Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Checking in. Downsizing and moving out.

I have been busy!

I just took the world's hottest, longest shower to wash this sweaty, tedious, laborious weekend out of my pores and from under my fingernails and out of my brain.

This blog has dates, right? Anyway, it was July 11th today. Well, now it's after midnight so it's the 12th (Happy Birthday, Jason). Ok, so July 11th 2010 was a hot day. And July 10, 2010 was even hotter. And Isaac and I spent both days sorting and cleaning and packing and driving back and forth to the goodwill in the blazing hot sun in his little Mazda pickup truck. 

Does it sound like I'm complaining? I'm not. This is really what we did. And it wasn't that bad. Actually, one aspect I really enjoyed was that Isaac and were together then entire time, working on the same project. It might surprise you if you know us well, that Isaac and I work very well together. I say that because if you know us, you know that we are both stubborn and kind of sassy. But when we work together on something, those qualities aren't the ones that emerge (at least not for the first few hours). Anyway, we made a lot of progress, and we laughed a lot.

I had a couple of anxious moments, especially when I chose to donate some more sentimental items. Isaac was very sensitive and supportive.

It has been hard to update since we've been so busy moving, but I promise to write again as soon as we're settled at our interim place.

*Edited to Add: I wrote this on the 11th, but for some reason it didn't post. Here it is, a couple days late.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just real quick, before everything goes to...

Tonight, we'll spend the first night at the Bengel's home. I'm looking forward to it! It's really the first leg of the trip. Off we go!

A few things: diary style, so I don't forget.

There are precious few more beautiful sites in all the world, than a buddy and his buddy in a truck, coming to help you move your mattress and boxspring. Thank you so much to Chris and Steve.

The more stuff we're sure of keeping, the more I see there is to make decisions about. Pull one neat stack from the closet shelf and it turns to hours of muddling and decision-making and (for me) somewhat comically emotional headscratching.

Elizabeth, you can come get your chairs any time. If you want, you can also take the orange throw blankets and the matching pillows. :-)

Who wants our dining table and chairs? $40 OBO.

Books books mountainsofbooks. How does anyone get rid of books??? It's like saying, "I don't care about knowledge or drama or this other person's thoughts."

There is a keyboard here we need to sell. We have a stand for it if you need it. Also the music stand that comes with the keyboard.

Chest of Drawers. IKEA Malm.

I need a lot of boxes.

The End.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Honda Civics and Glorious Riches.

Or, "You're not losing a Honda Civic, you're gaining a niece."

Julian and I were in a pretty bad car crash yesterday (don't worry, no one was hurt), and we don't carry collision on our autos. This means that, while my insurance company will cover any damage or injury for the other person (yes, we hit someone), when it comes to my car I'm out of luck. They hauled my car (totaled) to a tow yard (insurance does cover the towing), and now I don't have it any more. But I do have 300 bucks. And three of my tires. Because José at the tow yard wanted to take my car apart and sell the parts. So I sold it to him.

We were planning on selling the car anyway, but I was hoping to get a little more than $300.00 for it. Ha.

Anyway, I pulled all my stuff out of the car, took José's information and my $300.00, and went to eat some dinner and figure out what to do next. On the way there I got a text. My sister-in-law was in labor with my niece!!! It was completely unexpected! She's not due for another week and a half and I hadn't heard any signs that she was close!

One thing I find extremely interesting about this whole thing is that my last entry, which was written just hours before the crash, was all about "getting over" my own materialism, and severing emotional ties with objects in my life. Then in possibly the most traumatic way possible, my car (the first car I ever bought, the car I brought Julian home from the hospital in), was forcibly ripped from my life, and I was left literally sitting on the side of the road with just my precious little son, thanking God we are alive and have full use of our extremities. The day was spent dealing with insurance and tow yards and greasy details and a sore back and neck.

But I didn't go to bed mourning the loss of my car or wondering what would happen next. I went to bed praying for my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, and their beautiful baby girl. Fantasizing about waking up to the news that she had been born healthy and perfect. Thinking about her little face peeking out of a cozy flannel blanket. This morning at 5:18, my sister-in-law sent me a picture message of the baby's darling face, and indeed she is absolutely perfect.

This blog entry is dedicated to my precious niece, born June 24th, 2010, and to her parents, my beloved brother and sister.

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen." ~ Philippians 4:19-20

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wherein I am amazed at how easy that was.

Or, "Liquidating Assets."

All I had to do was tell people I was moving, and they came over to buy my stuff. That was easy!

