Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Year Of Sweetness

To celebrate the Jewish New Year, it is tradition to dip apple slices in honey as part of the Rosh Hashanah* holiday, which starts this evening. Among other meanings that I probably wasn’t listening to in Hebrew School, it represents the wishes for a sweet year ahead, filled with hopes of happiness and prosperity.

This past year was brimming with sweetness for me, and I feel so incredibly grateful. From trips to engagement, from a new career opportunity to a new home, and even starting this little blog, it has been a time of much happiness with friends and family.

I can only wish the same for the new year ahead for all of my fellow tribe members celebrating tonight. And even for those who are not, we really don’t need an excuse to wish for a little sweetness in our lives, right?

So here’s a heartfelt L’Shanah Tovah* (“for a good year”) to everyone!

* I don’t usually post about Jewish holidays because I never know the correct way to spell them or their accompany greetings. Everyone does it differently and I feel like your level of “good Jew” is being assessed by which way you choose, as I’m sure there is a “right” way. Hopefully they will still let me into services tomorrow.


Is Starting An Exercise Program After You Get Engaged Cliche?

It’s not just because I’m getting married! At least that is what I felt compelled to keep saying to my new personal trainer. It’s not as if she ever asked or judged or made any indication that she believed my motivation was anything but genuine or sustainable. But still, I eagerly convinced her, an upcoming wedding was just an incentive for a long-term lifestyle change!

When I started this blog, I stated that one area of balance I wanted to focus on was incorporating more exercise and fitness into my life. I wrote one post about it. And that was about the last time I worked out. A comeback it was not.

Admittedly, becoming engaged has inspired me to re-commit to get in better shape. I am not trying to lose weight as much as tone, be healthy, develop fitness habits and get arms like Jennifer Aniston (okay, that’s mainly just for the wedding).

To help, I signed up with a personal trainer at the university where I work. I’m hoping a trainer can help mitigate the circumstances that usually lead to me failing miserably at a workout regime: accountability; gym intimidation; no idea how to do anything properly; and an intense case of “I don’t feel like it.” Even though I will only meet with her once a week, just knowing I will have to tell her what I did the other days motivates me to press pause on the DVR (during season premiere week people!!) and get active.

My first session was this past Monday and I had to do stuff like this:

Did not smile like this. Or get my knees up that high.

I hope my students were watching me do this. Professionalism at its best!

It’s called a “fully body workout.” This morning, when it took me 15 minutes to put pants on, I had some other names for it. But I know the hurting is good and it will get easier. Sure, I had to stop eating my soup at lunch today because it was too painful to lift the spoon from the bowl to my mouth (I mean, have I NEVER used my triceps in 33 years? They sure are acting like it.), but when I have Jennifer Aniston’s arms feel healthier and stronger, I know it will be worth it.

My biggest hope is that by investing in a personal trainer, I will finally get past my most significant barrier to a sustainable exercise program: time. I mentioned this in my original post about working out, but I’m selfish with my time. It’s not that I don’t have enough time because I know everyone does, it’s that I don’t prioritize exercise enough to make the time for it.

Already I feel overwhelmed with commitments. I cancel one set of plans to make room for a time-sensitive engagement. And then reschedule the original commitment for a later date, so that the calendar fills up quickly. I call this my Ponzi scheme of making plans. To which JB replied that I don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is. To which I replied that he doesn’t know what a Ponzi scheme is. To which we both conceded that we don’t watch the news enough to know who is right.

But my point is, for this to work, I must think about exercise as one of those time-sensitive types of plans. I must schedule around it instead of trying to work it in whenever I have “time “(similar to what I need to do about blogging). So that is my pledge as of right this second. I will keep you posted and share any fitness advice that my trainer passes on that I think might be helpful.

Now if you will excuse me, I’ll likely need to use the restroom in the next hour so I should probably start making my way there now.

What are your fitness goals? How do you stick to them? Or what gets you in trouble?

The Longest Commute

Have you ever looked over at the car next to you during your morning commute and wondered if he/she was laughing at the same radio talk show you were? Or singing along to the same station you were tuned to?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I looked over at all the cars driving alongside me on the way to work wondering if they understood what the hell was happening. I knew we were listening to the same thing because their faces showed the identical feelings of bewilderment, panic, and sadness as mine.

As an American, I felt (and feel) these emotions as everyone did. But the full (and perhaps shameful) truth is, I don’t think about the day and its impact regularly. When I do reflect, these are some of the memories that stick out after that long commute:

  • I remember my friend, later that afternoon, worried about getting flowers sent to his mom because her birthday was the next day. I remember feeling simultaneously dismayed and grateful that he could be thinking about something so normal.
  • I remember the eerie feeling of going to work the next day in one of downtown Dallas’s tallest skyscrapers. Everyone was silent on the elevator up to the 47th floor.
  • I remember how, in relative terms and for however briefly, we all supported and looked to the president to help us through this. Like people say when estranged families mend their differences after a loss, it’s a shame it takes something so tragic to bring us together.
  • Since I’m such a pop culture fanatic, I remember how 9/11 played into the entertainment world. I remember Saturday Night Live’s season premiere with Paul Simon performing “The Boxer” as New York City first responders stood stoically in front of the American flag. How powerful music can be. I remember the discussion of whether shows like Friends and Sex and the City would edit their New York skyline shots that included the Twin Towers (I think SATC did edit its opening credits). I remember the awesome “Tribute to Heroes” concert/telethon shown on every broadcast channel. It was the least annoying I had ever found Bono.
I know I am extremely fortunate that I didn’t have a direct loss or impact from 9/11 that grips my memory. This weekend, my thoughts are with the 9/11 families, survivors, emergency personnel, and military members and families who remember every day.

Coffee Photo Revolution

While catching up on my Google Reader this Labor Day morning, Amber at A Day Without Sushi mentioned she was participating in a Coffee Photo Revolution started at One Sister’s Rant.

As it turns out, I adore coffee. I’m not good at taking photos, but the thought of participating in a revolution on Labor Day is fantastic. The idea was just for coffee lovers like myself to post a photo of their cup of coffee on their blog, link it up with others, and share the joy that so many of us feel from our java.

Coffee makes me happy. It appeals to all my senses — most significantly I love smelling it brew and hearing it poured. And of course, the taste.

Some of the best coffee in Dallas, at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts District

Coffee makes me excited to go to work. I look forward to waking up at my desk (not sure what I am doing during that 30-minute commute) and checking emails while I sip on some Folgers (seriously, I don’t have to be fancy with my coffee).

Representing at work -- Go 'Cats!

Coffee is a reminder of how much JB cares about me. When I stumble downstairs on weekend mornings, I can smell the coffee he brewed for me before he left to play golf. Sure, I could make it for myself, but this gesture is always so much easier sweeter.

And coffee is time spent with friends. In high school, we started hanging out at this Starbucks place. And it’s where we went to catch up when we were all home for winter break during our college years. And just today, I enjoyed a relaxing brunch with two great girlfriends as we all injected our beloved caffeine — even if the restaurant had run out of coffee mugs.

We'll drink out of to-go cups -- just BRING US THE COFFEE!

Not surprisingly, we were not the only ones looking forward to a steaming cup of coffee as they caught up with friends, read the paper, recapped the weekend or just enjoyed a day with a high temperature of only the upper 80s. It’s just the sort of thing that calls for a coffee kick.

Mmmm… I’m already looking forward to work tomorrow.

Are you a coffee drinker? If so, do you just enjoy it in a healthy way that people enjoy a beverage or has it taken on a whole new level like me?