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Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Get up and move!

August 5th, 2013 (10:53 am)

Well, I failed my goal of doing just one pull-up by August 1st. I did practice quite a bit though. I lost about 5 lbs in the process and my arms are super buffed out (partly because of holding baby so much who is clocking in around 28lbs). I'm not sure I would have been able to do a pull-up, but the whole process got usurped by a surprise notification to move out of our house.

On July 12th our landlord called us to say that he had to sell the house and if we could be out by August 1st, he wouldn't charge us July rent. The timing on this couldn't have been worse. I was in the process of preparing to launch the following week a week-long meditative/training retreat that I had been working on since January with my team. Not only that, but I was also in the middle of trying to hire for my position since I have been promoted and created a new (and exciting!) role for myself at my job. All on top of planning for our European version of the week-long retreat being held in France in early August, which I am attending as well.

On July 14th, we dejectedly went to 2 open houses close to our neighborhood. Scouting for rental homes is like speed dating - you try your best to present your best self. At the first place, Patrick, Adam and I came in the house apple-cheeked and all smiles telling the landlord about our steady incomes and our love of the neighborhood. Our pitch fell flat compared to the sob story another family was telling of poverty and woe. The landlord told us it was unlikely that we'd be considered.

At the next open house, we recalibrated our pitch. "Let's tell them we want to raise our family here and that my parents live close by. Oh! And tell them you're Canadian and I'll tell them I was raised in this neighborhood. And let's make sure Adam is well-fed and wearing his overalls." As it turned out, the only pitch we needed was Adam being happy as a clam smiling at the rental agent who absolutely fell in love with him. There were about 6 families looking at the house and the rental agent kept coming back to us to get more Adam smiles. At one point, I pulled her aside and told her our story of needing to find a house ASAP. I even told her we'd be willing to pay $50 more a month. She seemed interested in my proposal. We left the house, went home and hopped back on Craigslist to find more homes. Not even an hour after leaving, the rental agent was at our door saying, "Can you move in this week?"

Thus started our hectic process of packing up our entire house and organizing a move while both Patrick and I were working full time during the busiest season of our jobs. The day before our move on July 19th, I sprained my ankle so I was totally useless moving things or really, doing ANYTHING. My ankle is still weak from breaking it in November at Disneyland. I HATED being laid up yet again with an injury that made it so I was on crutches. I took all of my mindfulness training and remembered, I could freak out or I can keep hopeful, be proactive and remain positive. I chose the path of least resistance and kept calm, and carried on. While our friends moved all of our belongings into our new home and I got help from our daycare provider to carry Adam to and from my car while I continued to work, we managed to move and I was in Petaluma kicking off the retreat I had worked so hard to plan. By July 23, I was off crutches and walking around. Surprisingly, my stress was very low. My mantra was, "This isn't forever - this craziness will pass very soon." Keeping things in perspective, you know?

Now we are settled (somewhat) into our new home. I finally finished painting all of our rooms from the drab beige to a nice, cool color pallet. I started collecting vintage pieces from the Antique Faire, so I'm feeling nearly confident to post my finished home on Saucy Dwellings (if they'll have me). And, I'm leaving for Europe in 4 days! Holy shit!

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Just One Pull-Up

July 1st, 2013 (12:02 am)

I have a blog for my son I keep more regularly than on myself. If you are interested in seeing my impossibly amazing child, email me personally (so that you check my rigorous high standards of people allowed to see all of my videos and photos of my child) and you can see what my son is up to. In the meanwhile, let me update you on a little goal I have. And by little, I mean a goal that seems simply impossible: being able to do just ONE PULL-UP by August 1, 2013. I've NEVER been able to do a pull-up in my LIFE! Not even thanks to being a child of the 80's where Reagan enforced physical fitness tests. I remember dreading these tests (OK, all of PE). One of "straddle vault" tests took my virginity -- but that's another story for another day. After that, I begged my mom to write "she's on her period" notes to my PE teacher (who should have saved all of those notes from the Physical Fitness Test Day and made them into a coffee table book).

