Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Om Sweet Om

As per usual when life got busy, my blogging activity went down... imagine that!  I have been busy preparing for the move which has been impending for quite some time but is ACTUALLY going to happen this week. The guesstimated move date is currently Saturday morning! I even locked down a place yesterday! 

I spent the Memorial Day weekend in Chi-town, it was jam packed. I drove to Chicago on Thursday and made good use of my time seeing everyone possible in the next four days. I was able to attend the beautiful wedding of a past co-worker and had an amazing time catching up and dancing with all the Halfers (we all worked together at Robert Half). I hadn't been to a wedding in awhile and it was difficult at times but who knows if that will ever change. My brother is getting married in July and I am standing up in it so it was nice to get a wedding in before that one. 

The remainder of the time I caught up with friends from all different phases of my life. I had such a great time going out to eat, sharing drinks, and having lots of laughs. The couple I stayed with in Australia were also in town! We shared many stories about Matt which is always nice to do. 

I also made it to a yoga class at my old studio, CorePower Yoga. Just like old times it was a strong powerful vinyasa flow class in a deliciously heated studio. I felt at home and realized how much I missed their style. I am considering doing one of their trainings as they also have studios in SD and this only reconfirmed my interest. In true yogi style, this is the place I felt the most at home during my visit. It probably didn't help that I was bunking with friends and in hotels all weekend, it was strange to not have my own place to stay in a city that I not too long ago called home. 

After visiting Chicago and even though I missed the city and my friends dearly, it again reinforced my decision to move to San Diego. I love it there but it's time to move on. And that's exactly what's happening in three days! 

I was very very bad at taking pics this weekend and posted the few I took below. Alright off to pack and by pack I mean lay at the pool with my friend and her kids all day ;) 

Me and the Beautiful Bride, Holly

Two Hottest Widows EVER!

Me and the Lovely Ladies of Robert Half... what a fun group of coworkers! 



Friday, May 17, 2013

a not so exciting Friday update

Life has been chugging along and as I predicted my time to leave Ohio would soon be here. I still have the rest of the month but I am going to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend so there goes a big chunk of my time. I am headed there for a friend's wedding and of course to see many more friends before I leave the midwest. Can't wait! After my visit I will come back to Ohio and pack up the car and leave around the 1st of June. 

I have been sick the past couple of days so trying to get over this. I am not sure if it's allergies or a cold or perhaps I am just allergic to Ohio. I laid around for one WHOLE day which is essentially like torture to me. I am still trying to keep it low key so I can kick this thing for real and don't have to be a sicky mess when I head to Chi-town. It's always a challenge for me to slow down but it's imperative when trying to heal. One good thing of the whole sickness is that I discovered the Neti Pot. Yes it looks and sounds scary but it works for me and it could work for you too! I was able to use it properly on the first try so it can't be that hard? Just check out the online videos of how to do it here... . And to avoid amoebas (don't ask), use distilled water not from the tap. 

My sickness also coincided with the last day of my cleanse. I tried to stick it out but I was hungry for Nanny's famous homemade toast and the thought of making more kitcheree made me more ill. This particular cleanse was not for me. I was eating rice porridge ( for breakfast and then kitcheree ( for lunch and dinner. I was allowed snacks of apples and sesame seeds during the day. There was also a digestive tea ( I drank and was allowed as much room temp water as I wanted (don't be jealous). Again this wasn't the right cleanse for me but it works for a lot of people and has for thousands of years, not sure what my deal is. Maybe my body is saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the widow's book corner: The Four Agreements

I know, I know, it has been forever since I posted a book review. That does NOT mean I haven't read anything. In fact, I am typically reading three books at a time! I read a lot of books both fiction and self-helpesque while I was traveling but just didn't have enough energy or retention to write a full review. With a very long reading list after yoga teacher training, I am back to the book  reviews, even expanding from the somewhat depressing widow genre. The book I am reviewing in this post was also on my Yoga Teacher's reading list. I had never heard of it before but now that I am in the know, I have seen the author's quotes everywhere. I am guessing you might too, they are brilliant! Check it out... 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Amazon's Description:

Rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom beliefs, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through maintaining these agreements, shamanic teacher and healer don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will "become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love."

