I was thinking in my living room about many things the other morning while scrolling through FB, and ran across this challenge from a photographer, MeRa Koh: “Make today all about capture images that speak to you about ‘cozy.’” I looked up and this is what I saw:
Heather’s UGG’s ready to go for a nice fall day of coziness. All day I was thinking about cozy. I will spare you the photos of dinner and what I wore to work that evening, although both qualify.
I know this is one of the reason I enjoy fall so much. I love cozy. I especially love cozy after wet. And we are getting some wet now aren’t we? I keep saying to myself, “You can get all warm and dry and cozy after you brave the weather for that walk or run or drive to the gym” (in my case pool).
And yes, I have a pair of UGGs my size I wear after swimming in the mornings. A true cozy reward.
Where do you find cozy?
I’ve been feeling more than a little overwhelmed. So today I applied Linda’s strategy of breaking things down into manageable pieces to finally check things off my to-do list. (I have a separate to-do list for work, but let’s not even go there.)
Here’s my list. It’s actually the second version. I already broke “clean house” down into laundry, bathrooms, sweep & vacuum, and dishes before I started accomplishing anything. I was too overwhelmed by thinking about cleaning the whole dirty house. I don’t have time for that!
I broke it down, but I still felt too overwhelmed. All that laundry? ACK, that would take all day. Instead, I gave myself an out. Something’s better than nothing, so I modified my goal– towels. And while I was at it, some underwear and socks filled out the load. Bam! One thing done.
Then bathrooms. If I had to clean both bathrooms completely, it would take at least an hour. So I told myself if we just have clean sinks and counters today, I can do the tub and the toilets later in the week.
Sweeping but not vacuuming seemed like a reasonable compromise because it only meant one set of cleaning equipment (broom and dustpan) and one round through the house. I included the bathroom floors on this and felt like a champ because now the bathrooms really are clean enough to go a few more days.
I had too many dishes to fit in the dishwasher, so I didn’t even want to start. I told myself I just had to get one load in the dishwasher and rinse everything that wouldn’t fit. Once I lowered the bar, I just did it.
Finally, the workout. I’ve been feeling guilty for not getting my usual 45 minutes to an hour in regularly. Since something is better than nothing, I did 15 minutes of cardio and told myself I’d do more later if I had the time. (Surely that scurrying around with the broom and dustpan had to help my health a little, right?)
Now I’m on to the blog post, and I’m almost done with the list. Sure, my post isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Say it with me: “Something’s better than nothing!”
Have you felt paralyzed by perfection? What pass will you give yourself to enjoy the truth of today’s mantra?
This seems to be a week of benchmarks for me.
I’m getting ready for my first 5k run next week, so I’m testing myself around the track to see if I can run the whole distance.
Linda and I met for strategic planning about our manuscript for One Brave Thing a Day. We assessed where we are with the writing, with building our audience, and with our agent.
I tutored a student I’m helping in test preparation for the first time in a few weeks. I gave him tasks to check his knowledge and his focus.
I have been very satisfied with all the benchmarks. Knowing where I stand gives me a sense of calm but also helps motivate me for the next challenges.
Do you use benchmarks in your goal setting? Are you happy with where you stand?
I like the behind the scenes story on this swim more than the swim.
I had decided to take August off of swimming. I had pushed really hard all winter and spring and half of summer to complete the Alcatraz Sharkfest 2012, and now it was time to rest. It took three weeks before I started missing it at all; I was burnt-out a little bit.
Back up the story to a woman named Judy, who attends a gathering on Wednesday evenings with me. The last time I saw her was about a year and a half ago when she specifically came to say goodbye to me and said she needed to go battle breast cancer. I wanted to keep track of her so we agreed that Facebook would be the best way.
Judy is a light bulb, full of enthusiasm and positive energy, so it did not surprise me that on the flip side of her surgeries and radiation and chemo she was also signing for 5K walks. Then she took on open water swimming, again. I followed her postings on Facebook and from time to time she would comment on mine, especially the Alcatraz ones. So it surprised me when she posted that she was disappointed with her time during her Emerald City 1 mile swim. Others posted back: “Judy! YOU just swam a mile!” I let curiosity get the better of me and within a day or two I looked up her time. And I thought, “That’s not a bad time… actually it’s a good time if you started swimming as an adult,” and I let it go.
Then on Wednesday evening who should walk in the door to our meeting? JUDY!!! And the first thing out of my mouth wasn’t welcome back (sorry to say), it was: “What are you talking about? That was a good swim you had last week, timing and all!”
She broke into this huge grin/giggle. Then said, “The event I’m most excited about is this Sunday the Park to Park that benefits Children Hospital. We swim across Lake Washington.”
By then Hannah, a welcome eavesdropper, had entered the conversation. Hannah asked how far that race was and Judy answered 1.5 miles. Oh the same distance as the Alcatraz race? And I said,”I heard the race was closed.”
Hannah whipped out her smart phone and said, “Let’s see… Oh! It’s sponsored by my boyfriend’s company! You want to do that race don’t you?” And we were off to the registration race: “Hey Linda, how do you spell your last name?” (Don’t you think this would make a great iphone commercial?) Before I knew it I was committed to the new race.
Welcome back Judy!
It was a beautiful morning. Both Judy and I had great swims.
And Judy was happy with her time, this time.
And I think I am most happy for serendipity and quick friends with smart phones, thank you Hannah.
Next year I hope to have this swim on my radar and be recruiting others to join me.