Today, I was able to rid my house of two bags of old clothes,  my couch, ottoman, and a bookcase. I also have a buyer for my armchairs. Although since she's a close friend, she offered to let us keep using them until just before we move (after all -- we don't have a couch anymore). So thank you very much Melanie and Elizabeth for making that so easy.

It was a little strange to see the bookcase go. My dad bought that bookcase for Julian, and it was in Julian's nursery when he was born. Since then, though, it has moved from room to room and from house to house with us, holding all kinds of things. Until about 8PM today, it held my cookbooks, Julian's toys, some pictures of family, handmade pottery my sister made, and all Isaac's sheet music. And you know what? I didn't know it was such a meaningful object for me until it left the house. Right now it's contents are in haphazard piles around the living room waiting to be sorted and eventually stored, sold, or given away, and I can really see how much work there is to do around here.

In my apartment as in my heart, I am counting the cost of leaving California and each day it becomes more real for me.

I think I'm going to learn a lot about letting go this month, as I say goodbye to some worldly possessions. I said in a previous post that I'm not a material girl. We'll see if that's true. So far today I have said goodbye to possessions which to me represented security, order, and comfort. It was difficult, but it was necessary. And tonight I sit around and get over it.

As for Julian, I don't think he understands what's going on at all. He was at my mother's house all evening and when he finally came home, I don't think he even noticed the couch or the bookcase were gone. He walked in the door, saw the towering piles of stuff on the floor and with wide and adventurous eyes asked, "What are you building?!" Good question, Julian.

Maybe I'm feeling a little dramatic, but as I typed those words I started to cry. What ARE we building? All evening I thought I was protecting him from the stress of having his home turned upside down, but he thought it was pretty darn cool. An adventure, even!

Okay, an adventure is near. Meanwhile, I need to get rid of some dressers. They look like this:

I have 2 of these.
Malm Chest of Drawers in Black-brown.
Good condition.
Ikea has them for $99/each.
I am asking $125/pair.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The couch stays in California. Everything else, I'm not so sure...

We have moved nine times since we got married. That's nine times in 6.5 years. No, we don't like moving. Each move had a very important and specific purpose. We moved to SF for school, and then we moved back, but before we found a place we had to stay with family. Blah blah blah six-and-a-half years later.

We have gotten pretty good at keeping our life empty of useless junk, mostly because we dread moving the boxes of useless junk on an average of once every nine months. Still, there are items. Useful items, that might just be more expensive to schlep across the country than to replace when we get there. Like the couch. The beds. But pleasepleaseplease let me keep my kitchen.

We have checked out several moving options and it is shocking how differently some things are priced. Definitely something we need to do more research on. The most expensive thing we have seen is called "PODS" they will let you pack a storage container at your home, store it for you until you're ready for it, and then ship it to any location on the continent. They quoted us almost $5,000. And we would still have to pay for flights for three across the country. NEXT.

Another option is renting a U-Haul and driving us and all our stuff to NYC. This option sounds like fun to me. U-Haul will give you 10 days and 3300 miles to use for about 2500 bucks, so you could really make a fun road-trip out of it. But it's still very pricey. Especially considering the fuel costs, conservatively estimated at $1200.00, and any hotel/motel stays, national park admissions, and meals along the way. Still about $1000.00 cheaper than PODS.

Another option is to only take what will fit in our suitcases, and leave everything else behind. This thought is absolutely terrifying to me. And I'm not a material girl or anything. I don't have a lot of sentimental attachments to the objects in my life. It's my kitchen I'm worried about. I can't leave it behind. That's where I make my food. And everyone knows that food is my favorite thing in the world. I have shopped for each pot, spoon, knife, and linen with such great care and attention. It has taken me years to figure out what I like to cook with, and even more years to find each high-quality item at a price that fits my budget. I love my kitchen. It makes me feel like I'm at home. If I have to leave it behind, I think I'll be deeply disappointed. Also, there's the replacement cost. I estimate at least $1800.00 to replace everything, and that's IF I can find good deals on everything again.

Lastly, there's actual freight rated shipping with UPS or FedEx (or a similar company). This option might be perfect for us, because the highest value possessions we own, aren't large things like furniture. Instead, it's clothing, small appliances, linens, and kitchen objects. These are things we could easily pack on a pallet and have lifted into a truck. Depending on the weight of our stuff, we could get away with shipping it for between $500 and $1500. Add about $700 for airfare, and it's definitely the cheapest option where I get to keep my kitchen. The downside is of course that we will have no furniture when we get to New York. And that means shopping. Which means we're spending more money.

