Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the last day of 2013...

I'm sharing a list from Mind Body Green. There's bits and pieces that make sense. I commented on list items that spoke to me (or yelled at me). :)

Here are 20 things to let go of in order to reach unlimited happiness.

1. Let go of all thoughts that don't make you feel empowered and strong.
I need to work on this one. There's been a TON of negativity at work in recent weeks. There have been people I care about getting in trouble left and right and I've done nothing but get angry about it. 
2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.
Well this one is easy. I'm ready to apply to a PhD program and see where that takes me.
3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.
see above
4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.
The funny thing is I've never had trouble with this one. :)
5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.
This one pretty much has ruled my life the past two months. :(
6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.
Well I changed my issues with work--I spoke up for myself and took action with authority figures. I just get too wrapped up and worried about others that are treated horribly. 

7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.
um, never thought this ever
8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.
I always do this.
9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.
I need to remember this one if I do start a PhD program in 2014
10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.
Yeah, this one is not me either. I'm very content with my life and all I've worked hard for.
11. Let go of thinking there's a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.
This one I need to remind myself of. It's not "my way or the highway"
12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
Oh, I now know where I want to go. PhD, work, volunteer work all in one happy bubble. Can it work? I don't know but I'm going to try.
14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.
Saw some former friends at a party this past weekend. That hurt as bad as a nail in the eye, I was polite and they ignored the hell outta me. It hurt but it should not.
15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you've done the best you can, and that's enough.
I'm always saying that life is too short so I think I've got this one. :)
16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.
Well in my case I have to know how to make the PhD work with the day job and with the volunteer work.

17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.
Working on it but doing a kitchen and an addition to the rental in ONE year has created more debt. Ah well, at least the primary house will be paid off in our late 40s.
18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.
Need to leave the people alone that are hateful and mean at work. 
19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.
As an adult I don't have this issue. As a teen, yes you bet I did. :)
20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!
Oh I like how I look (I work hard at the gym and at yoga) but I often hate on myself when things go wrong at work and I need to stop that. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Reverb13: Joy

What gave you joy during 2013?

  • My family
  • My husband
  • My cat who is turning 14 in 2104, Maximus
  • My dear friends: we hiked together, we read together, we laughed together, we watched movies together, we cooked together, we loved and we laughed together.
  • Snow. Wow, we got a lot during the winter of 2013 (and we end the year with some too). Snow brings me joy. It brings my husband joy. We get out into the woods and we have fun
  • Good health. Something I will never take for granted
  • the strong pull of standing back and watching Karma do what Karma does. Amazing. 
  • Being strong, getting a good review at work
  • My students at my day job, at my volunteer mentor job, and the children as always enjoying the farm I volunteer at
  • Music. 
  • A new kitchen made on our own. Hard work but much joy has resulted. Wok on, my love, wok on!
  • weddings: one on the beach in CA and one at a winery and distillery in NH. So happy to be part of both!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reverb13: Plans

What are your plans for 2014? Do you have any goals you set for yourself? Who are you going to work with to achieve your goals?

I'm going to be applying for a 0 residency requirement (never on campus) PhD program in Innovation and Leadership (or the one that involves policy if I decide to go that route instead). This will tie in with my volunteer work at Drumlin Farm (Mass Audubon) that I've been doing for nearly 14 years. This will also meld well with my mentor work at Babson College (#1 Entrepreneurship program in the USA--hollah!).

Career wise this program requires you to have a full time job. So, I let my boss and others know that I have NO intentions of leaving my job that I love. My goal is to get my transcripts from graduate school and undergrad, get letters of recommendation from my volunteer jobs listed above. I keep my insurance licenses for life as long as I stay up on the CE and I'll always be doing that no matter what.

But what if 20 years from now I want to work at Babson (even part time?) that would mean I'd need a PhD. What if I wanted to work at Mass Audubon in a greater capacity (doing a huge research project now, so who knows). I'm ready to learn more. I'm ready to keep my career strong. I'm ready to "chip away" at a PhD over the next 10 years. I'll finish at age 47 if all goes well. (47!!) and the primary mortgage will be paid off too (as my Grandmother would say "God willing" (she's so sweet).

I just met a really important person in my work kitchen who travels the country speaking. (he's a dentist in NC so he's on our board and is a wonderful man). So much inspiration this week.

I did my master's degree while working full time and it took me 4 years. What the heck is another 10 in the grand scheme of things?

Here's to a fantastic 2014! and wish me luck with my application....I guess I'll submit it sometime this winter. Best to ask for references during winter break. :) I start work travel again in February...can't wait!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Help Planning Germany Trip?

