I am so touched and humbled by this!

growning self blogger award

“The Growing Self Blogger Award has been created to acknowledge and celebrate amazing individuals, in the blogging community, who are persevering through life’s challenges not only to GROW as individuals,  but to reach out and help others GROW as well.” ~Roda

I feel truly blessed to have met so many wonderful individuals through this process called blogging! I had no idea this world even existed a year ago. I started blogging to deal with my personal pain and isolation and found a network of strong, funny, talented, artistic and kind human beings! Many of whom were dealing with life’s struggles just like me.

I never would have dreamed that the friends I have made in the blogosphere would help me in my “real world” relationships as well. I have been more open, more willing to try new things and, dare I say it, more trusting. Actually, I am still working on that last one 🙂

Many bloggers have been generous to me and nominated my blog for awards, and all of those are important to me. I admit, I am way behind! Embarrassingly so! I hope to start catching up soon. But one lovely human, one that I will never be able to put on the back burner, has nominated me for the award that she herself has crafted. Which makes it extra special! If you know Roda, then you understand what I am talking about! Her nomination brought tears to my eyes, so I will begin digging out of the backlog with “The Growing Self Blogger Award”

 

How it works:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank the individual that nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Describe the award and mention the creator: Roda  – Growingself.blog
  • Nominate up to 5 blogs.  Remember, the purpose of this award is to specifically celebrate those individuals that have made a difference in your life or the lives of others.
  • Give at least 1 reason why you nominated each individual.
  • Notify your nominees of the award

Today I would like to nominate:

Sophie from Foodzesty

Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes

Jay from My Truth is Now

Linda from Mainepaperpusher

Sophie- You are my long lost sister from Greece! No, we don’t look alike, I’m sure, as I have red hair, freckles and burn instantly so no one would ever confuse me for a Greek beauty! But, we connected so quickly and strongly from the instant we started messaging. You are so kind and considerate and inspire me to get into the kitchen and try new recipes. We have our mutual love of Rafa to bind us across time zones and you are the first person I think of when a tennis match pops up on my TV. Thank you my dear friend for all the emails and the beautiful post card from Greece!

Monka- I have learned so much from you! Your healthy recipes help me stay on track and fuel my, sometimes, insane workout schedule. I have found new ingredients and tried new techniques which have helped me grow my culinary repertoire. Thank you for putting up with all my questions! One day I will figure out how to get to your cooking site to share those recipes. You are so sweet to take the time to research my queries and help me navigate the blogosphere!

Jay- You are such a sweet man! You inspire me to read more than my usual “goto genres”. I am a creature of habit and will easily fall back on my usual authors. You have made me a better analyst, helping me look beyond the obvious and uncover the many underlying possibilities. I am honored to be a witness to your literary ascent! Please know that I am truly privileged to be a small part of helping you on your way 🙂

Linda-I know, I know, you don’t do awards. I also know that you break the rules when you feel strongly about something. Guess what? Your friendship is so important to me that I am breaking your rule! I am not nominating you to be irritating, but because I feel so strongly about the impact you have made on my life that I am going to talk about you whether you like it or not! So there! We have much in common, and I know if we lived on the same coast we would be fast friends. You inspire me to keep putting myself out there, we both know how easy it is it become isolated. Those of us who are a little too comfortable with alone time can become overlooked, as it were. And, we have the same sense of humor! Your Guest in Jest series is one of my favorite weekly posts! I would give just about anything to spend an afternoon with you drinking coffee, eating cookies and laughing our asses off. Thank you, my friend 🙂

And Roda….The only reason you are not nominated is because you nominated me! I will find you in Colorado, or Seattle, one day. And, hug the stuffing out you 🙂

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One Lovely Blog Award!

lovely-blog

The lovely and talented Sophie from “Foodzesty” kindly nominated me for this award. This is the first time I have been nominated for this one, so thank you Sophie! If you have not made it to her blog yet then you are in for a treat! Sophie is a wonderful cook and has shared a number of delicious recipes-go now and plan your dinner!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

