Apr 14, 2017

Six Impossible Things.

"Alice laughed There's no use trying, she said. "One can't believe impossible things." I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Lewis Carroll



Do you believe impossible things? Have you ever even tried? I love to believe impossible things. You know things that our dear friend Webster says are "not able to occur, exist, or be done." Things that are, "utterly impracticable." 

I cannot describe to you the frustration and bewilderment that wells up inside of me when someone says something cannot happen. It honestly feels like they are talking another language when they say things to me like;

Oh, you do not have enough time for that.
Oh, that is too far.
Oh, that will never work.
Oh, I think that is going to be too hard to figure out.
Oh, the weather will be bad.
Oh, aliens will come.

I smile at them when they say it. I carefully listen and acknowledge their very logical and good reasons. But I really hate hearing it all. As I am giving them my very best interested, kind, benevolent look, I am thinking to myself how sorry I feel for them, how I wish I could change their mind, and how I cannot wait to prove them wrong. I often wonder if something is wrong with me because I am pretty confident that whatever it is is possible. I guess that means that I am on team, anything is possible. Is it just a matter of if there is a will there a way? I think of impossible things all day long, it is probably why I am alone most of the time. I am not sure that believing in impossible things is a good thing. It is most likely not something you would put on your resume. Maybe I annoy the team reality crew?

Lest you think I am always accomplishing impossible things let me tell you of a recent moment when I second guessed and ruined things. Before spring break a few weeks ago I thought about something that seemed very possible to me, going to Fort Bragg in California to see the Glass Beach. I desperately wanted this to be possible. I had two free nights and a full day and a half to work with. I kept double checking the time it took to get there and the mileage.  I kept gathering information and voraciously reading about it. I kept asking my dad, who is an expert on where things are in California, hoping his answer and belief that it could happen would change.

 My resolve wavered but I booked an Airbnb in Crescent City, California anyway. I told my girls that we would have to wake up pretty early in the morning if this was going to happen. It was 4 hours and 28 minutes from where we were. We had one day to drive there and back and still enjoy the Glass Beach. It was going to be tight. NOT IMPOSSIBLE, just tight. The morning of the aforementioned attempt of the impossible my girls slept in and I let them. Before spring break our lives were out of control and it was so nice to have this lazy morning in an Airbnb in Crescent City California that I just let them sleep. By the time they got up the plan truly was impossible by all accounts. I did not give up and we still gave it our best shot. We got past Eureka before my nemesis reality appeared and I knew I could not push any further. It was not going to happen. I am not sure if I have recovered from this blow to my little world. I keep muttering to myself that I should have kept going.

I have something to tell you that is going to make you shake your head in wonder. So quick run to the bathroom before I make you laugh too much. For my profile on the dating website I wrote that I need someone who can think of 6 impossible things before breakfast. Yeah, I should probably change that to something like, I love to clean the house, snuggle, fix meals, and exercise all day long. Surprisingly, I have had boys from the dating website show interest in me but interestingly they all have some "impossible wall" that stops the relationship at some point and they declare:

Oh, we live to far apart.
Oh, I am too old for you.
Oh, you are too old for me.
Oh, it is too hard to blend families.
Oh, no one could really love me I have too much baggage.
Oh, we need more money to be happy. 
Oh, are families will think we are crazy.

Sigh. Reasons, reasons, reasons why things cannot happen. Can you tell it makes me grumpy? There, I said it, reality makes me grumpy. We have never been that great of friends.

If something is impossible it is;

futile
hopeless
unattainable
and my personal favorite, unreasonable.

The opposite of impossible are all these soothing words like; 

logical
believable
hopeful
sensible
practical

All the quotes in the world (well at least all the ones on google images) claim nothing is impossible. Anything can happen.So why do we even have the word impossible? My 17 year old nags me every day for a kitten, a car of her own, and our own place to live. All these things feel fairly impossible right now. So, maybe we just have moments where things are impossible.

What six futile, hopeless, unattainable, unreasonable things you think of before breakfast?

My 17 year old's list is:
her own car
a kitten
and our own place to live

My 14 year old's list is;
a horse
a horse
a horse


My list is;
my own house
Someone who likes me just the way I am right now
teaching high school business classes
hiking the applachian trail
going on a cruise once a year

Apr 10, 2017

Mind Over Matter.

