Just Stop Already

It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I hadn’t worked out in almost a week, so I blasted to the park the other morning for a quick run before I clocked into work. It was a glorious 3 miles, and it felt so good to get my body moving again. I drove the kids up to Oregon for the week, and both work and all the smoke from the wildfires kept me from getting my run on. I am also way overdue for a drop-in to CrossFit GP, so I totally owe you guys! 😉

In other CrossFit news, my L1 certification is only two weeks away! Eek! I also realized that I chose to attend a fitness certification in the mountains. At altitude. And I am a coastal girl. This won’t be painful at all. No worries, it’ll just be two days of sucking wind under a pvc pipe, what could possibly go wrong?

Also coming up, the kids start school next week! Squish has leveled up to First Grade (!!) and will be attending the same local elementary school as last year. I’ve chatted with him about it, and he seems pretty nonchalant about the upcoming year. Buttercup has me a little concerned. She’s starting a brand new school this year, since her current one is closing. While some of her friends will be moving to the school with her, I know she’s had a really rough year as it is with all the changes in her little life (PSA: divorce is hard on everyone, yo) and transitions have never been her forte. I’m anticipating a few rough weeks of tear-streaked drop offs until she settles back in to the new-new-NEW normal. But kids are resilient, and I’m almost certain I’ll have a harder time with it than she will.

Stop growing up. Just stop already.

That’s all from my side of the mountain, have a most wonderful week, and go make it a great day!

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!

 

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!

So Long, San Francisco!

It’s been a year since my family and I moved from our downtown SF apartment to our “forever home” in the East Bay. I had started this post last year but never published it because, well, we moved and I was totally swamped with moving-related activities. The past few moves we’ve added a child each time, and it’s amazing how exponentially harder it is to move with the addition of each small human. I normally like to move, but after this last one, I’m happy to stay camped out for a while! Anyway, here is a little tribute to our happy little cosmopolitan nest perched on the 31st floor that we enjoyed for 2 1/2 years.

That time is finally upon us. After months of searching and weeks of planning, we are moving out of our little SF apartment to our new home in the East Bay. We’ve had quite the adventures over the past couple of years.

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Moving day view from the living room, 11/25/2012

We came to SF from Sonoma County because I found a job downtown mere blocks from our apartment. It was a dream to have a commute I could walk.

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Then I took another job on the peninsula where I could bike commute to the commuter train. Still pretty awesome.

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Our little Squishy-man celebrated three birthdays in our apartment, growing from a baby to a toddler to a preschooler in a blink.

And let’s not forget that Miss Buttercup made her debut. Followed by Olive’s introduction to the family.

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And we said goodbye to our furry friend, Duke. I still miss you, buddy.

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We had tons of fun in SF events that were in our own backyard.

And had our fair share of good times with our city crew! Plus that New Years Eve 2013 party we hosted on the roof was epic. Just sayin’.

It was also fun to watch Squish become a “city kid.” He had a very different experience than Hulk and I did, growing up in the suburban midwest! That kid will never have a fear of heights, that’s for sure.

And then there was the pool. I’ll miss the pool.

 

And now it’s time to pack it in, and say our goodbyes. It’s been an incredible stop in the proverbial journey of life, but now it’s time for a new chapter. And I do not care that I am mixing metaphors.

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Farewell, San Francisco! We’ve had a wonderful time. And you’ll only be a BART ride away for future adventures and shenanigans!

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ERtR’s 2016 Resolutions

Welcome to a bright and shiny new year! I couldn’t resist taking a crappy iphone photo of the last sunset of 2015 from my deck the other night:

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I don’t always make New Years resolutions. Sometimes I do, but rarely do I keep them up the full year. You know, like EVERYONE ELSE pretty much. I usually fall into one or two traps: either I don’t make them goal-ish enough where they’re something I can actually track, measure, and improve on, or I take on too much too soon and burn out. This year we’re going to incorporate both traps! So here is my list of reasonably vague and overwhelming resolutions for this year.

My 2016 Resolutions

1. Whole30 & Whole9 Monthly Challenge

I’m participating in the January Whole30 this month (on Day 2, woot!), and will finish this up by January 30th. I might do another one later this year depending on how things go (i.e. how off the rails I slide between now and then.

A group of folks on the Whole30 Forum proposed doing a “Whole9 Challenge” that I think is pretty cool. The Whole30 is just one aspect of a larger organization called the Whole9, which preaches nine factors for optimal health including nutrition, sleep, socialization, getting outdoors, healthy movement, and other stuff. So each month we’ll focus on improving one of these nine pillars of health. I’ll post this in more detail later.

2. Crossfit twice a week

I’m currently crossfitting twice a week, and will continue to do so. Eventually I want to boost that to at least 3 times a week, but we’ll see how time and energy will allow.

3. Blog daily and keep up with my feed

I will intend to blog daily, but y’all know how that goes when Life Stuff happens. But I’ll do my best. Some days there just isn’t much to talk about, and it’s okay to take a break now and then. What I won’t do is go on month-long hiatuses without first announcing it. Let’s be honest, usually when I don’t blog it’s because I’m not making it a priority and I’m just being lazy.

