Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sick Day.

I'm home sick today. Just chilling on the couch waiting for your basic run of the mill tummy bug to pass through my system. This is honestly the third day I have taken off for sickness this year, yet I feel like I've got this image as a sickly person.
To be fair, I missed a month of work last year due to sickness. I had a tendency to let a minor illness (like strep throat) develop into a bigger illness (like scarlet fever), simply by muscling through and continuing to work and not rest.
Today, I could likely get up and muscle through my day on half power, hope I don't pass this bug on to my clients, and rest when I'm done for the day. My body has a history of not improving when I do this, though. So, alas, I'm listening to myself (for once) and taking another day off.
And I'm not happy about it.
As a self employed person with no paid sick days, This means no income for 2 days. It also means making up for the lost days by overworking as soon as I'm well enough to be back on a full schedule.
And I worry about my image. I'm in the business of helping others to be healthy. I want to appear the picture of health (however unrealistic) to the rest of the world. Yet, when I cancel a Yoga class, I have to announce online and through many phone calls and text messages "Hey world, I'm sick today!" When I take the day off from doing massage, it's not just one phone call to the office, it means calls to clients who were looking forward to their massage, many of them in some level of discomfort. It's me being ill, deciding to take care of myself for a day, and thoroughly disappointing people in the process.
Yes, I know, taking a day or 2 to rest and feel better is a good example for my clients (blah blah blah). When I've got someone I care about on the other end of the line, telling them I'm putting myself before them, I just plain wish I could crawl under a rock.
I just hope there's hot tea and a good book under that rock...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Soon: Eurotrip Recap.

So, Eurotrip 2012 happened. It was awesome. I badly want to tell you all about it, but it will have to wait until we're fully re-integrated into the craziness that is our life. This includes the impending First Day of Kindergarten.  Egad.
So, Stay tuned for the Eurotrip 2012 recap. I will do my best to not make you feel like you've been tricked into watching someone's boring vacation slideshow.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Time to Fly!

We're heading out tomorrow for the much anticipated Eurotrip 2012!
Today is about final packing of our bags for the trip, packing Lils for her camping trip, and prepping Chateau Rexford for house sitters.
Plans include Berlin, Munich (and the Bavarian Alps), Paris, Amsterdam and the Rhine Valley.
We're so grateful to be able to leave the kiddo in good hands and know she'll have fun while we're gone. We'll miss her anyway!
I am beyond thrilled to finally get to be across the "pond" and to see new things and eat and drink like the American gluttons we are. I'm actually looking forward to being confused in a strange place and trying to work through language barriers with strangers.
In the past week, 3 people have told me that a trip like this will be "life changing". Hmmm... I'm not sure what they mean by that, and I'm pretty happy with my life today, so I'm curious to see if/ how these changes occur.
Either way, I intend to take lots of pictures and have a great time!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pre-Vacation Summer

T and I are just about ready for Euro-trip 2012. All the reservations we were going to make ahead of time are made. 7 days worth of rail passes are purchased. Passports are up to date. Child care and house-sitting have been arranged. We even bought a pile of Euros from a massage client of mine. With the exception of a few small items to purchase, we're all set to go. In a little over a month.
So- What to do in the mean time? Well, Summer is my favorite time of year in the North Country. This is the land of summer camps, swimming holes, hiking trails and campfires. I cut my schedule down to 2 days a week. That gives me lots of time to spend with Lils but not a lot of money. We manage. Picnic lunches are easy enough, and there are lots of great places locally that are free (or cheap) to access. Last week, I took her hiking to a waterfall and a swimming hole. On the way out to the swimming hole, I stopped at a roadside strawberry stand and picked up a quart of fresh and juicy berries. T even got to meet up with us when he got out of work. This is basically our summer lifestyle. Not bad, eh? 
Last weekend, we did a short trip to Massachusetts for our niece's 3rd birthday party where cuteness ensued. We took advantage of some Marriott points and got a free hotel room nearby. Our little family was due for a mini vacation together and this was a perfect opportunity. We were pretty wiped out from the road trip and the birthday party so we decided to spend the rest of the day holed up in the hotel room. We got take out and hung out in jammies. Lils jumped on the beds and had a blast. Well rested the next day, we met up with my sis and her family and traveled to a NH beach where they were having a sand sculpture competition. The sculptures were intricate and awesome and the water was lovely. 
As excited as we are to leave on our trip, we'll take full advantage of the summer we get right here at home. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

'Cause I'm not Perfect.

