Tag Archives: musing

Creating a Deeper Self-Trust


My friend Jacqueline took this photo while she and her husband Reese were treating us to lunch at one of their regular spots in Taormina. Le sigh – I have friends with a “regular spot” in Taormina – who knows where life will take us next!

Regarding my progress with the blog, I’m gonna call mulligans or shennanigans or whatever golfers call when they want a do-over (I’m not actually going to do anything over, though). While the blog has been incredibly rewarding, led to virtual and local friendships and developed my running and travel memories, I am overwhelmed by the opportunities to engage in the living of life here.  My deeper self-trust comes from knowing to take this hiatus.

During my 7.5 mile run, which was my long, slow run this week, I realized I have built a foundation of self-trust that guides me.  That run ended earlier than scheduled in order to accommodate the heat and humidity that crept back into our weird Sicilian summer weather.

I am allowing myself more “easy outs” in the first 4-6 weeks of my training for this marathon. My previous training patterns show full motivation at the beginning, when I force myself to overcome circumstances in order to “get tough” – but I never allow for practicalities or realities to interfere with the training as prescribe on the paper. In other words, I previously gave all power to the training plan established by someone who doesn’t know me and who isn’t here, but who wrote down a course of training that they *predict* would lead to the results I desire. To achieve different results, I must take a different approach – thus, I am allowing myself to pay attention to how I am feeling and how I am responding to the training schedule in the first 4-6 weeks – and to make modifications accordingly. If I need to skip a run, or cut out early, then I will do so. I’m upping my mental game in this way and creating a deeper self-trust that I am hoping will carry me through the panic attacks I felt around mile 20 in my October 2013 race.

I am also re-instituting my rule of thumb to complete any run prior to 10am. It is just too hot under the strong Sicilian sun after 10am in the summer months. We have been having cool evenings (mid 60s F), and even some strong thunderstorms, so the weather this year is quite different than the blazing heat that lasted through the nights last summer. Our most recent thunderstorm left a significant amount of snow on Etna’s southwestern face – it was really strange to see a snow-covered peak on the drive home in July. We’ve been enjoying the mild temperatures in the evenings and happy to still get outside on the weekends. But, there’s always August and September to accommodate the typical Sicilian heat. We’ll see what comes next.

While I will not be posting regular updates, know that I am thinking of you and available by email.


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Mi espalda…


Sick day theme day…


The little joys in life. Halls brand cough drops come with “A Pep Talk in Every Drop.” It is a clever idea to brighten the day of someone reduced to sucking on forty-five cough drops just to make it through an eight-hour workday. I organized the pep talks into five categories:

(Uno) 1. The ironically peppy. “Be unstoppable!” (cough, cough, cough. Hmmm, I’m not sure they mean unstoppable coughing…). “Power through.” (My phlegm is threatening to power through my mouth the next time I cough). “Elicit a few “wows” today.” (You mean, like, “Wow, I didn’t know a person could cough so much without coughing up a lung or at least a little bit of blood?” – that kind of wow?). “You got it in you.” (That’s the PROBLEM! See my above comment regarding phlegm).

(Due) 2. Questionable. “Inspire envy.” (uh, that one seems a little mean-spirited; no need to compare and judge, I’m trying to heal myself here!)

(Tre) 3. Silly. “Bet on yourself.” (Even a gambling addict on her way to the racetrack wouldn’t take this bet.)

(Quattro) 4. Aggressive. “Put your game face on.” “Let’s hear your battle cry” “March forward” (Are these pep talks geared toward sales on military bases?)

(Cinque) 5. Peppy. “Power through!” “Take charge and mean it.” “Tough is your middle name.” (Finally, pep talks to inspire me to make it through the day.)


