Introducing…

Cooper!

 

DSCN1313

 

The BOY and I adopted a baby kitten tonight.  He is about 4 months, sweet, playful, and trying to climb all over my computer right now!

 

DSCN1294 DSCN1295

DSCN1296 DSCN1297

 

He moves so quickly that he’s tough to capture on film, but trust me when I tell you that he is absolutely adorable!

 

DSCN1321

 

And already a special part of our family!  More Cooper to come….

 

DSCN1330

Arriving in Israel and Staying on a Kibbutz

So like my laptop computer, I decided to shut down for a few weeks while I was traveling in Israel.  However, unlike my laptop which quickly restarted and returned to its full, colorful glory, it has taken me some time to get all of my processes up and running again.  The good news is that this is because I was fully immersed in my travel experience and Israeli culture soaking up EVERY SINGLE moment.  The bad news is that it means I have no idea where to even begin blogging about my trip.

 

DSCN0025

 

I recognize that not many people that I’ve met have been to Israel.  (You definitely should have seen the checkout woman at Target’s face when I told her where I was going while she was ringing up my travel toiletries).  So I’d love to convey the beauty and heart of this tiny, but powerful country!  The flight there was long, but well worth it, even if I couldn’t sleep.

 

DSCN0054

After over 20 hours of sleepless travel!

 

We spent our first few nights on a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights.  I didn’t know what to expect staying at the B&B on a Kibbutz, but it far surpassed my expectations.

 

DSCN0057 DSCN0060

 

And not just because of this glorious view!

 

DSCN0345

 

Our first day was as busy as can be including a visit to Mount Bental and my first view of the Syrian border.

 

DSCN0132 DSCN0129

 

DSCN0123

 

DSCN0134

 

Followed by our first Mediterranean lunch…an amazing falafel sandwich made by the crazy falafel guy!

 

DSCN0087

 

DSCN0091 DSCN0093

 

I should probably take this time to tell you that I ate the most fantastic food on this trip!  I could seriously eat hummus and tahini three meals a day.  After lunch, we went kayaking down the Jordan River.

 

DSCN0142

 

DSCN0177

 

As we drove back to the Kibbutz after an exhausting day, the sun was setting behind the hills.

 

DSCN0179

 

We stayed at the Kibbutz for the first 4 nights which allowed me to establish a little routine.  In the morning, I’d make some tea to drink out front in the courtyard while journaling or reading a magazine and try to keep the friendly kitties out of my room.

 

DSCN0298 DSCN0059

 

During the day, we were usually out and about exploring the north east region of the country, but there was still plenty of time on the kibbutz for morning yoga, a crazy hot run, and a cool down in the pool.

 

DSCN0297

 

DSCN0313

 

DSCN0283

 

After 4 days, I was sad to leave but looking forward to moving on to Tel Aviv.  I definitely made a note to myself that I would love to come back and explore the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee, and I would make reservations to stay back at this kibbutz.

 

Have you ever stayed at  kibbutz?

What did you think?

Strong and Peaceful

I always look forward to Hot Yoga on the weekends.  And this week, I was especially excited to go.  My body has felt a bit out of sorts, physically and emotionally, and yoga always has a way of pointing me in the right direction.  I was little nervous though because hot yoga also has the ability to stir up emotions, and I wanted this morning’s class to be a positive one.  We had one unopened bag of cat food that the BOY tried to throw away on Wednesday.  I told him I wanted to donate it, but that I would take it out of the house. I have been driving around with cat food in my car, but remembered this morning that the yoga studio does a food drive.  Before class, I pulled together some other food to donate, and then decided to ‘dedicate’ this morning’s yoga practice to celebrating Emmy’s happy and playful side.

IMG_1725 IMG_1721

 

I even threw on a bright pink headband as I was walking out the door to brighten up my dark colored yoga clothes.  I met my mom at the studio and shared with her my intentions for this morning’s class.  She was onboard!  After feeling like a zombie for the past couple of days, I wanted to feel strong and in control.

IMG_1729

 

The class was fast paced and challenging.  The poses forced me to focus my attention inward, concentrating on my muscles as I adapted to strength moves and balancing poses.  During one single leg balance pose, I had to smile to myself remembering this picture of Emmy joining in on my home yoga session.

IMG_0107

 

The music was uplifting and I felt strong and determined throughout the class, especially when I saw the muscular guy next to me rest during the core work as I powered through it.  I felt the positive energy in the room and I was happy, confident that my good mood would carry over into the rest of my day.

