Monday, March 29, 2010

Ahhhh Spring

Today I saw my first real sign of spring.  The beautiful purple flowers that pop up after a couple of days of warm sunshine.  I love this time of the year.  The days are longer, and the light truly is renewal.  

The long winter is over, and it feels like a do-over to some degree.  Maybe it's just the beginning of a new season, but I think spring might be the best. All those new year's resolutions have resurfaced and they seem doable again.  

Triathlon training here I come - I am excited to get on my fabulous new bike tomorrow and see if I can ride at least a few miles without falling off - I'll let you know.

For now, enjoy your first sign of spring and take a minute to smell the flowers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where does the Time Go?

I just realized that it's been over a week since I blogged.  I think it's amazing at this age that the time truly does slip by sometimes without notice.  We've been home and at the cabin, living the normal life of the almost 50 - driving kids places, supervising homework, working and planning a vacation.  All good, but I realize that I need to carve out space for me during all that stuff.

My exercise and writing seem to take the back burner first - and my goal for April is to put them back on the front burner, even in small ways.  I am beginning to train for my summer triathlons, and the good news is I know where to focus, the stark reality, is that I need to get my butt in gear.  

My blogging/writing also needs to be revitalized, and I'll try to take time each day to think about it and ideally write 3-4 times a week - I sometimes get caught up in not having a significant topic to write about so I wait - I will have  gardens and a great vacation to fill those spots in the next weeks, so that will help.

I will also plan to do a 6-month check in the first week of April - how am I doing against my goals, how is the year going, what am I looking forward to in the second 6-months?

More later this week - it is true that every journey starts with the first step - even if you are doing the first step again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We are Family

I had a lovely visit with my mother this weekend.  She was able to come to St. Paul from upstate New York and spend a few days with us.  We kept her hopping with book club, a basketball tournament for Charlie and a visit to Red Wing for a class I taught.  We all enjoyed it and, as always, it was fun to spend time together since we don't get to do it very often.

I am struck, sometimes, by what little things in each day remind me that I am part of a family.  One of my favorite is that crazy morning routine that happens every day, come rain or come shine.  It starts at our house with the early risers - Bill and me (and my mom this weekend), reading the headlines of the paper or paying bills in those pre-dawn hours.  It then goes something like this:  

Jack - are you taking the train to school or getting a ride?

Charlie - it's time to wake up, honey.

What kind of sandwich do you want for lunch?

Bill - what time are you coming home?

Charlie - please get up.

Chips or cookies?

Am I taking the train home or are you picking me up?

Who do you think will make the final 4?

Charlie - get up now - I have a meeting and it's a long walk to school.

And on, and on it goes......Almost the same every day, but somehow comforting in it's familiarity and routine.  I'm sure I'll have to build in new family routines as the boys grow up and move out, but for now, I'll enjoy these.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I learned something in an Enneagram training last fall that came blowing back to me this week.  I had been working on, and struggling with a work project.  One of those that is challenging, and gives you headache because you have to think so hard, you know?

I was also up against the deadline (have I mentioned I'm sometimes a procrastinator?).  I was working on it over the weekend, then, as it always happens, Charlie's basketball team won their game (does it make me a bad mother that I was hoping they'd lose?) - so the tournament an hour away went from a couple of hours on Sunday to almost the whole day.

My anxiety went up and I realize now (My family, I'm sure realized on Sunday) that I was whipping myself into a bit of a frenzy worrying about getting it all done on time, but in particular, doing it well.  I can sometimes get into a spiral of being sure I'm not doing my best work which, surprise, surprise, keeps me from doing my best work.  It's  tough one for me because producing quality work is at my core and I hate the idea of submitting something less that what I'm capable of - it doesn't have to be perfect, but I do need to feel good about it.

So, what came back to me that helped as I was up way too late on Sunday night finishing up, was an idea of "breathing myself back down".  Dr. David Daniels who was the facilitator of the Enneagram class I took at Loyola in November, talked about this concept as a tool to help de-escalate any conflict situation.  I know it's not rocket science, but I have to say I've found it to be an incredibly helpful.  It's easy to practice - stop, take 5 really big breaths and bring your anxiety into your conscience.  Then take a moment to quiet yourself and re-group. You can also do it as many times as you need - take it from me, you might have to do it more than once!

It works for me, and helped me get back into a productive mode to finish my project - which I did.  It has also worked well as a tool with my coaching clients.  

I know it may just be another form of meditation, but for me the words and physical act of stopping and doing it, is powerful.

That's my bit of wisdom for the day - so next time you are feeling a bit anxious - try it.  Just Breathe yourself back down.  Hmmmm.  Now, I wonder if it works with teenagers?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Check it Out

I am a huge library fan.  I love to read and for years growing up, I had access to free reads because my parents owned a bookstore. But alas, when they sold it, many years ago, I realized that my book habit was becoming expensive.

Since then, I have loved the ritual of going to the library, getting my card and checking out whatever I please.  I check out books, often knowing I won't read them all or only want one recipe, knitting pattern etc.., I check out books on tape for car rides, I check out movies and CD's too.  Now I can even download books to my computer!

I have lived in many places since those high school days, and going to the library as a card holder has been the sure sign that I was home - even if I wasn't going to be there for long.  

In recent years, I've become an avid user of the online offerings at the library.  I go through the new bestseller lists and identify which books I want and then go online at the library and get on the list - and lo and behold, they send me an email saying the books are ready to be checked out for three weeks.  I also love the databases that are available online - when Jack forgot his passwords from school the other day, he just jumped online at the public library site and had all the information he needed at his fingertips.

I am sorry to see the hours of the libraries being reduced due to budget cuts, I think it's such a great place to study for kids and adults alike, I am happy to have my taxes go to support the on-going health of the nation's libraries and will continue to let my legislators know that.

So, if you aren't a regular, check it out - you'll be glad you did