She Did What Now??

What is up, beautiful people? I’m taking advantage of the downtime that resulted in a delayed flight to say hi and check in. How are things going?

I traveled to central Oregon this week for my company’s offsite retreat. We had gorgeous weather, and I had such a great time getting to know all of my coworkers better and participating in all the activities and shenanigans planned. And my hotel was GORGEOUS.

You couldn’t beat the view from the back porch.

Since I had a bit of downtime between sessions, I took advantage of the fitness center while I was there. I forgot to pack my gym shoes, so I decided to work out in my Converse and see how I liked it.

The verdict? I kinda liked it.

They’re actually quite comfy, and stable.

I hadn’t been working out consistently in a while, so it was great to have a full fitness facility at my disposal. I just roamed and played around with kettlebells, dumbbells, and even found an oly bar. I finished up with some core work and a good stretch.

I think I need to join a gym, since it’s hard to work out at home; I get too distracted with all the other millions of things I should be doing. And CrossFit has been difficult because my schedule gets weird and I can never make the class times. If I joined the local 24 Hour Fitness, I would have the distraction-free fitness focus with the flexible hours just 10 minutes away. And there’s a facility near me that has child care too, so on the days I have the kids that might be an option to me.

Oh, in other news, I signed up for a half marathon.

WHO AM I WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Realize the last half I ran was four years ago, and I have yet to finish my full Couch-to-5k plan. So I’m going with the strategy of putting money down on a deadline, and see if that gets me motivated. Plus one of my friends is also signed up for the same race, so I can use the accountabili-buddy system as well.

Amy tips for easing back into a consistent running routine? I just know I’m going to go too hard too soon and end up with overuse injuries. Wish me luck!

Go make it a great weekend!

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Back to the Lab Again

I’ve been feeling more like my old self lately. Well, not exactly like my old self. Like, enhanced version 2.1 of my old self. Anyone that’s been through a major phase of personal growth might be able to relate.

I started my new job this week, and I am loving it! I forgot how much I enjoyed working in downtown SF from when I used to live here, and my new office is just right up the street from some of my old haunts. Plus, I now get to try out and experience new things that I didn’t have the opportunity to check out before. Like Sushirrito, the sushi burrito lunch spot. Yes, that is a thing, and it is new favorite.

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I’m also gearing up to get my Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, so any free time I have I’m trying to squeeze into preparing for the upcoming 4-hour exam. Which usually involves waking up with the alarm clock begins with a “4” on the days I have the kids so I can have a solid block of uninterrupted time without having to break up “s/he took my toy” disputes and distribute snacks. Prayers and study tips are welcome.

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I find a candle helps set the mental focus

Just a few more weeks of this and I should be able to settle into the new routine. I know I’m going to take some extra naps this weekend!

Go make it a great day!

 

Trust the Process

Breaking my Social Media Break for a “life events” update. Don’t worry, it’s good news!

Back in early January, my company was acquired and I was laid off as part of the merger. You know, because of course. Thanks, Universe.

But as my dear friend Brittany said, the Universe wanted me to have a clean slate. And apparently I work better with eviction notices anyway! I chose to not stress too much, and to just see where this journey takes me.

I made sure to view this time as an opportunity to hang with my kids more, discover a new yoga practice, plan more lunch dates and hikes around the lake with friends, and do some of the stuff I couldn’t do before while working the 9-5. Like napping. Omg, #bringingnapback

And I hit the job search hard. I had many wonderful friends offer contacts and leads, and I just had fun with looking back at all the things I loved about my career so far, all the fun stuff I got to do and the cool people I had the pleasure to work with, and just enjoyed the process for what it was: a chance for me to unabashedly brag about myself!

The fruits of my unemployed labor were soon rewarded when I received not one, but TWO incredible offers. Really great opportunities that I knew I would totally enjoy being a part of. It was a very difficult decision to make (I may have cried a bit), but after completing my first day in my new role, I feel like I made a great choice, and I can’t wait to dig in deeper with what they have in store for me.

