Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good-bye 2014

The last few minutes of 2014 are ticking away and though it seems so cliche, I am thinking "Wow, did that go fast!" Maybe because I didn't have a BIG project in 2014. Maybe because the time was taken up with so many little projects. Or maybe because I'm getting old. Whatever the reason, 2014 seemed really short.

I thought of 2014 as "the year after my hike." My entire life has taken on that theme, actually. There's my life pre-hike and my life post-hike. 2014 makes up the majority of my post-hike life. And while it wasn't overly exciting and adventurous, it was a good year. I guess life works out that way -- there are years of expansion and excitement and years of quiet reflection and preparation. I spent 2014 preparing for another year of adventure.

2015 will hopefully be "the year of my next hike".

This year, on New Year's Eve, I am once again away from home, where my family lives. I have once again embraced a nomadic lifestyle. I am out in the world, in a new place, deciding where I am going to run and hike this weekend. And I feel more at home than I ever do at home. I am happy.

2014 was exactly what I needed it to be.

I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A December Rant

Today's post is a rant. Generally, I don't post rants. Ranting  is an art form, really, and only a select few people are good at it. I'm not one of them.

George Carlin-- now he knew how to rant! He could go on forever, attacking serious topics with controversial (even radical) viewpoints all the while making you laugh until you cried. Jon Stewart can rant, too. And he backs up his rants with ridiculous video clips from cable news. Dennis Miller is another good ranter. Me, I get too emotional. I end up sounding like an insane person and then delete everything I wrote. Then I go for a run.

But today I am going to rant.

Today, I spent the morning de-friending a bunch of people on Facebook. I don't like to do that. I've never done that. In the past, if somebody's posts rubbed me the wrong way, I'd simply block their posts from appearing on my wall. I'd still be their virtual friend. Especially if they were relatives. Or old classmates. We all don't have to think alike or have the same dreams or goals or values to respect and like one another.

I've noticed a trend over the past couple years, though. People seem to think that if your viewpoint differs from theirs, then it is okay to be disrespectful. To start arguments. To try to prove how wrong you are, and how right they are. To name call.  To attack who you are at your very core. It's pretty disheartening.

I'm not sure where this comes from. I'm guessing the cable news outlets, which quite frankly treat "news" as subjective information that can be changed or manipulated as needed. Or our insane political system, in which elections are basically mud slinging contests.  Now it seems that social media is, too.

Yesterday, I woke up in a wonderful mood. It was warm out. Warm in that way that you can just FEEL it, even with the windows closed. Maybe the heat hasn't kicked on as much. Maybe its the way the morning light filters in through the glass. Whatever the case, it was a wonderful gift -- an unseasonably warm day on the first day of December.

And it was the first day of the month! On a Monday! Did I mention that I find this very neat and tidy and organized? It makes me happy.

On this wonderfully neat and tidy and unseasonably warm Monday, I was thinking that it is hard to go back to work after a holiday weekend. But I could do something to make it easier for everyone. I could post a positive, uplifting message that would put everyone in a good mood and make that transition a bit easier.

So I did.

I posted a close up picture of a Christmas tree from Disney World. And next to that, I wrote: Happy Monday. Happy December. Happy Everything! It was truly inspirational.  Yay me!

Then, feeling really good about myself, I went about my day.

Sometime later, my phone started pinging. That little chime that lets you know that you have a message. Many, many pings throughout the day. I smiled to myself. My happy little post worked. People were messaging me to let me know how I had made them smile! And it was warm out. And sunny. And the calendar was neat and tidy and organized. It was the best day!

Until it wasn't.

In the evening, I logged onto my Facebook account and saw that I had 7 messages. This was going to be good! I hunkered down like I was pulling a bow off a great big present. What I got was a stocking full of coal.

Not one of the 7 messages said how the post made them smile. Or made them happy. Or wished me a nice day in return. Every single one of the messages was an angry, confrontational remark. How dare I wish people a happy Monday? It is December! And therefore, if you don't say "Merry Christmas" every time you open your mouth (or your keyboard) you are apparently violating somebody's rights. I'm apparently what is wrong with this country! If I don't want to say "Merry Christmas" (even when I don't mean "Merry Christmas", when I mean, for instance "have a nice day") well, then, I can just get the hell out. (I'm not sure where exactly I'm supposed to go, as I am an American citizen and all)

What the hell is the matter with people? Where did this sense of entitlement come from? Stores start putting up Christmas displays in September. Radio stations start playing Christmas carols before Halloween. At least half of the people I know have their trees up on Thanksgiving. Yet somehow, people think that by wishing everyone a happy Monday, I have initiated guerrilla warfare on Christmas.  And they were more than willing to tell me how wrong I was.

It was a bad night.

This morning dawned cold and windy and overcast. You could tell how cold it was even with the windows closed. It looked like rain. I was thinking how mean people could be sometimes. But I could do something about it.

I de-friended 7 people this morning.

Then I posted a picture of a beautiful sunrise and wished my remaining friends a happy Tuesday.

today's workout:
45 min elliptical
full body weights
Daily core

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Goals

Oh, the start of a new month. It seems so tidy when it starts on a Monday, doesn't it? And December 1st is all the more nice when you can go for a walk on the beach in a T-shirt! Took advantage of that, because that nice weather will be gone tomorrow.

