Saturday, August 30, 2008

Today should be a good day!

We're out of town at a football game, father-son roadtrip. Good times, I hope.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Here's a slideshow I did this summer

We were in the interregnum period between the divorce filing and the divorce, while I was still home. I found myself feeling sad or pre-occupied even when I should have felt happy, doing things I like. So, I did this little slideshow to remind myself that you have to live now, not anytime else....peaceful moments are everywhere!

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: 280slides)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maybe I should have exercised this morning, too!

You mean I can't just walk for 45 minutes when I feel sad?....I wish someone had told me!

Feeling down this morning and looking to the future with concerns...feeling better. You have to expect some downs, I guess. Just don't let the dips in the roller coaster hit the pavement.

The virtues of exercise

I have read that exercise can be as good for mild depression as a drug. When I was reading an insomnia book, it said to get some exercise. My anxiety and phobia book? Exercise right on the top of the list.

I have certainly had less depression and anxiety in the past year than I did for the 4-5 years before that. Of course, I am combining an Rx with exercise.....

So last night I threw some laundry into the dryer at the laundromat, and went off for my nightly walk. While I would have much preferred watching a ball game, if you're going to be active, you can't sit on the couch. Those are two opposite things....

I was feeling badly when I started. Depressed, isolated from my son, lonely, like I'm on a treadmill. Worried about the future. Finances....what will happen?

So, I went on a 45 minute walk. As I moved along, I started to feel better. As the blood began to flow and the cells took in oxygen, I began to cheer up. Realized I can only live today. Do what's on today's agenda, get some rest. Be at peace. Things were not better before. Every step is a step forward--and when you're walking, that's literally and figuratively true.

So, if you're depressed or anxious, I do recommend some exercise. Even a walk on an unseasonably cool August night can help.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Laughs are Important

My sense of humor is important to me....laughing helps to keep me happy, and its even more important now that I am facing new challenges.

With that in mind, and as someone who is eating alone about half the time, I found this Merlin Mann post really funny....

Five rejected names for a single-serving meal product

April 4th, 2008
  1. Quiet Evenings
  2. Me & the Kitties
  3. Lonesome Bites
  4. Monomunches
  5. Singles…for Life!
The scary thing is? I could see quiet evenings...and almost start the commercial for it.

And...I don't know if you will find this funny or not, but being in the business....OMG this made my side hurt. Damn funny, and true to life too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Great Blog Post on Happiness

Here's a great blog post, from a blog called Get Rich Slowly. It concerns the topic that has bedeviled mankind since we began to conquer the issue of basic physical survival--ie, when we stopped living like animals. That topic is happiness.

I first came across the issue of happiness watching Dan Gilbert give a talk at TED. It was very powerful. He showed people who had lost everything, yet were happier than they were when they had everything. How could that be?

Gilbert says that we aren't good at knowing what makes us happy, and we underestimate our ability to adjust to changing times. Good times look better than they are going to be, and bad times look worse. There is something profound in that. When I was going through the worst year leading up to the divorce, I was motivated by reading Stumbling on Happiness, because I learned that you cannot predict how you will feel in a given situation.

In fact, Gilbert says you should talk to people who are going through that situation right now if you want to know how you feel. Because, we are not that different as we would like to think.

And I did that. I found a support group of people who were going through what I was, and for the same reasons, and I saw them surviving and thriving on the other side, and I began to realize I could to.

It was a key step to get me where I needed to be to make a change in as healthy a way as possible.

This post chronicles the recent thoughts on happiness, from how much of it we can control (40%), the "hedonic treadmill," Dan Gilbert and 13 steps to a happier life. Its an impressive post and I recommend it to you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One good thing

We have a pool at the complex, which has made me the most popular Dad in my family, and gotten me outside in the sun on a hot day like today.....its all good.

One downside.....

When you live in apartment, your neighbors are a lot closer. For example, the next door neighbors have been engaged in a screaming fight, swearing like carnival operators. Very pleasant.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Saturday on the clean dimension

So, today, with time to myself, I did the following:

  • Assembled the vacuum.
  • Threw the box away.
  • Vacuumed.
  • Swept and mopped the kitchen and the bath
  • Cleaned the bathroom sink.
  • Took some boxes to storage and stowed other boxes in closets, putting an end to the half-moved in look.
  • And watched the last quarter of Michigan's comeback against MSU last year on the Big Ten Network.

On the health dimension, I lost a half pound (not bad given that huge French dinner) and went to the Farmer's Market this morning and bought tomatoes and cucumbers.

Dishes still have to be done, but that's for tonight.

Photographic proof.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Went on a business trip.....