Also, I keep trying to follow my bloggy friends, but usually it’s just a quick glance from my Feedly app and I can’t always comment right then and there so I tell myself “I’ll do this later from my computer” then it doesn’t happen. So I’d like to make more of an effort to interact with the blogging community by prioritizing reading and commenting.

4. Get adequate nutrition, rest, and recovery

Now that I’m working out for realz again, I’m noticing the effect it’s having on my body. I’m sore, tired, and so. hungry. So I’m prioritizing a lot of recovery and self-care such as foam rolling, early bedtimes, and an Epsom salt bath when I feel really achy.

5. Play with the kids every day

Guilty parent moment: Squish asks me about 147 times a day to play with him, and usually 146 to 147 of those times I respond with, “I can’t, I’m working/doing chores,” “Not now,” or my personal favorite, “Sure, in a few minutes.” Total lie, a few minutes later I just move on to something else and we repeat the request-response circle until bedtime. I’m not building any credibility with him with flaking on my promises all the time, and they’re not going to be this young and eager for Mom to play with them forever, so I’d better seize my chance while I still can. Even if it’s just five minutes, I need to carve out play time. I mean, Fun and Play is another Whole9 factor, so I’m sure on that month when I’m focusing on it life will be all couch forts and super awesome train track setups!

6. Everything in it’s place, and a place for everything

When we moved from our apartment to our house in May, we didn’t have a lot of stuff since we were up-sizing so much. But the stuff we did have, I didn’t really do a good job of organizing it when we moved it. Things just got shoved onto shelves and closets and there’s no rhyme or reason. Then of course we have all this space now, so we can get more stuff! I’m sick of the clutter, and it’s hard for anyone to feel comfortable with helping me put anything away because apparently only I know where anything goes thanks to the haphazard “organization” system. I’m not sure how I’ll structure it yet, but over the year every room, closet, drawer, and shelf will by systematically cleaned out and reorganized in a way that everyone agrees on. Plus, we’ll have a routine clean-up process so every evening and weekend chores get done and clutter dealt with. And now the Gods laugh, because I am a mere mortal thinking I can make this happen.

7. Be happy. Find a system of replacing negative thoughts with loving ones

After my break since October, I’m going back to therapy. It was nice trying to ride my own bike for a bit, but I still have some areas where I need assistance. Since I’m trying to manage my depression without drugs, I need to lean on other modalities more. One of my biggest pitfalls is allowing myself to get weighed down with negative thoughts, and not bothering with trying to replace them with positive ones. It’s a practice and not something that’s easy to just “do” when you’re suffering from mental illness, but it makes a big difference if I keep up the practice.

8. Search out a method of spirituality that resonates with me

This one is a bit personal, because everyone has strong feelings about what they believe. That’s awesome, and I think religion and spirituality is a beautiful thing and I am happy for folks that have found their path in whatever way that is. For me, I really don’t like organized religion. I tend to march to the beat of my own spiritual drum, and I don’t like others telling me what/how I should go about thinking about the universe and beyond. But I do like the community and connection that comes with bonding with others over like-minded philosophies. So I’ll do some searching and reading and find a community that shares what I feel. Worst case, I make one up myself! “Church of the Emily: Come Be Your Own Awesome.” Haha.

9. Read books and update my Goodreads list monthly

I love reading. It’s my favorite. I don’t always make time for it, but when I do I can plow through a book in one or two sittings. I’d like to do a better job of tracking what I’ve read/will read through my Goodreads account because I like to track those things and recommend stuff I’ve enjoyed to others. Recommendations are always welcome!

10. Find joy, and love hard

And then this. Find the joy in life, and love life hard. That is all.

Go make it a great year!

So Long, 2015!

I perused through some of my old posts from this time last year (I hardly ever do this!) to see if I did any sort of New Year’s resolutions or goals. I didn’t. Big surprise. But I did stumble on my journal from earlier in the year that declared my theme for 2015 to be “authenticity.” This time last year, I was still struggling to find the “new normal” from Buttercup’s arrival and feeling the loss of “baby” Squish as he pretty much turned into a little kid overnight while wrestling with postpartum depression in our tiny apartment in downtown San Francisco. Most of my friends were single, childless urban dwellers that I would occasionally be able to meet up at a bar or at a party, but there was a chasm between our life states I could never really bridge. They thought I was super cool that I was a mom twice over that could still “party.” And by party, I mean get a sitter for a couple hours so I could pretend I enjoyed the club scene. But I hated it. My body and emotional state rebelled. The weight piled on, the depression got worse, and I had no idea what it would take to feel normal again.

We moved in May to the East Bay, to a beautiful “forever home” in the perfect suburban neighborhood close to good schools and surrounded by other families with littles. Slowly things started to look up for me. I was surrounded by nature, and tried to take advantage of the nearby fire roads and hiking trails. The kids suddenly had tons of room to play and grow and make friends. Squish started preschool. I connected with some of the neighbor moms. I took on a couple of Whole30s and started to feel kind of good again. I could breathe.