The other nice thing about the start of a month is that I get to write my list of goals.
This month will be a little weird, as I am moving to a new place for a new (short term) job in the middle of the month, which always makes for a bit of upheaval. But hey, I'm nothing if not ambitious, so I'm gonna try to meet all my goals, move or no move!


1) Get back on track for marathon training: I signed up once again for one of my favorite races, the Myrtle Beach marathon. Training was going along great, until I went to Haiti for a week. (no real safe place to bang out miles. Plus really hot) I figured I'd just get back on track at home. Enter plane sickness, which knocked me out of commission for almost 2 weeks. And now I'm struggling back into training. I'll get it back in December. I have to!

2) Get Xmas cards sent out before the move. Gotta sit down with some envelopes in front of Netflix for a good long stretch.

3) Finish up FMS certification exam. What is it with me and certifications? I have like a million of em!

4) And get licensure renewals completed Got a million of them, too.

5) 30 days of Dailey Method workout. One of the girls I went to Haiti with swears by this. And my back has been feeling -- off for a while. So I'm jumping in.

6)  Holiday Lights 5K with the family My nieces and my dad are doing this fun race with me. Times will be slow, I'm sure. But Santa oversees the race! So its a must

7) Downsize the storage unit to the smallest size. I've had a storage unit for over a year. Storing stuff that really isn't worth the cost of storing. I mean, they have Ikea for a reason!

8) Go for a nice, long hike in the mountains. No sense in moving if you're not going to take advantage of the new surroundings!

9) Girls nite with J and S before I go

10)  Finally begin the digital photo book I've said I was going to do for about a year!

today's workout:
Dailey method legs
3 mile run
walk on beach

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Different Black Friday Tradition

Black Friday always leaves me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I don't want to begrudge anyone who wants to save money on their holiday shopping. On the other hand, I feel like Black Friday is nothing but a tribute to out of control materialism and a me-first mentality. Not a good start to the holiday season.

A few years ago, I started my own little Black Friday tradition. Ok, maybe "starting my own tradition" is overstating things a bit. I found that somehow I wasn't working on that day and decided that it would be the perfect time to clean out a few closets. Since then, it has become my Black Friday activity.

On Thanksgiving, we are supposed to get together with family and friends and take time to be grateful for all the things we have. It doesn't make sense that the next day we focus on what we DON'T have and then scramble around wildly to get as much as we can. Something as simple as cleaning out closets can take that grateful mentality and extend it one more day.

First, I take a good look around the house and really appreciate all that I have: the clothes in the closet, the food in the fridge, the books on the bookshelf, the toiletries in the bathroom, the knick-knacks and electronics and sporting gear and hiking boots. This is all stuff I am lucky enough to own; stuff that makes life a little nicer.

Then, I look things over a second time to determine if there are things I'm holding onto that AREN'T necessarily making my life better -- just a bit more cluttered. Do I really need 2 rain jackets? How did I end up with 5 navy blue T-shirts? How long have I had that scented candle that is still in the wrapping?Two years? Three? Why am I holding onto these things? Did somebody give it to me as a gift and I feel obligated to keep it? Am I afraid I might need it someday? No reason?

Now is when the real fun begins. I take stock of all the "extras" I have identified and ask: can I pass  these things along to somebody else? Maybe the scented candle would be perfect for Secret Santa or a Yankee Swap.  I know exactly who would enjoy that book that I've already read. I could part with a couple navy t-shirts (thrift shop). My niece has been saying she needs a raincoat -- the black one would look great on her!

Appreciating what you have and sharing it with others has a wonderful effect. I always end the day with fewer possessions, yet feeling way richer than I did at the start of the day.

I have yet to encounter a door buster sale that can do that!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24, 2014

Its Good to Be Back

Oh, its good to be back. Like the feeling you get after returning home to your own place, your own things, your own bed after a long vacation. The vacation was great, but its great to be home again.

I took a little (ok, a long) vacation from blogging. For a vast number of reasons. And I just didn't know how to get back into it. I became a lurker for a while; I found that a good number of my old blogging buddies were on hiatus, as well. (we were all apparently vacationing in different areas because I didn't run into any of them in my travels) Maybe they don't know how to jump back in, either.

But, eventually, I just came to the conclusion that jumping back into blogging required only one thing: writing.

I started this crazy thing called blogging many years ago when I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn't start a blog to generate a big following. I didn't do it because I thought I was such an amazing a prolific writer that I'd become world famous. I didn't do it to generate income. (and thank goodness, because I'd be in the poorhouse if that were the case) I did it simply go get my thoughts out somewhere and to find my voice again.

I had no idea that it would become such an important part of my life. I had no idea I'd become part of a community. I had no idea I'd actually make FRIENDS with people I'd never meet in real life, by connecting with these little snippets of insight we all put down in our blog posts.

I've missed it.

So today, with no fanfare or expectations. I'm putting it down on the page once again. Blog post number one after a very long hiatus.

