Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of my favorite naturopathic doctors, Dr. Mark, who I've talked about a TON on this blog before, sent out a Thanksgiving email this morning that I just had to post. He talks a lot about people's use of the term "busy" when asked how they are. I am as guilty as the next person at doing this, although it's started to bug me a bit lately when I'm talking to people and they make it sound as if they are THE busiest people in the world. Like Dr. Mark says, and we all know, we are ALL busy but really, is that so bad? And should it get in the way of living? In the words of Dr. Mark:

I dare you NOT to use the word "busy" this Thanksgiving weekend. You know, when someone has the nerve to ask, "How are you?" I triple turkey tempt you not to use the word busy during the entire holiday season. Think you can do it?

"Busy" has become the new "fine." Ask how someone is and you will hear the word busy within the first 14 seconds. It doesn't mean we aren't actually busy, most of us are if we have a pulse. But what bothers me most is that "busy" becomes more than just a safe word to deflect real conversation- it begins to manifest itself from a word to an attitude. And typically into a stressed out, spread too thin, rushed, I don't have time attitude.

So when a very special holiday like Thanksgiving comes along, some of us ruin it and suck the utter joy out of it with busyness and stress. You know who you are. Do you really want busy to be your legacy? Do you want busy to be how your children and friends remember you? So this year, I'm going to suggest something radical. I'm going to ask you not to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Instead I'm going to ask you to live it. And don't just live it for a day, live it for a season. What does LIVING Thanksgiving mean to you?

Hopefully not to dress up in your favorite pilgrim garb and go into the woods to hunt your own turkey. Or only giving it lip service while you pass the mashed potatoes or have that 3rd piece of pumpkin pie watching football. "Thank God they just scored that touchdown!" doesn't quite cut it.

To me, living it means more gratitude, more generosity, more graciousness and more positive and purposeful action. Living it has less to do with things and more to do with me. Living it is not just what I do, but also how I do it and why I do it. It means I have more stillness inside of me, even if the outside of me is doing the hustle and bustle dance of the holiday season.

It means I'm not too busy to notice the world around me or too distracted to act upon the small, but important needs of others. It means I don't let stress push me through the day and stampede those who get in m way. It means I don't let me iPhone or blackberry rule m life. It means I take time and make time to breathe.

Don't play the busy game this year. Choose to do it differently. Choose to do it differently by being different. Not just in the choices you make, but by the person you are each moment. Alone. Or around those who are familiar or strangers. Doesn't matter.

I dare you not to use the word busy and try to earnestly live Thanksgiving this year rather than merely tipping your cap as it passes by. Our soul needs it. Our holiday spirit needs it. -Dr. Mark Adams

I think his words speak volumes about how we should all treat the holiday tomorrow. We are all "busy" but hopefully we can all take time to really live, to enjoy it. This holiday season I am thankful for all of my family back in the midwest. I am thankful that my mom is recovering from her surgery and feeling better each day. I am thankful for all of my friends back in the midwest, friends I have known forever and friends who know me innately. I am thankful that we will be spending the next few days in a city and state that I loved more than anything for the few years that I got to spend there. I am thankful for those friends there that welcome me back with open arms and who I love for their friendship and support. I am thankful for the life that I now have in Washington- my disgusting kitty monsters, and our crazy puppy Bella. I am thankful for our house, a job that I love, the community service that we do, co-workers and clients that make working even more fun, and friends who are my "family" here. More than anything, I am thankful for Tim- the guy who makes me laugh at dire situations, who grounds me when I need it and who un-grounds me when I'm being too practical, who holds my hand and makes me better because that is how a marriage, a true love should go. I am thankful to share this journey of life with him- to share old memories, to create family, to laugh, to love, to take care of each other, to make new memories. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there.

Big changes ahead for us so stayed tuned but for now we are now off to the sunny state!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

After raining for 40 days straight...

or what feels like it... I just have to gloat that we are going back to Phoenix in 3 days.

