Saturday, July 11, 2015

Peace is Every Step

I remember when I was in my 20's and seeing a therapist. During the process with her, some "old" issues arose. I remember I got upset because I'd worked on increased insight and personal growth earlier in my life and thought I was "done with all that". Why is this coming up again?
She didn't outright laugh but she gave me that "oh dear naive child" look and went on to tell me I'd be "dealing" with these issues in some form or another for the rest of my life.
It comes and goes, the need and interest to work on myself. But because of stuff happening in my life and all the changes over the past few years, well it's that time again.

I wanted to share because my posts might get all deep and introspective from time to time. I'm figuring things out and I do that through writing.

Anyway, this picture is from a very brief run I did today after riding my bike around town. More on this weekend's outing to come.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Take a Moment

The only person I can truly change is myself. As for that, I can talk of change, and think of change, but in the end I desire action to demonstrate my change. Passing the ocean, I wonder if I have the time to stop and meditate. Of course I do. In this chosen moment, I am all that I wish to be.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Simple Choices

The days, they just keep coming. Thankfully, because the alternative would be bad, right? Right.

I'm stringing together bits and pieces of good choices, which leads to good feelings, which leads to more good feelings. Momentum, I'm building up momentum. Slowly.

By way of an example I'll review my most recent food choices...

Yesterday for breakfast I had...nothing. I forgot to eat breakfast. That hasn't happened in ages, but it was a hectic morning with the kids. I had coffee, of course, but realized mid-morning that I hadn't had my cereal. I had a peach and a string cheese and awaited lunch.

I popped into WW for a meeting, my weight is officially 148.6 pounds, up 2.8 pounds from my last WW meeting in June and only .4 pounds from being officially over my goal weight. Pull it together Michelle. The topic from last week, which I missed, was gratitude. We spent some time reviewing it, which made me feel good. Counting my blessings always puts a pep in my step.

After the meeting I grabbed a wrap from Trader Joe's. I couldn't find the one I normally get so I chose the Vietnamese Style Chicken Wrap (w/ sauce, which I didn't eat - though I could have, I see now it was only 30 calories -  next time!). It was yummy, I love pretty much all Asian flavors. I didn't eat the whole tortilla, discarding the bits toward the end that weren't needed to hold the wrap together. You know that part, right? So lunch was 410 calories. I might have had a piece of fruit with it, I can't remember.

I was hungry come afternoon snack, so I had a Fage yogurt with a banana.

Dinner was out to eat, I shared a salami/cheese plate, had a few sips of wine, shared an Italian salad, and chose a grilled fish entree. Skipped dessert. All-in-all, I think I made good restaurant choices.

For breakfast today I had oatmeal with splenda. I was tempted by other things but I held it together.

Snack was a string cheese and a peach. Or was it a nectarine? No matter.

Lunch today was simple and delicious - white rice, black beans, avocado. All from Sol Food in San Rafael.

After work I plan to go to the gym. I'm pretty sore from my workout the other day, being that I hadn't gone in a while. I'll have to take it easy today.

I know part of what's challenging me right now is I'm knee deep in a bit of self-discovery. Oy vey, does it ever end? I guess not when you're the type that lives so much in your mind as I do. I might write more about this as time goes on, but for now it's a bit personal, though nothing unique. I'm just rediscovering what has been discovered, revisiting and visiting anew all that is old and within, uncovered, known and unknown - you know what I mean? Yeah, neither do I.

At least food and exercise are somewhat simple, uncomplicated choices, because the rest of life's choices aren't always so easy. And still, I can do all this while making choices I feel good about in the food and exercise department. In fact, it bodes well for my overall experience of life when my behavior is in harmony with my goals. I'm going to close on that happy thought.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I don't even know what to say. It's been food, food and more food around here lately. There was the 4th of July, then the county fair...and just my being in a state of "whatever" lately. I haven't been exercising much either. And to all that, I say, whatever. Tee hee.

I've been keeping an eye on my weight, getting on the scale every other day or so, and I've been maintaining right around 145. Give or take a pound or two. I guess I'm not eating as much as I think. Or at least balancing it with better choices. Though I know I can't go on like this forever and not gain weight.

So yesterday I finally managed to nudge myself in a healthier direction. I made healthy eating choices all day and even went to the gym. I started out for a three mile run but as I was out running, I decided I probably needed a bit more time on the streets. I ran about 4.5 miles in 50 minutes, which put me at 11:06 pace. Whatever, I ran.

And today is a new day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Backpacking with Kids at Point Reyes National Seashore

Oh what an adventure! My buddy Catherine is an active, brave mom and asked if I was up for an overnight backpacking trip...with the kids (Marek 6, Gracie 6, and Myra 4.5). Without thinking too long I said YES! Catherine reserved a spot at Coast Camp in the Point Reyes National Seashore in West Marin. Coast camp includes vault toilets and fresh water, with a picnic table and a food locker at each site. Perfect for a first-time backpacking trip with the kids. West Marin is very special, with miles of beautiful ocean and amazing hikes, bays and beaches to explore.

Marek and Myra haven't done a ton of hiking, and none recently, so I took them out on a test hike. I let them know we were going backpacking and we needed to do a little training. The hike I took them on was less than two miles total but a bit hillier than we would face in Point Reyes.

I did a bit of research and at this age all they can really carry is a daypack, lightly loaded. I got them both a Tarn 18 daypack from REI and purchased a separate hydration pack to put in it. They loved having water at the ready and stayed well hydrated. I also got them each a Sea to Summit Delta bowl and lid, and Teva sandals to wear at camp. A bit of a splurge but other than the sandals, they'll be using this gear for years to come. Heck, they might use the bowls forever.

