Changes

The Things You Keep When Clearing Out

JaiEarringsCleaning up / clearing out your space, no matter that space, challenges you to think hard about what you want to keep and what you truly don't need. We packed up most of our personal belongings when we went left for England this year. (Friends were renting and we were making space for them.) Upon our return, we pulled out the essentials from their boxes and left the other stuff to get around to.

I finally got around to a big plastic bin of random t-shirts, bathing suits, work out clothes and my jewelry. "My jewelry" sounds fancy, but really it's a bunch of cheap and cheerful bead bracelets, glass earrings, etc. Nothing upscale at all. I just hadn't wanted to take two sandwich sized bags of stuff with me. 

Since we've been back I've had only what I had in England: four pairs of earrings, five necklaces and one ring. And it's been plenty.

While unpacking yesterday, I made a pile to give away and cut down my jewelry load by 1/3 or so. That feels good.

But these. These will never go. Never ever. 

These were made by a dear friend I knew from high school. She died in a house fire with her two little children in 2003. Devastating.

You could never put Jai in a tidy box. She couldn't be defined. Quirky gets close, but is not quite enough. She was an artist and made lovely jewelry. These are the only things of hers I own and I will keep them close. 

If you've seen the tattoo on my right ankle, that's her website logo design. She's always with me. 

Cleaning out stuff always brings up memories and emotions and joy and pain. And so much to celebrate, even in grief. 


Different Directions

I don't have a job at present. And by job I mean I'm not booked on a movie. But I am working my ass off.

My Menopodcast partner, Sarah, recently mentioned a book called The 12 Week Year. It sounded intriguing to imagine jamming a bunch of goals into 12 weeks instead of 12 months. I was curious (skeptical?) and had a free Audible.com credit so I got the audio book and started listening. 

And I'm in. 

I bought a hard copy so I could write notes, highlight sections, easily reread bits, and flip around for different sections. My key takeaways are to FOCUS ON ACTIONS, not results. Also to write everything out, build a schedule that works for me every day and STICK TO IT. There is an aspect of this plan that I love: Scoring. You have to score yourself each week-score yourself on tangible tactics and "to-dos" on the plan. 

You also have to stretch and sacrifice and be uncomfortable because that is what change requires. 

Some days it SUCKS. But one of the tips to get you back on track is to review your big vision. What do you want your life to look like in 3 years? I realized today I need to have that vision statement nearby my work desk so I don't forget what I'm working toward.

I'm in week 2 and have achieved a decent amount of my weekly goals set for week 1. I'm doing well so far here in week 2 (and yes, blogging is scheduled as it is part of a bigger goal.) 

I won't review my goals with you now. I would much rather review what I accomplished at the end of 12 weeks. And even if it's not 100% - even if it's only 65%? I will be proud. Proud because I started now and will have accomplished something. 

Stay tuned for the review of my first 12 week year. Coincidentally it ends on December 29.

Give it a shot! 

 

 

 

Note: My links (and/or images) often connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that sale.

 


New Starts - Watch This Space!

LifesABeachI feel like I'm in first gear. And it's good to be starting again, slowly revving up to new things. I'm learning a lot, getting into new habits, working to stay focused when my attention is scattered all over by these new shiny exciting ideas and plans.

One of the plans involves revamping this blog. It needs a redesign STAT. And I have fun plans for new content and varied story telling. I'm also going to start working with the Amazon Affiliates program so if you see me hawking some wares with amazon links, know that it's all for stuff I use and love. I'm not being paid by anyone to post about them, just looking for some revenue streams while I write about what excites me.

I hope you'll follow me on instagram too: @freyjulia as there will be a lot of new stuff happening there, plus some Harper related fun. I'll be on Facebook a lot less as I push past my regular old boundaries. 

One big goal I'm going to work toward is writing a novel in November. Did you know November is National Novel Writing Month? Truth! I know people who have done it and are honing their novels to this day. England inspired me with a notion for a novel and so I'll be blasting out ... something like a novel ... a very rough draft of a novel. But it will be something to work with and expand on. 

Season 2 of Menopodcast will be out soon and then we'll begin Season 3. I hope you are listening! 

See? So much to see and do. And I've only talked about HALF of it! Stay tuned, watch for changes, come along with me into new worlds!

Watch this space.


Another Harper Milestone: A Visit From The Tooth Fairy

The tooth had been wiggly for weeks. Monday morning, Harper was being fussy about changing into school clothes. I was brushing my teeth, she was in her room and supposed to be changing clothes. She came rushing in "Mama! I pulled out my tooth!"

And that tooth is so tiny when it's all on it's lonesome. (Sorry, forgot to take a pic of just the tooth!)

Interesting to remember - that was her first tooth to come in. Do they all fall out chronologically?

