Thursday, July 31, 2008

I saw this on Pam's site and wondered what the Irish Tarot cards would come up for my question -

Will I be Happy in my future?

This has been a question mulling over in my mind for some time. And there is a longer post brewing on the topic. For the most part, I am currently happy. But, I can't say that wasn't hard faught for or easy. I've been thinking what I can do to make it easier. What I can do, to make it permanent. Like I said, to long for today. So the answer I got from the fun game:


8 - Strength
Courage and inner fire

You have the opportunity to develop your inner fortitude, which is the unseen blessing of difficult times. When you face your fears, an unpleasant situation or an inner truth that you don't want to acknowledge, you develop the courage that allows you to persevere during chaotic, stressful times. If you've never before been tested, you may be surprised to discover a wild source of strength you didn't know you had — like a woman giving birth alone in the wilderness. Afterwards, you will be changed, and your sense of personal power will grow. Others will see it in you and call it "charisma." Your inner fire will be awakened, and it will never again go out.


11 - Justice
Karmic balance

You are being challenged to face the consequences of your past actions, which may be positive or negative. This is a card of cause and effect, of karmic balance. You are held accountable for your choices and actions — you will reap what you have sown. Examine the values that you live by, and your motives. It is best to act with integrity in all that you do. Perhaps a conflict is about to be resolved in your life, or a legal matter brought to closure. Or perhaps you must deal with the negative consequences of past actions that were less than honorable. You may be coming to an understanding of your place in the web of life, and of how far-reaching the consequences of your actions can be. It may be time to take a stand for social or environmental justice in your own neighborhood or on a global level. Each of us has a responsibility to leave this world in better shape than the way we found it.


14 - Temperance
Combining opposites

Resolution comes with finding the serenity of the middle way between polarities. You are ready to embrace the different parts of your personality, both light and shadow, that combine to make your own unique self. Your inner, spiritual life harmonizes with your life in the workaday world. You have discovered that your whole life is a work of art. You may be in need of healing on a spiritual or physical level, and the Winged One — a descendant of the ancient Bird Goddesses — is here to facilitate that for you. She may also aid you as you move into the role of healer yourself.

My interpretation: You will be if you try to be. But, what do you think?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fitness Report - Yoga

Well, I'm a little late on disclosing my latest week of fitness, so here goes:

Sunday: Yoga
Thursday: Bike
Friday: Yoga

As I did yoga twice, I thought it would be a good time to talk about my practice. I started practicing yoga formally in January 2007. (But, I had done tapes long before this initial class. My favorite continues to be Rodney Yee.)

My counselor propelled me to seeking a class. She thought that it would help me relax thru treatments, aid my anxiety (that developed after my cousin died), and be something that I would enjoy.

She was right on all counts. Most of the time yoga made me feel like:

Completely and totally zen - at peace - grounded. No matter how sad I was, or bloated (from the injections), nauseous, troubled - I was glad I had attended. A few times I found myself dosing during my pranayama (breathing) and meditation practice. My classes in the Kripalu tradition opened the door. Please know that during many asanas (poses) I feel at times like this to:

But overall - I am zen.

Since the craziness at work in the beginning of the year, I haven't been back to class. My schedule was just to up in the air for the last six months and it is difficult to swallow paying for classes that you don't use. But, I've missed yoga tremendously.

Also, I know (from going to class) that I need to establish a daily practice. There are too many benefits to yoga for me that I would be remiss if I don't start doing it at least every other day. I simply feel more centered. The physical fitness is secondary when it comes to yoga. For me the stillness of my mind is nirvana.

So two weeks ago, I found the beauty of the OnDemand fitness classes. And this last week, I found a yoga book on deep discount at Barnes & Noble called Yoga for Everybody: Simple Routines to Reduce Stress, Improve Fitness, and Make You Feel Good at Any Stage of Life. by Paul Harvey.

I really enjoy this book. It explains pranayamas (breath) and asanas (poses) in great detail. But, in my opinion, the best part are the various practices! And that has what I've been enjoying for the last week.

I also found a yoga class closer to my home held on Saturdays - which is a good option for me as well.

It feels good to delve back into my practice. To you all - Namaste!

