Waging war in the urban jungle

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I made a decision a couple of days ago to try to unplug...a little.  There's a lot of chatter on the Mommy blogs right now about the role technology plays in our lives, how much energy we give it, how much does it take us away from the things that matter most, i.e. those little souls we are here to nurture.

I sat at my desk and considered deactivating my facebook account all together.  Ultimately I decided against it, I do after all maintain a page for my company so regardless of my personal use I would still be there for professional use.  Of course my company page has nothing to do with my bejeweled obsession (by the way, over 540K points in ONE MINUTE, oh yeah baby...I'm obsessed!)

Since I couldn't take the full plunge and purge facebook from my daily life I took a baby step, I deleted the app from my smart phone.  I must say, it felt....liberating!  And also odd as I looked at the empty space where the desktop icon used to be. 

The other baby step I took, I shut off my laptop.  I have a laptop in my kitchen and it is traditionally on...all....the.....time.  But not anymore.  I powered it down.  And shut the lid! 

I haven't noticed any extra free time coming my way but I have reduced my Mommy guilt-a little.

So, where's the balance between me time and me overtime?  I'm not sure.  I do feel though that I was spending too much time online.  The thing is, it's not like I sat down as soon as I got home and never moved until bedtime, but it's 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, the next thing I know I've lost close to a full hour of time.  Time that could be spent reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, baking some bread and, most importantly, playing with my son.  Time that could be spent soaking in a hot bath.  Time that could be spent sleeping!  Life gets so busy sometimes that all I want to do is hide, to stick my head into the laptop and ignore it all.  The bad thing though is that the stressors are still there when I come up for air and sometimes, sometimes they are worse! 

All this technology is a double edged sword if you ask me.  Yes it frees up time on one end-thank you for not making me hand wash my cloths!  But it's also a huge time sucker, a vortex if you will, into which all our downtime disappears.  A vacuum of free time, of leisure time, of time to connect with real life, flesh and blood people.  I've often told Dimitri that human beings were not designed to life in a cyber world, we were not made to only chat on line or via text, we are pack animals by nature and we need face to face contact.  To get that contact sometimes, we have to take a couple baby steps and unplug.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


We've been working hard....

My boy has been really focused!

And all that hard work finally paid off!

When the last piece of the puzzle was put into place!

I love jigsaw puzzles. 

We've tried starting them before as a family....
he wasn't ready.

But this time....
He got it.
He understood.
And he was victorious!

He's already on the hunt for our next puzzle!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The voices in my head

I took on a challenge last January when I signed up for my first ever race.  I initially thought I'd do the 5K, play it safe, I knew I could finish 3.1 miles.  But after some loving prodding from a very good friend I took the plunge and signed up for the 10K and, in an effort to not embarrass myself, I started training.

The race is called Race for the Roses and it is a benefit for Albertina Kerr Center which helps foster kids, among other things.  This is a noble thing I think, to support children in a time of great upheaval and unimaginable stress.  This is what attracted me to this particular race.  I wanted my first race to have some personal meaning, figured it would help me as I plod along the course for 6.2 miles. The truth is I would love to be a foster family, I would love to shelter a child through a storm, it just isn't feasible at this point in my life.  So since I can't be a foster Mom I can raise some funds, right?  Right!

I joined a wonderful site to help me track my training, The Daily Mile, and I started running.  So far since I started in January I have run 73 miles.  That's pretty freaking awesome for a woman who used to say "I run...if someone is chasing me" and mean it.  I used to look at runners and think, "man I wish I could...but I just can't do that!  I guess I just wasn't built to be a runner."  I remember trying it in high school, I ran up and down the hill by my house....once...and promptly quit.  The shin splints the next day were brutal!  I tried again in college, I went to the track with a theater buddy....once....again the pain the next day was enough to send me running back to my couch.  Honestly I was not a healthy teen or college student.  My idea of breakfast was a diet coke and a granola bar or a bagel slathered with cream cheese.  I shudder when I think of all the crap I consumed and consider it a total miracle I made it through, hopefully, unscathed.  If I knew then....yeah, hind sight is always 20/20.  Looking back at my diet and exercise-and I use that word loosely-routine it is no wonder I was not successful when I started to run but the thing that makes me sad is how easy 15 year old me gave up and again how easy 21 year old me quit.  A little pain and I was out!  The truth is I didn't really believe I could do it.  I had no faith in my legs to carry me or my heart to beat strong enough for me to cover a single mile let alone the 6.2 I face in a little over a week.

