I Have A New Book – Personality Runes!

Personality Runes Cover

I have so many other books to finish, but this one kept calling to me. The ideas behind Personality Runes were ones I’ve used myself over the past several years. I never thought to share it beyond some hastily-scribbled random words, posted on a digital flashcard site.

As I delved deeper into each Rune to flesh out my thoughts more, I felt more in tune with the Runes on a whole. Strangely enough, the Runes I’d so carefully crafted (and wrote about in this book) were lost when we moved last year. I remember carefully packing them so I could get to them as soon as we unpacked, but I still haven’t been able to locate them. Along with the Runes were a beautiful set of Goddess Tarot cards, and a growing collection of semi-precious stones. I’m sure they’ll be found at some point in the future. Who knows, perhaps they’re meant to be handed down to one of my kiddos!

In any case, I relied heavily on my artistic/creative side to connect with each shape and symbol in the Runes. It’s something I enjoy quite thoroughly on many levels. I love to find out about all the different sorts of people there are in the world. To get into their minds, figure out what drives them, and possibly turn them into a character for one of my stories. Isn’t it interesting how everything always comes back to stories?

This book is available on Amazon as a regular book (gasp – not just an eBook?). It’s available through several different places as an eBook, too!

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, check out these resources:

Print copy
Barnes and Noble

Ebook copy
Google Play Books
Nook (Smashwords Edition)
iBooks (Smashwords Edition)
Kobo Books (Smashwords Edition)
Scribd (Read it for free with a Scribd subscription!)

Smashwords distributes to many other channels, too, so check your favorite eBook stores in the coming days!

Website Move and Update

In case you haven’t noticed, we moved to Blogger! WordPress is a great product, but Blogger has a lot of features built-in and doesn’t require constant updating to the latest version. Apparently if there’s an update, it happens automatically. That’s pretty cool!

By my calculations, it’s been almost a YEAR since I last posted an update! In that time, I’ve turned 30, my oldest finished first grade, and my youngest started on her Terrible Twos. I’ve changed jobs, too!

The books I’ve been working on are still being written, I promise! The time-table’s definitely changed, though. I’ve started a few other creative projects (and even finished some), so I haven’t completely abandoned creativity 🙂

I’ve been working on some children’s books for my daughter using my “Real” name. It’s not that I think I can write a better children’s book or anything, but I really want to teach her certain concepts my way. The hubby thinks my story ideas are a bit out there, but he thinks I’m an Odd Duck. I don’t even quack! I think of myself as more of a kitty, you know? Apparently that is part of what makes me an Odd Duck. Sigh!

I do plan to finish Meryl’s story by the end of this year, so look for the Smashwords’ link in the future! 😀


My posts have lately been centered around a more self-help perspective than the usual writer-talking-about-writing-stuff. By “Self-Help” I hope you all understand the posts are from my perspective and aren’t intended to fit the world. Just as an author writes in the genre they are good at, a person lives the life they’re good at. Well I suppose you could write in any genre regardless of how much you enjoy it, but I prefer to stick to what I like!

Meryl’s been getting WEIRDER AND WEIRDER. The book, not the character. The character is definitely turning into a strange person as well, but things keep happening that I just hadn’t planned for! I’ve read several different “writing process” type suggestions that range from “get the outline” to “write on the fly.” It’s the same with drawing or art of any sort. Some people work very well within a structure, and some give up on their structured pieces if they try.

I’ve got PLANS to do the nanowrimo this year (I will do it I swear!!! I will!) and have been struggling with what to write. It has to be something you start fresh, and you have all of November to write 50,000 words. You can’t start it in October and finish in November. For me, if I don’t finish Meryl by then (and I’m 1/3 of the way through my new goal), it WILL be the first novel I finish. I’ve finally settled on a sort-of strange idea for a book that’s based on a recurring dream of mine. Generally with my recurring dreams, I feel they’re some sort of flashback to a previous life. While in some circles it could be considered “Non Fiction” to write about a previous life, I’m pretty sure that’d be stretching it a bit for most of the world. Since I intend on taking some poetic license with the story anyway, I’ve already started preparing it mentally as a more fiction-type story. Reading about a previous life could get really boring if it’s presented like an auto-biography. What would a previous life book be called anyway? Pre-biography?

The story is actually really really depressing and sad and has no true happy ending. The optimist in me is sorting out the ending to figure out how to make it happier, or at least have some take-away from all the sadness. In the dream version there are a few things that are different, but ultimately the gist of the story will be relayed. I hope it helps people in similar situations understand people like the characters in the book. Other than that, it’s really not going to be one of those OMG YAY yippy skippy things. It wouldn’t be classified as Romance or Mystery or Sci-Fi. What genre is Sad Lit anyway?

