Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Dinner

We didn't take a "real" camera to Christmas dinner so we relied on an iPhone, hence the low quality. Mental note: Get a new camera! I wanted to share the two pics we got in front of the Christmas tree.

Did I mention that we went out for lunch on Christmas? You know that I do not have the gift of hostessing if it involves cooking. I accepted that about myself a long time ago. I don't mind hostessing, as long as there are no preconceived ideas that the feast will have been made by my hands.

When we hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house, we alternated between a Maggiono's take out meal and a HoneyBaked Ham meal. Maggiono's has the added perk of being picked up on Thanksgiving so that it's still hot and ready to be served when you get home. Plus there are plenty of leftovers to share.

We discovered Maggiono's Thanksgiving when we lived in the Seattle area. It was just the three of us out there so there was no extended family gathering. Maggiono's serves a traditional (turkey and stuffing) T-day meal, plus Italian entrees as well. When we were in Seattle, we enjoyed that elegant atmosphere complete with white tablecloths.  The cheery conversation of nearby patrons added to the festive atmosphere. That experience became a tradition for our family.

This year Danielle and Sam came from Wilmington. I made us late afternoon reservations at McCormick and Schmicks. The atmosphere was nice, but I have never seen a restaurant so completely full in my life. Not only were all of the reservations booked, there were people without reservations. The hostesses were very gracious and explained they were full to capacity and could not offer a table in the dining room, but they offered a table in the bar area. Before we were seated they were full even in the bar.

Our waiter was attentive and explained that the kitchen was behind and there would be a delay in getting the food out. In my mind, the delay was to be expected. There is no physical way (that I could see) to serve the entire restaurant at one time. Restaurant critics would likely discuss the necessity for staggered reservations to avoid the bottleneck. --I agree, that's a great tool. However, I completely understand why that did not work here. There were just so many people coming in at the same time. They may have arrived early for their reservation, but how can you tell them they have to wait to be seated when they can clearly see tables are available. The answer is, you can't. Some bottlenecks can't be prevented.

My feeling was  I chose to go to a restaurant on Christmas knowing that it would likely be crazy. I set my expectations accordingly.

There were many tables that seemed to be having a nice time. But, there were some that were less than gracious and took out their frustration on the wait staff. In fact, the couple that was seated right behind me was very frustrated with the time it took for their food to come out. When the food arrived I could hear the man complaining in a very aggressive demeanor.  I heard the manager respond very calmly and empathetically saying things like, "I am so sorry. I know it has been a long wait." And he said things like, "I will take this off the bill".  --Admittedly some of this was a little garbled, so I don't know how much he was taking off the bill. He may have been offering the couple to eat for free. I don't know. But the customer was not satisfied and continued to escalate.

At some point, the customer began to use profanity and the manager said, "Sir, I am very sorry that this has been a bad experience but it appears that I will not be able to make you happy. I'm not going to tolerate cursing. I'm going to ask that you get your things and leave. There will be no bill, but you can not stay." And, the manager took their food away.

I'm still trying to get my head around this. I absolutely think that the manager did the right thing. Once it was clear that the customer could not be appeased, it didn't make sense to allow the customer to continue to escalate and disrupt the other patrons' experience.

I don't understand why the customer was so angry. Didn't he see that there was an entire restaurant full of people also waiting on food? Why did he feel the need to be disrespectful to the person that was trying to help him.

Here's how I look at it, I am grateful to everyone that chose to work at that restaurant that day. I am grateful for the hostesses and the wait staff and the cooks and everyone else. They gave up their holiday and spent it working on what was the most stressful (and thankless) day of the year.

That scene embodies several other scenes that have entered my conciousness this holiday. I saw people heatedly arguing over parking spaces. I've seen people lose their patience in traffic. On television people were physically fighting over merchandise on Black Friday. I've heard others recount heartbreaking scenes of people being mean to one another while shopping for Christmas.

I don't have a real conclusion to this tirade observation so I will just end with a quote.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Remember that Christmas...?

Laid back is the feeling I was striving for this holiday.  You can guess by the Christmas decor that I was okay with going small this year.

The best part about my Christmas was seeing my daughter and her beau! They drove up from Wilmington, a good 2 hours (or longer) drive. I love that we were able to share in a celebration.  I also loved that they were both good with our small, understated holiday.

I'm trying to find  a balance between a small and understated celebration and festive one.

