Saturday, April 28, 2012

Because It's The Cup: Quarter Final Picks

As the second round of Stanley Cup playoff action kicks into gear, I decided to change my philosophy in choosing the winner for each series. Forget the stats, forget what's happened so far -- every series is a new one and this time I'm going with my heart. Whether they win or lose, I actually LIKE all the teams I've picked to win. Plus I've resigned myself to losing the bet with my friend based on my first round performance, so I'm picking with zero pressure right now.

I'm praying for good things too, Mike Richards. I believe the Hockey Gods are listening.

Here's what I've got.


Eastern Conference

NY Rangers vs Washington Capitals
My pick - Rangers in 7
Both these teams had a tough battle in round one and this series will go down to the wire as well. The Caps have been tough for the Rangers to beat during the regular season, but this is a whole new series after all. The Rangers need to get star scoring forward Marian Gaborik going offensively and follow Coach John Tortorella's first rule -- "You don't block pucks, you don't play."

Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils
My pick -- Flyers in 6
It's a good thing the Flyers proved they can play defensive hockey towards the end of their first round series because there won't be any 8 to 10 goal games in this match-up. The Devils strengths are defense and goal tending, but the Flyers still have enough offensive prowess to get the job done.

Western Conference

Los Angeles Kings vs St. Louis Blues
My pick -- Kings in 7
These teams are so evenly matched and defensively focused it may be hard for anyone to score. But the Kings have more top end offensive talent and an edge in goal thanks to the continued stellar play of goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings need to strike early with a win on the road because St. Louis won't go down easy. It will be a long and physical series, but I honestly believe the Kings have it in them.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
My pick -- Predators in 6
Every game but one in the Coyotes first round series went to overtime, so this will be a longer contest than the Preds had in the first round. At the end of the day, Nashville has more depth of talent and even if Phoenix goalie Mike Smith continues to stand on his head, it won't be enough to get the job done.


No matter what happens in the this round, it's going to be fun watching. Let's hope my heart survives what I'm sure will be some very emotional games.

Playoff hockey rules -- Because It's The Cup!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Beacuse It's The Cup: First Round Results

Well, the first round of The Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally over, and it was a WILD ride.

One of the best things about the playoffs is upsets, and there were some big ones this round. The biggest one was undoubtedly the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins getting knocked out of the race by the Washington Captials. And then there was this little upstart team from Los Angeles that defeated the Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks, who were also the Western Conference Champions LAST season. That's right, MY KINGS GOT IT DONE.

I suck at predictions, but my boys are happy. Totally worth sucking.

Did I pick the Kings to win? No, I didn't. I tried to consider stats, depth charts, observations from the season -- you know, use my brain to make picks. The one lesson the Stanley Cup Playoffs will quickly teach you is the intangibles a team possesses often mean far more than numbers at this time of the season.

So my first round predictions kinda sucked. Let's have a look at where I was right and wrong.

Eastern Conference - 2 wins, 2 losses

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators - RIGHT
My pick - Rangers in 6
What happened -  Rangers in 7

I don't think the Rangers could have cut this one any closer, but Madison Square Garden is the best home ice advantage in the NHL and the fans brought it BIG TIME. Kudos to Ottawa for making it a very exciting series, but I'm glad the best team won. And the boyfriend is happy, so I'm even more happy.

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals - WRONG
My pick -- Bruins in 5
What happened - Capitals in 7

A lot of OT, fewer minutes for Alex Ovechkin and 7 one goal game differentials later, the Caps somehow managed to upset the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Caps rookie goaltender Braden Holtby was the difference maker in this series. Amazing what playing with no expectations can help you achieve.

NJ Devils and Florida Panthers - RIGHT
My pick - Devils in 5
What happened - Devils in 7

Other than Game 7, I honestly have NO idea what happened in this series. As I mentioned before, I could care less about either team and I didn't watch or listen up until the end. Game 7 made up for it, going into a second overtime period before the outcome finally got decided. It was the VERY LAST SERIES finished to boot, and I was SO ready to move on to the second round it was crazy. I wish I could say the lesser of two evils won, but I'd be lying.

Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers - WRONG
My pick -- Pens in 7
What happened - Flyers in 6

I was right about one thing in predicting this series -- it WAS a must watch. It was nasty, full of high drama, bad behavior and crazy goal scoring. In the end, the Flyers shoved too much offensive at a Penguins team that got inside their own heads and away from their game. My family is also happy they'll get to rub my nose in this one for a while.