Are you sufficiently bored yet? Imagine if you have been thinking about this stuff for a month, and knowing you'd have to keep thinking about it for the next four months. That's what I'm doing. Joy of Joys.

In the short-term, I do have a chore that is going to make the ultimate decision quite a bit easier. I have to move a family of three from a one-bedroom apartment into just one bedroom in twenty-five days. I will start by removing at least one large object (or a box of small objects) from my life every day until July 15th. Today, I have two bags of clothes for the goodwill truck. Tomorrow I will list my couch on Craigslist.

Thanks for reading!

Loveseat and ottoman for sale. Soft leather, very comfortable, good condition. Make me an offer!

Jumping off.

Or, "You can't fly without leaving the ground."

So I'm sure lots of you anticipated this, but here it is "officially" since the rumors are flying (I know, because i'm the one who started them):

Isaac and I have decided to move to New York City by the end of the year. We have given our 30 day notice at our current place, and we will be moving in with our dear friends Dave and Esther for our transition period. We estimate 4-5 months from now, we will make the BIG move. That is the plan, anyhow.

I am emotional about it, to say the least. I keep going back and forth between feeling over the moon with joy and anticipation, and feeling completely terrified. Everything is so up in the air. Please pray for us when you think of us - this is going to be really hard. Leaving my friends and family...? I anticipate this being the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my entire life.

Personally, I pray for faith. I believe God is taking us on this journey, and this isn't just some fly-by-night thing. As I type that my heart flutters with excitement for the opportunities and favor God is already preparing for us. But when I think about actually leaving, I only feel fear. That is to say, the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

This blog is going to serve a few purposes.

FIRST, It's for me. I need to get this stuff out of my head. Not just the emotional stuff, but the logistical stuff too. There are about 14 million ways this could go, and dank little brainspace can't possibly house all the scenarios I will have to run through without it driving me completely bonkers.
SECOND, It's for my loved ones. The ones who I don't talk to every day, who wonder what the latest news is, what decisions have been made, how long till the going-away party, etc. People get very excited when you tell them you're moving to New York. Then they want all the details. And it takes a while to get through them. Like, 25 minutes with each person. Then another person walks up half-way through the details and says, "OMG you're MOVING to NYC??? What's the story???" So you have to start over. It's fun talking about it, don't get me wrong, it's just sometimes I don't have the stamina for 2 extra hours at church having the same conversation over and over. So in that way, this is for everyone.
LASTLY, This blog is a testimony. As I said before, I anticipate this move being one of the most difficult things our family will ever have to go through. I have faith that when I look back on it, I will see God's protection and provision all over the story from its start to its finish. One day I hope to show it to Julian and say, "Look son, we did a brave thing and God was there with us every step."

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
~ Isaiah 40:28-31

Alright, that's it for now. The next couple weeks will be spent deciding what to sell and what to take with us for the first leg of the journey. Also, explaining "moving" to a three-year-old.

This used to be a blog about fitness but now it's about something else.

I kept thinking I had nothing to write, because I had nothing to write about fitness. That's not exactly true.

Look forward to a new direction for this blog: East.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fit to the Core - Part 1


Core Exercises for People who Hate Crunches and Sit-ups.

I hate doing sit-ups. HATE. In fact, there's probably no exercise I hate more. And yet, as a mom, runner, desk jockey, home cook, laundry slave, and (former) dancer, I can't think of an area on the body where toughness is more important, than the "core." A strong core is important for balance, posture, over-all health and general bodacity. (It's Science; don't question it.)

I (like over 80% of Americans) suffer from chronic lower back pain. I know there are a lot of contributing factors to it. Everything from slouching in my desk chair to schlepping piles of laundry up and down the stairs can hurt my back. But this pain ALWAYS subsides (sometimes even completely) during periods where I am making sure to include a lot of core work in my daily exercise regimen.

I want to share this with you because despite my brilliance in most areas of life, this was NEWS to me. Months ago, when nightly, I'd lie in my bed, trying to relax the tense and aching muscles in my lower back, the last "commonsense" solution that would have ever popped into my head would have been a daily dose of intense core workouts. If anything, I would have expected these exercises to cause me even more pain.

Not so.

Not only do I go most days without feeling that achy tightness creep in, running is easier, pressing weight is easier, and I'm starting to look a little better in a bathing suit. If you have always avoided core workouts, because you thought exercising your core was all about the torture of a million crunches, then you're doing your body a disservice. Take a look at the following exercise and begin your awesome (and fun!) journey to a stronger core.

