Weekend Reads for 17th of October 2014

by Rebecca A. Watson on October 17, 2014

in weekends, writing

I’ve started noticing that I have a lot of stuff I like to read and share. And I write a lot in other places that I’d like to share as well. So, I thought I’d try hooking you up with some weekend (or weekday, depending on when you pop over here) reading.

Me, Online Elsewhere

3 Lessons on Creating Trust — It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had a problem with trust. I’d withhold it from those who deserved it (including myself) and give it freely to those who had never earned it.

How to  Create a Morning That’s Right for You — A morning ritual gives you a foundation for your day — to leave you feeling ready to go and empowered.

The Approval Junkies of Junior High — Who’s the mean girl? Read a little about my junior high experience.

How to Overcome Perfectionism — Transformation Magazine reprinted one of my favorite articles here. “Love my article? If so, read many more inspiring articles every month
through Transformation Magazine, available on iTunes, Kindle, Nook, or Android and at www.TransformationMag.com.


Also, did you know Annecy is known as the Venice of France? Wonder why …

 Other Good/Interesting Stuff

At the Vatican, a Shift in Tone Toward Gays and Divorce — More tolerance anywhere is good news. But more tolerance in the Catholic Church? Hurrah!

Regret Nothing: Poem For The End Of A Neptune Era — Great for those moments when you’re regretting anything from your past.

The Drinker’s Guide to Hanging Out With Sober People — ‘Nuff said.

Lock up your wives! — Advice columns from decades past provide a chilling glimpse into the horrors of marriage counselling before feminism. Oh dear. I remember reading Ladies’ Home Journal at my grandma’s.

Samhain (or Halloween for the Muggles out there) is coming. Are you ready?

Samhain (or Halloween for the Muggles out there) is coming. Are you ready?

Image Credit: Heavenia


Change-Obsessed Much?

by Rebecca A. Watson on October 17, 2014

in change, goals, habits, happiness, Just Be, worry

“Would you say you’re a little change-obsessed?”

I didn’t hesitate in answering Ashley.

“Yes. I’m totally addicted to change.”

“Well, I’d suggest an intervention but that would be another change. So, I guess consider this your intervention?”

We laughed as we walked through downtown Freiburg, window shopping while sipping on our drinks. Her: Carrot pineapple ginger juice. Me: Coffee. Of course.

coffee journal

Coffee is the original black: It goes with everything.

After we chatted that night, Sante and I were settling in for our last night at home before our big roadtrip when I started crying. Not sad, mind you, but happy tears. Something was shifting in me.

I told Sante that for the first time in a long time I looked at the person I was and was happy. I was proud of me. What? When did that happen? I guess sometime in the last seven years or so.

And that’s what I said to my therapist as well: If I was my 27-year-old self looking at the woman I am now, I would brush my hands together and say, “Job well done. Who’s ready for cake?”

But I’m not that 27 year old anymore. My expectations for myself grew as I did. Which is fine. But what didn’t change is the voice in my head telling me this:

You’re not good enough. You’re not doing enough. You’re not enough. Maybe drinking more green tea will make you better. Maybe doing a news fast will perfect you. Finally.

Seriously, I'm about to flip out. Shut. Up!

Seriously, I’m about to flip out. Green tea? Shut. Up!

So I decided that I should probably pretend I’m my 27-year- old self again. Just for a minute. Rewind to 2007.

Me: Inner critic, you there?

Inner Critic: Yep. Where else would I go?

Me: Right? OK I’ve got an idea. I know you’re overworked and lord knows you’re wearing me down. So, I’m going to make a list of what I need to change and do so that you can finally rest. And I’ll get some peace. Sound good?

Inner Critic: Hell yes. I can’t believe you came up with such a good idea.

Me: Sometimes I’m pretty smart. I have this goal of being the best person I can be. You ready?

Inner Critic: Go to town. I’m listening.

Me: So here’s the list:

  • Floss every night
  • Make and keep appointments
  • Stop drinking so much
  • Work out regularly
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Stop eating at fast food restaurants
  • Have an emergency savings account
  • Wake up with enough time to enjoy my morning
  • Stop smoking
  • Be a real, true-blue friend
  • Journal every day
  • Understand retirement accounts and contribute regularly
  • Spend more time outside
  • Travel more
  • Live outside the state
  • Stop waiting tables
  • Live outside the country
  • Tell the truth
  • Compost
  • Be part of a loving, respectful relationship
  • Work less
  • Plant and harvest a garden
  • Have hobbies (outside of drinking and watching sports)
  • Watch less TV
  • Cook more
  • Learn to read Tarot cards
  • Walk or bike almost everywhere
  • Learn another language well enough to speak it
  • Stop trying to fix people
  • Stop my part in the family drama cycle
  • Manage my depression
  • Be debt-free
  • Volunteer every week
  • Read more
  • Listen to different kinds of music
  • Try cooking different types of food
  • Have a budget and stick to it
  • Drink more water
  • Achieve goals I create for myself
  • Write a novel
  • Make choices and act in harmony with my thoughts
  • Write a regular weekly column