Western Conference - 2 Wins, 2 Losses

LA Kings vs Vancouver Canucks - WRONG
My pick -- Canucks in 6
What happened -- Kings in 5

I'd love to lie and say I was using reverse psychology to motivate my team, but I'm too honest for that. The Kings found their mojo at exactly the right time, the Canucks got away from their game plan and Los Angeles Kings hockey history was made in the process. With the Kings advancing beyond the first round for the first time since 2001, I am now a believer in my team - win, lose or draw.

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks - RIGHT
My pick -- Blues in 6
What happened -- Blues in 5
I wrote this -- "The Sharks also knocked the Kings out of the playoffs LAST season, so I'll be happy to see them get the short end of the stick this time." The Hockey Gods listened. All is right with the world.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks - WRONG
My pick -- Blackawks in 7
What happened - Coyotes in 6

My boyfriend is absolutely enjoying me being wrong about this one and it's all thanks to the Coyotes goal tender Mike Smith. True to the Coyotes motto of "Hockey The Hard Way," five of the six games it took to decide this series went to overtime. In the end the Blackhawks just seemed to get tired of fighting, and a long battle of attrition ended with 4 unanswered Coyotes goals.

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings - RIGHT
My pick -- Predators in 6
What happened -- Predators win in 5 games
As great as the Red Wings are, they quite simply got outmatched by a younger, more powerful team. Russian defenceman Alexander Radulov was a key contributor for the Predators. Nashville fans are cool and I'm happy for them. Red Wings fans will spend the summer wondering if Captain Niklas Lidstrom will finally call it a career.

So now we move to the second round starting tomorrow, and since I haven't given up yet I'll have a new set of predictions for the quarter final games. I have a bet over dinner with a friend on our picks for the entire series and right now he's kicking my ass. But if the Kings can prove people wrong, so can I.

Because It's The Cup.....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dermatology For Dummies: So You're Having A Biopsy...

This week I went back to the dermatologist to have a biopsy on a suspicious mole that turned up during my full body check a few weeks ago. Actually, it didn't really "turn up" then, it was the reason I went in for a full body check to being with. As much as I hate doctors on general principle, common sense has a way of compelling you to get over your fear and loathing when you think something really COULD be wrong with you. The body check was the first step in confirming my instincts were right to be concerned. The biopsy would determine just HOW CONCERNED I'll have to be moving forward.

I wasn't really that nervous about the appointment, but I also didn't know what to expect other than having a patch of skin cut off to be tested. On the drive over, I kept chuckling thinking about the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Aunt Voula talks about her "bibopsy." But when I arrived at the office, I also remember Annie Lennox's song "Why" playing in the waiting room as I went in for the procedure and hoping the lyrics didn't come back to haunt me after it was all over.

The first thing I had to do was sign a release form confirming I was aware of the "side effects" of the procedure -- you know, little things like bleeding, infection and scarring. At that moment things got a little scarier since I hadn't really thought through HOW MUCH skin I'd be losing or exactly how it would get removed. Turns out a biopsy involves taking enough skin -- and deep enough -- to require a Novocaine shot and some stitches. My doctor joked that everyone at work should be nice to me and let me leave early since I started the day with a "surgical procedure." My doctor is a very nice lady, but I was having a hard time laughing. The reality sunk in.

As the doctor was taking a chunk out of my shoulder she commented that the "base" looked good. I had no idea what that actually meant but she seemed positive so I felt good about it. Only later when a friend asked me "Well what did the rest of it look like?" did I realize I probably should have asked some questions. But when you're the patient face down on a table in the middle of a "surgical procedure," it doesn't really occur to you to ask. This is one reason I'm convinced you should always take a friend -- a smart one -- with you when you see a doctor. For anything. Your friend is capable of being a little more wise and objective while you're trying to forget what's happening to you.

Thanks to the Novocaine I didn't feel a thing afterwards besides the outer bandage tugging slightly when I moved my shoulder. Then I was sent off with instructions not to soak the incision site (so no hot tub....darn) and not to work out that day (finally, a legitimate excuse!), along with an appointment to come back in 2 weeks to have the stitches removed and to get my lab results.

