Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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No Wal-Mart and No Yelling in 2014

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

That seems to be all that I’m reading about on Facebook and blogs these days – New Year’s resolutions.  So I’m jumping in and adding my thoughts too.

So – do you make them?

Do you keep them?

What are some of your favorites or craziest resolutions?

What are your tips for keeping them longer than noon on the 1st?

A couple of year ago….

…I changed my perspective on New Year’s resolutions.  I had what Oprah’s likes to call an “ah ha moment” and realized that I was making New Year’s resolutions in thought only.  I made the obligatory “lose weight”, “get in shape”, “be nicer” resolutions.  But with no real intention of making any changes in my life, they didn’t last and by the evening of the 1st, they were long forgotten.

But then in the end of  2010, I changed my methods.  Instead of making a blanket statement like most resolutions are, I decided to pick one thing that I didn’t like about my habits and change that.

For 2011 – I vowed to return the grocery carts to the corral or return it to the front of the store

For 2012 – I vowed to put away all of the clean clothes after the laundry was completed and stop living out of piles.

This year, 2013 – I vowed to not eat any food that came through a fast food window.

For the first two, I did really, really well and made the new resolutions part of my life forever – not just that year.  I’m happy to report that no grocery cart is ever left out of place by me any longer and I’ve successfully trained everyone in my house to put their clean clothes away.

This year, I started strong, forgot about it for awhile and then remembered later in the year.  That fast food one is a tough one but it  is not going away, that’s one I’ll keep working on.

So I’ll ask again – what are your resolutions for 2014. 

For next year, I’m going with two new ones.  One is easy and one is going to be a personal challenge.  Both make me feel bad when I do it, both are things I really want to stand against and not be a part of my life.

For 2014 I’m going to:

Quit shopping at Wal-Mart.  

Quit yelling at my kids. 

The Wal-Mart one is going to be easy.  I can shop other places, even if it is a little bit out of my way.  But every time I shop at Wal-Mart I cringe and just feel yucky.  I don’t like the company’s principles of how they pay their employees, I don’t like buying the cheapest thing with the thought of it not lasting very long to only have to buy another one soon after the first wears out.  I don’t think the sales associates are all that friendly or helpful.

But you know what I really hate about Wal-Mart?  Is the fact that I have to walk all the way across the store if I am only buying tampons and milk.  I know this is their whole marketing scheme – I know this!  They want us to see things along the way from the tampons to the milk, remember something I’ve forgotten or discover something I can’t live without and add it to our purchase for the day.  I know this – and I hate it.  Sometimes all I want to buy are tampons and milk!

Yelling at my kids is hard for me to admit.  I’d love for everyone to believe that I am a loving, patient mom – all the time.  The truth of the matter is – I am a yeller.  And I hate myself for it.  And not only do I yell to get their attention, but I tend to lecture in a yelling voice.  I’m so embarrassed to share this and I’m so ashamed that it has become such a part of my patenting style.  I don’t want to be that mom. Yelling stops today!  (Why wait, right? )

No Wal-Mart is going to be easy.  No yelling is going to be tough.  I need to be able to remind myself when I get into a situation where I would normally explode , instead to keep my cool – – all the time.  Not just once or twice or sometimes – – all.the.time.  I’m going to have a talk with my boys about it and ask for their help.  I’m sure my older son will be more than happy to point out when I’m slipping.

So, I shared – and I’ll ask again – what are you setting for your resolutions?

Good luck!

Amy

 

 

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I took the risk….

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my professional life that rolls over easily into my personal life is to “trust your intuition“.

One time…

One of my first jobs when I was newly married and still in college was working in a local bank as a teller.  And one of the things that I was trained on was to “trust your intuition”.  If there was a time when we felt something wasn’t right about a transaction,  we were told to trust our feelings and get a second opinion or deny the person the transaction all together.

I remember once I asked for identification from a lady who wanted to do a withdraw from “her” account.  When she handed the ID to me, I didn’t feel 100% about the photo matching the person in front of me.  So I stepped away and asked the head teller for her thoughts.  While she and I were talking, the lady ran off.

Something in me told me to question the transaction and when I did – we discovered that the lady wasn’t the owner of the account.  We later called the owner and she didn’t even realize her ID was missing.

Then this other time….