On a rather unrelated note, I’ve switched back to using Disqus instead of the Jetpack comment system. Apparently I’d need to completely reinstall WordPress on my domain to get it working again, possibly maybe, so I opted to just go back to what I know works.

My Brother-In-Law’s new book, Dissolution of Peace, will be out on October 16th 2012. I’ve had a chance to read the book (before it was done being edited) and can say with confidence the story is really awesome! It’s available on Kindle and Paperback through Amazon so be sure to pick up a copy. He’s put a lot of work into making a truly great book. You can pre-order your copy now by clicking the link up there. The link also has a pretty snazzy video for the book. My daughter loves dancing to the music 😀

Ps and Qs + Work Appreciation

I’ve been working with the same company for over four years now and was recently reminded of how I’d gotten started here to begin with. When I first was hired, within the month my boss had to take a two-month leave of absence (he broke his foot really badly). Instead of freaking out that I was all alone and new and all of that, which it didn’t even occur to me to do, I kept plodding along doing my job. Where I was able to I would help with my boss’s job as well. I remember at one point helping him load cat litter into his car and being happy to help.

Well, my boss took off on a (MUCH DESERVED, the man rarely leaves the office) vacation and will be gone for a few weeks. I’ve been so concerned over how I’ll ever manage without him that I wasn’t doing everything I could. Letting fear block you doesn’t accomplish much more than the bare necessities! You’re lucky if it does, too! Thanks to great friends and remembering how easy it was for me when I first started here I realized it’s not a big deal. I’ve been able to accomplish so much more as a result. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a huge relief when my boss comes back, but I will survive and excel even if he isn’t here!

So in bringing up the memories from four years ago I realized something ELSE. I used to E-Mail my boss every time a customer sent a thank-you or “OMG she’s awesome!” to me. He’d be happy that the customer was happy and that I wasn’t an evil villain (I’m only an evil villain on Tuesdays, and Wednesday is bedtime) or whatever it is overlords feel when they see their minions properly appreciated. I got an E-Mail today from a user who was absolutely happy with the support we provided and made sure we knew. I skimmed over it and moved to check my next E-Mail item when I stopped myself. How many times have I commented or wailed over the stuff customers do that bug me? It’s not something I’ve done my entire employment. “I wasn’t always this way,” that excuse people throw out to the world, ran through my mind. Well who cares if I was not always this way? The past is the PAST! Who you are NOW is who counts. If I want to be that person again I can start by appreciating people who are thankful for what I do. I can stop lambasting and back-stabbing good-intentioned people who maybe don’t know exactly how to say something. If everyone knew how to find their DNS or setup a router as a dummy switch, I wouldn’t have a job! Being the person you can look to for the answers is a privilege, an honor, and something jaded people cannot appreciate. So I’ve scrubbed off my corrosion and am looking toward the future more positively. There are many things I can do and even more that I cannot. I will do what I can and learn what I can so that I will be of more use to those who need it.

My reasons for being in a customer-facing support position are many and varied. There’s a personal satisfaction from being of use. There’s the exhilaration of following the threads of a puzzle while untangling the knots you encounter. Most importantly though, helping someone because you have the capability makes everyone feel good. The past year I’ve let myself forget that. It’s turned into what I want and what I need and how my job isn’t good enough for me. When asking myself the question “well what job would be then?” the answer always made my stomach hurt and I’d avoid it. Usually thinking something like “NOTHING! NOTHING WOULD!” made it hurt worse. If I’d listened to those physical signs I might have seen what I knew all along: this job is perfect for me, and I just forgot. Yes, I do write and draw. Those are my hobbies though, my personal creative outlets. They’re how I keep my Personal Deity from frowning at me because I explode over things that don’t matter, or explode at all. My Personal Deity isn’t too fond of my outbursts of anger and she cringes in horror at the same outbursts in other people. Letting it all out CREATIVELY keeps us both happy with each other. The next time you find yourself in the middle of an argument that you don’t really care about but are arguing because you have to be right (which is my biggest flaw, I can’t be wrong. Stubborn as a mule here.), instead of responding to the well of rage you feel, try grabbing a pencil and stabbing at paper with it while attempting to doodle. Eventually you’ll stop ripping the paper to shreds and something beautiful will emerge. You can stop doodling once you find the beauty in what you’ve created; until then, munch on popcorn or something.

