I have to say, I have not been one of those people who dislike getting older. You’ll never hear me lying about my age. I’m not staring in the mirror worrying over wrinkles (although I did search for gray hairs a few months back in hopes that I had earned some!). Each year of life is filled with ups and downs and heartaches and amazing moments. But every year on my birthday, I am glad. I don’t want to do over previous years. I don’t want to go back to a different body. And that (which you have probably heard from others before) that is because I am who I am because of what came before. Someone once told me that I was only okay with getting older because I have to tell myself that in order to deal with it. And I thought it was sad to have that kind of view. I am fine with getting older because I am so glad for what my life has brought me.
This year is no different. Today is no different. I woke up to the sound of a text at 5:26 am from a coworker saying Happy Birthday. A coworker who just happened to remember and it made me smile. I didn’t sleep well last night (mostly related to our dog who is old and ill). But my oldest made me gluten-free pancakes and cleaned up everything. My husband told me happy birthday and kissed me on the cheek before heading to work. And my youngest made me a card and gave me a Starbucks card. And we listened to music and sang along as we drove to their school.
There are a lot of days that aren’t our birthday, that we wake up after sleeping poorly and we don’t sing along to Feelin Good in the car. Or maybe we do. Because we can. There are a lot of days that we get up and no one is texting us happy birthday. But maybe they are texting hello or when can we get together or even sharing things that suck. But they are texting us. They are around and apart of our lives (virtual shout out to A, B, C & S!).
This last year brought new challenges in my life because of the things I wrote about here, but I made a decision not to take them lying down. It was a decision based on love and experience. My 35 years have taught me some of my best strategies in dealing with problems. Cry and complain a little (or a lot). Make a list. Do research. Try to focus on what matters. I remind myself when decisions are hard how much I love my family. I ask myself what it is that they might need from me. What can I do? And what is it that I can’t do? I am not a super hero.
These last few weeks, staying at home, have been a blessing in my life and my families. And now I am motivated to keep on improving and living better life than the year before. So what did I do? Make lists. Research. Focus on what matters. I’ve been working on exercise for me and my family. Practicing bike riding. Feeding my family healthy and mostly vegetarian meals. Examining products that our family uses. Things they put on their face and their hair and their body. What is my money supporting? What industry am I promoting? What do all of these chemicals do? I am debating becoming a vegan. My teenager and I have started using almond milk. No more animal milk in my lattes. I’ve been buying different products than I used to and washing my face with EVOO method (I’ll let you know after a while how its going, but so far I have learned that oil is amazing at removing makeup). Reading books from the library.
And generally feeling pretty good. So again, hello 35!
I am not endorsing any particular product, just trying out things. Some resources I have looked at:
How about you? Do purchase specific products with the environment/health/animals in mind? Do you use a specific face wash to avoid chemicals? Do you make diet choices based on a broader idea of health than just getting certain nutrients?
I got a text from a coworker the other day, the one who went to Little Tokyo with me. She is a traveler nurse, which are some of my favorite people. They can get a bad rap. They are only around 13 weeks, and bad ones make people think they are crappy nurses. But I have met a lot of great nurses who are travelers. And? They like to try new things. New things being one of my favorite things to do, I was all on board for an adventure when she sent me a text. And she wanted to get me a pedicure as a late Mother’s Day present. What??? So kind! So we headed to a neighborhood I haven’t visited in LA. I have seen it in Sunset Magazine and LA Magazine, but still haven’t been. Hard to believe after 13 years in SoCal, there are still places that are new to see. But that’s what is great about big cities.
Even the Google maps directions took me into parts of Silver Lake I had never seen. As in, there is kind of a real lake there. Did everyone else know this? I just thought it was hilly, hipster, and colorful. Okay, it’s not a lake, but a reservoir. But still, surrounded by cute California homes and a running track, it was pretty.
After our pedicures at Bellacures, we had lunch at Larchmont Bungalow. It was fresh and delicious! Again, I love the abundance of SoCal where I can find vegan, GF food. After that, vegan, GF, refined sugar free cupcake at Babycakes LA. A pricey day in LA for sure, but it was a nice treat for me! And as I headed back home, I turned north onto a street and exactly in front of me in the distance was the Hollywood sign. So LA.
Don’t think the pedicure is worth the $25 price tag, but that’s because I know its cheaper by my house.
OMG the huevos rancheros with black beans! $11.95 I also had a side of GF rosemary bread, so yummy.
