Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Juggling fire and burning my bum

I know that the first step is admitting that we are powerless over (blank) and that our lives have been unmanageable. 

So here it is: I am powerless over the chaos and my life has become unmanageable. Chaos has invaded every part of my life - work, home, relationships, and daily life. I was ready to break yesterday; and considering the rant that my boss had to endure, it's possible that I actually did break. (Sorry, Matt) But in fairness to the rest of my life, I gotta believe it is the craziness of work that has seemed to create the overflowing river of chaos that I'm swimming in. (visual image of a salmon trying to swim upstream while trying to avoid the bears looking for dinner)

Like a lot of organizations, we had staff cut backs when the economy went sour in 2008.  These were pretty deep cuts and the remaining staff was asked to pick up the slack, which we gladly did, thankful that we still had a job. A recent reorganization in our department switched around duties and new responsibilities. For me, it has felt like a pressure cooker as my ADD symptoms have increased with so much to do and trying to absorb a lot of new information.

Short term memory? (what was I going to say about short term memory???) Oh yes, my short term memory has gotten even shorter. I'll take notes in meetings to remember what I need to do when I'm done with the meeting, but I forget the action step in the middle of writing it down! 

I'm juggling flaming items and dropping enough that I have singe marks on my back side.

Today was my regular appointment with my favorite psychiatrist, Dr. Heather. It was only for my regular med check, but I went into the appointment with a list of my recent crazies. On the positive side, I'm not suffering from depression (a very common ADD symptom) and my mood is generally good, but my patience is nil. (Sorry, work cohorts.)

So today, we decided to up my ADD medication and see if it helps. A good idea except for the timing. Right now, I'm about 20,000 feet above the U.S. (Love, love, love Delta Wifi) on a five-day trip to California. I'm hoping that the transition is smooth.

The trip is part work and part vacation and I've informed my boss and cohorts that at 5 p.m. Wednesday, when I'm done with my meetings in California, I am disconnecting from work - no guilt, no worries, no checking emails or voice mails.  I didn't even bring my work laptop with me.

Step two? Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  Technically, this could be Big Pharm, but I think I have another option. 
Photo of Girl: Jeroen van Daelen
Photo of Fire: ebby

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Greek to Me

Jen, also known as the Prior Fat Girl, did a post on her blog last week talking about greek yogurt. She had never tried it, but had heard individuals talking about how much they loved it. Being the fair minded individual she is, she tried it out.

The impetus for her post was a sample of Yoplait's Greek Yogurt that she had been given. She wasn't impressed with it. She thought eating a can of tuna was a better option. While honest that tuna would be higher in protein and lower in calories, practically not really appealing. (at least for me)

Sorry, Jen, I'm of the opposite opinion. I've been a regular consumer of Fage Greek Yogurt for the last 12 months or more. I love it with fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries, or raspberries. But the down point of greek yogurt - $1.79 for a 6 oz serving (SuperTarget). I was willing to pay the high price since it was a great option for calcium and protein. So, I was thrilled to learn that Yoplait has added greek yogurt to their product line for a more competitive price of less than a $1.00 for a 6 oz serving. 

But what about taste? I did a taste test and the Yoplait greek yogurt tasted as good as the more expensive Fage. YEA!!

Full Disclosure: I learned about the new Yoplait greek yogurt through my membership in Psst (through which I occassionally get information and free products from General Mills). 

I didn't get any free samples of the Yoplait - I purchased it from the Kowalski's on Grand. Yet, yesterday, when I was the Roseville SuperTarget (where I most often shop), I couldn't find the Yoplait Greek Yogurt.

If you'd like to try it, click here for free coupons!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Health is about the body, mind & spirit

Ever have one of those meetings where you're not sure what will come out of it, but by the end, there are hundreds of ideas that fill your head? It's like a first date where you think the guy might be someone you could pass time with for awhile, but by the end the date, you're thinking you have to marry him. 

That's the type of meeting I had this morning. 

I had the opportunity to meet with leadership at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing (CSH). What amazing, diverse and innovative programs make up this center. Their mission is to enrich health and well-being by providing high-quality interdisciplinary education, conducting rigorous research, and delivering ground-breaking programs that advance integrative health and healing.