I spent the rest of the day acutely aware of the taped spot under my clothes. I was even more acutely aware that it would be a long two weeks until I got some answers. I was a little depressed the rest of the day, to be honest. I kept checking the bandage to make sure no blood was soaking through, indicating the stitches were pulling. There wasn't, but somehow that didn't make me feel better. And then I realized that until I hear the doctor say, "No, you don't have skin cancer..." I probably won't feel any better.

Now that the outer bandage is off, I look at the small pieces of surgical tape remaining over my stitches every day, wondering if everything will be OK.

There is nothing left to do but wait and see...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lightening Up

I've tried a lot of different diet strategies in my lifelong quest to maintain a healthier weight.  No matter what worked, I always found one thing that absolutely doesn't -- deprivation. Saying I "can't" have something is guaranteed to make me crave it even more, which then leads to me beating myself up over the fact that I want it. It's an awful cycle and completely non-productive. So as a general rule, I try to control portions of the treats I enjoy, limit how often I have them or find a "lighter" version of the original if I can.

I enjoy the occasional cocktail, but the calories in alcoholic drinks add up pretty quickly. Luckily, the latest trend I've noticed in the restaurant industry is offering "skinny" cocktails. I was having dinner at a local bar with a friend a few weeks ago and asked the server what makes a drink "skinny." In some cases, they use lower calorie versions of the alcohol itself. Lightening up the calorie content of the mixer is also key.

Then I was at the grocery store looking for margarita mixer for the weekend and I noticed they're beginning to carry reduced calorie mixes. Or in the case of the one I picked -- ZERO calories.

I've always wondered how something can be completely devoid of calories and still be edible, but I guess I just need to brush up on my organic chemistry for that one. I was curious about exactly what was in this mix so I compared the label to the mix I normally buy. The biggest difference was the lack of sugar. My regular mix is flavored with high fructose corn syrup which accounted for most of the 110 calories per serving. This calorie free mix seems to get most of the flavor from sodium and citric acid.

But the big question is taste. Many "light" foods I've tried have either left me cold in the flavor department or were simply awful. I was actually pretty pleased with the margarita I made. The mix is a little more tart than some people might like owing to the lack of sugar, but I like my margaritas on the tart side anyway.

If you're watching your calories like me, try a skinny margarita and say goodbye to deprivation!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Lately I've been thinking a lot about habits. Since the beginning of the year, I've been trying to understand my behavior patterns better to figure out why I'm not getting more of the things I want to do accomplished, why I feel stressed and rushed much of the time, why I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and generally how I can make my life work better. In the process, I realize I've established some habits that aren't getting me where I want to go. I also don't make a habit of some things that will help me accomplish my goals.

Let's just say I have some morning routine issues at the moment....

I was checking one of the many self-help and development blogs I follow today and learned that it takes 3 weeks of daily repetition to form a habit.  My company has a saying that whatever gets measured usually improves, so I thought the right way to improve my habits would be to make a list and actually track how often I do or don't do these things for three weeks.

For the purposes of this list, I picked some quick fix things. If I made a list of ALL my habits that need adjustment I'd be writing all weekend.

Here's what I'll be working on......

Things I need to stop doing
Hitting the snooze button on the alarm -- several times -- every morning
Scratching my skin when it gets dry
Falling into bed with my makeup on
Chewing a broken nail until it's even instead of filing it off
Ending almost every sentence I write with exclamation points!!!
Eating/drinking things directly from the container (Single people, you KNOW you do this. Non-single people, you STILL do it on the sly when you're alone)

Things I need to start doing
Drinking water every day
Brushing my teeth after every meal
Moisturizing daily

I put my list on a spreadsheet, printed it and put it on the fridge. My little experiment starts tomorrow and will end on Friday, May 11th -- that's exactly 21 days. My blog entry on May 11th will include my results. If you don't see the blog, you'll know I failed miserably and I expect you to berate me using any methods you deem appropriate. We all need a little help forming habits, after all.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Grilled Cheese Truck

A few years ago, if you had suggesting grabbing lunch from a mobile catering truck, my response would have been "You mean eat food from a Roach Coach?"

Food trucks have come a long way, baby.

Once upon a time, the only place you'd see food trucks would be outside manufacturing plants and other industrial areas, feeding greasy burgers, chips and sodas to blue collar workers like my Dad (he was the one I first heard call them Roach Coaches). Nowadays, food trucks are at the forefront of a mobile dining revolution in major cities across the country. The Smithsonian even recently released a list of the 20 Best Food Trucks in the United States.

