It feels like a drop in the ocean, but ...

... one day I made a bargain with my inner child, Ingenua. She didn't see the point of doing ... well ... anything. It wasn't fun any more, and there were too many scary thoughts going around. So I said, "How about, for every little thing we do that is good for me, we'll give five cents to charity:water? How does that sound?"

And she smiled.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today wasn't one of the good days.

After staying up horribly late last night, I was so tired this morning that I wasn't motivated to get anything done.  I procrastinated over going out, because I wanted to find a card to send with a letter, and I had no idea where the card might be in amongst my clutter.  In the end I decided I would just go out to the newsagent and buy another card, but I never did that.  Instead, I had a rather unpleasant phone call, that rather ruined the rest of my day.

Here's today's tally:
Tuesday, 15th June 2010
Got out of bed before midday. 5c.
Made the bed. 5c.
Got dressed.  5c.
Swished the toilet: 5c.
Had something substantial for breakfast - just.  5c.
Made dinner: 5c.
Cleaned up the kitchen after cooking: 5c.
Cleared the plates after dinner: 5c.
Had a shower: 5c.
Scrubbed the shower: 5c.

Yup, there wasn't really anything of value between breakfast and dinner.  Didn't get anything done that I intended to do, didn't do anything fun.  Just mooched about on the internet all day.

Oh well ... That's 50c earned, at least.  If I count writing my blog and shining my sink, and go to bed before midnight, I'll have earned my puzzle book.

Time to double-check the totals ...

29th May: 35c
30th May: 45c (I counted wrong in my post.)
31st May: 65c
1st June: 55c
2nd June: 55c
3rd June: 30c
6th June: 25c
7th June: 20c
12th June: 40c
13th June: $1.00
14th June: $1.00
Missing days: $1.35
15th June, early morning: 30c
15h June, rest of the day: 50c

Total so far: $7.85.  Well, I'm closer than I thought ... But still a little way to go.

I used to be good at maths...

But apparently I can't add any more.

$5.65 + $1.35 = $7.00, not 7.90.

Which means my current total is $7.30, if I count the six things in the last post.  Darn.  One more day until I can open the puzzle book.

I'm going to have to go and check all the totals as well.  But not right now, or I'll get stuck on the computer ...

Goal number one accomplished!

$7.95 worth of points accumulated, to donate to mycharity:water ... one puzzle book earned!

The puzzle book in question is an issue of Pixel Puzzles.  The puzzles inside consist of a grid, and the aim is to colour in the little squares in the grid in a pattern to form a picture.  However, you don't get many clues ... The clues consist of a set of numbers describing each row and column of the grid.  Each number represents a block of coloured squares in the grid in that row, but you don't get told how many squares in between the blocks!  I am addicted to these puzzles, which are constructed and distributed by Conceptis (see my Fun Places links section).  Can't wait to get started on the book tomorrow!  Hmm, I'm going to have to ration the puzzles carefully...

As for the final task that took me to my goal amount:

Scrubbing the stovetop before reheating canned soup for dinner: 5c

Heh.  I haven't even put that one on my list before.  But it needed doing, so I did it...

And here are the other points I have earned tonight (which strictly belong to Tuesday, because it's past midnight, but oh well...)

Wrote my blog: 5c
Prepared dinner for me and Smith: 5c
Tidied the kitchen after dinner preparation: 5c
Cumulative total: $8.05

Next goal: $20!  Hopefully I can reach it before the end of the month.

I won't count these yet, because I haven't done them, but here are the things I'm going to get done before I sleep:
Putting my dishes in the dishwasher
Shining my sink

... I think that's all.


Tallying up so far

It's surprisingly easy to get 20 tiny little things done in a day, to earn a dollar for charity:water.  Hopefully I'll have my puzzle book paid off by the end of the week!  On the other hand, on a bad day I don't get much done...

For example, Saturday was an average day.  I managed eight things from my list - which means I didn't do any of the other things I mentioned yesterday.  But I am starting to get used to some of them.  I'm told that if you do something for 21 days in a row, every day, then it becomes a habit.  I hope it's that easy!