I realize now, I tried to juggle too many constituents which ultimately led to me having a misstep. Communication in my family is not really as clear as it should be. Usually, we can find the funny in it. Though, sometimes not.

Several years ago my sister was driving up from Florida to spend Christmas with my husband daughter and me. It was Christmas eve and she said she would arrive around 10:00. With a little person in the house, there were still errands that needed to be done on Christmas eve. ~But, if Sis got in around 10:00 there would be plenty of time to get it all done. She could get settled and rest and we could do our last minute shopping.

I didn't want to start the errands before Sis got there. I didn't want to risk her getting there and feeling abandoned because we weren't home. This was before cell phones, so she couldn't just call when she arrived. At around 11:30 or so I started to get concerned. The trip was a long one. So many things could have happened to cause a delay. You know, like an accident or a car breakdown or running late after dropping someone off. She had a couple of people that were riding up with her and she was dropping them off at their homes before getting to mine. At some point we went out for a few errands, but came back as quickly as possible. I left a note on the door that said I'll be right back. When we got back the note was still there with no sign of Sis having arrived.

As dinner time rolled around we finally decided to go ahead and eat and felt sure Sis would be okay with that. But, I was frankly getting pretty worried. You know, the first three hours or so of being late are not all that unreasonable. I mean, who really gets on the road when they think they will? But, by now she was 8 hours late.

I decided to settle in on my couch and begin to read my new novel by Patricia Cornwell. It was a Kay Scarpetta novel. I had somehow decided to start with the newest book, that was not the first book. Anyway, I didn't really know what to expect in the book. So, as I sat on the couch reading, hoping to be distracted from worry, I got to the part where Scarpetta arrives at the crime scene. It's a car on the side of the road on the highway, although the victims are not in the car, it is clear that something very bad had happened.

A car on the highway! I couldn't take it anymore. I called 911. I explained my sister was driving up from Florida and hadn't arrived. I described the car and described the route I believe she would have taken. I felt marginally better knowing that the highway patrol would be on the lookout.

Not terribly long after I made my call the doorbell rang with happy Sis at the door! I opened the door, filled with relief and dissipating panic. My first words were, "I have called the police". Sis was incredulous about my over-reaction. As she put it, "I'm only ten minutes late." !? It never occurred to me that she meant 10:00 at night! And it never occurred to her that I would think 10:00 in the morning.

Yeah, pretty clear we had a miscommunication. This was one of those "Aha" moments that crystalizes how different we are.  I love this story of us. We both still laugh about that.

I have to hope for forgiveness from Sissy (other sister) for a similar mishap this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's Beginning to Look Something Like Christmas

At our house it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...Montgomery style. I got into the spirit right after I wrote the last post. We did not bring a Christmas tree with us when we moved but  I decided that I needed to take advantage of the holiday mood while the mood was fresh. I did not want to wait for a tree. I had mentioned that I wasn't even sure I wanted to get a tree.

I decorated our plant stand as a standin for a Christmas tree. Eclectic, I know. 

Take a peek at the lovely colorful ornaments. Love them!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Little Christmas Yoga Joy

My last yoga class of November was the night before Thanksgiving. It was awesome. One of my favorite teachers led the class, and the class was full. To avoid the potential of kicking our fellow yogis, there were no Flipping of Dogs or Rockstar poses. It was really a cool experience the night before our holiday. 

On Thanksgiving, Jordan and I drove down to spend the weekend with our daughter. I didn't go back to work until Tuesday. 

Now, as I post this, we have so little time before Christmas and I'm trying to decide how much effort to put into the Christmas Spirit. I love Christmas, truly I do. But, somehow I have not done one thing to make our home look "merry and bright". Oh, I take that back...I have framed a really cool picture of Santa.

Last year was our first Christmas in our new apartment, and we didn't stay in town for the holiday. Instead, we went to our daughter's place for her first Christmas in Wilmington. Because we were going to be out of town, I didn't decorate our house. I waited until we got to Danielle's to take in the cozy decor of the holiday.

Here it is the 5th and there are only 20 days left until the big day.

To get in the spirit (in more ways than one), I went to yoga last night. It was a "special" session not at my regular studio. You may have guessed from the top photo that we did yoga to the music of The Nutcracker.

