woensdag 30 december 2009

Ten for 2010

 

It’s that time of the year again: the last days of a year where people come op with resolutions they intend but for the most part won’t keep. Now, I am certainly not against resolutions, even New Year’s resolutions. I am even one of those persons who will admit that she likes them haha! However, I don’t like goals that are not very specific and do not have a realistic plan on how to accomplish them. 

Foto found here 

So let’s review this year. Last year I wrote down some goals for 2009. How did I do?

  • Take time for myself : Check. There is still a lot of room for improvement but I am getting better at it and feeling less guilty if I do nothing for a day. I also started to work out a lot more which is great me-time and excellent for stress release.
  • Work on relationship with the Boyfriend : Check. You can not have a relationship if you don’t work for it. Even though we are crazy about each other, our personalities sometimes clash a lot, haha! But on the other side, we can have a lot of fun together too. The Boyfriend works regular day shifts now, which is a major improvement because boy, did I hate those night shifts, we hardly saw each other! We only had to get used to him having weekend on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, because those are working days for me. But we introduced date night again: every week we go and spend some quality time and do stuff that dating couples do. And I also have half a day off, so I planned it on a Wednesday.
  • Win lottery because we have tickets: We didn’t…of course. But the Boyfriend always wants to play the End-of-the-year- lottery, so this year we have tickets again. The grand prize is 27.5 million euro, that is a lot of money!

Now let’s have a look at my list for next year. Since it is 2010 I wrote down 10 things that I want to do, start or improve in the next year.

  1. Finish my thesis, while keeping my sanity that is. This will be my main goal throughout the year. It’s nice to have 10 things on your list, but you can only have 1 major goal, or nothing will come of anything. My contract ends on Dec 31th 2010, and if I don’t have it finished by then I am looking at some lovely volunteer work if I want my PhD degree. I already found a source of support to show me that I am not the only one here: www.phdcomics.com . But I am happy that my situation is far better than in some other countries. At least it is a paid job and it is more like you have 4 years to focus completely on your own project with some things on the side, instead of being your Professor’s slave.
  2. Take it easy. Since I am going to be working hard, I want to take it easy in the rest of my life. This means making sure to get enough sleep and not trying to fit too many things in one day. Avoid stress (meditation, yoga?) and have fun! (hobbies, anyone?)
  3. Move to a new house: we put the apartment up for sale about a month ago. We want to move to a nice house, with a garden in a quiet neighborhood. Because of point 1 and 2 we will carefully pick the house once we have sold our apartment. For example, we don’t want a house that needs major renovations right away.
  4. Become a blood donor: Well, actually I already did this! Last week I signed up because I wanted to do this in the new year, but they called me really soon after, so yesterday was my first donation! I was really scared that I was going to faint. I am not scared of needles or blood, I just tend to get lightheaded they take blood, even if it’s just a few tubes. I was a donor 7 years ago and almost fainted during my first donation (after about 100 ml) and it took me quite a while before i felt well enough to leave the place. But yesterday everything went just fine! The nurse was really nice and chatted with me to distract me a bit. I felt kind of weak for the first couple of hours, but that was it!
  5. The spiritual part of my life deserves some attention. I am going to spend some time meditation and musing, and getting more in touch with my chi. Don’t laugh.
  6. Race. I want to run several races next year. There are a couple in May and September which I really want to do. But I hope to run more. I will focus on 5k’s, but I might, just might, do a 10k before the end of the year.
  7. Read: I love to read, but do not spend enough time doing so. I intend to read for 15-30 min each night in bed before going to sleep to get into the habit of reading again.
  8. Be social. Especially when I am busy and stressed I tend to hide in my home. This year I want to be better at maintaining contact with family and friends. I already wrote about this more specifically in this post.
  9. Cut back on coffee. I made a lot of improvements in my health this year. But one thing I would like to change is to drink less coffee at work. I intend to take some herbal tea with me to work. What if I get sleepy? See point 2.
  10. Nothing, nada. The neurotic obsessive compulsive person inside my head LOVES 10 for 2010. To teach that person a lesson I will leave this spot open. Another reason is that these are more than enough goals for me for now. I wanted to take it easy, remember? I can fill it up later this year if I feel it’s needed.
    But frankly, I am just out of ideas right now.

