19 August 2016

Living Fearlessly And Refusing To Hear Discouragement

I have been in a really interesting transition in my life recently where I am feeling increasingly fearless. Don't try to discourage me by telling me my idea won't work. I have reached some really cool place in my life where I have complete faith in my own dreams and ideas. I know I can make them work if I follow my inspiration and what I know from my own personal experience. I just refuse to accept no if my soul is saying YES!

When I think about how I'm feeling I keep hearing Barbara Streisand singing Don't Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl and Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat in the air like she owns all of Minneapolis. 
If you need a little encouragement to follow your dreams check out Barbara's anthem!

I've definitely entered into a highly creative phase of my life and I am really excited to move things forward and I feel really confident most of the time in what I'm doing. Of course there are those middle of the night moments of doubt, the few minutes before I have to go do something brave where nerves hit and those memories of past flops but hey, it's time to make some awesome stuff happen. I'm feeling unafraid to push forward, to tell people what I'm doing and ask for help when I need it. 

I've learned a lot about myself in the past year based on some pretty serious hardships and some happy moments too. So I'm following those things and recalibrating a bit and re-centering myself on things I know are most me and work best for me. It's amazing how quickly I started looking and feeling healthier, happier and more myself when I took those big steps.

It's a thrilling time and I wish I had 48 hours in every day to work on projects. I was so excited about my new table top photo booth  project, which I now realize I haven't shared here...oops. Anyway I was awake in the middle of the night so excited that I couldn't sleep. I'm talking like "I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow and can't sleep" excited. I've been the same way about a couple of business ideas and when this happens I am seriously awake most of the night just writing down all my ideas and how I can bring these things to fruition. It's exciting.

I have several fun DIY projects I am ready to work on for our house too including a planter stand for our front entryway and a more permanent outdoor dining table and benches. I think of anything these projects bring me the most joy and happiness. Working out in our pool and at the gym regularly has really helped my life in every way as well. It's kind of amazing that right now it feels like my life is growing in all directions and I am excited about every part of my life. I think that's how it should be when life is at its best. Being solely focused on one part of our life pulls so much out of focus and usually leaves our self-care, physical and mental health, homes and relationships in a disastrous state.

Oh there just aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week for all I want to accomplish. But it's a great feeling and I am really excited to see where this year takes me and our family. I'm loving our new home, our new friends and neighborhood here in New Mexico and am enjoying living a fuller, richer life. I'm looking forward to new partnerships, new successes and new adventures. More to come definitely!

P.S. Can I just say how completely excited I am that my hairstylist is back from maternity leave and I am seeing here tomorrow. I had to cancel my appointment we had set up just before she went on maternity leave which was a disaster for me. Then she came back and it was completely impossible to get an appointment with her. Finally, tomorrow is my day and I can't wait! The last time I saw her I was still on crutches! It will feel great to go into that salon without crutches after going there so many times to have them help me wash and style my hair weekly. I know so many of you know what I'm talking about when I mention the utter desperation of needing a cut and color.

17 August 2016

Yard Adventures: The Pool, Me And A Rattlesnake

We've been having quite a few adventures with creatures, living here on the mountain. It's been an eye-opening experience to say the least. I mentioned when I shared with you at some point about our next door neighbors sharing their night-vision cam images of deer and bear going through their yard at night. 

With the cute and fun comes also the scary. We have an apple tree in our backyard and have been told that it is prime bear snacks come fall. Yikes. Since moving we have enjoyed a wide range of birds around out home. We had to buy a birds of New Mexico book because we were so curious about all the different birds we were seeing. The bunnies are so cute but seem to be the blame for diseases spreading.

Almost nightly if we pay attention, we see deer walking through the yard, down the hill on the north side of the house and sometimes the south side of the yard. They often walk in packs and lately there have been lots of cute males with fuzzy antlers. The antlers are just too cute. This little guy above was standing outside our living room windows last week foraging.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a walk in our neighborhood and saw a mama dear with two babies that could not be more than a day or two old. The Man and I saw them again last Friday and those babies are so cute and still to tiny. I told my neighbor friend about them on Monday and she saw them the next morning in her backyard and texted me at 6:20 in the morning.

I am careful to strictly obey the 15-20 mph speed limits in our neighborhood because you never know when a deer or several will walk into the road...or snakes, or bunnies, or who knows what else.

Let me share with you the most terrifying thing that has happened to me so far. A few weeks ago The Man and Kiddo had just minutes before left the house for Kung Fu classes. I had been working out in the pool and was planning to relax for a few minutes before heading inside. As I lazily floated in the middle of the pool I opened my eyes and it seemed as if suddenly I was in some strange hazy dream. I felt as if someone had flashed my face with a high voltage flashlight, my eyes were blurry and just seeing blurry gray and my entire body seemed to go ballistic with adrenalin. I looked again a few feet away from me trying to understand what I was seeing -- and there was a rattlesnake dangling in the pool drinking.

