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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.

 

Wardrobe Updates

I recently found the wonderful Tiny Twig blog and have been thoroughly enjoying her “31 Days to a No Brainer Wardrobe” series.  I feel snobby even thinking this, but I’ve been most impressed by the fact that many of the wardrobe pieces she’s featured have been from Old Navy.  And they are ADORABLE!  I’m a […]

Washington – Part II

Hey Again, Y’all!  I’ve been working like crazy, but I’m finally getting around to posting the second part of our recent(ish) trip to Washington.  And let me just say, what is better than sitting on the couch in your PJ’s on a weekend morning – house quiet, coffee in hand – looking through pictures of fun memories?  Perfect morning, I’d say!  Now, on to Part II!

After we left Lake Quinault Lodge, we stopped at several beaches along the north-west coast of Washington.  Growing up in Florida and now living in Texas, I had actually never seen the Pacific coast before!  So different than the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, but amazingly gorgeous.  We spent several hours just wandering around, jumping from rock to rock, and looking at all the sea life.

At the Beach in Washington


Starfish

Hubs :)

Gorgeous!

And, of course, Hubs took lots of pictures!

When we got back to Port Ludlow, we spent a couple more days relaxing on the porch, wandering around Port Townsend, and stuffing our faces with Dungeness crab.  We also visited one of the awesome local farmers’ markets.  I’ve got to say that second only to the cool weather and mountains, my favorite thing about Washington is the farmers’ markets.  The fresh, local, organic food; the sense of community and self sustainability; the creativity and ingenuity of small, independent businesses.  I love it all.

Seriously, how could you not find this charming?!

In addition to the yummy food we bought, I picked up some handmade jewelry, lavender scented goats’ milk soaps, and a little ceramic banana slug (a rain forest souvenir).

Love our Washington trips, and can’t wait to go again next year!  Thanks, Mimi and Jay, for the hospitality!

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.

A Note of Inspiration

“Did you realize
that whenever you gave anything, to anyone,
you gave to the entire world?

And did you realize that for every path
you’ve walked, for every stone you’ve turned over,
and for every door you’ve knocked on, you did so for everyone?

And finally, did you realize that whenever you felt
love, for any reason whatsoever, you irrevocably
lifted the entire planet higher into the light?

Thanks, from all of us.”

– from “Notes from the Universe” by Mike Dooley

Freak Out and Throw Stuff

Keep Calm Parody Poster from Earmark on Etsy (Click on the picture to link to Earmark's shop)

I mostly want to freak out and throw stuff a lot lately.  I’ve felt overwhelmed with all the things I have to do and all the things I want to do.  And all the things I feel like I never actually get to do.  Work’s been crazy and I kind of wish I could just step back, freeze the rest of the world, and have a few days to get myself organized and focused, and then start the rest of the world again when I’m feelin’ all in charge and ready to go.

Since that idea’s not working out so well, I’m trying to cling to a few things:

– Controlling what I can and reminding myself to let go of the rest

– Getting back into my workout routine after travel and a couple of just-have-to-get-stuff-done weeks –  and loving the high of working myself to my limit

– Eating a frozen dinner (of the organic and wholesome variety, of course) and just being okay with not creating my meal myself from real, whole foods

– The calm I feel listening to the Jennifer Knapp Pandora station, sometimes for hours on end (I’ll guess I’ll have to post something deep sometime and explain why I have no desire for religion or church but I still feel a compelling need to worship and rest in the peace of pure goodness and love…)

– Staying up later than I should tonight to write it out.  I always – always – underestimate how much I need several moments to let my heart and mind pour out onto a page.

I feel unbalanced.  But it’s okay.  It is what it is, and this too shall pass.  I’m not perfect; life’s not perfect.  And that’s alright.