Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Friday, and You Must Love The Civil Wars

I mean, you have to love them.  What's not to love?  I actually had a hard time choosing which videos to play this Friday (like that never happens to me, right?), and because I was tired of fighting with myself I decided to just put three of them up.

There was a time about 2 months ago where all I would listen to was this song.  It got to the point where Nate knew all the words -- would even sing them when I wasn't around -- and would have no idea where it came from.

But there's also this one, which is the first song I ever heard from them.

And then, of course, there's this song, which is huge right now (so yes, it's a little overplayed) and fits in just perfectly with the way I imagine "The Hunger Games" -- from what I've read which admittedly isn't much yet -- would sound if it were a melody.

Are you a fan of The Civil Wars? (Note: If you're not, don't say so or we can't be friends anymore).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Own Brand of Self-Care

There's something to be said about being gentle with yourself.  Being kind, being forgiving.  Even being comforting.  I know all of this, I've journaled about it, I've said I'm going to really give it a try.  But I'll be the first to admit that, if you're like me and this is just not your default setting, it can be pretty difficult.

But I tried to keep this gentleness in mind this morning when things started to feel piss-poor and overwhelming.  I tried to breathe through my stress over some emails and commitments, I tried to take my dog for a walk and enjoy the cool morning and quiet neighborhood, I told myself I didn't need to run today if I didn't really want to, I tried to remember that I really do enjoy hangtime with friends even when its at the end of a long to-do list.  I even tried to meditate.

Yes.  I did.

And when all that didn't work, when the emails still irritated me, when I wanted to yell at my neighbor to keep his damn dog on a leash and not bring it over to mine after I tell him that Finn has some dog-issues, when my commitments were just too much, and -- here is the root of it -- when I heard back that I didn't get yet another job, one that, while it had it's own set of problems, would have been a great opportunity for me, I broke.

I threw meditation out the window (it wasn't working for me anyway, in part because Finn thought that by mama sitting on the floor it was time to play with his ball), bailed on one of my commitments (I'm lousy company right now), laced up my shoes (since I couldn't not run when I said I would and bear one more self-disappointment today), got my loud pop/punk girl music on (i.e. Paramore, The Veronicas, Hey Monday, etc.), and tried to exhaust the frustration out of my system.

Why loud music and running helped me when nothing else could this morning, I don't know.  Maybe when the music's loud I don't have the brain space to worry anymore without giving myself an aneurism.  Maybe when I'm running I'm so concentrated on not falling on my face that there's no room to focus on the stress.  Maybe it's endorphins.  Who the hell knows? 

But I think I've figured out that this is how I'm good to myself.  This is how I'm comforting.  Loud music, physical exhaustion, that works for me.  It may not be gentle, but it's its own unique brand of kind, I guess.  And, hey, I'm feeling better now.  Not 100% -- I didn't get the job, after all -- but at least I'm not so down anymore.

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout: Walk around the neighborhood with Finn, and run/walk on the treadmill.
Duration: more than 35 min.
Calories Burned: no idea
Description: 1 mile walk with Finn, 1 mile run on treadmill.  Walk on treadmill.

Today's workout was a little uncharacteristic in that I forgot to keep track of anything, took a pretty big break between my walk with Finn and my run on the treadmill, and used my workout more for stress relief than because I actually wanted to work out.

Whatever works, right?

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Moment of Weakness, a Brain Dump, and My Quest to Save the World

Let's get one thing on the record before I go any further: I've never once regretted my decision to quit my job last year.  Eight months later -- and still jobless -- I feel the same way.  I guess that's saying a lot about me, about the job, about my growth these past months.

But that doesn't mean I don't have my bad days, my low moments, those hours where I want to throw something at the wall because our economy is so bad and I'm worried I'm being too picky and I'm frustrated that I can't pay my bills on my own and I'm not saving or paying down my debt and any number of reasons.  I feel that way.  All the time.

It's the discouragement that's the worst.  And, okay, the embarrassment too.  I'm tired of telling people I'm still looking for work, tired of trying to explain that yes, I went to law school, and no, I'm not trying to be a lawyer.  And I'm tired of getting my hopes up that one of these contacts will pan out, that the networking I'm doing (which, if you know me, you realize is definitely not the easiest thing in the world for someone as shy as I am) will eventually lead to a great job at a great organization with a great paycheck and an even better cause.

But I keep at it, because that's what it takes, I guess. 

And that's how I find myself sitting here on a Monday morning, trying to organize my thoughts so that I can better articulate what it is I want to do with my life.

