DILIGAF?

(Apologies to those of you who don’t handle strong words… this post has them.)

Anyone who remembers the acronym in my title might be able to relate to what I’m about to discuss. Seems like, at this particular point in my life, I’m being pulled in so many different directions, being asked to “do this” or “donate my time and money to that” or “consider joining x, y, or z organization”, that I’m in serious need of prioritizing what deserves my time, attention, blood, sweat, tears…and money.

Sitting in my office during a lunch break a few months ago, I was going “into the wormhole” of YouTube and found a TED talk by a woman who seems to understand my predicament. Thing is, she knows how to handle these dilemmas much better than I do.

In a nutshell, she says when you look at all the things you’re being pulled to do, there are some you “give a f*ck” about and others you “don’t give a f*ck” about. Think of your “f*cks” as currency — either you are willing to spend them on something that is pig-896747_960_720meaningful to you (for me, that would be taking time to write or making a trip to a family graveyard for some genealogical research), or you are NOT willing to spend them on something (like going to a Pampered Chef party – I don’t cook like that!). Of course, there are some things you have to give some “f*cks” about – family obligations, etc., but for the most part, you have the choice on how you set up your “f*ck budget.”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Tonight, I’m going to watch her video again and re-do my “f*ck budget” because I’m almost broke. Need to reallocate my f*cks, stop spending them on the things that aren’t priority in my life, and maybe save a few for something really cool down the road.

DILIGAF? I’ll let you decide that a little later…

Here’s the TED talk by Sarah Knight, bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” and “Get Your Sh*t Together”. Good stuff!

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Sundays on the Front Porch: A Trial Run at Using Google Hangouts on Air

 

I Could Learn a Lot from My Dog…

I could learn a lot from my dog… if I would only “sit” and “stay” in the moment.

After a year of trying to make it without anxiety issues, I found myself headed back to counseling this summer to try and get a handle on things. For those of you who struggle with it, you know that it can sometimes be debilitating — and for those of you who don’t, it can damn near ruin your whole day before it even gets started.

One of the many anxiety-related issues I discuss with the counselor is the one I have over our “new” dog, Sonny. He’s been with us for a little over six months now, and while there are some days where I’m very happy he’s here with us, there are others that are extremely difficult. In July 2013 – almost to the date — we lost our beloved Mick, a rescued corgi-husky mix, to lymphoma at the age of twelve. Watching him grow frail and worrying about his safety at every moment “amped” up my level of anxiety… until the night he looked me directly in the eyes and told me it was “time to go.”

For over a year after that night, we came home to a quiet house that had no furry carpets or dog kibble trailed through the kitchen but also found ourselves being able to pick up and go wherever we wanted to when we wanted to. My anxiety over worrying if I had done right by Mick lessened daily… until the day when my husband and the stepkids started talking about how much they wanted another dog.

Sonny Boy (named after Sonny Boy Williamson — we’re huge old school blues fans) came into our lives the week before Christmas 2014. Some friends of ours found him wandering through a local park. When no one claimed him, it was decided (by democratic vote… and I lost) that he would come live with us.

And so began my anxiety over whether I’d be able to take care of another four-legger… and over the inevitable moment when it would again be “time to go.”

Walking Down Haw River One of the things the counselor suggested was that I get out and walk or at least do some kind of exercise to relieve my general anxiety. This summer, the kids are at their grandparents’, so responsibility for the morning walks falls on me. At first, I was terrified — wondering if we’d encounter a coyote or a snake or perhaps another dog who wasn’t very friendly. Or maybe he’d eat something that was poison. The walks weren’t relaxing at all. My chest was tight, I felt like my throat was closing up, and often, I wanted to cry.

But eventually, something began to change. I felt myself actually enjoying our morning time together — before the sun was fully over the treeline, watching him with nose to the ground, sniffing for the best spot to, ahem, well, you know. He was in the moment, and nothing could distract him.

The more I realized it, this damn dog GETS IT. He knows how to practice mindfulness.
I could learn a lot from him.

So, as I work through my inability to stop worrying about the future and stay in the moment, I leave you with these wise words of wisdom from my “other counselor.”

Ball at Window
Always greet the morning, ready to “play ball.”

Different Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective.

Sonny on My Arm
It’s okay to sit and take it easy.

Stare Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stare down your fears. Eventually, they’ll scamper into the woods.

Hangout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then… let it ALL hang out.

Porch Gazing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak in a good sunset on your front porch… sit, stay… and appreciate the moment.

“Coughing up” My Latest Post…

Hi, all.  I’m back from the depths (again).

mucus-rules
This little fella has been giving me a hard time for the past month or so. Living in North Carolina during the spring sure is pretty, but it SUCKS for those of us with highly-reactive sinuses and lungs.