So here's what I have so far:
  1. Sept 13 fly to Frankfurt via KEF, Iceland. Breakfast in Iceland (win!) and lunch in Germany (woo!)
  2. Sept 14 is when we land in Frankfurt.
    1. I need a suggestion of a hotel in Frankfurt
    2. I need to know how to get to the train to Dusseldorf that will take us to Berlin
  3. We plan on renting a car in Berlin and heading south.
  4. We already have a hotel booked (and paid for) in Munich for Oktoberfest. So that's 3 days, two nights of 'fest (and you can walk to a castle from our hotel and it has free parking and free SKY TV so...that's cool (TV in English without subtitles).
  5. I'd really like some suggestions on hiking, breweries to see on the way south to Munich.
Flying out of Frankfurt on the 24th of September, it leaves in the afternoon and gets in to Boston for 6:30pm the same day.

Thanks for any help you can provide! For those of you that have been...I'd love to hear from you!

We've rented cars in Europe 4 times before so it's not a big deal to us (only in Scotland where it was a standard and you had to shift with your left hand--yikes).
(photo source, Lonely Planet, click for page)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reverb13: Day 3, Revising that Bucket List

Well, it's official. I get to cross something of my bucket list!

Post here

That would be item #2. Go on a yoga retreat. Heading to one with a friend and fellow blogger (blog-ess?) and I'm really looking forward to it. That will be in February and we booked it already.


#1 still stands. #3 still stands.

Travel wish list will include crossing off Germany in September (since we are in the process of booking a trip there--the hotel in Munich is already booked during Oktoberfest!!)

So now I need something new.

I'm going to go with #2, read the entire Dark Tower series by Stephen King.


Here's to the ebb and flow of a Bucket List. Here's to taking time to take care of yourself and book that retreat and just BE.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reverb13: Day 2: Routine

Last night in yoga we talked about learning to JUST BE. If something is uncomfortable or you have trouble getting through it can you control your reaction to the situation? If you are in a yoga pose that's really tough--can you just be? I had another instructor (who happens to be a brain surgeon in her day job) that always reminded us "This is only temporary" (translation: push through that pain, this is good for your body).

Day 2: Routine.

What is your routine? Why is routine important?

My routine is to eat breakfast and lunch at work. It's important to my morning routine to have lunch packed (or planned) and have breakfast stored in my office (oatmeal or muesli--something I can make at work with milk, water or the microwave).

My after work routine is to get dinner started (or to have a plan, or to run errands) and workout for an hour at some point. If it is yoga, zumba (which I hope to get back to soon...health-wise it has not been possible since October), or even some cardio. It helps me "forget" the 8:30-4:30 I spent sitting at a desk. Typing. Answering phones. Crunched up in a ball. It also helps me make better food choices and maintain my weight (challenge for me).

My routine for weekends is to get some volunteer work AND some yoga in if we're in MA. If we're in Maine I try to get in a walk or a hike each day we're there (a MUST, no matter the weather). I ease into my Maine days (2 weekends/month). I kinda rush into my Massachusetts days...it's a Boston thing I think. :)

Routine keeps me grounded. I just wrote "routine" and thought of poutine. hahaha.

Here's a photo of poutine. Mmmmm.

(photo credit: The Canada Cheese Man)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reverb13: It's that time of year again!

So just as I did last year I'm going to Reverb at random. Not every day. Just when the mood strikes. But through the end of the year just like the last few years.

Today's word: Health

It's easy to take our health for granted. As many of you know I spent a week in the hospital (plus 2 days outpatient) for an infection. I was on the wrong antibiotic for 5 days and it was pretty horrible. So here I am.

A new month. A fresh start. FINALLY feeling like myself. Had a bad cold for a week recently too, so now I'm BACK to yoga. I'm back to enjoying life. I'm back to cooking and baking and doing laundry and "keeping house." Much to the relief of my husband, I'm sure (he was my nursemaid and helping hand--love you honey!). Sickness and in health.

Being out of the hospital and well enough to be in a dear friend's wedding meant so much to me. (shout out to the newlyweds Grey and Bri for such an amazing wedding that was creative and fun--it for me was the first time I'd felt normal in so long after being so ill and it was just a great weekend  in NH that I so needed).

Don't take health for granted. You can have the fancy cars, the multiple homes, the good friendships, and wonderful relationships, and the GREAT job. It all goes to shit if you don't have your health. I know this now. Yoga retreat scheduled for February. I started (and kept going with) writing every day while in the hospital--and I'm sticking to it--writing every single day (not in this blog, but still stretching that writing muscle).

Cheers! To good health and a fun and exciting 2014! 2013 was exhausting (just ask anyone that lives in the Boston area--ending on a good note, a happy note. I need 2014 to have more fun (go Red Sox) and less worry and bad things (terrorist attack on Boston). There's going to be daffodils blooming the entire marathon route (that runs through my town). I can't wait for 2014 to begin!