Monday, July 28, 2008

ABBA the Tour

On Friday night, I went with a couple of friends to see ABBA the Tour. No it isn't the original group. The concert has some original "guest" ABBA musicians and a other members who do the vocals. They are fairly good. By the way, the custumes were all original. They had to be! If only I had my camera.

It was a fun night.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I'm Doing Tonight?

Need I say more?

Maybe I do. I'm going to see them in concert tonight. Very excited. I do plan on seeing the movie and will definetly report back when I do. :).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fitness Report

This week was a mix bag. Work was stressful as predicted, and next will be worse. I know if I think it will be, than it will be. In this situation, no amount of positive thinking will change it. I know - very defetist.

Truth be told, I am trying to be more open about what will be next week. The good news is that it is almost done. By the end of the month, if everything goes right - this will be over. Ironically, it (all the work) may be for all for not.

The latest bit of stress is that I know in the next round of revisions there will include a list of individuals will be given a bonus and a list given the ax. It is a bit stressful on both counts. Considering the first, will be a bit more of a slap in the face if I'm not granted some type of bonus and the second - well - it may be a relief. And both of these things may not happen - since it still needs to be approved and all.

So to counter the stress, I did:

Monday: The eliptical for two miles.
Wednesday: A crazy contraption called the Cybex for a mile with weight.
Thursday: Yoga from OnDemand.
Saturday: Yoga from OnDemand.

Not bad, considering I was/am a bit sore - especially in the hamstrings and quadriceps. But, I am feeling relief from the stress once I finish.

On Monday, I also started Such A Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. It is hysterical - literally laughing outloud funny. And a book about fitness. Not traditional in any sense, but in my opinion, in a good way. As a girl who loves to eat, dieting is not easy for me. Jen makes me feel OK and does give me a big hug when I decide to eat this heavenly and horrible treat. (I had intended to finish this book this weekend, but I left it at the office in my gym bag. So, maybe Monday I will use the bike and finish the book?)

As a result of leaving the abovementioned at work, I picked up and finished this very well done short book - 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven, Ph.D.

It is exactly what it states. David Niven provides 100 Simple Secrets, a short story, and a scientific reference. Some of my favorites:

1. Exercise
2. Think in Concrete Terms
3. Keep reading

I wonder why I like those so much :).

By the way, in the spirit of trying to keep up with my exercise, I'd like to put my goals into writing or concrete terms.

It is my goal to work out a minimum of three days a week. This may include any physical activity including running, walking, biking, yoga, weights, etc.

Lets see how well this goes, especially in the chaotic week that is lying ahead of me.

As I just wrote that I am still smiling.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What’s for dinner?

This month’s feature is a tried and true. I first mentioned this recipe a long while ago. It was a recipe that I fell in love with for its simplicity and tastiness. So, let me introduce you to Feta Topped Chicken:

Prep Time:10 min
Start to Finish:25 min
Makes:4 servings
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/4 lb)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 large roma (plum) tomato, cut into 8 slices
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
1. Set oven control to broil. Brush both sides of chicken breasts with dressing. Sprinkle both sides with Italian seasoning and seasoned pepper. Place on rack in broiler pan.
2. Broil with tops 4 inches from heat about 10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Top with tomato and cheese. Broil 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Broil chicken about 15 minutes. Top with tomato and cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Instead of plum tomatoes I used vine tomatoes. I usually use two beef tomoatoes. Also, I use two to three slices of tomato on each piece of chicken and the entire package of the feta. In addition, I generally marinate the chicken with the balsamic for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Again, it is super easy – hence why I can make it – and always a success!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Book Club Thoughts

I’ve been doing a little bit more reading - both on my own and for book club. By the way, if you are looking for cheap books, with one low shipping and handling fee; I highly suggest using Overst*ck. I am so impressed by their overall service. However, when I received a follow-up email asking for a review on a book! (A great idea, considering I am very unlikely to provide one unprompted.)

The book which they prompted me for a review, Exposing Darwinism’s Weakest Link by Kenneth Poppe, will unfortunately be receiving a thumbs down from me. I read a review by My Friend Amy, her opinion was much kinder than mine.

To be honest, this isn’t my cup of tea. As a public school student (yes I went to a Jesuit University, but I didn’t frequent the science labs all that much), I wonder what my view on the creation of the world would be considered creationism or Darwinist? And this is why I was interested in this book. Also, several years ago, I read a science-fiction book called Footprints of God by Greg Iles. (I would categorize this book very science fictiony.) That book solidified my opinion on evolution/creation of the world. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. But, if you consider that I also am using my knowledge of Genesis and Darwinism into that context, it may explain my thought.