I immediately and quickly began making my way to the other side of the pool trying not to make waves or do anything that would call attention to myself as I knew the snake would move much more efficiently in the water than I could. I flew up the pool ladder and stood on the far side of the pool. It was at this point I realized my cover-up, towel and shoes were all within a foot of the snake, who by now was back in the bushes -- RIGHT NEXT to the walkway and stairs back into the house. At this moment I also remembered that I had locked the door that went to the other side of the house, into our master bedroom. I was stranded with no shoes and no safe way back into the house.

By now the adrenalin overload was too much for my body to handle and I was crying somewhat hysterically. There was a small hope that The Man might just drop off Kiddo at Kung Fu then return home and head back to his class an hour later. I prayed and prayed and prayed that he had come home and would hear me or look out and see me. Otherwise The Man and Kiddo would not be home for hours. I didn't have my phone outside with me.

With the heat being over 100 degrees that day, if there was one snake out there were others and could be all over the yard. So I stood there and panicked and cried  for a while (adrenalin rushes of that kind will wreck you!) trying to think of what I could do and after some time there were no viable options, meanwhile there were hornets and yellowjackets and other bugs flying around me and I was standing there in my bathing suit feeling ridiculously vulnerable.

I decided to try to get to the master bedroom door and just see if by any chance I could get it open or it had been unlocked. I tiptoes gingerly around the pool, up the railroad tie staircase (great in bare feet!) and banged and banged on the door but it would not open. I could see that the door to our bedroom was shut, so even if The Man had come home, he would not hear me banging if he was upstairs in the kitchen. Then I had to get back to the pool area. I stood for quite a few more minutes in my original spot at the far side of the pool, crying again not knowing what to do and terrified that that snake would strike if I tried to make a run for the house.

A few minutes later I got my break when I saw a snake come out of the same bush and go across the stairs and into a flowerbed. I watched him until I could see that his head was a good 10 feet in the opposite direction of the stairs and I very gingerly and speedily leaped across the north side of the pool where he had been hiding in the ivy and ran up the stairs as fast as I could to the back door, leaving my shoes and towel and all behind.

My heart was racing again like crazy when I got up the stairs of the deck to the back door. I opened the screen and turned the doorknob, only to realize that The Man had locked the door -- pure habit -- and had not been thinking -- he knew I was in the pool and we had just talked before they left the house.

All I wanted to do was get into that house! Being locked out I began playing out scenarios of how many hours I would be sitting out in my bathing suit in 100+ degree temps and creatures everywhere before they came home. My shoes were still down at the pool, the snake was between me and the shoes and my towel. I had one more option and this one terrified me too.

I could run from the backyard around to the front of the house but I knew there were lots of potential dangerous creatures that way, big ants, and of course every possibility of running into another snake. Plus it's rough terrain and not safe at all in barefeet. I could not handle the thought of seeing another snake. My only hope was finding an unlocked door on the front side of the house. There's no garage keypad panel outside to open the garage door and my only hope was of a door that might not be locked. My anxiety level at this point was about a 15 on a scale of 1-10. I was pretty sure that if I got to the front and was still locked out that I might just lose it.

By this point I was so desperate, so exhausted from the stress and so determined to get inside the house and I knew I had to at least get my flip flops to make the trip to the front of the house. I ventured back down the stairs and slipped them on my feet and grabbed my towel, which at that point felt like a suit of armor compared to what I was currently dressed in. I looked for the snake again and didn't seen it and quickly ran back up the stairs and continued right around the house, out the gate and then started the adventure of getting to the front yard. Every stick looked like a snake to me and I was probably in a full sprint even though I didn't realize it.

I got around to the front door and it slid open and our dear dog met me at the door. I've never been so glad to see him and so glad he wasn't outside with me while this was all going on. That would've added exponentially greater stress to it all. I was so freaked out that I felt like I really needed to talk to someone, but not one of the people I called answered their phones. So I sat in the living room in my wet bathing suit and towel and stared at the TV until about 30 minutes before I knew the family would be home. They I dragged myself down to the shower and got cleaned up and started working on dinner.

When the family did come home I met them in the driveway and had another sob when I could finally really let loose and tell them what happened. But based on the extreme adrenalin rush I had when I first saw that snake it was no wonder my entire body was a little crazy the rest of that day, heart still pounding, etc.

So now when any of us go to the pool, we have determined it's a good idea to always have a cell phone (what if I had been bitten and there were no neighbors nearby and I could not get into the house?!) to make sure both doors to the backyard are unlocked, and to bring two pairs of shoes and put one pair on each side of the pool. These safeguards are by no means foolproof - the cell phone could always be on the snake's side of the pool and unretrievable. There could be snakes on both sides of the pool...there are any number of ways these strategies could fail. But they certainly can't hurt.

