“A mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone.”  Tyrion Lannister, A Song of Ice and Fire



Social media has dumbed me down.

I didn’t realize it until I went onto an old online book discussion board that I used to frequent daily.  I decided to visit it the other day,  read some of the posts, and connect with old friends.  As I read the posts and ideas of these dear fellows,  I realized that I was in way over my head and that could barely keep up with the complex thinking of some of these topics. Topic after topic I read, trying to grasp the points, trying to have an opinion, and failing on all fronts. I soon gave up out of exasperation and I felt a bit embarrassed that, not only could I not follow along,  but that I had nothing to contribute – not even opinions.

The journey to my current situation wasn’t overnight.  It took years and years for my brainpower to degenerate.  I used to be an avid reader, constantly with book in hand.  I enjoyed lively and in-depth discussions on politics, philosophy, religion, and such.  I played many online games that were nothing more than building story-lines through a discussion thread.  It was intellectually exhilarating and I was at the top of my game.

Over time though,  I stopped going to that discussion board  because I was simply tired of it. I lost interest  going over some of the same debates and discussions.  The creativity games ended with nothing to replace them and I began to look elsewhere for my mental stimulation.  My visits became more infrequent until I stopped going altogether. Around the same time, I stopped reading books on a regular basis.

That’s when my social media time increased. I got involved in Facebook and Twitter. Platforms, I might add, that have nothing to do with discussion or creativity but rather, more with memes, falsehoods, advertisements, and other things that do nothing to contribute to the quality of life, except for the funny dog or cat videos.  My information became quick, my responses shorter, my creativity waned, and my curious mind took a vacation. I spent my free time scanning through the information I saw on social media sites without a second thought. And that’s precisely where the problem lays – doing something without a second thought.


As a result of years of this type of activity, I honestly feel that I’ve turned into a lazy thinker.  My brain has become rusty, creaky, and unwilling to engage in complex thought. I used to be a problem solver but these days, I cringe at the thought of having to use my energy to solve a problem.  My memory is shot.  In fact, I don’t even try to remember anything.  Social media has become my memory because I can just “pin” whatever I want to remember, freeing up my mind to be lazy. My curiosity is non-existent so much so that I don’t even think to question anything.

Luckily, I started to read a book again a few weeks ago but as I started, I noticed how hard it was to maintain.  Reading is a skill that I seemed to have lost.  I am still able to focus on the actual process of reading but once I put the book down, I tend to have little interest in picking it back up.   I have to force myself to pick it up again, even though I happen to be thoroughly engaged with the book I’m currently reading.  I have trained myself to the short information spurts of social media rather than the longer, richer adventure a book can provide.  I need to re-train myself to enjoy this long adventure.  I need to exercise my brain which has atrophied far worse than my body has.


Thankfully, as I have noticed these changes, I have also spent less time on social media and it is a very nice break.  I feel more calm, happier, and aware of the world around me.  I feel that I have more relaxation time especially since my evenings are spent reading and not watching TV or surfing the ‘net.

So, have you read any good books lately?




I’m Feeling Down


I didn’t sleep well last night.  In fact, I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few months.  This is due, I’m sure, to bad diet and lack of exercise.

My knees hurt all the time now and as per my doctor, I need to keep exercising to keep them from deteriorating further. But, that just makes them hurt even more and I am struggling to walk, let alone do full exercise programs.

I take pain medication to sleep at night and take one of the nighttime formula pills (supposedly non-habit forming) to help me sleep.  When I don’t take these, I don’t sleep.  They sometimes won’t even work when I do take them.

My diet has been shit.  I’m craving lots of sugar and junk food. I’m drinking more wine. I’m overeating, even though I know it will give me horrible indigestion at night (probably another reason I can’t sleep).  I give into the cravings and do not feel guilty about indulging.  As a result, my clothes have gotten tighter. I feel unhealthy and I’ve almost regained all the weight I lost 3 years ago.


To make myself feel better, I shop.  I buy things I need but I splurge on the price.   This shopping phase will end.  It always does.  But, it is a bear when I’m going through it. It’s  my downfall.  Big time!  I shop to feel better about myself. I eat out more often and buy more expensive things and that I do feel guilty about.

Now that I am employed, I should be saving.  Instead, I’m spending like it’s going out of style.  I’m eating like it’s my last meal. My self-discipline has flown out the window and I am desperately trying to get it back.

