Monday, April 25, 2011

Anger Management

Yoga and I have been taking a trial separation.  I got annoyed with the girl who had taken over the time slot I frequented.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but she was taking over for another girl that I really liked (who was going to freaking India to study yoga) and in all honestly she was doomed to fail, the shoes were too big to fill.  I tried a couple other time slots but eventually I threw my hands up in frustration and decided yoga and I needed some space.
So when my friend asked me to come with her to yoga last night I thought, oh hell why not.  First off, I was in a very bad mood.  Going to the gym and running your ass off or pushing yourself with resistance training is great when you have aggression to work out.  Yoga, for me, is best done when in a positive, focused mood.  Yoga brings up weird emotions.  For example, moves focused on stretching and opening up the hips often bring out feelings of anger in people.  If we store stress in our neck and shoulders, we store anger in our hips.  When I go to yoga in a bad mood, I find it gets amplified.  If it was socially appropriate to throw a tantrum as a 26 year old woman in the middle of a yoga class, I would.
So I’m sulking and half-assing the poses I don’t feel like doing, being a complete baby and I think to myself, “Why are you doing this?”  “Why aren’t you pushing yourself to get through this class?”  “Why are you being a lazy jerk?”  I’m being a pawn to my moods, as usual.  At some point I think I should do fitness again, give it more effort.  But even in that yoga class I didn’t want to push myself, I didn’t care.  I’ve been having a not caring week.  I can’t even decide what topic to do next month because I’m not excited about any of them.  So I thought, make some new topics, what will contribute to your happiness?  I stared at my notebook for a long time, scribbled a few crap ideas down to open up the inspiration flow and nada.  No great ideas.  Nothing.  Once again I felt compelled to whip my notebook across the apartment, throw Flash’s ridiculous pile of a month’s worth of laundry off the balcony and kick that stupid four year old that lives in the apartment next door (who always stands outside our door making barking sounds while she waits for the elevator causing my dog to freak out) in her face.
My name is Kirby, and I have an anger management problem.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

I did quite well with tutorials these past couple weeks.  After watching a section on color swatches that was 2 hours long I decided I would pick and choose between the last few set of tutorials for this program.  I don't see much point in spending so much time on things that don't interest me.

Writing in my journal has been a hard habit for me to create.  I am far more conscious of dreams, I don't always get them recorded, but I do wake up and think that I need to remember what has happened.  The food diary never did happen.  I also feel unimpressed with the MacJournal I downloaded as a way to organize my project.  Back to the drawing board I guess.

Lately, I've been thinking about what to do for next month.  The four months I have left are fun, Slone (my dog), spirituality, and an undecided fourth month.  I'd like Melissa and I to both do Slone month at the same time as consistency is key with dog behaviors.  I don't really want to do fun, and if I'm being honest, I don't want to do spirituality at all.  I only picked it because it was one of Gretchen Rubin's topics in her original Happiness Project.  I'm going to scratch it off my list.  Spirituality.

I could re-do fitness month in the hopes that the onset of spring and summer (knock on wood) will motivate me to get out and exercise... but I'm not very excited about that.  Time to sit down again and figure out what I want to get out of the next four months.

Melissa was in Mexico the first few days of this month, and then she was sick for two weeks.  In short, this month has been a bit of a write off.  I told her that I feel like I'm doing the project by myself because we don't really discuss it, other than at the start of the month when we mention what topic we're doing.  I told her I'd like us to set aside time during the month to talk about how we're doing.  I think it would help me stay motivated to know that at mid month I have to say what I've accomplished, and to challenge each other to stay on track and do better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pay Attention - Mid Month Recap