The hard part is over.


60 min yogalates 
3 mile run
15 min stretching 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


It's July. July!

I've been away from blogging for way too long. The dashboard tells me over three months. It doesn't seem like that long. Yet it seems like much longer.

I sort of dropped out of the habit of recording my thoughts and dreams and goals and directions in this forum when I dropped into the mindset of "I'm not doing anything worth writing about." That was just an excuse, of course. Because during the time I've been away, I've read a myriad of blog posts from all over the place on the most mundane subjects imaginable. I read a blog post entitled "Why I Make My Bed Every Day." Until the end. It wasn't even written by Martha Stewart. And I still read it. When I finished reading it, I thought "That was surprisingly well written and persuasive." (I don't need to be persuaded. I make my bed every day. I just don't feel the need to share that bit of info with everyone.)

Therein lies the problem. I haven't felt the need to share.

For the last few months, I've been writing. I've been filling pages in journals and 3 subject notebooks. I've been making my beloved lists on scraps of paper and computer printouts and posting them on an ACTUAL bulletin board, rather than a pinterest board. I've been reading voraciously. I've been walking around in may bare feet outside, lying in a hammock, and riding my bike around just for the heck of it.

I guess I just needed to be a bit introverted for a while.

But now…now I feel like dipping my toe back in. I miss the habit. I miss the sharing. I miss the community.

In 2013, I discovered another community -- the thru-hiker community -- where I felt like I BELONGED. More so than any other group I have been a part of. Lately I have felt the pull of community. I've missed the small-- but somehow intimate, quirky, and cool -- community of bloggers I got to know so well when I was a regular blogger. I want to get to know you all again.

So happy July! And hello again.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Addictions


I have noticed, time and time again, that blog posts tend to repeat in a cycle. I'm not talking about having a posting schedule where you do certain kinds of posts at certain times of the week or month. I mean that during certain times of the year, I (and others, I suppose) fall into particular moods or mindsets. And the pattern continues as the year progresses.

Take, for instance, my addictions for March. I'm pretty sure if I scrolled back to addictions of Marches past (which I could totally do, I'm just too lazy, so I will continue to speak of it hypothetically) I would find the exact same addictions. Which would be slightly different from February's, and very different from Augusts. It's just that time of the yearly cycle to be addicted to:

1)  TEA

I like a nice cup of tea any time of the year, be it of the hot or iced variety. But I'm positively swimming in it at the moment!


This weekend, we had our first real thaw. Temps were in the high 40's and the sun was shining. Everyone was out, walking around, in a good mood, saying hi to everyone else as if we all lived in a Disney movie. But then the sun went down. And it was time to wrap up in fleece once again.

Today alone, I have worn, at some point, fleece socks, fleece PJ's, a fleece bathrobe, a fleece jacket, and a fleece hat. I'm under a fleece blanket as I write. Spring cannot be here soon enough!


The TV show, not the lifestyle. Parenthood the movie, upon which the TV show is based, is one of my most favorite movies of all time. It has a great cast, is extremely well written, and makes me laugh and cry each and every time I see it. I was pretty skeptical when I heard there was a TV show. I stand corrected and converted. I have been streaming back to back episodes courtesy of Netflix and just like the movie, I find myself both laughing and crying underneath all my fleece.


I've been on a huge spinach kick lately. Spinach in my smoothies, my salads, my lasagna, and sometimes all by itself. Yummy!


I'm generally a run, bike, and swim kinda gal, with independent weight lifting thrown in there for good measure. But after my February slump and my overall winter blahs, I needed something to motivate me to work at the gym. Enter group power. Cardio, weight lifting, and a little dancing to classic rock all rolled into one. What's not to like?

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Goals

March is funny: the past three days, everybody is talking about how "spring is coming." And technically, they are right. The first day of spring is on March 22, and daylight savings time is this coming Sunday. Technically, they ARE right.

But in reality, this is New England. No matter what the calendar says, step outside and its winter. Every single year, during the April snowstorm, everybody acts as if it's some kind of natural disaster. Like we didn't have a snowstorm last April. Or we won't have one next April. We will. It's New England. Spring comes in May.

Regardless, I still feel like March is the month to get moving! After the February slump, it's time to do double time to be prepared for race season (or hiking season, as it were). March is the month to really set some goals!


1) Make the move. Preferably somewhere south. Where spring comes in April.

2) Exercise daily. And get my butt back in the pool. I've been slacking on swimming!

3) Pick a big race and register already! I tend to be very deadline motivated. No deadline, no motivation!

4) Take the downsizing up a notch: sell off the furniture.

5) And speaking of hard to get rid of stuff: 6 more books read and given away.

6) Eliminate the junk food. Did I mention I've been eating not only comfort food but junk? A lot of it. I got some healthy snacks and a bunch of snack sized zip locks to carry them in. (I seriously need to buy stock in Zip Lock!) Now to implement!

7) Another girl's nite!

8) Get taxes done!

9) Complete online class

10) One long snowy hike!

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Goals

On February 28th, every year, I have the exact same thought: "Wow. February is the shortest month, but it seems like the longest month." It's like groundhog day 26 days later.