Another time, when I hired a new employee for my pet sitting service, I didn’t listen to my intuition.  This new person I was interviewing was fine, he had all the qualifications and he seemed fine.  There was nothing wrong with him.  But I just didn’t get a warm and fuzzy from him.  He was just fine.  Even though I offered him the job, many of clients felt the same way – he was OK but not what we wanted as a pet sitter.  I ended up having to let him go.

In this situation – I should have listened to my gut when it was telling me  – “yes, there is nothing wrong with him, but that doesn’t make him right for the job.”

And finally, last week….

Jump to this past week where I had a successful listening to my intuition experience.

My friend Maria is a huge plant lover.  And not just like an “oh, that’s a pretty flower” sort of person (like me).  She dives into the life of a plant, knows their botanical names, writes poetry about plants.  She is a plant.  OK – that might be too much – – but you get my drift.

Do you remember Elizabeth Gilbert?  Come on – – where have you heard that name before?

She wrote – Eat, Pray, Love!

Did you love that book?

She has come out with a new book that was released earlier this fall.  This one is fiction, titled The Signature of All Things.

The signature of all thingsThis novel is about a 19th Century woman named Alma who becomes a botanist, which happens to be one of the only scientific fields women of that time were allowed to be in.

I’ve read the comments and reviews about this book – all talking about the way Gilbert describes Alma and her love of plants and their beauty.  All I can think about whenever I have read any of these comments was – “Maria would love this book.”

BUT – – Maria – HATED  – Eat, Pray Love.  H.A.T.E.D. I.T.!!!

How can I give her a book by the same author?

Now, in all fairness – Eat, Pray, Love is a totally different book.  It is a memoir.  And truth be known – people either loved it or hated it.  So – Maria is not alone in her disdain.

OK, so here’s what happened….

So, last weekend, Maria and I met for lunch.   After we caught up and finished eating, I pulled the wrapped book out of my bag and handed it over to Maria. This was my Christmas gift to her.

I had an entire speech planned on how even though she hated Gilbert’s other book – this was different, and please give it a try.  I was prepared to call up Amazon and read her reviews.  I even had the gift receipt ready to go in case she hated it.

Well – she unwrapped and squealed!

“I’ve been wanting this book!!!”

Success!!!

My gut feeling was right – – this was a perfect gift for her.

How about you – do you have a story when your intuition proved you right or wrong?  I’d love to hear it!

~Amy

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My strange connection with NASA

Now you might be thinking by the title I’m going to talk about the stars or the cosmos or Halley’s Comet…..

But I’m not!

That’s not the connection of which I speak.

The other night on the Discovery Channel, they aired a made-for-TV movie called The Challenger Disaster.  My husband DVR’d and we just finished watching it tonight.

It is the story of the investigation that occurred after the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take-off.  This was the mission in which, teacher,  Christa McAuliffe was riding, on the “field trip of a lifetime”.

Do you remember when it happened?  Do you remember where you were?

I do – I was in 8th grade and a classmate named Chris had been in the library and came barging into the classroom exclaiming “the shuttle blew up!”

I can remember it clear as day.

Our teacher, Mrs. Longoria, then wheeled in a TV on those big rolling stands and we watched the news coverage of the explosion.

That day was January 28, 1986. 

OK – jump ahead seventeen years – the United States is faced with other shuttle disaster.  This time it is Columbia who explodes on reentry.

I remember that day too – it was a Saturday morning and I was watching the news as I was getting ready to attend an all day class on Quickbooks at my local community college.  I had just started my small business and needed help learning this accounting software.

That day was February 1, 2003. 

Here’s my connection:

My birthday is January 30th.  

Two days after Challenger and two days before Columbia.

Strange – – no?

~Amy

PS -Oh – one more thing –  the first boy I ever kissed now works at NASA ….not really a connection to anything really – but I think it is pretty cool that I can say I know someone who works at NASA.

 


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….putting off the inevitable

Battle of the wits….

My older son and I are having a bit of battle of the wits.  The weapon of choice – clean laundry!

WHAT?  Clean laundry?  What battle could ensue from that?

Well – when you have a nine-year old and a battle of the wits going on – it is really amazing what can come about.

So – here’s what’s going on. 

Every week or so I do laundry.  Upon taking everything out of the dryer, I fold and sort and place into individual stacks on my bed.

As I am finishing up – I ask everyone to take up their own stacks and put away their clean clothes.  I help my five-year old with the hanging stuff.

Simple – right?

Well – my nine-year old has taken it upon himself to make this not so simple.  In fact, he keeps making it harder on himself.

