Not too Shabby

I have to admit today was not too shabby. Since it was the first day back after a long weekend, my expectations for the day were quite low. I mean, it always sucks coming back from a long weekend of vacation. Of course, the gloomy and windy weather courtesy of Elsa wasn’t helping my outlook. Nevertheless, today was a success.

After the turtle’s pace that was work Friday and Saturday, my expectations were that today would be a boring and unprofitable day. Thankfully, the opposite proved to be true. I was slammed all day, which made the day fly by. Moreover, everyone was a buyer today. Obviously, these are the best kind of days in sales.

Elsa had stayed far too the west, so our weather was not too shabby today. The morning was nice albeit extremely humid. This afternoon brought some rain squalls courtesy of now Hurricane Elsa. These storms are so unpredictable. They expected it to weaken, but here we are Tuesday night and it’s a hurricane again. It just proves that you always need to be prepared whether it’s a tropical storm or hurricane approaching.

This evening the Hubby grilled some great steaks form Butcher Box. We had the top sirloins and ribeyes, which were mighty tasty. With the steaks, we served grilled potatoes and corn on the cob. Usually the sweet corn here is abysmal at best, but this corn was not only not too shabby; it was good. We bought the corn at the Farmer’s Market after our walk in the Glades Monday morning.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read Demons, by Dostoevsky. I am really enjoying this book so far.

*I walked 2 miles with the puppies and it was great!

* I made another peach crisp. This time mixed in one white peach for a little of variety. I’ll let you know how it tastes. 

*The family and I have been binge-watching Thirty Rock. It is such a good show. We’re two days in to our binge and man is this show good.

*I spent my day with the puppies.

*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus.

*I’m back to work and still tracking Elsa.

*Today’s word of the day is upheaval. Our neighbor Kirk was setting off fireworks at a frenetic pace.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Did I mention I hate gnats, flies, and mosquitos?

Day 2

Day 2 of virtual school brought a little of the attitude I had anticipated yesterday. I never imagined that waking up a teenager, who just went to bed, could be so much fun! In the end, it turned out okay. Both boys were up, at their desks, and online exactly when they were supposed to be online. That’s right I’m batting 1.00 right now.

As for me, I had yoga teacher training today. We covered the endocrine system, which is probably my strongest subject in anatomy and physiology. After all, there’s no better way to understand the endocrine system than having one that doesn’t work. We have little bit of anatomy left before we head into methodology. I’m excited for the methodology part of training, which we will start on Friday.

I also ran two miles since I had no strength training scheduled today. Since I started the running challenge, I’ve noticed it’s gotten a lot easier. However, I also noticed that my legs are getting a bit tired. Of course, I worked my legs yesterday, so that doesn’t help either.

Tonight my hubby made us a wonderful pork chop dinner courtesy of HelloFresh. It was mighty tasty especially since I didn’t make. I really appreciated that he cooked dinner, so I didn’t have to cut my workout short. Afterward, I mixed up some brownies for the boys since the last two days have been relatively smooth.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read Mary Barton, by Elisabeth Gaskell. The Masters have been draconian in their response to their laborers setting up a horrific conflict. I’ve just gotten to the point where it’s all coming to a head. I’m well on my way to being omnilegent!

*Vinyasa with Jennifer at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I ran two miles and walked a mile today. Naturally, I listened to Metallica and watched Curb throughout my run.

*I survived day 2 of virtual school.

*I had another pile of Amazon boxes waiting for me today.

*Goalielocks had hockey practice tonight.

*I’d like to thank Sue from JibberJanner for providing great writing prompts. Tonight they come to an end, but I’m grateful for all her hard work these past several months.

*BBG 2.0. week 12 day 2: cardio and yoga

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk.

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National Dog Day

It’s national dog day and we’re celebrating with our three beautiful dogs: Maya, Athena, and Anakin. Unfortunately, this year it seems to coincide with illness for Maya. Hopefully, she will rebound in the next day or two, but I fear we have a tough decision coming our way. After all, Maya is eleven years old and has cancer. Until yesterday, she has been acting completely normal. Now she’s not moving a whole lot and looks sad. We are not ready to say goodbye, but we are not willing to let her suffer either. Please keep us and our sweet girl in your thoughts and prayers over the next few days.

The other two, Athena and Anakin continue to be their playful selves but are concerned about their sister. Not so concerned, however, that they’ll stop trying to steal her food. Nonetheless, both puppies plopped themselves near Maya this morning and kept watch over her. Instinctually, I think they know she’s coming to the end of her life. Eventually, I was able to get her to take some meds with peanut butter and drink plenty of water. She hasn’t been eating too much, but we’re trying to entice her with some yummy wet dog food.

I wrote about The Bell Jar yesterday and ways to lift it. One of the ways, I’m trying to improve myself is by increasing my cardio fitness. Since my diagnosis of Graves, I have struggled to even come near to my previous running pace. I’m still a good two minutes off per mile from my personal best. In order to improve my results, I’m taking part in a running challenge. It’s quite simple: run at least a mile every day. On days where I have strength workouts, I’m only running a mile. On all other days, I’m running two miles. After each run, I’m cooling down with a mile walk. The challenge is effective because it’s not a great distance, which means less impact on my body and my time.