  1. Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link their blog in their post.
  2. They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
  3. Must add 7 facts about themselves.
  4. Nominate 15 people to do the award

 

Hmmm, 7 facts about me…

  1. I am the mother of two young adults, and am very proud of them!

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2. You can see from this picture that we like to rock climb as a family

3. I turned 50 last February and got a tattoo to mark the occasion. This is my one and only!

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4 & 5. My husband and I like to run half marathons and travel as much as possible.

scotland run

6. I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology and taught at the college level for 25+ years.

me and alex

my daughter and I at my graduation from USC

7. A few years ago, I went to culinary school because I enjoy baking and cooking and needed to get better at both!

 

Now for my nominees! Please do not feel pressure to respond to this award, my intention is to recognize how much I appreciate your blog and your talents!

Recipes by chefkreso

The Austrian Dish

ONCE UPON A HOT FLASH

juliecares

Marcia Strykowski

Arbie Krae

Simply Seppos

Everyone Else has the best titles

Rhapsody Boheme

Growing self blog

Food to glow

abbeyco

indianeskitchen

wakinguponthewrongsideof50

thisismytruthnow

 

Thank you all for your friendship, advice and your positivity 🙂

 

An Award I Have Never Heard of Before!

black cat award

The beautiful and positive Roda sent me a message the other day. She said “I have nominated you for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award!” I thought, is she pulling my leg? It sounded kind of like a joke-but it’s not. What I found out is that the intent behind this award is to recognize those bloggers who attempt to write for everybody, regardless of the number of viewers they acquire. It is designed to acknowledge writing from one’s passions and not really targeting a blog that necessarily has a large following or a tremendous amount of “likes”. The official statement is:

What Is This Award

This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.

As Roda put it “This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee and it should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it.”

How kind is that! We all enjoy followers and “likes” of course, but I think we sometimes get caught up in that loop and forget that we started this for ourselves and our passions. I love the ideal behind this award and am honored that Roda thought of me!

Rules

  • anybody nominated can nominate up to eight other bloggers
  • the nominee answers three questions posed by the nominator
  • the questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions

Roda’s Questions to me:

  • What would you like bloggers to do more of that they aren’t doing right now?

This is tough for me to address because I follow a number of really diverse blogs. Cooking, rock climbing, running, story writing, photography-all are approached differently and I enjoy that diversity in my Reader feed. As long as everyone stays positive and supportive of one another I am happy. I have yet to find a blog that is negative or demeaning in any way (thankfully!). If I did run into that I would not follow, comment or like any part of it!

  • Tell us 4 things about yourself, one of which is not true… and see if we can guess.
  1. I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology
  2. I have a twin sister
  3. I have run 3 half marathons, to date  and
  4. I went to culinary school
  • Describe a perfect day that balances all the things you love.

I rise early and get in a good run then come home and have a scone (or two!) that I made earlier. I head out with my family for a day of rock climbing (of course I never fall because it is my “perfect day”!) We go out for a tasty dinner and a cocktail or two, then I spend the rest of the evening with my husband-not filling in any more details from here on!!

My Questions to you

  1. Where do you look for inspirations for your blog posts?
  2. How has your blog changed / evolved over time? Was the change in line with your expectations?
  3. What would you like to be doing in the future? Are you still blogging?

 

I do realize that not everyone participates in awards and my only intent is to honor and recognize those blogs that I truly enjoy! Please do not feel any pressure to engage with this post and know that I appreciate all that you do!

 

My Nominees:

Ink Owl

In Diane’s Kitchen

This is My Truth Now

Running Forward, My way

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Are you really together if you are not side-by-side?: A running query

My husband and I have been half marathon training together for over a year now, but this was not a natural progression for us. When I signed up for my first half, back in February 2016, I assumed I would be on my own because we had always believed that we would be incompatible as running partners. After all, he is a natural runner whose pace is a full 2-minutes+ per mile faster than mine and I am not genetically engineered for running and have to work hard just to improve by the smallest of women-running-1increments.

