The ebb and flow of late has felt very different. After travel, life always takes a moment to regain its equilibrium. My work schedule has been lighter some weeks, based on Husband's travel schedule, and I'm feeling like less stress + more time spent being a mom is a lovely way to lead up to a very hectic next phase. So these days I'm more apt to say no to a work schedule that doesn't work for our family.

This weekend I hope to find my way back to the ceramics studio after a month-long hiatus. I'm also taking Kiddo on a long driving lesson to the beach. He's motivated and doing really well, so we are finding every opportunity to get in some practice time. The weather is supposed to be in the 60s and sunny! Little signs of spring are everywhere in the PNW: morning sunshine coming through the bedroom window; blooms popping up along fence lines. I feel like I'm coming alive again after a long nap.

In the meantime I'm working my way through an assigned medical terminology class and rediscovering how I study best. Too loud, too hot, uncomfortable chairs, no food...the journey to find the perfect coffee shop for optimum productivity is a challenge.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Here are some things I've seen, heard and bookmarked lately:

Right after we got back from Grand Cayman I underwent oral surgery due to the dental trauma I mentioned in my last post. Part of the post-op protocol is a hefty round of antibiotics. My body is still struggling to recover so I'm downing all the probiotic-rich food and drinks I can. Happy Mountain's Peach Blossom and Townsend Tea's Lemon Ginger Cayenne kombucha for the win.

Starting a ketogenic diet on Monday. I consider it an elaboration on my Whole30 habit, but hopefully with a little more fat loss. This cookbook explains everything and the recipes are delicious no matter how you eat.

I couldn't resist these Desert Friends slip-on shoes.

I came down with a wicked upper respiratory infection at the end of our trip. Starbucks' Medicine Ball Tea came to my rescue before our flight home and many times in the days to follow.

DIY abstract painting

Falling in love again with the Calm app. I bought a year-long subscription last spring and it has been worth every penny. Sleep stories for those restless nights; guided meditations to help me achieve my mindfulness goals.

The Boys Are Not All Right (As the mother of a young man, this was gripping + made my heart hurt.)

Date Night Mushroom Fettuccine (um, yuuuum!)

After falling down an iPhone game rabbit hole this past week, I'm switching to grayscale and making a concerted effort to avoid excessive screen time. (Which makes me feel icky both physically and mentally.)

A Woman, Her Body (short but  profound)

This lovely but neglected notebook set just became a brand new set of gratitude journals.

Finished this novel last night. It was riveting + confusing + odd + introspective. I'm still digesting my feelings and interpretations. Next up is this book, chosen from a prerequisite reading list. (But looks really good, assignment or no.)

Watching this movie, also the subject of a prereq essay assignment. (I read the book for a class my sophomore year of college and was utterly fascinated.)

Coconut Carob Bars (sugar-free!)

Starting Sunday, we are going to each choose 3 things to donate, sell or throw away each week. Hopefully this will lead to better habits, less clutter, and a less stressful relocation. Loving this article, 32 Items In Your Home That You Can Get Rid of Right Now

In early February I decided to get a closed earring hole re-pierced. While waiting my for my turn at the parlor I started looking at a model showing all the different ear piercings. Twenty minutes later I left with a very spur-of-the-moment "daith" piercing that is still pretty sore. Trying this cleaner based on the reviews. (Advice? Should I just take it out?)

Seen, Heard & Bookmarked: Life Lately

Friday, March 9, 2018

Early and mid-February gave me a run for my money. Work was particularly trying in so many ways; I was in a bit of a personal funk (ennui, perhaps); someone backed into my car, breaking the taillight and bumper; I experienced a dental accident that was extremely traumatic. (I'm sure I'll write about it once the personal tragedy of it all wears off a bit more.)

In the middle of all this arrived our yearly trip. Husband's company, a luxury goods company of sorts, puts out an incentive trip every February for their clients who meet or exceed sales goals. Since Husband works at the corporate level we are asked along. Aside from the company's 5-year trip hiatus during the recession, we've been going every year since our mid-twenties. These trips have allowed us to explore the world; places we would probably not have seen otherwise at this point in our lives...or maybe ever.

I'll be honest: these trips can be socially fatiguing for someone like me who requires regular periods of solitude. Hundreds of people, some familiar some not, chatting you up during every waking hour. (Often to talk to you about your husband's many merits.) If you are walking to the beach sans makeup, sunhat pulled low, chances are someone is still going to recognize you.

I've certainly become more social as I've advanced through adulthood. Being partnered with an (extreme) extrovert for 15 years has changed me a lot in that regard, but so has maturity and a dwindling sense of shyness. My thirties have made me more comfortable in my own skin; I relate to others in social settings with a fluency I ever thought possible way back when. Because humans are humans are humans: we are all pretty much the same when you get down to it.

If all else fails three glasses of red wine make for a snazzy social lubricant.

I am so grateful for this perennial opportunity to spend time with my sweet husband in his element. He is universally adored, but sometimes I can get caught up in the less glamorous moments of marriage whilst single parenting + working during his business trips or sharing a home amid conference calls being conducted in the adjacent room.

A free vacation somewhere warm and sunny in mid-February . . . I am forever filled with gratitude for this privilege. I won't likely be able to attend the next couple years, so this trip was extra special and cherished.

I'll admit: when we departed for Grand Cayman I was not at my personal best. In fact, just a couple days prior I was displaying a drastically uncharacteristic lack of resilience. Husband had spent the previous weekend quite concerned about my mental fitness and I was questioning everything. Fortunately it (mostly) passed after a few intense days and a change of scenery was much obliged.

The water was unrivaled: jewel-toned blues and greens that sparkle and mesmerize. The locals are lovely and kind. The beaches pristine. My marine biology-loving self kissed the head of a baby sea turtle and the "lips" of a stingray. Grand Cayman is what you see when you imagine paradise.

The third night in we were to attend an event and I was experiencing mild apprehension stemming from lingering emotional upset. Mentally I still wasn't totally present. Once we got to the venue I had a cocktail...and then a few more. Before I knew it I was chatting and dancing and letting go. Finally. Letting go of all of it. After the event we hit up a local bar where I met a group of locals who were kind, welcoming, and generous with their life stories. And just like that I had a new perspective. My life is good and those crappy moments in time are so extraordinarily temporary. Not everyone has that luxury. I needed to have my grit stoked and boy did I get it.

I came back home motivated, re-energized, and ready to prepare for all the exciting things to come.

For so many reasons, Grand Cayman will hold a special place in my heart. Specifically, it helped me get my groove back.

Grand Cayman Saves the Day(s)

Thursday, March 8, 2018