If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

When I want to give someone tough love, one of my favorite phrases is: If nothing changes… Nothing changes.

Ouch, I know, right?!

But this week I want to keep things more on the lighter side. If you listen to the Sustainably Productivity podcast, you know Bixby and I traveled to Italy to see our eldest in the second half of April. I felt such awe for the age, history, and culture of all of the cities we visited. I am still rolling that around in my head.

Today I want to talk about how we are quite similar to the Italians who lived thousands of years ago. It reminded me of the Us Weekly Magazine segment: “Stars – They’re Just Like Us!”

Let’s take a little tongue in cheek tour to see how when nothing changes, nothing changes.

We All Have Unfinished Projects

This is a statue of two children playing a game they invented. There is supposed to be a third child in the empty space on the platform. Sort of reminds me of all of the craft projects I have piled on my desk, waiting on the spare bed, and swirling in my brain. Can you relate?

They Don’t Always Take Care of Their Books

Libreria Acqua Alta is a bookstore in Venice that obviously has books that have not survived the floods there. They turned it into a tourist attraction of sorts (successfully – as you can see). I don’t know about you, but sometimes I put books face down on the table or bed. I have been known to dog ear pages – even in library books in an emergency and if it is a physical book I own, I mark it up as needed. Do you have a book confession?

They are Extra About Their Pets

At the same time we were looking at these incredible statues of greyhounds in the square in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence, Lucille was living her best life in a pet boarding place where she swam in a pool every day with other dogs and ended her day with a Frosty Paws before bed. How do you spoil your pet?

They Screw Up on Large Projects

Obviously, the photo above is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But did you know there is a different tower that actually leans MORE than this famous one? The photo below is the Garisenda in Bologna. It leans twice as much as the debacle in Pisa, yet it is seldom spoken of. We did not know about it until we walked past it on our visit.

The wide open field and beautiful grounds in Pisa sure make for a prettier picture. I guess that is another way this ancient civilization was like us – the valuation of beauty and its photo op. Reading up on the cause and impact of these architectural and construction debacles has been interesting. And makes me feel a little better when I make a mistake at my job. What have you bungled today?

They Dedicated Space for Hobbies

This is the ancient writing space for royalty in ancient Italy. I love that there is a window nearby. Looks very similar to my writing nook. Do you have a dedicated space for your hobbies?

Their Physicians Hated Them

Check out the footgear on this dude in the painting. Looks very similar to the torture device Bixby has from his doctor (picture below) after all the exercises for his bad ankle failed him. I feel that way about some of the appliances, wraps, exercises, and devices I have been prescribed too. How is aging going for you?

They Loved Family

All joking aside, we had an incredible time learning about ancient and current culture. But the most important thing we did was see our eldest thriving in a situation we could never have imagined her in. This is one time I hope that if nothing changes… nothing changes.

By |2023-05-26T05:47:17-04:00May 30th, 2023|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Reboot Your Systems

Sometimes you just need to reboot your systems. A few weeks ago I was spinning out about something. Feeling overwhelmed and out of control. It felt like messages were coming at me from all angles – email, texts, phone calls, post it notes. I was trying to finish an audiobook from the library while drafting some emails and meeting notes at my day job. Bixby was walking into my office all day. 

I desperately wanted to check out of my life for an hour or so to reboot my system and adjust my attitude. I was to a point I could not even stand to be with me. It was a beautiful spring day in North Carolina so I decided to go for a bike ride. As I rolled out, I started up my Garmin as usual. This is the message I saw:

It stayed that way for the whole 20-some miles. Ironically it displays the message, “Working” while it is indeed NOT working. At first I was pissed off. Just another thing not working for me today. Then I had to laugh – I was yelling in my head, “Reboot your system! Get in nature and disconnect!” My Higher Power is quite a joker – clearly I did not need this technology either. 

You know how this story ends. I finished my ride and came back a much happier, whole person. This is not an accident. This is pretty much how the universe works. 

  • Kids melt down less if they have time where they are unstimulated. 
  • Your computer needs to be rebooted regularly to run updates and get rid of digital garbage.
  • Sleep is where our bodies clean up and heal us mentally and physically. 

The moral of the story is the most excellent Anne Lamott quote: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Sustainable Productivity Reflections

  • Write or talk about a time where you were in a tizzy. How did your body feel during your meltdown? 
  • Brainstorm 5-10 things you can do to disconnect, shutdown or reboot your system, your morning, or your interaction. 

I don’t know about you, but I suck at apologies. If you had a come apart with someone recently, maybe this essay could be an entry point to your apology. Share with a friend or loved one who needs to know you were just overwhelmed and now you have a few new tricks to try to reboot your system next time. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.