But now that I'm a grown ass woman with a mofo pull-up bar in my garage, it's time to dream big. Just One Pull-Up big.

This was all inspired from an episode of The Regular Show. I'll spare you the details, but this resonated deep within me. Every day someone is doing something seemingly impossible. A woman lifts a car to save her baby. People are solving the mysteries of the universe on the daily. Why can't that something impossible be me doing just one fucking pull-up??

So tonight, I began training. I have just 1 month to do a pull-up.
(You need a little flair to accomplish big goals.)

First, I tried it the way I was "trained" by my PE teacher, Ms. Robin Williams as a Woman But Not Mrs. Doubtfire (can't remember her name). "Ladies only do pull-ups like this."
Girly pull-up
Like a kitten, paws up and meowing for mercy.

Patrick walked in while I was struggling like this while listening to Pavement ("Grounded" was on at the moment) on the record player saying, "You should try it this way (knuckles out) and you might want to listen to something more motivating."

So I put on Muse's record and cranked the volume to "Panic Room" and tried the "Boy's Way" with little success:
Boy&amp;#39;s Way

August 1st. That's the goal. Just. One. Pull-Up.

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Meditations on Meditation

November 19th, 2012 (12:47 am)

Someone once told me they didn't like to be alone with their thoughts and avoided down time for this reason. And at the time, I agreed with them. That conversation has stuck with me for years. Every now and then I'd think about it but in a changing light. I had wanted to keep myself busy to keep my mind off of "things" that were going on in my life. This was especially true when times were tough. Then I detected a pattern. I was keeping myself distracted rather than dealing with my problems. I started to make time to mentally process events and feelings. When I did that, I realized that while I was my own toughest critic, I could also be self reflective in a forgiving way. And my self reflection was beginning to help me cope with issues that felt out of my control and much bigger than me.

Now I stand 180 degrees from that person's statement and my old feelings. I make intentional room every day to be alone with my thoughts. It's given me a sense of control and peace in my life that I haven't had before. Rather than let my emotions run away from me when there was an intense situation going on in my life, I can choose how to react. (Mind you, I didn't say choose how I feel - I try my best to translate how I'm feeling most accurately to myself, which is an important part of processing.) That's an empowering feeling. The most recent example I can think of was giving birth. I have such a low tolerance for pain that the thought of birthing a baby scared me. When Patrick and I became serious, I started to fantasize about raising children with him - a new thing for me. When we decided to try for a child, I had to sort through my fears around giving birth, something I had previously called "walking the green mile". Once I realized I was labeling it as "scary", I wasn't open to it being anything else. Not being open to things is not cool. That's letting life pass you by. So I started to listen to other stories of birthing that sounded joyful and beautiful. I began to look forward to it when I thought about the feeling of holding my baby and experiencing motherhood. I stopped focusing on the "scary" part. I kept doing this mental work. Every day, I'd sit with this quietly and think about all the wonderful parts of the experience. And sometimes, I wouldn't think about anything and my own mind would bring something scary up like what if something terrible happened to the baby. Instead of letting that thought run away from me, I steered myself back towards the better outcomes. I found it interesting in those moments of practicing trying not to think about anything and seeing what was coming up. On the day I gave birth, I was so focused on the wonderful things to come after the painful part that I didn't really experience much pain (...after the epidural). Its incredible how pervasive negative and fear can be if you let it. Thinking back to that day only 2 and a half months ago and I don't even remember the sensations of pain, I only remember the look on Patrick's face when he became a dad and seeing my precious son for the first time.