February is the absolute hardest month in terms of motivation for me. The newness of the January 1st resolutions have worn off, but the summer is too far away to have any real effect. Plus, it's cold. Really really cold. And snowy.

I've shoveled more times this February than I care to count. (and we are supposed to get another foot on Sunday night)  *sigh* That's what February does to me. Even on an Olympic year.

So basically, this is just a very long winded way of saying - My February Goals? are a complete fail.


1) 28 day HIIT  plan plus cardio: Ok, I'm gonna give this half credit. Because guess what? HIIT every day for 28 days is not a good idea. I know this intellectually. But as with all of my ill-founded ideas, it started with my getting all psyched up and not knowing where to draw the line. 28 days of HIIT is over the line. As is replicating a professional free style snowboarder's workout routine (also a HIIT program). The end result? Injury.

The upside? This unfortunate incident put me back in the slow, form-driven weight lifting mindset. I really really like lifting weights when my mind isn't all crowded with tabatta and HIIT and multi-plane functional movement exercises. Sometimes (for instance post injury) you just have to execute a no-nonsense weight program and some sensible cardio to get you past the February hump. And cut yourself some slack for calling an hour of shoveling snow "good enough for today's workout."

2) 1 new recipe per week: Again, half credit. I made two yummy delicious soups I found on Pinterest. Big ol' pot of soup on Sunday, freeze and eat many times over. However, sometimes life throws you a curveball that can upset even something as wholesome as Sunday cooking.

(Ever have a roommate who freaks out if you cook with garlic?) Yeah. Well, luckily my plan is to move soon.

3) Continue Downsizing One Thing per Day: Still doing it, still oddly fun. A few years ago I did this same challenge and posted each day what I got rid of. Really didn't feel motivated to do that this time around. There are a lot of organizational blogs out there that can make the description of cleaning out a sock drawer actually entertaining. I fear that as much as I enjoy clearing out my space, I'm not obsessed enough to make others join in my reindeer games. But I did make a lot of trips to the thrift store.

4) Secure Travel Job for March or April: Licenses? Check. Applications in? Check. Response? blank. I'm still waiting. That's okay. That's what February is for. Waiting.

5) Go skiing 2x this month: Epic fail. Not at all. I did go cross country skiing with my friend and got a taste of not only skiing myself but assisting with cross country sit-skiing. (she has a spinal cord injury) Do I count this as skiing? No. That wasn't my goal. But it was my reality.

6) Get cute Valentine's Day gifts for the nieces and nephews. Check. They really loved the gifts. And I got this out of the deal:

7) Read (and get rid of) 6 Books.  Read 5 1/2 books. Got rid of 5. Not too shabby.

8) Take off some of the weight I put back on: Ok, I was going for 6 pounds, I got rid of 2. But considering that it's February, I'll take it!

9) Post 23 times this month: Um, THAT didn't happen. Can I blame the Olympics?

10) Girl's nite out with J and S: Change that to girl's nite IN, and we'll call it a winner.

And now on to the much more motivating MARCH!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Russia with Love

The Olympics are officially over and they have left me with an unexpected side effect. (No, not my injury. Or my other injury. Those were pretty much expected.) As the closing ceremonies ended, I realized that much to my surprise, I had fallen in love with Russia.

It hasn't always been like this between me and Russia. Far from it. In my life goal to visit every country on earth, Russia didn't even make it to the top ten. Though that's not Russia's fault. With countries like France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland to contend with, Russia just didn't stand a chance. It was like Jason Brown -- wonderful in his own right, but never seriously in medal contention.

Russia isn't a popular surfing or yoga destination like Costa Rica or Bali. Russia isn't known for its rollicking parties like Brazil. On line travel agencies don't send me emails enticing me to climb Mt. Elbrus. (But oh, Kilimanjaro, someday you will be mine!) And on my one and only trip to a Russian restaurant left me thinking "Clearly the growing season in Russia is very short."

In my formative years, Russia wasn't even Russia. It was the very scary and very dangerous Soviet Union! The Red Empire. The dark side of the force. The cauldron of bubbling scorn that hid behind the iron curtain. Or so I was told by the media and since I hadn't yet been forced to read George Orwell is school, I believed every bit of it. Russia was scary. I wouldn't go there if you forced me.

Yet even if I didn't go there, I still wasn't safe. Russians were always pretty good at Biathlon. So all they had to do was strap on some skis and a backpack full of weapons. Then it would just be a short jaunt from Siberia across the frozen Bering Straight, past Sarah Palin's house, and south through British Columbia. Those evil Ruskies could invade at any time!

Fortunately, it would only take a high school football team lead by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen to defeat a legion of Russian spies, but still! That's scary stuff. (Plus, Boris and Natasha were virtually uncatchable)  Even by a championship team like the Wolverines!

Of course, since the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, "the crazies who hate us because of our freedom" sort of leapfrogged for a while….Japan, China, France, India….before settling down on the Arabs. Or the Muslims. Or Arabs who are Muslim. And also people who are neither Arab nor Muslim, but live in countries that end in -istan.

Whatever. The point is, Russia was pretty much forgotten.

