Lazy? Procrastinator? Lazy procrastinator?

I’m lazy.  But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things. ~ Lech Walesa

This bike is a Schwinn Cruiser.  It’s available at Target.  When I recover from my trip to Peru, I think I would like one just like it.

I find it a bit puzzling that the quote above came from Lech Walesa.  He’s a Polish activist.  Since when was he ever lazy?  I wish his “lazy quote” made me feel better about myself but it doesn’t.  He may have had lazy moments but I would never think of applying the adjective to Mr. Walesa based on what I know about him.  His lifetime achievements are many.  I remember that he was constantly in world news in the 70s and 80s.  He was an electrician who became the first President of Poland.  Doesn’t sound very lazy, does he? (Learn more about him here.)

So…am I lazy?  I am, without a doubt, lazy about certain things.  Housekeeping is the bugaboo that constantly reminds me I’m a bit on the indolent side.  I get out the vacuum cleaner as seldom as possible.  I’m allergic to dust (really!) so I don’t like to stir it up.  My blinds haven’t been cleaned since the insurance company sent in a cleaning service after my floors had to be refinished.  That was about three years ago.

I would like to state here that I’m not a total slob.  I clean my kitchen sink and counter tops every morning.  I never told you I was unsanitary.  I also clean and sanitize the toilets and bathroom sinks on a regular basis.  I have some standards.  I even change my sheets from time to time.  Sheet changing makes me chuckle because it reminds me of a friend who, like me, is divorced and living alone.  She said one time that she sleeps on one side of her bed one week and the other side the next week.  That way she gets two weeks between linen changes.  Another friend and I snickered about that because we tend to get two weeks out of ours without switching sides.  Besides, I’m too much of a creature of habit to sleep on that other side.  I wouldn’t be able to read my Nook with the lamp on the wrong side.

At my age I don’t focus on my faults in order to denigrate myself.  Quite the opposite.  I simply like to be realistic about who I am.  And if I had enough money I would be totally comfortable with my inability to make myself do certain housecleaning chores.  I would hire a housekeeper once or twice a month to do the things I hate doing and get on with it.  But alas I cannot.  I have made a list of small goals to accomplish before I head out for my grand adventure and yes, the list includes the dusting and vacuuming.  I intend to come home to a clean house.

I acknowledge that the procrastinator in me is going to keep moving the undesirable jobs to the bottom of the list and I can rationalize why I should do that.  If I dust and vacuum too soon, everything will need more cleaning before I leave.  I can’t have that!  I have things to do, places to go, and people to see.  Important things, places, and people–to me anyway.  Last week, for example, I required most of the week to sew a beautiful, shiny, silky pink dress for my youngest granddaughter.  Then I had to go to her house and see how she liked her new frock.  She loved it.  She even found that she could get it on over her pajamas.  You see I have lots of important do, go, see items on my agenda.

And so back to my original question:  Am I lazy?  (Definition: disinclined to work)  Am I a procrastinator?  (Definition:  one who defers action)  Am I a lazy procrastinator?

What do you think?


Ego–his, hers, mine.

…I made a conscious effort to think like a person who doesn’t put himself at the head of the universe. ~ Sam, in “Skipped Parts” by Tim Sandlin

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time.  I’ve done a little research on “ego vs. healthy self-esteem.”  Little is the key word here. I even listened to a Q&A session with Eckhart Tolle in which he discussed this topic.  I find him rather difficult to listen to even though I do respect his writing and his opinions.  There is a great deal of information “out there” about ego.  So much, in fact, that my mind got boggled by it all.  Alright, I admit it, it doesn’t take a great deal of something to rattle my brain.  I read a little and came to the conclusion that my opinion is just as valid as some of those I read online.  Hehe.  How’s that for ego?  Or is that self-esteem?

  • self-esteem–How much you respect and accept yourself.  Your concept of how worthy, valuable, lovable and capable you are in society.
  • ego–An inflated opinion of yourself often accompanied by a belief that you are superior to others.

