Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Joy Diet - Connection

The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet

The Joy Diet
Martha Beck

Every Day, Use Joy Diet Skills 1 through 5 in at Least One Interaction with a Person Who is Important in Your Life.

“There is always a you, me and us.”… How true this statement is. If you grow up in a dysfunctional family… that fact can get lost… boundaries get confused. It has taken me a long time and I am still learning and practicing that we do not always have to be “us”. I can be myself and others can be themselves yet we can connect. It sounds simple but it really is not. I guess if it is something that could be learned easily then peer pressure would not be as big an issue with kids or adults for that matter!

Some relationships are easier than others… there are some people that you can be with and you do not have to work hard at the relationship, yet there are others that are so hard. Some people can give you energy, yet some can just suck every last ounce out of you!

Cancer and financial hardships taught me a lot about relationships. People who I thought would be there for us were not and people who I never expected were stellar. A survivor friend of mine had told me that cancer separates the men from the boys. I think that is true. I think financially that can be true too. If you are doing well people want to be around or associated with you. If there is trouble or money is not as free flowing, then you really find out who your friends are. In the end, really looking at that truth will help to identify what relationship, if any you still will have with those individuals.

This week I have had some trying connections with CONTRACTORS! But I could write my own book about that!

I am looking forward to feasting and the wrap up of this little group. I am thankful for my health, my family and friends, both in person and online.
Happy Thanksgiving to all…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Joy Diet - Laughter

The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet

The Joy Diet
Martha Beck

Every Day, Make Sure that You Laugh at Least Thirty Times. If this is Not Possible, Use the Laughter Alternatives described in this Chapter.

I love to laugh. I have to admit I like sarcastic humor, just plain silly humor too. Even looking at old photos of people laughing makes me laugh...

My daughter when she ws one year old....

My son at about 18 months old

I love to stand in card stores and read through the funny cards. I often find myself laughing out loud… which can be a bit embarrassing.

My roommate in college, Heather and I would laugh at the silliest things… sometimes it would be after doing all-nighters working on our design projects. One time I remember coming back from a school break and bringing a “Truly Tasteless Jokes” book back with me. I can still see us sitting on our beds laughing until we were crying… She used to say: “It was a crack-up”… I miss that girl… she died 16 years ago this past week...

A friend that I worked with in the 80’s used to bring in the New Yorker Magazine and pass it around the office. I loved many of the cartoons in that magazine. We would read it individually and then share what ones we thought were the funniest.

When my daughter was little and she used to pout or cry I would play this little game with her… I would say ”don’t smile”… she would burst into a big smile… when my son was born I would try the same thing… he could go a little longer without smiling, but in the end would end up smiling too. We still play that game to this day…

One time when my daughter was about 3 a bunch of us went to Darien Lake and were riding a “Grizzly Run” type of ride, you sit in the big ring and ride through various rapids and waterfalls and are sure to get wet. She and her Uncle sitting next to her got drenched. We all sat very silent waiting to see if she was going to laugh or cry… She burst into laughter and said ”Uncle Tommy got blasted!!” Her laugh was so hearty and surprising that we all about peed our pants laughing at her laughing at Uncle Tommy even though she got drenched too!!

I love using famous lines from movies at opportune times to make people laugh… mostly my husband, but we all use them now…”Bueller… anyone, anyone?... Leave the gun… take the Cannoli…. My son has great comedic timing. Sometimes when my husband is so angry with him, my son will say the perfect line or saying or have a certain intonation in his voice and my husband just cracks-up. Then we all start laughing

We love to watch America’s Funniest Videos as family… my kids, especially my daughter laughs so hard and they have both have contagious laughs…

I love sarcasm too… when I moved out West many people did not understand sarcasm. It can be hurtful, but it does not have to be… just looking at things from a different viewpoint. When I was going through my breast cancer treatment it helped me to deal with some very difficult situations. If I can find humor in it then it makes it a bit easier. It was before I blogged… I sent out email updates and one of my friends would tell me that I would have her in tears reading about the treatments and then I would crack a joke about it and I would have her laughing through her tears.

I don't have a vision card this week, but I just looked through some of my old jokes that I cut out over the years and I liked this one....

Have great week!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Joy Diet - Play

The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet

The Joy Diet
Martha Beck

Once a Day, Take a Moment to Remember your Real Life’s Work and Differentiate it from the Games you Play in Order to Achieve it. Then, Commit to Playing Wholeheartedly.

I have to say I really loved this chapter. I now “get it”. I guess I had two awakenings, I will call them awakenings instead of tragedy’s. I went to my dream college and I was working my dream career, a Commercial Interior Designer. I will say dream career because not all of the jobs or tasks I did as part of the career were a dream… Interior Design is a very dysfunctional industry. I worked very hard for the first 10 years, sometimes at 2 or 3 jobs, but I really did not play or even know how to play. My first awakening came after 6 years of infertility and the joyful day of adopting our first baby… a beautiful little girl… “A peach” as the nurse at the hospital called her. I still worked, but now it was part –time… 18-24 hours each week. If I had to put in extra hours I would work after she went to bed. My priorities became much clearer very quickly.
My second awakening unfortunately was cancer. I would love people to “get it” without having to go through a tragedy or such a major awakening, but then I myself really did not get it until I had to.

