28 things I learned in my 28th year

Today I am 28 years old. :) Here are 28 things I learned in this past year.

  1. I love going to plays. I saw two plays (Good People and The Brother’s Size) this year, and I was moved to tears by both. I can’t wait to see the next one!
  2. I enjoy TV shows that have one word titles; “Revenge”, “Deception”, “Nashville”, “Survivor”, “Scandal”, “Chicago Fire”… oh wait. Never mind.
  3. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

    Tahn at her first (second round) of Puppy Class

    Tahn, at her first (second  time around) Puppy Class

  4. I hate living in a messy bedroom and a messy house. (Also: I hate all the clutter and stuff I have. I am in the process of getting rid of many things. DVDs and old Coach purses, anyone?)
  5. I like driving with my windows down.
  6. I need to do yoga weekly. With or without a studio.
  7. I shouldn’t wait until I make more money to start saving money. I am learning to make better (small) financial choices daily.
  8. I did find an exercise that I love.
  9. Meditation only helps with stress if you practice it daily. Meditation doesn’t help when you’re remarkably stressed or upset.
  10. Being honest and telling the truth continues to be the best and most challenging decision I’ve ever made in my life.
  11. Eating well daily and consistently keeping active will help you lose (and keep off) weight.
  12. I like thriller novels. (Just like my grandma).
  13. Being single is really fantastic. I have embraced my singleness this year (after the dramatic failure of an attempted relationship) and I am much, much happier single.
  14. I was born a leader. And I become a better leader everyday.
  15. Making time for myself has a paramount affect on my happiness spectrum.
  16. I actually do like going out. As a self-proclaimed home-body, I have found friends whom like doing what I like to do – happy hours!  (and other things). I love it.photo(37)photo(36)photo(38)
  17. Acts of kindness from strangers are some of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
  18. While making friends can be challenging, once you find them, they bless your life in more ways then you could ever imagine.
  19. San Diego is one of the best places to live. (My sister was right).
  20. Doing the right thing and treating others with respect doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have conflict in your life. In fact, there is no protection at all. Sometimes, you do the right thing and get burned. Don’t be deferred. Do the right thing.
  21. Although I value the opinions of those who I care most about, their opinions are just that – opinions. I am the person who has to live with my daily choices and life. My opinion is the only one that matters.
  22. Having a nephew is great. Having a niece and a nephew is really fantastic.
  23. Tahn LOVES a routine.
  24. The difference a year makes. I am in such a better place then I was a year ago. And a year before that. Aging is awesome!
  25. I need to learn how to speak slower. For real.
  26. Non-judging is key to my happiness.
  27. Kitchen appliances, although they take up space, can be very useful for healthy cooking. (A food processor and blender are on the top of the list, not far down is a rice cooker). (Also: I am my father’s child).
  28. My mom and dad really, truly love me with all of their hearts. (It’s not that I didn’t know this, but this year I was overwhelmed by their love for me on many occasions. I went home a few weeks before Thanksgiving and the one thing I took away from that weekend was that my parents just love me. It is one of the best feelings in the world).
    photo(36)

    My mom and me.

    My dad and me. (Hey Dad, we need to take a more updated picture. This is from 2009).

    My dad and me. (Hey Dad, we need to take a more updated picture. This is from 2009).

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Things I Like This Week (vol 13).

heart-shaped-meadow

  1. Although I enjoy myself a glass of green juice and am a budding vegan, I’ve never been a die hard Kris Carr fan. But her post on her Celebrating a Decade of Thriving with Cancer really moved me.
  2. I’ve recently started reading some of Danielle La Porte’s writings and this one on being drama free.  And after months of all the drama, that is exactly what I needed.
  3. I’ve started liking Zen Habits less and less, but this recent advice to his kids was very beautiful.
  4. And lastly, from Rosie Molinary, Don’t Engage Crazy. (I am totally stealing this rule).

(Photo via Rosie Molinary)

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10 Things I Learned at Puppy Class (sans Tahn)

After years of thinking, talking, ho-humming and planning, I took the plunge and decided to finally get Tahnee certified to be a Therapy Dog. Choosing the organization, learning the (money, training and time) requirements and finding the best fit for Tahn and me was a bit overwhelming. But here we are, back from our first class!