Ps and Qs are something of a “lost art” in a lot of those from my generation. The children of my gen are very rarely thankful for anything and can’t understand why you would say please. From a very young age my son was taught to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. Unfortunately some of the people in his life will do what he asks regardless of his thankfulness, so they wind up getting treated fairly badly by him. He’s a very sweet kid but he’s still learning how to navigate this world and doesn’t yet understand that you don’t have to walk on every doormat you see. My own grandparents were never ones to allow me to get away without saying please or thank you. Consequently, I didn’t grow up believing they were my minions. Even if you find someone younger absolutely adorable and can’t resist giving them everything they want, just remember, you’re setting them up to be jerks when they grow up. I’m not trying to give parental advice here. Parents will teach their kids whatever they want. Some parents care about how their children will maneuver through the world as adults, and some don’t. Children are growing and learning and should have as much fun as they can. Fun does not preclude etiquette. I don’t mean the pinky-in-the-air type, but the basic fundamental words we use between friends and strangers that shows we are civilized people. If it doesn’t start with the parents, that doesn’t mean you have to be their kids’ slave. You yourself can demand the proper words and refuse to provide their request until they have. If the parents get mad at you for it, it’s really not your problem. Obviously whoever raised their parents was equally jerk-y.

My point in the Ps and Qs is that who we present ourselves as to other people will affect their responses to us. If we are polite and friendly, it opens the door to reciprocation. Some people might run away because they think you’re nuts though. Don’t let that get you down! Even if they run away, it changes their view of the world just a bit, and they might not react that way to the next person who does the same. Little by little we can make the circle of people we exist within happier and happier by simply saying “Thank You” when they’ve done something to help you. We can say “Please” instead of making demands, no matter how innocuous. We can say “You’re Welcome” when someone politely says “Thank You” so that they know you’ve heard them, acknowledged them, and appreciate their thanks. That same holds true for compliments, by the way! I’ve long responded with uncomfortable body language to people who have complimented me. Shrugging, looking away, talking about something else. A few of my friends will DEMAND that I say “Thank You” and will glare at me until I do. Someday I’ll do it without the shrugging and glaring!

So to wrap things up: if you’re feeling dissatisfied with your life, take a look at the steps you took to get where you are. What were your reasons? If you feel the steps were out of your control, look back further until you can see where you last made a decision based on your own happiness that started you on the road you’re on. Use that as your new starting point and try a different path this time. If you discover you’re actually happy with where you are now and only feel periphery things should change, by all means, continue as you are. I’ve re-learned to find pleasure in the simple things on my path that I’ve taken for granted for years now. When a simple thank you from someone you’ve held the door for lights you up inside, you know you’re on the right path. Don’t let yourself fill with anger if they don’t even acknowledge you; just let them know they’re welcome anyway (WITHOUT the use of sarcasm). They are most likely actually thankful, but don’t know that there are words to express it.

Love your life, Live your life! Mmmm, chocolate!

Motivation to Move!

My grandmother keeps a home in her mind that she fills with the beautiful things she finds in stores or catalogs. She has a real home filled with beautiful things already and decided to start building a less restricted one within herself. Over a decade ago she and my grandfather lost their retirement home to a fire that took out many homes in Uvas Canyon (Morgan Hill, CA) on the Croy Road stretch of land. In rebuilding her life, she took a lot of spiritual journeys and had to learn to let go of a lot. To have your most treasured items reduced to lumps of burnt metal and charred ash, and lose your home on top of that, it really takes a lot of self reflection to move forward. While losing your home isn’t the same as losing a loved one, it still causes distress and anxiety. She first clung to her memories, living with the hope that it was all a dream. As someone who has also done similar things after losing a loved one, I don’t find it hard at all to understand how she got to that point. She is lucky that she recognized her withdrawal and was able to pull herself from it. She has long released her emotions through poetry and prose. Her cathartic journey from victim to survivor was all logged in a book of poetry she wrote about rising from the ashes.

I’ve been writing a lot of blogs about spiritual-y stuff like introspection and Personal Deities. It really helps me sort my thoughts and “change” my personal .ini file so I can be who I want to be, not who I think life made me. I’m exactly who I made myself no matter what I’ve done or gone through. If I seem to be going in a cycle on something, it’s probably because there’s a lesson there I haven’t gotten around to learning. It could be anything from learning to put my socks in the dirty laundry (so I don’t keep running out of clean ones) to stopping myself from exploding over small things instead of finding a more cleansing and healing release. Screaming isn’t exactly HEALING, mind you, but it helps get rid of the echoes in your mind that can cause untold self doubt. To use it metaphorically (please don’t drink any), Bleach cleans while destroying. Some things need to be destroyed so that you can be clean. Sure, chopping up celery on that counter will just make it dirty again, but the alternative is to chop celery on a progressively dirtier counter. Nobody wants to eat dirty celery with peanut butter and raisins on top. No, they want to eat CLEAN celery with peanut butter and raisins on top! Just because you have to do some things endlessly doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose. Don’t stop just because you are tired of THAT cycle. Healthy cycles have a purpose and cannot be ignored or you’ll find yourself in the hospital with salmonella poisoning because you got tired of cleaning the counter.

