Quest for Ideas

Friday, July 23, 2010

So, I'm stuck in a bit of a rut. I have motivation, inspiration, stars-in-my-eyes overload with no outlet for it. For the life of me, no poem ideas, children's storybook ideas, or art project ideas are sparking interest within me. It's either I have the ideas or the inspiration, rarely both.

So, I'm just going to sit down and brainstorm. I've decided I'm going to force myself to harvest this crop of inspiration. Not the momma-said-so-I'm-not-going-to force myself, but a sit-in-front-of-computer-screen-until-something-comes-out force. Perhaps rummaging through some of my reading list and following links from there will lead me on a path of discovery. But therein lies some of the problem. I like to get caught up in other peoples' ideas and start the I-wish-I-would've-thought-of-that mind game that could make it worse.

Kids, this is the reason they tell you to be in constant practice of your chosen art form. The second you stop writing, drawing, knitting, drafting, etc is the moment you lose your mojo. Some of my best ideas were born when I was the busiest I've ever been in my life, so I can't use the I-have-no-time excuse. Here I go...weeeeeee!

Sweating it out at the Dinner Table

Friday, July 16, 2010

It was the first time I had ever heard it, and it wasn't even from my own child. "Yes, you're embarassing me." What? I embarass you? You who wears ripped, stained, cutoff clothes on occasion? And what about that shirt with a dog and a cloud coming from its backend that says "blame the dog?" Well, this certainly is a first.

I guess there really is a first time for everything. No one's ever really been embarassed by me before, at least that have come out and admitted it. I do on occasion accidentally wear toothpaste on my shirt. This time my husband was embarassed to go out to eat with me while I was still wearing my a-bit-sweaty workout clothes. I didn't stink and there were no visible wet spots. Geez, I guess I can be a bit of a fitness junky sometimes when my own post-workout body doesn't even bother me anymore.

I have always wondered what fitness instructors, especially celebrity ones like Jillian, do when they have to teach classes or personally train people all day. Do they shower just to take their lunch break? Probably not. And I've heard about regular people who work out on their lunch breaks. You can't tell me that they don't sweat. Just a little. And then return to work in the same clothes. I wholeheartedly agree that pit stains and skunk smells are totally gross. But I sort of revel in that post-workout glisten and glow.

And it's not like we were going anywhere fancy.

Rose Water

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Picture courtesy of Sunipix

My sweet husband bought me a highly-discounted handful of roses on purpose last week for our anniversary (seriously, what a doll!). He had heard me comment in passing that I wanted to take some rose petals from our rose bushes and put them in a bath just because. Once in full bloom two weeks ago, said rose bushes now produce nary a petal.

So, the dear bought me this nearly-withering bunch so I could put them directly into the bath after one day desktop. And oh the prettiness of crimson petals in the bath and that satiny feel against the skin. And I'm left wondering, why not do a celebratory thing like this every day?

A run is a run is a run...or not!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I recently had a conversation with someone who was bothered by the time she achieved on a 5k run. It was her PW: personal worst. When you think about it though, there are so many factors that contribute to each and every run that the times may sometimes say little more than how you were doing on that particular day. Next time you come in last place on your own scale, think about all the factors that contribute to your run and try not to get discouraged when you fall behind your PR. After all, you are running, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, and you're probably running for a very worthy cause. A big pat on the back!

Some of the many factors that determine the speed of your run are:

1. Weather: anything from temperature to humidity levels to wind intensity all affect speed and stamina.

2. Shoes: if they're not properly fitted, older or even brand-new, the shoes you wear running impact your comfort level and ability to speed.

3. Posture: some days may be better than others. I know that if I don't mentally check in with my shoulders, abs, ankles and foot bottoms, I don't run as well.

4. Breathing: holding breath or taking too short of breaths can sometimes knock the stamina right out of you.

5. Outfit: is your sports bra too loose; are your polyester shorts trapping too much heat; are your socks rubbing; do your ipod ear buds keep falling out of your ears? Some attire nuisances are bothersome enough to slow you down.