 

I have always wished I could be one of those women who can run effortlessly with a friend and maintain a casual conversation all the while running a 7 minute mile. The reality is that I can barely breath, let alone carry on a conversation, and spend most of the time wiping my nose on my sleeve.

 

Additionbeerally, we have entirely different running goals. He wants to compete with his coworkers and break their running records, it does not faze him that these people are twenty years his junior! He is constantly trying to improve on his time (which is already pretty fast!) and, most importantly, get to the beer garden before all the cold drinks are gone.

 

By contrast, I just want to survive and it would be a nice bonus to be able to walk the next day. He is the hare that looks smooth and effortless while runninghare

and I am the sweaty, hobbled tortoise that is covered in bugs that have been ensnared during my 2 hour, self inflicted torment. So, when we tell people that we are running together they naturally ask how that is even possible.

 

We have all seen those wonderful couples that have found that perfect compromise between achieving their personal goals and encouraging one another without conflict. Vanessa and Nick are one of those great partnerships. Vanessa is a writer living in Denver, Colorado and hosts The Real Life, a wonderful lifestyle blog that catalogs her love of running with her boyfriend and running coach, Nick.

nick and vanessa

I have been following The Real Life for some time now and have marveled at their ability to balance their different running styles and goals. I asked Vanessa how they pulled off this seemingly impossible feat given that Nick might have a 20-mile training run while she may be doing a 9 that same day. They have found that by splitting up the mileage, or changing their pace to accommodate one another, has enabled them to coordinate their training so that they can run side-by-side for a good portion of their training, and it is obviously working-just look how happy they are in this picture!

Actually, the running blogosphere is full of stories similar to Vanessa and Nick’s experience. Partnerships where running side-by-side are apparently effortless. But, what about the rest of us? Those couples who are confident that an argument or resentful feelings are waiting at the end of every finish line and believe that to run together you must be willing to dramatically alter your goals. Surely these people cannot run “together”. As I said already, we were also two of those skeptics. There was no way I could speed up to run next to him, as I would not last half a mile at his pace, and he does not posses the patience to slow down to accommodate my speed.

He would rather have his fingernails pulled off with pliers than go that slow!Hare-and-Tortoise-300x156

Surly, this would end our marriage for good if we tried to train together, right?

Spoiler alert: we did figure it out, but not because we actively tried, we sort of fell into it.

Initially, I joined a local group that had formed to specifically train for the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon.

redmond running group

The organizers had a 12-week schedule in place to get us ready by race day, so the distance ramped up pretty fast. Each week had a long run on the weekend with 2 or 3 shorter exercises during the week. My hope was to find a buddy with whom I could pace to pass the grueling time. My husband decided to join us for one of the long runs, almost as a second thought. He was still faster than all of us but decided to continue training with the group, periodically joining us when he could. As the weeks progressed we found that the two of us would spend more and more time together planning our workouts. As the runs increased in length we had to spend more time thinking about hydration, nutrition and gear. This was also a period of time where we were travelling quite a bit and were not able to train with the group.

We had to work together, just the two of us, to plan running routes in other states, in different weather conditions and remind one another to pack the training paraphernalia that we needed to be successful. After the run we would discuss what went well, what we needed to change for next time and how to plan our recovery. It turns out we had a lot in common!

green lake run

In short, we were spending a huge amount of time, together, planning our training. Never once did we run side by side, but we ran at the same time. We get to the trailhead, share a quick “good luck “ kiss and see one another at the end. We debrief and either reveled in the new PR or commiserated about the bad weather, this is Seattle after all. In fact, I rarely see his face when we run as he is always blazing past me as he turns into a fuzzy, distant spot on the trail.

 

A big reason why this works for us, and may not for others, is that we are both self -motivated in our training. I do know a number of people who tell me that this model would not work for them because they need that person, right by their side, to keep them moving through the tough times. I do understand that but what would you do if your training partner were sick or injured? Would you stop training as well?medals Pain and illness do happen and there have been many times my husband or myself would not be able to run. I do miss him when he is not out on the trail, somewhere, with me but I am also comfortable continuing to make progress toward my goals on my own. In this way, we are not too reliant on one another when we are unable to coordinate our schedules .