I cannot wait. It is long overdue.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One of my new favorite things

I'm a big breakfast fan and have always loved oatmeal as an alternative for breakfast, especially in the cold months. In the health world, one of the newer crazes is steel cut oats. Why are these so good for you? The thought is that they are one of the most nutritious forms of oats in that they are the inner portion of the oat kernal and the supreme definition of "whole grain." So, that sounds great to me but the problem that I have is that they take FOREVER to cook. I have heard that you can put them in a crockpot overnight to soften them up but that just seems like a lot of work when I grew up on instant oatmeal. So, my newest find is Trader Joe's QUICK steel cut oats. They still have the great taste and nutritional value of steel cut oats but they cook in under 10 minutes. I have really been enjoying them lately. I've been adding certain things to them, depending on my mood: a handful of walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, nutmug one day and blueberries, walnuts, raspberries the next for a more "berry" oatmeal. It's fabulous!

Friday, November 20, 2009

And so it begins...

the holiday season, that is. I know that the little red Starbucks cups have been floating around there ever since the day after Halloween but I couldn't bring myself to admit that the holidays actually are finally here. Well, the other day it occurred to me that coupled with these little adorable red cups, is my favorite holiday tea- Joy tea (a blend of black, oolong, and green teas). And at that point, I was completely ready to indulge and to embrace this holiday season and can see many red cups holding joy tea and peppermint mochas in the next month. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Jon!

Today is my baby brother's 25th birthday. I wish he was closer so we could celebrate WITH him. It's hard to believe he is already 25... I still feel like I am that age. Makes me feel old. Anyway, happy birthday Jon! I love you!!

In other news- the workout/weight assessment last night went great. I was able to bench a lot more than I thought I would be able to. Surprisingly, my LEGS are more sore today than my upper body even though it was an all over body assessment, which seems totally weird to me because I would think my upper body would be weaker and subsequently more sore. I guess we did work my legs a lot...wall squats SEVERAL times (I impressed myself with how long I could hold these), leg presses, etc. As a result, my glutes are SORE today. I think I am going to run after work to try to loosen them up before my actual program starts on Wednesday. We'll see if that happens! I already feel great though after just one day!! I'm not lying when I say I love this stuff. I'll stop rambling now.

Happy birthday baby bro!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Toning up.

There is a gym in our building. Our company is the only company in the building that can access it- free for all employees. Lately I've heard of several of my co-workers not only using the gym but going there to get personal training from the guy who runs it (which, unfortunately, is not free to us). I thought, well, I don't really need personal training but it WOULD be nice to have a convenient stop to work out on my way to/from work, especially during the dark, rainy days AND during busy season where I seem to consistently NOT work out year after year.

So last Thursday I went down there to talk to the guy that runs it and SOMEHOW he sold me on the idea of testing my body comps, etc. I told him I didn't really "need" personal training because I felt like I am in decent shape, I'm active, etc. I just needed a place that I would go to stay in shape, especially during the winter/busy season.

This guy is AMAZING. We just chatted and chatted and I felt like I'd known him forever and I feel like I'm throwing up words about my health/fitness, where I've been in that quest, where I want to be and even telling him that one of my life goals would be to eventually train people myself or own my own wellness practice where I could couple my accounting/business background with my passion for nutrition/life coaching/fitness. And on and on and on...

Next thing you know? He has me convinced that I probably don't work ALL muscle groups and I SHOULD get my body comps tested.


So I go back yesterday to get all measured. Everything looked about like I thought it would. I'm not AS awesome as I was a couple of years ago as far as body fat %... I was at 24% (which is in the correct range for females but I used to be around 18-20%, which is more appropriate for an athletic female- not that I really want to be there again OR be "athletic", but still). I weighed in at 110 pounds, which, again, is about what I expected. I don't own a scale, so I never really know but this never changes, it seems (at least based on my annual doctor visits)...