Tell me all about your resolutions!

Have a great New Year’s eve! I will be back next year.

zaterdag 26 december 2009

Snow fever

Why, hello there!

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Last sunday we had a lot of snow! It had been snowing the whole day and by the end of the afternoon it finally stopped. So we went outside to the park, just before dark.

Look, how beautiful:

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We were all excited and played like kids, lol.

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Monday I had to get through all of that snow to get to work, it was a little less fun then. I got stuck in the parking lot when I wanted to leave work. The whole country was affected: those who could, stayed at home, a gazillion accidents happened, there were hardly any trains and no buses. We Dutch people are so not used to this! A few days before there was some snow too, but in the afternoon so everybody did get out but then had to get back: HUGE traffic jams!

 

 

Christmas eve and First Christmas Day

Good afternoon! How is everybody doing? Still feeling stuffed and with a hangover or not so bad?

We had a great time so far. I spent the day of Christmas even veggin’ out on the couch with the cats, it was wonderful! After I submitted my paper for work I was officially free! I really didn’t feel like doing anything so I just stayed on the couch with my laptop, reading e-mails, blogs and did some random surfing, drinking loads of hot tea. At the same time I watched tv: Two guys and a girl, the Oprah. Oprah was really cool, she asked people of different countries (Denmark, Japan, Brazil, etc) why they are so happy. I liked Denmark most because they do not seem very career-oriented and focus on living a simple life enjoying the people around you. It was a real feel good show, because Oprah only showed the positive side of each country. She didn’t explain that the reason why everybody is riding a bike in Denmark, is because cars are not affordable. And even though important things like education and health care are free, other things are really expensive. Still, it seamed a really nice country I would like to visit. After that I watched a x-mas movie with Whoopie Goldberg and then the Boyfriend came home. He then went to get take out, because in all my laziness I forgot to get the meat from the freezer so I couldn’t make meatballs, lol. We spent the rest of the night watching more cheesy x-mas movies.

I also go my present from the Boyfriend’s boss! It was a huge bottle of perfume, like last year! I immediately put some on my hand to smell it. After the first alcohol-smell evaporated I smelled…..nothing!! several trial later we both still smelled nothing. It turned out that the bottle was a dummy: stores use it for display and it does not contain the perfume, lol. I think the Boyfriend’s boss got a ‘deal’ somewhere haha. The Boyfriend is going to ask his colleagues if they had the same thing. We still don’t know what to do yet. It’s not like I want it replaced because it’s pretty much a useless gift, but I also think that if he was scammed, he should know. What would you do?

Christmas morning we started off with a nice HUGE breakfast and….a white Christmas! It seriously started snowing when we woke up. Everything was still white from the snow we had this week, so it didn’t really matter that soon that snow turned into rain. After breakfast we went to the cemetery to visit the grave of the Boyfriend’s grandma. Even though most of the snow is gone already, the cemetery was still covered in 20cm of snow. Because of that, and because we hadn’t been there for a while, we had trouble locating the grave and spent over half an hour searching and getting soaked in rain and snow. But it was very beautiful there:

 

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Do you agree, or just think I am crazy now, for posting a picture of a graveyard?

Then we headed back home, very cold and soaked. So we decided to make the hot chocolate from the box of goodies I got from my employer ( I don’t know about you, but here in Holland it is normal that every employee gets something for Christmas, traditionally it is a box with different food items, but it can also be a themed box, like last year we got towels and slippers or a breakfast theme including cups and plates etc. This year I had a box filled with things for hot chocolate 2 cups and a serving-thing, a bottle of chocolate, whipped cream, and cookies and chocolate to go with the hot coco):

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We also skyped with my in-laws in Florida for a while. They were just having breakfast, so we toasted with juice (for them) and wine (for us, lol). Then we made some snacks and watched Pride and Prejudice. I have had that movie forever, and today the Boyfriend finally agreed to watch it with me.

