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Category Archives: life

A Reunion

MaryBeth, Me, Charlotte, Kirsten

I’ve rekindled a friendship over the past couple of years with my dear seventh grade bff, Charlotte.  She and I were friends also at the beginning of high school, but we drifted apart, life happened, and, were it not for the oftentimes creepy powers of facebook, we probably would’ve never spoken to each other again.  This past weekend, we had a reunion.  It was a reunion for the two of us and also for two sisters that were our language arts and science teachers in seventh grade.  Charlotte and I both kept in touch with them over the years and, again, thanks to the powers of facebook, have managed to remain in touch even when we otherwise would have grown apart.  On Sunday night, the four of us met up for dinner and a bottle of wine – which was probably very strange for MB and K since Charlotte and I are still twelve in their minds.

It was a marvelous night.  The three of them are each such wonderful, genuine, beautiful-spirited women, full of delight, compassion and creativity.  I feel like I’ve changed the most out of the four of us.  I’m still processing that feeling, and I’m not yet sure what to do with it.  So for now I’m just going to let it be.  And for now I’m going to be thankful for the good friends (and teachers) that have shaped me.  I’m grateful for the blessings of joyful spirits and kind hearts, of belly laughter and silly memories, of friendships that pick up where they left off and lives that find ways to continually intertwine.

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Brain – 1; Hormones – 0

I always have the big “P” word looming in the back of my head.  I guess it could also be the big “C” word or “K” word, but it’s the “P” part that scares me.  Being a PARENT.  I’m excited to one day have children (kids) and to be a parent, but the logistics of parenting – along with working and wife-ing and all the balancing that everything will require – really freaks me out.  Really, part of me would like to just put a big stop sign on the whole idea of it for another 5 years.  Usually that part of me only hangs around for about 2 weeks, and then biology kicks in for another 2 weeks and I’m like, “OH MY GOD. BABIES. NOW.”

I recently read Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.  I started to become aware of my I-want-a-baby cycles and how they coincide with a certain other cycle.  I was curious how the awareness of that would hold up against the hormone rages and whether, in the midst of the I-want-a-baby part of the cycle, I’d pull the whole this-isn’t-hormones-talking-I-feel-like-this-all-the-time thing and try to convince myself that it was true.  Interestingly, so far at least, it seems as though my brain is winning.

Brain – 1 ; Hormones – 0.

I’m pretty well into what would normally be an I-want-a-baby cycle right now and my current thoughts on being a parent (right now; not in general)?  Uh, not so much.  Sure, there’s never a right time to have a baby.  I’ve heard that from just about every parent we know.  But just because there will never be a perfect time doesn’t mean we need to jump into it right now either.  If it were to happen right now, we’d be fine.  We’d be more than fine.  We’d embrace it and jump in with both feet.  But when we feel hesitant, not sure if we’re ready to choose the changes and challenges that come along with being parents, then why would we?

But, fair warning: I may change my mind – er, hormones – on all of this tomorrow.

Twelve in ‘Twelve

Welcome to 2012, y’all!

I love starting a new year.  I like the fresh start, the clean slate, the time to reflect on lessons learned and goals still to be accomplished.  Since I was in high school, I’ve made it a point around the first of every year to take a mental assessment, linger in thankfulness for the moments of growth and joy in the previous year, and set out challenges and plans for the coming year.

This year, I’m still working on the reflection-on-the-past-year part.  I think the fact that it’s not coming easily to me is a reflection of a double-edged sword: one on side, I’m solid and comfortable enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to constantly reflect and re-assess who I am in order to feel grounded and purposeful; on the other side, I’m letting life get the best of me at times, and I’m not allowing myself (giving myself?) the time to disconnect from the world, reconnect with things unseen and create room for myself to grow.

So I’m starting with my goals for Twenty-Twelve.  And I’m hoping that in working on these, I’ll make the time and space for myself to reflect on a regular basis throughout the year.

Twelve

The Twelve in ‘Twelve:

1. Work out at least four times a week.

2. Learn to sew.

3. Pump up the jam on this blog.  It’s boring and has no sass.  That will change this year, people.

4. Post on the blog at least once a week.

5. Dedicate “me” time twice a week.  Working out doesn’t count as “me” time.

6. Re-do my Etsy shop.  New, uniform, better pictures.  Descriptions with some thought in them.  And?  Branching out from jewelry.  Hubs’ photography, home decor crafts, Christmas ornaments, maybe some fun antique and vintage items (because our shopping problem needs an outlet).  Lots of fun things up my sleeve, but I know it’s going to take lots of discipline on my part to make the time and put in the effort to do it and do it right.

7. Research modern parenthood.  This one is vague, yes.  Don’t really know where I’m going with it, but I’m starting by reading this book.  It arrived in the mail today, and the fact that I’m a little nervous to read it tells me that I probably really need to read it.

