Monday, August 29, 2011

The First "Non-First" Day of School

Today marks the first “non-first” day of school for me in 18 years. I was so awash in my current state of life, I almost forgot about it. Last night, when I realized that Sac State was starting up again today and I didn’t have to go, I did a little happy dance, but I also thought I might feel some tinge of nostalgia. Of missing getting new books, notebooks and syllabi and seeing what was in store for the upcoming semester. (Yes I’m a dork and actually liked back-to-school shopping.)

But the nostalgia really wasn’t there. I have absolutely no desire to be sitting in class all day listening to teachers talk – half the time about subjects that I didn’t really find interesting. Perhaps it’s because I’m still too close to having graduated to miss school. And I'm sure I will miss the creative writing classes, eventually.

But maybe it’s just because I’m really happy where I am now. I really love my job and the people I work with. I love the friends I have made and grown closer to over the last year. I love and am really proud that I am finally licensed to teach zumba as of this weekend. Even though my 50 + hr work weeks plus 8-10 hours at the gym leave me exhausted and in need of multiple glasses of wine on the weekends – I really am happy. I don’t need to define myself by school or what major I am or how long until I graduate anymore. I can just be. I can be an adult, I can be a piano teacher, a zumba teacher, a writer, a “communications specialist.” I can just be me.

So as I start my longest day of the week – Work 7-330, Teaching 4-530, Body Pump/Zumba 630-8:30 – I am thankful that I will not end the day with homework, stress and anxiety. But with my favorite people at the gym and then my husband, a glass of wine and “The Big C” on TV. Happy Monday!

And for your Music Monday -- One of my fav new zumba songs from Alex’s classes:

Suavemente – Pitbull ft. Nayer and Mohombi <3

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some Positive Thoughts for Your Hump Day

Despite the fact that I may have a cold this week, and some weird random lower back pain from probably doing something wrong in Body Pump - (Oops) – I am overcome today by the positive thoughts of some wonderful people.  And I thought I would share them on this hump day.

Two of these are stolen from my friend Brigid – who in turn stole them from someone else.  :)

When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life.”   - courtesy of Brigid

And here, an excellent post on what is truly important in life: 

It’s not about how many fish you catch or how much money you make, but it’s about the quality of people who you surround yourself with and spend time with in life.

Bringing me to something my very good friend Stephanie told me several months back:  “Only surround yourself with people who make a positive impact on your life” It sounds simple enough, but it can be hard to follow.  But thanks to many fantastic friends, coworkers and family, new and old, I am so happy to say that I really making that happen these days.

And last – one of my favorite quotes that I have hanging in my cubicle at work:

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor Frankl

If you choose happiness, it will come to you. J

And if you open your heart to new friends, they will find you.

Happy Wednesday All!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Music Mondays: Slice

Here's a quick late Music Monday for today.  Again, this was a pandora find.  I like the message of simplicity. :)

Here's "Slice" By Five for Fighting

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Borders

I am still always surprised with how much hope and promise going into a bookstore fills me with – even one that will soon be non-existent.   We took a trip over to the soon to be closed Borders last weekend.  The “going out of business” signs cluttered the ceilings and fixtures with a forlorn air as shoppers rushed to scoop up great deals – the line longer than I’ve seen at either Borders or Barnes and Noble in a long time.  The saddest thing I realized about this trip was that I absolutely contributed it.  I actually was making a list of books that I want to read (which I think topped at least 10 books that day) – but I was making that list to go home and purchase on my Kindle.

To be fair, the major reason for this was I still have textbook trade-in cash left on my Amazon account and was too broke to buy regular books to at the moment.  I was actually pretty slow to get on the kindle bandwagon.  I thought – no these are my books, I want to be able to hold them in my hands when I read!  Smell them, bend the pages.  Just as I was slow to jump on the iPod wagon.  Who needs one of those, I thought.  Ha, Ha!