     
Placebo Effect

"A beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment."

So this last semester, during week 10 of my Math class we were talking about basic statistics and we were given an assignment to watch a six minute video clip about the Placebo Effect. Of course I had heard about the Placebo Effect and basically knew what it was but I had never pondered much about it. I did not have any feelings about it either way.

This video clip was a follow up on a most fascinating three year study done at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A doctor named Dr. Bruce Moseley and many of his helpers were trying to study the effectiveness of arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee. They very randomly divided the 180 patients that qualified and consented for this surgery into groups for the study. Two groups of patients actually had the surgery and one group did not have the surgery. They took great care to make sure that the study was very random and that not even the doctor performing the surgeries knew which patients were actually getting the surgery until he opened an envelope after the patient was under anesthesia and on the operating table. They wanted to do their best to make sure all the patients had the same experience with no bias at all. The patients knew there was a chance that they would not get the surgery when they consented to be part of the study.

What stunned me was that seven years later the people who did not have the surgery were still convinced they were better. You watch them being interviewed, crying about the pain that they had been in. Then you see them so grateful, happy that they are able to function again even though they did not even have the surgery. After watching the video clip we were asked to read the article written about the study in the New England Journal of Medicine and it was very interesting. The very last sentence of the study says, "Finally, health care researchers should not underestimate the placebo effect, regardless of its mechanism."

Ever since this information from this study entered my brain I cannot stop thinking about our minds and how powerful they are. I am painfully aware that most of us do not use our minds to their full potential. Does this study mean if my brain believes something then it is so? How many times have my kids said to me;

"Oh I can't do that, I hate the way it feels.
"Oh I can't do that, it makes me sick."
"Oh I can't so that, it is too hard."

So many of us have things we simply cannot or will not do and we are sure we have very valid reasons for why. What if those reasons are not true? What if someone just told us that and we decided it sounded good, we convinced ourselves of it, and never really looked back? We all flippantly say to each other, "Oh you can do anything you put your mind to." Do we believe it? Is it true? Did you know that when we say that we are quoting Benjamin Franklin?

I have always been the kind of girl that gets extremely car sick if I ride in the back of a car. Ever since I was very little I have always had a throw up bag within reach when in the back of any car. My ex husband used to always casually mention that he felt like car sickness was just in my head. That used to make me a little sad. Is he right? If I worked really hard, told myself that I am not car sick, told people I am not car sick, and emphatically decided I do not get car sick would it work? Would I not get car sick? Is mind over matter true? If someone says "mind over matter" they are suggesting that you use willpower to overcome physical problems.

I think of the things that I think I cannot do. I wonder what would happen if I simply started thinking that I could do them and then eventually actually believed that I could do them. How much power do I have? Is it like having the force? Yoda says that, "Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view." So I am afraid of what I am afraid of because of my point of view and that is it? That is all that is holding me back? Do I love rain and gray days because of my point of view? And do you hate them because of your point of view? I see my kids declare that they cannot do things or they hate certain things, or something simply will not work and I wonder is it true? I guess it is true for them therefore it is true.

The doctor who performed the surgeries in the study says in the video that he went from being a skeptic about the placebo effect to a believer and that it is as much or more the patients belief about the surgery that influences the result as much as it is the actual surgery. This doctor had seen people get better purely because of what was in their minds.

Just what we all need is an over thinker thinking about her mind and what she believes. If I believe you hate me, do you? If I believe you love me do you? If I believe I am skinny am I? If I believe Reese's eggs are a vital food group are they? I told myself I could get a B in my Math class and I did what would have happened if I told my mind I could get an A?

Apr 2, 2017

Grit.

Well here it is. The closing days of winter break. I feel incredibly guilty at how indulgent I have been over this break. My trip to Port Townsend. The views. Lincoln City. The beach. Barking sea lions. Long thoughtful drives. A ferry ride. Days of doing literally nothing. Blogging. Incredible hiking. A dance. Seeing an old friend. Shopping. Sleeping in until 8. Finishing all 5 seasons of Suits. I honestly cannot remember the last time I reveled so much in my free time. I did no homework. I did no piano practicing. I did not wash one school bus. I did make my bed, take showers, and do my laundry just in case you long to start rumors about me.

