Daily Unplugging – It Is Possible!

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Over the past week I’ve traded roughly the same amount of daily online time to be out of the house instead.  I’ve roamed the county with my children, Lucy the puppy, and a couple friends.  The mornings are gloomy and foggy up here in the mountains, and they’ve put me into a funk despite using my Sunbox bright light and drinking my beloved java.  I am thankful that these grim, drizzly mornings turn into beautiful afternoons complete with sunshine and clouds wafting across blue skies.  Good weather makes a huge difference in my ability to haul myself and the girls out the door.    

I’m excited to share with you that I attended my first puppy training class with my two daughters last night.  Although our Petsmart instructor is probably half my age, she’s a bona fide puppy whisperer – she’s simply awesome!  “B.” was skilled at explaining concepts clearly and while she was nice, she was stern, and I liked that about her.  At the start of class, B. asked us what other mammal is similar to dogs in terms of training techniques.  Somehow I knew the answer.  My arm shot up and I called out excitedly, “Dolphins!”  At one point during college I seriously considered studying dolphins.  B. informed us that she has actually worked with dolphins at my alma mater University of California at Santa Cruz.  I was thrilled when she told us that dolphins and dogs share training techniques in common, and it was fun to be in a class with puppies as my classmates.  

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As far as my unplugging goes, it has only been for three days to be exact, but it feels like a lot longer than that!  I still check out Facebook, email and Twitter each morning while drinking coffee.  In the evenings I love reading other blogs on my Kindle while I work out on my elliptical – I make cryptic comments using my index finger on the tiny screen.  But during the  day it has felt healthier for me to lessen the amount of time I’ve been glued to my MacBook Pro and Kindle.  I don’t have a smart phone, which for me is a very good thing.  I can’t check the internet once I leave the house unless I bring my Kindle to a friendly unlocked WiFi zone.  

I was further inspired by my blogging friend extraordinaire Kitt’s blog kittomalley.com.  (a.k.a. Kitt O’Malley – Living with Bipolar Disorder. Loved by God.)

Her post “Doctor’s Orders” was published this week, and its primary topic seemed like a great omen.   If you too find yourself challenged with spending an excessive amount of time online, you must read this post:

http://kittomalley.com/2014/07/09/doctors-orders/

As much as I despise labels, I know I’ve been obsessive-compulsive in checking emails, surfing Facebook, doing wacky Google searches and the like.   If I keep up this excessive behavior, I could see myself becoming burned out soon.  Then I would most likely cut myself off from the online communities and blogosphere that I’ve come to treasure.  I don’t want that to happen!  So if it takes a few days longer for me to reply to comments, to read blogs and contribute comments than I ideally would like, I realize it’s no big deal.  If I skip writing a blog post, no one is going to perish!  What matters is the total amount of time I spend each day wrapped up in the internet.  

I know the following statement is utterly obvious, but I haven’t internalized it until now:

The more I develop my life outside my laptop, the more I can bring back to share in my blog and other online outlets.

It won’t be easy to get out regularly, as my social anxiety continues to loom large, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Having children and a feisty, energetic puppy forces me to plan excursions.  We live near a ton of beautiful parks, and there’s locally owned Coffee 9 where the baristas are friendly, and Lucy can sit outside on the patio, loving the inevitable compliments from passerby.

What do you do for fun when you leave the house?  I’d love to know!  

Have a great weekend!!! 

Dyane

I took this photo of Lucy yesterday at the park.  Earlier that day I brought the girls to Petsmart where they begged me to buy Lucy this “dog dress” for $2.99.  I’ve always felt dogs shouldn’t wear clothes, but I caved this one time.  Mark my words, never again!!!

 

silly

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14 thoughts on “Daily Unplugging – It Is Possible!

  1. Dyane, It would be fun to come hang out unplugged! Love the dress on Lucy! I have a great story for you but I’m not home yet to write it… Hope you’re having a good Sunday.

    1. Hi there Doreen! I always am happy when I see your comment & wish you lived close so we could play guitar & sing!! If you have a moment, I’d love to hear about that story you mentioned – no rush…it’s the start of a busy week for you, I’m sure. Sending you a big hug from afar, xo Dyane

      1. I ended up writing the story on my new post (about my unsuccessful attempt to get away ). So happy – or not so happy – reading when you get time.

  2. Zeph, I *wish* I was in front of you actually talking! 🙂 Thanks for the sweet comment!

    I’ve unplugged so much over the past 5 days. It helped that my husband took our other daughter to one of his book engagements for the past three days. I’ve been at home with Rilla and she hasn’t had he big sis to play with. She has Mom! And if Mom is glued to the computer hour after hour…you get the idea. The weather has been gorgeous too so that made a huge difference in getting outside.

