Monday, April 30, 2012

April Goals

Can't believe April is gone. Blink of an eye, baby! April, for me, was productive, though not necessarily in the way I had originally thought it would be. I got some important stuff done. Things that I think will help me to get past the blocks that have kept me stuck in a rut for so long and kept me making excuses as to why I never reached my goals. So I'm happy with that.

As for the goals this April....I'm about 50/50. I'm happy with it. I think I'm heading in the right direction, anyway.

April Goals:

1) Do something fun every day. I originally was going to post my "fun thing" here every day, though that didn't quite work out. But I did try to get more fun in...even if it was cracking a joke at work on a very long hard day. It's a different mindset, really. And it's starting to sink in.

2) Work more than 44 hours per week. It took a month of work to get here, but I'm here. At just around 44-45 hours. I'm working to keep it that way, too.   :)

3) Eat 6-8 servings of  veggies per day: Again, it took me a month to get here, (and a mindset of shopping like a lunatic in the produce department). But I'm here, and I'm a veggie goddess!

4) Drink 8 glasses of water a day: getting there. (I think I need to ease into it, like everything else. I pee so much when I drink more!)

5) Work out at least 30 min per day and 10 hours per week. not there yet.

6) Lose 5# this month Lost 2. Again, not there yet.

7) Get plantings set for transplanting in May They are looking good and ready to go.

8) Look into master diving certification. not yet.

9) Do 1-2 group runs. Didn't make it to group runs.

10) Go to high school reunion Done. But that's a post for another day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

running again

I have recently been asked to join a relay event to replace a runner who was injured. I have never done a relay before, but heard that they were really fun so I said "sure!"

A week later, the most experienced runner in the group severely injured herself and somehow, I've agreed to run the longest leg of the race.

So, for somebody who hasn't really run since the marathon in January, I am now faced with trying to get my ass back in shape. (I will need to do 25 miles in 3 legs)

I ran 7 last night and feel fine today. I have to run 9 for my longest leg.

I gotta get running!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Julie and Julia

On my plane ride to and from Denver, I read the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I had seen the movie last year, and I must say, it's one of the very few instances that I liked the movie better than the book. (I guess it's in good company with "The Princess Bride" and "A Time to Kill") Amy Adams, who played Julie in the movie, is just so damned adorable, while the author of the book seemed a little less likable.

I'm familiar with the technique where authors exaggerate their unlikable qualities and downplay their good qualities. (Jen Lancaster is fantastic at this!) But Julie seemed to back away from this technique off and on. Like "I'm a bitch...but it's not my fault. Please like me." Unfortunately, flip flopping like that falls a bit flat. It's much more effective to just embrace the bad qualities and people will like you for your self mockery. (Just look at Donald Trump!)

That being said, I did not dislike the book; I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was perfect for a plane or a day at the beach. And it did have a few nice little inspirational ditties that made me smile: "...sometimes you get a glimpse into a life that you never thought of before. There are hidden trap doors all over the place, and suddenly you see one....and the world is so much bigger than you thought it was." (what did not make me smile: her descriptions of her less than Martha-Stewart-like housekeeping skills. I may not be

About the recipes: I know who Julia Child is, though I never really watched her show. And I know of her cookbook, but never perused the recipes. Now I know why. The recipes that Julie made make Paula Deen look like Alicia Silverstone by comparison. I felt my arteries hardening and my waistline expanding  the neatest person in the world, but I draw the line at maggots in the dish rack!)
just reading about them. But, overall, it did make me think about trying out some new recipes, maybe working my way through a recipe book of my own.

I'm thinking Clean Food by Terry Walters.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bowling and Balance

This past weekend, I was in Denver for a conference and ended up going bowling. Because, really, who doesn’t think “Colorado” and then immediately afterward think “land of bowling!” More accurately: when you are graciously offered both dinner and a ride to the airport by a friend’s colleague’s relatives, you enthusiastically agree to anything they wish to spend the afternoon doing. Which is why on my last free afternoon in Denver, I was NOT wandering around in search of a deliciously crunchy, groovy, granola-guy to take off into the mountains with. Instead, I was bowling.

Which turned out to be a really good thing. ‘Cause in the midst of our second string of bowling, I had a grand epiphany!