And then came Sochi. And suddenly, thanks to an exquisite opening ceremony and a moving closing ceremony, I no longer think "Russia: cold, gray, drab." I think "Russia: ballet, literature, art. Tolstoy, Chekov, Tchaikovsky, Chagall. Classic, beautiful, graceful, understated." 

Russia now has me feeling those romantic stirrings in my heart  feet. I have that familiar desire to walk along foreign streets, amongst the achingly beautiful architecture: St. Isaac's Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, Kremlin Palace, Smolny Convent. I want to experience the wonderful art and and culture that was hidden for so long behind a veil of sameness. I want to know the history of this country and these people once so grand, and then subdued, and once again -- with such great potential. And such pride. I now think "Russian: such a proud country." 

So congratulations Russia! You hosted a successful Olympics. You topped the medal count. And you made my list. I look forward to knowing you more.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Olympic Injuries

The Olympics are currently in full swing, which in my world means one thing for sure: I am injured. Whenever the Olympics are on, I hurt myself.

It's not my fault! Ok, it is my fault. I have been trying for years to figure out how to blame the athletes, the announcers, the network, and the commercials. But the truth is, I have nobody to blame but myself.

It's always been this way for me. From the time I was just a little Jeepgirl, riding down the basement stairs in a plastic sled with my brothers until just last week when I tried to duplicate a training plan outlined in alluring videoclips on a commercial for an official-Olympic-sponsor, I watch the medals ceremonies with a package of frozen peas on some body part.

It always starts with the same sentence: "Hey! I bet I could do that!" The reality is quite different. I cannot do that.

Those darn Olympians, they make it look so easy! All those world class athletes who train for 6 to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for years on end are very well conditioned. Not only can they perform super-human feats, but they can do so smoothly and in control. Even the wipe-outs look choreographed and well orchestrated. I can't help but stare at the TV screen as the replay is superimposed over the live image of a medic sledding some Norwegian down the mountain and say "I could do that! I know I could!"

If the action in question was writhing in pain while being carted to the medical tent, I'd be right. Otherwise, not so much.

One year, after watching Evgeni Plushenko doing a warm up, I practically tore my rectus abdonimus right out of my body! I spent the next 5 days walking around like Quasimoto. (and that was just his warm up!) Another year, after seeing a training video of Apolo Ohno, I strained my medial collateral ligament and my knee swelled up like a softball. This year, it was Jamie Anderson and my rotator cuff tendon. I should know better by now! Yet somehow,  I don't.

OH! Then there's the summer Olympics. Don't even get me started on the training techniques of Bella Karolyi and their effects on my body throughout the years!

Every once in a while, though; every one in a  GREAT while….I pull something off. That's what keeps me trying. I'm looking for that elusive athletic feat, accomplishment, trick that  is-- in fact -- just a trick. Sometimes something that looks spectacular  is in reality not all that spectacular.

The summer I was 12, my best friend and I spent countless hours standing on the top rail of the swing set and executing the Olga Korbut flip. Successfully. It was actually way easier than it looked! (Way less dangerous than indoor bobsledding.)

Of course, that was when I was 12. Today, as I sit watching snowboard cross with frozen vegetables on my shoulder, I am making a vow NOT to climb the nearest swing set in 2016.  It may not be that easy now. And I'm sure Olga Korbut has been blamed for enough concussions already.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oh, Sundays...

Sundays have become one of my favorite, if not my favorite day of the week.

Over the past few weeks, I have fallen into a regular Sunday routine. It started a couple months ago, when I went to the gym. I overheard another gym-goer as she came out of the group exercise room. "That's how I get my prayer in on Sunday. First I dance to celebrate life in Zumba, then I reflect, stretch myself, and become quiet for a while in yoga." I was immediately sold.

So Sunday mornings find me in the gym, doing Zumba and yoga, followed by a nice walk down by the water. Sundays are also the day I go grocery shopping. My current apartment is only a couple blocks from the grocery store, so I can sneak in a little more walking and outdoor time to and from grocery shopping. I've been spending Sunday afternoons in the kitchen, chopping, boiling, cooking, and assembling the meals for the week. (I tend to be a grab and go kind of girl during the week) It doesn't completely guarantee that I'll stay clear of junk food, but its something!

Once the meals are taken care of, I pull out my day planner and review any uncompleted tasks from last week, finish up what I can, and schedule the week to come. Since I'm working a couple different jobs right now, each week looks different. It's kind of nice. Keeps me on my toes. I really need to keep that day planner up to date!

I've also tried to set aside time each Sunday to get a little reading in. I have been pretty on track with downsizing my giant book collection this year, which means I'm reading quite a bit. It's a little luxury to put aside 30 to 60 minutes on a Sunday afternoon to read.

Sunday late afternoon, early evening are just about the only time when my nieces are consistently home. So I've tried to make a point of going over to see my nieces. My sister in law has recently been trying to treat some health problems in a more natural way, so we have been trying out some new recipes together on Sunday afternoons. This week, it was roasted winter vegetables. Next week we are trying a gluten free pizza crust recipe. (Since transitioning to gluten free, her sinus issues have cleared up significantly) Plus, I am always saddled with the task of proof reading term papers. Its a job I love!!