Now, it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows and freshly baked bread. There was more than one moment that I wondered how I would pay rent next month, and let’s just say I’m a leeeetle bit in credit card debt right now. But I kept faith that things would work out, that just enough money would be there when I needed it, and I just needed to trust in the process and know that it’s being taken care of as long as right now I do the next right thing. Because if I chose to stress and freak out, it wouldn’t change the amount in my bank account, or help me ace that interview. My situation was going to remain my situation whether I laughed or cried. And I do love a good laugh.

If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that life happens for a reason. Sometimes drama happens and it’s hard and it sucks and it’s not what we want, but it gets us to where we’re supposed to be going, as opposed to where we think we should be. And the more we fight the process and the circumstance, the more we miss the simple joys and the lessons it has the potential to give us. There is purpose to the pain.

Trust the process. Trust the pitfalls. Trust that the crap going on in your life right now is there for a reason, even if the reason is to remind you how much you hate crap. Maybe if that’s your context, it’s time for a change?

Go make it a great day, kids.

The Life and Times of Unemployment

Whew! Has this time flown by, or what? It’s hard to believe that a little over a month ago I was laid off, and now I’m looking at accepting an offer and going back to work this week! As much as I can’t wait to get into money makin’ mode again, I’ve really enjoyed this little break from the 9-5. It’s given me a lot of time to do things I enjoy doing, and some perspective on the classic line, “wherever you go, there you are!” Even when I don’t have a job to go to and a whole day is stretched out in front of me, it still fills up pretty fast. I joked with a friend that I felt busier unemployed than I did when I had the structure of a job to frame my day!

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Take a typical day in Unemploymentville for me. On days where I don’t have the kids, I lay in bed for like an hour and a half after I wake up just zoning out on my phone, not ready to get out of bed yet mostly because I can, and the day is WIDE OPEN so what’s the rush? Then when I feel like I’ve exercised my reluctant laziness enough I stumble downstairs to make my beloved coffee. Favorite mug in hand, I return to my computer to check my email and respond to any job posting replies. I’ll also look at my planner and review my to-do list for the week to see if I feel like doing any of the options on there. I always throw stuff like “clean out the closet!” or “get a car wash!” in case I want to take care of chores on a whim. Haha, probably nope.

After I feel like my email and job search leads are well handled, I will do some sort of exercise. It’s either a run in the park or yoga. I found an ah-mazing yoga studio near my apartment, so I’ve been practicing 2-3 times a week. It’s kundalini yoga, so more of the meditative/woo-type rather than the sporty fitness type, which is exactly what I need these days. If I can’t fit a yoga class into my schedule, I’ll do my couch-to-5k run at nearby Lake Chabot. I keep restarting my program because I’m not super consistent, and when I try to amp up the mileage all my old injuries start to nag me, so I’ll do a few weeks, then back it down again to Week 1. I’m not seriously considering any actual races in the near future, so it’s more of a semi-structured tool to get me outside and moving.

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After exercise, it’s back home to get cleaned up, eat some lunch, and prepare for any interviews or appointment I have for the day. If I don’t have any interviews, I’ll either run errands, do more email/job searching, or take a nap. Because let’s be honest, if you’re not napping at least once a week when you’re at home, I don’t think you’re doing it right, and it does all those people who wish they could nap in the middle of the day a disservice. So I nap for those who can’t.

At dinnertime and in the evening, I usually try to be social. After sitting around alone all day trying to not stress about my current life situation, I know it’s good for my mental health to get out. I’ll go to a friend’s house for dinner, pick up a yoga class, or meet up some friends at local event. Anything to get me out and around people, and not sitting at home polishing off a bottle of wine I can’t afford while watching reruns of Netflix shows I’ve already seen. Not that that doesn’t happen now and then, but I try not to let it become the default setting. I’ll save the couch-and-wine for the nights I really need to introvert it up.