 

I laid down for our shivasana feeling tired from the intense workout, but with joy in my smile and peace in my heart.  The teacher led us through some relaxation breaths as we calmed our minds and bodies.  He instructed us to feel beautiful, strong, and at peace.  I felt relaxed for the first time all week and an overwhelming sense of calm.  I knew this would be important as I headed into what looks to be a busy two weeks of work/class.  At the end of the class, I took one final deep breath, stretching by body in all directions. I opened my eyes with a sense of direction, which I did not feel when I woke up this morning.

IMG_1728

 

The first place my direction took me was home for leftover Jumbo (notice how much thicker it is today).  I don’t know if it was my good night’s sleep last night or this morning’s yoga joy, but I felt much happier walking out of the studio than I had in a week.  I had a strong body, a peaceful mind, and a happy heart.

And now I am off to…

IMG_1731

 

…Costco!?

Who isn’t happy at Costco??? 

To Be Continued…

Emmy

I am surprised by how sad I still feel about the loss of our cat, although each day gets a little bit easier.  I think the morning’s are the hardest.  There was usually a soft, then more insistent meow coaxing me out of bed after I snoozed for the second time and the shuffle of blinds as she tried to look out the back door into the darkness as I walked downstairs for breakfast.  Coming home is tough too because she was our little greeter. I am so grateful for the kindness of my coworkers and friends.  Many of them are pet owners, and they understand more about my feelings than I did.  I now truly comprehend the grief that follows the loss of your furry friend.

IMG_7614 IMG_7615

 

The BOY says that our house is boring now and he is right.  He says that he feels emotionally drained as he tries to work through his law homework. He is used to having a cheerleader and distraction close by.

IMG_5742

 

IMG_5574

 

This is one of my favorite pictures.  I call it Baby Emmy. 

IMG_1686

 

It still hurts a bit to see pictures because she is was so alive and vibrant.  I can’t imagine not having her wonderful (and sometimes annoying) energy running through my house.  Speaking of running, did you know we used to chase each other up and down the stairs and throughout the house.  Usually ending in the office (which was really HER room) with her perched on the back of the chair.  One time in my old apartment we were playing this game of peek-a-boo around a chair, I quickly dodged to one side and was met with a paw in my eye.  She was just trying to reach me, had anticipated my move, and got me.  It was a total KO and I still joke about the time Emmy punched me in the eye.

IMG_5592

 

Having never had a furry pet or spent much time around cats, I found Emmy’s antics to be hilarious.  The BOY, who was raised in a household of cats often wondered about my wonder.  But she would seriously just crack me up.  I always had my camera ready to catch the next funny thing that she did.  Because even through there were times when she drove me nuts, she brought me so many smiles and giggles.

IMG_2734

 

In this past year, I nick named her Kitten Schmitten (still have no idea why?!) which was often shortened to just Schmitten.  I also called her Baby Kitty because I used to hold her in my arms for a cuddle, usually right when I got home from work. It was a good way to prevent her from jumping on my back in between pedicures when her nails were too long.  One time I tried to tap her bum, like you would a real baby, but she yelled at me and ran away.

IMG_5604

 

The first time I pulled out my popcorn maker, the cat was seriously in awe.  She sat over it watching each kernel pop and fly out of the machine.  I think there is a future cat toy in there somewhere.  She could turn anything into her toy, a bowl of cherries, the ribbon on a gift, rubber bands, a piece of string hanging from your clothes, or a pen.

IMG_4893 

 

One of Emmy’s favorite places was the window. She loved to peer out into the world, even when it was pitch black.  I’d wake up some mornings and find her head slipped between two panels at the back door as she sat there quietly.  In the day light you would know when she saw a bird, bunny, or snow flake because the panels would rustle and their would be a flurry of activity followed by a low pitched meow.

IMG_4880   IMG_6461

 

Ever since my winter break, we started the habit of Emmy coming up to bed with me while I read.  We would play this footsie game where I would wiggle my toes or move my foot under the blankets and she would try to catch it, usually with her mouth.  Eventually, she’d give up and curl into a ball on the softest part of the blanket, and we’d both fall asleep until the BOY came up and escorted her from the room.

IMAG0268

 

I had mixed feelings about Emmy’s assistance in the kitchen.  Typically it involved her just laying her body across my recipes, which was not so helpful.  Unless of course the can opener was involved and then she was right there hoping for tuna.  No matter where in the house she was, she always found herself on the counter by the time the can was open.  She would even cross the sink to get to me and was often disappointed to find black beans or pumpkin.  Although sometimes, it was tuna and as I drained it and put some in a bowl, she’d meow at me, screaming hurray up!