Here's today's list:
Monday 14th June, 2010
Got up before midday: 5c
Did some stretching in bed: 5c
Made the bed: 5c
Had a substantial breakfast: 5c
Put my breakfast bowl in the dishwasher: 5c
Did something I intended to do: 5c (In fact I did all the things I wrote on my plan yesterday.)
Took some junk off my desk: 5c
Did something fun: 5c (most of which was planned!)
Ate a proper lunch: 5c
Cleaned up after lunch: 5c
Drank a glass of water: 5c
Brushed Smith's hair: 5c
Brushed my hair: 5c
Took out some recycling: 5c
Checked my worm farm: 5c
Had a shower: 5c
Scrubbed the shower: 5c
Swished the toilet: 5c
Moisturised my face: 5c
Changed the sheets on the bed to clean ones: 5c

So I've earned a dollar so far, and the day's not even done :) I did procrastinate about making dinner, though ... I wasn't sure if my sister April would be home.  But I guess I'll get to that eventually.  I do know what's for dinner ... I just need to make it!

However, right now, before I get distracted by the internets even more, I'm going to try and total up everything I've earned since I started this plan.  That way I'll have a daily total and a cumulative total.

There are days missing, because I didn't write anything down. Too bad.  I'm such a perfectionist, that I normally wouldn't be able to get past that, and I'd get discouraged and give up!  This time I'm just going to accept it and keep going.

Here's the first entry, copied from my private blog.  These days (two weeks later, heh) I just write them down in an exercise book and try to write them here each day.

Day 1: 29th May 2010
Made bed: 5c
Ate something substantial for breakfast: 5c
Put breakfast bowl in dishwasther: 5c
Got dressed in something other than a dressing gown: 5c
Went out of the house - by myself, even!  5c
Got something done that I intended to do: 5c
Drank a glass of water: 5c
Total: 35c

Day 2: 30th May 2010
Made bed: 5c
Got dressed: 5c
Had something substantial for breakfast: 5c
Put breakfast bowl in dishwasher: 5c
Went out of the house (with Smith): 5c
Made food: 5c
Cleaned up after making food (somewhat): 5c
Put dinner plate in dishwasher: 5c
Going to bed before midnight: 5c

Day 2 total: 40c
Cumulative total: 75c

Day 3: 31st May 2010
Got out of bed before midday: 5c
Made bed: 5c
Got dressed: 5c
Put dishes lying around into the dishwasher: 5c
Put the dishwasher on: 5c
Took out the rubbish: 5c
Had a glass of water: 5c
Went out of the house: 5c
Cleared the table after dinner: 5c
Put my dinner plate in the dishwasher: 5c
Shiny sink: 5c
Doing something I intended to do: 5c
Sleep before midnight: 5c

Total: 65c
Cumulative total: $1.40

Day 4, the first day I wrote this blog:
Got out of bed before midday: 5c
Made bed: 5c
Got dressed: 5c
Brushed my hair: 5c
Had a glass of water: 5c
Ate something substantial for breakfast: 5c
Put my breakfast bowl in the dishwasher: 5c
Cleared the dish drying rack: 5c (This was where I was up to when I posted for the first time: $1.80.)
Wrote my blog: 5c
Did something I intended to do: 5c
Had a shower:: 5c
Daily total: 55c
Cumulative total: $1.95

Yes, you did read it right ... this is the first day of the plan that 'having a shower' happened.  Unfortunately I haven't been taking very good care of myself lately!  I'm blessed with not having much BO to speak of, so I've been in the habit of going without.  You'll also notice that there wasn't much of 'brushing hair' or 'moisturising my face' in the early days either, and don't even ask me about teeth!  Not very good hygiene for a doctor ... But now I'm trying to change :)

Of course, after the initial burst of energy, my enthusiasm started to flag ... After writing my blog and finally perfecting the details, I didn't end up getting out of the house.  Which is sad, because Smith was visiting a friend that evening and I'd planned to go too.  I'd run out of energy by that point, and I had to ring up and tell Smith to go alone.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2010
Got up before midday: 5c
Made bed: 5c
Got dressed: 5c
Made soup (from my own chicken stock and fresh ingredients): 5c
Had a shower: 5c
Swished the toilet: 5c
Scrubbed the shower recess: 5c
Did something I intended to do: 5c
Swiped the bathroom vanity: 5c
Moisturised my face: 5c
Had a glass of water: 5c
Daily total: 55c
Cumulative total: $2.50

"Getting to bed before midnight" didn't happen on that day, or the subsequent days.  I got caught up in mindless games on the computer, and didn't even make it out of the house to an important appointment (I had to ring up and reschedule for the next day). 

