Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blood and Roses

"You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again"

-On the Radio
Regina Spektor

Even if I didn't like Regina Spektor's music (which I do), I think this would still be one of my favorite bits of poetry/lyric in the world. I get chills every time I hear it, and a few weeks ago when I was huffing and puffing it on the treadmill, this song came on the ipod and helped me push through that workout.

You see, I've been going through a bit of a rough patch lately, and I may have lost sight of the things inside myself to love. I may have given them all away and I now I can't get them back. But you know what? It's gonna be ok, because I'm just gonna do it all again. ...and again...and again.

I bought myself these lovely roses the other day, and even though they weren't the prettiest roses I saw, I took the time to smell all the bunches and this bunch tickled my nose buds just right. Perhaps a reminder to myself that everything in this world has a special place somewhere and is valued, maybe not valued for what it's expected to be, but precious nonetheless. The roses mean a lot to me because part of my struggle right now is financial and I saw these flowers as a way to treat myself to something now, before my belt gets really tight.

There are many folks who might find this rather out of character for me, but flowers are one of the gifts I really do appreciate. I know a lot people are divided on this subject, I've heard many friends say they would rather have some thing more practical, or longer lasting, or just save the money, but I have some very special memories of flowers in my life.

The pink carnations from my first boyfriend in sixth grade, the red roses in a rose shaped vase my father brought me upon our first meeting, my aunt's gorgeous white rose/purple iris/ivy wedding bouquet that she made for me, the red roses on my 20th birthday (the day I brought Q home from the hospital), the big expensive arrangement on my 26th birthday, the heart stopping bouquet from my mom last Valentines day...

What about the rest of you? Where do you fall in the flower debate?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

But that's sooo unfair...

On Thanksgiving I came home to an almost empty very cold house. Q was at his dad's house in Idaho, D was at a big poker tourney ( he lost, but respectably) and there was no blazing fire in Big Flamey (which is what I would call my wood stove if I were going to give it a name). There was however one cranky brother laying on the couch watching Hostel 2. I really can't do scary movies at all, so I retreated into my bedroom where I was able to enjoy my new "sitting room" area for the first time. I lit the candles on the mantle snuggled up with a blanky and watched 2 hours of Iron Chef. It was actually one of the nicest evening I think I've had in the house.

But then I was watching this show and looking at these people who eat so much food all the time and thinking about the people I know in my own life who can eat absolutely anything they want anytime they want and not gain anything, even without exercising. Sooo unfair! However, I started thinking a little deeper about the advantages I have. I don't drink soda, or alcohol (occasionally, but not enough to really impact my diet), I'm a good cook and able to make lots of healthy adaptations without much research, I love fruits and veggies and lots of other "healthy hippie food", and I have a lot of access to fresh "real" foods. So, from a relative point of view, that might be unfair to others. Oh contentment, you are an elusive and demanding mistress...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have You Learned Your Lesson Yet?

I've been thinking a lot lately. Like more than usual. I've been thinking about how I wish that I were further along in my weight loss efforts and my higher education efforts and my financial goals and my house decorating...you get the picture , right?

So then I start thinking about what Pema Chodron says about being impatient with the present and wanting a different reality, even though nothing can end until we have learned what the situation has to teach us. I like to try and be efficient sometimes, so I start asking myself, "OK self, what are you supposed to be learning right now?" You know, so I can learn my lesson and move on. And then it hits me like a two by four in the back of the head...I have no idea what lesson I am supposed to be learning. Should I just invent one or two or six? Because I certainly can. I can think of all kinds of things I should have "understood" by now. But maybe, for right now it is just about doing in the moment we have and moving forward with faith.

There is just one thing that I really may not have been able to understand without my current situation and struggle. There are many people that are able to care about me, to care about me deeply and push me to be the very best version of me. However, I am the only person who can ever be charged with caring for me. This is my body and my life and I have to learn how to show it love with the decisions that only I am able to make for it. Duh, right? Well, somehow that particular good common sense slipped by me. The greatest (and hardest) love of all might be self love.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Delight

Well, as usual Saturday is about the busiest day at our house. Somehow Friday night always seems to blend into the day as well. Last night I did another 50 minutes on treadmill which means I did four days of major treadmill challenge this week. I also had my second acupuncture session after the workout and I can really feel a difference in my stress and anxiety levels.

We kicked off this morning with a visit from the cable guy to remove our filter and install a brand spankin new DVR. Wow...it's a whole lotta TV up in here folks. I really had no idea. I'm excited for all the great shows I've been missing, yet concerned for our productivity.

