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Friday, July 31, 2009

Photo Friday: Hot Air Balloon

Last weekend I ventured up to Readington, New Jersey for the Balloon Festival. Over 100 hot air balloons were launched in to the gray sky starting at 6:30 p.m.

Here is a photograph of one of the balloons in the final stages of being filled just before take off. I've posted some of my other photos from the Balloon Festival on Flickr if you're interested.

Happy Friday!

[caption id="attachment_966" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Almost ready to launch"]Almost ready to launch[/caption]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Finally Back at the Gym

I did it. I went back to the gym.

Over the past year, I've been going very sporadically. An abs class here, a pilates class there. I even ran a nice pilates streak for a few weeks around mid-Spring. I had not, however, gone back to Power Flex (weights) or Kickboxing class in a long, long time.

You know how it is. Life gets hectic, the gym feels hard, and you think "not tonight, I'll start up again next week." Like that ever happens.

After being away from those classes for so long I was scared of not being able to keep up. I was scared of shaky legs like in the last Power Flex class I went to. I was scared of facing the regulars lest they scoff me for not being there.

Over the last few weeks I kept saying to myself "this is the week." And then I didn't go. The following week, I'd say the same thing. I even printed up the class calendar and highlighted the classes I thought would fit my schedule. And I didn't go.

Tonight I went. Despite it being Monday. Despite the busy days I've had lately. And even though there was the beckoning safety of a pilates class, I went to Power Flex. Because I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of feeling weak when I lift heavy things.

I went to Power Flex. And I rocked it. Ok, maybe I wasn't using 10 lb. weights like some of the regulars. And maybe I even put my 5 lb. weights down on the second set of lunges. But I did all the sets and I kept pace with the rest of the class. In fact, I think I did quite well with the upper body sets.

I came home feeling energetic. More importantly, I'm proud of myself for going back. Maybe this will boost my creative energy as well. And maybe it won't be as hard to go to the next class.

What have you done for yourself lately?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo Friday: Rome Wedding

One year ago yesterday, my (now) husband and I exchanged vows in Rome. It was just the two of us, an officiant, the coordinator, and a couple we met on the trip to whom we handed our camera. It was quite simply perfect.

Today's Photo Friday is from that glorious evening in the Borghese Gardens.

Happy Friday!

[caption id="attachment_955" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="A perfect day in Rome"]A perfect day in Rome[/caption]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wreck This Journal: Week 8

A lot of people in this Wreck This Journal book blogging group tackled the burning page early on. Since I waited, it felt almost a little boring so I just kept ignoring that page.

With the help of my husband and stepson, last night I ceremoniously burned the page. We even made another video. I have to give my husband loads of credit for his ideas on how to burn the page as well as his film directorship. I hope you like it.

Happy wrecking!







If you're confused as to what this Wreck This Journal stuff is all about or curious to see what other wrecking has transpired, here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo Friday: Sunset

For this week's Photo Friday entry, I thought I'd share this amazing sunset from July 4th. This is another instance where I am happy to finally be capturing with my camera the color that I actually see in this world (no, there is no photo editing here).

What an amazing world we live in.

[caption id="attachment_942" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Sunset on the 4th of July"]Sunset on the 4th of July[/caption]

Happy Friday!

Wreck This Journal: Week 7

Two glorious forms of wrecking occurred this week in my journal. Both involved tearing pages out and putting pages in.

First, I laundered a page. I ripped it out, folded it up and tucked it in the pocket of a pair of shorts. One wash cycle and 45 minutes of dryer time later, I let my hubby recover the balled up (but clean) page.
[caption id="attachment_924" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pulling the washed page out of a pocket"]Pulling the washed page out of a pocket[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_925" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Carefully opening the washed page"]Carefully opening the washed page[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_926" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The beautiful end result"]The beautiful end result[/caption]

Second, and even more glorious, I swapped pages with the delightful LaWendula in Germany. That's right, our pages crossed a good portion of the globe in just a few short days. Her page came to me on Monday, the same day that I put my page in the mail to her. She let me know yesterday that she had received it already.

I was so excited to see that envelope in the mailbox! She had used several pretty stamps on a bright pink envelope. So cheerful!

[caption id="attachment_927" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Stamps from LaWendula\'s letter to me"]Stamps from LaWendula's letter to me[/caption]

The page she sent could not have been more perfect. She glued in a page from Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

[caption id="attachment_928" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="LaWendula\'s The Awakening page"]LaWendula's <em>The Awakening</em> page[/caption]

What LaWendula didn't realize is that Kate Chopin is my favorite classic author. I read The Awakening and a number of Chopin's short stories as an English major in college. Her "The Story of an Hour" is one of my favorites.

A few months ago I purchased a copy of The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction so I could read it all over again. That book is next on my "to read" list (after I finish The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger).

[caption id="attachment_929" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Awakening at the top of my own \"to read\" stack"]<em>The Awakening</em> at the top of my own "to read" stack[/caption]\

So to LaWendula: Thank you very much for sending me this beautiful page! I have given it a new home in a "clean" portion of my Wreck This Journal. I will think of you when I read The Awakening. I'm pleased to have you as a new friend.

To all of my fellow wreckers, Happy Wrecking!

If you're confused as to what this Wreck This Journal stuff is all about or curious to see what other wrecking has transpired, here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Slow Down - Why So Rushed?

I am a fast walker. In fact I rush a lot of the time.

I think it started when I was a little girl trying to keep pace with my dad. I practically had to run to keep up with his fast walking. It didn't help that he was 6' 4" tall and took long strides.

In high school I remember my friends asking me more than once why I was walking so fast as I zipped in and out of the mob to make it to my next class.

