Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Week 6 of 52 Small Changes ~ Take your vitamins!

"Friendship is like vitamins; we supplement each other's minimum daily requirements." ~ unknown

I can't believe we are already at week 6 of this project! My goodness, how the time has flown. I'm doing very well with this plan, and I hope you are, too. This week is sort of a free one for me, as I made this change a few months ago. So we'll call it extra time to strengthen the plan and work on all of the changes together.

Week 6 ~ Take a multi-vitamin every day, just a plain old multi-vitamin. One A Day or Centrum or your favourite store brand. It really doesn't matter. It's like a little supplemental insurance for those days that you don't eat perfectly and fill all of the daily requirements. Because I don't know about you, but I certainly have days that fall far short of some of those requirements.

Now, this doesn't mean that you have to take one of every supplement on the market; that could lead to handfuls of pills daily and really do more damage than good. Besides which, you don't want to have to schedule 10 minutes a day for pill taking. Remember, this is about the small changes. :)

So, be smart about it. For most people a multi-vitamin alone will be just exactly what's needed. At the doctor's suggestion, I do take a daily calcium and a monthly Vitamin D, too; gotta watch out for those brittle bones, ya know.

Ok, let's recap and analyse a little....

Week 1 ~ Drink your daily water. I am up to between 80 and 96 ounces a day, and I really don't even think about it; I just do it. I have a water bottle at home and one at work, 32 ounces each. I also have a couple of 20 oz. bottles that are a bit more portable and travel well for drives and walks.

Week 2 ~ Get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night. I really thought this would be the toughest one, but I have really settled into a routine for bedtime and I can feel a big difference. In fact, 7 of the last 8 nights, I have slept through the whole night!

Week 3 ~ Apart from exercise, incorporate regular and routine activity into your lifestyle. I haven't been on the elevator at work in 3 weeks. I walk to the 4th floor of the library a minimum of 5 times a work day, I use my exercise ball in place of my desk chair at home, and Bailey is loving the extra play time. I just got myself a little pedometer, and I'll start tracking my movement this week. I can feel the difference.

Week 4 ~ Keep a food journal. I do this online with Lose It!, and I love their plan. There is a webpage and apps for all mobile devices, so it's super easy to keep track where ever you are. Bonus, I have lost 12.6 pounds since starting this journey on January 31.

Week 5 ~ Develop an optimistic outlook. This one is easy most of the time; but when it gets difficult, it gets VERY difficult. You know, like when SU is about to lose the big game.... But over all, this one has been a fun change to make.

Week 6 ~ Take a multi-vitamin every day. Done!

That just about covers it. I hope you're having as much fun and success with these changes as I am. I'd love to hear from anyone who is following along. Have a great week, and I'll see you next week when we'll try to keep the outside out. I have a feeling that one will prove a challenge for this tiny-apartment dweller....

Thanks for listening.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Adventures in Church, part 1

When we start to plan a trip overseas, one of the first things we do is find ~ along with the good pubs, local ales and castles ~ churches. We make lists of churches, cathedrals, chapels and other holy places to visit for the beauty, the spirituality, the architecture and art, the centuries of history. We plan visits and tours and even the occasional musical service where ever we go. And yet, we never visit the local beauties that surround us.

Of course, the places we visit in Ireland and England (and soon Scotland again, Yay!), are prepared for heavy tourism and many visitors from afar. The churches are accessible most days of the week from early to late. That is just not usually the case here. It's a sad fact that the places of worship around here have to be extra concerned with funding (thus the lack of staffing for tourism hours) and the fear of thievery (thus the inability to stay open without guard and staff). The churches we visit overseas often have reception desks and tour guides and gift shops and brochures in many languages, and sometimes even photo fees and treasuries and libraries and crypts.

A while back my dearest friend Merlyn and I discovered that we share this interest, and so we have been talking about visiting some of our local churches and cathedrals for a while now. She has made lists and even visited a few in NYC already. Having found a day to play together, we made a plan of sorts and set out on an adventure.

