Taking an inward journey

On Saturday in my all-day teacher training class we focused on meditation.

I think meditation is an important part of yoga practice and frankly, life. But I don’t have a regular mediation practice on my own. I can barely get in my 30-minute home yoga practice five times a week.

Mary, who taught class on Saturday, told us that meditation is an inward dark journey. A regular meditation practice is about showing inner kindness to ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to listen to what our body needs and wants.

One of our assignments was to pair up with a  classmate and schedule 10 days where we meditate on the same day. On Day 5 we check in. And after Day 10 we answer a few questions.

If I remember correctly we are asked to meditate 20-30 minutes each day. My eyes nearly fell out of my head. I was like, how am I gonna fit that in, too???

My buddy and I scheduled a time when I will be on my work winter break. But part of that time I will also be out of town. So that will be a challenge to get my meditation in and my … Continue reading

Keeping the calm this December

Almost every December I sign myself up for too much and get completely overwhelmed.

I have decided to cut back on a few things this year.

Between a crazy time at work and school and the usual December craziness I had to make some decisions for me.

I love sending out holiday cards. So that is still happening. (In fact, I got most of them labeled, stamped and stuffed over Thanksgiving weekend.)

We pretty much stopped doing Christmas gifts a few years ago. (We do charity gifts instead.) But I like to send cards to the kids in our lives and let them know what charity we chose. I decided for my own sanity to not do cards this year.

I usually make some sort of tiny gift to include with cards to family and co-workers. Like last year’s knitted Santa hat (pictured to the left). Nope, not doing anything like that this year either.

My good friend Monica has a cocktail competition party every year around Christmastime. I will brag and tell you all that I won in 2010 and tied in 2011. Damn that Alexi and her 2012 win! 🙂

This year I decided not to participate. Not … Continue reading

Challenge: Get those abs in while watching calories

Wow, can you believe that it is already November? Halloween is over. Do you have candy lingering? Before we know it it will be December and Christmas and then a new year. 2014!

Go Fit Girl’s November Monthly Challenge ideas come from many Go Fit Girl! readers/friends.

Nicole M. asked for something abs related and a good challenge that has to do with resisting holiday overrating! She meant to type overeating.

Others concured on the stress eating. There was a request for maintaining food diaries.

Jen C. said, I would second the holiday eating (I’m trying to plan WW-friendly stuff already) and stress eating. Maybe … take a walk or finding healthy alternative instead of stress-eating?

Let’s explore Nicole’s typo: Resist holiday overrating. The holidays are supposed to be joyful and fun and full of spirit, right?

But for so many it is a depressing, sad, unfun, stressful time. How do many of us deal with those kind of emotions? Well, I drink (usually too much) and I definitely eat like crap. Bad choices and too many bad choices. And sometimes my great exercise routine goes out the window.

I have to say when I regularly exercise and eat healthy I … Continue reading

Sharing the love of reading

A friend/co-worker gave me a DonorsChoose.org gift card for Christmas.

I could donate my $25 to any school/classroom listed on the website.

There are so many schools listed. Just for schools in Oakland there are 207 and the ones I reviewed were all high poverty schools.

How did I choose?

This is how I narrowed it down. I wanted a school in Oakland, since I live in Oakland. I wanted a high poverty school and my money to go toward some sort of reading program. AND I wanted to grant the teacher’s wish by paying off what was left of his request, with my gift card and some of my own money.

In other words, I wanted the teacher and the classroom to get what they wanted and really, what they needed in the request.

The program was titled I Can Read! Mr. Cline teaches kindergarten and first grade and the kids stay with him for two years. On his request he said, 90% of the students are low-income, and 90% are English language learners. Most have not been to preschool, so I am their first exposure to formal education.

Mr. Cline’s request was for multiple books for each level of … Continue reading

Basic necessities=Christmas spirit

Merry Christmas!

Or happy whatever you celebrate or don’t. Enjoy your time off with your family or friends or if you choose to spend it alone.

And for all those who have to work today, thank you.

I feel lucky for all the family I got to see over the past few days: parents, my in-laws, my brother, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles …

Are you sick of me talking about charities and donations and helping others? I doubt it. But hey, it’s my passion. And I am gonna keep talking about it and hope I rub off on others.

As I have said before we no longer exchange gifts with our families. Instead we donate to charities. We all have different organizations we like to support.

Some of the charities we and our families have supported in lieu of gifts are Brighter BeginningsPajama ProgramHeifer InternationalPlanned ParenthoodCharity Choice Gift Cards, Alameda County Food Bank, Tucson Food Bank, Emerge, Poverello House among others.

For the past year or so I have been supporting the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center in Berkeley. I collect toiletries when we travel and occasionally take them to the … Continue reading

Going home for the holidays

I am going home for Christmas.