Inner Critic: Whew, that is quite the list. Are you sure you wanna throw all that on there? I mean, this is a binding contract. If you don’t follow through, I can bug you forever. And you know me, when I have a job to do, I do it well.

Me: Yeah, but if I do manage it, then we’ll both be more at peace, wouldn’t you say?

Inner Critic: Well, I guess I didn’t ever see myself retiring so this is good news. At least there’s hope.

Me: Exactly.

Fast forward seven years.

I’ve fulfilled my contract. I’m done. I’m off the hook and so is my inner critic. But at my latest session with my therapist, I said “But I still wanna be the best person I can be.”

She threw her head back and said, “Ugh that sounds exhausting. Why can’t you enjoy who you are?”

And I wonder: Why can’t I?

sante rebecca annecy

After all, being me is pretty sweet.

It’s the change obsession. I’ve been changing so much for the past seven years that it’s become a habit. And when I’m not changing, I feel like I must be turning back into that younger version of myself. As if somehow enjoying life as it is will put a cigarette in my mouth and a bottle in my hand.

And that, my friends, is just silly. So while I was on vacation I started a new challenge: To be happy with myself just as I am. After all, if the people in my life can love me that way, why can’t I?

So I left a few dishes undone at our vacation home. I laid on the beach and by the pool reading, not worrying (OK worrying a little, but not doing anything about it) that I wasn’t out hiking more or seeing more.

Now that we’re home, I’ve skipped a few routines, opting to do things later so I can try a new yoga class. (German yoga! Oh lord. That’s a story for another time.) I’m focused very much on living in the moment so that I don’t try to change anything.

This challenge requires me to do nothing. To accept what is. And that my friends, is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced thus far. But I think I’m up to it.

Photo Credit: Dmitry Kalinin

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Post-Vacation Captain’s Log

by Rebecca A. Watson on October 13, 2014

in 80s rock, blessings, food, music, travel, water

I’m baaaaaack! Obviously I did a very good job of staying away from the computer, as evidenced by my lack of posts for the last few weeks. Yes, I did work a bit and kept in touch with sober pen pals, but for the most part I was far away from the Internet.

Vacation success.

Since I’m only just acclimating back to real life, trying my best to avoid post-vacation blues, I thought I would do a quick summary of our trip. Sante helped me write most of this while in the car on the way back home. And yes, Freiburg — Germany — is home.

Life success.

The Plan: 

  • Annecy, France to …
  • Finale Ligure, Italy to …
  • Nice, France to …
  • Fréjus, France

I realize that might be a little abstract (it was for me — my geography skills are only a little above-average American) so here’s a map:

road trip europeRoadtrip Soundtrack: The car we rented was described as a sound system with wheels at the four corners. After a little trouble figuring out how to play music without a USB or auxiliary cable hookup, we jammed.

  • Loads of hip hop thanks to an excellent German playlist
  • A playlist called Hipster International (whatever that means)
  • Christina Aguilera (thanks to Sante for tolerating me belting this out)
  • The Fugees
  • Eminem (his 2013 album is inspiring)
  • Ed Sheeran (isn’t everyone these days?)
  • An ’80s playlist that was the closest thing to what I had synced on Spotify to feed Sante’s rock craving (“You’re not very rockin’ “) — to be fair, we had Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, but we weren’t feeling it
  • The Black Keys, which is excellent driving music ….

On the Menu: Before I say anything, I want you to know that I was a little afraid of French cuisine. Like almost everything French, it’s intimidating. At least to me. That being said, we ate like kings, which should come as no surprise considering our mutual love of food.