In Los Angeles, one of the most popular food trucks around serves a favorite sandwich from your childhood with a few new twists. Meet The Grilled Cheese Truck!

I found The Grilled Cheese truck through Facebook and Twitter, where they announce their daily melting spots and menu specials. I drooled and yearned with each new post but made a deal with my boyfriend that I would wait until he was visiting Los Angeles so we could have our "first time" visiting "The Truck" together. That was last September and it was a beautiful sight!

We decided to order different sandwiches so we could each try a couple of different things. Mine (on the left) was The Caprese Melt -- roasted whole garlic bread, fresh Mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic syrup -- and it was yummy. The boyfriend ordered what The Grilled Cheese Truck folks affectionately call the "Fully Loaded" aka The Cheesy Mac and Rib -- macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar, BBQ pork and caramelized onions. Simply put, the "Fully Loaded" was ORGASMIC. 

It's now my regular order every time I visit the truck.

Last week I stopped by the truck for lunch and managed to pause long enough to get some photos before devouring my choices. The top photo in the triptych is a close up of the "Fully Loaded" oozing its beautiful cheesy goodness. You get a wider view of it in the bottom left photo. The bottom right was a new sandwich I wanted to try -- The Brie Melt. It's cranberry walnut bread, double cream brie, sliced pears, honey and fresh thyme. Definitely a winner, but the "Fully Loaded" remains my go to sandwich.

Next time I find the truck, I'm going to try one of their dessert choices! S'more melt, anyone?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dermatology For Dummies

I love the sun. I've loved it my whole life. I grew up a beach baby, building sandcastles and playing in  the surf. The first car I fell in love with was a 1968 Ford Mustang convertible and when I established myself enough in life to buy a convertible, I did. I feel creative, energized and alive with the sun shining down on me.

I am also naturally fair skinned and I haven't always been careful enough about using sunscreen.

I knew the basics about spotting potential skin cancer from reading magazine articles and such. Moles that are inconsistent in shape, change in size, look irregular in color or have bumpy texture are all possible warning signs. When I first moved to CA twelve years ago, I got a bad burn that peeled twice. Since then, I've noticed more moles popping up on my shoulders and chest in the locations of that burn, so I became a little more diligent about my sunscreen habits -- and about checking myself in the mirror for new spots.

Recently, I noticed a mole that didn't look just right. It didn't look bad, but it didn't look like most of the others I had either.

I decided it was time to bite the bullet and head to the dermatologist for a full body check. The doctor agreed the mole needed a closer look -- under a microscope -- so I go back for a biopsy next week.

Most of my experiences with doctors have bordered on cringe-worthy, but the dermatologist I found through a friend was amazing. And she taught me a few things I didn't know about skin.

  • We are all genetically programmed to produce bumps, moles and other imperfections. It's what makes us unique. Because of that, you can have plenty of things that look odd but aren't cancerous. I have one noticeably raised red mole I was concerned about and she confirmed it was totally normal.
  • When you go in for a body check, it's important to remove your nail polish. Nails are skin too, so it's important to check nail coloring and look for blue streaks or other discolorations under the nails as well. Treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure after your doctor appointment.
  • It's a good idea to have your skin checked once a year. Your dermatologist can monitor changes in the size or shape of the mole that might happen so gradually you don't notice. In addition to the mole that needs a biopsy, my doctor now has a list of some other moles that don't present an issue at this point but should be monitored.

My doctor was especially great about reinforcing that I had done the right thing in getting checked out. She also made me feel really great about the fact that I knew my skin as well as I did and realized what to look for. Although I did get a gentle reminder about using sunscreen EVERY TIME I have the top down on the car....

Better safe than sorry, after all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


When you were growing up, did you ever have a bulletin board on a wall in your bedroom? I did.

My bulletin board was the place I kept mementos of my favorite places and events, photos of things I wanted to try or be, colors I loved, clothes I wanted, people I admired -- anything and everything that inspired me.

When I joined Pinterest, it was like being a kid with a bulletin board all over again.

Pinterest is the hottest new thing on the Internet and after playing around with it for a while, I understand why. It's a place to discover new things, collect things you like for later reference and share what you find with your friends.

