Archives for 2016

We would have missed out on this yummy treat without Inspired Imperfection!

Change can be stressful but change can be a good.  In this case it is a little of both but mostly good.  After much thought and a lot of work ( mostly brain power of which I am of limited supply some days) I decided to make some changes here at Your Upside Down Life.

And I love it!  Hope you do as well.

I am embracing and helping others discover “Inspired Imperfection”

You’ll be hearing lots about it and why it is so important and yet all that has to wait and in the spirit of Inspired Imperfection I am just going to jump right in and share  one of the best examples ( and yummiest) of Inspired Imperfection.

A cook for an Inn in Massachusetts ran out of an ingredient for her dessert.  She made a substitution with what she had on hand. It was similar but different enough that it pretty much changed the whole recipe to everyone’s delight and became wildly popular.bake-599521_1280

It was of course the beginnings of the famous Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.  You can find the whole story here…but before you go there I want you to think about something.

What if in the course of cooking she started to stress out because the chocolate she had on hand wasn’t melting into the batter like the regular bakers chocolate she usually used?

What if she threw out the batter, the cookies and made a different dessert?

What if she panicked because she didn’t have exactly the right ingredients?

Imagine not never having chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven, gooey and sinfully delicious??

WOW….how depressing and sad to miss out on those.

I find myself grateful to her and her “Inspired Imperfection”.  I will never know if she did panic, or wring her hands or just say “Hey, lets see if this works and if it doesn’t antidepressants  I’ll figure something else out”

Obviously even if she did panic she discovered that her substitution ended up creating a heap of warm deliciousness.

My apologies if  I am now making you want chocolate chip cookies. Guess what I am doing after I finish this??  Yum!

That is what Inspired Imperfection is all about. It's taking what we have, who we are, what we… Click To Tweet

I’ll be honest, sometimes it doesn’t work and we have to make adjustments but a surprising amount of times it DOES work and it is AMAZING.

Quick, quick story.  I hosted my Dad’s 90th birthday party.  I am not a gifted party giver..more of a party goer.  I am a great help, always bring food and do whatever I can for the hostess.  This was such a stretch for me but I did it.  And it was the essence of Inspired Imperfection as in I forgot to put out one or more of the appetizers, several side dishes,two grandkids got poison oak from our backyard and I forgot to give one of the overnight  guests towels.

And yet it was a HUGE success.  No yummy discoveries like chocolate chip cookies but more of a discovery that I can give a great party!  So much so my Dad would like a repeat next year!

Let’s embrace Inspired Imperfection!  Seems upside down right!!  Perfect!!  The next yummy dessert is just an imperfection away!

OR  even better instead of getting stuck or waiting for everything to be “perfect” on that very elusive “someday” ( which doesn’t exist)  you will just grab your imperfection and whip it up to be amazing!

Want some help along the way?  Send me a quick hey there email and  let’s chat!   Send it to yourupsidedownlife@gmail.com

Cheers!

 

Coffee, Keys and Bras…It can all be MacGyvered.

I rarely wager money on anything but  I might be willing to fork over some dough on the obvious assumption that today you will face a problem.

Actually it is even a safer bet that you face more than one and at least one of those will be a doozy.  It will seem insurmountable or maybe it is an ongoing one that pops up at the worst time.

I would even bet lots of money that you could figure it out if I knew just one thing.

Which one of you will channel your inner MacGyver or say those fatal words “yeah but”.

And yet…

I REALLY believe everyone has an inner MacGyver.   Every last one of you.

Why…because in Marie Forleo’s words “Everything is Figuroutable”

One of the things we were taught over and over again when I was training to be an R.N. is that we must above all else be a problem solver.  I learned to look at every problem as a challenge and knew there had to be something I could do to figure it out.

So what does this have to do with coffee, Sunday mornings , keys, and bras?  Lots!

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These things forced me to be creative in my problem solving!