I’ve been trying to understand how or whether ego contributes to or causes divorce.  I think it could do both.  (I’m in way over my head here and I’m trying to find a graceful way out.)  The best I can tell, healthy self-esteem is a good thing.  Ego is not.  And if my self-esteem goes too far in either direction, the ego takes over.  Once my ego takes over, I do things that are not good for me.  If what I’m doing is not good for me, then it’s probably not good for my relationships.

So…When D started to have an affair with S, he started avoiding and neglecting me.  Over a period of time his inattention eroded my self-esteem.  Once my self-esteem became wounded (unhealthy), I started acting in a way that further damaged our relationship and our marriage.  That’s one scenario.  Another might be that I was already operating on too much ego and that might have been the reason he strayed.  Or maybe not.  I don’t really like that scenario.  (Ego?)

Bottom line–I can’t analyze, in retrospect, the ego of D, nor of S, nor even my own with any degree of accuracy.  Therefore this exercise in self-esteem/ego is a waste of time.  To quote an elderly priest D and I used to listen to when we were on the road together: “It matters not how the donkey got in the ditch.  Just get him out.”

I hereby promise myself that I will give up the search for what caused it and just get myself out of the ditch.  I mean it!

Imago therapy according to Pat.

So your rose garden needs a little work?  If you are aware that your relationship needs help and your partner is willing to work with you to achieve harmony, count yourself lucky.  I’m sad to say that my marriage had already gone south before I recognized how bad it was.  So bad, in fact, that D was telling me he wanted a divorce.  I knew right away that I would need some help whether or not we were willing to go together.  A friend of mine told me of a therapist she and her husband had worked with some years previous.  Dr. A was a certified Imago therapist for individuals and/or couples.  My friend had told me a great deal about the Imago approach and it made sense to me, so I called up and made an appointment.  What did I have to lose?

Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., developed the Imago method of counseling.  The following is a quote from Dr. Hendrix which describes briefly why he thinks we’re drawn to our partners:

Psychologists say that “chemistry” is really our unconscious attraction to someone who we imagine will meet our particular emotional needs.  What we unconsciously want is to get what we didn’t get in childhood from someone who is like the people who didn’t give us what we needed in the first place.

I had to read that paragraph several times to get the gist of it.  I’m accustomed to shorter sentences. 🙂  Seriously, I have read most, if not all, of Dr. Hendrix’s books and his logic rings true.  Here’s a summary of what I understand Imago therapy to be:

  • All of us are born whole and complete.
  • We become wounded in our early stages of development by caregivers.  (Most parents don’t do this on purpose.)
  • We have in our unconscious an image of all the positive and negative traits of our caregivers.  This is the Imago.  This image gives us the blueprint for whom we should marry in order to have our needs met.
  • We then marry someone who is an Imago match.  This is someone who matches the composite of our early caregivers.  Since our parents (caregivers) are the ones who wounded us, they are the ones who must heal us in the form of our primary love partner.
  • We choose our romantic partner using a selection process based on who will be able to heal us and help us grow.
  • At some point after the “honeymoon” is over a power struggle ensues.  Both partners are seeking healing and growth.
  • The conscious mind doesn’t choose this struggle.  It’s the unconscious mind seeking healing.
  • With conscious effort and dialogue, the Imago love mate is the one most compatible with us and the one most capable of helping us to resolve unfinished business with our caregivers.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about all this now.  I wonder a little myself but I think I know the answer.  Back before D and I physically separated and he was still living at home with me, and after I had seen Dr. A a few times, I asked him if he would consider going to a couples weekend of Imago Therapy.  I explained it to him as Dr. A had explained it to me.  It’s a good way to get to the heart of who you are and why you’re attracted to certain people.  Whether or not he and I decided to stay together, we both would have learned some important things about ourselves and our relationships.  I became very hopeful.  D had to go on a business trip and took a copy of “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix with him.  He came home and told me he had read the book and some woman on the plane asked him about it and he just gave it to her.  (Can’t help wondering who the woman was.)  This I learned from that experience:  Something in the reading touched a chord.  D had a meltdown.  He cried and cried.  I’m still not sure what all the crying should have told me.  I do know that he decided a few days later that he didn’t think he would be able to go for a weekend with me.  And he moved out and the rest is history.  I know now that his girlfriend had given him an ultimatum, he had promised her that he would leave me and he did.