So I put their packs on 'em and out we went.

Ready mom!

I love seeing my kids in nature
On our way toward the (dry) waterfall, Marek was behind me when I heard a shout of "Mommy!", turned back to see him frozen. "Snake, mommy, there's a s-s-snake." Marek was standing still just a few feet behind me. He pointed to the snake next to the trail. I mean right next to it, a couple feet from his feet. The snake was coiled up, looked relaxed, but was doing that tongue thing where it pops in and out of its mouth. Marek was scared, tears were starting to stream. I reached back, asked him to take my hand, which he did, and I gently pulled/led him past the snake.

Far past the snake and our adrenaline was pumping, he was still crying, and so we sat down to take a breather. After we calmed a bit I went back to snap a picture, if I could, of the snake. By now it was slithering away and I could only see his body but...oh my, I saw something on his tail that got my attention.

Yep, that's a rattler. Wow, I shouldn't have led Marek past the snake. We had an option of him walking back and going around another way, had I known it was a rattlesnake, I would have done that. Now I know, Michelle does not know diddly about snakes, assume the worst.

The rest of the hike was less eventful. We arrived at the site of the waterfall, which was bone dry of course. Enjoyed a snack while talking about the drought, and then made the return trip. We were careful when got to where the snake had been, surveying the area before passing through. After we passed I looked around for it and saw him coiled up in some leaves. I snapped this picture (yes, major zoom, I was nowhere near that close to the snake).

What a story the kids had to tell. My story was good too - test hike was a success. Their packs were comfortable, they love having hydration packs, and I felt good about our upcoming backpacking trek.

Tuesday came quickly and we were up early to pack for our adventure. Catherine and Gracie came to the house and eventually, we all piled in the car for the hour drive to Point Reyes.

We stopped at the Bear Valley Visitor's Center to pick up our permit.

"Primary method of travel: Foot" (I love it!)
The kids ate lunch in the car as we drove the final 20 minutes to the trailhead. The kids carried their water, a change of clothes, toothbrush/paste, and a snack. I carried a tent, all three sleeping bags and pads, clothes, the tiny stove, and a few other things. It wasn't too bad, only stuff for one night.

Ok, we're packed up and ready to go!

It was a sunny day with few clouds in the sky. The plan was to bribe the kids with candy every half-mile.

The hike in went beautifully. A few whines here and there, less shade than we wanted, and somewhere between miles 2 and 3 Catherine and I ended up carrying all the backpacks, but on the whole, wonderful. We came upon a deer munching on some vegetation, found funny-looking bugs, and otherwise enjoyed the walk, and the building excitement as we got closer to our destination.

It took us 2 hours, 7 minutes to walk 3 flat, easy miles - roughly 45 minutes per mile. Here's a Garmin screenshot of our hike. And bonus, no rattlesnakes!

We arrived at camp and starting setting up, and when the whine level started to escalate, we dropped everything and took the kids to the beach, a 2 minute walk from camp. And the real fun ensued!

We love you Grace Ann!

Playing with kelp

When it comes to kids and backpacking, a lake, river or ocean nearby is essential. They ran, jumped, dug and played until hunger started calling.

Myra running near our campsite
Our campsite is in the distance (near the porta potty bathrooms)
Back at camp and I realized...I forgot the pot to boil water. This was bad because all our food was dehydrated. Luckily, we had angels for camp neighbors, who happened to have two kids, a 6 year old boy and 2 year old daughter. They saved us with a pot, and with some extra food when our kids were still hungry after eating everything we brought. But they really made our night when they made s'mores! They'd gotten to camp on bikes, making several trips with a bike trailer so they had way more stuff than we did. Thank goodness!

The kids happily eating mediocre dehydrated mac-n-cheese
I'll spare you our tale of woe regarding food, but let's just say I learned a thing or two about how much to bring as well as the importance of measuring water and following cooking directions. Bottom line, with the kindness of strangers, all was good.


And then suddenly, I needed to sleep. I brought my two-man tent (aka a one-woman-and-two-kids-tent), two Thermarest Ridgerest Classic pads for the kids, and my beloved Big Agnes air pad. That, plus three sleeping bags and I think we were all snoozing within 10 minutes. I slept really well and lucky me, no kids up asking for a mid-sleep trip to the bathroom! Score!!

The kids were up early, getting hot chocolate from the neighbors and eating the Lucky Charms we brought. I slept a little late but eventually got up and took the kids back to the beach. The fog hadn't burned off, it was a little chillier than yesterday, but the kids still splashed and played their hearts out.

After the beach, we packed up and started our return trek to the car.

Me and my babes

I wish I could tell you what a lovely hike out we had. And I guess some of it was lovely, but mostly the kids were tired and hungry. Marek and Myra cried all of Mile 2. All of it. It began over Marek getting an m&m that was not his preferred color. And Myra eventually joined in for reasons unknown. The crying got louder, but they never stopped walking and as long as they were walking, I was happy. Happy, because I had no plan to get them back to the car if they staged a rebellion. And I was hungry too.

Something about the Mile 3 break did the trick, no more tears. Again, bring more food, I think more snacks could have helped. Lesson learned. But we made it! Our maiden backpacking voyage was a success!!! We dropped our packs, hopped in the car and drove to Point Reyes Station for a much deserved late lunch, and then home for the evening. What a day, I was exhausted, but happy. We all were.

What a life I have. I lost weight, and I gained this life. Not always easy, but always worth it.