I did not know what to expect. Our teacher was fun, wearing her pointe ballet shoes. She did a few downward dogs with them while on pointe which was pretty impressive. Our class began and ended with Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite. It was a whimsical practice. I hadn't really spent time with just the music before. Flowing to the music I remembered why I love it. I actually love it more (now) without the visual of a ballet. Last night the music filled me and I didn't want to see someone else's interpretation.

It was a good practice, a full 90 minutes with a sweet Shavasana at the end. I'm proud of myself for actually going. It was not convienent...it didn't start until 7:00 which meant not getting home until after 9:00. I'd worked all day...was tired, etc. I could have easily decided not to go. But, I had signed up and I was curious.

I haven't had a week long break from yoga since February or March, and last night marked a week and a day. I wondered what it would be like to get back on my mat. I wondered if I had lost any poses.  It was a pleasant surprise that I moved into the poses easily and was able to go deeper than before my break. I wonder if that is a mental breakthrough or a physical one. I was happy with my practice. I was happy with the Christmas music. Now I'm seriously thinking about a tree. Or maybe a wreath.

Check out a few of my Christmas Pasts:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Happy Almost Winter

I have so many random thoughts to share...but none are what I would call "blogworthy." My thoughts are random snippets that don't have any real cohesiveness. If I don't write the thoughts will continue to swirl, and so, I write.

The Holiday Season is HERE! How is it that I'm not prepared? I had a nice four day weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving and Daughter's birthday. Sissy's birthday was yesterday! LOVE! My cousin's birthday is on the 21st. All wonderful winter celebrations.
I think of the Christmas season as coinciding with winter. I love to enjoy a cozy fire and cup of tea when it's cold outside. Of course, I know that winter doesn't officially start until the 21st,  but if you are from a state with four seasons...you know what I mean.

This year Thanksgiving was spent traveling to Wilmington to see our girl. I took my box of Christmas cards to write...but didn't write them. The cards are super cute, though.

Getting back to work after the Thanksgiving travel makes it tougher to actually do the Christmas decorating thing. Although, that's really not a very good excuse. I really haven't figured out how I want to decorate.

A big reason I haven't really started to cozy up for winter is that our temperatures are really incredibly mild. The past weekend we had temperatures in the 70s. This was delightful for spending time walking around downtown. Look what this week's highs are.

Don't get me wrong, I am not wishing for ice or snow or even freezing temperatures. I'm actually quite happy with these mild ones. I'm just noticing that it's different. 

So, regardless of the weather...I'm preparing for the Happiest Winter!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Birthday Girl

We just spent the day with my girl! She is just so much fun.

Jordan and I are just so proud of her.

I'm sharing a Birthday photo to remember the day. ~We just love her.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

New Book: The Homemade Kitchen

I'm trying to get / stay inspired. ~I'm hoping to become so inspired that home cooking becomes part of our "normal". As much as I love kitchen appliances and gadgets, I am surprised that I'm not a cook. When I was growing up I was a fairly good baker. I liked trying new recipes that I found in my mother's magazines.

Alas, I have not fulfilled any potential of becoming a cook. I wonder why that is.

Sure, I know how to make spaghetti; you know, boil the noodles and warm the Ragu. I have a friend who doesn't give me credit for cooking when I make my spaghetti. She always looks at me incredulously and says, "You cooked? Or did you heat?" I'm still working my mind around what the difference is. I told her that if my stove, oven or microwave is turned on, it's cooking.

Whenever I want to teach myself to cook I look to books (of course). The thing is,  many of the beautiful books have way too many ingredients. Seriously! Others have beautiful photographs of things that I would never actually make.

I'm guessing you have guessed that my newest book is  The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure by Alana Chernila.
I really have enjoyed this book. You're probably wondering if I've used any of the recipes. The answer is not yet. But I will. I'm taking baby steps.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book is the author shares her personal stories of being in the kitchen.  In her very first paragraph I knew I was reading a book by someone that "gets me".
The world of home cooking can be a challenge to navigate. On one side, we're encouraged to eat real food...photo-worthy food, cooked at home and blissfully enjoyed....On the other hand, all this focus on the redemptive power of home cooking can feel oppressive and judgmental.
So with that kind of honesty she goes on to say that sometimes she doesn't want to cook either. Though, on the whole, Alana finds something akin to zen in the act of cooking. ~This may sound cliche, like "chop wood, carry water", but Alana's explanation is so simple and so real.
For me, the kitchen is the place where I get to have problems with easy solutions. There are enough problems with hard or no solutions elsewhere in the house and beyond, so I take the easy ones where I can get them. 
The first chapter, Be a Beginner,  is really encouraging, with a reminder that "Homemade food is the opposite of perfection." She tells us to "Take a deep breath and remember that we are all beginners. It only gets harder when we try to prove otherwise."