I know some people who have to plan their day down to the minute or they, quite literally, cannot finish their day properly. If even a minute is unaccounted for they can spend the rest of that day or week or even month agonizing over that minute. It’s not something we all experience to that degree, but you’ll find some organization really helps you feel like you’ve accomplished something. It gets you started moving in the right direction so that you don’t end up wasting a day laboring over what to do with your day. I’ve actually got my google calendar filled up with all sorts of suggestions for what I should be doing now (you don’t even want to see what I think should happen on Saturday, especially if you’re one of my children) and I’ve found I tend to sort-of ignore the ones I don’t feel like doing. The best motivator I’ve found is to setup an alarm for events that I feel HAVE to happen (like taking meds at the exact same time every day, waking up, etc). If I want to add it to my DO IT DO IT DO IT! list, I make it an alarm that goes of every x days at x time for however long I want to deal with doing it. I haven’t done it for blogging, but I did add a google calendar entry. I’ve now gotten to the point that every day I think about blogging around lunch-time (I have the calendar set for 1:30pm) and spend bits of time driving in the morning considering what to write in my blog.

Today’s blog was inspired by a dream I had that was translated by a good friend of mine (that one I was so mean to a few blogs ago). She helped me see that the old house in my dream (scary creepy one I was scared to even look out the windows of) and the new house in my dream were reflections of the steps I’m trying to take in my life. She said she can really tell I’m succeeding because of my blogs, but I wasn’t satisfied with that. If I were changing it would reflect in ME, not my blogs. To be honest though, even subtle changes can make huge differences. They aren’t easy to see, so you can’t always judge by any one day. That’s why writing in a journal or verbalizing into a recorder can let you go back and reflect on who you were and who you are. It’s not important, though. Who you were is in the past. Who you are is far more important. Seeing how far you’ve come can help give you a positive push and make you motivated to move (hah hah hah…see what I did there?) when you are feeling down-in-the-dumps and grumpy about how you aren’t succeeding at all. Success can’t be measured by individual situations, it must be measured as a whole with all aspects accounted for. There’s no sense in using a scale to rate because each event will have its own personal heaviness or lightness. When it feels like life is weighing you down left and right, focus on the things that brought you up. Seeing your son’s first steps, watching your daughter take her first bite of cheesecake, or taking a walk at lunch and enjoying the view. The light moments of the past can make the heavy moments of the now brighter and new again. My new house (in the dream) was nothing like the old one. Everything was shiny and new. There was one thing that was broken, but I knew how to fix it. I have no idea how I even managed to get a whole new house like that, or if it’s even part of me yet, but knowing what is waiting and what I’ve been in is a huge motivator!

Positively Powered

On my way to work this morning (when most of my deep thinking takes place) I had a bunch of ideas on what to blog about today. One of the topics I was considering was based on the belief structure of most religions today. Except for a few cases, most religions have one God, and you worship that God exclusively. Worship is one thing I don’t really want to go over anywhere, since it’s extremely personal and even among religious people there are many who don’t believe in it. I want to go on the record here with a simple statement: Your religion’s God and your Personal Deity are not necessarily the same thing. Worshiping your Personal Deity is entirely up to you. If you feel you need to, by all means, that’s your call. I myself consider my Personal Deity to be separate from God. I was raised in a Christian church (non-Catholic, or rather, Anti-Catholic) and have since determined I believe in the Goddess. Not because there couldn’t possibly be a male who gave birth to the World, but because it was a very personal revelation that brought about a catharsis within my heart and mind. I’m of the opinion that there are actually more Gods and Goddesses in this world. Each belief we have manifests a spiritual guide that leads us on our journey. The internal Personal Deity we all have may link to the external one, or may be a miniature version of one.

All of these thoughts came about because of a bumper sticker on a car ahead of me on the freeway. It was one of the plastic upside-down Darwin ones, insinuating “Darwin is Dead (but Jesus isn’t),” or whatever their insinuation was. It made me consider the very real possibility that Darwin was deitized by his followers. The very religious belief that if you believe in something you worship it has caused these folks to believe that because Darwin is dead, his scientific findings are unfounded. While the man who verbalized and gave it a name may be dead, the basic belief that we all evolve over time is definitely not dead. Instead of looking at it analytically, people have drawn their own conclusions over the messenger’s death. In my childhood there was a very strong understanding that unless we learned and grew, we would never achieve anything we could. Along with trials and tribulations would come success and achievement. Without one we couldn’t have the other. In its own way it is a form of evolution. Darwin’s theories aside, without evolving into what we are now, we would still be backwards cavemen spearing animals for food and believing in finding our next meal instead of finding time to contemplate how we got there to begin with. In its own weird way, the Darwin Religion (since that’s how some choose to view it) coincides with other religions. There are a lot of parallels in each religion that some choose to ignore because theirs is the best. An old High School friend once said his religion was (HisName)ism. It was an idea that really stuck with me. Your spiritual journey is exactly what you make it. If you follow someone else’s journey, you’re part of their religion.