Interior Design was not as satisfying anymore… it really had not been for quite awhile but that is what I could bring in an income with. While I was fighting the cancer and healing I learned how to play with art again. I still struggle with what is my real career… what will bring in money… what is important to me. I am very fortunate that right now I do not need to bring in an income. I will always be a designer, but I am learning to call myself an artist and it was affirming to read that it really is not about the money.

I love the eagle and mouse vision. I too often get stuck hunting for that next piece of cheese. This really helped me clarify my real career right now. To be a Healthy Survivor, a Wife, a Mother, an Artist. Sometimes I get that mouse vision and forget that if I do not stay healthy then I will not be able to achieve the rest. This past week I really tried to fly up to the eagle position to clarify my goals. So I jogged instead of doing some other things that I wanted to get done. It is easy for me to put the exercise to the back burner, yet I know it is important for me to stay healthy. Before I die…I want to create lasting memories with my family and friends and create lasting art to document my life’s lessons, thoughts and feelings.

I am still learning how to play… that it is ok to play… it is ok to say no to requests that others ask of my time…. especially if it does not part of the “game” that I want to play.

This is a collage that I made for my daughter....

This painting was titled "Living with Cancer"...

This is an old painting titled "My Soul" painted while I was fighting cancer....
They sum up my awakenings...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Joy Diet - Treats

The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet

The Joy Diet
Martha Beck

Every day, Give Yourself at Least Three Really Good Treats: One for Every Risk You Take and Two Just Because You’re You. No Exceptions, No Excuses.

I have to confess that this past month has really been a month of treats for me… Eighteen out of the 31 days in October we had guests staying with us. First was my sister… we had a great time. Similar to Jamie’s sister liking pedicures… my sister loves massages. I enjoy them, but I really have to try to schedule them. My husband always wants me to get them so when my sister was here he treated us to massages and facials… He said he knew I would go if my sister was here! We had a great relaxing day and then had lunch and dessert finishing just in time to pick up the kids. While my sister was visiting we also had lunch (and dessert) in Laguna Beach, we worked in my studio making fused glass ornaments and jewelry. The girls went to Crystal Cove beach and hung out (this is the beach where the movie Beaches was filmed).

Crystal Cove Beach

Beaches Cottage

Porch where Bette sat...

The boys met us for dinner at the Beachcomber… we sat outside and watched the sunset. The restaurant even provides blankets to keep you warm while you eat.

We went to Disneyland and closed the park at 1am. We walked Balboa Island (one of my favorite places and I always find myself smiling as I drive over the bridge). We rented a Duffy boat and cruised around the Bay and got close to the pelicans and seals.

We introduce her to Wii and Wii Fit and it is now on her Christmas list. It was a great visit and every time she comes I am so thankful that I am now healthy and we can really enjoy our time together. She stayed with us twice while I was sick and although it was so nice to be together then, these past few times have been a whole lot more fun!!

We had a one week break and then my in-laws arrived. We relaxed around the house, went swimming and used the hot tub.
My hubby and I attended a fundraising Halloween party and ended up winning with 3 others for Best Group… the Mod Squad and the 70’s! My in-laws and the kids went out to dinner that night without us!

There is "Tony" and me on the right!!

The girls went to a Giada Delaurentiis cookbook signing and then went to lunch. Giada is just as pretty as on TV and she was so sweet. There were over 500 people waiting in line and she tried to say something personable to everyone. If you ever have a chance to meet her DO IT because she is a doll. My Father –in –law stayed home that day and made his special veal and sauce dish. The next day my Mother- in- law made her homemade soup… yum! We went out dancing with them one night… I love to watch their generation dance… It was a great visit for all of us.

I was planning on writing this on Friday and I was thinking about how Martha Beck loves art stores. I love art stores and stationery/office supply stores too. As I was ready to start my blog I received a text from a friend that a local art store was going out of business in 2 days. I called to ask if they were selling the fixtures and the answer was “yes”. I headed right over to look at plan files for my studio. I had my eye on Craig’s List and I lost out a on a few. I found some files and went back on Saturday to pick them up. I had to clean a ton of tape off of them and I may have to paint them black but I can now organize all of my collage papers and beads. I was giddy… this is truly a treat…plan files and at a great price!

I, like Jamie thought it was funny how this treat week was also the week of Halloween… we only had 3 sets of trick or treaters so I now have plenty of treats for many days to come… I have already had my refrigerated Reese cup today!

I think I have already practiced for the feasting that will be coming up soon and the only down side is that I have gained about 5 extra pounds with all of the eating out and desserts!

An update on my risk from last week… I heard back from the store/gallery and although she likes my work, she is full and too busy with the Holidays coming up but she wants to see my work in person in the New Year!! So thanks Sharron and the Joy Diet for pushing me to just DO IT!!

Here is an older painting of the flowers inspired by my walks on Balboa Island….

See you Friday...I have to go and play....


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