Archive | January, 2011

Day 31: how many days until new years eve?

31 Jan

New Year’s Eve already seems like a century ago.
The Superbowl is this weekend.
I am officially 37 years old.
January is so O.V.E.R.

How did this month go for you?
Here’s a recap of January:

31 days and 31 blog posts – whew!
31 days and zero frivolous purchases – sweet!

2 serious temptations…
Max Mara red coat – let’s just call it pure heaven!
Shoes of Prey customized soles – oh la la!

In the Investment Column:

$58.94 for 3 Books  (21 LessonsThe 4-Hour Body, Women Food and God)

$20.00 Hot Power Yoga Class (thank you Bala Vinyasa)

$29.99 for 48 tennis balls (14 tennis days in January, a personal record!)

$2.99 for iPhone Pocket Yoga — not used yet but plan to break out tonight)

$2.58 for 2 songs to rev up my workouts (Raise Your Glass and Just The Way You Are)

All being put to good use for a better me.
So far, I really enjoy thinking about my purchases in this way. Just stopping to ask — how will this improve or benefit me has been very helpful.

The hardest part? Writing.
Definitely writing every single day.

New Years Eve means 334 more days of writing for me.
What does 334 days left mean for you?

Day 30: i used to eat #crappyfood #wheniwaslittle

30 Jan

Ahhhh, crappy food from my childhood.
Soooo bad, yet it tasted so good!

What did you eat as a kid?
I remember slumber parties and movie nights where we devoured bags of Oreo Cookies, Cheez Whiz, Dominoes Pizzas and Doritos. I can still see the orange dust that Cheetos left on my fingers.

Good thing I had Coca Cola to wash it all down.
Coke was my water of choice. A Pepsi fan, I was not. (Even if Michael Jackson was the spokesperson.)

My body can’t handle it anymore.
Yesterday, at the movie theater we splurged and bought the big popcorn/soda combo. Three sips into it I was sick. I could feel the soda rushing through my digestive track, seeping into my bloodstream.

My kid-self never thought this day would arrive.
I am one of those people. I can no longer stuff my face with kid-food. For that matter, I can barely stay awake for Saturday Night Live.

I guess part of this is growing up, part is being more aware of what goes into my body, and the biggest part is caring more.

These are good signs.
Personal proof that I have been eating nutritious, whole foods that are fresh, unprocessed, home-made and G.O.O.D. for me. (I’m even learning to cook some of these things!)

When I was little, I never would have guessed I would crave kale.
C’mon, I wanted to eat Marshmallow Peeps all day.
I also wanted to change the world.

It seemed like a very reasonable thing to do for the inevitable “when I grow up” stage of life. So imagine my relief when I read this article by Dr. Mark Hyman.

Looks like there is still time to change the world.
All you need is a fork. And believe me that costs less than a soda at the movie theater.

Here is what Dr. Mark Hyman has to say:

Common sense and scientific research lead us to the conclusion that if we want healthy bodies we must put the right raw materials in them: real; whole; local; fresh; unadulterated; unprocessed; and chemical-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free food. There is no role for foreign molecules such as trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, or for industrially developed and processed food that interferes with our biology at every level.

That is why I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork.

Makes sense to me!
Click here to read the rest of Dr. Hyman’s article
How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life.

Day 29: a great escape, horror show and coming-of-age story

29 Jan

We just returned from watching the movie, 127 Hours (where I grimaced, flinched, and hid my eyes for at least 30 minutes). Truly, it was a great escape, horror show and coming-of-age story all-in-one.

Upon return, I immediately checked my email and this question popped up on my computer screen:

I have a question, though, about the promise. You say you won’t buy clothes, but say you got holes in all of your socks, would you buy new socks? Just curious if that’s a hard-and-fast rule, or if there are loopholes or exceptions.

No loopholes.
If my socks go all holy on me, I live with air conditioned socks until December 31, 2011.

If I need it I will borrow it, but I won’t buy it.

Let’s say Michelle Obama invited me to the White House and I didn’t have a suit, I would borrow from friends or some other person who wears the same size. (beware dear friends, you might get a call!)

Or, maybe I would dress up a suit I already own with borrowed jewelry… the point is, I believe I have everything I “need” to live my life this year. And, if that changes, I will borrow it.

I don’t want to make myself feel better, or more prepared, or more worthy through merely clothes, shoes, jewelry, or other adornment.

It would be easy for me to buy a pair of shoes or a new dress to make myself feel refreshed and invigorated (I know, because I have done exactly that in the past). The reality has always been I just needed rest and reflection, or a walk in the park, or some exercise.

It is a hard and fast rule.
Because, I want to invest in my best self.
Not just play the part.

