Friday, November 30, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 30 (My Husband)

I could write a book of reasons that I love my husband. But for now, it's enough to say that he is the single most amazing person I have ever met in my life. And after nearly sixteen years together, I still wonder each time I see him, "how did I get so lucky?"

Today, and every day, I'm thankful for my husband, Ric.

It's you, Husband. It's always you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 29 (No Commute)

Today, I'm thankful for a job that is less than 2.5 miles from my house. I'm thankful my entire commute to the office is four right turns. And I'm thankful that I no longer have to sit in traffic like this.

My view out of my office window, looking right

And my view looking forward

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 28 (Guilty Pleasures)

Ah, yes. Guilty Pleasures. We all have them. And sometimes, it's okay to just enjoy them. Heck, they wouldn't be pleasures if we didn't.

Today, I'm grateful for my Guilty Pleasures. I'm thankful for trashy TV shows like Revenge and Scandal. I'm grateful for angst-filled dramas like Arrow and Beauty & The Beast. And I'm grateful for dance mega-remixes and sad country ballads.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check out Hulu and watch the new episode of Hart of Dixie.



And that's something to recognize and appreciate. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 27 (Gadgets)

Yeah, I'll admit it. I love technology. I love my iPhone, my iPad, and my laptop. I love having an XBox. If it's electronic and it brings me music, video, text or chat, I love it.

Today, I'm grateful for the gadgets I have in my life. They keep me connected and entertained. And really, what else can I ask from them?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 26 (One-on-One Time)

I tend to socialize with groups of friends, so it isn't often that it is just me and one other person. But sometimes, when things line up just right, I am rewarded with one-on-one time with a friend.

I'm thankful for those times. It's great to be able to truly talk with each other, reconnect, and walk away knowing that we have stolen a little private time with each other.

Thanks, Meg, for the fantastic conversation.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 25 (Travel)

Today, I spent two hours on a conference call with my team for the Ragnar Relay Florida. It was a fun call and I'm really excited about the upcoming adventure.

In a few weeks, I will be flying across the country and enjoying an amazing experience. So today, I'm grateful that I am able to travel from time to time. This whole world is just waiting for me to discover it, and given enough time, I'll do just that!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 24 (Laughter)

Today, I'm thankful for laughter. This life can be tough sometimes, and nothing makes the bad times better than a good laugh.

I laugh. I laugh a lot. Loud, often, and wherever the heck I am. And I am grateful to be surrounded by people who laugh with me and appreciate my sense of humor.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 23 (Forgiveness)

Today, I'm thankful for the forgiveness of others. As I stumble through this life, I make so many mistakes. I hurt myself and others. And I screw up sometimes so badly, I just want to hang my head. But I am surrounded by people who accept that I'm only human. And they forgive me. And because of that, I try to do better.

Let It Go.

I just read this in the Daily Spark entry by The Slowest


There's a parable about two monks in a book I read to my kids called Zen Shorts. The older monk walks through a puddle carrying a nasty, entitled woman on his back so she won’t get her silk robes wet. Once on the other side, she shoves the monk out of the way, doesn’t thank him and goes on her way. A younger monk can't get the incident out of his mind. Two hours later, he expresses dismay to the older monk that the woman was selfish and rude and didn’t thank him. 

“I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?” 

Wow. Sometimes, it's the simple stories that really resonate. And this one does with me. 

What do I need to let go of? It's definitely got me thinking today... 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 22 (Understanding)

Today, I'm thankful for friends that truly understand me. They often know what I'm going through before I even fully figure it out. And they stay quiet long enough for me to talk my way through it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 21 (Support)

It's simple, I suppose, but today I am feeling particularly thankful for the support for my different physical fitness and health challenges.

Some of the challenges are big and bold and some are simple. And I meet some of them and I fail at others. But no matter how outlandish and crazy I get, my friends still rally around me and say all the right things.

I'm grateful for the support I get. Thank you, everyone.

