Jobless in Spirit

Anything, but 9-to-5. Because work is not the same as living.

My husband has a motto: Err on the side of action (as opposed to sitting on your butt doing what’s comfortable).

I ran into an old friend yesterday and it turns out we’re working in the same industry. While catching up I discovered that he had grown and changed so much as a person. He was more confident, happier, and really great at expressing himself. He used to seem quite sheltered and self-conscious.

While catching up I discovered that he has gone out of his comfort zone to meet people, try things, travel, and generally broaden his horizons. He endured the awkwardness of new experiences and changed for the better because of it.

I can’t help but be proud. And I guess I should listen to my husband more and act instead of just thinking about the things I want out of life.

whatshouldwecallxc:

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This is me currently. Getting on the runners bandwagon. 2.76 miles last night in the freezing cold. Slept like a very sore rock.

(via trainmeanstaylean)

Last night I had the displeasure of logging onto FB only to see that someone had changed their cover photo. The photo was from high school of 4 girls sitting on a staircase. My bestie was on the photo and wearing a dress. The camera’s low placement made for a rather provocative image for her while the rest of the photo was innocent and adorable. I immediately commented that it was inappropriate and should be immediately removed. Since the girls are about 16 in the photo it could technically be considered child porn.

The photo was replaced by another with some snide comment in the description aimed at me. That’s fine. Just as long as my friend’s reputation is protected.

I found later that the Poster had sent me a barrage of text messages about keeping my nose out of other people’s business and that my bestie could fight her own battles. Then I got texts from my bestie thanking me for saying something and telling he that the Poster is notorious for making her look like a fool in public and is sort of a bully. Well, I took that opportunity to text the Poster back. I told her that although I’m sure it was meant in good fun, photos like that can end careers. Making them public allows anyone to have an opinion or get in your business. So posting it made it my business. And everyone else’s too. That is kind of the point.

She lashed out in texts and I ignored any after that point. Clearly this is not a person who holds them self accountable.

Have you ever encountered this kind of thing? How would/did you handle it? What was the result?

It was monday morning. I was cranky. Abused by the bitter cold of the San Francisco Bay Area winter chill, I waiting for my BART train. That feeling that I may run into someone I grew up with was always in the back of my mind. My husband and I lived in the same town I grew up in so it occasionally happened. I never thought I would be back, but here we were living only miles away from my parents; surrounded by the streets, shops, and people so laden with my childhood memories. 

So here I was completely caught off guard when the train doors opened and I found her sitting before me with her big fake smile judging me to carefully discern whether or not she was better off than me at this point in our lives, Miss Snarky herself. 

You might think that I am incredibly judgmental to assume what she was thinking. But I know her, and I know better than to believe her intentions were good. She was a part of my inner circle in high school against my will. Her demeanor, underhanded remarks, and snarky disposition made the rest of us all feel small on a daily basis. I couldn’t stand it. We all talked about it when she wasn’t around, but Sweetie who held the group together was a bit spellbound and naive; believing we all had something valuable to offer each other and were all worth friendship. The rest of us followed Sweetie’s lead for her sake. Until one day it all imploded.

The group fell apart with one single outburst when Miss Snarky made one very public, very personal judgement too many to the wrong guy. A switch flipped and he suddenly burst out in vehement opposition to her disgusting display of self importance. “Why do you always have to be such a bitch?!” It was rhetorical of course. But after such an outburst the issue was exposed and sides were chosen. I stood by him. Sweetie was torn between all of us. From then on we all hung out separately. Miss Snarky must have assumed that she and I were still ok somehow. I think her ego was too big to consider that I actually chose the other side because I agreed, not just because of my allegiance to a longer standing friendship. She could not be further from the truth. I would have stood next to a complete stranger if the side was in opposition to her. 

In any case, here we were 10 years later, trapped together on a train with no where to run, no way to avoid this conversation. She proceeded to approach me. Though I wanted nothing to do with her I didn’t dread the interaction. I am proud of myself for where I stood all those years ago, for standing up for myself. I rather like who I turned out to be too.