So, my answer to the query is yes, you are running and training together, even if you are not physically next to one another. We feel very connected by our training goals, as different as they are, and are definitely here to tell others that this can be done.

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The Blue Sky Tag

BeaFreitas has nominated me for the Blue Sky Tag! If you, somehow, don’t know about her blog then you need to click on over right now and check it out! She is a fashionista, quote guru and all around marvelous human being!

Rules for the award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Tag 11 people
  • Give nominees 11 questions to answer.
  • Acknowledge Waves of Awesomeness in your post who created the art.

 

Bea’s questions for me:

  1. If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

This one is easy, coffee, chocolate and cheese!

2. What is your favorite time of day?

First thing in the morning (with that cup of coffee from question #1!)

3. What are your pet peeves?

Oh so many! But the worst is people who lie.

4. Who is the kindest person you know?

My mother in law!

5. What is the worst thing you did as a kid?

My sister was 5 years younger than myself and always wanted to be around me, or play with me. I was not very patient with her, so not a nice big sister!

6. What do you enjoy to do?

Exercise: running, rock climbing and the occasional yoga class.

7. What is your favorite quote?

ooh, tough one! There are so many! This past year I have been thinking and reading a lot about character, morality and integrity and how the personal choices we make effect those we are supposed to care about. So, today my favorite quote is:

karma quote

8. If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?

Your Highness!

9. What is your favorite childhood book?

This is really old but my favorite book when I was 5 years old was Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

10. If you could time travel, where would you go?

I would like to see into the future, maybe 100 years from now. I definitely would not go back in time to before the discovery of antibiotics! Too dangerous!

11. What is your favorite scent?

Vanilla!

My Questions to you:

  1. What is your favorite color, and why?
  2. What was you favorite childhood TV show?
  3. Who is your celebrity crush?
  4. If you had the opportunity to travel into space would you take it?
  5. What was the best pet you ever had, past or present?
  6. If you could go back in time, which of your past mistakes would you fix?
  7. You can only eat breakfast, lunch or dinner for the rest of your life-what do you pick?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. What one world problem would you solve if you had that power?
  10. Would you rather go skiing or snorkeling ?
  11. When was the last time you laughed so hard that you peed a little bit?

 

Nominations

What A Female Mid-Life Crisis Looks Like

mid life 2

 

Working women experience a different mid-life crisis than men. -Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D.

As I explore this question of the female mid-life transition I have attempted to consider all possible scenarios. Of course, being human I often find myself drawn to those friends in similar circumstances. Specifically, the woman who is educated, career oriented and actively balancing the needs of the family with the demands of advancing in her chosen profession. I have also searched for meaning and guidance in literature where I have found a variety of definitions in numerous books, articles, blogs and musings. Each of these poignant and well meaning interpretations often center around the loss of purpose a woman experiences as children launch into the world. But, I personally know of many talented, intelligent, strong, amazing women who chose to focus on their careers and to remain childless, and they are not immune to this phase of questioning at this point in their lives. Conversely, I have rarely seen writings about the male mid-life crisis where child rearing is the main topic of angst. Of course, for many men the family is a tremendous concern for them but the main question they wrestle with is what do to with their careers, should they retire, or change avocation and the sterotypiccal dealing with the inevitable loss of youth (is this all there is?). It is not often that I come across an article that specifically focuses on the women, whether they have had children or not, addressing the question of “what’s next?” with respect to their lives and careers. In What a female mid-life crisis looks like, by Marcia Reynolds Psy.D., she says,

These women have not faced a crisis, but they are facing a mid-life quest for identity.

Reynolds postulates that for the educated, goal oriented woman, this is a particularly difficult time as one tries to first define greatness and then searches to achieve it. Woman are not interested in reclaiming their lost youth, but fear missing out on what they could have accomplished with the time they have left. This resonated for me as I know many women who want to use this next act for more than just the job, being the mom or care giver for those around her.

