Archives for December 2012

A Change in Plans

Over the years, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable in my own skin…being alone with myself…doing things on my own…being independent. Perhaps one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to branch out and do more things on my own. Especially those things I want to do that maybe others don’t or can’t do with me.

OK starting tonight. A set of circumstances has found me in a lovely hotel on the coast of Maine and dinner reservations at a local restaurant. However, my dinner companion is down for the count with a sudden illness. Soooo, rather than simply cancel my reservation, I changed it from 2 people at 8:00pm to 1 person at 5:30.

As a matter of fact I have an opened, bottle of fabulous wine (Henschke, Hill of Grace, 2001) — can’t let that go to waste. I think I will have a glass before dinner.

Wow, going out to dinner by myself on New Year’s Eve.

Yes I can do this.

2012 — My Year in Review

Last year I was introduced to this questionnaire on my cousin Lisa’s blog.  It really provides a nice framework for reviewing and reminiscing about the year, and so I borrowed the idea of answering these questions as a recap of the year.  This is my second annual Year in Review.  (My post for 2011 can be found here).  This is a fun exercise and a great way to summarize the year and I recommend that everyone gives it a try.  Let me know if you do!

What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?  I participated yoga malain a local Yoga Mala.  A yoga mala is comprised of 108 Sun Salutations performed in variety of yoga styles.  The mala was  led by teachers from a bunch of different yoga studios throughout the area.


Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept a lot of them and posted ‎on my achievements.  I have made resolutions in the past, but this year I kept track of them and reviewed them throughout the year to stay on track.  I will definitely make more for next year, and will even keep a few of this year’s resolutions going.

Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin’s son Christopher and Christopher’s wife Meagan had a beautiful baby boy, Brian.

Did anyone close to you die? Two members of my extended family, Kathy and Sally, both lost their mothers this year.  They were both wonderful women and they are dearly missed.

 What countries did you visit? No foreign countries this year, but in the Ski Town USAUS, I traveled to Steamboat Springs Colorado for a ski trip with my daughter, Kelsey; to New Jersey to visit my Dad and other family; Virginia to visit my kids; Newport, Rhode Island a few times for work.  I took many trips to various spots on the coast of Maine, including an upcoming New Year’s trip to Camden (Maine), and I spent time across the border in Massachusetts, mostly Newburyport and Boston.

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?  I can honestly say that I didn’t lack anything in 2012.  Some things I would like to do in 2013 are to take some local New England ski days and/or weekends, go ice skating, and take a family trip with my kids.

What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory? That would have to be September 22, 2012, the day of my son’s wedding!

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Personally, I completed the Seacoast Half Marathon in 3 minutes faster than last year.  Professionally, I started working with Worldways Social Marketing.

What was your biggest failure? I honestly can’t categorize anything as a failure in 2012.

Did you suffer illness or injury? No! I was nice and healthy in 2012.

What was the best thing you bought?  New skis.  Now I need to get out 051and use them!!



Whose behavior merited celebration? Once again this year, my children share this honor; Taylor and Nora for getting married, and having a wonderful celebration for family and friends. And Kelsey for getting a terrific job, moving to a fabulous apartment and staying sane during major transitions!

Where did most of your money go? I did manage to get my money and long term savings in order this year.  Most of my money went to savings and my mortgage payments.  As for my “mad money”, most of it went to dinners out, and Christmas presents.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

IMG_9738 Taylor and Nora’s wedding!




What song will always remind you of 2012?  Gangnam Style, Come Fly with Me, the song my son and I danced to at his wedding.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? — Equally as happy
Thinner or fatter? – Thinner!  And healthier as I’ve adopted a vegan diet
Richer or poorer? – Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Skiing, weight training, yoga and meditation, and keeping up with my blogs.

 What do you wish you’d done less of? Watching the news!

How will you be (or did you) spend Christmas? I had a great Christmas DSCN1158with family.  I was able to spend the holiday with my father, my son Taylor, daughter-in-law Nora, and my daughter Kelsey.   Usually I don’t get them all for Christmas, so this year was extra special.

Every year my family has a big Christmas Eve dinner.  This year my cousin Carolyn and I hosted the traditional 7 fish dinner.  And it turned out wonderfully!  The company was terrific, the food was great, and everyone had an excellent time.  On Christmas Day we had fun opening our presents and hanging out together.  We went to another wonderful dinner at my cousins Michael and Sally’s home.  We shared dinner with them, their son Christopher, his wife Meagan, and their little kids.  It is so much fun to have little ones around!

