Poor Planning and Silver Linings

I did not set myself up for success today, and I’m paying for it now. I’m in a bit of a mood, and it’s too dark to go for a walk.

I suppose I could walk through town, but I really wanted to walk in the woods today because we got some snow, and I lost track of time. This daylight savings thing always trips me up.

I ended up heading to the grocery store and generally slipping deeper into my funk, culminating with getting out of the car back at the house and discovering that somehow the lace on one of my snow boots had become severed during my trip.

At least it waited to give out entirely until I got home – walking around the store with a floppy, untied boot would have made my mood even worse. Silver lining!

I was very happy about the snow this morning. I got up earlier than usual to ride along with my husband to his job, so that I could drive his car back. My Subaru is at the mechanic’s right now, and I don’t like being stuck without a vehicle, especially when the cupboards are getting bare.

On the way to Chris’s work, I said to him that I wished it would snow soon, and within minutes we drove into a flurry of nice, fluffy flakes. What power I have! I can summon snow! I’ll try to use it responsibly.

It accumulated on the road quickly, and coated everything that had been drab, dull, and dead-looking, making the world appear fresh and clean again.

I’m like a kid when it snows. Every grumpy snow-hating person I know has told me I’ll stop liking it when I have to shovel it, but I’ve been the primary shoveler at our house for 3 winters now, and I’m not sick of it yet.

It got a little old the winter before last, when we had an excessive amount of snow – the pile in our tiny front yard became a mountain and obscured the view from our single ground-floor window on that wall of the house. It still didn’t ruin snow for me.

So, I was very happy at the prospect of going out in the snow at some point in the late morning or early afternoon… and yet, I managed to procrastinate enough to completely deny myself that opportunity.

At least I got to admire it out the windows during the day.

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I even had a crow visitor picking at the birdseed we put out on the roof of our basement bulkhead, and after I scared it by coming near the window, it flew further off and seemed to find half of a hotdog bun in the neighbor’s yard. I have no idea how it got out there, but there it was. Good find, crow!

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Well, I’m hoping I’ll have plenty of other chances to get out and admire the evergreens dusted with white before spring comes. That’s one of my favorite things about the dark half of the year. I’m a sucker for snow-covered pines.

I have snowshoes that I bought for last winter and never even got to try, because we had so little accumulation. This year, I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get some sort of happy medium.

As for tonight, I’ll try to just be glad I have a cozy house to shelter me from the cold. Also, my cat is on my desk, being extra lovey since he wants wet food. I’ll happily take the nose pushes and tail dragging across my neck, whatever the motive.


Day 22 (of 30 days of yoga)

The good news is that I have actually done yoga for at least five minutes for EVERY SINGLE DAY since I wrote my last post. I haven’t done any yet today, but rest assured, it will happen, unless something seriously catastrophic happens. (If a very large asteroid destroys the planet today, I suppose I will be unable to do yoga unless I get it in fairly soon.)

I have not updated sooner because of all the things happening that I don’t really want to spend time thinking about, let alone writing about, but I will say that we had a small fire in our basement that originated with our domestic water heater. It fortunately didn’t ignite anything else, but as I could not pinpoint the source of the foul-smelling smoke in the basement, I called the fire department, and there was quite the to-do in the neighborhood.

We have two tanks, one of which is fed by a solar collector on our roof, but ironically, though we’d been having a drought for weeks, with baking hot days, after our electric tank caught fire, we had clouds and rain. We were unable to rely on the solar tank when we really needed it.

We devised a method for showering that involves some disconnected wiring and a circuit breaker being turned on for short spans of time and then back off, and we’re currently getting by, but it’s not super fun. (Or safe? but what do I know? I’m not the one studying for an electrician’s license.)

We’re trying to see if we can get any compensation from the company before purchasing a new tank. There has been some strong sun this morning, though, so our solar-fed tank was up to about 139 degrees (F) when I checked it before running a bath.

Our cat was suffering from some sort of upper respiratory issues right before the fire, so on one day he went to the vet twice, and the next day I had to hunt him down while he was hiding from the fire alarms all throughout the house that were beeping and yelling “Evacuate! Emergency! Evacuate!”

I managed to get him into his carrier and out of the house quickly, but he was feeling unwell and not thrilled about being taken to a car in his carrier again. We were able to go back inside the house in a mercifully brief span of time, so Henry was able to go back to sleeping all day between sneezes.

So… all that was quite stressful. The kitty is fairly well recovered now, and so am I, and we’ve all three of us been enjoying the yoga sessions. In the evenings, Chris and I roll out our mats with my iPad propped up on the floor in front of us, on which I play one of various YouTube yoga-before-bed videos that are available.

We stretch and relax for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, and Henry wanders his fluffy self into the room and flops down onto the end of one of our mats, watching and occasionally batting at a head or nipping a leg. He loves to join our yoga sessions.

Is it helping me with my anxiety? Probably. Almost definitely. It has become a lovely ritual, and I imagine we’ll keep going for a long time past the 30 days, though maybe we won’t adhere strictly to an every day regimen past that period. I’m glad I began it when I did, and I’m glad I stuck to it despite all the reasons to just skip it for the night because we’re tired and it’s late or whatever the excuse might be.

I’m finding that I remember to pay attention to my breath more often during the day, which was one of my greatest hopes for this new practice. For anyone considering trying it, I say go for it. There are so many videos for so many different levels of ability, and you have little to lose. It’s a nice self-care routine, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to jump on the yoga bandwagon!

I’ll be back with another post at the end of the thirty days, at the latest. Hopefully I’ll also have some nice photos to share, since I recently purchased a new camera. Until then, be well, and breathe deeply!


Walking my way through shyness, one “good morning” at a time

I’ve dealt with shyness for as long as I can remember. I have always had social anxiety and a strong disinclination to speak with people I don’t know well. I’m also a classic introvert.

I’m working on being more balanced. Overcoming my shyness is proving to be a lifelong exercise. I am practicing, and I am getting better.

My morning walks have helped me to learn how to switch my extraverted persona on and off. I continue to find that the earlier I walk, the easier and more pleasant it is to interact with other folks around town and in the park.

New Englanders do not have a reputation for being gregarious or approachable. If you can get them to talk, they are often kind, but that can be difficult. Sometimes, a smile is the best you can hope for.

Going earlier is better for me, because as I push myself to be the first one to smile and say good morning, there is a better chance that it will be reciprocated. Later morning and afternoon walkers can be a tad grunty, or completely unresponsive. I’ve never understood how someone can be looking straight ahead and pretend not to see another human who is inches away and attempting to make eye contact. (If the person is looking down at the ground, it’s much more understandable. I’ve been there and done that.)

That kind of rejection can make it harder to try again next time. Intentionally showing up when the other smilers and greeters will be out and about is a good way for me to encourage myself to keep interacting with strangers.

Some of these strangers are becoming less strange to me, due to repeat encounters. It’s a small town I live in, and I enjoy recognizing people who are in the same place at the same time on more than one occasion.

My shyness and fear of rejection causes me quite a bit of difficulty in making friends, so all these instances are hopefully helping me to get better at that. The only way to make a connection with another person is to interact with them, however you do it.

I don’t quite know why there is such a correlation between an earlier hour and happier people, but I feel it in myself as well. Particularly in the summer, it’s nice to get the walk done early, so as to avoid the worst heat of the day. Even in cooler temperatures, though, it’s satisfying to get active as early as  can manage. It’s invigorating for the body and mind.

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This park was made for walking.

It might not be as rewarding if done in a gym on a treadmill as it is when done in the fresh air of a tree-lined avenue.

If we have another hard winter this year, I will likely find that out. I was unable to do any significant walking with the amount of snowfall we had last winter, and the lack of activity took its toll on me physically and emotionally.

I may try to snowshoe through town regularly, but I also think I’ll be taking advantage of my health insurance’s reimbursement of gym membership so I can get my sweat on in running shoes, shorts, and a tank top rather than waterproof, insulated boots and many layers of cold-weather garb.

That’s enough talk about winter for now.

I finally succumbed to the urge, and bought a FitBit on Ebay. It shipped out on Saturday, so I’m hoping to see it within a couple of days. I had quite a few reasons for wanting a fitness tracker, and I think I’ll probably save those for another post. I’m sure I’ll want to talk about the FitBit once it arrives and I have used it.

In the meantime, I have set up an online account and downloaded the software for syncing it to my computer. I’m excited to get it and set it up.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!