Friday, May 17, 2013

My First Time Cooking with Farro


I bought a small bag of Trader Joe's Farro a while ago. It sounded interesting and there was a recipe on the bag to cook it up with sausage and apple. I finally decided to give it a try last night since I had extra chicken broth to use.

I filled a pan with chicken broth, dumped the whole bag in once it was boiling (there's directions on the bag on how to cook it in broth). I cooked some asparagus on the stove top (what is with Whole Foods selling GIANT asparagus right now--where is the tender wee asparagus?). Once the farro was done cooking I drained off the extra broth and added in the asparagus and a can of kidney beans (drained) along with some sea salt.

At that point Tyler and I decided it tasted good but needed to be treated like fried rice. The farro cooked up light and fluffy and did not look at all what I expected it to look like. I cracked two eggs into the mixture, stirred around until those were cooked and added the whole thing to a large fry pan with some olive oil. This gave Tyler a chance to show off his flipping skills and admire the new gas flame (we recently converted to gas during the kitchen renovation).

The purpose of this very strange combination was to have a "first course" before going to our local brewery (Jack's Abby). We had one goal in mind: eat something quick and head out and taste the newest local brew. It turned out to be tasty so we got a growler and also sampled a summer beer (had citrus and spices). Once home we each had our individual leftovers from earlier in the week. I ran out to the gym to torture myself on the arc trainer for 1/2 hour before watching The Office finale.

That's just a typical night in our house. Also, Tyler was able to finish up the tile work on the wall (I'll post some more photos this weekend for those of you that follow me on Google+.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chicken with Cabbage and Tomatoes

Yesterday I went grocery shopping during lunch. I forgot my entire bag of groceries in my office.

So I had to improvise. Instead of an Asian chicken soup with cabbage (left over from St. Patty's) I decided to do a Scandinavian dish. Here's what I made up and it came out great!

1. Cut up 3 boneless chicken breasts
2. Put 1/4 cup of flour in a ziplock bag with a 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt and 1/2 t of celery seed). cut chicken into small chunks (like the size of a boneless chicken leg). Coat with flour mixture.
3. Put a little canola oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.
4. Brown the chicken on both sides, set aside
5. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Chop green cabbage (I filled a cereal bowl with chopped cabbage to measure).
6. Saute cabbage in olive oil, season with salt & pepper
7. Add a can of chopped tomatoes (we do the organic ones sold in bulk at BJs so it's a 17.5 oz can I think). These are regular chopped tomatoes with no added flavoring.
8. Add chicken chunks back to pan. Stir and top with Trader Joe's shredded cheese (I do the one that is the mozzarella/cheddar/jack cheese combo).
9. Bake for 45 minutes. Covered with foil.
10. Remove foil for last 5 minutes and add a little more of the cheese.
11. Serve!

You can also add caraway seeds to the flour mixture. :)


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal


This has been a transition week for me thus far. We decided to spend a 3 day weekend in Maine after our last trip was postponed due to weather. We were determined to get one last snowmobile weekend in. We were like those Rabid Fans that they used to talk about at MathWorks user conferences. :)

We made it up the 1 mile to the house (I snowshoed, Tyler walked on top of the snow). We packed for a 3 day weekend in 2 small coolers and 2 small backpacks. Try this yourself if you ever want to feel like some sort of Packing Goddess. We were able to snowmobile for a good 3 hour run. Tyler makes fun of me because I really love using hand signals. When you pass other riders you signal how many riders behind you. When I got to lead it was: 1. When Tyler led my hand signal was closed fist to indicate 0 behind me. Everyone waved and everyone was so kind.

Yesterday evening I made a tough choice regarding a friend of mine. I decided to take a bit of a "break." Hanging out with this friend was stressing me out. We seemed constantly out of synch. It got to the point where I stopped spending time with this friend (or making time to hang with them). It got to the point where we would argue about the most simple of topics. For the life of me, I could not figure out this relationship.

So I asked them to take a break and maybe sit down for tea or something in April once we've had a few weeks apart. This was not an easy request. In recent weeks I'd been asking myself: "What is it about this friendship that bothers me?" or "Why do none of my other friends seem so determined to push back and disagree with me?"

Have any of you ever had this type of thing happen to you? I'm 36 years old and at my age if I tend to make a new friend I keep them around for...life. Is there anyone in your life that you just had to say "you're driving me bonkers."

If only life were as simple as an old postcard:

Friday, February 15, 2013

What to Pack?

It's heading into my busy time of year again for work travel. With us also going to Maine every other weekend year round I've turned into quite the packing expert.