After checking out the "on demand" feature with a viewing of "Sunny", we headed out to Toast for one of Portland's absolute best brunch offerings. I am not a big drinker, but it is tough for me to turn down a really good Bloody Mary and Toast really delivers. To go with the Mary, I had the "Bad Ass Sandwich", Dusty had the "Dismal Times" and Quin had the comparatively dully named "Apple & Pear French Toast".

With full bellies and happy hearts we toddled back home, where Dusty had to get ready for work and Q and I headed over the Freemont bridge into NW Portland to visit our friend Malarie at Bishops Barbershop for some much needed haircuts. Quin's turned out great, although he tried to convince me that he needed some new shoes to go with his new "doo". Finally home and I'm gonna cuddle in for the night and get up early tomorrow to start in on the Christmas shopping.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Of Greens Galore

Oh the neglect! I've been failing at my goal to post at least every other day and now I must atone. So busy around these parts! Last Saturday I went out to my co-worker, Jill's house with another co-worker to work on mosaics. Jill is an incredibly talented mosaic artist ( you can look at her work here) along with being an amazing gardener and very cool chick. We worked on our projects (we are making house number plaques) in her swanky greenhouse and it was so much fun to just be creative and enjoy time in such a soothing and inspiring space.
Then on Sunday, we got our brand new BIG TV put up, cables moved around, furniture rearranged, and I made some very very tasty spinach/mushroom/onion/goat cheese galette style tarts with a salad of baby greens and citrus champagne vinaigrette. Not to toot my own horn, but yummmmm! So after all the rearranging in the house my sweet boyfriend got the garage all cleaned up, put in some storage shelves and arranged the furniture out there to be a good "man cave" area. Organization makes me sooo happy.

On the health front, I didn't exercise at all over the weekend and had a big brunch on Sunday so I have some work to do this week. Monday and Tuesday were both good, an hour on the treadmill each night plus some arms on Monday. I was supposed to start my pilates class last night, but some kind of extreme tiredness got to me, I was asleep on the couch by 7 p.m. Food has been OK, not great, but I am getting there. We made green smoothies at work yesterday and we are going to make some more today so that should help. I've also been thinking a lot about how much I miss working within a feminist and empowering framework. The company I work for is really great in a lot of ways, but there is really something special about being nurtured and challenged by thinking that is informed by principles of social justice and critical thought.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today is my little guy's first middle school dance/social. I mentioned this in my office and everyone erupted with memories of their own first school dance, right down to the full names of the people they danced with! I suppose it's one of those rites of passage that just stick with us.

So his first has got me thinking about some other firsts in my life. It's our first autumn in our first house, and I've been having a lot of fun trying to notice and capture all the gorgeous and changing colors in the yard. I was scheduled for my first acupuncture session yesterday afternoon (was rescheduled to tomorrow).

And one more first for me today. One whole hour, a few minutes more actually, on the treadmill. No running yet, but this is a big milestone for me. Now we look forward to the future where I hope I will be able to report the first time I run for an hour the treadmill. Stay tuned folks!

What about you? What are your "firsts" this week?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Love Thyself

Things to do today:

  1. Go to store. Buy a gorgeous card with glitter on it. Buy it from Papayalicious. You know, the kind of card you buy for someone when you are first secretly and desperately in love with them, but still trying to play it cool.
  2. Write a message to that person, telling them just how incredible you think they are and how grateful you are to be a part of their life.
  3. Address the card to yourself and drop it in the mail.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hmm, no cute picture to post tonight, but wanting do a quick check-in. Everything is really starting to gel here at the house, a mile long to-do list is starting to get shorter. Doggie door is in, hot tub will be fixed this weekend, molding is going up, and I'm getting happy!

Made it to the gym last night and did 50 solid minutes between the treadmill and the bike. Tonight, I did 40 minutes plus some time on the row machine. That is fun! I'm not sure if I'm doing it right, but it was fun...I was planning on a big salad for dinner, but I stopped at Burgerville to get Quin dinner and couldn't resist getting some fish and chips (only ate half the fries though!).

In other news, I am going to start going to acupuncture to help with stress and anxiety that may also help with emotional eating and weight loss. I think it may help boost my immune system too! I'm excited about where I'll be going. Portland is no stranger to the idea of community supported acupuncture, but in the past the centers have just been too far away to commit to, but this one is right by my community center and close to my house. In addition, even on a sliding scale, it gets pretty spendy. Fortunately, we have pretty good health insurance that includes alternative care, so I can get reimbursed. Whoop!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Case of the Tuesdays

Oh goodness, well I had plans to go to the gym again tonight, but Dusty had to work and little Quiny has been left to fend for himself a bit more lately, so I wanted to have some time to hang out with and check in with him. We are watching Chicken Little on TV and eating pizza. Sooo bad...

