Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tell Me

Is it inappropriate to still blame daylight-saving time for why I chronically want to wake up at 7 a.m. instead of 6?
I know. It seems like a stretch even for me.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Grandpa: “Oh, you won’t believe what Patty showed me how to do on my cell phone.”
Me: “What, Grandpa?”
My brother (in the background): “Speed dial.”
Grandpa: “Look. I can just press number 3, and it says ‘Patty’ and dials her number. Isn’t that something?”
Me: “Grandpa, that’s great!”
Grandpa: “She was going to teach me something else, but I said, ‘Forget it. One thing at a time.’ Can you believe this? What a mystery technology is.”


Monday, March 29, 2010

Prayers Answered

I apologize for not posting this news sooner. I found out on Thursday that Rokie received her double lung transplant on St. Patrick’s Day! She was breathing on her own less than 24 hours after the surgery. She still has a long road ahead of her (the next year will be crucial), but your prayers and positive thoughts were heard and answered. Thank you!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Night

“Did someone change the locks on us?” he said, struggling to open the door to our home.
“I hope not. Our pajamas are in there,” I replied.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting Gorgeous

I spent a small fortune this week on getting gorgeous.

I had my hair cut. I researched Allure magazine online and made visits to Sephora, Target and Rite Aid. I bought a white, button-down shirt because, according to Alexandra Penney, this shirt makes everyone look good.

I did my best to only eat when I was hungry and to stop when I was full. I have to say, I am not sure if that process is getting easier or more difficult. Some days I wasn’t sure if I was forgetting to do this or if it was becoming second nature.

I have trouble believing that doing anything for only two weeks would become my second nature. But here’s to hoping.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Because My Family is Funny …

John: “Are you writing all of this down?”
Me: “No.”
John: “Why not?”
Me: “They talk too fast. I can’t keep up.”
John: “We need to start bringing a recorder.”


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anticipate the Disillusionment

When I lived in Arizona, I worked with a photo editor who taught me the Six Steps of Any Project. At the time, they seemed funny. Now I know better than to laugh.

Six Steps of Any Project
1. Enthusiasm
2. Disillusionment
3. Panic
4. Search for the Guilty
5. Punishment of the Innocent
6. Praise and Glory for the Nonparticipants


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Hope They Liked It ...

(phone conversation)
Me: "Sheila, I'm being sneaky."
Sheila: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Using someone's chalk and sidewalk without their permission."


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On Money

“It is as important to know how to be poor as it is to know how to be rich.

Financial well-being is nothing more than a balancing act on the back of circumstance. You can be thrown off at any time.

If you know how to be poor with dignity and grace, nothing short of massive financial disaster can disturb your peace of mind.

Knowing how to be poor means developing an unerring instinct for the difference between what is essential and what is only desirable. It means knowing how to take control of your life --- how to repair and maintain the things around you, how to purchase wisely and well, how not to purchase at all when you do not have the means to do so, and how to take joy in the simple pleasures in life.

It means not getting caught up in what is lacking, but finding meaning in what you have. It means knowing how to live with style and creativity without basing your life on money.

If you learn to accept poverty when it comes, it will make you clearer and stronger and more self-reliant. It will make you more appreciative of the simple gifts of life. But you must learn to live by its rules and to embrace the life of limitations that it forces upon you.”

~ Kent Nerburn, from his book “Simple Truths


Monday, March 22, 2010

Beet Kvass

My brother: “Mom bought a disgusting drink from the raw foodists at the farmer’s market. It tastes like vinegar.”
Me: “Cool. Can I try it?”


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Showing Best

My sister introduced a new management method in her kindergarten classroom, and I am amused by how relevant I find it to my own life. She is using Conscious Discipline, which encourages students to strive for their personal best.
“Are you showing your personal best? Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing? Are you listening?” my sister asked her 5-year-old students to ask themselves these questions throughout the day.
The difference has been dramatic, and even her more difficult students seem to have taken to this method.
One little boy, who didn’t care before about following rules, earnestly asked, “Teacher, Teacher, am I showing best?”
That is a question we could all ask ourselves a little more often.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are You Hungry?

This is the question I have asked myself all week.

Am I hungry? Or do I have a headache?

Am I hungry? Or do I need to rest?

Am I hungry? Or am I upset about something?

Am I hungry? Or do I really need to talk with a friend?