I admit, sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference.
Kind of like the old adage: you should dress up on test day.
Sometimes I wonder: Did the pretty new dress make me outgoing and confident? Or, did the dress just bring my own confidence to the surface?

The truth is, it’s all inside.
Despite the many messages to women, young and old, that reinforce the image, not the substance. Honestly, just a stroll through the mall can feel like a
great escape, horror show and coming-of-age story all-in-one.

I’m not fooling myself here — I still love dresses, soft cashmere and silk.

But, when the dress comes off I want to know I put everything in to what is left on.

Day 28: the 4 hour 21 lesson mocha miracle

28 Jan

This morning I stopped at Panera to grab a mocha and a little work time before the lunch crowd arrived.

I started to order my usual Mocha, until I looked up at the calorie chart.
Cafe Mocha = 380 Calories.

I scanned down to regular coffee.
Coffee = 5 Calories.

The irony is, I ALREADY KNOW how many calories are in a mocha and regular coffee from my food marketing days. But, since I crave mocha, I usually order mocha.

Today, that looming calorie board stopped me in my tracks.
Actually, two voices stopped me in my head.

This week, I started reading two books** which have skyrocketed my awareness level:

Only been reading for two days now and they are in my head.
You are probably familiar with these authors. Both are New York Times Best Sellers, one a man, the other a woman, one a data cruncher, the other a spiritual leader.

Here’s my thinking — there can be no better way to get the “skinny” on the body system than these two thought leaders, coming at the issue from two different directions.

However, this morning while contemplating the mocha/coffee decision:

Marianne was softly saying to me:
“Your body is perfection. What fear has aroused the need of mocha for you?”

Tim on the other hand, was screaming:
“Check it out, dude! The coffee is only 5 calories.”

Guess which one I ordered?
You got it, plain, old, coffee.
I do like both, but the coffee weighed in at only 5 calories.

As I work through these books my goal is to find MY voice in the process. Maybe I’ll meet them in the middle. Maybe I’ll go crazy trying to take it all in, ping ponging back and forth. Either way, I promise to report back.

Sometimes, awareness sucks.
But, I am already feeling that the more I know in my  head about what is actually going into my body feels pretty sweet.

**(thank you for the book recommendations Debbie Phillips and Rob Berkley!)

Day 27: expert shoes

27 Jan

A girl’s gotta love new shoes!
I received two beautiful gifts in the form of shoes for my birthday.

One was this adorable birthday card from Justin’s mother, and it couldn’t be more fitting for me. 

A girl and her shoes.
My love for shoes started right about the age of this little one on the card. We share the delight of the sole.

The other gift was this really fun pair of flip flops from my friend Laura. She hinted at sending me some flip flops a few weeks ago and aren’t they adorable!?

In fact, after I wrote about my shoe collection Laura emailed me wondering how I convinced my parents to buy me a 100 pairs of shoes. This was my response:

Dear Laura,
Here is some of what I think it was:

1)   I had big feet at an early age, they finished growing before the rest of me did. So, I started early.

2)  Where most kids wanted souvenirs on vacation, I wanted shoes. I was always looking for really new and different shoes in whatever city we visited.

3)  Once people know you like something they buy it for you. If you like golf you get lots of golf stuff, if you like shoes, you get shoes.

However, as I reflect on this note, I think there are 2 other factors:

1) Sports: you need a new pair of shoes for every sport you play, and I played a lot of sports!

2) 10,000 hour theory. I put in my time. I knew where to find the best shoe deals. I never paid full price. (or, at least my parents did not)

The theory behind being an expert.
It takes merely 10,000 hours of practice. I first learned about this theory by Anders Ericcson in my sports psychology classes at Smith College. Malcom Gladwell made it mainstream popular in his book, Outliers.

And, as we have all observed when an expert (you name it, comedian, athlete, business tycoon) reaches the top of their game they experience “flow” — and I know flow with shoes.

Now, I’m not buying shoes this year, but it makes me wonder…

10,000 hours is roughly 2 hours a day for 10 years.
What could I be an expert at in time for my 47th birthday?

Think about it.
You could be almost anything in 10 years.

Day 26: age 37

26 Jan

Today is my birthday, and the last letter in a series of notes to my younger self.

Today, age thirty-seven.
What would you say to your 37-year-old self?

Dear Jamie, Age 37

Happy Birthday, Girl!

First of all, what were your thinking?
It is one thing to not shop all year long, but to make a promise to write about it every, single day? Really. Really??!! You have put me on the line here Missy.

I know you can do it.
You have been through more challenging times. You have survived a traumatic divorce, your life has been torn apart, and look at how much has already been put back together? Where there was pain, there is love. Isn’t that always the case?

