Monthly Archives: September 2019

Filling my own cup and taking it down a notch or two.

I parented much of this weekend, after having a busy week at work (more on that later) and parenting after work. It was another week where I didn’t make it to the gym for any formal workout, although I was not altogether inactive. I went for walks, I went for a bike ride, and played a short soccer scrimmage with Emma’s soccer team. But I really felt like I had fallen off the workout wagon this week after having a week similar only a short time ago. Every once in a while I have a week where I’m like “Eh, I just wanna go home”…so I do.

The thing is that I rely on structured exercise routines for my mental health. I don’t have any specific fitness goals, so when people are talking about theirs I don’t really have anything to chime in with. I just want to stay healthy, active, and feel strong. I normally feel all of those things until it’s the end of the “Ehhhh” week. At the end of a week of not going to the gym, I feel like I’m flabby, weak, heavy and tired.

This week I just felt off the entire time. The pace right now at work isn’t one I can keep up with and feel good about its quality. It’s been extremely busy and I have been letting it zap my energy and keep me from going to my HIIT classes. My HIIT classes are also fast-paced and I have been craving a slower pace. I realized this weekend that this go, go, go mentality is not good for my mental health. I mean, I already knew this but this pace is what seems like the entire world is running on. My mental health has suffered with the busy-ness of my life this season and maybe these HIIT classes aren’t what I am meant to focus on right now. Maybe I need something more restorative and less aggressive.

So, starting tomorrow I am going back to hot yoga. I feel good about this decision and am looking forward to it! I believe if I take better care of my mental health that I will feel less overwhelmed with everything else in my life right now.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not missing the whatever-it-is that keeps parents moving forward. Maybe I am missing a trait that allows for me to feel able to handle all that adults are expected to in today’s world. I thought about that over the weekend – even wrote about it in my private journal – but I really don’t believe that. I just believe that I am yearning for a less complicated, less busy life because people are not meant to be living under so much pressure. I feel like so many of us are just going along with it but not really questioning it. Like I’m awake and those around me are sleeping.

Or , who knows, maybe I’m a childish dreamer and everyone around me is a mature, capable adult 100% happy with their routines and life stressors. Maybe I need go grow up and put my big girl pants on and deal with it like everyone else does.

I don’t wanna though, to be completely honest. I don’t want to wear my big girl pants if it means that I have to put myself on autopilot to survive the hurried pace.

I go through waves of these feelings of being overwhelmed and under-prepared. I think it is in part because I tend to analyze things, but I also think it’s in part of not being as mindful of making sure my own cup is filled. My cup has been steadily emptying all week and I did not have much time this weekend to fill it back up totally. But the moments I had to myself I did do my best to relax, enjoy the quiet, and at least refill some of it. It’s a work in progress 🙂

My goal over the next several weeks is to find a different fitness routine – one that incorporates a mind/body exercise at minimum once – and then two other days of something that makes my heart pound, whether it’s in a class or on my own. Theresa ordered a Pelodon bike for our basement, plus the gear for the both of us; it arrives this week! We are excited for this for the days when we can’t…or simply don’t want to…go to the gym. I am looking forward to using this on days where I want to exercise but the idea of going to a class and “peopling” seems like too much work. Because that’s how I be sometimes. This bike will remote into a class so we can be a part of it without leaving the house.

I also haven’t made the time to update this blog in a bit and writing has always been cathartic to me. It’s something I shall need to carve out the time for more often!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes – Prepping and Handling Imperfect Situations.

In my quest to grow my craft business, I’ve made an effort to be more productively active on social media over the past several months. My favorite way to connect is, honestly, through Instagram (find me HERE). I find Instagram to be quick and easy – the hashtags really bring people with common interests together. It’s algorithms make more sense to me than Facebook’s. My Facebook page feels like an abandoned house I visit to shout “HELLO!!!!” into, only getting a response here and there.

I think Facebook can deter people, too. I can’t tell you how many people have mentioned to me that they are making efforts NOT to be on the site because they find that they lose a lot of time mindlessly scrolling. Or that their feed depresses them, make them feel anxious or upset. I feel we are coming to the realization that there can be some severe consequences with an over-exposure to social media sites – Facebook being the behemoth that can be hard to avoid.

Because Instagram just feels so natural to me, I like posting a variety of things and interacting with people and businesses I follow. I forget though that I don’t always need to post projects that are “in progress” or finished ~ I can also post about the “behind the scenes” stuff that people may not realize needs to happen in order for a project to even begin.

Sourcing bottles: 99% of my glassware is donated. The 1% is purchased by me at the Salvation Army because they were just too cool to not pass up. Having a steady stream of new stuff is super important. I am not shy about asking local restaurants (Johnny’s in Schenectady is one of my connections) for empties. I snagged these two at the Greek Festival in Schenectady this past weekend:

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The bartender gave me a quizzical look but handed them right on over. These bottles were all cleaned up by me; don’t think they were given to me that way!

A bit of elbow grease has to happen before I can even work with them.

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This part isn’t glorious work – it’s not particularly fun or exciting. It takes planning. I like to soak my glassware 24 hours ahead of my needing to use them (after they’ve been sanitized through my dishwasher). I then take a knife and scrape off the labels, which should come off relatively easily. Some brands of wine have labels that easily slide off in one piece…if they were all like that, that’d be fantastic.  For the most part they aren’t so I scrape with a knife, run the bottles under hot water, and then I take a cheapie steel wool soap pad and scrub the bottles until they are 100% free of all labels and glue.

It’s so important to have that clean start.

Sometimes, however, a clean start isn’t possible. Depending on the label, it may not come off. Liquor bottles like the square ones in the bucket above do. not. seem. to. want. to. budge. I don’t let that deter me – I mean, so what if my original game plan can’t work out? I can figure something else out.

I also re-use bottles from sets that haven’t sold. One of the bottles used to create this set…

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…is actually from a set of fall bottles I made years ago that didn’t seem to connect with anyone. I had pulled off leaves and other materials I had glued on to an already spray-painted bottle. While I was able to remove the majority of the texture, the bottle was not a clean slate to work with. Like I said earlier, I don’t let this shit deter me. I change my tactic and make it work because I don’t like to waste things.

In the case of the pumpkins, sponging on color the way I did adds texture to bottles and easily hides imperfections. You cannot tell which bottle out of the 3 had a previous life.

(Note: These bottles are up for sale HERE)

So, I think I may spend some more time on my Instagram showing the “behind the scenes” bits of what I do. The untalked about stuff. Like, what am I going to do with the square liquor bottles that have stubborn-ass labels on them still? (I do have some ideas.) If anything, it’s a reminder that shit happens and you have to be able to dance through it, even if you don’t know the choreography.

I see you, busy man.

I had a super nice walk at lunch today. I put my earphones in and moseyed around the business complex ~ I usually opt for the path that goes along the Mohawk River but I just felt like going today without having to get into my car. So, I did. My music was bangin’ (on a Dave Matthews Band channel) and I couldn’t help but bebop my head and shoulders as I walked. It’s just that kind of day.

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Normally Tuesdays are kind of sucky. They are Monday’s bastard hangover. I don’t know what it is but Mondays I show up and Tuesdays I…try? I do try. I just usually fall very short. Not today apparently!

So I enjoyed my leisurely walk. I even had enough time to stop at Cumbies for a Sparkling Sno.  At the counter, there was only 1 register of two opened and I happened to be standing near the second one when it re-opened. Now, I’m a polite person, I was going to offer the first spot to the next person in the other line as they had been waiting. I didn’t even have a chance to do that today because some super-busy dude barrelled right on ahead of me as if he had the ultimate right to do so; almost like he did not see me standing there.

I stood there, still happy, but the teeniest bit affronted. I let a lot of shit slide nowadays – sometimes I even wonder if I’m not being a complete doormat, which is amazing considering I feel like I was much more abrasive and vocal in other chapters of my life. This chapter isn’t that way though. So you know what I opted for instead?

I spoke up and asked him if he was having a busy day. At that point, he turned and looked at me, a bit startled to see me standing there, and even more startled that I noticed him and spoke to him. The door opened for positive human interaction. He works at the airport, a lot of hours, feels busy – too busy.  I also discovered that he used to be a paralegal, too. Now, I’m not excusing his “me first” behavior – but I will say I think it’s a mark of just how busy we all can be during our day-to-day lives that we don’t notice each other, think to notice each other, or think to acknowledge the battles of the person in front of us or behind us in line. We all will come face-to-face with ourselves at some point ~ I think it’s important that we like what we see, without any shame or regret, if possible.

My Growing Pantry

I only know of a very select few people in my real life who are interested in gardening and food preservation, but I get pretty excited about what’s going on with mine. I’m tempted to bend the ear of anyone who happens to ask me how my weekend was…but I tend to just say “Oh, it was great!” and move on. I’m lame. I don’t share as much of my real life to others…in real life…as I used to.

I haven’t had the ability to focus on creating many new items for my Etsy shop lately, although I have added two new products to it in the past week. Instead, I’ve been focused and very busy harvesting the seemingly never-ending crop of tomatoes in my garden. Last weekend alone I canned 15 jars of crushed tomatoes. Since then I have picked another two big baskets full and, likely, more tomato canning will happen next weekend.

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I’ve also, as I think I’ve mentioned before, picked and dried herbs, as well.

I am drying more chives today and tomorrow I’ll dry some thyme. The bag of apples in the first photo is also for making homemade applesauce. We got the bag for $21 at Bowman’s Orchard and they were the less-than-perfect apples which are perfect for applesauce makin’. We have apple lovers in our house and the bag has been depleted quite a bit from the day they were purchased…it’s a blessing that our kids love fresh fruits and veggies as much as they do.

Anyway, today I also clipped all of my green onions and froze them. We usually have one taco/nacho night with the kids per week so these will be perfect for that as the weather gets cooler and the fresh stuff from the garden becomes more scarce.

Basically, I am trying really hard to waste as little as possible. The past three weeks I’ve gone back to weekday dinner planning and Theresa said it’s been saving us at least $50 per week. Since we really want to get our downstairs bathroom finished (at a cost of anywhere between $5,000-$6,000), it’s a start in the right direction of cinching our belts a little tighter so we have more money to put away. We’ve also noticed a lot less food waste in general by planning our meals out ahead of time. It’s a win/win.

But now we also have Christmas staring us right in the face. I got a good start on it with the dried herbs AND with some shopping I did today. I got some great gifts to begin putting baskets together for my friends and family. I also got this beauty of a print for $5 for our house:

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Unsure what room it’s going to go in, but I couldn’t pass it up!

So, back to the canning and drying – it just feels wonderful to have enough to put away for the winter. It’s nothing compared to others who have been doing this a lot longer (seriously, I’m part of a canning group on Facebook and some of these people just amaze me!) but I’m proud of having done what I’ve done so far and what I’ve learned. It certainly does take up a lot of time but I feel fortunate with my garden this year. It has brought me much happiness and even though I feel pressed for time quite often with all on my plate, I look at what we have and feel very #blessed despite the #stress.