Tomorrow real life must start again and I confess I am deeply afraid of it. More than I am afraid of spiders. Which is a lot. My two online classes for next semester have been uploaded and I peeked at them and I am worried. Math and Finance in the same semester. Can I do this?  Do I have what this requires? Am I smart enough? Am I strong enough? Is there an end? Will I recognize the end? What if I fail? Is this the right choice? Am I brave? Can I follow through?

Everything has seemed so clear since my divorce. I was astonished at the ease that I figured out how to go back to school. Surprised at how I got a job that worked with being in school and with my children's lives. Thrilled at my ability to get my school paid for. Hopeful about the potential for a relationship. Grateful to my parents who have been so supportive and sacrificed their peaceful, blissful retirement so me and my girls could come here to regroup.

Yet, I cannot describe the worry and doubts that have plagued my mind lately about my decision to go back to school. My decision to give up on finding a relationship. My wondering about whether I should just quit school and get a full time job that I can support myself and my two girls with. Everything had been so clear and then all of a sudden, almost overnight, it wasn't. Doubt and everything that comes along with it have been stalking me for at least a month and a half. Not a day has gone by that I did not ask myself the question, "What is wrong with me?"

Tonight as I was methodically delving into my classes for this semester hidden among the syllabus's, course instructions, grading policies, and announcements was a seemingly innocent suggestion from my new Math teacher to follow a link to a TED talk. I have a goal to follow every link in my classes this semester and to read everything very carefully so I clicked on the link. Not that it was hard because, hello,TED Talk. Who does not love those?

It was short but it was exactly what I needed. It was Angela Duckworth the author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. As I listened to her talk about how grit is what makes the difference in who succeeds and who does not I felt the heavy "I am scared about my life" feeling fade away. I had not realized how incredibly heavy things have been. Thinking about grit made me find my resolve and helped me pull out of this feeling that I cannot do anything right. Grit grabbed my determination and said pull yourself together.

I am not sure when I first noticed the book Grit:The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I love to frequently check up on the New York Times Bestseller list maybe I saw it there. Maybe it was one of those times that I treated myself to wandering through Barnes and Noble? Knowing me it was probably that article about the book in The Wall Street Journal last May. I honestly do not know for sure. I do know that I have almost bought the book a few times but that spending money thing always stopped me. The title fascinated me. I tried to justify the purchase by saying it would be for one of my kids. But I never bought it.

Grit is such an odd word. We rarely use it in everyday conversation. When I hear it I immediately think about the different types of sandpaper there are. You know, fine grit. coarse grit, medium grit. Cowboys definitely have grit. Some people eat grits. Some people grit their teeth. Yeah, a lot of things come to mind when you hear the word grit. What is the opposite of grit? Soft? What is in the middle between grit and soft? If you have grit you have firmness of character. if you have grit you are not afraid to fail.

So I am sure you noticed that I started this blog at the end of Christmas break and...ahem... never finished it. Today happens to be the end of Spring Break and I have come up for air. The semester I dreaded ends this week. I survived my 14 week semester of Math and Finance together. It even looks like I have an A and a B in my classes, but that is not official yet. It was a hard semester, I was right to be afraid of it and wonder if I could do it. I had no idea I could do what I just did. I did not do it alone. I had a tutor. I spent countless hours on the phone with my son in Estonia going over Math problems. I often did not answer the phone when people called this semester I just did not have time. I did not parent anyone the whole semester. I cried and wrung my hands in despair a lot.

If you have grit you have courage, you are conscientious, you follow through, you have endurance, and resilience is there as well. Basically you are a dream team of amazing personality traits. I want to have grit when I grow up. Angela thinks we need to teach it to our children more, stop coddling them. Sigh, I wish someone would coddle me. Do my homework for me. Tell me it is okay to sit and read a book all day. Maybe even give me a certificate acknowledging how well I can do nothing :)

Feb 17, 2017

Unlimited.

Unlimited. What does it mean? How often does unlimited even happen to us as human beings? I have been searching my brain today for moments when there has been a sentence with the word unlimited in it in my life.

