Day 238-Motivational Monday-Why You Should Stick To Your Routine

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had a safe night and did not wake up to damage caused by last night’s storms.

Do you have and stick to a daily routine? I know that if I veer too far away from my own, I start slacking off, things go undone and in the end, I will not accomplish my goals.

I checked out an article on The Spruce and they did an interview with Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson who is a social psychologist, speaker and author of the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals. According to Dr Halvorson;

Q: How specific should people be when establishing goals?

A: Being specific with your routine is important because if your plan is too vague, they tend to never get acted on.

Q: Should you log daily progress?

A: Monitoring your progress is important because you need to have a pretty good idea how well you’re doing with respect to your goals in order to stay motivated, and to know when to try a new approach because the one you are using isn’t working. Using a calendar or journal is a good way to keep track of your goals.

Q: What if your routine includes something you don’t want to do, like jogging?

A: Reframe the activity in terms of the “bigger picture” goal it is serving. So like jogging is being done to help you stay healthy or lose weight. Thinking in those terms why you’re doing something unpleasant can give you a real motivational boost.

Q: How long does it take to establish a new habit?

A: There’s no way to know exactly because it depends on many factors, a person’s distractions, personality, how complicated the new behaviors are etc. Good news is, keep it up and it will eventually become a habit which will absolutely get easier over time.

Q: Do you recommend checklists for routines?

A: Both checklists and if-then plans (if I am in situation x, then I will do action y) make remembering things a lot easier.

My own routine is usually to get up as soon as I wake up, if I allow myself to go back to sleep, there goes time I could have used to get something done. Go make coffee, feed the dogs and get to work in the office. If it’s a work day, I work until time to get ready to go to work. If not, I work a few hours, stop to eat, then get back to it. I do make myself take breaks and/or run errands. This is how it has to be until I reach my goals. I am more efficient and productive in the mornings, in the afternoon, there are too many distractions. That’s not to say I never get work done in the afternoons/evenings, its just more likely earlier in the day.

Knowing yourself and what you want to achieve will keep you motivated to stick to your routine. If I make a new goal, to get more toned for instance, I will set a new routine of exercise to try and reach that goal faster. I could fit in a walk three times a week in the afternoon for example. Even a 30 minute walk is better than nothing and gets me closer to my goal of toning my legs.

I hope I’ve helped you answer the question, if you have more or any suggestions to share, please leave a comment!

Join me tomorrow when I share for MET-My Essay Tuesday and I’ll see you all then, on the patio. 🙂

 

Day 237-Free Days-What Type of Oak and I Have Some Gall

Afternoon everyone and how is your Sunday so far?

Today has been one of research, questions and flower planting, perfect activities for the beautiful weather we are having today. The current temperature is 81 degrees and I just finished up the planting of some marigolds and bedding plants in the planters either side of my mailbox. Last year, they held the begonias the original owners had planted, but I wanted something different this year.

Marigolds to greet the postman.

I had so many marigolds left over, I put some in the pots around my back yard.

Before we went to brunch and shopping however, I had to research what these seed pods I found in my front yard were.

Apple oak gall

Turns out they are a growth on our oak trees called an apple oak gall.  It looks like a seed or a fruit, when actually it is the nursery for a wasp by the same name. What happens is the female oak gall wasp lays her egg inside the central vein of a developing oak leaf. Then, the egg takes over the leaf’s normal development and forms the round “gall” shape. The wasp larvae feeds on the nutrients the leaf provide during the summer until it chews its way out when it reaches adulthood. In the fall you might see dried up gall balls, each with a tiny hole where the wasp has exited.

When I opened the green ball, (which was light as a feather) it looked like a spidery cotton material inside and I thought maybe it was what an acorn started out as. Wrong. Who knew it was the home for a baby insect? They are not harmful to the tree nor are the wasps harmful to us. According to Ask A Naturalist website, if you find one that’s green and has a hole, it’s likely some other insect chewed it’s way in and ate the baby wasp. That’s bummer because some wasps are actually beneficial to the garden, eating aphids, ticks and other nasty bothers.

After the planting was done, I went on another quest to figure out what kind of oaks we have. Earlier when looking at the galls, I saw pictures of several different oaks and became intrigued at which type we had, based on the shape of our leaves.

My guess-pin oak!

David thought it was a live oak, but the leaves don’t match. I googled it and the closest thing I could find was the pin oak, which grows to about 65 ft and has a wonderful canopy (just like ours 🙂 ). So, unless someone has a better guess, I’m calling it a pin oak.

Other than that, it’s been a sort of lazy, do nothing weekend and we are now under a tornado watch. Welcome to spring in Texas!

Stay safe everyone and I will see you tomorrow for Motivational Monday!

 

Day 236-Free Days- Have You Seen a Tulip Tree?

Tulip tree in my neighborhood
A close up view

I was driving home from Stephanie’s house a couple of weeks ago and saw this really neat, totally different looking tree. It had these lilac colored flowers that were so big, I didn’t believe they were real. I just had to stop and take a picture, I had never seen one of these before.

I asked my mother in law what she thought it was, and she told me it was a tulip tree. If you click the picture, you will see that when enlarged, they really do look like tulips! Have you seen one of theses trees? Let me know or take a picture and show it on your blog. Have a great Saturday and I’ll see you tomorrow on the patio

Day 235-Flash Fiction Friday-Angels of Arvada Part 4-Fed

Part 4

Fed

The sounds of scraping can be heard now as the man and a team he has rounded up are attempting to dig through the snow to reach the windows. Amanda runs to Ethan’s side on the window seat and watches as the men get closer to setting them free. Luckily, Her car is in the extra shed, so at least it was protected, even if it can’t be accessed right now. She hugs her son, relishing his warmth and remembers the fire needs to be stoked. Telling Ethan to stay put, she moves to put another log on and stokes the fire back to life.