and sooooo good.
But, on the upside I made some of my killer tuna salad (celery, red onion, & chopped homemade pickles) to take for lunch for the next few days. I really wish that our community center had different pool hours so that Quin could go swim while I am in the gym there, I hate leaving him at home to mold away on the computer while I go. Anyway, to make up for skipping aaaannd eating pizza tonight, I'm going to set my gym goal tomorrow for:

20 minutes treadmill
20 minutes bike
rowing machine?? Anybody have any feedback on the row machine?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Feeling purty darn good today. I slept in till about 10 a.m. (pretty late for me) and then lounged for a while. Big bowl of cheerios for breakfast which is much better than the bowls of ice cream I have often treated myself to on the weekend. So, I've had a little "biggest loser" style workout waiting for me in my front yard which involves moving a big pile of wood from a tree we had cut down a few months ago to the back yard where it can go into our regular "wood to burn" pile. I didn't get everything all moved to the back yet, but I did have 40 minutes of heavy sweating moving the pile from one side of our big yard over to the gate where it can go in the wheelbarrow and moved again! Quin helped a bit, but mostly he and Brady just had some fall frolicking.

Then we had a bit of shopping to do and went to a big complex that has a Panda Express. I ordered the bowl with plain rice and mixed veggies and only ate half, although I did sneak a few bites of Q's orange chicken...Now we are off to Frighttown, where my only goal for the night will be to not pee my pants. Seriously, I really hate scary stuff like this. Happy Halloween!!!

Friday Night Fun

Well it's Friday night and I'm off to a hot night at the gym. I'm really lucky to have my mom as my workout partner, honestly if it weren't for her keeping me on track, I wouldn't be able to do this but she really is the one person I can never say no to, especially when I know we both just need to suck it up and get out there and sweat!

Luckily, Quin is going to a Halloween party at the community center where we go to the gym, so if I have to drive there anyway, I can't really make up any kind of excuse not to get out and go workout. So, here's a picture of me and the Quinster, from a few months ago. I'm really hoping to post a picture next November of me looking half as big!

Tonight's goal: 30 minutes on the bike & 10 minutes on the treadmill!


I couldn't resist starting out with a little peak at my front porch. Thanks to many lovely gifts and a little bit of my own work, I have a front porch that I absolutely love coming home to every night, and the addition of the seasonal gourds and pumpkins really showcases the charm of Autumn in the Northwest.

I'm a few minutes away from hitting the gym with my mom, it's just too drizzly out there for our park walk. I've been doing really good with increasing the amount of exercising I've been doing over the past few weeks, but unfortunately I haven't been so good with my diet. Like at all. Like despite my good intentions to hold off buying Halloween candy as long as possible, I've still managed to eat six Reeses PBC's in the past two days. Reese's are my kryptonite. However, my mum has been losing like mad (prolly cause she is really watching her diet). So I got to thinking...what if before I go back to school or take on anything new in my life, I put my health and weight loss efforts first.

I really want to go back to school, make the final push through for my degree and get crackin on grad school. Bu, I'm going to wait till next September. And in that 11 months, I am going to lose 8-10 pounds every month. That would put me very close to my ultimate weight loss goal. Time to get really serious about the diet and exercise. I have a great diet and exercise buddy in my mum and I'm going to make this my priority and the focus of this blog.

Quick update: Just got home from the gym.
30 minutes of treadmill alternating between 6% and 1.5% incline
10 minutes of stationary bike.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making Space

I'm preparing to head out for my evening walk and thinking. Mostly I am thinking about how I am slowly but surely making spaces in my life for the things that matter. I spent the past weekend (with the help of my burly partner) moving our bedroom furniture all around. When we bought this house way back in December, we did little more than paint and throw our stuff into each room.

The process of looking for a home that would work for three adults and one kidlet while sorting out the financial issues had taken months of time consuming and emotionally draining energy. So, when moving day finally arrived and reality sunk in, I'm not sure I was prepared the way I imagined I would be. The past five years of being in Portland have been ones of tremendous growth but also of relative instability. I had been very limited to the possessions I sought and sensitive to the space I created being temporary. Many decisions were ruled by my, "but will it be right in a few years?" thought.

Combine the living space issue with a new relationship (living together and all) and it's been a perfect storm of uncertainty. But now the horizon seems calmer. And I want to nest. I find myself still experiencing fear as I bring new things into the home, imagining a future in which I am forced to move quickly and without warning, trying desperately to figure out what to do with all these possessions. Or what to do without a partner...or any money...or...But I'm trying to come out of the bubble and let go of those fears, and that is making space for all kinds of new things.