Life

Dreams you don’t know you have

Greece was never on my bucket list and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s because I heard about their economy which had imploded. Maybe it’s that the language seemed scary and so foreign. It was nearly half a world away and the flight would be long. But, alas, when my friend mentioned she was going there for a yoga retreat every ounce of my being was aching to be there too. More for the yoga retreat than anything else.

When she asked me to go, I was elated but I never imagined I’d be able to go. I have my family and I’m unemployed – how selfish would it be to ask if I could do this. When I arrived home from the bruch where I heard about the retreat, I casually mentioned it to my husband. My brother-in-law was there and can vouch that I never outright asked to go, but within minutes it was happening. I was texting my friend- I’m in!!!!!! Yes, I’m pretty sure I used all those exclamation points. Greece. Yoga. Meditation. I can remember the joy I felt the moment I realized it was going to happen.

This was in March of this past year and the retreat was slated for the end of July. It seemed like an eternity away. I wanted to lose some stubborn weight that had been sitting and growing in my belly area for a few years. I had stopped going to yoga because our Saturdays were filled with other activities and I needed to get back at it. Life kept chugging along. I got on a nutrition program, upped my workouts and rekindled my love for Saturday yoga.

The day to leave for Greece finally came. All the work to get there was about to pay off. With a suitcase full of new clothes and my longtime friend by my side we started the trip of a lifetime. I didn’t know that it would be more than I ever imagined.

MC

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travel

What’s in my bag? Traveling light

Frontier Airlines charges you ala carte for all your travel needs. From checked luggage to carry-on to seat assignments, there is a fee for that. But if you are traveling light, it’s possible to scoop up a really good deal! Today I’m heading to Orlando with nothing but a personal item which will fit under the seat in front of me. This wouldn’t be at all possible without having a fully stocked home on the other end of my flight. I don’t need clothes or toiletries so that makes it a heck of a lot easier to do.

What’s in my bag? Mainly books. I’ll have my iPad Pro, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, The 6-Minute Diary, my Big Dreams journal which is part prayer book, part vision board and part darn good advice I’ve clipped along the way. I have a small bag of makeup, some electronics related stuff (cord, charger, headphones) and my card case with a little cash. And it wouldn’t be a trip without a well stocked Kindle.

Looking forward to some time in the Florida sunshine while enjoying our future retirement home. It is really the perfect time to be there because I usually come home re-invigorated to de-clutter because our Florida house has the perfect amount of stuff and no clutter. I will be ready to roll up my sleeves and tackle my clutter project in a weeks time.

MC

Life

Change of plans

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Last night I gave myself permission to sleep in. This is something I should never do because those are always the mornings I am wide awake at 5 a.m. and this is especially true if the morning I’m going to sleep in is a Saturday. Instead of trying to go back to sleep, I decided to get up and pray and set some intentions for the day. This is how I both try to turn my day over to God and take control of it at the same time. Turning over my day is hard work, but well worth it.

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Life

Doing hard things

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A view from the Greek island of Amorgos

Last time I had them checked, my lungs were 82 years old. I see a pulmonologist and one of their favorite things is to have you blow into a machine to test your lung function. Take a deep breath and then blow out hard. Really hard. And keep blowing until you think you are going to pass out. Repeat three times. Definitely not a favorite test of mine.

On the outside, I look completely normal, though. At least I think I do. But the truth is, I can get winded from a flight of stairs. The other truth is I like to be active. I want to go out there and capture the world, see everything there is to see and do it all too. Two weeks ago I was in the most beautiful place I have ever visited, a small Greek island surrounded by the amazingly blue Aegean sea. The beauty would take your breath away.

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Getting things done

Organization!

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If there is anything I’ve ever wanted to excel at in life, it’s organization. I often fall short but that’s okay because it means there’s going to be more organizing in my future. The theme for this week is organizing for multiple trips while also deep cleaning the house. I’m not sure this is such a good idea because I’ll probably arrive at Friday, which is the go date for trip one, feeling overwhelmed that I still have things to prepare.

I’ve also been obsessed with “what to pack” videos on YouTube despite the fact I’ve been packing for years on my own. It’s just that I’m curious how other people do it so I’ve (wasted?) spent many hours on this (for entertainment purposes only). Whenever you watch videos on YouTube, they also kindly offer up other videos you might be interested in and so my second favorite genre has been Amazon travel purchase videos. This has been very dangerous! There were so many things I didn’t know I needed to have for my travels.

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Healthy Life

Kicking sugar (part 1)

1A6E17FC-6EDC-4A93-8B78-882D34811C67.jpegIt’s been three and a half years since I gave up alcohol completely. I had a lot of stops and starts before that but the conditions had to be right before I could admit that I had no control over how many more drinks I would put in my body after I put the first one in. It’s been one of the very best decisions I have made for my life. Life didn’t get better right away but many days at a time later, I have a wonderful life today even with all its ups and downs.