Back at the window a few minutes later, she and Ethan sip hot chocolate as they wait for rescue. She hears a sound at the front door and goes to see what it is. “Hello?” comes a call through the crack. “Senorita? We will have you out soon. Stay by the window.” Amanda yells back, “Ok, thank you so much, what is your name?” She wants to make sure she gets it so she can thank him later for getting them out of their predicament. “Julian” comes the reply. “Alright senor, er, Julian…We can see you from the window.” She races back to Ethan’s side and watches for the man to show his face. There, she sees him wink from the top of the snow line, which is about halfway down the window now. Goodness, he is quite handsome, she thinks to herself.

Not that she is thinking of romance at the moment. A person can still notice a good looking man in any circumstance though, right? Sure, sure she chides herself. She feels guilty even having the thought, Anthony has been gone less than a year. Maybe it’s the shot of peppermint schnapps she added to her hot chocolate that is making her warm in places she hadn’t thought of in a while. Anyway, goodness! Amanda snaps out of it and looks around, thinking about what she can do right now, while they wait.  She needs to take stock of what they need, so when Julian reaches them, she can ask him to take her to get supplies. She can hear the sounds of snowplows clearing the roads now, along with all the scraping and digging outside the doors and windows. She thinks it’s about time, yet she is aware that avalanches and blizzards cause massive slowdowns, even in the best prepared situations.

By now, Ethan is hungry so she tells him to stay put while she goes to peel him a boiled egg, she at least had plenty of eggs on hand, some fresh and some boiled. She tries to feed Ethan a healthy diet most of the time, but can’t resist making him cookies every once in a while.  When she does, she tries to make them as wholesome as possible, with almond flour and the kind of chocolate chips that use less sugar. She throws in some nut butter too, usually sun butter but other times almond butter. Geez, she is becoming hungry herself, but she is loathe to leave the window for too long, in case they need her to open it from her side. She snags an extra egg for herself and hustles back to the window.

Ethan is excitedly bouncing up and down on the window seat, seeing the men have reached the window sill. Julian taps on the window and asks her if she can open it now. Amanda reaches up and unlocks the latches and tries to budge the window, it takes a few minutes and then like opening a new bottle of pickles, the seal breaks and the window is open, cold air rushing in from the outside. “Good morning eh, what was your name señorita?” “It is señora Amanda sir,” but added as soon as she saw his crestfallen look, “But I’m a widow now. That’s why my boy and I are here alone.” He replied, “Well, it’s very nice to meet you both. My team and I were checking houses along our service route and saw the smoke from your chimney. I was hoping you were alright in here.” “We’ve been better,” Amanda replied,  “it’s so nice of you and your team to dig us out! Let’s get you all in here and warmed up, hot chocolate anyone?”

Julian and his men carefully enter the house through the window and close it back again. In moments, they are gathered around the fire, sipping warm beverages and listening as Amanda tells them of the avalanche and how the last two months have gone. After helping her check the provisions, Julian sends the men to start working on getting the front door open so they can get them to a store for more supplies. “You really are a godsend Julian, thanks again, I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.” Julian looks at them both and smiles saying “Just keep in touch, maybe we can go have coffee soon, I’d love to tell you about my little one. Ethan, you would love her, she’s almost the same age as you!” Amanda thinks to herself that sounds like a nice plan and excuses herself to go get ready to leave this cabin for the first time in months. Grabbing Ethan’s hand she says to Julian, “Be right back.” Julian smiles and nods, sitting back down by the fire. “I’ll be right here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 234-Throwback Thursday-Our First Place

IMG_0825
My middle son Josh at about 6 months old

Oh, there are so many fun things to say about this photo! First off, will ya just take a gander at that lovely carpet! How did we live with that day, after day?? Kinda makes ya feel like you’re in a casino or something lol!

Then there’s our little bowling ball, Joshua, from when he was about six months old. Isn’t he the cutest? Can you tell it was Easter?? How about that monster tv in the background? Hahahaha! How did we even see that thing? Oh, I’m cracking up right now. Even broke people have bigger tvs nowadays.

Next up is the fabulous paneling on the wall, followed by the plywood entertainment center the tiny tv is resting on. Hey, we literally barely had a pot to piss in, so we were doing pretty good at this point. I found us this little gem for like $375 a month or something, it still beat apartment living, rats and all. Weird thing is, I can’t even remember if it was a 1/1 or a 2/1 because this is the only room I can really remember. I must have blocked the rest out.

Guess what? I actually believe it was Christmas, even though there are toys out for Halloween and Easter, only because the next picture in my pack shows Josh looking at the tree and presents. Thank goodness we took pictures, even if we forgot to write on the backs of them, or I would have hardly any memories of this hellhole we called home for six months. Maybe it was closer to a year, because when we moved into the Haltom City house, I was just about ready to have Christopher.

You can barely see it, but we had a baby gate up to keep Josh from crawling into the nasty kitchen, we hardly went in there ourselves. It was bad. Rats had set up shop in the stove and we refused to try and clean that out. We just used a microwave and toaster oven, if it couldn’t be cooked in there, we didn’t eat it. We tried to catch the beasts one time, and the damn thing took the trap and ran for greener pastures I guess. Another time, we were innocently watching our tiny tv and a mouse came into the living room like he owned the place! I will say it was probably because of all the open field in the back, which is long gone now. Houses went up all around that area after we moved away.

Even with all that, Dave, Josh and I (along with our chow dog Milo) were very cozy and happy little family in this house for the little time we lived here. That was 30 years ago and it was dilapidated then, would you believe IT STLL STANDS TODAY??? I know, shocker right? I guess some people will live in anything. 😉