A Matter of Balance: A Woman's Quest for Health, Harmony & Kick-ass Heels

Friday, September 28, 2012

Make time for the people you love

It's been almost a week since my last blog and I just haven't had much time or a clear idea of what to write. Then a college friend of mine posted this on Facebook (thanks Frank) and bingo, that says it all.

It's a continuous journey to create balance in our lives and keep our eye on what really matters.

Sometimes I get buried by the mundane, the administrative, and the domestic. I forgo what matters with what I think I "should" be doing and what "needs" to be done, but is that where my priorities really lie?

It's been a jam packed week, and since my work day is generally about eleven hours, there's nothing I look forward to more than snuggling up in my sweats on the couch, maybe with a glass of wine and a good book or something from the DVR Que.

There were several opportunities that arose which would tempt me away from my comfy couch:    Meeting Tracy's baby girl Eliza, surprising Peg for her 50th Birthday with a backyard flash mob, dancing with Pina to celebrate her 10 year Jazzer-anniversary, and enjoying delicious Indian food, wine and three hours of soul sister conversation with Sandra. 

THESE were the things that really mattered this week.  Teaching classes, prepping for radio shows, tackling the laundry....it all needs to get done.  But NOT at the expense of making the people that matter a priority.

The couch will still be there.  And so will the laundry.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nobody has enough money to buy time

After my grandmother (Dolly to most who knew her) passed away I found this post it note among her things. It was actually one of hundreds of post its, she was a bit of a hoarder when it came to small scraps of paper, always capturing random thoughts which ranged from "send Krissy Rachel Ray's spaghetti carbonara recipe" (yes, I'm the Krissy in question), to "gold chain purchased in Rome 1985."

From the looks of it, she heard the line listening to one of her financial talk radio programs. My grandmother could hang with the best of Wall Street's day traders. As a child, I recall that this 'skill' was directed more towards 'playing the numbers.' Like many Italian grandmothers you could find Dolly in the kitchen on Saturday stirring a big pot of sauce, (or gravy for the true Italianos) the scene made slightly askew with the pile of Dream Books (used to decipher your dreams into numerical bets) on the kitchen table and her bookie arriving at the side door.

She eventually transferred that passion into the stock market and until she died continued to rue the day she sold her Dell stock.

But back to the quote. The note was written several years before learning she had cancer, however the impact of its' message is just as strong.

No one has enough money to buy time.

It is a fact of being human, and we get to choose what we do with that reality.

For me faith, family, and fitness are paramount.

I consider my family to extend beyond my biological family and fitness isn't just my daily workout, but fitness of my mind, body and spirit encompassing many aspects of my life.

We can't buy more time. We must make the most of what we have each day.

I keep the post it to remind me.

Dolly would have been 89 yesterday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where the magic happens

I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Do something that scares you everyday." Or maybe I just saw it on a LuLu Lemon shopping bag.

As this photo above suggests, that's where the magic happens.

I'm all for adventure (perhaps you've read the K and P adventure blog posts), and I love exploring new things, relishing unfamiliar experiences.

But do I truly do things that scare me? Not so much.

This summer I tackled the canopy walk in a rainforest in Africa. I loved it, but to be honest, even though I'm not totally thrilled with heights, I can't say it scared me.

Rainforest in Ghana

Over the past week I decided to take some steps outside of my comfort zone. Admittedly they are only baby steps right now, and I'll save the details until I see where it begins to take me. Perhaps these actions will conjure up some magic dust for my future, and even if it doesn't, Mrs. Roosevelt would be proud.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to basics

For over twenty five years I've had back issues.  Sometimes it's been pretty bad!

It was a series of unfortunate mishaps from a few cheerleading stunts gone astray (thought those guys were supposed to CATCH you!), to a bad sledding accident that landed me in the hospital (the call no mother wants to get after sending their kid off to school, however I'm proud to say I was, in fact, wearing clean underwear just like mom always warned.)

My first job out of college was a desk job and at times I could barely stay in my seat. I often had the feeling of wanting to crawl out of my skin.

I saw sports doctors, orthopedists, chiropractors, and endured multiple tests.  I was told it's just something I'll have to live with.

Despite the pain, I decided to join my mother at Jazzercise.  Though I had always been active, Jazzercise classes included a specific strength training section complete with targeted ab work.  Lo and behold...it worked! The stronger the abs, the better the back.

I learned a few lessons through that experience.

  • Don't settle for "you'll just have to live with it."   Keep looking for solutions.
  • Keep moving in whatever way you can.  It was hard for me to keep it low impact when I started as a Jazzercise customer, the music just made me want to jump up and shake my groove thang (whatever that is.)
  • Listen to your body and heed the signs when it's time to slow down (as well as to pick up the pace) I'm not going to let anything keep me from living fully and staying active.

Lately this problem has reared it's ugly head in a big way.  I know if I'm patient, the solution will come and I'll be sure to be grateful for being pain free (funny how you don't think much about it UNTIL there's a problem).

In the meantime, I can walk through my Jazzercise classes, make sure I don't over do it, visit my awesome soft tissues chiropractor, do a little extra yoga, and wear clean underwear - just in case.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This morning I have so many scenes running through my head:

  • The face of the Delta pilot before he shared the news
  • The sound of a fellow passenger proclaiming that planes were being shot down every ten minutes
  • The  hockey rink in Newfoundland where thousands of us waited for news and prayed
  • The Naval Base I slept at that week
  • The bar of soap from the Canadian Red Cross that I carefully protected in my pocket all week since we weren't permitted to bring anything off of the plane
  • And finally the sight of the American flag when we returned to the US the following week.

I have run  the post below for the past two years and I believe it is always worth re-posting.

Written September 2010

Everyone will at some point will remember where they were, what they were doing, who they called first, who they hugged first.  We will remember and reflect and pray in our own different ways.

At the the time I was fortunate to be part of an international team at DaimlerChrysler Financial. Belonging to an international team added a perspective to this event and provided a sense of support beyond the boundaries of my own country.

I was also fortunate that  my company did everything possible to bring me home safely that week. A long trip from Prague, to Germany to Paris, became even longer when I heard the news while in flight heading to New York. 

There was a uniqueness being on an international flight and sharing this experience with so many non-Americans.  We were also initially removed from the horrific pictures and news accounts, as we remained on the plane until 9/12 and ultimately in the care of the Canadian Red Cross and Navy for several days following. 

 While reflecting, I pulled out a folder of emails I received the days following from my colleagues from around the world.

This line came from my boss Stephen Jepsen of Berlin, Germany...

"So far as I see, nobody was able to go back to work today without the feeling that something fundamental had changed in our western world in seconds yesterday. ..and  that these buildings, symbols for freedom and pride, don't exist anymore."

9/11/01  From the plane window in St. John's Newfoundland

Sept. 11, 2001

Yes, something fundamental did change that day.  I hope that what we hold on to is the reminder of what's really important in life.  I believe that we can keep the kindness and courage that was shown during that time alive in our words and actions every day. 

The moment that will forever be burned in my memory is finally reaching US soil and seeing the American flag, the true symbol of our freedom and pride, flying brightly.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A Last Supper of Sorts.....

The dishwasher is full and Rich and Megan are off to Staples for the last of the supplies needed for college.

We had a Mexican feast tonight (Meg's fave and Rich's speciality), thelast threesome dinner before the college send off. Her trimester co-op schedule requires a later start date than most schools, so I've had plenty to time to listen to the the tales of the empty nesters lately.

It will be different for us I suppose, since Megan doesn't live under this roof 100% of the time, but I don't think that makes it any easier. It will be an adjustment.

Just as the unfamiliar territory of step-parenting was a new world to explore almost nine years ago. It required adjustment, patience, and flexibility, (and still does), as will this new chapter.

But like with all major life changes, it will be an adventure for all of us.

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Blue Moon and my Ferris Bueller Day

I decided to declare Friday 'Kristen Self-Care Day," sort of like Ferris Bueller, but without as much craziness.

When Rich and Megan scheduled an overnight father/daughter outing, it seemed like it was the perfect time to spend a day alone, focused on what I needed. It's so easy for me to slide into burnout without even realizing it until I crash.

Rich even left me a note that morning which said Happy Kristen Day.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a challenge to make myself the priority. I kept straying towards chores and business tasks.  

I started the day at the beach with my coffee, meditating, journaling and enjoying the view.

Then I headed to a wonderful  yoga class followed by lunch at The Stand. This photo taken by one of my fellow yogi pals who ended up joining me for a tasty vegan lunch and a wonderful chat with the owner.

After a fabulous massage at Aetheria Spa (loved their new renovations!)  I broke out the paint and markers and did some art playing as well as list making for the rest of the year - things I want to do like workshops I want to take, entertaining I'd like to do, friends I'd like to get together with..JUST personal life stuff.

It was VERY hard not to fall into business lists. 

In the evening I attended a fabulous Drum Circle and bonfire with my friend Michelle at wonderful home of Jessica and Jim. It was an exceptional group of people and a beautiful and moving way to celebrate the Blue Moon. Many say the Blue Moon is very auspicious, so it was an appropriate day I suppose to take time to renew and recharge.

I understand then next Blue Moon is in 2015, so I've decided I'm not going to wait until the next one for another Kristen Day. 

Much too more important to do once in a blue moon......