Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolved, Part 2

The two major changes I made in my life, the decision to quit drinking three years ago and the decision to quit smoking two years ago, were begun in November of the year. I'm not much one to resolve in January because I know that the failure rate of these rosy resolutions is high.

When I made the two changes, I looked forward to the day that I had been sober/non-smoking for an extended period of time. I wanted success to be long-term. And now it is. Although I still wouldn't trust myself with a pack of cigarettes and a martini in a room alone for more than five minutes, I have a degree of confidence in my ability to continue saying no.

Last month, I decided to start going to the gym at least three times a week. I have done this, and actually like the routine of the elliptical machine and using the weights. But I'm finding myself wishing the same thing as when I quit the booze and cigs: I wish it had been longer since I started. I wish I had lost some weight and that my arms were less flabby, my knees capable of pulling me up without holding on to something. I'm impatient to see results and to feel confident about my ability to sustain my efforts.

When I am facing a difficult situation--surgery or dental work, for example--I often get through it by saying, "In a few hours/days/weeks you will be looking back on this. It will have already happened. It will be over." I want to apply this same thought process to going to the gym, using the successes of the past: "In one year, you will have been going to the gym for a year. You will feel strong and fit, proud of the effort you made to do so."

It's going to be a happy new year, friends and family. Here's to 2009--year of promise, year of peace and personal success. Take my hand, let's sally forth!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Peggy Payne is asking for your bold resolve - go weigh in, put in it writing, make a public commitment!

Jonathan Cainer, an astrologer I follow, says this today:

"Tomorrow night brings the awkward convergence of an earthly tradition and a cosmic apparition. Normally, New Year's Eves come and go without too much fuss. We celebrate. We sing. We make our resolutions then we carry on. But what if some heavenly force were secretly listening in to our every vow, offering full celestial support in ensuring those promises were completely carried out? Tomorrow night, Saturn turns stationary. Such conditions favour those who wish to make a decision and 'cast it in concrete' so that it can never be changed. Be very careful not to make a 'negative' resolution."

Consider your bold resolve carefully.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stand By Me

Last night my husband's gospel band performed at church. One of the tunes they did was "Stand By Me" and the audience was very moved by this old Ben E King song. I feel so fervently that we have to tend to those who are afraid or hungry or homeless, war-weary, mourning, loveless and alone, lost in the many, many ways people can become lost these days.

Tonight, one of the band members sent this video and I realize that people around the world feel the words of this song are so meaningful too.

So watch, and think about how we will reach out in the new year to stand by our neighbors who live close by in our cities and far away in other parts of the world. We are one people.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thematic Photography: Quiet

I was riding my bike around Oriental this weekend and came upon this scene in the harbor. Although there may have been noises in the background, the view brought on internal serenity and quiet for me. I have it on my desktop, and keep closing all the programs so I can look at it. It makes me feel almost as calm as...well, as a stop light!!

Post your photos on Carmi's theme of Quiet on your blog. We could all use a little quiet right now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doing my Part to Make Merry

Does anyone else feel as though there are fewer Christmas cards this year? I'm writing mine today. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas (I love to write letters), and I'm sending Robert Sabuda pop-ups, handmades, and KOCO NY cards.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zen Car

I read somewhere recently that if you will do a thing three times it will become a habit. This article (I wish I could find it to quote it correctly) was suggesting that we wake up each morning and make a statement along the lines of, "I am willing to be happy today."

Several months ago I told you that I was no longer listening to talk radio in the car. Instead I play only meditation music. After doing this for a while, I stopped thinking, "Oh, I need to turn on NPR." But it took a while.

Then I started sitting still at stop lights, taking my hands off the steering wheel and resting them in my lap. This felt calming.

My next step was to say, "A red light. Now I can relax for a few seconds." I began to look at stop lights in a new way, as a chance to slow down.

And it's a habit. Engrained in my brain. I see a red light, I feel glad, and I sit quietly for the duration of it.

I'm still an agitated driver. I will stare down a single person in an Suburban, mouthing, "Yeah, you really needed to drive that hulking gas-guzzler all by yourself to work today."

I get irritated at people who walk or ride their bikes on the wrong side of the road, who cross through traffic, who let other cars out inappropriately or at the risk of the drivers involved.

But I have changed the habit of being angry at red lights, no longer seeing them as an obstacle or annoyance. And that's a good habit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One week later...

I know, I've been bad. And I hope you've missed me.

This weekend I went on the now annual trip to march in the Oriental Spirit of Christmas parade with seven of my friends. Here we are in line for the parade. It was freezing, but when you're dancing and "playing" music, you stay warm. And being embarrassed about making a fool of yourself helps keep the body temperature up.



The first night, this was on my right at the river:

And incredibly, this was on my left:

During the day the sun was shining and I got to ride my bike a little. I felt very nostalgic for the sleepy little town where you can ride in the middle of the street at all hours of the day and night.

There was a lot of cosmic energy over the three days we were there. Full moon, celestial cross, the date of 12/12, and coincidences involving numbers over and over.

It's always good to get home though.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thematic Photography: Shadows

Carmi's Theme this week is "Shadows" and I'm a shadow-holic. I don't usually try as he did to capture the object which is being shadowed in the photo. Here are my pix picks:

Maybe more later in the week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting to know People

This past weekend we drove to Bald Head, planning to stay until Sunday. It turned out to be cold-ish and rainy, not all that fun after about five hours of reading, playing computer, and eating. We headed home on Saturday.

When we got to the marina on Friday afternoon, several of our friends were anchored across the marina. Most of them I knew, but there was one couple that I didn't know. Within five minutes, this is what I knew about the man:

1. He grew up in Greensboro, graduating from Grimsley High School.
2. We are the same age, and went to the same elementary school.
3. He grew up on the street that I first lived on as a baby.
4. His mother died last week. She had had a stroke which left her unable to move. All of her children were there when she died; she waited for the son from California to get there, then died within hours.
5. He had three brothers. They graduated from high school in Raleigh because his family moved after he graduated from high school.
7. He went to the University of Tennessee, lived there for twenty years, then moved to Southport in 1996.

Last night we went to see BB King at the new Durham Performing Arts Center. A beautiful building! There was a man I didn't know sitting beside me. Within five minutes, this is what I knew about him:

1. He grew up in Greensboro, graduated from high school in 1960.
2. He has lived Charlotte and Raleigh.
3. Now he lives in Durham and commutes to Raleigh. He likes this because he travels against the traffic both ways.
4. He is in the construction business.
5. At one point he owned George W. Kane Construction Company because he was hired to come in and help the company get back on its feet.
6. The woman he was with is his second wife, but he's still friendly with his first wife who lives in Greensboro.
7. He has no blood relatives in Greensboro.

I am amazed at how much you can learn about people if you just keep asking questions.