Most importantly, Reynolds provides the reader with permission. Permission to have these feelings, permission to explore these questions and permission to spend the time and energy on finding what is right for you.

Above all, don’t let people tell you that you have no right to be unhappy with your life.

Funny how a man never worries about this, only women feel guilty for putting their needs above others, for taking time to consider what is best for themselves. Men instinctually believe they have the right to self preservation, yet a woman has to be reminded that she too is worthy of self reflection, respect and consideration.

mid life image

Week One Half Marathon Training, Done!

running

 

Our first week went really well, how could it not? We have beautiful, sunny, warm Arizona weather to thank!

I ran on Tuesday morning for 4 miles here in Chandler. But my husband had to go to a conference in New York, so he ran his 4 in Central Park in the afternoon. He arrived back in AZ late Wednesday night so we were able to run together on Thursday (3miles) and today, Saturday, for the 5 mile, long run of the week. We also managed to get in some putting on the practice greens and rock climbing at AZ on the Rocks again.

Personally I hit a small milestone. I have been using the Nike running app to log my miles and started June  7th, 2016. Todays run put me over the 400 mile mark. Looking forward to 500! Maybe I will get a foot message to celebrate!

running-ap

Next week has me worried! The Tuesday run should be fine but we leave Arizona on Wednesday for the road trip back home. We are planning to return via a different route back to Seattle, maybe staying at the Arizona Biltmore one night (if you are wondering why we would stop so close to Chandler, then check out the pics here), then heading to Vegas for a day. I don’t know what weather or running opportunities will present to us, should be interesting!

 

March 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable March Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

February 2017 March 2017 April 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 26

Week 1

  Feb 28

4 miles

1

 

2

3 miles

3

 

4

5 miles

5

week 2

 

6

 

7

3 miles

8

 

9

3 miles

10

 

11

5 miles

12

week 3

 

13

 

14

4 miles

15

 

16

4 miles

17

 

18

6 miles

19

week 4

 

20

 

21

4 miles

22

 

23

4 miles

24

 

25

6 miles

26

week 5

 

27

 

28

5miles

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

Half Marathon Training Season Begins

funny-run-saying

Ok, who’s with me! One year ago I ran my first half. I signed up for training with a group on a whim. I didn’t know what I was thinking (still couldn’t answer that today). One year later I have completed two half marathons and numerous 5 and 10Ks along the way. I managed to suck my husband into this as well. He has one half done and he keeps on racking up PRs with each event! We have run in Washington, Idaho, Kansas, Vancouver BC, Louisiana and today I will begin training in Arizona. My husband will have to run in New York because he is at a three day conference, we will run together later in the week when he gets back to Arizona.

There are many different training plans out there, we happen to like the 16 week schedules. It give us plenty of time to adjust to the longer runs at a pace we appreciate. My first training schedule was a 12 week plan and I found that to be too fast for my old bones to acclimate. I have even seen 6 week plans! OUCH! Our first half will be the Rock ‘n Roll Seattle event on June 18th. Counting back 16 weeks, and allowing for a taper week, puts us at NOW to start!

March 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable March Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

February 2017 March 2017 April 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 26

Week 1

  Feb 28

4 miles

1

 

2

3 miles

3

 

4

5 miles

5  week 2

 

6

 

7

3 miles

8

 

9

3 miles

10

 

11

5 miles

12 week 3

 

13

 

14

4 miles

15

 

16

4 miles

17

 

18

6 miles

19 week 4

 

20

 

21

4 miles

22

 

23

4 miles

24

 

25

6 miles

26 week 5

 

27

 

28

5miles

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

We like the T, Th, Sat schedule because it leaves us plenty of time to recover and mix in some rock climbing and yoga in between runs. No doubt we will have to modify this as time goes on to accommodate travel and sore muscles, but we try to stick as close as possible to this schedule. I hope to update each week, after the long runs, to track our progress.