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Overall it hasn’t been a terrible experience being unemployed. I’ve been very lucky that I had enough savings and residual income to keep the lights on and rent paid, and being out of work for six weeks is not at all bad considering most people in my situation end up job hunting for months. It’s been quite the blessing to be able to slow down, take care of myself, do some fun stuff with my kids that I don’t normally get to do when I’m working, and trust that everything will work itself out in the end.

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Go make it a great day!

 

Social Media Break 2017 Is Here!

Friends, the year is coming down to a close, and it’s no secret that the last few weeks of it are usually bananas. I’m finding myself more and more feelings like “I have no time!”/”I want what they have!” which of course is always 100% correlated to how much time I waste scrolling. So I’m going to delete Facebook and Insta from my phone until the new year, and use this time to stay present to the things that matter right in front of me. I talk a lot about #selfcare, and this is exactly what I need right now!

In the meantime, I’ll still post, because to me posting is more of “creation, not consumption” where I can share me and it doesn’t put the same emotional spin as looking at others’ beautifully curated profiles and wondering why I can’t do that and where did I go wrong and how much would that camera cost and do I even need a camera and I need to travel more so I can have more interesting topics and with what money and God I am so broke hey look Trader Joe’s sells single-serving cans of sparkling wine this seems like not a bad idea. And on it goes. Yeah, I want to stay away from that crazy spiral.

So I’ll see you on the socials in the New Year, which I am freakishly excited and curious for. Bring it, 2018. I feel like it’s about time for us to rise from the ashes.

Go make it a great day!

When Workout Routines Change

Happy Fri-yay to you! I meant to post this last night, but the kids got the better of me. Which is fine; sometimes in the evenings I prefer kiddo snuggles to scrapping together the latest “create, not consume” campaign!

I haven’t been going to CrossFit lately, and as a result have been looking for other avenues to maintain my fitness within my budget and time constraints. As much as I LOVE CrossFit, it’s really challenging to fit it in my schedule right now, especially the days I have the kids. Plus, I was nailed with a mild flu over Thanksgiving, and I still feel really worn down. So I’m trying to listen to my body right now and choose more low-impact activities until I feel more energetic again. I know I have the tendency to run myself into the ground if I don’t pay attention, and these days I can’t afford to let my tank run dry.

One of the things I’ve been working on is my own personal yoga practice. It’s a rough go, because I have the attention span of a goldfish when left to my own devices, but it’s kind of nice just doing what flows I want to do with what feels good to me today, and not having to listen to someone else. I just put on some music, set my timer for 20 minutes, and stay on the mat until the bell rings. This is fitting nicely with my current goal of doing stuff at home without having to pack the kids up and haul them to the gym. And in the evening after a day of huddled over my laptop OMG it feels soooooo good to stretch!

The other thing I’ve been working on is getting into running again. For the longest time after Buttercup was born, running just felt awful to me. Slowly I’ve been testing it out here and there, and my body finally seems to be starting to adapt to it again. I’m sure the CrossFit has helped a lot with this, because we often have short runs in the workouts that’s just enough to get my body used to the motion and stress again. So I’ve re-re-started my Couch to 5k program, and am about 2 weeks into it. I find that the amount of time spent actually running so far is just enough to get my body moving without introducing too much stress, and I really like the freedom of itm that it doesn’t take any planning or prep; I just decide, “I want to go run right now,” and I throw on the shoes and go.

Finally, on the rare mornings I wake up before the kids and feel like a bit of morning movement is in order, I am a HUGE fan of my kettlebell. I also have my barbell in my apartment, so I can put together a nice little interval workout with kettlebell and unloaded barbell moves. My favorite these days is:

3 rounds of:

  • 10 American KB swings
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 10 single-leg deadlift (each side)
  • 10 barbell shoulder press
  • 10 KB snatch (5 each side)

Usually in the middle of the third round Buttercup comes downstairs demanding, “I’m hungry!” so I may or may not finish the circuit.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

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I totally live in the camp where Christmas carols are for all year singing enjoyment, and when the Holiday Creep launches Santa-themed end caps at Target in September I do a bit of an internal jolly elf happy dance. The holidays are my jam.