Positiveness is a view of life that perceives the world around as though everything is basically good. Ambivalence is a take-things-as-they-are sort of perspective. Negativeness automatically assumes the worst of anything that happens. Of the three potential perspectives, positivity is the hardest to achieve. The jaded in life are normally ambivalent, though I’ve seen some who are negatively ambivalent. Most days I wind up with positive ambivalence. It really is a struggle to reach for the happy in a situation instead of dwelling on the sad, angry and mad. When your daughter has been whining off and on for the past 12 hours it’s really hard to find the cute or sweet in it. I will learn to stop snapping and be more understanding. In time I will be more appreciative of these moments where I’m needed, because children turn into adults who can walk on their own two feet without parental guidance.

This past weekend my daughter started toddling around without pausing so often to grab a wall or couch. She went from room to room, smiling and cooing as she ate her pepperoni. It was so sweet and cute and something I really missed watching her older brother do. He’s been running around so long now, I forgot his first attempts at walking. He would stomp firmly with each foot in front of the other, marching up and down the driveway at his grandparents’ house. Deia does a sort of diaper waddle, all caution and bent knees. She’s a lot more aware of the reactions of those around her and quite obviously loves the praise and smiles she gets. If there’s ever a time when reaching for the positive becomes monumental, remembering the little moments and the big moments in life can be a life-line. We all have our struggles to overcome, a life to figure out, and happiness to find where we can. If memories are what hold us together and allow us to move forward, there’s nothing wrong with sneaking a bit of our history into our present so we can take the next step. Just remember: it’s not happening now, so don’t build your life on it.

A Rocky Start With Unexpected Surprises

Naturally the very first thing I did after yesterday’s blog was practice grimacing in the mirror. Before heading back to work from lunch, though, I managed to talk my way into an argument with my best friend/sis. Instead of backing down when I found myself digging the hole deeper, I dug it even further! She’s very justifiably upset and I completely failed my first day of being kind to others. Being kind to others doesn’t mean you can use your close friends, best friends or family as punching bags. Positive outlets for any feelings you might suppress include any creative outlet, sports of some sort (preferably where you don’t shoot anything alive with anything deadly), or good old-fashioned drive-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-and-scream. The latter is one I’ve never managed to complete! I tend to let out a squeak, get embarrassed, and go home. Driving itself is one of my favorite activities for letting out steam. With gas prices being what they are, the alternative is taking a walk or biking. Yesterday, after completely wounding someone I never wanted to hurt, I took a walk with a co-worker. Sometime during the walk I found myself feeling cleaner and thinking clearly. It was cathartic and healthy. The sun was perfect, we sweated a bit, and we even found a dollar on the ground when we went the circuitous route instead of heading right back to work. These all seemed like positive signs that I was finding a better way to handle stress. The next time I find myself being that annoying obstinate mule that can’t be wrong, I’m going to take a walk. It helps my husband cool off, it helps me let off some steam, and it has the added benefit of being a very healthy exercise that doesn’t put too much pressure on joints.

I’ve taken walks on days my co-workers were busy or out of the office. While not as friendly, it’s got its own peace to it, particularly since you can blast Maroon 5 through your earbuds and nobody’s the wiser.

While yesterday was a complete wash in the Kindness department, I did learn many valuable lessons and will hold on to them. Keeping what you’ve learned can be as important as finding your inner nice-person and making peace with your Personal Deity. If I hadn’t learned the lesson this time, I’d be doomed to repeat it, with even more dire results. I learned how important it is to recognize your personal limits. Pushing yourself beyond what you can handle gives no-one anything good in you and threatens the relationships of the people you care most about. Even small things, like washing your hands for a few extra minutes, can help bring you back down to a level where you can control yourself. Once you’re stable and can finish whatever projects you were doing, get yourself out of there and find your release in something positive. I myself consider video games to be a favorite outlet. Knowing I can put what I’ve experienced into words and post them for my future self to look at also helps make a huge difference. Creative outlets run the gamut from writing to cooking. Creation has its own positive energies that soak up everything you’re feeling or repressing and turn them into delicious soups or gorgeous statues. The process gives you purpose and meaning beyond your 9-to-5 job. It lets you carve out a more unique box for yourself that nobody else can fit in.