He did about 40 minutes of analyzing my body/flexibility/muscle mass, etc. And next thing you know? I have a personal trainer. To help me tone up the muscle groups that I don't always work with just running/hiking/yoga/pilates (my normal activities). I'm pretty excited. I'm not in it to lose weight, just to gain muscle mass in areas that could use it so I might even gain weight, which wouldn't be a bad thing. And of course, I'm always in a quest for ultimate health and I do feel like sometimes I am lacking in this area (tone in certain muscle groups-like tone in my shoulders that will help my posture), even though I feel like in other areas, I've got it down (nutrition, cardio). So I've been keeping a food journal so that he can assess that area and I do a fitness assessment as my first workout with him today to determine how much weight I can do for different muscles so we have a starting point. It's my first "official" workout although the program that is tailored specifically to my body starts on Wednesday. I can't wait! I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!! (although I must say I am a little scared that I am going to be more out of shape at lifting than I am anticipating....) We'll see, regardless, I'm excited!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maui, Hawaii Days 5-7, October 22-25, 2009

So I'm combining the last few days of Hawaii posts because, really, our activities really didn't vary much. We got up, ate breakfast, went snorkeling or went on an early morning beach hike, then spent the day at the pool or the ocean. We also didn't capture many pictures because like I mentioned in an earlier post, my camera got dropped in the sand which, turns out, sucks. SO, I have a few pictures of the last few days, but not many (and the pictures I do have are a little fuzzy, to say the least). Here they are:

Walking to a snorkel point just south of where we stayed. The point we really wanted to go to was closed. And here it was a little choppy so I didn't want to get in. Tim braved it out, though, and reported that the snorkeling was not that great. I guess I made the right decision!

Walking to the point. Nice fuzzy pictures! Hey, at least we tried to capture it.

Putting on the fins and ready to dive in the water.

A view of the little cove that we were at.

Heading into the water...

...and adjusting the snorkel gear.

WAIT. I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION SURFING YET! So, surfing. We were supposed to do this the day after the Hilo trip. BUT. As it goes, there was a shark attack on Maui at the SAME SPOT we were supposed to surf on the Monday of our trip. Then subsequent shark sitings at that same spot on Tuesday/Wednesday where they closed the beach down. Needless to say, we did not go surfing due to the sharks. Sorry, but I do not care to have an encounter with a shark. We were totally bummed though. We were both really looking forward to that. It worked out ok though because we did end up going snorkeling a couple of times and that ended up being fun.
Like I said, the rest of the days, we just mainly sat at the pool or the beach drinking fruity drinks and enjoying our time in the sun. Ultimate relaxation. It was so nice, really, to not have to do anything and to just hang out, relax, swim, drink, eat, shop a little, then repeat the next day.
That's really what vacation is all about, right? It was absolutely a perfect way to celebrate our first anniversary.
And as soon as we got back? We were ready for the fall, rainy, Seatle weather that greeted us home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hilo, Hawaii Day 4- October 21, 2009

On the morning after our anniversary, we had a flight scheduled at 9am to Hilo, Hawaii. The point of going to Hilo was to go to the Volcanoes national park. When I was there in 2004, we were able to get about 3 feet from the flowing lava after hiking about 3-4 miles in. It was probably one of the neatest, most surreal experiences ever. So, Tim and I thought it might be fun to go see the park (and hopefully flowing lava) again.

Here we are driving in our red jeep just after arriving in Hilo which is only about a 30 minute flight from Maui.

The Hilo bay- Hilo is pretty cool little town. It's on the rainier side of the big island and definitely feels more native than the Kona side of that island. It's also pretty eclectic. We went to downtown Hilo and found a natural grocery store where we stocked up on some snacks for the day.

Driving out of Hilo towards the Volcanoes. Hello, Seattle weather. YUCK. At least our skin was happy since we got so burned the day before.

And we made it!

Entering the park. Once we got to the visitor's center we were very disappointed to find out that the flowing lava was about a 2 hour DRIVE away and the only way to see it is to go on a "night hike" in. I'm guessing that's because you can only faintly see it in the dark. So, we scratched that idea since our return flight was that evening and it didn't really sound the most appealing anyway.

Here we are just after learning the news, trying to decide what to explore at the park while we were there. We were both surprised at how strong the volcanic fumes were that day. That coupled with the torrential downpours made us skip the idea of a hike. The fumes were not that strong when I was there a few years ago.

A view of the steam vents in the crater at the park. Not the most clear picture due to the weather that day (and my broken camera) but pretty cool still, regardless.

And another shot of the steam coming out of the crater.

A view of the lava fields.

And another view....