(Not my friends, but they do look like a cheerful bunch!)

John's Holiday Challenge - The Details

Yesterday, I posted my Holiday Challenge. I listed all the things I plan to do over the next six weeks, but I didn't specify when I would do each thing.

So today, as promised, is my calendar for the challenge.

The good thing about a challenge like this is that I still have some flexibility. For example, last night, my plan to go to the gym for a 5K run and a 60 min bike ride fell apart when I drove up and saw that it was completely crowded. There wasn't even a parking space in the lot or around the block. (That's why I prefer going in the morning!)

Instead of skipping the workout, though, I modified the schedule. I drove home and went for a 5k run around my neighborhood. And then I moved the bike ride to this morning. And at 5:15, I was wide awake, dressing in my workout gear, and on the road to the gym.

Yes, I did it. I went through my circuit training and the I rode the bike for an hour.

I can do this. I may run into some conflicts along the way, and the exact dates may change a bit, but I will get every single thing on my list accomplished.

Holiday Challenge? Yeah, I got this.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

John's Holiday Challenge

I've mentioned before that running can sometimes feel like a solitary sport. But I've also talked about my friends and running buddies who influence me and make me feel like I'm part of a bigger team of athletes. Today, I'm focusing specifically on my Ragnar Florida teammates.

One of the people who brought the team together, Katie, wrote a great blog about the value of six week challenges. It's long enough to make changes and improvements but not so long that it requires a huge commitment. Like Katie, I think that six weeks is a great length of time to take up a new challenge.

I'm also influenced by my other teammate, Jen. A couple of weeks ago, she blogged and Tweeted, "Eat Clean, Train Dirty." I loved that. It's a simple but passionate message to remind myself about the basics - eating healthy and being active.

And the rest of my team? Yeah, they're influences, too. Lealah just ran her first marathon. Rik drove 1700 miles round-trip to run with her. Linda and Allison just ran their first half-marathons. Carly ran her second. Jennifer and her husband ran their second half marathon together. Meredith ran her fifth half marathon and has signed up for her first full. Honestly, the whole team is on fire. And they inspire me to do more.

So, with that in mind, I have come up with a six week challenge to help me get ready for our Ragnar Florida Relay Race in January. Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

John's Holiday Challenge
(Offered in Song)

In the Season of Splurging, I promise to me:

12 miles walking
11 hours cycling
10 5Ks running
9 circuits training
8 times weight lifting
7 days recovering 
6 weeks not drinking 
5 weeks clean eating
4 10Ks running
3 half marathons running
2 meals splurging
And the best me I can be!

It's a lot to do over six weeks, I know. But it's exactly the intense challenge I need to regain my focus, prepare for the Ragnar Relay, and start the New Year on an upward swing.

I'm in for my challenge. What are YOU doing to end 2012 on a high note?

A Month of Gratitude - Day 20 (Virtual Runs)

Because I live here in San Diego, I am fortunate to be able to run organized events all year long. But even then, I still find myself wanting to run more. Unfortunately, travel across the country can get a bit expensive.

Today, I'm thankful for Virtual Runs. For very little money, I can sign up for events and run them "with" friends and running buddies all across the country. And even with a reduced cost, I still earn finisher's medals. And really, for me, it's all about the medal!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 19 (Home)

As much as I enjoy time away on vacation, I am always happy to come back. And mostly, I feel that way because I get to return to our amazing home.

Today, I'm grateful for what we call our Miracle on 34th Street. We've owned the home since June 1998, and it seems that every single year it means more to us. After a lifetime of moving from place to place, I am thankful every day for finding what truly feels like home.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 18 (Payback)

Oh, paybacks. Usually when we think of  them, we are hoping for something bad to happen to someone as retribution for a misdeed of their own. But sometimes, it can also be something good.