“Thank God and Greyhound” he’s gone–a very funny song by Roy Clark.  I don’t mean that to be ugly.  I simply realize I’m better off and maybe he is, too.  And life is good.

Some things I’ve learned…

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s  not.  ~ Dr. Seuss

I like to have a project in the works.  Now that I’m working on this banner for the Spanish community church service, I awaken in the morning eager (after I’ve had my coffee) to assess the previous day’s work and to determine what part of it I’ll do today.  It’s a joy to watch it unfold.  It gives me a goal, albeit short-term, and it engages my artistic bent which is a more dominant force now than it was in the past.  Well, I guess the bent was always there but I have more time to devote to it than when I was working and taking care of my children.

I’ve been thinking lately about the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.  I believe that he taught us so much more than reading.  The Seuss quote above comes from his book The Lorax, 1971.  It’s a powerful environmental message.  If we had learned it back in ’71 when he wrote it our planet would be in better shape than it is today.  I don’t know whether it’s on any academic required-reading lists, but it’s certainly on mine.  When I was married to D, I had my very own Lorax (environmental conscience).  I’m happy to say he’s better looking than the one you see pictured here on the book cover.  🙂  D was a recycler long before it was the thing to do.  He cared “a whole awful lot” and tried to make it better.  I thank him for that.  He raised my consciousness several levels by being that way.  I don’t think he saved any of these beautiful “Truffala Trees” but I’m pretty sure he saved some other kinds.

Two days ago another blogger, lifeandothermisadventures, commented on my post about forgiveness.  She mentioned a book that she said was helpful to her.  The book was When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.  The same day I went down to my local book shop and found that book and several others by Ms Chodron.  I sat down to examine them and determined that I needed the one called Taking the Leap:  Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears.  My thinking was that 1) things fell apart quite a long while ago and 2) I still have habits and fears that I don’t want to foster any longer.  In the book that I chose there is a chapter entitled “Getting Unstuck.”   This title jumped off the page, I think, because my daughter and I had recently been discussing the fact that sometimes we get stuck in our “recovery” and we can’t seem to continue the progress we have achieved up to that point.  Old habits feel too comfortable and we are afraid to take that next step.  I’m always amazed when the stars seem to align and send me a powerful message.  The last star in this alignment was a statement in my morning uplifting message which I read in Spanish.  (I read in Spanish to try to keep my language skills up to snuff.)   I read that “too often we sit back and wait for others to change instead of taking stock and figuring out how we need to change.”  Of course I knew this already but how easily I slide back into my old habits and let my old fears consume me.

In summary, the things I’ve learned are:  I am much happier when I have a project.  I care a whole awful lot about the environment and about how I treat other people.  I can’t change others; I can only change myself and how I react to them.  I could probably use more structure in my daily routine.  And last, I’m going to Peru in May, 2012!  Woo hoo!

Here’s the deal…

Whenever I forget the lessons I’ve learned about myself, I start to feel sad and even sorry for myself.  Lesson number one is that I need regular exercise.  Unfortunately I have allowed the oppressively hot weather to control the way I treat myself.  So on Saturday I went to the mall and walked.  And then I walked some more.  Five miles.  That’s my daily minimum for feeling healthy.

