Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Wishes #2: The big and unexpected

Hey, look! It's a regular feature! Why? Making these Wednesday Wishes keeps me in touch with what's fantastic about life and my mission to make 2011 about the happies. Sometimes the wishes are about stuff, but mostly it's about turning life from good to great.

For years, I bought into the idea that success meant I had to Make Goals. Set Plans. Stick to Them. What I've found, especially with the advent of the dudes in my life, is that life is more like the old Stones tune. I don't always get what I want, but I get what I need.

This week was a prime example. Last week, boots, handlebars and a great morning ritual were on the wish list. They're all in process, and I'm good with that. The morning ritual is most important to me, and that takes time to weave together.

What I didn't ask for and got anyway
  • Dedication to do some sort of workout every day. I'd been afraid to set that intention out in the world, but it showed up, inspired by a couple of pieces of clothing that, as my pal Lorca said, just ask for fabulous.
  • Gentle resolution with a bully from junior high. I'm long past the days when I've fantasized about a great tell-off moment with these folks, but I've always wondered what they thought about their behavior. Or if it even registered with them. When I broached the subject with a bully (a Facebook thing), I got typical bombastic bully denial. BUT, the conversation completely turned around when I said I didn't want to put anyone on trial for their past self. I cannot say how much this interaction gave me hope.
  • A life-changer happened. More details as I can release them.
My Wednesday Wishes

Grace under pressure
The next few months are going to be filled with details and deadlines. I'm not good with either, so I'm hoping I can get through them calmly and -- dare I ask -- joyfully.

The big thing to happen
There's one piece of this whole life-changing deal that would make life sooo much easier (I think) if it went through easily. And soon. 

Peace with what is
I'm old enough to know that sometimes when I don't get what I want, it makes a way for something better. I want to trust that it's gonna be better than okay.

How about you? 

Friday, February 18, 2011

10-Minute Momentum: Stage one wrap-up

Gettin' on my momentum for a winter ride!

On January 16, I kicked off 10-Minute Momentum, a kind little idea that says you didn't have to beat yourself up in order to get in shape.
  • It's a subversive, rebellious concept giving you permission to do small amounts of exercise and see them add up in big ways. 
  • It's a shift in thinking that's more likely to put you on the road to lifelong fitness than the exhaustion of belly boot camp or crash diets ever will.
So how's it going? I've been hearing from some of you who are busy moms or recovering from surgery that this is just the ticket. For myself, it's been a very good thing to know that 10 minutes is good enough, and those little minutes matter.

In the past couple of days, I've been at home with illin' chilluns, and I've seen how a 10-minute walk with our wonder dog takes the edge off my cabin fever. A 15-minute bike ride downtown in a skirt gave me a lift that lasted all day. A short core workout that I thought I couldn't fit in made me feel like a powerhouse instead of an excuse-maker.

Check in with New Numbers
Remember those New Numbers you made in January? Pull them out again. Do they still make your heart sing? Do they help you get out of bed in the morning or pull you toward your workout like a tractor beam? Then you're on the right track. If you're rolling your eyes and diving under the covers, then maybe it's worth a second look.

I've been getting inspired by great clothes that fit better and new slinky stuff that asks for a toned foundation. (How's that for discreet?) It's working!

How do you feel?
Take a couple of minutes and consider if your general outlook on life and energy levels have made a change, since this is the most important part of the plan

With stress levels and anti-depressant use at such high levels in our culture, it's important to have access to a release valve that offers side effects like a stronger, leaner body and a calmer mind.

Check in with the old numbers
Since you've been getting in great momentum time for four weeks, now's a good time to finally step on the scale for a quick peek. Remember, this is not an opportunity to use the scale as a measuring stick for your self worth. It's just a little check-in. When you're done, pack the scale away for another month.

Momentum, second helping
Since January 16, our simple weekly mission has been two 10-Minute Momentum sessions and one core workout session. From February 20 through March 19, Let's notch it up just a teensy bit.

Workouts + one
Add one more session of whatever feels good to you, whether that's another interval/cardio workout or more core time. Consider making it longer, like 20-30 minutes, if you're able and interested in seeing physical results a little faster. I usually plan longer workouts for the weekend, when I'm not so crunched for time.

I'd suggest making this extra session something different than your others to help avoid the workout burnout feeling. I love Ellen Barret's workout videos for the winter months, so I have a few that I rotate to keep things fresh. If I can't fit in the full deal, I just do what I can and enjoy the cardio buzz.

