Thursday, November 21, 2013

Escape the Crazy: 3 Easy Steps

Tis the season for craziness. But you don't have to be consumed by the chaos around you. Here's three ways to center and find some serenity.

1. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there.

Make the effort to spend at least 10 minutes when you wake up and 10 minutes before your eyes close for the night to breathe. Focus on the good and let yourself get lost in hope.

2. For this, I am grateful.

Regardless of the inconvenient or downright ridiculous curve balls life throws, everyone has something in their life that is good...something that someone else wants...perhaps someone's unanswered prayers. Be mindful of what you do have. Start and end your day in can you go wrong?

3. Make a good choice. Your options are limitless...
  • eat a healthy meal
  • go for a walk
  • volunteer some time
  • visit a friend
  • call a friend
  • say you're sorry
  • go to bed a half hour earlier than you normally would
  • wake up a half hour earlier than you normally would
  • show your partner a little extra romance
  • show yourself a little extra kindness
When you begin with good intention, there are no wrong answers. When you do good, you feel good. And with choices you make, your power is yours.

Don't let the craziness of the season or of others derail you and your sense of wellness and peace. The holidays can be a time of renewal and joy. Let it be so for you.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

18 Lessons in 18 Months

Eighteen months ago I said, "I do" to a man to whom I would say "I do" again and again every day.

The past eighteen months have been wonderful..."living in magic," as he has said. That magic starts with love and respect, friendship and trust. Not everyone has that, and I am reminded every day of how sacred that is.

As we continue on our journey as husband and wife, I find myself more in love, and increasingly more grateful for the gift we've been given in our marriage. 

As someone who married for the first time later in life, the transition from girlfriend to wife was not that dramatic. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned and lessons to remember.

Here's an overview of what we have learned as man and wife.

1. Holding hands creates magic. Whether it's body heat, energy transfer, or a combination of the two, holding hands sets the mood and connects us as one. It's just us for those moments in time.

2. Conversation is connection. It's a chance to reconnect and catch up on our days, make plans for what's to come, and work through bumps in the road. When we talk, we connect.

3. Quiet space is okay. Sometimes when we're driving, it's quiet. We don't always feel the need to talk...sometimes it's nice to share space. We know the other is there, and we chat when we have something to say.  There's a comfort level in knowing that quiet space is's okay to just be.

4. Fight fair. It's as simple as that.

5. Explore together. Play tourist in your own town, your own state. Plan a weekend away, a long awaited vacation. See someplace new for the first time, together.

6. Be vulnerable. Trust that your partner has your back. Don't be afraid to let down your guard. If you can't do this with your partner, with whom can you be real?

7. Break out of the box. Explore each other's intimate fantasies and desires.

8. Listen...don't try to fix it. Often there's comfort in simply knowing someone hears you.

9. A little romance goes a long way, and romance is a two way street. Send a romantic or naughty text. Leave a note in his or her lunch, under a windshield, in a pocket. Let your partner know he or she is on your mind. If you build it, they will come.

10. Let it go. Don't harp on problems and don't bring up past transgressions. If it's over, it's over. Don't hold him or her hostage. If you can't let it go, get help or get out.

11. Enough with the pajamas/sweats/yoga pants. There's nothing more comforting than warm pajamas after a long day, but who wants a partner who wears yoga pants or pajamas like it's her job? If the situation were reversed, how many of us would love our guys in sweats  all day every day? We want them to put in the effort to look good, and we need to as well. Yes, they're easier and yes, they're more comfortable. But many of us put effort into our appearance when we were dating. Back then he was little more than a stranger; now he's our partner. That must warrant a little effort.

12. Share the heavy lifting...get creative with planning dates. Share the driving. Share the chores. Both partners working toward a common goal is a win-win.

13. Share a common goal. Keep each other on task. Fitness goals, healthy living goals, financial goals...any all counts.

14. Date night. That's all.
15. Establish traditions that are just for you.

16. Break out of your comfort zone. Try something new the both of you may enjoy.

17. Celebrate the little anniversaries, half-anniversaries, birthdays, doesn't matter what it is. It's Wednesday? Happy Hump Day! Get busy!

