The first hill is the hardest

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I know the physical and emotional benefits of exercise, but that doesn’t mean I always eagerly look forward to getting off my butt and doing it. What matters though is that I do always eventually get my rear in gear and take my loyal pup Jazzmin for our daily walk.

Some days we take two short walks and some days we take one long walk. The other day we took a shorter walk than expected because of sudden rain and high winds.
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That walk turned into a partial run and if there’s one thing Jazz loves more than walking, it’s running. She may actually rank peanut butter above both those things or at least wish she could eat peanut butter while exercising, but I digress.

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Today was one of those days when I had trouble finding the motivation to exercise. It was somewhat chilly but the sun was out and there was really no reason to stay inside but I just felt kind of meh. I finally decided we would just walk down the road and back once I finished washing the dishes. Then a funny thing happened, when I was done with the dishes I realized that I wanted to take a longer walk and actually challenge myself.

Eager to take what I call the “short hilly walk” which is about 1.5 miles full of several small hills, I suited Jazz up in her backpack, put my sneaks on and off we went!

Now that I’d overcome my resistance to walking, I was faced with the challenge of the first hill of the walk. It isn’t even the biggest or steepest hill, but it’s right there after the first curve and walking up it feels harder than it should. However, I know from experience that once I conquer that first hill then the rest of them will be easier, even the taller ones.

Sure enough, we made it up the hill (it wasn’t a challenge for Jazz, I don’t think a mountain would be) and the rest of the walk felt great! Just like always, I was proud of myself for exercising and felt so much better because of it. Finding the motivation to exercise is just like walking up that first hill, it feels harder than it is but once I conquer it, I feel like I could go on and conquer the world.

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Wants versus Needs

Sometimes what we think we want isn’t really what we need. I was reminded of this a couple weeks ago when I made an actual effort to have some sort of social life. I thought that in order to be an interesting person and meet the right people, I had to break out of my usual routine of hanging with my daughters, work, school, walking Jazzmin and beading.

My social life efforts involved going online, finding a few events nearby and then attending them. The first one was a network event at a winery and while I did get some free swag, it really wasn’t my scene.

Vineyard entrance for networking event

Vineyard entrance for networking event

The second event was a symposium and I’d never gone to a symposium before so I was quite excited. The Symposium on Eastern Woodland Material Culture and Art at the new Seneca Art and Culture Center was quite interesting, but it was way more stimulation than I’m used to. Listening to speakers give their presentations for an entire day was very educational and a lot for my brain to process.

Slide from one of the symposium presenters

Slide from one of the symposium presenters

By the time I drove home Saturday evening, I was really looking forward to just sitting on my couch with my animals as I watched Netflix and beaded.

What I learned from my social life efforts was that I’m obviously capable of getting out and doing things, but that I’m also quite happy with my life as it is. I have everything I need with my girls, my family, my friends, my pets, my house and my career as a writer. When compared to my local social life endeavors, I actually have more fun when I go on my road trips to New England and see familiar faces or explore new areas. There’s just so much more out there that I enjoy doing! I have a road trip planned for November and I’m really looking forward to it and consider it a worthwhile social life endeavor.

So although I may not be the most interesting woman in the world because I don’t climb mountains on weekends, teach Salsa dancing at night, arm wrestle bears daily or fly around the world every month, I know that who I am is more than good enough for the people in my life who genuinely care about me. I also know that there’s so much more to me than most people realize because they only take the time to see and judge what’s on the surface and miss out on all the treasure beneath. I may not always have everything I want, but the universe ensures that I always have exactly what I need.

An Emptiness that, at Times Seems to Burn

One of my favorite pictures of my father and I.

One of my favorite pictures of my father and I.

On Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, my father passed away and my life and the lives of my family have never been the same. I think about and miss my father every single day. He wasn’t perfect (nobody is) but he was a great man and he loved me unconditionally. He showed me how a man is supposed to love a woman and I’ve yet to meet his equal. I learned how I deserve to be treated from my father and because of him, I will never settle for less than I deserve.

I have written several blog posts about my father and always post something on the anniversary of his passing. With it falling on a Wednesday again this year, it feels harder to deal with, but I know I’ll be okay because his spirit is always watching over me. For this year’s honoring of my father’s memory, I wanted to quote a favorite excerpt from a movie. The movie is Practical Magic and in it, Sally writes her sister a letter that in essence sums up how I feel since my father left this world.

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Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside me … an emptiness that, at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear you could hear the ocean.

And the moon tonight, there’s a circle around it, a sign of trouble not far behind.

I have a dream of being whole, Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes when the wind is warm, or the crickets sing, I dream of a love that even time will lay down and be still for.”

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In Love with Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season because I love all of the colorful, changing leaves. Every day is a new painting by nature as more trees change and the skies range from a chilly blue to a cloud-filled gray. This autumn has been one of the best I can remember in years with an abundance of warm weather that delayed the turning leaves until a more proper time in late September/early October. Past Octobers have been cold, rainy or even snowy and that’s put a damper on my enjoyment of the season.

To fully savor the season, I’ve been taking pictures almost every day on my walks with Jazzmin. I don’t want to forget the beauty that exists now once everything is cold and covered with snow in a few months (universe willing, not sooner!) Anyone who follows me on Instagram receives an almost daily treat of an autumn picture in the hills of Upstate NY, but for those who don’t follow me there, I decided to post some of the best pictures here. Enjoy!

Our favorite place to walk: the farmer's access road.

Our favorite place to walk: the farmer’s access road behind my house.

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Jazzmin Sundance: My faithful companion on all my walks.

monarch in fall

Found this monarch on a chilly day and tucked him safely away off the path.

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My shadow amid fall colors.

My shadow amid fall colors.

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slate upstate ny

Jazzmin and I explored the recently rebuilt bridge where their digging revealed just how much slate is in our area.

Some very pretty color variations in the slate.

Some very pretty color variations in the slate.

eastern red spotted newt

Juvenile Eastern red spotted newt (eft) I helped cross the road recently.

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