6. What you've eaten: Whether you hit the taco bar the night before or skip breakfast on race day, what you do or don't put into your body can either fuel it or slow it down.

7. Exertion in the days preceding: There is a reason for tapering just as there's reason for building endurance. If you don't follow the guidelines, you'll feel it.

8. Terrain: Each race takes you from one city or route to the next, and none are the same. Obviously hills and rougher roads are going to chip a few minutes off your best time.

9. Sleep patterns: if you don't sleep well in the days before the race, you're probably going to run out of steam. Sleep is essential for healing and energy. Skip the shut-eye and you'll probably fall behind.

My message to you is: Kudos for taking up running and supporting local charities! And don't be so hard on yourself when your strides don't meet your version of personal perfection. There are so many elements that factor into your pace that it's best if you just take in the sights and sounds and enjoy yourself!

Revenge of the Fruit Flies

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You know you're a healthy eater matter what you do you can't seem to get rid of the fruit flies (of course, due to an over-abundance of healthy foods lying around).

I've cleaned the kitchen, become a dictator of pop can and milk jug-rinsing, and insisted on the "no dirty dishes left overnight" rule, but alas, I cannot seem to find the origination of that tiny pestering colony. Let's just chalk it up to the climate being hot and humid at the moment and the bananas being in high demand by a toddling almost-two-year-old. Ah well, at least this is a relatively good problem to have.

The best way to get rid of fruit flies is to get rid of their source of food. I've been heaving boxes of nonperishables left and right (admittedly with some guilt), wiping down the countertops and taking out the garbage religiously. We'll see how long it takes before I stop seeing anymore of those little boogers.

In the meantime, this is a great excuse to get my hubby in the habit of cleaning up after himself and not letting the dishes pile up, because honey, otherwise your morning cereal will start to have larvae mixed in. There are some bonuses to having fruit flies. They are a clear indication to him that we do indeed need to keep a cleaner house.

I have some crazed memories from when we were kids and mom woke us up at three in the morning because she noticed ants in the kitchen. We were forced to help her scour and scald the life out of the kitchen until it was clean enough for her to be able to sleep. To this day, I have nightmares about bug infestations in the confines of what is supposed to be a place of refuge, our home. As though, if we let one juice spill go untouched, our house will fall to the ground under the weight of nests and hives.

Of course, there has to be a medium between the obsessive-compulsive and completely lax, so I'm not going to freak out, but I'm not going to let the baby's high chair accumulate an abundance of crumbs either.

Turning Happiness Up a Notch

Friday, July 2, 2010

I mentioned something in a previous post about always doing something to nourish yourself, such as listening to music at work. I've been thinking a lot about this and I can see so many benefits from listening at work that I thought it would be beneficial to share so that everyone can benefit from it.

1. Music drowns out those "corporate sounds" of copying machines, bubblers cooling off, high heels on concrete, sales calls, incessant typing and other noises that sometimes stifle our sense of individuality.

2. Your taste in music and the emotions that the music evokes provide you with a sense of place in the world that extends far beyond the makeshift walls of your cubicle. It's so easy to surrender to the grind that we could sometimes use a shift.

3. I tend to find lyrics the perfect ignition for my creative wheels. Sometimes a line of music--or even my mis-hearing of a line--provides me with an idea that churns itself into a pearl.

4. This is your chance to learn about new and unheard-of artists. Pandora is my go-to place. You type in your favorite song or artist or someone you hear about in a magazine or blog posting and you get a personalized radio station with similar-sounding musicians to expand your playlist.

5. Music has the profound ability to change or complement any mood. I turn on the meditation stations when I'm getting stressed out or the modern folk station when I need an artistic boost.

Today I'm listening to classical music, trying to memorize the names of composers and broaden my cultural knowledge. Come on, tune in!