Photo Friday: Hot Air Balloon

Last weekend I ventured up to Readington, New Jersey for the Balloon Festival. Over 100 hot air balloons were launched in to the gray sky starting at 6:30 p.m.

Here is a photograph of one of the balloons in the final stages of being filled just before take off. I’ve posted some of my other photos from the Balloon Festival on Flickr if you’re interested.

Happy Friday!

Almost ready to launch

Almost ready to launch

Finally Back at the Gym

I did it. I went back to the gym.

Over the past year, I’ve been going very sporadically. An abs class here, a pilates class there. I even ran a nice pilates streak for a few weeks around mid-Spring. I had not, however, gone back to Power Flex (weights) or Kickboxing class in a long, long time.

You know how it is. Life gets hectic, the gym feels hard, and you think “not tonight, I’ll start up again next week.” Like that ever happens.

After being away from those classes for so long I was scared of not being able to keep up. I was scared of shaky legs like in the last Power Flex class I went to. I was scared of facing the regulars lest they scoff me for not being there.

Over the last few weeks I kept saying to myself “this is the week.” And then I didn’t go. The following week, I’d say the same thing. I even printed up the class calendar and highlighted the classes I thought would fit my schedule. And I didn’t go.

Tonight I went. Despite it being Monday. Despite the busy days I’ve had lately. And even though there was the beckoning safety of a pilates class, I went to Power Flex. Because I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of feeling weak when I lift heavy things.

I went to Power Flex. And I rocked it. Ok, maybe I wasn’t using 10 lb. weights like some of the regulars. And maybe I even put my 5 lb. weights down on the second set of lunges. But I did all the sets and I kept pace with the rest of the class. In fact, I think I did quite well with the upper body sets.

I came home feeling energetic. More importantly, I’m proud of myself for going back. Maybe this will boost my creative energy as well. And maybe it won’t be as hard to go to the next class.

What have you done for yourself lately?

Photo Friday: Rome Wedding

One year ago yesterday, my (now) husband and I exchanged vows in Rome. It was just the two of us, an officiant, the coordinator, and a couple we met on the trip to whom we handed our camera. It was quite simply perfect.

Today’s Photo Friday is from that glorious evening in the Borghese Gardens.

Happy Friday!

A perfect day in Rome

A perfect day in Rome

Wreck This Journal: Week 8

A lot of people in this Wreck This Journal book blogging group tackled the burning page early on. Since I waited, it felt almost a little boring so I just kept ignoring that page.

With the help of my husband and stepson, last night I ceremoniously burned the page. We even made another video. I have to give my husband loads of credit for his ideas on how to burn the page as well as his film directorship. I hope you like it.

Happy wrecking!

If you’re confused as to what this Wreck This Journal stuff is all about or curious to see what other wrecking has transpired, here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Photo Friday: Sunset

For this week’s Photo Friday entry, I thought I’d share this amazing sunset from July 4th. This is another instance where I am happy to finally be capturing with my camera the color that I actually see in this world (no, there is no photo editing here).

What an amazing world we live in.

Sunset on the 4th of July

Sunset on the 4th of July

Happy Friday!

Wreck This Journal: Week 7

Two glorious forms of wrecking occurred this week in my journal. Both involved tearing pages out and putting pages in.

First, I laundered a page. I ripped it out, folded it up and tucked it in the pocket of a pair of shorts. One wash cycle and 45 minutes of dryer time later, I let my hubby recover the balled up (but clean) page.

Pulling the washed page out of a pocket

Pulling the washed page out of a pocket

Carefully opening the washed page

Carefully opening the washed page

The beautiful end result

The beautiful end result

Second, and even more glorious, I swapped pages with the delightful LaWendula in Germany. That’s right, our pages crossed a good portion of the globe in just a few short days. Her page came to me on Monday, the same day that I put my page in the mail to her. She let me know yesterday that she had received it already.

I was so excited to see that envelope in the mailbox! She had used several pretty stamps on a bright pink envelope. So cheerful!

Stamps from LaWendula's letter to me

Stamps from LaWendula's letter to me

The page she sent could not have been more perfect. She glued in a page from Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

LaWendula's <em>The Awakening</em> page

LaWendula's The Awakening page

What LaWendula didn’t realize is that Kate Chopin is my favorite classic author. I read The Awakening and a number of Chopin’s short stories as an English major in college. Her “The Story of an Hour” is one of my favorites.

A few months ago I purchased a copy of The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction so I could read it all over again. That book is next on my “to read” list (after I finish The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger).

<em>The Awakening</em> at the top of my own "to read" stack\

So to LaWendula: Thank you very much for sending me this beautiful page! I have given it a new home in a “clean” portion of my Wreck This Journal. I will think of you when I read The Awakening. I’m pleased to have you as a new friend.

To all of my fellow wreckers, Happy Wrecking!

If you’re confused as to what this Wreck This Journal stuff is all about or curious to see what other wrecking has transpired, here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Slow Down – Why So Rushed?

I am a fast walker. In fact I rush a lot of the time.

I think it started when I was a little girl trying to keep pace with my dad. I practically had to run to keep up with his fast walking. It didn’t help that he was 6′ 4″ tall and took long strides.

In high school I remember my friends asking me more than once why I was walking so fast as I zipped in and out of the mob to make it to my next class.

Recently it has been my husband and stepson that ask. My husband asked once, “why did you leave me? Can we walk together?”

On days when I work in New York I have to walk about 15 minutes from the train station to my office. I always speed walk there too, passing everyone in front of me.

Ditto for restroom breaks and going to pick up lunch. Why?

It’s not just walking either. It’s also eating fast, rushing through my mornings, anxiously shaking my leg while sitting still, ripping through my RSS reader.

Yesterday morning a song popped in to my head. It’s an old Alabama song that says:

I’m in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die,
but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.

So yesterday in the many (many, many) times I found myself rushing, I made a conscious effort to slow down.

When I realized I rushed through the first block of my walk, I let up a bit for the last three. Rather than devouring my lunch, I took time to taste the flavors that made up my salad. When I left my desk, I walked at a more “normal” pace.

Midday a bunch of emails came in to my inbox while I was still replying to one. Rather than rushing through them all at once, I took care of a few then switched to another task before returning to take care of a few more.

This fast pace must be deeply ingrained in me because I had to remind myself to act more consciously a lot throughout the day.

I feel that if I can make this shift in behavior I may feel calmer all around.

Does anyone else have this problem? Feel free to share in the comments. I’m curious how you remind yourself to slow down.

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