There was a crowd in the mall because it was tax-free weekend on clothing and school supplies.  In some NC counties, school starts this week.  Naturally I had to go along with the crowd and check out some of the sales.  Typically when I walk at the mall I try not to shop.  Well, except maybe the book store.  I trekked through several of the large department stores and am happy to say I was mostly not tempted.  But when I spotted this bright red t-shirt with the silver star I stopped and checked it out.  And came home with it.  I love red.  It energizes me.  I think the star was sending me a not so subliminal message–that I can be a “star” if I choose.  (In my defense, it is a good quality shirt and the price was peanuts.)

On Sunday morning, I put on my black jeans (they’re a bit more dressy than the blue ones, tee hee) and my new red star shirt and off to church I went, creating my own “casual” day.  And guess what!  I had the smoothest day yet with my techno job.  I know–it had more to do with my growing experience and familiarity with the equipment than with the new shirt.  I’m just saying…

Sunday evening I went to an early pizza dinner with a group of elderly women.  (Yes, more elderly than I.)  I wore my red shirt.  I think my exuberance was still pulsing.  I hope I didn’t overdo it.  They are lovely ladies and I’m sure I can learn a great deal from them if I can make myself sit down, shut up, and listen.  Not an easy task when I’m wearing my red star shirt.  🙂

Baseball (Life?) is 90% mental and the other half is physical. ~ Yogi Berra

I think it’s gonna rain today.

Human kindness is overflowing,                 And I think it’s going to rain today.                    ~ Randy Newman

11:45 a.m. The weather report promises showers today.  I’m hoping.  We need the rain and I need to stay upstairs in my sewing room and clean.

5:45 p.m.  I’ve always loved rainy summer days.  When I was a child I would lie in my room and read.  I still do that.  But today I’m in one of my organizational frenzies.  This is a large room and all my fabrics and art supplies reside here.  No matter how often I straighten and organize I still can’t find a thing.  I’m beginning to think I need to hire a professional to come in and help me out.  I have figured out that I have too much stuff and I’ve been getting rid of some of it, very slowly.  The closet is fairly roomy but is not organized in a way that makes sense.  So I went out and bought stacking storage bins to put in it.  Of course I need more than I thought.  Another trip to the store.  It’s looking like a pretty good solution.

I started out writing this post in a philosophical mood.  No intention of talking about cleaning and organizing.  Too boring.  I was actually waxing philosophical about rain.  I’ve been thinking about the different effects it can have on my mood.  Or does it?  I started to realize today as I was moving things around that it affects my mood only if my mood is iffy to begin with.  Or if it rains for days on end.

Today started with the sky looking very dark and I was wishing for one of those long, slow nourishing rains.  Didn’t happen.  It was very hot and sunny through the middle hours of the day.  But as you can see by the photo here, a brief and fairly heavy stormy rain blew in this afternoon.  I’ll take it. It wasn’t the kind of rain that encouraged me to get out and walk in it, something I love doing in the summer.  I did go in the back yard after the storm and found a puddle or two for my bare feet.  Didn’t find any mud to squish through my toes, though.  Sweet childhood memories.

I am remembering now a few years ago when two of my granddaughters were little girls.  We were living on the mountaintop then and it was raining hard but there was  no lightening or thunder.  (And no neighbors.)  They asked if they could go outside.  I told them they should take their clothes off first so we wouldn’t have to waste energy drying them.  I can still remember their looks of sheer glee.  It took them about two seconds to strip and hit the grass in the front yard.  They are much too old and sophisticated to do that now but I hope they will always have their memories of how free they felt that summer evening at Grammy and D’s house.

No more facade.

“I have to learn to be myself again…That’s all.” ~ Doris Lessing

Ms. Lessing makes it sound simple.  It isn’t.  I’ve heard ” be yourself” all my life but I’m not sure I know what it means.  Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  I don’t think that’s my problem.  I’ve never met anyone I thought I wanted to be.  I knew someone once who tried hard to be someone else.  We were friends for a while but I had to let her go because she never seemed authentic to me.  In her defense, she had a great deal of childhood baggage and she never was able to accept and love herself.

