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!

nothing
(source)

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.

IMG_3330

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.

netflixintrovert
(source)

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.

control
(source)

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!

I Spun, and Other Confessions

So the other day, I did something very strange. For me.

I went spinning. I spun. I’m not sure what the past tense of “Spinning” is as it relates to stationary bicycle classes. But yeah, I did that. It was totally last-minute. I was feeling beat up from lifting, and I wanted some yoga to help stretch out my hips. I had a couple of appointments that made finding the perfect yoga class a bit difficult, but one local studio offers a “Cycle in/Yoga out” class of 40 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga. Apparently I was that desperate for yoga, so I clicked the “Book” link on my MindBody app.

You guys, I have not ridden a bicycle for more than a mile in over five years. That was HARD. And I was sweaty. And I had a meeting after class, so I was sweaty and stinky all night. But it was pretty cool. I’m not a super-spinning fan, but the instructor was great and the music was phenomenal. They also did the thing where the lights were all turned off and little electric candles in all sorts of colors of red, blue, green, and yellow were peppered in between the bikes. It was like spinning on a space station with OK GO! blasting.

In other news, this happened yesterday.

Yes, that would be a donut. Which I only ate like three bites of because I found the flavor was candied ginger, and after the second hunk of ginger I decided I was done and I miss The Jelly Donut in Grants Pass.

Which brings me to Confession Time: I gave up on my Whole30 a few days ago, and I feel pretty conflicted about it. On the one hand, I’m totally good with my choices. I feel neither bad nor good about my decision to go off-plan with a beer enjoyed with an old friend. I’ve stuck mostly Whole30 ever since, except for some nachos (worth it) and Monday night’s dinner of a few handfuls of popcorn and some stolen M&Ms (totally not worth it). I’m making deliberate decisions, owning the results, and I still feel pretty darn good.

But I feel this guilt – or really is it shame? – about bailing the program when I had been posting publicly about it. The new Whole30 Coaching program is due to come out later this year, and I so want to be selected. I would love to help others find the freedom from food guilt that I’ve come to discover with this program, to embrace the curious process of finding that sweet spot between enjoying life and feeling good at the same time. But who do I think I am, when I can’t even finish the program? Never mind that I’ve successfully completed 4 full Whole30s in 3 years. It’s the ones I didn’t finish that make me feel unworthy.

The Shame Monster is real. Comparison is still a trap. I look at people in my feed and think, “I can do that! I can totally do a better job promoting my enjoyment and passion for wellness.” And then popcorn and M&Ms for dinner. Because life. Because sometimes after early wake-up call to work, long commute, small human care squeezed between housework and gym time, and the Bedtime Parade of Futility to get two sleep-hyper children to stay in  their beds, it’s good enough for now, and I’ll just have a healthy breakfast tomorrow that doesn’t consist solely of a gallon of black coffee and deep breathing.

I’ve had well-intentioned people in my life tell me that my desire to promote wellness publicly is misplaced because they see the extra pounds on my short frame, the missed workouts, and the extra side of fries and sneaky handfuls from the M&Ms bag and that all makes me unqualified to speak to health. That I will not be taken seriously. Because you know, REAL heath and fitness personalities don’t eat McDonald’s or miss workouts. By god, the stain on their credibility, just imagine! But what these people don’t see is the internal journey, from self-loathing to self-love, where I make choices now because they feel good to me on a “soul-ullar” level, not because others say this is what I should be doing, not because I’m bullying myself into choices to punish myself for whatever my dark, twisted brain has decided I should be tried and sentenced for, which is usually existing in too much space. I’m not here to preach how one can achieve a size 0 or “lose that bra fat”. Because 1) I haven’t figured that out either and 2) that totally doesn’t interest me. I am here because I want to share what I’ve learned about taking care of myself, which I’m finally learning how to do at the ripe old age of 34. It’s only taken me two decades to figure out that I am worthy of caring for myself physically, emotionally, spiritually. Because if someone reading this is stuck where I’ve been stuck, or needs a fresh perspective or inspiration to try something new, I hope my stories might spark an idea.