Here's what I managed on the 3rd of June:
Got up in time for my appointment (9.30am): 5c
Made the bed: 5c
Got dressed, right up to shoes: 5c
Brushed my hair: 5c
Had a glass of water: 5c
Went out of the house: 5c
At that point I stopped writing things down and I probably stopped doing most of the little things as well.  I got depressed over trying to decide what I wanted to do for the next six months, and procrastinated over ... just about everything. 

But then again:

Daily total for 3rd June: 30c
Cumulative total: $2.80

I was still making progress :)

I didn't write anything else down until the next Monday, 7th June.  At breakfast time that day I tried to record what I'd done the previous day, and here is what I came up with:

Sunday, 6th June
Had a substantial breakfast: 5c
Got dressed in more than a dressing gown: 5c
Put my breakfast bowl in the dishwasher: 5c
Made dinner: 5c
Put plate in the dishwasher: 5c
Daily total: 25c
Cumulative total: $3.05

I guess this is the first day I forgot to make the bed.  As I remember, I crawled out of bed some time in the afternoon, and came straight out to the living room.  As for what there was between breakfast and dinner, it was mostly computer games I think.  I'm not sure.  When I spend my days doing nothing, I don't even remember... Then again, who knows what time breakfast actually took place...

Monday 7th June
Got up before midday: 5c
Made bed: 5c
Got dressed: 5c
Had a substantial breakfast: 5c

And the writing stops there, again.  There are 4 days unaccounted for, until I started writing my blog again on Saturday after listening to Pam and meeting my Inner Kiddie.  But here's the totals, anyway:

Monday, 7th June: 20c
Saturday, 12th June: 40c
Sunday, 13th June: $1.00
Monday, 14th June, so far: $1.00
The total so far: $5.65!  Wow, I didn't know I was more than halfway to paying off my puzzle book!

As for the days in between ... Well, yesterday I came up with a way of accounting for them.  I'm going to severely underestimate, because as much as I like giving to charity, I don't like to overstate my own achievements.  What I can do, though, is go through my list of all the things I can think of that I could have done, or that I've listed on other days ... and for each one, if I'm sure that I did it on at least one of the missing days then I'll count it.  Once.  For 5c.

I've been meaning to make a list of everything I've done so far, so here goes...

At least once on the six missing days, did I...

Get out of bed before midday?  Yes. 5c.
Do some stretching in bed?  No.
Make the bed? Yes. 5c.
Get dressed properly, suitable for going out?  Yes. 5c
Do some foot and balance exercises?  I remember doing this the day after Pilates class last week.  5c. See, this is why I wanted to count things from the missing days!
Brush my hair?  Hmm.  Not that I can remember.
Have a substantial breakfast?  Pretty sure I did that at least once last week.  5c.
Put my breakfast bowl in the dishwasher?  Yes, I'm getting good at remembering that one.  5c.
Clear out the dishwashing rack?  Yes. 5c.  (I actually wrote this down for 4th June but it was written a few days later.)
Put on the washing machine?  Yes, I think, although I can't remember which day.  5c.
Brush Smith's hair?  Yes, last Thursday.  He even let me plait it. 5c.
Take out garbage, or the recycling?  I think maybe, but I'm not really sure.
Clean my desk? No. *wrinkles nose*
Check my worm farm?  No.  I hadn't done that for a few months, until today.
Go out of the house?  I can't remember.  That's kind of sad.
Do something I intended to do?  I think once.  5c.
Make and eat lunch?  Yes, there was one day when I reminded my sister.  5c.
Cleaned up after lunch?  I think I managed it that day.  5c.
Did something fun?  I don't remember. (Computer games don't count.)  

Actually yes, I did go out to the Botanical Gardens twice with my Dad.  5c.  And 5c for going out of the house, now that I remember.  And I brushed my hair that day, that's another 5c. Still not sure about taking out the recycling, though.