So, what about the actual recipes? Well, there are a few that I will absolutely try. A few are Stuffed Winter Squash, Easy Coq Au Vin, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake. 

If I remember, I'll share how the dishes turn out.  Give it time, though, I'm no Julie or Julia.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Sometimes it's hard to know how we, as individuals, how I, as an individual, should react when incomprehensible, horrific events take place. It's natural to be frightened when we are reminded that life is unpredictable. Worse, I think, is being faced with the cold fact that there are people that mean harm to others.

There is heartbreak over the Paris attacks. Heartbreak for the Mali hostage taking. Heartbreak for Boston's 2013 Marathon. Heartbreak for the Twin Towers.

These are the horrors of current history, current news. Yet, for many of us, life keeps going.

Sometimes I wonder how that is. Something terrible happens several time zones away and my world is relatively unchanged. If I didn't pay attention (listen to the radio, read the news...etc.) I would not know that life is, in fact, drastically altered.

I don't want to ignore that there are other just as important battles being fought with as much fear, hatred, anger and hurt as the ones we label terrorists. It is incomprehensible.

How should "we" react? How should I alter my actions to mirror my heart? I do not have these answers, but I am seeking them.

I find healing in my faith. I find calm on my mat. I find both become stronger through practice. Through practice, I find peace. In peace, I find serenity. In serenity, I feel joy.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Little Jacob Cuteness

I love to watch a sleeping dog. Jacob is not quite asleep, but the ZZZs are not long away. One of Jacob's favorite places to nap is snuggled up against my leg as we sit on the couch. Sometimes the power of suggestion is too much for me...and I snuggle in for a nap as well.  

So, this is just a short little post to share some Jacob cuteness and celebrate snuggles and naps.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What I've Been Doing

A View of My Porch
I thought I would stop by this little place on the web to say "hello". I've opened this blog of mine every night this week and ended up becoming distracted by all of all the things to look at on the net. Today I spent way too much time organizing my Pinterest Boards. Yes, I actually organized the boards like it was very important.  Which, in my defense...it is important. If I have everything pinned randomly then how will I ever find anything? Finding virtual things can take more time than finding physical things.

I've also been reading...I know, I know, I've written more "What I've Been Reading" posts than "What I've Been Doing" posts. So, I will share a little about what I've been doing.  I've been doing lots and lots of yoga. I practiced over 22 hours of yoga in October and 20 hours in September. Tracking my practice helps me stay accountable to myself.

I am stronger than I was in January. My breathing is improved as well (asthma). The thing that is perhaps most surprising (to me) is the emotional benefits. I think everyone knows about the exercise endorphins, but it's more than that. I feel much more centered and calm after yoga.

My mind is completely in the moment while I'm practicing. My only thoughts during the practice are about the pose. Though, sometimes I think "Dang it's hot", but I consider that still "staying in the moment".  The final pose of our practice is Savasana which is restorative. The combination of physical exertion and  meditative savasana brings ease to my mind. It centers me and reminds me that worry is not necessary or even helpful. Everything has its time. It truly is okay to let go of thoughts and worries and putting them aside until it's time to work on them.

So, that's what I've been doing.

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon

Long time no post...and I feel the need to apologize or explain...which is silly. I write this mainly as a memoir for myself. I like the space and the voice that it gives me. The blog is certainly not a journal, although I have kept journals in the past. My journal entries meander and often forget to come to a point or conclusion. My favorite journals are the ones I kept while traveling. I recently dug one out to remind myself of a few things. I am so thankful for my words because they transported me back to that place and time. I plan on sharing some of that trip here...soon.
At Cocoa Cinnamon - Durham
It's crazy how fast a year moves by, in the macro sense, I mean. October is over half over and tonight we have our first frost warning. Can it be that only two weeks ago (three?) I was sitting outside with a friend over coffee and cake?

We walked to Cocoa Cinnamon, a cool small coffee shop with signature coffees that include things like black lava salt or cayenne pepper. I wasn't brave enough for the pepper or the salt, but I did have a latte with black strap molasses. It turns out that black strap molasses is NOT sweet. --Surprise.