A very dear friend of mine says "We teach people how to treat us." She used it in the context of taking responsibility for someone else hurting her feelings. That statement has been ringing true for me lately.
I've recently reached the end of my rope on the level of hurt I can handle from one individual. It's not all that they do (which I don't agree with, but we live our own lives). It's the way I am treated by this person. The way this person makes choices without consequence. The way her world supports her choices. But mostly how I'm made to feel around the whole situation.
I was recently asked to put myself into an emotionally painful situation and told that what was expected of me was to just not say anything and just show up and be quiet. These are the people who are "supposed to" know me better than anyone. I'd like to think they know me better than to think I can just make myself present just for the sake of being there. And NOT SAY ANYTHING when people are pushing my emotional buttons. So I just didn't. I just said no. And I chose to give my energy to those who give back. You don't have to be nice to me all the time. You don't have to be good all the time, but for Heaven's sake, do not require me to be someone I am not.
I truly love all these people, but I love myself too much to willingly put myself into hurtful situations. I can't expect other people to care about my emotional well being, but I absolutely will not set my own feelings aside for folks who will not see me for who I am.
OK, enough catharsis for one post. One day I'll be emotionally mature enough to handle all things, but today is not that day. Peace.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I want to do it all.

It's been a while since my last post. There are a few reasons for that. One is that there are some external stressors in my life that I tend to over-react to. Or, maybe appropriately react, but either way, I go off the deep end from time to time. Really, these stressors don't directly affect my life much, other than on an emotional level, so I am working my way through dealing with it. (vague much?)
Another reason for the lack of posting is I've been caught up in routine. Well, sort-of. From the outside, my life may seem far from routine. But it happens just the same. 
Oh, and then there's the fact that April happened. April is birthday month for both the Mr and I. That could mean awesome-fun-celebration month, or, as is usually the case with us, Broke Month. Along with having the car registrations and state inspections for 2 cars, April is tax time. As a self-employed mom who is married to a regular-job guy filing joint taxes, the whole "return" concept gets a bit dicey. We did get a return this year, but a slim one. April also happens to be when my business liability insurance comes due. Somehow, the bill was missed and I discovered I'd been without insurance for a week and a half. Oops. Oh, and there's the spring tire change that has to happen. (cha-ching) So, see why I haven't been posting. This financial crap is boring. With all those expenses for April, we decided to put our intense saving for Euro-trip 2012 on hold. It's just one month, and we intend to catch-up in the next 3.
Today, I am taking a sick day, as I caught some odd tummy bug over the weekend. It was pretty epic, actually, as I drank a little wine at a baby shower and got ill all over the front yard at my friend's house. It looked like I was an extreme lush, but as it turns out, I've got a nasty bug, cause it's still with me today. (OK guys, you can call off the intervention! It's a tummy bug!) 
This sick day is allowing me some time I wouldn't have otherwise taken to assess my life & day to day routines. It seems I'm once again over-extended. I'm currently serving on 2 boards of directors, working as a massage therapist, teaching a Yoga class, being a mom, newly taking Aikido classes, aspiring to mountain bike all summer (I mean, I just got a new bike seat), taking road trips all over New England (Burlington, Portland, Boston), Planning more road trips (Montreal, anyone?), Planting a garden, becoming a runner, I could go on...
What's being neglected? My house, obviously. This place is pretty trashed with kids' toys and paperwork and laundry. My husband, likely. He's not a complainer, so I have to be more aware of these things. My health- usually I get sick when I'm overextended, so I should listen to that. 
Here's the rub: I genuinely WANT to do all the things I'm doing, plus more. I want to go rock climbing more this summer. I want to paddle the rivers and lakes around here. I want to make some great Yoga videos to share all over the internets. I want to re-design my web page. That thing hasn't gotten any love in a very long time. 
I suppose I'm lucky, or blessed, or smart. I'm just plain glad that I really do enjoy my life and all the things I'm doing. It's just got to be about priorities for me right now. I'm not big on list-making but this may be just the occasion for it. It's great to want to do many things, but it could be time for me to plant my feet on the ground and prioritize, deciding what gets left in the dust, or, better yet, manage my time so I can do ALL things. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update on Euro-Trip 2012