Okay mid-month let’s recap:
I have been doing well with my tutorials.  I did a half hour on Sunday, and hour Monday, an hour Tuesday, a half hour at noon on Wednesday and another hour that evening as well as an hour and a half Thursday night.  I was lucky enough to have the kitchen/living room area to myself Monday and Tuesday to do my tutorials but Wednesday night Melissa was watching the hockey game so I thought I’d try doing them in my room.  I fell asleep a couple of times so lesson learned, do your work at a work space not in your bed.  I’m trying to get as much done during the week so that I can take a break from it on the weekend instead of using the weekend to play catch up.  I think I’m most successful when I do intense short term goals, such as the try a new meal every night for a week goal I accomplished several months ago.  One week or two week goals work for me.  I struggle with trying to be perfect at something day in and day out.
My supervisor, J, has been on holidays for the past two weeks.  I figured things would either be really busy or really slow in her absence.  They have been slow, painfully slow.  I’m reminded of how I felt at my last job sitting around with nothing to do day after day.  It’s so draining to have nothing to do and be trapped at your desk and have to make yourself look busy.  I have felt more drained these past two weeks doing nothing than I do when I’m go go go.  I don’t know what to call this feeling, but I felt it all the time at my other job.  Wasting your potential perhaps, or just plain bored.  I know that on Monday when J is back I’ll be busy again, but if I ever second guess my decision to leave my other job I’ll remember this feeling.
I have completely forgotten about my food diary.  Yesterday it dawned on me that I was supposed to be writing down what I ate.  Fail.  I record my spending by keeping receipts as well as a running tally on my phone’s note pad of small purchases that I don’t have receipts for.  It works really well and I plan on doing it for a long time.  It absolutely makes me more aware of my spending.  The trouble with the food diary is where to record it.  This is something I struggle with in general, finding effective ways of tracking and recording things without having seven notebooks.  I eat decently healthy meals.  I could probably cut back on bread and cheese but I’d rather not.  It’s my snacking that’s bad.  I find it hard to remember to always jog down every handful of chips or can of pop.  I’m a nibbler; it’s not uncommon for me to pull out a half-eaten bag of candy from my purse and nibble away at it.  My food log would read 7 chips, Michellina’s pizza, 1/3 a bag of Skittles, 6 sips of Dr. Pepper, 1 chocolate granola bar, 11 Gummi Bears, half a box of KD spirals, 1 glass of water, a half glass of milk.  Like, hello schizo.  I might just commit to do it for one week (short term intense goal) in the hopes that it’ll gross me out and I’ll become more conscious of my snacking.
Journaling is a work in progress.  I’m trying to be more effective with blogging, been doing some serious camera research so I can add a visual elements.  I’ve printed out inspiration pictures for my office wall (also known as the side of the fridge) as well as for my sketchbook.  I have written in my journal a few times, but I have a tendency to use that as a place to whine and complain so I’m limiting that.  I like the idea of trying to record positive things.  I feel like if in a couple years I go back and read my journal it will be a collections of my low days and bad moods.  Uh, hello depressing.  Recorded some dreams, and have become more conscious of them in general.  I will wake up and repeat a summarized version of my dream in my head in the hopes that I’ll write it down. 

I also downloaded MacJournal and am trying it out.  It’s whatever, not in love with it, don’t hate it.   I want an all-encompassing program that has a detailed schedule/calendar, stores photos, keeps detailed to do lists, as well as written text documents.  Is that so much to ask?  The calendar is kind of useless and it was supposed to allow me to post to my blog but so far it can’t seem to figure that out.  Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strike a Pose

I adore fashion.  I don’t care as much for runway fashion, I mean, I think it’s fantastic but I’m obviously never going to wear any it because a lot of it isn’t made to be worn, it’s art, and the stuff that you can find in a Holt Renfrew or whatever is crazy expensive.  Some runway fashion is ready to wear stuff, but a lot of the high end stuff isn’t.  I love clothes.  If I won the lottery, after paying off my debt, one of the first things I’d do would be buy a new wardrobe.  I really love sites online that cater to budget friendly outfits.  The look for less, or sites like The Cheap Chicas Guide to Style, are great.  In Calgary, we have lots of H&Ms, Zara, Forever21, which are great places to get stylish stuff for good prices.  I also like looking online as ASOS, but never buy anything because I'm paranoid I'll get the wrong size.   I think clothes are an important part of the Happiness Project in terms of look good, feel good.
Want - Brights for Spring:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pretty Bird

Some of the blogs I read regularly (can be found by clicking on my name on the left hand side of the screen under contributors) are just lovely I decided.  For the most part they are collections of beautiful things.  Simple, pretty, feminine things.  Someone finds several things that they find beautiful and inspiring and post them on their blog.  I'm sure I am oversimplifying the process of finding and showcasing these images yes, but in theory the concept is simple.

I love these visual blogs, and mine is so... wordy.  I'd like to start incorporating visuals into the blog again.  Well, what I'd really like is a new camera because mine broke a week after the warranty expired.  But I don't just want any camera, I want a good one.  I'm interested in photography, but my camera is broken and it wasn't exactly a photography camera it was more of a oh my god the lighting in this picture is making me look like something that lives under a bridge and eats children camera.

That's not nice Kirby, Flash gave you that camera.  
In all fairness he only got that camera because it was identical to his and he had lost his charger and wanted to use mine even though he never uses his camera and eventually found his charger.
Okay, fine... Maybe you and Melissa should put some pictures of yourself up on the blog, don't your readers want to know what you look like?
Uh, you mean my mom.  She knows what I look like.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Dreams are curious things.  I don’t always remember them, but I do think about it when I wake up.  Sometimes I’ll wake up before I actually have to get out of bed and I’ll think over and over to write down my dream.  I’ll repeat it in my mind in the hopes that I’ll still remember it when I wake up.  I’ve recorded 4 dreams so far.  Each dream I remember contains three distinct parts, so you could say I’ve recorded 12 dreams.