Don't let the name make you think that this is just a some new age type of place or that they are riding on current trends in healthcare marketing - it is anything but!  CSH is about educating medical professionals, empowering consumers, partnering with the community and so much more.  And they are not some "Johnny-Come-Lately," as they have been around for 15 years.

The Center has been designated by the National Institutes of Health as a Developmental Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a distinction attained by only five institutions in the U.S. Being designated by the NIH is like receiving the Nobel Peace Prize - it's a big deal! 

If you care about being healthy (I know I do), you have to check out their "Taking Charge of Your Health" website.  It provides tools for creating a healthy lifestyle and they have a great resource for older individuals (our parents) who have to navigate the sometimes crazy healthcare system. Plus, making points with me and my crowd, a blog that is written by the Center's founder and current director, Mary Jo Kreitzer. (Only posting once a month, but what is there, is quality)

As it happens, Tony Baisley, the Center's Communications Director, and I have been friends for years. He had been suggesting (for more than a year) that we sit down and talk, but because my work load has been nuts, I kept putting off. Poor decision, but today that has been remedied. I'm so glad and I'm so excited about working with this amazing place.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running Agoraphobia

It's a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining, the spring time air is the perfect temperature and there is a light breeze that would keep your body cool as you go for a run.

And so I do. On my treadmill by the windows so I can see the beautiful day outside.

I have committed to doing a 5K run on June 5th in Burnsville and I'm using the Couch to 5K program iPhone app. While I'm not as far into the program as I should be by now (and that worries me), I haven't started trying to think of excuses to get me out of the run.  I do face one pretty significant challenge: I've never run outside...in public...where anyone could see me.

I'm pretty sure that I won't be allowed to put my treadmill on the back of a flatbed and have it driven along the route with me running on it.

I don't know why I have this fear. It could be that the fear is based in struggling with my weight my entire life and/or having body issues. I love going out on my bike for rides and I'm never self-conscious about that. So what's the deal with running?

I wasn't a jock in high school. I was on the track team, but threw shot-put. I didn't run. The only memory of running outside was in 5th Grade at Northside school trying to get the President's Physical Fitness Award. I didn't get the award. I don't think I was even close.

So that's my goal: to do at least one training session a week outside...where people can see me.

In addition to the June 5th 5K, I'm also taking the Lutheran Geek's Couch to 5K Challenge and the 5K she's planning on doing is in September. I'd love to do a 5K run every month (dang, that's another goal).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Value of Virtual Friends

I read a recent blog post by Seth Godin, one of my favorite marketing gurus (He is to marketing as USA Today is to news: short and to the point), titled "Maybe you need new friends." 

Here's the entire blog post (When you have ADD, short and to the point is the best.):

Maybe you need new friends

Real world friends are hard to find and hard to change.
But virtual friends?
If your online friends aren't egging you on...
If your online friends don't spread the word about the work you're doing...
If your online friends aren't respectfully challenging your deeply held beliefs...
If your online friends don't demand the best from you...
Then perhaps you need new online friends.
 (Click here to read Seth's blog)

I think online friends are awesome. I have connected with some great people online, particularly via Twitter in the last couple of years. These are individuals that I may never meet IRL*, but I'm sure if I were to meet them, we would talk for hours, just like old friends.

Online friends can push you and demand the best from you, partly because they don't have any other role in your life - they don't know your baggage or hang-ups - sometimes they are "the push" that you need to take a risk. 

A couple of my twitter buddies immediately come to mind:
  • @LizStrand. We've been following each other for over a year and we've had several Twitter conversations about a huge range of topics. I think @LizStrand knows everything about sports while my knowledge is limited to just my favorite sports (and sometimes barely those), but I am continually learning things from her tweets.
  • @MeredithGould has been a great resource in a wide variety of ways. She's tweets about healthcare marketing and faith (Very helpful when I started working on a church social media task force). She also wrote a book, "Staying Sober" that was published by my employer, Hazelden. (that's just too cool) Plus she seems to follow some excellent Twitterers.
And now I'm finding friends among my fellow Minnesota bloggers - some real and some virtual.