Recently it has been my husband and stepson that ask. My husband asked once, "why did you leave me? Can we walk together?"

On days when I work in New York I have to walk about 15 minutes from the train station to my office. I always speed walk there too, passing everyone in front of me.

Ditto for restroom breaks and going to pick up lunch. Why?

It's not just walking either. It's also eating fast, rushing through my mornings, anxiously shaking my leg while sitting still, ripping through my RSS reader.

Yesterday morning a song popped in to my head. It's an old Alabama song that says:
I'm in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die,
but I'm in a hurry and don't know why.



So yesterday in the many (many, many) times I found myself rushing, I made a conscious effort to slow down.

When I realized I rushed through the first block of my walk, I let up a bit for the last three. Rather than devouring my lunch, I took time to taste the flavors that made up my salad. When I left my desk, I walked at a more "normal" pace.

Midday a bunch of emails came in to my inbox while I was still replying to one. Rather than rushing through them all at once, I took care of a few then switched to another task before returning to take care of a few more.

This fast pace must be deeply ingrained in me because I had to remind myself to act more consciously a lot throughout the day.

I feel that if I can make this shift in behavior I may feel calmer all around.

Does anyone else have this problem? Feel free to share in the comments. I'm curious how you remind yourself to slow down.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Photo Friday: Fireworks

I hope everyone in the states had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Armed with some photography notes from my teacher, I headed to my local fireworks show. I'm happy with how they turned out. Much better than the dotted, smoky messes of years past.

Here is one of my fireworks photos. You can see some of the others in my 4th of July photos on Flickr if you are interested.

Happy Friday!

[caption id="attachment_911" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="4th of July fireworks"]4th of July fireworks[/caption]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wreck This Journal: Week 6

This week for Wreck This Journal, I overcame a fear. I made a video.

Lots of fellow wreckers paved the way for me by making videos that looked fun and not terribly scary. I generally don't like video cameras and find it hard to be myself around them, so this was a huge step.

This was completely spontaneous. One minute I was weeding my garden, the next I was scurrying through my house to gather up my computer and journal in the last few minutes of daylight.

I had a lot of fun making this video and I didn't even chicken out in posting it. Here it is. Enjoy!







Happy wrecking!

If you're confused as to what this Wreck This Journal stuff is all about or curious to see what other wrecking has transpired, here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Photo Friday: Sunset After Storm

The weather has been crazy over the past month on the east coast. Lots and lots of rain. Nearly everyday in fact.

Earlier this week a huge thunderstorm came through. Our power went out every few minutes, usually being restored within a minute or two each time. We lit candles. The animals hid. My husband, stepson, and I stayed close to one another.

The storm ended, but the ominous gray remained. When the sun broke through in time to set, the sky looked like it was on fire. Brilliant orange amidst billowing dark clouds.

I, of course, decided it was a swell time to practice my manual photography skills. Here is the view through our window.

Happy Friday! May your skies not look like this for the holiday weekend.

[caption id="attachment_897" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Sunset after a heavy thunderstorm"]Sunset after a heavy thunderstorm[/caption]

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wreck This Journal: Week 5

Another journal wrecking week is coming to a close. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, see the links at the end of this post.)

As I'm sure my fellow wreckers can attest, some weeks are more inspired than others. Last week, not so much. This week, inspired!

My stepson has been playing with a box of balloons this week. Those long, skinny balloons that are meant for being shaped into animals or hats.

My husband, being a giant kid himself, had the idea to make a water balloon with one. It was meant to be some kind of fancy water cannon with which he could inflict torture on my stepson (or possibly me).

Fortunately for us his idea evolved. While standing at the sink alternately filling a balloon and twisting, he asked if he could smash his water balloon in my journal.

My reply? "Heck yeah! I'll get the camera."

We flipped the book open to "scrub this page" and let loose.

I ended up with 67 photographs from what was probably two minutes of wreckage. Here are some of the highlights:

[caption id="attachment_885" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Let the wrecking begin!"]Let the wrecking begin![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_886" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The journal proves to be a formidable opponent"]The journal proves to be a formidable opponent[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_887" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Time to get serious"]Time to get serious[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_888" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Why swing one balloon when you can wield nunchucks..."]Why swing one balloon when you can wield nunchucks...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_889" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Squeezing out the last few drips for good measure"]Squeezing out the last few drips for good measure[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_890" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Consider this journal scrubbed clean"]Consider this journal scrubbed clean[/caption]

Yes, I and the camera both got wet.

Happy wrecking!

Curious about what other wreckage transpired?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Joy Rebel Day!

Today is the very first Joy Rebel Day. Joy Rebel Day is being started by Ms. Joy Rebel herself, the lovely Brandi Reynolds. (Read her early announcement post to see what it's all about.)

[caption id="attachment_876" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A message of joy for passersby"]A message of joy for passersby[/caption]

I adore Brandi. She embodies true joy, finding it in places others might overlook.

One of the simple joys Brandi reminded me about is sidewalk chalk. So a few nights ago, when I spotted the bucket of sidewalk chalk sitting dusty in the garage, I knew my family was about to partake in a mini-adventure of sorts.

To start things off, I wrote a birthday greeting for my stepson who turned 12 on Monday.

[caption id="attachment_873" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A birthday wish in sidewalk chalk"]A birthday wish in sidewalk chalk[/caption]

Then I called him out to the driveway and things went crazy.

[caption id="attachment_874" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Happiness is... sidewalk chalk"]Happiness is... sidewalk chalk[/caption]

We drew pictures and played hopscotch. We wrote messages by the sidewalk for people who pass by. It was a blast.

Where can you find simple joys? Let that inner child out to play.

Happy Joy Rebel Day!