I'm pretty sure that my obsession with a vacation that is taking place several months from now is borderline pathological. 
I've been talking about it to everyone who will listen for the past few months already. I'm even dreaming about it at night. My friends are becoming annoyed with my extreme budgeting. One very dear friend bluntly stated "Leane, you have a sickness." When I was making lunch plans around the time I was taking to practice pack my bag and weigh it. (23 pounds, so far) 
Oh well. Es ist was es ist. If you happen to be one of those people who's tired of hearing about it, you can stop reading now. 
This is the part where I justify my obsession:
I have never been overseas. I can say I've traveled internationally, but when you live in northern NH and you're visiting family in Canada, it doesn't count for much. I have always wanted to travel for as long as I can remember. Growing up where I did, traveling to another continent may as well have been like traveling to another planet. Without getting into it too much, the cost was insurmountable at the time. 
I've had a very dear friend from Germany since I was about 11. We had an instant connection, and could go a long while (10 years at one time) being out of touch, but the second we re-connect we are able to pick up where we left off. If you've never had a friend like that, you should go out and get one right now. He has traveled to the States a few times to visit with his family and friends here, and I have been informed it is my turn to go there and visit now. On top of that, Tracy had lived in France for a year while in high school and has been dying to go back ever since. So yeah, we're excited. 
Our progress so far:
Tickets to Berlin are booked. That was our Christmas gift to each other. Babysitters are lined up. As much as it kills me to leave her behind, it feels good to know we've got so many good people to care for her while we're gone. Wills and such written. It sounds morbid and dull, but we thought it necessary and responsible to make sure those things are in order in case the bad thing happens. Parisian apartment rented. That's right. We looked at hotels and other means of lodging for Paris and determined that the coolest way to go would be to rent an apartment for a week. Oh yes. We are that cool. 
In other news, I now possess a credit card. We worked our tails off to pay off all our credit card debt a few years back and swore we'd never go back to that awful place. T has had a card in his name for a while that we used for large-ish purchases, and that thing was paid off every single time a charge got posted. I, however, have not had a credit card in my name for more than 6 years. This card is for travel, and is the way to go. Stuff you buy on it is insured and there is no international transaction fee on this particular card. If all goes according to plan, we'll use it just for the big trip and pay it off, as we're still saving money like mad people on a mission and intend to do the trip without taking out any debt. So far so good. That said, being in possession of a credit card is a bit terrifying after having overcome that debt. 
So, with a few months to go before we leave, I am feeling so ready to just be there. Excited for the new experiences, reconnecting with a dear friend, and spending some quality alone time with my honey. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

To the Dentist!

Despite our efforts in brushing and flossing and avoiding excessive amounts of sugary things, Lils has a cavity. We're going to get it repaired today and I'm doing my best to pretend I'm not absolutely freaked out by the whole thing. Really? Cavities on a 5 year old?
The story is that her back teeth are growing very close and there isn't much room for saliva to get between them. It seems saliva creates some sort of barrier on the tooth that keeps them from rotting away, or something like that.
I have to wonder if it's got to do with the fluoride thing. We haven't kept her completely away from the stuff, but our town water isn't fluoridated and I don't get the supplements. I am a bit neurotic about the stuff I give my child and I admittedly do online research to learn about the vaccines and the supplements and pretty much anything that goes into her system. Sodium Fluoride is really scary if you google it. Go ahead, I dare you.
So I chose not to do the fluoride thing. Maybe that's the reason, maybe it's the teeth too close thing, or maybe it's just genetics. Weak enamel handed down through the generations. (Thanks, Dad)
Either way, she is going in for some dental work today. She's a pretty mellow kid at the dentist office, so that's something. Hopefully, it will go smoothly.

Here's a fun pic from a hygienist appointment last summer. Her friend came along for a ride in the chair. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sick Days Mean Crafty Days

I've recently developed a serious Pinterest addiction. The concept is simple: you get an account, you "pin" images and videos that inspire you in some way, you create "pin boards" to organize that stuff you like, you never look at those images again. 
Well, that's what I imagine most pinners do. Not this gal. I store those little projects away for a rainy day. Or a sick day. Or a I'm-feeling-cheap-but-need-to-get-a-gift-for-a-friend day. This past weekend, I happened to be sick. Pretty lame, as I had plans, but c'est la vie. I spent much of Saturday pinning crafty stuff to maybe do some day, and Sunday was a crafty day. I couldn't bear to have a sick day in looking out the windows at the bluebird day we were having. (Fresh snow Friday and Saturday followed by gorgeous blue sky Sunday) Of all the weekends to be stuck in sick, this was the worst! So I sequestered myself in the basement with my sewing machine. 
I did some simple, simple projects that were mostly Pinterest inspired. I took apart 2 sweaters that I shrunk or otherwise ruined in some way. Here's highlights from my favorite one.

My Smartwool sweater here- before I shrunk felted the darn thing in the wash. I was at a pottery class a couple years back:

So, I cut the sleeves off and cut a little slit for my heel. Now I own some warm wooly Yoga socks. Easiest project ever. 