Then we turned on some new random x-mas movie and started dinner in the mean time. Our entree was tomato-soup with mascarpone…from a bag haha. We really did not want to make things harder than necessary this year. The soup was really good and also had no artificial flavors etc, yummie! We had the soup while watching tv on the couch, how bad is that?
After that we went on to prepare the main course: roast beef with potatoes, my fav stir fry vegetable mix and italian salad.

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Wow, my face looks weird in this picture! The Boyfriend was in charge of cutting the meat….of course hahaha.PB240200

The roast beef was real easy too. As you can see, it came marinated and ready in an aluminum case, so all we had to do was pop it into the oven and wait until the little thingy popped up out of the meat when it was done. The potatoes were pre-boiled so baking the was easy. The salad came with all the ingredient and dressing in a package and the stir fry was pre-cut too. Talking about an effortless dinner ha!

Desert was Viennetta ice-cake, yum! We had some tea while watching Home Alone (I know…) and digesting a bit. Wow, I felt pretty full, but it could have been worse. Then we went on to watch the rest of Home Alone in bed.

All together, it was a fun, relaxed First Christmas Day. No stress, just enjoy some time together. In case you are wondering: no we did not have any presents, because we already exchanged gifts at ‘Sinterklaas’, another Holiday on the 5th of December. I got my very own heart rate monitor then!

Today is Second Christmas Day. The Boyfriend is working right now and I am not really doing much today. The sun is shining so I might go out for a walk/run this afternoon. Tomorrow I have run planned a few other girls, at leas if the weather is ok. In the evening we will go over to my parents to celebrate Christmas.

donderdag 24 december 2009

Zen in progress and the Christmas spirit

Hey guys/girls! How is everything going? Are you busy preparing for Christmas, or already celebrating Christmas eve? We don’t have very special plans this year. In Holland we don’t really celebrate Christmas eve. When I still lived at home, my mom used to take us to the late night Church mass, but that was about it. The Boyfriend is having some drinks at work with his co-workers and will be coming home soon. I can’t wait, because his boss not only got him a gift, but me too! :D Last year I got a huge bottle of perfume, so let’s see…. Tomorrow the Boyfriend has a day off and we are going to spend the day being cozy and romantic together: watch a movie, go on a walk, play a game and have some good food. Boxing day, which is a real holiday here too, he will be off to work and I will be all by my lonesome self haha. To be honest, I really don’t care. First of all, because I don’t understand why there have to be 2 Christmas days. Really, we call it First Christmas day and Second Christmas day. We do the same with Easter and Pentecost, hilarious! Buy you won’t hear me complain because it means more days off! Second, because on Third Christmas day (made that up, but most people don’t even look surprised if I say it) we will get together with my family for dinner. So a day of rest and normal eating in between will be good.

I am excited about the Holidays. Last year we prepared a 6-course dinner for my family. It was fun, but I really don’t feel like doing that again. We are having a gourmet dinner (cook your own food while chatting away) so the main work is in doing the dishes. Also, my family is not demanding at all when it comes to Christmas. We don’t even get together until after Christmas because that way my sister does not have to race around like a crazy person between her in-laws and us. My in-laws live in Florida, that makes things easier too. But I would really like spending Christmas with my grandma’s too. Hmm, maybe I will visit them on Boxing day, if they don’t have other plans.

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On another note: I thought it would be nice to report on my progress in the Daisy Do Zen project. The meditation part is not going so well yet. I only did one grounding session for a few minutes. Well, maybe it will be better during my vacation.

With yoga I am doing much better. Because I have very little experience with yoga I thought it would be best to search for videos to start with instead of pose guides. I did some power yoga in college, but I never really learned the poses well. So after some searching I did my first video, a beginner video from www.yogajournal.com

My experience? Oh. My. God. I. Am. So. Stiff! Really, I am so not agile and flexible and my muscles had a hard time doing the stretching. Downward dog? I am sure what I did, didn’t even look close to something like that! I really should do this more often,. I guess the fun will come when you know what you are doing.

So I did another yoga session a few days later. I really wanted to go running, but I couldn’t with all the snow and frozen roads outside. So I did another video and I must admit that I liked it better the second time, even though I still really suck at it.
But I am just going to keep up with this, at least for the whole month.

