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Whatever it is you do this time of year

December 14, 2013

It's Saturday morning. I got up at 9:00 a.m. and 3 hours later, I'm still sitting at my computer desk, playing iOS games and reading Facebook. Earlier, I considered watching the Star Wars series of movies if it's available for streaming. But the remote is across the room, so I plan to check into that later. I'm sure I'll forget and do something else instead, though. Or continue to do nothing of substance.

On Facebook, I hide the religious and political posts. I'd rather see the positive things that lift spirits, the activities people are up to, the pictures of food that some so disdain, and other things of that nature. Some are going through stressful things in their life and I offer them words. I find it hard to know what to say, but I like to think that saying just about anything is good... just so they know I care.

I see a post about "Catching Fire" and for a second, I think about a trip to the theater. I won't go, though. I do a lot of thinking about doing things without actually doing them.

There was a Christmas party Christmas Tree last night for work, but I didn't go. I told a few people I would only go as someone's date. Except that's a bad idea because I shouldn't date anyone from work. No one's asking anyway. About a week ago, a friend told me, "You can go with so-and-so." But she didn't have the authority to ask me out on a date with him, and she didn't really mean it as a date, anyway.

Speaking of Christmas, there's still lots to do and only a little over a week to do it. I suppose that's what I should be focusing on today. With that in mind... good luck with your Christmas preparations or whatever it is you do this time of year.

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Now for a new distraction: Fantasy Football

September 2, 2013

I haven't had a best ordinary day since my last post, so I haven't added to my best ordinary day list. I suspect I could add "Listened to a Roderick on the Line podcast" because I'm always delighted when one of those comes up in the podcast queue. "Listened to The Long Winters" is a good candidate for the list, too. I'm doing that as I write this.

For the month of July and into August, I had kept the lonelies at bay. I was still lonely, but not hurting over it. The hurt is back now, and all I can think is that the meditation has become such a habit, it's not a distraction anymore. I still believe it helps with my overall well-being, though.

I also finished my other distraction: Xbox Lego Lord of the Rings. That's a fantastic game for those who like action puzzles without the threat of your character dying with finality. I mean, the characters die sometimes, but it's not game-ending. You just lose some studs (coins) and they come right back to life.

Now I'm trying a new distraction: Fantasy Football. Last night, I participated in a draft for the first time. I know very little about NFL football, and Fantasy Football seems like a lot more work than I'm willing to put into it. But I think once the games start and I have a reason to watch the NFL, it will be more fun.

During the draft, I was concentrating so hard on stats and making sure I didn't draft players with all the same bye week, that I ended up drafting Aaron Hernandez. As one of the ladies in the league said, "Aaron Hernandez? lol. He's going to jail forever." "Why?" another asked. "He murdered everybody." Then I remembered. All I could think to say was "Oh yeah." I remember reading headlines about it, but the name didn't ring a bell when I was choosing players.

He was a late, bench player pick, so no biggie. I traded him out in the middle of the night (as you do). Apparently, one of my other bench players is injured, but I'll keep him for now.

Here is my team, the Pancake Bellyachers:

  • Cam Newton (QB - Carolina)
  • A.J. Green (WR - Cincinnati)
  • Torrey Smith (WR - Baltimore)
  • Adrian Peterson (RB - Minnesota)
  • Stevan Ridley (RB - New England)
  • Frank Gore (RB - San Francisco)
  • Owen Daniels (TE - Houston)
  • Garrett Hartley (K - New Orleans)
  • St. Louis (DEF/ST)

Bench:

  • Ryan Matthews (RB - San Diego)
  • Steve Smith (WR - Carolina)
  • Fred Davis (TE - Washington)
  • Carson Palmer (QB - Arizona)
  • Percy Harvin (WR - Seattle) - injured
  • Tampa Bay (DEF/ST)

We'll see how things go next week.

Fantasy Football Pancake Bellyachers 2012

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The best of ordinary days

August 16, 2013

I have difficulty with broad questions like "How do you picture your life in 5 years?" Or "What are your dreams?" I read an article on this topic recently that resonated with me. The author suggested to not answer those questions, but instead answer "What do I do on my best day?"

John T. Meyer's "My day is best when"

My first instinct was to think back to some of my best days and try to list things from those days. I wasn't doing it right, though, because mostly, I thought about vacations. Little Rock. Seattle. Mississippi. My very best of all, most memorable days.