8. Take more pictures.

9. Order wedding photos.  Make an album.

10. Arrive at work before 9 am every day.

11. Do a 10-minute pick up every night before bed.

12. Cut credit car debt in half AND conduct Operation Down Payment.  These are some seriously saving and debt-reducing goals


Our Tree

Our Tree

 

We always put up our tree on the weekend following Thanksgiving.  It’s a big to-do shifting boxes in our basement storage closet and carting our Christmas boxes up to our home.  We turn on old black and white Christmas movies, drink egg nog/hot chocolate/red wine, pick up dinner from Eatzi’s, and decorate the tree.

We use colorful lights and assorted, non-matchy ornament.  I used to be a fan of white lights and simple, gold ornaments.  I let hubs bask in his colored lights and collection of whimsical, eclectic ornaments for the first couple of years we were together thinking that one day we could have two trees (in two different rooms, of course): a formal, simple tree of my liking and a colorful, variety-filled tree to please him.

Now?  I love our colorful tree.  It’s full of treasures and fond memories.  The ornaments in our collection now include a first Christmas ornament from my father in law, ornaments we picked out on our honeymoon, ornaments we’ve bought for each other that reflect things we’ve loved together throughout the year, ornaments from places that are special to us (the historic cemetery across the stress from our building, Santa Fe, Washington state), and ornaments that just make us laugh.

Our tree used to be his tree, full of ornaments from his childhood.  Now, our tree is ours.  It’s colorful and fun and full of memories.  I hate that hubs leaves the tree lights on all night, but I love walking groggily into the dark, quiet living room every morning seeing the lights dancing on the wall.

Life has been so busy and crazy and blurry lately.  My hope for this Christmas is that the little moments with my family – and the traditions that stick and become like family themselves – will linger.  I hope that they warm all of our hearts and remind us to stop and be thankful for the love and light in our lives.

Re-Balance

I love my job, but I’ve been letting it get the best of me lately.  August got busy and I put my nose to the ground to push through.  I’m flexible enough to let my normal work-workout-cook-keep-life-in-order schedule go for a week or so to meet deadlines and do my best professional work.  Now it’s almost mid-November, and there’s been no slow down.  I’ve been in the office on holidays, Sundays, and in the evenings in sweaty gym clothes.  So it’s time to take a step back, figure out how to re-balance and adapt so I can move forward in a way that lets me be the best me on all fronts.

I don’t mind the work.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that it’s too easy for me to set aside me time and just work.  And, eventually, not only is my work going to suffer because of it, but the rest of me is, too.   In fact, I’m already starting to see the signs of that.  So, as hard as it was to just set everything aside for a few days, I put up an out-of-office message, slept in this morning, and had a day to myself.  Tomorrow’s a holiday, and I’m going to take it.  The WHOLE day.  And the whole weekend following it.

This time last year, I wasn’t working.  I slept more than 8 hours every night and I went for long mid-morning jogs outside nearly every day.  I got used to seeing myself in the elevator mirror heading down for my jog, hair a mess and no make-up on.   I’ve already gotten the wake-up call telling me that I need to take a break and re-balance myself, but seeing my no-make-up self in the mirror this morning really made it sink in.  I look so different than I did just one year ago.  And not in a good way!

My shoulders are in a permanent state of tension, even when they shouldn’t be.  That’s got to change.  I got a massage on Tuesday and went for another one today.  I’m re-training myself to relax.

I used to brew green tea every afternoon.  Not just when I was at home all day, but even when I went back to work.  Sometime in the past few months, my afternoon tea turned into afternoon coffee.  That’s going to stop.  It’s back to my tea.  Because it’s not just about the tea.  It’s about the ritual, the smell of jasmine pearls, the clean and healthful warmth, the moment that is focused on wellness and calm and not on fueling up to power through.

My sleep is really important to me.  I think I was more nervous about a new sleep schedule than anything else when I went back to work.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep 12 to 15 hours a day anymore.  (I realize 12-15 hours is way beyond a normal amount of sleep, but at the time, I was recovering from a major illness and really depended on that rest).  The transition to “normal people” hours wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be, but I’ve let myself slip past that and keep finding myself waking up after less than 8 hours of sleep.  As much as I wish I was a short sleeper, I’m just not.  I have to accept and embrace that I’m not going to be my best me without at least 8 hours of sleep.

A few months ago, I think I ate an entire tree full of leaves every day.  Seriously, the check-out clerk at the grocery store would frequently comment on the volume of veggies I bought.  That volume and variety has dropped off big time.  While I’m still eating fairly well, I know I’m not eating as clean as I’d like to – mostly because I feel like I need the energy from my food so much more lately.  When I’m tired and sleep is not an option, I turn to food, and not food of the leafy variety.