I want to protect wild places and preserve our earth for seven generations to come.
I want to travel the world learning about other cultures, fighting for human rights, and protecting the planet.
I want to get my hands dirty.
I want to ensure that our world's most vulnerable species are safe.
I want to work on environmental justice campaigns.
I want to make a difference.
I want to support grassroots Indigenous leaders and organizations.
I want to ensure that Big Ag and Big Oil aren't allowed to poison our food supply or planet anymore.
I want to help our underrepresented youth get out into the wide world on eco-travel and service trips.

I want to save the world.  Is that too much to ask?

And yes, I want to write teen fiction too.  But I can do that between my stints as -- apparently -- Super Woman.

I know it'll work out and I'll find something that's a fit, something that I love, eventually.  Deep down, I know it.  Still, I worry, and I stress.  I don't have a plan, so I worry and stress.  I don't know where else to look for these jobs, so I worry and stress.  I don't know where to begin, so I worry and stress.  But I know it'll work out...  It has to.

SO, if any of you out there in the interwebs has any leads, any suggestions, any contacts, any anything that you think would be remotely useful in my somewhat idealistic quest to make this world a better place, please let me know. 

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout:  Walk around the neighborhood with Finn, and run on the treadmill.
Duration:  32 min
Calories Burned:  139 cal.
Description:  1 mile walk with Finn, .75 mile run on treadmill.  Stretch.

It's yet another slow start Monday (why is it impossible for me to begin the week with a strong workout?), and I only ran 3/4 of a mile.  But I did get a mile walk in with Finn before it started to rain, so there's a silver lining to it.

I spent a bit longer stretching today since, after the 2 mile walk Nate and I did yesterday (when I was wearing some less-than appropriate foot wear), my shins were a little tight.  It reminded me that I haven't yet begun to incorporate back stretches and strengthening into my workouts.  Maybe that's something I'll concentrate on this week.

All in all, a pretty standard morning.  Until my instant oatmeal exploded all over the microwave.  But that's another tale for another day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout:  Walk around the neighborhood with Finn, and run on the treadmill.
Duration:  35 min
Calories Burned:  184 cal.
Description:  1 mile walk with Finn 1 mile run on treadmill.

I don't know why, but today's run felt great.  My pace is getting quicker without me even realizing it, and I'm less exhausted after running a mile.  Plus, I've discovered the awesomeness of listening to audiobooks while running -- makes the time fly so fast.

Right now it's "The Hunger Games".  I tried to read it once before for my bookclub, but a bunch of stuff happened and I never got to finish it.  Now, because the movie is coming out next month (I think), I really do have to finish it.  But I've got a bunch of other stuff to read and free time when I'm running -- voila!

Best idea ever.

I'll take Finn on a second walk this afternoon, so I'll add that to these daily stats after it happens.

It's Friday, and I Have a Problem

You know how every once in a while you'll come across something -- a song, a passage in a book, a blog -- and you just can't stop looking/reading/watching/listening?  Yeah, that's me right now.  Except it's not even just one thing, it's two.  On repeat.  For days.

And because crazy likes company, I'd like you to watch them.  And love them.  And inevitably become as obsessed with them as I am.

Everyone in the entire world has seen this video by now, but I can't help it, she's hilarious.  And my absolute favorite from here on out.

And then, of course, there's Gotye.  Oh, Gotye, Gotye, Gotye.  Could you have created a song whose melody could get stuck in my head any more than this one?  No, because that would be cruel and inhumane.  I mean, I have a life, you know.  I can't just sit around listening to this song over and over.  (Except that I am).

If, like me, you watch these videos and become a lunatic as well, let me know.  We can form a club.  A Club o' Crazy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout:  Walk and run on the treadmill.
Duration:  27 min
Calories Burned:  168 cal.
Description:  1 mile walk on treadmill, .5 mile run on treadmill.

I got sort of a late start on the day; woke up nearly an hour after I intended to.  And between all the things I have on my to-do list today -- Stratejoy work, grocery shopping, a conference call, errands, planning for my trip with my sister next month -- I cut my run short so I could get started.

I'll try to fit in a secondary workout (or I'll just take Finn for a walk) later this afternoon, but for now it's off to the shower and then getting to work!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Adventurous Spirit FTW

Have you ever met someone who just exudes adventure?  They've got that sort of take-life-by-the-balls personality where one minute they're working in D.C. on a political campaign, and the next minute they're taking a year off in Belize, the next working at an orphanage in Cambodia, and the next exploring glaciers in the arcitic?  They seem to be on no one else's calendar, following no one else's plan, living by no one else's rules?

