Friday, July 30, 2010

“A Blessing for One Who Is Exhausted”

Found this poem on a blog that I follow this morning and it was such a lovely reminder for me and I wanted to share...

“A Blessing for One Who Is Exhausted”

by John O’Donohue

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The ride you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I could not ask for anything more...

I cannot even begin to express just how loved I felt this weekend.

My heart is overflowing with the gratitude I have for the people that I am lucky enough to have in my life and the ways these people manage to constantly amaze me by going so far out of their way to do the most thoughtful things. I was showered with phone calls and cards from friends and family near and far and I have to say the only thing that could have made the weekend better would have been to have every single one these people by my side.

On top of all the calls and cards, my incredible (such an understatement) loverboy and equally incredible group of girlfriends in the bay area threw me the most beautiful surprise birthday party on Saturday night. I've always dreamed of having a surprise party - it might sound cheesy, but it was a dream come true - and well if that had been the end of it, if my friends would have jumped out and said "Surprise" in the middle of timbuktu and then just called it quits right there, well that would have been more than enough. But, let me tell you these people are always in it to win it and it took me the better part of the entire evening and even into the next day and the next and even up until now to really be able to take in every little detail of effort that Joe, Kat, Erik, Laura, Julian, Lindsey, Nate, George, Jeanie, and Julian (the dog) put into the evening.

I'm telling you the party was like a photo shoot straight out of Sunset Magazine - and boy if you know how much I love Sunset Magazine, you know what a dream come true this was!!

Joseph, was the instigator for all this lovliness. The boy amazes me more and more every day. I had no idea at all that he had been planning this bash for weeks in advance. And then I did not find out until that evening that he had spent his Saturday morning waking up early to do some marinade making and marinating veggies to grill, boiling potatoes to prep for grilling and then hauling his friend's grill (he is the grill master and I love that about him!)to Kat's - all before he arrived on my doorstep at the early afternoon hour of 1pm with a boquet of flowers in hand. (Did I mention that he had a good friend staying with him and neglected him all morning long to prep and also dropped him off at the airport on his way over?) Oh and I can't forget to mention that Joe wrote me the sweetest letter, I've been reading it before I go to bed at night.

Kat must have spent hours prepping the backyard for the evening. Kat is one of those people who just really pays attention to what her friends like and love and then has a big, huge heart of gold to make those likes and loves come to life. Everyone needs a Kat in their life and I'm sure glad I've got her! There were beautiful homemade tissue pom-poms dangling amidst twinkly lights and bright bougenvilla. There were jars galore!!! I heart jars! And the jars were full of twinkly candles and gorgeous bunches of hydrangeas. There was a big, long wooden table surrounded by a crafty mix of chairs that just gave so much character to the setting. Ooooh and she even got sparklers that we got to light up after dinner and dance around in the front yard with!!! The girl left no detail astray! And you know what, I just know that Erik, must have had a big hand in supporting Kat in all this and for that I am so thankful! Oooh and Erik gave me the most beautiful orchid which fits just perfectly into my apartment. And he gave me my very first spoken card!! How cute is that - people spoke their cards to me - love it! My heart was melting all night long amidst all the homemade beauty.

Laura made the most delicious and artistic figs with melted blue cheese and marscapone with lovely little lavender dish decor! Sunset would have been proud! Ooooh and she made a super summery tomato and tofu dish which was positively deelish!

Lindsey and Nate flew all the way back from Morrocco and Paris just in time for the festivities and I couldn't have been happier to share the evening with them as we celebrated their engagement!!! Woooooo hoooooooooooooo!!! Birthdays and engagements make for so much fun! Congrats again Lindsey and Nate!!! oooh and Lindsey made they yummiest mojitos! Perfect summer bbq drink!

Julian tended to a gorgeous hibiscus plant for the past six months and then graced with me the beautiful fruits of his labor --- love 'em they are so cheerful!

George and Jeanie hosted the whole darn thing at their beautiful home and I couldn't be happier to share the evening with them. Especially because George provided blankets, sweaters and scarves after the sun went down and we all got a little chilly!

Julian, the dog just added all around merriment to the evening!

The food was delicious, the decorations were beautiful, the company was second to none, I honestly could not have asked for anything more.

Thank you is an absolute understatement for what I feel in my heart for all of you.

I love these girls...

and I love all these peeps!