Are you the recruiting type? If so, what and who are you recruiting today?
Posted by Tegan on Aug 9, 2012 in behind the scenes
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Here’s a fortune cookie I got the other night:
“Just be yourself; you are wonderful.” Somehow, that was just what I needed to hear!
If you listen hard enough, what do you think you need to hear now?
Linda, you’re amazing! You inspire me every day. You and your soul glitter.
Now, go enjoy San Francisco!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!
Posted by Tegan on Jul 12, 2012 in behind the scenes
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I am an aunt again! My new niece was about five weeks earlier than everyone expected her, but I think she must have known that I had a ticket to fly out to her coast last week, so she sped things up for me.
My strong, healthy (although tiny) niece joins her strong, healthy, active 19-month old brother and two incredible parents to make me a very, very proud and fulfilled auntie. Now if only New England weren’t so far away…
Thank you to everyone for sharing our family’s joy!
How do you keep in touch with friends and family who live far away?
As we wrap up our time at our current home and pack boxes for the big move, I feel this week has been coming for months . . . and now it’s just time to push the baby out! It may hurt us all; for a move, usually I am much more packed up by now. It’s just time to dig down deep and go!
The best part of this move is who bought our house and how they found us. It was on Mother’s Day. We decided NOT to have an open house because, well, it was Mother’s Day, and we figured we could list the house on Saturday and let it hold a week. Then a sweet family knocked on our door anyway and asked if there was going to be an open house. We said, “Next Sunday.”
The man at the door explained that he was a father looking for a home for his daughter. . . and would it be OK if they looked? They took a quick tour. The electricity was gently flowing between us as we exchanged sentences. The daughter volunteered at Children’s Hospital for 6 years. Her mom was a kindergarten teacher. By the end of the conversation, the daughter asked if she could bring her husband back when he got home from work.
Short story: enter agents, paper work, inspectors, and a small list of things to fix including carbon monoxide alarms now alongside the smoke detectors. Last Friday we had a final walk-through together, and our new owners asked the agent about the SOLD sign that they want a picture in front of. She said she would bring it and put it up. Which she did– in the dark.
The plan was for a photo on Sunday morning with the new owners in front of their new house with the sign and the old owners. Less than 14 hours after the realtor put it up, the sold sign was gone. What?!? We are doing what we can to get the sign back. This is their first house. But, whether we can get the sign back or not. . .
On Friday at 5:00 this house will be the cute young couple’s house. I hope they enjoy it as much or more than we have. They are perfect for this house.
I will let you know more about where we moved to next Tuesday. . . Stay tuned.
Over the last few weeks, friends and family have done amazing things to help keep my mother’s memory alive. Saturday June 16th, 2012 would have been Ariel Elizabeth Scott Willever’s 66th birthday, but because of a brain tumor, she only lived to be 52. We all still miss her so much.
Recently, my brother-in-law’s sister, Jennifer, and her daughter, Arin, participated in an American Cancer Society Relay for Life, honoring my mother. My mother died before my sister married Jennifer’s brother, and she died before Arin was even born, but she considered Brian and his family already a part of of our family, even if the wedding ceremony hadn’t happened yet. My mom was so excited when my sister showed her ultrasound pictures of Jennifer’s first daughter, Maxine. Maxine’s birth was something hopeful to anticipate when cancer made everything hard. 14 years later, Jennifer and Arin walked to celebrate my mom’s life. Here’s a picture of the luminaria they dedicated to her.
My mother’s cousin Betsy signed up to participate in Swim Across America again this year, and she’s swimming to honor a growing group of angels, including my mom and my aunt, Missy. Betsy started a team of swimmers to fundraise for cancer research, and my childhood friend Cathy (who had never met Betsy in person) signed up to swim on Betsy’s team! They call themselves the Estro-Jets. Now I hear that my aunt Toni, my mom’s sister-in-law, might join them. All these loving, incredible women coming together? I absolutely love it! I think my mom would be so proud of them all and so grateful that they cite her as their inspiration for doing amazing things. I hope they laugh together until they almost pee the pool; my mom would have gotten a big kick out of that.
Thank you to all the people who share memories of my mom, who listen to my stories about her, and who help me keep my memories of her alive. You help me grieve, and you help me celebrate my mother on her birthday and every day.
Happy birthday, Mommy! I’ll always love you. I’ll have some cake for you, appreciate a dogwood tree, laugh until it hurts, be silly, walk by the water, and try to do something nice for someone on your birthday. And I’ll try to live every day so you would be proud of me. I think you’d like that.
Today’s lunch is good for the body and good for the budget: a simple, hearty black bean burrito. It’s actually full of leftovers from last night, but it’s so yummy and satisfying on a dreary Seattle day, that I thought I’d share the recipe. (Apologies for my food photography; it looks much better in person.)
Black Bean Burritos
- 1 can of black beans, well-rinsed (or 1 cup of dried beans soaked overnight, then boiled until soft)
- dash of cumin, chile powder, and black pepper
- 4 Tbsp pico de gallo (or your favorite salsa)
- whole grain tortillas
Stir the beans, spices, and pico de gallo together. (You could also add salt and/or corn at this point.) Heat the mixture up on the stove, in the microwave, or spoon it right into the tortillas with a handful of spinach and heat the whole shebang in the microwave.
I usually put a handful or two of spinach on my burrito, and if I’m feeling very fancy, I add a slice or two of avocado after I’ve heated it.
What’s your favorite healthy, easy lunch?