Tag Archives: Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday 6 — Self, Health & Laugh Lines


Today I’m sharing three things you can do for yourself to improve your health and fitness for your mind, body and spirit in less than 800 words.

Mind: Self

Determine to include yourself in your life. I saw this card (below) by an artist named “Leigh” (http://www.curlygirldesign.com/) at a fancy boutique in Connecticut in 2006 right after my husband was laid-off from his job.

We went on a weeklong vacation and stayed with family at their home. It was a very scary time for us and although I knew my husband had the chops to find another awesome job, the specter of only eight weeks’ salary to cover our mortgage and health insurance for a family of five was terrifying. The card was a piece of art and it cost $6; its sentiment is empowering. I bought it. I enlarged it and hangs in my office.

We came home from that trip determined to make it through the layoff with optimism, not obsession, and to come out better than we went going in and we did. He started his new job on my 39th birthday with not one day to spare.


“Spirit.” Rekindle yours.

What has already happened to you in life is done and over. Decide to do something now for yourself today that is good. Do it again tomorrow and the day after that and own it like a boss.

Body: Get Up, Get Down, Repeat.

I started working out again Sunday and my mood instantly elevated and has stayed there. I have an extensive personal background and interest in fitness, health and nutrition. Yes, you can love Cap’n Crunch and be healthy. I have a lot of gear, but that’s because I love exercise gear. Do you have a question? Throw it at me in comments.

Here’s an awesome FREE! app for keeping track of your diet and exercise. “MyFitnessPal” <– click there for link. My SIL lost all her baby weight using that app in three months. I’ve been using it and I adore it. The sense of awareness and accountability it instills is amazing. It confirmed for me this: I don’t eat enough. More on that later.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is get up right now. Stand up, inhale, lift your hands over your head, exhale and lower your hands back to your sides and sit back down.

Do it again.


One more time.

Feel that thumpa-thumpa? That’s you. You just burned probably 3 calories.

I do all sorts of things: aerobics, strength (mostly floor work and for many of us our own body weight and gravity pose enough resistance) and yoga.

Sunday I worked on the elliptical trainer. I did High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). To keep this description high level, it goes from a “0” being sitting to a “10” being an all-out sprint from a rhino or chasing after a baby-napper every two minutes (two slow, one high).

I have a heart-rate monitor (HRM), I use it. Is an HRM essential? No, but it keeps me honest. Just starting is essential. I will write about the benefits of exercise soon.

Start small, finish BIG.

I’m a weirdo: sometimes I do squats when I unload the dishwasher. I double up the stairs, I stand on one leg when brushing my teeth. I’m not normal, but I’m also not at all overweight.

Keep a journal, write this stuff down; you don’t have to step on the scale now. Numbers don’t matter, how you feel is what matters. When you write it down, you commit.

Cravings last 14 minutes. Beat the 14 minutes and you beat the craving.

Be sure you’re eating enough. Sounds like a nice problem to have unless your body does what it’s supposed to do: goes for the muscle (lean body mass / LBM) first for fuel because LBM burns calories the best. You definitely don’t want that, because you will lose your tone. I know this personally.

Drink lots of water. Your skin will love you for it.

Spirit: Gratitude. Express it Often.

Thank your body for what it always does: functions even if you think it’s dysfunctional. And especially if you stood up and raised your arms. Thank your awesome legs, your amazing hips, your kick-ass shoulders and your freakin’ lungs for getting you through every day. Do you stop, ever, to contemplate what a MIRACLE it is to simply be alive? The genius that goes into all our cellular functioning? It’s mind-boggling.

Thank your laugh lines for keeping you sane. Go ahead: look in the mirror and say, “I LOVE YOU LAUGH LINES” and mean it.

they are. they show you don't take yourself too seriously.

they are. they show you don’t take yourself too seriously.

As I always say, “the quickest facelift is a smile.”

Thank you.

Three Things Thursday 5 — Water: Boathouse, Beauty and Breathing



I started a post detailing and lamenting my situation with my parents, their ambitions to age in place, and their requests for consults and professionals (which I delivered) despite their patent and wholesale inaction, and total avoidance of meaningful change to make any of it possible. You can’t make a fish climb a tree. The gist of the post was about need for boundaries and how they help everything, which they do, but it was too much and I am too close to the subject matter to make it digestible. Let’s just say this: it’s FUBAR.

