Category Archives: 100 Day Challenge
When I first read Matthew Trinetti’s There are 100 Days Left In 2014, I was blindsided by the rush of creativity that opened up in my mind. His original article was written when there actually were just 100 days left in 2014 but since I didn’t read it on the day he posted it, it was a few days later so I changed that 100 days left in 2014 to be a 100 day challenge for me to re-boot my life and recharge my creative side. I had just started blogging and was tip toeing through Blog 101 so my challenge to myself was to be creative every day, whether that was an artsy craftsy sort of thing or creating a blog post or story. I knew that I was soon going to be traveling on an “adventure” that was going to cover several months and was tentatively scheduled to be ending around January 3, 2015, so it all fit for me. The pieces slid into place and my mind exploded.
Really that is kind of what it felt like. I felt this total rush of creativity, ideas and colors warred in my brain. I began dragging out the pots and vases that I wanted to use for gardening and floral arranging, I spent hours with a special tool breaking down tiles for mosaics and throughout it all ideas for blog posts and stories flowed through my consciousness.
Some of my ideas require a bit of thought since my body isn’t always up to what my mind wants to do. That might be an understatement. My body is kind of like the lemon of a car bought brand new that breaks on the first day out of warranty. Only my warranty ran out when I was 39 and about to turn 40. Poof. All the parts were kaput. Sigh. All water under an old bridge now. I have spent the last 14, nearly 15 years coming to terms with my limitations.
I now have blisters on my hands from the hours spent breaking those tiles into smaller chunks for the mosaic pots I want to make but I haven’t been able to do the actual gluing and grouting. It is kind of hard to do in a semi-reclined position and since my back has decided this whole “sitting” thing is going to cause my legs and feet to go numb….well it has been a struggle. So I have managed to throw my creative juices into my blogging and reading up on other people’s blogs and on things like formats and following, tagging and categories and all the good stuff I can learn from others. It seems that the artistry that is banging around in my head and is trying to escape is going to have to be patient and play along with my defective body. I will get those projects done, but at a bit of a slower pace. Baby steps. The time spent in my garden and puttering about with my plants when my body could handle it allowed me times to create in my mind. I think of stories and experiences and have lot of thoughts flying about, some worth pursuing and others not really worth much bother at all.
I now have 91 days left of my 100 day challenge and I also have a clearer idea of where I am headed. I have been spending time creating with my garden, propagating plants and researching for next spring but I am actually wrapping things up here for this year. My plants are going to be passed on to others to water for the next couple of months and I will be leaving California in just a few short weeks. The time puttering about helped me plan. There are garden projects that I have spent time researching about and will end up becoming part of my blog once I return from my adventure. Their time hasn’t come yet but I can see the bones of the articles, a framework to be filled in come spring along with the flower and vegetable beds and planters.
So, on to phase 2 of my 100 Day Challenge. Tomorrow will leave me with 90 days left of my challenge and just 15 days left before I leave California City, California (yeah, yeah, that can be abbreviated into CACA and in some ways suits the place) and head out in my old Chevy Blazer, with nearly 300,000 miles on it mind you, and start driving to the Atlanta, Georgia area. Wooo Hooo! I am not moving there, but I am going to be taking an extended vacation there that I have been planning with a very good friend for a couple of years now. My friend is eager to introduce me to his girlfriend and family and I have been hearing about all of them for years now so it is past time to meet them. He is in a much better financial situation than I am so he is picking up my tab. I had to struggle with this for a bit and actually cancelled the trip in the past but as I mentioned before, things just seemed to slide into place and I decided to go for it. Umm yay me?
I am of course taking my trusty laptop with me and am very excited about the prospect of recording my adventures. I won’t be traveling alone, although that would probably be easier since my traveling companion is a 120 lb. lap dog and he doesn’t drive too well. Traveling with a dog can be challenging and traveling with a pony sized dog even more so, but I am actually really looking forward to it. Hopefully I will be able to record some useful tips for others planning on traveling with their furry family members. I have traveled with dogs before, largish dogs but not quite as large as Frosty. Already I have eliminated a lot of places for overnight stays because they limit your dog to a whopping 30 lbs…..gee do you think they would notice the extra 90 lbs?
I have already spoken to my pain doctor, my neuro surgeon and my primary care doctor and have been given a somewhat grudging approval to make the trip. Actually I think they all figured there was no way they were going to be able to prevent me from giving it a shot so they are working with me to make sure I have the proper medications with me and that I don’t end up stranded thousands of miles from home with no meds.
My youngest daughter recently got married in a small intimate setting in Costa Rica. She and her husband planned a reception in their home in Texas and well gee, that just happens to be “on my way” to Georgia. Again, the pieces were all just dropping into place. As I was busy pouring over the various pinterest pages on arts and crafts and gardening, my daughter was posting to pinterest as well with ideas for her reception. I took all of those pages in alongside my gardening ideas. When she brought up me showing up a tad earlier than the rest of the guests to help her with the decorating….well I jumped on that and yet another piece fell into place. Nothing could make me happier than to help her with her reception.
