A strange, but fairly common thing has happened to me since graduating from college– my vocabulary has dwindled to a mere 4 words. Alright, well maybe not 4, but some days it feels like it. I mean, I have a journalism degree from a prestigious university, yet I find I come across words in books that I don’t remember their meanings and have “conversations” with co-workers that all I can really do is to nod along when they use words I’ve never heard. I know I’m not alone in this people. It’s a sad day when you want to pick up a high school vocabulary book to study or go back to college just to remember how to speak eloquently and with more elegant terms. I want to expand my vocabulary, so instead of spending $25,000 to return to my alma mater, I think I’ll do a little research on my own and post some interesting and less used terms here. Oh, and while I’ll do my best to make sure I use the terms correctly in sentence form, feel free to contact me if in the rare chance they’ve been used incorrectly. In the words of my mother, “We’re all still learning.”
I started running three weeks ago – I just did it. Three miles. No thought to it really. Which could be why I actually put on my shoes and went. I over think some of the simplest things sometimes and I’m working on not. I am a great planner. I love the planning process which can lead to never actually doing what I intended to do in the first place. I’ve been thinking about exercise a lot in the last, well, lets say year(s). It’s always been important to me, considering I was a gymnast for many years and then transitioned into a coach, but recently it’s been put on the back burner. I’ve done the planning, but not the doing. It’s funny, too, because all the planning I did didn’t actually help me three weeks ago when I decided to run and I still haven’t looked at my notes. I think what I’ve learned through this is that not everything thing takes months to plan and understand. It doesn’t take extensive research. It just takes doing. Just do it. Gosh, Nike knew what they were doing when they chose that tag line. Do it already! And I did. And I have.
The Little Miss has accompanied me on her bike for some of my runs and I’ve really enjoyed having her along. With an earbud in one ear and her sweet tone in another, I have found that the distractions improve my running. Without them both, I’m sure I wouldn’t make it past a mile. If I hear myself breath too much I start focusing on it (or should I say lack-there-of-breathing) and I just want to stop. You’re tired, you can’t breath! I tell myself. If I don’t hear it, I don’t think about it.
This was the conversation that took place the first time she came with me:
Ava: You’re doing great Mama!
Mama: *barely breathing* Thank you, honey.
Ava: It’s good that you’re tired. That means you’re working hard.
Mama: *More PANTING* Yeah…
Ava: Just think of happy thoughts. Like getting more money…or me! When I get stressed (she’s 7..) or sad I think of you.
Mama: *Controlled Breath* Thank you.
She never ceases to amaze me with how mature and kind she is. What a lover.
Each time I hear my friend Mary sing, I am overcome with so much happiness that I just want to cry. While I’m sure it’s partly because I am a highly emotional being (i.e. i get emotional while watching sappy tv commercials or when sitting in the car *thinking* of someone getting married) it’s mostly because I think she is beautiful, her voice is beautiful and it makes me proud whenever she gets up there and does her thing because I know it makes her so happy. Her spirit is so unique – soft and humble, adventurous and wild, and free yet tied to different roots. This is Mary singing with her brothers – listen and enjoy. (video not the most focused, but all you really need is sound) Love you Mary.
You’ll find these are laying all over our house– sticks that have been taped, colored, pinned, wrapped, split or simply set aside for a later creating. The little sugar plum has made airplanes, wall art, food, houses, and animal pens out of discarded sticks from trees and bushes and while I may not always like the mess that comes with them, I usually find myself stopping, smiling and laughing just thinking of the joy she has when finding and creating such imaginative figures and art pieces. While I’ve been told by many that I’m creative and crafty, I often find myself in envy of the creativeness, inventiveness and focus of my seven year old.
My sugar plum, Ava, had a talent show at her after school program and she asked me to come be a part of it. She asked, “Mom can we do our airplane routine for the talent show?” “Why yes, my love, we can,” I replied. A big smile came over me as I thought how sweet it was she asked me to be a part of her act. We had been all about doing airplane lately and it slowly transitioned into more of an acro-yoga-gymnastics-airplane routine as we continued practicing. Here is the result… (minus the part where she lays on my feet and stays straight like a board and I spin her 180 degrees- that sometimes throws us off or should I say throws her off… ha, oh… sorry) Click the picture to take you to the video!
I took a bath last night. It had been a while since I’ve done that. You have to slow down to take a bath. It’s a commitment unlike taking a shower. I grabbed the book my sister gave me for Christmas (that I hadn’t started yet), a towel to dry my hands, “Cascade Mint” tea made by STASH and eucalyptus oil that we buy from our local organic grocery store. I started the bath, added drops eucalyptus oil and breathed in and out. Ahh, serenity. Peace.
I thought of my mother in this moment – a memory growing up was of her taking baths. Long baths. Reading books in the bath. Books in baskets in our bathroom that had curled edges, wrinkled spines and water spots on the cover. I love this. I lied there and rested for a bit. Focusing on my breath and clearing my mind. This is good I thought. I’m in the moment– present.
I dried my hands and opened my book. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As I started in, it was as if I could have written it– perhaps it wouldn’t have been as well articulated or as eloquent, but it was real and true to my experience, thoughts and my struggles with finding unwavering happiness and peace in my life. I’m excited to keep reading. I’m excited that I have, to a point, started my own happiness project. One thing I want to do more is to read and I’m glad that I started with this book. One book, one month. And it starts now.
You know what I love about bananas? You always know how they’re going to taste. Unlike so many other perishable food items, bananas seem to stand true to color. If it’s slightly green, you know it will be a little chalky and more firm, if it’s brown in spots or all around it’s going to mushy and slightly tangier.
You won’t find this with oranges or pineapple—no sir. Unless your orange has already begun its molding stage, you just never know how it’s going to taste. You may think you selected a lovely piece of fruit from the store, but those minutes when you’re peeling away the skin and pull it apart are somewhat suspenseful. Is it going to be juicy or is it going to be dry? Will it be sweet or will it be tangy?
You won’t find yourself asking these questions with bananas. No, because bananas are predictable. Bananas are safe. Bananas will never let you down.
*until they do in which case we could say the same thing about kiwis.
I couldn’t think of anything to cook last night so I called upon my sister– she gave me the idea of chicken tacos, sent me a crock pot recipe she’s used a few times before and I turned it into my own Oven Cooked in a Pan Chicken Taco Delight. Here is how it I did it:
4 Chicken Breasts Cubed/Shredded
1 Red Pepper Chopped
1 Can Black Beans Drained
1 Can Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Hot Chili Pepper
1 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Coriander
1 Tsp Cumin
// Small Tortillas
// Green Onions Diced
// Mexican Shredded Cheese
// Sour Cream
Combine first 11 ingredients in an oven safe pan and bake without a lid for 40 minutes at 475 degrees. I stirred mine at 20 minutes and then popped it back in for another 20. Serve on tortillas and add all the extra goodies you like. Thinking back, I should have added avocado; that would have been tasty. SO EASY, SO DELICIOUS.
*Oh and while it may look or sound a bit spicy, it was perfect for Michael and I (you could always add some spicy salsa for more of a kick) and still edible for the little miss.