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Mono-tasking & running out of steam

I’m finding it harder and harder to find the motivation and time to finish out NaBloPoMo, so this may or may not be my last post for the month. I think part of my challenge is that I’m getting worse at multi-tasking the older I get. The things that are already on my plate have increased in importance, and they are all very hands-on.

Back when my life was lived on a computer and in between meetings, I could have multiple browser windows and multiple projects and multiple ideas moving along, one tiny step at a time for 40+ hours a week. I mean, that was how this blog was born – in the quiet hours from when kid(s) went to sleep and when I needed to go to bed. Now that I don’t live in front of a computer ALL.DAY.LONG, I am forced to focus on my task at hand. Cleaning up messes, feeding hungry mouths, teaching yoga, practicing yoga, doing my MPC workouts, driving, so much driving.

By the end of this year, I’ll have taught 535 yoga classes. That’s at least 535 hours of guiding nearly every inhale and exhale. (One day, I should try to quantify how many breaths are taken in a yoga class. I’d guess 20 breaths/minute x 60 = 1200 breaths.) I have to stay present as much as my students since they are relying on me to take them into each pose. I’ve had the occasional brain fart, which usually stems from getting overly ambitious with my sequencing and losing my place mentally.

So maybe this is my being overly ambitious with blogging every day while keeping up with all of my other daily chores/tasks. And I’m having a brain fart.

Quiet Saturday night

Day 25 of NaBloPoMo! Rambling brain dump to keep this blogging train going…


We survived endless feasts that come with visiting family and friends during Thanksgiving weekend. And the choppy sleep (let’s be honest; that’s a regular occurrence for us). Oh, and the horrendous traffic along I-35, which gets worse every year. But we made it back to Austin in one piece, ready to start a new week.

My Peak Challenge (MPC)

I managed to get both of my planned MPC workouts done, and I’m so glad I did! Neither workout took more than 60-75 minutes, which prior to this year would’ve been 60-75 minutes of grazing in the kitchen on sugary pastries while still wearing PJs. I still ate to my heart’s desire, but I didn’t feel nearly as disgusting as I normally do after social meals. I definitely felt all the binging with gurgly tummy though. My body does not tolerate mass amounts of carbs and fat like it used to. I even managed to talk my husband into doing my Friday workout with me. He complained about my destroying his legs with all the squat/lunge variations. It’s all Valbo’s fault! ūüėČ

I decided that I’m going to finish out MPC 2017, doing two weeks of each month rather than all four. That’ll put me at a completion date of January 19 for the program. Then, I’ll jump into MPC 2018 the following Monday, which only puts me behind by a few weeks from those who start as soon as it’s released. I still don’t know what my “peak challenge” will be since I mostly wanted to try to follow through with 2017’s workout plan. I will likely do Run for the Water 5K again – it’s at least something to work toward. I’m not passionate about running though, so I want to set my sights on something else.


This whole NaBloPoMo exercise has reinvigorated my blogging muscle. Perhaps I can aim to complete one thoughtful blog post a month in 2018. That’s only 12 posts. I’ve already done… 20? 21? posts this month, so it’s not like I don’t have enough content in my brain to ramble about. Haha! I’m still kicking around a podcast idea, whether it’s interviewing students or fellow teachers or a led vinyasa or restorative practice. If anything, it might be fun to learn how to edit audio. Would anyone listen though?


Speaking of podcasts, they are my go-to audio of choice when I do my MPC workouts. I’ve long been a fan of My Dad Wrote a Porno, which just completed Season 3. Because of the abysmal state of American politics, I listen to Pod Save America to try not to crumble into a pile of despair. I feel like I need to get on the Pod Save the World wagon so I can keep up with international happenings, but at the same time, I need some light and fluffy in my life.

I always enjoy Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me, although I tend to try to save these episodes for when we’re doing long drives. The husband and I enjoy them together, and there’s no foul language for the kids to pick up on if they’re awake in the car.

Christmas/Decemberween/Holiday Shopping

I’ve reached that point in my life where I desire nothing for gifts. My husband and I save for what we want, so there isn’t really a wish list. Also, we have a tiny house and don’t have any plans to move. We need LESS stuff rather than more. And even when I peruse shopping sites online and start to go down a rabbit hole of consumerism, I look at the price and decide almost instantly that it’s not a good use of money.

All I’ve asked for from the husband is stuff I’d pay for regardless of the holidays.

  1. Membership for MPC 2018
  2. A haircut with my neighbor because she’s awesome and because I really need a haircut
  3. Baby Foot peel

By the way, I had bought the Baby Foot Peel from Amazon the last two times I did it, and they were $25-ish. I found a 2-pack with matcha green tea at the Japanese store Mitsuwa for $16!! So that’s one less thing off my list.

For my kids, we (really, it’s all my husband) will be building them a clubhouse with obstacle course in the backyard. My idea – because I’m cheap – was a 3-sided structure with a roof/covering, an A-frame climbing structure, and a balance beam. The husband is taking these ideas and making them way cooler. I’m trying to keep his plans simpler before $100 in lumber turns into a $500 unfinished project where wood scraps lay around the yard.

That’s all I got for tonight.¬†Outlander is on in less than an hour. Priorities!

Yayoi Kusama at Dallas Museum of Art

We make 10-12 trips to Dallas a year to visit family. Even having grown up in the Dallas area, there is much about this city I simply don’t know. I didn’t make it very far beyond our suburb (also, I did not have the confidence to drive highways when I was a teen!). But now when we make our trips back, we try to seek out interesting experiences to share with our little family.