I've been meditating for a little over a year and it's changed my life. My meditation practice is secular in nature. I look at it as a way to strengthen my ability to be happy person who is learning and growing to get the most out of my experiences and myself. Of course, when you are deep in introspection or even still quietness, it can feel a bit spiritual. But mostly, I look at it as the same way you'd brush your teeth to maintain healthy gums. I'm not particularly open about my meditation because of its very personal nature and because I feel like its something a lot of people don't understand. It has a lot of associations with it that aren't accurate to my experience. My hope is that more people benefit from being reflective and learning how to do what it takes to make themselves happy. Life is way too short to feel out of control.

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Learning how to Laugh

November 15th, 2012 (06:02 am)

Adam Learning How to Laugh from TheP&CProject on Vimeo.

You should all know that I have the cutest baby ever.

That is all.

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Welcoming my son, Adam, into the world.

September 19th, 2012 (09:42 pm)

Today I've been a mom for two weeks. Two weeks ago on the morning of my 30th birthday, I felt a pop in my uterus and had that moment of realization that my life was about to change forever. Being pregnant prepares you somewhat, but never as much as holding your actual child in your arms.

So here are the quick and not-so-dirty details of the labor: Almost exactly 12 hours, start to finish. Started labor at 7:39am and Adam was born at 7:37pm. Left for the hospital at 9:30am when Patrick got back from his overnight retreat he was due to be at for 4 days. I had drugs at 1:30 (I don't know how people can do it without) due to Adam being turned around and giving me terrible back labor. And by 3:30, I was pushing. But 4 hours later, no baby and a very exhausted Christina. At this point nothing hurt anymore (god those epiderals are miracle workers!), it was just EXHAUSTING pushing with all my might for so long. The birthing part was really strange to feel. Again, not painful, just bizarre. They asked if I wanted a mirror, but I declined. I was loving watching Patrick's expression. It was incredible to watch our son being born and be able to watch his face as he became a dad. Then, the baby was on my chest, eyes wide open and not even a wimper. That moment was truly indescribable. I mean, here is this tiny human I had been carrying around in me laying on my chest. Unreal!

Patrick was so moved and in love instantly.

And so was I (and also REALLY TIRED!).

And now I "get it" more. Its like I have this new level of awareness because of him. I understand the life cycle a lot more intimately. I understand myself and my relationship on a deeper level. I love stronger and feel protective over my family.

Plus, he's just so damn cute! I can't stop looking at him!

I try not to just stare at him all day. I make time for other things too. But the hours just slip by now. Its very enjoyable.

Just wanted to quickly update before we go off on our nightly walk around the neighborhood. I'm nearly healed up and back in action (well, another 4 weeks until I can technically be considered fully healed). Also, on the sleep tip - we usually get about 3-4 hours of sleep at a time. Tough schedule to adjust to. Hence the major baggage under my eyes.

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

9 Months in Retrospect

August 25th, 2012 (07:25 am)

I'm nine months pregnant and lost the ability to sleep. Rather, I've lost the ability to rest. For the little sleep I get, my dreams are consumed with going into labor and having a baby. Or walking through downtown New York City, finding Godzilla burning down the place and then delivering a half baby, half dragon monster. Or walking up every hour to pee or to feel a contraction. My body is a mothership and I'm simply along for the ride.

9 months in retrospect and I could say time flew, but that wouldn't be completely true. The first 3 months were some of the slowest days of my life. As slow as days were in elementary and high school. I was a lucky pregnant woman with no symptoms aside from a severe aversion to meat (turning me vegetarian and sometimes vegan for months). I was never sick, I was not that sleepy (probably because I had plenty of time in my daily schedule to nap or sleep in), and felt like the picture of health. The only negative experience was losing the twin. Then I moved into my second trimester, the weeks started to slip through my fingers. Soon I was 22 weeks and stopped fitting into some of my non-pregnant clothes. Then I was 26 weeks going to my Hypnobirthing class. Suddenly, I'm 37 weeks pregnant, as big as a fucking house just waiting around for a baby to enter my life changing things forever.

