Monday, February 22, 2010

My Best, Shiny, Happy, Good Looking Blog!

By the pure fact that I am always late in accepting awards and I never follow all the rules, I am seriously unworthy of the majority which I receive.  But you keep giving them to me anyway.  Apparently y'all are as codependent as I am. 

I love you for that.  Thanks!

Here are the latest awards which I am truly honored to have received:

Best Blog Award
from an uplifting man of faith, Dr. T.L. Sanderfer at Marking The Path

RULES:
      • Post it on your blog and link to giver
      • Choose 15 other blogs that you believe deserve the honor of Best Blog and let them know they have received it (rules, link, etc)

*************

The Sunshine Award
from writer, fashionista, globetrotter Persis Shah at Miles of Style

RULES:
     • Put the award on your blog and link to giver
     • Pass it on to 12 fellow bloggers and let them know that they have received it (rules, link, etc)
     • Bask in the warm Sunshine of your new found fame!

*************


Happy 101 Award
from the inspiring and positive Tony Anders at Artisan of the Human Spirit

RULES:
     • Post the award on my blog and link to giver
     • List ten things that make me happy
     • Share the award with 10 positive, “like-minded” blogs and let them know they have received it (rules, link, etc)


*************

“esse blog e bom de olhar” Award (Portuguese translation: "This blog is good to look at.")
from the always interesting (if not sometimes drunk and slightly twisted) Argentum Vulgaris at Life is Just Like That

RULES:
     • Post the sentence : Nenhum olhar è mais puro do que uma criança.
     • Post the award and link to giver.
     • Mention the blog that gave birth to this award: "Art of Li" http://li.katuki.blogspot.com
     • Pass it on to 10 blogs and let them know they have received it (rules, link, etc)

*************

I've previously admitted that I suck at math, in addition to being a chronic rule breaker.  However, the above number of blogs I would be linking to (if I followed rules, which I don't) would be 15 + 12 + 10 + 10 which equals 47.

That's a lot of linkage.    Oh the quandry.  What to do?  What to do?

Well, my first reaction to anything I don't want to do is to find a way to procrastinate.  So, first I'll do the other non-linky rules.

One was to post this sentence: Nenhum olhar è mais puro do que uma criança. In Portuguese this means, "There is nothing so pure as the look of a child."

Discuss.

Another request was to post ten things that make me happy.  Of course I could easily list ten things about my wonderful children and husband, my enjoyment in writing and spreading love out into the world.

Yet, I almost feel like that would be boring too easy.   To put the list below in context, I should also add that I have major PMS right now. (Apologies again for butchering the intentions of yet another lovely award.)

Things that make me happy:
     1. Awards with no rules.
     2. Days when I get to skip the mother-feather 50 mile aka "Can't get theyah from heyah" commute
         to the office.  (Same 50 miles back but it's to home so it's just easier somehow.)
     3. Pepperoncinis... or any spicy food... or "salt & vinegar" potato chips.
     4. Singing at the top of my lungs to the soundtrack from Grease and/or A Chorus Line.
     5. My boyfriends:  Robert, Kendall and Rodney (Mondavi, Jackson and Strong respectively.)
     6. Alone time.
     7. Watching a man clean.  Add laundry (wash, dry and fold)... oooo baby!
     8. "Look Ma -- no Spanx!"
     9.  Room service.
    10. Fresh air and butterflies.  (What?  I'm not a complete monster.)

Okay... so now I have to play favorites.  Below are the first eleven (just to be random) blogs which come to mind as some of the best, sunshiniest, happiest, boa aparência blogs I know.

If you're on this list, feel free to pick the award above which best fits your personality and/or you haven't already won and/or matches the color scheme of your blog.

Heck, take two.  They're small.

Link back to me and pass it on.  Or don't.  Whatever floats your boat.    You may want to include a list of some sort or a thought-provoking phrase in a different language, even if the award you choose doesn't call for it.   Despite the rules, stuff like that makes reading about awards more interesting.