  1. The most successful way to have a peaceful dog class is to exclude the dogs. (The first class was orientation, the dogs are invited next week).
  2. Leaving my house 2+ hours before the class started was slightly overkill. I’ll never get back those 50+ minutes I spent in the cold, rainy parking lot waiting for class to start.
  3. Considering that Tahn is the oldest (by 4 years) and most experienced puppy (I mean dog) in the class, she will definitely be the star of the class. (This is by comparison to her first rounds of puppy class, as an actual pauppy. She was not the star of that class).
  4. The clicker may be my new best friend.
  5. The clicker may be my roommate’s new worst enemy.
  6. Puppy class on a Friday night is not a way to meet single, eligible bachelors.  (90% of the students were women. The two men that were there were 50+ and with their wives).
  7. The instructor warned us that while our dogs may be very good with their commands at home, they may act like they have no idea what we are talking about in class. (This I actually didn’t learn. I know from experience with Tahn. See bullet #3).
  8. I really, truly, for-realsies not for-pretensies have to ignore Tahn when I first come home/when she’s excited. She’ll. Never. Get. Better. At. Greetings. If. I. Don’t.      I get it.
  9. Read the entire email from the class. BRING THE RABIES VACCINE CERTIFICATE TO CLASS.
  10. Tahn is a really great dog.

(I actually already knew bullet #10, too).

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Things I like this week (vol 12).

I home sick with a stupid cold this week, but I did find a few things I like, for your viewing pleasure.

  1.  These tacos. I made them Friday night (pre-cold) and I am still enjoying them (during cold).
  2. This video from Smacksy. So cute.
  3. This Super Bowl commercial. I’m sure you’re not surprised. Can I have a horse? How about that cute cowboy? That’s the kind of  man with a white truck that I need to meet…
  4. This post. I think every woman needs to believe Elizabeth’s truth.
  5. And, finally, this post.

Happy Monday

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white trucks, cleaning out closets, and consequences to everything

White pick-up trucks have a visceral affect on me.

White, Ford Ranger, pick-up trucks, specifically.

Previously, the affect was joy-filling excitement.

Currently, the affect is gut-wrenching painful.

The white truck knocks that box of sorrow off the shelf I so neatly tucked away a few weeks ago and throws its wide open, spilling it’s contents everywhere.

I stand there looking at the contents of the box, saying, “You again? Really!?”

But that’s the way it goes I guess. That’s the thing about things. Sometimes when you think you’re over something, (or maybe desperately trying to be over it) certain triggers pull you right back and make you dealwithitnow.

Consequently, this is what I will do.

______

This past weekend, Tahn and I traveled home to the Bay Area to see Buddy and my newest love, Lily (my brand new niece. And no, Lily’s not her real name).

On this trip home, I decided to clean out the closet of the my previous bedroom at my Dad’s house. The closet that hadn’t been touched close to the 10 years since I lived there.

Hello dust.

Hello old memories.

Hello junk.

Hello whydidIeverkeepthis?

It was overall good, cathartic and slightly odd. I threw away/gave away/ recycled most of everything save a few boxes of photos and cards from my grandma. And of course, a Justin Timberlake doll.

Old habits.

______

During our stay home, Tahn happily found herself at her grandpa’s. Like old times, he had her water bowl and bed out for her to feel right at home.

Over the weekend, my dad would occasionally leave Tahn alone.

Yesterday, after I returned home, my dad called to tell me a story.

My dad is in the process of putting new doors on his kitchen cabinets. Therefor, his cabinets and all such contents are exposed and open.

On Tuesday, he found a Brillo pad (which is usually kept under the kitchen sink) in the cabinet under the stove.

When he told me this story, he indicated this was a sign of protest by Tahn; she did not appreciate being left alone.

My response?

There are always consequences for your behavior.

;)

______

What are your current triggers? (Positive or Negative)

Do you have any plans for Spring Cleaning?