I’m done with perfection. I’m done with feeling like my extra “padding” makes me unqualified to learn and talk about what I’m interested in. I will start Whole30s. Sometimes I finish them, and sometimes I won’t. I will go to the gym and work out hard with joy and gratitude that I have the privilege to move my body, and sometimes I’ll make a million excuses to skip my training plan so I can go sit on the couch and eat popcorn and M&Ms with my kids watching “Minions” for the eleventeenth time. The only qualification I need to enjoy and share my health journey experiences is to presently be continuing on my health journey.

You do you, kids. Go make it a great day!

Under the Jungle Canopy: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 2)

To make sure I remembered this remarkable trip, I journaled about my activities and experiences every night. On the Third day of my trip, the first words of my journal entry were, “Best. Day. Ever.” Pretty much.

I woke up refreshed and rested, but my eyes were sooooo puffy. One of the girls says that puffyness happens when it’s high humidity. I did pack some nuun electrolyte tablets but hadn’t used them yet, so I decided that it might be a good idea to balance out with some electrolytes today. A couple of nuun-charged bottles later, and I was already feeling more hydrated and balanced. I had been drinking water like it’s my job the past two days, but certainly wasn’t replenishing my electrolyte stores with all the sweating I was doing. Pro tip: if you’re drinking like 10 bottles of water today and still feeling dehydrated, you might need a little electrolytes too!

After breakfast we went out to do yoga at the beach. There were monkeys. The end.

IMG_2019
PC to our awesome guide Adrian

Our yoga instructor Luz was amazing. She led us through some challenging yet restorative flows, competing with the ocean’s crashing waves to make sure we could hear her, and not in her native language! And she was so freaking adorable, making sure we were all comfortable and having the best time possible. It was just the best possible experience, shaded from the sun in the trees doing yoga on the sand with the ocean in the distance and iguanas and monkeys running all around. Why can’t yoga always be like this!

img_1905

After yoga we packed up the mats and Donny led us through a super sandy partner WOD:

2 sets of tabadas (8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off):

  • Junkyard dog (one partner sits on the ground, arms straight out and legs straight in front. Partner 2 jumps around them, over one arm, over the legs, and over the other arm, and back the other way. Switch positions after each tabada round
  • Something that I called downward dog push-ups (partner 1 gets on the ground in a downward dog pose, partner 2 crawls under them. Then partner 1 does a push-up, and as they are down partner 2 jumps over them. Repeat, and switch places each tabada round)

So, so much sand and I couldn’t stop laughing. Which was really bad, because sand. In my mouth. Another jump in the ocean fixed the sand issue!

We had lunch at Cafe Milagro, which was the coffee place we went to yesterday. I finally got my tacos!

img_1906

Then we went zip lining. Holy crap, that was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.

The team at Safari Adventures picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the zip lining site, about 45 minutes away. It was way back in the mountains, and at times it didn’t even look like we were driving on a road. The bus was fording various rocky creekbeds and streams, and we saw some amazing views. Once we got to the site, we were greeted by an ADORABLE puppy that decided he liked to chew on my leggings. Ow. The guides suited us up in our harnesses and gear, and we were ready to go!

img_1909

I was totally freaked out on the first line, which was a little one designed to get your zip lining feet a little wet first. But once I figured out the trick (just lean back and go!) I absolutely loved it! The guides were also hilarious, with this infectious energy that just kept the adrenaline going. They would give all of us a hard time in a kidding around way. Once, they were lining me up to go on this huge swing. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, and they told me “Go!” and sort of pushed me off as I half-jumped off the platform. As soon as my feet left, they yelled,” No, no, not yet!” just to freak me out. It worked. As soon as I realized what they were doing, I just laughed. We had about seven lines total to cross, and the longest one was maybe a quarter mile? It was so long! You were up in the canopy and we saw some toucans which was pretty cool.