Anyone care to join in! There is strength in numbers! See, I am still smiling!

me-running

What Would Carl Jung Say?

book

Carl Jung was the father of modern analytical psychology. He was heavily influenced by Freud and shared his belief that the unconscious mind holds the key to unlocking repressed memories that define our past and help shape our future aspirations. Jung did split from Freud on other matters, such as the Oedipal complex and the over sexualization with respect to dream analysis. Jung’s cornerstone concept was that of individuation, where the self evolves from its two main components, the conscious and unconscious elements. This life long process is achieved by recognizing and blending these repressed memories with the aspirations and wishes for the future. There must be a balance for self actualization to occur or we will feel a disconnect from our authentic selves.

This all leads to a whole lot of dream analysis as dreams are the only source of unconscious knowledge that can be brought to the conscious surface. And this is where I have a hard time with a number of the premises brought forth in James Hollis’s book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, How to Finally, Really Grow Up. Hollis is a Jungian psychoanalyst who uses multiple examples of how dream analysis can unlock what the mind is truly longing for in life. As a biologist I believe that dreams are a direct manifestation of neural connections that have been stimulated, perhaps without your conscious knowledge, to trigger memories, fears and anxiety responses (hence more dreams associated with negative emotions are remembered in greater detail than those associated with pleasant stimuli). Dreams are simply a processing mechanism required for the brain to function in the face of constant visual, auditory, taste and touch stimulation in our daily interactions. I do not ascribe spiritual or religious meaning to dreaming any more than I would any other biological function. I do not urinate more during the day because I secretly hate my parents!

The first half of this book spent a great deal of time outlining the problems we face moving into our mid life. Dealing with parents and their dreams for our lives and the difficulty we have in wanting desperately to assert our individualization without disappointing our progenitors. I did not find this part particularly helpful. I don’t know too many adults who, at this point in their lives, have not already dealt with this issue in some way they deem resolved. Either you have decided to disappoint those family members and let the chips fall where they may, or you have come to terms with the life you chose and the path taken. Either way  the bigger issue is “how do I move on from here?” The past is exactly that, done and done.

The second half of the book is where Hollis is helpful. He addresses the specific issues of many of us who ask “what is happening?, why have I lost my sense of purpose?” He points to Jung’s own memoirs:

I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success or money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually contained within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.   -Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections p. 140

In chapter 7, career vs vocation, Hollis points out that the choices and paths that worked for the first half of our lives will fail us when we have achieved those early set goals. We need to keep our minds active and moving toward something more fulfilling. Of course, finding that something is hard to do! A vocations is a calling, not just a career, it is from a deeper need than just paying the mortgage. It is what you believe you were meant to do, not necessarily how your current talent is defined.

It is better to do your own duty badly, than to perfectly do another’s: you are safe from harm when you do what you should be doing.   -Bhagavad-Gita, III, 35

It is common for us in this midlife transition to become overwhelmed with the enormity of finding your calling, especially at this point in our lives. We have children and aging parents, spouses and community commitments to consider. Wouldn’t it be selfish to put ourselves first and to ignore those relationships to focus on ourselves to find that calling? I struggle with this everyday. I am a mother, wife and child myself and take those responsibilities very seriously. How can I tell my family that I want to go into the peace corps and help others. Leave for months to “find myself”, would that be fair to them? So, instead what do we choose to do with our unhappy realities.  Self medicate, have an affair, ignore those children. Is that a better choice? How is staying nearby but making disrespectful, hurtful, selfish choices that very well may tear the family apart be better than taking those six months to help others who are less fortunate in a third world nation? All the rest is just distraction. Eventually the drink is gone, the fantasy of the affair is broken and the children move on and you are right back to the original question “What’s next”? and the very people you were trying to accommodate are no longer in your life.

The final two chapters are worth the price of the book, if you read nothing else. They are powerful and everyone will find something relatable. Hollis posses thought provoking questions and encourages the reader to take responsibility for his or her own healing. I am a strong believer in that you cannot control other peoples actions, but you can control your reaction. I have been disrespected, deceived and hurt more than I ever thought possible, but I am not a victim. quote-2

 

 

 

 

Our Yoga Retreat Wrap Up!