To ease everybody’s stress levels I have been working on a dog sitter for the time of my daughter’s reception and the few days before it and after. I had visions of every comedy movie involving a dog…..dog chases cat through buffet line….dog jumps on wedding cake etc. As my background picture indicates, I have already had experience with Frosty’s fantastic reach on counters when there is food involved. Thanksgiving a couple of years ago he licked the top of one of the apple pies my granddaughter had made…..or rather he was caught standing above the darn thing looking guilty….it had been on top of the microwave which itself was on top of a high counter. He is taller than me when he stands on his hind legs. Once when I had to be out of town for a week a friend watched him and lost a sandwich and an entire tub of butter to Frosty’s counter grazing ways. I was just glad that Frosty didn’t end up with umm, intestinal distress…..Okay, I was glad he didn’t poop like his turds were greased lightning.
So I found this great app called Bring Fido and a website called Rover.com, that I will be talking about in blog posts in the near future. Monday will be the finalizations for the first leg of the trip and the first installment of the adventures of Grynnie and Frosty. Stay tuned for more canine travel tips and our grand adventure to Georgia.
For my third day of my 100 Day Challenge I wanted to do something involving color and my gardening together. When I was planting my cactus and succulent pot the other day I noticed that the majority of empty pots and containers for planting were either plain terra cotta pots or rather dull looking plastic pots in dark green or flat black……bleh…boring. I have several different plant stands outside made of wrought iron painted the typical black and one painted white…….again boring.
I love color. Bright BOLD colors My kitchen counter is black, as is my sink but my small appliances are bright and cheery and the revolving utensil stand is filled with spoons and spatulas made of all the colors of the rainbow. The bright splashes of color make my eyes happy. When I walk in my kitchen and start using my utensils I feel happiness. Color me happy!
I have a small wrought iron pot holder in a flat ugly black but it is in the shape of a cute little chair. Some of the paint had worn off and rust was poking it ugly head through the paint so I decided my boring terra cotta pot and flat black paint are going to go. I put on my gardening clothes (you know, the old t-shirt with holes and a pair of shorts) and got to work.
When I moved back to California a few years ago from Missouri, my wonderful mom had raided my step-father’s workshop and gathered together stuff she thought I might need in the house that I am buying from them. She packed in paint brushes, tools, screening materials, a saw, a rake, a shovel, well you get the idea. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. I remembered that there was a box that had several cans of spray paint out there somewhere in my garage. I braved the dark corners of the workbench and it’s resident black widow spiders and found a can of spray paint in a lovely aqua.
If you want something to last you have to put a little effort into it. That goes for life as well. I first scrubbed the dirt off the little chair and then spent some time sanding off the rust that had settled in. All of that takes time and all the while my mind is considering how life is a lot like that little rusty chair. In our fast paced society we are coming to expect instant gratification for too many things. We want our food NOW so we jump in a car and drive through a fast food establishment and sometimes don’t even take the time to sit down and eat there, we are in such a rush that we eat while we drive, always multi-tasking in our efforts to get what we want and get it now. The younger generation takes for granted their possessions and the technology that is handed over to them and are rarely found doing any kind of manual labor to achieve the things they want. It too easy to run out and buy something new and shiny (and usually plastic) to replace the old and rusty rather than to put some work into it and make the old into something new.
All this need for instant gratification results in a certain numbness to the journey. We hook ourselves up with wireless headsets so that we can make phone calls while we drive, we use our computers while we watch TV and more and more you see families in restaurants devoting their time to small electronic devices instead of talking to each other. As I continued to sand my little chair and then paint it I realized that I too had been spending far too much time glued to my computer instead of actually doing things.
The process of cleaning, sanding and painting the little chair took a bit of time as I also took time between coats of paint to soak and then scrub some small pots to use for the following day’s project. I felt happy to be doing this little project but as I sanded and painted I also became even more aware of the things that had been taken away from me by my body’s limitations. I was exhausted and the position I had to stand in to spray paint the chair was causing my back issues to kick in. Pain was radiating down both legs and my right foot was starting to go numb.
Fibromyalgia together with my herniated disks and my chest pains has kept me in bed on many beautiful days and sometimes the depression takes over and frustration sets in. I have no control over these things other than to take medications to hold the worst of the pain back and to avoid positions that cause extra pressure on my damaged back but I can do my damnedest to keep it from beating me. Creating something new from my old rusty pot holder made me feel GOOD emotionally. That feeling of accomplishment helps me to combat the feelings of helplessness that come with battling my health issues.
Quite frankly the activities of the day exhausted me to the point that when I was done with the painting of the little chair and I sat down to write this I fell asleep in my recliner with my laptop on my lap. Due to the disks in my back I can no longer sit at a desk or even sit comfortably in most chairs. People that suffer with fibromyalgia have problems sleeping, getting a “good night’s sleep” is a rare occasion for me so I am often exhausted even when I have just woken up. Too often in the past I have pushed myself to do whatever it took to accomplish different tasks and in the end all I did was hurt myself. I am now giving myself permission to be human and rest when I need to rest instead of trying to be Superwoman. I sometimes wonder if women are the ones that are more likely to have fibromyalgia than men because of our habit of rushing to take care of everyone and everything before taking care of ourselves. I am trying very hard to put my body’s needs ahead of what my habitual tendencies are so instead of pushing even harder to finish this blog post on the day that I did my little project I gave myself permission to SLEEP.