I have heard people talk about unlimited food at buffets.
Unlimited refills of your drink?
Numbers are unlimited, right?
What about unlimited pets? My kids would love that one.
Unlimited cars? Too complicated and most likely comes with needing insurance for all of them.
Unlimited love? Yeah, we all dream of this one. I think it is also referred to as unconditional love. Unlimited time? I am afraid I would just waste it.
Unlimited chocolate? Bad idea.

How many times can you use the word unlimited in your life? This word that means "no limits, no bounds." What do you want to be unlimited in your life? Can you ever have too much of something? You know what they say. Too much of a good thing....blah blah blah. Remember the story about King Midas? Golden touch? Unlimited? Did not work out. I remember when I was a kid I had a friend whose mom limited how many squares of toilet paper you could use. I prefer unlimited toilet paper.

Last night I signed up for the brand spanking new Verizon unlimited data plan. Not only did I sign up for it but it turns out my monthly bill is going to be $10.00 lower as well. You have no idea how careful my girls and I have had to be with our data usage for the past 2 and a half years. When we have ended up going over on our data it has been painful. More times than I care to talk about we have ended up in town sitting in the car outside one of the schools or our church using public wifi to do our homework. Sacrifice never hurt anyone and I am sure that my girls and I are stronger and somehow better because of the shortage of data in our lives. But can I tell you what a relief it was to walk out of that Verizon store knowing that I do not have to worry about our data usage anymore?

I can watch The Crown. I can watch Studio C. I can catch up on Master Chef Junior. Episodes of Suits are definitely in my future. I can watch the videos for my homework over and over again when I do not understand something. I can use google maps on my phone without guilt. I can be the one to offer to Google something when I am out in public with only my phone. Oh man, I can watch James Corden's Carpool Karaoke. The giddy reality is sinking in. I can Skype with my grand babies anytime I want. Now if my kids send me a Youtube video with a song they know I will love I can actually watch it. The possibilities are endless....or unlimited :)

Is it weird that the more I think about the endless possibilities of unlimited data the more I realize I like limits? You know, boundaries, rules. I am not a fan of "anything goes." Is that what unlimited could mean? Yesterday on the school bus I asked a middle school girl for the hundredth time to please hold on to her back pack and stop leaving it in other seats. She said to me why do we have to? And I said because it is a rule. She said you don't have to follow it. I smiled and said "oh sister I am a serious rule follower." She predictably said, "That is dumb." I tried to explain to her that rules and boundaries actually make us happy but she was not going there with me. So I think that unlimited data will make me happy but having that set amount kept us from excess. Does that make sense? I laid awake last night thinking about the rules and guidelines we will need to have in place so that unlimited does not consume our lives. I bet my kids can hardly wait to hear this evil plan of mine.

So,do not get me wrong, I am thrilled about my recently acquired unlimited data. I sit here and try to comprehend unlimited. Never ending. There are so many things in our lives that we need to stop. So many things we need to limit. We have to be vigilant. Then all of a sudden there is something unlimited. Overthinking? Who me?

Jan 4, 2017

Lincoln City Glass Floats and Hiking Cascade Head.

I am usually not a last minute kind of girl. I make plans so far in advance people have been known to enjoy teasing me about it. But last week on Tuesday my 17 year old and I were sitting smack in the middle of an incredibly lazy day when we realized my parents were going to be gone to California for a few days. Natalie was going to be at her cousins. We should have a plan. It was easy to decide on the beach but which one?

Two of our biggest unfulfilled dreams about the coast have been the glass float drops on Lincoln City beach and whale watching. Wouldn't you know it? This happened to be Whale Watching Week and a glass float drop was happening. Two dreams in one week. How do things work out so perfectly? It was definitely a sign.

From October through May they choose random weekends to hide glass floats on the seven mile stretch of Lincoln City beach. By the end of the "glass float season" they have hidden over 2000 of glass floats. They are all handcrafted and amazing. Tatiana and I have had huge dreams of finding one or two of them. We confirmed that on Dec 31 and January 1 they would indeed be hiding 100 of these glass floats so it was decided, we were going to Lincoln City. I took the first Airbnb we looked at and the deal was sealed. I know I have already had my relaxation and adventure this Christmas break but trust me I really needed the chance to clear my head and take my mind off of some hard decisions I had to recently make.