First stop, the Brooklyn Pickle for coffee and a catch up. Uh-oh, they are under construction. Mind you, they are still open and will be even better when the work is finished, but we wanted
someplace a little cozier and less noisy for a morning chat. So Denny's it was. :)

Fueled up and ready for action we set out for St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church up on Tipperary Hill. You know, the one right next door to Coleman's Irish Pub. :) But the doors
were locked! That's what we get for not calling ahead. But a quick stop in the adjacent elementary school and a very nice gentleman told us to bang on the door of the rectory and maybe Father would be there to let us in. So that's what we did. Bang, bang, bang. No dice, no answer. Ok, time to go. (It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but COLD!). Around to the cars, and on a hunch we gave it one more try on the front door. And success! Father was there and after asking very nicely, he agreed to let us in for a minute or two. I had seen the inside a few times previous (my brother and sister-in-law's wedding and the boys' baptisms), but it was new to Merlyn, and so we were very appreciative. Father was very nice and told us a little about the history of the church. I took a few pictures and we took our leave after making a donation and lighting a candle.

Next stop Sunoco. Now normally I wouldn't bother to add in a quick stop for gas in an adventure post, but this one is definitely worth relaying. I was about on Empty, so Merlyn followed me down to the gas station and stood out with me as I pumped gas. We were chatting when this strange little (well, not so little) man pulled up next to us and said he really liked my Booty bumper sticker.
We laughed and I said thanks, and Merlyn told him we're pirates. Well, that got his attention. Did we have a card with us? Nope, sorry. Well, could he have our number? I asked did he mean our phone number? Yes. Well, no, we weren't gong to do that. So he asked if we would take his number and call him? Well, no, thank you, but no. Then he asks, and I quote, "Are you girls dancers somewhere?" Hahaha! No, we're not dancers. As he slowly started to roll away, looking a little sad and dejected, he asked one last time ... are you sure you won't give me your number? Yes, we're sure, but you have a great day. Always knew those stickers are attention getters, but as Merlyn said, Wrong kind of booty, mister....

Ok, the car was gassed up and we were getting hungry, so we headed back up to Tipp Hill and Coleman's Irish Pub for a bit of lunch and more girl talk. Mmmmm, broiled scallops in lemon sauce, salad and cottage cheese. That hit the spot, as did the laughter and talk ... it's really been too long! A quick stroll across the street and a leisurely browse of the adorable Irish import and gift shop The Cashel House was just what we needed after that wonderful lunch.

With time for one last church visit, we decided to try the gorgeous double spire church just off Genesee
Street. That turned out to be Sacred Heart Basilica, and it was open! We wandered in quietly. There were just a couple of people in silent prayer, but the sanctuary was, for the most part, empty. We sat, we whispered, I took a few more pictures, and we walked all around. As we were sitting, a woman walked up to the chapel of the Virgin Mary and played a little song on the piano; her own arrangement of Stardust followed by an original composition as a prayer to Mary, she told us. As we walked out of the church, she was leaving too; she told us it's Assumption Day, and that it's also 15th anniversary of her hip replacement. She said she always stops and thanks Mary because she hasn't had a bit of pain since the surgery. We wished her a happy anniversary with her hip and waved her on her way.

After many hugs and promises for part two of the church visits, Merlyn and I drove off in the sun, having had another wonderful adventure together. It's just delightful to discover yet another common interest with a friend you already love dearly! Looking forward to our next quest....

Monday, March 19, 2012

I can do that! ~ week 5 of 52 Changes

Positive thinking. Optimistic outlook. That's the change for this, the 5th week of the 52 SmallChanges project. It's interesting, thinking of what has always been a non-tangible thing as a concrete change. A mind-set shift is in order, I suppose. Not so much the positive thinking, I do that a lot already, but the measurement and accountability of such.