One leisurely Sunday morning I read the paper, drank lots of coffee and finally ( at my dogs urging) got dressed to take him for his morning walk.  I looked at my phone and decided I didn’t want that electronic leash with me and left it on the kitchen counter.

Max and I had a lovely uninterrupted walk but by the time we got home I was in dire need of a bathroom.   Coffee like my dog Max will urgently let you know when it needs to go out!

I opened the garage door and  headed straight to the door into the house  and got that tightness in my stomach  when I realized it was locked.  Then relief..the spare key.  Reached for it and the nail it hung on was unbelievably empty and the dreaded knowledge that I was locked out enveloped my whole body as I muttered a few choice swear words.

I had used it and had not put it back.

My heart sank, my coffee reminded me it was approaching that short window of time where I still had a choice of where and when it would leave me and I was stuck.  My husband was 1500 miles away, the few neighbors I have were at church or away, my phone was in the kitchen and I wanted to cry.

Now my house is secluded in the back with lots of woods so if push buyambienmed.com came to shove I could have made like I was camping and killed a few plants with the risk of poison ivy and ticks … I decided I wasn’t quite to that point.

Pretty and convenient but mmmm..still full of bugs

Private, convenient, and not horrible but mmmm..still full of bugs and ???

Tears would not help so I put my MacGyver hat on and tried everything I could think of and use whatever I had on hand.  After 20 long minutes I somehow, by sticking one end of the blade of a pair scissors in the key hole, moved the mechanism in the doorknob lock and got in.  Phew!

More importantly I felt quite victorious and unstoppable.  What else could I conquer?

Fast forward to this April when I broke my wrist.  Among other things, I figured out how to get my bra on by fastening it, putting it on the floor, stepping into it and wriggling it up my body with my good arm.  Not the easiest or fastest way but I did it!  I’m not even sure MacGyver could have figured that one out 🙂

The one thing I know in coaching is that you probably already have the answer to your question, problem or concern.  That answer might not be obvious and it might require some digging, some inventive possibility thinking and creativeness.  You can, however, get stuck and only see a dead end if you find yourself saying these two words:

Yeah, but.

Those two words have the unique ability to abruptly end any inventive possibility thinking.  Had I not been so determined to dress myself with one hand I might have said “Yeah but no one does it that way”  Yeah but it might hurt my wrist to wriggle into it”  “Yeah but it might get stuck”  It did and I got it unstuck ( glad there is not a video of that one!)

As you are looking at a situation be aware of these two words.  When you find yourself saying them remember to use them as a turning point to look at a different possibility.

Remember it is all figureoutable ….  click here to here the fabulous Marie Forleo tell her story!

Now go figure it out, I know you can!  Look at everything upside down, the view is amazing!

Look at everything upside down. The view is amazing! Click To Tweet

One last thing! Do  you need help getting past the “Yeah buts” or  are you looking for a new perspective on whatever is going on in your life?  Then lets talk!  Go here for a complimentary coaching session: Let’s Coach

Has listening to the “experts” confused us right into being overweight and out of shape?

Just when you thought it was safe to cook a healthy meal “someone” decides for us that we are doing it all wrong.   I sure wish this “someone” or the so called “experts” would make up their minds or maybe we just need to stop listening and trust our common sense instead.

Social media and the internet provides us with more than enough information about the latest diet trends and fads.  There are scores of before and after photos, recipes, exercise plans and countless promises of weight loss and tight abs.

There is so much information out there that it is paralyzing.  It’s like putting a child in the middle of a giant toy store and telling them to pick one thing.

Cue major meltdown.

Yup..I feel like this alot…

 

They changed the rules AGAIN???

Despite all the knowledge being passed out and research being done  we are still facing an epidemic of obesity and inactivity.

What is the answer?  

I think it is different for everyone.  One size fits all doesn’t work here ( actually it doesn’t work anywhere).  We all have different lifestyles, different needs, picky kids, allergies, varying budgets.  The one thing we all have is the ability to slow things down and listen to our own wisdom and what works best for us.