I've been bookmarking and saving web links for a while with other sites like Evernote and Delicious, but Pinterest is much more appealing because it focuses on strictly on visuals. With other types of bookmarking, you have to think of a name or description that will remind you easily of exactly what you kept and why. With Pinterest, you see a photo first, then you can access the link to the site attached to the visual with a second click. Having themed "boards" of visuals makes it so much easier to quickly scan through a collection of stuff and grab exactly what you need.

Here's a real life example. I'm visiting a friend in a couple of weeks, and we love to cook together. Part of our weekend will include a group dinner at another location, so we needed something that could be transported in a crock pot or casserole dish and would feed a crowd. I went straight to my "Food" board on Pinterest, found 3 possible recipes and emailed the links to my friend in about 10 minutes. It would have taken me about 3 times as long with a more traditional type of bookmarking site.

If you'd like a more detailed introduction to what Pinterest is and how it works, check out this link. It's written with branding and marketing in mind but it's straightforward enough for a new user to understand the site as well.

Happy pinning!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Because It's The Cup

I'm a hockey fan, which means spring is my favorite time of year. I get to watch a bunch of very talented athletes battle for the most iconic trophy in all of sports -- The Stanley Cup!

I got to see it when I visited Toronto a couple of year ago -- but I didn't touch it.

If you're new to hockey, here is a basic explanation of how The Stanley Cup Playoffs work.

  • There are two conferences -- Eastern and Western.
  • The top 8 teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs.
  • There are 3 rounds of play for teams within each conference to determine a conference champion.
  • Each round is a best of 7 game series.
  • Pairings are determined by the final regular season standings (e.g. 1st place in each conference plays the 8th place seed, 2nd plays 7th and so on).
  • The champions from each conference then play each other for the Stanley Cup.

My hometown team is the Los Angeles Kings, but I have a lot of hockey buddies that are fans of other teams. I also follow a number of websites that cover the entire NHL so I'm reasonably well informed about most of the teams in the league. I was having a chat with one of my hockey pals right before the playoffs started and we were predicting the outcomes of all the first round games in the Stanley Cup series. I thought it would be fun to share my predictions here.

If you're a hockey fan yourself, I'd love your opinions on my picks!


Eastern Conference

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators -- Rangers in 6
The Rangers are my boyfriend's team, so I really don't have a choice who to root for here. But even if it wasn't for him, I'd pick the Rangers anyway. They placed first in the Eastern Conference standings during the regular season and they have one of the most talented -- and HANDSOME -- goalies in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist. Plus the Senators have one of my least favorite NHL jerseys.

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals -- Bruins in 5
The Capitals have one of the best players in the game in Alex Ovechkin, but he has underperformed all year and been one of the Caps major story lines this season in a bad way. The Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but they've had an up and down season. I give the Bruins the edge because Washington's problems this season are a lot more than skin deep and I don't see them getting it together enough to win a series.

NJ Devils and Florida Panthers -- Devils in 5
I don't really have a horse in this race and I don't especially like either team.  But the Panthers just don't have the talent the Devils do I think this one will be over pretty quickly.

Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers -- Pens in 7
These two teams have a long standing rivalry -- and deep hatred for each other. Both teams are offensively talented and generally solid on defense.  Pittsburgh has a slight offensive edge thanks to the return of Sidney Crosby, arguably the best overall player in the game today, who has been dealing with concussions symptoms most of the season. Goal tending could be the difference, which doesn't favor the Flyers. No matter who wins, this will be a hard fought and entertaining series and it will go down to the wire. It's a must watch if you want to see why hockey fans love the game so much.

Western Conference

LA Kings vs Vancouver Canucks -- Canucks in 6
I'm sure you're scratching your head right now because I'm not picking my own team to win. But I go to almost every home game and I know the strengths and weaknesses of my boys. There is no team better defensively and in goal than the Kings, but they've had trouble scoring all year. The Canucks won the President's Trophy for a second consecutive year (awarded to the team in the NHL with the most points at the end of the regular season) and they're solid top to bottom. As much as I love my Kings, I think the Canucks will be too much for them in the end.