IMG_1041

IMG_6088

 

I feel lucky that the she built time into her nap schedule to guest blog while I was away at my parents, giving you some insight into her life.

IMG_5576

 

But the main thing that everyone remembers about Emmy is her LOVE obsession with bags.  The first time I discovered this was in my old apartment.  She turned the inside of a GAP bag into her main hangout, peering out into the world with just her eyes.  Although if she was really unhappy with you, then she’d face inside the bag leaving you with just her back end.  Since then, she would turn every bag, box, or container into a favorite home or bed.  It always made me smile to see her new locations, especially the time that I spotted her little tail sticking out of a suitcase.

IMG_6143 IMG_6142

 

IMG_7722

 

IMG_2630

 

IMG_4806

 

IMG_6376

 

In honor of Emmy, the BOY and I have been lighting a candle each night, laughing about the time she accidently burned a few hairs sliding past a candle trying to get closer to us.  We pick a theme, last night was the funniest stories, tonight a dedication to her bag obsession.  It makes us laugh to share the memory, which makes our house seem a little less quiet.

IMG_1693

 

If you are looking for more Emmy antics, I have shared plenty of stories over this past year of blogging.

IMAG0217

 

I thought starting a blog would help me practice my writing skills, but I never would have anticipated how therapeutic it feels to be able to express my thoughts and emotions in writing. I thank you for reading, commenting, listening, and helping me remember Emmy.  Your kindness and patience are much appreciated by the BOY and I!

IMG_0203 IMG_5616

 

We miss you Baby Kitty!

It was a Sad Sad Day

I had planned on posting a workout post two nights ago. Instead, I came home from a long day at work, made some dinner, heated up some tea, and then curled up in bed with our sick kitten to finish MockingJay, the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy.  I didn’t even check my email! 

 

My next plan was to post the workout post last night, but yesterday turned into a different kind of day than expected.  As I mentioned, our cat hasn’t been feeling well.  Technically, she is the BOY’s cat.  He rescued her 8 years ago as a new born kitten when he was in college and they have had a strong connection ever since.  He named her Emerald because of her beautiful green eyes and called her Emmy for short.  Two and a half years ago when the BOY put his house on the market, Emmy moved into my one bedroom apartment with me.  This was an interesting situation for a few reasons.  Number one, I really wasn’t much of a cat person and the only pet that I ever had growing up was Tommy, the goldfish.  And number two, up until that point, Emmy and I weren’t exactly what you’d call friends.  She loved the BOY, she liked boys in general, and she was not a fan of the girl who was hanging around.  She used to go through my purse and nibble on my shoes.  Moving in together, was a BIG step for us. 

 

IMG_5622

 

In the end, we made it work.  After living with me for 2 weeks, most of which she just ignored me, stared out the windows, and tried to escape to the elevators in the apartment complex, I came home from work with a hurt back.  Instead of heading to the floor for my typical hello, I went straight to the couch and collapsed, barely able to move.  This time, instead of ignoring me, she climbed right up to my chest, where she stayed for the rest of the night.  After that, we were friends and even when both of us moved back into the BOY’s house, he continued to give me some love and attention (even though she saved the best of it for the BOY).  Over the last two years, we’ve formed a tight little family, which is why seeing her so sick and without her usual spunk has been hard on me.  Yesterday, the BOY brought her to the vet, thinking maybe she had an infected tooth or needed an IV.  Instead he was given the worst news possible. An ER visit and ultrasound confirmed that our little kitten had chronic kidney failure.

 

IMG_2487

 

It was not an easy decision, but the right one to make. So I left work as soon as I could to go and say my goodbyes.  I planned to be the rock the BOY needed during this challenging time, but instead arrived at the animal hospital with blood shot eyes and tears streaming down my cheeks. I was shocked by the intense sadness I felt and constant ache in my stomach.  Although it was hard, I was happy that I was able to see her and kiss her head one last time.  Emmy was my first pet and her loss has floored me.  Worse than the hospital was arriving back at our house last night.  Around every corner, I expect to see her bounding up to see me when I walk in the door, trying to crawl into my lunch bag when I get home, nudging her head in between the BOY and I when I kiss him hello, or sitting on my lap computer as I type a blog post.  Since she has been such a special part of my life and a funny part of this blog, I thought it would be okay to share my sadness with you.  I ask you to bare with me as I share some of my favorite photos and silly kitten stories over the next week.