And then, Sunday night is for plowing throughout the Nextflix queue (or for the next two weeks, watching the Olympics)

Productive and restful all rolled up into one. Sundays are great.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Olympics are Here

Its that time again: once every four years I essentially put my life on hold for two weeks and sit, glued to the TV to watch as much of the Olympics as I possibly can. (Technically, its once every two years -- once for the summer and once for the winter, but you know what I mean)

Is there any sporting even more spectacular than the Olympics? I mean, I like the World Series and the Superbowl, and the World Cup enough. But as exciting as they are to watch, they just don't have the magic that the Olympics do.

Its the whole thing, from the opening ceremonies, the multitude of events, the upsets, the surprises, the triumphs, and right on through to the closing ceremonies. I don't think there is any other sporting event that embodies the spirit of friendly competition as perfectly as the Olympics. Its hard to find any sporting event that isn't completely tainted with commercialism. And while I'm quite aware (and growing tired) of the endless plugs by Coke, McDonalds, Subway, P&G, and others, it doesn't seem to infiltrate the events quite as much. Or the athletes.

It's funny: I remember watching the Olympic when I was young, looking up to the athletes as my idols. They were these amazing god-like creatures whom strived to emulate. Later I loved to just watch them in action. And now find myself thinking "Oh, they are so young!" and "What a good looking kid!" Does that make me old? And is it okay to still be inspired?

In these cold wintery days, when I feel my motivation slipping away when faced with the choice of going out into the cold or staying in where its warm and cozy, there's nothing like a skier bouncing down a mogul field and flying off a jump to convince me that going to the gym is a better choice than a few rounds of pushups at home. Or that a brisk jog around the neighborhood is more REAL than a DVD. (Just as long as it doesn't cut into my prime event watching time)

Yeah, for the next couple weeks, I'm going to be inspired, watching to my heart's content and waiting for those magic Olympic moments. There's nothing better.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Groundhog Day

For the last few days, everyone has been bemoaning the idea that we have 6 more weeks of winter left.
They are talking, of course, about groundhog day.  A day that simultaneously calls up images of an unfortunate rodent harassed by us human folk to pacify our whiny wishes for winter to be over (I live in New England. Six more weeks of winter WOULD be an early spring!) and a movie by Bill Murray.

And today, as I shoveled the driveway AGAIN, I found myself thinking of the movie Groundhog Day. While it certainly is not in the same ballpark as Ghostbusters ("Back off man, I'm a scientist!") it is a rather enjoyable flick; one that I will leave on if I happen to be flipping channels and stumble across it. It tells the story of an egotistical jerk who must must repeat the exact same day (Groundhog Day) over and over again, Sisyphus-style. Not until he makes a change in himself-- dropping both the egotistical and jerky ways -- can he escape groundhog day and move forward in his life.

Ok, I just read that last paragraph and I made Groundhog Day sound like the most depressing movie ever made. It's not. Hello? Bill Murray! It's funny! (But apparently, I'm not.)

Anyway, what I was thinking as I moved back and forth, and back  forth across the driveway, pushing the wet, heavy snow using the shovel like a snowplow, was that we are all living our own personal version of groundhog day. Each and every one of us. And not just when shoveling.

Last year, I took a gigantic step to bust out of my own groundhog day. I quit my job, I got rid of a huge amount of possessions, and I pursued a lifelong dream. I came back from the big adventure with some very different views and priorities than when I left. Yet as February crept in this year, it was as if I awoke to the sound of Sonny and Cher coming from the clock radio. Somehow, without even being aware of it, I had fallen back into my old patterns and habits. My "new' priorities had been delegated to the back seat, and my old, unsatisfied persona was at the wheel.

I have been doing some per diem work at my old place of employment, filling in for an injured co-worker. "No problem," I thought. "I'm just filling in for a few weeks. I'm not there permanently. I just do my work and go home." However, in no time at all, I had said yes to doing work on a number of projects I had absolutely no interest in. For the same reason I always overcommitted myself in the past: because nobody else would do it.

Then on Tuesday night, as I came home from work at 9:30 pm, no time to go to the gym, aggravated at myself, my workplace, the world in general, cranky and hungry and tired, it hit me: I'm Bill Murray! (But apparently not funny.) Even after turning my world completely upside-down, I returned to the familiar when I stopped paying attention.

 The good news is, I'm not stuck in groundhog day. Not really. Tomorrow is a brand new day and unlike in the movie, I can choose what happens. Like I can explain that I have overcommitted myself and need to back out of a couple of the projects I have taken on. And acknowledge that saying "nobody else will do it" is sometimes just a way of being egotistical. Or that overworking is a way of being a jerk to myself. (Not until I drop the egotistical and the jerky can I move forward.)

There are so many great things to move forward toward! (spoiler alert) New jobs, another move, future meeting with the-boy-from-the trail, a possible trip to Haiti. To quote a far inferior and less funny movie, "Life is too short to live the same day twice." 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A good day

Today was a good day.