Early Friday morning we headed out. We dropped Natalie and her cousin off in Lebanon and then headed west to Newport, Oregon. After about 43 miles of driving on Route 20 you finally come to the top of a hill on your way into Newport and you can look out in front of you and catch your first glimpse of the ocean. This view never ceases to fill me with happiness.

Our plan was to just do whatever we fancied. Our first "fancy" was historic downtown Newport. We wandered around looking in shops and galleries. We said hello to the incredibly loud and lazy male sea lions that hang out on the pier during the winter months. We even ate fish and chips. We are on an eternal quest to find the perfect fish and chips.

I knew there was a hike on the coast that I had been wanting to accomplish but I could not for the life of me remember the name of the hike. While we were waiting for our food I checked up on Facebook and there happened to be a comment from my friend Carrie reminding me that the hike was Cascade Head and that I was close to it. I quickly googled the hike, read about it, and all of a sudden Newport was no longer interesting. We jumped in the car and headed North on Highway 101. Who wants to shop when there is an epic hike?

Google maps said we had about an hour drive to the trail head and that we would arrive about 1:49 pm. I was a little concerned about how early the sun sets on a winter day and how much hiking we had to accomplish in the time before it set so I was focused on our goal, It is hard to be focused as you are driving past fabulous views of the ocean and you know it is also whale watching week on the Oregon coast. But we made it with no stopping.

Sometimes finding where the actual trail starts on a hike is tricky and this hike was one of those kinds of hikes.Thankfully, I know how to roll down my window and ask questions so with only one turn around we made it to the parking lot for the Cascade Head hike. The people we asked about where the trail started casually mentioned to us that the trail was very muddy. I am so glad they did.

Thankfully, I always have my yellow rubber boots in the car and Tatiana had thought to wear her red rubber boots. You cannot live in Oregon and not have your trunk full of things that you might need to handle the weather conditions in this darling state. It is safe to assume that water and mud will often be involved in your day. This trail was incredibly muddy most of the way up and we were so grateful for our boots. I would have hated to have to be worrying about where I had to step if I was trying to protect my shoes. I am so glad we could just walk right through the middle of anything.

Out of the woods.
The hike to the top was 3.4 miles. The trail is on the road for a minute. It crosses the road. Then is goes up. And up. And up. Through forest. Some of the trail has steps. Some of the trail is wide but most of it is very narrow and did I mention muddy? I had no idea what to expect at the top. As we came out of the forest into a meadow I was so anxious to see what our view was going to be. I was not disappointed. The ocean, the mountains, a herd of elk, clear sky, the blues, the greens, the beach miles below, the snow on the distant mountains, miles of pine trees, there was a view everywhere I looked. I thought okay, this is it. So fabulous.

But the trail kept heading across the meadow so we just kept following it. We stopped to admire the views and take pictures often. I kept deciding no this is the best view, would walk some more and then decide, no this is the best view. Honestly, you could have stopped anywhere on this mountain and been done with your hike but I could see the trail still going and knew I would always wonder what was at the end.

Can you see her?
The trail started to head straight up. Tatiana easily moved ahead of me. She would stop and look back and holler "Keep coming mom." I swallowed down the thoughts that her words made me feel old. I kept trying to think of how I could capture what we were doing and seeing in pictures and words. How could I describe this? I stopped frequently to catch my breath, survey the view, take a picture and then press on. If you look at the picture to the left there you can see I was several switchbacks behind her.

I smiled at the people I passed who had already made it to the top and were on the way down. I saw the look of empathy in their eyes as their struggle to the top was still fresh in their minds. A few of them reassured me the end was coming. I asked a young couple how much further and was a little confused when they declared they did not know they had come from another trail and had only been hiking a mile so they were not sure. What? I chose the hard way? Of course I did. It turns out there are three different trails and we took the longest and hardest trail but I am glad we did and would never do it any other way. It was an amazing hike with huge rewards. I had to resist the urge to burst into the Carpenter's song On Top Of The World a few times. "Such a feeling's coming over me. There is wonder in most everything I see. Not a cloud in the sky got the sun in my eyes and I won't be surprised if its a dream." Yeah,that song and I go way back.
View to the South 

Going down was much more delightful even though there was a constant chance of slipping in the mud. There is just something about knowing what is coming that makes the hike go faster and seem easier. I longed to watch the sun set behind the Pacific Ocean from the top but I knew that was irresponsible. Even though I had packed my flashlight. We got back to our car at about 3:50 pm.
View to the West.

