Monday, June 25, 2012

Finding Quality...

My blog is called The Pursuit of a Quality Life because I truly do attempt, at the very least, to find quality in the every day. The mundane, the hectic, the good, the bad and the ugly. Quality is what I strive for. It might be messy at times, but like a lot of things, quality is what you make it. There's no definition of what it means for each of us individually.

It's kind of funny, because since 2010 I have selected a word that embodies what I want for the year. Traditionally, this is usually around the Christmas/New Year's holidays. In 2010 my word was Peace; 2011 was Quality (see there it is right there!); and 2012 is Strong. When I selected Quality as my word, I don't think I fully understood it. Peace was a VERY strong word for me and it tested me constantly throughout the entire year, starting off early in February and never letting up. It brought me a lot of tears, but a lot of growth. So I think I was a little gun-shy when I was selecting a word for 2011, and quality seemed to be just the benign type of word I needed. And it kind of stayed that way all year never truly becoming a mantra or a way of life. However, I can look back now and see how it manifested itself, especially when I look at the word I picked for 2012. You can't truly be strong if you don't even understand quality first. Because there are lots of ways to be could be a strong pile of dog doo-doo, but that doesn't necessarily mean you are going to be a QUALITY pile of dog doo-doo, does it? ;-) Okay, now that some of the background is out of the way, I have to say that the past couple of months have been a journey in quality. I feel like I'm finally finding it...

This past weekend was pure quality from spending awesome time with Joshua - the boy grand baby - reading books and singing softly as he falls asleep...until he lets me know he's nowhere near asleep with a little huuuuunnnnnnhhhhh and then a giggle. Silly boy...

Feeding the ducks that decided they wouldn't bite, and feeding the fish in the lake instead.

Doing a puppet play at my niece's birthday party where we acted out the book "Give a Pig a Party" (I think...) with little wooden spoons and handmade hand puppets with a group of girls that giggled and played along while my sister read (I got to be the pig getting the party!!!! So Fun!!)

Running hill repeats at The Beast. Yeah - I call that quality!

Making a new recipe on both Saturday and Sunday night for dinner.

Enjoying the Sunday night dinner with the hubby by candlelight at our little kitchen table because candlelight makes everything special and magical even if it's just a little Sunday dinner between old married people.

Taking a bubble bath by candlelight while reading a great book.

Cross stitching while snuggled up in my recliner and beams of sunshine filter in to illuminate the task.

Doing laundry...okay, okay - I know I might be pushing it there a bit, but the pile was getting pretty crazy so it was most definitely quality time when I was able to put the last of it away!

There were lots and lots of littler moments in there, but the reality is that it was full of quality...and I loved every second of it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When the Fun Gets Carried Away...

I will admit it...I'm a little bit bored these days. I don't have anything majorly pressing at the moment so I've allowed myself a little more "chill" time. But I have to also admit - I have gotten completely carried away by a little boat adrift at sea!! And not necessarily in a good way. I can't even tell you how many hours I have lost, let alone today, but all week.

So what has been eating all my time, you might ask?? PINTEREST!!!

Yep - I'm like a little Pinterest zombie right now...scroll, repin, like, click, edit board, wash, rinse, repeat again and again and again. It's become ridiculous. And even though I've been getting all kinds of awesome motivation to move and new exercises to tone my abs and remove my arm flab, I've also gotten all kinds of food ideas! Not good...the past two weekends I have baked away...and unfortunately that also means I have eaten the goods. sigh

Today, I finally had to force myself to click the red x in the upper corner because it has slowly become an obsession. I've already resisted the urge to open it back up several times. 

It's just so funny how these things can take off...MySpace, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. All it takes is a few people to become obsessed and then next thing you know it's a national obsession taking up all our time. And even though it inspires us sometimes, sometimes the inspiration can make us feel somewhat inferior too!

Funny Cry for Help Ecard: Pinterest reminds me how hungry, poor & unstylish I am.

So I shut it down...for today at least!

How about you - what's your latest obsession?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Changing the Past and Regrets

You always hear the age-old question - if you could change something about your past, what would it be and why. My response has always been that I wouldn't change a single darn thing because everything that has happened to me in life has made me who I am today.

If my Dad had stuck around, I can't even imagine how life might have been different. Would he have been unhappy? Would my Mom be different as a mother if she was also a wife? How might it have changed the relationship with my siblings? 

That's me on the left with my sister, Heather on the right - I still laugh EXACTLY the same way - head thrown back and busting a gut...
Would I have played soccer since it was an activity my Mom encouraged us to do so we wouldn't be sitting at home by ourselves as often while she was a single mom working in the world? 

That's me with my head thrown back and busting a gut...told ya! Some things apparently NEVER change. ;-)

Yes, I think about how things might have been different - like would I have finished high school and gone on to college if I had the influence of a father instead of searching out male affection and getting pregnant as a teen? Perhaps...but then that would have set my life on a completely different course and I can't guarantee that I would be any happier, or that I would be worse off or whatever because the reality is that we don't get to have a It's a Wonderful Life Jimmy Stewart moment where we can see how different situations changed our paths. So my life is what it is because of my life experiences, and it may not always be perfect, but it's a good life. I'm stronger than some because of the struggles I've had. I can empathize more than some with others that have grown under non-conventional situations because I did the same.

BUT the same would not be true if someone asked me the same question in relation to my body. If you said to me right now if there was something about my body that I could change what would it be and why and I would have given you a laundry list of items that would be on there. I could see myself getting carried away...smaller butt! perkier boobs! thinner thighs!

And then reality sets in...wait a second, doesn't my body also reflect everything that has happened to me in my life and has made me who I am today? How is it any different?????

My legs provide me with strength for running and hiking and chasing grandbabies and so much more! If they were thinner perhaps I wouldn't have that strength. My boobs reflect the fact that I've provided sustenance for four babies. My butt...well, I don't know but it must serve some kind of purpose! LOL My stretch marks are tiger stripes earned by carrying those four babies during three pregnancies to full term happy healthy newborns. Without my extra "cushioning" I wouldn't know the thrill of victory of shaping my body into something different. Yes, I was a skinny child and was totally fit and active as a teenager. I could have simply maintained that...but if I had, then I might not have ever become a runner. I might not truly ENJOY working would probably just be something that I "had" to do to keep my figure. I might not have discovered healthier ways of eating that I actually enjoy!

So really, the same holds true...I can't know what might have been, so why change it? My body is a reflection of who I am and who I am shaping myself to be just as my past is a reflection of who I am and who I am shaping myself to be. Time to stop thinking about what I would go back and change if I could and time to focus on being who I am - live life in the NOW and be happy for every challenge and every victory!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Letting the Feet Fly

I headed out this morning for a run after missing the last two that were scheduled, making it a solid week since my last one. My legs and body were itching to run, my feet were begging to fly. Even though the legs were itching and the feet were begging, they definitely weren't trying to make it easy on me! Turns out that my feet, especially along the arches, are super sore from walking on the sand at the beach this weekend; and the legs - well, those are super sore from the lunges and squats that Jillian Michaels inflicted upon them yesterday during the 6-week 6-pack level 1 workout. Ugh.

But with a little of my own begging and pleading, they cooperated and at least shut up enough to let me have moments of bliss while I tucked my shoulder blades back, opened up the lungs, and appreciated the cool touch of air against skin that kept the sweat at bay. It felt glorious, even if it didn't look beautiful!

One of my absolute favorite running companies, Run Pretty Far, which is a small woman-owned company that has been going for just over a year (check them out and you won't be sorry - is having a flash giveaway today on their Facebook page and her question was if you had a magic ticket and could go anywhere for a run right now, where would you go. My mind immediately thought ALL of these:

1. Ireland - right along the coast!
2. Oh wait, ITALY! In Rome by the coliseum!
3. Oooh - New York Central Park!
4. A Beach anywhere!

Okay, so there's lots of places I would like to run apparently. :-D Perhaps someday...but until then I can't thank Jenn at Run Pretty Far enough for making me take a moment to think about it! Perhaps I will have to download a little Celtic for my next run and let it take me on a magic carpet ride to green rolling hills. Or some Italian opera, or better yet, the soundtrack for Gladiator, and let it take me to Rome and a time long past. Some show tunes and I'll be in New York; and finally, Jack Johnson can transport anyone to a beach somewhere, anywhere! If I can't do it in real life, a girl can at least pretend!