Schedule Deviation

Obviously, Thankful Thursday never happened. It just didn’t. To be honest, my day started with a time wasting orientation that served merely to give me a hint that I might get a little bit of job placement help, but basically it seems to receive unemployment you need to report back to Big Brother every so often. Good thing I’ve been keeping track of my job hunt just for my own personal use! So, I suppose we’ll see if it works out to my advantage or not — here’s hoping! Due to some sleep loss (one kid woke up crying thinking it was time to get up at 1am, had to get up early to go to previously said orientation), I was a bit cranky yesterday. Sure, I’ve got plenty of things to be grateful for — but it’s nothing I haven’t already rehashed here. Sometimes, my brain isn’t cooperative in terms of recycling material in a newer sounding fashion.

And you may have noticed that Foodie Friday’s not happening. Sorry, nothing good to share today. While I have found myself in the kitchen more often than I’d like to be in there, I haven’t really felt like staging things to take pictures. I haven’t felt like something was post worthy until well after the fact — when it’s just too late to go back and get pictures of the process.

Life can become a bit complicated when everyone wants a piece of Mommy/ Meredith’s time. I have a list of projects and some to-do lists scattered about my hard drive, and yet I find I have less and less time to really devote to them. Working on my own business? Nope, no time or motivation when I’m worried about following all the laws to the letter. I mean really, we live in a day and age when a grouchy neighbor can call the cops on little kids running a lemonade stand and get the law and their side! Without a food and beverage license, those kids are breaking the law — absolutely messed up, but absolutely, unfortunately true. So here I sit, wondering who’s watching what I do, just itching to report me the second I decide to take business before getting everything legit. It’s disheartening. I’d love to earn some extra money, but it’s true that you need to spend money to make money. Are my services taxable? I haven’t a clue — nothing concrete seems to exist within the realm of what I’d like to do. Some sources say yes; others say no. And if they’re taxable? I have the joys of estimating taxes. Are you kidding me? This is why Mom & Pop’s don’t work anymore. It’s truly a shame that the Land of Opportunity is no longer the land of opportunity.

I could sit here taking on the victim persona, whine and cry about how awful everything is, and generally wallow in misery. However, I know that it only serves to feed into that vicious cycle, and the best way to deal with it is to spin it into a positive. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s really hard to put a positive spin on a situation, especially when you stop, step back, view the bigger picture, piece together all the variables, and realize there’s a lot to be done in a short period of time. It’s hard to really stay upbeat and positive all of the time when times look bleak. Prospects are slim, standing out from the masses seems hopeless, and even networking appears to be falling just short of getting a foot in a door. The funny thing is that I can pretty much go back in time three years ago and apply most of these job hunting frustrations to that time period. Things did work out, I finally stood out of the crowd for the right position. It just takes time, determination, and perseverance.

Although I’m obligated to complete another round of sifting through job postings tomorrow, I think I might take a step back from the Internet over the weekend. I deserve a weekend away from it all. Sure, there won’t be any lovely beach excursions in my near future, but I certainly could use a little less electronic glow and a little more inner glow. Sunshine is optional — I’m not entirely certain the weather would cooperate with any outdoor plans.


Mindful Monday: Stretch Before Bed

On Thursday night I began a rather impromptu experiment of a sorts. Before lying down to go to sleep, I sat on the floor and stretched. I stretched, I practiced deep breathing, and I pushed thoughts out of my mind as they would come. I straightened out my posture, I paid attention to my breathing patterns and muscles, and I was just with myself. Normally, I just quickly pray before tossing and turning, awaiting sleep while myriad thoughts cross my mind. Adding in this quiet relaxation technique, just being with myself for a few moments before bed, actually resulted in a fairly quick journey into slumber. I woke up feeling a little better than usual — I won’t lie and say it was the best sleep ever, but it was better than it’s been in quite some time. For three nights in a row, I practiced this relaxation technique, and each night resulted in a shorter period of time before falling asleep.

Then last night I got distracted by too many other things — watching a show with my husband among them — and didn’t really feel like taking the time to go through the process of stretching, breathing, and mindfully clearing my mind. It took forever to fall asleep, just like always, and I tossed and turned throughout the night. Now aside from my anecdotal evidence, I know there are plenty of sources the cite the health benefits of stretching before bed. Clearly, they’re right. So tonight I’ll be sipping my lukewarm chamomile, stretching, breathing, meditating, and praying before I call it a night. Life is rough when you’ve got three young kids full of bundled up energy, and it is so worth it to take the extra time to help recharge. After all, tomorrow it all starts again, and it’s better to feel in top form than to feel sluggish.


