I have an appointment today at 9:45 to see a friend and counselor. Jean has helped me through many difficult spots in my life, and I know she will be such a wonderful source of counsel in learning to deal with my newly acknowledged issues with perfectionism. I read the book I mentioned in my previous post, which really only confirmed what I already know, and yet, made me thankful that at least it certainly does not rule my life in ways described by people in the book. The author basically recommended 12 step programs, but I want more than that. I want to understand how I got to this point. I want to dissect what shaped me to need control in my life (which by the way, I used to get by overeating) and how it came to be that I have never been able to own a talent, compliment, or accomplishment. I need to understand how I can let people disappoint me so and cause me stress when they don't do or act as "I" think they should, even to the point of starting to dislike them as people. Ouch.
It has caused me stress with family members, stress with co-workers, and made me even walk away from the choir I love. Yes, I walked away from the choir in October. It so happened that I again found myself the lone soprano the last Sunday in October, and spent that service on the verge of tears almost the entire service. I never went back. Why? Because I've never been able to own that I can sing. Unless I have a strong voice beside me to sing with, I feel.... inadequate, raw, and exposed. Even though I can logically tell myself that I am singing to the Lord and it does not matter as long as I am lifting my voice in praise, my perfectionism would win out and tell me, "You can't do this well. You are out of your league." I have actually had to leave practices early as I would become so overwhelmed when I could not "get" the notes that I was on the verge of tears. It's crazy, and it has to stop.
They say the first step in conquering a problem is to admit that you have one. Well, I am readily able to admit that this is starting to impact my life in a very huge, stressful way. I heard from many people who told me that they saw a good bit of themselves in the list of things in my previous post that may indicate you have issues with perfectionism, and so I want to share my journey of discovery here. I want to keep the things that are great about my being so intent on order. I am always on time, I am thorough, I am a wonderful nurse and employee, and I am so dependable and reliable. But I want to let go of the aspects that are impacting my life in a negative way. Today is the first step. Here I go. Wish me luck in gaining insight which will hopefully transform my life and let me give myself the love and acceptance I am due.
On Christmas Eve (before all the snow), I was sitting at the kitchen table and turned to look towards the feeders when I saw this in the trees! WOW! A huge fluffed out Red-shouldered Hawk was perched just above the feeders. And the birds at the feeders seemed oblivious!
I ran to get the camera and initially took some photos through the window, but knew I needed to try to get the door open without spooking him so I could get some clearer shots. Not only did he let me take ones from just outside the door, but I slowly crept out onto the deck, and he did not budge. Husband opened the door, and whispered that he had the doubler in his hand, so I went back inside to put it on the camera and went back out to capture these wonderfully tight shots! This guy stayed put for probably 30 minutes or more before he decided to see what was going on in the rest of the neighborhood and I thanked him as he flew away for coming to see me at Christmas.
Honestly, though we'd heard that the forecast was for some snow, we so seldom get any measurable amounts here in Georgia, that we thought we might get a dusting of the white stuff... enough to say we "sort of" had a white Christmas.
Well, it started around 7AM and did not stop snowing until late in the afternoon. We watched as Chickadee was transformed into a virtual winter wonderland. We got out a ruler to put on one of the deck tables so we could see... 2", then 3", and then finally 4" it measured!
These photos were taken at the 2" mark. The birds were in a feeding frenzy, and photo ops abounded out the kitchen window. It was Christmas and we no longer had to dream of what it feels like to have a white one. It added even more joy to an already beautiful day.
How did I not know about this one? In July, Mary Chapin Carpenter released a beautiful CD for Christmas and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it in the past days.
From CD Universe:
"Many artists, when faced with the task of doing a Christmas album, merely knock out a selection of familiar pop tunes and perhaps a hymn or two and call it at that. Mary-Chapin Carpenter's COME DARKNESS, COME LIGHT: TWELVE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS is something entirely different: a largely self-written song cycle capturing several different aspects of the holiday season with grace, wit, and feeling. Carpenter, always a songwriter of emotional complexity and novelistic detail, invests these 12 songs with both delicacy and strength."
Enjoy her version of "Still, Still, Still" above and check out the rest of the CD. You won't be disappointed.
I got so tickled watching this little Carolina Chickadee perched and waiting for a turn in the 4-way cup feeder as the other birds monopolized it! Finally, when some of the crowd cleared out, this little guy rushed in quickly to grab a sunflower kernel and fly up into the trees to enjoy the treasure.
Recently, my husband was sent a link on his Fb page by a friend about an interactive map created by Slate Labs. It shows the increased incidence of diabetes across this country from 2004 to 2008. It is color coded county by county and is surely a wake up call about the state of diet and nutrition in our country. Click on the link above and prepare to be slack jawed by the time you get to 2008. I can't even imagine the stats for 2010. Holy cow... check out the Southeast! YIKES!
I see so many people with diabetes in the work I do, and people truly do not understand the ramifications of the long term effects of having high blood sugars. People lose peripheral circulation and sensation in their lower extremeties, develop heart disease, high blood pressure, have kidney failure, and can even go blind. But sadly, until many of these things start to happen, it's not taken seriously. Then, it's too late. The damage is already done and can not be reversed. If you or someone you love has diabetes, urge them to change their habits. Many times, simply losing excess weight can get people fully off medication and stabilize blood sugars. Regardless, trust me when I tell you that the long term picture for someone with diabetes who does not control their blood sugars is a future being consumed by their health issues. I hope our country will wake up and own this epidemic which affects the health and quality of life for so many people.
Another regular favorite at the feeders are the sweet Goldfinches. Sweet, unless you are inhabited by flocks of hundreds of them, as we were two winters ago. They, along with the Pine Siskins, were so numerous that I could hear them inside the house with their chittering in the tree line, and sadly, their numbers brought Salmonella to Chickadee. So, I am leery when I see too many of them. But, there is nothing like their brilliant canary yellow in the summer which fades into pale yellow and olive greens in the fall and winter. Beautiful... in moderation.
Oh my. You have to go visit my friend Stacey over at Do What You Love and see her latest photos of her trip to Bryce Canyon. She is able to see and absorb the beauty in such a deep way and conveys the wonder in both her words and photos. Enjoy the journey and awe as you hike the canyon with her and her hubby.
OK, so you know I like you. I think you are a gentle, kind bird and you are never aggressive towards your neighbors. You have babies and nurture them with pigeon milk until they leave the nest. Your dedication is inspiring. And, you are a known ground feeder. Yes, I said, GROUND feeder. I always sprinkle enough seed for you on the ground so you won't feel left out or neglected. So, why do you insist in plunking yourself in the middle of a cup of sunflower kernels on the feeder pole, and then proceed to "do the pigeon" in term of scattering the just-filled cup all over the ground? As if you are hunting for more desirable seed? Well, there is nothing but sunflower seed in those cups and well, I'd appreciate it if you you'd just fly on down to the ground and well... be a Dove? Thanks. I hope you understand this is nothing personal. I am just tired of watching you empty my cups of seed. Huh? You mean you were told to do that by the gang below. OH! Now I get it. Well... tell them the gig is up!
I first read about this book on my friend Songbird's blog and typically, any book she recommends is usually one I am going to enjoy. I am only a few chapters in and I have laughed out loud, hysterically, reading by myself in my car while waiting for Sam, or even while getting new tires the other day while other weary waiters simply stared at my amusement! Rhoda Janzen writes with such pure honestly and humor about her life and family (her mom will totally crack you up) and what it means to "go home" again. Read Mennonite In a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home. Trust me, you will enjoy it immensely!
Is it just me? I mean, I know during breeding season that the male bird species tries to put his best look forward with heightened and brightened plumage, but lately, the male Northern Cardinals I'm seeing are almost neon they are so red!
Or, is it just simply that everything else is so bland and brown so that their redness seems somehow more brilliant? Either way, it's a treat to see such wonderful color in the cold!
House Finches are so very plentiful here on Chickadee. I love hearing them chatter to one another as they jockey for position on the feeders. Because we see them so often, we forget just how lovely they are in their own right. These males were hanging out in the Rose of Sharon awaiting their turn at the cup feeders over the weekend and as I photographed them, I was reminded what beauty is to be found in the common everyday things in life.
I finally saw my first Purple Finch of the season yesterday. When I looked out, he was sharing the Black Oil Sunflower feeder with some male House Finches. Although this photo was taken from far away, I thought it was a good demonstration of how different his creamy raspberry coloring is from the brown streaked wing bars of the House Finch. Once you see them next to one another, ID is no problem!
Santa is so very busy this year, so he sent one of his helpers to assist me in picking a winner of the Christmas music giveaway! We put 10 names in the hat, and Sam Santa's Helper mixed them all up very well and pulled out a name....
And the lucky winner is... Beth! Ho, Ho, Ho Beth! There will be Christmas music headed your way this week!
"T'was three weeks before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a".... hey... wait a minute!
So, last Saturday morning, I heard husband yell and went into the kitchen in time to see a teeny tiny field mouse dart from under the fridge to the teeny tiny crack beside the dishwasher! ACK! A mouse in the house! I ran to the garage for the D-Con mouse trap and that evening as we went out to dinner, we picked up some glue traps as well. We were ready for that little guy to come back in out of the cold! We arose Sunday morning to... no mouse. Nothing. Nada. All traps clean and empty. Hmmmm... then, there he was... darting across the kitchen to the great room! We left the traps out, baited with some peanut butter, sure we'd catch him during the day. We didn't. That evening, husband went to get something out of the pantry and yelped... the mouse was in the pantry and when he opened the door, jumped from the second shelf and into a bag below. I picked up the bag where I heard noise, and when I did, he met his maker, squished between two 2 liter bottles of Diet 7-Up! Ewwww... out went the now dead mouse in a Food Lion bag.
I moved the glue traps out to the garage, still baited with peanut butter, as I figured he may have found his way in from there. I checked the traps each day. No mice. But, I was not prepared for what happened Thursday afternoon. I was waiting for husband to come by the house so we could head to Subway for lunch when he came in the garage door and yelled for me. "Honey! Hurry out here! We've got a problem!"
Can you see what the problem was above? Merciful heavens! I walked out to see a sweet Carolina Wren had come into the garage for the peanut butter and found her legs caught in the glue trap! ACK!!!!! Oh, my! I quickly picked her up so she didn't further "stick" herself into the glue and took the trap out to the yard to try and dislodge her little legs. After gently pulling and prying, all the while apologizing and being pecked for my efforts, I freed her from the trap and she flew up into the Crepe Myrtle to chirp and scold me! Lesson learned. The traps got moved to more obscure corners of the garage so that I'd never again trap a Wren! And hopefully, we had a renegade lone mouse with no friends as we've not seen another once since.
I was at Tractor Supply the other day getting some seed (love their Royal Wing line which is affordably priced) when I saw this cool Stokes 4-way Suet Buffet Feeder! Talk about a smorgasbord! Maybe now I'll somehow get the attention of more Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpeckers with more tail prop room? Their feeders are well made and I've never been disappointed in any I've purchased. I have the Seed Screen Feeder for black oil sunflower seed and the Giant Combo (2 seed) Feeder and both are so durable and easy to clean. If you are looking for new feeders, check out the Stokes line.
So, as I was going through all my recorded CD's, I found a stack of Christmas music which I normally would load to my CD player in my car during this time of the year. However, for my Mother's Day gift this year, hubby got me a sweet iPod Nano and so ALL my music is now loaded to it and I can listen to anything all year long. And so, to that end, in the spirit of Christmas, I'd like to find a home for this selection of music! If you are interested, just leave a comment to that effect and I'll put all the names in a hat and let Sam draw out a winner this coming weekend. I'll mail them out to the lucky winner the first of next week so you can sing along and enjoy some (maybe new to you) Christmas joy!
I was sitting in front of the kitchen window feeders waiting to see if the Downy Woodpeckers would find my new suet feeder when this little guy landed on the Rose of Sharon against the house. I turned my lens on him for a quick shot before he quickly headed to the cup feeder for a sunflower heart. I love the chickadees on Chickadee.
We have a small 4' tree that we put in front of the dining room window... Sam's "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Express" train sweetly circles around it. This year, I decided to fully make this a Sam tree and so decorated it with the years and years of homemade ornaments he did in preschool and grade school. I smiled with pride as I hung each special one on the tree and have continued to smile each time I pass by it and look at the memories it holds of so many Christmas seasons past.
On Sunday, I had just finished the lunch dishes and happened to look out the kitchen window to see this on the deck railing! A gorgeous Cooper's Hawk! I've not seen one around here in a while, and here he/she was only 15 or so feet from me! I grabbed my camera and had to shoot through the blinds, but still.... what a sight to behold!
I don't have the same excuses (just a lame brain), but I did just simply forget to turn on my creativity for a bit. But after receiving Donna's gift, I made good on my vow to participate. And so, the first three people who responded to my post were Anne, Angela, and of all people, Donna! I've created a little something today that I will finish up this week and get in the mail to the three of you. Sorry it took me so long, and I hope you'll enjoy your little gift of creativity from me.
A few leaves are hanging on the Sweetgum trees in the back tree line, and the "sweetgum balls" are plenteous. I've read on some websites where people love using these for arts and crafts and to even create ornaments and centerpieces by combining them with other leaves/berries or even painting them gold. Hmmm... maybe I need to gather some up? I had no clue that this tree is also a host plant for the Luna Moth. Sweet!
Another sweet, sweet favorite of mine is the tiny Brown-headed Nuthatch (~3.5" long), which is found exclusively in the Southeastern U.S. We have a plethora here on Chickadee with our nice tree line behind the house filled with tall pines, which they love.
I found these interesting facts about this adorable little bird whose call sounds like a dog's squeaky toy:
* The Brown-headed Nuthatch is one of only a few bird species in the world known to use tools. By holding a small piece of bark in its bill, they pry open bark on trees to expose insects. * Their population has decreased by 2 percent per year, a 45 percent decline over the last 35 years. * They are one of the few birds found almost exclusively in the United States. * A group of nuthatches are collectively known as a "jar" of nuthatches.
On this particular day, the rain was coming down on and off in sheets, and it was very windy. This little guy was in the Crepe Myrtle holding on while sopping wet. And yet still, looking adorable!
I've never seen the larger Hairy Woodpecker, but I have plenty of the sweet Downys and I love seeing them fly into the Crepe Myrtle to assess the scene before lighting on the peanut feeder outside my kitchen window. When there are babies in the spring and summer it is such a treat to watch mom and dad patiently feed their broods.
I have been feeling an inordinate amount of stress in my life in the past months, and most recently, an event occurred which has caused me to pause and look at my life to ask some serious "why" questions. I have identified and owned some aspects of my personality that I do not particularly like in the past, and have often wondered why I am the way I am about certain things. With this latest event, the rubber met the road. I downloaded a book called Overcoming Perfectionism: The Key to a Balanced Recovery by Ann W. Smith, M.S. and I was not through the second chapter when I came upon this checklist:
* I place excessive demands on myself.
* Others would describe me as a perfectionist.
* I often obsess about the details of a task, even though it may not be important.
* I am annoyed when others don't act or behave as well as I do (e.g. be on time, keep order, and so on)
* I am very organized in one or more areas of my life.
* I get very upset with myself if I make a mistake.
* I often have a mental list of things I "should" be doing.
* I never seem to be doing enough.
* I tend to notice any error in myself or others before I notice the positive.
* I have an "all or nothing" philosophy: If I can't do it all, or do it well, why bother?
* I am devastated by criticism.
* I have difficulty making decisions.
Okaaay.... uh, isn't everyone like this? The author says that typically people identify with one or two of these traits, but if you identify with more than that, chances are issues with perfectionism are impacting your life. I'd say that the fourth one is playing a major issue in my life currently and is causing me an inordinate amount of stress. I am holding on way too tight, taking things way too personally and seriously, and it is time to delve into the reasons for all this. I am only into the third chapter of the book, but the author states that issues of perfectionism stem from issues with co-dependence. Ouch. This is not going to be a pleasant or emotionally pain-free process for me, but I am tired of constantly feeling disappointed by people in my life. I am weary of feeling inadequate and not even wanting to try if I can't get it just right. I am tired of never being able to give myself credit for things, and weary of being so uncomfortable when I am on the receiving end of things. I want to be able to take a compliment without feeling as if it's really not that deserved. I've often wondered why, and now I feel I am on the path to understanding why I feel the way I do, and want to know how to break these patterns of behavior which are just not working for me any longer. Hello, my name is Jayne and I am a perfectionist.