There was a bit of fabric up by the neck hole area that lent itself well to being converted to a pair of fingerless gloves. I'm not sure if they will make me look like a bum, but I will wear them anyway - likely when I go running on cool days or when I want to be able to use my iphone without taking off my regular gloves. 

 With the body of the sweater, I made this really sweet pillow. I think the bows make it handsome. 

I'm taking today off for good measure. Just making sure I'm 100% better before getting back to work. 

What do you do with your sick days?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Value of a Kid-Free Weekend

Some folks just won't do overnight trips without their kids. We are not those people. Don't get me wrong, we love our daughter and enjoy spending time with her. She's a pretty cool kid. She's adventurous and travels well, too. We just need our grown-up time every now and then to stay sane. It's great for us as a couple to spend some time with each other and have some un-interrupted adult conversation. The option to sleep in is nice, too.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of capable people we can leave her with while we go out and play. We don't take for granted how cool it is to be able to drop her off and not have to worry about her all weekend. 
How'd we spend our kid-free weekend? Acting like kids ourselves, that's how! 
We dropped Lils off with her Grammy and made our way to Burlington, VT to see some very good friends who we don't get to spend nearly enough time with. 
We all traveled up to a place called Lincoln Gap, about a half hour out of town. It's a mountain pass road and the top mile of it is closed in the winter time. Parking at the "road closed" sign, we hiked our plastic sleds up to the top of the hill. That top half-mile makes for a pretty insane sled run. 

After all that sledding, we were hungry! We checked out a sweet little Thai restaurant that is BYOB. The food was excellent, and dinner out is much much cheaper when you're not buying wine! 
The next morning was a lazy quiet Sunday morning with some excellent homemade eggs Benedict on fresh croissants. Perfection!
We loved the weekend away, getting together with good friends and having some grown-up time, and Lily had an excellent weekend playing with her Grammie and Grampie.
I don't want to be without her every weekend, but it is necessary (for us) to have that kid-free time every now and then. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Heck of A Good Time

This past weekend,  I had the pleasure of attending two sold-out events locally. Now, that may not seem so remarkable to most folks. I should clarify. My town has halved in population in the past 70 years or so. The main industry of paper-making is all but gone. Unemployment is quite high and incomes for those who are employed is typically low. When an event is planned in the local area, it's expected to not sell-out. So, two packed houses in two days was quite remarkable.
Saturday night was a spaghetti dinner and dancing to a live band. The event was put on by the ski club I'm always talking about. The evening was scheduled to start with a cocktail hour at 6. We arrived at quarter of, thinking we'd have time to help with setting things up. We thought there would be a slow trickle of people coming in during that hour. My jaw hit the floor when we pulled in to the parking lot and there was already a steady stream of people heading in the door. It was a great night with some really good raffle prizes, plenty of food, and dancing well into the night. We also got to honor some long time volunteers and the ski club made some much needed money.
Sunday afternoon was another music-filled day. We weren't sure how much energy we'd have to go out after a birthday party and a late fundraiser, but we went anyway. And boy are we glad we did! I had a feeling the place would fill up early, so we went a half hour before the show started to get good seats. Turns out, we needed to be that early to get seats at all! The band was Le Grand Derangement, and they are good! They're an Acadian band from Nova Scotia. Singing in French and English, and also a dialect of French that is unique to their own town in NS. I think my favorite part was hearing the conversations during intermission. Many of the old timers here grew up speaking only French at home. They were told that they were stupid to be speaking French and it was discouraged. I love hearing those same old timers speak with each other, flowing seamlessly between French and English. I overheard one woman saying "They called us stupid for speaking French, but we could speak two languages and they only spoke one. How ignorant!" Yep. It really was neat to see such pride in cultural heritage. Many folks brought their kids and grandkids to the show, too. I strongly believe that a rich cultural heritage is a big part of what makes communities thrive.
Another cool thing about the weekend? The two amazing events I went to were put on by small community-driven non-profit organizations. Non-profits like these really prove to be the backbone of society in America. [steps on soapbox] So if you are a person that happens to have a few spare dollars or hours, or talents to give, consider giving to these types of organizations that will re-invest it in your community. [steps off soapbox]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Well, that was nice.

I am now the mother of a 5 year old. Check it out:

So, there was sledding, and kids, and rainbow cake, and gifts, and me not talking about how it feels to be the mother of a 5 year old... 'cause honestly, I'm still processing it. Happy birthday to my baby, who informed me that she is most certainly not a baby, as she's 5 now...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Damn, I'm Good.