Today I’ve so far practiced laughter and smiling. Thankfully they’ve all just sort of bubbled up from within. Being in the “be nice” frame of mind seems to bring out all those inner pockets of happiness and make the people around feel the same. In fact, while I don’t necessarily “blame” it on my attempts at bettering, last night the hubby had a VERY interesting reaction to my usual inanities. Instead of his invisible eye-roll, he GIGGLED. My husband is not known for his great bouts of laughter, but the man could not stop laughing last night! It could have been punchiness, but I prefer to think it was residual effects of the freedom felt in letting the past go and holding on to the here and now. The future is important too, but it can change before you even get there, so concentrating on where you are is far more important than where you’ll be. I felt horrible that I’d let a friend down so personally yesterday, but I couldn’t do anything except apologize and learn from it. It’s something I MIGHT repeat, but I don’t WANT to, and I’ll make sure I know where I’m headed before letting myself tirade like that again. It is much harder for her to let it go when someone basically says she’s something she isn’t. Compounded by my inability to remember what I’ve just said let alone something that happened earlier this year, I was on a road hell-bent for destruction. She’s a beautiful person and nothing I said was true. For whatever reason I thought pounding ideals into her through the use of metaphor would have a positive effect. Turned out she already felt the same way, but I didn’t recognize that until it was too late to just apologize. In the mean time, I thought I’d share with my readers so they could try to head off their own high-speed collisions through some positive outlets. Consider this an act of kindness, and I hope it helps someone down the line like it would’ve helped me yesterday.

We took a co-worker to a good-bye lunch today at a delicious-smelling Italian restaurant near work. The instant I walked in the scent of garlic, butter and fresh-baked bread hit my nose. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I’m one of those evil LCers, so bread is one of the no-nos in my diet. With a nephew’s birthday party coming up soon along with the weekend, my mind naturally switched to “bah, who needs a diet” mode. As I sat down, a co-worker moved toward his chair and commented, “Have you lost weight?” My quick denial (a pound isn’t much) prompted his continued confirmation of the weight loss. Because of that man, my menu selection reverted back to the salad I’d decided on before even getting to the restaurant. As it turned out, two other co-workers were also doing LC and we all discussed our favorite foods (while munching lettuce like rabbits). Apparently even without conscious effort, being in “kindness mode” makes everything brighter and unites people who otherwise wouldn’t even know they were on the same page.

The Ideas Behind Selfless Acts of Kindness

The term “Selfless Acts of Kindness” always left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Forcing yourself to be selfless, to me, always negated the selfless part. The implication is that you’re just a nice person, so doing nice things is just who you are.

While I still believe that to some extent, it’s not always easy to do. Similar to my 26-days-of-blogging mental-training, the “Selfless Acts of Kindness” is a way to re-program or re-learn who you used to be when you were a naive kid. Perhaps without the naivete, since you’re wiser and know better now. The reasons for being nice should still be there regardless of your age. My good friend Sara has a blog of her own Selfless Acts of Kindness. It’s a great thing to throw on your New Years Resolutions. Keep in mind, however, you can “Re-Program” yourself anytime regardless of the time of year.

If you were to be completely honest with yourself (which is very hard to do unless you’re masochistic, and even then you are doing it because you like it), you would find you aren’t as nice as you used to be. Maybe you were never nice. The mean bully in Kindergarten who forced play-dough and elmer’s glue down the kid-with-the-glasses throat. Maybe in High School you picked on that weird Witchy chick who always stared at you like she was cursing you. Maybe you are that witchy chick! Whoever you were, you probably had moments where you weren’t someone you’d want to be friends with.

Instead of assuming you could never be friends with yourself, you can change very easily. Perhaps with the 26-day personal retraining program, or however you normally change your habits or turn good things into habits. For me, I had to stop thinking of myself in terms of “ugh” and start thinking “I’m not so bad!” It was really hard not looking down on myself. Even now, I tend toward self deprecation. Even so, I actually like myself most days. Shrieking harpy days, not so much, but you can make up for it other days. Although the idea of “making it up” isn’t necessarily a good get-out-of-jail-free card, and certainly not one you should use constantly, it’s great to use as a one-off self forgiveness tool. Remember: don’t use it every day! Set it as a once-a-month or bi-monthly ticket, then forget about it. FORGET ABOUT THE TICKET. You don’t want to start relying on it instead of letting your emotions out through healthier outlets.

Perhaps as a side-line of my 26-days-of-blogging I’ll work on the other aspects of myself that I’m not as fond of. Selfless acts of kindness are tough for two reasons. The first reason is convincing yourself what you’re doing is kind. The second reason is actually doing the acts instead of rationalizing your way out of them.