My friend B. is one of those people. 

B., Nate, me.  Jan. 25, 2012.

That's us above, after stuffing our faces full of some yummy BBQ goodness at Oakland's Everett & Jones.

Nate and I hadn't seen B. in about 7 years, not since graduating from college and leaving Seattle, and it was so nice to catch up, especially since you never really know what stories are going to come out of B.'s mouth at any given time!  He's done a roadtrip from Cairo to Cape Town, worked at a cheetah conservation organization in Namibia, studied in Cuba, South Africa, New Zealand (the same program which Nate and I met on), Guatemala and Morocco, worked in Zimbabwe and the Congo, and is preparing to embark on a PhD program during which he'll study lying.

And that's not even touching on the expat-hippies, near death experiences, and party pills.

But what's maybe the most inspiring thing about B. is his commitment to service.  He genuinely wants to make the world better and has dedicated his life to seeing that happen.  He has an incredible and contagious passion that bridges the divide between a lust for adventure and a need for social justice so beautifully.

The conversations shared with him made me realize how very much I miss travel.  I miss the unexpected and new, the adventure, the culture of it.  I miss narrow paths down winding streets, bazaars and night markets, backpacking, trains, strangers and stories.  I miss the anticipation and planning of it all.  And I miss service.  A romantic view?  Yes, definitely.  But not an inexperienced one.  Travel has always been romantic to me, even with all it's pitfalls and pick-pockets, lost luggage and tourist traps.  That's part of it, you know?  It rounds out the experience, makes it even more special.

After our talk, I found myself, like so many other times in my life, wishing for the new.  And hoping that, by not jumping out of my comfort zone this very second, I'm not watching missed opportunities pass me by.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Friday, and I Sew

Being without a steady stream of income has very few perks.  Very, very few.  But for me, one of those perks undoubtedly has to be the fact that it's taught forced me to change my spending habits.  Where I used to have a tendency to be shopping every time you turned around -- spending more money than I had on things I didn't really want and definitely didn't need -- I now have to be very picky about what I spend my money on (i.e Do I really want this?  No, like really, really want this?).

As a result of my new found frugality, one of my favorite things to do these days is to take jeans I no longer where because they're ill-fitting or out of style, and skinny them.

So because it's Friday, and I now apparently sew, here's the vid that -- along with a BFF who actually knows what she's doing in front of a sewing machine -- taught me what's up:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

[Girl♥Health]: Kicking February's Butt

I know I've been slacking off in terms of posting my monthly exercise plans (was November really the last one I created?!), so I wanted to be sure to post one this month.  It's also just really useful for me to outline my goals and to feel somewhat accountable for reaching them because I've sent them out in the interwebs for all to see.

I will say this about February's plan: I am super excited about my reward, which means I'll be trying extra hard to reach my benchmarks!

February Action Plan

My main EXERCISE goal for the month is to push and incorporate.  I want to push myself in terms of my running.  I want my physical activity to be consistent and progressive.  And I want exercise to be my default activity.  I'm bored?  Why not exercise.  I have a few spare minutes?  Why not take a walk with my dog?  I'm stressed out?  Wouldn't a run be great?  And I want to find another 5k to enter for the late spring.  For a specific goal, I want to run half a mile farther every 2 weeks (with my current baseline being 1 mile).
In terms of my FOOD goals this month, I want to focus on maintaining the progress I've made so far -- no drastic changes this month, just normalizing the changes I've already made.  So, that means continuing to cook, or to help Nate cook, every meal; continuing to eat breakfast and lunch during the day; continuing to eat less meat and buy only free-range, organic, humanely-raised meat products; and continuing to buy organic for veggies that are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Key Activities:
Wake up before 8:30am (weekdays)
Eat breakfast, lunch and small snacks throughout the day (daily)
Cook dinner (daily)
Walk with Finn or on treadmill (daily)
Run (3-4 days a week), going half a mile farther every 2 weeks
Back strengthening exercises (daily)
Pilates or yoga at home (2 days a week)
Read food labels -- don't buy what I can't pronounce and what's not naturally raised
Lunch at the Cliff House in San Francisco (I'm currently reading Laurie R. King's "Locked Rooms," a Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, and this restaurant is not only pictured on the cover, but the couple have dinner there one night.  Plus, I've been wanting to eat here for about 4 years).
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