Get this:
You have been a cancer survivor longer than a non-cancer survivor. How crazy is that? And wonderful. Listen to the lessons you hold in your heart about living, about the essence of life. You have internal wisdom. Please accept it.

Let me remind you of this very important fact:
This birthday is not about you. It started as a celebration of your parents and it continues as a way to honor your friends, family, loved-ones and sisters.  They are in your heart for a reason, they helped make you, Jamie.

Even more, honor those who have hurt you.
The pain is really a beautiful gift in disguise. It has made you stronger, wiser, more forgiving and unquestionably more resilient.

Blow out your candles and blow out your dreams.
Blow it all out to the most amazing life you can think of. Maybe you will have children. Maybe you will wear a size 6 again. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you will have millions, an island in the Caribbean and a private cabana with built-in waterfalls. Or not. It doesn’t matter. Just keep dreaming and creating with what does matter: love.

I wish for you NOT to grow up.
Instead, I would love for you to grown in — keep growing in to your best self and put everything into the process. I hear the 40’s are even more fun.

Jamie, Age 37 and 21 hours old

P.S. Who would have thought you would be back with your high school boyfriend after all these years. Amazing, ironic, fun, isn’t it!?

P.P.S. You may never learn to cook, so enjoy this experiment and embrace the fear. There are no mistakes.

Day 25: age 27

25 Jan

Over the next few days, leading up to my 37th birthday (tomorrow!), I am reflecting and writing my younger self a few notes.

Today, age twenty-seven.
What would you say to your 27-year-old self?

Dear Jamie, Age 27

Hello, Ms. Smarty Pants!
You think you have it all figured out right now, but it’s just a veil covering the fear and uncertainty of approaching the big, bad, thirtieth birthday — and not feeling like you’ve done enough.

Please give yourself some credit.
You are a 10-year cancer survivor! You are a college graduate! YOU can even whip up a bowl of pasta in less than 20 minutes! Most of all, you are still here. Take comfort in the day-to-day and stop pressing. You have time. It will all happen, the career, the path, the purpose. I promise.

About the engagement…
It seems that everything has finally fallen into place, you have a sparkly new ring on your finger and one big, bustling life in Boston. Don’t stress about the wedding, at this point it doesn’t matter how it all comes together, it will happen. Please don’t forget your friends and family who will be there for you through all your transitions in life.

I know you miss Mama Sling.
She loved you very much. Even though it’s only been a few years since Mom died, I know you are left with overwhelming loss and grief. Even though you don’t admit it to yourself, you long for her everyday. She is still there for you. Sit silently with your thoughts and you will hear her voice.

Speaking of voices, try listening to yours.
There will be many differing opinions and pressures to be something other than you are, to pursue paths that aren’t quite you. Know this: you have a very strong gut. It is wise. Listen to it.

By the way, so what if your company failed!?
It was just your first one. You were only twenty-five! It’s not the last mistake you will make, but it’s one of the best lessons you will learn. Keep your head up.

And one more thing…
The whole world in 2001 is about to change in so many ways, so hold on tight. You will endure the ride, bumps and all. Just know, there will be friends waiting to collect you when you exit the ride and they will smother you with love.

Love will be there for you. Always.

Jamie, Age 36

P.S. Try a different haircut and stop biting your nails. It will be so worth it.

P.P.S. Go to a yoga class! You will enjoy it more than you did basketball.

P.P.P.S. You won’t believe this, but you will run a marathon. I’m serious.

Day 24: age 17

24 Jan

Over the next few days, leading up to my 37th birthday, I am reflecting and writing my younger self a few notes.

Today, age seventeen.
What would you say to your 17-year-old self?

Dear Jamie, Age 17

This is going to be an amazing and defining year. That is all I can reveal, but I will say this: lean into everything with a positive attitude.

So, you’ve never been kissed.
It’s totally okay. Keep waiting for the right one to show up in your life. He will arrive at the perfect moment, he will become your best friend, and he will show you new and wonderful aspects of life. It will happen, very, very soon!

(Don’t bother searching for him because you don’t even know who he is yet).

College and the real world.
I’ve got news for you, as shocking as it may sound, college isn’t the real world. I know everyone around you keeps calling it that, but it’s not. It is actually better than the real world.

You won’t have to cook or clean, you will meet incredibly different and interesting people, you will have days where you sleep until 11am, and you will develop a strong sense of purpose.

Of course you will learn a lot too. Some lessons from text books, others from just being there. The best part is, you will collect some people who aren’t just friends, they will become more like sisters. Hold on to your sisters.

Keep dreaming.
It’s okay to dream. You are still a baby! (I mean that in the most appreciative way). Don’t box yourself in, there is much to explore, experience and do.  Keep dreaming up new and wacky adventures.

And remember this:
When one door closes, sometimes there is a window left open. When someone disappears from your life, they will still be with you in new and different ways.

When you need supportive friends, they will show up. When confusion and fear are overwhelming, you will have exactly what you need, when you need it. Even through the really scary stuff, you will persevere.

Jamie, Age 36

P.S. Stop hiding Slim Fast under the bathroom sink. You are amazing, just the way you are, right now.

P.P.S. I am really proud of you. You have had a lot of incredible experiences like being Girls State Governor and playing Varsity Basketball, but it doesn’t compare to what you are going to do, see, experience. So take a deep breathe and keep your eyes open — your life is just starting.

Day 23: age 7

23 Jan

Over the next few days, leading up to my 37th birthday, I am reflecting and writing my younger self a few notes.

Today, age seven.
What would you say to your 7-year-old self?

(I owe the inspiration of this exercise to Nancie Slonim Aronie, and her amazing writing workshop on Martha’s Vineyard.)

Dear Jamie, Age 7

First of all, about those glasses.
I know they are new in your life and super fun because you got the cool Dorothy Hamill brand, but trust me, there will come a day when they feel a little dorky. It will happen right about the time you begin to think boys no longer are dorky.

Don’t worry.
You will eventually convince your parents to buy you some contact lenses.  I know, the eye doctor told you it wasn’t possible but some day soon a very smart person is going to invent contact lenses for astigmatism.

It will take a while to convince your parents that it’s a good thing to stick your fingers in your eyes every single day, so do stay persistent. Just like you always have been.

Keep drawing and painting.
Art and design are going to be important to you, they will help you through some very tough times. I know it’s fun to draw Barbie and other fashion girls in dresses, but remember to get outside and draw nature too. Try some flowers. I think you’ll like it.

Your Diary.
In a few years you will start keeping a diary. Then, a few years after that you are going to re-read everything you ever wrote and immediately rip out all the pages.

It’s okay.
Just, please don’t throw out the pages about your mom. You will want to keep those, I promise you.

I’m so excited for you!
You have tons of fun things coming up over these next few years. You are going to be tall and good at sports. You will make wonderful life-long friends and there will be cherished Christmas celebrations and lovely holidays with your huge extended family.

Jamie, Age 36

P.S. Enjoy the shopping trips and days out with your Mom. These are very precious.

P.P.S. Eat Mom’s scrumptious cinnamon rolls and scones with verve. I know it’s hard to believe now but you will stop eating food like this one day.

Day 22: oh, poop

22 Jan

When I awoke this morning I couldn’t find Pup.

Pup, the world’s sweetest 65 pound cuddle dog, who usually stays as close as possible to one of us, was not in the bedroom.

Where’s Pup?
As I stumbled into the living room in a pre-coffee daze I immediately spotted Pup in the far corner of the apartment and then directly stepped in a pile of dog poop.

My first reaction was: “uuuughhhhh!”
My second was: Poor Puppy.

As I heel-toed it to the bathroom, gingerly trying not to spread the mess, I thought about how rarely this happens. Clearly something was wrong.

As I scrubbed the floor I couldn’t help but think of one woman’s words I heard this fall.

We have to stand in our own crap in order to clean it up.

(I’m notorious for messing up quotes, so know this is not verbatim. I heard these inspiring words while attending a conference in October with Women On Fire founder, Debbie Phillips. The words of wisdom came from Elizabeth Lesser, who you may know as the co-founder of Omega Institute, or maybe as the author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.)

Back to this morning:
As I knelt over a crappy pile of Pup’s, I couldn’t help but think of mine:
I spent too many years in a bad marriage because I wanted to be a good wife.
I trusted too much in a maniacal boss because I wanted to be a good employee.
I gave up too many of my own dreams in order to help others live theirs (case in point: I always wanted a dog but had a partner who didn’t … so we didn’t).

All because I didn’t want to sh*t in my own bed.
Two years later, after the cleansing process began (marriage=over, job=lost) I am here to say, standing in my own crap has been a rough road, but way more rewarding. I am now more true to my heart and soul, and living a more exhilarating life.

If you have a pile of crap, here’s my thought of the day:
Stand right in the biggest, stinkiest, grossest part of it and take a deep breathe.
Then, go get a broom, or a mop, or some super cleaning agent.

Believe me, the cleaning process stinks, and I’m still scrubbing out some of it. But, I can honestly say the results are well worth the effort.

As Pup now sits at my feet, wagging his tail, completely unaware of the pile of poop he left us this morning, I am reminded that I spent a long, lost, decade of my life pining for a dog.

Now, I have one.
Poop and all.
And, it’s pretty fabulous.

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