Since this is a learning experience for me as much for anyone else, the steps I’ll outline are rudimentary at best. Please feel free to follow me on the journey! Self betterment and re-programming should never be done alone. Even if no-one around you is encouraging or doing it with you, you can still tell yourself (and your Personal Deity) how you’re doing, and enjoy the responses from those outside your circle as they realize there are still people in the world interested in something other than themselves.

To start with, there is one thing you have to do. It’s not something I’ve ever convinced anyone to do successfully. It’s monumental, private, scary and impossible. It’s that skeleton in your closet mocking you every time you think you’re succeeding. You have to do it anyway, and mean it. However you have to work your brain around it, figure it out and DO IT.

Step One:
Look at yourself in the mirror. This should be your morning ritual, so make sure you do this every morning until it’s a habit. Mark your calendar for 26 days if you have to. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile, and say “You’re Awesome!”

Step Two:
Every person you meet, look them in the eyes and smile. Don’t offer anything suggestive, don’t come off as seductive or interested. This might be more difficult for men since it’s assumed they always have an ulterior motive. If you have to, practice your smile in the mirror so it doesn’t look leering. While you’re practicing, throw in a few “Sweet,” “Sexy,” or “Awesome!”s so you remember that you are great.

Step Three:
Even if you don’t work there or aren’t part of the team or whatever it is wherever you are, if someone looks lost or like they need help, ask them if you can help them. They may assume you’re an employee (or whatever), but that doesn’t matter. If you know where the Macadamias are, you can help them. If you don’t know, you can be the more pro-active person and get an employee’s attention to ask them. Some people are extremely shy and don’t know how to ask for help. They aren’t idiots, and even if they are, they deserve help too.
If you happen to be an employee, you should be doing all of this anyway. If you aren’t, you DEFINITELY need to follow this five-step re-program.

Step Four:
Stop what you’re doing periodically, whether it be as you’re walking or driving or bicycling. Don’t get in peoples’ ways or cause accidents, mind you, but just pause your mindlessness for a moment and look around you. It’s not always obvious (some people are shy or idiots, remember), but some people are trying to get over, get around you, or need help and are being ignored. It could be a car on the side of the road, or a woman who dropped her bag of groceries. It might be a chain that fell off a bike. Safely get over, allow people to get over, etc. Do what you have to do to help those people. Have you ever seen those sorts of things before? Did you even know some people don’t yell and scream or throw fits if something happens? Did you realize that most people aren’t going to ask for help? It’s very very true, but when they are helped, they are the most grateful people you’ll ever meet. Remember: Just because they can do things themselves, they’ll feel better if someone helps them. It’ll get done faster, too, which makes everyones’ day just that much brighter. So what if you don’t like packing popcorn? Who does? Even helping capture one piece of that nefarious foam can add five minutes to someone’s day.

Step Five:
Write about your day, every day. Every little detail you’ve noticed, from the way you’ve helped people to the way people have reacted to your actions. Even if you think you haven’t done a thing, if you go back in your mind’s eye and follow your day, you’ll notice the woman behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop smiles when she sees you. She doesn’t stare blankly at you anymore. What an improvement! It might be something even more subtle, like a discount you didn’t notice getting at the grocery store or restaurant. Sure, you gave them a bigger tip, but they reciprocated with a discount.

Life is about give and take. When we give or take too much, it becomes unbalanced. While unbalance is a great way to learn and grow, living in it for any length of time causes stresses that shorten our time on Earth. Enjoying the gift of life you’ve been given is the best way to show your Personal Deity how much you treasure everything. Exuding love of life, kindness, happiness or even contentedness makes those around you experience some of what you are. Sharing like that brightens everybody’s’ day and makes it that much easier to carry the burdens we haven’t figured out how to share.

Do it for yourself first. Be a little selfish. I don’t mean be narcissistic; that’s no way to live at all. By showing the people in your life how to be a good, kind person and love yourself, they’ll find their own peace and share it with others. Through small acts on your part, as selfless or selfish as they start out, you can make your life and our world a better place. Just think of it as recycling cans or cardboard boxes.

The Lazy Writer gets no Flavored Macadamias

So last night I went to pick up a prescription at our local 24-hour pharmacy. By “Local” I mean the one a few miles from our home. The hubby asked me to bring dinner home, so I picked that up before remembering I needed to go to the pharmacy.

Siiiigh! There’s an option on their site to have prescriptions shipped. While navigating through the back-streets to get to the out-of-the-way store, I decided to set that up. What a hassle, driving out of my way every three weeks like this!