I plan to keep asking myself this question. I invite you to do the same, even if you think it is pointless, even if you are on a traditional diet and you know exactly how many calories you will allow yourself to eat today.

As crazy as it sounds, I feel I know the truth about effortless and permanent weight loss. I just haven’t lived what I know, which is why I am conducting this simple 12-week Beauty Experiment. I am trying to synthesize what I believe with what I do. I am putting the anti-diet movement to the test.

The first tenet, maybe the only tenet, is this: Eat whatever you want, but only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

By the way, anti-diet pioneer Geneen Roth has a new book called, “Women, Food, and God.” You can read an excerpt here.


Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph

You let Patrick have all the parties. Teach us to be humble like you.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Buena Vista

A few weeks ago, John and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with my family at the Buena Vista in San Francisco.

My sister and I, being the dedicated learners we are, spent quite a bit of time studying the bartender’s method for making the restaurant’s famous Irish coffee.

We really thought we were being sneaky by using our powers of observation to steal the recipe. Turns out, we weren’t being sneaky at all.

The Buena Vista gives the history and step-by-step instructions to this perfected drink right on its website.

I really love that kind of generosity. Enjoy!

PS: If you don’t like whiskey, this drink is delightful without it.

PSS: If you go to the Buena Vista, make sure to order the toast. A strange recommendation, I know. But the toast is amazingly good.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Luck

John and I were lucky to be married by a great Irish priest, who blessed our marriage and all our guests with this sweet prayer:

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”  ~Old Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Menu Planning

My mom and I started planning our Easter menu Sunday afternoon. We have pecan rolls listed as an appetizer and an entire subsection under dessert dedicated to chocolate. Don’t worry. Plenty of vegetables will be eaten during the main course.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Missing Hour

I don’t understand the purpose of gaining an hour in the fall just to lose an hour in the spring. Life is complicated enough without time manipulation.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Father's Advice

In case you missed my dad's advice, it is worth repeating on a Sunday afternoon:

"I think there is a special skill, a talent, for those of us who can put things off, and off, and off until the issue just goes away. Of all the things that really matter, working more efficiently and getting more done is not among them. Putting things off is a talent, a 'gift.' "
~Jim Lucarotti


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Conscious Beauty

I totally want to skip the first check-in of my Ridiculous & Radical Beauty Experiment. In fact, I have put it off all day.

Despite how beautiful Sandra Bullock looked last Sunday, I did not go on a diet this week. But I don’t feel like I made much forward motion toward my goals, either.

I have this crazy, wild dream of losing weight effortlessly and keeping it off permanently. By effortlessly I mean without a diet, without a banned foods list, without constant tracking, counting and weighing. And by permanently I mean forever without struggle.

Obviously, you can’t keep doing exactly what you have always done and expect different results. So I do anticipate making changes. I just don’t think food is the problem.

I really like my friend Trisha’s comment last week. She said, “I gain more weight when I ‘diet.’ I lost a ton of weight just before I got pregnant by eating whatever I wanted but smaller portions.”

The most common-sense approach I have ever heard to weight loss is this: Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full.

It requires a skill I don’t think many of us Americans are very good at – conscious eating, which, I suspect, might lead to conscious living.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You Worthy?

A dear friend of mine works with the homeless.

Regardless of how her clients look, how tough their exterior or what they have done or failed to do, my friend has a gift for seeing who a person really is.

She always says, “He is a child of God, worthy and deserving of love.”

I nod my head in wholehearted agreement. Then I go about my life and I completely forget this truth.

I am not talking about just when it comes to the homeless. I am talking about becoming oblivious to the worthiness of every single one of us.

It is a struggle to remember our true identity, to remember we are worthy of love through no action of our own.

Because I know I suffer from this type of spiritual truth amnesia, the release of Brene Brown’s new DVD, “The Hustle for Worthiness,” has more than piqued my interest.

Brene describes worthiness as living from a place where you “wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”

If that wasn’t enough to convince me that her lecture is a must-see, I read Kelly Rae’s review.

Now I want to have a Worthiness Party, gather all my family and friends and watch and talk about the lecture together.

Oh, by the way, the correct answer to the question at the top is YES!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Question

The art of Putting Things Off, most of the time, is not a symptom of laziness but fear. This is something I know but forget. So instead of asking, “What’s my problem?” a better question might be, “What am I afraid of?”