And one more. Seeing lava is still pretty cool. Just amazing at how new that earth is- and that plants can actually start to grow in it.
After we drove around for a while, we decided that we had seen enough. It was a rather disgusting day outside and we were ready to get back to our vacation of sitting on the beach. So, we went back to Hilo and got the first flight out, back to Maui. There was a layover in Honolulu so we didn't get back to Maui until around 4:30pm and back to the hotel until 5:30pm or so... just in time to get cleaned up and go to dinner. All in all, I think we are glad we went and explored but we were kind of disappointed that it wasn't as cool as we thought it would be. Always good to see a new place, though and we can't really complain too much because we were still in Hawaii!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maui, Hawaii Day 3- October 20, 2009

Happy first anniversary to us! If anyone is new to this blog or hasn't read it before, a full account of our wedding day a year ago (as well as the story of how we met) can be found by clicking on this link.

To celebrate this year, we went back to the same island that we got married on a year ago to the day. And we had a similar day, minus the actual wedding part. Pictures, again, tell the story best:
We got up and ate breakfast and then went out to walk along the beach. It was a fairly decent walk- probably 7-8 miles in the HOT sun. We were SO sweaty and roasting by the time we got back.

And a picture of me sweating it out. After we returned from our morning walk, we had about a half hour until our couples massage. We got clean (to spare the poor massage therapists) and meandered our way over to the spa. Like last year, we both got lava rock massages. SO nice and relaxing. MMM. After our massages, we went directly to the pool where we ate lunch and spent the afternoon.

After a few hours at the pool, we migrated down to the ocean. At this point, I was starting to get fairly crabby because I knew I was getting burnt. And I KNEW Tim was getting burnt because he was in the ocean and not applying sunscreen. He tried to tell me he wasn't getting burned. (Foreshadowing: GUESS WHO WAS RIGHT?!) We played in the ocean for about a half an hour until I had enough. I was just absolutely roasted after spending all day in the hot Hawaiian sun. Turns out we both got fried, like I knew we did.

More pictures of playing in the ocean.
After we left the sun, we had an hour or so to get cleaned up and ready to go to our wedding beach. We got dressed up for our dinner that night (which was prepared by the same chef as last year on our wedding day when we had dinner on the beach- but this time, we just had a great table at the chef's restaurant). We decided we'd be dressy and we'd take some pictures at sunset on our wedding beach so we'd be there at the same time/place as last year. Call us sentimental. Here is a picture of me as we were just leaving the resort to drive to our beach.

And a picture of Tim.

The time in the car: 5:15pm. We got married last year at about 4:30pm so at this time last year we were taking a zillion pictures (and climbing lava rocks overlooking the ocean in our wedding gear).

Driving to the beach (notice the red burn on his face...)

And a picture of the ocean on our way to our secret cove beach (literally, that's the name).

The road in which you get there. It's pretty funny how out there it is (although it's only a 10-15 minute drive from the resort).

And the beginning of pictures on the beach.... I won't comment on all of them.

This is a rather strange picture of me but Tim was trying to capture my expression of surprise. We had both agreed that we weren't going to give each other anniversary presents since GOING to Hawaii was really our gift. BUT, we both couldn't imagine not getting each other something small. I thought I was just superstar wife by getting him a present but he shocked me with one too.

And not only was it a "small" present, it was a box from Tiffany. Here I am saying, "WHAT?!"

And opening it....

It's a bracelet to match the necklace he got me for my birthday. Love it!! I have the best husband.

And here he is opening his- a black watch. I think he likes it. He had been admiring it in stores all week and it was all I could do to try to keep it a surprise (I picked it out before the trip and brought it with me so I was pretty impressed with myself).

A picture of it on.

Beautiful sunset- not as great of a sunset as we had last year but it was still gorgeous! And so perfect to be on the same beach, same day, same time.

A picture of Timmy at the restaurant after leaving the beach drinking his fruity drink before dinner. Sorry the picture is a bit fuzzy- it's a chronic problem we had for the rest of the trip since I dropped by camera in the sand at our beach. Awesome.

And a picture of me enjoying champagne! It was a fabulous dinner, as always. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend our anniversary. We had a perfect celebration of the perfect day. It's amazing that it's already been a year- and I love Tim more now than I did a year ago and it just keeps growing and growing. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us. Cheers!