Better Today

I’m happy to report I’m feeling better today after heading to bed at 8:30 last night. My throat isn’t really sore anymore, but I’m tired. However, I’m pretty sure constant fatigue is just part of being a mom. In fact, my family was quite confused when I opted to go to be so early. It took a minute to fall asleep, but I slept really well. Nonetheless, I was relieved when I woke up feeling much better than when I had gone to bed.

Naturally, I did get some reading in before ultimately going to sleep yesterday. finished The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell. Truly, this book was absolutely amazing. If you are a fan of the Bronte sisters, you need to read this book. If you’re looking for a story of perseverance in the face of heartbreak, this book is for you. Moreover, if you’re looking for some literary smack talk, aka Jane Austen isn’t that great, this is the book for you. Finally, Gaskell does a great job of using Bronte’s own words via letters to paint the picture.

As I read her biography, I was in awe of the constant and total heartbreak faced by the Bronte family. Since I’ve read most of her novels, I recognized some places and characters from their real-life companions. In fact, I loved Villette. The fact that Lucy Snowe was an ode to her sister Emily is both poignant and touching. As a woman, it was interesting following the struggle of the three sisters to get published under their male aliases of Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell. They felt if they published the books in their own names, the critics and the public would be distracted by their sex. In fact, all of England was up in arms trying to decipher who Currer Bell could be after the success of Jane Eyre. Fortunately, Charlotte was able to enjoy her success. Sadly, success came posthumously to both Anne and Emily Bronte.

Today was a super busy day. I started my day behind the eight ball. In fact, I was ten minutes late for my yoga class. Oddly, I thought the class started at 10:15 am instead of 10:00 am. Whoops! Fortunately, I didn’t miss too much of the class. Monica’s vinyasa class is always vigorous! Amazingly, I leave her vinyasa class feeling both energized and calm. Truly, it’s hard to explain that state of being. I should tell you that this was my first Tuesday morning Vinyasa class. I usually go to the 11:30 gentle flow class, but I had a conflict today.

Fortunately, my morning got brighter when I saw two of my friends leaving class. Kaye has been a part of my yoga journey for years, but I don’t get to see her enough anymore. My other friend Amy, who was in my chair yoga training, was there too. It’s always good to see friendly faces! As I headed home, I called my folks to see how they’re doing. Minnesota, much like Florida, is sweltering hot and humid. They’ve been getting some rain, while it’s been bone dry here. Unfortunately, the Saharan dust storm has been keeping us dry. I’m hoping that the weather pattern doesn’t do a full 180 turn for the holiday weekend.

The afternoon I spent being productive and taking care of stuff around the house. I’m excited to say I got everything done on my checklist today. Moreover, I got my run in this afternoon. The first five minutes were tough, but the rest went pretty well. I’m still on season 5 of Curb. Honestly, I don’t know if I could get through my run without Larry David. In fact, I was so caught up in Curb that I extended my cooldown by ten minutes. Whoops! As always, I went through my post-run stretch routine. Finally, I cooked up some one-pot chicken and udon noodles courtesy of Blue Apron. It was super easy to make and very tasty!

Before I leave you for the evening, I have some prayers requests for three young gentlemen. Each of these kids has played with Goalielocks over the years and they and their families mean the world to us. Theses boys have been through so much collectively over the past few years that none of this seems fair. I don’t remember experiencing anything similar in my youth. Yet, these kids persevere and support each other in amazing ways.

Please keep Goaleilcocks’ teammate Cole in your prayers as he embarks on his twentieth week of chemo. It has been a marathon of treatment for Cole and his family. They could really use your prayers for Cole’s healing, support of their family and strength for all of them. In Arizona, Jorden, a former teammate continues to recover from devastating injuries sustained in his ATV accident. Please pray for his continued recovery and for strength for his family. Finally, Lucas, Goalielocks’ teammate, was admitted to ICU today due to diabetic keto acidosis. His condition is stabilized, but Type 1 diabetes is a beast. Please pray for his continued recovery, stabilization of the disease and continued management of it. Please also keep his family in your prayers.

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

*I read Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte.

*Vinyasa with Monica from Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I am still sick of all the windbags on Facebook.

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*Took obligatory picture of Anakin! It turned out super cute!

*I avoided the zoo that is Publix by ordering groceries via Shipt.

*Obedience training Anakin

*Week 7 BBG 2.0 day 2 cardio and yoga

*And now I feel better today!