Oh and P.S. - On Sunday we went to see Wicked - more incredible!

This song seems like a fitting tribute to all the people who helped make my birthday so special...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My cup runneth over...

I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude for the people in my life--I could not have asked for a better start to year 28 this weekend -- more to come soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Song of the Day...

Piano, Strings, Beautiful voice, beautiful lyrics...what more could you ask for?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures...

1) 4 nights with loverboy (sorry if this is TMI - it just made me so happy)

2) Long hikes by the ocean

3) Watching/Buying a favorite movie (Julie & Julia) with the Target gift card Amber and Damon sent as a thank you.

4) A homemade card from Niki.

5) A postcard of the Dalai Lama from Lindsey.

6) An afternoon reading Anna K. at Philz in Berkley.

7) Homemade red wine sauce.

8) My new favorite vegetable - Kale.

9) Cheeseboard Pizza and Jazz Trios.

Monday, July 12, 2010

love is in the air....

Weekend full of love here in the bay. You know love is always in the air when loverboy is around, but this weekend we had two extra love treats - 1)a visit from Amber and her gentleman caller - Dapper Damon and 2) celebrating Mia and John's love at their AH-mazing wedding. It was such a treat to get to have Amber and Damon stay for a night - there's nothing as fun and comforting and feel-goodie as spending time with old friends. Amber and I have known each other since about the 5th grade! It was my first time meeting Damon and I have to say, the guy is great - it was so fun getting to know him over the weekend. Amber and Damon - you guys make an adorable, loving couple.

So not only did we get to spend time with these amazing people, we got to attend an absolutely gorgeous wedding - I'm telling you - this wedding could be featured in a magazine! Unfortunately, I don't have words or pictures that capture the beauty of the event. All I know is it felt like a fairy tale - and getting to share it with Loverboy and good friends just made it over the top lovely.

Enjoy these pics of the weekend...

ooops, quick detour here, I got a pedicure this weekend! It was glorious!

oh and a manicure!

Loverboy and I next to our new ride. Okay, maybe it was Mia and John's getaway car.

Amber, Ginger and I.

I'm in love with these lanterns!

Gorgeous wooden tables --loved them! Beautiful flower arrangements, starfish place savers--whoopie pies for whooping it up - you know.

Drinks with the bride - AND - do you see Mia and John's getaway car #2 in the background?!

The lovely lanterns got even lovelier at night.

Ummm, yeah....the LIVE Motown band - Pride & Joy. They rocked.

We sent the newly weds off with sparklers - how fun is that?! And then we followed them to the posh Rosewood for the after party!

The next morning - Loverboy made some yummy coffee for the sleepy-eyed crew with my new fav. - Agave Sweetner! He made some incredible omlettes too which I failed to get a pic of.

Amber and the boys.

Me and the boys.

Jump photos, of course.

I love their jump personalities.

And boy do I love this guy!

Reason # 4385 that I heart loverboy...

Last night as we were winding down our weekend, I said to loverboy -

"Life just doesn't get any better than this. We topped it this weekend!"

He replied by saying,

"Honey, we didn't top it, we just tipped it."

I just love that loverboy thinks like this!

More on our lovely weekend soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


** I remembered that work outs should make you feel stronger, more balanced and more relaxed not stressed and run-down.

**I ran with my droid in my hand and blasted music from my pandora app.

**I took the time to just sit and stretch while the sun made my sweaty skin glisten...there is something that is just so luxurious to me about just sitting and stretching in the sun after a run--I seldom allow myself the time to do this after a run - I think I'll start to change that.

**I got teary-eyed seeing a group of people in downward dog on a grassy patch of the Stanford oval.

**I pulled up next to Kat and Erik at a stoplight - it made me feel so at home - pulling up next to someone I know is something that usually only happens in my home town.

**I loved listening to the Sara Bareilles station on pandora.

**I thought of positive images when my mind started to drift to loverboy and it made me feel better about being apart.

**I got to sit down and set a new group of 8 week goals.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Well hello simple pleasure lists, it's been a while and I've been seriously missing you and well funny thing, after a week of feeling like a dark, storm cloud was hanging over my head - I felt like there were distinct moments today when I was actually watching the cloud breaking up and give way to rays of sunshine. It's funny to me how this always seems to happen after a little rough patch - you know the sunshine coming back here are the ways I witnessed some sunshine coming back in today...