By |2023-04-15T06:10:43-04:00May 2nd, 2023|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Bookish Humor

Use your library

Use your library, people. Seriously. At any given moment I have about 15 books on hold at the library – Kindle and audiobook. I use two different apps for this: Overdrive and Libby. They are made by the same company and there are pros and cons of each. I am less interested in that as I am having one app for Kindle books and one for audiobooks.

By |2019-12-12T19:02:27-05:00September 30th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Bookish Laughter

Buying new books

I laughed out when I saw this. It generally isn’t the situation in our house. I tend to limit my book buying more than Bixby does. I generally don’t re-read books so I feel guilt when purchasing books. Guilty because a bunch of trees died for me to just have the book around my house and guilty because I spent money on something that is not useful. READING is useful, but I don’t enjoy books as decoration.

By |2019-12-12T19:02:59-05:00September 23rd, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Dangerous Wildlife

We live “out in the county” as is said (translation: outside of the city limits), and we do see some interesting wildlife. There is a weekly update on coyote sightings on our Nextdoor app, we already talked about the deer that eat all my flowers, plus snakes and birds, and of course, Lucille. What I did not realize is that the most dangerous wildlife I needed to be aware of was Bixby. Yes, my husband.

Bixby and Lucille looking harmless
Yeah, they look harmless, don’t they!?

There are certain tools around the house that I am not allowed to use. The chain saw, for example. I am not the swiftest of foot so to add heavy machinery to that is not always our best yes (translation: I don’t want to get hurt, and Bixby does not want to have to take me to the ER). He was suspiciously panicked when he came home while I was working on the irrigation project carrying around a drill whilst wearing safety glasses. The weed eater falls into the caution category – I am not totally grounded from it, but if it is all humanly possible, Bixby does it. The problem is that I am not quite as particular with how low I am taking down the edges, often leaving dirt. I am sorry to Dean, who ran the landscaping company I worked for during a short break from college. I am a terrible edger.

So I put in my work request to have Bixby take down the creeping phlox after it bloomed. It takes the dead flowers off and helps promote growth, plus it looks better. So the next time he mowed, he knocked it out. I verbalized my gratitude to provide positive reinforcement as all pet husband training manuals say to do. Then when I went to get the mail one day I saw this carnage:

mowed down gladiolas
The photo is about the missing half of the gladiola, not about the crappy grass / dirt patch and exposed drainage pipe. Don’t judge.

Apparently he got carried away with the phlox – note THERE IS NO PHLOX IN THIS WHOLE PHOTO – and took out half the glad before he realized what was happening. Then to top it off – he did not tell me AND left the leaf carcasses to rot. For better or worse, friends. Better or worse.

By |2019-11-30T16:33:52-05:00June 5th, 2019|Mental Well-being|1 Comment

Oh, Deer.

As you well know, I am a Midwesterner married to a Southerner. He hunts, I pretend meat grows wrapped in cellophane in the case at Lowe’s Foods. So our whole married life I have made snide remarks to him and The Boy when they go out murdering Nature’s creatures. With the exception of one said creature. The one that does this to my flowers. All. Of. My. Flowers.

I want the deer that did this on a kabob.

I am not the best gardener so when I actually grow something in my yard the produces beautiful flowers, I want to enjoy them. If I choose to remove them, it will be to put them in a vase in my house to bring Nature inside. The damn deer seem to wait until the night before I plan to cut them for vases and boom – snack time. You would think that 80 pounds of Labrador Retriever would be a deterrent, but not so much.

Lucille chases deer in our backyard natural area most mornings, but she really only phones in her effort. It is not all out like she means it – not like it is when she is going after a tennis ball fiercely. Our guess is that she is half assing it because she does not know what to do when she catches the deer. This only happened once. She was chasing a deer at early o’clock, caught up to the deer and sort of bonked her head against it, stopping cold, looking around. It was like time stood still. Like when that hottie says yes to a date. Like when your mom says yes to candy before dinner. You have no follow up response, because you thought the answer was no.

Then Lucille turned around and ran back to the house. Ever since then, the deer come over every night for midnight snacks.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Classic David Sedaris. What I find funny I laugh out loud and read it to everyone around me. What I don’t find funny really misses its mark. Great get for $2 and book sale last week.

Full Review: What really makes a David Sedaris book better is having heard his voice. I first heard his voice when he read some of his essays and did other work for This American Life on NPR. He has a specific tone and cadence that seems to give no effs about whatever it is he is reading – whether it is his sister’s mental health issues, his sexuality, or what he is eating for dinner. And often that makes his essays that much funnier. I strongly encourage you to find somewhere to hear him read his stuff, then (re)read any of his books. You will not be disappointed.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim David Sedaris memoir non fiction humor
By |2019-05-16T19:26:27-04:00May 16th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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