at least once a day. Today I caught myself swearing SO much. I am a big swearer. And mostly because I'm embarrassed to sound like a trailer park trucker most of the time, I really want to change this. Also, I can't imagine boys find it attractive that I can pair most normal words with fuck, fucker, fucking christ or mother fucking. In all fairness to me, it's a very versatile word....right? Ugh. I've been trying my best recently but today I definitely lost it. I swore a lot, I was impatient, I complained about how tired I was, I was sarcastic, I even vented to my poor Regina friend Eric, who was none the wiser being an enabler because he had no idea about my Happiness Project. Then I came home and complained to Kirby, complained to my manicurist, and didn't go to the gym. BLAH.

SO....from this day forward I will be making myself more accountable. I told Kirby's boyfriend about my goals, I FINALLY grew some balls and told Eric about my Project (he didn't think I was a one!) so he can remind me too. Andddd i'm going to state my October goals on my blog here so that I put it out in the open FOR all to see.

October...let's go ATTITUDE!
- no swearing
- be MORE patient
- be less judgmental- you don't know other people's stories
- be less pessimistic
- be more understanding
- counter others' negative comments with positive ones
- smile when you walk into a room
- don't sigh...your life is good
- deep breaths

There we you are all aware and can stare at me blankly when I'm failing.

-Mel....the tude-tard

P.S. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Kirby for negatively affecting her Happiness Project by falling asleep on the couch and not helping her bring her groceries up. In compliance with people not being able to read her mind, I suggest she tell us before she go to the store that she will need help later and to keep our phones on "loud". :) haha LOVE YOU KIRBY

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rough Start

Attitude month got off to a rocky start.  I thought I was doing a good job preparing for it, printing out a new monthly resolutions chart and writing a draft of my end and start of the month blog posts on time.  As Thursday night approached I felt a little caught off guard when I realized that I would have new resolutions to do the next day, I think what I forgot to do was mentally prepare myself.  I went through the day not really thinking about my attitude resolutions. 

It seems I need to be constantly thinking about my attitude resolutions.  At the end of the day on Friday I went to check off some resolutions and discovered I didn’t do this one, or that one, in fact, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to do some of them.  A lot of these things are unnatural to me, and I had missed several opportunities to do them.  Even over this past weekend I have found that giving compliments is very difficult for me.  I have also realized that I am a huge complainer.  I hummed and hawed over whether or not to give myself credit for not gossiping or ranting one day because even through I technically did not rant on any one thing, I made a ton of small complaints about a lot of small things.  I helped my boyfriend move Friday evening and was less than positive during the experience; I complained about starting to move stuff into their new place at 8pm at night, I made it clear that I was displeased with the boys nonchalant attitude about the pace at which they moved.  I complained to Flash about how annoying it was to share building passes and parkade keys now that he lived in another building and I complained when Flash and Mel were both too busy napping on the couches to answer their phones and come help me carry groceries leaving me to haul 11 bags up 9 floors by myself… to name a few.

I don’t think I really rant or gossip all that much.  Well I do, but it’s not a daily occurrence or anything.  I do however, complain a lot every day.  The ranting only really occurs when something ridiculous happens or when I am talking to someone I don’t talk to all that often.  So… I have decided (deep breath) to add no complaining to my resolutions.  (Anxiety attack ensues when I realize the enormity of this task and that it’s impossibly hard and that I will fail and that if by some miracle of epic proportions I don’t fail I’ll probably end up a soulless robot because who am I without my sarcastic pessimistic attitude)

Friday, October 1, 2010

October – Attitude Month

Attitude month is one of those things you know you should do, but you really don’t want to.  Melissa and I decided to do attitude second because we believe it will have a huge impact.  The way you approach and react to everything in your life is hugely affected by your attitude.