Durham has some pockets of coolness. I have not discovered all of them. The downtown area is becoming revitalized with new construction (read: Apartments, Condos, Office Buildings...High-End loft type spaces). But the edges of the area are making good use of what we used to call old (sometimes abandoned) now considered historic buildings. I have a real appreciation for these buildings and spaces.  I love that new life is being poured into them. Like a good pair of jeans, the area feels grown into to...softened and more comfortable than new.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I read about Mars...I liked it

"The Martian 2014"
Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.
I ventured out of my comfort zone with my most recent read, The Martian, by Andy Weir. It's science fiction, which I haven't read since Junior High school and even then I wasn't a fan. You can guess by the title (and other clues) that it's about space travel. --Again, not something I ever saw myself being interested in.  But, I chose to give this book a try.

The biggest surprise about this book? I LOVED IT!

I knew when I started the book that it was being made into a movie, with Matt Damon. Before I read the book I thought, "that's a Matt Damon movie I don't plan to see." You know, Mars? I couldn't see the appeal.

I read the first chapter before choosing the book and was hooked. The book starts out with:
I'm pretty much @*!#ed. That's my considered opinion. @*!#ed.
Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare.
Those are the first words of astronaut Mark Watney. Resist reading I could not. See what I did there? Yoda speak.

The story pulled me in. Weir deserves a lot of credit for writing a sciency, techie story that doesn't read like gibberish. I read it within the span of a single weekend.  As I immersed myself in Watney's world I was immersed on Mars. Let me just say, Watney is crazy smart. That's part of what was so engaging. With each of Watney's innovated solutions for survival, I felt myself getting an "AHA" moment. Thoughts of *hand slap to forehead* "of course that's what you should do!"

Let me also say that the book has hold your breath suspense. I totally believed every premise in the book.

PLOT TWIST: I'm totally going to see the movie.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yoga...Upside Down

Aerial Yoga
My 2nd Aerial Class
I'm still into the whole yoga thing. I'm getting stronger and I'm delighted at the end of each class. I liken my state of mind/body after a class to when I was a child and we spent several hours swimming at the pool. I was always so tired and relaxed afterwards. Plus I was really happy because swimming and splashing and diving for pennies was just so dang fun.

2nd Inversion in My 2nd Class
I tried a new yoga class four weeks ago. I've been thinking about it ever since my yoga immersion that started in January. The class? Aerial yoga! The studio's aerial class is on Saturdays at 6:00 (at night...mornings would be a non-starter).

The first time I went was on Labor Day weekend. It was sort of the spur of the moment. I'd been quietly feeling blah because I hadn't done yoga in three days. So, I checked out the studio online and signed up, with just 30 minutes to get there. I think that was key...there wasn't really enough time to think about it or talk myself out of it.

That first class I was the ONLY student! Seriously! How lucky is that? A personal one on one aerial yoga session for my first time. It was intimidating and wonderful and exhausting.

Last week was my third class. I was ecstatic because I was able to do the inversion without a spotter. (That was a first). I felt more confident in this inversion than I had the prior classes. You can see how much more relaxed my face is.
I'm glad I went and I'm glad I went back.

Until next time!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

In a World of Eagles, I'd Rather be a Duck

I found this site that you can create photo collages, etc. that I used to create the one below. The picture is a stock photo and I added the chirpy snippet. The truth is...that most of the time, I don't like chirpy. Don't get me wrong, I like happy. I like funny and I like joyful. But chirpy? Not so much.
I really have to keep this side of me in check. If I were to roll my eyes at cheesy platitudes, I would definitely end up offending someone who finds them inspiring.

You know all those "You can be successful" books. Yeah, I'm not a fan. And the posters? Please.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


This morning I woke up knowing exactly what I wanted for breakfast. I wanted real (not instant) oatmeal from our local restaurant. Jordan and I had it last Sunday and now I may be hooked. You know what they say about breakfast; a day without breakfast is like a day without sunshine. Or something.

