Dancing vs Trainers

Choosing what shoes to wear can be a dilemma for me.

I’ve noticed that when life gets tough, it is sometimes easier for me to slip on my emotional dancing shoes, than to lace up my mental trainers. 

My dancing shoes jazz up my life, but tend to waltz me into emotional oblivion. 

I find myself tip-toeing through situations, tapping my way around reality, and hip-hoping through the difficult moments. The effort I expend while wearing them is exhausting, and I end-up in the same place, dancing around the same old issues.  

Even though my trainers aren’t nearly as cute, nor as much fun to wear, they provide support, and the minute I put them on, I begin moving forward. They get me out the door and headed in the right direction. 

I have used my trainers to leap tall obstacles in a bound, to connect the rubber to the road and to exercise my courage.

Emotionally speaking, I am going to leave the dancing to the stars and wear my trainers a lot more in 2011. Care to join me?

Today is his birthday.

My Dad and Mom in 1943.

 

Today, January 9, is my Dad’s 91st birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!

My Dad is pretty amazing. At 90 he decided his living arrangements were not quite working for him so he found a house for sale on the Internet. Then he spent weeks and weeks working through a myriad of sales issues and bank requirements via phone and fax. He weathered all sorts of frustrating real estate highs and lows, and last fall signed a 30 year mortgage and moved into his new house – alone!

My caring and helpful brothers, sisters, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends helped him make the move and cleaned and painted his new home. They make living alone possible for him by cooking, cleaning, taking him to doctor’s appointments and a thousand other tasks, but most of the time he is there alone – and is loving it.
My dear friend Marci, visiting my Dad. He had caught a virus, wasn’t feeling so hot and wasn’t able to cook for himself so she dropped off Shepard’s Pie – on her birthday, how sweet is that?

 

Being on oxygen because of heart problems (not smoking) has slowed my Dad down the past two years, but hasn’t stopped him from enjoying his favorite pursuits. Each time we talk he updates me on the progress of the new project he is working on. He is currently pulling together a viable, interesting business start-up, and has assigned himself the task of writing the related training manuals. 

My Dad is an electronics genius, and has always been an entrepreneur. He only has a high school degree, but has worked alongside multi-degreed electronic engineers.

I learned about business and how to deal with folks in business by watching him interact over the years with his clients, staff and my uncles. I have fond memories of spending a great deal of time at his business surrounded by piles of TV tubes, short-circuit TV equipment, and electronic stuff stacked on work tables, alongside the typewriters and adding machines in his offices. (I obviously did not inherit his mechanical talents or interest because I still have no idea what all that stuff was, but if I asked my Dad he would probably remember each piece and its purpose.)

My Dad at his 86th Birthday Party

 

My Dad, is also the person, who fostered my love of reading and music, and my curiosity about what makes people and things tick. He is seldom intimidated by how things work, he bought his first computer in his 60’s and figured out how it ran, how to program it, and how to surf the net in no time at all. He’s the kind-of guy, who always has spare computer parts lying around: I think he enjoys taking them apart and putting them together as much as he does using them.

He also loves rides in the country and after all 9 of his children were grown and out of the house, he and my Mom enjoyed day trips to Ohio’s Amish country so much that they led car caravans of family and friends there annually. My last trip home in 2010, included a short trip to a nearby Amish store with my Dad.

Another warm and wonderful recent memory is our long conversations on Skype. At 88 my Dad downloaded and learned to use Skype, so we could talk while I was in the Peace Corps in Macedonia. One night we spent about an hour using his access to Google Earth to pinpoint where I was living in Bitola; he held and manipulated his computer camera to show me his screen as I tried to direct him down the streets to my door! Using Google Earth was his idea, we had fun and came within 10 virtual meters of my house.

Happy Birthday Dad, and I wish you many more, after all, your newest project includes a five to ten-year plan!

