Going to the studio is so much better when you are in new gear. Even a fresh pair of socks can make all the difference. I bought two new pairs of leggings, and I love them both. The blue and black ones are from Alo. The “salt and pepper” are from Beyond Yoga. Both versatile and so very comfortable. The studio will likely get so sick of these two pairs of legs, but I am wearing them all the time. Been three days this week already, and after yesterday, most of the muscles in my body are talking in various degrees. Ahh, how I love the burn.
With all of the health kicking going on around here, it was about time I reconfirmed my love for the barre. When I was training years ago to be a Dailey Method teacher, I had recently had Weez, and had not really been very fit in the years I had spent in Utah as a mom. Matter of fact, I couldn’t even do a push-up, a real one. This was also a stressful time in my life, taking the leap into business ownership isn’t for the weak. I was also working with the Junior League to develop a cookbook, like a real cookbook, and it had some serious deadlines and stress that came along with it as well. By the time we opened our studio doors, I was in the best shape of my life. I loved (and lived for) exercise!
Shift to today, I now live far away from the wonderful studio my partner and I built. Thankfully, a studio opened in Napa shortly after we moved here. It is a lovely place that I taught a lot at when they first opened. Teaching is such a passion of mine, but making the time to do so is challenging. Taking a class is something that I love to do too, but finding time to fit in an hour of “me time” is even more ridiculous and often feels selfish. But if I think back to when I was in the best shape, it was when I was dedicated to the barre. It was that simple. Considering how much effort I put into eating clean and avoiding alcohol, you’d think that adding exercise to that would be obvious.
I have set a simple goal of three classes a week. If I can’t get into the studio, I use the barre 3 online classes, which are great if you only have 10 or 15 minutes. After 26 days of eating within the 30 Clean guidelines and drinking wine on the weekends, now that I have added in the barre classes, I have seen and felt a major difference. Without the barre, I looked the exact same. The same spots were there, annoying me. I have recommitted to the exercise I know works. If I can squeeze it in, I may even start teaching on Wednesday evenings. I love feeling good, and I finally do.
Highs and lows. What you should know:
As previously mentioned, Little League tryouts were on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. We arrived with all of our proofs of residency at 1:31 p.m. to be told we were late. They slapped a number on H and off he ran. As we moved over to the fields, I noticed none of the familiar faces of baseball around. I wondered where our buddies were, so I sent a text to a mom I expected to see. She explained that they don’t tryout for Minor B baseball. Well then what the hell were we trying out for? Panic set in as my gut caught up with the reality that we were in for something very different.
The actual tryouts were a combo of fielding, catching, hitting and running. There were some very good kids in the ten person group Harry was in. Some went through the motions with ease and confidence. H did not do that. He did his best, but he was very nervous. He was also much smaller and younger than all of the kids in his group. He had fun, he clearly loves the sport. After a series of texts while H was on the mound, I found out that some kids will NOT make a team. I thought they used the tryout as a way to balance the teams, when in fact, it is a do or die situation. He was trying out for Minor A baseball because of his age, there was no way around it. I will not tell Harry. He is not ready for that kind of disappointment. He is eight. The good news is he will end up on a Minor B team, and no one will know or care that he tried out and didn’t make Minor A. It of course will be fine. But man, I felt really duped.
Later that evening, I joined a Girls Night Out at Atlas Social Club. Eight ladies just out for food and fun. It was an absolute blast. G took the kids over to our pal’s house for pizza, ping pong and craziness. We all stayed up way past our bedtime. I was definitely not dry, and have now eased up on my attempts to be so for the entire month. I have learned that when an opportunity comes around to spend time without kids, with other women you enjoy, you must take it. There’s nothing like chewing the fat with girl pals and we often don’t give ourselves those opportunities.