The conversation began with a typical underhanded remark about how tired I must be because I was wearing my glasses. This was a jab at my appearance, the kind I was used to getting from her. It wasn’t straightforward, “you’re wearing your glasses, you must be tired.” I never wore glasses in high school. Bitch. 

Without skipping a  beat she lunged into the normal inquiries into where we were living, what we were doing these days and so on. Her answers to the same questions were vague which led me to believe she was fabricating or at least embellishing parts of her life, which she was known for in our high school days. Then she asked if I would be attending our upcoming high school reunion. She didn’t wait for me to respond. Instead I stood there waiting patiently to get a word in while she barraged me with all the reasons she couldn’t wait for the reunion, “aren’t you so excited to see all the losers we knew would do nothing with their lives and  then rub it in their face that they are still living at home and doing nothing with their lives?” Same old snarky girl.

I had heard that she herself was, in fact, living with her parents and doing some volunteer work to take up some time before she figured out a job. This was true for two years now. I run on a trail near her parents home where I often see her car parked outside. It could be purely coincidental. It could. But the truth is more likely. Not that any of it mattered. I would think nothing less of any other person who was honest about there predicament. Life happens in ways we can’t possibly predict. All we can do is our best with the situation before us. But to lie about it to make yourself out to be better somehow? Shameful. Tisk, tisk. 

Suddenly I had a sort of epiphany. This is what psychologists call “projecting.” The things she was projecting on all those “high school losers” were actually her own insecurities. I felt a tinge of remorse for a moment then realized that remorse is what kept me at her side for far too long in high school. Some people do not change. I will not associate with people who make others feel small to make themselves feel bigger. The train stopped. She made her way toward the door saying we should get together. I made no advancement to make that happen. I just nodded and told her goodbye. 

For the rest of my ride I reflected on our interaction. I thought about why I had no desire to go to my high school reunion.

In high school we were all just a portion of who we are today. But when you are with people from your past who have not been in your present you tend to revert back to the person you were when you knew them. I have made so much progress, learned so much about myself and others. I’ve made a solid effort to become who I want to be in life; to leave behind a legacy I am proud of. I don’t want to go backward. I kept in touch with everyone I cared to know from high school. With social media it’s easy. I hope they are all doing well and finding their way through life’s ups and downs. But I do not wish to compete with anyone in a setting where people feel obligated to impress each other whether that’s with lies or truth. Although some people are genuinely just excited to see people they enjoyed from their past, I don’t want to be in a social situation that feels anything but organic. I would be happy to run into most people in the supermarket, but putting myself in a position where I feel I have to defend my life choices? That’s just silly. 

Genshai is an ancient word with a powerful meaning; to live in a way that never makes anyone feel small, not even yourself. - I read about genshai in “Aspire,” by Kevin Hall. A great book full of important life lessons and finding your passion in life. 

After 2 years of waiting, wishing, wanting, and planning we finally tied the knot on June 23rd, 2012. 

A few notes about the wedding day:

  • It’s true that everything works out on the Big Day. So just breathe, have faith in your friends/family that they will be there for you and move forward with a happy heart and open mind. 
  • Everything did not go as planned, but ask me if I remember any of the missteps; I don’t. What I remember is what can clearly be seen in our photos: love, laughter, friendship, and happiness. Nothing else mattered. 
  • Getting married seemed so monumental that I had to break it down into to-do lists, which sort of took the magic the idea. But on that day, after emerging from the Bridal suite (where my bridesmaids had me quarantined so the groom wouldn’t see me) I finally saw my dreams come to fruition and it was powerful. When I turned the corner to walk down the aisle on my dad’s arm and saw the people dearest to us in our lives, and the decorations our bridal party pulled off (2 days worth of decorating) I was stunned into tear-jerking silence. I have never felt love so vividly. 
  • I am so happy that I let go of my fears and trusted the people I love to pull their talents and help with every aspect of our wedding. Everything from the food, to the decorations, to the photography and flowers was done by friends and family. As a result I can look back on each and every item in our pictures and match them with the memory of a friend, mom, future sister-in-law, brother, or bridesmaid working their buns off to make our days special for us. 
  • I learned that whatever the Bride says goes, and used this to everyone’s advantage by invoking fun. When the bride says “shots!” or “dance-off!” no one questions it. 
  • I was worried that our wedding wouldn’t be elegant because we didn’t hire caterers, or bartenders, or even have a traditional wedding cake. The #1 comment I got back from others was that it was not only elegant, but that it was the most fun wedding they’ve ever been to and that is was “so us.” That was the goal all along. 
  • Someone once told me “Everyone plans a wedding, but no one plans the marriage. Plan ahead and plan together.” And we did. It was one of the best things about the whole process. We’ve always been good about communicating with each other, but this experience put us on that creepy “I finish your sentences” level. I love it.  
  • We’ve been together for almost 7 years now. And those are not years that can be ignored. Therefore, we are celebrating both our wedding anniversary and our dating anniversary from here on out. I’ve had much opposition to this (mostly from men), but my thought is this: the good things in life are worth celebrating no matter how significant. There will be plenty of bad things that come in life, and when those times are prevalent wouldn’t you be better off to have celebrated the good things? And if you don’t think that someone you love is worth celebrating than maybe it’s time you let them find someone who does. 