I discovered….

A few weeks ago, I discovered that instead of putting his clothes away, he instead threw all of them in the corner that is not easily seen from the doorway.

A few weeks later, I discovered that he dumped all of the clean items onto the floor of the closet.

This morning after I asked him “did you put your clean clothes away yesterday” and his answer was a puzzled look….I got suspicious.

So what did I find when I asked him what he was going to wear today and opened up his closest door to see – – – an empty closet with no clean clothes!

This time he had hidden all of the clean clothes in the closet again, but also took the time to hide them under an old beanbag chair and an old Halloween costume.

WHY?!?!?!?!?!

I calmly told him to get to work putting everything away.  I stood there for a bit and watched him to make sure he did in fact put them away this time.

At breakfast I asked – “what did you learn?

His reply  – “put my clothes away the first time”. 

To which I explained that he’s only putting off the inevitable.

Why do we do this?  

Knowing we’ll eventually have to do whatever the task is  – – I do it too and I’m 41!

Do you?

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

~Amy


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For whom do you wear makeup?

It’s 1:30 as I sit to write on this Wednesday afternoon.  I just got home from the gym and I’ve yet to shower today.  And – my husband is out-of-town.

By the time I do shower, it will be an hour or so before my kids get home from school and we have no real plans this afternoon to go anywhere.

So my question is – do I put on my makeup?

Doing my hair is a non-question.  I have curly hair and I have to put moosse in it or it turns into all curly and Medusa like.  Plus, I just let it air dry.  It’s pretty low maintenance that way.

But my makeup is another story.  I mean, no one is really going to see me – well except my kids.

I don’t wear a ton of makeup – but I do use it to balance out the skin tones and then there is eyeliner and blush…..

To be honest, I hate walking past a mirror when I have no makeup on.  I feel  – yucky and unfinished.  I typically wear makeup everyday.  I also typically touch it up in the afternoons or if I’m headed out somewhere.

I follow this blog called Baby Sideburns.  She is hilarious but sometimes she writes a serious piece.  The other day she wrote about going makeup free for a week to show her daughter that beauty comes from the inside.  She doesn’t want to instill in her daughter at such a young age the need for beauty enhancements.

What about you – do you wear makeup everyday?  Even if you put it on late in the afternoon and you have no plans to go anywhere and your husband is out-of-town?

I do….

Do I need to rethink this?

~Amy


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When you know better…do better

Sea World came to San Antonio (where I grew up) in 1989.  I was a junior in high school and beyond excited.  I was determined to work there.  I just had to be a part of it.

I spent days and weeks on my breaks between classes, after school, before track practice putting quarters into the pay phone trying to get through the job hotline.  To no avail.  I could never get through and I didn’t get a job – just like the other half of San Antonio didn’t get a job at Sea World that summer either.

But the next summer I did!

shamu1

And the morning after my high school graduation, I showed up, donned the uniform and reported for work.

I worked the front gate department.  We sold tickets, staffed the gates, and processed annual passes.  It was a great job!  David Robinson came through my turnstile one day!  The Admiral, from The Spurs.  We were outside most of the time, greeting happy people and bidding them farewell after a day spent with Shamu.

…great perks

The job had some great perks too.   Each employee got ten annual passes to give to family, 10 day passes, an opportunity to shop after the season where we could get Sea World paraphernalia for a fraction of what the public paid.  But by far, the best perk was the ability to go back into the park, after our shift and watch any of the shows we wanted.

And that’s what we did.  Since many times, my shift would include ticket sales or staffing the front gate and we closed these areas with a couple of hours left in the day,  I was able to leave my post, change out of my uniform and catch the final Shamu show.

This show was amazing.  While all of the other shows throughout the day were talking and showcasing the trainers with the whales, the final show of each night was called Shamu’s Playtime.  It was about thirty minutes of just Shamu playing – jumping, splashing, spinning, waving.  They played rock music and dimmed the lights.  For a land-locked girl, it was heaven.  It was like Shamu was performing just for me.  I was in love!

Another perk about working at Sea World was the Shamu cards and stickers.  This was a reward system in which supervisors could give a Shamu sticker when they felt a good job had been done.  These stickers were placed on a card.  Once the card reached five stickers, it was entered into a drawing to be held at the end of the season employee party.  The prizes for having your card picked ranged from t-shirts, cups, stuffed whales and the grand prize was a Toyota 4×4 truck.