Dolphin-Plank Pushups
This push-up combines the asanas of Dolphin and Plank. It works the lower and upper abs, glutes, and the entire back, and to a lesser degree the biceps, triceps, and deltoid area. A real total core exercise. And one of my very favorites.

Begin in Dolphin Pose:

Count to three and then slowly, bending your elbows but keeping your forearms on the floor, lower your rear-end, abdomen and chest into a (modified) Dolphin-Plank Pose:

If you're doing it correctly, your elbows will be a little closer to your feet than the woman's in the image above, and your face will be over or in front of the hands a bit more. That's why I'm calling it a modified dolphin-plank.

Keep it slow and controlled. Try it ten times, with as full a range of motion as you are comfortable. When it starts getting easy for you, do more, do them faster, but keep the control. Engage your core.

Please post your experiences with this exercise, any tips or tricks you've figured out, progress you've made, or modifications that work for you in the comments below.

Happy Exercising!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Mountain Facing a Mountain.

I'm a happy person. I think.

By that I mean, I'm in a good mood most of the time. There's nothing about the day-to-day that I dread. I like my job. I love the people I work with. I love my family. I enjoy music, rainbows, sex, art, TV, salami, chocolate. The basics.

Lately, though... I do have a sort of restlessness about my life. A low, steady pulse of anxious energy that manifests as spotty, unfocused enthusiasm for a bunch of little projects.

(I must clean the top shelf of the closet. AH, wait! I have to finish this painting while I'm still inspired. But ACK! It's three in the morning and I still haven't worked out today!)

Is this how life is for most women? For most people?

I wonder if this is one of those deep self-worth issues. Is this restlessness rooted in fear that I might be wasting something: My time? My youth? My potential? Or is my restlessness healthy: Is it rooted in a desire to improve the world, my life, and the lives of the people around me? Is it important to discover the roots in the first place? Does it even matter? Is the question too self-indulgent to even ask? Shouldn't I be sewing my son a Halloween costume?

I remembered this poem yesterday, when I was thinking about a lot of this stuff. I've read it a lot and I have always loved it. I think it's about power and about potential. Vulnerability. And about the subtle difference between choosing to engage the world and choosing not to. Choosing the perspective of an artist and a poet, whether one acts as artist or poet notwithstanding.

A Mountain Facing a Mountain

What poetry demands is worse
than nakedness, and less knowable.
A woman with dark hair, maybe,
at the front door of her house
on a mountain, the earth
sloping down in the dusty
olive trees.
When there are no crops,
the winnowing ring fills
with weeds. The wind blows
through history, not dancing,
leaving no harvest, keeping
its own virtue, its own separateness.

-Linda Gregg

Monday, March 1, 2010

Should women be President?

My last post leads me to another question.

PMS and toughness...?

Just real quick, check out what I found on Google Health about Premenstrual Syndrome:

The most common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Swelling of ankles, feet, and hands
  • Backache
  • Abdominal cramps or heaviness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal fullness, feeling gaseous
  • Muscle spasms
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Recurrent cold sores
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Decreased coordination
  • Food cravings
  • Less tolerance for noises and lights
  • Painful menstruation
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor judgment
  • Depression
  • Irritability, hostility, or aggressive behavior
  • Increased guilt feelings
  • Fatigue
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Decreased self-image
  • Sex drive changes, loss of sex drive
  • Paranoia or increased fears
  • Low self-esteem

I'm currently suffering with 90% of these. And I'm wondering what Sarah Connor would do if she had PMS.

And what do YOU do?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fit Food- Foods that make me feel good (Part 1)

Homemade Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies.

They basically do the job of ice cream, but with way fewer calories, and way more nutrition.

1 c (8oz) Organic Fat Free Plain Yogurt (140 Calories, 8g Protein)
1 c (8oz) Organic Blueberry or Pomegranate Juice (130 Calories)
1 c (8oz) Sliced Organic bananas, frozen (100 Calories)
1 c (8oz) Any other frozen fruit: mango, strawberry, papaya, blackberry, etc. (100 Calories)


And don't drink the whole thing. If you're good at math, you can see that this makes a LOT of smoothie (32oz). This blender will serve 2 easily, but in my house it serves 3. And at 156.7 calories for 10.7oz, I may never go back to ice cream.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 days later?