So what about me?  I think I have difficulty being my authentic self and still being tactful enough for polite society.  What you see is what you get.  I’m pragmatic; I don’t sugarcoat.  I’m outspoken, often when I should shut up.  I’m opinionated; isn’t everybody?

I know I’m rediscovering myself now that I’m almost over “the divorce.”  And I like me okay most of the time.  I can see my shortcomings.  (See paragraph above.  That’s not all of them.)  I suppose I’ve always seen my shortcomings.  It goes with being a woman in this society.  I am more patient with me now than when I was younger.  I make more of an effort to be tactful without being dishonest.  I keep some of my opinions to myself these days.  I try to wait until someone asks.  I don’t always succeed.  But I recognize that not everyone wants to hear what I think.

I guess all of us put on facades for different situations.  That is probably considered “normal” to some extent.  But I’ve lately been examining the facades I put on for my ex.  I think my fear of abandonment controlled much of who I was with him.  I couldn’t be the real me that he fell in love with because I was growing and changing.  And I think I feared he didn’t like the real, new me.  Apparently I was right.  I’m happy to say right now (this moment in time) that I can thank him for leaving.  I wouldn’t have realized so much growth had he not gone.  So, thank you, D.  I wish you well.  Really.

Now I’m going to click “publish” before I change my mind.  🙂


If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, you’ve created a special little thing… ~ Paul Simon

My goal in life is to inject a little humor into the seriousness of getting along in a sometimes scary world.  I can remember the occasion when I realized I was doing that.  I was teaching a Spanish III class when my principal came in to do an evaluation.  I could see that he was enjoying the class but I didn’t think much of it at the time.  Later, when I read his appraisal of my teaching, I remember thinking, “Yes!  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”  He wrote something to this effect:  “Ms. S treats her teaching and her subject matter very seriously while using appropriate humor to make learning fun.”

Some of my happiest times are when I can make someone laugh.  On purpose.  I must say, though, that not everyone “gets” my humor.  I think I’ve finally figured out why that is.  Well, other than the fact that some people don’t have a sense of humor.  Seriously, I do think that what’s funny to me isn’t always funny to someone else.

I was in a workshop once and the facilitator divided us into groups of five.  We were then given an education “problem” to solve.  We had to put our heads together and work out a solution.  It happened that the facilitator sat down at our table to observe.  We started to talk about our little problem–I don’t remember what it was.  What I do remember is that all four of the others started with very similar ideas and I didn’t.  Compared to them, my response was from “out in left field.”  I felt like the red-headed stepchild.   The facilitator looked at me and started to laugh at my expression.  And she said to me, “These four are convergent thinkers and you are a divergent thinker.”

I was sitting there thinking, “OK, I know what convergent and divergent mean but what do they mean in terms of thinking?”  Of course, I went home and did some research.  I learned that most of us do some of both.  That convergent is more prevalent in the general population than divergent.  And that divergent is more creative.  This is over simplified but you get the idea.

This topic has fascinated me ever since that little incident.  I’m also very much interested in right brain/left brain activities.  They kinda/sorta go together, I think.  I have this theory that back in my school days, left-brain learning was preferred and encouraged by educators.  I think, too, that my brand of creativity was discouraged so I learned to do all those left-brain, nerdy activities because I didn’t have a choice.

I could go on and on about all of this plus the fact that I’m a tactile, kinetic learner and never had the opportunity to do my best learning until I left school for good.  And I’m never, ever going back!

When pigs fly…

Backyard statuary.

When pigs fly I will…

Get married again: I’ve tried this twice.  Apparently I’m not very good at it.  No more husbands.

Get a tattoo: Okay, I admit I’m fascinated by the notion.  A small rose on my left boob.  Up top.  Oops.  Where did the top go?  Or maybe a flying pig on my shoulder.  How about a tree of life on my back between my shoulders?  See how fast I went from a small rose to an entire tree.  I’ve heard tattooing can become an addiction.  Now that’s all I need.  Nope.  No tattoos.

