Tag Archives: hobbies

Weekend of firsts

15 Sep

There were a lot of firsts this weekend.

I went to the north shore to see my friend JB and her husband. That was a first – I hadn’t been to visit them before. JB and I were friends in college – well, we knew each other in college. I don’t think we were close at all. But Facebook has changed that in recent years. We talk fairly often and she invited me up. And the north shore is always fun, so I figured why not.

I think the last time I was on the north shore was at least 10 years ago. I think the last time was when my ex-husband and I were up there probably in 2005? Or before? Craziness. It’s so beautiful there with fun things to do. Why has it been so long?

Anyway, I drove up Friday night after work. Last week at work was a crazy week. Between my regular job and my part-time job, I worked about 55 hours and didn’t get home before 8:00 any night. Needless to say, I was tired. But I knew we’d have a short weekend, so I figured how bad could it be?

Bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I was so tired. Just before I got to Duluth, I was focusing on how much I needed to focus on driving. Past Duluth, it’s a two lane state highway with zero lights. That was fun. Especially when the car in front of me turned off the road. So I had no one in front of me to be a guide. But I made it safe and sound and without accidents. Whew. But, another first…driving up there alone.

Saturday we went to Split Rock Lighthouse. Another first. I had never been there. And it’s kinda considered one of the top ten landmarks in the state to visit. So we toured the lighthouse – which involved for me a small panic attack about climbing into the actual lighthouse. It’s a spiral staircase. Open heights bother me – the sheer drop on one side makes me dizzy. But I couldn’t go down because there were people behind us. So I continued up. In the lighthouse, I was a bit dizzy but not too bad. My legs though hurt – I think all the muscles tensed up during the panic attack. And then we had to climb down. JB was awesome and supportive. I went slow and tried not to look down the left side.

Then we hiked. Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever been on a hike. I mean, I’ve been outdoors. But not walking and climbing on trails. There are 12 miles of trails at Split Rock; I have no idea how far we went. But you can see the lighthouse here:

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And we kept going after that and looped around back to the lighthouse.

Then we went back to JB’s house and canned. I’ve never canned before but have wanted to learn. So I was excited to learn! They canned a ton of crap every year – spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, roasted tomatoes. I helped (kinda) with salsa and spaghetti sauce. And I feel like I learned enough to be able to try it on my own! Think of the money I could save – once I make the investment in equipment that is. Bonus: they sent me home with some salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. Score!

Sunday we went to Tettegouche state park and did a short hike. Another first – I don’t think I’ve been to Tettegouche before. Stunning views of course:

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Lake Superior is so breathtaking. And awesome in the awe-inspiring sort of way. Those of you who live on or near oceans know this far better than I do. But Lake Superior is just to big, so majestic, so POWERFUL. I don’t think I could ever go on that lake. Especially after you hear about the shipwrecks.

Then sadly, I had to leave. Drove home by myself. I stopped at Betty’s Pies – another first! I have never eaten there. But I’ve heard so much about it that I had to stop. And the pies? Well worth the hype and then some! I got blueberry and Great Lake Crunch. I didn’t keep all of them though even though I wanted to. But they’re so good!! (OMG I just found out you can buy them online!)

So it was a great weekend. And I could feel myself relaxing the whole time. The tension in my shoulders and my headaches went away. Ahhhhhh. Of course, now they’re back. Boo.

I’m looking forward to going up there again soon – JB said she’d teach me to snowshoe!

Time to refocus

1 Jan

Happy new year!

Here we are again. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of resolutions. But I know I’m not perfect, by any means, unlike Calvin:

calvin-and-hobbes-new-year

(I love that cartoon.)

So looking back at what I wanted to focus on in 2013 and setting the focus for 2014…

Physical health
I did get back to the gym on a regular basis. I certainly ran more. But then I broke my foot. I was in such great shape prior to that, and it’s been hard to get back into a regular routine with any sort of endurance. But this week has been good. So for 2014 I’ll keep working on going to the gym regularly, building endurance, and running more.

Food
My eating didn’t change much this year, although I somehow got a little sugar addiction lately. Boo on holiday food. So let’s refocus on that for 2014: more veggies!

Writing
My writing was definitely done in waves. I had stretches of lots of blog posts, and then nothing. (See: lack of posts in December.) So there’s the focus for 2014: more consistent blogging.