We finally made our way back to Seattle, which thanks to Trump and his new policy made it quite difficult as we were swept up in the protest at SeaTac! But, mine is not a political blog and I will leave that story for someone else to tell!

I spent our first day back much like anyone else arriving home after a week away. I did bills, laundry, grocery shopping and a run to Costco to stabilize the household. Now I have a moment to describe the last two days of our retreat.

Thursday morning we got an early start, to beat the heat, and went on a hike to an abandoned hotel. Palm Royale did not survive for long. The story that was told is that the hotel was finished and was scheduled for a soft opening. However, the workers were not paid the wages they were owed and they decided to dynamite the only road leading to the hotel to protest the lack of reimbursement. The developers never reopened! Now, I don’t know if that story is true but it is certainly colorful. The hotel sat at the top of a mountain and the views were outstanding!

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We arrived at the top just after sunrise

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This is a birds’ eye view of the shoreline where we met our boat for the snorkeling tour

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As you can imagine, this is a favorite hang out for local teens to tag and party!

We made our way back down and headed over to La Cumbra for breakfast. This restaurant is located in a gated community consisting of condos mostly owned by Americans who have retired and relocated, at least for some of the year, in Mexico.

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The view from our table located outside on the patio

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This is a small portion of the full condo complex

We were told about a bridge on the property that had been damaged, some years ago, by a hurricane and had never been repaired. So, of course we had to go investigate after our meal.

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It did not look to bad yet!

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We started to see what they meant!

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It was stabile enough for us to cross one at a time, and the view on the other side was worth it!

That evening we had a special treat. A local woman came to our condo to teach us all how to make authentic Mexican tamales and enchiladas. I am not a big fan of Mexican food in general but do love to learn how to properly cook alternate cuisine, so I was very excited to learn from her. She is the “lunch lady” at the local elementary school down the road from our hosts. She brought a mix of masa, which is corn meal, flour and lard, and a variety of fillings for the tamales and enchiladas. She then proceeded to show us how to construct and cook the dishes, she even brought her personal steamer which was large enough to hold all 24 tamales.

With the tamales done, it was time to work on the enchiladas.

Of course, no Mexican meal is complete without home made corn tortillas. I got to try my hand at making these. The mixture was just corn meal and water, no lard this time! I rolled them into a ball, then pressed them with a traditional wood press. We then cooked them off in a dry sauté pan. It was actually surprisingly easy!

We ate, too much, then went to evening yoga and meditation. The next day was our last full day in El Naranjo. I skipped yoga in lieu of one last run in the warm weather! I ran 5 miles and then jumped in the pool! After breakfast we headed to the Tortugario Ecological Center of Cuyutlan. This is a sea turtle preserve and plantation. We were treated to a boat ride in the mangroves to search out snakes, birds, iguanas, turtles and crocodiles.

The turtles were easy to find, the other animals, not so much!

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The large adults in their holding tanks would swim right up to the edge to check us out

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These cute little guys hatched not too long ago

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The eggs are protected by fencing and marked with plastic buckets

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We made our way to the boat and got our first glimpse at the mangroves and tropical forest

We saw many birds and a few iguanas that hid too far back into the jungle to photograph. We did catch a couple interesting sights.

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Two Great Snowy Egrets

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This little croc was hiding in the reeds trying to cool down.

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These are two of the biggest termite nests I have ever seen!

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The tour was at an end. So, you know when you take your kids to the zoo which ends with the obligatory trip to the gift shop, and they want everything in sight? Well, you won’t have that problem at this gift store!

We had one last evening yoga session that night and prepared to leave paradise the next day. We had a blast on this retreat! Our hosts, Susan Lewis and Bill Pecha are amazing! They provided all the meals, transportation, lodging and excursions-this was truly all inclusive and can they cook! The food was amazing, better than any of the restaurant meals that we had! They worked with our yoga teacher, Lisa Kaulen, to put together a great week of activities that kept us motivated and engaged. We highly recommend this type of trip if you want to see some place that is not just the regular touristy sights, and enjoy physical activity!

Good Bye El Naranjo!