And then the next day we had a “cousin’s dinner” at a local restaurant. It was a blast.  Almost all of my cousins (on my mother’s side) and their children were able to attend.  Unfortunately my kids had already left to go back home so they missed out.  But we had a terrific mini family reunion.

Did you fall in love in 2012?  Let’s assume this question is really asking, “How is your love life?” to which I will answer – good.

Who were your best friends? My best friends don’t change, so I’m going to change this question to: “Did you make a new friend this year and/or get closer to an acquaintance?” I did make some new friends this year.  I met Nora’s family, specifically her mother June, grandmother Aida, Aunt Patty, her father Andrew, Uncle Juan, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Tony and Phyllis – all wonderful people!  I also met new friends at Worldways.  And, I rekindled a friendship with my first college friend, Nancy thanks to Facebook.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?  Hmmm, that’s a tough one.  I hope I’ve motivated some people through this blog to eat more healthily and exercise.   I also hope I helped my daughter by keeping her motivated and upbeat during her job search.

What was your favorite TV program? My favorite shows continue to be: Parenthood, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and American Idol.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Oh let’s phrase this differently, “Have any of your relationships worsened over the past year?” — No

What was the best book you read? I read (and listened to) a lot of good books this year.  The most influential book was The China Study – I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in health and nutrition.  My favorite fiction books were: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters, and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, both great stories.

 What was your greatest musical discovery? The Spectrum on my XM Satellite Radio… A great station playing an Adult Album Rock format, a blend of current and classic softer rock

What did you want and get? I wanted and I got myself new skis, a new TV and a new phone.

What did you want and not get? Nothing really!

What was your favorite film of this year? Midnight in Paris, and of course, The Hobbit!

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went out to dinner with a special friend for my 53rd birthday.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A booming economy or at least a glimmer of hope that the economy will improve soon!

What kept you sane? Running, yoga, reading and spending the spring and summer on the water

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I really don’t have much use for celebrities, and our public figures leave much to be desired!

What political issue stirred you the most? The never-ending election

Who did you miss? My family when I’m away from them, and my mother

Who was the best new person you met this year? Maureen, owner of Worldways Social Marketing, her husband Mark, and their entire staff!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:  Networking, and hard work yields their just rewards.

Quote that sums up your year:  Mine is concerning the Mayan calendar and the end of the year

“But concerning that day and hour (the end of the world) no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. – Matthew 24:36

Summing up 2012’s Resolutions

It is December 18, only 2 weeks before the end of the year, time to check in on those New Year’s Resolutions from January.

This year I made a point to write specific resolutions and to check in on them regularly, and I’m very happy to report that I’ve stayed on track and achieved most all of my resolutions!

  • Live in the present moment; don’t worry about the past or dwell on the future
  • Have a positive outlook

These first two resolutions are similar and they are works in progress.  However, I believe I am further along in my journey to live in the present moment and have a positive attitude (most of the time).

  • Get another annual client for my business
  • Send at least 2 e-newsletters this year
  • Write at least 2 blog post on my business blog each month

Well I started out the year with resolutions to grow my business, Saving Grace Media Services, but ended up the year picking up new projects, and  losing a small client (the business was sold), but my business income was slightly higher than my projection for the year, and even better than that, my business led me to a lucrative new position.

  • Write weekly posts on this blog, settle on a “look” set up pages: nutrition, exercise, self help

DONE although I never figured out to get pages with tabs, I was able to set up relavant categories and that works!

  • Exercise: yoga 2x/wk, weights 2x/wk, run 1-3x/wk in season

 I’m not sure I actually ever achieved this much exercise on a weekly basis, but I kept up with my exercise and mix in yoga, weights and running.

  •  Run Seacoast Race Series — improve times over 2011

I changed this resolution, and rather than run the Race Series, I concentrated on training for and running the Seacoast Half Marathon.  (It was difficult to do both as the last 2 races of the Series conflict with the half marathon training).  And yes, I did improve my half marathon time by almost 3 minutes over last year.

  • Lose 5 lbs

DONE – I switched to a vegan diet for a lot of reasons and I Lost 10 Pounds!