Ultimately, the reason I was most turned off by Exposing Darwinism was the author’s negative tone. Through out the book, he cannot mask his distaste for Darwinists. (And it may be a reaction to how Darwinists treat Creationists.) But, after page 200, I just couldn’t read it any more – I get it - you don’t agree with the Darwinists.

Sadly, I am still confused. Ultimately, I do believe that God had to do with the creation of the world, but I also believe the Darwinists (Big Bang and evolution). (Who is to say God did not use Darwinists theory of the Big Bang to start the process? Who is to say that God created the world in human 24 hours? How do we know how God accounts for time? Thousand, Millions, and Billions of years may pass in a blink of an eye for God. I don’t presume to know.)

Also, the book makes it all or nothing. Meaning the Darwinists or Creationists couldn't be partially correct. In my opinion, I understand the pretense of either God was involved or not is a large part of the difference of thought. But, in my opinion, it also leaves room for partial credit. I think I can go on and on. At the very least, this novel did make me think.

Enough of that and on to a more enjoyable novel, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve. This novel was picked by my book club long before I joined. And when I saw it on the list – I knew that I found the book club for me. I am a fan of Anita Shreve. This is actually the second time reading this novel, and the fourth novel that I read by Anita Shreve. She always spins a lovely tale.

Sea Glass is set in New England in 1929. It focuses on the lives of six main characters during the stock market crash and great depression. In light of today’s headlines of bank runs, lowest values of the US dollar, and big business trying to keep up their stock by laying off many ; this story is very apropos of today.

The story from the start will draw you in and will keep you riveted until the end. I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Help by clicking!

Please do this it will take two minutes of your time.
Free Food for Animal Shelter

Hi, all you animal lovers. This is pretty simple. Please tell your friends! The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on 'feed an animal in need' for free. It's in a purple box in the middle of the page. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

So please click!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crazy thoughts of the day!

Or maybe of the week :). Well, work is picking up - as promised. Hence the silence. It will be going full speed starting this week and continuing on until the end of the month. Enough of my whinning!

Lets see, there were a few things I wanted to share:

1. Last week, I ran 6 miles. Very slowly, but I did it in three days in two mile increments. For this asmatic, not bad. My first 2: 17 minutes, the second 2: 14 minutes, and the last 2: 15 minutes. By Thursday, I was feeling the burn. And I've lost three pounds, but I think that was all 4th of July bbq weight!

2. Realized on Thursday, that my car's inspection sticker is expired. Yes, I know it is 13th day of the month. But what is a girl to do? I'll get it done this week. I can't believe I did this, I've never done anything like it!

3. I finished "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am dying to talk about it. Actually, I adored the book. But, I've signed up for Mel's Barren Bitches Book Brigade, so I will wait to talk directly about the book. However, I think talking about my own yoga and meditation will not count. So that is up on my list of things to blog about.

4. Lastly, if you were wondering how the cartoon had to do with anything to do with this post. I cleaned house. After having another cartoon like dream with a walking toilet. Well, I decided in light of how a dirty house stresses me out, that I need to make sure was nice and clean before the craziness of work started. It also included six loads of laundry. I think we are hiring a maid.

All right, I think that is it for now. I will try to be better, but don't be surprised if my posts become more sporadic. Until the end of this work chaos - I'll be lucky to get lunch!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Exercise, the key to forgiveness?

I've been thinking thinking about forgiving my body. The question that continously comes into my mind is how do you forgive something that cannot ask for forgiveness?

In my school of thought you need to make peace with it.

Last November, my Yoga teacher had us do a practice which required us to name one thing about our body that we were grateful for. At the time, I thought not much - all I could see were its failures. But, I couldn't share that.

So I delved deeper in to what I was grateful - my eyes.

After all, it was right after my eye surgery. I was realizing the enormous benefits of seeing 20/20.

A few weeks later, after my co-worker who had the same procedure as I took over a month to heal. I was grateful that it took me three days.

By March, I was ecstatic that my eyes had healed to 20/15.

As I look at this, maybe just maybe, this was my peace offering. It could just be that my body is saying - Sorry.

