Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Changing habits by setting intentions

As my readers know, I have been struggling with how often I go to the coffee shop and buy a treat as well as healthy habits overall. Trying to not do something is different than trying to do something so I am making an effort to state my positive intentions during the day.

Yesterday it was that I would only buy what was on my Whole Foods grocery list and head straight home. Yesterday's eating intention was to eat meals that would hold me without a snack until the next meal. Today my intention was that I would shower after I did my work out. I also stated to myself that I would have a large salad for lunch today.

I'm thinking that the urge to head to the coffee shop about 3pm each day has more to do with being bored and feeling housebound as well as being my low energy time of day than it does with wanting coffee. I do have coffee at home. I'm trying to have a plan in mind of something to do each afternoon instead. I'll probably switch many of my errands to after lunch instead of morning. I am a morning person so I tend to power through my to do list in the morning and then fade mid-afternoon. Time to change my day's routing to up my energy in the afternoon without eating sweets while having a coffee out!

Its early days yet but I am finding this approach works much better for the way I work! Breaking habits without something to substitute for the undesirable habit is virtually impossible - at least for me.

Have you tried an approach similar to this or another way of changing your habits? Would love to share ideas.

Monday, May 11, 2015

On a scrubbing binge

As much as I dislike housework sometimes I still get on a cleaning binge. Right now it is windows, patio doors, tile floors and summer outdoor "stuff".

I mentioned that I did clean one set of patio doors, the BBQ and some patio chairs. We fired up the BBQ on Saturday for chicken shish-kebabs and enjoyed them thoroughly. We didn't use it at all last summer and I am determined that we will get our money out of it this and next summer before we leave it behind in our move.

I finished the 4th tile floor this morning and am starting on the kitchen windows and door that collect so much tree pollen. So far I have hosed them down well and soon I will be outside on a ladder washing.

I'm also going to spend some time admiring our new retaining walls and stairs that we can't even see from the house LOL. They cost a small fortune but half the amount of the first bid and are a necessary maintenance project that we couldn't do ourselves. The crew worked incredibly hard and a side benefit it that the tire, bedframe, steel drum and other assorted trash that was semi-buried in the hillside by previous owners of this house are all gone to the dump. That alone makes me very happy as does the fact that I won't worry so much about breaking an ankle when I go down into the woods to clean and spray kudzu. One more pre house sale task checked off.

At the end of May we will be 24 months out from when Hubby can retire and we are starting to work on what we think needs to be done. We also had the crew remove some diseased bushes and we will be planting different ones ourselves to save money. Hopefully they won't look too pitifully small by the time we sell.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Month 4: Goal progress report for April

Here's my report of how I did in this past month.

April 2015

1. Eat to reduce bad cholesterol levels - not pastry/cookies out, less meat and even more vegetables. Weigh self daily and record.

* A work in progress but we definitely are doing better with dinners.

2. Work out at home with weights AND do stretch DVD program at least twice a week AND walk on other days (unless traveling, etc.).

* I gave up. I do so much better with a scheduled out of the house activity. I am going back to sessions with a Pilates trainer as I felt best when I did that regularly. Yard work is in full swing which is good exercise along with short dog walk and a very long walk on a sunny Sunday.

3. Buy the clothing needed to have a wardrobe I love to wear that fits my life right now.

* I browsed in lots of stores I normally would not have visited as well as the usual suspects and found a few summer clothes. The surprise was a 3 color sunhat in my neutrals at an active wear store near me. I also bought a new pair of capris and thrifted 2 more pairs and two tops. Some less loved and worn out items left my wardrobe. I have 3 items to alter to make them fit better/be more useful.

4. Go through all files, office supplies and my books and only keep what brings me happiness, is used regularly or will be used up over time. This has been expanded to include getting rid of other items as I encounter them and trying to only replace not add to our stuff.

Gone: 2 books & 2 DVDS. Not my best month.

5. Disentangle from all of my volunteer roles for the Friends of the Library in preparation for moving in 2017.

* No progress

Then there are the mushier goals.