*Note: As identified in the comment below, Larchmont Bungalow is in the middle of a criminal case as an illegal operation. I was unaware of this when I visited the establishment. Here is a link to some details. http://larchmontla.com/News/Reports/city-of-los-angeles-criminal-case-larchmont-bungalow-illegally-operating-as-a-restaurant.html
My husband and I have frequently said that we should live by the beach. Almost all of my favorite trips includes spending time beside an ocean. Hawaii, San Francisco, even New Orleans and Israel included bodies of water. I just can’t be land locked, there’s something kind of oppressive about it. We had a nice time in Denver, the time we visited, but there was this feeling I had as we drove further north towards Boulder to visit some breweries. In my mind I knew it was just land for miles.
With that said, you can see why I am truly a California girl. I love it here. And my two favorite places in California happen to be SF and San Diego. The weather in San Diego can’t be beat, 60 to 80 degrees all year. And it’s beautiful, even driving on the 5 freeway, which through LA is ugly and located in the midst of concrete. Along the 5 in San Diego, are rolling green hills, that amazing Mormon temple that looks like it fell out of the arctic, and here and there, glimpses of the ocean.
This weekend, I went to Coronado. I got to relish in all that is San Diego County. My husband drove down Sunday morning to meet us after he returned from his conference in Denver.
Coronado is what you imagine a resort town to be because it is. Although there are military sites on the long strip of land, this place has been a resort area for 125 years. That’s how long the historic Hotel Del Coronado, sometimes called the Del, has been around. And that hotel, as well as a tent city (not at all like the occupy wall street type), was a popular destination at the turn of the century. The hotel cost one million dollars to complete, which back then, was quite a bit of money. And it is beautiful. You can read some history here.
I stayed at a different resort, Loews, which is tucked away from the action along Silver Strand beach. Loews offers so much that guests might not even have to leave the resort, but if you did, there’s a free shuttle for that. I found the staff at Loews to be extremely courteous and friendly. My girls and vegged out in our comfortable room with double beds. I had originally picked the cheapest room with one king bed, but on check in the young lady at the registration desk asked if I would rather have double beds. Why yes, yes I would.
View of the water from our room
We looked off of our balcony at the purple bougainvillea below, the ocean in the distance and the lounge chairs adjacent to fire pits located by the bar across from our room. The girls each wanted to take a bubble bath in out large bath tub, which they did that night. I dragged Elisabeth to the pool to lounge on comfy cushioned chairs resting in sand next to one of three pools. We ordered chips and salsa and ice tea. I read my Virginia Woolf. The water in the pool, despite it being 5 pm, was perfectly warm. Around us were families playing ping pong or volley ball or just lounging like us.
That night, they had Aladdin by the pool. We picked up some food to take to our room at the Market to Go and watched Harry Potter in our room instead. Katie and I cruised the grounds to see what was there. Bike, surrey and kayak rentals. A spa. A fitness room with classes each day. 2 restaurants aside from the Market to Go.
view from the sunset deck of Coronado bridge
Loews is adjacent to this Marina
In the morning, I took the private path to the beach and walked/jogged two miles. The morning fog from the ocean brought what locals call May Gray. But I wouldn’t call it gray. Gray is the color of concrete. It was lovely. While I was out, I saw dozens of jackrabbits. They were hard to spot at first, blending into the brown scrub, but as soon as they started away on my approach, I was surprised at how many there were.
Morning fog along the beach
Cafe 1134 for breakfast
The rest of the morning we headed into the busy built up resort area. The sun came out. We browsed the Del. We climbed on rocks on the beach. It was a perfect Mother’s day and I am definitely going back here again.
sand castle on Coronado Beach and a crab among the rocks
All photos were taken by me and belong to libelletage.com
I hope everyone had a lovely day with their mother’s and their children! I had a great day with my husband and kids. I saw this on the beach and had to share.
May is full of many things that have to do with me. May is the month of my birth. It is also the month of Mother’s day. It is Oncology nurses month. May is also the month where hospitals celebrate Nurse’s week. The week is related to Florence Nightingale’s birthday (May 12th). All of these things have to do with me. My career, my family, and my life.
But May is also Mental Health Month. What does that mean? For me, this is important. My family has a long history of mental illness. Suicide and attempted suicide on both sides of my family. Alcoholism, drugs and gambling addictions. Poor coping skills and unhealthy relationships. Abuse. Depression. And probably undiagnosed mental illness. Recently it has had a greater impact on me and I am currently on a leave of absence from work to help my family cope and work through mental illness. It’s been so hard. And I find myself more distant and alone. I know this post is all from my perspective, but I wanted to share these thoughts with people because of the fact that I feel more isolated from those around me.