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Non-Judging in the New Year

be curious not judgmental

2012 brought big changes both physically and professionally for me. As the new year began, I knew two things for sure:

  1. I needed to change the way I took care of my body
  2. I needed to change the place of my employment

To make a very long and boring story short, I quickly realized in January of 2012 (and started to panic in the beginning of February 2012) that the job I moved to San Diego for was not a place I could continue to work.

I made the big, scary decision to leave that job and move on to a completely different job, working for a huge company, and learning a new business.

The transition was easy enough; except for a few hiccups here and there I was relatively pleased.

I spent most of the summer working and trying to enjoy San Diego. However, in this whirlwind of work and play, I soon found myself in a situation in which my personal and professional lives collided.

In fact, it was more like a crash.

As I scurried around trying to pick up the pieces, heal my spirit and move on, I kept being pulled back into the pain, sorrow and heartache of it all.

I  judged myself for making the poor choices that led to this crash.

Over the course of four months, I spent most of my days off in excruciating emotional pain. During my time alone, I would replay the decisions, actions and fallacies I made; judging myself more and more each week. In the quiet of these days, I found myself drowning of the sadness of the situation. I could not go back and change anything.

In addition to my own self-deprecation, I allowed the judgements of others to redefine how I saw myself.

During this painful realization, I had an even more painful self-discovery:

I judge others just as much as I judge myself.

Ironically, the pain of my personal and professional lives meeting was created entirely on others perceptions of me. The two colliding didn’t negatively affect my job (or future career) itself. It did effect the opinions my colleagues and staff had of me.

My pain was solely from the thoughts of others and myself.

This got me thinking, what is the point of all of this? Were the judgements of my colleagues (and most importantly, myself) true? No. Not at all.

What was the point of all the judgment?

I took  a step back from my larger-then-life pity party and started observing all of my daily thoughts, primarily mean and judgmental thoughts of others.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty to see myself jump to mean thoughts when someone did or said something I didn’t like. I found myself realizing I couldn’t be upset with those who thought bad thoughts of me; I did it all the time.

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, I found myself thinking a lot about changing my negative knee-jerk reactions to thoughts of compassion, acceptance, and grace. To stop the thoughts by no longer giving them power.

So, in 2013, in addition to continuing to take care of my body, I will start to take care of my thoughts. Thoughts about others, and most importantly, thoughts about myself.

(This post was inspired by Amber’s post at http://pandaamber.com/)

Image source: We Heart It

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Operation Love Handle – An Update

Just under 15 months ago, I wrote a blog post, “Operation Love Handle“, in which I discussed my Love Handles and how they represented all of the struggle and unhappiness I had been dealing with for the previous 3 years. I discussed changes I was going to make, (including eating only until I was full, and finding new activities) and I discussed how I wasn’t going to focus on losing weight, I was going to focus on being more active, more fit, and more happy.

Well, guys, I’m happy to say, I did it. Not only did I lose weight, but I am much more happy, fit and active.

From January 2012 to January 2013, I’ve lost 25lbs.

January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012

January 9, 2013

January 9, 2013

My goal really was just to lose the 15lbs I had gained over the years. I didn’t think that all of the changes I made in my life would lead to such a large weight loss. But, I’m sure happy it did!

If you compare the two photos, taken close to one year apart, you will notice a few things. Besides a cute new hair cut and new cell phone case (and new bathroom; I’ve moved), you will also notice that I am toned. I didn’t just lose weight. I became strong. I developed arm and core muscles. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had arm and core strength.

What I did:

  1. I changed my diet. Permanently.
  2. I started a new workout I love and did it a minimum of 3 days a week (but usually 5) for 6 months straight.
  3. I started a new job where I walked 7-12 miles a day. (And, if you ask anyone I work with, they would tell you I walk quickly).

And that’s it. I started moving more and sitting less.

I didn’t notice any results for months. After all, I gave up eating meat and officially started my diet in October 2011, but didn’t start seeing changes until I ate well and exercised. I started The Bar Method at the end of January 2012 and it wasn’t until the end of March 2012 that I started seeing a small result.

