Trying Somthing New

As most of you know I have issues with perfectionism.  I don’t really THINK I have these issues but my behavior tells me different; actions speak louder than words so to speak. The problem with wanting everything to be perfect is that it keeps me from trying new things.  I make up my mind I cannot do something because I don’t know how and if I try it won’t be right so, why bother.   The problem with that attitude is that it stunts personal growth.  It is a convenient excuse to not bother; it allows me to be lazy and that is not acceptable to me.  Once I decided that being lazy was worse than not doing things perfect I have been able to let go.

I have huge food issues.  I am a really picky eater and trying new foods is really difficult for me.  Trying new foods is hard enough but cooking them is even worse.  With all the lifestyle changes I have made in the past year, not eating starches has been one of the biggest challenges of all.  Every once in a while I have a huge craving and I like to figure out how to satisfy the craving without eating the starch.  This time, I have been craving lasagna.  I decided to ask  my mom to teach me how to make zucchini lasagna.  Whenever I made traditional lasagna I always ended up with soup so the transition from traditional to zucchini wasn’t a no brainer for me.  I quit trying to make it years ago.  (if you can’t do it right don’t do it at all…)  Asking mom for help was smart because she has always been a good cook but she doesn’t necessarily use recipes and I cannot “wing it”!

I was amazed at how little the amounts of ingredients used.  No wonder I had soup; my measurements were way off, a result of my winging it by the way!  When we were done, I was sure this was going to be horrible.  I do not like zucchini at all and I knew if I could taste it I wouldn’t eat it.   Mom showed me how to slice the zucchini very thin and then she blanched it, something I would have never known to do.  Apparently that takes the bitterness away?  When the sauce was put on I thought mom had lost her mind.  There was hardly any sauce at all, she used a spoon, I used a ladle!   I didn’t think there was enough sauce or cheese to cover up that horrible taste.

I brought home the casserole and cooked it for dinner.  I decided to have it as a side dish so that if it was awful we didn’t have to go out to dinner.  John wouldn’t touch it at first.  I was surprised that it wasn’t horrible.  I might say it was even good.  John finally took a taste and we both agreed that it would not kill us.  I can eat this, on occasion, to satisfy the cravings of the higher calorie and carb original.  A smaller serving is actually much better for me.

Learning to live a new lifestyle isn’t easy.  It is full of compromises.  Letting go of perfect is one of those compromises.  Learning to try new things is another.  It doesn’t matter whether it is with food or other things, opening my mind and allowing that gray area of life in is a very good thing.  It makes me grow and sometimes I even learn to like it.

Your challenge for the week is easy, try something new.  It doesn’t have to be food related, just do something different, open your mind and give it a go.  Let me know what you did and how you liked it.  I promise it won’t be as bad as you think!

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SUNSET AT ZELLWOOD STATION

I have written before about the gathering of golf carts at sunset in our community.  Today was our day to go up and meet  this group of people.  I have been watching them for months now and I have to tell you that sometimes the stories are much better in my  head; sometimes my imagination is  better than my reality and SOMETIMES I have to hear John say “I told you so!”  I hate it when that happens.

Today was a beautiful cloudless day in Zellwood.  There was a nice cool breeze all day and the temperature in the mid 80’s.  I had taken Rosie for her evening walk and it dawned on me that we were getting close to sunset so I flew in the house and asked John to take me up to the gazebo so we could watch it set.  John really sees no reason to do this, he says that he has seen a sunset and doesn’t need to see another.  Sigh.  But I push on because I don’t want to go up there alone, in my mind these golf carts are filled with couples, holding hands and sitting quietly together watching the sun slowly drop into the small little lake.

I am impatient because John doesn’t move fast enough for me and that doesn’t start our romantic little escapade out very well.  I am sure we will miss everything by the time John gets us up to the gazebo.  John, Rosie and I get in the golf cart and up we go, John being the good guy that he is, ignoring my immature rants and of course, we arrive with time to spare.  LOTS of time to spare.