Here's my Maine list (based on winter):

-Check snow levels (right now, great with 4-8" on the way)
-Fill large plastic bag with snowpants, gloves, ear band (warm), gators, wool socks
-Grab snow boots and pack them in the back seat
-Extra shovel (gotta dig out a parking space)

In a cooler (because once up in Maine it's hard to hit the grocery store):

-Enough food for two dinners (Trader Joe's makes this easy)
-(that would be two meat items that can be grilled or cooked stove top (we don't have a traditional oven in Dixmont).
-Bread for sandwiches or wraps
-English muffins
-6 eggs
-beer (a must)
-wine to share with neighbors (we love our neighbors)
-Cheese for sandwiches, lunch meat if we're doing deli sandwiches
-fruits that pack well like apples
-Chips & salsa
-Crackers and some sort of smoked fish (cocktail hour is important in Maine)

In all weather:
Hiking pants, sweater, fleece, sunscreen, extra socks

Here's my work trip list:

-tablecloth and bin for raffles (the two things I don't ship)
-Clothes for yoga and gym sneakers (pick out yoga classes near hotel and put in phone)
-Print out of all reservations (I've  had hotels say "I can't find you..." upon arrival)
-Address in phone for hotels, meetings, etc.
-GPS for rental car
-Two dressy outfits. Typically two dresses and one suit jacket and one cardigan
-heels or boots
-jeans (trade show booth is messy)
-tote bag (great to carry clothes to change into, packs flat)
-Phone charger, I don't tend to fly with my laptop any longer
-Nook and charger that plugs in (I use my phone for alarm clock)
-PJ pants, and slippers if room
-I always check my suitcase because I cannot handle small planes with 0 room and last minute checking of bags--I've seen to many bags go missing this way as they are not tracked
-Regular book (always reading regular book for book club and Nook at same time)
-A couple of snacks
-$20-40. I don't travel with a lot of cash on me
-Yelp bookmark stuff near my hotel

And that's it!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to my wild world of always having a half unpacked bag sitting on the floor in my TV room!

I'm in love with my Jeep(r) suitcase. I can't believe it took me so long to get a good suitcase:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My advice on how to get through a busy week!

This week is a busy week for work. There's high expectations and a lot of public-facing events. There's a ton of dressing up and being on your feet all day (trade show).

My way of making it through weeks like this is to do something totally not related in my down time. Vacation plan!

This coming July we're heading to California. It'll be our 3rd time there together as a couple and my....I have no idea...I've been there a lot! However, I've never explored the Central Coast. I'm already admitting there's going to be at least 18 bottles of wine in the belly of that plane coming home. :)

Below is the schedule: I'll post links later so you can see some of the great deals I got. Two nights we're staying in a state park that has 126 acres and Ranger led tours (and a breakfast buffet). $300 for two nights (a steal).

July 13: Fly to SF
July 14: Hike Muir Woods. Check out breweries in Berkeley. Stay in Berkeley at this lovely resort.
July 15-16 (stay in Pacific Grove in that state park).
July 17: Cambria to visit Hearst Castle for the first time.
July 18-19: Santa Barbara. Staying around 10 minutes from the wedding and the room comes with a basket of goodies (including homemade banana bread), beach chairs, umbrella, and bikes (for free). 1 block from beach. My family freaked out that the room does not have AC. I've never stayed in a hotel on the CA coast with AC so....I'm okay. Plus, if it's hot I'll just drink something out of a coconut or something and nap in the shade.
July 20: fly out of LAX with boxes of wine bottles. 

Staying 2 nights in this state park:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ye Old Bucket List

I decided it was time to start keeping track of some sort of Bucket List. It's a short list at this point. This is separate from a travel wish list (that's ever changing and evolving).

Here's list item #1: Go on a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos Islands.

#2: Go to a spa/yoga retreat. No, not one where you drink your own pee (as horrifyingly described in Yoga Bitch). Here's some yoga retreats that are in Europe and as far as I can tell...no weird stuff going on.

#3 Learn how to paddle board. This would not work at our lakehouse in Maine except in the wee hours of the morning. There are places in Maine to learn this sport though. Since this is a bucket list item I should say it also includes perfecting the art of paddle boarding and buying my own equipment.

#4 take a week-long cooking class in Tuscany.

The travel wish list, in no particular order is:

-Cruise of the Roman Empire (Holland America). 10-day cruise.
-New Zealand/ Australia
-Brazil (Sao Paulo in particular intrigues me).
-France (countryside)
-Ireland & England (we've done Scotland and loved it)
-Scandinavia (all of it, Iceland of course has been amazing but I'd like to see the rest of the countries).

What's your bucket list or travel wish list? Do you already know how to paddle board? You have to admit, my #1 item is pretty darn unique.