6. Love and be loved.

* Friends: A friend had free tickets to see the play "Our Town" at The Shakespeare Tavern. They serve dinner before if you want and we did. I'd actually never seen or read this play and it was really good. Also went out to lunch with a friend who is facing hip replacement surgery in early May.
* Family: Dinner with Hubby at our favorite Thai restaurant twice just because. We also celebrated our 34th anniversary with lunch out and went out to lunch in the middle of a very long walk.  Our younger son had a birthday as did our older DIL although we had to celebrate those long distance unfortunately. Talked a bit with that son and DIL, my brother and hubby's aunt.

7. Have fun - and I'm adding, have adventures.

The two OLLI classes I signed up for begin and I have committed to attending all sessions. One is "Art in Havana" and the other is "Eight Retired Physicians Share Their Expertise on Timely Medical Topics".  Both are very interesting so far and I'm glad I am taking them.

So, what's on deck for May?

- Lots of yardwork
- Regular phone calls to family
- Pilates sessions
- Walks
- Finish OLLI classes
- Plan next trip to California

Bugs, pollen, wood rot and our great outdoors clean up

Well now that was fun!

Hubby spent the weekend painting over the patching he did to fix the wood rot in some siding. The paint doesn't match quite but will keep the siding safe from further rot until we have to whole house painted to sell it.

I sprayed the entire lot for mosquitoes and tried to prepare the BBQ to make shish kebabs. When I opened the lid to get the grills out to wash though a hoard of ants scurried to carry eggs to safety. The entire thing has been "marinating" in bug spray overnight and one of today's tasks will be to wash it all very thoroughly.

Today I also get to scrub one of our two sets of patio doors and screen doors. We wanted to open it this past weekend to help air out the house now that it has warmed up but there was so much pollen embedded in the screen and track that we thought better of that idea. The other door and screen isn't as bad so it will wait for another time.

If I have time I will get out the patio chairs and table and scrub them as well, prune, spray for weeds and put down more weed preventer but that all may also have to wait. We have a very large city lot and lots of bushes and trees with wood chips instead of grass. It takes a surprising amount of work to keep it up which we were blissfully unaware of when we relocated from an arid climate.

I do have to admit though that it was lovely weather all weekend (finally) and we took advantage on Saturday by going out for gourmet tacos and taking a walk. We chatted about how we miss our Mother's and not having anyone to celebrate on Mother's Day when we came up with the idea of celebrating our 4 surviving Aunties. We stopped and bought cards and our hearts felt much better!

Hope you had a great weekend and are being able to enjoy the out of doors.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Random thoughts about my habits and challenges

So much rattles around in my head each day. Here's a few days worth.

It really only takes a few minutes to dust, clean the bathrooms and kitchen. Yet I put it off endlessly and it weighs on me until I finally do it. Really dislike this chore so much more than others. Why is that?

I am concluding I really like going out for coffee and a sweet each day much more than I like the potential benefits of not doing so (save money & calories; less saturated fat). At least we did walk for 1 1/2 hours on Sunday.

My skills for making new friends and being a good, close friend are pretty rusty and I'm not even sure what I used to do differently. I am delving through the changes and challenges of the last 20 years to see if I can figure out what happened and what I used to do. I don't want to feel lonelier as I get older.

That is enough of that!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring cleaning anyone?

Spring has been unusually cool, rainy and plain dreary here with the usual extremely high pollen counts and has found me inside or at the coffee shop too much with low energy! Perhaps thinking about Spring cleaning on various fronts will get me - and you - going.

Check out these interesting approaches and enjoy your weekend.

How to clean your home using only 2 ingredients

How to create a capsule wardrobe outfit by outfit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ah, taxes are so complicated

Being my usual organized self I filed my taxes as soon as possible. Then I received more tax documents related to my inheritance. Just so you know, these K1s don't have the same deadline for delivery as everything else. They made filing amended returns complicated so I had to take it all to an accountant. Good thing that I did.

Turns out that since 2011 when I turned 62 I have been eligible for deducting some income from Georgia state taxes. We are redoing state returns for those 3 years as well and will get back a nice  amount of money.

So it seems that I need help each time something significant changes in our financial lives! When we move back to California and each year we start receiving retirement income from various sources I will have to remember this and hire a professional to do our taxes for those years to make sure we do everything correctly! Self sufficiency is only good if it produces the correct result LOL.

Happy tax day.