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Now It’s Actually Tuesday

After thinking Monday was Tuesday, now it’s actually Tuesday. To be clear, it’s really not my fault that each day last two weeks. If they didn’t last so long, it would be significantly less confusing. Tuesday brought more virtual school, a run and some yoga. It was a pretty busy day.


Of course, it’s exceedingly hot and humid here in South Florida. Hence, I was trying to convince myself that I should skip my run out of an abundance of caution. Since my diagnosis of Graves’ disease, I don’t tolerate heat well. Also, I run with my puppy and didn’t want to put her in danger of possibly overheating. The actual real feel temperature at 10:00 am this morning was absolutely ludicrous.


Then I realized all of this excuses are exactly why I needs to run today. Since it was so hot, I had to prepare a water bottle for Athena and to take it a bit slower. Indeed I planned to take more walking breaks and puppy water break in the shade to minimize the risk of either of us overheating. At the end of the day, it was a tough, slow and hot run, but I felt amazing afterwards. It wasn’t my best run by any means, but I stayed on task and made no excuses and achieved my goal.


Fortunately, they were running the sprinklers in the neighborhood, so Athena got to run through the sprinklers to cool down. Consequently, Goalielocks had a towel ready for the Piggie when we got back. Piggie got toweled off and we both got some fresh water. While Athena relaxed on the cool tile floor, I went into my room to complete my post run stretching. Even though I was attending yoga at noon, I still spent 20 minutes rolling out my leg, glutes and hips. Thankfully, I have a lot less pain in my legs and ankles since adding a vigorous post run stretch session to my routine.

Yoga was noon was awesome as usual. I love having my regular 12:00 pm yoga date with Monica and Pam. They’re two of my favorite people. Our class started with some alternate nasal breathing, which is a great tool for relaxation. In fact, I’ve used it to effectively manage pain when I couldn’t hold down medicine. Honestly, my yoga practice and yoga family have really helped me move forward on my healing journey.

The afternoon I spent with the puppies watching the remained of Balthazar season one. Fortunately, season two drops on Prime next Monday. I love Balthazar for so many reasons. Perhaps the best part is that it forces me to put down my phone and pay attention to the subtitles. While I studied French in both high school and college, I definitely need the subtitles as a safety blanket. If you’re looking for a good, procedural show to binge watch, I highly recommend it.

Last night I started Wuthering Heights after finishing my last book To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf. After reading the introductions, there were three, I only ended up reading only one chapter. I’m sure that I’ll finish this book pretty quickly given that there’s still a ban on going anywhere. Fortunately, I love to read and love literature. After this book, I think I’ll go back and reread The Decameron as it’s topically relevant to our current situation.

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

*Reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

*Watched Balthazar and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

*Completed BBG day 2 week 8 recovery workout – full body

*Ran 2.5 miles with Athena at a snail’s pace in a sauna

*Attended Gentle Flow Yoga with Monica from Open Heart Yoga Studio 

*Took Anakin, Maya and Athena on multiple walks

*Worked on Obedience Training with Anakin inside.

*Pulled my hair out (again) managing my teenagers virtual schooling.

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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.


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.


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?  

Creative and Inspired

To be creative and inspired, one must be prepared to invest time in the cultivation of ideas.  There is no better way to cultivate one’s creativity than through reading. Norman Cousins, famed American political journalist once said; “A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life.”

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If you were to look at the habits of America’s most successful leaders, one commonality would be their passion for reading.  Reading  can help leaders improve their vocabulary, emotional intelligence, become a more adept communicator and inspire creativity. By and large their reading isn’t necessarily confined to business topics, but rather all types of literature.

I recently took over a new team in my corporate life. Therefore, one topic I have been reading a lot about is change management.  Change management done well results in great business outcomes from a KPI and employee engagement perspective.  Change management done poorly can undermine an entire business.

Here are some of my favorite reads on change management:

  1.  HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change Management
  2.  Leading Change, by John Kotter
  3.  Change Friendly Leadership, by Roger Dean Duncan
  4.  Changemaking: Tactics and Resources for Managing Organizational Change, By Richard Bevan
  5.  The Theory and Practice of Change Management: Third Edition, By John Hayes

Reading novels is crucial to unleashing your creativity and inspiration.  Here are some of my favorites.

  1.  Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  2.  The Alchemist, Pablo Coelho
  3.  The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  4.   The Decameron,  Giovanni Boccacio
  5.  A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  6.  To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  7.  Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes
  8.  1984, George Orwell
  9.  Animal Farm, George Orwell
  10.   Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

What are some of your favorite novels?  I’m always looking for something new to read, so please share your favorites in the comments.