  • Take vitamins daily

I managed to take my many supplements almost every day, certainly 5 times a week

  • Drink more tea, less coffee (1 cup/day) — DONE!
  •  Deepen 1-2 friendships
  • Make 1 new friend

I believe that I did deepen a few friendships this year.  I certainly deepened at least one new friendship and connected with an old friend this year.  I also made some new friends through my new work connections.

I love this resolution.  I definitely sent over 52 cards/letters this week (not even counting the Christmas cards), but not necessarily one each week.  For the most part I did send one a week, but at times I skipped a few weeks and then sent 3-4 all in one week!  All in all, I’d say this resolution was achieved!

  • Get together with girl friends at least once a month —

DONE!  Another fun resolution that I am carrying over into 2013

  • Monthly, visit Taylor and Kelsey and/or my Dad — DONE!
  • Go skiing

Only went once, but I went to Steamboat and it was a great trip!

  • Listen to more current music (less Classic Rock!) – WHY?
  • Watch less TV, use down time more productively

DONE!  I spent more of my time on this blog and reading.

WOW, I’m impressed.  Now to start thinking of 2013 Resolutions…Stay tuned!

12-12-12: My Year in 12 Pictures

I wanted to do an end of the year post chronicling my year in photos, and then I came upon this challenge from a fellow blogger at Three31 to write a blog based on the number 12 in celebration for this final repeat month/day/year day in our lifetimes (the next one won’t come until January 1, 2111!  And so here goes.

12 Photos that showcased 2012, compiled on 12/12/12


097 The year started off with a ski trip with my daughter to Steamboat, Colorado.  It was a great trip.  We enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, gourmet lunches on the mountain, vegan entrees at a Mexican restaurant, shopping in town and of course the Hot Springs


Typically an ironically long, cold and in-between month, I didn’t do a whole lot heatin February.  I did however participate in a Yoga Mala for the benefit of (H)EAT a local charity providing heating assistance to local families.


brenda, diane, grace 3.23.12My birthday month!  This year I had the chance to go to my old town in Virginia and visited with some great friends.  As you can see, a good time was had by all!


Ah Spring is in the air…I kicked off my race season with a Memorial Run for a chief maloney runlocal Police chief, Michael Maloney.  Even though I had a horrific cold, I felt strong and had fun during the 5.6 mile charity run.


DSCN0868With the nice weather came a flurry of activity; visiting family, boat trips, seeing George and Barbara Bush at the Memorial Day Parade in Kennebunkport, but the photo I want to share is of the perennial garden I had put in.  (Notice I didn’t say that I put in!)  A lot of work was involved in digging up the grass and planting a lot of perennials.  I always wanted to do this and knew I wouldn’t get around to it, so I had a local gardener who is a friend of a friend do the work.  The garden bloomed beautifully all summer and fall and I know it will give me years of beauty and enjoyment!


In June we had an impromptu “cousins’ dinner”.  It was great to get together with  DSCN0907so many of my cousins.  As there wasn’t a single picture with everyone in it, I had to post two pictures for this DSCN0906one.  And even with that, some people are missing from the photos!


DSCN0990Summer finally arrives in NH and boating season is in full swing.  This year a trip up to Boothbay Harbor and Monhegan Island got the summer off to a great start.  Monhegan is a small, rocky Island ten miles from the mainland and barely a square mile in area. It is accessible only by boat and there are no cars or paved roads on the Island.  Its roots as an artist colony date back to the mid 1800’s.  Most notably it was home to Jamie, Andrew and N.C. Wyeth.  Currently only about 75 people live on Monhegan island.


In August I met my future daughter-in-law’s mother and grandmother.  What August wonderful people!  We had a great visit.  Enjoyed a few dinners together and even spent an evening at a wine bar.  You really can’t beat bonding over a few glasses of nice red wine.


The highlight of September, actually of the year, was my son’s wedding!  It was a IMG_9738beautiful wedding set in a lovely spot in Lewisburg, WV.  A lot of family as well as two of my very close friends from childhood came.  Since none of us were local, we spent a nice long weekend in Lewisburg and took in the sites.  We had a wonderful brunch at The Greenbrier and enjoyed shopping (and eating) in the picturesque town of Lewisburg.  The wedding itself was wonderful, with lots of dancing!


DSCN1106In October, my 35th High School reunion rolled around.  It was fun.  I went with my high school friend.  We had a great time.  Unfortunately our core group of friends from high school didn’t go so we didn’t see a lot of old friends, but we talked to all sorts of people that we vaguely knew from 35 years ago!  As you can tell from this picture, there was some drinking involved!


