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Showing posts from October, 2012

Day 31: I Did It!‏

I can't believe I actually wrote 31 posts in 31 days! I've tried blogging before with not much success but this 31 Days project was a great way to kick start a new blog and inspired me to keep at it. I won't lie - there were days that I almost didn't do a post, days that I didn't feel like I had anything to say, or what I had to say was just too sad (or too stupid) but I have such a feeling of accomplishment for sticking to the goal. I don't know that I'll keep writing a post a day but I will keep writing. It's been so enjoyable and made me feel more like myself than I have in a long time. I hope you've enjoyed reading these 31 posts and that you'll continue to read One Is Just A Number. I'd love the company as I take the journey to the life that is waiting for me.

Day 30: It's The Little Things That Sneak Up On You‏

Today I was hunting around on my company's payroll website to found out how many vacations days I have left for the year. I clicked on the link for emergency contact and there was my ex's name and beside it spouse. It started with a lump in my throat and moved up my face to tears stinging my eyes and as I sat at my desk, trying not to cry, the song playing on iTunes was Lifehouse's "From Where You Are". The chorus is

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little thingsI never thought that they'd mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you and I wish you were here

After 5 years, it's the simple things that sneak up on me and make me so incredibly sad and longing for the life I had planned.

Day 29: Glad To Live In The Middle

The east coast is bracing for Hurricane Sandy, a storm that some have dubbed “Frankenstorm” because it may hit near Halloween. Here in Oklahoma, we’re in tornado alley so I know how people in the path of storms feel. Luckily, in Oklahoma, they can track very precisely where these storms will hit and after a few hours, we are in the clear. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in the path of a hurricane—the days of dread, the cleared grocery store shelves, the aftermath of downed trees and power lines. Today I am very glad to live in the middle of the country, away from hurricanes. My thoughts and prayers go out to those in the path of Sandy.

Day 28: Saving You From My Fate‏

Living on my own is an exercise in trial and error, even when it comes to a task as simple as cleaning a shower head. There's something about the water in my city that clogs my shower head frequently. Cleaning the clogs is as simple as soaking it in white vinegar but it's getting the vinegar into the tiny holes that can be tricky. I used to have a shower head that was easily removed and I could just take it off, put it in a bowl of vinegar and I'd be back to comfortable showers in no time. That one had to be replaced for a reason I can't remember and the new one is a bit trickier. The screw doesn't seem quite long enough to make putting the head back on an easy endeavor. It's like playing the game Operation with your eyes closed and tweezers made out of cooked spaghetti. The first time I did it, I was extremely lucky and it all went without a hitch. This gave me a false sense of confidence and no fear of doing the task again. The second time did no…

Day 27: Contemplating A New Goal‏

As I type this, the downtown streets of my city are filled with more than 9,800 people participating in the 35th Annual Tulsa Run. The race has 2k, 5k, and 15k routes. Since achieving my weight loss goal, I've been considering another goal, running a 5k. I love the way people talk about running and the feeling they experience after a run. I often feel the urge to feel the wind on my face as I find my stride and work towards that "runner's high." Periodically, I'll check the Sunday ads for sales on running shoes and treadmills. I've thought about when I could fit running into my schedule, since I already exercise three days a week with my sister. I've read a book written by a new runner. (Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo by Jennifer Luitwieler). I've done everything but lace up a pair of sneakers and hit the pavement. This is not unusual for me but if I wait 10 years to run that 5k like I did to lose weight, I'll …

Day 26: The Curse Of Being Cheap‏

This is my cell phone.

It doesn't take pictures. It doesn't surf the web. It does save me money.

I pay as I go and $50 lasts me months. I have taken a lot of grief over this phone but I'd rather spend the cost of a monthly cell phone plan on music or my cable bill than a something that I rarely use. That is until I start trading texts with a friend and go past the letter I want 3 times before I get it right then I curse this simple archaic device and my penny-pinching ways!

Day 25: Ten Blocks From Hope‏

George Clooney has spent some time in my home state producing a movie starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. The area has been abuzz with sightings of him. TV and radio stations have links on their websites for fan photos with him. Today I read on Twitter that he was 10 blocks from where I work. Someone posted a photo as proof. I was absolutely giddy. I couldn't believe he was so close, that he was standing in a spot where I had stood. I posted on Facebook that I was certain that if he met me, he'd dump his current girlfriend and we'd live happily ever after. The funny thing is, I meant it. When I hit enter, I believed with all my heart that someone famous could fall for a simple girl like me. Yes I know it's a pipe dream but in that instance, I felt more hope than I have in months, probably years. Hope that my heart was healing, hope that I might find love again, hope that I was starting to believe in myself again. It was an awesome feeling!

Day 24: The Power of Scent‏

As I watched the commercial with Brad Pitt telling me that Chanel No. 5 has been the one thing he could count on through the years (at least I think that's what he meant, I was distracted by the fact that for once he was nice and clean and Angelina and the kids weren't with him), I thought about the perfumes I've worn, or wanted to wear, over the years. There was Heaven Scent, with its baby powder undertones, which was my favorite as a teenager; in college I wanted to be like everyone else and wear Giorgio Beverly Hills but I could never bring myself to pay for a bottle; and I still mourn the loss of Victoria, a scent by Victoria's Secret that for some reason they quit making. 

The scent that triggers the most memories is Sweet Honesty by Avon. The Avon website (I was shocked they still sell it) describes it as "a floral heart blooming with honey, citrus and vanilla. It's the perfect first, and a favorite to hold onto for years." That sums it…

Day 23: What Lies Beneath

I read at Apartment Therapy that wallpaper is rising in popularity. I'm fairly certain some of the wallpaper in my house caused the last demise of the trend.

Here is what I'm trying to strip off my kitchen walls.

I was fooled by the ease of the removal of the wallpaper in my hall - two episodes of NCIS and that awful brown with weird geometric flowers was off the wall and out of my life. With that success under my belt, I thought, "how hard could the kitchen be, there's even less wallpaper in there." I think the kitchen walls laughed at me when I said that because 2 1/2 years later, I'm still struggling to get not one but three layers of wallpaper off the kitchen walls.

Now that I hear wallpaper is making a comeback, maybe I'll just paper over those three layers and call it good.

Here are 25 patterns from the Apartment Therapy website to choose from - which one do you like?…

Day 22: A Different Perspective

Because my office is directly across the hall from the office photocopier, I've become an expert on the machine. It's really not by choice, it's mostly because I can't stand to look across and see the blinking red light that signals something is wrong with it. It used to make me mad that people treat me like the repairman for the thing and that I'm often interrupted by people asking questions about it. That is until I heard someone praising my ability to diagnosis problems with one of the most important devices in our department. Because I had headphones on, a coworker didn't think I could hear her telling a new employee that I was the go-to person for info on how the fury-inducing copier worked. When I heard her talking about me like that, I realized that something that I looked at as an inconvenience was perceived by others as a valuable skill and a help to them. Yes, there are times that being interrupted will push all the wrong buttons with me …

Day 21: Won The Lottery

I try to spend every Sunday afternoon with my family and whenever I leave the house my parents have lived in since 1958, I always have the same thought: I won the lottery when it comes to families. My parents are still happily married after almost 54 years and my sister is my best friend. Their love for me is unconditional and constant. This week I heard about a mother who deserted her children for 10 years and the aftermath of that desertion. I haven't been the perfect daughter but through the years, I never once feared my parents would not be there for me. I can't imagine the kind of person I would be without them and I thank God every day for them.

Day 20: Halloween Isn't So Scary‏

Tonight I went to Halloween party where I only knew one person, the host, and everyone in attendance was about 20 years younger than me. My costume wasn't the best and I felt a little out of place but I stayed for the whole party and I had a good time. I'm still getting used to stepping out on my own but every time I take a chance and do something out of my comfort zone, I feel braver and more confident.

Day 19: The Hazards of Living In One Place For 16 Years

I was just looking for some earrings to wear with my Halloween costume (a zombie Joan Harris) and as I was looking, I was amazed at the junk I have. I've kept boxes from watches that no longer work, every gift bag I've ever received, and packing material just in case I move. It is amazing the things you can accumulate when you haven't moved in over a decade.  At times I sit in my house and feel almost strangled by the things I own, like the walls are closing in. 

I have a friend that recently sold her house and moved herself for the first time in years. In her previous relocations, a moving company was hired to get her things from the old place to the new place. When she physically laid her hands on everything she owned, she was in shocked by how much stuff she owned. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was packed up my whole room, move my things to the living room, rearrange my furniture, and start fresh in a "brand new" room. I'm t…

Day 18: An Ode To My Home State‏

I live in Oklahoma and today it looks like the Dust Bowl outside. We are in a major drought right now and high winds have caused conditions that make me think about what it must have been like back in the days of the Grapes of Wrath. I love being an Oklahoman. I am at least third generation Oklahoman, my lineage may be Okie even further back than that, I'm not sure. When people thought of the Oklahoma in the past, they thought of cowboys and indians or the musical. Now I think people remember us for the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. I lovingly call my state the weather arm pit of the world. We have blazing hot summers and frigid winters. We have tornadoes and ice storms. We also have a beautiful spring and a colorful fall so it isn't all bad.

My hometown used to be known as the Oil Capital of the World, before many of the oil companies moved their headquarters to Houston. As a testament to the importance oil played in the history of the city, we …

Day 17: Baby Steps to Bravery

A couple of years ago, I had to go to Kalamazoo, Michigan on a business trip. I was less than thrilled about the destination but then I discovered that to get there I was going to need to fly through Chicago and an idea was born. I contacted some people who lived there and they offered me a place to stay so on the way back home to Oklahoma, I spent a long weekend in the Windy City. I was so nervous. Even though I was going to be with people all weekend, it felt like it was the first vacation that I'd taken on my own. As I sat on the banks of Lake Michigan after arriving safely at my friends' home and having a great lunch on my own, I felt so proud of myself. And the feeling continued the next day when I got off at the correct L stop, turned the right direction, and found my way to the Art Institute of Chicago. Basking in my new navigational skills, I found my way to Wrigley Field, walked around it, and got back on the correct train to get back to my friends' …

Day 16: Detours and Timing‏

On my way back to work after lunch, I encountered a detour that wasn’t there when I went to work this morning. I was so frustrated. I had to weave my way around my downtown’s one-way streets to get back to the office. Once I got to work, I realized that detour was a metaphor for my life. The path I’m on right now is not the one I would have chosen. I had a nice straight path to happily ever after planned. I did eventually get back to work and I can also get to that happily ever after once I’ve been through this detour of brokenness. And that happily ever after waiting for me could very well be so much happier than the one I had planned.
However, just like my frustration in the length of time it took me to get back to work, this detour of my life is taking way longer than I would like. I believe with all my heart the words in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe that God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. That He plans to give me hope and a future.It’s the timing of those plans that I h…

Day 15: Buying In Bulk‏

No, I am not an extreme couponer but I do have favorite things that I tend to buy or consume in large quantities. I'll start with the philanthropic one - TOMS shoes. People are always asking me how many pairs I own but I'm too afraid to count. Suffice it to say, there are lots of kids out there who have shoes thanks to me. Yankee Candle is another obsession. Just as I tell myself that I could light my whole block with the number of candles I own and I need to stop buying them, YC sends me a catalog with one of those buy so many jars, get so many free coupons and I'm digging out my credit card. I've been more successful at avoiding Bath & Body Works. Until my shower no longer looks like one of their stores, I cannot purchase any more shower gel or lotion. And last but not quite as bad because it can be viewed as educational  - I have subscriptions to 15 magazines.  I'm sure my mailman hates me and I know that I could get many of my favorites online …

Day 14: Cleaning My Way To A Better Mood

Yesterday I spent a big part of my day cleaning my bedroom. It seemed like almost every pair of shoes I own was on the floor. There was dirty laundry to be washed and clean laundry that needed to put away. My closet was a wreck with my summer clothes taking up the prominent spots needed for my fall wardrobe. After several hours, I stepped back and looked at my room and had such a feeling of relief. Every time I walked into my room, I felt discouraged by all the mess but at the end of the day Saturday, I could breathe again. I felt organized and had such a feeling of accomplishment. Days like Friday are needed to recharge but getting off the couch and moving felt so good, physically and mentally. It was a day filled with such simple tasks but the act of taking charge and getting things done felt so good. It did just as much for my outlook as my new hair color and left me wishing there were more hours in the day to get more rooms into shape.

Day 13: Reinvent, Scratch That, Embrace Yourself‏

Several years ago, someone ran an ad campaign with the catch phrase, Reinvent Yourself. I cut out every one of those that I could find in magazines and displayed them prominently in my house. I was inspired by the phrase. I was going to change myself. I was going to fix everything that was wrong and be a different person. I've been thinking about that lately and wondering what I thought was wrong with me. What needed to be fixed? I have faults like everyone else but fundamentally, I'm a good person. It's time to like myself and admire the qualities that make me who I am. I'm the institutional memory for my friends. I still send cards in the mail. I will take care of your pet when you go out of town even if the thought of that responsibility scares me to death. There are things I need to work on (my laziness, my inability to take criticism) but at the core of me is a good, decent human being who loves her family and friends. I think those are qualities to e…

Day 12: Favorite Day Of The Week

My company has a 9/80 work schedule, which means I have every other Friday off. That benefit may be my favorite thing about my job. There are some Fridays where I'm out the door early, getting things done. Then there are Fridays like today, when there's an overcast sky, that I'm so grateful that I can just stay inside on my couch, clearing off my DVR. After all, I still have Saturday to be productive, to do that laundry and clean the house. Today is just for me.

Day 11: A New Outlook From A Tube

When I walked into my friend's salon, I had no plans to make a change, I was going to just have her cover the gray. But as I looked through the swatches of hair color, I decided to take a risk and make a HUGE change. I went from brownish blonde to RED and I love it! When I got home, I grabbed my camera to take photos for Facebook and I was shocked by what I saw in my self-portraits. I was smiling. I looked happy. I feel like a new woman and my old self all that the same time. And for the first time in a long time, I like what I see in those photos. Who knew a turning point could come from a tube of hair color?

Day 10: I'm Proof Of This

Research findings were announced recently that said people who attend meetings like Weight Watchers that are led by peer counselors were more successful at weight loss than people who met with a professional counselor. I know from my experience, learning from someone who succeeded at the program made my weight loss goal seem attainable. Also helpful was a group of people cheering me on every week when I was down some lbs and commiserating with me on the weeks when the scale went the other way. At the meetings we would talk about what worked and what didn't work for us and on the weeks when I was ready to give it up and plunge back into my old ways, there was a group of people talking me off that ledge and back on track to lose those 50 pounds.

If you have a weight loss goal, find someone with a similar goal, whether that be through Weight Watchers or a coworker you run into in the office kitchen while you try to resist that box of donuts. Encourage each other, hold e…

Day 9: What Once Was A Beginning

Today should have been my 19th wedding anniversary. Instead this is the fourth-year I'm marking this date without my husband. The end of my marriage was not of my choosing. I can't even explain really what happened, that's how far out of my hands it all feels. I know what he told me the day he said he was moving out, I have emails and notes on conversations we had after he left but I still search for the reasons why he decided he didn't want to be married anymore. I have my theories and others have offered their theories but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to this - I am on my own, trying to make a life out of the brokenness.

Day 8: Combining My Two Favorite Things

As I say in my profile, TV is my life and when you love TV like I do, it's hard to find time to watch everything that you want to watch. That's where my second love comes in, Netflix. For me, it's so much fun to sit down and watch a season of a series straight through - no commercials, no long breaks filled with reruns, and if you time it right, no waiting all summer long for the resolution of a cliffhanger. Some may think it's weird to be so happy about something so simple but I say it's the simple pleasures that make life worthwhile.

Day 7: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Over the past few months, I've had the good fortune to reconnect with people that I'd lost touch with for one reason or the other. Each time I have left a gathering, I've had such a feeling of happiness. When I sit alone in my house, I tend to focus on the losses - my husband and the life I had planned with him. But when I get out and around people, I realize just how lucky I am to have wonderful people in my life, people I can be myself around and who love me in all my brokenness. For all I've lost, I still have so much good in my life. I'm going to make a point to focus on that and break the habit of looking back at the past and work on building a new life with the friends I am so very thankful to know.

Day 6: A Girl's Gotta Eat

One of the challenges of being single is learning how to cook for one person. Most recipes serve a minimum of 4. I'm not a big leftover person so around the second or third day of the same dish, I'm ready for something different. The frozen dinner choices are much better than they used to be and they can't be beat for convenience but sometimes you want to get into the kitchen, make a mess, and eat some home cooking. I want to explore the options of cooking for one, including cutting recipes in half, combining several days of cooking to optimize the use of fresh ingredients, and finding friends in the same boat, to find solutions to one of life's oldest questions - what's for dinner?

Day 5: A Driving Force

One of the reasons I was inspired to start a blog was I felt like I was one of the few women who wanted to explore and strengthen my relationship with God that wasn't married or married with kids. There are websites about being single and looking for love but the ones written by women who are struggling after the end of a marriage seemed to be few and far between. Single people love God too and I want to be a voice for them. I want to help hearts heal through sharing what I've learned about God's love for us as we go through difficult changes in our life.

Day 4: Where I Hang My Hat

I live in a bungalow built in 1930 in a quiet neighborhood near a college campus. Luckily there is no homeowners' association because I'm sure I would be THAT house that was always being cited for rule violations. I probably am THAT house that everyone points to and says, "why doesn't she do something about (fill in the blank)" to which I would respond, "I'm getting around to that." The problem is, there are a lot of things I need to get around to and I'm not sure where to start. There are major things like the roof and the paint that need to be addressed and there are minor things like the crop of weeds I'm cultivating in my flower beds that are simple annoyances. And that's just on the outside. On the inside there are projects that have been started, projects that need to be started, and projects that are pipe dreams. A major element to this blog will be taking you along for the ride as I take on those projects. I'm no…

Day 3: Down 28%

There is 28% less of me than there was 21 months ago. I set a goal in January 2011 to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday and I reached my goal with a few weeks to spare. I was so fortunate that my company offered at-work Weight Watchers meetings because I don't know that I ever would have lost weight without them. I had been planning to lose weight for 10 years. For 10 years I talked about losing weight but when I turned that talk into action I would get frustrated and go back to the old habits that had packed on the pounds. Weight Watchers changed that. They taught me the right action to take to change those old habits and lose the pounds that had been weighing me down physically and emotionally. I hope my weight loss story will inspire others and I hope writing about that story will inspire me to keep those pounds off.

Day 2: About Me

My plan is to spend the next 30 days helping you get to know me and my plans for this blog. The photo above is me on the day I was born 50 years ago. I'm a native Oklahoman - Sooner born and Sooner bred. During the day I'm a technical editor and at night I'm a TV addict with a DVR that's usually about 90% full. I also love movies and the Oscars are my Super Bowl. Music is my third passion, has been since I was a kid. I've progressed from 45s, to 8-tracks, to cassettes, to CDs but still haven't moved to downloading music. I love cover art, enclosed lyrics, and liner notes too much to give them up just yet.

I'm close to my family and lucky that they only live 5 minutes away. I spend most Sunday afternoons with them. Their unconditional love has saved me more times than I can count. I also have a great circle of friends that are some of the smartest, funniest people I know.

I am a lucky girl.

Day 1: Getting Started

I've been thinking about writing a blog for awhile and when I saw a post on Nesting Place ( about her 31 Days project, I decided it was the perfect time to start.

I hope that with "One Is Just A Number", I can help women enjoy life on their own. Since my divorce, I've been adjusting to being single after being part of a couple for 14 years. From simple things like grocery shopping for just one person to walking into a party by myself, my life has been about accepting how things are now. The tagline comes from my favorite Joseph Campbell quote: "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." The hardest thing for me has been to let go of the life I had planned, the one where I was married until death parted us and imagine a life that could be good without my ex-husband in it.

Through this blog I want to discover all the possibilities in my …