Louis C. K. on Conan O’ Brian  - Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.

Reminiscing on the days before modern, instant technological advances. A very funny take on an impatient generation.

Cat got your bird

Hello all, 

It’s TURKEY DAY! Happy Thanksgiving: “gobble, gobble, gobble” and all that. I just wanted to share a simple Turkey recipe with you quickly:

It’s from Martha Stewart and if you read the comments below the recipe you’ll see that others recommend actually skipping brining (steps 1 and 2) in favor of just roasting the turkey. Click here for the details and enjoy!

Here is the recipe without the first two brining steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Stir together melted butter and wine in a medium bowl. Fold a very large piece of cheesecloth into quarters so that it is large enough to cover breast and halfway down sides of turkey. Immerse cloth in butter mixture; let soak.
  2. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Loosely fill body and neck cavities with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under; secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey all over with softened butter; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove cheesecloth from butter mixture, squeezing gently into bowl. Reserve butter mixture for brushing. Lay cheesecloth over turkey. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Roast 30 minutes. Brush cheesecloth and exposed turkey with butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Roast, brushing every 30 minutes, 2 1/2 hours more; cover with foil if browning too quickly. If making gravy, add giblets and neck to pan 1 1/2 hours after reducing temperature; roast 30 minutes, and reserve.
  4. Discard cheesecloth; rotate pan. Baste turkey with pan juices. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees and stuffing reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter. Set pan with drippings aside for gravy. Let turkey stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe from MarthaStewart.com 

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In Our Home

This Thanksgiving we are hosting dinner for the first time ever. Granted we will only be serving four people, it’s still an undertaking from an entertaining perspective. I hope my future-mother-in-law and future-sister-in-law are impressed. And just in case, there will be plenty of alcoholic beverages on hand in the form of spiked apple cider and Bailey’s-n-cream to ensure that their memory is just foggy enough to remember this meal fondly. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 


Many have tried to lose weight or get in shape and failed. You might agree that the hardest part is staying committed and motivated. All I can say is that it is all worth it when you do your part. And your part in Crossfit is showing up. 

I recently moved away from Diablo Crossfit and had to find a new sweat box. For the past week or so I have been making the industrial storage space called Lamorinda Crossfit my new home for fitness. Many of you are already familiar with the start-up Crossfit gym motif. It is usually nothing like your typical Globo-gym (to read about another first-timer’s experience click here). Undesirable locations near nothing, in the outskirts of Anytown, USA are common with Crossfit locations, but when it comes to fitness they mean business. And that is sort of the point. The equipment you’d find at a Crossfit gym is anything you can lift, push, pull, or use your own body as leverage on. There are no ellipticals, treadmills, and definitely no mirrors or saunas. These primitive gyms are designed to be just that: primitive.  

The goal here is to use your muscles the way you would in nature if you actually needed to hunt, gather, run, jump, climb, push, pull, carry, lift, and heave things and yourself in order to survive. Technology and convenience have brought us to a stale point in our industrialized, modern lives where we are featured sporting pancake asses (those wide, flat surfaces that used to resemble buttocks), and extra value sized muffin tops to compliment our many chins. We jump at the opportunity to ride an elevator, escalator or drive two blocks to the store. There are few opportunities left to walk, run, jump, or do much of anything physical outside of pressing buttons on keyboards, remotes, or a slew of other fancy devices. 

That’s not to say I discourage technology. I’m a tech geek myself. But, balance is essential in everything from food, to relationships, to being physically active. If you are serious about getting in shape, get off your butt, stop making excuses, and join a Crossfit gym. Most do not have contracts. You pay monthly and can get a discount if you join as a group. If you don’t feel results in a month stop going. Until then, just show up and let the skilled and passionate trainers take it from there. 

This is a photo from two nights ago. The skill training portion of the workout was push-press 6 rounds of 2 reps each, increasing weight until you cannot lift anymore. I topped out at 60 lbs. Thats half my current body weight and a personal record. I’m a beginner. Others were lifting much more than this and the workouts are scaled up or down depending on your fitness level and goals. 

Lamorina Crossfit Push Press

My personal goal right now is to be able to do a pull-up unassisted (no bands). I am just starting my 3rd month of Crossfit. The results are staggering as far as strength and body composition. My loose, soft, rolls of fat have been replaced with lean tight muscle. Though I have not lost much weight (maybe 10 lbs.) I’ve lost inches and no longer have a muffin top. 

I’ll post before and after photos of my progress soon.

Stay motivated friends. Remember, what gets measured gets done, so set goals and keep track!

xoxo,

Aggy

Yes, I am holding a duckling. He got separated from his mom on 4th of July. I guess this gives Independence Day a whole new meaning. Poor little guy. 

Yes, I am holding a duckling. He got separated from his mom on 4th of July. I guess this gives Independence Day a whole new meaning. Poor little guy. 

At times I feel like Life is a greedy, unrelenting, bitch that just takes and takes and leaves me wondering when it’ll start to give. At other times…times like these when things seem to be going well, I find myself wondering if now Life feels that same way about me. But somehow the all that wondering never inspires more than just the thought when it should inspire action, progress, and a new beginning. And then I am consumed with resentment for my “good fortune”. Others are not so lucky in these hard times. I can only hope that there are those who will be more brave than me and act on such thoughts. Imagine the possibilities.

I would have qualified my teachers before accepting their lessons as truths. I have gotten advice from everyone about everything in life. From financially distraught “grown-ups” telling me how to make money, to friends without relationships of their own giving me advice on mine. What I’ve learned from this is to qualify my teachers and advisers in life. If you seek advice on parenting, ask great parents who’s kids turned out to be as you hope your kids will turn out. If you seek advice on fitness ask someone who is fit. If you seek advice on your lovelife, DO NOT ask someone who is divorced, or who is always bitter and bickering with their partner. Ask someone whose relationship you admire. It’s the difference between an ivy league education and a junior college. The professors at ivy league universities have spent their lives building their experience and achieving renowned success in the field they are then hand picked to teach. The professors at junior colleges are hired to teach subjects they have studied or may have a degree in, but may not have experienced great success or much experience outside of a classroom. That difference is miles apart. And it will determine your own success in using that advice. Yup, I definitely would have done things differently.

Interior design and home decorating have been passions of mine for many years. I’m an HGTV and DIY junkie!

This was my college bedroom years ago. Now I have a more modern apartment, but I love romantic, contemporary and coastal styles so working out a happy compromise will take some time. Until then, here is a link to my post on HGTV.com in their Rate My Space sections. It’s where I get a lot of my inspiration. And Candace Olsen is my FAVE!

Enjoy!

Zip lining through Justin Herman Plaza across the street from the Ferry Building. Never a dull moment in this city.

@San Francisco, CA
ZipTrek.com

In San Francisco, the hipsters who claim they can’t stand all the hipsters call the commuters, “The Bridge & Tunnel Crowd.” Which is just fine. We call them hipsters after all. I think it’s time I begin to explore this glorious city some more and earn my keep amongst the hipsters. It is one of the most picturesque cities in the world.

Aspire by Kevin Hall

If you once were lost and want to be found this is a great book for finding your passion in life. Dig it.