Vote republican: I tried that a couple of times in my youth under the influence of my first husband.  It didn’t work out for me.  Or for the country.  You see, one of them was Nixon.  I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that before.  It fills me with angst just to type it here.

Buy eyeglasses from the doctor’s office optician: She’s a lovely woman and I like her a lot.  But–I discovered I could buy them for much less at the big discount stores like Sam’s Club, BJ’s and Costco.  So off I went to BJ’s with my prescription.  I got Armani frames with all the bells and whistles for $247!!!  I love them and they got the adjustments right the first time.  And that’s about a third of what I paid for my last ones at the doctor’s office.

Take another teaching job: I have enjoyed my ESL students this year but I find that I really dislike being tied to a schedule.  I will be seeking another way to assist in the local Latino community.  I understand there are many ways to help.  And I like spending time with them.

Cook three meals a day: This is a practical matter.  I don’t need to cook that much for me.  I can barely put a sandwich together these days.  One does get out of practice, you know.  I can see me now.  The main course would be getting cold while I put the sides together.  Too much concentration for me.  Can’t believe how many years I did it.  And I was quite efficient, thank you.

Worry about what others think of me: I remember being a youth and thinking I said the wrong thing, wore the wrong sweater, etc., etc.  I no longer care what people think about me.  There are probably several things that bring me to this point.  One is that I’m older and much of what I worried about was “fluff.”  As in don’t sweat the small stuff. Another is that I think I became embarrass-proof after teaching teenagers for a number of years.  I got immune to the teenage “gotchas.”  They are so good at it and I love their enthusiasm and youthful exuberance.

I try to keep my posts below 500 words so perhaps I will continue this rant another time.  If you’ve read this far, thank you.

Hopes and dreams.

Everything's blooming, even the pine trees.

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for.  The best you can do is live inside that hope, running down the hallways, touching the walls on both sides.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver in her book Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver is another of my favorite authors.  I love the image she creates with her life/hope philosophy.  I can see myself in that hallway touching the things I love and hope to have in my life. In fact, I can see myself walking down that hall with excellent posture and a spring in my step.  Being physically fit has always been important to me.  I’m not saying I have always been fit but it never ceases to matter to me.

Everywhere I turn these days I see comments, quotes, advice about pursuing dreams, making goals, etc.  My first goal as of right now is to become as fit as I can be without hurting myself.  At my age that’s not always an easy line to draw but I can and will do it.  Because it matters a great deal.  One way I will accomplish this goal is to eat more carefully and deliberately.  I don’t think I will give up having a bit of dark chocolate a day (It is good for me, isn’t it?).  But sugar is my weakness right now.  So any other sweet fixes I need will have to come from fruits (fresh, when available).  Another thing I’ve been practicing lately is getting up and moving in one way or another when I’m feeling low.  I can go for a walk, walk in place if the weather’s bad, clean house, make another pillowcase dress (I’ve made four now.) or simply stretch a little.  Or go see a daughter or a grandchild.  Anything but sitting and moping.

My second goal is to be artistically creative.  It isn’t an option anymore, it’s a necessity.  I have to do it in order to be happy.  There are lots of ways to be artistic but for tactile me it will have to be done with yarn (crochet) or fabric (art quilting).  I found a crochet book yesterday that teaches a technique that I’ve never used before.  I’ll be working on that.  And of course I’ll be moving beautiful fabrics around and practicing my machine quilting.  I started to call it my technique but I haven’t actually developed a technique yet.  Right now I’m trying to copy what other art quilters have done so that I will hopefully get good enough to finish my in-progress project that I discussed in an earlier post Art quilt: Divorce therapy.

I’m not sure why it’s difficult for me to establish goals in my retirement.  Maybe it’s second nature for me to have goals.  It’s just not easy for me to write them down.  Maybe it’s cowardly to keep them in my mind.  Maybe I will be more accountable now that I’ve written them out for you to see.