Wow, January! You were really something. During your calendar page time, I made my way home from California, spent an evening with friends in New Paltz and had a quick getaway to Miami Beach. There were numerous runs, some yoga, lots of golf course walks with Jeter and the first ski of the season. It was a month full of living life and spending time with people whose company I enjoy. 2019, I think you’re going to be a good one…
As I spent a little time reflecting on the past month, I couldn’t help but recognize that it didn’t matter where I physically was, wherever I was I felt happy. I guess this internal happiness I’ve been working to cultivate travels well. It really is true, you know, wherever you go, that’s where you are.
It didn’t matter if I was traveling alone or with someone else, if the sun was shining or the wind blowing, or where I physically was – my general state of emotional being was positive. I felt lucky to be wherever I happened to be, even when it wasn’t a place with a scenic view or the warmth of sun on my face. I’m alive. I have family and friends and people with whom I enjoy sharing my time. I have a home and a job. My health is good and my body (mostly) does what I ask it to do. And, there isn’t a single day that I don’t appreciate every single one of those things.
One of the best gifts about growing older is learning new lessons about life and oneself, and how those two things relate. I think the happiness I’m currently experiencing comes in part to my recent realization that beyond my children, the only one I’m obligated to is myself. I’ve known for a long time that I alone am responsible for my own happiness and security, but I’m starting to have a different understanding about what that means. To me, at least.
The commitment I have to being happy, to living my best life, comes with an emotional independence that I hadn’t previously considered. While I most certainly owe honesty to any romantic partner I am with, I’m not obligated to sacrifice my needs to a relationship which may not fill my soul in the manner in which I desire. This is, to me, a rather radical understanding of myself and the state of being linked emotionally with another. I don’t have to stifle my feelings or longings because my ultimate commitment is to me. I only get to do this life thing once and I’m unwilling to experience it as an observer. I want to live it. All of it.
How is the new year treating you? What are you doing to make your life one that is well lived? Are you living your best life?
Filed under aging, Albany, Brunch, California, friends, love, marriage, moms, musings, Observations, Random, relationships, running, travel, Uncategorized, upstate New York, vacation, winter, x-country skiing, yoga
The running here is magical. I’ve been known to take a run, drive back “home,” hear a good song and take a second run. True story.
Do I look like a desert girl to you? I said desert, not dessert, folks… As a fair skinned, half Irish person, I never imagined that I would be so captivated by the desert, specifically Palm Springs, but I absolutely love it there. There’s something about the dry heat, spectacular mountains and clear, cool nights that keeps me coming back for more and I’m excited to be visiting a close friend who lives there soon.
Have you been there? It truly is a desert oasis – gorgeous homes, beautiful people and a climate that during the winter and spring months offers fantastic running in the hills surrounding the city. Palm Springs is the place where I ate my first Mexican food and drank my first margarita, which obviously makes it forever special. I’ve also taken the aerial tramway to the top of the San Jacintos for a “hike,” spent a significant amount of time hanging out poolside, and, way back in the day, went as close to clubbing as I’ve ever been. It’s a fun, cool town and I’m looking forward to getting back there this winter.
Now, here’s where you come in – beyond the experiences I’ve already enjoyed in PS, what should I do when I’m there? I’ve been drawn to a mid-century modern aesthetic in recent years and am thinking that an architectural house tour might be fun. Have you ever done that there? The last time I was in Palm Springs I found a nice little hot yoga studio that I may hit up again, but maybe you have a recommendation for a place for a challenging class or two, preferably not Bikram? There seem to be hot springs in the area and I would love to soak outdoors in some hot and bubbly water. Suggestions? And, lastly, maybe you’ve been to the surrounding area? What else should I try to see when I’m there?
Filed under beauty, California, Exercise, favorites, friends, Hiking, ideas, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, winter, yoga
Many of the books I read are written for young adults. These include lots of realistic fiction, some fantasy and adventure titles, as well as the occasional nonfiction title. A new box of books arrived the other day in my library – something which still excites even after more than two decades on the job, and I helped myself to a couple of new titles, including The 57 Bus a nonfiction book by Dashka Slater.
You know when you’re reading a book and you find yourself thinking and even talking about it? Well, this is that kind of book. Slater deftly tells the story of two very different teenagers who ride the same city bus for a life changing 8 minutes. She tells the story in brief chapters, a technique I found very effective and one that helps makes the facts related more easily digested. One afternoon on the bus an event occurs during that shared ride which impacts both of their lives, an event which began as a simple prank yet grew to become an incident defined by some as a hate crime.
Oakland, California is a diverse city of 400,000 residents with a wide range of economic levels represented. It has, at times, been cited as the most violent city in America with gangs and guns present in many neighborhoods of the city’s nearly 80 square miles. Oakland was the home of both Sasha and Richard.
Sasha, a teenager who identifies as agender and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, is an intelligent young person with a supportive family and a solid group of friends They (the pronoun they use for themself) attend an alternative high school, wear garments that are typical for both males and females, and are committed to living a life which feels reflective on the exterior of what they are experiencing on the inside.
Richard is a black teenager being raised by his young mom and stepfather in a stable family in a struggling neighborhood. Although he gets into some legal trouble as a juvenile, he is essentially a typical, unmotivated high school boy in an urban school district. The reckless act Richard commits against Sasha is unspeakably horrific, yet not premeditated or truly intended and he in many ways ends up just as scarred as they do.
Reading about the encounter between Sasha and Richard left me breathless and with an aching heart. This is a powerful story that will stay with readers. Read this.
