“Just Don’t It!”

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As I’m sure you noticed, I’m using a grammatically incorrect title, but I couldn’t resist using it.  May my seventh grade “Grammarcram” English teacher forgive me!

 

Many of you will be too young to recall the trendy Nike ad campaign of the 80’s with the tagline “JUST DO IT!”  I think it was a brilliant campaign, as that catchphrase has stayed with me ever since those days.  I wish I was the one who cooked up that idea.  Then again, I’ve seen the hit television shows Mad Men and The Crazy Ones.  On second thought, I wouldn’t want to work in the advertising industry!

I’ve had a rough few days, as an unexpected family crisis popped up that has tested me in many ways.  I wanted to blog about the gory details but unfortunately I held back, as the person involved asked me to refrain.  Since I love this person and I don’t want yet another estrangement in my life, I’m honoring the request.

The good news is that I got enough sleep each night thanks to Seroquel.  That medication has been key in keeping me on the straight and narrow path of relative mental stability.  Even so, I’ve been amping up some of my bad habits which I need to reduce.  I wonder if any of you do them too? 

Here are my “Just Don’t Its”:

1) Yelling at my family, especially at my kids.  (I often have bona fide reasons to yell, but I’ve been overdoing it.)

2) Eating a pint or more of gourmet (a.k.a. ultra-high fat) ice cream or gelato a day. Yes.  As a former American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer, I don’t recommend consuming this much ice cream if you want to maintain your health and weight!

3) Spending too much time on Facebook at the expense of my other projects and duties.  It’s fun, but I need to cut down.  Facebook has become my social media version of ice cream.  (I can see you mumbling “Hunh?”)

4) Not asking people who I’ve helped frequently this past year (i.e. providing childcare) to return the favor…and I really need them to return the favor now that I’m with the kids almost 24/7!

This is an incomplete list, but you get the idea.  It’s better to have a short list to focus on anyway, so I don’t get overwhelmed.  

 

As far as “JUST DO IT!” is concerned, Nike was right all along in their message to cool it with the excuses and break a sweat.  I’m happy to say that I’ve been very consistent with exercise over the past year.  I know we’ve all heard a zillion times how exercise is essential if one has a mood disorder.  It’s true, though – it makes a big difference in my mood.  I’ll keep exercising, and hopefully that will help me “just don’t” as much of my list as I can.  

I wish you strength in getting rid of some unhealthy habits of your own.  I hope to read a juicy comment or two below.  Go for it!

As always, thanks for reading…

Dyane

p.s. here are some pics of me with our furry puppy/therapist Lucy!  She’s almost four months old – I can’t believe how fast this hound is growing!!! fun  

And here’s  “old soul” Marilla with Lucy – I love their expressions.  Lucy loves so many things such as feasting on chicken droppings – eeeew – chewing on socks and underwear, and as you’ll note in this shot, nibbling a stick.  We did pull this one out of her mouth after the photo was taken!

stick

p.p.s. On Monday I blogged about random acts of kindness, & I claimed that I would commit a random act of kindness soon.  I wasn’t sure what it would be. While I browsed among the many creative ideas on the Random Acts of Kindness website, I like the coffee shop idea because it’s simple, & my favorite shop Coffee 9 is a second home to me.  

Coffee 9 also has “colorful” customers who live in our small mountain town. It’s not quite Northern Exposure-land, but the population is eccentric. It would be particularly fun to observe the reaction to this type of kind act.  

The following blurb is from the Random Acts of Kindness Website about the coffee exercise:

BUY COFFEE FOR A STRANGER http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas

“Someone gave me a $10 tip the other day so I took a friend for a coffee. The guy behind the counter was a trainee and having a hard time so it was really slowing things down. The girl behind me was getting a little agitated. When it was my turn I asked her what she was going to order and I paid for it. It turned her around and pointed her day in a more positive direction. She left with a smile on her face.”                         imgres

Random Acts of Kindness – yes, please!


kind

 

It was a stressful week; honestly, when is it not a stressful week if you’re a mom with bipolar who’s parenting young children, plus house-training a new puppy? Nevertheless, there were some highlights which got me to thinking about the beauty of kindness.