I realized this exercise is really about "What do I do on my best ordinary day?"

Also, key to this process is that it's not about what happens on my best ordinary day, but what I do on my best ordinary day. The inputs, not the outcomes.

So here are some things for my list, some of which are inspired by John T. Meyer's list:

  • I get enough sleep (I need to quantify this)
  • I drink a cup of mocha chocolatte in the morning from Picnik (or I make one myself)
  • I go to girl lunch with Kathy and Ly
  • I work on a programming project for a whole afternoon with little or no distractions
  • I drive somewhere with the sun streaming through my sunroof
  • I meditate outside (rain or shine)
  • I cook a dinner that is right for my body (primal)
  • I clean or organize something (bad data at work, housework at home)
  • I read before going to sleep

Just as interesting to me as the things I put on my list are the things I didn't put on my list. (Playing iPhone games? I spend a whole lot of time doing that!)

My plan is to keep the idea of this list in my mind and add to it as I have good days.

What's something you do on your best ordinary day?

Giraffe Smile

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Conquering the swirling ball of distraction

July 20, 2013

I got to work, launched Outlook and discovered that in less than 30 minutes I was scheduled for a meeting with three levels of management to discuss my role in the organization. Whoa. They had understandable reasons to talk to me about what I do and what I would like to do in the future within budgetary constraints. I am blessed to work in a place that solicits and values employees' wishes and accommodates them when possible.

But boy... having a meeting with three levels of management set my head to spinning. I couldn't stop going over the things I said. Thinking of the things I wish I'd said and the things I wish I hadn't. The meeting was at 9:00 a.m. and thoughts about it were still swirling around in my head while driving home at 6:00 p.m.

This would really put my evening meditation practice to the test.

I got home, fed the dog, changed into a tank top and shorts and went outside to sit in my meditation chair while the sun descended through the bare limbs of my neighbor's dead tree. I started a 30-minute guided meditation.

The nice lady began speaking the words that I've heard so many times this month. Get in a comfortable, seated position. Notice my state of mind. Breathe. Listen to sounds. If thoughts come, be aware of them and then bring my focus back to my breathing. Or the sounds. Or the sensations in my body. Etc.

The thoughts of the morning meeting kept coming back. I would focus on breath and then find myself deep in thought again. At one point, I turned up the volume, hoping a louder lady would keep me focused. The thoughts returned.

At another point, I started to cry in frustration because I couldn't make the thoughts go away like I've succeeded doing in every other meditation. And then I remembered I'm supposed to let the thoughts come and just practice refocusing on breath again and again. That's why they call it "practice."

Then I purposefully breathed very heavily to keep the focus on my breath. I breathed loud and with force. It made my nose tingle. And it felt like I was angry or desperate. That's not how I'm supposed to feel.

Then I did something I'd not done before. I opened my eyes and stared at a blade of grass in the yard. Now I had breath, sound and a visual to hold me right there in the moment. It was better. Then I looked up at the sky and found a small cloud. I watched as that cloud dissipated into nothing over the course of a few minutes. And I imagined my thoughts dissipating into nothing.

When the 30 minutes were over, the thoughts of that meeting were still with me, but they were not the swirling ball of distraction that they were before. This is progress.

Meditation inspired by The Paleo Drummer's 30 days to freedom challenge.

Under Pressure Sheet Music

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How Comment Spam May Have Killed Commenting Here

July 18, 2013

I've switched to using the Disqus commenting system here, and here's why:

The other night, I tried to post an entry and my blog software wouldn't work. I thought it was requiring me to upgrade to the latest version.

I don't like to upgrade because upgrades rarely add value and can break basic things.

I upgraded anyway. The upgrade didn't work either. That's when I realized my entire blog database was gone.

I contacted my web host and within an hour, my blog database was back (Yay! Webhost!). They didn't say what happened, and I didn't push, but I think they had taken it offline.

Why?

Because of 50,000 spam comments posted in the database within the last month. FIFTY THOUSAND! That had to put a burden on the server.

I'd opened up commenting to anonymous or unregistered users not too long ago thinking I might get more comments from friends. I didn't know the spammers were flooding my database because the comments were flagged and didn't show up on the blog. I would only see them if I signed in and looked for them.

I shut down anonymous commenting and fixed that problem, but the blog software upgrade broke the sign-in function for registered users. This is beyond my patience and skill.

Spammers can all go to hell.

So let's give this Disqus thing a try...

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