These are typically a lonely time for me and I find that kind of sad.  No one really understands the anxiety it can create except those who go through it and those who I would normally turn to either do not know what to do for me or do not care enough to help.

My husband is sympathetic and supportive and has seen me go through this phase before but he wisely keeps his words to love and support, knowing that any criticism will release the Dogs of War from me. My son is young and quick to give me hugs but stays close to Dad because when I’m this low, I do not govern my emotions well.


Other family members who I try to open up to  tend to just give me lip service. I’m not high on the family totem pole and they are dismissive of me more often than not. Their apathy is hurtful but sadly,  doesn’t surprise me.


So, it is a lonely time for me and one that I have to pull myself out of.  This time is a little more difficult for me.  My knee pain is distracting. School and soccer season have begun. I don’t have the energy to eat well after the end of the day.

But, I must find a way through it, as I always do. I just hate it while I’m here.


Am I Just a Collector?

book-1659717_1920Last night, instead of turning on the TV before bed, I just picked up a new book and began to read.  This is something I haven’t done for some time and I so enjoyed the quiet house while I read and being transported into another world.  It had been a while since I had sat down and read a book that I marveled why I didn’t do it more often.  I had made a mental note to do it more often (easier when school is in session and TV viewing is intentionally limited) as I had a slew of books on my Kindle and Nook apps that needed reading.

But, as I was writing this post, happy to share my experience and write about reading and the joy of books, I stopped and thought to myself, Are you sensing a pattern here?  It was then that I had a bit of an epiphany: I am a collector. I collect stuff for hobbies that I do not practice.   Sewing is a perfect example of this.  And, I realized that reading is the same.


I have always considered myself a reader, being quite a voracious reader in my youth,  but the busyness of life along with other hobbies and pursuits, put reading on the back burner. I did it occasionally but not enough to warrant buying every book that caught my eye.  Reading became something that I prepared for.  I would hear about a book with great reviews and I would instantly go to Amazon and buy it only to have it sit on my shelf unread as I went about life.  I would think to myself that someday, I would read that book.

As you might guess, I have quite the digital library stacked up with great things to read that I have collected over the years.  They sit in my Kindle and Nook apps, waiting to be enjoyed. Like my sewing, the books have sat, collecting digital dust.

The more I write in this blog, the more I see the patterns develop in my life and realize that it isn’t just physical things that have been cluttering up my life but also digital things that I have collected.

What is funny about this is that I hate clutter!  I am notorious for throwing things out around the house – extra papers, clothing I haven’t worn in a year, old toys, books.  Everything that I deem unnecessary gets donated, recycled, or thrown out. What is even funnier, is that I live with a man who doesn’t mind clutter and doesn’t throw out anything.


I don’t declutter to make room for more things nor am I the tidiest person in the world. I do not need to have everything perfectly organized. But, I organize to unclutter my life, my mind.  If I have this laundry list of ‘to-dos,’ I get overwhelmed and lose sight of what is important.  And as I continue to remove these distractions, I unearth small collections of this, that, or the other thing that I had no idea I had been collecting.

So, now that I have uncovered two areas of collected things, I wonder what else I will discover.


A Dilemma of My Own Making


Now that I am re-employed, we are debating whether or not to renew our passes to Disneyland. Understand that we have VERY little debt outside of our mortgage and we do not live an extravagant lifestyle of expensive clothing, housing, etc. We don’t have boats or classic cars or motorcycles.   Nope.  We do Disneyland – with happy and childlike abandon.

My one extravagance has always been Disneyland.  I love, love, love Disneyland.  It is my thing.  It’s what I do. Don’t judge me.

BUT – should we renew our annual passes?  This is the question that we have been asking ourselves lately.

Well, we should save the money that we would normally spend on a weekend at Disneyland. Our savings has been a little depleted from me being out of work for the past year and our focus is to build that back up again as soon as possible, which we are doing nicely by the way.  That being said,  we are questioning everything we spend money on and trying to  keep our focus on simplifying our life.

Yet, although I am trying to simplify my life, does that really mean I have to do without?  Would I be choosing whether or not to have a piece of pie and questioning whether or not it will bring me happiness? Not really.  I believe in budgeting, living below your means, and saving for a rainy day.  What I do not believe in is going to the extreme with frugal living to the point where you cannot enjoy life.  In essence, I believe in moderation when it comes to frugal living.