  • French fries (duh. I am the potato monster.)
  • Beef tartare with raw egg — that’s right. Raw egg and raw beef. Together. It’s an American germaphobe’s nightmare and we ate it. More than once.
  • Salmon tartare
  • LOTS of seafood. Being landlocked after living next to an ocean is tough. We took advantage and ate all sorts of fish and fruit of the sea, notably a St. Pierre filet (oh dear lord so delicious) and some white fish I bought from an Italian fish monger. How did I choose it? I watched what the old Italian ladies in front of me bought. Excellent trick :)
  • Gluten-free pasta (the Italians do it right)
  • Lebanese food
  • Way more hamburgers than is probably right for an American traveling in France. In my defense, the French love their beef and it’s rare to find a burger or steak or much beef at all in Germany.
  • Oh yeah, sorbet. Fruchteis. Glaces. Whatever you want to call it :)
sante sorbet


Reading Material: Even as we were getting ready for this trip, Sante and I decided that our next trip would be a beach vacation. We just never seem to relax on the shores anywhere. (When we went to Gran Canaria, we didn’t even touch the ocean!)

But it would seem we were already on our beach vacation, because everywhere we went, we managed to spend some time next to the water. And so, we read.



On the Agenda:

  • Lots of writing!
  • Knitting
  • Couples massage — happy sigh!
  • Got up early for sunrises
  • Slept in other days
  • Hiked
  • Worked (just the minimum, I promise)
  • Raced bike for a minute (Broken bike in both races…sad!)
  • Swam in the Mediterranean, Lake Annecy and a lovely infinity pool
  • Played tourist — shopping, taking pictures, provoking swans … you know, the usual.
  • Attempted to speak French (Wait, when do you pronounce the ‘s’?”)
  • Cooked
  • Drove (thanks to Sante for being the chauffeur)
  • Picnicked on the beach

Crisps and Coke. According to Peep Show that’s a picnic.


  • European, or Toll road trip: “You want to drive through this tunnel? That will be 40 euro please.”
  • Swimming in the Mediterranean (for me)
  • Squat toilets (France has a lot of rest stops. But not a lot of porcelain.)
  • Driving a French car — Sante: “Wait, the cruise control is where? *in a French accent* We take your ideas, and we make them French.”
  • Enduro World Series race for Sante (obviously)
  • Going topless on a beach (me, obviously)
  • Hearing the U.S. national anthem in France (wait, what? Thanks Whitney Houston)
  • Using Air BnB … awesome for staying in vacation homes and the like. Waaay better than hotels. Sign up here and I get travel credit :)

Overall, I would say our trip was a success. And we even traveled over Mercury Retrograde! Huzzah!

I had lots of amazing epiphanies I will share more in depth later, but for now, I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my new favorite places,  the Côte d’Azur. It’s like the sea and cliffs of Big Sur smushed into the volcanoes of Ashland, Oregon.

Côte d'Azur

We’ll be back.

CC Photo Credit: Paco CT


How Spotify Woke Up My Soul

September 25, 2014

When Sante and I moved to Germany, we opted not to sell our stereo and buy a new one. The reason we’d have to do this, you see, is that not all electronics are capable of handling Europe’s voltage/wattage combo. This is why my sister’s hairdryer turned a bright red and started smoking when she […]

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MMP: Making Our Own Harmonies

September 22, 2014

When I was in Minnesota, a friend and I had several conversations about how words are one thing, but actions are another. There were a few people I ran into who were still spouting the same stuff, five years later, but hadn’t made much of an effort in their actions. It made me sad. There was […]

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It’s Time to Do Nothing

September 19, 2014

This past month has been, well, intense to say the least. This weekend is gonna be a lot of nothing. I encourage you to do nothing. Except maybe watch this But seriously, mellow out this weekend. It’s in the stars (or more aptly, the moon) to be chill. Yoga. Tea. Movies. Knit. Avoid addictive activities. Give […]

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On a Whim

September 12, 2014

We rented a car yesterday, drove a few hours, ate pork chops, checked into an apartment and woke up to this. I’m proud to say that I actually got a little work done today. But those mountains are calling my name. I’m hitting a ski lift with my hiking boots and Camelbak tomorrow to walk […]

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MMP: Unpacking My Bags

September 8, 2014

Today I woke up late, partially I think because I couldn’t sleep until 3 a.m. and partially I think because I’m still feeling a little out of sorts from my trip. Don’t get me wrong, every single thing that happened felt serendipitous, right and inspired. But that doesn’t mean it was easy or didn’t evoke […]

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Ten Quotes About Home

September 5, 2014

In the past I’ve struggled with jet lag. In order to combat it this time, I’m planning on easing slowly back into my normal routine. I have a TON of new insights to share after my trip and loads of good stories, but seriously folks, you don’t want me writing it now. Or maybe you […]

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MMP: The Twisted Path to Forgiveness

September 1, 2014

As you know, I’m in my beautiful home state (pictures to come — I’m trying to stay offline as much as possible). This of course means I’m close to the folks that abused me. While I’m not planning on connecting with them, I am trying to see some others who know them. We have a […]

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