My Description:

I am not going to pretend to know anything about Toltec wisdom beliefs here. The book as you can imagine provides four rules as to how to conduct your life so you can live your heaven here on earth. It explains that as humans we all live by a set of rules that were given to us by everyone; family, society, and friends. We have agreed to live by these rules whether we like or not or whether we agree with them or not. It's not encouraging people to live in a nudist colony bartering and forgoing all normal society, the book does however encourage you to live and do what makes you happy without worrying what anyone thinks. 

The Four Agreements are;

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally
  3. Don't Make Assumptions
  4. Always do your Best
My Review:

I hope there aren't too many people reading this that wouldn't agree that the above list is a good one. Living it on a day to day basis is however a more difficult task. Being a Type A, I like my lists more defined and sometimes found the general agreements too broad. Ruiz did provide examples examples but I could have done with a few more. 

I especially love the idea of agreeing to not take anything personal. If you do, it does in fact make life a lot easier. Why shouldn't we take anything personally? Basically any time a person does something, it has more to do with them than it has to do with you. For example (see I told you I love examples), when someone calls you a butthead, it is because the person is having a bad day and they are mad or they are simply projecting the fact that they are a butthead on to you. Now, when someone does something to annoy me or make me mad, I end up feeling compassion for them because it makes me sad that they are angry enough to come after me or that they are in a bad place. It's a great way change your perspective. 

Which is really what the book did for me, changed my perspective. I didn't get a list to change myself overnight but I have a whole new set of questions to ask myself before I do or say something. 

Using my Kindle, I always highlight my favorite quotes. I skimmed through my notes and I had pages and pages of them, here are the Top 3...

"How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don't need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again."

"God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now."

"If you watch children when they are playing adults, you will see their little faces change. "Let's pretend I'm a lawyer," and right away their faces change; the adult face takes over. We go to court and that is the face we see -- and that is what we are. We are still children, but we have lost our freedom."



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day from the Widowed Yogi

I always love Mother's Day... giving homage to those ladies that do so much for us in our lives. I am very blessed to have three leading ladies in my life; my mom, my Nanny, and my aunt and I will get to spend tomorrow with two of them! Headed to Church in the early morn with Nan and then to a special Mother's Day Yoga class with my Mom followed by brunch and a pizza themed family get together. Love you ladies so much and thank you for all the support during a difficult year. All of them have always allowed me to be me and never questioned me in my healing journey. 

my Aunt, my Nan, my Mom, and Me at my brother's graduation in May 2007

A special shout out to Matt's mother, Jean, as well. He loved his Mom so much and was so thankful for everything that she did for him.

Matt and Jean in September 2007 before a wedding in Appleton

om shanti, 


Friday, May 10, 2013

why living with your grandma at 30 IS cool!

Somewhere in the rules of life, living with your Grandma, aka Nanny, at the age of thrirty got a bad rap. I have been proving for the past month that this is a viscious lie. But please note this theory should be under no circumstances be considered by thrity something men for which living with your grandma is under NO circumstances cool (jk... kind of). 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have also gotten this question quite a bit, "So what exactly do you do all day?" Well here it is and afterwards you are going to realize why living with your Nanny isn't bad at all. 

7 - 9am: Wake up whenever my heart desires and meditate. Make morning power smoothie (almond milk, almond butter, bananas, chia seeds, and raw cocoa poswer) and catch up on email, Facebook, Pinterest, and Bloglovin.

9 - 11am: Yoga or Zumba Class

11am - 12.30pm: Get ready for the day

12.30 - 1.30pm: Young and the Restless and lunch. Not going to lie, the day really revolves the show. As Nanny quotes, "This soap has been in our family for years".

1.30 - 5.00pm: Various Afternoon activities which could include;

  • Going to the grocery store for healthy smoothie ingredients and then making healthy smoothies 
  • Write blogs and books 
  • Shop the LC collection at Kohl's before the no shopping pact
  • Watch the Sex and City Ladies Who Lunch Marathon which is on everyday! 
  • Lay in my new lounge chair in the backyard and read books
  • Take care of actual adult business
  • Catch up on Social Media... a lot can happen in a few hours! 
  • Hiking with my Mom and the dogs

5 - 6pm: Evening run with Lila

6 - 7pm: Try new vegan recipe for dinner

7 - 9pm: Watch American Idol or the Voice with Nanny. While watching paint nails or one last sweep of Social Media outlets. 