Its a strange feeling to know my life as I know it will never be the same. I've had 9 months of bodily sacrifice to prepare in a lot of ways, but caring so intensely for another human being... that's still "woah" for me. I feel more ready than ever and at the same time, there are selfish moments were I cry for a little bit about how much I'll miss being a silly little 20 something year old able to do whatever I want. Doing whatever I want will now take more planning than ever. But when I weigh that with welcoming my son into the world and helping him grow into an amazing person, I get a surge of love and purpose.

Kind of like what this little guy has done for me. (I'm so glad Oliver will be a part of this journey with me! So far, he loves being around all the babies he's ever met. But when a baby starts taking away his sleep, how will he feel then?? #pugproblems)

It's so odd to think that a year ago, my lack of sleep was caused by the excitement and anxiety of getting married. Now, with all the love and support in the world (I couldn't have done this as successfully or smoothly without him), I'm headed into parenthood with as equally excited and ready partner. Thanks to all of our work together through communicating, prepping, learning and hours spent just feeling our son move around in my tummy (of course, while playing our favorite songs for him through the belly - this kid is really going to love Neutral Milk Hotel and Supertramp), we are both going into labor process fearless because we are just so anxious to meet the product of him + me.

Is it naive to feel so ready? To not feel fear, rather strength at this point? I'm banking on creating my own birthing story and experience because I trust that I can overcome the fear-story our brains produce to cause you more pain and stress. I have been tuning out all other experiences or anxieties people have been trying to place on me. Sure, its not going to be pleasant and I'm expecting pain. But I'm a woman and I was built for this. I didn't come with huge birthing hips for nothing.

But before I say "bring it on" wholeheartedly to birthing this baby, can't I just get a few more hours of gloriously uninterrupted sleep?

Your Imaginary Friend [userpic]

Large Apple

April 3rd, 2012 (01:11 pm)

Hello dear (and dead) LJ.

I didn't even look at my last recent entry but I know it's been forever ago. This place is like a ghost town and that actually feels pretty good. So long are the days of wanting to spill my guts to the entire public, but mostly Russia (because that's the most active group here on LJ nowadays, right?). I'd much rather have intimate conversations in person or on my far-too-grown-up house line with close homies than tell you, internet, every little thought that crosses my mind. But, that's all to say, I miss you! So, I'll indulge every now and then.

It's interesting to think that there was a recent period where I had no close friends. It was painful having people just outside of my bubble, but never anyone that could penetrate inside. Now I have tended my friend garden to be full of people who I can trust and will love unconditionally. There are a group of us, mostly couples in long-term relationships, who are on the same little water slide in life. Marrying, having babies, finding ways to still embody our youthful whims. Then there are my single friends who keep me close to the single Christina who knew exactly what it felt like to go home alone and make late night tea, silently contemplate her day.

I'm about 3.5 months pregnant. I feel like these last 3 months have gone by SO SLOW. Days went from being what I call "middle school slow" to about "high school slow". While I never went to middle school, that age period for me was the slowest of my life. Days felt like 5 of my normal ones today. High School managed to be slow, but not terribly so. Unless some terrible drama loomed all around me. My waistline has never been so big (nor have my breasts) and my appetite was as big as it was when I weighed 210 lbs waaaay long ago. I look in the mirror with a mixture of excitement and selfishness: "OMG I'm really going to have a baby! OMG will I ever be able to fit into my clothes again?" I've been deriving a stringent workout plan for when this baby is born, as I struggle now to have the energy for working out or even stay away long enough to gorge on dinner.

I'm having a baby boy. I was having twins. But that's a story I'll save for another day. I'm not sad, just glad I have one healthy, active baby in there who reminds me of his presence every time I try to lay comfortably down for sleep. My sides feel like they are stretching internally. I have to sit hunched because sitting erect can cause a little ball of heaviness to heave to the side.

My baby is the size of a LARGE APPLE. I can't even comprehend. I remember when he and his sibiling were just the size of green olives. Mmmmm, green olives...

Anyway, that's all I have in me for now. Quite disjointed and meandering. Just like the good ol' days.

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