Last week I visited two places to buy lunch and a treat.  The first spot was Salsa’s, a Mexican restaurant/drive-through.  Although I loathe drive-throughs like the snob that I am, I genuinely like Salsa’s.  While there are a ton of excellent Mexican dining spots in Santa Cruz County, Salsa’s works for me.  The restaurant is close to home and I like the fact that it’s a drive-through.  As I’ve had Lucy puppy join me on errands whenever possible both to quell my anxiety and ease her separation anxiety, Salsa’s drive-through element appealed to me

One late afternoon I was starving as I had foolishly skipped lunch.  My girls were at a friend’s house, so Lucy and I headed over to Salsa’s.  I ordered a carnitas plate and a large horchata. This was an indulgent lunch because their carnitas is as fried as fried gets.  After ordering, I drove to the pick-up window in my old, dirty Suburu.  

The young employee recognized me from a few prior visits.  When she spotted Lucy, extra-fluffy from a recent bath, she oohed and ahhed.  Another employee came up to the window and told me tearfully of the passing of her dog and how they had shared a bed for years.  She complimented Lucy lavishly, and of course I took full credit as if I birthed the furry beast myself.

The first young lady staffer returned to tell me what I owed.  I gave her my debit card without a second thought, for I was sure I had over fifty dollars in my account.  When she ran the card twice and then told me that it didn’t go through, I freaked out and felt embarrassed.  What check did I bounce?  I thought in horror.  I dug frantically in my purse because I knew I had a bit of cash hiding somewhere.  I came up with some bills but was a few dollars short.

By this point I was “bonked out” – feeling weak from hunger.  It was my own fault for not carrying an energy bar or some other snack with me.  

I apologized profusely to the employee, expecting her to say “See ya!”  She completely surprised me by saying, “Don’t worry about it!”  I think that the sight of Lucy making puppy eyes at her influenced her to be kind.

This sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me anymore, so I felt very happy.  My faith in humankind was restored for the rest of the day.

The next day, however, my warm and fuzzy feelings about the world-at-large vanished.  I was in our driveway getting the mail.  Craig had just returned home from doing errands in Santa Cruz.  I walked by his car and spotted a neon pink post-it on the dashboard with neat handwriting, and I was nosy curious about its contents.  Here’s what it contained:

 “I live in the alcove above the parking lot where I saw someone rear-end your car.  Here’s the make/color and license plate number.”

I gasped.  Then I looked at the bumper; half of it was marked with brand-new scratches.  It wasn’t major damage, but it was enough to warrant repair. I fumed.  Unfortunately I let out a few extremely loud, super-offensive curses that I won’t repeat here.  I hope none of my conservative neighbors heard me.

Actually, some of my warm ‘n fuzzy feelings remained because I appreciated that someone took the time to write the note and leave it.   But I still felt pissed at the perpetrator!  I went to talk to Craig about the hit & run. Craig is the mellow one in the family (thank God) and he was going to let the whole thing go.  

I wanted justice to be served, however, so I called the non-emergency line of the sheriff’s department and I got a really helpful sheriff on the line.   He took the case seriously and Craig decided to report the incident to him.  I now know the name and address of the person who hit our car.  He lives one town away from us.  I’ll sheepishly admit to you that I looked him up on Facebook, but I held back from sending a message that would only serve to incriminate me, and cause me to sink to his level.  Our insurance company will handle it from this point on.