I had seen my Dallas friends post on social media about the Yayoi Kusama pumpkin exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art since it opened October 1. It’s 62 lit pumpkins inside of an infinity room, and you get 45 seconds to take it all in. Only two people can go in at one time with a room attendant present. This particular exhibit is part of the DMA’s permanent collection and will run through February 25, 2018.

It really is a very cool experience, standing in this room of pumpkins, reflecting on pumpkins, reflecting on pumpkins. I recently read that Yayoi Kusama has a museum in Tokyo with her works. I’m adding that to my Tokyo bucket list.

Unbeknownst to me, while we were in New York this summer coming back from a harbor cruise, we happened to pass by a Kusama sculpture near an art gallery. I was so struck by its polka dots (not knowing anything about the artist beforehand) that I took a walk-by picture of it. It was fate!

Purchase info: I purchased our tickets online earlier this month. Even the kids, although they were free, required a timed ticket. If your group has an odd number, you’ll be paired with another odd number group to¬†ensure each 45 second visit time has 2 people each, even if it’s a stranger.¬†Make sure there’s one adult per kid.¬†

Blanco State Park

A quick 1-hour drive west took us out to Blanco State Park this summer. It’s a pretty small park along a bend in the Blanco River on the south edge of town. But it was a perfect spot for a swim and a picnic.

My brother joined us for the outing, and we left in the morning before the park got crowded. We picked a spot under the shade of whatever huge trees were growing along the bank and set up our blanket and chairs. We really should invest in a portable tent shade because it got sunny really fast as soon as the sun moved over the trees. The people behind us had the right idea.

Photo by Hsubaru

For a while, our kids just sat and ate watermelon. My husband was the first to get into the river, and eventually, the Big Kid got brave enough to go in the shallow end. It’s a pretty slippery entry with algae and whatnot growing on the rocks. We were glad to have the foresight to bring floaty noodles because it gets deep pretty quickly.

Photo by Hsubaru

We stayed until it got to be too hot (early July), and the kids were tired of ants trying to eat their food. We’ll have to come back, better prepared for the moving sun. Every time we visit a state park and see the families that really make an outing of it, I learn something new. Our usual prep is just throwing water bottles, veggies/fruit, cheese, cold cuts, sunscreen, and bug spray into a bag and call it day.

Blanco State Park
101 Park Road 23
Blanco, TX 78606

NaBloPoMo Day 23! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Amazon Treasure Truck & Thanksgiving Prep

Coming down to the wire on this NaBloPoMo post! It’s Thanksgiving week. I’m trying to stay with the blogging.¬†This is NOT easy.

A few months back, I learned about this new shopping occasion offered by Amazon called the Treasure Truck. Austin is one of the cities to have a local team. They have the occasional super sale on one item. If you choose to jump on the deal, you have to be able to pick it up in person at a location within a small window of time. Talk about a flash sale!

This Sunday, I got a text alert that they were selling 12-lb turkeys (fresh!) for $19.90. I had a little bit of time before I needed to teach class, and the downtown location being the most south had a pick-up window of 10-11:30 am. So I purchased it through the Amazon app and got dressed to head out.

They were waiting in a parking lot with the flashy truck, bubble machine, and music. I walked up, had them zap my QR code, and they handed me my turkey in a box. While I was there, they offered a chance to win a small prize by breaking a plastic wishbone. I won!

Sometimes the deals are tech products like bluetooth headphones. Sometimes kitchen appliances – Vitamix or mini Nespresso machine. And sometimes they offer food, like a 4-lb bag of candy before Halloween or a rack of ribs with dry rub for $15.

We weren’t really planning a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving (family sushi lunch was on the calendar), so I was so excited when the Treasure Truck deal came through. I have the turkey brining in the fridge, and tomorrow night, we’ll have a juicy, tender bird to share.

This is the second time I’ve made turkey for Thanksgiving, using a brine.* All the google searches say to put it in a 5 gallon bucket, but we don’t have one, and that seems super messy. So I use a brining bag (not pictured, which reminds me I need to flip the bird so the bottom gets some marinating time).

*By the way, brining poultry is the way to go for any occasion. We always do a quick brine with chicken breasts now because I manage to make the most disgusting, dry, tough, flavorless chicken breast without it. Brining has changed my poultry cooking life!

Plan for Turkey Day is to head to the park with my resistance bands and a 20-lb dumbbell to get my MPC workout done. That’ll give me time enough to get cleaned up before we head to our big family lunch. Once we’re back, I’ll get the oven heated up, rinse the bird, put all sorts of things in and around the turkey’s unmentionables and hope I have a great tasting bird in 3-ish hours!

Happy Thanksgiving!

EAST (East Austin Studio Tour)

Man, I was on a roll with keeping up with NaBloPoMo, and then we found a new show on Hulu to binge watch (check out Future Man!) in the evenings. And then, I taught extra classes over the weekend. Well, here we are. Back on the wagon.

This past weekend was the last for the East Austin Studio Tour. Since I was teaching at ABP both Saturday and Sunday, I made it a point to walk down the street to Canopy between classes. There are so many artists housed in this space, but I mainly went there so I could see my old co-worker Kevin Munoz‘s work. He designed my Finding Drishti logo and is super talented.

I thought these laser-cut pieces of jewelry by Melissa Borrell were so intricate and delicate. I love the colors and the organic forms.

This exhibit by Susan Scafati made me feel so happy! Light and color and even smell.

Neena Buxani was the last artist I got to see before I needed to head back to work. She does this pearlized jewelry pieces and beautiful bold paintings. This one was my favorite.

Canopy was only one of the many locations as part of the EAST tour. Next year, I hope to carve out more time to walk. We have incredible artists in Austin!

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