On November 11, I ran in my second Seacoast Half Marathon!  Yeah me!!  Not Seacoast Half Marathon 2only that, but I improved my time from last year by almost 3 minutes,  I felt good during the race, and even felt good when I finished (unlike last year when I had knee  pain during the race and felt atrocious after the race!)


DSCN1137So far, besides working, December has been spent decorating, shopping and wrapping.  I really enjoy the holiday season and all the hubbub it brings!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and/or Happy Kwanzaa!


Today in yoga class, the teacher emphasized Balance.  Not just on balancing on balance one foot, but balance in all aspects of our lives.  That got me thinking – (not during class, but afterwards), about the importance of keeping my life in balance.

Balance:   A state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.; Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.; A state of bodily equilibrium.

I try very hard to live my life in balance.   As a matter of fact this blog is all about physical, mental and emotional balance.  Living a balanced life helps me keep my stress level down, and also allows me to do all the things I want to do.  Of course not all days (or weeks) are balanced.  Sometime work takes precedent, or a family issue overshadows everything else, but generally speaking it is important to keep all aspects of life my balance.  It really isn’t easy.  This year I made a real effort to live in harmony, and as the end of the year is approaching, I thought a look back over the past year, to see how I’ve done was in order.  I welcome your comments and suggestions!


Work—I work from a home office, and so it is vital to have a defined work day.  While I am available any time, (thanks to cell phones and e-mail), I make it a point to shut my computer down around 5:30 get up from my desk and end my work day.  At the other end of the day, I try to get up, have breakfast, get dressed and be at my desk by 8:30.  The getting dressed part is the hardest!  I have to make a better effort not to stay in sweats until 5pm!

Besides work, I keep my mind sharp by doing crossword and Sudoku puzzles.  I’ve gotten good at Sudoku and can usually finish all but the hardest puzzles!  I’ve also put an emphasis on reading and listening to audio books this year.  I’ve finished quite a lot (more on that in a future post).  I also find that limiting TV time to just a few programs I enjoy and those that teach me something new, and not getting too worked up about the news help keep my mind in balance too.


Exercise—As you know from reading my blog, exercise is very important to me.  But many days it is tough to fit it in!  In the summer, I could run in the morning before work or after work, but now it is very dark and very cold in the morning and evening.   I’m just not going to do that!

I have found that exercising during the lunch hour works great.  It is a good time to run (on nice days), my yoga studio has classes at noon, plus I can always go to the gym for 45 minutes or so in the middle of the day.  If I wait and go to the gym in the evening, it is packed!  Of course actually doing this is a different matter!  But then again, balance between exercise and rest is important too!

Nutrition—This year has been one of total transformation in my diet.  I have gone from just “eating healthy” to Eating to Live! (Thank you Dr. Fuhrman).  I have eliminated almost all meat from my diet (occasionally I’ll have a small amount of organic chicken, and I do eat fish about 1-2 times a week), and I have totally cut out dairy products—milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt  butter, cheese, you name it!  Truly I have never felt healthier.


I’m including family and friends in this category as I believe they are important for spiritual and emotional health!

Family– None of my family lives close, and this is difficult on many levels, but I strive to visit family each month. I visit both my Dad and relatives (in New Jersey) every other month or so, and my adult children (in Virginia) the other months.  Often they will meet me at my Dad’s and so I get to see them even more often.   These monthly trips not only allow me to see my family, but also give me 12 mini vacations throughout the year.

Friends –This year I made a point to spend more time with friends by setting up at least 2 lunches or dinners each month with friends.  By scheduling the time, rather than just saying, “Oh, let’s get together sometime” I was able to actually do it!  I’ve been able to re-connect with old friends, deepen some friendships and even begin to nurture some new friendships.

Spirituality—This one is hard, perhaps because it is very personal.  Apart from yoga and self-help books, my spirituality is lacking.  I was raised in a formal religion, and for a few reasons, I have drifted away from that religion, although I still firmly believe in it and its teachings, I just don’t quite live up to them, and so attending church seems hypocritical to me.  I have begun to explore some of the more “new age” teachings, which really aren’t new at all, and I am learning that if you take away the labels, many of the principles are the same.  I also know that this line of thinking is totally contrary to my religion and that gives me a little cognitive dissonance!  Still much more exploring to do here!

To sum up my theory on Balance I would have to say:

Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy!


I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you strive to live a balanced life.