At first none of the people even spoke, so my first bubble pops.  There are other dogs with their families and they are the ones that get things moving. Slowly we start chatting and getting to know each other.  There are couples and singles.  And it really isn’t about the sunset as much as about gathering.  I said should have brought my glass of wine but didn’t because I wasn’t sure of what was proper. They made sure I knew that anything goes.  One man was telling us that we could bring our dinner up to the gazebo and eat it as the sun set.  Wouldn’t that be romantic?  As my eyes lit up John made it clear he was not participating in that!  Another bubble pops!

I decide to take a picture because I actually remembered the camera and I snap picture number one and my camera is dead, out of juice.  I don’t know if the picture took or not but I do know that there will be no other pictures taken.  And pop pop pop!

(And the picture turned out pretty good!)

As people come and go the reality becomes more and more apparent.  This is a meeting place.  It is relaxing and carefree.  And all of a sudden everyone says goodnight and leaves.  I was confused, the sun hadn’t even set yet!  But they were done and off they all went!  John was thrilled because he didn’t want to be there at all.  And off we went as well.  POP!

We ended up going for a drive around the community in our little golf cart, our family; John, Rosie and me.  It wasn’t perfect, it certainly wasn’t romantic, but it was fun.  We adapted to the moment and made our moment; not the twisted one I had in my head but our own little family moment.  John driving the golf cart, Rosie learning to enjoy riding in it and me still getting my story!

So your challenge for the week is not to watch a sunset, unless you really want to!  But this week it is to adapt to what is.  Don’t try to make it what you want, allow it to be what it really is and tell me about it.

MY PHOTO WALK

I was reading an article on how to stress-proof your life  in the May 2012 issue of Health Magazine.  One of the suggestions was to take a photo walk.  It said to head outside and photograph the things you find interesting, fun or beautiful.  It says that it helps us to look for positive images.  I thought that was worth a try so yesterday I went on a photo walk.

It wasn’t easy at first because I was busy looking for the perfect picture instead of things that were interesting.  And what did I find interesting anyway?  I decided to walk to a part of our community that I hadn’t been to before.  When I go for a run I am focused o the run itself and not really my surroundings but I pretty much take the same route.  This time I went into the side streets and tried to pay attention to the individuality of the homes.

I wished that my niece Monique was with me.  She is a photographer and her eye for the unique is amazing.  I thought if we lived closer she could teach me a thing about taking pictures; right back to looking for that perfect picture. Sigh.

But then I started to let go.   I ran across this driveway.

 

It is a bit hard to see but there are small cans filled with dirt and an American Flag.  I don’t know if they are there to block the driveway from being used or if this is a patriotic statement or both.  It was interesting and hopefully accomplished what the owner intended.

 

We live in a golf course community and it was Saturday morning; where were all the golfers?  I find golf interesting because I have not become a golfer yet.  I have taken lessons but have not done anything with them.  I’m not sure we can afford for John and I to both love golf yet.  It is fascinating that people can hit that silly ball so far and I can only make it move 10 feet.

Good things do come to those who wait.  I finally came across a foursome on the 18th green.  I hid behind a large tree so I could take pictures without disturbing them. While I am taking pictures I wonder if this is legal?! 

My picture-taking skills are not good enough to worry about that!  I’m lucky I got all four people in the shot.

As I walked on, I started paying attention to the silence.  That is one of the greatest benefits of living in a 55+ community.  It is so quiet.  I focused in on the sounds I was hearing.  The wind was whistling and there were several birds chirping away.  I’m not good at identifying what songs belong to which bird but there were several different ones.  Then I heard laughter and that made me smile.

Every so often there would be the hum of a golf cart buzzing past.  Many people have their own golf carts and that is the standard mode of transportation within the community.

Since we moved here in February we have been under drought conditions and as I walked along I noticed this area that shows how bad the drought is.

 

I am not sure if this area ever was full of water but it looks as though it should be.  I took pictures from several angles and found it sad that we need water so bad.  Please God send us rain.  We really do need it.

 

 

(another angle of the same area).

Even with the drought the area is very pretty.  There is a bench too for sitting to enjoy the view. I wonder how many people actually use it?