I think I won a t-shirt.

The end of the season party was the best.  Not only did they open the park just for the employees….the finale was going to Shamu Stadium and watching the big whales play for what seemed like forever.  It was Shamu’s Playtime on extended mix.  It was amazing, an experience I will never forget.

I only worked at Sea World for the one summer.  It was a seasonal job and I was heading to college.

…moving to Seattle

Jump ahead a few years and I’m waiting tables at a Chili’s.  One night, at one of my tables was a young couple talking about a trip to Seattle from which they had just returned.  I was engaged at the time to my now husband and he was stationed in the Navy up the Seattle area.  I mentioned this to the couple and told them that I would be moving to Seattle in a few weeks.  I was nervous about the move and having only been up to visit once prior, their stories were positive and encouraging.  And when they told me – “you have to go on a whale watching tour”, all my doubts faded.

 

whale_orca

It would be a few years after I moved up to Washington before I went on my first whale watching tour.  And when I did, it was more amazing than I could have realized.  To see these amazing creatures, in the wild, moving so fast.  They were so huge and so strong.  I was in love all over again.

…whales in my town 

 

I’m very lucky to live where the whales live.  Just this past summer, a few whales came to visit my small town, chasing seals in our bay. They are with us always.  We have two pods that are here all the time and then we have migrating pods that drift in and out.  The chance is seeing a whale in our waters on any given day is highly likely.  I think we’ve taken anyone who has visited us on a whale watching tour and no one has been disappointed.

Blackfish

I saw the documentary Blackfish last night.

I was on the fence as to whether or not I’d want to see it; but I’m glad I did.  Over the last few years, I’ve been having mixed feelings about Orcas living in captivity.  The longer I’ve lived with them, and read about them and gotten to know about them, the more I feel environments like Sea World are not a good idea.

Maya Angelou says:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

When I was  young and naive, I didn’t think about the living situations of the whales.  I didn’t know what stresses the whales were under.  I didn’t know how they were separated from their families.  I didn’t know how much water they could cover in a day, how long they live, how tight their family bonds are.

I know better now.  

And I won’t be visiting the whales in captivity anymore.

I encourage you to watch this movie, if for nothing else, to learn more about the whales.  It’s a hard movie to watch…the first 20 minutes were the hardest for me.  I’d love to know your thoughts.

~Amy

 

 


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I’m not driven by competition

Let them know…

Someone, somewhere told me once – if I am unable to make a deadline, be it at work, on a committee or anything, to let the person know who is organizing it well in advance that I won’t be making said deadline.

At my last “real” job – the one that drove me out of the corporate world and into entrepreneurship, I ran into this very situation.  My boss at the time, had given the team an extra project with a week’s deadline.  This was on top of our normal workload.  Now mind you, this was over twelve years ago, but I want to say that I remember the workload being light at the time, hence, the new project.

I wasn’t going to make the deadline….

My personal workload was not as light as the others on the team, however, and a couple of days into the special project I could see the writing on the wall and I knew I wasn’t going to make the deadline.  I approached my boss and let her know my predicament.

Her reply?

“Well Meg is going to make her deadline.”  

Meg was the team lead and she could do no wrong in our boss’s eyes.

I remember having a couple of thoughts as I walked away:

“Well, good for Meg!”  

“Sure, Meg’s clients aren’t demanding anything from her at the moment.”

I could have come up with a ton of excuses or reasons why I wasn’t going to meet the deadline and why Meg was.

But the reality of the situation was – my boss’s comments about Meg did little to make me want to work harder.  I honestly felt I was doing the best that I could do by meeting my client’s needs.  I wasn’t slacking off, I was already working hard.  In my situation, the fact of the matter was – the deadline was simply unachievable.

What’s  your excuse? 

Jump forward to last week.  Did you see this photo drifting around the internet and the news?

I’ve read some of the follow-up interviews with this mom and she claims “if I can do it, so can you.” 

That’s true – but my question to her is “who is she to set herself as the benchmark.”

I’m no more motivated by her photo to go workout than I was without seeing it.

To me – it is just mean-spirited.

I know some people are motivated by others; striving to be like them or even surpass them.  I’m not one of those people.

I’m just trying to be happy; happy in my own skin.  The Jones are my neighbors, not my competition.

Happy Monday Everyone!

~Amy

PS – what do you think?  Are you motivated by ads like this?

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