Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Dividing up treasures

Half of the silver

My mother, sister-in-law, and I all chose the same Towle Old Master silver pattern. I never married but didn’t let that stop me getting pretty things. We grew up using the silver every night for dinner, not saving it up for only special occasions, and I wanted to be able to do that in my own home. My mom bought me some place settings from estate sales, I bought some, and my grandmother would sometimes give me a teaspoon or fork for my birthday.

I gave 4 of my place settings to my oldest nephew when he got married, but have rarely used any since moving to Texas. I added mine to my mom’s set carefully wrapped up in anti-tarnish cloth when I moved here, but it’s not doing anyone any good just sitting in a drawer. So as part of my house transition, I decided it was time to pass it on to the next generation. Not being a fool, I checked with my brother and sister-in-law to be sure what I wanted to do was equitable.

Today I spread all the pieces out on the dining table and started dividing them up. There were actually almost 16 of everything, which was more than I’d realized. Each of my nieces will get 8 place settings. But then there were the odd things that I never had in my set (spoons for iced tea and soup, little individual butter knives, pickle forks, etc.) and larger serving pieces that were a combo of Old Master pattern (large spoons and fork, pie server, gravy ladle) and miscellaneous pieces that I’d inherited from my grandmother and great-grandmother. I randomly divided these between the two piles.

Most of me is happy that the new generation will have and use these, and hopefully will think of us when they do. But part of me wants to cry to part with these pretty silver things that I never use but know where they came from and (mostly) what they’re for, including the tomato server and sugar sifter. I just love them. But it’s not fair to them to be wrapped in a drawer and ignored. So I will polish them up, wrap them carefully in anti-tarnish cloth, and pack up to give for holiday celebrating – and hope that the pretty things don’t get mangled in a disposal. But if they do, well, my mom did that as well. It’s just stuff, even if it’s shiny.

I’m keeping a few things, though. I just couldn’t part with the silver sifter or the little sterling swords for appetizers or the baby set to give when the next baby is born. But most of it is divided up, hopefully fairly. Next decisions will involve silver and silverplate bowls and platters. I do not need two intricate silver breadtrays, Revere bowls, or the well-and-tree platter. I think the nephews are getting silver for Christmas, too.


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No Longer a Weight Watcher

Vegetable PeopleI did it. After thinking about this off and on for several weeks, I cancelled my WW membership for meetings and etools, effective mid-April when my current monthly pass runs out.

Eeeeeek. It feels really weird to have done this because I’ve been a WW member for almost six years this time. But I haven’t been working the program or staying for meetings and it was time to either DO those things or own up to what I’m actually doing. Which is not WW.

It’s a wonderful program. It’s the only thing that’s ever really worked for me long-term. It’s the reason I’ve been able to maintain at least some of my last big weight loss. I may be back. But it just was no longer a good fit for me now.

I’ve been enjoying using the SparkPeople site over this last week, seeing nutritional values of what I eat in terms of calories, fat, carbs, protein and fiber. That’s more helpful than arbitrary points, even if points are based on a formula of calories/fat/protein. Points are not created equal and the more complete nutrition shows me why.

I’m going to count Saturday morning weigh in as my daily number. I’m responsible for recording it myself, which I will do. And we’ll see how this goes.

For the last week, my food has been more balanced and I’ve been more aware of not only what I ate but how I ate it. Partly it’s the SparkPeople thing. But I’m also watching Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin programs on TLC and trying to put his simple rules into practice:

1. Don’t starve yourself.
2. Eat when you’re hungry.
3. Eat what you like.
4. Eat consciously.
Plus the usual drinking lots of water, sleeping enough, and getting in some exercise.
There’s no magic involved in this process. Just making better choices than the day before, eating good food that’s good for me, and keep on trying. Wish me luck!


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Transition Overload

Lame DuckI am the Lame Duck Department Head with six weeks to go in my current position before I up and move to Connecticut, and this lame duck thing is getting old. I’ve been working on the Anne Transition Document, now up to 14 pages, that briefly lists what my duties are in different areas (electronic resources, systems, vendor liaison, personnel, etc., etc.), who will be doing each during the vacancy in my position – with a brief “how to do it” description of each thing. That’s the goal, anyway.