I ask you: who the heck gets three strikes in a row followed by eight consecutive gutter-balls? Twice! Maybe the same kind of person who relentlessly posts long, incessant blog posts and then abruptly halts with no explanation. Or somebody who trains for a marathon and then just completely stops running cold turkey. Or perhaps somebody who completes 12 weeks of P90x and a vegetarian diet and follows it up with 5 weeks of sitting on the sofa eating Ben and Jerry’s by the pint. Do you see a pattern developing here? ’Cause I sure didn’t!

No, I needed to have my feet in rented shoes and my fingers jammed into places in a plastic resin ball that made it look like I was giving it an internal exam in order to see the truth. I am….inconsistent. Sad, but true.

Those of you who spend any amount of time in Therapy World know that the term “inconsistent” is on par with “child molester” or “serial killer.” As in: “While the client initially showed excellent potential, she did not reach her goals secondary to inconsistent performance with both in-facility and home based exercises.” Ouch. I may have to brand myself with a big scarlet “I”. And I guarantee that somebody in Blue Cross/Blue Shield is itching to refuse payment on everthing that happens to me during the rest of my life. Plus, give me the boot.

This is not Therapy World, however, it’s the Real World, so BC/BS can’t actually boot me out of my own life. Conversely, I can’t just throw up my hands and find myself a crunchy, groovy, doctor to write me prescriptions for oxycontin or medical marijuana. When we have grand epiphanies in the Real World, we have to acknowledge and deal with them. Also, sad, but true.

Fortunately, since I am so inconsistent, I have a stack of old college text books that I cleared from the shelves but have not yet donated to anyone. So I could dust off that stack in the corner, pull out Psych 101, and deal with it.

I saw in Chapter 1 that my inconsistence is clearly a learned behavior. It’s not my fault. It was an inevitable side effect afer years of watching the Red Sox play.

Of course, Chapter 2 contained the words “avoidance”, “denial”, and “blame” to I was forced to let the Red Sox off the hook and place the blame squarely on the responsible party: my parents. (I’m kidding. I’m 42 years old for frick’s sake!) My self.

My inconsistent behavior is truly my own fault. I set lofty, grandiose goals and then throw myself into them until I literally collapse. Then I hang out like a slug for a while, recover, and start the process all over again. Strike, strike, strike, gutterball! (Chapter 3 in Psych 101 explained to me that this is not a normal nor desirable way to live life)

So this spring, instead of deciding which races I am going to complete or which peaks I’m going to climb, I’m embracing the goal of balance. Maybe I’ll try training to run a couple miles a few times a week instead of 26 miles for one day. Or eating more vegetables. Or writing more frequent (but much shorter) posts wit which to torture or delight my bloggie friends.

Unless, of course, I do run into a deliciously crunchy, groovy, granola-guy. In which case, do not be surprised by my absence. I promise to write a really long update when I finally emerge from the woods.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon Monday

Living in Massachusetts, Marathon Monday is always a big deal. Living in Massachusetts, temperatures in the 80's on April 16th are also a big deal. Temps in the 80's on Marathon Monday...a very big deal!

This year, I had a friend from Washington state running the marathon. I was originally planning on taking today off of work to hang out with his wife and watch him run. (I used to work with them when I lived in Washington and haven't seen them in 6 years) Unfortunately, this week also coincided with a conference I am attending at the end of the week and it really would have been too many days off. So I hung out with them over the weekend and checked his progress on the marathon website. (he finished and is doing well)

Lucky for me, though, a number of my afternoon patients decided to play hookie on this lovely day which meant I got to sneak out of work a little early and had a lovely walk on the beach in my bare feet as the sun set.

Life is good.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life in balance

This April, I've taken the "fun" challenge...trying to incorporate something fun into every day. A nice break from getting bogged down in all the day to day responsibilities that get out of control. It's been, surprisingly, harder than I thought.

For the most part, I am a fun person. I'm an active person, I'm adventurous person, I'm an open minded person. But I'm also a dedicated, hard working person and sometimes I let that define me more so than the fun times. I've learned that oftentimes, I compartmentalize those two parts of myself. When I work, I work hard. WHen I play, I play hard. But, more often than not, I let myself become absorbed in work and don't leave time for the fun until I go on vacation or enter a race or something to that effect. I've been trying to balance that out more.