Foodie Friday (August 20th)

So, I mentioned that last week I wanted to post pictures of the buns I made. Well, here they are.

Unopened Bun

Look how gloriously it browned up. They were quite beautiful, and I was extremely proud.

Opened Bun

And inside, you can see more lovely specks of poppy seeds. My photo enhancements just don’t do justice to the finished product, but then again I’m working with a regular digital camera. Like I said at the start of this venture, I certain do not have the fancy equipment the typical food blogger does.


Thankful Thursday: Sleep!

Last week you’ll recall my sleepless plight. This week, I’m rejoicing in the delightful feeling of sleeping for 7-8 hours for the past few nights. Monday night I got to sleep for 7 cumulative hours, Tuesday night I got to sleep for 8 whole hours, and last night I got to sleep for roughly 7 hours again. The baby’s teeth are through the gums, therefore meaning he’s in much less pain now — presumably, anyway. It’s such a glorious feeling to wake up feeling mostly refreshed. Granted, I’m still running on a deficit and trying to catch up, but I’m so relieved to not see the wee hours of the morning. The lack of sleep has been affecting me physically and mentally. I’ve been feeling slow and sick, and my mind isn’t as quick and sharp as usual. I highly disagree with the saying “sleep is for the weak” — actually, weakness is the result of sleep loss, Mr. or Ms. Inventor-Of-That-Saying. And chances are, that person’s disdain for sleep led to a much earlier demise than if s/he realizes that a good night’s sleep (or enough naps to equal that good night’s sleep) functions to restore a person physically and mentally. In fact, some prisoners of war have been tortured by being forced to stay awake for prolonged periods of time. Lack of sleep leads to more car accidents. While you are sleeping, your body goes to work repairing and rejuvenating. Without sufficient sleep, people can literally go crazy. I for one believe the strong understand that sleep is an important part of living a healthy life. Knowing your body’s limits is most definitely a strength, not a weakness.

And now, I’m going to take advantage of the baby’s nap by napping myself. Ah, delicious sleep!


Mindful Monday: Super Late

I’m well aware of the fact that I missed my Foodie Friday post, even though I had essentially come up with a couple of ideas to use for that post on Wednesday. No, I wasn’t going to regale you with a recipe and oodles of pictures. Actually I had planned on discussing season six of the Next Food Network Star (because DirecTV would/ will be slapping me with hefty penalties if I cancel any time in the near future, so it’s best to think of this as a short-term unemployment). I was going to toss in a picture or two of the extra special buns I made for dinner — I added a pinch of garlic, some sesame seeds, and some poppy seeds to the dough. (I had the seeds on hand from better times.) But some times even thinking ahead doesn’t always result in meeting goals, especially when a severe sleep deficit takes over as baby teeth make their seemingly excruciating exit from the gum line. Especially when life’s circumstances overwhelm the mind and soul and shove you into a rut. Especially when sometimes the only free moments entail grabbing a cup of water, hitting the bathroom, and maybe compulsively checking email for any signs of a “bite.” I’m pretty sure the last straw for me has been the lack of response from my one “sure fire fall back.” It’s rather disheartening to say the least, and downright soul crushing to say the most. I have no hard feelings against them, though, it’s just changes plans a bit.

I’m well aware of the fact that it looks like I’m prattling on with excuses for not meeting my schedule guidelines. To be honest? The schedule, while the days seem fine, doesn’t seem to hold up in terms of the time of day I post. The number of twitter users who find their way to my blog generally stays at zero regardless of what time I schedule my posts. The time is irrelevant to when facebook picks up my feed — the regulars will go through their feed and click the link regardless of what time my post actually hit their feed. So while another blog claimed 10am to 2pm was “prime time” for posting, I don’t necessarily think that matters. For my own terms, as long as I get that post out before midnight, it’s on time. I know my regulars are going to find their way here every time I post no matter what.

