health, inspire

Emotional Hygiene

 

Part of my goals this year are about using my time more thoughtfully. (I’m looking at you, hour long commute! You too, meal prep marathon!) Instead of riding along listening to 70s music (again) or the usually depressing news, I wanted to start listening to podcasts. I loaded some up and have enjoyed quite a few (while easily deleting others after a couple of episodes.)  I’ve learned that some are pleasant to listen to, even inspiring, and will linger with me.  Then, there are others where I am actively nodding, mind completely engaged, stopping to jot notes down to think about or follow up on later. I’ll share interesting tidbits once in a while.

The first one I wanted to share here is an episode from Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast. Specifically, an episode with Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator who now trains people to negotiate across many fields, especially business.  This is definitely an episode I would have skipped based on the topic / title except for one thing…I was going to a car dealership later that day to buy a car.  People who know me can guess I’d be nervous about negotiating anything, so when I saw this episode title I thought to myself…well…maybe I can learn something that will help me feel more confident in negotiation for this car.

As I listened, most of what stood out to me was about mindset.  He talked about the way much of our brains (around 75%!) are neurologically wired to be negative – to defend ourselves for example, but we are actually significantly smarter when we are happier.  Like, 31% smarter.  That’s huge! This comes from Harvard professor Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk, The Happiness Advantage.  Who knew that just by being happier we boost our smarts?  Left me with a lot to think about.

Another tidbit that struck me was Voss mentioning the importance of gratitude in starting your day.  He recommends that we write down 1-3 things to be grateful for at the beginning of the day as “emotional / spiritual hygiene.”  I’ve known the importance of gratitude for a while.  I’ve even written about thanks on this blog. But I think the idea of how gratitude is as necessary as taking a shower or brushing your teeth was a mind shift for me.  It’s not just nice to do, it’s necessary in order to get your brain framed up the right way for the day.  Gratitude is a way of taking care of ourselves. It is a daily practice that keeps us on track.

So far, podcasts are an interesting new way to learn for me…I’m late to the party, I know, but I’m figuring it out.  Do you have any podcasts you enjoy or recommend?

As for negotiations, I have started to notice all the subtle little negotiations we make during our days, from the coffee line to casual conversations at work.  Will I improve at them using what I’ve learned?  I’ll let you know.  In the mean time, I still haven’t bought a car, but that’s a story for another post.

 

 

 

 

inspire

Let’s Talk Music

Nobody But You just released by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani is hot off the press and I am totally a fan!

First, I love Gwen Stefani. She is hot, sassy and full of badassery. Blake I am not a huge fan of, but paired with Gwen they seem to make a dynamic duo. Can’t wait to see if more collaborations appear.

Give the song a listen. It has a cool vibe and the lyrics pack a punch. I think anyone lucky enough to be living a love story for the first time or second or third time might find it hits an emotional chord.

Watching a video clip is inspiring as well. I see a little Hollaback Girl in the car scene with a dopey-eyed Blake looking on. Her flair attracts him. You can see it. Fun to watch the puppy love for both of them.

Just a random offbeat post for you. Music soothes the soul.

perspective, working women

The Value of Time

This year I will most likely talk about time and its value many times and in many ways on this blog.

It may sound odd but every time I turn around an obstacle could arise because of time in general or how our most precious commodity (time) is spent thus making us have limited time or maybe it’s the perception of less time vs. the reality of time.

To keep the focus I purchased a new clock for my office. It’s a cool clock made up of words that illuminate in five-minute intervals. Thank you Sharper Image for offering cool gadgets.

5 minutes past the hour, 15 minutes past the hour and so on. The illumination is eye- catching and is a great conversation starter.

The clock is also a great visual reminder of time, my need to write (words), and my need to evaluate my time continually to insure I am on track with all that I do.

Today’s thought spurred after I read an article on the time limitations of males vs. females. It was interesting but as I reflected I sighed and said hmmm I can relate.

I can relate to the roles women are depicted in. The wife, the mother, the corporate executive, the cook, the laundress, and so on. Now some households have a male counterpart who contributes or pulls a fair load but “moms” end up as the go-to for many things, people and so on despite having to work these days.

Just random food for thought here. Until next time, please use your time wisely and make you a priority at least one hour a day. I know you will thank me if you schedule you time one hour a day.

You could read a book. You could research something on the internet. You could get your nails done. You could do many things in an hour. Try it!
And a special thanks to Dove chocolate for the time traveler reminder!

fitness and nutrition

Dealing with Detours

One recent afternoon, I went on a hike with a good friend.  The trail had very few signs or markings (which drives this librarian crazy), but thankfully she had an app to help us stay on track. Even still, a number of times we went down what we thought was the right path, only to find ourselves backtracking and winding our way back to the real path that led us to our goal. Thankfully, I was with a friend and we weren’t too pressed for time, so the detours weren’t too worrisome.

But detours aren’t always like that in life.

As I wrote about a while ago, learning how to do toes-to-bar was one of my most exciting moments as a CrossFitter. I have to say, putting on my hand grips and kicking up to that bar made me feel like a rock star.  I could do 20, 40, even 70 during a workout.  Sure, it was one. at. a. time. But I would just keep setting, jumping to the bar, kicking up, and *bing* hitting the bar.  So satisfying!

I almost couldn’t wait for last fall’s CrossFit Open to come around, just because I could do this new Rx-level movement that would likely be in one of the workouts.

So, you can imagine my disappointment to learn that for my toes-to-bar to count in the Open, I had to start from a hang instead of my usual jump. When the movement came up, I spent over 15 minutes trying to put one together, but I didn’t get it. I was close to crying, my hands ripped to shreds.  I didn’t give up but I sure did feel defeated.

After the Open, I kept doing toes-to-bar my way during our every day workouts.  Then, I talked to the coaches and they gave me some movements to do that would get me closer to doing them the standard way. Of course, these movements don’t involve actually getting your toes up to the bar.  They are more about engaging the back muscles and swinging properly to eventually swing to the bar over and over again the right way.

I do these swinging knee raises, trying to get the rhythm, but it always feels like a step backward. I don’t like practicing them because I miss the satisfaction of watching my toes hit the bar.  Sometimes I just want to go back to doing it my way, the wrong way, just because I want that accomplishment I felt back again.

This is not the only skill I’m having to circle back, undo, and redo to get on the right path.  Jumping rope, skiing, snatches, so many things.  Heck, I don’t even breathe correctly.  That’s right, I’m even having to relearn breathing.  I’ve been working harder instead of smarter for a long time.

Still, it is mentally challenging to take the long way around to a goal, especially when you think you’ve made progress, even arrived.  It’s hard to unlearn habits.  It’s hard to be patient.  It’s hard to backtrack even if it means you eventually end up on the right path.  What to do?

Maybe, like the time this past weekend on a hike, I need to let go of the pressure of a deadline.  I can pass the detour time with friends.  I can just be patient as I make my way toward the goal, no matter how many or how long the detours may be.

In the mean time, I keep practicing and embracing the suck, er, the process as best I can.

 

 

healthy hacks

The Swap

The meal prep swap. How does it work?  What are the benefits?

This is another blog that is just a tidbit for anyone who can benefit.

Each week meal prepping can be boring or tedious. Time constraints could limit what you can make forcing you to eat the same chicken recipe for multiple days. Things could be worse, but what if there was a way to switch up the ordinary?

Grab yourself four friends who eat healthy. Set a side a day and place for the swap. Pick your menu and start your meal prep.

Instead of meal prepping 5 chicken dishes for yourself, you keep one and bring the other four to the swap.

One friend makes spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs with marinara. One friend makes Greek chicken with a cucumber, tomato and onion salad. One friend makes a chicken bowl with black beans, corn, riced cauliflower and veggies. And the final dish is a shrimp and avocado dish. These are just a sample but the picture above actually has egg salad full of veggies, turkey sausage and cabbage with cucumber side, riced cauliflower with beef sausage and hard boiled eggs, and spaghetti squash seasoned with Everything but the Bagel seasoning (a must have) with turkey.

You basically bring you 4 meals and trade with the other four participants. You end up with 5 different meals for the next few days (yours plus the other four). Variety is in front of you.

You may even try something you never would have made and loved it. You could also get a dud meal. That’s the little risk you take for escaping the ordinary. This may be too much planning week after week but here and there it can easily break up the cycle of boring meal prep.

Be sure to set expectations in your group about capturing all ingredients, measurements and of course sharing the recipe. For me it works great when a friend messaged me the details from Myfitnesspal. I just copy and paste and move on to the next meal.

Just a fun way to spend some time with friends, promote heathy eating and maybe even keep a friend accountable for tracking their eating or meal prepping.

More healthy hacks coming your way in 2020 from 2 Chicks and a Pen.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Mileage Madness

Just updating the world on my 2020 mileage challenge. So far, so good.

At the end of 2 full weeks I logged 147 miles or 8% of the 2,020 miles. Doesn’t seem like much but it is all extra work. The miles are in addition to my normal daily training. I fit them in where I can.

I arrive early some days for a couple of miles. I stay late when I can for a few more. I add some longer stretches at home when my schedule allows. I’m getting it done and so are my friends.

I have 3 races booked so far for 2020. A 15k in February, a 10k in May and a mud run in October. Just a fun way to get some miles away from the ordinary training locations.

Variety definitely helps keep the task at hand easier. One friend is splitting up her miles by category. 10% by rower, 10% run, 10% ski erg and so on. Why? For one, it’s harder. A mile on the rower or the ski erg take longer. Each may even seem more taxing than bike, but in small doses it’s not too bad.

Enter a group text message early Saturday morning with a 7-mile variety workout of sorts for a group challenge. It looked challenging yet I wanted to put in 11 miles that day so I adjusted the numbers to get me to 11 miles collectively. I said it’s not much more time. Hmmmm…

The above workout was now a reality. It took a while. Over an hour but it was manageable and I wasn’t exhausted after. Maybe my extra miles are helping me build endurance. I had a friend doing the work with me which always help to keep one moving.

I shared my update with the 2020 group and *boom* some brilliant member suggests we do it AGAIN tomorrow. Sunday. 5am. Who in their right mind wants to do that on a Sunday? The one day I can actually sleep in. WHAT? Have you lost your ever loving mind?

And people say I’m the head of the Bad Idea Club! Well, in this instance I said “wait, I’ll be there.” Why? Because I’m just as crazy as the others on the group chain.

It’s 4:30 am. It’s cold. I’m still tired. It’s laundry day so my favorite gym clothes are dirty. Do I even want to do this? I check to make sure my pals are up and moving because it would be a sick joke to wake me up this early for nothing. And I’m secretly hoping nobody replies! I sigh as two chirps got my phone.

It’s Kim and Mindy who are clearly up and ready to go go go. Guess I got to get going too. Off we go again to rack up another 11 miles, or 11 miles, 60 pushups and 90 sit-ups to be exact. Will I have a better finish time? I doubt it. It’s at 5am and I will barely be awake. Now I have to figure out who I can get to drag themselves out of bed so we can be miserable together. Picture proof below.

6 souls rose in the 4 am hour to meet at the gym for a 5 am start. Over an hour of hard work. Running in the dark and cold. Cheering each other on. We even had a cheerleader there snapping pictures.

Bike, ski, row, run, push up then sit up over and over again. We did it!

Off to work the nurse goes. Off to the grocery store three others go as it’s meal prep day. One rushes out before the hubs wakes up and one just vanishes into the darkness.

Another day. Another 11 miles. A little closer to the end goal. A whole lot of fitness. A great time with wonderful women I call friends. Fitness can actually be fun if you make it fun with friends.

anonymous letters, Uncategorized

What’s That Stink?

Okay, a little dose of reality for you.

I’m sitting at a basketball game cheering on my kid. The game is being played at the local high school gymnasium. I sit in the bleachers with other parents and general spectators. It’s large, airy, open gym with high ceilings so you don’t have any lingering sweat or feet smells. It’s generally just fresh air circulating. Some attendees I know. Some I don’t.

Then all of a sudden it hits me out of nowhere. It’s a big stink. It lingers. It’s foul. Not like a dirty diaper but a stinky fart smell. I shrug and say to myself somebody is just nasty. A few minutes go by and boom it happens again.

It’s equally foul but may linger a bit longer. Hang time on point for that mystery farter! This time I look to my left and say is that you? The girl says no, is it you? Hell no, it’s not me! We conclude somebody is nasty around us and go back to watching the game.

And then it happens again. This time it’s the stench that makes your eyes water and we immediately and collectively put up our shirt to our mouth and nose to cover the nasty scent that is almost smoldering around us. We look around and mount suspicions.

To our right we notice another lady sitting close to a man covering her face. Was it her or was it the guy? We really don’t know but she leaves abruptly a few minutes later. Was it to check her drawers?

We also question if she ran off because she had to go shit herself in the proper place, the bathroom, or was she escaping from the guy that was sitting by her dropping silent but deadly farts?

We make eye contact with the guy. And he starts laughing. We start laughing and confirm you smell that over there too. Is it him and did he drive her off? It’s such a mystery. Who is the nasty one?

We will never know for sure but who in the heck goes to a kids basketball and repeatedly lets silent-but-ever-so-dangerous farts loose multiple times and stays to watch the game as if nothing is the matter?

In light of the crazy stink in my day, I giggled and reflected on my first book and one page in particular (the poop page) pictured above. Oh how this page makes me giggle about as much as poop, poop sounds in a public bathroom stall, poop stains in a commode and farts in general. Why?

Simply stated, girls don’t normally talk about it. You know poop. Shit. Caca. Dookie. The whole nine yards. It’s not politically correct and it also bothers my co-author. To the point we fought over inclusion of this page in our first book. The irony of which is, it’s one of the most liked pages! Check out The End for yourself and see what all the poop is about.

And while you at it, give this post a like if it made you giggle. I would like to see how
much my readers like a good laugh.

Now back to the story….How about some common decency for the others sharing the common air space in the gym? I obviously lived to tell about this story but I had to immediately change my clothes when I got home just in case the stink was lodged in my clothes. It was really so bad that spraying Lysol or perfume in the general vicinity would not have saved the day.

I will be sitting alone next week for sure. Until next time, smell ya later!