But, fact of the matter is, Disneyland is not cheap.   It is definitely something we will have to budget.  So, we are weighing our choices quite heavily on the matter.  When these temptations arise, when the resources are plentiful, I tell myself that I need to be more frugal, not more spendthrift.  Save for a rainy day and all that stuff.  Grrrrrrr…  So, when I am not saving every little penny or making extra payments on our debt, I become frustrated and delve into a dilemma of my own making.

Should I?  Shouldn’t I?

Why do I feel so damn guilty about doing something I love?? If I took up a hobby such as hiking, I would not feel one bit guilty about buying the necessary equipment (which also isn’t cheap).  I had no problem spending money on my sewing habit – uh, I mean, hobby – and actively pursued anything and everything expensive I could get my hands on for it.  But, for some reason, my Disney hobby is taboo and the one I feel most guilty about.


But, then I remind myself that I am allowed to BUDGET my life and my fun, including Disneyland and POOF! Problem solved!  So, even though I may be spending my Saturday at my favorite place, I am also saving and making those extra payments to my debt.  And I truly think that is the key to success – A BUDGET!

So, how do you solve your spending quandaries?  

Have a great day!





My Health Statement of Purpose

I’m back here because I have put back most of the 30 lbs I lost in 2015. I have thrown out all my bigger clothes because I swore I would never go back to being that big again and now here I am – just 8 lbs short of where I started – and I am horrified.  workout-1931107_640

It came back mostly within the past 6 months.  Bad job, bad diet, bad choices, no exercise.  My own fault.  In January I got a desk job  in an office of overweight workers who ate cookies and cake everyday and wondered aloud why they were so fat.  The head of security loved to bake, you see, so he would bring in his labors for us to ‘enjoy.’   They were very good. Too good in fact, and I found myself going from ‘just a taste’ to full on large portions.

I quit the job after six months.  It was a poor fit for me.  So, I focused on staying at home with my son, working on my online business venture.  But, the habits from that job stuck with me.  Poor diet, no exercise, lots of staying indoors.

One day, my husband was taking a picture of me and when I saw it, I commented on what a horrible picture it was. I looked tired, pale, and old.  When did I get old? I asked. Then, it hit me. It wasn’t because I was getting old – it was because I had gained the weight back, stopped exercising and therefore, LOOKED old.  Hello, rude awakening!  No wonder I didn’t sleep well anymore.  No wonder my food felt like cement in my stomach.  No wonder my knees and back ached.

So, here is my statement:

I won’t allow myself  to become old before my time.  I don’t want to live my life like one of my co-workers, stuffing my face with cake everyday and boo-hooing about being fat.  I want to be one of those older women who people look at and say, “You’re over 50??”  I want to be able to fit into clothes that don’t have elastic waistbands – except yoga pants.  I don’t want to be battling diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
I remember Tony Horton saying in one of his videos that getting old is for people who don’t know any better.  Welp, I know better.

I recently finished a book called Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. and I highly recommend it.  It really hit home for me as a late-middle aged person entering the golden years.

I want them to be golden, too.  Like the sunshine.  Not like the lighting in a hospital.


Have a wonderful day!

Living in the Present

One of the biggest issues that I have always faced in my personal development journey has been that I overextend myself. I am always looking for something to do, something to create, something to make, something that will make me busy.  Although I am quite happy in my life,  there is a part of me that is never quite satisfied.


Recently, I stayed with my in-laws who live a very charmed life in Northern California. They own their own business but they live well below their means and have plenty of free time to enjoy their lives.

One day as my sister-in-law and I were chatting,  she told me of a family member who sounded very similar to me.  This family member always looked for something else to do, always seem to be focused on the next thing, always looked for the next thing to create –  just like me. My sister-in-law then went on to say something that really stuck with me:  She said that this person did not know how to live in the present.

Right then and there, I had the epiphany I needed and it struck me so hard.  I do not know how to live in the present.


I have been so busy searching for the next thing that I felt unfulfilled in my present life.  Yet, I have so much to be fulfilled with.  I have a loving, wonderful husband, great children who bring me joy, a comfortable life – what am I missing?  Nothing, but my present life!


So that will be my challenge over the next few months. I will learn to live in the present be content with where I am at and with what I have and deal with it.

What do you do when you find that your focus is not on the now but on the future (or past)?  How do you navigate back to the present?

Have a great day!