It's like that in all of life, isn't it? April Fools Day is balanced by Tax Day. Warmer weather and flowers are balance by cold wind and rain. Fantastic vacations are balance by long hours at work. But who's to say you can't be serious for a bit on April Fools Day or laugh on Tax day? Wear sunscreen and dance in the rain? Keep your head in the clouds your feet planted on the ground? Balance is hard.

But I'm trying.

So this month, while still working on the BIG projects for balance, I'm also:

Encouraging a stroke patient to sing "Rockin' Robin" and joining in
Putting a "Stud" license plate on the back of somebody's power wheelchair.
Riding with the windows down and my arm doing the plane thing down the highway (Which I then had to balance with lots of conditioner and comb time!)
Buying some seeds and starting to sprout flowers for my steps
Putting up some inspirational quotes on the closet door to make me smile when I get my clothes in the morning.
Going to my nephew's t-ball game...those are always fun to watch!
Buying a Life is Good  girl-in-a-jeep shirt
Going for a hike....oh, I love hiking!
Planning girl's nights with people at work

Life is hard. But life is fun. Both simultaneously

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Irony sucks

In a sad little ironic twist that life seems so intent on sending my way, I wrote about getting rid of possessions and starting over yesterday and then got a call from a friend of mine today who just lost everything.

Last Sunday, after Easter festivities had ended and all their guests had gone home, she got everything cleaned up, put her kids and her (slightly tipsy) husband to bed and prepared to turn in herself. And then she decided to go downstairs and give the kitchen one last go-over, just to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. That's when she noticed the smell of smoke.

She traced the smell outside and found that something had caught fire in one of the trash cans. The flames were by this time climbing up the far wall of the garage and were spreading quickly.

She ran back inside, roused the kids and her husband, let the dog out of the basement and ran outside. They grabbed the hose by the side of the house and found that it wouldn't work...they had turned off the outside water for the winter and had not yet turned it on.

By the time the fire department arrived a few minutes later, the house was completely engulfed.

The important thing, of course, is that they are all safe. Nobody was hurt. Her family is intact.

But her house! And her stuff. (This, coming from me, the one on the anti-stuff bandwagon.)

But there's stuff, and then there's STUFF.  Baby pictures. Wedding albums. Stuffed animals and woobies. Christmas ornaments, the clock that she and her father made together when she was 14. His mother's bowls that she brought over from Italy and gave to them for a wedding present. All gone.

She sounded so, so tired when I talked to her.

And this weekend, she and her husband have to catalog an entire lifetime worth of stuff to submit to the insurance agency.

I am so sad for her. But at the same time, so happy that she is experiencing an outpouring of love and support from her community.

She told me that by Monday afternoon, they had recieved bags of clothing from friends and strangers so that the kids could go to school and they could go to work. She was contacted by a family that has had a house on the market for 18 months. Nobody is living in it. They offered up their house to her family for a ridiculously low rental price for as long as they need until their house is rebuilt. They have received a laptop. Shoes. Shampoo. Soap. Toothpaste. Pens and pencils, notebooks, new backpacks for the kids.

Sometimes people are so nice I want to burst.

As for me, I'm going to facebook message some friends from college to see if we can get them some giftcards. I wish I could do more.

Tonight, all I could do was stay with her on the phone so we could cry together.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I've been away from blogging (again) for a week or so. 2012 I have been working really hard and playing really hard. I'm a bit sleep deprived. And workout deprived,as well, unfortunately. Also, blog post deprived. And when I see something lacking, I generally try to address it. One at a time. Blog first!

Off and on for a while, I have participated in Mama Kat's (World Famous) Writer's Workshop. What better way to address the post-less blog situation?

Share one of your favorite things:

Last fall, I moved out of my old place, which I once fondly referred to as "the Garaje Mahal" into my new yellow apartment by the beach. My friend, J, moved out, too.

On October first, we, along with friends and family, packed up both my stuff and her stuff and moved things to the yellow apartment, a storage area, and J's sister's house. It sucked.

I have always been a restless spirit, somebody who moves frequently and with great joy. Hence, I tend to keep my possessions minimal. But I had been in my last place for 5 years and had accummulated more. J had been there 15 years. She had subsequently more.