Those of us with dogs walk here and I notice that people really do follow the guidelines and clean up after their animals.  The area is free of litter too.  I love living in this community.  It is everything we wanted and more.

I am back to my street.  I talk about the hill going up to our home and people laugh at me because Florida really doesn’t have hills but it is true, we do.  You feel it right in your calf muscles when you are walking!  This is the view I see from my patio, isn’t it beautiful?

 

By the way, my neighbor’s house is for sale if anyone is interested!

I like this little duck!  It always makes me smile.  They took something simple and kicked it up a notch.   I wonder if she changes the flowers seasonally?  I would until I became bored with it or just too lazy to bother.

I have not met this lady yet but when I do I will have to mention to her how much I enjoy her duck.

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t this a great picture of the flag?  There are American Flags all over the community.  I shouldn’t be surprised really since there are many military retired.

We have a smaller flag on a pole that mounts to the side of the house.  I put it out shortly after we moved in but John won’t let me keep it out.  He says that I have to take it down at sunset each night or I cannot fly it.  I personally think that is silly but I will honor his wishes.  Needless to say, it doesn’t fly much.  It is more important to honor John that fly the flag.  If I manage to hit the Patriotic holidays I will be ok.

These next two pictures I had to take later in the day because of what they are.

Every evening down by the gazebo golf carts gather to watch the sunset.  It is a pretty area with a small lake, probably smaller due to the drought.

 

 

You never know how many carts are going to be there, sometimes one and sometimes a dozen.  If we ever get our golf cart operational (we need 6 batteries at $100 each so it may be awhile) I am going to go watch the sunset with them.  Somehow driving a car just ruins the moment for me.  John is not exactly thrilled with the notion of watching the sunset but I am sure if he goes once he will enjoy it.  And, I am not above going by myself.

I have to admit taking my photo walk turned into a really nice peaceful morning.  I probably was out for less than an hour but it was an hour full of relaxation.  I was lost in time and free from phones and televisions.  Thank you Health Magazine for the suggestion!  It set a nice tone for the rest of the day.

So now it is up to you.  Go take your own photo walk and tell me how you enjoyed it.  I would really love to hear!

SLOW DOWN

I am one of  those people who leap out of bed each morning and hit the floor running.  Normally I don’t stop until I hit the bed at night.  It is hard for me to relax, I just don’t think to do it.  I really believe it is a learned behavior and I haven’t learned it yet.  On the weekends I sleep in, usually getting up around 7 or 7:30; anything later than that is not normal for me.  I fill my days trying to accomplish everything  John and I didn’t accomplish during the week.  Grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, plus all the fun things that we want to do.  Sometimes by Sunday night I am more exhausted than if I would have just gone to work.

This Saturday I didn’t do that.  I got up at 7:00 as usual but I started my morning slow.  I had a cup of tea and I ate my breakfast on the patio.  John and I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things we needed for our dinner that night.  After the shopping was done, I went over to mom’s and had a nice relaxing visit with her.

When I got home from mom’s house John and I went over to the Community pool.  I slowly swam laps.  I didn’t try to race or break any records, I just swam.  We took reading material and stayed at the pool for a of couple hours.  There were very few people there so it was quiet and enjoyable.

After we got home I snuggled up in the chair in my office and started reading a book that I have been wanting to read for months.  My friend Pete is a writer and this is his 4th book published.  He writes a murder mystery series that is very entertaining.  (http://www.pjgrondin.com)  I not only enjoy them because I know Pete, but also because they are a good read.  I bought this latest book when it first came out and have not taken time to sit and read.  I decided this was the day I was going to start reading this book.  I got to chapter 19 before I called it a night.

The day really was perfect.  I told John that it felt good to relax, to take the day slow and not plan every minute of every hour.  I need to do this more often.  None of the things that I fill my weekends with really matter.  I just put myself on automatic and I don’t stop.  This was step one in learning to slow down and enjoy my weekend.  I hope to have many more just like this!

So, that is your challenge this week.  Take one day and slow down.  You pick the day and define what slow down means to you.  Tell me what you did and how it worked for you!   It doesn’t have to be fancy, just honest!

Have fun!