The best advice I ever heard in regards to eating came from author Michael Pollen who said:

Eat real food

Mostly green

Not a lot

If you can only do two out of three of this list then I would suggest you pick: Real food and not a lot.  The mostly green part would be great but take that to mean all veggies and fruits and it may be easier.

Learning from our past may be the best new rule

I  noticed something very interesting when  I was looking at some old group photos of my grade school classes. (Yes this is when we walked to school in the snow, uphill…both ways. 🙂 )

Out of a class of 20-25 womans health children there were only one or two overweight children .

What has changed? 

  • We actually did walk to school or rode our bikes and believe it or not we also walked home for lunch and back.  We played on the playground while waiting to go inside in the morning and after lunch.  We had recess and we played after school.
  • We had a milk break in the morning but never snack
  • At home we never snacked after dinner. Ice cream was a treat
  • We never had soda in the house
  • Eating in the car was unheard of and fast food was rarely an option
  • We ate at the table. In the kitchen.  Always
  • The food was on the stove or the counter and not the table.  If you wanted seconds you actually had to get up and get it.  You either didn’t make the effort or got distracted by the family conversation and realized you didn’t want seconds after all.

So basically we got a lot of exercise and didn’t have food available all the time.  Treats were just that, treats. The kitchen was where we ate, no where else.

Pretty simple.  Don’t get me wrong there were things that needed improvement.  Adults routinely had quite a long cocktail hour every day, white bread was the norm and the amount  of butter used would make Paula Deen look like she used it sparingly.

I’m not about to wear a dress, high heels and my pearls everyday to cook much like they did in the fifties and sixties ( well Mrs. Cleaver did!) but I can reclaim some of the great habits and traditions from those times.  Sure is simple, easy and more importantly worked well because it sure looks like despite some great improvements we may have “new and improved” ourselves right into being overweight and out of shape.

All because we listened to those who keep changing the rules.

Every time I tie my shoes I remember some valuable life lessons!

Every once in awhile I get a life lesson that continues to serve me well beyond what is normal.  Or I should say what people consider normal.  Normal, I hope , has begun to have a wide range of meanings but that is another topic.

For me one of my early life lessons came when I learned to tie my shoes.  I was five and heading to kindergarten. My parents had successfully taught my older siblings the fine art of shoe tying so this should be easy.

Except that it wasn’t.

I just could not get the concept of making a bow, wrapping the other lace around it and pulling it through, tightening it and ending up with two bows.  Even at that age I thought whoever designed this process had made it way too complicated.  This might have been a predictor for my poor math skills but who knows.

I’m not sure if it was a requirement to learn this before I headed off to school but it seemed like it at the time.  Everyone kept telling me it was soooo easy.  That statement would be followed by a demonstration of how easy it was and my attempt to copy it which always ended up with untied shoes. ( obviously this was way before velcro shoes)

I don’t remember stressing about it.  I remember thinking that it was really no big deal but evidently my parents thought perhaps I would be considered “not bright” if I couldn’t even tie my own shoes at school.  In any case I was saved by an angel of a next door neighbor, Dorothy Drewes who offered to teach me “bunny ears”.  What 5 year old can resist “bunny ears”?  Five minutes later I was tying my own shoes with two bunny ears crossing over and making the bunny ( well his ear) jump through the bunny hole.

Made absolute sense to me.

Run quick before she ties our ears in a bow

Run quick before she ties our ears in a bow

So I learned early that there is almost always a different way to do things and sometimes it is easier.  Also it helps if you give it a fun name and make it fun.

Never thought a thing about it or bothered to learn the “right way” until I was in college and one of my friends saw me tie my shoes and she was appalled and amused that I was still doing it that way.  So I tried the “normal” way and gave up.  I had better things to do and could do it way faster xanax with bunny ears.

Even though it was done in good fun I didn’t like the teasing and I learned that people don’t like to see things done in new and different ways.