But just as I did with the iPod, I do truly love my kindle.  I love not having to hold it open when I’m reading in bed.  I love that my cover has a built in light that feeds off of the kindle’s battery.  I love that I can have multiple books on it and that the screen looks like an actual book. 

But I also will always still love books…just as CDs will always have a fond place in my heart.  Memories of stacked CDs cluttering the dining room table as my dad prepared his radio shows will always be a treasured memory and hold a soft spot for me.   As will browsing through bookstores – with all the hope and promise of finding a new story to love.

And while after attending so many writers conferences and events over the last few years as well as doing publishing internships – I have had the “e-books vs regular books” “indie bookstores vs. chain bookstores vs. Amazon” conversation more times than I care to count – the truth of the matter is:  Times are a changing.  Embrace the ebooks or don’t.  But the reality is that the way that we read is going to change and evolve quicker than we can imagine – and that’s exciting, scary and bittersweet all at the same time. 

So goodbye Borders.  Hello new chapter.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Finding a Balance

As I felt the soreness of Saturday’s workouts setting in this weekend, I started thinking about finding balance.  

Finding a balance in my life and my schedule has always been a challenge for me.  And while as I’ve gotten older I feel like I have gotten better at it…I have definitely in no way mastered it. 

A good friend of mine has taught me in the last several months to let go and have a bit more fun than I used to do. Love you Steph! I have balanced my ridiculous amount of working 2 and 3 jobs with stress busting workouts – though I tend to overdo the quantity of them at times. J  I sleep more. I read more. I eat healthier.

But I forget that sometimes you need to just BE.

It's not a concept I'm very good at. But sometimes, you need to have absolutely no plans and walk in the park.  You need to read for hours and hours until you lose track of all time.  You need to do Yoga in the park and feel the grass and listen to the birds.  You need to listen to your body  and slow down.  Sometimes, as much as you hate to, you even need to skip said high impact workouts to spend time with friends.  Because a beer or a jello shot and a laugh can brighten up the darkest of days.

J Sometimes you need to eat greasily awesome grilled cheese sandwiches from the Drewskis food truck or drink 3 glasses of wine to dim of the stress.  It's gotta be a balance.

You also need to forgive yourself forgetting to keep that balance.  You need to believe that everyday is a new day and a new start.   No matter how bad the previous day was.  You need to break fridge doors and chairs and laugh until you can’t possibly laugh anymore.  You need to make new friends and embrace change.  Writing can heal.  Sometimes the dishes can wait.  Things are never perfect. 

“Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good”

The ultimate goal will always be to find the balance. My writing is fractured and so is my balance.

But I am getting there…

Monday, August 8, 2011

Music Mondays: Keep Us

It feels like it has been ages - or at least weeks - since I was able to sit down and write a blog. But yesterday I was able to sit down and just write solidly for more than two hours, and it felt so good. I truly must find more time in my schedule for this. (See a future post this week – about finding balance)

But for today on this bright start to a new week: here is a song that comes up frequently on my Parachute Pandora. It has such a calm quality and is really beautiful, and I hope it brings peace to your week.

“Keep Us” By Peter Bradley Adams

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music Mondays: For Good

I’m not sure what triggered me to be feeling extra sentimental today.  Not that it takes much (I unfortunately inherited my mother’s tendency to tear up at sappy songs and commercials) But something got me to thinking about the past, who I’ve been and who I’m now becoming.  It may sound cliché, but sometimes those realizations really do hit you out of nowhere.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve met or gotten to know some really great people over the last few months– be it through Zumba  (<3 you Alex, Ingrid and all of my other newfound fitness friends) Or those I’ve met through other mutual friends – I am so thankful to have these new wonderful people in my life.  You all know who you are! J 

Perhaps it’s also because the final Harry Potter movie is coming out on Thursday and somehow that signals such a significant ending in my life and of “childhood.”  Some people laugh at that when my childhood friends and I say it – but really, it is. We grew up with Harry Potter.  When he was an awkward 10 year old, we were too.  When the final book came out, we had just finished high school.  My fifth grade teacher read the very first book to our class.  13 very significant years of my life were marked by when the next book or movie was coming out.  And it all ends in four days! So looking forward to sharing this ending with my good friends Emma, Karen and Kaitie!  Please don’t laugh at me if I cry a little, guys. J

Or maybe it’s just looking back on how much has changed over the last five years of my life.  The people who have come and left – the ones who have come and who I hope will never leave – They have all changed me in too many ways to describe. 