Round trip the hike is 6.8 miles. It gains 1310 feet of elevation. And is categorized as a moderate hike. I saw all different sorts of people hiking the trail. Old people. Young people. People hauling young kids. Couples in love. Groups stopping to smoke marijuana. Hikers on cell phones chatting away. It was definitely a popular hike despite the mud and that it was December 30th. I was so glad we did it and will definitely do it again.

We headed to our Airbnb which was 10 minutes away and had an amazing view of the coast. We grabbed Taco Bell and watched a ton of episodes of Studio C. The next morning we drove less than a mile to a parking lot by the beach and started our search for the glass fishing floats.

It was disheartening to notice lots of people already searching for the floats. They do not hide the floats all at once they hide them throughout the day. So in my head I divided the 100 floats into 50 floats per day and then figured out the daylight hours and tried to determine how many floats they would hide within an hour. Yeah, who does that? I also spent way too much time trying to notice who might be hiding them. I was shamefully looking for an easy way. But there was no easy way. It was just endless walking and looking along the bluffs, through the driftwood, and above the high tide line for an elusive glass float.

We had a time deadline for when we had to head back inland. I had a dance in Portland to attend and Tatiana had possible New Years Eve plans. We stayed as long as we could and walked at least 4 miles on the beach but never found a float. The day started out clear and sunny but within a few hours the clouds rolled in. It was very hard to be at the beach and not be walking out by the ocean so a few times I deviated and headed out to the shoreline.One of those times a sneaker wave caught me and filled my rubber boots with salt water and sand which made me smile. You could hear me coming from a mile away with all the noise wet socks and wet pants inside rubber boots makes.

As much as I loved living in Kansas and Indiana I cannot imagine living where I do not have the freedom to jump in the car, drive two hours and be at the ocean. It makes me so happy to be able to do that. I marvel at the ease of it every single time I do it.

Dec 28, 2016

Support and Resistance.

For several years now I have had a burning curiosity about the stock market. No one has really had the time or the patience to sit down and explain and answer all my questions about it so I have gathered bits of information here and there. With the help of my father I purchased some shares of Merck and GE last year. As soon as they went above what I bought them for I sold them. Chicken out, much?

Ever since my divorce I have had a chunk of money that has needed some attention and for about 4 months now I have been making and canceling appointments with Rob at Schwab. Yes, I am thrilled beyond words that Rob and Schwab rhyme. It is the little things that delight me.

Finally, last Friday nothing interfered and I was able to keep my appointment with him. It was a rainy, gray day and my appointment was in Eugene at 10:00. Last time I met with Rob at Schwab we transferred money from some TIAA/CREF accounts into my Schwab account. But we just left it all sitting there because it would take more time than we had at that appointment to allocate it. As you all know ever since November 8th the markets have been doing nothing but going up in a weird unsupported sort of way. So the minute I sat down with Rob he started a discussion about this and about how it made him feel nervous about how fast 20,000 was approaching. It is fascinating to me to attempt to understand how much affects the price of a share of a company. I naively thought we would do some divvying up and spreading out and call it a day. But Rob (at Schwab) suggested just taking a small amount and placing it in an intelligent portfolio (the opposite of a dumb portfolio). He suggested waiting on allocating the rest of the money until February when reality may have started to settle in and the picture will be clearer. The stock market is riding on hope right now. I totally understand riding on hope I have been known to ride on hope myself. You know when you are sure change is coming, it is exciting, you are happy, and it is so welcome. Your life feels light and it is exactly like you are walking on sunshine (yes, I just quoted a song. Thanks for noticing.) I am in the process of crashing from hope so maybe the stock market will be heading down as well.

The more Rob from Schwab explained the stock market to me the more I realized the stock market is a lot like my life. I guess I had so many questions and was such a well behaved audience that he could not resist educating me more. I deeply appreciated it and cannot stop thinking about what I learned.