That didn’t stop me. I continued to do things in new and different ways that made people sometimes shake their heads and ironically  those things are now the norm.  I guess I was ahead of my time.

Fast forward to my children learning how to tie their shoes. Settling into my protective mother mode,  I refused to teach them bunny ears and made my husband teach our daughter “the right way”.  Since my hubby traveled quite a bit I had Sarah teach her sister and then Julie taught her brother.  I knew I couldn’t save them from being teased for something or other at some time in their life but it was NOT going to be about how they tied their shoes.

That may have been a mistake ( teaching them the “right way”) because a little later I realized the real life lesson was: Be unique, be who you are and love yourself for it and anyone who doesn’t like it can take a hike.

So with a tiny bit of remorse and wistfulness, I wish I had taught my kids to tie bunny ears..it could now be “our” thing.  All my children are now rolling their eyes and thinking “seriously Mom”?child-542146_1280

As I coach women to “Kick Ass as they age”  I think back to those “bunny ears” and understand ( and see it often) the many different ways for each of us to kick ass in our own way.  There is no “right” way to do it.  Some of us will be loud, some quieter.  There are those women who want to rediscover the “daredevil” and bungee jump or skydive or get a tattoo and others will want to write a book, learn a language or even go back to school.

Being healthy isn’t  all about eating and exercise.  A big portion is feeding our spirit with what makes us come alive and not giving a hoot what somebody else might think.  It’s being active in every part of  our lives and forgetting what things are “suppose” to look like.

So go out and wrestle that rascally rabbit and tie his ears into a bow ( send photos)  Or just tie your shoes differently!

I would love to know what simple  event in your life keeps teaching you life lessons.

Now go out and be healthy today in every way!

 

A stranger saved my life, I really hope I can pay it forward.

A stranger saved my life on Valentines Day.   I mean a real stranger.  I don’t know if this person is male or female, young or old, black, white or green with pink polka dots.  It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is this person made it possible for me to still be here, to not make my husband a widower.  God willing I will continue to watch my grandchildren grow and maybe have the joy of great grandkids one day.

This person did it in a very simple way.  They paid attention when I did not.  They were disconnected from the many distractions we have nowadays when we are driving and for that I will be forever grateful.

I am a recovering multi tasker.  I would use any little bits of time to get lots done.  Television commercials are a great time to run around the house and do things and quite honestly the way things are going there will be 25 minutes of commercials and 5 minutes of the program.  Wait I think we are already close to that point.

So it is no surprise that I consider waiting at stoplights a perfect time to clean up the passenger seat, rummage through my purse, open the mail I picked up or check my phone.  Pretty sure I am not alone in this.

I was in an amazing mood after a lovely birthday breakfast for my daughter and her family.  I drove away and smiled thinking of the nice time we had together.  I heard the familiar ding of a text message on my phone and was grateful the stop light ahead was red so I could read it.

And I did..a beautiful thank-you text from my daughter.  I glanced up quickly since I was first in line and saw the light had turned green. I started through the intersection and then I heard someone honking their horn.  It was polite honk, not a long angry one but just one long enough to get my attention. Out of my peripheral vision I saw a car to my left that could have broadsided me and honestly I thought “Dumb ass, why are you honking?  I have the right of way with a green light”

Except I didn’t.

In a heart wrenching moment my sanctimonious self glanced in my rear view mirror and all the cars behind me  were still stopped at the stop light.

I wanted to throw up.

I hadn’t seen a green light.  Not only did I go through a red light, but I put myself and that erectile dysfunction other car in extreme danger.  I could have been broadsided, my car totaled and my life taken.  I immediately thanked the driver and my guardian angel for looking out for me and then I cried, turned off my phone and threw it to the back of the car.

I drove the 75 miles home in silence and prayer.