    I hope that whatever you’re up to, you’re having a great weekend! lots of love as always!!! xoxoxox Dy

  3. Dyane, it such a great idea to unplug. I need to do it more often. I usually write in my prayer journal in the morning for about a hour before I even turn on my computer. I turn it off around 5:30 or 6:00pm. I don’t use my phone at all unless I have to text, or answer one. I definitely need to get outside more during the day, and probably should sit outside while I write poetry. I’ll be able to avail myself of that opportunity one I move, which will be soon. I’ll have a small deck outside my apartment, and that might be just the perfect place to sit and ponder, pencil and notebook in hand. There’s a tree right outside, too, where I plan to hang my bird feeder (it’s an upstairs apartment). Great motivation to wander outside whatever the weather!

    By the way, I think you’re right about Lucy – dressing up is definitely a one-time affair – unless maybe for a special holiday photo. 😉 She’s adorable!

    1. Sweet Susan, I just told Lucy that you wrote that she’s adorable, and she looked up at me with her expressive big, brown eyes and panted a “thank you Susan!” 😉 I’ve always wondered at how “dog” is “God” spelled in reverse – I see the beauty of God in my fur baby, that’s for sure!

      I bet you’re getting excited about your move. Moving is such a huge deal, isn’t it? I’ve moved many, many times – a lot of those times I moved into studios or as a housemate and I did that on my own. Be careful with the boxes (here goes my Jewish mother bit) and bend all the way down to lift them. I made the ridiculous mistake of picking up a heavy box the wrong way on a steep hill and I herniated one of my lumbar discs. I should have known better. I’m sure you know what to do, and I hope you’ll enlist help. Okay, end of The J.M. Lecture 101!

      It will be awesome to enjoy that small deck and gaze at the bird feeder on the tree. I know how much you love and appreciate birds! That’s a great habit that you write in your prayer journal in the mornings for a good length of time before turning on the computer.

      Hope you treat yourself to getting out more and thank you for reading my spiel. It’s always an honor to see that you’ve “liked” any post, let alone commented, on the blog. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday – blessings to you!!!!!

  4. Lucy doesn’t seem to mind the dress too much. My problem is my smartphone. I don’t even get on my PC much anymore, I check emails, Facebook, and weather apps constantly on my phone. It’s also now where I read blogs. I’m as bad as my teenage nieces, with my phone constantly in hand, waiting for it to make a sound letting me know I have a text or email

    1. Hi Robin! Great to see you here! Re: smartphones. Do you want to trade your smartphone for my Verizon “dumbphone”? I’d be more than willing to send it to you! 😉 If I had a smartphone I know that I’d do *exactly* what you and your teen nieces do: check all kinds of stuff constantly – it’s so tempting to do that, especially when you hear the pesky alert beep. I guess I’d consider turning off the alert sounds, but that would be a very hard habit for me to break! 🙂

      Take care and I hope this finds you well. I appreciate your taking time to comment very much!

  5. Great post. I, too, do not dress up my pets, but kids sometimes just gotta have fun. The pic of Lucy is hilarious. It reminded me of one of our childhood pets, Puffy the rabbit. Puffy was adopted by us from a household of two rambunctious boys. The mother didn’t think it in Puffy’s best interest to be rough-housed. Puffy was quite tolerant of my sister and me dressing him up in our old baby clothes and pushing him around the neighborhood in a pram. On one especially memorable walk, the neighborhood Great Dane escaped his backyard and gave Puffy a chase. Puffy leapt out of the baby carriage and rapidly hopped off. His baby bonnet, booties, and frilly dress did not hinder him in the least. He quickly hid deep in nearby shrubs out of the dog’s reach.

    1. Hey Kitt – oh, that picture of Lucy did not do the kooky outfit justice. It was too small for her to begin with, and the camera angle was skewed, but it’s not like it’s for her modeling portfolio, ha ha!

      The story of dear Puffy (love the name) truly entertained me. The image of poor Puffy wearing the baby ensemble, fleeing the imposing Great Dane, is absolutely priceless. I hope that Puffy wasn’t too traumatized by the incident and lived a long life, showered with love by you and your sister, free from any dog’s clutches!

  6. Hiya Dyane! I think unplugging is really important. But so many of us are so confronted by technology it’s really hard to escape. I wake up to an iPod alarm. I check my emails, tweet from bed and so on. Then off to work where it’s tech tech tech. Doing research online, programming in SAS and accessing databases. My little snippets of time out are usually a quick check of personal email, or a peek at a blog. Informatin overload isn’t a good setting for a manic mind. It’s not like we need more stimulation!
    I applaud your efforts at getting away from the net for a while each day. It’s a healthy move 🙂

    1. I know it must be hard to escape the tech realm, especially when you work in the thick of it! Thanks for your support in my quest to take more e-breaks. It won’t solve all the world’s problems, but I’m sure my beleaguered brain will appreciate it.

      Hope you’re feeling 100% better by now! :))) take care, my friend!

  7. It was such a lovely post Dyane, as if you were right in front of me actually talking. I really encourage your idea about unplugging. I tend to unplug a lot these days (although m a student driver) I like to go outside and have fun around. That gives me a whole lot of positive energy. I need to unplug from my TV, I tend to get addicted to it. Lucy is looking adorable in this picture. Love to u all. Have an amazing weekend and thank you for writing. I was waiting for your blog !

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