All of this is to say that I see the signs, I don’t feel like myself, and while I can’t go back to my old routine of balance, I have to adapt and find a new one.  And because I’m a planner, I’m making myself a list of re-balance goals.  Friends, please help me stick to these and to adapt to new ones when life changes again.

–          Reduce morning coffee to one cup.

–          Buy ingredients for green juice and make it in the morning before work as often as possible (and bring a toothbrush to work… Hubs calls me “Gasoline Breath” after I drink green juice).

–          Drink green tea every afternoon.

–          Stick with a bed time that lets me get at least 8 hours of sleep.

–          Make time for “me things.”  Start a craft project.  Post new items in my Etsy shop.  Learn how to make something new.

–          Do yoga once a week (this one might be the hardest for me to make myself do).

–          Stop lying in bed for 20+ minutes in the morning reading news, tweets and blogs.  I want to go to sleep and wake up with intention.

–          Meditate and write at least two nights a week.

How do you re-balance when life changes?  What are your trusty rituals for re-centering?

A Halloween Horror Story

My mom is a very sweet, very good person.  I mean, really good.  I’ve never heard her say the word “crap.”  You can imagine all the words beyond “crap” that I’ve definitely never heard her say.

Driving home tonight after a long work-gym-groceries day, I called her for a chat.  She was probably being a good neighbor handing out Halloween candy.  Her phone went to voice mail, but I didn’t leave a message because, well, she’s my mom.  If she sees my missed call, she’ll call me back.  I hit “end” and set the phone in my lap.

I was in the far left lane, following a respectful distance behind a car that should probably have gotten over into the lane to the right but that was still moving along at a nice pace.  Dude behind me thought I was going too slow, though, and proceeded to get so close to my back bumper that I couldn’t see his headlights or hood in my front mirror.  There were cars on the right, so he couldn’t speed past that way.

“Where do you think you’re gonna go, A-hole?!”

‘Cause I like to talk out loud to other drivers when I’m alone in my car.  And this is one of the least offensive things I say.

I really dragged out the  “-hoooooole,” and that’s right about the time that I looked down to see that I did not, in fact, end the phone call that my mother’s answering machine picked up.  I quickly grabbed the phone, maybe heard the tail end of the beep, and ended the phone call – for real this time.

I’d say it’s a 50/50 chance that my mother got a voice mail from me tonight that just says, “…A-hole?!”

She hasn’t called me back yet.

 

Washington – Part I

Hey y’all!  I’m a month late in posting this, but wanted to share some of the loveliness of our annual trip to Washington with you.  Apart from being a heavenly retreat into cool air, mountain views, quiet evenings, and indulgently simple life, Washington will always be special to me and J because he proposed there three years ago.  On that trip, we spent three days backpacking through the Olympic National Park, and at the highest point of our hike, he pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.

Our Proposal Spot

Going to Washington is like falling in love all over again.  All of the busyness and hectic life stuff just falls away, and we have family, food, beautiful views, and simple, full moments.

We start the trip by flying to Seattle and crossing the Pudget Sound to Bainbridge on the ferry.  As soon as the ferry starts moving and the wind picks up, we reach for our jackets and look like wimps who just left 110 degree Texas weather and can’t handle this 60 degree stuff.  It’s wonderful.

On the Ferry

We stay at my mother- and step-father-in-law’s condo in Port Ludlow. Mimi, my mother-in-law, is the epitome of perfect hostess, with chocolates in little bowls in the guest room, a tea pot brewing and always everything in it’s place.  Mimi’s hostessing prowess, along with this view from the back porch (which is lined with comfy chairs and cozy blankets), makes staying in Port Ludlow the perfect rejuvenating escape.

View in Port Ludlow

This year, we stayed in Port Ludlow for one night and then all four of us – me, J, Mimi and Jay, my step-father-in-law – all drove around the Olympic Peninsula to the Quinault Rain Forest.  We stayed at the Lake Quinault lodge, which has this giant back lawn leading down to the lake.  The lawn is scattered with groupings of Adirondack chairs where you can sip on wine, a lovely gazebo, and a horseshoes pit.  At the lakeshore are lines of colorful canoes and sailboats and a little camp fire circle where you can sit and make smores at night.  Seriously, it’s like camp for grown-ups.   In a rain forest.  Google Image pictures of it.  You’ll fall in love.

Lake Quinault Lodge

We stayed at the Lodge for a couple of days, and the one thing I really, really wanted to do was get up early and go for a solo trail run.  I always say I want to do this when we’re on trips, but then the whole on-vacation-don’t-want-to-wake-up-early thing kicks in and it never happens.  Except for this time.  I got up, bundled up, and went for a two mile run, all by myself, on this beautiful trail.  In a rain forest. Definitely worth waking up early.

Trail Run in Quinault Rain Forest

That’s it for now.  Stayed tuned for Part II: The gorgeous pacific coast and a charming farmer’s market.

And P.S., we packed for this trip with only carry-on luggage.  Be impressed.