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I am off to watch a Christmas movie with the Boyfriend now.

Have a great Christmas!!!

zondag 13 december 2009

My First Race

Saturday I did something I never thought I would do, until a year ago:

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I entered my first race ever! I have been running since July and recently finished the C25K program and I really wanted to run a 5k to know what that would be like. As you can see I was very excited and it was very cold outside, about 4C. I was wearing a tank top and a long sleeve underneath the sweater, lol. I took off the coat right before we started.

Here I am at the start line: Find Wally hahaha!

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On the bottom left of the black tent you can see two grey arms coming up, that’s me!

We took off after the guy shot the gun (it sure was a loud gun!) and everybody sprinted away and I was the last one bahaha. I looked around and saw no one else coming and I thought, okay I better speed up a little, or I am going to loose the entire group! In the first corner I passed several people because there was a lot of obstruction with the whole group trying to push through it. But, those people never passed me again! I tried to run calmly, like I am used to do. The area was beautiful and I enjoyed running in the woods for a change. Some of the trails were a bit muddy which made it difficult to maintain an even pace. Still, I managed to catch up with and then pass several runners. There was a group of three equally dressed girls and I had passed two and was passing the third when we ran onto the finish field already. All that was left was like 200 or 300 meters. So I passed the third girl (see the first two pictures below) and then put my headphones away. I want to fully experience my first finish.

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Here I am, sprinting away towards the finish. I also spotted another girl and was catching up with her quickly…PB110172

After I made the last turn I knew I would be able to beat the girl. you can see me running on the right, and the girl, still in front of me on the left.PB110173 I caught up with her and sprinted past her. But then she tried to pass me again. Luckily I noticed in time and accelerated a little more…

PB110174 And I beat her by a couple of meters (=1 sec haha)!!! The Boyfriend that she tried but had to give up and that the look on her face when she noticed she couldn’t win was really funny!

PB110175Poor boyfriend was being supportive and freezing his butt off standing in the cold. But he made all the pictures which I am very thankful for!

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You could not win anything in this race, so I made up a first, second and third place for myself. I figured I would probably run around 32 minutes and I hoped for not being last:

3. Finish under 35 min.
2. Not finish last.
1. Finish under 30 min.

I ended up running the whole thing in 30.15 min! I am so happy about that, I almost got my self-proclaimed first place! And I never even thought I would get close. And the cool thing is that as soon as I have a little more experience running 5ks, I will be able to distribute my energy better and get way better times. I am definitely going to practice on that and do another race in a mile. I had so much fun doing this!

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vrijdag 11 december 2009

I want to introduce my first series on this blog today. You know that it takes about a month to build a habit, or at least get used to a certain thing. Even though I am a woman and I love to multitask I consider it a bad idea to start 10 new habits at the same time. Instead I want to focus on one habit at a time, this will be the focus of the month. Every month I will pick a new habit I want to practice. It may also be that I want to freshen up an old habit.

Because my blog is called Daisy Do! I invented the Daisy Do! series. Every month I will give myself a new command: Daisy, do …! The first edition will be based on my intention to try yoga and meditation.

Daisy Do Zen!

From today until Jan 11th I am going to discover yoga and meditation. During this time I will report here on my progress, and at the end of the month I will evaluate my new habit and pick a new one, for next month.


Do you guys practice yoga and/or meditation? Do you have any advice or tips?

donderdag 10 december 2009

Balance in life

Do you  have that feeling sometimes, that it is all just a little too much? You feel like you have to somehow balance being a good co-worker, a good girlfriend, a good friend, a good family member and also look good ├índ have hobbies? Well, first of all, that is the huge perfectionist in you talking, and second, I sure do feel like that sometimes.

This year I have been working on my perfectionism and I must say that I am doing much better in that department. I don’t feel the need to look like a model anymore, nor to write the most fantastic thesis ever written (although it would be nice if it turned out like that). I am also very comfortable with skipping the gym for an entire week or so and to do nothing all weekend, instead of rushing around doing a gazillion chores and ‘working’ on my hobbies. My main goal is to be happy (that’s also why I have this blog) and not to be perfect.