This makes me happy and also I have been feeling the stress before it even gets here. I love my family very much.

Earlier this year The Husband asked if I wanted to back to Tucson for Christmas. Without hesitation I flatly said no.

But then in June my 90-year-old grandpa had surgery. I decided I needed to be home for the surgery to be there for my grandpa, my dad and for me. Luckily all went well and my tasks for the week were to visit my grandpa as much as I could in the hospital and make sure my dad and his wife’s dog wasn’t neglected–which mostly meant drop-offs and pick-ups at doggie daycare.

After that experience I decided that I needed to come home for Christmas. I am lucky to still have two grandparents: my dad’s dad and my mom’s mom.

And Curt’s parents are joining us for a warm Christmas in Arizona, which they are very excited about. And that makes me happy.

According to the article, Fighting Festive Stress and Conflict, we should try to “maintain and manage” relationships rather than reinvent them at this time of year. … Continue reading

Dealing with expected/unexpected challenges

On Saturday I wrote about how I had an upcoming challenging week: dinners, lunches, possible lack of exercise.

Sometimes we can plan for our challenges other times they are a surprise. I try to take them all in stride and accept that sometimes you fall off the wagon. At some point you get back on and as long as you do all is good.

Well, I had an unexpected additional challenge hit me this week.

I was hit by what I am calling a mini-cold. Luckily I didn’t get bogged down by a major cold. But I have had the congestion, I feel tired and my eyes hurt a little. I had a headache one day.

I feel lucky because many  I know have gotten hit pretty bad. But my mini-cold was annoying enough to interfere in my life somewhat.

I did attend the Monday night work holiday dinner and Tuesday’s White Elephant/Ugly Sweater Contest lunch. (My ugly sweater tied with the trees and I was awarded with a fruit cake, which I gave away immediately.)

I had planned to go out on Thursday to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday. But by the time Thursday hit I was pretty tired … Continue reading

My heart goes out to babies

Peet’s near my gym has gotten me into helping a couple of “new” charities.

A few years ago there was a representative from a women’s day drop-in center, which I still support to this day. In fact, I just took some toiletry donations over there about a week ago.

Today after spin I grabbed a soy latte and noticed a set up for a charity called Loved Twice, which is geared toward helping babies.

According to the Loved Twice website, the organization helps underprivileged newborns in the San Francisco Bay Area community, giving disadvantaged babies a better start in life.

At the coffee shop you could donate clothes or money. I threw in a little money.

I plan to knit some baby hats for the organization. Not sure if I will have them done in time for Christmas. But that doesn’t matter. I can donate anytime.

There are so many charities and people out there who need our help. And I know I can’t help everyone. I try to focus on children, food banks, women (centers to help women, whether day center or shelter and Planned Parenthood), a little with animals …

Curt and I also like to support our … Continue reading

‘Tis the season to indulge

And my crazy December really kicks in. The first week was relatively calm.

Today Curt and I are hosting a little gathering with a few friends called Cheesemas. We eat cheese and watch cheesy holiday movies. The first movie stars Rob Lowe called The Christmas Shoes. We ALWAYS watch it. The commentary is what makes our gathering a little raunchy. You have to have a wicked sense of humor to stomach most of it.

Anyway, there is a lot of cheese eating and drinking and a good time.

Then next week the challenges really kick into full swing with two work dinners, a work White Elephant lunch and a cocktail party over the weekend.

Monday night is our team holiday dinner. It will be at a nice restaurant with good food and wine. And that also means I will miss my regular gym class. I initially decided it would be OK for me to miss the gym as long as I make it to the gym 3-4 times this coming week I will meet the December Monthly Challenge.

But then I realized that there was no reason I couldn’t exercise at the gym on site. I haven’t decided if … Continue reading

Don’t forget to breathe

Ah, the holidays are upon us.

Tomorrow is the unofficial launch of the holiday season.

I heard on the radio this morning that tonight is the busiest night for bars.

I searched on Google to find more information about this. Many cities did stories on it. The one I decided to open came from Tucson, my hometown, and said: Traditionally when Thanksgiving comes around our family and old friends are around and we tend to want to go out and celebrate or just have a good time. Most are on holiday or off of work by some means.

For many this season is not filled with joy or fun or good times. It can be stressful, exhausting, unhappy …

I do love this time of year. I love having a tree and seeing the lights and just the feelings I get from it. I didn’t used to love it. I used to work retail and then I worked in newspapers, where there is no such thing as a holiday. News happens 24/7.

Curt and I are staying home for Thanksgiving. Our friends Jim and Jennifer, who usually join us, just moved to Indiana. Our friends Jacob and Aileen are in … Continue reading