My dreams are all over the place, but they aren’t very happy.  There’s usually some sort of conflict.  I had an inception type dream where my three dreams seemed interconnected, even though they were separate.  I call it an inception dream because I felt the power of imagination was valued by the other people in my dream.  A woman, who was drowning in a sealed room filled with water was able to manipulate her environment, compressing the water so that she could swallow it all.  Once out of the room she told her interrogator how she had escaped and he was impressed.  Later, I was chasing a woman from platform to platform, maybe the same woman.  Finally I was in a house in which a boy was being held captive.  There was a huge dog that was literally eating anyone who tired to save the boy, and there were all these weird traps set up around the house, it had a CSI feel to it.

My other dreams include random things like, a bar in which the bouncers were priests, pawning diamond rings from my aunt, playing tennis with Demi Moore, riding on lion/bears with a bunch of aboriginal children, being chased through a mash up of my grandmothers house and random scenes from movies, a man pretending to be a woman so he could act in the theater and swing dancing with a stranger.  It makes me feel like a bit of a nutter recording my dreams.  I’ve noticed that I am starting to do this thing where I will be characters in the dream that are clearly not me.  For example, I watched the woman who drank the room full of water like it was a movie, but at the same time I felt that I was the woman.  I’ve also had dreams where I was a male character, or instead of being myself in the dream I would be different people throughout.

I once had a dream in which all my teeth were loose.  I could wiggle them with my tongue, it was incredibly vivid.  I read online that dreams where your teeth fall out mean that you feel like you’ve lost control of your life.  I think my dreams are a bit random, I’m not sure I could analyze them properly but I will keep recording them to see if any themes appear.  

Friday, April 8, 2011


A little late getting to my April Mindfulness blog. I went to Mexico and was there for the beginning of the month, then when I got back I caught some sort of ridiculous Mexican flu which left me absolutely dead for 4 days. I can't remember the last time I was that sick, ALAS, i'm alive and ready to BLOG IT OUT.

Kirby and I happen to have picked the same thing this month so it should be interesting to see how we go about the same thing a different way.
For me, mindfulness is being aware of what makes my mind think differently than others. What do I believe in? What makes me aware? What do I pick up on? What affects me? I find myself leaning towards spirituality in this section. I've decided that for Mindfulness i'm going to amp up my yoga sessions. I feel most at inner peace and calm when i'm a practicing yogi. I'm also going to give going to Catholic Church a go (again) with my friend Karlee. I grew up very Catholic and found the rules and not doing things "because the Bible says so" really pissed me off. I was a rebellion as it was, and this was something I could easily turn my back on. I get apprehensive and fidgety in Church, but I'm going to go with Karlee and see if God and Catholicism is something that makes me feel good. My Mom and Sister tell me that when they leave Church they just feel GOOD inside. Perhaps if I give Church a legit try and see what happens, i'll enjoy it to. I've also god the Dali Lama on CD. I don't have a CD player other than in my car so this task may prove difficult, but I want to see what he has to say.
I'm also committing to meditating before bed. This is to help with my anxiety disorder, that has been recently diagnosed. Turns out i'm a bit paranoid and this is supposed to help me relieve the tensions of the day, let it all go. I'm also going to finish the book my mother gave me on finding inner peace and keeping a sense of calm about out. This should also help with the anxiety, which i'm happy to report is actually going really well lately!

I'm excited for the exploring this month will bring. I feel like i'll get some more guidance as to what I believe in. I know there's gotta be something bigger than us.....i'm just not sure if it's a bearded spirit who is will return to judge the living and the dead...? We shall see! AMEN!

I Like Learnding

I have decided to create a goal for myself with my tutorials.  The advanced section of what I’m currently teaching myself is 14 hours and 53 minutes of tutorials.  In each set of tutorials the time in broken down into categories /subjects and in this advanced section the nearly 15 hours are broken into exactly 10 categories.  So my goal is to do 5 categories a week and complete this set of tutorials in 2 weeks, starting this weekend April 9, and ending the weekend of April 23/24.  This is an ambitious goal for me.  In my book on procrastination it says that it’s better to aim for something that you consider to be challenging than something you consider easy, or attainable.  My two week goal will require me to do 1 - 2+ hours of tutorials 5 days a week.  This doesn’t leave much room for slacking off as doing two hours of tutorials in an evening would eat up a considerable amount of my night.  I know that I can really only stand to do tutorials for about an hour before I need a break.  And leaving too many hours until the weekend would require a marathon session of tutorials which I know doesn’t work for me.  Doing 2 hours an evening is pushing it.  Not because I can’t focus on a single task for that long, but because I find the tutorials to be too slow at times, this is disengaging.
I plan on taking notes while I do my tutorials, and will follow along with all the videos, meaning I will do everything they do instead of just watching them do it.  The note taking should help keep me engaged, and will probably make me retain the information better.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dear Diary