9 - 10pm: Hit the hay

There you have it. Not so bad right? Of course there are some special events thrown in like a baseball games with family or dinner out with old friends. One thing is for sure I do keep busy. I often hear people say, "I would get so bored if I didn't work." I am not one of those people and have been running around keeping myself occupied for the past month most recently getting everything lined up for the move. After looking at my daily schedule, it's evident that I spend a lot of time on Social Media. While it can sometimes be pointless, I am  thinking about and researching how to start my yoga business so I consider this my "work" at the moment. I guess really my job is to enjoy the moment and spend time with my family and friends. I feel so lucky that I am able to take this break from the stresses of everyday life to enjoy them especially with my Nanny. Gotta run... Nanny just made my breakfast!

Nanny trying on her new hat for High Tea with the Leisure Club



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

wednesday widow thoughts...

As you saw from the Monday Meltdown, Lila and I hiked this past weekend. We hiked in a small hippy town, Yellow Springs, only about 20 minutes from where I live. The vibration is very high in Yellow Springs and I love heading out there for yoga, coffee, or a hike. After I harnessed Lila up on Saturday, we hiked for about an hour and a half around a river gorge area. The park is absolutely gorgeous right now with the trees finally blooming. Since it was a nice day, there were quite a few people in the park as we started off. Eventually we were hiking the wilderness alone with plenty of stops to take a few meditating breaths with all the beauty around us. We got a little lost but eventually made our way back to the car. Although I was taking in the spring beauty of my surroundings, I had also been thinking about an ice cold beer on the last part of my hike. It sounded delicious and I thought Yellow Springs was just the town for a girl to enjoy a beer on a patio with her dog. 

I headed into town after my hike but had some difficulty finding a place to drink with my dog. Eventually I saw a patio with a back gate and headed in. I sat down, ordered a beer, and sat in enjoyment while Lila and I people watched. There was a couple sitting next to me and eventually we started chatting since they too were dog lovers. Everyone was enjoying the beauty of an afternoon spent in hippy town. The couple got up to leave and the guy said to me, "Have a nice time by yourself with your dog." Um, what the hell? Was that necessary? I pondered it for a minute and got back to my people watching and beer drinking. 

During the pondering I thought about how as a widow, I often do things by myself. I often do things with other people as well but sometimes you want to do something and there isn't anyone to go with you. Or on this particular day, I didn't even want someone to go with me, I wanted to hike and enjoy nature by myself! I don't dine a ton by myself but I do occasionally particularly when I am traveling. I have no issues with it but the host will often ask, will others be joining you? About this time last year when I was in Hawaii, I wanted to bike down a volcano at sunrise. It was kind of pricey and required a pick up of 3am so there weren't a lot of people signing up. I wanted to do it though, so I did. Every single one of the people asked directly or in a roundabout way why I was on the tour by myself. Last time I checked, riding a bike did not require two people (unless tandem of course). 

Me being by myself makes people uneasy and that is their problem. It has nothing to do with me. I was just fine drinking my beer chilling with my dog. But why does it make others so uncomfortable to see me by myself? I am guessing it's due to their insecurity, they would never have the guts to get out in public and enjoy a meal by themselves. I am a firm believer that you have to be okay with yourself first and foremost and if you are, enjoying a beer or whatever it is alone, should be an enjoyable event. So the next time you see someone eating by themselves, change your perspective... perhaps it's a new mother getting out for the first time for a meal by herself, perhaps it's someone who talks all day for a living, or perhaps it's a widow who is just enjoying a beer on a spring day that doesn't need to be reminded she is alone. Perhaps I would recommend, getting out and enjoying an afternoon by your lonesome.



Monday, May 6, 2013

The Monday Meltdown

It's time to melt it down again after another exceptional weekend filled with dinners, markets, hikes, and celebrations. The Pact is going really well and I haven't bought anything in the first week! I will admit that I almost made a last minute trip to Kohl's to hit up the LC Collection with my coupons but decided that really went against what I was trying to accomplish. I also realized that I have PLENTY of shirts to wear while I am away from my full wardrobe. Plus I have a sneaky suspicion that I am going to have some duplicates once my clothes arrive in SD. Sticking to the Pact has felt great and I am one step closer to living more simply. 