Now that I am all moved into my new place, I was SO EXCITED to start decorating just in time for the holidays! Since the kids and I were traveling over Thanksgiving week, we decorated the week before Thanksgiving. Horrifyingly delightful, amiright? At this point you either want to shoot me or grab my hands jumping around in circles squeee-ing with me. You know what side of that line you fall.

But I think we did a great job. I found the absolute cheapest artificial tree at Target on my divorced-single-income-mom-on-a-shoestring-budget budget, and after the kids took turns breaking hanging up their ornaments, I think it came together quite nicely!

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Hulk and I agreed that I would have the kids Christmas Eve and bring them to his house on Christmas Day, so I wrote to Santa and let him know that we would be at Mommy’s House this year.

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I also found this festive bouquet at Trader Joe’s last night. Always buy yourself flowers. That’s a Melissa Hartwig mandate for ya.

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So I think we’re all set for Santa! Oh, and I am re-re-starting my Couch to 5k program. The other day I treadmilled. Really. I know, who am I?

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Always cover up the console, otherwise you’ll know how little and how slowly you really ran.

But I really want to get back into running again. It’s the easiest way for me to experience sweat therapy, doesn’t cost me anything, and with the apartment gym just across from my unit I can even treadmill when the weather’s lousy.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

Moments of Happy

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you have a productive week in store for you!

The other morning I was at my usual Starbucks stop, and after the barista handed me my coffee-black-like-my-soul-with-a-few-ice-cubes-for-chugging-temperature order, I took my first sip and had THAT moment. I noticed that this is one of my most favorite parts of my day, that first sip of coffee. It’s sink back and sigh good. It’s the moment when the world stops good.

So of course I Instagrammed it.

And I noticed how there are some dependable moments in life where time just seems to stop as we take in the happy that is in front of us. I started mentally logging some of these instances so I could start anticipating them:

  • The first sip of my coffee in the morning
  • Looking up in the late fall sky in the evening to see a gorgeous sunset that’s all golden with those pink and purple clouds
  • Maxing out on a lift I haven’t worked on in weeks
  • That part in my morning routine when my 3-year-old daughter just rolls out of bed and needs me to hold her for a few minutes until she’s fully awake and ready to put her day under siege
  • When my favorite song comes on my playlist and no one’s around so I can jam and sing loudly and poorly to it
  • When I’m on a run and it’s been a while and my body is fully warmed up and ready to go, and I feel like I’m flying
  • Watching my kids giggle and wrestle with each other like little bear cubs on my bed, while I toss pillows and blankets on them
  • Curling up in bed with my tea and my book at the end of the day

I’m starting to call these my “Moments of Happy.” They don’t all happen every day, but I try to plan on having at least a couple Moments of Happy in my everyday routine. And if I don’t have one, I start figuring out how to cultivate it. Sometimes it’s the anticipation of a good Moment of Happy that encourages me to pull out of bed in the morning. Or sometimes that Moment of Happy is just lounging in bed a few more minutes, with the knowledge that on this particular morning I don’t have any urgent tasks that I need to jump on yet!

What kind of Moments of Happy do you notice in your day?

Go make it a great day!

Some Lighter Fare: Ten Questions!

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some lighter fare today! So here’s my answers to a copy of “The Ten Questions From Inside The Actors’ Studio” that was thrown around Facebook the other day. Ponder, and maybe have a chuckle.

1. What is your favorite word?

I honestly have a list of favorite words, it’s hard to choose. We’ll go with either spork or astigmatism

2. What is your least favorite word?

“Bae.” Just shoot me.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Listening to my podcast “friends”, beach rambles, and a chill night in with good friends and a bottle of wine or three, respectively

4. What turns you off?

Pundits arguing on cable news

5. What is your favorite curse word?

With the small ears around the house I’m trying to back down on the swearing, so recently I’ve switched to Shakespearean insults. “I scorn you, scurvy companion!”