"I've heard it said - that people come into our lives - for a reason.  Bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow - if we let them...But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you....Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better - I do believe I have been changed for the better – Because I knew you, I have been changed for GOOD.”

Happy Music Monday everyone – Enjoy Wicked’s “For Good”

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Weekend

Well it has been a rough couple of weeks.  Between broken water heaters, financial downfalls and illness, it seemed like a “What-the-hell-else-can-possibly-happen?” kind of week.  But as with everything, this too shall pass and did pass, and I did manage to get in 8 1/2 hours of gym time with lots of Zumba and Body Pump to go around.  Chris and I also managed to finish all 35 episodes of ‘Parenthood’ – which will definitely be up there on my list of fav shows in this upcoming TV season.  

And while I have to say, I was a bit nostalgic for Donner Lake 4th of Julys of years gone by, I also managed to have a fantastically fun and busy Fourth of July weekend filled with Food, Family, Friends and Fun! J

Birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays – Way too much food – Poker playing babies – swimming, bbqs, drinking, fireworks - and of course – Zumba 4th of July glowstick party! J

My Fourth of July weekend in pictures:

Happy 4th of July!  Hope yours was equally fantastic!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Choosing My Attitude

I have this quote hanging in my cubicle at work: 
“Almost everything can be taken from a person, but for the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”     
And I have really been trying to take this sentiment to heart in recent days, weeks, months.   It’s also great to read the inspiration from Ashlee Gadd over at Where My Heart Resides whom I don't know face to face, but who always inspires and chooses joy everyday, or my childhood friend Ashley over at Ashley Appreciates
That’s really what it comes down to – it’s all a choice.   Sure, everything might not be perfect in any given day or week, but there are things that are wonderful!  And we get the choice to focus on those wonderful things.  We get the choice to be happy. So often we look past the positive and choose the negative.  The bad days at work.  The financial issues.  The unhappy, ugly things that make life more stressful.  We keep telling ourselves that things will only get better when______.  You fill in the blank. 
I am guilty of that sentiment all too often, but I really feel like I have been making a better effort not to have those thoughts lately, and just focusing on what is good about right now.   Sure, things will probably be easier for us financially in October.  Sure, I am still exhausted at the end of every week.  But right now, the sun is shining and I get to see some of my best friends this weekend.   Right now, I always find the energy to zumba my heart out 2 or 3 times a week, and I get to play softball at 9pm and have it still be warm outside. Right now, I absolutely enjoy my job and even more so the people who I work with.  Which make the working 50 hours per week bearable, if not many times actually enjoyableRight now, I have been able to read nearly 5 books in the last six weeks.   (A near miracle for me!)  Right now, Chris and I can go to happy hours - or sometimes make our own at home - and go to weeknight movies on a whim.  Some nights, I drag myself home after 12 hours of work, teaching and zumba and all I have to do is just veg out on the couch with a glass of wine and catch up on Parenthood and True Blood.   
That’s my life right now.  And I choose my attitude to be happy.  Everyday.
July promises bring trips, concerts, going to the river, friends, family and Harry Potter!!   
It’s finally summer people,  don’t let it pass you by!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Summer Yoga Adventure

I can't say for how many months I have be ardently researching yoga studios around the Sacramento area. I always say I am going to try a few until I find the right one. Because anyone who's ever really done yoga knows that the classes at the gym just don't cut it. It isn't the same as the calming feeling you get from an actual yoga studio. Don't get me wrong, I love 24 hour fitness for all of the other classes I take there, the atmosphere is just not conducive to the calming balance I get from taking a real yoga class. And I think I need some yoga to balance out the super high impact workouts that I do the rest of the week. I'm sure my knees will appreciate it.