My favorites are:
Crunch: Super SlimDown Pilates (available on NetFlix Watch Instantly)
The Studio: Fat Burning Fusion
The Studio: Yogini

The eating thing
I haven't thought or uttered the "D" word (diet) until this point, just because I think folks in the U.S. of A have some pretty screwed-up attitudes toward food, I sure as hell don't want to be part of that. In the next four weeks, I'll toss out some suggestions about great eating habits, but it ain't gonna be much.

When you get right down to it, there are only a few guidelines we need for food.
  • Eat real food. The stuff your great-grandmother would recognize.
  • Eat what makes your body feel good. (And pay attention when it doesn't.)
  • Drink more water.
Here's to a lovely, powerful four weeks!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

Because it's the middle of the week.

And Monday's plans are pretty much off the table, just because life happens.

But there's still hope for amazing stuff right around the corner.

And rituals for pleasure can be a wonderful thing.

So here's the game. Each Wednesday (yeah, this week I'm late!), I'll post about things I'm wishing for, and you can play along at home or here in the comment section.

Why wishes on a bike blog? 
Why not? We all lust for a gorgeous bike, a great helmet, warm gloves for winter riding or just more time to ride. Those of you participating in 10-Minute Momentum know all about wishing and doing, since you've decided to make small to large changes toward feeling great.

Going public with the wishes can also be like an flashing sign to the Universe saying, "Over here! Pick me!" Then coincidence can take over.

A few suggestions . . .
  • Be confident. Don't be shy about asking for what you want, but don't expect a white knight to ride in to save the day. Be prepared to save your own day be being curious, open to the unexpected, and taking small (or large) steps in that direction.
  • Be specific. What you need will make it to you if you can pinpoint what it is. If you don't know what you want, you can wish for clarity.
  • Don't should on yourself, and don't musterbate. Wish for what you really want, not what makes other people comfortable or lets you settle back into your usual routine. This is about opening the doors of possibility. Wide.
  • Don't offer advice to other folks who comment. No one wants their wish to be stuffed back into a box or to hear a sermon. If you have a lead on their wish, tremendous! Share freely!
If you're not sure how to get started, I recommend hopping over to Havi Brooks' site, The Fluent Self, for her version of wishing.

My Wednesday Wishes:

A simple, energizing morning ritual.
I'm one of those people who wakes early with my brain buzzing with heaps of ideas for the day. It's also the time when the house is quiet and no one needs me, so I tend to hole up with a book or computer and putter. It's precious me time.

Pretty soon it's 9 a.m., the dudes haven't had a proper breakfast yet, and I'm rushing around like a mad woman trying to get the day in motion. After months of hoping that "me time" will get me going, I have to admit that it's nothing more than an avoidance tactic.

I'd like to find a way to get in 10 minutes, a beautiful and soothing practice (Cup of tea? Meditation?) and a laugh to put everything in perspective. I'll be doing a lot of thinking about the small things that make me happy and start experimenting.

An simple, affordable solution to improve my commuter bike.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I need to make some changes to make my bike work for me. I'm too hunched over on the straight handlebars and I can only carry cargo in a backpack. Because I'm no sort of bike mechanic, I have no clue how difficult or simple it will be to switch out handlebars and/or add a rack and pannier. I can't quite afford an Xtracycle FreeRadical yet. Someday. Sigh.

I promise to get myself to the Bike Kitchen and ask the very cool volunteer experts what they think.

A great pair of boots or shoes.

I've had the hardest time finding a pair of shoes. I really don't want to whine, but everything looks too stodgy or too impractical. Style? Not cowboy, not (motorcycle) biker, not floozy. Practical and magical. Kinda like this, but without the Dansko bottom, which is just too clunky for me. Love the embroidery, but I need something a little more sleek.

I will keep looking online and locally, but I would like these shoes or boots to come to me in a fantastic way. 'Cuz it's just more fun.

Your turn!

Monday, February 14, 2011

For love, for joy, for pleasure

image by Janet Bike Girl

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you have a wonderful day with the people you love! You hereby have permission to indulge yourself, too.

It's clear that something is in the air this month. I've been bombarded with messages reminding me that this life is about pleasure and happiness. It's a little difficult for a girl raised Calvinist (you get a side of depravity with that order) to fully embrace this new-to-me perspective, but baby, I'm trying. Maybe I should put a little Mae West on the reading list.