Today, I'm thankful for payback. Two years ago, my husband willingly sacrificed several weekends of his free time to help friends renovate their mountain condo. The days were long, the work was hard, and the time apart was difficult for us. But Ric stayed the course and helped two wonderful people turn their new purchase into an amazing vacation getaway.

And the payback? Yeah, that. As a reward for his efforts, our friends have invited Ric to use the condo at no charge. It's located in the beautiful town of Mammoth Mountain Lakes, and we have now taken advantage of that offer twice.

It's a great feeling to know that doing something good returns great things to you!

Me enjoying the snowstorm from the warmth of the porch.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 17 (My Jeep)

I know it's shallow, but I really, really love my Jeep. It's the perfect car for me. It's nice enough that I feel happy and safe driving it, and it's casual enough that I feel just fine packing it full of whatever-the-heck I need to haul.

Today, I'm thankful for a vehicle that takes me where I want to go and gets me there in one piece.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 16 (Downtime)

As the holiday season kicks into full swing, it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed. It feels like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. I rush from task to task, trying desperately to fit everything in.

Today, I'm thankful for downtime. It's not always easy to carve it out, but it's absolutely worth the effort.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 15 (Independence)

There are some things we take granted until we no longer have them. Independence is one of those things. I don't give it a thought that I can walk out of my house, go for a drive, stop and wander around, etc. I am free to come and go as I please.

I'm thinking of this now because my friend, Andrea, has broken her leg and doesn't have that freedom right now. It's making her crazy that she has to rely on other people to help her with the smallest of tasks. She has an army of friends happy to help, of course, but it doesn't change how she feels about it.

Today, I'm thankful for my own independence. I'm grateful that I am free to move about when and how I choose.

Feel better, Andrea. This won't last forever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 14 (Autonomy)

I've worked jobs where I was micromanaged to the point of being completely ineffective. I promised myself I would never work under those conditions again. But if I'm honest with myself, I know that I would take a job like that rather than be without a job at all.

Fortunately, it's all good. No, it's better than good. It's amazing. I will share more details next week, but right now, it's enough that I am thankful for autonomy. I'm so grateful to be working in an environment where I am empowered to do what I need to do to get the work done.

Empowerment. Yep, I'm truly thankful to have it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 13 (Support System)

No matter how good life is, there will always be times when we need to turn to someone else for help. We may not feel comfortable doing it, but there just isn't another good choice.

And then, there it is. Without having to ask, someone offers an amazing solution. They extend themselves and make things better. And they do it just because they are able to and they want to help someone they care about.

Today, I am grateful for a support system that makes the difference in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 12 (Job)

I try to stay positive, no matter how crazy things get. I try to see change as opportunity. And I try to believe that things will work out.

It's not always easy. And for the last several months, it's been particularly difficult. But I've not let myself lose hope.

And today, that faith was rewarded. Details later, but today, I can at least say that I have received and accepted an absolutely amazing job offer.

Life is good, indeed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 11 (Veterans)

This Veterans Day, take a moment to remember those who have served this great nation. Freedom isn't given, it's earned and defended.

Today, I'm thankful for all those who have served. Thank you, Veterans. You are the single greatest thing this country has ever produced.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 10 (Marines)

Today is the 237th Birthday of my beloved Marine Corps, and I am as thankful for this as I am of anything else in my life. When I was younger, the Marine Corps gave me strength and resolve. Now that I am older, it continues to reward me with the greatest feeling of belonging possible.

Semper Fi to those who have come before me, who served with me, and who serve still today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 09 (Family)

I'm thankful for my family. We're anything but normal, and we have had lifetimes of crazy ups and downs. But at the end of the day, they are my past and my future, and I am truly grateful for them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 08 (Unexpected Good Times)

Today, I'm grateful for unexpected good times. Planning has its time and place, but there's nothing like a spontaneous bit of fun.

Life is very good, indeed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 07 (Friends)

Friends. I could write posts of gratitude about them all month long. I consider myself so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life.

Tonight, Elizabeth and Brooks came by the house to catch up with me, Ric and Andrea. With all of our crazy schedules, we don't get that sort of time very often, so it's really important to make the effort. And Brooks and Elizabeth really did.

I'm thankful for friends like those two, because they remind me that it isn't about seeing each other every single day. It's about the connections strong enough to weather any amount of time or distance.

Today, I'm grateful for you two.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 06 (Election)

More than anything in recent memory, the object of my gratitude today is an election that is finally, completely, and totally over.

Democracy is not pretty. It's not even pleasant. But it beats the heck out of any other system I know.

Thank you, America. Once again, we have done the admirable: we have put the highest office in the land up to a vote, and the people have spoken.

Good night to my fellow citizens all across the political spectrum. Let's look ahead to tomorrow, shall we?

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 05 (Internet)

Today, I'm grateful for the Internet. Sure, it's home to trolls and idiots and keyboard commandos. But those losers are outnumbered by the amazing e-communities and virtual groups. And it's also the way I stay connected with friends and family all across the world.

And if you're reading this, you're out here with me in my own little corner of the web. So thanks for stopping by.


It's the difference between enjoying a rainy day or complaining about the weather. 

I'm still working on it, on truly appreciating what I have in my life. But I'm getting better. And it's getting easier. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 04 (Ruthie & Idgie)

Today, I'm thankful for my two furry friends, Ruthie and Idgie. There's something comforting and wonderful about coming home and always having two happy faces and wagging tails.

Yup. Amazing. And I'm thankful for them.

I Love Runners.

Because no one gives back to a community like they do. 


These folks were suppose to run the NYC Marathon today. Instead, they have loaded up their backpacks with supplies and they are running them to the hardest-hit areas of Staten Island. 

Runners. Are. Awesome. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 03 (Health Insurance)

Last week, I had to go to the Emergency Room for a problem with my toe. Because Ric works at Kaiser, we spent all of $5 on the co-pay for the visit and another $5 for the antibiotics prescription.

And now, our friend Andrea has broken her tibia and needed to go to the ER, too. A few hours later, she had been seen by the doctor, x-rayed, diagnosed, and sent on her way. Because she is insured, she was able to get the care she needed.

Today, I'm thankful that I have such great medical insurance. I'm grateful that help is available when I need it. In a time when so many are without affordable care, I am thankful for the coverage we have and the care we receive.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 02 (Spark Buddies)

I don't make a big deal of it, and I don't really talk about it much, but I really struggle every winter with the dark days and early nights. My poor husband knows that every year around this time, my moods get worse and I just don't feel like myself.

It's SAD. No, seriously, it's S.A.D.

Fortunately, I'm not alone. There are many of us that deal with this, and all it takes to handle it is a bit of advance planning, some situational awareness, and a determination to not cave in to the gloom.

All that said, today, I am grateful for the my amazing buddies from SparkPeople. They are a never-ending source of motivation, inspiration, and encouragement. They always seem to know just what to say and share, just when I need it.

I give you Exhibit A:  Christina791's blog from yesterday called "No-SAD November." It's exactly what I needed to read to prepare myself for the season ahead of me. She has great ideas for nutrition, exercise, and mind games to keep herself focused on the good instead of the bad.

How adorable is she?!
Thank you, SparkBuddies, and thank you, Christina. I am grateful for you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Month of Gratitude - Day 01 (Nature)

I read about this idea and I absolutely love it. As the days get shorter and darker, it's important for me to remember all of the wonderful things in my life. I am grateful for all of them, for they make this life worth living.

First up, the simple beauty of a sunset here in San Diego.

I was driving home from work yesterday and I stopped on the side to get this shot. The iPhone camera doesn't really do it justice. The colors were so rich, so intense. Even after I took the picture, I just stood there for a while enjoying the view.

Tonight, I'm grateful that I live in a world that offers such unbelievable beauty, and all I need to do to enjoy it is take the time.