There is the other issue of yoga classes at studios tending to run on the very pricey I have decided to partake in a yoga adventure this summer. I plan to try several studios and their "new student offers" and then blog about how I felt about each one. My list also includes a few Bikram hot yoga studios, which I have never tried before. We'll see how that goes...:)

I am hoping that this adventure will lead me to find a yoga studio that I really like and click with. To achieve this though, I need to find one that:

One, has a decent range of hours – since my schedule is crazy.

Two, that fits in my budget, at least somewhat.

Three, is in close vicinity to my work and/or house because I know if it's too far away, I just won't go.

And four, one that has teachers I click with.

It's a tall order, I know, but I am hoping one of the following will end up fitting the bill.

Arden Hot Yoga – I got a LivingSocial deal for here that was only $20 for one month unlimited classes!

One Flow Yoga - $7 for 7 days – interesting because I don't think they play traditional yoga music during their classes.

Yoga Loka - $25 for 10 Days → Near my work and I am drawn to their later evening classes

Sacramento Bikram Yoga - $40 for 30 days → Near work, and another hot yoga place to try

Zuda Yoga - $10 for 10 days → This one is actually out of my vicinity a bit, but I've heard really good things about it.

Lotus Garden Meditation Center $14 for 14 days – This one looks like it is a beautiful location that also offers free meditation classes.

So there are my six studios. I am not sure of what order I will try them in, but hope to start next week. Sacramento friends, please let me know if there is some amazing studio that I have forgotten!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Craft Corner: Earring Frame

Besides doing a lot of reading since school has gotten out, (I'm halfway through my 4th book in the last month!) and not feeling guilty about reading magazines instead of textbooks. I've also been trying to get crafty on some things. I even sewed up some clothing that has had holes FOREVER. ( I know, it's sad that little things like that seem like large huge feats after doing school and working 3 jobs for so long.) But it's really nice to have time to do those little things!

My latest project was an earring holder. All of my earrings were just strewn and tangled all over the bookshelf and in boxes/drawers/bags - you name it! So I decided to look for a creative way to display them (and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a holder.)

You may have seen the picture frame earring holder before, but usually it's done with mesh, a staple gun and a lot more time and patience than I had at that moment.

Instead, I used felt - a pretty pattern I found a Michaels - and a cheap frame, also from Michaels. I just cut the felt to fit the frame and simply used a glue gun to glue the felt to the front of the glass. Then I popped it in the frame like a regular picture. And Ta-da!

Well almost Ta - Da... With the help of a tack poking holes in the felt, I got all of the earrings put up. It may not be quite as user friendly as other versions of the project, but it worked for me and was under $5. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Mondays: September - LIVE

Is it summer yet? Will this rain EVER go away? I am hoping that we are coming out on the summer end of the tunnel pretty soon here...according to next week's weather.

...and Earth Wind and Fire always means summer to me!

Enjoy 'September' by Earth Wind and Fire Live with Chicago. They are absolutely one of the best groups to see live! And with Chicago, it's even better!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On this day last year...I married my best friend.

On this day last year, I married my best friend.

On this morning last year, I threw open the hotel room curtains full of hope for a beautiful day and the most perfect sunny day greeted me, with crisp blue mountain skies, that only Truckee can bring - and somehow - the stress of the last year and a half of planning all melted away. Nothing else mattered but that the day was going to be perfect. Because it was our day. So I put on the pretty white dress and we watched as our dream wedding unfolded. But more importantly, our dream marriage was about to begin. And while I think we did throw a pretty kickass, awesome, and fun wedding...what is more important is that we said these words:

You are my life, my love, and my best freind.

I pledge all my tomorrows to you,

I promise to laugh with you,

But never at you,

To stand by your side,

And sleep in your arms,

To respect who you are

And who you will become

And I promise to love you,

In sickness, in health, for richer, for poorer

For better or worse, for now and forever.