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks -- Blues in 6
This will be one of the more interesting series in the West. The Blues are a completely different team this season under coach Ken Hitchcock. They're big, they're fast and they do a great job with puck possession at both end of the ice. The Sharks are a perennial contender that has made it to the Western Conference finals previously but never had that extra something to get the big prize. The Sharks also knocked the Kings out of the playoffs LAST season, so I'll be happy to see them get the short end of the stick this time.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks -- Hawks in 7
The boyfriend roots for the Coyotes as well, but since they're a Pacific Division foe of the Kings, he's not the reason I'm picking them to win. The Coyotes are a hardscrabble team with an unglamorous line up but one of the best coaches in the league. They also have a goalie playing the hockey of his life right now. Add the fact that they had to fight tooth and nail to even get in to the playoffs and I believe they have what it takes to make it past the first round. The series will be a long one because the Chicago Blackhawks have some potent offensive tools in guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but less than stellar goal tending will hamper them in the end.

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings -- Predators in 6
This is probably the most evenly matched pair of teams in the West. The Red Wings have won The Stanley Cup numerous times and they have one of the deepest benches in hockey thanks to stellar long term player development strategy. Even though you can never count Detroit out of the conversation, I think this is Nashville's year thanks to a rock hard blue line led by Shea Weber and the wizardry of goalie Pekka Rinne.


I'll report back in a future blog post and let you know how I did.  The one pick I hope I'm wrong about is the Kings series! GO KINGS GO!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why "To Do" Doesn't Always Lead To "Done"

I'm a little obsessed about being organized, so to do lists are a mainstay of my life. I love them so much that when I got an iPhone, I immediately looked for a to-do list app. I even tried out several different kinds until I found the right one.

I spent hours creating categories, tags and schedules for all my to do list items. I have certain tasks (like paying bills) repeat weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on the bill in question. I having rolling shopping lists that I add to when I'm out of an item so I can remember to pick it up the next time I'm at the store. I have more strategic planning items repeat on a quarterly basis so I can take stock of where I am with my "big picture" life plans. The whole creation is flawlessly organized, color coded and  conveniently with me every time my phone is in my hand. All of which made my epiphany this weekend even more shocking.

I am an expert at making to do lists, so why can't I get more done? 

"To Do" is only planning. Actually "doing" requires execution.
Putting something on a to do list only signifies your intent to complete a task. When the time comes to actually do it, other things can dampen your original enthusiasm.
  • Is it something you're dreading or avoiding? For me doing my taxes is one of the things that falls in this bucket. It's been on my to do list for a month now. 
  • Are you afraid you won't be able to finish the task? I run into this thought all the time when I'm blogging. I'll get started on a post and then my ideas stop flowing, or I get distracted by something else. If I had a dollar for every unfinished draft of a blog post I've started, I could be drinking a REALLY nice bottle of wine right now.
  • Are there other reasons you're unmotivated? Had a tough day at work and don't feel like doing anything but sitting in front of the TV eating ice cream all evening? Been there, done that.

The list can become demotivating.
When I get up in the morning, picking up my phone is practically the first thing I do. One of the first things I see is that little red circle on my to do app with a number signifying the tasks I have waiting for me.

At times, my desire to crawl back into bed and hide from the world is directly proportionate to that number, because it not only represents things I need to do today but things that DIDN'T get completed as scheduled. The list that is supposed to keep me on track starts to feel a ten thousand pound weight on my shoulders. The focus then shifts from getting back on track to obsessing over being behind.

To do lists are good at handling individual pieces, but they can't assemble the whole puzzle.
It's kind of ironic that I have a quarterly to do list item to check on the status of my "life plan" since I don't have "the plan" yet. It's even funnier because the task I set to CREATE the plan is still sitting on my to do list -- with a due date back in January where I initially scheduled it. I've got groceries and my bills are paid on time, but I'm still not sure where my life is headed -- just haven't found time to get to that part yet. And that is possibly the biggest lesson I've learned about to do lists -- they are tactical tools, NOT strategic plans.

Now that I've come to terms with the fact that I need more than my to do list to help me navigate successfully to the life I want, I just need to figure out the best plan to get where I want to go. Anyone know if they have an app for that?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Night Magic

I love night time. There is magic and romance in even the most ordinary moments when the sun goes down. Savoring the peaceful quiet, lost in random thoughts and dreams, allowing yourself to go places that seem impossible in the harsh light of day. The darkness paints the world in subtle shades, light glows softly around unexpected corners and everyday sights become mysterious and new.


 Sometimes the best way to shed new light on something is to experience it after dark.