September 28, 2016

It's Close to Midnight...

I've had this blog post sitting in my drafts folder for over a week now. I'm struggling with putting my thoughts into words for some reason. I have nothing profound to say, but I can't seem to calm my mind long enough to organize my thoughts. (Is this a symptom of technology addiction? Or of busyness? Whatever it is, I don't like it. I am feeling the need to head out into the woods in solitude.) So I'm just going to write as if I'm talking to a friend. If it's incoherent, well...a friend would laugh and then forgive me. 

Last week, I was walking through downtown Boston, heading from my office to meet with a client, and I was all dressed up in a suit and looking very cute and professional, if I do say so myself. It was a gorgeous and warm September day, and it felt great to be walking outside, even in heels. I looked around at the people in the Boston Common - it's as good a place to people-watch as the airport, maybe better. There were parents with kids, students, homeless people, older people taking power walks and doing tai chi and painting, and other professionals like me, walking quickly in business attire. It made me think about how I wish I interacted more with people who are different from me. It also made me think about how I must look to those around me - a professional woman in her forties. Is that me?  I suppose it is, but it somehow often surprises me to realize it nonetheless. There are definitely times when I can own it, and other times I feel like I'm faking it. I feel more comfortable dancing like an idiot with friends, trying to remember the dance moves to 'Thriller'. Does everyone feel this way? I am sure the answer must be yes. Right?

Meanwhile, outside of work, we've all been way too busy, with soccer and baseball games and birthday parties and fun with friends. (Seriously, though - dancing with friends to all our 80's favorites? A really good time.) It's all been great fun, but it has left us tired and craving time to be still, to contemplate, to sit on the couch and watch movies we've seen 100 times before. This weekend, we still have soccer and baseball, but our Saturday night is wide open. The couch beckons. 

I'm just going to leave this right here...

September 20, 2016

Recently Read

Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty. I was really looking forward to this, since I've enjoyed several of her other books. This one let me down a bit. Overall, it was entertaining and kept me engaged, but I got a bit bored at times. She draws out the big reveal (What happened at the cookout?!) for so long, and by the time I found out, I was almost over it.

The M Train, by Patti Smith.  I love this review I saw on Goodreads:  "I can't believe Patti Smith wrote a book about drinking black coffee and watching serial crime dramas and it's the best thing I've ever read." I totally agree. This book isn't about anything - there's no plot, no characters outside of Patti herself, and yet I adored the book. Her writing is gorgeous, descriptive, and moving. Patti Smith is an observer of life, and by reading her words and stepping into her life for a bit, I'm inspired to look up more, to make deeper connections (with people, places, and things), and to go on adventures.

Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin.  I read this one as a part of my book club at work. I haven't yet read her first book - The Happiness Project - although I've read many blog posts by her, so I get the main points. This one defines and organizes themes about how we form and maintain habits. It's nothing ground-breaking, and yet sometimes just by putting a name on something, it can make it that much easier to understand and put into focus. My habit tendency is a Questioner - that is, I only do things when I understand how they benefit me. There are lots of great anecdotes and examples in here, and it was helpful to think about my own habits. An interesting read and worthy of discussion.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein.  I really enjoyed this book. It helps that I'm a fan of Sleater-Kinney, which is a love-em-or-hate-em band for sure. I remember seeing them as an opener for Pearl Jam, and my husband complains about them to this day. They are not for everyone, but I've been a fan since I bought the Dig Me Out CD in college after hearing about them through CMJ. Carrie's writing is smart, thoughtful, and honest. She doesn't dish on anyone, and you can tell there's a lot she does hold back - the purpose is to write about the band, about what music means to her, and how the band saved her life.

