Archive for January, 2010

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laughter therapy with a medicine ball

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

So after 2 days of pretty much coming home from work and going straight to bed, I managed to stay awake tonight.

And tonight Craig and I decided to throw around the medicine ball. For fun.

And it really was. It’s clumsy and awkward to sit across from each other on the floor and heave that 8-pound ball back and forth. Sometimes overhead, sometimes shot-put style, sometimes flung straight out from the chest.

It only takes one toss before you start laughing. Anticipating the next catch as the ball comes hurtling towards you. Laughing as you have to put tremendous effort into flinging the ball away from your body and watching as it only travels about 6 feet in front of you.

After a few tosses, suddenly you’re getting quite warm and you shed your hat and sweater and feel nice and heated. And content. As much as the medicine ball is a bloody great arm workout, it’s ten times better for the abs. Both in using the muscles to throw, and from laughing giddily.

Before you know it, you can’t manage to toss or catch the ball one more time. You’re completely toast. And it feels great.

It made my day hanging out with Craig and delighting in something so simple. I’m still smiling.

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Posted in Let's Get Physical, The Daily Balance | 2 Comments »

hibernation: it’s not just for animals

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I can tell that winter has engulfed me this week, because all I want to do is hibernate. And well, I guess I kind of have been. It’s a total mental and physical desire that creeps over me around this time of year.

I say all this because I’m having one of those days where I’m getting bombarded from all sides from folks and life tasks that just seem to suck the energy out of me. And somehow I’m letting myself deflate, because I just don’t feel like fighting back.

Some days I think I’m being taken advantage of, that I’m just a tumbleweed blowing around. It’s days like this when I don’t want to talk to anyone anymore. I don’t want anyone looking at me. I just want to go away into the woods and hibernate.

Or more realistically—go find my bed and make a blanket cave. Last night I came home from work and went straight to bed. At 6:45 p.m. There just didn’t seem to be any point in staying up. I’d rather be warm and cozy and asleep. I didn’t try to keep myself up one bit. It worked because I fell asleep right away and it was really peaceful.

I think the root of this hibernation comes down to the depressing-ness of winter. When I can’t get out to play in the sunshine after work and go for a long, leisurely run. When I whip from the car to the grocery store during my lunch break, bracing for the wind and artic chill. When getting home from work means entering an icy cold house.

Ick.

It all starts to drain my passion. And while I don’t want that to happen, I’m exhausted from trying to be conscientious. Sometimes I’d rather just be unconscious.

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taking stock of january

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Well, it’s the last week of January. 2010 is now in full-swing.

I’m actually rather surprised at how fast the month has gone. Time seems to pass all too quickly for me lately, and I struggle to remain fully present and enjoy the moment. I’m constantly learning and re-adjusting to use my time more wisely. I want to be productive, but also carve out more spaces for myself to just relax and BE. Some days are much easier than others.

I’m doing the best that I can to put up with the long winter. It’s not nearly over yet. But yesterday was a warmer day—the temp hovered at about 40°F, so I took advantage of it and ran outside. Running outdoors in winter is a unique challenge. Unless I want to run on trails, the roads near where I live are pretty dangerous. The sidewalks aren’t clear, and the roads are narrower because of the snow. It’s icy and wet, and I have to extra-rely on cars to watch out for me. There’s always some prick who thinks it’s justified to honk at me as they drive by, and this tends to increase in winter.

Yes! I get it! I’m the idiot out running in the cold and you have to alert me to your presence. Please don’t. If you have any love in your heart for runners or walkers or anyone braving the streets, DO NOT honk at them. It’s totally disconcerting and it scares the crap out of me as I’m trying to maintain my already awkward running rhythm, dodging ice drifts and puddles. No need to honk.

Glad I ran. I did a slow and steady 5 miles and yet managed to get a pretty sweet runner’s high by the end. Or it might have been low blood sugar, but I’ll take my high where I can get it.

So as I finish up January, my goal is to keep on running. And relaxing. And taking it all in one moment at a time. Here’s my pic to start the week for you: these are crocheted snowmen that my mom made waaaaay back when I was a little girl.

My sisters and I used to play with them and rearrange them and position them all over the family room. Somehow I have inherited them, and they now grace my fireplace mantle. Seeing them makes me smile.

Winter doesn’t have to be all bad, right?

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Posted in Let's Get Physical, The Daily Balance | 2 Comments »

thankful for the “non-work” day

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I had a really productive, enjoyable, and satisfying Saturday. The tempo was long and steady (like this post).

I woke up at 8 a.m… which is by no means early to anyone who has kiddos or pets who need attention and care way earlier. But I don’t have those responsibilities (yet), so I revel!

I woke up and was instantly grateful that it was relatively early by my standards, and that I didn’t have anyone to answer to but me.

I was immediately aware that the sunlight was streaming through my windows and very bright. I flexed my toes forward and back and in circles for a few moments, and then I stretched my spine. I twisted hips and legs and felt my body waken for at least five minutes before I got up. I wanted to go back to sleep. I really did. But I know me, and if I let myself, I could EASILY sleep until mid-afternoon. Not going to say that that’s never happened… at least once or twice or recently.