When you think about health, what do you think about? Fitness? Diet? Doctors? Medication? A lot of what you think about is probably related to the health of you and your family. The level of health you experience, the level of health or wellness you would like to experience, the health of your family members. But what about mental health?
I know a lot of women in my life who talk about weight, diet and exercise. Women, like myself, who spend money, time, and energy on apps, gym memberships, weight watchers, and books about how to achieve a certain physical result. I know women who run or bike or see a chiropractor and naturopath physicians. People who desire wellness. I know someone who is having lap band surgery to help get to a place with well controlled blood sugar and blood pressure. I know women who make sure they have healthy meal choices for their family, eat organic or raw and want to foster active lifestyles in their kids. People get into rigorous debates about vaccines, medications and processed foods. This kind of focus on physical health in Southern California is palpable. You can’t go anywhere where someone isn’t talking about one of these things during a 30 minute conversation.
But what about mental health? How much conversations do we have with that? In Southern California, I do know several people who have had therapists or psychologists. But these conversations are more guarded. I don’t know as many women trying to find apps, books, classes, and help to find mental wellness. In fact, I know a lot of women who are frazzled and stressed and express that it is hard to do it all. Mothers who are doing the best that they can to be successful each day in all that they do. But I hear less of an expression of what hurts them, how they cope, and what they are trying to do now.
I am not saying that people aren’t looking for mental wellness, I just think it’s under the radar. I hear some people talk about getting therapy and even a few mention medication. Some people talk about self-help books they are reading. These people say this mostly in person, in moments of confidence or an unplanned conversation that brings it out. There’s no app that people are updating daily like runkeeper that links to their facebook page, showing how they had a good coping day. I hear people talk about it on twitter, where anonymity exists, but those same people don’t post it on facebook where people they know will see it. Why is this? Because of what people will think.
But as someone who has struggled with mental illness in her family for years, I think we should all start bringing it into the conversation. Secrets and shame around mental illness are damaging. We need to stop seeing mental illness as being weak. And it is not something we should suffer with in silence. Mental illness should be like physical illness. If you get diagnosed with the flu, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, heart disease or cancer, there is massive community of support for you out there. Dialogue is ongoing about what you can do to help yourself. From the small physical ailments to the big ones. Mental health is equally important and there is help out there too.
First of all, learn the myths about mental illness. Next, learn about mental health problems. Find help. And know that you are not alone, people are blogging about this here and here. And there are organizations out there to help. Many workplaces have things like “work and life matters,’ resources for employees who need it. These sometimes have free counseling sessions or access to support groups. My work granted me an LOA to care for a loved one. There may be workshops and support groups in your local area. If you want, start your own, although I have found this to be challenging due to everyone having busy schedules and being tired. The library has many books on mental health issues and is a great place to educate yourself in a more in-depth way than just reading articles on the internet. But be sure to check out books that are up to date. Also, exercise is good for the body and the mind. I have definitely been using that as a coping strategy lately.
If nothing else, next time your friend talks about stress, sadness, and mental health, join the conversation.
It’s decided: Coronado, here we come. In a previous post comments, a few people said Coronado and a few said Palm Springs. We chose Coronado for the weather. I also looked for deals on Hotels.com to help the decision along. I am looking forward to relaxing with my girls and walking along the beach. We won’t have a ton of spending money, so I am thinking about the frugal getaway (asides from where we are staying!). I found a great deal on Hotels.com for the resort we are staying at, which has views of the bay, 3 swimming pools and beach access. There is a spa, fitness center, and Starbucks; what else could a girl need? It turns out they do have more, including activities like a movie at the pool and a guided nature walk on the beach.
Other things I have found to do include:
Yoga on the Beach – Coronado Community Yoga. Sunday
mornings at 9:30 am. $5 donation.
Coronado Historical Association presents the
2013 Historical Home Tour – Sunday, May 12, from
11 am to 4 pm.
There are also various walking tours that can be found on the Coronado Visitor’s Center website (I heard Frank L. Baum lived here at one point!). Mostly I am hoping to read a book adjacent to the ocean and get some great coffee.
All of that junk food I have been eating lately is getting to me. Not too mention I am trying to get my family to eat healthier. So I am back at my GF Refined Sugar free diet. Last time I quit when I went to Israel, this summer we’re headed to London and France, so we’ll see how it goes. I also feel like I have been eating too much fish. I need more salads and nonmeat forms of protein.
I just did all my grocery shopping for the week while my husband is out of town. I bet he’ll be surprised when he gets back to find many vegetarian meals planned!
Added to that, I have been working out. This summer’s adventures will require a lot of walking so I need to be in good shape!