One month in to 2012 and I'm doing remarkably well with my resolutions, if I do say so myself.
Let's review:
I have resolved to:

  • Simplify- I am still quite busy, but I have managed to change a few things at my volunteer job to make things seem less insane. Some of my simplifying is requiring me to take on a bit more work initially, but ought to pay off in the end. Sometimes it takes a bit of upfront work to make life easier, I suppose.
  • Water my Lawn- I used this as a metaphor for giving more of myself to my family and home life. I think this one will be a constant awareness for me, but I am working at it. I am making more time to be with my husband and kiddo and doing my best to make that quality time. It's not that I don't want to spend some quality time with them, it's just that I get so darned caught up in other stuff that I don't make the time and effort. 
  • Save Money for Eurotrip - This is going quite well. T and I have saved aggressively before, but mostly for the purposes of paying off debt. This is much more fun. We set monthly savings goals -we met our January goal; just barely, but we met it just the same- Tracy has been using online tools to make a fund drive thermometer like this one every month: 

Whenever we add a few bucks to the savings account, the temperature goes up. It seems cheesy, but it's helpful to maintain focus. At this rate, we'll have a pretty amazing trip.

Another goal I half- set was fitness related. I've been doing some fun workouts fairly consistently and am getting stronger. I managed to get my hands on a set of P90X videos and they are a blast! I'm also doing some interval training, and stepping up my Yoga practice. Although I have no solid fitness goals, I am happy to just be more active for now. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'll be back at my Universe tomorrow.

It has come to my attention that I've neglected this blog for a couple of weeks. Just posting here now to let you know I'm still alive. I am kicking ass on my 2012 resolutions, I am still too busy for my own good. That's ok though. I'd rather be all used up at the end of this life anyway. 
I'll get back to regular posting soon. 
Happy Groundhog Day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Resolution Check-In

OK, so it's day 6 of 2012 and I can safely say I own this year!
Checking in with the resolutions I made earlier this week:

  • organize
  • water my lawn
  • save for Eurotrip 2012
OK so I've already taken steps on the organizing front. We had a board meeting last night and I laid it out that I needed more help from the others and that the treasurer was just not keeping up with his responsibilities. I'm not known for being too gentle with people's feelings, especially where my own stress level is involved, but a few bruised egos and some explanatory emails later, it looks like we're going to have a new, more organized treasurer and a few other changes on the board. I've got to do a bit more work to make things easier in the long run, like listing some tasks to delegate, but I have a good feeling about this one!

The watering my lawn part has to do with giving a bit more love and attention to my family. Although some of the week was taken up with meetings and such, I think I'm doing better at this. Just "showing up" and being present is a big thing and something that gets forgotten about amid the to-do's of day to day life. We spent some time making pizza and watching a movie the other night, and I've been making more of an effort to listen to the others in my household. I think this one will be more of a slow and steady shift, but I know the greatness that my little family is capable of, so I will definitely keep on it!

Saving for Eurotrip is so exciting! A few years back, before the baby came, we did Dave Ramsey's financial fitness plan and killed our debt. It was so exhilarating to pay off each credit card and loan. Well, we're tackling this savings plan with as much intensity and enthusiasm as when we took on our debt.  T called me from work yesterday to set a savings goal for January and we are already well on our way! He even sent me a dorky email with a cartoon drawing of one of those fundraiser thermostat things with the red filled in up to where we're at. Adorable. 

I'm also on this fitness kick that has me working out every day. Although it wasn't a big new year's goal, I'm pretty proud of myself for it. Maybe I'll even be fit enough to enter our cross country ski race this year. I'm just hoping for some more snow.

Now, I suppose I ought to tackle those dirty dishes...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Where's The Snow?

Just a quick note to whine about the weather. I'm not one to complain too much about weather where I live, as I know the climate in northern New England is fickle. I am, however, losing my resolve. By this time last year, I'd done a ton of nordic skiing and I was kicking my own butt learning how to skate ski. Although we've had a couple of storms, none of the snow stuck around for very long. Looking at the 10 day forecast is pretty grim as well. Looks like about one new inch of snow is likely. Not enough to do much of anything on.
Although this lack of snow is affecting morale for us skiers (especially those of us relying on natural snowfall versus the machine made stuff on the slopes), it's really not good for the economy. The local economy here relies heavily on winter recreation: skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiles, dogsled tours, etc. The folks that really make their bread and butter off the snow are just itching for the next big dumping of fluffy white stuff to sell to the tourists. Although I complain about the lack of wintery weather, at least I don't rely on it to keep my family fed.
All we can do is grin and bear it, and go for a hike instead.