Throughout the month of October, the two of us made multiple trips to the Goodwill, letting go of things that we thought we wanted enough to pack them up and take them with us. I went through a phase were I felt rather negatively about "stuff". I went on a vision quest of sorts to get rid of all the "stuff". (I kind of still am, but less emotionally)

I had an interesting conversation with another friend, who was lending me her truck to take a dresser to the Goodwill. She was concerned that I was getting rid of a piece of furniture that used to belong to my grandfather. "It's a family hierloom," she said. "You can't get rid of it!"

But it wasn't a family hierloom. It was a dresser that he had picked up at a yard sale at some point. It's funny, how we can attach feelings or stories to things, and grow sentimental, whether those stories are true or fabricated. Maybe it takes something like a move under poor circumstances to make us rethink our attachments to those things. Maybe every once in a while, we need to get rid of those stories we've been telling ourselves over and over again. Maybe it's good to rewrite our stories and our lives. To prune back the briars in order to let the roses flourish.

J let go of a life that didn't work anymore in order to pursue the promise of something better.

I let go of my grandfather's dresser. But I kept something better.

A true family hierloom, painted by my gramps!

(apologies for the crooked picture!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cooking for the clueless

I started this week with a renouned effort to eat more veggies than I already do. I mean, I love veggies, but sometimes when I get busy, I grab the first thing I can to eat. Which often isn't veggies. It takes planning, I've learned. And this week I plan on eating:

Tortolan Chick Pea and Spinach with Rice  (adapted from Beyond the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan) 

1 pound coursely chopped fresh spinach
1 cup hummus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups frozen pepper and onion mix
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sweet ginger garlic seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups cooked rice

Steam spinach and squeeze dry. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sautee garlic. Add pepper and onion mix until onions are translucent. Stir in zucchini and cook until soft. Stir in tomatoes, spinach, peas, and spices.


Remove from heat and stir in veggie mixture into rice. Add hummus and salt and pepper to taste.

The hummus gives it a nice, creamy taste...healthy comfort food!

(And I must say...having an actual stove to cook on makes cooking much easier!)

Daily check in:

water = 7 glasses
veggies = 7 servings

Daily fun:
I watched The Muppets while preparing dinner and have been singing   "Ma-na Ma-na" all night!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Today's Fun

TODAY'S FUN:  Today I decided that since I live a mile from the beach, I should really start taking advantage of it. So I took a lovely walk on the beach. I walked all the way out to the point (or actually just to the spot where the clambeds started. If I walked further than that I would have ended up walking home with muddy, soaked jeans. Given the choice between going ALMOST to the point or not, I chose dry pants) I had such a nice day...the temperature was just perfect for a spring walk on the beach. Just enough for a sweater and jeans. The sun was shining, the wind smelled salty,and  I played with about 10 dogs. Good start to a month of fun!

April Goals


It's been years since I thought of April Fools Day as a time to play practical jokes on somebody. And while I really don't plan on playing any jokes on anyone today, I do plan to embark on a month-long quest to have fun every day. Fun = joy = happiness. Therefore, April is the happy month!

It's been a while since I made and posted monthly goals. I had gotten to a point where the goals were just something - anything - to write down each month, not necessarily something I wanted for myself. Just another thing on the "to-do" list: write out monthly goals. But that's kind of beside the point, isn't it? A goal should be something that you actually want to achieve.

So I took a little hiatus from goals to figure out what I really wanted to achieve. And while I can say that I don't have a rock solid blue print, I do at least have a clue.

(Which, incidentally is the first item on my list of things a guy must possess to be datable: 1) Must have a clue)

So, if nothing else, the end of my cluelessness period makes me not only able to once again write goals, but makes me fit to date. Just not fit to cook.


1)  Do something fun every day
2) Work no more than 44 hours per week...(stay no longer than 11 1/2 hours in a single day)
3) Eat 6-8 servings of vegetables each day
4) Drink 8 glasses of water each day
5) Work out (to some degree) 30 or more min per day and 10 hours per week
6) I'm setting out to lose 5# this month. It's time!
7) Get plantings (flowers and veggies) set for transplanting in May (I'm finally in a place where I can have a container garden this summer. I'm happy about that)
8) Look into master diver certification  for this summer.
9) Do 1-2 group runs
10) Go to my high school reunion

April is looking to be quite a busy month....overall, my challenge is to not get bogged down in all the activities but to have fun with them!

Happy April, everyone!