CONGRATULATIONS to:

Sasha at Lemonade Makin' Mama

Serenityville Amy at Aayymee, watchchoo gonna do-o?

Crystal at Wanna Be Balanced Mom

Caroline Bender at Drawing In

Bob at just kicken it around

Melissa at The Scholastic Scribe

Queenie Jeanne at Jeannie's Happy World

Missa at LosingEthel

Amanda at Serenity Now

Heather at Acting Balanced

The Guys at The Guy's Perspective

CHEERS!
Charlene


MORE AWARD POSTS:
   *  I'm Kreativ!
   *  Superiority Complex 
   * Awarded by Three Lovely Blogs
   * When Life Hands You Lemons


   * 
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Bullet List

One of the "DO" strategies (in my BE-->DO-->HAVE) which helps me a lot is making lists.

As a self-proclaimed "life balance strategist" I am constantly impressed by and learning from others.  I've started keeping categorized lists of "takeaways." Key messages gleaned from people, books, podcasts, et cetera, recorded in concise bullets. I prefer the Notes feature in Outlook, but have found that a pen and a napkin works just as well in a pinch.

Great "ah ha" moments often come when I am driving, so I have also been known to record bullets verbally into my (very) old BlackBerry Pearl and then send the .wav message to my own email.

Before I discovered the voice recorder on my phone, I used grocery list repetition to remember all that "smart stuff." You may have seen that kid on Sesame Street repeating over and over, "a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter.... a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter..."

Unfortunately, I'm more like the other kid who starts remembering "loaf of bread" but then struggles to keep the initial thought bubble alive as distractions are presented. Life being more complex than a new doll, a baseball game or a fire truck, I find it increasingly difficult to remember lists in my head. Even harder as I (and my hormones) get older.

Still, bullets are easier to remember than entire books or conversations.

Bullets also come in handy when trying to remember jokes. I love jokes. I've got a million of 'em. *Badoom-pah*  Unfortunately, I can only remember a dozen or so and only those because I have a bulleted "joke list" in my wallet at all times. Yes, really.

Particularly when I was traveling to conferences every other week, my joke list came in handy. (Lots of fresh victims audiences.)

More prepared than a boy scout, I feel well-equipped to rescue folks from such conversational perils as, "I heard a really funny joke. Um... I think it was about a cow? No -- a horse. And um, the horse says... something... to the bartender. And then... Gosh. How does it go again? Anyway, it was so funny. Yeah."

My "original" joke list was just a little Garfield sticky note inscribed with the caption also seen in the attached graphic. In tiny, faded script were quick reminders of familiar comedic pleasantries:
    - three men desert
    - sheep joke
    - three wishes
    - construction workers
    - "our daily chicken"
    - mountain man
... - etc...

Having a handy joke list somehow provides confidence in memory and delivery, not to mention the ability to imitate multiple foreign accents. ('Tho someone once told me that all my accents sound vaguely Irish. Whatever.)

Several years ago, my car was broken into; windows smashed and contents emptied. The thieves made off with several important items, including my briefcase which happened to have my wallet (and list) inside. The running joke is that my husband arranged the whole thing as a "hit" on my little list to avoid a lifetime of suffering my old jokes. Sadly for him, the bulleted note was easily recreated, sans Garfield. Almost a decade later, my poor hubby has heard -genie in bar so often, he involuntarily mouths the punchline along with me.

I use "bullet lists" all the time with my kids too. This is especially helpful when we're rushing around in the morning before school or I'm multitasking the bedtime routine. For example, I may tell my daughter, "After breakfast I want you to brush your teeth, put on your shoes and make sure you have your books in your backpack. And, don't forget to take your medicine." She'll finish eating, then walk into the bathroom, maybe brush her teeth (or not), then kind of wander around until she sees something shiny and loses the plot entirely.

If I list, "Teeth. Shoes. Books. Meds." and make her repeat the list back to me, things go much more smoothly. "Teeth, shoes, books, meds. CHECK," she echoes.
.
My husband may not be aware of it, but I use this tactic on him as well. I've discovered that being distracted by shiny objects is not restricted to those under the age of ten.

