Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love In A Slot Canyon

My step-sister, Melissa, is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Massage Therapist, Certified Health Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist.  She works with a lot of competitive athletes but also with kids and other clients seeking one-on-one training and massage. In addition to all of that, she's written articles for several health and wellness publications.

She is the owner of Raise The Bar Wellness.

Last year she had the opportunity to travel through France for a month to work as part of the health support staff for a cycling team in the Tour de France.  She was what's called a soigneur - in cycling, that's a person who gives training, massages, and other assistance to a team, especially during a race.

She recently posted the following words with the photo above, on her Instagram account. I think it's spectacular.  Have a read:

Life itself wants us to expand

It is always seeking our soft places

Pushing us there to see if we will stretch

Or break and become new

It seeks our hard places too

The walls we built when we didn't know we were building them

Life itself comes across like a monster

With gnashing teeth and long nails


But once we make friends with it

We realize

That sometimes love

Breaks us down

To build us up better

I could not love myself the way I do today

If I had not broken open dozens of times

I could not love my kids, my partner, this world

The way I do

If I had not fallen to my knees so many times

And begged life

To give me something better

Now isn't that fantastic?

She is so inspiring.  And wise.  Thoughtful and insightful.  Her words have the power to evoke deep emotion.  She says things out loud that most people keep inside.  She pulls feelings out of the deepest spots of your mind and heart.  And she makes people feel as if it's okay for them to have those feelings.

In addition to words like these that she writes, I love that she has such a dedication to physical fitness - for herself, her children, other children, friends, clients, etc.  She provided me with some really great exercises for back and sciatica pain that helped.  And when I watch her videos I REALLY want (in my head) to get off my ass and do exercise-like things. 

I can't always complete that thought with action, but I think it's building.  I've never been one to do, enjoy, or look forward to physical exertion so it's a big stretch to think I'll ever be anywhere near her fitness level. That's just crazy thinking.  But if I can reach just one planck length of her fitness level, I'd rule the world.

The closest I've ever come to daily physical activity of any significant level was my six-mile-a-day walking average in Europe, during a vacation in 2018.  That was over the top. Six miles a day! I can't believe I even did that. I was in Europe for a month and when I got home I weighed 13 pounds less.  Even after eating cheese and croissants and lattes and decadent breakfasts and dessert every night.  I was shocked!  I guess there is something to that exercise stuff.  

So I will just keep reading her words and watching her videos and maybe someday, like my grandfather used to say, if enough shit hits the fan, some is bound to stick.  

Friday, September 02, 2022

Loving The 'Gram

I lose
hours on Instagram.  Not all at once, but certainly over the course of days.  Some days, it'll be an hour before I realize in deep in the rabbit hole.  There's just SO MUCH stuff to look at, it's easy to get sucked in.  Here are ten accounts I follow that are currently my favorites.

Liliya Rakh 
She is the Founder and Director of Sauvage Group, the largest fashion luxury chain in Kazakhstan.  Yes, Kazakhstan.  There's just something about her I like - her hair (which she really pulls off) is her most striking feature, but the fact that she's tall and slim really sets off the clothing she wears.  I don't love all the looks she models, but I do like a lot of them. 

Carlo and Sarah
He's Italian, she's American.  They're young.  In love.  Married now.  They met at his family's beach club in Italy, a place she'd been going with her family for years because her Nonna lives in a nearby town.  Her nonna and other family members had been friends with his family for years. He was a handsome Italian lifeguard.  He learned English just to ask her on a date and even then, they used Google Translate to communicate.  They were separated during the pandemic and eventually married in Italy, but without her family because of Covid. They're having a second wedding this year in the U.S.  Here's a Q & A about them.  They're in their early twenties and a great couple.  I LOVE him.  His accent, his Italian, his laugh, and how he is still learning English.  They crack me up regularly.

Daily Bird Pics
I love birds.  I bird watch at home.  I have three bird apps on my phone - Merlin Bird ID, the Audubon Bird Guide, and Peterson Field Guides Birds of North America.  I take pictures of birds.  And I follow multiple bird accounts on Instagram.  Sometimes you'll seem the same photo on each account, but there are so many amazing, gorgeous, phenomenal birds to look at, who cares?  Here are some others I follow:  Birds On Earth, Best Bird Pictures, and Birds.Nature.

Effin' Birds
Speaking of birds  - this is a different kind of bird account.  I'm convinced its creator, Aaron Reynolds, and I, were separated at birth.  He's effin' hilarious.

Travel and Leisure
Nothing describes my likes better than travel and leisure.  I like all the ideas I get from their posts and because of them, I am continually adding new locations to my "must visit" list.

For The Love Of Old Houses
I definitely need more money.  Because there are houses out there that need to be purchased.  I want to live everywhere!  No doubt in my mind one of these places will give you pause and say to yourself, hmmm, maybe it's time to moveCirca Houses, Cheap Old Houses, Old Houses Under $50K, and Cheap Italian Dream Homes are others you might want to check out.

Mühendis Tube
Some of the coolest stuff I've seen online.  I don't know how they get half of these videos, but I'm glad they do.  It's awesome.  The account is Turkish - Mühendis means Engineer.

Cats of Instagram
Because I'm not allowed to have a cat.  That makes me sad.  This account makes me happy.  This one is kind of great also.

My Texas House
I love her decor - color palette and style.  I want this house and everything in it.  I just don't want it in Texas.  The style of this house is a very close second.  But again, don't love the location - I can barely handle the heat of Tucson, I'd never survive in blazing hot Buckeye, Arizona.

Mateo Zielonka
Because I love pasta and hope to someday make more of it, I follow Mateo because as a chef, author of "The Pasta Man", and maker of drool-worthy (and Instagram-worthy) dishes, he inspires me and makes my eyes happy.  You can find his website here.

I have many more Instagram sites that I love.  I'll do another post in the future about them.  In the meantime, check these out and let me know what you think.

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2021:  Sorry, no post on this day.
2020:  Sorry, no post on this day.
2019:  Sorry, no post on this day.
Amazing In One Pot
2017: Note To Self: Shut Phone Off Before Bed
2016: Where You Live When You Love What You Do
2015: The Best Snark On Screen
2014: The Only One Working Today
2013: Only The Lonely
2012: Tunnel Of Love
2011: A Stinking Welcome
2010: The Star Of The Spinning Centerpiece
2009: My Nizzl Fa Shizzl
2008: When You’re Smiling
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Decision Dilemma
2005: Alaska Later!