Category Archives: Uncategorized

Off the wagon…..

So I have a confession to make, I have been off my weight watchers plan for awhile now. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but then I got sick and stuff and things and more excuses. However, I keep going to the meetings on Saturday mornings with the hope that somewhere somehow I would find the motivation to get back on the horse again. I try to keep reminding myself that I have lost 25 pounds so far. Then the mean, nasty nasally voice in the back of my head says, “but you still should lose another 25 pounds, the first 25 don’t count.” That voice is not nice and I don’t like it, but still it continues to talk….

Through this plan hiatus I keep thinking maybe I don’t need to lose the rest of the weight, maybe I can be just fine right here at this weight. It isn’t a bad weight, I am healthy, I am strong and did I mention I have had two kids? I logically know that my body is different now. And yet, I remember how it feels to be thin. How it feels for my jeans to look to smokin’ hot on me. How it feels to wear my bikini and not feel uncomfortable because I know I look good. I was there before and I enjoyed being there, but it was HARD to get there. It involved a lot of watching what I ate. Of planning ahead to make sure that the restaurant friends chose had healthy options. Of making dinner as much as I could so I could count on the fact that there wasn’t hidden oil somewhere even though I had ordered what looked like oil free fish. Of packing food when I knew that there wasn’t going to be anything I wanted to eat where I was going. Of saying “no” over, and over, again.

Since Walter was born, I feel like I have given in more to the unhealthy food in the name of it being “kid friendly” and Walter will eat it. However, I don’t necessarily enjoy that idea. In fact, I kinda hate it. I hate making more than one dinner for us. I hate the idea that Walter isn’t getting a more balance diet because for the life of me I can’t get a green vegetable into his mouth. But I also try to remind myself that this is normal. It seems to be what kids his age do. However, recently I have started making just one dinner more and more for our family and it feels good. Walter even eats things from time to time that I would never have guessed he would have eaten. His Grandma Howe and he had a race the other night to finish to finish turkey chili that had tomatoes in it. He and I had locked horns over tomatoes about two months ago and he refused to eat them. He finished all of the tomatoes in the chili. I feel like our whole family’s nutrition has gone slightly down hill in the name of having things that Watler will eat. This makes me sad.

I had a long chat with my therapist this week (they are wonderful for these things!) and came to the conclusion that I would really like to lose those 25 pounds and feel comfortable and happier in my own skin. But I also realize that the motivation to do it isn’t going to magically appear. If losing weight were easy, I would have already done it. It isn’t for me and I just have to accept that. I just have to dig in and do the hard thing. The good things is that I happen to really like doing hard things. I also need to address the emotions going on when I want to eat a lot of sugar. That is where my therapist is oh so helpful. She has me starting a chart. Oh, how I love charts!

I am writing this though because I need the help and support of you, my friends and family. Can you please help me with this?

Mortgages and breaker bars

There is a new house. The lot is huge and the house is well located near a bike trail that goes directly to Google and with good schools nearby. However, it smells. Specifically like cigarette smoke and old lady (my apologies to anyone who considers herself an old lady). It also hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. Sooo….pretty much everything will need to be replaced eventually and it would be nice to also have an addition for a master suite complete with a Texas style walk in closet otherwise known as a child’s room in San Francisco. We hired a fantastic interior design team and are currently waiting for concepts for how to proceed with the house.

Have I mentioned recently how bad I am at patience and waiting? Have I also mentioned that we are currently paying rent and a mortgage? And that we are paying both while the new house is sitting empty? These two things do not combine together well and tend to result in a cranky and impatient me. Alex has less patience than I do. If I would let him, he would build a yurt in the backyard and move in now. So we decided that we needed to do something, anything that would let us feel like we were making some sort of progress.

The yard is currently packed dirt and a couple of trees and bushes. dirt and ugly shrubsSo we started in on digging around the yard. The front yard specifically. We are digging up the sprinkler system, seeing what works and converting it to a drip system so that we can put in native/drought tolerant plants. I think I am even going to do a succulent garden. The first weekend we worked on it, I ran into some roots and decided I needed a breaker bar.

the breaker barBreaker bars and me have a bit of a history. Back in my childhood in Texas, I did a lot of breaker barring. The soil was clay on top of rock and if you wanted to dig down much more than a couple of inches you ran into both in spades. My father quite enjoys digging holes and having his daughters out there digging holes with him. We had 5 acres behind our house. So needless to say, I used the breaker bar A LOT. I also pounded a lot of posts for fencing with a post pounder, but that is a different story.

So Alex brought home a breaker bar and we stuck it in the ground in the front yard. Thenthe breaker barring happening he took it and began using it on the concrete around the tree in the front yard. My eyes lit up and I just got so excited that we could actually do something instead of waiting for things to happen. Between the two of us we broke up all of the concrete and pulled it out.  Then we lifted most of it up into the wheelbarrow and took it around to the side of the house.  It just felt so good to actually accomplish a task.  There is something about physical labor that starts to break up the anxiety that builds up at the nape of my neck.  I also love that Alex looked at a square of large and heavy concrete, IMG_20150920_183334619_HDRdidn’t tell me no, but instead started to figure out how to get it out of there.  These are the moments when we are in perfect sync and work so well together to accomplish crazy tasks like breaking up and moving concrete.  I have the best husband. That is all. 🙂

My Yellow Crested Firebird

I recently read The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope for my book club. This was my second time to read it. I read it once before when we first moved to California about six and a half years ago. That was a pivotal time in my life as I moved away from practicing law and politics and began to move more towards my current role as a mom and a maker of home coziness. As I read it again and discussed it last night with the book club parts of it keep going round in my head as I think more and more about them and how they apply to me and my life.