Spent time with my family: 5c.  (I had lunch with my Mum on Friday.)
Got in touch with a friend: 5c.
Go to Pilates class? Yes.  5c.  I'm supposed to do this every Wednesday.
Had a glass of water?  I think so. I must have.  At least once.  5c.
Had a shower?  At least once.  5c.
Scrubbed the shower?  I think I remember doing this on Friday, or was it Thursday?  5c.
Swished the toilet?  Another thing I wrote down from the 4th of June.  5c.
Swiped the bathroom vanity?  No.
Moisturised my face?  No, I don't think so.
Made dinner?  Yes, at least once.  5c.
Cleaned up a bit after making dinner? Yes.  5c.
Put my plate in the dishwasher?  Yes.  5c.
Cleaned up the kitchen after eating dinner?  I don't think so. It did get a bit messy, and Smith did some cleaning.
Wrote my blog?  Nop.
Made and wrote down plans for the next day?  Yes. 5c.  (There's evidence on my calendar!)
Washed the dishes?  Don't think so.
Changed the sheets?  No. Eww.
Shined my sink?  Not sure.  I think I would have written it down if I'd been that motivated.
Avoided prolonged media use before 6pm?  No.  Sunday was the first day ever that I managed that.  Didn't manage it today, either.

Went to bed before midnight?  At least once, I'm sure.  5c.

And ... that's all I can think of.  Wow, this post is turning into a marathon.  Given that there are ... 39 things on the list, and most of them only take about a minute, it actually shouldn't be too hard to get 20 of them done in a day ... I'll have to see if I can keep it up!

And the total for The Week That Wasn't: $1.35.  Which brings my total to ... $7.90!  Yay!  I'll have earned my puzzle book by the end of the day!  1/250th of a well, here we come!

I don't think I'll be getting to bed before midnight, though...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday, 13th June

It's nearly midnight, so I'm just going to post the rest of yesterday's score and today's.

Saturday 12th June, continued:
Washed the dishes
Had a glass of water
Shined my sink
Total: 40c

Sunday 13th June
Got out of bed before midday
Made the bed
Got dressed suitable to go out
Had a substantial breakfast
Put breakfast bowl in dishwasher
Emptied the dishwasher rack
Brushed Smith's hair
Put the washing machine on
Brushed my hair
Took out some recycling
Went out, with Smith
Did something I intended to do
Did something fun
Avoided prolonged media use before 6pm
Had a shower
Scrubbed the shower
Made plans for tomorrow
Wrote my blog
Going to shine my sink
Going to bed before midnight

Total: $1.00!

Time to shine my sink and go to bed!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today's score so far, before i forget...

Saturday 12 June, 2010
Made bed: 5c.
Had a substantial breakfast: 5c
Put breakfast bowl in the dishwasher: 5c
Wrote blog: 5c
Did something I intended to do: 5c

Total so far: 25c

Meeting my inner child

Well, the plan has worked in some ways and not others.

I have been doing things I needed to do a little bit more than usual.  But I haven't been writing down my scores and keeping count.  And I definitely haven't been updating this blog every day.  Problem is, if I don't write these things down, they won't count ... because I won't remember how much to donate.

Today I gave in and decided to listen to the experts.  Specifically, Pamela I Young, whom Flylady credits with the original idea of the Inner Brat.  A few weeks ago I ordered her DVD and CD package, Get Your Acts Together and Learn to Know Your Inner Brat.  Of course I'd been procrastinating about using them ... but today was the day.

I settled in with my knitting and put on the Learn to Know Your Inner Brat CD.  I was surprised to find that (like it says on the box) there are only two tracks, which are duplicates, and the whole thing is only about half an hour long.  (I probably should have realised that that is all you can fit on an audio CD.)  I thought it was a program, like the DVD, and I felt for a little while as though it wasn't worth it.

The introduction section was a little long as well.  She describes her search for the cause of her financial problems, after being challenged by a friend to write a humorous book about them.  There is some detail about the six months she took to work out that her Inner Brat, who is about 9 years old, was the cause.  Actually, the useful part doesn't come until more than halfway through the track.