Today's oatmeal was special. We got lucky because we were seated in Terri's section. When we ordered I asked if we could have our oatmeal before the rest of the food was ready. --Oatmeal really is better hot, but so are eggs, hence the conundrum. Terri totally understood. She asked if we wanted brown sugar (yes), cream (yes) and butter. This was the second time someone offered butter with oatmeal. I'd never heard of it (before last week). So, I confessed that I've never had butter in my oatmeal. I don't get it. Do you put it in the oatmeal instead of cream and sugar? Sort of like hot tea is either with cream or with lemon. Terri was great. She totally recommends a little butter and real cream. She's from Vermont, she tells us. Maybe that's why I'd never heard of the butter in oatmeal before. Maybe it's something you do in the Northeast.

Okay, here's the thing, I used a little butter and then I poured in the cream. It was cream, not milk, and it was beautiful. I don't know if it was the butter or the cream, but when I put in just a little brown sugar it was heaven in a bowl.

What a great way to start our day. Something so cozy and sweet. We are ready to usher in cooler weather. School starts soon, which makes me think (if not feel) like Autumn is upon us. Cooler weather calls for warm cereal, hot coffee and bulky socks.

The oatmeal has come back to my thoughts throughout the day. Flashes of memories have filled my heart.

One of my friends' grandfather was known to like his oatmeal cold. I learned the story the summer I spent with her and her family. We traveled from NC to Nova Scotia, stopping in PA to pick up Uncle Bill (brother to said grandfather). We'd split up for breakfast and met back at the van to continue the trip. Uncle Bill told us he had oatmeal at the diner counter down the street.

Cashier: "How was everything?"
Uncle Bill: "My brother would have loved that oatmeal!"
Cashier: "Oh, I'm glad you liked it."
Uncle Bill: "I didn't like it. My brother would have liked it. He likes his oatmeal stone cold."

Bam! They had just been schooled.

So, in case you are curious (like I was), when he was a boy, grandfather defiantly refused to eat his oatmeal because he didn't like it. His mother wasn't having it. When the next meal time came, grandfather was presented with the bowl of oatmeal that he had not eaten that morning. He was stubborn and wouldn't eat it. But at some point (I don't know how many meals), grandfather ate. He was hungry. The next morning he was served hot oatmeal like his brother. Grandfather again refused to eat it. So, the oatmeal waited and was represented each meal until Grandfather ate. This happened enough times that grandfather grew to like cold oatmeal.

Uncle Bill tells that story twice. Once in the van when I was too curious to wait and the second time when he told his brother about the diner encounter. It was Uncle Bill's tribute to his brother's stubbornness. There seemed to be a bit of admiration there.

I loved, loved that summer!

Hope your weekend is great!


p.s. Have you ever had butter in your oatmeal?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wilmington Tour

It's not hard to guess who one of my favorite people is. (Bad grammar?) It is, of course, Danielle. She also just happens to be my daughter. Okay...so I know all Moms love their kids and such. But favorite peep goes beyond the mother daughter thing. Danielle makes me laugh so easily. And it's the hearty, can't catch my breath, tears in my eyes laugh. 

This was our first visit to see her new apartment.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

How Do You Travel?

I have some of the pictures I'm going to share from our Wilmington trip...but my husband took so many more. So this is just a "peek" to "pique" your interest. See what I did there? 

How do you decide on travel accommodations? Do you prefer a hotel room with a view? Or maybe a secluded cabin in the mountains? I have loved both types of experiences. I had a wonderful hotel experience in NYC and a couple of fun ones in Vegas. I even stayed in a few hotels in the Seattle area. These were great experiences. 

I've stayed at a mountain lodge with beautifully serene views.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spending the 4th in Wilmington

I've just come back from my second Airbnb experience. Being in someones's home is a very different experience from the typical hotel room. Decor and home personality are part of what I enjoy about the experience.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Yesterday I had sort of an epiphany. It happened while I was driving and when it happened I was like "Ahhh. I need to write about this." I felt sagely wise for a moment. I sort of knew as I tried to hang onto the thought that it would likely fade. It has been more than 24 hours since this moment of lucidity occurred, so we will see if I can re-capture the gist of it. 

Setting the Stage
It all comes back to yoga, sort of. Over the past month I've woken up naturally at my "usual" time on Saturday. I've used that as a motivation to get moving early and I've been going to the 8:00 yoga class. It's pretty amazing that I've been able to do that. I can't get anywhere at 8:00...but somehow I've been getting to yoga.

Yesterday was an exception. I slept in. Not because I willed myself to stay in bed but because I was asleep like a rock. I didn't hear my normal clock alarm. I didn't hear my dog asking to go outside. Nothing...just sleep. It was pretty nice and I must have needed it.