There’s nothing more I can do for them short of apoplexy-inducing betrayal, so I won’t do anything until they do, and that’s highly unlikely. We will have to stay in crisis-reactive mode as we resigned ourselves to be four years ago. For me to turn myself inside out to help them simply because of a sense of guilt is futile, ego-driven, vain and “fixer”-istic: unhealthy. Consider this: I would be doing & wanting more than they would to improve their situation. That’s toxic.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, by the amazing Marcus Aurelius is this: “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”


The good news is that writing the-post-you-will-never-see was excellent catharsis. The bad news is that it kept me up until 2am. I’m ok though. But the birds are chirping outside, the sun is shining and so I am reframing: taking back my brain and changing gears.

Three things for our mind, body and soul. This is really simple and it has nothing to do with aging.

Mind: Boathouses

Rowing season has begun and I’m thrilled to be making a daily trek back to the boathouse to drive my oldest son and up to six of his teammates for practice. They are chatty, funny, smart and polite kids. Their parents should be proud because they’re doing an excellent job raising their children.

Yes, it’s cold as butt, yes. Last week, ice was forming on the hull (body) of the shells (boats) and the wind chills were likely insane, but rowers are insane and my son is thrilled to be back on the water despite his shivering when he returns home. The other night, we had 2″-4″ of rain fall during 38˚ temps and 20mph winds. He came home a boysicle, but he had a huge grin on his face. That’s all that matters. When we got to the boathouse yesterday, it was 15˚ warmer than the day before and the sun was sort of out. This kind of change in the weather enhances the mindset when you’re in the boat to such a degree that the difference can be as apparent as walking compared to crawling.

For me: it’s being back down there, if only for a moment to look down at this and know soon, I too will be back in my racing shell and sculling toward peace; leaving the bipeds and their noise behind.


this is my ride.

View from the Bow

this is a view from the Bow

Body: Breathing

So the sun was out yesterday and I went for a nice long walk with The Murph around the ponds after dropping the boys at school.

I used the “panorama” option on my phone to take this. I love the reflection so much. What a glorious morning.

My breathing intensified, my legs warmed up and so did my core. I actually had to unzip my parka, despite the 37˚ outside. I felt alive and “OK” — you know, peaceful, for the first time in a while. I almost wanted to run. I haven’t been able to do this very often because the kids being home. The walk did me some good because I was able to appreciate the …

Soul: Beauty

Of our physical world. No matter where you live: in the mountains or in a city; on the water or on a suburban street: there is beauty everywhere. And this time of year, the days are getting longer, the grass is turning green, trees are starting to bud, and the daffodils are coming up beside their friends the tulips. I saw some totally new ducks at one of the ponds — two pairs of these, they’re called “Hooded Merganser” ducks:

This one apparently has something to say. I will try to get my own pictures of them. I will have to go without The Murph because he scares them. from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/PHOTO/LARGE/hoodmerg_gregschn.jpg

Isn’t this gorgeous? He was with his wife (male birds are hotter and all birds are monogamous) and another Merganser couple along with some Mallards and Canada Geese. It was really glorious to behold them all. Just doing their thing, y’know: being waterfowl. So, no matter where you live, establish some personal boundaries to take back your space and time for yourself first and get out and breathe to take in the beauty. No matter where you look, it’s there waiting to be appreciated.

I guess the underlying theme is water today. Go drink some, look at it and get in it if you can.

Thank you.

Three Things Thursday 3 — Free Ways to Live Well(er)


I started this series, thinking it would be fun to share three things I love which help me enhance my Mind, Body and Spirit in less than 750 words. Last week’s offered Art, Apps and Apologies and it went over the limit due to captions (and my inability to censor myself).

I am meeting with the “aging consultant” for my parents today to discuss their situation, as requested by my father. I know that this meeting will only be tenable emotionally because it will happen on the heels of my yoga class. I will need every whisper of namaste during this meeting over hummous, pita points, and cucumber medallions dipped in tzatiki.

I taught sixth graders a bit of yoga this week; I love sharing the gift of yoga with people. Especially children, who have waaaaaay too many responsibilities these days placed upon their narrow shoulders. I showed them how the best gift we can give ourselves is the gift of slowing down. I doubt they’ll adhere to it now, but maybe when they’re my age they might remember.