After that, though, it gets more interesting - she goes through the four steps to taming your Inner Brat.  First is the questionnaire to work out whether you have an Inner Brat.  Apparently I was supposed to skip that bit, because I've already worked out that she's in the driving seat.  But it was interesting to listen to anyway ... It didn't only have questions about the negative aspects that identify the Brat, such as hating exercise, being in debt, being disorganised and a mess. There were also questions about the Brat's positive side.  "Do you love animals? Do you like to play?  Do you like to please?  Do you like surprises?  Are you creative?  Are you spontaneous?  Do you like pretty things?  Do you love life in spite of the mess you're in?'

That particular question really spoke to me.  Why do I put up with living in a mess?  It's because I love life anyway, just as a child would.  When it comes to not stressing the petty things ... I just deal with my messy environment and get on with the things I enjoy.  However, there are probably better ways to deal with it!

I also came to realise through this exercise that my particular Inner Brat, is not only worth keeping, but worth loving.  Which is good, because she's a part of me I probably won't be able to get rid of.  And because of that, she can help me to enjoy life, as she always has.  She just needs a bit of direction.

The second step was to name your Inner Brat, and Pamela stressed the importance of this.  I'm not sure why.  But I already had a name for her, so I figured this was a part I could skip as well.  She didn't elaborate on why, though.

Step three was to visually assess the havoc caused by the Inner Brat.  I didn't think this concept was particularly useful.  However she used this step to emphasise the importance of imagination and creativity.  Apparently, if I can imagine living in an organised environment, then I'm a step further ahead on the path towards making it real.  I wasn't sure how Step Three was supposed to link in with this anyway, so I just skipped it.  I spend enough time stressing about the mess here.

However, it was Step Four that I found most useful.  Here, she guides the listener through a meeting with your Inner Brat, using a visual meditation exercise.  I guess that the reason for having this meeting is to emphasise that there needs to be a relationship between you and your brat to make things work.  This was new to me ... until now I'd just been trying to give her orders.  Maybe this would be my chance to have a proper conversation, rather than desparate negotiations.

So, as directed, I visualised a room which I made as pleasant as possible in my own way.  As well as windows, doors, rugs, plants and a fireplace, there was supposed to be a chair for a guest and a chair for me.  I decided on a double-seater sofa for the both of us. 

The biggest surprise came when the time came to visualise Ingenua coming to visit.  So far I only had her name and personality to go by, and there was a recording of a 9-year-old girl's voice in a previous section on the CD that helped a little.  Suddenly there was a little girl in front of me - about 9 to 11 years old ... and she had Smith's hair.

I almost got sidetracked at that point, wondering if our children would look like this ... And of course they won't.  The Asian racial feature of straight black hair is a trait that mixes with other types, so our children's hair will be at least mid-to-dark brown, despite Smith's golden locks and the fact that he was blonde as a child.  Of course the next question was why she had golden hair if she was a part of me, not him.  I wonder if this comes from the fact that I've always envied people with wavy golden hair, like Disney's Sleeping Beauty.  She reminded me of the elf I made for my first DnD game, Magenta:
I'm going to have to draw a picture that looks more like her, sometime.  Anyway, eventually I got over it and moved on.

Now that I think of it, when I was younger I was always surprised when I looked in the mirror, because the girl in the mirror looked nothing like my self-image.  Maybe my self-image looked a little more like Ingenua.

At that point I decided to put down my knitting,  pause the CD and have a proper meeting with Ingenua, before I listened to Pam describing her experience.  However, I wasn't really sure how to go about it.  How do you talk to a nine-year-old?  Pamela has two kids; I haven't spent anywhere near enough time around children. I decided just to wing it.

It went something like this:

Hello, Ingenua.  It's wonderful to finally meet you.  (Pam's advice was to greet your Inner Brat "with the same dignity as you would greet Jesus if you had invited him over."  I decided that I would leave out the bit about being in complete and total awe.)
Come on in!  Have a seat.
I hope you like this room, I made it especially for you.
"Can we stay here forever?"
Ahh, sorry, we've got to go out and do things eventually.  And see people.  You like seeing people, don't you?

... You're so beautiful. (Okay, maybe I forgot to leave out the awe.)