1) Caring, informative doctors.

2) A completely unexpected bonus at work.

3) Hearing a co-worker give genuine and heartfelt praise to another co-worker at our Team meeting today. It just melted my heart. I am so touched by people who take notice of someone else's hard work and have the courage to point it out.

4) Telling the truth! I've been holding in my little health episode of the past 2 weeks at work. And today, I shared the whole story with one of my co-workers and it just felt so good to get it out there. I'm just not happy when I have to hide things and can't be the whole me. And one of the best parts of sharing is the support and understanding that usually comes from the person listening.

5) Haircuts - they give me a fresh start feeling :).

6) Summer squash and green beans from the owner of the hair salon where I get my haircut! A haircut and some fresh, home grown produce - loverly!

7) Finding funny things that loverboy leaves behind....I have a list of my 8 week goals hanging on my fridge - on my last list, one of my goals says,
"Hang Red Bowl"
I have this beautiful red bowl that a friend painted for me and I have been wanting to hang it and I was joking with loverboy about how I needed him to hang it for me. So tonight while I was getting indgredients for dinner out of the fridge - I noticed that this goal had some loverboy scribbling by it and it had been changed to;

">Make Joe Hang Red Bowl"

I laughed hard, out loud. Good one loverboy, good one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The beautiful bridge


So the US may have bowed out of World Cup comp. a couple weeks ago - but that's no reason to stop chanting USA, USA - right Lindsey?! Especially when it's the 4th of July and you get to spend it with a bunch of people that just make ya happy.

Here's a couple shots of what we've been up to this lovely 4th of July weekend.

Making stuffed peppers and drinking lime drinks.

...buying ingredients for gin and tonics and lime drinks.

Using my new favorite spice - Smoked Paprika! Go get some of this red love!

Admiring this beautiful pottery from Lindsey. I threw the bowl!

Feasting with friends (loverboy made the yummy guac!)

Plotting big schemes with friends.

Chowing down on these amazing corn chips (they have soy sauce in them!)


Jumping of course.

and jumping some more.

Loving this boy.

Jess's bay area recruiting trip.

SISTER SLEDGE, pack your bags and move to the bay already.

So in the midst of all the crazy health stuff going on last week - my crazy, wonderful sister was in town. I tell ya, that girl is always there for me during tough stuff. She is probably the most easy going, open-minded person I know and was just an absolute delight to have in town for a whole week. I admire her ability to relax and just be and enjoy life. While I got the gene for being a stress ball, she definitely got the gene for being relaxed and able to go with the flow and I truly admire that about her. Plus, she showers me with presents!!! Yup, that's right, after a hard day at work one day, I came home and she had a couple of the cutest bowls waiting for me, along with some purple measuring cups and a cute Turquoise shirt because as she says, "Everyone needs a little turquoise in their lives :)."

Sadly, I was feeling kind of crappy the entire time she was here, but we still managed to squeeze a lot of fun in, here were some of the highlights;
**Making yummy dinners - curry chicken, coconut rice and dirty rice, **Jogging the dish, **Dinner at Sprout ** Hot Chocolate at Coupa ** Lazy movie nights ** Dinner at Cha Cha Cha with Loverboy and Delaney (It made my heart so happy to finally have someone from my family meet Joe) **Beers at the Monk's Kettle ** Happening upon the Pink Triangle parade through the mission **Anna K. Brunch with my lovely bay area girlfriends ** Getting new SMART Phones together (We did the BOGO deal on the droid and I'm now hooked on smart phones!)

Our twinsy turquoise shirts

Curry Chicken and coconut rice

Yummy Spanish Tapas and Sangria found here.

Anna K. Brunch with these lovelies.

Kat made us brunch!

It was Deeeeeelish!! Can you see the crumb top? Can you say heaven?!

Aren't these just so cheery and delightful?

Nestable measuring cups!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marathon Post #1

Well hello blog, it has been a little while. I've been a little pre-occupied this past week - you know with PMS, the sister in town, crazy health issues etc. etc. -- but I've been dying to log on and write about it all because well let's face it - I am just no good at holding things in and I get this crazy, wonderful sense of relief in sharing - I can't help it, I must have been born with a gene for bubbling over.

Uhhh, can we start with icky health issues please? Because, well I have a lot that I need to get off my chest there. I apologize in advance if what I'm about to share is TMI, if you're at all squeamish about health issues, you may want to navigate away from this page now.

