I spy with my little eye something pretty

Olympic mountains
Olympic mountains

Four months back in Seattle, and dare I say it’s been as much of a mindfuck as the first four months in New York were.

But there are moments when I sigh that big let-it-all-go breath that feels so good in yoga classes. When I just feel reassured that I’m right where I need to be.

  1. Like when my friends all rally around one another – whether it’s giving me tips on freelance work or showering parents-to-be with baby gifts.
  2. When the Seahawks won their trip to the Super Bowl and my friends and I all jumped up and down and screamed together – big difference from last year when I watched the game alone and jet-lagged.
  3. When my uncle or cousin texts and I know my family is a 30-minute drive from me.
  4. When I see the jagged peaks of the Olympics, the rounded summits of Rainier, Baker or St. Helens or the proud Cascades standing tall to the East. This place is stunning.
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Workout inspiration

A couple years ago, my then-winter boo and I were hanging out at his place — as winter boos do on an especially cold winter evening. Snuggling on the couch, we started watching “The Biggest Loser.” I got so into the show that when he fell asleep, I found more episodes on demand and kept watching. When he woke up, I had tears streaming down my face.

I love watching people committed to changing their lives. The contestants are so dedicated to making a change that they spend weeks away from home and push themselves to their limits every day. I find myself cheering them on and celebrating their accomplishments. I’m disappointed when they are disappointed.

I consider myself really lucky that I never struggled with my weight, but I certainly know what it’s like to wake up and realize what I am doing isn’t working and I need a change. But extreme weight loss makes for better TV than someone chatting it up with a life coach.

In any case, cheers to everyone who did the work. It’s so worth it. And so inspiring to watch. How can I, a healthy, fit individual, sit on the sofa while others are struggling to flip tractor tires at the ranch? With that, I’ll go for a run.

Sharing time

For me, the last four months have been made up of high highs and low lows. I find myself incredibly grateful for the little things:

– Card games with Grandma (even if I’m too old for her to let me win now)
– The fact that both my parents are still kicking
– That I found a job so quickly after getting laid off
– My physical and emotional health
– The wonderful people who are either geographically close or connected via the wwws

Once again, I’m inspired by Nora over at My Husband’s Tumor, who is sharing her abundance with people on the Internet. She links to several worthy recipients who need a little assistance from the people of the world. I followed Nora’s lead and donated to several of them in gratitude for my own blessings, and to show that strangers are supporting and cheering their fights.

I hope you’ll all consider sharing your own extra with people who could really use it. If you can’t at this time, I get it. I’ve been there. No shame in taking care of you.

Big hair, do care

Left to its own devices, my hair is wavy and frizzy. I learned decades ago not to mess with Mother Nature, but to work with that crazy bitch. So I generally let my hair air dry with a cocktail of hair controlling products. The result is usually beach-y waves that still get big and frizzy in the rain. When that happens, I introduce elastics and bobby pins or hats to hold it down. Let’s just say my hair is not its best in the Seattle mist.

The other day I got the best salon blow-out of my life. I want my hair to look like that more often. Tori managed to make my hair sleek and silky. Professionally blown out and unwashed (or freshened with dry shampoo), it’s frizz-free for a good week. I decided learning to reach that level of perfection is my new year’s resolution. Coincidentally, I recently bought a blow-out hair dryer. Today was attempt No. 1. Admittedly, I’ll need more practice. A third arm would also be helpful. 362 more days to practice.

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Describe your childhood

As little guys
As little guys

How would you describe your childhood? This was a question I read on a list of safe topics for the holiday dinner table. And I liked it. I asked a few people. And got some thoughtful responses, beginning with “happy” and “a roller coaster.” Then I thought I should figure out my own answer.

The first word that came to mind was “playful.”

I can’t think of my childhood without thinking of my playmates. I grew up in a neighborhood with several cousins in addition to my brother and sister. We were all close in age and imaginative. We made up so many games! Croquet was a favorite in the summer. I don’t even know the real rules of the lawn game because we made up our own. We also liked “steamroller,” where one kid rolls across the floor and the others run and jump over the steamroller. If you touch the steamroller, though, you’re out. We played so many games of hide and seek. We had water fights. We went sledding and threw snowballs. We took the pedal boat out on Grandma’s lake. Sometimes we even played board games — usually by the written rules.

I had school friends, too, and read books by myself often. But overwhelmingly, when I think of childhood, I think of my siblings and cousins. I’m really grateful for them. Even now as we’re all scattered — UAE, Germany, Washington, California, Alaska and Minnesota — we’ve still got each other’s backs. And we like to pick up right where we left off. Silly String fight, anyone?

How would you describe your childhood?

Cat photos

When I accepted this job, I knew it would require working from home. A lot. Luckily, I was apartment shopping at the same time and could select a home that would be OK to be in all the time. I’d have gone crazy long ago had I gotten a studio in a not-fun neighborhood before I learned I’d be working from home a whole bunch.

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Still, I might be losing my damn mind.