The Tooth Fairy delivered a silver dollar. Harper commented that Melody (in her class) got $3. "Must have been a bigger tooth." Said Harper.

Must have been, Harper, must have been. 

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February Goals Recap

Last month I reviewed my 2018 goals and what I had accomplished so far. Now it's the end of February and I'm here to do it again. 

My February goals were:

-Lose 8 pounds

-Meditate 5-10 minutes every day

-8 Push ups a day

-Work on my script 2x a week

-Add strength work to my routine

-Flossing 5 days a week

 

So how did I do? 

I lost 3 pounds. Not as much as I planned, but I lost 3 pounds, that's in the right direction. That makes 11 total for 2018. And with all the new habits I'm building, I'm feeling good moving into March and beyond. I'm still only drinking one day per week. (A trip to Las Vegas not withstanding in February...there was a bit more drinking there!) And not snacking after dinner. This one is huge for me. And I've done REALLY WELL on that new habit. Snacking and drinking wine after dinner are about comfort and imagined "I've earned this" baloney. I've had two months to build these habits and they will be put to the test in March and beyond as I started a new job this week. Stress for me leads to comfort eating and now I'll find new ways to relieve stress. Like....

Meditation. I started with 6 minutes a day (more than 5, less than 10!) and have upped it to 7 minutes a week or so ago. I missed 2 days this month, so I'm proud of myself for that commitment. I enjoy it and feel like it might already be helping me to just be calmer in my mind when things are busy and nutty and stressful. There is definitely a pause in certain situations where I do a "huh, that's a thought" and observe it, then decide what to say or do next. All that instead of just reacting quickly. I'm not saying it happens every time, but it seems to be making an impression. I'm doing Mindfulness mediation and it's challenging to my little rabbit brain. And again, with this new job and new stress, I need to commit even more to being still for 7 minutes a day. I have a plan to do 1 minute of meditation instead of snacking at work. We'll see how that goes!

I exchanged push ups for planks. I do 1:15 worth of planks 6 days a week. I find if I rest a day, I'm better at it the next day. The push ups were not getting better as I wasn't doing much of other exercises to increase my upper body strength and I was frustrated with my lame push ups. Perhaps I'll return to them in April.

Have not worked on my script. Fear.

Have not added a regular strength set to my daily/weekly routine. I need to put it in my daily journal as a thing to check off. (Checking things off on a page is R E A L L Y satisfying for me!)

Flossing has been continuing apace. Well done me.

 

Goals for March:

-Lose 8 pounds

-Meditate 5-10 minutes per day

-Plank 1:15 or more per day (Along with the regular walking/stair steps)

-Work on creative writing 2x per week

-Schedule the stretchy bands work outs into my weekly routine

-Keep flossing 5x per week!

 

I'll be back with updates around Easter....! 


Look How Fat I Was*

MyMarlin*I was not fat.

But boy oh boy, I thought I was. This was me in 8th grade with the first and only marlin I've ever caught. 175 pounds (technically a "rat" in the big game fish world). My dad was friends with the captain, Ben Baldwin (in the boat behind me) and the fish were biting like mad in Kona for a few weeks. Dad called to say, "Come over and catch one!" so I did. An unusual weekend visit to the Big Island during school.

Catching a marlin is hard, btw. It took 20 minutes to reel it in. And as the angler, you have to sit in the chair and do all the work yourself, just in case it is a record breaking fish. (Record breaking fish are 1000 pounds or more, just so you get why this one is called a "rat".) The crew on the boat, all experienced anglers, coach and cheer you on while you do it. It was a blast and I was really excited. 

But back to the fat part. Where did I get the idea that I was fat, ugly, unattractive, etc etc? So sad that I had no confidence in my strong body (well, maybe a bit more after wrestling that fish in). I am working so hard now, almost 40 years later, to feel good about who I am, what I look like and to not say a damn negative thing about myself in front of Harper. Even when she pokes my fat tummy and says "big tummy!" How do I create confidence in her? How do we help her know she's beautiful, inside and out? How do we make sure that when she looks at a picture of herself in 8th grade she thinks, "damn, I look great!" 

I will keep working to make it happen!

Also, in the last few years, I weigh lot more than that rat fish did. And I bought a bikini last year because F*UCK IT. Life if short. It feels good to just enjoy being at a beach or pool. Maybe that's the best way to teach Harper. 


Trip to Yugoslavia

DotAndFriends60sor70sKurt's mom Dot died three years ago this month. She was about to turn 97. (That's her, the blonde on the far right in the fabulous teal ensemble, enjoying drinks with the girls*. Please click for best big-hair viewing.)

After she died, there was the usual, exhausting grief-filled process of emptying her apartment and deciding where everything should go. Much of it went to charity, some we sold, the well-loved pictures and knick-knacks went to Kurt's brother and niece and to us. And her dear cat Dynamo came to live with us, may he also now rest in peace. The remaining boxes filled a small storage unit nearby until we could figure out where to put it all. 

Time has a funny way of flying and now, three years later, we are finally unloading that storage space to sort through those remaining boxes and make some final final decisions. To do that we had to also clear out a ton of stuff from our own garage storage area and man, that was satisfying. We hadn't cleared out old bills, papers, household stuff since before Harper was born. I ended up taking 170 pounds of documents to my favorite shredding place

Kurt has done a heroic job of reorganizing our garage storage. He's been unloading his mom's stuff in stages and the first part was mostly old files of her own. We kept the tax stuff and shredded the rest, keeping only a small box of things that relate to Kurt and his brother - grades, certificates, clippings, older family stuff. There were boxes of vinyl records and CDs, all classical or jazz. We have a turntable so we may keep some of it, but most of that will go to charity or maybe we sell to Amoeba records. 

The hardest part of it all is the photos. There are photo albums galore, many of them are Dot's, some are her sister's (all three are long dead now as Dot was the youngest) some are her parent's. There are also boxes of loose photos. But what to do with them all? 

Dot took a trip to Yugoslavia in 1979 when she was 61. There is a whole photo album for it. It's heartbreaking to look at because it means nothing to us, not even Kurt as he doesn't know anything about who is in the photos and wasn't part of the trip. What is the point of keeping it? It's kind of historic, but really, who would ever look at it again?

Yugoslavia doesn't exist. 

It's so sad to think that the entirety of your life gets distilled down to a few dusty boxes of pictures no one cares about. Okay, maybe that's a bit dark, but it's not far off.

Of course your life can also be continued in your children and their children, and that is wonderful. There are stories to relay and some of the photos to look at. But Harper won't remember Gamma Dot. Later it might be fun for her to look at pictures of Kurt and his brother as kids, but that's maybe one or two photo albums out of twenty. Do we simply throw the other photos away? It seems brutal to do that. We have become the recipients of all this history as we are the youngest children of the youngest children in the Frey family. Many of Kurt's cousins have died and there aren't a lot of kids in any of those families. 

It's strange to be the caretaker of a family history that nobody is around to appreciate. It's a trip to a place that doesn't exist. 

We'll probably keep most of it for a few more years, then move on. 

 

 

*Who the girls are, what year this is and what the event was, we will never know


In Which Harper Starts Kindergarten


But first there was Kinder Prep Camp. Brilliant idea to have one week of day camp on the school campus where your kid will start kindergarten. We discussed it a lot before it all happened and Harper seemed excited. And she did great. On the Thursday of that week we arrived at school and found out there was a field trip. On a bus. Going to SYLMAR! (That's an hour a way for those of you non Angelenos.) The communications had not been clear. I suppose it was better for me as I didn't have time to be nervous about her first school bus field trip! At home that night I asked her about the field trip. "Harper, did you ride on a bus?" "Yes! ON THE FREEWAY!" That was the most exciting part for her.

Kinder Camp, making friends (thats her in the back, under the whale tail):

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Then actual Kindergarten started and we had a good first day send off.

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She even finished her first homework assignment. She made her letters "pretty". 

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I've had a lot to learn too. New morning routines, new lunch boxes to fill, though Harper doesn't seem to be eating much these first few days. I'm sure it's all about adjusting to the new world. It's a challenge to fit stuff into tiny sections, but I'm working on it. Harper doesn't like peanut butter so there's 50% of lunches I thought would be a no-brainer. Oh well. 

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It's a whole new world for us all. And we are taking it one step at a time. 

 


Preschool Graduation

I 100% admit I used to be a person who said, "OMG preschools have GRADUATIONS?? How ridiculous." Because it kind of is. 

On the other hand, marking an occasion is important. Call it whatever you want to call it - graduation or whatever. The more funerals you go to, especially the startling, out of nowhere ones, the more you realize how important it is to stop and reflect on life changes. Funerals, weddings, graduations - or more simply - transitions from one part of life to another. Stop the world from it's wild spinning for a second, reflect, breathe, applaud, enjoy, cry, celebrate. Celebrate where you started and how far you've come. It makes a difference.

So, cut me to crying at Harper's preschool graduation last Friday. The "graduation" consisted of the kids singing all kinds of wonderful "I've done it!" songs and taking lots of pictures, then dancing. Each child got a one line description and Harper's was "always the peacemaker." My heart melted with joy. What a wonderful thing to have said about your five-year-old!**

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Mark those moments. Celebrate them all. 

 

 

 

**My preschool or kindergarten year end report included the line "Julia has to learn she can't always be the boss." I have almost learned that. Still working on it.