Umm, okay, Ingenua, what do you like about this room?
"It's tidy.  And there are bright colours."
What do you think about making our real place more like this room?
"But Smith wouldn't like it."  (She's afraid of Smith!  Sheesh.  How can anyone be afraid of Smith?  Or maybe she just doesn't want him to disapprove.  )
You don't think he'd like it tidy?
"He doesn't want bright colours."
Are you sure?  Maybe we could ask him sometime.
In the meantime, how about working on making it more tidy?

Ingenua, you know that deal I made with you, where I would donate some money if we did things that were good?
Well, I'm sorry, but I haven't really been sticking to my end, have I?
Well, the thing is, if we're going to stick to it, we have to write it down.  Otherwise we won't remember.
Well, when's a good time to write it down, do you think?
"In the morning."
(I thought about this for a bit.  In theory I'm not supposed to be spending time on media during the daytime.  But maybe I could compromise on this one.)

Anyway, that was the gist of how I spoke with my inner child.  Pretty inadequate, eh, now that I come to write it down.  I've always thought of myself as kindly and gentle, but I've never realised how intimidating I can be when I have an agenda.  I hope that when I have kids, I won't talk to them like that all the time ...

We talked about a couple of other things, like the need for a kitchen, and exercise, and whether it was okay to write all this publically.  She was kind of non-commital after that, I probably scared her off.  And reading back, no wonder ... In the end, when I listened to Pamela's version, it was much more accommodating and loving, and focussed on who her inner child was, rather than what Pamela wanted.  Pamela details all of the joys that her inner child brings to her life, and reassures her that while they have a lot of work to do, it's going to be fun.  She also promises to improve their relationship.  Hopefully I can move along the same way with Ingenua ...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I don' wanna...

In a world of infinite choice, "I don' wanna" can be an easy way out, but it doesn't always lead to happiness...

So the theory goes that everyone has an inner child.  The part of you that loves new things, hates responsibility and always wants to go play.  I've seen it called the Inner Brat, or Princess.  Last week I became more aware of my own Inner Child, and realised that her name is Ingenua.  What I also realised is that she has been in the driver's seat - or wrestling for it - for the past couple of years.  And she has been saying the same thing the whole time:
"I don' wanna."

"I don'wanna."
Okay, if we're not working ... clean my house?
"I don'wanna."
Umm, make some lace?
"Too hard."
"Too hard." (What!?)
Go for a walk?
How about some food?  Food is good for you, you know...
How about getting out of bed?
"...  go 'way."

Okay, what do we want to do, then?
"Sleep.  And do puzzles, and play computer games and chat online with my friends.  That's all."

And for a long while, I haven't had anything good to say back to her.  This doesn't bode well for my future parenting skills.

Apparently the correct response (according to some) is "It's okay, there's no reason to get upset! I love you ... but we're going to do this now.  Trust me, it'll be fun, and it won't take long."  This has never worked for me.  I've been told that I lack discipline, that I lack initiative, that I need to find more motivation.  My other inner voices ask me why I can't deal with responsibility, why I'm not doing things that are good for me, what's wrong with developing good habits, do I not feel that I deserve to be happy?  My psychiatrist has struggled to make me see what I'm thinking at those times, but the only voice I can hear is Ingenua's constant whimper ... "I don' wanna."

But suddenly last week, when charity:water reached a milestone of $US2 million in donations, she actually smiled!  Because $1 of that had come from me as part of the Cakewrecks campaign.  And some part of me looked at Ingenua and said, "You like helping people, don't you?"  And she said "Yes..."

So we made a bargain, Ingenua and I and Smith.  I want to develop enough good habits to learn to take care of myself ... but Ingenua's getting in the way.  From now on, whenever she says "I don'wanna" to something that's good for me, I'm going to say "Well, I hear you.  But it's good for you, and if you do it anyway, Smith and I will donate 5c to charity:water."  It's the equivalent of the "people are starving in Africa" response - one person in eight does not have access to clean drinking water.  (Smith's response was "Ooh, guilt!")  What kind of motivation is that? ... well, we'll see. 

My very first goal is to reach $7.95, the equivalent of the new puzzle book I just bought but haven't yet opened.  After that, well, $20 will buy one person clean water for 20 years.  And right now, as of publishing this post on day four of this deal, I'm up to $1.80.  (Details to follow!)

Wish me luck...