I make sure to interact with other human beings every day of the week. Just getting out and running errands, running around the lake or grabbing coffee won’t cut it. This week, for example, I went to happy hour three nights; had a hot chocolate date with Heather, Penny and Stellan, met Tara for dinner, took a couple midday group-training classes and went to the office one day. Even though I got out among the 3-D people a lot this past week, I still felt like I was boring.

It’s important to me to have something to talk about other than what my cat did, what I ate or what I saw on TV. I’ve long said that when I start thinking of a trip to Target or Safeway as a source of entertainment rather than an errand, just shoot me.

After sending Tara about three pictures of my cat, I decided it’s time for an early New Year’s resolution: Stop being boring! Work from the cafe down the street a couple mornings a week, make new friends and join a gym.

Bring it, 2015!

A slight addiction

It’s Workout Wednesday! Let’s talk about workout attire.

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Organizing the bottoms: Crops, pants and shorts.

I remember exactly when it happened. I was taking yoga in New York’s Fashion District. Imagine immaculately dressed fashion models and designers in yoga class. Cute hair. Cute clothes. Cute pedicures.

I was there, too. Dressed in my usual cropped running tights and t-shirt. Hair in a ponytail. Toes I painted myself.

Nothing wrong with that, but I loved all the outfits I saw around me. It was a place for color and crazy designs among the all-black Manhattan uniform. Over the next three years, I watched for sales at Athleta. I shopped the annual Under Armour sample sale. My outfits for bootcamp, yoga, a riverside run or soccer games became more and more adorable.

Now that I work from home, I have repurposed yoga clothes as comfy work clothes. They’re cute, colorful and perfect if I get stuck and want to go for a quick run, practice my cartwheels in the living room or hit a midday yoga class. I also like to try cute twisted hairstyles instead of a basic pony. Hey, whatever it takes to get motivated to move, right?

I also live in a neighborhood near Seattle’s outdoor gym AKA Green Lake. Yoga, barre and CrossFit studios are plentiful here. As are running shoe, exercise gear and natural food stores. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to wear running tights as pants here.

My coffee or lunch runs happen as often in space-dyed blue yoga pants or down-filled “toasty buns” shorts over leggings as in my skinny jeans and high-heeled lace-up boots. I love them all equally. And I still do my own pedis.

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My workout clothes drawer is a leeeeetle overstuffed

 

 

An inspiring example of living life

I’m so inspired by this woman and her late husband. I’m also proud to be (distantly) related to her. Here’s the synopsis: Nora’s then-boyfriend was diagnosed with a brain tumor. An eternally positive person, he says he can handle it. They married anyway, had a baby, lived life. This year, she not only lost her husband, but also their unborn baby and her father. She shared her story in an honest, vulnerable, humorous way. She didn’t pretend to be superwoman. She admitted her fears and shortcomings. We can all learn from Aaron’s “it’s all going to be OK attitude and Nora’s humor and strength.

I also loved how they just had faith. They didn’t let the diagnosis or inevitable medical bills stop them. They went to shows. They had a child. They lived, believing everything would be OK. Not that Aaron would miraculously overcome the tumor, but that whatever happened, they’d be OK.

I found it all inspiring. In part because I struggle to trust. I have had a great history of things working out. My move back to Seattle was no small feat for the universe to pull off, but man, did it deliver. So I have no reason not to trust. I have all sorts of reason to trust. So I’ll read Aaron & Nora’s “love story with some cancer” and remind myself to live and trust.

Some links:
Aaron’s obituary, which went viral. He hilariously claimed to be Spider-Man.

They didn’t fear death. That’s living life big and truly inspiring.

Read more of Nora’s fantastically written story here  and trust whatever happens, it’s going to be OK.

Big ups to my other distant cousin, Nicole for sharing the story.

Things my parents were right about

Family
Family
  • You need to know how to read a map.
  • You’ll like your brother and sister one day.
  • Turn off the TV and go outside and play.
  • You need to know how to change a flat tire.
  • A year from now, this will not matter.
  • You need to know how to fix a running toilet.
  • It tastes the same when you bake with apple sauce instead of sugar.
  • Go trick-or-treating as long as you can.
  • The lettuce hearts are the sweetest, most delicious bite. Don’t throw them away.
  • Stay out of Grandpa’s flowers!
  • Blow your nose!
  • You won’t know unless you try.

It’s starting to feel like home

The simple things that make a place feel like home. When I move, I generally first make the bed because it’s just nice to know it’s there and waiting when I’m ready.

I was so pleased to pick up some boxes from Chris and Betsy’s basement and find some coasters my niece and sister made for me, a superhero cape I made one Halloween, my grandmother’s wine glasses and photo albums.

Yesterday, Pam and Cluff helped me pick up the coffee table and wine cabinet I left in Chad and Lora’s house. My apartment has been nearly empty for seven weeks now! While I enjoyed practicing my headstands and cartwheels (oh, yes I did) in the empty space, it already feels cozy and less cavernous. The sofa arrives a week from today, and I cannot wait to cuddle up on it.

You can all come visit now.

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The dining chair is filling in for the turquoise chair, which is standing in for the sofa.
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I don’t love the TV in front of the windows, but things like baseboard heaters and outlets make it a tricky space to work around.