Dancing
Breaking my foot really made me appreciate dancing. Prior to that, I was going to more groups and practicing on my own. After I broke my foot, I practiced a lot because I was working on checking out. But since then, I’ve struggled to get into a routine. So after the holidays, it’s more group classes, more practicing on my own, and still appreciating it.

Creative hobbies
I stopped baking for a while in the last few months for various reason. I packed my grandma’s recipes, so I can’t go through those until after July. But I’ve baked more this week and will continue to do so. I did learn to crochet but didn’t practice, so now I need a refresher. I certainly knitted more this year and will continue to do so for 2014!

Relationships
No movement there. Meaning no action taken on my part to have anything happen. Stupid Mr Big still in my brain. But steps have been taken this week…more on that soon.

Money
I’ve made some progress towards my financial goals, although Christmas was not planned for as well as it should have been. Oops. So I’m going to take the first six months of 2014 and refocus on money.

Mental health
This year, I realized that my issues are like a chronic condition. I will always have them; I can only cope with the flare-ups. And I’ve done a better job of that lately. This will always be a focus for me though.

At the end of the day, I still strive for this:

peace

And hope to remember this:

light of your being

I hope 2014 is everything you want it to be. Happy new year!

It’s been four years

22 Oct

Today is my dance anniversary. Four years ago, I walked into the dance studio for the first time…and changed my life.

dancers

I still don’t have the words to express how much it’s changed me and my life.dancers I’ve tried here and here, but I’m still not sure that it really captures what dancing has done for me. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made. I’m grateful for the changes I’ve made in me because of dance and how far I’ve come. And I’m so grateful for my very patient, very awesome teacher who’s helped me through some challenging moments.

And I think I’m MAYBE starting to really believe in myself and my ability. Most days, I really feel like a great dancer.

I’m thankful to have found my passion and my joy and my talent. I can’t imagine my life without dancing!

I know that a day from now, I’ll look at this post and want to rewrite it. But I still won’t have the words. Just know that it really changed my life and who I am for the better, and that means so much to me. Dancing is something that I now have to do, and it brings me so much joy and happiness.

And I still thank God every day that I took that first step into the studio four years ago.

Happy dance!!

Weekly roundup: staycation edition

19 Aug

Last week, I had a staycation. I took the week off from BOTH jobs – haven’t done that in the four years I’ve been working two jobs. My goal was to not be a sloth and just sit on the couch all day every day. I wanted to be deliberate in what I did each day. I also wanted to try to break my TV habit.

I set out a plan of things I would do every day: Run, yoga, read, knit, and dance practice. Then I figured out the other things I wanted to do. Because I’m nerdy, I made a list.

staycation-list

So what did I do?

*I ran four out of five days. Including my first two-mile run without walking since I broke my foot!

*I did yoga four out of five days.

*I read. A lot. All I have left on my reading to-do list is finish “A Passage to India” and reread “Anna Karenina”.

*I purged. Took a bag of books and bag of CDs and DVDs to Half Price Books and made $30 on it all!

*I packed. My parents and nephew came over on Wednesday morning and helped. My mom packed my kitchen, because she ROCKS at that. My nephew (with some help from my dad) hauled everything out of the basement for me. I was afraid to do that because hauling my bike out of the basement is how I broke my foot.

half-packed

*I finished packing everything I own except my clothes, my bathroom stuff, and my furniture. This is everything:

all-packed

I’m trying to decide if that’s still a lot of crap or if it’s a minimal amount of stuff to own.

*I practice my school figures for dance. A LOT. Sometimes I went to the studio, sometimes I did them at home. But I practiced. Four dances down, six to go! (Six? Seven? I can’t remember. That’s my teacher’s job.)

*I listened to podcasts. I was so far behind on mine. I added it up (again, because I’m a nerd), and it was about 20 hours of podcasts. I still have 3 hours left. But I used the podcasts instead of the TV all week – yay!

*I caught up on Game of Thrones. I had watched season one on Netflix. A very kind friend gave me her HBO log on so I could watch the rest. And I did. OK, so I did watch some TV.

*I knitted. Again, I’m up against a deadline, so I’m frantically trying to finish this. I’ll show you it when it’s done. But I made great progress on it!

*I did some strength training on two days.

*I biked. Twice for fun, but four or five times as a mode of transportation around the neighborhood. I biked to meet friends, I biked to the studio, I biked to the co-op.

*I had breakfast with LS, lunch with NA, dinner with MK.

*I purge my closet and took a garbage bag full clothes and shoes to Goodwill.