I have been reading more into cultured vegetables in the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and really got into that this weekend. My teacher for the Yoga of Food also raved about cultured veg! What exactly are cultured veggies? Well basically saukeraut without the preservatives, definitely not the stuff you typically put on your brats. And what are the benefits? There are tons including; putting good bacteria back into your digestion system, improving digestion, increasing longevity, controlling cravings for sweets, and cleansing. Typically I put a spoonful or two of the kraut into whatever I am eating. The kraut with the cultures will always be found in the refrigerated section so the stuff can live. I did however go overboard on the fermented foods as I think it will take me quite some time to eat three jars of it. I plan to pack an arsenal of healthy foods as I head across the country so this won't go to waste. You can also make cultured veggies on your own but I will leave that until I am in my own kitchen. So far I have felt great and with one eighth of a jar down and two more to go I will be able to give a full report on the benefits soon! 

I am also starting an Ayurvedic Cleanse this week! Talk to any sort of nutrionist or dietician and they will tell you spring is the best time to cleanse and get those toxins out! Ayurveda is unique in that it works with your body type or dosha (check out a dosha quiz here to find yours... Everytime I have done one of these quizzes, I have been labeled a Pitta. My clense includes a one hour consultation so it will be interesting to see what a trained professional tells me. Again putting this out to the blog world to hold me accountable! 

There's the meltdown. I will leave you with two pictures. The first is of Lila and I hiking in the area. And the second, a picture from my brother's graduation celebration. He graduated this weekend from Ohio State with his Masters in Nuclear Engineering. I really don't know what his major means but I know it means he is damn smart! 

Also, don't forget that May is Brain Tumor Awareness month... please think about a way you might be able to support the cause as there is so much research that needs to be done to fight this awful beast!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Widow Thoughts...

As an old friend and I were chatting (otherwise know as drinking some wine) she asked me how I was doing with everything. In my recent posts I have been busy commenting, blending, and yoga-ing and haven't really commented on where I am at in my widow world so here goes...

Things are definitely changing. The good days are outnumbering the bad and when I fall into a slump I can usually pull out of it more quickly and without as much turmoil. This may also be due in part to the way that I am living. Without the daily worries of maintaining a home and going to work, life can be a lot less stressful. Or perhaps it's due to my new perspective and realizing that this too shall pass. Being in different surroundings has also helped. I don't think I knew just how hard it was to live in our home until I moved out. There a lot of things at play who knows which is helping and which is not, I am just thankful that it's working.

The trip didn't magically turn me into a new person without grief and I certainly still think of Matt often. Yesterday I walked by a sports shop with a sale and thought I should stop in to see if they had any of his team stuff on discount. Yep, this still happens. These thoughts are few and far between but it still happens and it still hurts when I realize that I don't need to buy anymore Wisconsin gear. Yesterday I had a bad dream or nightmare really with Matt in it. I don't want to go into the details as it upsets me. I do know that I somehow willed myself to go back to sleep to try to change the outcome of the nightmare. When I finally woke, I wrote the dream down as quickly as possible to get it out of my head and away from me forever. 

So Matt and the loss is still very much a part of my everyday life. Do I sit around crying all the time? No. This probably wasn't ever my way of dealing but the crying in general has subsided. The grief has transformed into a part of me. It's every where I go and in everything I do. Starting my practice in Bali every morning thanking Matt has really helped me. I am feeling much better on a daily basis but as a widow, I feel bad for that. I know what you are going to say, don't feel bad you have every right to go on and live a full and happy life. I know that. I damn well know that but ask any widow and they know this feeling. The feeling that when you are driving down the street with the windows down the sun pouring in thinking, wow this is a great moment, I am in a good place. And then it hits you. You fool! You can't be in a good place because he isn't here. So I am working through this. There is no way to get rid of it, it just is. The fact that I dedicated my days in Bali and that I now dedicate how I am going forward with my yoga practice, my blog, my writing, my life, my perspective helps a lot. 

So again, I thank you Matt for allowing me to become the person that I am right now because I wouldn't be here without you. I only wish you could see the person I am today minus the green smoothies you would hate that.