When I got there, I grabbed some milk (Deia drank the last of it last night) and headed to the pharmacy area to pick up the prescription I’d put in a few days before. Apparently it wasn’t ready yet…ugh! So I wandered the store, checking out the baby stuff and food (mmm….food). Recalling my current macadamia cravings, I wandered over to the nuts area and found something VERY interesting! Mauna Loa Maui Onion Macadamias!! I’ve never seen them in any flavor but “Macadamias.” After a quick glance at the nutrition facts, they were in hand ready for acquisition. As I wandered back toward the pharmacy area, looking over the vitamins and pain killers, I decided Flavored Macadamias were perfectly reasonable to go out of my way to get every three weeks. Nomnomnom!

I guess the point is, even if things seem like a hassle, you can always find something to make it awesome instead! 😀 Sometimes it just takes wandering around a little before you discover it, but it’s right there waiting for you to be all “OMG AWESOME” and go visit every so often.


Food: My Love/Hate Relationship

My least-favorite question on a personal questionnaire is “Favorite Food.” Seriously, do people have a FAVORITE? I’ve got a much shorter list of “Lease Favorite Food,” such as Tofu, Bamboo and Water Chestnuts. Oh, Goat cheese is now also a least favorite food, as well as any cheese in the bleu family.

I “converted” mentally to a lower-carb lifestyle several years ago. Recently I’ve discovered a (probable/possible) gluten intolerance. I’ll be the first to admit giving up potatoes is the hardest part of being LC (low carb). You can take away all those other ones, like breads and pastas, but potatoes are the one that makes me sob uncontrollably. Beans are delicious, but not as hard to give up as potatoes. Great — now I want a baked potato covered in salt and pepper ;.; Thanks, blog!

While reducing my carb intake is actually the ONLY diet I can remember I’m on (and thus successfully lose weight), it never occurred to me to look for gluten in the carb-free foods I’ve always consumed. It would be assumed that gluten, as a carb-y food, would not be in low-carb foods. Assumption gets me in trouble every damn time, I swear! Anyway, so filtering the gluten out of my diet is proving to be the hardest part! Giving up potatoes was difficult, but since it doesn’t have gluten, I don’t have to cower in terror if it’s near my protein. Well good! I love my potatoes! You know, perhaps I’m not gluten intolerant. Perhaps I’m just anti-gluten!

My husband always tells people “don’t listen to her, she’s not interested in it for the health benefits” whenever I’d go on-and-on-and-on-and-on (I won’t get started here or you’ll use this blog instead of Ambien) about how great low-carb is. My whole family on my mother’s side has always had susceptibility to what we’ve all deemed “hypoglycemia.” Normally Hypoglycemia is a side-effect of insulin usage for diabetics. None of us is diabetic and we all have salt-tooths more than sweet-tooths anyway. No doctor has ever confirmed any form of hypoglycemia in any of us. In fact, during the summer months when we’re enjoying 100+ degree (Fahrenheit) weather, despite plenty of fluids I have a tendency toward passing out/graying out/falling over. I’ve been dragged to the hospital on numerous occasions and it’s always been determined that my blood sugar is JUST FINE, normal as can be, no problems! On my Mother’s side, low blood pressure does run in the family, so I’m fairly certain our “Hypoglycemia” is really just low blood pressure. I was having an Allergy panel done one day and hadn’t eaten yet (I like to savor my food, and pending needle stabbings do not allow for savoring). There was a teeny bit of blood exiting my body, but it was enough to set me into a grey-out. They dragged me to a bed, lay me down, then stuck a blood-pressure monitor on me. The lady almost freaked out at my numbers (which were between 45 and 50) before saying “well wait, what’s your normal range?” Thankfully dropping so little made it “better” (I wasn’t dead), but she was still pretty freaked out. I did not get to savor that breakfast 🙁

While blood pressure is definitely one of the factors in the family’s “hypoglycemia,” it may also be exasperated by a gluten intolerance. There’s a panel you can do to determine if you have genetic markers for gluten intolerance, so I’m in the process of getting that handled (it’s a very awkward question to ask, for sure!). I did start reading a book called “Wheat Belly,” which seems to be a compilation encyclopedia of all-the-things-gluten-does-to-you. It covers a lot of territory and offers recipes and meal-planning as well. It really opened my eyes to all the issues surrounding gluten intolerance/celiac/etc. I’ve always felt healthier and less “dizzy” while on low-carb, which I’d attributed to the family’s hypoglycemia. I stress the less, since it still happened from time to time, just not as often. After determining I’m nowhere near hypoglycemic from a medical standpoint, I had to re-align my thinking. I’m so glad I got “Wheat Belly”! Cross your fingers for me that I can get rid of my wheat belly xD