Sunday was slow going around this house. We were all gearing up for the game of all games, the Broncos versus the Patriots. My husband is a die hard Broncos fan and has been one since he was a kid. It was the perfect game day weather, sunny but brisk. We made bratwurst, ate pretzels and nuts. It was just the type of Sunday we all needed, paired with the Broncos win, of course. After the kids went to bed, we watched Straight Outta Compton. It was really, really good. I am shocked there wasn’t an acting nomination for Jason Mitchell or Corey Hawkins. Both were excellent. I heard Jason Mitchell on NPR the other day saying some things that struck me. It was to the effect of the Academy thinking it must be very easy for a black actor to play a gangster rapper. His point was that he had NO clue how to play Eazy, he had no experience with the Los Angeles Ghetto or drug trade, much less rap music. His upbringing was quite the opposite, having been on the east coast, schooled in the arts. So it was hugely challenging to play the role he did so believably. Just something to consider, considering…
Have a wonderful week, friends. I am slowly catching up.
Last night, the Napa High Spiritleaders hosted an afternoon of fun for local kids. For $40 a kid, they learned a dance, some cheers, and had pizza for dinner. Parents were sent home while the spirited young ladies did their magic. Then, they walked to the big high school gym and watched the first half of the basketball game. At halftime, we joined them in the gym to watch the performance of what they had learned earlier. Weez and Harry were in different groups, each learned a cool dance with their spiritleaders. Our sitter Ashli is the head spiritleader for the varsity squad and she was the leader of the boy’s group. H felt pretty cool dancing with her out on the court. Weezy’s group was bigger and but so adorable, dancing their hearts out to Beiber.
The advantages to living in a small town, that really behaves as a community, are many. I do dread going to the grocery store sometimes, because at a minimum, you see at least two people you know. When you are make-up-less and in yoga pants, the minimum increases to four. The checkers at the stores have been there for ages. Literally, Monty at Nob Hill gets on my case for still using my mom’s loyalty number. He has known our family since 1990. He gets a Christmas gift from us. If you mention him by name, everyone knows who you mean. It should also be mentioned that his look has not changed in the slightest way over the years. Same mustache, same reddish brown tan.
Napa is unique. For being a place with so many visitors, the number of locals is huge. Many of my high school friends have returned to Napa after branching out for a bit for college and big city life. Some have only ventured out for vacations! We enjoy all of the places that tourist enjoy just the same. Those places make an effort to cater to locals almost as much as the temporaries. The Oxbow for example is a must-visit when in Napa, yet we have our “table” where we are at least once a week, sipping wine and having dinner.
I love this little/big community. Never in a million years did I think that I would end up at 42, living directly across the street from my very first home in Napa. Well, I do. The friends I am closest to today are people I didn’t consider besties in high school, but now I can’t imagine life without them. That’s sort of the way I view life. The big picture and the small, and how those two mingle with each other. It makes for a grand life in this little place.
We have let sports work their way into our lives as organically as possible. Weez hasn’t had the itch in any way at all to dance or do a sport. We tried soccer, and that was just okay. Dance was also just there, not a real passion. For Harry, he has played basketball, soccer, golf, and baseball. He is good at all of the sports, he loves playing on a team and isn’t particularly competitive. Something with baseball is different. He has a personal part that relates to his overall team’s performance. It is the perfect blend of individual skill focus, to communicating and working together out in the field. Of all the things he plays, he is best, from a skill to like ratio, at baseball.
Napa has a bonafide, American baseball program. There’s a park with three fields, it has a concession stand with sunflower seeds, metal bleachers to sit on, and all the local businesses sponsor the teams. The younger kids play on the playground while the parents hob nob and cheer. We have loved being involved.
This year, Harry has to “try-out” for his spot on a team. Everyone makes a team, but they do the try-outs to balance the teams out. This weekend, all the little kids will go out and show their stuff, nervously hoping they “make it.” I have explained to Harris that he will make it no matter what, but the nerves are absolutely there. To help him get back into the swing (literally) of things, we went to the batting cages. Being the only mom there, it was obvious that the cages were a manly event. But I learned, smiled coyly at the staff, and by the second bucket of balls, I was a pro. Harry made excellent contact. He seemed to settle back into his form and gain confidence with each swing.
By the end, I had purchased him a membership, so he can now hit balls whenever he’d like. He puffed up his chest as we walked out, high fiving the guy coming in as we walked out. Moments like these are milestones, for all of us. Confidence, satisfaction, excitement and achievement. I am so happy to be a part of it all.
