Friday, June 23, 2017

Fourth Tiara Check-In!

How's the tilt of that tiara this week? Hard to believe, but, yes - it's time for another weekly check-in on our summer journey to increased fabulousness.

This week had a couple of grimy spots (the end of shepherding students through two whirlwind five-week summer courses can do that) and, combined with a few days of steady overcast-and-rainy days, made me feel a bit droopy and less than fabulous, I must admit. I put up with that for one day, but on the second, I was reminded that timid women do not have unicorn hair, so I needed to buck up and Get With It!

My solution (yours may be different, of course - you're your own Queen) was a "pantry spa" treatment. I know that not all problems can be solved by a hot bath, but it often helps me. So - take two tablespoons of plain yogurt, a little lemon juice, a Vitamin E capsule and mix well. Now run a hot bath. Add about a cup of plain (read: cheap) white rice in a clean knee-high stocking to the running water - just tie it to the faucet - and a tablespoon or so or oil (sesame is great if you have it; otherwise, olive will do nicely). A bar of seaweed soap completes the "sushi bath" experience.  (I've been gathering this stuff for months. If you don't have these specific items, improvise. Then add a few things to your next grocery list.) Light candles if that's your thing. Likewise, play music to soothe your jangled nerves, if that's how you roll. Use a bath pillow or a rolled-up hand towel as a pillow for your tired head. Gently smooth your homemade face mask on and lean back in the steaming water. Stay as long as you want to. Once out, drink a large glass of water, apply lotion liberally, and curl up with a bad book. Clean up the bathroom later.

Yes, you do have time to do this. Whatever is bugging you will still be there later - and if it's not, well, so much the better! Remember - we'd have no trouble being kind to a stressed-out friend and it's high time to treat ourselves as well as we'd treat a friend.

The week also had some good spots, of course. I tried dry-brushing for the first time - definitely stimulating! I haven't made crepes yet, nor chocolate mousse, but I'm hoping to try one or the other over the weekend. I broke the five-pound loss barrier (yay!) this week, which was worth celebrating, and I'm set up to get back into my daily French lessons, which had fallen by the wayside in the last few weeks.

So this next week for me is about adding in mild exercise. I really want to work my way up to that 10K by the end of the year so even though it's hot and humid here in the Carolinas, I need to move more than I've been doing.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Third Tiara Check-In!

How’s that tiara looking this week?  Yes, it’s time for our weekly check in on our fabulousness progress!

Personally, I had a week that threatened to topple my tiara and in the past, it probably would have. But now I have all of you to remind me that I deserve my sparkly crown and that there’s no need to wait for someone else to give me the approval to wear it and glisten.

And grimy days happen to all of us.*

So – what have you done this week to be magnificent to yourself? I’m trying to work on my pledge to “treat myself like company” by actively making plans to do something out of the ordinary every single day. One day it was something as simple as using the “fancy” high-end samples of skin care products that I’ve accumulated. (I have a sad tendency to hoard those like Smaug instead of using them with joy.) Another day it was picking basil leaves from my small herb garden to make a delicious insalata caprese of basil, fresh tomato (not from the garden yet, alas!), and mozzarella with a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar. And another day it was making popcorn on the stove instead of just having the chemical stuff in the microwave.

Maybe for you it was wearing your diamond stud earrings or that bracelet of your grandmother’s that you usually “save” for special occasions, forgetting that Tuesday can be a “special occasion” if you declare it so to be. Maybe you treated yourself to a bubble bath, or a facial, or having your nails done. Maybe you took yourself off for a hike, or carved out a half-hour to try a guided meditation, or went to the local library to flip through magazines you don’t usually read.

My point is this – it doesn’t matter what you do for yourself as much as you realize that you’re worth treating gently and respectfully.

It certainly isn’t about being “perfect.” (I swear, perfectionism ought to have an entry in the DSM-V as a disease of the mind!) I’m working hard to eat more food that’s less processed, but I don’t always get it “right.” So what? I lost another pound this week and wasn’t hungry to the point of eating the tablecloth.

In fact, food is going to be my focus for this next week. I picked up an inexpensive crepe pan and, although I’ve never made a crepe in my life, I’m going to try it this week. I want to try several new recipes this week – some sweet, some savory. I’ve been reading French Kids Eat Everything and it has a number of recipes that the author swears aren’t difficult, although they certainly sound fancy! I guess it’s time to find out if mousse au chocolat is that complicated or if I’ve just bought into the hype.

Onward, We Who Sparkle!