18. Reflect. Be willing to put in the work to see what works and what doesn't. It takes two. Keep the communication lines open and be willing to have the hard conversations.

Eighteen months later, I still feel like a newlywed, giddy with excitement over the little things we have shared and for all the good that's to come.  

Get Up

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball. Or the bottom just falls out. And it would be easier to drink the Kool-Aid, curl up into a ball in the corner or hide under the blankets and hibernate until the problem rolls away.

But the thing is, it doesn't.

I see some of my friends and family getting knocked around these days like it's their job. And in the end, they will deal with it. They are stronger than their problems.

We all are.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Final Exam...A Look at the Finality of Infertility

When it comes to school, there's not a lot of gray area to a test. You pass or you fail.

When it comes to medical tests, occasionally, depending on the test, there can be some can get a false negative or a false positive, and then deal with the angst that comes with all of that nonsense.

But in matters of the uterus, or at least in my case with my uterus, there is simply no gray area. It's a pass or fail situation.

I'm a good student. I study like a trooper. When it comes to my biology, I knew my body signs. I ate fertility boosting foods and I had indicators to alert me of ovulation. I understood timing and the importance of good physical health for peak fertile opportunities.

But none of that mattered.

I have bad eggs. Premature ovarian failure. Premature menopause. However you spin it, it results in the same...a Big. Fat. Negative.

Nevertheless, I held onto hope like it was my job. I prayed. I wished on stars, tumbling eyelashes, 11:11s and Thanksgiving wishbones. And month after month, I bought more tests...hopeful that my blood work, doctors, specialists and reproductive endocrinologists were wrong.

But they never were wrong.

So, I no longer buy the tests, but I do have one left.

It's buried under our sink, in a makeup bag that I never use. It's out of sight, but I know it's there. It flashes like a beacon in my brain and in my heart whenever I get a twinge in my ovary or when I am feeling overly sensitive, physically or emotionally. It's the what if that is the stuff of Lifetime movies and downward spirals.

It's a test I may never take.

On one hand, it's closure. The test will be used, I will have my negative, and the door will be closed.

On the other hand, no one likes to fail. Even if you wanted a negative, a positive result would be a significant failure, with a less than pleasing result. It's all a matter of perspective.

And then there's that hope thing...the stuff of Facebook philosophers and Pinterest feel-good pinners.

Giving up is a bitter pill to swallow. Our society frowns on quitters. But at some point, when quitting is in your best interest emotionally or otherwise, you have to let go of what you planned in favor of what can be. In full disclosure, I saw that on Pinterest...feel good pinner here.

So my final exam is just that. It is a final.

Whether I take it the next time I think I am experiencing questionable symptoms, and get my negative result, or whether I exempt myself and eventually find the courage to simply throw it away, time and my heart's own healing will tell. 

In the meantime, it's back to feel good pinning and Facebook philosophizing about all the good things that await me. 

And they will.

This big fat negative may lead to the biggest, fattest positive I never knew I always wanted.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Malpica de Bergantiños...a Port for the Senses in Northwest Galicia

Nestled in the northwest corner of coastal Spain, about 50 kilometers outside of A Coruña, Galicia, lies an old, small, seemingly sleepy port town that resurrects itself at least twice each day with the arrival of the fishing boats and their workers, delivering their daily catch.

Malpica de Bergantiños is as picturesque as it is functional. The smell of the catch competes with the panorama of the port, as well as the cry of the gulls, in a competition for domination of the senses.

The grumble of the ice machine barely penetrates the cacophony of scavengers hovering overhead for what can be snatched in an instant by their eager and hungry beaks.

Close by are the nets and traps, repaired by the hands of local women, Gallegas; ready to be used on the next journey out to sea.

After the catch has been unloaded, venture inside to the auction house and witness the dance of buyers and sellers as they negotiate a fair price for the treasures culled from Galicia's Atlantic coast.

Later, venture up the ramps to walk into any bar for a café con leche or an Albariño (a white wine typical of Galicia). Here, you will see tables full of grandpas...abuelos...some playing cards over cañas of Estrella Galicia, others telling stories and reminiscing about the good ole days, or about the gossip of what happened in the village the night before.