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Note to Wednesday:

Monday and Tuesday dragged their feet. Please pick up the pace. Thanks!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Thousand

This, my friends, is my 1,000th blog post. I know that is small potatoes compared to some other writers. But I am not comparing myself to other writers. I am comparing myself to myself. And for me to see something through one thousand times is some kind of miracle.


Monday, March 8, 2010

You Never Forget

I stood on the curb and held the bike steady.
“I’m nervous,” she said. “Maybe I should wait.”
“I’m holding the bike,” I said.
“I’m really nervous,” she said.
“It’s OK. I’m not going to let go.”
After a few seconds, she found her balance and started to pedal. I ran beside her a short distance, my hands still holding the bike.
“OK, let go,” she said.
She made it to the end of the street and kept going.
“You know she’s going to ride around the block because she is afraid to turnaround,” I told my dad.
A few minutes later, my mom had circled the block. She is 65, and she hadn’t been on a bike for 25 years, maybe 30.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Almost Easter

We have all kinds of reminders when Christmas is getting close. The music, the decorations, the constant sales and crowded malls.

I am not at all complaining that the preparation for Easter is quieter. But because of its almost unnoticeable nature, I have to remind myself this is Lent.

This is Lent, and Easter Sunday is only four weeks away.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ridiculous & Radical Beauty

The unofficial start of summer, a.k.a. Memorial Day weekend, is 12 weeks away. This is about when I scheme an outrageously unrealistic Get Fit & Lean plan, which usually lasts between two days and two weeks.

If looking svelte under the summer sun wasn’t enough incentive, my birthday is in the first week of June, and I will be traveling to Mazatlan that same month, which means a bathing suit will be required. Not to mention my 15-year high school reunion, which I may or may not attend, is being planned for August. And the Oscars air tomorrow. Hello! Gorgeous celebrities will be all over my television reminding me how much I do not look like them.

So, as you can imagine, part of me would like to go on a diet. Saturday, as everyone knows, is the best day to plan a diet because no one actually starts a diet until Monday, which gives you two whole days to eat all the naughty food in your house.

But I have made a decision. I am not going to start a diet Monday. Or today. Or any other day during the next 12 weeks.

Instead, I am going to try an experiment. I’m calling it my Ridiculous & Radical Beauty Experiment. And the first step is to not diet.

I did not come up with this idea on my own. I will be using famous anti-dieters Geneen Roth and Martha Beck as my guides. I happen to already own books from both these women: “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair,” by Geneen Roth and “The Four Day Win,” by Martha Beck.

I'll check in on Saturdays to report any discoveries. Wish me luck!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Soup Suppers

For the domestically challenged, Fridays during Lent are a perfect time to host dinner guests. A day dedicated to simplicity automatically sets expectations low.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tiny but Mighty

Meet my friend Sheila. She is living her dreams in Hollywood, doing the hustle to make things happen.

She is a big personality with the sweetest soul, and she is a constant reminder to make life a giant dare. I am certain you will adore her.

Make sure to watch the video and read her adventures on the journey page. And you should definitely follow her on Twitter because she is lots of fun and will lift your spirits.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Before I Forget

Last month, we were at our friends’ house when the children and adults alike were devouring a plate of chocolate-chocolate cookies before dinner.

It was clear none of the cookies would survive until dessert. So a small chorus of “no more cookies” was repeated a few times until everyone knew we would be saving the rest for later that night.

A few minutes later, our friends’ son, who is not quite 2, dragged a tiny chair to the dining table. He stood up on the chair, positioning himself right in front of the cookies.

“No more cookies, Sweetie,” I said to him as I removed the plate from the table. He looked at me with big eyes, and I expected he would burst into tears.

He did not. Instead, he climbed down from his chair, went to the potted tree in the corner of the room, and pulled a hidden chocolate-chocolate cookie from the dirt.

I love a good backup plan, and I have been trying to figure out where to hide cookies ever since.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Do You Want?

Before March gets away from me, I better decide what I want from this month. I want to:

  • Keep up my short-and-easy workouts
  • Give or throw away at least 31 more items
  • Practice Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust even if I am not writing about it daily
(This list is brief and incomplete, but I am taking baby steps.)


Monday, March 1, 2010

Hello, March

The first day of the month is starting with a miracle. Every piece of laundry in our house is currently clean, folded and put away. Makes me wonder what other wild dreams are about to find life in reality.


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