Last week’s third highlight took place when I ran over to Masood’s Ben Lomond Mini Mart, an unassuming market is five minutes away from our house.  I went there to purchase two pints of ice cream.  Masood sells a great selection of flavors including locally made Marianne’s ice cream and the biggies: Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs.  As he rang me up (Haagen Dazs mint chip and Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food) I was short by two dollars.  As Masood has a reputation for being a rather shrewd businessman, I expected him to tell me to put one pint back.  He took one look at my sad face, and told me to pay him another time.  Once again, I was full of bonhomie!  Life was good.

Austin

I topped off the week with my own act of kindness, apart from refraining from stalking the guy who hit our car.  A house down the street from ours sold a week ago, and I decided to be a one-woman welcome wagon.  I bought a card and cute “Can of Daisy Seeds” (CVS, $1.99) and put them in a bag.  I signed the card welcoming the new owner to the neighborhood and included my email and phone number.  I left the bag in her mailbox as I didn’t want to show up unannounced on her doorstep — my social anxiety is still vicious.  

After the hellish years of bipolar depression where I focused on misery and hopelessness, it has felt good to be a little bit thoughtful, especially with a stranger.  (Forget about family members or friends!  Just kidding!) I’ve always loved stories about random acts of kindness, such as folks paying tolls for cars behind them, or treating someone standing in line for a coffee drink.  

Since, as you can probably infer from this post that I’m not made of money, I don’t do these sorts of financial acts of kindness.  But maybe I will venture out this summer to spread a little kindness of my own to others.  I’m not sure what I would do, exactly. Feed parking meters about to expire?  Nah!  (In some places I think it’s even illegal to do that!) Give a dollar to every busker along Pacific Avenue?  That would be truly kind, but I’d need a lot of money because there are a ton of buskers on this popular pedestrian avenue during the summer.

Thanks to the internet there is a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website complete with a list of kindness suggestions and great quotes, etc.  Here’s the link:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas

I’ll let you know if I go for it, and what happens!  That will be a fun post to write…

In the meantime, thanks for being kind enough to read my blog.  You’ve done a random act of kindness of your very own in sticking through to the end of this post.  :)))

Take care, dear readers!

kind regards,

Dyane

 

“The best part of life is not just surviving,

but thriving with passion and compassion and

humor and style and generosity and kindness.”

—Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost

Almost

Last night, a large truck was parked on a steep hill across our street.  The truck’s brakes failed and it crossed our street, fortunately missing any traffic.  It then broke through our fence, and it would have slammed into our house had it not been for one pole keeping it at bay.

See my lamp in this photo?
That’s where I sit and write.

If that pole wasn’t set deeply in place, the truck could have continued down the slope another fifteen feet, hitting our home…and, potentially, me.

(I’m a drama queen, but everyone agreed that it WAS totally possible!)

All I can say is that I feel grateful today that no one was injured.  I’m definitely not sweating the small stuff!  The angst I felt over hurting Shannon’s feelings that I described in yesterday’s post is GONE.

If the truck had hit me while I was writing, I would have met my Maker the way that many a writer would wish to go!  But no, I shouldn’t make light of this, especially since I have two little girls who would never want to see their mom munched by an old truck.

When I first spotted the damage, I became very angry.  I may have uttered an expletive or three.  (I frequently experience feelings of road rage on my street because of our many clueless speeders, and I assumed one of them drove the truck.) But it turned out this truck’s owner is our neighbor and he has always been friendly to our family.  He’s taking full responsibility for the repairs.

It was refreshing to deal with someone who was kind and apologetic, instead of being faced with someone who was arrogant.  We could have easily been dealt with the latter type of personality.  So again, I’m thankful for the positives of the situation.  No one was hurt, the damage isn’t the end of the world, and the person responsible for the accident is being…responsible.

And here I am writing a blog post that has nothing to do with bipolar disorder! That’s nice for a chance.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve found it deeply fulfilling to write about bipolar disorder, but it’s good to take a break from the topic every once in a while.  Even if I am writing about a car accident that could have been really, really nasty! 🙂

Drive safely, my dear readers, and make sure your parking brakes work – especially if you park on a hill!!

 

Truck