First he pulled up AT&T's portfolio on his computer and found a graph that gave me an overview of what their stock had been doing over the last year, He used his mouse to draw some lines on the graph in various places. Some of the the lines were marking the tops of mountains and some were marking dips. He explained to me that the tops of the mountains were called resistance and the dips were affectionately referred to as support. The stock would head down to a certain predetermined level, stop, and then turn around to get a running start back up to possibly find a new resistance point. When the stock gets to that low point that is a good time to purchase some. Sometimes the stock price would break through to make a new resistance level and sometimes it did not. Regardless the stock would predictably head back down to its support level before it tried again. If you know it is going to do this you do not have fear when you are investing.

I had just spent an entire semester studying Costco so I asked him to show me the support and resistance for Costco's stock so we switched to their graph and it was so interesting to be able to see what Costco stock had done in the past three years. I began to understand that up and down was healthy and you want to see that happening. I did not really understand that when I owned my Merck and my GE, which I sort of wish I still owned at this moment. Yes, you were right I was wrong.

If I could pull up a graph of the last three years of my life you would easily see my support level and the places where I took a running start to attempt to break through some resistance and make a change. Sometimes I broke through my resistance level and set a new high but other times I did not. I have definitely broken through to new levels as I have started school. But when it comes to relationships I seem to not be able to figure out what it takes to break through the resistance. You would be able to see the divorce crash of 2013. You would see the spikes when I got A's in school or met someone who appeared to think I was worth the time. You would undoubtedly see when I ate Reeses. When I saw a great view. When I did something wrong. Yeah, you would see it all. But the question is would you feel like it was worth it to buy shares in my life? And when would you sell?

I guess a healthy life has dips and mountains just like a healthy stock. Life steadily but slowly with lots of support and good reasons usually works its way up. Since January 2015 Costco's support is in the $140.00 dollar range and their resistance level has been around $169.00. Before that it's resistance level was around $110.00. So if you bought Costco stock years ago and was patient just imagine. It appears to be the same with life.  so the earlier you invest in me the better? Ugh, that means it is too late.

Dec 27, 2016

Make Good Choices.

I am not sure why it started or even when it started but for quite awhile now I have found myself regularly advising people to "Make good choices." It just comes out of my mouth naturally as a part of any goodbye routine. I say it to kids getting off of the bus. I say it to my co-workers. I say it to friends. I may have even said it to a squirrel who was thinking about crossing in front of my car one day.

I have noticed that my daughter Madeline says it to me when we are closing phone conversations and I have wondered to myself, "Did I get it from her?" A little while ago I was re-watching the movie Pitch Perfect and the character Becca said to another character, "Make good choices." I wondered to myself, "Is this where I got it from?" Have I been quoting a movie and did not know it?

Do I really know what it means as I flippantly say it to almost everyone? And even worse do I practice what I preach? Do I make good choices? A choice is "an alternative, option, or a preference," all words that suggest the power of choosing. I like the idea of choosing being a power. What if my super power was to make good choices? What kind of life would that be? At this very moment when I have so many choices swirling all around me I am really liking the idea of being "Choose The Right Girl." Definitely emerald green leggings, skirt and cape for my superhero costume...did I come up with that outfit too fast? Would it be too much to ask to be able to fly and make good choices? Then I could get to my good choices faster :) Are there any drawbacks to having the power to know that the choice you are making is the right one?

I have a talent for making bad choices. I know I would not be who I am without those bad choices. Every time I wrestle through one I come out on the other side a better person. They have undoubtedly taught me more than good choices and smooth sailing ever could have but I still long for the ability to make just one good choice. Just to know what it feels like.

Just for fun I made the choice to google, "how do you make good choices" and without even having to click on any link the most amazing list appeared from the Frank Sonnenberg online blog. Seven steps to making a good choice:

#1.  Manage the big stuff
#2.  Values Matter
#3.  Learn from the past
#4.  Know what you know and what you don't know.
#5.  Keep the right perspective.
#6.  Don't Procrastinate
#7   Once you make a choice do not look back and make it work.

I should have known there would be a list out there. Seeing the steps all written out is strangely comforting. "Good choices keep you heading in the direction you want to be going. Bad choices are counter-productive and quickly can make you feel despair, stress and confusion." The minute I read this definition I realized I have been making bad choices. I keep having hope that these choices will head me in the direction I want to go but it is time to admit they are never going to move anywhere and I need to abandon them.

Maybe I want my super power to be not looking back. "Not Looking Back girl." Oh man now I have to make a choice.