The week started wonderfully with an honest-to-goodness road bike ride and date with Hot Husband yesterday. So lovely to spin by my favorite views again on two wheels. There was plenty of grit and gunk in the bike lane to try to avoid with my skinny tires, but it was definitely worth it. The day before, I rode my commuter/mountain bike with studded tires into town -- wearing a skirt! -- so I really felt the difference between my slow and steady workhorse ride and my speedy, responsive road bike.

Here's to people love and bike love. And my favorite -- people who love bikes!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

That nagging issue

The hunched-over thing has to go.

Since I don't have a daily commute, winter keeps me off the bike more than I'd like. Early mornings, when Hot Husband can stay home with the dudes, is often bitter cold and dark, so I end up biking just on the weekends.

These long breaks between rides really bring bike fit issues to my attention. Heading into town on Sunday with a full backpack and a winter helmet, I realized that I really, truly need upright handlebars on my commuter bike. Having my head down, staring at the road ahead of me is great on a trail, but in traffic, I need to be looking up and around constantly. Especially when I'm biking with the dudes.

Now I'm back to the same old question: Do I refit the old commuter bike with upright bars, potentially making it look like a Frankenbike, or do I just get a different commuter bike? You see, if I go for the upright bars, then I might as well do it right and get an Xtracycle FreeRadical so I can haul stuff, too.

We'll see. There are still a few things up in the air for my family, and I'm not sure that my commuter bike is the place we should be spending $500 right now. Let's just say that I'll probably be talking to my favorite bike consultants about this one. See you soon, Bike Kitchen!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forward. Motion.

Get this cool poster on Etsy!
This week, I had grand intentions for a plan of action for my momentum, and it never materialized.

But I got more than my 10 minutes in anyway.

After a stressful Saturday, I could only picture a day in front of the woodstove, reading a great book and sipping tea, maybe cooking a big breakfast for the dudes at a leisurely pace.

But no! It was Super Bowl Sunday! Time to clean for a party! Make food! Be social!

God bless Hot Husband. The party was his idea, and the man went all-out to make the vast majority of the food, enlist the dudes to help get ready for the (small) crowd and keep the dirty dishes train moving.

He sent me out on an errand on my therapy couch. My studded tires spun out a couple of times on the snow-packed streets, but I was totally fine. I adore how the bike gets me out of my head and into the now.

Monday brought snow blowing sideways for hours and me out in the flurries to clear the driveway for an hour. Now that's a workout. A snowplow kindly stopped and offered to finish the job, and I accepted. People can be so kind.

Tuesday brought a shorter round of shoveling to peel away the mini-drifts, Wednesday was a break, and today is our weekly date with the Homeschool Hockey Hooligans. Preparing to have my booty kicked.

My dear sister, another bike geek, sent me this article from Grist stating "the health benefits of bicycling are nine times greater than the safety gains from driving instead." Even if biking ain't your thang, the message is still the same. Sitting around isn't doing you much good.

How's your week been? What gifts have you been giving that gorgeous body?

All dressed for a leisurely downtown ride, Montana-style.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Morning. One eye open.

Hoo, baby.

Lotsa stuff going on here, and when I can give you the deets, I will. Right now, it's bustling, worry over things I can't control, more bustling, collapsing, hoping, breathing, listening, praying, over-thinking, laughing, wondering.

In the midst of it, incredibly, I am getting out and moving.

Hot Husband's parents were/are amazing to come out and watch the boys while their son and I got a weekend away. It was far from play, but it was time to see each other. To know we're on the same team. And just be. On Friday morning, we took a run together, which was the first in years. The air was cold, the streets were icy, but we ran and laughed, a space away from all that's swirling.


The next morning, I was down and out with a nifty little stomach bug that most of the boys and Hot Husband weathered last week. Hotel rooms are really not the best places for nesting and recovering, but by evening, I was upright and marginally social. Thank heaven for naps and mint tea.

Sunday brought more stomach stability and -- wonder of wonders -- solid food! I even felt well enough to get out for a 20-ish minute skate ski with HH. My form sucked, I was slow, and woozy was definitely the key word for the workout, but I was there. I did it.

So I couldn't get on my commuter bike, even though I brought it. So we've had sub-zero temps, which makes biking painful. So it's hard to justify finding time for even 10 minutes when guests are here. There are still minutes all around, waiting for me to remember how to make myself feel great.

And that's a helluva lot better than giving the morning the old stink-eye.

Hope you've been finding fun in your 10 Minutes.