It is now the following day, I accomplished my creative task of making a beautiful little chair pot holder and will now work on the little pot that is going to go in it. If I get tired while doing it I will nap, I will eat or do whatever it takes to take care of myself. In some ways I am like a toddler just learning to take care of itself. All those years of worrying and carrying for children and the men of my life has left me bewildered on this whole taking care of myself thing. I am too used to pushing through the pain and thus harming my body in the long run. Baby steps, now it is time for ME.
The process of creating something beautiful gives me such Joy and Happiness, yes I capitalized those because they are so very important at this stage of my life. Sometimes it is the little things that sustain you and help you get through the tough stuff. Had I sat around the house and not done anything but surf the internet and watch videos about cute little cats and dogs I would have gotten through my day just focusing on my pain. By creating something I have something solid to hang on to, proof that I matter, that I can do something useful and it takes my focus away from the pain and exhaustion. I am still tired but now I have a reason for the exhaustion and I am happy.
I learned about this web site, Medium.com just yesterday. Within moments I discovered a blog by Matthew Trinetti with a title that grabbed me and gave me chills, like a premonition of something very important. The title? “There are 100 days left in 2014, What will you do with them?” I read this and knew this was something that I NEEDED to do for myself.
A few years ago, I suddenly turned around and discovered myself living alone for the very first time in MY ENTIRE LIFE! Since I am 50 something that is over half of a century. I went from being a child to being a 17 year old bride, then mother, then single parent with 3 kids, then 4 to take care of. A second marriage, more kids to take care of, pets, house, business, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…..then POOF! Everything I had known up to that point was gone. No husband or kids to care for, no job, no house not even a car for a few years. Nothing.
I started over completely. Learning who I am, who I have become while I was so busy taking care of the wants and needs of everyone around me. What I learned is that I had no clear identity or sense of self any longer. My hopes and dreams had gotten lost long ago. I helped my first husband find his, I even tutored him in math as a 17 year old bride just so he could make it through his tech school training for the Air Force. I continued to help him with his homework as he pursued his dreams and I gave up mine. But that is another story.
Now this….this is for ME. I came across this challenge with not 100 days left in 2014, but a few less, that doesn’t matter, it is actually a very good thing. I am planning such a grand adventure over the next few months that this timing will cover me from Sunny Southern California to Georgia and back again.
Dreams can be rediscovered, new pathways found and new adventures embarked upon. My 100 Day Challenge to myself is to find or do something creative, whether it be an art project, a photography session or even just taking some time to tap into my creativity and to blog about each day’s adventure.
I began the challenge on September 26, 2014 but am only just now sitting down to record my challenge activities. Yes, there was more than one thing! I felt inspired. From a very young age I loved color and everything art related. I also was an avid reader and even wrote a bit for my high school newspaper. My dreams covered everything from becoming a painter, a writer, a scientist and a computer programmer (I am a nerdette). Over the past few years as I have learned all over again about taking care of just me, I have begun gardening. I have always had a brown thumb so this is indeed a challenge since I live in the very harsh California desert. Upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer days and freezing during winter nights.
So for my first day of my challenge I created through my gardening. I have been procrastinating in putting together a desert planter of some succulents and small cactus plants. This isn’t quite as easy as it sounds but with the careful use of my trusty needle nosed pliers I kept myself from turning into a porcupine.
The feeling of accomplishment and JOY to be doing something that was for me and only me was such a rush! I’m not used to doing things that are for just me. It was always for someone else and everything that I did for myself made me feel guilty, like somehow I was less deserving than everyone else. Now is my time and boy does it feel good.
When I finished the succulent planter I was sorely tempted to keep going to dive into the next planting project. This is a trap that my mind tries to toss my body into. As someone that has been suffering from fibromyalgia for 14 plus years, I have a tendency to overdo things. Some of the things that are taken for granted by most people can seem like insurmountable obstacles to me. Grocery trips, simple household tasks such as vacuuming or laundry or even simple errands can lead to flare ups and a couple of days in bed.
Learning to accept myself as I am with no apologies is another thing I am working on. I will no longer apologize for my body’s failings.
My worktable is scattered with various empty pots, vases and gardening tools. My first inclination was to pick up a couple of the empty containers and to repot some of my other house plants but I gave myself permission to be human and try that new thing called SLEEP. When you have fibromyalgia sleep can be very elusive and often not in the least restorative.
After about 5 hours of sleep I found myself outside in my rose garden gathering up fragrant blooms and grinning like a fool. My joy was overflowing.
Here is the result of the first 2 days of my 100 day challenge, 2 small steps taken with Joy and Gratitude for this next chapter of my life.
What are you going to do with your next 100 days? See you tomorrow my friends!