6. What sound or noise do you love?

That hollow whooshing sound a forest makes when blanketed in snow.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

When someone in the car rolls one of the rear windows all the way down on the freeway, and the whole car gets that weird air pressure effect where it sounds like a helicopter is landing on your shoulder

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Research in some sort of psychology or social sciences field. People fascinate me.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Anything having to do with sales, or optometry

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Holy crap!

Go make it a great day!

Finding the Happy

Note: I found this post in my Drafts folder, written over two years ago. Two years, and while I’m much better at this, I still have to remind myself to not wait for perfection to be happy!

I’ve tried to start this post several times, but it has never seemed to come out sounding right. But we’re rolling with it right now, because there’s no time like the present. Hope you’re ready for a woo-woo, deep thoughts kind of post.

h7837F123Whatever. You love it.

Lately, I’ve been having more bad days than good ones. This may come as a surprise to some people, especially if you know me personally, because generally I don’t let folks in when stuff is bothering me. But over the years I’ve turned into a bit of a negative person. Or maybe I’ve always been a negative person but thought I was a positive thinker, and finally have been seeing they layers peel off as I try to be more honest and authentic to who I am. I don’t know, but it’s been more and more apparently lately that I’m unhappy. Which is ridiculous, since I really have absolutely nothing in my life that should make me unhappy. I have a great job, a loving family, I live in my dream city, all the things that could make a person happy are right here in front of me. And yet I feel like something’s missing.

Then the other day it clicked for me: I thought happiness would come when everything is perfect. It would be effortless and automatic, something I didn’t have to think about. And until I found that perfect formula, found the elusive balance between all of the forces that pull a person apart – personal wants and needs, caring for others, work, family, goals, chores, downtime – that I would be unhappy. And that’s not it at all. Not even close. Somehow, and I wish I could articulate it better because it was such a game-change for me, but somehow I came to the understanding that happiness is from within. I choose, despite outside influences, in the face of all the other failures and difficulties the day can throw at me, I choose to be happy.

Mind. Blown.

4fe0c2fc9d25fec798f72e887461008eOkay, now y’all are probably sitting there like, “Duh! You just figured this out, did ya?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” Either way, it is so hard to explain what it’s like to have a total mind shift. And I cannot tell you how it felt to suddenly realize that “the power to go home has always been in my ruby slippers” and to change how I felt about life events and the world in general, all I have to do is click my heels three times and put my mind in a better perspective.

When people tried to explain this concept to me in the past, I thought it was that mind-over-matter, fake-it-till-you-make-it crap. Oh, yeah, I’m just supposed to ignore all the things that are going wrong and just, like, shut my eyes and pretend they don’t exist, and suddenly I’ll be happy? Um, they’re still there. How do you just ignore problems? You don’t. You have to fix them.

But you don’t have to be miserable doing it.

b3f71b46c6eb5721c39818d62b484b80For me, it took seeing what I wanted the end game to be for my problems. To take myself out of the here and now, and look at the big picture, the 10-year, down-the-road scope of it all. Does this really matter? Will it always be this way? Chances are, no. So why do I allow myself to be so sad over things I can’t control or are not permanent? I don’t need to. I can make my own happy, and still work on stuff without letting it work on me.

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With this new revelation, I’m ready for change. I’ve been “trying” to change for the better part of a year now with less than successful results. But I haven’t been the master of this voyage, my emotions and feelings have. I base my decisions on how I feel at that moment, not how my actions will make me feel long-term. Stressed at work? Eat some cookies to deal with it. Too tired to work out? Oh, go back to bed; the gym will be there tomorrow. Hurt or angry about something? Better hold that ish and don’t tell anyone, you better not let other people know you have real emotions like a real human! But I don’t have to be a slave to my impulses. I can choose to respond rather than react.

I’m going to try and put these principles in action, and see what difference it makes. To choose to be happy with what is here in front of me now, and to let go of the stuff that’s not in my realm at this time. Because, you know, n=1 experiments are fun!

Go make it a great day!