Some steps I'll take at the suggestion of the book:

1. Shift self-talk - This will likely be that hardest for me, but I'll try. (see, there I go!)

2. Use Affirmations - I've actually been meaning to make my own list of affirmations for a while now, so I'll use this week to do that. I'll blog them at the end of the week (or when I think the list is complete). Sort of a personal mantra for myself.

3. Have a sense of humour- This one I have. I think I need to use this week to turn it to a bit more positive (less snarky?) sense of humour.

4. Take care of yourself - Well, that's what this whole project ia about, right? :)

5. Develop healthy relationships - Been working on this one for a while now. So far, so good.

6. Practice gratefulness - A faire friend is doing this as a daily FB post, and I must say, seeing it every day makes me stop and think about my own gratefulness.

7. Let go - Another tough one that I have been working on for a while now.

8. Celebrate your Strengths and Accomplishments - I do this pretty well already.

9. Forget your fears - Scary! Seriously, though, I do this every day.

10. Harness the Law of Attraction - I try to do this every day, too.

And one that I have come up with all on my own - No More Negative Facebook Posts. I'm not promising a life change, but I am going to try a whole week of positive FB posts. We'll see how that goes....

And so we go, into the world of the happy and optimistic people!

It's easy to be positive on such a gorgeous morning. The sun is shining, the birds are active, there is a soft breeze, the house smells like summer and Bailey is laying in a patch of sunshine that is shining through the open door. And actually I think I am a pretty positive person already. I like to see the glass as half full, I try to see the good in people (well, most people). But I guess we can all use work on this, so I will give it my all. Hmmm, that's a positive thought, right? :)

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 4 ~ Back on track

Sometimes timing is everything. This is week 4 of "the plan" and the change is to keep a food diary. Luckily I have kept one of those for a while now, so I shall use this free week to focus on bringing all four of the changes to strength in my regular weekly life.

Let's recap, shall we? I'm doing pretty well, just some tweaking should do it. Drinking water throughout my day has become second nature (I even found myself drinking the 64-92 oz. in the city last week), so that one's all set. I have set myself a regular bedtime routine, now I just need to stick with it (it's not that I can't; I just don't always want to). The movement one is still kind of new to my everyday life, as I spent last week in NYC and didn't really focus on the plan. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will have a better grasp of the plan and be ready to move on.

The week in NY was a blast! I ate what I wanted, drank lots of beer (and water *grin*), walked up 5th Avenue and down Broadway, shopped, cheered, laughed and did I mention I ate all week? The games were good (well, most of them), although SU's road was over one game too soon. We visited the lions ~ Patience and Fortitude ~ at the New York Public Library, explored ToysRUs and FAO Schwartz for treats and gifts, and rode to the top of the biggest Macy's in the world (4 Starbucks in one store, yikes!). We took the train to the World Trade Center and visited the 9/11 Memorial. We ate at Carmine's for Italian and Lucy's for Mexican. We made memories to last through our whole lives.

And now we prepare for the road to the Final Four. Number one seed in the East isn't too shabby. Go SU!! I think I'll go drink some water.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Move it!

Just a quick entry today to kick off the third week. I'm busy packing and cleaning and getting ready for vacation. :)

I'm doing really well with the water drinking, and my sleep seems to be settling into a better pattern. Now on to week three .... moving. Not really exercising, but simply adding more activity and movement to life, and thus becoming less sedentary. I'd like to think I already do this, but I really don't. I'll try, though. :)

It's not a very good week to add a new habit into my life, though. I am leaving tomorrow for NY and the Big East tourney. So, while I am certain to move a lot more this week (cheering on the Orange is a lot of activity!), it won't be regular and routine movement. I'll have to work on that next week in addition to the 4th change. I know there are lots of small changes I can make. I already got rid of my desk chair at home and I use an exercise ball while at my computer/desk. I can stop using the elevator at work, and I'm sure Bailey would love an extra bit of time walking outside. I'll think of more as next week develops.

For now .... Go SU!

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