Today, I went with a friend of mine to a cross country ski track a few towns away to try out cross country skiing. I have been country skiing before, but she had not. Well, not the way she was doing it today, anyway. Today she was doing it from a sit ski.

Last year (almost exactly a year ago, actually) she acquired an infection that spread to her spine. On her 27th birthday, she was told that the ridiculously strong antibiotics she had been receiving via IV had been unsuccessful. The damage had gone for too long. The symptoms she had been experiencing, hoping they were temporary, were, in fact, now permanent. On her 27th birthday she received the news that she would be paralyzed from her mid chest down.

Last year she had a very bad year.

This year is different. This year her birthday really meant something. She said she wasn't turning 28, but turning one. She called her birthday party her "I'm still alive party." She said that her life begins now, and that she is going to have fun, damn it! Because in life you are supposed to have fun.

Today was fun.

She was in a sit ski, I was running along behind in Yak Tracks, lending just a tiny bit of help when the fall line of the hills was just too wonky. (I never noticed how crooked and hilly golf courses are. Probably because I don't play golf.) She was mastering the art of reading the terrain, steering with the poles, and figuring out optimal push length for the poles. I was trying to keep up. We were both laughing. A lot. I love laughing.

Today was one of those rare days in February when the temperature hovers near 50 but the ground is still cold enough to hold onto snow, even if it is manmade snow. It was sunny, but not so sunny that you were blinded after so many days of overcast skies. It was the perfect day to be outside, spending time with a good friend, learning a new skill. And laughing.

Today was the kind of day that makes you realize how lucky it is just to be alive.

It was good day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


February has, in my mind, always had the distinction of being both the shortest month, and the longest SEEMING month. I'm pretty sure everyone I know gets sick of me saying "Thank goodness February is only 28 days… I couldn't take any more!"

On the other hand, February is also known as the month of LOVE. So even though I'm one of those who considers valentine's day to be a really dumb, manufactured holiday, I also can think of nothing better to dedicate a month to than LOVE. 

SO I guess the best thing to do is to combine those two lines of thought and conclude that February is absolutely wonderful, because it's a long seeming month dedicated exclusively to love. What could be better? 


1)  28 day HIIT plan plus cardio. Inside or outside. Whichever.

2) 1 new recipe per week

3) Continue to get rid of one thing per day  (It's weirdly fun!)

4) Secure travel job for March or April

5) Go skiing 2x this month!!

6) Get cute valentines gifts for the nieces and nephews (even though in principle, I oppose the holiday!)

7) Read (and get rid of) 6 books.

8) Take off some of the weight I put back on after the trail! (6# this month)

9) Blog posts 23 times this month

10) Girl's nite with the gals around here!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Where did January Go?

So here it is, January 31st, sitting in my awesome Ikea Poang chair (it is seriously the cheapest, most comfortable chair in the world) and wondering how the month of January passed by without the plethora of funny, insightful, brilliant blog posts I had planned ever making it onto the screen.

Oh. It's January.

January tends to do that to me… suck all the post holiday, New Year's good intention right out of me. Sometimes, no matter how well meaning I am, January is just too cold.

Not every day in January was cold. I do remember a couple days where I went walking on the beach in  a hoodie and vest. And I wasn't lazy all month. I actually did get quite a bit done. But not nearly as much as I had planned.

Yeah, January tends to do that to me.


1)  Winter Warrior Challenge: run outside every day. Oh, I got started with a bang. 8 am New Year's Day found me on a group run through the marshlands and down along the beach. It was great. The first week of January was actually quite great. And a few nice days in the middle that had me running on the beach.

But the thing about January? There's snow. And ice. Although there are frigid temperatures and wind chills, the cold will never stop me from running outside. That's what winter performance wear was made for. But when you are ankle deep in slush, sliding on patches of ice, and praying that the cars on the road will not slide and pick you off like a clay pigeon, then the whole idea of a winter warrior challenge just seems, well, stupid.

There's a reason treadmills were invented.

2) Organize physical files, computer files, and emails. Well, the email box isn't down to zero, but at least I can find everything I need. The paper files have been weaned down, as well. I'm calling this a success.

3) Put together a race/ event schedule for the year. Partially done. I mean, I'm not sure where I'll be in the spring. And I'm still debating the Polar Plunge. I wasn't too successful with the Winter Warrior Challenge, and that had everything but my feet staying dry. Oh well, I still have time to decide. Partial credit.

4)  Blog post daily. I don't know if I could have failed that any more thoroughly than I did! But sometimes it just seems way more important to stream entire seasons of Dexter and American Horror Story onto the computer screen than to blog.

5) Girl's weekend with college friends. Success! It was good to get together and hang out for some long awaited girl time.

Of course, I could have done without the icy roads with 3 inches of slushy snow on top. Seriously? Do they maintain roads at all in upstate New York? I don't think they do. Because even with the Jeepy-Jeep's four wheel drive capacity, I ended up like this:

The good news was I was okay, and so was the Jeep. We both made it to my friend's house after a nice tow truck guy pulled us out. And the other good news is that I didn't pick off any joggers.