September 16, 2016

Taking Stock - September 2016

Saturday mornings

Watching - Lots of soccer and baseball. Saturday soccer, Sunday baseball. I love watching my boys play.
Wearing - Dresses. I've been taking advantage of the warm weather by baring my legs more often. I know that boots and sweater weather is on its way. This may be the most comfortable dress I've ever owned. 
Loving - Our Halloween costumes. Yes, I already have them. I'm a planner, and it's fun to get excited. 
Eating - Salads every day at lunch. Small dinners. Ice cream. Raisin toast most mornings for breakfast - I'd like to have a healthier option there. I don't like overnight oats, but maybe there's a slow-cooker option that would make sense to try over the winter? Any of you have a suggestion?
Listening - A couple nights ago, Aaron asked me who Bruce Springsteen was. I sighed and realized that I am failing as a parent. We've been playing Bruce since then. Also - Letters to Cleo has a new album coming out, and we have tickets to see them next month (yay!). And a decent amount of Sleater-Kinney, inspired by my reading of Carrie Brownstein's book.
Wanting -  Sweaters. It's almost sweater weather! 
Reading - I will do a Recently Read post again soon. I just started The Life Intended.
Enjoying - My morning yoga. I've started to fall out of habit again, and I'm not sure how much I will be able to keep it up, but I love it so much. 
Drinking - A lot of water. I'm finally back in the habit of carrying my water bottle around at work. It's amazing how much more I drink when I bring it. 
Thinking - That I'd like our election to be over. It feels so terrible that nobody is happy with our choices this year. In previous years, I always had an opinion, but I wasn't scared if it didn't go my way. This time, I'm legitimately afraid. And not all that excited the other way either. 
Appreciating - My new sitter. In addition to watching the boys after school, she is also helping me out around the house. She's wonderful, the boys like her, and I hope she stays for a long time. 
Planning - School-year activities. I have most registrations complete, and the calendar updated. Baseball, soccer, piano, drums (!).  I need to update the calendar with the school events, and then I can start thinking about the next vacation. And of course the holidays are rapidly approaching. SO much planning this time of year!
Feeling - A little anxious. I start at a new client next week. New relationships, new commute, new project... Lots of newness can intimidate me. 
Working - At being more patient. When I'm going through a change, I lose patience much more easily. I have to remind myself that the boys are going through a transition too - new teachers, new processes, new classmates, new teammates... We all need to allow ourselves time to settle in.
Wondering - When we can go see a movie in the theater again. This is the time of year that good movies start coming out. I know I want to see this one.
Finishing - Stranger Things. Such a fabulous blend of X-Files sci-fi weirdness and 80s nostalgia. The kids make the show - but Winona Ryder is pretty fun to see, too. It's very fun. 

Stranger Things

September 14, 2016

Catching Up...

Just like that, summer is over. It was fun and full and memories were made, and yet part of me wishes it had been slower and included more quiet moments. Getting into the school-year routine almost feels like a bit of a relief. I need more time at home. Thoughts to consider as we plan for next year. 

The boys are a couple weeks into the new school year, and we're settling in. My sister-in-law noticed our calendar on the wall and commented that every single day has something written on it. I sighed. School, sports practices and games, music lessons, birthday parties, gatherings with family and friends... It all adds up. I've found it actually requires effort to plan for those free afternoons or weekend days when we can relax. 
I said to my husband just the other night that I felt like the pendulum was swinging too far. Too much work, too much busyness, too much stress. Not enough me-time. I'm going through another transition at work, starting at a new client - one with a bad commute - and that's already a stress. I'm also taking on more responsibilities, and I'm worried I may be taking on more than I can handle. We'll see. I do know that I can push back and say no when I need to. 

On the positive side, I've been getting on my yoga mat more often, and I love it. I completed an eight-week yoga program over the summer, and I only missed the days I was in Europe. Other than those ten days, I was on my mat five days/week, and it felt amazing. I'm trying to pick up that rhythm again, also incorporating some cardio, because it has a profound affect on my attitude and ability to handle the daily stresses of life. 

I'm working on staying in the present. Balancing the need to plan for the future, reflect on the good times in the past, and savor the moment while the moment is happening. Always the challenge, always the desire. What's in this moment right now?  A moment to consider my thoughts, think about all of my far-away blog friends and family, my feelings about our life right now. Deliberately taking the time to think is a beautiful thing and one that I want to continue to do as often as possible. Expect to see me here more often again.

September 9, 2016

The Lake 2016

I swear, I am going to get back into blogging soon. I absolutely miss this space. The kids are back to school, and we're settling down into the school-year routine, which is welcome after a busy and tremendously fun summer. 

To cap off our ridiculously fun summer, we spent Labor Day weekend at our family cottages on Lake Ontario. We have gone every year for the past 5-6 years, and I do hope to continue that tradition for as long as possible. When we looked at the calendar, I wasn't sure how to make it work this year, but Aaron pushed and we made it happen. A 7-hour drive is a little tough for a long weekend, but we managed, and it was totally worth it. 

The lake is my happy place, and last weekend was absolutely wonderful. The weather was spectacular, and the crowd of people was fun without being too overwhelming. (As much fun as it is to see everyone in the family, it can also make it too difficult to actually catch up with anybody!)  My Nathan was the youngest one there, which led to a very relaxed and casual atmosphere. The kids played games, we took walks, swam, hung out and talked, had bonfires both nights, sang, skied, danced, laughed, cooked and ate...  It was great. I actually had the opportunity to talk to people and to relax a bit. 


It was great sailing weather, but we got some skiing in each day as well.

This felt great!

This was epic. We all gathered on the gazebo and dock to watch the sunset on our last evening. After the sun went down, a few people decided to jump in the lake. Fully clothed. And then proceeded to chant people's names, pressuring them into jumping in as well! It snowballed from there, until every single person was in the lake with their clothes on. Even the neighbors started jumping in! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time, and I will never forget it.


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