Early in sobriety I was told it was okay to substitute sugar for alcohol. If you crave a drink, have a sweet instead. You don’t even have to give me a reason to treat myself to sugar because I have been a lifelong fan. Twizzlers, sweet tarts, gummy bears, sour patch kids, tootsie rolls, swedish fish, ice cream (mint chocolate chip, please), and the list can go on and on. I have no problem with chocolate, though. I always had a stash of candy in my night stand and if it got low, off to the drugstore I would go.

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Life

Summer is almost here!

Life accelerated on me in the past couple of months. How is tomorrow June 1st with only one week of school left?! There have been concerts, field trips, a book sale/mini-concert, grandparents day, a special mass and countless out of school activities. As I write, my son is at Taekwondo, working on his hours toward membership on their coveted leadership team. When he’s done we’ll pop home for a quick change before heading to the end-of-the-year sports banquet. How do people do this with multiple kids? I am in awe of them!

Did I mention we’re also in the final run-up to having braces installed? We had both an orthodontist and dentist appointment in this very short week. I don’t even pretend my time is my own anymore. But while we’re running around, I CAN carve out time while I’m waiting. Usually I will read or watch YouTube videos but I could spend some of that time writing (and I’m not talking to-do lists). I need to put my writing time back on the schedule and I’ll start today.

Other than operating as chief transportation officer of our household , I have been doing a few different things. I’m still unemployed so I’m looking for a job and I joined a job club that is basically a support system for and by the unemployed. It’s been interesting to say the least. I have no clue what I’m going to do next professionally but I’m hoping to figure that out over the next few months.

Being that I am unemployed and hope to spend some quality time with my twelve year old this summer, we have a few trips planned starting with a visit to our home in Florida after school ends next week. This is what’s keeping me going right now. For two weeks there will be absolutely no orthodontist appointments, Taekwondo classes, lacrosse games or homework to be done. Hello pool, shuffleboard, reading and relaxing.

In early July we’re going to visit Williamsburg, VA and this will be the first time just he and I will be on such a long road trip (about 8 hours one way). My husband bid on it at a charity auction but cannot join us because we have a vacation in Delaware the following week. This is going to take a bit of organization due to all that we need to bring to Delaware but I’m sure it will be worth it (and fun). I’m trying to compile a list of podcasts or audiobooks we can listen to on the drive.

Our annual beach vacation in Delaware is always something to look forward to and we’ll meet my husband there along with a couple we always vacation with. That is a laid back week where sitting beachside with a book is the top priority.

But the very best getaway is saved for last because that is when I go to Greece with my longtime friend to a yoga retreat on one of the islands. And THAT is what’s keeping me motivated. To prepare, I’ve embarked on a health/nutrition/fitness program, but I’ll save that for next time.

What are your plans for the summer? I hope you make some time for a little (or a lot) of R&R.

Life

Ingredients for Spring

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Annual Spring trip to NYC

I’m so happy to see the sun today and feel Spring in the air. It was a bit of a surprise last week when we woke to a thin ground cover of snow (actually not so unusual for the Northeastern town we live in). But eek, my husband and I were about to head to New York City for the weekend to see a couple of shows and I wondered if I had to rethink my clothing choices which heavily favored lighter fabrics (I’m one step from putting away the winter coats). I decided to stick with my spring coat and added a scarf and sweater for layering which worked out just fine. We had a fantastic time, but as is the case with these kind of trips, it went by all too fast.

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travel

My definitive packing guide for a spring trip to Costa Rica

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Pants and sturdy shoes necessary for horseback riding!

A few weeks ago I was here sweating over what I should pack for Costa Rica. Now that the trip is behind me, I can share my experience of what to bring on the trip in a more helpful way. Anyone clicking on this post was probably questioning the veracity of the headline because it left more questions than answers about what to bring on a trip.

I must first do a little bragging that I mostly hit the nail on the head with what I ended up bringing. I made a few notes to myself about what would have been nice to round it out. Here is my definitive list for a week that included San Jose, light to moderate hiking in the rain forest (sans rain) and a couple days of activities that included horseback riding and zip lining.

Here was our seven day itinerary: Continue reading “My definitive packing guide for a spring trip to Costa Rica”

travel

The Time Zone Challenge

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I am in the midst of writing a post about the last leg of our Costa Rica journey, which was my favorite part of the trip! The weekend was all about catching up on laundry and cleaning and here we are at Monday again. Back to work. And I am exhausted! I’m not sure if it’s due to the time change but it’s leaving all of us sleepless (except my husband, Jim, who can sleep anytime). I had trouble sleeping on vacation too and I think it’s catching up with me.

This is probably not the best time to be traveling to the west coast for a work conference in which I’ll need to adjust to another time change before I’m back on the east coast late Friday night. Hopefully I’ll have time to finish my post about northern Costa Rica during the week. I’ve also asked Liam (the eleven year old) to write an essay about the trip and if he’s up for it, I’ll post it here. It will be interesting to see what he deems important from the trip.

Today will be a bit of a rush catching up on work from the past week and a half. And then packing to leave for the trip west tomorrow morning. This will be my first visit to California, so even though I’m a bit travel-worn, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll also have a large bed to myself for a few days which will likely help my sleep issues.

MC