In reviewing my blog, my secret hope is that people might keep a running list of key points I have shared. For example:
  • SELF = PRIORITY
  • Internal (thoughts) + External (actions) + Support (help)
  • Increased Confidence = Increased Capacity
  • Pay attention
  • Be consistent
  • Know your exits
  • Say "Thank You" (early & often)
Whether it's something as trivial as a joke list or as important as prioritizing your own well-being, think about breaking it down into a few concise bullets.

What's on your Bullet List?

.
Best,
Charlene

PS: This is an "encore" post from last June.  Hopefully the six people who read it then won't mind the repeat.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Food Coma

So, I thought I was in a pretty good routine here. Work and family during the week; blogging on the weekend. I'm sure some of you were waiting for my usual Saturday post with bated breath.  (Not to be confused with "baited" breath which is something else entirely.)

Didn't notice? Okay, just humor me then. I have a good excuse.

I was in a food coma.

Despite my best efforts, I fell victim to one of the oldest diet traps in the book. I bet you've done it before too.

You know... the thing where you starve yourself during the day so you "save" the calories for some big event at night.

Yes, I knew better. Yes, I've told others not to do this same thing before. No, this is not an approved component of P90X. Yes, I did it anyway. (Don't judge me.)

If you need a visual, picture the episode of Laverne & Shirley where they raise the money for a fancy party by signing up for scientific deprivation studies.  Laverne, no sleep.  Shirley, no food.  

By the time Shirley gets to the party, she is so hungry she could eat dirt.  Her short haircut will make it easier for you to picture me in her place, diving down to the floor to shove a discarded cracker into my mouth with both hands.

Replace "cracker" with seven station buffet.  And cake.  And three glasses of Kendall Jackson chardonnay.  Rinse.  Repeat.

I'll be back to write a proper post once I get rid of this feeling like I've got sludge and gummy worms sojourning through my system.

Moo,
Charlene
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Did I mention that in addition to being absolutely gorgeous, my children are geniuses?    I know.  All parents say this about their progeny.

At least I've never heard anyone say, "My Junior is such a freakin' idiot.  And so ugly too.  Poor lil' guy."

The phrase "a face only a mother can love" somewhat describes this biological phenomenon.  It keeps us from wanting to eat our young.  At least until they are teenagers.

Anyhoo...

My offspring really do have a knack for coming out with profound statements. 

Just yesterday, I was awoken long before my usual 5am internal alarm to musical noises coming from the room next door. 

With remains of sleep holding my eyelids down to half mast, I stumbled into Spiderman's room (referring to my son who just turned five last Sunday).  Spidey was sitting up in bed, eating a cookie and playing his Nintendo DS.

I whined, "What on earth are you doing awake so early?  It's still night. You should be sleeping."

"But Mumma, I couldn't sleep," Spidey replied. "My belly was empty and my brain was full!"

Out of the mouth of babes indeed.  It made me think of the many nights I've myself woken up at 2am, mind racing and belly gurgling.  (Okay, maybe sloshing or groaning depending on the day.)

If anyone else has ever had this problem, Spidey's words provide the solution:  Before bed, make sure both belly and brain are taken care of in the appropriate proportions.

Sibling rivalry being what it is, my 10-year old Miss M. heard that I had posted Spidey's words of wisdom on Facebook yesterday and wanted in on the action.

As we reminisced about some of her more profound thoughts, I told her I would share one of my favorites on my blog today. 

Lil' Miss M. was not too much older than Spidey is now when we had a conversation about how some of her friends were afraid of the dark.  She was baffled.

"You know Mommy, the dark isn't even a thing.  All that dark means is that there's no light," she explained.

She further clarified, "So really, what they're afraid of is the missing light.  How can you be afraid of something that's not there?"

Profound, right?   A real thought twister.

There have been a few dark days since Miss M. first shared that insight with me.  It has helped me a lot to keep her words close and always think about how I can bring more light into my life.

Like I said, my kids are brilliant.

Naturally.



Photo source: Science/AAAS
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