All my life I’ve just sort of done what everyone around me is doing, what I’m told to do. I just wanted to be normal. But now I know that normal is painful, and you have to do what is right for you, not everyone else. That’s what this year has taught me, in a weird way. You’d think that, “Well, duh. You had a family and found out city life doesn’t work anymore. Shocking.” But it’s not just that. You have no idea how much I rebelled at the though of being a suburban mom. It seemed so cliche. I wanted to be the hip, cool lady that just happens to have kids and does all the things so effortlessly. I am not immune to the wretched no-name plague that strangles otherwise smart, confident women into thinking they are doing it all wrong, that it shouldn’t be this hard, that if they could just be more _____ (organized, smarter, calmer, focused, whatever) then everything will magically happen and you win, I don’t know, some life award or something. “Congratulations, you win at Adulting!” Ugh, worst award ever.

Whatever you’re drawn to, be open to it. It’s okay to like weird stuff. It’s also okay to like what everyone else likes. It’s all okay.

2015 kicked my ass, and I am grateful for it. I’m so pumped to see what adventures 2016 has in store!

Important Announcement

 I just signed up for Crossfit.

 

I AM SO EXCITED! There is not a sufficient enough emoji to express my excitement.

  

And let me just take a moment to express the struggle that is to find the appropriate Anchorman-themed “Everyone, I have an important announcement” gif for this post. You have failed me, Internet.

Anyway, too excited. Big thank you to Hulk for my early Christmas gift!

Go make it a great day!

All In

We have been super busy over here moving into our new home!

  
  
  
Olive is “helping.”

I had a “Farewell, San Francisco” post planned, but I never sat down to make it happen. I’ll probably put it together months later and never get around to posting it, similar to Buttercup’s birth story.

 
We’re six months old and think mirrors are awesome!

It’s been tricky trying to figure out a new normal as quickly as possible. I miss the gym, but we’re just 10 minutes away from a Lake Chabot Park trailhead. I’ve been finishing up my Couch-to-5k runs there.

  

I am so amped to start trail running again. Hooray, nature! 

I also started another Whole30 yesterday. Since I didn’t do a proper reintroduction period after my last one (and never got around to the wrap-up post on that, either) I thought it would be good to do another one to sort of settle into the new kitchen and establish some good habits right away. I’m a little bit nervous about adding all the food prep and planning on top of the unpacking and figuring out a new lifestyle. But the more I make Whole30 eating the rule and not the exception, I think it’ll help set good food habits up going forward. Because let’s be honest, when is life not going to be crazy?

That’s the update around here. What’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Make it a great day!

News!

I went all MIA yesterday, and for a good reason.

We have an accepted offer on a house!

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We found an amazing house in the East Bay with gorgeous views in a quiet neighborhood down the street from some of the best schools in the area. It’s perfect for us. There’s a lemon tree by the front porch. I think that’s a requirement for all homes for sale in California to have at least one citrus available. If not, it should be. Anyway, if all goes well we’ll close at the beginning of May, and our lease is up at the end of May. We have a lot of planning to do, but sometime in May we will be making the migration from SF to the ‘burbs.

Time to go over-think move planning and freak out that I don’t know where to get moving boxes for free anymore now that I don’t work at a warehouse.

AHH, it’s happening!!

Go make it a GREAT day!

New Year, New Blog?

What’s up, my bloggies?!? Where do I even start? It’s been two months since my last post. Not too much has changed. Duke went to the big dog park in the sky. Squish is getting bigger and more squish-tastic every day. Hulk and I are both still traveling a lot. Traveling separately, unfortunately. So far not any fun trips as it’s all been for work. And I am still trying and failing at this whole “healthy” thing.

You’d think that with a new year would come new changes, new feelings of drive and accomplishment, new desires. Every year is the same for me. Every year I’m like, “this will be my year to get fit!” And every December I’m standing in the wake thinking, “well, that didn’t go well”. The other day I was cleaning out some old files from my computer, and I found my New Years resolution notes I wrote for 2008. 2008! Six years ago. And you know what they were? Lose weight. Kick ass at my job and get promoted. Be a better friend. Cook more and get organized in the house. Guess which resolutions made the list for 2014? If you guessed, “all of the above,” here is your gold star.

You can frame it if you’d like.

Anyway, I thought it is high time I regroup and get some support. And by support I mean blogging and facing the judgement of the internet. Nothing says “don’t eat that muffin” like attempting to be a transparent “healthy” food blogger and knowing you will be facing the scorn of invisible talking heads hiding behind keyboards.

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Of course, I have just about as much time for this as I had before. Which means none. Which is kind of the reason I haven’t posted in about two months. But I’m sort of pondering what I want this blog to be now, the direction I want it to go. I’m not running anymore (more about that some other time), I haven’t been cooking a whole lot, and I work a ton. But I guess it’s still the story of me, living it up in the city and making the most of it. Which is pretty much anyone’s story, really.

So here’s to a new year. Whether or not it will be a new blog or not is up to the fates and my creative impulses to decide.

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And let’s keep it realistic, people.