Then, I started a new job (and all the walking) in April 2012, and by August 2012, I really started seeing the weight shed off.

It has been a journey, to say the least. I was challenged by my new workout, new schedule, and lack of free time that came with my new life. It wasn’t easy; it wasn’t easy working out for close to two months with very little results. But, I knew my body and I knew I had to be patient, keep working, and I would see results. And once I did, it was very exciting!

My brother taught me in high school that success breeds success. I found this to be very true this past year. Once I started to feel successful and stronger during my workouts, it lead to me feeling accomplished and more confident. My confidence gave me the courage to step out of my comfort box and make friends, try new activities, and allow myself to enjoy my life more. I then started losing weight, and I felt even more confident about myself and my professional goals.

Don’t be disillusioned, though. 2012 was not an easy year for me. In some ways, it was the most challenging year I’ve ever had professionally and personally. But, through my highs and (sometimes) low lows, I stuck to my diet and exercise; they were my anchors when the world around me was chaos. For the first time in my life I found comfort and solace in exercising. I used to be that girl that would roll her eyes when people would gloat about how important exercise and eating right is for their well-being.

Now?

I’ve an avid believer.

This year, I have two life changes I am making. (I’ll discuss it in a future post).

Until then? I’m enjoying my new body, my gained confidence, and my renewed belief in myself.

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2012 in review

WordPress.com made a review of my blog in 2012 – I’m looking forward to the new year and many, many more posts!

Happy New Year! See you in 2013.

___________________________

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Learning to Find Time

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been losing my time. My self.

At the start of my First Summer in San Diego, I had two goals:

1. Have fun.

2. Make money.

And I did. Lots. Of both. I took a second job at my beloved Bar Method Studio, and jumped from weekend to weekend – working, entertaining (beloved) visitors,

attending very wonderful friends’ weddings,

attending AWESOME sporting events,

and meeting real life race horses up close and personal.

My summer? It was fantastic. My only regret? Not learning to surf.

But here’s the thing: from working two jobs, never having a day off, and continuous fun, I somehow lost a sense of me. I lost the time I used to spent doing things I liked – things I needed – to be a happy person.

I stopped writing. And blogging.

I got involved in a messy, toxic relationship – one I’m still dealing with the residual pain and nonsense.

I stopped walking Tahn. This summer? From my busy lifestyle, and my very physical full-time job, and the Bar Method, I got in the best shape of my life. My dog? Gained weight. Gained 12 pounds.

I lost time for myself.

It wasn’t until the excitement of the Summer passed, and leaving my second job did I realize how unhappy I was.

It wasn’t until I took my days off – to cook, to clean, to read, to walk Tahn, to sleep, did I realize how unbalanced my life had become.

It wasn’t until recently – almost 3 months after the CrazyFunSummer did I have the urge to write – to blog.

I’ve been reading a few books – books on how to simplify your life, your thoughts, your self. Recently, I read this from one of my absolute favs, Anne Lamott.

I hope you click over and read the fantastic article. But, if not, here is a quote, summing up what I’ve been working towards/thinking about/ attempting lately:

“I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day”. – Anne Lamott in Sunset Magazine

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Tales of Tahn: Hot Dog, Hurt Paws

When I woke up this morning at 3:30am to get ready for work, I was greeted by my happy, silly, and slightly tired dog. I sluggishly got ready for work, knowing I’d be off early and could come home and rest. Then I remembered how my roommate and I agreed that we were going to take our dogs for a hike this afternoon. We’ve been busy in the past few weeks and they both haven’t been walked enough.

After getting home from work I put on shorts, laced up my shoes and drove the four of us to a nearby trail. It was in the 80’s with a light breeze, beautiful outside. We happily started our hike down a very steep hill, firmly reminding the dogs not to pull us down the hill. We chatted of the guys we were seeing, talking a mile a minute while the dogs pranced around with joy.

I didn’t know that less then 40 minutes later I would be sprinting back up the hill by myself to get water from the car.

I didn’t know that I would have a dog who was overheating and getting worse by the second.