I had a three-day weekend. It was fabulous, but not very Sarah Connor-ish. Unless you count making my three-year-old help me with the laundry.

I did build my husband a website ( I feel really accomplished even though it's not finished.

I also cooked from scratch and ate well, although my over-all calories-from-wine-and-chocolate were a little high (what can I say, it was Valentine's day).

I did an intense abs workout yesterday, but nothing tonight (so far: the night is young!).

I'm still working on my List. It is more difficult than I had anticipated to make myself a list of goals. It's getting me thinking about the "kind of woman" I want to be. Which has me looking at the Bible a little more seriously than I have been looking at The Terminator movies....

So here we are. Parting thoughts?

People hide secrets, time is a lie, the material world can disappear in an instant. It has and it will again. Our identities change. Our names, the way we look, how we act and speak. We’re shape-shifters. There is no control, no constant, no shelter but the love of family and the body God gave us. And we can only hope that will always be enough.

-Sarah Connor, The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I'm not sure what I think about that, but it makes me want to press some weight.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Did you make a list?"

Mom's voice rings in my ears.

She can always tell when I'm overwhelmed. And for some reason she always asks me if I've made my list. Actually, I know the reason. It's because making a list works for me. Somehow the task at hand seems so much more manageable when it's all there on the paper. As I complete one task on the list, I put a big check mark by it. Each check mark is a little power gem, giving me enough energy, resolve, and focus to complete the next task.

To be quite honest, I am a little overwhelmed with the idea of becoming tough. I'm not even sure I know what it means. Even with using Sarah Connor as model/inspiration, the whole thing seems too nebulous to manage. So for the next day or so, I will be working on my List. Three or four long-term goals, and my mid- and short-term plans to get me on the right track.

Thomas Edison said, "Vision without execution is hallucination." Well, I'm not hallucinating; I'm making an executable plan.

And while I'm thinking loftily about my future mind/body/spirit, I ought not to neglect today. Here are a few things I want to put a big check mark by before the end of the day:
  1. Incline Running 15 Minutes
  2. 30 Sumo/Chair Jacks
  3. 20 Bicep Curls
  4. 20 Tricep Kick-backs
  5. 20 Back Flys
  6. 20 Overhead Tricep Extentions
  7. 20 In & Out Straight Arm Shoulder Flys
  8. 20 Hammer Curls
  9. 20 Lawnmowers
  10. Drink 4 Huge Glasses of Water

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Doing Something.

We have a lot to learn from Sarah.

  • Brooding burns lots of calories, but exercise burns more.
  • Tank tops look even hotter when you're doing chin-ups.
  • There is a direct correlation between looking good in tight jeans and the wearer's ability to run fast, jump high, crouch low, and effectively wield heavy weapons.
  • Sweat = Perfume.
  • There's no time like the present.

That last one's a biggie for me. It really easy to cheat myself out of a workout completely by telling myself that that I will get to it later. Take it from me, later never comes. Later, there will be dinner to cook, dishes and laundry to wash. And don't forget raising your only son to be the single greatest warrior Humankind will ever know (pretend not to notice how unlikely this seems when you're cleaning his poop off the side of the bathtub).

There is ALWAYS a reason NOT to work out. But let's be honest. There is NO time like the present. I'm a busy girl, but even I can find time to do fifty squats while I'm waiting for my stale coffee to reheat in the microwave. And let's face it: if I wait till the robots are already trying to kill me to begin my training, I'll be dead along with the rest of you weaklings.

No offense.


See that shot of me at the top of the page in the purple onesie? Pretty hot, huh?

Yeah, photoshop makes people hot.

The photog shaved about 15% out of the arch of my back, making my waist appear much smaller.

Of course, everything else is really me. So I guess I am pretty hot, or at least I was last May before a knee injury became my excuse to get out of working out whenever possible (read: ever).

I'm gonna get brave soon and post my "before Sarah Connor Survival Training" pics. It will be all I can do not to touch them up in PS.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It starts.

I'm twenty-seven years old and I'm little closer to being ready than when I was seventeen. I still get winded walking up a flight of stairs, I can't jog more than a mile without rest, can't lift anything larger than my three-year-old above my head. Forget shooting robots and climbing fences. When Judgement Day comes, I'm totally and completely screwed.
It's enough.
My Sarah Connor survival training begins today. No scales, no measuring tapes. Just good old-fashioned running, lifting, robot shooting, and tourniquet tying.
I'm not totally sure how to start.
Do chin-ups on her up-turned institution issue bed, and act leery of her iMac.