*I refinished some toddler chairs I had.

refinished-chairs

*I did NOT look at my work email. Not once. I kept the notifications on, so I could see if anything came through that needed my attention. But nothing looked like it did, so I didn’t open it ONCE. Proof:

emails

Yep, 88 unread messages. Sweet. Only about 30 of those are ones I had to deal with when I got back today. Thank you, awesome boss man, for dealing with the rest! I know it’ll be payback when he’s gone for two weeks next month.

*I lost three pounds!

*I got a cold. After all that, a summer cold showed up Wednesday night. Luckily it’s a minor one, so I feel OK. Just a little coughy.

All in all, it was a great week. I feel refreshed and rested and ready to resume my crazy schedule!

Weekly roundup

15 Jul

Last week, I…

*Got the all-clear from my doctor on my wrist. I can now resume all normal activities! Strength training, here I come!

*Started the yearly big project at work I get to do every July. But this year, I found a trick that will save me about 10 hours of work on it. Yay productivity! Or just yay, less stress!

*Broke bread with friends: Dinner with ND and CD, brunch with SP and DF, dinner with LS…all good friends and good food. Makes me grateful for those people in my life. And for good restaurants.

*Went to a ballroom dance competition. My very first non-Arthur Murray one. And really enjoyed it. And decided to just go for it.

*Almost completed my free time list. More on that soon.

*Danced. Two lessons, during one of which we did full run-throughs of the smooth opens. I had very low expectations for them, both in terms of remembering choreography and in terms of how well I would be able to dance them since I hadn’t dance them since before I broke my foot. (Oof, run-on sentence!) And they went well! Even Viennese waltz. So happy. Oh, it felt so good to just DANCE. Next up, the rhythm opens! Oh dear, that means mambo. And neither me or my teacher can ever remember the mambo choreography. I guess we’ll find out Saturday how that goes.

*Almost baked. It’s so hot here right now – highs in the 90s – and I hate using an oven during that kind of weather. (I don’t have central air conditioning, just a little window unit.) But I miss baking! So I might try it this weekend. Maybe. If it’s not too hot.

*RAN. Three times. My endurance is getting better each time! It better be, because I signed up for a 5K for the end of August. Eek. I think I’ll be 100% by then. I hope. That’s the goal anyway!

Did ya miss me?

8 Jun

It’s been a rough few weeks. The healing of my foot really got to me – I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t write, I barely read, I didn’t bake…I was a mess. My spirits seemed OK; I just got lazy and had no energy. I had surgery on my right wrist to remove a cyst, and that made things worse. Suddenly I couldn’t use my right arm for much. It slowly got better, and I now can use it for some things.

But my cast comes off Monday! I saw the doctor last week, and he was impressed with how quickly it’s been healing. So he said that I could start taking the cast off in the evenings when I’m home this week, and Monday I can stop wearing it all together. And the stitches and the bandage come off my arm Tuesday! So by Wednesday, I’ll be starting to get back on track and working towards getting both to 100%.

And then the following week, I can start to ease back into dancing and running! So my first lesson back will be June 19. I’m so excited. I made a little countdown clock on the side here; do you see it? I can’t wait to start dancing again. And I know I won’t be where I was when I broke my foot, but I don’t think it’ll take me long to get back there. My teacher has a good plan for going slowly, so that will help.

Oh man, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In 4 days, I’ll be cast-free and bandage-free. In a little over a week, I’ll be back at the gym slowly starting to run again. In a little under two weeks, I’ll be dancing again.

It’s been a long 6 weeks. I’ve learned a lot by having to adjust to not working out and not dancing. I’ve learned I can live without dancing, but I don’t want to. I’ve learned how important working out is to me. I’ve gained a few pounds, but I’m hoping those will come off quickly once I start running again.

Because I maybe appreciate dancing more now, I’m going to try and go back with a little bit better attitude. I’m going to try to be more positive and not get so frustrated with myself as much.

I’m going to just enjoy dancing and running. And appreciate that I can do it.

Weekly roundup

15 Apr

Last week, I…

*Had dance lessons with a different teacher while mine was on vacation. It’s always interesting to work with another teacher. But it makes me appreciate how well my regular teacher and me work together. Not that the exchange lessons weren’t great – they were, just not as great as my regular lessons.

*Started dog-sitting for a friend of mine. My two companions:

bailey      meg

More on our adventures soon.

*Practiced at the studio again with my friend SH. I really enjoy that. It’s like having a workout buddy. But for dancing. But it’s not a dance partner. You know what I mean.