6)  Get licenses for 2 states for travel jobs: I had this bizarre idea at the beginning of January that since the internet has proliferated greatly since I last was applying for state licenses, that the process would now be faster and more streamlined. Not so much. If anything, it takes longer now. However, I did get licensed in two states. Two warmer states.

7) Go Skiing with Friends. Yeah, that didn't happen. Totally not my fault.

8)  Participate in 1 adaptive sport event. That didn't happen either. Totally my fault this time.

9) Daily Journaling: At last, success. There's something so soothing about having an actual pen to paper. And I can have any season of any show monopolizing my computer screen without interrupting my journaling potential.

10) Start Downsizing. Downsizing has actually been pretty fun this month. Clothes are easy. Clearing out the paper clutter is easy, too. But books. Books are always my downfall. But I've been playing a little game called "Who should this book go to?" And I've been having a blast mailing books off to friends. It's not like abandoning an old friend, but more like sending a puppy off to a deserving home.

Here's hoping February is both warmer and more energizing.

Friday, January 3, 2014


So on January 3rd of the year of ABUNDANCE, we were hit by an abundance of snow. And I did an abundance of shoveling. And then, as I galloped off in the jeep-jeep to see some home care patients, I did an abundance of sliding around on the roads.

Yeah. I think there really is something to this word for the year thing.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Word

Last year, I heard about a little project called One Little Word . The idea is that instead of getting bogged down with goals and lists and resolutions (or, in my case, in addition to goals and lists and resolutions) you simply choose one little word as the focus for your year. So maybe 2011 was the wedding year. If you want to be more poetic, maybe beginning or commit or love could be used instead of wedding.  Maybe 2012 was the year of focus where you got your house all organized and your life all streamlined. And maybe 2013 was the year for health. You get the picture.

Over at the Ali Edwards website, there is a yearlong workshop that involves monthly tasks and weekly assignments and is heavy on scrapbooking. While I admit that I find the workshop intriguing, there is no way I was going to take that workshop. I'm just not. Instead, I decided to just steal the word for the year idea.

Last year, my word was JOURNEY. For obvious reasons. And while the concept of a journey was foremost in my mind in the planning and execution phases of my big hike, the idea of journey continued to stick with me even after I had finished. I felt like I was still on a journey of sorts, coming to terms with how I was changed as a result of the epic adventure, and where my life was going as a result. When I think of last year, I feel like I am immersed in a journey.

Rolling into 2014, I tried to see where my life was going and how I wanted the year to feel. What kept coming back to me was ABUNDANCE. 

ABUNDANCE is an interesting concept. On the one hand, it can call up images of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. And like my blogging pal Diana, I hate stuff. On the other hand, the idea of abundance call call up images of vast rolling hills, endless trees in a forest, breathtaking views from a mountain top, the ocean. That's the kind of abundance I'm talking about.

Last year, when I spent 6 months with nothing but what I could carry on my back, I felt like I was surrounded  by abundance. Countless trees, rocks, flowers, bugs (boo!). Endless miles. More new friends than I ever made in such a short period of time. And I laughed more than I had in years. Abundantly.

What if my focus for the year was to hold onto that feeling even though I'm back in the "real world"? What if I could recreate that feeling without quitting my job and going out, Thoreau style, into the woods. What if I could get that feeling any time I wanted?

I'm not sure if it's possible. Maybe I'm just foolishly chasing a dream that will never come true. But I'm okay with that.

2014 is the year of ABUNDANCE!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January Goals

Wow! January 1st has arrived, the perfect motivation to start posting again. I was rather unmotivated in December, at least when it came to writing blog posts. This year, my tolerance for the holiday season was low. Not the holidays themselves, but the nonsense that surrounds them. I felt overwhelmed with the rampant materialism as well as with the constant barrage of pop culture cow dung.

I woke up every day with a Miley Cyrus/ Duck Dynasty hangover.

In a strange way, I felt like I'd be adding to it by blogging.

But I'm over it.

And now I'm back to do what I do best. Make lists!


1) 2 to 3 training clients: half successful. One home client with a couple more possibilities.

2) Participate in the holiday fitness challenge. check!

3) Do the Christmas Lights Run. ran.

4) Finish the Artists Way Program done!

5) Get Xmas cards sent out by December 15 sent!

6) Movie night with the girls: The Hunger Games

7)  Take my niece to Body World: didn't happen with busy schedules but planning on January

8) Find suitable apartment and move: half credit. Moving next weekend

9) Clean Eating. ugh. total fail.

10) Have a great Xmas and New Year. Celebrated!

So overall, 70%. A solid C. Not great, but not a complete failure, either.

And now, to welcome in 2014!


1)  Winter Warrior Challenge: run outside every day The local running store sponsors this challenge. All warriors need to run at least one mile outside every day in Jan. It's not the milage, its the weather!

2) Organize physical files, computer files, and emails.  Get that mailbox down to zero!

3) Put together race/ event schedule for the year

4) Post on the blog every day. Making up for lost time!

5) Girls weekend with college friends

6) Get licenses for 2 states for travel jobs

7) Go skiing with friends

8) Participate in at least 1 adaptive sport event

9) Daily journaling

10) Start downsizing!