It all started the Sunday before the last. I was in the shower soaping up and I noticed a big lump on the side of my neck. I thought it was a little weird, but didn't think too much of it immediately and just carried on with life - you know like going for an hour run that evening and then waking up at 6 am the next morning for another hour run (not really so normal, eh...more to come on this later). On Monday morning after my run, I noticed this funny looking rash on my neck, but again didn't think much of it. My sister, who I was so excited to see was arriving that night and I figured whatever the rash was it would just clear up the next day and I also figured the lump on my neck would go down the next day.

So, the sister arrives, Monday passes, Tuesday passes, Wednesday passes and well the rash is still there and the gland in my neck is still sticking out so I started to get a little concerned---okay maybe more than a little concerned (I'm blaming extra PMS horomones for making me even extra edgy). Come Thursday, I had a complete melt down, yep, sure did, I admit it. The details of this would probably make you even more queasy then all this talk about rashes and lumpy necks - so I'll sum it up by saying that the melt down consisted of a very teary and frustrated phone conversation with loverboy (who is a complete saint might I add) and another teary, frustrated phone call with Kaiser and another teary, frustrated conversation with my sister.

I was stressed because for some reason I got in my head that I needed to go to Urgent Care that night and it was getting late and well Urgent Care was closed so the only other option was ER - which would have required a 2 hour plus wait. After a couple deep breaths, I realized, hey, I'm not dying - I can wait until tomorrow to see a doctor, which my goodness was such a simple realization but for some reason in my mental state sure wasn't easy to come to. My word it's amazing how cloudy the brain gets when you are frustrated - thank goodness for finally remembering to take a few deep breaths.

So yay, I had a dr. appt. scheduled for the next day, which brings me to the next chapter here. My scarring dr. appt. (yes, I am being extra dramatic here - it's my blog, I'm allowed). Again, this might be TMI but here I go. The doctor took a look at my rash and said she wanted the dermatologist to come in and take a look - so about 5 minutes later, in walked this man who must have been about 70 years old (I wonder if he could even really see my rash - sorry, can you tell I'm not a fan of this guy) - I knew he was crazy off the bat because he was wearing bright red plaid pants and took one look at me as I smiled and said hello, told me I had a pretty smile and then proceeded to ask if I was related to a doctor at Stanford after he saw my last name and said that he was one of the meanest doctors around and hated women - great comfort story doc, thanks. You sure know how to set people at ease. He took one look at my neck and said, "You have herpes and your boyfriend probably gave it to you." WHAT?!!?? "Yes and now you are a carrier for life and it's nothing to be concerned about, but it'll just be a goddamn nuisance." Thanks a lot for handling the diagnosis so sensitively guy.

Needless to say, I was completely unnerved. The doc sent me to the lab for blood tests to get confirmation that this was in fact what was causing my rash and sends me home for the weekend with a bottle of pills and a big, huge, stormy gray cloud hanging over my head -- telling me she will let me know what the test results say sometime next week. What? I have to wait a whole 2, 3, 4 or 5 days before I know for sure what's wrong with me and if I'm ever going to be able to kiss my boyfriend again without worrying.

Literally, I was depressed for the better half of the weekend, trying to deal with a lot of uncertainty.

Monday evening while I was at dinner with my sister, I got an email from Kaiser. Here is what it basically said,

"Your tests came back negative. The medicine you have will also take care of Shingles."

To be honest, I had kind of suspected that my rash was Shingles. I have a good friend from home who has had Shingles and I had called her earlier in the week to talk about it - and my symptoms sounded very similar.

Call me crazy, but I was relieved - Shingles is more or less a one time thing which is caused by the same virus that causes Chicken pox which lays dormant in the body and can be reactivated by a weakened immune system or stress.

I'm on medicine for it right now and things are healing up, although I am still lower energy than usual and suspect that might last for a little while.

So yes, back to the cause of this crazy thing - a weakened immune system or stress. Well, yes, I admit it - I have been stressed (do I sound like a broken record - just as I have the gene for bubbling over, I also have the gene for being a complete stress ball) and just downright not being as good at expressing gratitude. I was burning the candle at both ends again - I do this to myself about once a year - go until I have a melt down as evidenced by this blog now :). (I'm sure if I went back to a journal about a year ago - I'd be getting ready for a break down or talking about running around ragged and not making any relaxation time for myself.) Between coaching, work travel and then moving in April and traveling across the country again for my grandfather's funeral, starting a new relationship, a new position at work - I just know that I have not given my body a chance to recover from all that - I've just kept on going - waking up at 5 am a few days a week t0 exercise and then filling my evenings with one thing after another and completely convincing myself that I didn't need to just sit down and rest every now and then.

This week has been a wake up call for me in a big way - I know how I work by now and I know that I tend to make myself sick about once a year because I go, go, go and forget to rest- but up until this time around the sick has always manifested itself in a cold aka: familiar sick feelings like fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose etc- not in swollen glands that make me feel like an alien or weird, painful rashes - and to be honest - it kind of scared me. And for better or worse maybe that is actually what I needed to wake me up to realize that lifestyle changes need to be made before I create a more serious end-result for myself.

So I mean it this time, something in my lifestyle needs to change. And let's be real - I know what it is - my obsession with working out. Yes, I admit it, I'm addicted and obsessed with the endorphin rush/ego boost of working out. This is an area of my life where I completely lack balance. My little addiction probably officially started my freshman year of high school - when my passion for basketball officially took off and I started "training" to be the best basketball player I could be. It got a little more intense when I made the decision to play college basketball and it got even a little more intense when I finished my college basketball career and started to seek out new ways to stay in shape. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not as crazy obsessed as say an ultramarathoner may be but I do think that my obsession with a hobby that is "healthy" has actually become a little toxic for me. It's not that I don't enjoy working out, but it has got to a point where I actually get stressed out about being able to fit in a workout and if I can't I get crabby - you know probably how a drug addict feels if they can't get their fix (sorry for the drama again). But in all seriousness - this is not a balanced approach to exercise or life. When planning an activity with friends during the week causes stress because it makes me worry about how I am going to fit my 6 exercise sessions in, it's gone too far. I'm not exactly sure how to begin to change this mind frame - but I know that it needs to change. Any suggestions?

Being so low energy this past week and a half has forced me to go from 60 t0 0 which requires a lot of patience because not working out for a week and a half is something I haven't done since I was probably 13. Even when I was backpacking through Europe, I woke up in the morning to go running.

As I approach the big 28, I know that new life phases - like potentially having kids one day will mean that I need to adopt a more flexible attitude towards work outs. And to be honest, it would be great to work to adopt some life habits that allow me to prevent getting to a point like this. And again, I know what tends to happen with me - I get sick and run down - swear to myself that I am going to take it easier once I am healthy again and start to do that - but eventually get right back into obsession mode and burn myself out.

I am starting to brainstorm some ideas about things that I can do to achieve balance. Here's what I've got so far...

1) Workout 5 days a week instead of 6.
2) I'm banning myself from 5 am workouts
3) Potentially shifting my work hours from 8-5 ish to 9-6ish to perhaps allow for a morning workout with out waking up at the break of dawn and allowing evenings to be free.

Alright I guess I should make an official committment here because goodness knows that if I don't - I'll keep on doing exactly what I'm doing and see you back here in a year with my latest stressy, sob story.

So I'm doing it, I'm committing to only working out 5 days a week instead of 6. I know this may sound a little absurd still - 5 days instead of 6 - big whoop right? But being at the point that I am at right now, it's a pretty big step and a little harder for me to swallow than it might sound.

Crazy as it might sound, I get a little squeamish myself at the thought of taking an extra day off. The good thing is - after a week of not working out, I have realized how much time/energy is freed up for other things that I love to do or even for just vegging out in front of the TV - which is actually kind of fun and super relaxing every now and then. And I won't lie, it's kind of a beautiful thing to wake up on a Saturday morning and to just be completely lazy instead of rushing out the door for a yoga class or a spin class or a run.

I will do my best to remember both of those thoughts when I get tempted to head to the gym on the 6th day :).

Whew - so there's my health story/thoughts - in the mean time there's been a whole lotta other stuff going on, which, I will save for Marathon Post #2.

Hugs to ya blogosphere - thanks for reading.

I'm dating a coffee addict....

Loverboy woke up this morning and the first words out of his mouth were "Cream and Sugar Please." Good thing Philz is just a hop, skip and a jump away :).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hey Blogosphere...

...I Miss you! I'll be back with a marathon post soon! Happy Friday!