 

IMG_5061

 

The BOY and I are having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that she is really gone.  Our house sounds way too quiet this morning.  If any of you know him, then you know Emmy’s unwavering love and trust in him.  But you also know that he was head over heals for her.  If you are not a cat person, trust me I totally get it, but she is cute enough for even a dog person to appreciate!

 

IMG_4804

A pajama Kind of Day

Poor kitten is sick!  She has been moping around the house all weekend and is not her usual annoying self.  The BOY and I are starting to worry a little bit.

IMG_1651

 

I have had a difficult time organizing my day today.  I slept until 10AM (such a treat) made a hot cup of tea and spent the rest of the morning and an embarrassingly large portion of the afternoon lazing around in my pajamas.  After a busy weekend, I loved every minute of it.  I spent some time looking up new apps for my phone and researching a possible trip with friends over the BOY’s spring break.  It also gave me some time to take care of the daunting tasks that have been hanging around my never-ending ToDo List for way to long.  I turned the dining room table into my office with a backyard view.

IMG_1675

 

For lunch, I heated up some leftover veggie chili and a sweet potato.  If possible, I think that the chili tastes EVEN BETTER today.  It might be the perfect make ahead recipe.

IMG_1635

IMG_1645 IMG_1647

 

I tried to eat my chili on the potato, but it turned out to be way too messy. If you are looking for that combination of flavors, THIS RECIPE is a much easier way to get it.  My big goal for the day was to finish the third Hunger Games book, MockingJay.  However, by 3:30, I hadn’t even opened the book.  Instead, I had cleaned up my kitchen (making chili is messy business), sent countless emails, finished 3 loads of laundry, took action on my retirement plan, looked up my fastest half marathon time, and turned these mushy bananas into an amazing banana bread using Flour’s Famous Banana Bread recipe that I cut out of Runner’s World Magazine years ago.

IMG_1634

IMG_1652

 

It was finally time to make some decisions…

     Was I going to workout today?

     Could I just curl up on the couch and read my book for the rest of the afternoon? 

     Did I need to go to the grocery store?

 

I did something that I never do, a 20 minute at home workout in my PJ”s (which I will share soon) to get my heart rate going and my blood pumping a bit.  Then I hopped in the shower, put on clean comfies, grabbed a snack (more leftovers from last night) and decided that the grocery store will be there tomorrow and my couch looks might comfy to finish 200 pages of young adult fiction.

IMG_1674 IMG_1658

How Are You Doing with Your Pushups?

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the Pushup challenge!

And look who decided to join in?

IMG_6721   IMG_6722

 

Actually, she just wanted to sit on the charts.  Perhaps she thought she’d get stronger by osmosis!  I am moving along with my pushups almost through Week 4.  This morning, I got up early to go to the Foundations Yoga class and was psyched to see the new studio.  Tribalance has moved into their new and improved space a few doors down in the same strip mall.  I didn’t know much about the new space and was so impressed when I got my tour this morning.  The colors are warm and inviting and their holistic medicine area is brand new.  The locker room is clean and spacious and they plan to increase their weekly class schedule…I might even be able to get in a morning session before work.  There are 4 different rooms, named Mind, Body, Sprit, and Soul with different purposes depending on the practice.  Construction is continuing through the new year, but you can already tell what a spiritual and special space this will be.  In the studio, the lighting was warm and calming and the extra space was appreciated, especially as we worked on half moon pose against the wall this morning.  We did a lot more stretching and hip openings today, so my arms were still fresh when I came home.  I went straight into pushup position for Day 2’s reps.

IMG_6826

 

I completed the first 4 sets on my hands and the last set of 28 on my knees.  I definitely needed more than a minute rest in between, but after only 2 weeks, I am obviously stronger based on the number of repetitions.  I must say, pushups are hard work.  They really get my heart pumping!

IMG_6829IMG_6830IMG_6831

 

Look at the fun new feature I found on my camera.  It’s a 10 second delay with 3 continuous pictures.  Not perfect for floor workouts, but still fun!

IMG_6832IMG_6833IMG_6834

 

I have been reading some interesting books on healthy eating and lifestyles lately (and hope to share some thoughts on the blog soon).  It motivated me to pick up some unique items at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods this weekend.

IMG_6818IMG_6819IMG_6820

 

And I found precut butternut squash at Trader Joe’s.  At $4.99 per bag, it is worth the convenience for easy weeknight meal prep.

IMG_6821

 

What new foods did you pick up on your weekly grocery store run?