The whole time our guide Adrian was warning us we would be getting wet, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Of course it was meant to be a surprise so I didn’t think too much on it. I’ll find out when I find out! At the very end we all found out – the last run was a 20-ft plunge straight down into a pool fed by a waterfall. They let us take off our shoes and anything else we didn’t want to get wet, and one by one we jumped. One of the guides was in the pool with our rope leads controlling the fall, but you were totally at his mercy on how fast you fell! I told him to just let it rip with me 🙂 There was nothing quite as exciting as dangling above a pool of water, suspended in time, then suddenly the rope cuts and you just drop. Pura vida.

IMG_2005
PC: our awesome guides at Safari Adventures

After the adrenaline rush we went back to the home base where they fed us an amazing meal of arroz y polo and I got to play with the puppy a bit more. On the bus ride how we saw legit wild horses.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed happy hour by the pool, and Joy went around interviewing for a GGW bonus episode. Then as we were eating dinner, the skies opened up and it started pouring rain! I love the energy of a good rain, and it was a soothing way to close out the day.

That’s all for now, see you next time with Part Three! Go make it a great day!

A Whole Bunch Of Random – Yoga, Coffee, and Standing Around

 

I meant to do a post on Wednesday. But then I forgot. Then I wrote a post for Thursday, but Squish came home from preschool with a fever and that didn’t go up. So now we’re going to cram everything in on Friday. Wheee!

I started out Tuesday with some yoga. Or as I like to call it, yogahhhhh …

IMG_9427

I found a studio that has a 6:00 am yoga class once a week, which I figure I can handle getting up that early for yoga once a week.

Then Squish and I admired the neighborhood fog. Look, trees are finally changing color in California!

IMG_9442

I’ve been doing a TON of Starbucks lately. It’s just too convenient to swing through the local shop in between preschool drop off and commuting across the bridge to work to grab a Christmas blend and a double smoked bacon sandwich. I’m savoring the convenience now.

IMG_9429

New favorite coffee break snack. Just the right amount of chocolate-y goodness, marketed like it’s actually healthy and not a candy bar. It’s a candy bar. But with fruit!

IMG_9435

Meanwhile on the baby front, she’s turning one year old on Sunday. And standing. Honey, remember what mommy said about growing up, about just stop?

IMG_9457

She stands up unassisted for a few seconds, then plops back down. It’s great fun!

I’m off to get everything ready for a certain little miss’s big birthday bash. Go make it a great weekend!

 

August Goals Review

It’s September already! Okay, it’s been September for a couple of days now, but I can’t seem to shake that bright, shiny, new-month feeling. Anyway, time to review my goals I set for August:

  1. Work out 4 days a week
  2. Daily blog post
  3. Sleep/nap more – 8 hours/night

Eww. Do I have to? Because I kind of, you know, didn’t do them again. Well, I certainly did my part on #3, the whole sleeping thing. Good grief, all the sleep. If I didn’t have to actively be at work or forcibly take care of another human, I’m pretty much in bed or laying on the couch. I get an A+ for sleep. Even if I do wake up 1,000,000 a night and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. My goal was quantity, not quality.

Anyway, I also crapped out on working out, mostly to make way for more sleep. But I’ve figured out an ingenious way around my whole boo-the-gym attitude. I have stopped riding my bike to the train station, and instead am now taking the Caltrain shuttle from the station to the business park in the morning, then walking the 1.5 miles from the office to the train station in the evening. It’s about a half hour walk, so this way I am guaranteed to get SOME activity in during the day. Then I pepper the week with sporatic squats, push-ups, and the occasional prenatal yoga (which I’ve been able to hit up here and there and I am LOVING it!) either at Satori Yoga in downtown SF or from a podcast. I do feel better, even though I still want all the sleep.

I felt really weird about blogging lately, because I’ve been so lazy and eating so crappily. But as I mentioned yesterday, you can’t present the good without also paying tribute to the bad. I’m struggling with giving myself a break and letting me just embrace the fact that this is the one point in my life where I am allowed to be lazy. Once the little miss comes (in just a couple of short months! Eek!) I’ll have my fair share of running around again. Until then, it’s time to order some more Indian take-out and watch another season of Archer in one sitting.