Thus far, I’m ten days into the challenge and I’ve run fourteen miles and walked ten. After each run, I do my yoga stretching routine to ensure my muscles stay happy and healthy. Since the weather has been ridiculously hot, I’ve been running on my treadmill. This is good because its steady state and I can easily gauge my performance. Of course, I also watch Curb during every run, which makes it good super fast. I freaking love Larry David. One of these days, I’ll share my “Larry” moment.

Tonight we have hockey practice for both of the boys. I’ll be making dinner practice, while the hubby will handle Goalielocks’ practice. Then, after dinner, I’ll take the Mayor to his practice. This way my Hubby can rest and enjoy some playoff hockey from the comfort of our couch. He’s been working in Miami and then driving to the rink to help with practice. Unfortunately, this job lacks a/c, which really wears you out in the August heat.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read Mary Barton, by Elisabeth Gaskell. This book is more my speed.

*Slow Flow and Yin Yoga with Kaye at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I ran one mile and walked a mile today.

*In honor of National Dog Day, I’m excited to share some pictures of our puppies with you!

*I cleaned up a lot of messes due caused by my sick puppy.

*BBG 2.0. week 11 day 3: upper body, cardio and yoga

*It’s tough to be a parent, especially in this environment. I think I want to protest the return to school virtually.

*We have one more week until we start virtual school.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk.

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The Bell Jar

I recently finished reading Slyvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Admittedly, I was not super familiar with Plath or her writings before I read her book. Yes, I had heard of her and her untimely death, but beyond that, I knew nothing. In fact, I didn’t even know what to expect when I started reading the book. Well, at least until my dear friend Terri asked if I was emotionally stable. Whelp! I was totally stable, but starting to question my decision to read this book during the bleakness of a global pandemic. My morbid curiosity got the best of me, so I read the book. Alas, the scene in Family Guy between Lois and Meg finally made sense to me.

Despite the gravity of the book’s storyline, I decided it was important to read it. Plath is a terrific writer, who I was starting to enjoy. However, there was something off about the heroine from page one. Her internal dialogue was not something I could relate to. For example, I didn’t understand why she referred to people in their lives by their full names. Instead of saying my boyfriend at Yale, she would write Buddy Willard. I’m not sure why, but it just struck me as odd. I found myself unable to relate to Esther and her apathy towards her amazing internship in New York.

At one point, just like when I read Nabokov’s Lolita, it was uncomfortable to read. Perhaps because I know the ending of the author’s story or the honest and unbridled look at a person’s downward spiral was unnerving. Also, I felt like I was intruding on a deeply personal struggle. As Esther, aka Sylvia, devolved into her depressive state it got harder and harder to take. I struggled to relate to her struggles. Perhaps this is because the majority of downward spirals I’ve witnessed have taken a narcissistic bent on social media.

There was, however, one theme that I felt we could all relate to during this pandemic. Plath writes several times how Esther feels trapped under the bell jar with no air and no escape. For those stuck in the bell jar, the word itself is a bad dream. To me, 2020 kind of seems like a global bell jar. I say this, by no means, to minimize Esther’s/Slyvia’s struggle with mental illness. I say it because we all have felt like we’re trapped without a way out of the 2020 “bell jar.”

Eventually, Esther receives the treatment she needs and is able to resume her life at college. For us, eventually, the pandemic will abate and the bell jar will be lifted. In the interim, it’s important to find ways to lift the jar and give ourselves room to breathe. Here are a couple of ways you can do that:

*Get outside – walk, run, hike, bike, swim. The great outdoors are cathartic as is exercise.

*Adopt or foster a pet

*Exercise – Youtube has plenty of free workouts If your gym is currently closed.

*Find a community to connect with. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting up in person or on Zoom. Connect with people.

*Check-in on family members and friends. Particularly, check-in on the elderly, who haven’t been allowed visitors due to the pandemic. Imagine how lonely they must be and how grateful they would be to hear your voice.

*Start something new. I will be starting a book club this week as it is a great way to connect with people. If you’re interested in joining, let me know.

*Watch playoff hockey- the games have been incredible and there is no better sport in the world.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read Mary Barton, by Elisabeth Gaskell. This book is more my speed.

*Vinyasa with Jennifer at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I ran two miles today and walked a mile..

*BBG 2.0. week 11 day 5: cardio and yoga

*It’s tough to be a parent, especially in this environment. I am lamenting the start of a new virtual school year.

*We have one more week until we start virtual school.

*Since last Monday, I have ran 12 miles and walked 8!

*Today I received my first Butcher Box.

*For dinner, we are cooking bison chilli. It should be good!

*I am missing the mountains. I wish we were still travelling.

*After this week, I will only have one week in the BBG 2.0 cycle.

*I learned a new word today tittynope. This word means a small quantity of something leftover.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk.