But I got up!

I went to the kitchen and made coffee, delighting in the fact that I was up and alone to savor the morning quiet. There was something particularly satisfying in being up and alert and ready to tackle the day.

I started a load of laundry, and then I poured a cup of coffee and sat on my front stoop. Outside. In the cooooold. I squinted into the morning sun, watching as it filtered through the trees and cast shadows on my front hedges, still covered in a thick blanket of frost. I watched two male cardinals chase each other from my dogwood tree into my neighbor’s yard. Their scarlet red color shone brightly against the blanket of white snow upon the ground. I wanted to stay out there and watch them, but man… it was ridiculously brisk out. My coffee got cold real quick.

So, I went in and made the mad dash to put on my running clothes. It’s cold upstairs in our little house, and even colder in the basement. But I wanted to get a run in, and I knew I had limited time before my Mom would be over to go run errands with me. Getting myself into running clothes and physically on the treadmill is no easy task. I have to muster gumption and sheer will. I have to be steadfast. Otherwise it’s all too easy to toss myself back into bed and fall asleep.

But I did it. Started a 2nd load of laundry, and then I got on the treadmill.

I gave myself 1 minute to walk and warm up, and then I cranked the speed and incline and went at it. I knew I didn’t have an hour to work out, so I ran at a faster pace for a shorter time and hoped I would make it.

It’s been a tough week for running. A severe lack of motivation and follow-through. I was great last week, but this week I have plain ole sucked.

But I did it. I ran a 5K in decent-ish time. No stops. I watched Talk Soup on E!… a FANTASTIC staple for keeping me going. Really though, any E! programming will do it. Vapid, mindless, but thoroughly engaging entertainment programming. Oh, the hours! I have spent watching Kendra and the Kardashians… thank you for keeping me putting one foot in front of the other.

After running, I went out with my mom and younger sister to stock up on good finds: bulk vinegar, black olives, Clif Kids bars, granola, baked beans, shredded cheese, coffee. I think that was it, and I still managed to spend a ton.

But it was worth it for the bulk aspect. I actually do calculate ounces and prices in my head while I’m contemplating whether to buy. I’ve been doing that for years. I figured out that by buying 5 lbs of cheese in bulk I can save over $3 a month, and all I have to do is split it up into smaller ziplok bags at home. I’ll take the savings where I can get it.

I got home and then hand-washed a pile of pots and Klean Kanteens and wine glasses that had been waiting for me since Thursday. I don’t run our Cuisinart Green Gourmet pots and pans through the dishwasher. Love the pans (wedding present!) — love the eco-friendly materials — but dislike the hand-washing.

Its all too convenient to not wash them right away after using them. Who wants to spend oodles of time washing a pile of dishes when the dishwasher is right in front of you laughing?

But none of that! Got it done! And then I swept the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

After we completed all of our chores (and after many cups of coffee and breaks), Craig and I went to visit his parents. It was so nice just to be able to hang out with them and catch up about the news in our lives. They are always extremely welcoming, and they listen to everything we say. And, well, they feed us graciously. They have the most delicious abundance of food on hand. And woops! suddenly Craig is making us sandwiches chock-full of veggies and good cheese and an abundance of condiments.

And cashews!

And potato chips!

Ah… I love visiting them. I love their travel stories and their take on current affairs. They make me laugh. We hung out for quite a while in their waaaay warmer and toastier house. I could have stayed all night.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. It wasn’t action-packed. But it was productive.

It all started with slowly getting out of bed, making time to get my fair share of Vitamin D this morning, and pausing to take in some rays and wildlife.

Here’s hoping I can spend my Sunday relaxing with a lot more choices and a lot less chores in front of me.

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organic finds of the week

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I am a bargain hunter. I think we all try to be when we can, no? Sometimes I can go weeks without finding a good deal when I shop. And sometimes there’s a bounty.

Yesterday I scored big at Big Lots. I know, I know… Big Lots.

Do you have one of those near where you live? Have you ever gone in there? It’s a bit like stepping into a carnival sometimes. You’re not quite sure if the rides are safe, but it can be oh soooo fun if you like to browse. If you haven’t been to Big Lots lately, give it a try. There are steals to be found if you time your trip just right.

Big Lots can have great deals on organic foods. I’ve gotten fantastic deals on organic lemonade, juice boxes, crackers, granola bars, coffee, tea, cereal, hand lotion, soaps, cosmetics, tortilla chips… the list goes on! And the good brands, not the wonky knock-offs: Kiss My Face, Annie’s, Nature’s Path, Physician’s Formula, R.W. Knudsen, Nature’s Gate, Clif Kids, Yogi, etc.

So what did I find yesterday? Organic kosher dill pickles (365 Whole Foods) for $1 for a 24 oz. jar. And Muir Glen organic split pea soup for $1.30 a can. And Muir Glen chef inspirations pasta sauce for $1.30 for a 25.5 oz. jar. Wahoooo!

Now the thing with Big Lots is that you have to check the expiration dates… sometimes what you buy is about to expire real quick. But these finds are all good until September 2010. Not too shabby for a fun lunch hour poke-around.

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Posted in Cooking Adventures | 2 Comments »

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