I didn’t know that once I got the water, got back to the dog just as fast as my legs could carry me just to find my roommate, with a look of horror on her face.

“She started crying a little bit ago” she said.

I did know that crying was a very, very bad sign. She only cries when she’s really sick.

I didn’t know that I would beckon her into a nearby brush just to watch her collapse and bury her head in the weeds.

I sat next to her, helpless. I found myself in a situation we all have to face someday; realizing she might die right here, right now.

I didn’t know what to do.

I decided to send my roommate home. I gave her the keys to my car.

“Get more water.” I said. “We’ll wait until she can cool off enough to walk.”

I started going through the symptoms of heat stress: vomiting, refusal of water, severe panting. Her paws seemed to be hurting her too – it seemed they were hurt from the ground or the rocks.

I found myself pouring the little water we had left into the cap and giving her little cap fulls at a time.

I watched her painfully lift her head from the brush to grab a drink – then bury it down again.

I knew two things for sure: I had no way of getting her up the two huge hills that separated us from my car. I knew she wasn’t going to walk at all. One of two things was going to happen. Either we’d wait until she cooled off and regained her strength, or she would overheat on the trail and I’d watch her die.

Just as my roommate was getting ready to leave, she saw a young family approaching us with their dog. She told them about our situation, and asked if they knew of anyway to get a car on the trail.

The man looked at me, sitting in the bushes with my dog.

His wife turned to him, “you can carry her, right?

I sat there shocked before I said, “oh, no. I can’t let you do that. She’s 70lbs.”

Sure I can.” He said. “No problem.”

I watched him immediately walk over to my dog.

His only was concern was if she would be friendly to a strange man.

I told him her name, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t say anymore.

I saw this man pick my dog up and cradle her over his shoulder. He didn’t complain about her weight; all he said was how she was such a great dog.

I watched this man carry my baby a half a mile up two huge hills. He took two short breaks and pet and loved my dog the entire time.

I found myself supporting her shoulders as it got really steep.

At the top of the hill, I watched him carry her past the summit to the water fountain. There I saw his son filling up the water fountain with fresh water for my dog.

I watched her cool off quickly and her spirits immediately lift. I stood there for a few moments before I realized I didn’t even know this man’s name – the man who could have just saved my dog’s life.

I had enough sense to ask his wife for their name and address to send him a thank-you note.

I thanked them and they left.

I gathered my sick dog into my car and brought her home. It took her a long time to get from the car to my apartment.

After a call to the vet, it seems her heat stress was fading and he thought she would be okay. His only concern was that she injured her paws and he wanted to see how she did in the morning.

___________________

About halfway into our walk I noticed Tahn was getting hot and tired. She’s a black dog, and it was a warm day. I was worried the ground was too hot for her paws, but when I touched it with my fingers, I felt it was fine. Apparently it was not. My roommate’s dog also seemed to have hurt paws and was very hot too – but, unlike Tahn, she didn’t lay down and refuse to walk. Tahn went from needing a little break to refusing to walk very quickly. I knew I needed to act fast, because heat stroke happens fast and once a dog (or human) has heat stroke, they need immediate medical attention. Knowing we were a good half-mile in, I knew that was not an option. My priority was to keep her cool. I didn’t realize at first that her paws were hurting her too.

The man and his family also had a dog – a dog who walked further on the same trail as Tahn and also had a thick coat. He seemed fine and his paws weren’t burnt. I really don’t know what happened.

I do know one thing for sure : that man – Bobby – could have very well saved my dog’s life. It’s possible she would have not gotten heat stroke but her paws are injured enough that she probably couldn’t have walked the hill for few hours. We would probably still be in the bush.

I don’t really know what else to say but this: during this whole ordeal this afternoon I couldn’t stop thinking about how last night I got up to use the restroom and found Tahnee laying on the ground next to my bed, on the side I was laying on. She wasn’t laying on her plush bed a few feet away. Instead, she was laying as close as she could to the bed as possible; her paws under the frame. I remember looking down at her and thinking, “Wow, this dog loves me.”

Maya and Tahn, right before Tahn started refusing to walk.

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