“ah, my back!” (English)

“ah, la mia schiena!” (Italian)

“ah, mi espalda” (Spanish)

Today my back went out (maybe all the coughing?). Immediately the memory of a overnight Mexican bus trip came to mind. I was traveling with classmates from a Oaxacan language school for a weekend at the beach in Puerto Escondido. We squeezed onto a crowded bus in Oaxaca. A classmate, Tony, infamously used the bathroom and returned to find an abuelita in his seat. He harassed her until she got up, and mimicked her for days. “Mi espalda! Mi espalda!” she had kept pleading with him. While Tony is a huge ass, I still know how to say “My back!”

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Filed under 5-100

Mind Mush


(Uno) 1. Produce trucks! We saw a truck hauling a hundred crates of freshly picked oranges exit the orange farm and get on the highway. Later, we came up behind a truck hauling crates of freshly picked fennel away. Love the late harvest season here in Sicily!

(Due) 2. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! The tunnel is the publicity work I took on with the spouses club here. I really enjoy my role and the group (Book Club!) – and we are gearing up with two big events on Saturday and a wonderful holiday party next week – and then I get a breather until January.

(Tre) 3. I successfully navigated around a roadblock at work today and it felt great! I have had a really busy week with a lot of unpleasant tasks (ones that I had a hard time turning into anything positive) – so this was a shiny bright light at the end of the week.

(Quattro) 4. Taking a bath. This is a “highlight” because in the past, I have disliked baths. Too much hot water overwhelms me and I feel claustrophobic. This might be a byproduct of growing up swimming in spring-fed Shell Lake which rarely got warm until the end of August. I have just reached the point where I enjoy a bath – wow.

(Cinque) 5. Giggling at punny snowmen. (A couple photos NSFW, just scroll past them quickly).

Here is one of my favorites: “2) I Snow What You Did Last Winter”


Growing up, I noticed that without taking care, work will suck away one’s will to enjoy a home life: i.e., sinking into a self-made cave of isolation at home. Along with “saving the world,” my young self decided I would not succumb to such a fate. Since starting this job, I have had some nights where I come home with mind mush and seek a cave of isolation. Instead, I want to re-frame my attitude, re-allocate my energy distribution, and relish the time at home when I can read, chat with Dave, practice Italian and piano, catplay,* and enjoy life.

*Yes, I just made up a word: catplay. Don’t even try to tell me you don’t understand what that means.

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Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness, Kitties

Friendly Friday


Another Theme Day – yay!
The top Five ways I feel part of a community this morning.

Uno (1). Real Fun Food – this wonderful blogger writes about food from London, England. I am still learning about her, but so far I know she is from the U.S. Midwest (represent!) and she has great recipes and wit. And, she cares about GMO food – and so do I! I am pro-labeling.

Due (2). The Occupy Movement (a new twist)
I am pretty sure I fall in the 99%, but I have had a pretty charmed life, truth be told. I don’t mind working hard for my living, and I believe that most people would be happy to have the opportunity to do the same.

Tre (3). Big-time food blogger
This blogger is very famous and has gained a significant and loyal following as well as published articles and achieved her Registered Dietitian certification. Beautiful blog, yummy food, and an overall feel-good attitude.

Quattro (4). Yoga – dare I say it again this week? From the KathEats blog, I got a reference for a new yoga master, Dave Farmar, who produces podcast yoga workouts free to you and me! Check him out and feel the yoga love.

Cinque (5). Another great blogger who I am loving, at Logy Express. This post is pretty emotional and struck a nerve in my gut. Even though I haven’t had this exact experience, she describes the feelings so well, I immediately thought of other moments of ostracism and humiliation I have felt when among who I thought were my friends (maybe they really are, how much is in our own insecurities?).


The Cinquecento Project exists as my deliberate practice of focusing on the positive in life. By remembering five daily highlights, I find myself focused on highlights all day long; very empowering! Yet, I still stumble in life; I feel sorrow, fear, and pain. Here, I can report to you on positively dealing with that pain, instead of wallowing in misery alone. Although we experience life uniquely, sharing our experiences empowers us to continue moving forward. I treasure your feedback and support, so keep the comments and emails coming and feel free to share your struggles and successes. Ciao from Sicilia!


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting