Healing Knots

One of my favorite activities from my spa trip last week was bracelet making class.

So, yes, this place is basically camp for adults. 

Oh! And I didn’t mention yet that when I walked in the door, the first two people I saw were two women I met last year during my camp week. My new friends L., B., and I already made a plan for a repeat visit same time, same place next year. It was fun to pal around with them.

The idea behind the bracelet class was to make a piece of jewelry to wear with intention. 

It’s purposefully simple and rustic.

Healing Knots was started by a woman who made the bracelet as a way to heal from her brother’s death. (Full story here).

You can make the bracelet for any reason, but some people make them to celebrate a milestone, mark the weeks of pregnancy (40 beads, one for each week), to heal from a divorce/death/break-up, or to signify a goal. In the last case, you are supposed to wear the bracelet until you reach the goal, then give it away.

Another rule is that any time you meet someone who seems to need the bracelet more than you do, you need to give it away.

I decided to make my bracelet with beads in natural colors, except for one.

The lone bead is bright yellow, which symbolizes being authentic, which is a word I would use to describe myself and a way I try to live my life.

Here’s how it turned out:

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My intention for 2015 is to live authentically. This is a reminder.

P.S. Here are two snaps of my own tiny spa garden, complete with fountain. It was heaven.

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What Do You Call a Group of Turkeys?

Nope, not your in-laws and their extended clan. Ba da bum!

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A few weeks ago, the coffee shop I regularly patronize made the Group of Turkeys question their Trivia of the Day, for which a correct answer garners 10 cents off a cup of joe.

For the record, a group of turkeys is a called either a rafter or a gang.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s some trivia for your holiday table tomorrow.

What do you call a group of …

  • Bears: A sleuth
  • Cats: A clowder (For kittens: a kindle)
  • Giraffes: A tower
  • Ferrets: A business
  • Hyenas: A cackle
  • Ponies: A string
  • Jays: A party
  • Owls: A parliament
  • Starlings: A murmuring
  • Storks: A mustering
  • Sharks: A shiver
  • Toads: A knot
  • Crows: A murder (Yikes!)

 

 

 

 

Holiday Binge

The Holiday Binge Season officially starts this week.

Except these binges aren’t going to ruin your waistline.

With holiday travel and – let’s face it – long afternoons to fill with “quality time” with long-lost relatives you barely know, you may be looking to occupy your interest elsewhere.

That’s where this list comes in.

Each one of these is a satisfying use of your time, and it’s ok to be a glutton once in a while. (These would also be great company during marathon gift-wrapping or holiday card writing sessions, not to mention your four hour layover in Detroit).

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  • Serial. If you’re not already listening to this podcast/phenomenon, you’re in for a treat. Seriously, I am so addicted to this true crime story that’s being told one chapter at a time (ergo, “Serial”). The people behind it are also involved with “This American Life,” which I’ve mentioned before. It’s free to download the podcast but I would encourage you to donate to support Season Two.

 

  • Celebrity Mean Tweets. These clips from the Jimmy Kimmel Show are short and hilarious. I thought #8 (above) was particularly funny. Check out their crazy YouTube viewing numbers – 29 million!

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  • Arrested Development. I am so jealous of you if you’ve never seen this. So jealous. I would love to go back in time and watch it for the first time. 

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  • Orange Is the New Black. I have to slowly dole out my access to this Netflix darling, lest I go nuts all at once. You have my permission, though, to go nuts all at once.

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  • A buoyant round of “Cards Against Humanity.” Yes, this card game was funnier and cooler last year, but it’s still a ton of fun. Select players carefully. Aunt Agnes may not get some of the references, and explaining them to her will just mortify you both.

 

Solo

Last night I had an amazing dinner with fresh oysters and salmon at a waterfront restaurant in Vancouver. By myself.

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Would you go to a fancy restaurant alone?

Obviously, the answer for me is yes, but I recognize that this wouldn’t be in everyone’s comfort zone.

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I can’t recall exactly when I started to feel ok being on my own in a public setting, but I remember going to movies solo at least as far back as college.

Now, I cherish opportunities to be alone.

Alone with no responsibilities.

Alone with no agenda.

Alone in my own head.

It’s quite peaceful.

If you can’t quite fathom this, the key to being on your own – and not self-consciously so – is to understand this truth: The person who cares the most about your drama is you.

Translated, this means that no one in the restaurant is looking at you. They’re eating dinner.

So go ahead and enjoy those oysters. You even have permission to get dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Recap

On Sunday, 8847 other runners and I finished the 2014 Medtronic Twin Cities marathon.

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This was the fourth time I’ve done the course and my eighth marathon overall.

How did it go?

Overall, I’d say pretty good. I wasn’t thrilled with my time (4:34) and wished I’d been about 10 minutes faster.

But… I’m not beating myself up about it because I had a great day and a fun time along the way.

Leading up to the race, I was curiously numb about the experience. I didn’t tell many people about it until the final week or so. I think part of that was to give myself an out in case I decided that I wasn’t going to run after all.

Like always, I had so many doubts about my performance.

Did I train enough?

Did I taper too much? Too little?

Am I getting too old for this?

Why am I doing this in the first place?

(Spouse’s comment to that last rhetorical question: “But don’t you do this because you love to run?” Answer: Yes).

The 30 degree temps and high winds the day prior also sent my confidence reeling.

On Saturday, I had to check out the official marathon site for some information about bib number pick-up and came across some great advice for the week leading up to the marathon. 

I can’t find the link now, but there were also some coaches who posted advice and one piece in particular really hit a chord with me.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of the message was this:

At the starting line, in the midst of all the chaos leading up to the gun firing, take a moment to be grateful.

Grateful that this race exists.

Grateful that you are here.

Grateful that you are able to run.

Grateful that you can share this moment with other like-minded people.

And that’s what I did.

I’ve posted in the past about feeling gratitude toward being able to run as well as the influence that my father had on my running.

On Sunday I channeled all of those emotions and it turned into a great race. Mentally, I’ve never felt better during a marathon.

I always think about my Dad when I run, even though he died more than a decade ago. Even though I am not a particularly spiritual person, I really felt a connection to him on Sunday. I could hear his voice in my head and would ask him to give me a push up the next hill, and I’ve never tackled hills better than this.

I also shamelessly got about 200 high-fives along the course from anyone who would dole one out. I love high-fives!

The last thing that really got me going was a surge of crowd support near the end.

In this particular race, there is a turn between miles 21 and 22 where you enter the appropriately-titled Summit Avenue, which takes you up a gradual 2-3 mile incline until the final turn to the finish line at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Since I’ve done the course before, I knew that turning onto Summit meant I was going to make it. 

When I rounded the corner, I felt like sobbing with gratitude but instead I grinned from ear to ear and pumped my arms overhead in victory. The crowd went nuts! There were at least a few hundred spectators at that turn and they all started to cheer.

It was the single most awesome moment I’ve ever had while running. That surge kept me cruising to the end.

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P.S. Here’s another recap of the race.