I know the value of online friends because having online friends is not new to me. Not even close!

In the mid 1990's, during the days when online was basically AOL, I was involved with a regular chat group that would talk about (don't be shocked) the soap opera, Another World. We would meet online once or twice a week chat about plot lines, but also daily issues in real life. After awhile, you got to know the regulars. Eventually, we decided that the chats weren't enough, so we started an email group. We were individuals from all over the country, with different life journeys and a wide range of ages. 

About a year into our bonding, we scheduled a get-together in NYC. I was sharing a hotel room with one of the other group members (whom I had never met) and her daughter. My family was freaked about this. They were sure that something horrible was going to happen. Instead, we had a blast and it was the first of many gatherings including weddings, birthday celebrations, etc. 
(That's a group of us from a 1996 NYC visit with actors Charles Keating and Victoria Wyndham. I'm the disembodied head on the far left.)

Another World went off the air in 1999 and the group is still exchanging emails and getting together when we're traveling near each other. Today, many of us are on Facebook

And thank goodness for Facebook! I have renewed so many friendship on Facebook and I am able to maintain friendships on there.

Social media may have its gawdy, commercial side, but the benefits of its reach are far beyond what some might have imagined. 
* if you're a neophyte, IRL stands for "in real life."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Purging (in a good way)

Spring has arrived - it was 80 degrees on Thursday here in Minnesota and that little factoid can only mean one thing: It's time for "The Changing of The Closets."  

(photo by AmberE http://www.flickr.com/photos/amberwalker/1801788747/)

This bi-annual ritual happens when you're really hating what you have in your closet because you've been seen in every combination at least twice in the past season, and you have this incorrect memory that your other seasonal wardrobe is SO much better than the current one. 

I am very jealous of people with plenty of closet space in their homes that they don't have to pack it up, schlep it to the storage area and then bring in a bin of spring/summer clothes. I don't have that luxury. I have a walk-in closet, but only in the sense that you can stand in there and turn around. It's not one of those that you can wander through.

But this year, "The Changing of the Closets" has even more fun and games. Having lost a size or two since I packed up the spring/summer wardrobe last September, I now have to try everything on and sort them in to three piles: 1) Too big - take to consignment 2) Too small - put these in on the front hall closet and finally 3) Just right. 

A real challenge for me is letting go of some of the too big items. I argue with myself that they're comfortable and roomy and it's not like I would actually wear them where I could be seen - until I run out to the mall looking dumpy in clothing too big for me. I don't believe the people looking at me are thinking, "Wow, I bet she's really comfortable in those - good choice in fashion." 

Purging is a very important part of "The Changing of the Closets."  When you have limited closet space, you HAVE to make the tough choices. Choices like: throw out anything with oversized shoulder pads or has the brand name Zubaz on them - they are not coming back into fashion - EVER!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The most persuasive person I know

I am the most persuasive person I know

...cuz I can talk myself out of anything. (I can also talking myself into anything, but that's another issue for another time...)

I often talk myself out of exercising when I had purposely planned to exercise. There are many days, I will get out of bed early to do a workout, but then tell myself that tonight would be a better time to do this workout. You know after you get home and are exhausted and usually fall asleep on the couch.

Five years ago, when I originally lost this weight, I would get up each day at 5 am and be at the Y by 5:30 and hop on a treadmill. I didn't get there everyday, but at least twice a week and sometimes three times a week. Today, I still get up at 5 am. But I don't have to drive to the Y to do the time on the treadmill because there is one in my living room. (small condo requires odd placement of equipment) Yet, I'm not doing it.

UGH! Why? When I know what the results were five years ago? When I know that morning workouts are the best way to kick up that metabolism?

So, here's my promise to myself: 
  • Week 1: I will work out on the treadmill at least two mornings during the work week and at least once on the weekend. 
  • Week 2: I will also do a morning workout at the Y one day a week (Tuesday or Thursday for the Morning Spinning Express.)
I have to stop listening to myself when I'm persuading myself out of exercise. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy.