Friday, January 30, 2015

A Couple of Things That Make Me Smile


I can't believe tomorrow is the last day in January 2015. This has been a month of new beginnings which is fitting. So far I've worked out three times every week in January. Super proud of that. Just being able to have a full month of consistent working out is so encouraging to me. It feels like I'll be able to keep it up!

You know I've been super excited about adding yoga to my routine. And, I'm still trying to figure out what is my new "local". I'm happy to tell you that I have found several yoga studios in my area. I went to my first session at The Gratitude Hot Yoga Center on Tuesday. It was such an uplifting experience. I took the "Warm Yin" class. The teacher was so warm and happy. Both she and the other students were very welcoming.  I'm hoping to go back soon.

Now, for a complete non-sequitur...how about The Big Bang Theory.

I had this idea a while back that I wanted a bright green teapot for my new kitchen. *Bear with me here...I promise the teapot ties in.* It took me months to actually find it in "real life". Just before Christmas, my husband found and bought my lovely teapot. And I love, love, love it.

After my bright teapot made an entrance in our home we also got a kitchen timer that is bright orange. It's no secret that I love bright colors. Anyhoo, I started noticing that the Big Bang characters also like bright teapots. I couldn't resist making capturing a few of the kitchens and teapots.




The last picture doesn't have a teapot...but, it does have a harp. How great is that? These are just a couple of things that make me smile.


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thoughts...Some are Whimsical

On our walkabout, I could not resist taking a pic of the fairy's swimming pool. Although it was a lovely sunny day, it was still too cold for swimming...even for fairies. I'll have to check back when it gets warmer.

Last week I had a wonderful yoga experience and spent the rest of the week wanting to re-create it. I want yoga to become a part of my workout routine. I struggled with the word "workout" here...because I've found yoga to be incongruous with the word. Yoga can absolutely help with toning muscles and promoting balance and all things physical. Yet, it's a somewhat mellow and introspective activity. 

I have this "story" to share and I feel like there is something I'm supposed to learn from it...but I'm struggling with exactly what. 

I've been making a concerted effort to add exercise to my schedule. With that is an almost unintended result of leaving the office (and work) earlier. By "earlier" I mean "on time". I tend to work beyond "normal working hours", which is not necessarily a bad thing once in a while...but I believe to achieve my goals I need to be disciplined in not allowing work to consume my attention at the expense of life affirming activities. --You know like sweating and wheezing on a stationary bike. --That kind of thing.

Anyway, I signed up for a yoga class for Thursday night. It sounded like such a relaxing class (candle light) and such a nice way to "enter into" Friday as the weekend approached. I signed up online and paid my drop in fee and was quite excited about what awaited me. My thought was this: Change into my yoga clothes in our gym's changing room. And drive to the yoga studio ready to walk in for practice. I budgeted my time to allow me to get there on time.  --Not early, like I meant to...but on time.

I should mention that the studio is 31 miles from my office. Because the class was in the evening, I thought I would miss evening rush hour traffic just breeze up the highway. I pretty much "know" how long the ride should take. Except...for when there's an accident. When there is an accident all bets are off. When I was a commuter using this highway, I always checked the traffic report (on the radio) before getting on the highway. If there was an accident, I found an alternate route.

I didn't expect there to be an accident this long after rush hour. I guess you can see where I'm going with this. There was an accident...and all three lanes of traffic was just stopped. A complete standstill. 

I called the studio to let them know...I'd be late (if I made it)...I wanted to be sure that they didn't think I was just a no-show. After a lane opened up I continued on my trek. I kept going thinking...maybe I'll be able to come in late. But, alas, I was too late.

So, I now had to drive 18 miles home a little dejected and a lot disappointed. Here's the thing (one of them, anyway), my night was no where near as horrible as the people that were in the car accident. There was an ambulance and no less than four state troopers on the scene. It was dark, so I couldn't see much but I hope beyond hope that no one was critically hurt. 

As I was driving home I kept asking: "What am I supposed to learn from this?" I turned on the radio and found a new station that plays '80s music at 8:00. So, I got to rock out on the way home. Joan Jett sounded so so good. The music certainly helped me enjoy the ride home.

But really, what am I supposed to learn? I think I'm supposed to learn that I don't live "there" anymore. What used to be just 15 minutes out of the way on my way home is now almost 50 miles! What was I thinking? I can not think I will be able to make the wonderful studio "my" studio. Not during the week anyway.

So here's the other thing: I'm kind of disoriented. I lived in the SW portion of town for over four years. But what's more, I lived on the same side of town for my entire youth (until I got married). I love our new apartment...but I don't think I've completely gotten acclimated. Where we live is now closer to Raleigh than it is to Durham. But also, where we live is relatively newly developed. There is a fantastic shopping center 5 miles away. But so far, all of the yoga places I'm finding are closer to downtown...which feels foreign to me. It also seems far. And, I may be a little intimidated.

I feel like home is sort of like Winnie the Pooh's middle stair in a staircase:
It isn't really Anywhere! It's somewhere else Instead!   

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Autumn Afternoon in the Middle of Winter

The weekend before last was absolutely lovely. Sunny, in the low 60°s and blue skies. Saturday was a day that was meant to be outside. So...that's what we did. We went on a walkabout. 

We moved into our new place last Fall. The surrounding neighborhood is vast and lovely. There is a walking trail that goes into the woods and runs along a stream. So on Saturday, Jordan and I decided to explore the neighborhood that surrounds us and also explore the trail.

I took my camera (the good one) so I could get back in to photographing. Walking around neighborhood was a treat. I could not resist taking a picture of the porch with this weathered rocker.

There are several things I enjoy about where we live. There's a neighborhood "center" that has a park like quality. It's basically open space with some outdoor art. This on the main road of the neighborhood. I usually take a sort of back road in and out of the neighborhood because its closer to my place. But at least a couple of times a week I drive by this area. I love, love, love the "birdhouse tree". The whole thing is sculpture.

How cool is that?

As you can see, I got distracted on the way to the trail...but we did actually make it to the trail. One thing we should have done (but didn't) was to actually look at the trail map at the entrance. That way we could gauge where we were in relation to where we were going. But, it was also nice not really knowing where the next bend would be. It allowed us to stay in the "now" and not think ahead to what's next on the map. 

It was really quite a lovely day. It was nice to feel the crunch of the leaves under our feet and see the sun backlighting trees that still haven't let go of their leaves. It felt like Autumn...and not mid-January.  I'll take sunny, blue sky days anytime. Especially when there is a nice breeze too.

I'm glad I took my camera along. And since we were up and out and walking...not strenuously...but not just sitting on the couch either...I get to count this as part of owning a workout habit.

My goals for 2015? They are totally happening. 

Hope you are having a great week.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Owning My Workout Habit

Credit: DaPino-Colada
I had plans for blogging all week. I wanted to share more about how my goals are going. Well, as you can see, I was pretty much MIA for almost a week. Oh well...you know how it is...roads are paved with good intentions, and all that. 

Anyway, about my goals. I've felt good about how I've embraced them. I know I didn't share my goals until last week, but they had been in my mind since the beginning of the year. I just wanted to make sure I framed them so that I can be encouraged and not have a fear of failure attached to them.

For example: Own a Workout Habit versus Go to the gym "x" times per week. Of course, going to the gym can very much be part of owning a workout habit...it can also be limiting. I don't want the "gym" connection to defeat me. What if I don't make it to the gym? Am I finished? Am I off the hook? Nope. It's a habit I'm forming. And I have to OWN it. So if I miss the gym, I own deciding if there is something else I want to do instead. And because I've given myself the power to choose in the moment....I have a higher sense of commitment. I don't want to let myself down (so to speak).

Here are the things I've done for the Workout Habit so far this month. I have worked out 3 x per week since the first Monday of the year. We have a workout space here at the apartment clubhouse. We also have a workout space at the place I work. I started out by going to the work gym after work and doing cardio before going home. I've alternated between the treadmill, stationary bike and the elliptical. A lot of folks use the workout space on their lunch time. I have chosen after work for a couple of reasons. The number one reason is that there are fewer people (typically just two others) there when I go. --I'm new to this workout thing. So I'm not keen on being seen when I'm all sweaty and wearing workout clothes and just hoping I don't die. I sort of hope they don't hear me wheezing as I push myself on my machine. 

I went to the work gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the first two weeks of the month. This week I changed it up a little. 

I had Monday off as a holiday and signed up for "Yin Yoga" at a local studio. It was a 75-minute class and I loved every minute of it. I'd never heard of "Yin" yoga before. It is a wonderfully smooth practice with poses that are held for several minutes. The first pose felt foreign to me. Several minutes in, the teacher said, "Remember to relax into this pose. Don't clench your glutes. They should be relaxed too." And I realized in that moment that my glutes were indeed clinched. To my surprise, I was able to relax them. And slowly I was able to deepen into the pose. 

I felt so relaxed and refreshed after! I kept thinking, "When I can do this again?"

It seems like kismet that I chose the word RELAX for 2015. Monday really allowed me to relax in more ways than one. I went home from the yoga class feeling calm and content. The day just seemed to embody the word "relax". 

How is your new year going?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's the Word, Hummingbird?

Brings Me Joy
I've read some of my favorite blogs talking about New Year's Words and Resolutions. And I actually planned on writing a Resolutions post myself.  But as you can see, I haven't.

Some of the posts I've read have seriously inspired me to think about my own approach to goals. I want to be able to refer back to these posts so I thought I'd share them with you too.

Diane @ Sweet Catastrophe shared her goals. I liked that she decided to go with goals instead of resolutions. And, she listed four goals. That certainly seems manageable. 

Kenzie @ Chasing My Extraordinary shared Ten Reasons New Year's Resolutions Fail. Reasons that we set ourselves up to fail. The reasons that resonated with me are: 
  • Too Many
  • Too Vague
  • Inflexible
Shannyn of Frugal Beautiful wrote a good 2015 Goals post. Shannyn has an incredible amount of discipline and resourcefulness. I have no doubt she can accomplish her goals. Her New Year's celebration has inspired me to think about things differently. I just love, love, love how she chose to spend her New Year's Eve. It was festive and new. 

Kim @ Stuffed Suitcase posted a really inspiring post called "Be a Runner".  She says: "Don't worry about your time--just run! She also said "Whether it is a 14 minute mile or a 7 minute mile it is still a mile." I love this perspective. 

Betsy @ BetsyTransatlantically really inspired me with how she thinks of the "Word for the Year" and I've been thinking about coming up from my word ever since. I actually had my word a while ago. My word:
RELAX
Remember when Aaron Rodgers spelled this out for Green Bay fans? I absolutely loved his swagger and his confidence when he did this. 
"Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X.  Relax. We're going to be OK."

{Like I said, I actually chose this word a few weeks ago...before we even knew Green Bay was going to play Seattle to go to the Super Bowl. You know I'm a diehard Seahawks fan...but I like Green Bay too. I liked them when Favre was there and I've been amazed at how seamlessly Rodgers stepped into the role.}

I should do a word cloud like Betsy did. I'm still thinking about why I chose the word. I plan to explore this a little more.

So, I'm sort of taking advice from all of these lovely bloggers. I think I'll go with "goals" rather than resolutions.  So here goes (don't know why I'm so nervous):

* Own a workout habit. 

* Consistently get 8 hours sleep...more if needed.

* Find JOY in little things. Everyday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I'm on a Roll...(sort of)

My goodness...this is a new record for me. It's as though I made a resolution to post on the blog "more". ~I didn't. I just have a lot to say. 

See that adorable puppy over there with his toy rabbit? He's claiming it. He's saying "Just because I'm not playing with my toy doesn't mean it's not my toy." He's perfectly happy taking a break from all that activity...like running around and such. He almost looks lazy.  But in his defense, he simply conserving his energy. 

So, I've been writing several posts and most recently mentioned my daughter as an inspiration for getting healthy.  I want to get back to working out and I'm seriously evaluating the best way to approach this. 

Our apartment complex has a very nice workout room that I've used a few times. It is fine...but I miss the pumping music and overall energy of a fitness "club". Even though I rarely get there in time for the aerobics or spin classes, I love hearing the mic'd instructors encourage their class to hold on for "Four more, three more, two more..." Does this mean I need a gym? Not sure I can justify the price of a gym membership. 

What about yoga classes? Here are a few that I'm considering:

D has developed a core and flexibility with yoga. She has so much more discipline that I do. She says she hasn't worked out in a gym since 2010. And yet, she is in the best shape!

I'm just not convinced I can be successful without a some sort of gym type environment. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The State of My Resolutions

I haven't talked about resolutions yet this year. Actually, I realize I haven't talked concrete resolutions since the my first month as a blogger

In fact, after reading my only post about resolutions, I realize that I didn't really commit. Funny enough though, that year I tried to execute on some un-spoken goals. Goals such as: Getting into Shape. The Result=Fail

I talked about how much I didn't want to give up Diet Coke. But I actually DID give up Diet Coke (and all soda) in April 2011. I was so bummed when my attempt at physical fitness hit a wall. I wanted to just do one thing that I could say was for my health. So, I thought...at least I can control what I drink.

I've been sharing things I've learned about personalty types and the fact that I identify with INFJ. Today a friend sent the article about New Year's resolutions and personalty type.  I focused in on "my type" which said this: 
I see myself in the above. But I may take it a little bit further. I intend to make resolutions but end up not really making them. 

I read a blog post recently that gave encouragement for resolutions. I can do this. Right? I can do this. 

Oh, the pic above? That's my daughter. She really is inspiring me to get off my butt. 

I hope your New Year's resolutions are made and you feel good about them. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Identifying with an Open Letter...

Have you played the Triangle Peg game? I'm kind of addicted. I've only gotten down to one peg once. ONCE! What's crazy is that I though once I solved it I would be able to solve it again and again. Turns out I can't actually remember how I did it that one time. 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Confident Persona does not equal "Extrovert"

Yesterday I wrote a little about personalty type...specifically my type. Of course, personalty type is more than introvert versus extrovert. The more I explore my type the more I recognize myself. If you are curious, my type is INFJ.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Thing I Discovered

One major discovery I made in 2014 is that I'm not actually an extravert. Seriously. I've always sort of assumed I'm an extravert because I'm loud by nature. I'm loud and gregarious and I like people (for the most part). And, I'm typically comfortable speaking in public. 

I began to question my extravert-ness in 2013 when I was dealing with fatigue. I had a limited supply of energy and I began to crave time at home. Alone time was (and is) absolutely necessary.

Looking back, I've required alone time my entire life. (Clue?) As an adult I have to have a certain solitude before starting work. I say "have to" when what I mean is "require". 

For example, when I worked at the Big Bank in the Big Bank Building in the Big Town I started my day in the café. The café was often busy as people came in to pick up a muffin and a coffee to go. The tables behind the order bars were really there for the lunch crowd. But I found that if I took my muffin and tea to an out of the way table I had the quiet bliss I craved. The time and space to close my eyes as I savored the best pumpkin muffin in the world. It was the best muffin every. single. day. Sometimes friends and co-workers would spy me and ask to join. That was okay, but after they finished their muffin I would say, "I just need a minute. I'll be right up." And I did. I needed a minute to re-create the quiet moment that belonged to just me.

So, in early 2014, I worked with my friend Beth who is a life coach and a certified practitioner of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®). I've always just said "Myers-Briggs".  One of the great things about working with Beth is that along using the type "test", Beth uses interviewing with very specific questions to help hone in on your personalty type.
My own personal caveat to personalty assessments: when relying solely on your own answers to the bubble tests, sometimes you may get a "false positive". You unconsciously "trick" the test. That is, if you think you are an extravert you may answer questions "as an extravert". Okay, that may not happen to everyone...but has absolutely happened with me. I've found that if I take any assessments for work that I answer all in my "work" persona which is very different from my "private" persona.
The most memorable question Beth asked me was: "When you have a really horrible day, maybe at work, or your feelings are hurt, do you want to go out with friends or go home and be alone?"

Me: "Home." (and then I wanted to add...doesn't everyone?). Turns out that this is a specific way of "processing" and not everyone processes everything the same.

I know I've just stated the obvious but it's not cliché.

Having a better understanding of my natural ways of seeing the world and my natural ways of processing information and emotions has helped me have many "aha" moments. I'm still enjoying exploring this.