Journaling is hard.  It’s definitely going to take work to make it a habit.  The food diary has been particularly challenging as I don’t really have a system for it; I need to write down what I eat immediately or I’ll forget.  In fact, I’m struggling to find a system for journaling in general.  I’d like to have one or two notebooks, maximum, to use for recording thoughts, ideas, dreams, what I ate, to do lists, etc.  A big notebook is annoying to carry around, so are two medium sized books.  Maybe I just need to invest in a bigger purse…
Dreams I can record at home, as that’s where they happen, but if I want to keep track of what I eat I need to write it down a.s.a.p.; and if I have an idea I’d rather write it in a book than on a post it and hope it finds its way home to be re-written into a journal.  I keep repeating to myself, “No Rules” when it comes to journaling.  Meaning, it doesn’t have to look perfect, and don’t rip out ‘stupid’ pages.  Should I just keep writing things on random pieces of paper and throwing them all in a box and them compiling them into something cohesive at the end of the month?  I could just invest in one new book, but I have several barely used journals lying around so I’m skeptical another journal will solve anything.
How do you even research this?  I type in journal and I get a bunch of pictures of 6th graders diaries.  Type in inspiration boards and you get a bunch of wedding collages.  Um, hello why aren't people posting pictures of their private journals online for the world to see?  I tell myself that the blog is supposed to be a journal of sorts and I should use it more effectively, and I’d be right I should.  For me, so much of this project has been finding ways of doing things that work for me, fitting things into my schedule, setting up accountability, making and revising goals; but the kicker is really how to organize all of the goals and intentions and how to measure progress.  At first I used a resolutions chart, which I think there’s genuine value in because it gave me a visual reminder of what I wanted to do every day and I had to mark it off if I did it.  The problem with that, for me, came around month three when I started to feel like the list was getting really long and it became overwhelming to try and accomplish every single daily goal I had.  Instead of a marker of progress it became a marker of failure when what wasn’t accomplished would outnumber what was.  Also, some goals weren’t set up to be every day (ex: emailing friends) and I didn’t know how to fit them into the chart.
I’ve been looking into some computer software that can keep track of several things in one place.  Mac Journal seems like a definite possibility as it claims to be able to keep track of things as well as allows you to publish to your blog through it.  Since the blog is something I try to do fairly often it’s an excuse to use the program regularly.  It’s not free, but I can do a free trial and see if I like it.  If I like it, it won't be a one stop thing.  I won't be carrying it around all the time so notebooks will still be necessary.  I still like the idea of a tangile record, but if keeping track of thigns online allow me to be more on top of my stuff then I'll have to find a way to do both.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April - Pay Attention

Pay Attention, also known as Mindfulness, will be our new category for Spring.  It's all about being more present, being more aware of things about yourself.  In order to be more aware I will record aspects of my life.  In school, we would have to do these annoying assignments, like to photograph something every day that related to a certain architects style.  So every day you had to keep our eye out for something and take pictures.  It was a pain in the ass, but I did make you more aware of your surroundings.  Recording things makes you more aware of them.

So, I am going to keep a journal.  I find I live in my head a lot, and many of my thoughts are circular in the sense that I re-think certain conversations or issues over and over in my mind.  I find that writing down ALL my thoughts to be nearly impossible and trying is so exhausting that I often edit them down.  I find it to be a release, once on paper I find less fuel for the repetitive thinking, which is good.

I'd also like to keep a dream journal.  When I was in university I found I rarely ever had dreams, but now that I'm out of school I dream all the time.  I'm going to see if I can get Flash to ask me in the mornings (since he gets up before me) what I'm dreaming about.  I find that if I say it aloud I'll remember it better.

Another thing is a food diary.  I could eat better.  I probably eat worse than I think I do, and the best way to find out is by keeping track.  It's the snacks that I think will shock me once I've got several days recorded.  Being aware of bad habits is the best step towards breaking them.  Don't think you watch that much TV, try logging your hours watched everyday.  Don't think you spend that much on lunches, write down your spending.  A lot of our bad habits are done unconsciously and recording them bring the ol' ugly truth to light.

Another goal is to stimulate the mind in new ways.  A good way to do this is by learning something new.  People are hyper aware on the first day of a new job because you need to be present.  New situations challenge us to be present.  I've debated taking a class, or reading a book on a subject I know next to nothing about.  There was a Creative Printmaking class my friend Reno sent me info on but it's not offered this spring.  Sad face.  Hopefully it'll be in the next cycle of classes.

My goals: write everything down, stimulate the mind in new ways, be aware, be present.