Enjoy a tapa, like a wedge or tortilla española,

or a plate of pimentos de Padrón.

And maybe another caña or Albariño, but be careful, or your visit to the lovely port of Malpica de Bergantiños may not end as lovely as it started.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Because it is a lovely life indeed

Whether it's adult onset ADD or my Gemini personality, I will never know. But it manifests itself in various ways. Whether it's a low tolerance for boredom or an insatiable appetite for change, I am undeniably infected.

As a teacher, I have the luxury of a new experience every day. January 1st brings with it a giddiness for the thought of new opportunity exploding from the dawn of the new year.

Adventure comes in the form of change and I shouldn't be surprised that my  blog is fair game.

When I started blogging, I had no idea where my niche would settle. I still don't.

So why the redesign?

As someone with a bit of marketing background, I realize that simplicity is key.
And I also realize that if you have to explain something all the time, it probably isn't all that simple.

As bloggers know, searching for the perfect domain can be tricky. Sometimes creative thinking works...other times, not so much. If no one remembers your domain or gets it, why bother?

So, Besote has become A Lovely Life Indeed.

And it is.

Un besote...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sometimes Disney gets it right

People who love Disney believe that the animators and storytellers have the capacity to share big ideas and sophisticated concepts in a way that is manageable for young minds, yet applicable to the adults who often accompany them.

I grew up on old-school Disney films. When Pixar emerged, its technology just didn't have that same nostalgic pull for me as the Disney cartoons of earlier times did.

Until now.

In full disclosure, I have never seen Up. This scene is it, but if the movie is anything like this clip, it seems like Pixar hit a home run.

Carl and Ellie didn't have much, but they had each other. They had dreams and they made plans.

And when they little choice, and when they needed to, they made new plans. They faced an uncertain future with love, patience, tenderness, and a sense of humor.

Through it all, they had each other.

Instead of dealing with life's pain and disappointment by pulling back (as is so easy to do when there's pain) they turned inward toward each other, supporting each other and loving each other...until the end...and even then. 

It seems that, regardless of the speed bumps along the way, they moved forward with plan b, plan c, plan d, and whatever other plans they needed in order to see their dreams through.

Based on this clip, it seems like Pixar got it right. Carl and Ellie may have originated in a storyteller's mind, but their poignant, and, at times, heartbreaking experience exemplifies everlasting love.

Amazon will be hearing from me tonight. There's a movie that has soared to the top of my must-see list.

Un besote~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Blogging Anniversary to Me!

Happy Blogging Birthday to Me!

Jumping on the writing bandwagon that is popular in November, I answered the challenge in 2012 by starting a journey, unsure of where it would take me.

What a ride!
  • I have published 110 posts and have been blessed with 9019 page views.
  • 44 amazing followers have joined me for the ride via Google Friend Connect and 40 followers have joined me through Bloglovin.
  • I have connected A Lovely Life, Indeed (and the blog formerly known as Besote) to various social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

It's fun to see which posts pull the most traffic. Here are my top 5 most popular posts:

5. Jillian Michaels, Shame, and Getting Over It

4. Packing for Spain...How I Pack for a Month Abroad

3. Gift Guide: Travel Lover's Must Haves

2. Bored, Not Hungry: 30 Things to Do Instead of Snacking

1. Five Reasons I Can't Wait to be Back in Galicia

And, if you're interested, you can read my first post here.

It's been quite an inaugural year. This past year has afforded me the opportunity to meet bloggers from around my region, network with bloggers from around the world, attend a bloggers' conference in Boston, learn about marketing my blog and start the process of narrowing my niche.

And I still have so much to learn in year two and beyond.
  • I want to redesign the blog, create a better header and create a button.
  • I want to learn about monetizing, and create a media kit.
  • I want to focus my niche a bot more and learn how to take better photos.
  • I want to write content that engages readers and encourages feedback.
  • I want to network more with other readers and learn from their experiences.
  • I want to attend a national conference, like BlogHer.
  • I want to grow my readership and encourage more interaction through blog hops and guest blogging.

To my beloved readers...thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in this experience. I am so thrilled that you're here and sharing your thoughts and feedback. It helps me grow as a writer, as a reader and as a person.