When I did get up, Jordan and I went out for a late breakfast and it was a nice slow relaxing Saturday. The only thing on my agenda was a 7:00 Girl's Night Out with "my girls". I love those! At around 3:00 I'm thinking, I need to decide what I'm going to do before getting ready for the evening out on the town. Did I want a nap? If so, I had better get started on the zzz's. But, I decided to check to see if my back up yoga studio had a class that would work for me. They did, and it started in 30 minutes. That is usually how long it takes to get there. If I decided to go I knew I was cutting it close.

For a moment I sat there evaluating the likelihood of making it there before the doors were locked. If it was clear that I couldn't make it, I wouldn't attempt it. But it wasn't clear. It was possible I would make it. It was equally possible that I wouldn't. What was clear was that if I didn't get moving, like immediately, that I would eliminate any chance of making it.

Act II
I made my superman like change into the yoga outfit (cute...not). And left for the class. I'm driving and it's all going smoothly. I'm hitting all green lights and I'm thinking: "Yeah...I'm gonna make it."

Just as soon as I acknowledged that I was excited to be able to "make it", a thunderstorm dropped out of the sky! As if from no where! The kind where you can't see and you hope the cars behind you can see you.

So then I'm thinking....I don't know if I'm going to make it. I even say to myself: "I don't know if I'm going to make it," and I heard myself whisper back, "Just keep going."

That's it. That's the epiphany: "Just keep going."

Just Keep Going
This was an interesting mind shift for me. I was choosing to "just keep going" even though there was a very strong likelihood that I would not make it in time. I can't remember a time when I consciously chose to RISK wasting my time. 

Time is a big deal to me. I covet time. I'm jealous of my time, especially my me time. So, here I was just "keeping going".

It was a nice relief that I felt. A calm mind like I get after yoga. And I thought for a moment: "Yes...that's what I'm supposed to do. Just keep going. Even when I don't know if my expectations will be met." 

There's a certain faith that comes with that idea. Faith that "It's going to be okay." I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm not allowing my doubt to make me deviate from the act of trying to go to yoga. And...if I abandoned the trek to get there, I would never know if I could have made it. The ONLY way to know was to "Just Keep Going."  See? Sagely!

And because I was all zen in the car I thought this applies to my faith in God. And it reminds me of Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling". The moving forward even when your "not quite sure" that you got the message/instructions right. You know? You're pretty sure...but there's always that chance that what you thought was a "Go West" instruction could have been a "Go Rest" edict. 

When I think I'm going in the right direction but I'm not seeing results I start to second guess the "rightness" of what I'm doing. 

Yesterday, for those few moments in the car, I was open to being "wrong". Knowing that if I was too late for the class it was not the end of the world. And somehow knowing that "just keep going" was a sort of practice for me. That I don't have to know if it's going to "work out". It's absolutely OKAY for me to pursue futileness. 

And so, I drove on. 


I made it to yoga.  

Here's a little note about hot yoga: It's 105*F and 40% humidity.

Hope your weekend was Easy Like Sunday Morning. Mine was. And yet it was also so much more.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


I've been deepening my yoga practice...by that I mean that I've been going to the yoga studio. Last week I spent seven hours in yoga. I feel so much happier after a hot yoga session. 

I oscillate between simply owning and loving my workout practice and falling into the results driven obsession. Today, before going to yoga, I felt a little discouraged. I haven't weighed myself for almost six weeks until today. I wanted to focus on the "process" of getting healthy/ more fit. My thought was if I commit to doing "the right things" the "right" results will follow. So, I decided that today would be my "check-in" day. 

My result was that my weight is exactly the same weight as it was six weeks ago. I was disappointed because I know I've made changes in my body. My legs are stronger, my arms are getting a stronger. I feel like my body is responding to the workouts.  But the scales verified what I suspected...that my weight has not moved. 

So, I wanted to pout just a little. "Look at me...I'm working so hard and...nothing". These are my thoughts.  

Then my optimistic voice (sometimes annoyingly optimistic) tried to remind me of things that I usually believe to be true, such as:
*Health / Fitness is measured in a variety of ways. The scale cannot be the only measurement that counts.*
--See...annoyingly optimistic.