Nothing…and I do mean NOTHING on my phone, tablet or laptop is worth losing my life over or endangering someone else.  So I made a promise to disconnect and I did.  Oh I still have my phone and all my other gadgets but I now control them.  I thought it would be hard to not only break the addiction to my phone and social media and multi tasking but it was not.  I discovered when I limited myself  that I had more time for things I always said I had no time for..reading, decluttering, photography, writing.

I won’t be the one at lunch looking at my phone and I will politely ask you to put it away so we can visit.  Not an unreasonable request.

Ironically sitting at home on my bedside table was a book I have been wanting to read titled:

“The Joy of Missing Out”  Finding Balance in a Wired World by Christina CookFullSizeRender (5)

The title alone says it all and it is a wonderful book.  I now have time to read it.

I still post and read face book and check my e-mail.  I am just not obsessed over it.  I am now embracing “The Joy of Missing Out”  rather than FOMO..the “Fear of Missing Out”

The people who really need me can find me without texting, email or face book.   Call my phone or landline, leave a message.  As my mother says “bad news travels fast” and as a nurse I will tell you there are very few “true” emergencies.

When we visited Italy in 2014  (a dream trip I waited a long time for) I learned to look up everywhere we went. The ceilings, the bell towers..oh my gosh there was so much to take in when I looked up.

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And that is my message to you..Look up, pay attention, be with the people who are with you.   We have this amazing privilege called LIFE.  Let us live it looking up and enjoying the things and people around us.

Looking down almost killed me.  Every time I look up I remember and whisper “Thank-you for paying attention”

Be healthy today in every way!

 

What is the one easy thing you can do now to improve your health?

Yup I am going to let you in on THE secret.  The BIG secret as to the ONE thing you can do to improve your health.  The one EASY thing you can do and I am not even going to make you read a whole lot to find out the big secret.

It is tempting though to write a whole bunch just to make you read it but that makes me crazy so I won’t do it to you.

Just don’t cringe when you find out what it is because I do have a little explanation about that makes a whole lot of sense and how you can get started.  Truth be told you are already doing it.

The big secret to improving your health NOW?

Get up and MOVE !  Run, walk, skip, bend over, touch your toes, reach high, reach low, bend to the side, bend over, sit down, and get up right up away.

JUST MOVE !!

Yup that is it.

By the way I didn’t just make this up.  It comes from an accredited source even though it sounds as easy as pie.

Here is the thing that got my attention.  Staying sedentary for five hours at a time is the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes.  WHAT???

The biggest obstacle people ( okay us)  face as we age is the immobility.  We get lazy, we don’t get up , we don’t move, stretch or bend.

So a few things you should know:

  • A Harvard study found that walking an hour a week cut the risk of heart attack in half for 39,372 women.
  • A moderate 30 minute walk a day substantially reduces the risk of getting tramadol breast cancer and/or surviving the disease.
  • Increasing the rate or intensity of every day activities had the same benefits of walking ( intensive yard work, stairs instead of elevator, parking farther away than usual, or washing your car, or walking your dog at a faster rate or farther than usual).
  • Basically anything that can increase the amount you move will benefit you greatly.

I recently met a woman who was my age that was complaining about the cost of her recent pedicure.  I mean really complaining about it so much that I had to ask or suggest she just do it herself most of the time and then treat herself to a real pedicure every 3 months or so.  She shook her head no, it wasn’t possible.  She could no longer bend over far enough to reach her toes to paint them.

This woman had no real health problems, no arthritis or anything that would physically prevent her from bending over except she hadn’t done it in awhile.  She just hadn’t moved much and the really sad part is she had no interest in doing some simple exercises to be able to increase her ability to reach her toes.

So of course I went home and did all kinds of stretching ( I also clean my house intensely after viewing an episode of hoarders)!

So get up and move. Make it fun.  Dance, chase your dog, skip, challenge yourself to walk everywhere faster, touch your toes, ditch the remote, do your own toes, run up and down the stairs!

Just do it! 🙂

P.S.  Max keeps me moving no matter what the weather!

Get Moving