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Seven Glorious Days

Only seven glorious days until I get to see my oldest son! Fortunately, I have a great weekend planned in the Keys to help these last seven days pass by. It’s been a hot minute since we’ve been to the keys, so we’re all quite excited. Additionally, it’s the first time we’ve taken a trip since March. In fact, this trip is our rescheduled spring break trip. Honestly, the next two weeks are going to be a lot of fun!

Since I’m going to be out of pocket early next week, I pounded the pavement today for work. When I get back, I should have several meetings set to go and presentations ready for delivery. Naturally, I’ll be checking in while I’m away. As I’m new to the role, I don’t want to abdicate my responsibilities at all. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean I’ll spend the entire time running smoothly. Today I spent time setting up my outreach campaign, which will run without any intervention from me. Unfortunately, this also meant I had to skip my yoga class today. Thankfully, I’m going to go take the class as soon as I finish this blog.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read The Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather

*Gentle Flow with Jennifer from Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I completed a morning and afternoon meditation.

*I completed my work project this morning, so there will be no need for manual intervention from me needed next week.

*Obedience training Anakin

*I learned a new word today. Smicker, which means to ogle and smile amorously.

*Week 9 BBG 2.0 day 5 abs and yoga.

*Countdown: Seven glorious days

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Reading My Way Back to Health

In order to keep myself sane and intellectually engaged,  I’ve been reading my way back to health.  Over the past eight months, I’ve been out of my normal routine due to injury and health concerns.  Sadly, I often found myself too exhausted to write.  Fortunately, I was able to draw my reading list off The Greatest Books.  First, of all I like the site because it has a thoughtfully curated list of the best fiction and non-fiction works of all time.  Secondly, I love that you can track what you’ve read and what you want to read.

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I’ve read some amazing works from a myriad of different genres and authors across time.  Since I’ve read some wonderful works of fiction, I’d thought I’d share some of them with you.   Here’s the list of my favorites:

If you’ve never read Wilkie Collins, your missing out.  He’s a one of kind author, who narrates his stories from multiple viewpoints.  His plot development and character development are amazing.   Collins was a contemporary and good friend of Charlies Dickens.  He was also a huge influence to Edgar Allen Poe.  Once you read both these books, I think you’ll find that the great Agatha Christie was influenced by him as well.

When I first picked up Ana Karenina, I was a bit intimidated.  It is a thick book. As I got into it, I loved it.  Tolstoy doesn’t waste a word.   I was happy to find that Tolstoy didn’t incorporate essays with in the books or long tangents like those found in his contemporaries works.  Both Ana Karenina and Resurrection are beautiful stories.  In Anna Karenina, he tells the story of the titular characters life and the consequences of her choices.  It’s a tragic story told beautifully.  In Resurrection, he tells the story of man confronted by the impact his choices had on someone he loved.   In the end, he finds his redemption in a most obvious spot.  Truly, after finishing both novels, I feel compelled to travel to Saint Petersburg and the rest of Tolstoy’s Russia.

After finishing Nabokov’s Lolita,  I needed a literary pick me up and a shower.  That book will leave you feeling dirty…. I turned to Hesse’s Siddharta.. Hesse, of German-Swiss descent, bring a unique east meets west perspective.   This novel follows the spiritual journey of Siddharta.  His quest for enlightenment puts him in places and situations he never could have imagined.  It’s a beautiful book.

I loved Narcissus and Goldmund, which tells the tale of two best friends who are diametrically different, but still love each other.  While Goldmund leaves the monastery in search of the meaning of life.  His mentor and friend Narcissus stays in monastic life.  Throughout their lives they take different paths, but eventually their paths reunite.  It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and life.

It took me awhile to get into Steppenwolf, but eventually I was pulled into the world of Harry Haller.  Like the other two Hesse books, this one explores the duality of human nature.  This time in main character Harry Haller and not two separate characters like in Narcissus and Goldmund.   At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these books by Hesse.

Since I was heading to Scandinavia this fall, I wanted to read something that was Scandinavian.  After much research and a couple of recommendations, I decided to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. While in Finland, I finally started reading the book and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved that I could imagine where they were in Gamle Stan in Stockholm since I was just there.

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It’s an awful tragedy that we lost Stieg Larsson before these books were publishes.  He turned in the manuscripts for the first three installments in the Millennium Series, but died shortly after.  His books are incredible.  There are few characters in literature as vivid, damaged and bad ass as Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

I’ve already read the first four books in the series and cannot wait to read the fifth.  Since Larsson’s premature death prevented him from finishing the Millennium series, David Lagercrantz took up the mantle.  I was worried that Lagercrantz’s take on Larsson’s characters would be unfaithful to the original.  Lagercratnz had huge shoes to fill, but he did it beautifully.  The continuity between the characters and stories between Larsson’s and Lagercrantz’s books is seamless. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  If you love Daniel Craig, like I do, you’ll love him in the movie version.

These are just a few of the books I’ve read since last summer that really resonated with me.  I’ve included links to Amazon for each of my recommended books.  I’m always looking for good book recommendations.  What’s your favorite book?  What books do you recommend?