As the bitter person that I am. I'm not ready to accept this peace offering. Instead, I am seeking more. Testing the true remorse.

In October, when I first joined the gym. It was invigorating to run on the treadmill. It was awesome to feel my body tingle after the exercise. But as time went on I forgot those feelings.

Today, I was reminded. After feeling frustrated with work. I went at lunch to the gym for a half hour. And I felt that exiliration. Affirmation that I/it was indeed alive and willing to work.

Which left me feeling calm and peaceful. (I could just need a nap?)

My body did the work, so that my mind could find peace. A ying and yang of sorts.

What I am trying to say is at this exact moment, I feel grateful for being able to release my stress through running. I feel grateful that my body allowed me to do this. I am grateful that it responded with this calming effect.

It could very well be that I've found the door to my forgiveness.

N.B. Please do not worry. After realizing my previous post and this one - I know that I should do this more often and will.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reminder - Must learn to think of numero uno.

I am becoming very frustrated at work. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part - I enjoy my position. Believe me, I know how lucky I am in that respect.

But, it has its problems: 1. They rely on me. It is a true double edge sword. 2. They tell me no, when I asked for time off. Because see number one. This is new. In the past I’ve been able to without issue. 3. And the same rules do not apply to others.

My position is unique. I am the only one that does what I do. When I am on vacation, there will be a huge pile waiting for me. So, even when I go on vacation there is no vacation. Since when I return, I need to do everything that no one has done for me and usually requires me putting in extra time.

When others go on vacations, I try to do as much as possible for them plus my own work - so that they don’t need to come back to a pile. You know as a good Catholic girl, I was taught to do for others as I would like to be done for me.

The Company I work for is going thru some changes which are stressing me out. At this point, I am not concerned with the out come. Ironically, I am looking at a potential layoff as some time off – in lieu of a maternity leave.

I am worried about my work load.

Last December/February, I had my first inkling of what that would entail. Lets put it this way, as a person who will not be extremely rewarded for their time and efforts. (By the way, I was given $1,000 before taxes for 90 hours of work.) I am not looking forward to what my July/August will be looking like.

It is frustrating beyond belief – in so many ways. Especially since the individuals who will be highly compensated for their time and efforts are able to take vacation time. While, every time in the recent months, I am only faced with hemming and hawing or a flat out “no.” Yet, the person who is telling me these things has vacations scheduled and is not planning on cancelling those trips. Yes I said trips.

And this is my first summer without injections, daily draws, and empty uterus scans. I was hoping for a normal fun summer. You know one that includes weekend get-a-ways, etc.

Instead I have something else bogging me down that is out of my control.

Yes, I consider it to be out of my control. When you factor in:

1. I like my job;
2. This is only temporary;
3. The economy;
4. The new owners have potential (pay, benefits – it may even be a MA based company!, tuition reimbursement);
5. It is only temporary.

I know what makes me “exceptional employee” is also what is making me frustrated. I will do what it takes to get my job done – including as much as I can of someone else’s job. And this makes me frustrated because I feel as if I am the only one that does that. Most of my colleagues value their own lives more and I am frustrated in equal parts with myself as well as them. Since I would like to be more like them – but see my conscious leaves me feeling guilty if I did what they do.

Also, it makes me feel unappreciated. Because, quiet frankly, sometimes “appreciation” needs to come in the form of dollar signs. While I’ve received raises, I feel like – especially during these times – I am not being compensated as much as I deserve. Right now, I am not seeing the benefits of this job – you know 9 to 5.

It is only compounded because I am given a laptop but it is the only one without remote access. So, it is a computer which requires internet access via my own internet which they don’t pay for. To make myself “happier” with the situation, I decided to get a Bl*ckberry out of pocket. They could of at least offered to pay for the next few months. Actually, when I informed of the fact, I was reminded that the Company would not pay for that service.

It makes for a disgruntled person.

It makes for a disgruntled person who needs a vacation.

Err, imagine how I would be if I didn’t have a few days in May/June? You know the Friday and Monday that I still answered emails. You know. Because I was made to feel guilty for taking the time.

I cannot wait for Thursday at 5, since everyone else is taking the day and I need to be the one here holding up the fort. But, who can take days off when you only get ten vacation days a year?

Frustrated and I need to learn how to say no and that I am taking a few days instead of asking.