But it doesn't matter what my emotions are about the results. --That sounds like someone who just finished a yoga session. My teachers encourage us to "notice your thoughts...but let them go."

Tonight my teacher read this wonderful quote (below) that gave me the opportunity to focus my thoughts on something uplifting. This quote spoke to me.

This quote is from Williamson's book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles.  There is more to the thought that I've included below. 
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine... And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The quote doesn't exactly tie into what I've been talking about. But it does give me something to hang on to. 

Hope you are getting ready for a fun weekend.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I mentioned in my Cruise Thoughts post that I spent some time reading a book on the ship. I spent one of the late afternoons on the "secret deck" with a view of Cozumel and of the ocean with the nicest breeze. It was bliss. 

I finally read Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I really can't explain how/why it took me so long to get this book. I knew I wanted to read it as soon as it hit the stores. [How in the world did it take me four years?]

Spoiler Alert: I loved the book.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cruise Thoughts {Last One}

One thing I've never heard anyone tell you about a cruise is: If you have an interior room, like we did, when you turn off the lights it is completely dark. Completely! 

What I learned from this is that a perfectly dark room makes for the BEST sleeping. 

I should mention that by day two I was feeling the fatigue of travel. After all, just two days before we were at the airport at the unreasonable hour of 4:00 in the morning. 

Interestingly, I was up and out before 8:00 a.m. each morning. That must happen when you have the best sleep in a perfectly dark room.  That, and the promise of a hot breakfast in the dining room. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HGTV Inspiration Plus: I've Designed Two Rooms

Last night I sort of binged watched "Love It or List It" on HGTV. I just love a good reveal. I'm especially focused on the show because this season is filmed in the Triangle, NC. One of my friends saw them filming a home in her neighborhood. 

Do you ever do that? I like when the show is in Seattle too. I'm always trying to see  if I can recognize the neighborhood. Seattle neighborhoods area are unique and more easily recognizable. 

I've seen several of the local NC shows. I haven't been able to recognize the neighborhoods, which I think is by design. But I have recognized the skylines and the restaurants and bars where the homeowners meet with Hilary and David. That's fun.

The HGTV watching is very inspiring. I'm sure I'm late to this, but this weekend I discovered a new obsession:  Olioboard. It's fun. I "designed" two rooms. I'm pretty proud of my work. One thing I loved is that I can design and "see" a room without having to do any of the real work.   
Playing with Olioboard is sort of like looking through decorating magazines or retail catalogues and cutting out photos for inspiration. When I was young I used to spend lots of time with the Sears Wish Book, cutting out things that I wanted. Olioboard is like a grown up, electronic version of cutting out pictures from the Sears catalogue.

It might be a little addicting. 

Until next time!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Cruise Thoughts {# 3}

Here is a pic of the boat I took while waiting in line for food. I have to tell you that the shear size of the vessel is quite impressive. It's like a small city on the boat. There are retail shops (pricey), and bars and a casino and restaurants and a spa. They have medical personnel there somewhere too. 

The sliding doors going inside from the decks actually made a little "swoosh" sound when you entered. At least that is my memory of them.

At one point I thought, "Hey, this is just like being on the Star Ship Enterprise". I mean yeah, you are isolated in the middle of the sea (instead of in the middle of space) and yet, anything you can think of is still available.
Anything except good bottled water. Which is really what I needed to drink in the hot sun. I was struck by the fact that "free" unlimited tea and lemonade was available. For an extra few $$ you could also buy a "Bubbles" package which is unlimited soda.

IMG 2368 SnapseedBut water? That you had to pay for every single time. When I got to our room there was a lovely large water sitting out for us and I was impressed at the hospitality of complimentary water in the room. --You may see where this is going…after I opened and drank some of the water I saw the $16 price tag. Oops.

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Snorkelers just popped up!
The bottled water tasted terrible. I believe the endless caffeinated drinks is part of "the plan." Since your thirst is not getting quenched a $7 slushy daiquiri looks like a mirage. A cold, refreshing delicious mirage. Yeah, I figured it out.

Me? I drank my single $16 bottle of water and lots and lots of lemonade.

Our first port of call was Key West and it was a lovely day for a beach wedding. 
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Our return time to the ship was 2:00 which did not leave enough time to explore. But I did snap these two pictures to get a flavor for the island. 

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I'm glad I got to spend a little time at Key West. I can see myself going back.  I still need to see the six toed cats.