I like thinking this is me!
*Then again, just after I posted this, I went to the grocery to pick up a few things. (We're eating a LOT more produce these days, so I'm becoming a bit more French about shopping for perishables often.) Just as I walked in, a little girl whispered something to her mother, pointed at me, then looked down shyly. I smiled and said hello and the three of us proceeded to have quite a nice conversation. She was fascinated by my hair, which she said looked like a "galaxy unicorn." I really liked that. The mother was a fan of Meet Me at the Movies and I convinced her to take the girl to Wonder Woman this weekend, so it was an excellent exchange of ideas all around, I think.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Second Tiara Check In!

Yep, time for another tiara check in! Keeping your shoulders straight? Your head high? If so, good! If not, take a moment to adjust. We're all worthy of our tiaras and if you don't have one, make a pledge RIGHT NOW to get one in the next week and wear it at least once. Heaven knows, if you wait for the wider world to recognize your awesomeness and crown you, you're likely to be waiting quite a long time. So do it yourself! Make sure to give yourself a title, too - something suitable to celebrate your brains, cleverness, moxie, grit, whimsy, and/or style. Empress, Queen, Princess, Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess, Baroness, Lady - pick whichever title best suits you on any given day. Today, for example, I am styling myself as the "Lady Glad" after the sparkling white, 5-foot-tall gladiolus blooming in my front yard.

See, back in the day, the Victorians assigned meanings to many flowers, so getting a bouquet was sort of like getting a coded letter. (And some of them could be quite nasty, once your deciphered them!) While most flowers have more than one meaning - there wasn't a Bureau of Blooms, after all - one meaning of gladioli was "integrity and recovery." Since today marks 15 years of me being in full-time recovery, seeing a blooming glad in my front yard just made my heart sing.

It was a tumultuous week here at the Nest. I needed to do a hard thing and I wound up having to do it alone, which is when the doubt-demons can come out in droves. But, with careful consideration of what is right and true, along with the encouragement of some people whose good opinion of me is quite important, I did it. And it turned out just fine - possibly better than fine; we'll have to see about that part. My decision and actions did not come without a cost, but it'll be all right. Lady Glad is made of strong stuff and she comes from a long line of righteous gadflies.

Add to that the fact that I also lost another two pounds, completed the "final final" review of the book manuscript AND went back to "rainbow-unicorn-galaxy" hair for the summer, and it's a tiara day, baby! (The explanation of the turquoise nature of the hair can be found here, by the way.)

Rock on!



Friday, June 2, 2017

Tiara Check In!

As I wrote about a week ago, I'm spending this summer deserving that tiara I wore on International Tiara Day. I thought it would be a good idea to regularly check in and see how we're all doing with our goals. I'm really, really trying to make 2017 a Year of Personal Jubilee. While I'm not tying myself to the Jewish or Christian traditions regarding the idea of Jubilee, I'm seeking to create a year of celebration and forgiveness, and I'm including forgiving myself for a number of lapses within this. Therefore, the time is just right for making these changes which are aimed at leading to a more celebratory life with room to do more good in the word.

And if you need to readjust your own goals as you move through the summer, do it with gladness! It's not about getting everything "right," it's about creating a calmer, more joyful, life.

So - looking back at Week One.

This week had challenges (don't they all?) as my long-suffering work laptop collapsed in its traces like an overworked mule. Since I'm teaching two fully-online summer classes, that sent me into panic mode which is where I tend to make really dumb decisions. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and I'm working with a new-to-me laptop that is *almost* properly formatted. I did, however, manage to not copy iTunes from the old laptop and connected my faithful iPod to the new one which then -- automatically synced and wiped out my music. I'm exploring ways to retrieve the thousands of songs I had added from my CD collection and of particular interest to me is regaining my playlists. Suggestions - with painfully obvious directions, perhaps involving a flannel board - are welcomed.

Well, success is rarely total.

There is much to celebrate as FryDaddy and I completed the labor-intensive process to refinance our house and pay off credit card debt. Thanks to the fine folks at Fifth Third Bank (hi, Switchblade!), we are now several large steps closer to secure financial footing. 

In other news, my first attempt at "sun tea" brewed on the office windowsill was a smashing success. Next time, I'll try it with green tea.

I'm also drinking more water and eating better food, now that I'm tracking my eating habits. You see, I bit the bullet and joined Weight Watchers the day after my last post (I tell you this in the spirit of accountability) and, while I only lost a pound in my first week, I lost a pound in my first week. I'm using both the online tools and the old-fashioned meetings and, while I'm very new at this, I really like the encouraging attitude and spirit of camaraderie I find there.

All in all, pretty darned good, I'd say.

I'm trying very hard to "treat myself like company" at least once a day - that, and continuing the bullet journal habit, will be my Week 2 focus as I build on this foundation.