Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Organization only helps sometimes

But organization can only help when you actually realize that you are organized.

After the winter season last year, I put away all my winter clothes and snow gear. Once we were ready to hit the slopes again this year, it was time to pull out all the necessary gear. There in my special "snow box" I had all my ski pants, snow gloves, wool socks etc. It worked out great! Except...I couldn't find my favorite fleece sweatshirt I usually wear underneath my jacket. I searched high and low. I tore up my closet looking for it, went through all my drawers, and even a random bag of clothing we found in the garage from my college days, but nothing. When I needed to find my extra pair of ski goggles, I also couldn't find them in the usual spots and tore up the garage, shed, closets, looking for them. It's also been a bit chilly so I've been looking for the extra scarves and mittens my Mom so lovingly made me a couple of years ago. Yep, you guessed it. Couldn't find those anywhere either.

Where in the world could all this stuff be? Hidden behind some bureau? Stuck in some dark corner?

Tonight as I was pulling some clothes out to give to Goodwill, I stood in my closet and looked around to admire what extra room I had made. Then I looked at how organized it was looking with things nicely folded, sweaters color coordinated, boxes neatly stacked and labeled.

Wait. Boxes that were labeled. So I read the labels on my fantastic boxes.

"Fleece/Snow Gear/Mittens & Scarves"

There in plain sight, nicely labeled, all along...was EVERYTHING I'd been looking for so hard in the most obscure places.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Top 10 Happiness Helpers

Me and my babies

This list from Self magazine's January issue is so cute!
  1. Be Grateful. Each night, recall three things that went well that day. Focus on the fun stuff to crank up your contentment.
  2. Lose Yourself. Spend at least 20 percent of your leisure time on pursuits that put you into a "flow" state, fully absorbing your mind.
  3. Indulge in your hobbies. Break from the grind to do what excites you. Love to travel? Research your next trip to Rome. Gratifying your desires keeps your bliss battery humming.
  4. Walk your talk. Align your actions with your values. Cherish loyalty? Chat with your best pal regularly. Practice what you preach to stay chipper.
  5. Pen a Happy Ending. Instead of obsessing over what's to come, jot down your ideal future. People who put their positive fantasies on paper reported feeling significantly happier in a month.
  6. Be a favor fairy. Research suggests that doing even small good deeds, such as holding elevator doors, makes you joyful. Altruistic acts create a circle of virtue; pass the karma on.
  7. Remove the blinders. To be satisfied, set a goal with a deadline (for instance, learn basic Portuguese before your trip to Brazil). Then, instead of fixating on the end point, enjoy the steps that get you there (your language class). Score!
  8. Circle up. Joining people who have convened for a cause directed toward the greater good, such as conservation club, is as beneficial to your health as exercising regularly, studies show.
  9. Tap your strengths. Find simple ways to use your gifts. If your forte is community building and you're in sales, view cold calls as a way to connect. You'll find motivation in the mundane.
  10. Make your happy heart pound. Three brief workouts a week can improve your outlook nearly as well as antidepressants, research finds.
If I were to add another one...it would be...get a dog (or two)! :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

The price of going green

We've been doing our part on helping the Earth as much as we can with little things like recycling, using our Nalgene/Sigg water bottles, turning down the heat, taking the shuttle to work etc. But lately we have taken some bigger steps. We replaced all our bulbs with CFLs and now drive a hybrid car.

But this does not come without a cost. For some reason, our switches do not work well with the CFLs in our family room. Hence, in order to turn on any lights, we must go through the following steps:
  1. Turn on switch
  2. Run over to lamp
  3. Unscrew CFL bulb
  4. Screw in normal bulb
  5. Turn lamp switch a notch
  6. Run over to switch and press again
  7. Run back and unscrew normal bulb and replace with CFL before it gets too hot
Oh, the price we pay to help the earth.... :)

Things I've learned so far during my break...

  • Holidays do not count as a break/vacation. I was crazy busy during those first two weeks with Christmas and New Years, so it didn't really feel like a break despite how much I love the holidays. Also, Happy New Year!
  • Cooking is so much more fun and easy when you actually have time. While working, I don't get home until 7ish, make dinner and eat by 8 or 8:30, clean up, sit down for a little break, then it's bedtime. Now? I start thinking about what we should have for dinner way earlier and can put more time and heart into it.
  • A lot more people are out during the day than I thought. I naively assumed that while I was at work, so was most everybody else and that the streets/stores are empty. Maybe in the city...but not so in suburbia. Feels like just as many people out.
  • Sleep is wonderful. Ohhhhh sleep! How I've missed you and forgotten how wonderful you are. My body/mind have been so used to the 4-5 hours of sleep I've been getting a night for years. Now I sleep without an alarm and am getting a full nights sleep. I feel the same, but it is an amazing feeling to wake up whenever you want and not when you have to.
  • Scrapbooking is so much fun! My not-so-cheap but oh-so-worth-it hobby. Scrapbooking is incredibly time consuming, so my craft room has been tempting me and filling up with supplies for months. I get to bring out my artistic and creative side and have been churning out pages like nothing else. I've been working on our month long honeymoon in Europe from 2 years ago. It's my form of relaxing since it's nearly impossible for me to just sit and do nothing.

Things I may venture on doing....
  • Snowboarding on a weekday. After the recent storms the snow must be awesome. Yes!!!
  • Watching a movie by myself...for the first time.
  • More cooking! Thanks to Christmas and all my new kitchen gadgets, I'm looking forward to trying more dishes out.
  • Pilates. Without my beloved gym and not really being able to sign up for a membership just for a month, I'm going to try something new.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stormin'

A couple of huge storms are pounding the Bay Area. We are California wimps so this is a big deal out here. People suddenly no longer know how to drive, everything on the news is about the weather, and people stay in afraid of going outside.

I'm not usually a fan of rain but it seems like we haven't had any good rain in a long time and no good snow in Tahoe. So this rain is making me happy. Good snow in Tahoe. Clean fresh air to breathe. The grass and plants are greener.

On the bad side...the wind was so bad and the rains so hard that one of the larger trees in our backyard fell down into our fence, lifting up some of the roots with it. It's too large for Bertrand and I to lift on our own, so while he is out getting some stakes, we are calling in some troops for backup to lift it. But is the ground too soft now from all the rain to hold it back upright? Sad. I hope not. And I loved that tree....