I’ve recently become more mindful of a marked change in my perspective on things in life. I realized that some sudden, unexpected events in life have given my incite into how my perspective changed over time, how I had become hardened to a lot of things, and how I had seemingly lost that spark I once had several years back. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to realize that there were various factors contributing to that hardened mindset. While I can’t say that I’ve completely done a 180, I’d say having the epiphany was a big step in the right direction. Even my husband has made the observation that I’m recovering that more optimistic than not outlook I once had. That sense of hope and determination I once had. And while I doubt the shine has fully returned, I think he’d tell me I never lost that in the first place — but he’s a biased party whose opinion is painted by love.

For some people, it’s all about keeping your eyes on the prize, but I have to say I’ve learned that it’s not the necessarily the best way of living life. At the start of this year, I might have thought so, but not after realizing that keeping your eyes on the prize means you’re not stopping to look at the scenery along your path. You do need to think more about the journey and less about the destination at times. Really, I’ve found that planning too far in advance can result in disappointment — sometimes serious disappointment. It’s all well and good to have some guidelines, but you’ve got to be a little more flexible to go with the flow. Yes, planning is wonderful, but contingency planning is even better. Taking the time to become a better person to better handle whatever obstacles land in your path is prudent. It’s not about getting past obstacles, it’s about how you handle them. The way we handle different circumstances speaks leaps and bounds about our character. I for one never want to be that person blaming the waitress for the cook’s mistake or worse, my bad day. I don’t want to be that person who people perceive as an arrogant, condescending cad. In the same regard, I don’t want to be viewed as the doormat — I had enough of that in middle and high school.

I can’t say I’m changing, but I can say that I’m listening. I’m paying attention. I’m determining what move to make next, what changes to implement. I looking at the big picture, I’m absorbing my surroundings and the lessons, and hopefully I can learn to relinquish some desire for control and relax a little bit more. After all, in this moment life isn’t as bad as it might seem.


Thankful Thursday: Coffee

As I type this scheduled post that’s due out tomorrow, I’m sipping coffee. I’m fully aware that it’s 10:42pm, but apparently my baby’s top front teeth have no concept of that. In fact, my baby has no concept of that, either — he’s blissfully ignorant to the concept of day and night. He has reverted to his reverse sleep schedule, and he’s taking me with him. Sure, it’s easy to say “make your husband stay up,” but too many people forget that I’m breastfeeding the baby. He’s still reliant on me for at least some of his nutrition. You’ll notice yesterday’s glorious picture of my pillow — oh sweet, sweet lovely pink pillow, how I miss the days of nestling my head into your soft, comforting cotton fluff. But all too soon I will blink, and my precious little baby will be a precocious preschooler sleeping in his very own big-boy bed.

So for now, I’m thankful for coffee. Believe it or not, I’m actually a fan of instant coffee — it’s smooth, just the way I like it. Add in a splash of flavored creamer and it’s perfect. Sip, sip, ahh! So while I could theoretically be sitting here falling on my face, I’m actually feeling alert. While the baby toddles around, inching ever closer to letting go of the furniture and taking those first solo steps, I’m awake enough to watch and offer encouragement. Oh, and clean up the chunks of banana that he leaves behind.


Mindful Monday: Where Does Time Go?

As you’ll recall, last week I embarked on a journey to determine where all my time is going. Using the spreadsheet linked by, I logged how each half hour block of time was spent during the week. The results — while predictable based on what I already knew — were a very clear indication that I’m not using my time to the best of my abilities. In fact, I’m currently not utilizing my time as best as I could. Here’s just a short list of the things I took note of during the week:

  • I don’t get enough sleep. While this can be directly contributed to the fact that my nine-month-old is teething, I’m still not making the most of the baby’s down time by catching some down time myself.
  • I’m spending too much time on the couch with my laptop in the hopes that a great new job will surface, a response will come through my inbox, or that I’ll get something productive done. The results have been the same each day — prospects are slim, and I end up needing to refluff the couch cushions daily.
  • I’m not spending enough time taking care of myself — diet, exercise, quiet time, outside time. Of course, the outside time has been minimized due to the severe heat wave that we have been experiencing. If the weather forecast says to avoid prolonged exposure, you can bet I’m not going to subject myself or my family to 10+ UV radiation, 95+ degree heat, and 100+ degree heat indexes.

Today I will be setting aside some time to create a plan for the week. I’m not going to miss an opportunity if I take a break from the internet job search for one day — it will be there when I come back. It’s not going to get filled in the 24 hours that I’m oblivious to its existence. I need to sleep, I need to move around, I need to sit quietly without an electronic item in my lap, and I need to get down on the floor and play.