My attitude is poor.  I have a really short temper, a hard time letting things go, and have come to the realization that I am extremely critical and judgmental, not only of myself but of other people, especially people I don’t even know.  Yesterday I was walking to work and I saw this girl and she was huge.  I would describe her as an apple with toothpick legs.  She was wearing these yoga type sweat pants that had slid half way down her ass revealing a significant portion of her butt crack.  Her pants were far enough down her ass to make it obvious that she was not wearing any underwear.  My thought was, “Jesus fucking Christ are you really such a fat mess that you can’t tell your ass is hanging out?”  I think bitchy things like this all the time.  I regularly criticize people with poor train etiquette, bad drivers, bikers that want to be respected like cars but think vehicle rules don’t apply to them, old people living in delusional land who think they can cross the street regardless of the color of the lights, people who think that it’s appropriate to slowly walk side by side in a five person line at the mall, everyone who works in customer service, cops who think giving people tickets for jaywalking or barely speeding is a more productive use of their time than arresting the crack heads fighting around the corner, guys who still think it’s cool to whistle at a girl and then peel out from a red light, and anyone the personifies their ethnic stereotypes to a tee.

I’m not proud of this, but it’s the truth.  I’m not very nice.

I never say these things out loud to anyone’s face, but maybe behind their back.  I don’t genuinely hate all these people, but thinking bitchy things is my go to, judgmental thoughts are always my initial reactions.  I know I would get no satisfaction from telling someone’s grandfather that they were being a senile moron and to get off the god damn road.  I know it would make me sick to my stomach if I wounded someone’s already fragile self esteem by criticizing their weight.  I know that customer service people hate their jobs and only act that way because people take their problems out on them all day long (though some of them are just idiots and should be fired).  I know, I know, I know.

I think this negative internal dialogue is having a bigger effect on me and how I view the world than I’d like to admit.  I also have a habit of dumping my problems on to a couple people, particularly my boyfriend.  I always thought that venting was important, get things off your chest, you’ll feel better.  In her book, Gretchen Rubin talks about how she discovered that venting doesn’t really make you feel better, if anything it makes you feel worse because ranting about it only gets you more worked up.  So I am going to give not dumping my frustrations on people a try.

October Resolutions

My resolutions for Attitude this month:

  • no gossiping – no dumping
  • follow every negative thought with a positive one
  • give compliments
  • smile & make eye contact
  • be easy – laugh at yourself

To curb my negative thinking I am going to follow up negative thoughts with positive ones.  If my boyfriend, let’s call him Flash, brings me a bag of candy, I’ll probably think, “Why don’t you ever listen to me I told you not to bring me this stuff anymore!  Thanks for sabotaging my happiness project you freakin’ enabler!” but I will immediately challenge that thought by thinking “Flash is such a sweetheart, always bringing me thoughtful gifts.” 

I also want to try and give more compliments, out loud.  Sometimes I’ll see someone I know having a good hair day or wearing a cute outfit and I’ll think to myself that they look good.  Why I don’t always convey that to them is a mystery.  Overall, I just want to lighten up.  I used to be witty, make lots of clever jokes; I used to be a lot more fun.  There is a whole month dedicated to fun in the future, but for now I will try to address humor.

I had planned to dedicate a month to appearance/body at some point, but I felt guilty about doing so.  I wanted to do it early on because the resolutions are cumulative so doing it in the first few months would help make these things a habit.  I just couldn’t justify putting flossing and makeup before the months for friends and family, etc.  It seemed shallow and conflicted with what I felt my priorities were.  So I have decided that this month I will do a sub-category called Look Good Feel Good.  A mini spreadsheet that I will keep in my bathroom.

My resolutions for Look Good Feel Good:

  • floss daily
  • use body lotion daily
  • wear makeup on weekdays (and remove it before bed)
  • stretch daily
  • nail maintenance once a week (on my own)
  • do something extra for yourself once a week (get a massage, or get my eyebrows waxed, have a cheesy bubble bath with candles, do a face mask, get a pedicure, etc.)

I will be doing all of these resolutions in addition to my resolutions from boost energy.  It is also my goal to read a couple books that focus on attitude related topics.  As I write this all down it feels like a lot, but they are all really small things.  Most of the attitude stuff will be done in my head and requires no time, neither do giving compliments and smiling.  It is still going to be tough!