In the spirit of life being comprised of moments and not years, I offer 45 special moments in time which I was blessed enough to enjoy in my 45th year…
1. Memorial Day Girls’ weekend in Albany.
2. NYC with Liam – from the Met to running in the dark to Brooklyn from the Lower West Side – truly memorable.
3. My first 4 mile run.
4. My first 5 mile run.
5. My first 10K.
6. Running in the desert with the sun shining and the mountains glowing. (is there a theme here?)
7. Mommy and me trip with Quinn to NYC, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
8. The Allman Brothers and Santana at SPAC.
9. Running in Central Park on a mild February day. (again?)
10. My brother’s birthday party in Syracuse with the best friends imaginable.
11. A day spent poolside at my friends Will and Raj’s house in Niskayuna
12. Dinner at the bar at Lupa with Mary Lynn
13. The Delmar Turkey Trot followed by Thanksgiving dinner with the McGuire family – in pajamas.
14. Finding DelSo on the map – literally!
15. All Good Bakers opening in my wonderful neighborhood.
16. The IRS confirming that I didn’t owe them $1500. They owe me $1600.
17. Eating a rare burger at the Capital City Gastropub. Ok, that might count as multiple moments because I’ve done it
more than once.
18. Receiving a thank you card from a former student who said I inspired him to note his gratitude.
19. Watching Quinn take his first bridge jump.
20. Truly knowing that I am able to support my household, unaided.
21. Falling in love with trail running in Saratoga with my friend, Chrissy.
22. Cross country skiing in October.
23. Having my hand held by a friend held while threading our way through a crowd.
24. Albany’s Last Run with some great girlfriends.
25. Working Lark Fest at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark Street.
26. Spending time with college friends who I hadn’t seen in far too long.
27. Finding out that two of my favorite people are expecting two new people.
28. Hot yoga classes on Martha’s Vineyard. Well, actually, finishing a hot yoga class or two on Martha’s Vineyard.
29. Finding the most gorgeous cashmere robe imaginable hanging in my bathroom.
30. Harry Potter marathons with Quinn.
31. That incredible bottle of Spanish wine I enjoyed with my awesome neighbors.
32. The satisfaction of buying and installing air conditioners in my house – all by.myself!
33. Being able to bike 20 miles without any preliminary rides or lasting discomfort.
34. Finding the necessary piece to assemble my dressing table – after more than a year of looking for it.
35. Having an opportunity to volunteer for the Historic Albany Foundation by pouring (and drinking) wine at their event.
36. Drinks on the rooftop at Eataly’s Birreria.
37. Our full moon bonfire at White Crest beach.
38. The first sip of a glass of refreshing rose on a hot day in NYC.
39. Girls’ Gathering in Kingston to begin the Summer of 2012.
40. Running in the soft rain at Albany Muni.
41. Crossing the Bourne Bridge. heading to Wellfleet, listening to Simon & Garfunkel.
42. Going blonde-ish, something I always wanted to do.
43. Getting negative PET Scan results.
44. Feeling my heart beat fast at the mere sight of someone special.
45. Breathing – deeply and with appreciation for all the gifts I receive each day I am alive.
Seems like everyone knows about my passion for running, but did you know I have another activity that challenges and strengthens me? Yep, it even provides balance for the physical demands of pounding the pavement as well as an opportunity to tune in mentally to my body in a manner that running, due to the necessity of remaining aware of what is going on in my surroundings, does not offer. May I present one of my favorite four-letter words – yoga!
I first experienced yoga as a sixth grader. There was an after school program at my elementary building and I enjoyed it as much as a self conscious prepubescent girl could. I was a very active kid and remarkably flexible, so it appealed to me immediately. I think that 12 was a little young for me to grasp the mental component, though. Actually, that probably remains my biggest challenge.
Over the years I’ve practiced yoga with varying degrees of commitment. When my older boys were young, I took a class at the JCC in Albany taught by Cameron Thomas. (Ironically enough, she mediated my divorce last year – small world, huh?) Cameron was the perfect yogi – she was meticulous about form and taught me a lot about the poses and breathing.
I’ve told you before how much I enjoy the Sunday morning class at the Yoga Loft, but I’ve been expanding my horizons, particularly while on vacation. For the third summer, I’ve taken yoga classes taught by Patty Renaud in Wellfleet. The classes aren’t incredibly physically challenging, but they do provide an excellent opportunity for me to mentally release. I’ve been really close to dozing at the end of class – a true vacation.
Last winter when I was in Palm Springs (yeah, I like saying that) I found a studio that offered a variety of classes. I managed to squeeze 4 classes in during my 5 days, two of which were modified Bikram classes. I don’t know much about Bikram, or “hot” yoga, other than it is an ass-kicking workout, even when it is abbreviated to 70 minutes and 102 degrees.
Last week on Martha’s Vineyard I took two legit Bikram classes
– 90 minutes, 104 degrees in the studio. I wisely paid for two classes ($16 plus $2 to rent a mat) guaranteeing that I would return a second time. Seeing as how during the initial class I was afraid that I was either going to die, pass out or puke, it was a good move.
If you are interested in a workout that stretches your muscles and relaxes your brain, I heartily recommend finding a Bikram studio. I’ve heard good things about this
place, but haven’t yet made it there myself. This type of yoga is not for the faint of heart – bring plenty of water and move into the poses with caution if you’re inexperienced with practicing. And be prepared to literally drip sweat from virtually every pore. And speaking of that – apologies to those unfortunate enough to have set their mats up next to mine on Friday. Hope I didn’t sweat any of Thursday night’s tequila on you. I was on vacation, after all.