When I can’t type because I drip all over the keyboard, or the ink from my pen starts to mix with post nasal drip to create “art on paper,” I know I need to surrender for a while…

But this week, I loaded the “big guns” and am fighting back with more meds than I’d really like to have in my system, but hey – it’s starting to do the trick.

So, the oxygen level’s starting to climb, the snot’s less-snotty, and the drips are less-drippy. And I’m feeling like writing again. Yay!

So, please stay tuned for some interesting stories.

There’s the one about a desk named Flossie…

IMG_6780

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and fishing in the cemetery pond.
180s

 

See ya soon!

All of a Piece

Today was International Women’s Day. A good friend of mine (and an amazing writer) shared her submission to the book, Letters for My Little Sister.

It’s about the “M” word, ladies… I think you’ll love this. I know I did.

Apologies for the shaky start to the video… I’ll go ahead and blame it on the menopause!

Back from the Depths…

First off, I want to apologize for not having posted here in a very long while.

Truth is, I’ve been busy — this writing thing is starting to take off now, and I’m really excited about the direction in which it’s headed.  Over the summer, I submitted two stories for inclusion in anthologies and am honored to say that both of them were accepted for publication!

The first one — Letters for My Little Sister — is a marvelous book about menopause.  It’s filled with stories from women of all ages and walks of life from all over the world.  I’m one of those gals who never learned from my mother about these things because, quite frankly, she passed away when she was only 35.  My grandmother never shared anything, either, because I wasn’t experiencing (or even thinking about) symptoms when she was still here with us.  So when I opened this book and started reading, it felt as if I had settled in among a circle of kindreds — I poured myself a cup of favorite tea, pulled up the blanket, and started reading.  Couldn’t put it down. Several times I felt myself chuckling in acknowledgement at some of the experiences – of course, my husband wondered what I could possibly be laughing at, but he DARED not ask, for fear of what might happen (I’m pre-menopausal, you know?).

The second book — Women Awakening: Discovering Our Personal Truths — is an anthology of I Am Subject Stories that focus on women sharing how the influences of family history, body and mind, internal/external roles, and life-altering moments have helped shape their lives… and their stories.  The stories are raw, honest, risky.  I would like to meet several of these women in person some day.  Diane DeBella, the book’s editor and the creator of the I Am Subject project, has become a friend via the wonders of technology (she lives in Colorado and I’m in North Carolina), and I hope to get together with her very soon to explore some opportunities to expand on this project.

I encourage you to consider these books and their creators.  Here are links to their webpages and book information:

Cecelia Gunther — Letters for My Little Sister Book Order Page
http://thekitchensgarden.com/book-orders/

Diane DeBella — The I Am Subject Project Page
http://iamsubject.com
For Women Awakening Book Orders
http://www.iamsubject.com/diane-debella-books/women-awakening/

Here’s me… as proud as punch!
My Books Sept 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Star-Spangled… Me?

When I was young, I spent lots of time at Granny’s house.  She was a career public school music teacher and, after retirement, taught voice and piano privately. Even had a “musical kindergarten” called Rhythm Band. In her small town, everyone knew her as the spunky, creative… and slightly nutty…  lady who brought joy and beautiful music – and a bit of the unexpected – to nearly every holiday gathering in town.

Aside from Christmas… and Halloween… and Valentine’s Day… well, hell, she loved every holiday, who am I kidding? It seemed that July 4, 1976, was a challenge for her.  She went nuts, decorating EVERYTHING in sight with red, white, and blue, and honing up on her piano versions of all things patriotic.  It was insane but really amusing to watch.

Tonight, thumbing through a box of old photos, I came across one that truly represented just how geared up she was for our 200th birthday celebration. Okay, so let’s build a giant birthday cake out of boxes, wipe out the local dollar store of its miniature flags, stick the thing in the back yard, and get the oldest grandkid to dress up like Uncle Sam to pose for pictures.

Geez, the other two grandkids were BOYS, for crap’s sake!  At least she didn’t make me wear a beard. Well, they were only about four and two at the time… they weren’t tall enough to peer over the top layer yet.

Me 1976

Yep, that’s me.  Nine years old.  The curse of being the oldest was always serving as “guinea pig” for photo shoots like this. I think she secretly enjoyed this – thank goodness she never showed it to any of my friends. Ugh.

Truth is, this year, I would have given my left, er, ovary, to have climbed up on that damn cake, listening to her direct with more finesse than a Hollywood producer, “Now, wave the flags and smile, Leigh,” as she snapped the photo.  I would have sung every patriotic song I knew, if it would have meant a little more time with her.

Well, except for that awful “God Bless the USA” song.  Forgive me — if you were subjected to that song as often as I was as a kid, you’d feel the same way.  Seriously, you would. (Sorry, Granny.)

July 4, or any holiday for that matter, doesn’t quite have the same sparkle as it did when she was in charge of making them fabulous.