I love you Christopher, and I always will.

If you are craving looking at more wedding photos, check out our slideshow here

Monday, May 30, 2011

Music Mondays: Keep Your Head Up

This song is a little gem that I heard on the radio the other day.  I don't think it was a mainstream station either, so this is one still in the stages of not being overplayed.  :)  I love the message.

"Always Rainbows, after Rain"

On another music side note:  Earth, Wind and Fire + Huey Lewis and the News = fantastic Pandora station!

Happy Memorial Day!  Hope everyone is enjoying the day off.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To Summer

In the midst of graduation party planning last week I started thinking, I want to take a minute to reflect on what is finally the beginning of summer. (Or what should be the beginning of summer, if the weather stays at its normal temperatures) Regardless of it being the end of my college career summer or just any other summer, right at the beginning there is always a tinge of excitement for all of the summer plans to be. Barbeques, River trips, camping, beach trips, summer reading, baseball games, etc. But then somehow, the summer seems to get away from us and we’re suddenly looking September in the eye wondering what happened to all of those plans and goals, and how 14 weeks went by so fast. So before Labor Day comes up behind us and takes summer away, being the perpetual list maker that I am, I decided to make a conscious effort to figure out what exactly I DO want to accomplish, and see how well I can stick to it.

Let’s start with summer goals, as lofty as they may sound, I think I am - for the most part – capable of them:

- Read at least 8 books. Now that “Something Borrowed” and “Something Blue” have put me back into the swing of reading, AND since I don’t have any more school reading…I think 8 books in 14 weeks is pretty doable. Nearly one down already. More to come on what the rest of those books may be…

- Write 100 pages. Because writing, like playing an instrument, requires practice. I have made it a goal to wake up a half hour early everyday and write before work.

- Update my blog more frequently. I hope to have some new blog features in addition to ‘Music Mondays’ coming up soon.

- Go to the gym at least 3x a week (Zumba/BodyPump/Yoga, etc). This is already a goal that I am fairly consistent with…but the craziness of the last month has left me slacking. Not to mention the fact that I now spend 35 hours a week at a desk instead of walking around campus…my exercise surely will have to increase.

Second, trips – most of which I hope to accomplish with my now free train riding capabilities:

- Get down to Fresno to see my family at least twice. I’ll hope for more. But twice in three months may be all I can do.

- A few trips to see my good friend Annie who lives near Santa Cruz. I’ve been seriously craving the ocean for the last few months, and a couple trips definitely need to happen this summer! <3 First one: Memorial Day Weekend
- A few trips to San Francisco to see my best friend, Natalie, of course. Including shopping, Green Apple Bookstore going, sushi and maybe even a Giants game. 
- I hope to also make a trip up to Portland to see my friend Kristin who moved up there last year. It’s an 8 hour train ride…but at least that leaves for lots of reading time!

Third, Fun Events - including, but not limited to:

- Train Concert at Thunder Valley in July!! (Possibly Doobie Brothers and Huey Lewis here as well)

- The State Fair

- Water park(s) – we always say we will do this…but typically, it tends to fall by the wayside.

- Multiple river trips to get our money’s worth on the awesome raft we got from Costco

- The FINAL Harry Potter movie!

- At least one of the 2nd Saturday Artwalks

Sacramento Wine and Dine Week – going on now!

I'll be happy if even part of all of these things happen.  So here's to summer!
What are your plans?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Mondays: Good Life

First let me say, holy crap – I graduated from college this weekend!