The one thing that really sticks out to me is the story the author tells of the quest for the firebird and how:

“our unconsicious ideals cause us to sacrifice our true lives to a beautiful chimera, a haunting dream, a compelling
illusion. Imagine a bird hunter on the loose in a magnificent rain forest, searching for the mythical Yellow-Crested Firebird. The hunter is relentless in his search for this bird, a mythic bird that, unfortunately, exists only in pictures, and in our own supercharged imaginations.”

For as long as I can remember I wanted to have a successful career. When I was younger, I wanted that career to be in politics or law. I felt that there was something inside me that was wonderful and that I could save the world just a bit with it. I went to law school, hated it, but endured it anyway because I thought it would give me a leg up in the political world. After law school, I worked on the Kerry campaign and then moved to DC. I knew only a handful of people when I arrived, but I networked and managed to keep myself mostly employed for the three and a half years I was there. But every job ended and I just couldn’t seem to excel in whatever I was doing. There was always something tripping me up. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I worked or what I did, it was wrong. I was miserable. I kept hitting my head against a wall, but I would pick myself up and keep trying and trying.

While I was in DC, I also met someone else, Alex. He supported me through my many job searches emotionally and paid all the rent when I couldn’t pay my share. Then he got a wonderful opportunity: move to California and work for Google. He wasn’t sure he wanted to go, to leave his family and his friends, but I knew it was what he needed and we went. I left my law job happily assuming that I would take the bar in California and eventually start practicing again.

Before I took the bar that first time, I had a unique opportunity, several months to do whatever I wanted. I was a bit nervous about what to do with all that free time and worried that I would become bored and lonely. I didn’t really though. I took the chance to do more yoga, to run more, to learn to garden, to cook ridiculously, and generally do things that made Alex and my life nice. It turned out I was good at these activities and I felt happy in them.

Then I entered a phase of almost a year where I studied for and took the California bar twice. It was horrendous. In the end I failed it both times just barely. It messed with my self-esteem terribly and I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t pass it. However, it also gave me some freedom, I didn’t have to continue along the same path that I had in DC because I couldn’t. I had to do something else. So I got a retail job at Lucy and sold yoga clothes for a year. It was retail, it wasn’t always fun, but it wasn’t horrible either. The upside was that I had a great closet full of yoga clothes! During that time, I got pregnant with Walter and standing on your feet all day does not work with being pregnant so I quit and became a mother.

While I was pregnant, I did my 200 hour yoga teacher training. After Walter was born, I started teaching a class of mom and baby yoga and then I started teaching just a vinyasa flow class. I taught that class all the way up til the week before Ella was born. I enjoyed teaching it and delighted in watching my students progress in their practice. However, yet again, it was not meant to be and I lost the class during my maternity leave with Ella because my subs numbers were better than mine. So it got me thinking about me and me working again and wondering why I keep trying to do it. Then I read this book and realized it was my yellow crested firebird. I have this wonderful idea of what it would be like to have a successful career and how it would make me feel. However, it just doesn’t match my reality of what working looks like for me. While I am spending all this time and energy chasing after my firebird, I am missing what is right in front of me. What I am actually quite good at doing. I am good at running our household. I like to cook and I like to feed people. It warms me. I like to make our house a home.

So now I think my challenge is to let go my quest for my firebird and realize what is right in front of me that is quite lovely. I also need to mourn my ideal of career and let it go as it no longer serves me.  Please let the universe grant me the ability to do this!

Two practices and two kids: a lesson in routines

I find comfort in routines.  I enjoy knowing what will happen next in my day.  On the days that I am just completely zonked, I like being able to just ride the flow of my routines and know that thinking really isn’t required.  Morning routines are especially important in our family.  On a good day, we have two yoga practices to accomplish, a Walter to get to school, an Alex to get to work and a mommy and Ella to get back home before Ella just can’t deal with the car one minute more.  Before Ella was born the routine had been honed to a fine art of perfection.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m.  I jump out of bed (jumping is quite a helpful tactic that early in the morning to assure that you don’t just roll over and go back to sleep!), get dressed and bike to the yoga studio.  I practice between 6-7:30 a.m. and then about 7:35 a.m. Alex and Walter would show up in the car and Alex and I would swap.  He would start his practice and Walter and I would either head to take him to school or home to begin our day.  Alex finishes practice around 9ish and bikes to work to begin his day around 10 a.m.

There are two things that have thrown a wrench into this perfectly orchestrated dance: Ella and Alex’s early morning meetings.  Ella does not like the car nor does she like to drink from a bottle.  Both of these cause large problems when trying to get everyone out the door in the morning.  Alex is working with a team in London and because of lovely time changes, the best time for them to meet is 9 a.m. – double yuck!  Between the two of these, we are having a really hard time of settling into a routine which is driving me a wee bit crazy.

We keep trying new things (switching off practice days, me practicing at home, different feeding times and ways to convince Ella that bottles aren’t the end of the world), but nothing really seems to be taking hold and working.  Logically, I know that eventually this all will pass, but right now it is hard to be constantly trying to change things and make something else work. In the chaos that is having a newborn, I long for the routines of life before.  I miss being able to schedule something and know that I could get there on time. I miss the simple ability of getting in the car and going somewhere without bracing myself for the continual crying that is sure to occur.

When all these thought begin to overwhelm me, Ella will just start smiling at me and chatting in her little baby way (also referred to as dispensing the baby crack in our household) and I will find myself smiling back and the horribleness is held at bay for just a bit longer.