Today has an aggressive feeling of Monday. The first holiday of the new year throws me off. I already feel behind the ball. To sort the scatter of my mind, some random thoughts…
- The music of Glenn Fry will forever be a key component to the soundtrack of my childhood. There’s lots of other music that will instantly take me back to being a kid, but The Eagles were just quintessential.
- I am loving the new way Alix (my hairstylist in San Francisco whom I have known for twenty years) is coloring my hair. It is a balayage/color melt. Not quite an ombre, but it definitely has a lighter part towards the ends with more of my natural (eek!) color at the roots.
- Speaking of hair, it was raining so hard with wind taking the waterworks sideways, I didn’t bother blowing dry my hair this morning. Usually I have a steadfast “no wet hair in public” rule, but today I was that girl.
- My office in Sonoma is by far the cutest in the building. It has a darling accent chair and throw blanket, plus the obligatory orchid and some aroma sticks. I have framed pictures of my family on the windowsill. Too bad I don’t have more visitors to share my little space with.
- I bought a pair of short moto-styled boots at Target and I love them. They have rubber soles. They were cheap. Perfect for this El Nino weather.
- Thank GOD we didn’t get stuck in the traffic on the Bay Bridge yesterday. Two hours stopped on the span. Pass the Xanax please!
- I am gathering large format bottles of wine for our upcoming school auction and I am so grateful for my friends that have donated. Just makes me warm and fuzzy.
- Time really flies by these days. I already have the year at a glance calendar out, marking the highlights down (like Lake Tahoe, in the picture above). Yes, partially because of what I do for a living, the big picture actually makes me calm. Trusting the flow and preparing for what I can makes me tick. When I do get anxious, all I have to do is break out the calendar and go day by day.
With all that being said, you’d think that I could just accept Tuesday as Tuesday, and quit beating myself up for not spending yesterday preparing for today. Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day. Wednesday. Which basically means the weekend is here!
We just returned from our journey north. As advertised, the weather was intense, but it didn’t hamper our fun at all. The house we rented was just great. It had a very open floor plan, so we were all together without having to make an effort to be. Between the sports and the scrabble, our Sunday was spirited. With the weather came a high surf advisory. The waves were huge and could be heard from inside the house. The side of the house facing the ocean was all windows, so we could just sit back and watch the action. I brought my crock pot and made my signature chili. We baked cookies too. For a rental, the kitchen was very well equipped. The Surf Super (local market) was full of local food and had great logo merchandise, so I picked up a to-go coffee mug as a souvenir.
We went for long walks along the coastline, even in the rain, we just bundled up. The kids hunted for slugs and snails. There were deer all over the place and they didn’t seem too uncomfortable with our stares. Everything was bright green, and seemingly untouched. Considering it was about two and a half hours from our house in Napa, it felt really far away. Like a true adventure. As we packed up the car today, we were all talking about when we should come back.
Now, for the outtakes. We left on Saturday way later than we had planned. At 2:30 p.m. we were all hungry, so we grabbed some lunch in Bodega Bay. Flash 4o minutes later when two giant blasts of barf came from H’s mouth, I thought the trip might end right then. It was horrific. I can’t even type the details beyond that, because you might barf too. Matter of fact, I am gagging now.
Last two thoughts, West Sonoma County is filled with grass fed organic cows. There were cows everywhere, some for dairy and other for beef. The rolling hills and harsh cliffs were equally as popular with them. I am fascinated by their life on the coast. Second, there are some unique dwellings along Highway 1, Say for instance if you were a hoarder of deteriorating buoys and assorted whale bones, you would live right on that road. There were some makeshift homes that you could just smell from looking at them. I wanted to see who lived inside, just to get lost in the story I would make up for them. So very strange in an intriguing way. Salty recluse dogs.
- Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner. This stuff makes my hair feel younger and less damaged. It smells awesome too. Shop around online, because it is a little steep at full price.
- Origin Chardonnay. Everyone knows my alliance to Three Sticks, but their unoaked Origin Chardonnay is fantastic. I never thought I would say no to Sauvignon Blanc, but this is my go-to. It is so delicious and light. It absolutely captures California in a glass. Not that I am enjoying it this month, but in case you are!