That lack of faith is something I've struggled with all my life.  I didn't come from "athletic stock" my parents never pushed me to stay active the way I push (by push I mean encourage) my own boys.  I was on the basketball team in grade school, I believe I scored a basket...once.  In high school I was on the dance team and that was my only sports experience in high school.  I loved dance team but it was more social than athletic for me.  We competed but as a team, if we won it was because we all did well, it was not because I was the best at anything.  While I have very fond memories of my dance team days it was not a competitive thing for me.  I simply was not raised to get out there and fight for the ball, or kick harder, score the goal or win the race.  I wish I had been if I'm honest, I wish my parents had been more active and encouraged us to be, but they weren't and that message was ingrained in me from an early age-sports were...meh...who cares? 

As a mother now I know I care.  I care not only about my children being active in sports but I care about me being active.  It makes me a better mother, it makes me a better woman, it keeps me sane.  But still I hear the whisper of my childhood, the self doubt. 

What if you can't finish?  It whispers. 

What if you're last??  It snickers. 

Why can't you run as gracefully as that girl over there???  It goads. 

Oh seriously, I tell that voice, shut the F up!  Aye those voices, those voices, those voices...those voices can just kiss my butt.  Seriously, when do they stop?  Will I be plagued with doubt forever?  If it isn't running it's parenting, if it isn't parenting it's my hair, my nails, the size of my tush or my...whatever.  When does it end?  It ends now.

I think that's one of the other reasons I am doing this race.  I need to have that moment of finishing something I seriously never thought I could do.  I never thought I could run 6.2 miles but last weekend I ran 5.3, and I ran it all.  I was sore as heck the next day but did I quit?  No, I went to the gym for my weights and stretching training day.  I will not quit.  I also want my son to see me finish this, he's amazing, he doesn't get as discouraged as I do, he's hard on himself-sometimes harder than I think he should be-but that boy is determined and that will take him far in life.  I want him to look at me and be proud of me for setting a goal, training for it (I really did not want to make a fool of myself!) and seeing it through.  I want him to look at me and know that it is important to keep moving, to be active, to compete.  Even if you're only really competing against yourself.  He asked me what if I didn't win, I had to explain to him that at this point just finishing the race will be a win for me, it will set my time to beat for the next race and that is enough for me.  Between you and me if by some miracle the adrenaline kicks in and I did finish first I would probably celebrate it much like he did when he won Run for the Arts

So next weekend, on April 3rd, around 7:35 am think of me and send me good thoughts as I start my race and silence those voices.  I will not quit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Tea Tales

Those who live in the past limit their future

So true isn't it? 

The longer we dwell in our past the less vibrant and satisfying our future can be. 

I know it's true, you know it's true, we all know it's true so why is it so hard to live in the now?  To be present, aware, awake and enjoy this moment for what it is?  To deal with this challenge today for what it is, not what it would have been 15 years ago?

This is something I've struggled with all my life.  Living in each moment, fully present, it is something I aspire to, I think that's where the beauty and joy can come from.  It isn't about who I was or what was done to me it's about who do I want to be today and tomorrow and making decisions that will take me closer and closer to that goal. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tea tales

I've been saving the tags from my Yogi Detox tea the last couple days, they're quite profound and thought provoking.  I have some good ones, here's the first:

Bliss is a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss.

Sounds lovely doesn't it?  To be able to maintain your bliss regardless of the chaos that goes on around you.  To be able to maintain it in the face of the great tragedy that is unfolding across the sea in Japan.  To be able to maintain it in the face of the little irritations, the loss of keys, the gaining of pounds.  That is something I strive for.  To shore up my bliss reserves so that the ebb and flow of life does not drag me down in its current of negativity.

More tea tales to follow.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lost, one groove, if found please return to....

I apologize in advance if either of my sons ever stumble across my blog and read this....

I am grooveless, devoid of groove, severely lacking in all things groovy.  This became painfully plain to me this morning as I sat, trying to relax, in the sauna in the gym.  You see, normally people are quiet in the sauna.  It's a place for solitary thinking, meditation, reflection....today however it was a meat market.  I entered the sauna to find two women and a man chatting.  It was unclear if they were friends before entering the sauna but when the dude started giving one of the chicks a massage it became a moot point.  The conversation turned to chick two's birthday and he was asking her what her dream birthday gift would be, after some thought she said that being with friends is the ultimate gift-good answer....then went on to share that what she really wanted for her birthday was to get laid.  Declaring it had been far too long-8 months in fact-since her last encounter.  I did not need to know this.  Nor did I need to know that this was her longest dry spell, but I know, I know now and the information is seared into my brain for all eternity. 

They left the sauna shortly after and I was left in quiet for that much needed reflection.  Now, I do not know these women, but I was left with the impression that they are very comfortable with their sexuality, they've got their groove.  I was also left wondering have I ever been that, seemingly, comfortable?  The answer was a loud and resounding NO.  No, Krista, you have never been that comfortable.  Sexuality is a loaded subject for me, it comes with more baggage than Paris Hilton on a weekend trip to the Bahamas.  I am most defiantly not grooving.  Why not?  What's throwing off my groove?  Life.  Kids.  Work.  Life.  My naturopath tells me that a lack of groove is somewhat common and to be expected at this stage in my life.  After all, we've been together for 11 years, we're raising children, we're running a business, there's a lot going on that saps the groove.  If it's normal then why do I feel guilty about it?  Why do I worry so much about it?  Why do I feel like I'm missing out?  Like I'm the only grooveless woman walking the streets of Portland?  So what's the secret to finding a lost groove?  I'm listening....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happiness-what does that mean?

Happiness, what does that look like?  What does it mean?  Would I know it if I saw it?  Felt it? Touched it?  I'm not sure.

There seem to be some people that are inherently happy, I envy those people.  I spent last Saturday evening watching one of those people.  A family friend, she was throwing her hubby's 50th birthday and she looked happy.  She always looks happy, every time I see her, seriously.  To be fair I don't see her that much but every single time I see her she has a genuine smile on her face that reaches her eyes.  That's the kicker for me, does the smile reach the eyes or is it just a muscle reaction of the lips?  I envy her and I wonder what is it that makes it come, seemingly, easy to her yet be such a struggle for me? 

There were a few things that came to mind as I watched her, for starters she has a tight group of friends.  It was very apparent that the women who were there celebrating mattered deeply to her and her to them.  That's so important.  I've been blessed with some really great friends, unfortunately we're scattered to the four corners.  We do what we can to support each other but it's rather difficult to pour each other a glass of wine or go get a mani/pedi together-it takes planning...and airfare....I also have some really great friends here at home but life gets in the way and we just don't pour that wine or paint those toes often enough.  Along the friends line I noticed that her friends circle consisted not just of her friends and his friends but their friends.  I would love to have that, a group of married people that both Rene and I get along with, we have a few-but again we just don't see them very often.  Life gets in the way.

I also had the very distinct impression that she's living truthfully.  She's living honestly to her core beliefs, values and priorities.  What you see is what you get and again, I envy that.  I spent much of my childhood keeping who I was tightly under wraps, it's a hard habit to break.  I've never felt able to just let it all hang out, all my hopes, fears, insecurities and quirks, I still don't.  This woman seems to live life as an open book, hiding nothing. 

I'm not quite sure what I'm searching for to be honest.  When I sit back and look at my life objectively I don't have much to complain about.  My children are healthy, my home is open and inviting, our business is doing well I just feel like there's something...missing...and that's a hard thing to live with.  The feeling that there is something just not quite right.  That I'm missing my chance to live a joyful life, to live truthfully, and I'm not sure what to do about it but I know I want to do something.  I want my son to see his mother happy, I have so few memories of my own mother expressing happiness-true, honest, soul vibrating happiness.  I want him to live life truthfully and joyfully and for him to do that he needs to see me do it, I am his first teacher, and I want to be a better one. 

I'm a work in progress, I can only hope those around me are patient.  Perhaps I need to walk around with an "under construction" sign on my back.  I have work to do.  It's time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet slumber and other random thoughts

Never underestimate the power of sleep.  I've been a good, good girl this week.  I've been in bed with lights out by 10:30 so that I can get up and function at 5:30 and be ready for Paulo to get up at 6:00 to get ready for school.  Last night I had an auction meeting, a wrap up to our awesome auction that raise over 25K for our awesome school!  I didn't get home until close to 10 which meant after puttering around with lunches and stuff I wasn't in bed until close to 11 which meant I was not ready to get up today at 5:30.  I got up, I dragged my unwilling body out of bed, but I really, really did not want to!  And now, now I just feel off.  That's the best way to describe it, I feel off, out of sync, off kilter, out of balance, I'm tired.  I wish a slight delay in slumber didn't throw me so far out of whack!  Rene functions on less sleep than I do-I won't say he always functions well mind you, but he seems to require less sleep than I do.  Sometimes I envy that.  I would love to get closer to 8 hours but that would require I go to bed by 9:30 and frankly that's just not going to happen.  So today I shall struggle through with slightly sleepy eyes and hope to reach the end of my day without biting anyones head off *keep your fingers crossed*!

I've been pondering a lot lately, I tend to do that, I'm a ponderer...is that a word? eh who cares!...I've been pondering my monkey.  No, not the cute furry kind, the proverbial one.  My monkey is two fold, I think the biggest baddest monkey I schlep around on my back though is sugar.  Oh how I love sugar, I am constantly tempted by the sweet...white....processed...crap.  I know it's crap, I know I don't need it, but man do I want it.  Most of the time I can control that monkey, I can resist the doughnuts brought into my office because I remember that the last time I had one I had a migraine within 30 minutes, and felt like I needed to throw up.  I can resist the candy bowl that resides five feet from my desk by reminding myself that I, like Pringles junkies everywhere, cannot eat just one.  If I start and put one single piece of individually wrapped sugar into my mouth I will end the day with at least a dozen wrappers guiltily hidden in my garbage can.  But the 2nd monkey makes the 1st monkey grow to King Kong size and I find myself standing in my pantry at night after my son is in bed stuffing marshmallows into my mouth-the big ones by the way, not the minis-then chasing those down with dried pineapple (at least I can somewhat placate my guilt on that one with the knowledge that it is indeed fruit and does not have any HFCS added, but still, dried fruit after marshmallows, who does that?!).  I stopped myself from devouring the girl scout cookies because I was too embarrassed to be the one that opened the sleeve of thin mints.  As long as they stay sealed shut they stay safe(ish).  The 2nd monkey to which I refer is alcohol.  I've made no secret of my struggles with that particular beast, I come from a long line of alcoholics and I can recognize my own addiction tendencies but sometimes, sometimes, I just do not care.  One drink turns to two turns to three turns to a marshmallow and dried pineapple binge.  Nice way to cap off the weekend, eh?  Oh to be able to wave a magic wand and rid myself of my monkeys, my flaws, my weaknesses-that's what they feel like to me, weaknesses.  I feel like I should be able to enjoy wine and sweets in moderation but man do I struggle with that word, moderation.  I'm still so all or nothing, my inner pendulum swings wildly from one to the other.  I seriously think this will be my challenge until the day I die.  Trying to find balance, moderation, the middle ground-it is really hard for me in a lot of aspects of my life. 

On other news, I decided to actually do the race I blogged about in January but opted to sign up for the 10K instead of the 5K!  I've never done any race at all of any length and I jumped into the 10K.  I'm nervous, it's about three weeks away, but I'm also excited.  I've enjoyed the process of training and of feeling my body become stronger.  A year ago I could barely manage two miles on the treadmill and last weekend I ran almost four, on the road.  Crazy!  This weekend I need to up that to at least 4.5 to start inching my way towards the 6.2 miles I will fun on April 3rd.  It's for a great cause, Albertina Kerr, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the energy and vibe that my dear triathlete friend SM talks about.  I always wanted to be a runner but I never thought I could be, I guess I was wrong-not a bad thing to be wrong about!