And it was good to get away. Stayed in a great B&B, see photos below (that's Lake Erie), and had a breathtaking French dinner....wished I could have stayed longer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I wondered if I would have a lot of time to do more when I was alone, because, you know, well, I'd be alone. To date, the opposite has been true. I have less time and attention to focus than I did before....but, maybe that's because I am still settling in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The New Me

One of the things I have been doing to keep myself amused/motivated is making posters like this...kind of motivational and inspirational, and designed to keep me focused. As I was moving, I realized I had some big challenges in my life, but if you grouped them together, they were in the four categories you see above.

Frugal: Money has never been an issue, but now it is. I need to be frugal, not cheap. Only buy what matters, save where I can, don't waste.

Clean: OK, to confess, I have been known to be a bit of a slob over my life. Now, there is no one standing between me and my slobdom. Regular cleaning, laundry, picking up, dishes, these are my chance to prove that I can maintain a home that is organized and a place my son feels comfortable.

Happy: Well, this is perhaps most important. I didn't put it first, because I liked the cadence this way. To be happy, I need to focus my time, whenever I can, on things that make me happy: baseball, football, reading, watching quality TV and movies, and doing creative things like this.

Healthy: My health is OK now. I passed a stress test this spring and other vitals are good. Still, so had Tim Russert. I'm overweight, and I'm on a diet (lost 4 pounds first week) to get down to a reasonable weight. Also, this includes a focus on preventative care at the doctor and dentist and a reminder to exercise regularly.

I have these four categories in my Remember the Milk tags....and I try to put everything in one of the four categories. Perhaps to a reader these seem rudimentary and almost like remedial life skills. But starting where I am today, these are the next steps.

(The photo is excellent, right? Its from Flickr, where the user says its OK to modify and use with attribution, non-commercially. I find this a great source of art for my creative projects. If I haven't attributed it correctly--its on the photo-- please let me know.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


As we all try to "GET THINGS DONE" (and I am a big David Allen proponent), sometimes we miss the attitudinal things that create the environment (see, I did it again) for productivity and peace.

The Positivity Blog is one of my generally good, useful advice without devolving into a bunch of crazy new age shit that I can't stand. Here is an excellent post on acceptance....

As David Allen says, what you resist, you become.

Here's a quote from their article....

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.”

Ram Dass

and here is one of my personal favorites....

"The truly able, it appeared, had only so much time to squander on disillusion and self-analysis. Then those destructive vanities were turned round and put to the business of doing what had got to be done. The truly gifted, as opposed to the merely clever, were too busy running things to be bothered."

Gay Place
Billy Lee Brammer

I read the acceptance post over the weekend, looking down the barrel of a very difficult week with lots of pass/fail activities. And it did help, as I chose to accept my challenges. I was going to move forward either way--the question is, would I do it at peace or not?

Like most things, this lesson can be applied as broadly as you like. And, I suppose a person can be too accepting....were the great geniuses of the world people who accepted things as they were? The classic phrase is to accept what we can't change....without belaboring the point, I do believe if I would be healthier mentally if I accepted the things and "put to the business of dong what had got to be done."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More on the context...

Well, over the weekend, I got all the boxes out of my apartment and to the recycling center, and moved the remaining boxes of books off into the corner where they are more out of sight, resulting in a more settled environment here in my new home. The next two priorities are cleaning and getting the remaining boxes of clothes into my storage area. Bought a padlock, too.

I have the whole week, more or less, to myself. Should be plenty of time to continue to create the environment I want.....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 2 and the law of context

OK, so I'm a big Malcolm Gladwell fan. In the Tipping Point, he talked about the Law of Context. People react to their environment--once they cut down on farejumping in the New York Subway, the lawful environment led to fewer shootings and other serious crimes.

So, a confession. I have not, in my life, been especially clean. I am determined that my new apartment will be clean however, its one of my four goals.

So, to do that, I need to keep it pretty clean most of the time....messiness will create an environment in which it is easier to be even messier.

And, well, this half-assembled vaccuum cleaner in the middle of the living room probably isn't sending the right message....and the place could use a sweep, over by the dining "room" table.

Have to get on that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Divorce Approved Today

Was it the end? Or was it a beginning? Or (most likely) was it the middle?

Either way, it was fast. After running some paperwork around the courthouse, the whole thing in front of the judge was over in a couple of minutes. Its pretty amazing. Nearly two decades, and you can fill out some forms and walk out of the courthouse.

Don't get me wrong. Getting into a marriage is voluntary--you don't have to give a reason or demonstrate you really love the person or anything. You just have to say you want to. And, getting out should be the same. Of course, if children are involved, you have additional responsibilities, but you shouldn't have to justify to someone why the marriage should end.

We were pro per, which is the same thing as pro se, which is the same thing as no lawyer. Most of the people there today were in the same boat, but these were all consent agreements. He mowed through them pretty quickly.

It was stressful, and I was tired. I came back to the apartment @785, and took a nap. Tomorrow is another day. It may be located in the middle of my life (almost everything is), but each day is a beginning, too.

In the words of Harry Chapin....

No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.