First Friday, 2011

Today is the first Friday of the New Year, which is kind-of exciting since Fridays are usually pretty good days, and lead to weekends, which are really great. I think we should celebrate!

Normally, “First Fridays” catch me off-guard. I’m not quite caught-up from the month before, so the first Friday slips up on me, making those weekends a bit more low-key, which I love. Nothing better than a low-key, lazy weekend, but that means I often miss all those great “First Friday” art walks and such. I wish First Friday activities came later in the month :-) .

I love all the attention Fridays get throughout the year: Good Friday (April 22); Friday the 13th (May 13); Black Friday (Nov. 25); casual Fridays and TGIF. Friday’s children are said to be loving and giving. I like that, too.

When I was working a more 8-5 schedule, I used to head to Rotary at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings, which was way more fun than it sounds. Everyone was glad to see one another, and greeted each other with sincere smiles, warm handshakes and even some hugs. The laughing commenced immediately. For years, I rose early and moved fast to spend Friday mornings with a large group of people I respected and whose company I enjoyed. 

Friday afternoons I would leave the office by 4 p.m. (I worked like a crazy woman the rest of the week, but that’s another story.) By 4:30 p.m. I would be in the center row of my favorite movie theater, seated next to a good friend or understanding date. Dinner and movie talk at a great restaurant usually followed. I truly enjoyed my Friday routine, and it was the perfect segue to many a great weekend.

If you don’t already have a special Friday routine, think about developing one this year. It can be as simple as stopping on the way to work to get a special treat for yourself or a co-worker; leaving the office five or ten minutes early or planning game night with the kids. Whatever you decide, make it simple and fun. (I am plotting and planning a new one for myself. I can’t wait to find out what it will be.)

I have compiled (well, copied) a list of Fridays so we can plan to get the most out of them in 2011. Use them wisely, there are only 52 of them . . .

January- 7,14,21,28
February-4,11,18,25
March-4,11,18,25
April-1,8,15,22,29
May-6,13,20,27
June-3,10,17,24
July-1,8,15,22,29
August-5,12,19,26
September-2,9,16,23,30
October-7,14,21,28
November-4,11,18,25
December-2,9,16,23,30

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. 
 
Patrice
 
PS If you already have a special Friday routine, we would love to hear about it.  

OTAT, again!

It is not too late to jump on board, and join the OTAT (“oh-tat”) challenge.

All you have to do is agree to make one and only one New Year’s Resolution, and then devote 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 90 days working on it.

Interested?  Click here for OTAT details.

If you want to tell the world, or at least readers of this blog, what your resolution is to develop a bit of accountability, please post away in the comments section.

If you want ongoing support as you go through the process, send me an email at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail with “OTAT” in the subject line and I will send you free monthly tips and updates.

No matter which option you choose, you are off to a great start.  Happy New Year.

Patrice

Wishful Thinking Works

Monday Morning

Today is the Monday morning of all Monday mornings.

Returning to work after weeks of holiday indulgences can feel a bit overwhelming. Or, as evidenced by one of my good friend’s, FB post – an active Mom of two elementary-school-aged sons – “is it bad to be excited to go back to work? me time!” returning to work might be a welcome relief!  

No matter what camp you fall into – the happy to be returning or the not-so-happy’s – why not start your return to the work world on a high note by taking a moment to answer this question:

What was the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?

That’s right, before officially starting 2011, take a moment to think about your greatest moment(s) of 2010, and go from there.

Mine was my return to Macedonia. 

What’s yours?

If you are in the mood to share, take a moment to list your accomplishment (s) in below. Don’t be shy. Thinking about and sharing it is bound to get you in a good – or at least a better mood – and reviewing your accomplishments and sipping a nice big cup of coffee might help get your creative juices flowing again. 

And, if you are too timid to write it here, please take a moment to note it somewhere: on your calendar, day-planner, in your phone or even in an email you send to yourself. Recognizing and recording it will create a nice re-entry glow for the New Year.

In the meantime, welcome back!

Patrice

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