Reality, though, is something else completely.

My goal for this week was to complete my annual report. Have I finished it? Not hardly – I’ve barely finished the statistics portion, and that’s easy since I plug figures into a spreadsheet with formulas to do the calculations for me. Writing the text part will take uninterrupted time that I don’t seem to have.

Why? Because I’m transitioning my responsibilities to other people, walking them through things that I do routinely. But that means spending hours doing one thing that usually takes me about 20 minutes since I’ve been doing it for ages. I understand it and don’t begrudge the time it takes, having inherited things I didn’t know to do myself – and knowing I’m going into that in my new position.

I need to extend the day – the 24-hour one, not the work day – by another 4 hours because there are simply too many things to do: writing the annual report, weeding files, going to a million meetings, contacting vendors, doing computer updates, documenting, conference calls, spending time with staff. Not to mention healthy eating, some exercise (even if it’s just walking), having time away from the office to pack and prepare for my move.

I’m overloaded and getting out of balance, and I don’t want to end my time here working nights and weekends to fit everything in – but I also don’t want to leave people I’ve worked with for years in a fix by not leaving things tidy. And I also want to go into my new job feeling rested and prepared, not hungover from lack of sleep and stress.

So I’m hanging on to what I can. I’m drinking my water, planning and tracking my food, staying in touch with friends, getting as much sleep as I can. Let’s hope things settle down soon.


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Playing Friday Catch-up

Easter ToysHave you missed me? I have been working flat out this week on transitioning my job to other staff members to ensure that things go smoothly after I leave in June. Yes, I know this is a long lame-duck period but it allows me to complete the fiscal year and do as much of the work possible on a major software upgrade that I’ve been monitoring and planning for a year.

But in the meantime, it’s a lot of extra work. It’s always much easier to DO a task than to show someone else how to do it. One of my biggest responsibilities is knowing what information is available where, being able to pick up threads from different areas and weaving them together to get a complete picture of a problem and possible solutions. This isn’t something learned in a week.

All the staff will work together and I’m confident that the important things will get done, though it will take more time and there will be false moves. It comes with the territory in learning new skills; I’ll be doing that myself in my new job.

In the meantime, I found this week that I got very little actually accomplished, or at least little that I can quantify or point to now. What I did do was spend lots of time with individual staff who will be taking over different responsibilities, sitting with them so they can see how I do this stuff. I’ll have to write it up, or at least the general outlines, but these initial “show and tell” sessions take time.

I also spent a chunk of time with management staff going over a chart of “who does what.” I could read it once; now it’s covered with purple notes with names, additional things to resolve, questions and problems. Frankly, looking at the list, I do a lot more than I thought I did.

One person has already said that in some ways, there was a wish that I was leaving sooner so they could just get on with it, and I know I sort of feel the same way. This lame-duck period is good but it’s long.

I’ve been transitioning in other ways, looking for housing and planning a trip down to find somewhere to live in between the 4 trips I have in the next 6 weeks. And I’m seeing every doctor I have for updates and final checks, except the GI guy since I’m not due for a colonoscopy for another 2 years and I don’t want to give him any ideas 🙂

Billboard for Fenway’s Opening Day 2007Food? Um, yes, I’m eating it. Actually, I’m sticking within my target points + max of 5 flex points almost every day and I’ve had some rather creative meals to make that happen. While I’ve been good at tracking things each day, I’ve gotten away from the discipline of planning it in advance. This is Not a Good Thing, but it is showing me that I can roll with torqued schedules and what’s available and not go wild. With all the travels coming up, this is good to know.

In happy news, it’s Baseball Season! Yayyy! Yesterday pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (aka Dice-K) was smashing in his first outing with the Red Sox and we’re anticipating next week’s Opening Day at Fenway with great enthusiasm. Note the billboard in this photo, designed to look like the famous Fenway scoreboard. We love our traditions in Boston and the Sox are much beloved.