All the Food, Urgent Care Adventures, and a Long Savasana

So, I spent two hours on Sunday doing weekly food prep.

20140120-084640.jpg

 

Soooo muuuuuch fooooood. I ran out of containers to put everything in. #paleoproblems

The family went out and enjoyed the nice weather on Sunday. We wandered around the Golden Gate Bridge with 10,000 of our favorite tourist friends.

20140120-084724.jpg

Still doesn’t suck.

And Squishy contemplated how much sand he could eat at Stinson Beach.

20140120-084715.jpg

 

“Oh, great! Mom gave me a giant spoon with which to eat All The Sand!”

I came down with the sniffles while traveling last week, and I brought them home to Squish. Sunday night he was breathing really weird and it worried me. Like, short, raspy breaths. So off to Urgent Care we went.

20140120-084753.jpg

 

Selfies while waiting for the doctor. I think I look more sick and tired than he does.

The rule of Urgent Care is if you go, it’s probably nothing. And if you don’t go, it’s something super serious and you’re a horrible parent for not taking them. So 1 1/2 hours of waiting for the doctor later, Squish has congestion, cough, and a mild fever and his breathing is normal for a kid with these symptoms. Yeah, he’s fine. Glad he took up the spot from another kid that has a real illness.

After getting home around 11:00, I was really glad I did all that food prep since lunch was a snap to prepare.

20140121-074043.jpg

Ground beef, root veggie hash, and brussel sprouts.

Plus a mid-afternoon snack of banana and peanut butter. I ended up only eating half the banana, it was huge.

20140121-074032.jpg

Couldn’t say the same thing about breakfast, though. In my hurry to make the train on time I didn’t bother to eat breakfast so I made a bad decision to pick up a ham and cheese croissant and coffee with cream at the train station cafe. Their croissants are glorious, but since I’m trying to stay away from dairy and gluten it was not the best decision. I realized after the fact (as always) that there is plenty of stuff I can eat at work – fresh fruit and trail mix that’s all nuts and stuff. So lesson learned, I can eat at work if need be.

At least dinner was great too.

20140121-074027.jpg

 

I met a friend for yoga, and we stopped for dinner first. This was a beet, walnut, arugula, and goat cheese salad as big as my head. I only made it through about 2/3 of it.

Yoga was a surreal experience. The class is supposed to go from 7:15 – 9:00 which is a bit long and late for me, but the instructor is amazing. The class was a perfect balance of crazy sweaty intense flows and easy-ish more restorative poses. By the time we were in savasana, I was so zen’ed out I fell asleep during savasana (in a puddle of my own sweat) and was dreaming and stuff. The instructor uses incense to wake you from savasana so by the time I came to I was so restored and relaxed. Then I looked at my phone. 9:30! We had gone a half hour over and no one noticed. I guess that’s being in the present for you.

I got home at 10:30 and washed my yoga mat. It was horrendous. I made my own yoga mat spray that I found on Pinterest and gave it a whirl after I scrubbed the mat with soap and water in the tub. We’ll see if it smells like lavender tonight, or like death and I need a new mat. If it works I’ll post the spray recipe.

Then I ate a hard boiled egg and some carrot sticks that were leftover from lunch while reading my Kindle in bed.

And that’s all for my weekend-plus-Monday update.

 

 

Yoga and Ramblings

Remember how I mentioned we have no Thanksgiving plans? Well, now I’m cooking dinner for 12. Next year I’m keeping my mouth shut. Should be good times, though. I just hope we have enough wine.

I went with a friend to my first legit hot yoga class in maybe over a year. If the class had a title, it probably would have been “Life Lessons and Lunges.” In between excruciating variations of warrior poses the instructor would punctuate his cues with inspirational phrases like “you are right where you need to be” and “discomfort is a blessing; it makes you stronger and more alive”. It hasn’t been long enough yet but I can tell my hips and shoulders are going to hate me tomorrow. Mental note: do yoga more often.

That’s all I’ve got. Here’s a link I found on Pinterest. It’s funny because it’s so awkwardly random. Go fangirls.

20131126-163713.jpg