I don't think it will fully sink in that I don't ever have to do homework again for a while. But it certainly has sunk in that it is almost summer, and there are so many great things to look forward to during these next 3 months! Look for a post this week about it, as well as a crafty post, and some changes to the look of the blog. Because, it's time for something new and now I actually have the time to read, write and do things for myself. much time as you can have while working 50 hours a week. :)

I'd like to start off the week with this Music Monday song for you:

“Good Life” by One Republic. It's been one of my favorites lately. Such a feel good, happy song.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Music Mondays: Send Me on My Way

So today is a quick Music Monday post because of the inevitable last busy week of school.  The last week.  I can hardly believe it.   I remember 5 years ago counting down the days until the end of high school.  It seems like both so much longer and so much shorter than that.  And just as that countdown did, this one signifies another huge change in my life.   Today I say goodbye to a job that I have had for 4 years.  One of many goodbyes that will probably happen over the course of the year.  But it is time for a change.  Now, I if anybody, knows that life is always going to be far from perfect.  But things will certainly be looking up as this week draws to a close.  So send me on my way.
Today's song is "Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root.   One that always makes me smile.  This one's for you Nat.  Here we go, on our way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What You Take With You

As the semester and my whole undergraduate education come to a close, I begin to wonder what pieces of it I will take with me and what will be disregarded. Which facts were merely crammed into my brain before a test and never converted into the long term.

Will I remember that this semester I learned that boys are more fragile in the womb than girls so most miscarriages are boys? Probably so, because that is something that I might end up being able to relate to in the future. Will I remember the year that Catcher in the Rye was written or the mechanics of human biology? Probably not. But will I remember the minutia of all that I learned in my creative writing classes and workshops? Absolutely. It is those classes that I will truly miss. The laughs and completely off-the-wall discussions that can only be produced by a group of crazy writers. And I say crazy in an affectionate way. Because those classes have made these last few semesters worth getting through.  Thanks Prof. McKinney, Rice and Grandbois.

I'm sure there will be other random facts and experiences that will creep into my mind in the future that actually did stick. But it's hard not to look at the large quantities of information that are no longer there. It's a little sad – to spend so much time and money on receiving that information - and having so much of it not get into my brain.

But I guess that isn't really what college was supposed to be about. At least not for me. For me, it was growing into the person I am now and learning about who I really am and who I want to become. There is so much that I have discovered or re-discovered about who I really am during these last five years, it really is hard to even pinpoint how I got from point A to point B. I am now an avid exerciser and not because I have to be, but because I want to be. I love playing softball. I want to do more yoga. I love to write and play music, in so many different capacities. I hope to be able to cultivate all of these in the coming months and years with the absence of school. I am now a wife, and we have a beautiful future ahead of us. Chris has made me a (calmer) and better person and continues to allow me to figure out who I am everyday and to support those continued changes.

School was a part of the path I needed to take, and it may be cynical for me to say but, in the end – it's only a degree. An important piece of the puzzle, but not everything.

So finally, I leave you with two things that one of my teachers this semester left us with on one of our last days of class. It may sound kitchy or cliché to say, but there are some things that are just so true that you have to share them.

“Seek out life experiences, not possessions."
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.” Viktor Frankl

So go out there and seek out all of the great experiences life has to offer!

And always remember that even in the worst of situations, you have the ability to choose your own attitude.  That is always a challenge for me, but one that I will always continue to welcome. 

And that, my friends, I believe is the greatest thing you can take with you out of college. Learning about life, and learning about yourself. The rest is just filler. :-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Music Mondays: You Can't Always Get What You Want

I was torn today about which song to use for my Music Monday song of the week.  I came down with something over the weekend, so the sickness is bringing my strength down a bit.  And my ability to “just keep swimming” toward the end of this semester.   On top of that my news at the dentist was not super positive.  Not awful, but not great.  And that coupled with Chris’s dental problems has me a little bit on edge about figuring out how we are going to field those curve balls once he returns from Delaware. Inevitably, we will.  It’s just the interim of not knowing that is so frustrating.

But now that we are down to 11 days of both school and until Chris comes home...the light at the end of the tunnel is slowly getting brighter.  Not to mention the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead and that the Kings are staying in Sacramento today.  Not half bad for a Monday.  :)

So I leave you with: “You can't always get what you want” - the version from the movie 21. Because I watched it this afternoon while home sick, and because the lyrics give an 'Everything Happens for a Reason' vibe that I need today.

You can't always get what you want...but if you try just might find – you get what you need.”