- Jo Malone’s Mimosa & Cardamom. I think I like it because it smells like Datura Noir by Serge Lutens. It is fresh and soft, but not floral or typical. There’s a hint of spice that butters up the subtle orange scent. I am pairing it with Lime Basil lotion for an extra layer of warmth.
- Dr. Rhea Zimmerman Komarek. I went to high school with Rhea. She has always been a beacon of light and beauty. The way she expresses it now with her work in chiropractic healing is just amazing. What she and her husband do is remarkable by finding the blocks and releasing them. I absolutely believe her touch is magic, and I am so lucky to know her.
- Hi*Ball Energy. I can’t live without the grapefruit sparkling water. Especially when I am booze free. Just the right amount of caffeine and bubbles. A perfect boost to my afternoon when I usually reach for another latte.
Over the holidays, our little family stayed close to home. So close, we rarely left! There’s a challenge to living in a place that most of the world would like to visit for vacation. Why getaway from the ultimate getaway! There were definitely a lot of people that did just that. Napa was absolutely crowded to the limits. So we stayed home, a lot, which at first was fine. We spent time with family and friends, made delicious food, and just took a breath.
After the new year, many of our friends were off to Mexico, or Tahoe, or Hawaii. During the three weeks the kids had off, it finally sunk in that we had literally no plans. Cabin fever infected us all, yet we really didn’t do much to satisfy the urge to get out beyond a trip up valley for lunch. During that time, I should also note we found termites in our ceiling, and our oven broke. Once the tree and decorations came down, the place really started to fall apart and the new year had seemed to start with more of a thud than a bang.
With the holiday weekend here just in time to compliment the righting of the ship, we’ve decided to get out of the house and up to Sea Ranch. I love the ocean with all my heart. Having spent my early years in San Diego, with a father most comfortable on the water, the ocean is just as beautiful as it is nostalgic for me. My go-to memory of my childhood is in/on/near the sea. The sounds and smells will never tire. Add in the potential for whales, sand in toes, despite the warmth of the sun, and I am in heaven.
My kids love an adventure; we have started giving them little hints about the place we are going, they love packing up their special stuff. The weather is supposed to be terrible, so we’ll bring our favorite games, we’ll bake cookies (oven works there!), pop up popcorn and make fires. If we want to go for a soggy hike, then we will do it. The hot tub will warm us back up. The place we rented has huge windows that look out to the waves, I will curl up with a blanket and binoculars. Even the championship game can be watched on TV Sunday. I am smiling about it all as I type.
…but so not what I had hoped. I cheated on Friday. The second I got home after a long day working hard on a lot of different things, my mind was on overload and not at all on the notion of “Friday night” (which for me is decompression and family time). My mood was in the dumps, for no reason other than I was depriving myself – in my mind – of something that I was very much entitled to. A drink on Friday night. So we made martinis. I like gin with olives. Not dirty, just perfectly icy and up. It was delicious. Two sips in, I was reaching for my spotify and sound bar. The kids were laughing and taking turns dancing in the kitchen. “Now, that’s a Friday night!” I proclaimed, circling around in a little jig.
Half way through it, dinner was in the works and all four personalities in the room were shining. Earlier in the week we made plans to watch the rest of Making a Murderer. We sat in front of our dinner plates in the big TV room and started in. The next hour was a blur. By the time we were onto the next episode, I was sound asleep. When I woke up at 2am on the couch, I immediately had a wave of guilt flood my body. Once I settled in my bed, I felt a faint headache and I couldn’t easily fall back asleep.
I had promised to meet my friend, Leslie, at The Dailey Method for a class at 9:15 a.m., and while I was by no means hungover, I wasn’t firing with all pistons. Sluggish, you could say. During class, I was so thirsty and was certainly not as strong as I would have liked. Afterwards, I was so aware of how I felt and I was brutally honest with myself. I need to be sober this month. Maybe longer. I am sure this won’t be the only time I consider a drink, but that one martini helped me reaffirm my pledge to a dry January.