I was brave enough to get back in the pool two days later with Kiddo. It was good to break the "scary spell" and just get back in the water again although I don't know that I will swim alone any time soon and certainly not when I am home alone. In general it's not safe to swim alone, but I do wear a workout belt when I am in the water and there are usually people coming and going in and out of the house. But, yeah, I won't be out there when home alone even if it is for just five minutes.

Since we had not seen any snakes in our backyard, within the retaining walls, I was living in ignorant bliss back there until that day thinking all the snakes were outside "the rim" but such is not the case and my relationship with our backyard is forever altered. I wanted to blame it on living on the mountain but our friends who live in subdivisions just a mile down the road report they have all had a lot of snakes this year. So I guess we've actually been quite lucky. We do see snakes crossing the road sometimes but certainly haven't found any in the house or garage or up against the house.

I have only shared this experience with one friend since then and even trying to write it just gives me the creepies so bad I can barely handle it. I honestly could not even talk about it for weeks because my body would go into complete anxiety/stress overload mode. Life on the mountain has changed a bit for me, but I know I need to get over it.

As I was thinking about this blog post I hear The Bachelor's Chris Harrison saying "Our most traumatizing blog post yet!" As the weeks have passed I'm getting a little less freaked out about it all, but I'll tell you I wrote this post the same week this happened and it stressed me out so badly just writing it that I could not finish it and definitely could not post it. So I've come a long way in my "recovery"! At least I don't feel like I'm going to have an actual heart attack now. That is big progress. Our very close relationship with Mother Nature here on the mountain continues. This week my husband pulled a Vinegaroon (horrifying creature, google it for an image), lizard and bat out of the pool and photographed another snake within the rim. Thank goodness there is a man living in our house as our protector, exterminator and park ranger!

16 August 2016

Buy A Swimsuit That Makes You Happy - Here's Mine

It's a good time to stock on on bathing suits at a great price for the rest of this summer and going into next summer - or hopefully you have a fabulous winter vacation to a warm destination planned. I mentioned this in my last blog post. I wanted to share with you the great suits I got last month that I have really been enjoying. After the arrived, I realized that this style works so well for all sorts of beach and pool activities.

This is the Land's End Blouson Tankini Top in Polkadot. It comes in a lot of different colors and patterns and you can buy your bottoms separately so that you can really mix and match them. The other great thing about these suits is that they come in a variety of size options. I'm thrilled to be able to buy a Long/Tall in any top I can find, especially a bathing suit top! So I was able to get a size that works great for me.

The thing I really love about this suit is that it is so comfortable and you can wear it styled a lot of different ways for outdoor summer parties. I've worn it with a regular skirt for pool parties or after a swim and it works with swim boyshorts, a swim skirt or bikini bottoms. I also got this suit top in all black because I thought it would pair great with anything colorful. Both would be really cute with a sarong or maxi skirt too. This top doesn't scream swimsuit top when it's paired with pants, shorts or skirts. There is an good bra on the interior so you get some support there too. The bottom band stays in place well too. The other great part about it is that it's comfortable and not fitted. You can lounge comfortably without worry about how your midsection looks all the time.

In our new neighborhood there are are a lot of families who have pools. I'm realizing more and more every week that there is a reason people in the southwest have swimming pools -- IT'S HOT. Most of the summer the temps have hovered right around 100 degrees and it's fantastic to have a pool to cool off in during the afternoon or end of day. It's amazing how a nice cool swim in an unheated pool will keep your body temps very comfortable for the rest of the day.

I think the backside of these tops are so cute too with unique straps and I think they just just this suit a little extra bit of fun personality. For one party we went to I paired the polkadot top with my black skirt and a ponytail with a blue and white striped ribbon which gave my pool look an added bit of sophistication.

Swimming and swimming parties have been a big part of our summer. One of the reasons I invested in some swimsuits I really like is because a year or so ago I committed to not being the mom who never puts on a bathing suit, doesn't get wet, who doesn't swim, and who sits at the side of the pool totally dressed watching everyone else have fun and enjoy cooling off. So having swimwear that I like is a huge part of that.

I have worn both of these quite a bit and I have felt pretty, comfortable and happy with them each time I have worn them. For a swimsuit, I consider that a pretty great recommendation. Plus I shopped these on sale so I got a great price and they will carry me through the winter when I hit the gym pool or for any vacations. These are not workout suits so if you're doing some serious lap swimming I would buy a more traditional one-piece lap pool suit, but for just about anything else these work great. I wear them for my aqua workouts all the time and they work well.

I'm so happy to see stores and so many young, new online shops offering more and more options for swimwear. Everyone of all shapes and sizes and ages deserves a good cooling off in a pool and being able to find something that suits many types and personalities is such a great thing. If you're unhappy with your bathing suits or watching your kids from the edge of the pool missing out on all the fun, try finding something new that really fits your style. It's a great time to snag some end of season deals.

I've written several posts of our new life as pool owners and living in a community with a real "pool culture". You can find more pool posts including workout ideas, toys and more here.
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