*Wondered what I should be writing about on my blog.

*Watched “The Count of Monte Cristo” with my book club. We had just read it for book club, so we watched the movie as a group. That was fun! We’re reading “The Great Gatsby” for this month, so maybe we’ll watch that when the new movie version comes out in May.

*Went for frozen yogurt with SP because it’s spring. Kinda. Because this is totally a spring forecast:

spring
I don’t know why it says Mendota Heights when I’m in St Paul.

No? Oh well. It is what it is. I want it to get warmer just so people stop complaining ALL THE TIME about the weather.

*Worked out A LOT. Which felt great. And tiring.

All in all, a pretty awesome week!

No kids, no topics

13 Apr

My blog is small. Which is totally fine. I’m not in this to make money or have thousands of readers. (Good thing – I’d be sorely disappointed!) I write mainly as a form of therapy and to entertain the 3 of you who actually read this. Oh, and thanks to the 3 of you!

Part of the reason I haven’t been writing more is a lack of topics. There hasn’t been drama in my life to rant about. Which is good, I guess. But I also feel like I don’t have a topic I can go back to all the time.

I don’t have kids. And I don’t develop food recipes. And those two things seem to be easy topics to go back to for inspiration.

Kids always have great stories. I got a good post out of my friend’s kids when I babysat. And if I had kids, they’d be an easy source for post ideas.

I cook and bake but always using someone else’s recipes. So if I write about them, it’d be nothing new really.

If I write about dancing, I want to be respectful of my teacher’s privacy. And I wonder…do you really want to hear all the details about my lessons and the technique and where I struggle? I think it’d be boring for you.

As I write this though, I realize…it really shouldn’t matter what you want to hear, right? I should write about what I want to write about, regardless if it’s interesting to you. (Watch for some posts on Cuban motion then.) So I’ll start writing again, and you can read what you want. (Let me know if there is something you’d like to hear me talk about.)

In the meantime, here is one thing I’m good at posting….T-Rex!

dinosaur moves

Yep, still makes me laugh out loud.

Weekly roundup

2 Apr

In the last two (sheesh, I’m behind) weeks, I…

*FINALLY shared some of the amazing recipes I’ve made lately, including a super one for homemade peanut cups.

IMG_0675

My friend LG read about them and tried them the very next day and loved them.

*Had a book club meeting where we finished “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It was a loonnnnggg book, and I had the abridged version (by mistake.) I’d like to go back and read the full version someday because I do feel like I missed some details. Someday.

*Went for coffee with my niece LB who was home from college for spring break. So fun to see her!

*Enjoyed a very lovely day off, including a long run outside. Well, long for me…about 2 miles. Slow (about 10:45 per mile), but still, I ran them all!

*Was all fancy and had dinner with my friend SH at a private club in St Paul. So posh.

*Saw the hand surgeon about my wrist. Surgery is scheduled for the end of May.

*Had dinner with my friend SP. And we tried a fantastic place for dessert. SO GOOD. And I could feel the diabetes setting in just walking in the door.

*Practiced at the studio. I do dance homework at home, but some things you just need the studio space for. But I hate practicing at the studio. Which is silly and ridiculous but true. My friend SH feels the exact same way, except I don’t think she practices at home. So we made a pact to meet at the studio once a week to practice. We did it last week for the first time, and it was great. Like having a workout buddy but with dance.

*Caught up with the fabulous KB over coffee. Alas, it was way too short – we didn’t cover everything!

*Took a knitting class with DF. It was great because she had never knit, and I learned some basic things (cough cough cast-on) that I never really learned properly.

*Had Easter dinner with the family.

New technology

13 Mar

Every year, I get a tax refund. I plan it that way. My friend DP is appalled by that. He firmly believes that you shouldn’t pay more than you owe. Ever. I get that it’s my money and that I’m lending it to the government for free. But really, if I saved that money, what kind of interest would I really be earning? Even if interest rates were good, I’d still want a refund. To me, it’s like bonus money.

This year, I’m being responsible with most of it. But I did take some of it and get something I’ve wanted for a long time.

A Kindle Fire!!

I’m writing this post on the WordPress app on it right now. It’s not easy as a computer, but it’s pretty handy. Plus I’ve already started reading a book on it over lunch, which was great. I love the portability of it. So much easier than a big book!

So I’m excited. I think this is going to be great, especially if I have downtime at the studio and over lunch. This was a good buy for me.

Even if it means the government got my money for free last year.

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