But, as always, there is room for improvement. Especially since I am not perfect hahaha. I found this assignment on www.sochicken.nl (sorry, it’s in Dutch) where you make a balance of different domains in your life. For each domain you think of how you can make some progress and being all time-efficient, you can pick activities that help you in more than one domain at the same time. I went through all the domains to see where I can improve while keeping my balance. The goal was to come up with concrete things and in the end, make a list of preferred activities that you can do so you make progress in each domain.

  1. Spiritual – (Feel connected, feel love). This was the hardest one for me, since I do not really have a religion. I have not found one that fits me yet. I would like to try meditation and yoga though.
  2. Intellectual – (Learn, challenge yourself) This should not be too hard because I love learning new things! I am working as a researcher so my work already provides many opportunities to challenge myself intellectually. It would be good to make more time for reading, especially non-fiction books. I also like to research things online. Something I would like to be better at is sewing.
  3. Psychological – (Be happy, self-esteem, conquer your fears) I have to be honest here, I don’t put enough energy into this domain. There are a lot of things that make me happy like reading, sewing, sports, music, helping others, pictures, be with friends, my cats. I have to admit that I spend way too much time surfing on the internet lately, instead of doing things I really love. My self-esteem could use some reinforcement too, I have been feeling quite insecure lately. But I think that finding balance in life and doing things I love will solve a lot. Aside of insecurity-related fears, I don’t have a lot of fears. Yes, I am afraid of birds and butterflies and my fear of spiders gets awfully close to a phobia, but I do not feel the need to overcome them (yet), lol.
  4. Social – (Friends, family, relationship) This is an obvious one: I should spend more time with my family and friends. Even if my friends are busy people, I can still text them, or call them more often. I am so bad at that! The Boyfriend and I have reinstituted date night, so that one is covered for now.
  5. Professional – (Goals, work) My goal is to finish my PhD, so if I just keep working as efficiently as possible I am good. I recently discovered ‘lifehacking’, and I am learning all kinds of handy things to work efficiently. It would also be a good idea if I start thinking about what I want to do after receiving my PhD.
  6. Relaxation – (Lower stress, play, discover) This is a high priority domain! Things that relax me are: resting enough, setting limits, practice hobbies and other things that make me happy (see domain 3). Other things that help me relax are: nature, beauty-stuff like polishing my nails and music. I guess meditation and yoga are good too.
  7. Physical – (Eat healthy, movement/exercise, cherish your body) Less coffee! I consider myself a healthy eater, but I could use a little less coffee and a little more water. I also have to watch out for overtraining and injuries because I make my body work a lot with all the exercising. Again, rest and yoga for stretching are needed. And beauty-stuff would work well too for this domain.

So there you go: all the things in my life that need a little attention are there for everyone to see hahaha! But, I am quite content about it all. I have at least the basics in every domain, it’s not like I have no work, no hobbies, no social life and a nasty body image (not to offend anyone, but I personally would be unhappy if that were the case). I just need a little fine-tuning and more balance. So what are the activities that I am going to put on my to-do list?

  • Yoga (domain 1, 6, and 7). I think I am going to this once a week for a month and see how I feel about it.
  • Meditation (domain 1, 6, and 7). Also a 1 month trial-period, let’s say 3 times a week.
  • Spend at least 1 hour each Sat and Sun on my hobbies. (2, 3, and 6)
  • Go to bed early and read for 15 min (3, 6).
  • Talk to my parents every week (on the phone or face to face). The same goes for my grandma’s, only every month (3, 4).
  • Talk to at least 2 friends a week (3, 4).
  • Work efficiently and go home in time (5, 6).
  • 1 beauty thing each week (6, 7).
  • Max 2 cups of coffee each day (7).

Don’t be afraid I do not intend to implement all these things at once, but I will look at this list when I am to choose what to do next during the day, for example: go home, or work a little more? Look on Facebook or do my nails? Clean the house or read a book?

In a while, I will evaluate how things are going.

I would like to know about your balance profiles: What domains need most attention? What activities do you do to keep your balance?