Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A weekend getaway

I'm just back from a deliciously decadent weekend with a few girlfriends.

Good food, excellent company, beautiful scenery, plus hot tub= bliss. And on top of all that, we got in a fantastic workout with a 6 mile hike! But first we ate pie.

I know I'm a grown up, but little mini vacations like this do make me feel very adult. You mean I can just plan an excursion with friends... and go?

Of course, there are a ton of factors allowing that "and just go" to happen: saving up for it, lots of logistic organizing, shopping and planning meals, a friend giving my dog tons of tlc while I'm away, etc, etc... But once I'm there and relaxing, I like to forget about all of those to dos and just enjoy the moment.

Yup, that's right, Star magazine crossword-- in pen.

This particular weekend was to celebrate a good friend, so the planning that went in to the weekend was extra fun because we got to scheme and think up fun ways to pamper one of our favorite people.

We knew that in addition to plenty of tlc, we wanted to get a chance to enjoy the outdoors. We chose our hiking spot with a little research on the morning of. Finding a spot to explore was not very difficult at all, and it was a good reminder that hiking can be accessible. (I often get intimidated by the prospect of finding new hiking spots or doing other outdoorsy things.)

A friend glanced through a few books, and another friend hopped on the internet. Soon we had narrowed our choice down to a local state park that seemed to have a few good options. We opted for a 6ish mile hike that was labeled as "moderate". After a couple of wrong turns, we found the trailhead and started out our adventure.

Look ma, I'm hiking!
We took plenty of snack and water breaks, and pointed out various sightings to each other.
As we looped back to our starting spot, we came across an open area full of downy-looking ferns. Some of the ferns looked like they had little red berries on the top.
But as we came closer we realized they were ladybugs!

I can't imagine another type of insect that we'd ooh and ahh over for as long as we did. Other hikers walking past, stopped to view this little magical world with us. I had never seen clusters of ladybugs before. There were just so many of them! Occasionally one would land on us or fly up into the air, for the most part though they didn't seem to notice us.

Seriously, I have so many pictures of these ladybugs (and even a little video of their antics). I'll spare you though since I know they are still bugs. But trust me, there were thousands of them.

The trees kept most of the hike blanketed in silence, but occasionally we'd hear a bird or a little creek.

Post hike we headed back to the house for some more relaxing, including a viewing of Chocolat, one of my all time favorite movies. Seriously, Johnny Depp, how do you do what you do?

Now I'm back home, with boxes eagerly awaiting to be packed. The weekend was just enough of a recharge that I'll hopefully be able to power through even the stickiest packing moment.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Morning kindness

I've noticed a tendency to be super critical of myself in the morning.
I pass that mirror and the first things I notice sound pretty harsh: What blemish decided to say hello today? Why is my nose so dry in the morning? Maybe that saleswoman at Origins was right and I should have sprung for the wrinkle cream?

Today, without even thinking about it, I tried something different.
I was looking in the mirror with a critical voice blaring in my ear and suddenly I found a pause button:
Hi self! Good morning. I see kindness in my eyes. I feel well rested. My curly hair is on a mission to be wild this morning.

Then before I knew it, I was smiling. Starting the day with gratitude felt so much better!
The critical voice is pretty well automated by now, but I like the idea of putting it on pause.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Advice I'm ignoring

A few years ago I borrowed a book called "Simplify your Life" by Elaine St. James. Though I know there were some gems in the book, I don't remember too much of it (and in fact I currently own several books with that same title). I do remember this tip: Keep your Plants Outdoors.

I remember it because I love having plants indoors.

And they've actually served as a barometer for what's going on with me, as demonstrated by a post over at bethanymoves (my on hiatus blog). This post was called Transparency. I wrote it 2 years ago, June. I shared pics of my sad, dry little plants. I also felt sad. And hadn't really noticed the plants current state until I saw them as a mirror for how I was feeling inside.

It actually hurts a little to look at these pictures. Not just because my plants were in such a sad state, but also because I remember how much my heart was hurting when I took these pictures.

I wish I'd shared another pic of how my plants were doing as I healed. The plants have bloomed, multiplied and been such a joy to me. Is it strange that plants seem to keep you company? Not in the same way as a friend over for wine and sharing, but in a fill your house with another layer of richness sort of way.
This pic was actually taken to show some of Autumn's organizing magic. But since it shows my happy little plants, I thought I'd include it.

And my mint! That I used for my cooking I posted about here. (I'm glad mint is so resilient. It doesn't currently look like this but I have faith it'll spring back.)

Last weekend, I took a trip down to the LBC with my friend and soon to be roomie. I decided to take my plants down so there wasn't a chance they'd get jostled on moving day or shoved about amidst boxes. I didn't anticipate I'd miss them though! My house is plant-less and I feel it!

I think this calls for a walk in a garden.

Is the vote still out in your house? Indoor plants or no? Any other urban city dwellers that just don't have their own outside areas to plant in? I think one day I'll have an outdoor garden, but til then I'm content with my little indoor one.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tickled pink (err...green)

There hasn't been too much movement/ aka weight loss progress since my Half-Marathon. Is my scale broken? Does this number seem familiar to anyone else?

Still, I do feel like I've been moving forward.
So what have I been up to? Ready for a hint?

It's a different type of movement...

Yup, that's right. I'm moving. From lovely, beautiful San Francisco. I'm heading down south to Long Beach. In some ways it's bittersweet, but as much as I love San Francisco, I am excited to be closer to my family.

Moving is overwhelming no matter how you look at it. Lately I seem to be acquiring a whole lot of boxes and even more to-do lists.

That's why today, I made a tickler file. I read David Allen's, Getting Things Done and though I'd heard of a tickler File before, I was reminded of how much this system could help make sense of the moving madness. Check out Space For Living's review of Getting Things Done here.

A tickler file is a system of 43 folders. 12 that are labeled for January-December, and 31 that are labeled 1-31, one for each day of the month. Since I'm focused on the next few weeks in particular, this file was set up with special emphasis on today (Sept 8th) through the beginning of October.

My to-do lists have been kind of random; everything from get more boxes, to use up perishable food in the fridge, to fix my necklace.

Why would I be worrying about a necklace while I'm trying to move? Well, in the grand scheme of things it's not a mega priority, but my friend designs jewelry and I'll see her for lunch next week, so I want to remember to bring it with me. But, since I'm also packing and getting organized and moving things around, I was worried there would be a chance my regular holding places for to-do's would be shuffled, overstuffed, packed, etc. The tickler file will allow me to have a holding place for all sorts of things I want to grab and reference over the next couple of weeks.

That different colored folder in the back contains supplies for a little birthday present I want to make for a friend in a few weeks. I stuck it next to the file for the day I plan to make and mail it. Ah, organizing. Now, I just need to remember to actually reference the file every day. That's the only way a tickler file is actually helpful.

So, yeah, not a ton of movement scale wise, but this whole "B Getting Hot" adventure is more than that. Right? And calming the chaos is certainly an important step.