All of this brings us to three free things:

Mind: Meditate

Slow down and meditate. I don’t mean sit in criss-cross applesauce and hum Ommmmmmm to yourself. I mean to be where you are (if you’re not driving) and just calm the heck down. Calm. Yourself. Down.

"Just Let Go. Be the Leaf." learning, and loving this app, "Drawing Carl" on my ipad.

“Just let go… be the leaf.” learning, and loving this app, “Drawing Carl” on my iPad.

Here’s how: Imagine a place you love, a beach, a forest, a mountain, a lakeside and close your eyes. See that place and as you inhale, count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1… pause and exhale counting down from 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … pause. When you increase the exhale, you are releasing oxytocin and dopamine, and feeling good. Other than the nicotine addiction, this is one of the reasons smokers smoke… the inhale and the exhale; they savor it. If smokers could learn to do this without the cigarette, they’d be golden. Do this five times at first and stay in your favorite place. Just be. If a thought comes in, don’t judge it, let it drift away. Just let go. If you want to do more than five times, do! Wanna know when to stop? The MOMENT it becomes irritating to your spirit, body or mind. Take in one last breath and exhale normally. Try it again later.

Body: Nap

A nap. Sounds easier said than done. As a mother, I wear many hats. One of them is crazed insomniac. I don’t know if it’s hormones, but I’m not getting much sleep at night these days. Soon I’ll be popping the Geritol. That comment used to get laughs, now it just gets knowing sighs and nods. When you’re not driving, respond to your body giving you a tug to lay down and nap. This is different than the meditation. For in meditation, we need to be conscious. We aren’t working out crises or other stuff, as we do in REM dreaming. But take a nap. I took one last week, after the norovirus, and I slept for four hours. I was ready to take hostages before the nap: shaky, agitated, unfocused, bumping into things. Then I took the nap and I felt human. Homo Sapiens even. Just close the blinds, turn off the phone, and nap.

Nap. Windows, couch, you. You can do this. You're allowed.

Nap. Windows, couch, you. You can do this. You’re allowed.

Soul: Perspective, life off the grid

I gave up Facebook for Lent. It was the best choice ever. I don’t know what will happen after Lent, but it’s only been two days and I’ve caught up on laundry (holla!), I’ve become OK with myself and the fact that I’m normal, not perfect, not wealthy, not fantastically domestic and not thinking as much in terms of “status updates.” I wrote (excessively?) about the impending need to unplug, the lie I’d been living and coming to terms with my vulnerability two days ago, Tuesday in one post and then I gave my rationale and cited reasons and a chronology of my obsession in a second post in the same day. Apparently I had some demons to exorcise. I was never addicted (in the clinical, life interrupted, fashion) to it, but I was close. I miss my FB friends, but I’m loving the life I’ve returned to so very much. Try it. Even for a weekend. The blue and white in the sky is waaaay more better (more better… like that?) than the blue and white on your monitor.

Unplug to plug in to life.

Unplug to plug into life.

Hmm. A common theme: not driving and not online and loving yourself. Go for it.

Thank you.

Three Things (this is not about my kids!) Thursday 2 – Art, Apps and Apologies


This is not a weekly “column” about my kids. This is a weekly column (there, I said it) about three things I think you’d like to know about, but even more so, it’s three things I’d like to share. Here’s last week’s when I wrote about wiper blades, hair color and love: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/three-things-thursday-1/

I’ve refined it since then: The three things will be attuned to three very elemental parts of ourselves — mind, body and spirit — we need to enrich to live fuller lives. I will try to keep these posts to less than 750 words.

Here we go.

Mind: Art.

Last weekend, my fam was in town. It was glorious to see them all. We went to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Specifically, we went to see the exhibit of Chinese dissident artist (and all around freakin’ badass) Ai (“aye”) Weiwei (“way-way”). He is a proud middle-finger upper at the White House and Tiennenman Square and has the shots to prove it. Weiwei was beaten for attending a protest in China and turned the resultant brain scans showing the injuries into art. His work is a giant (swear alert): up yours to the Chinese government and any government which oppresses. He has dropped a Han Dynasty Urn (crazy value of something like $50,000) just because he could and his expression is so flip about the whole thing I admire it. You can see an interview and a clip of the exhibit which aired on CBS here (the narrator’s voice makes me want to run and hide, so … uh, sorry). This exhibit is in DC until February 24… you have 17 days. GO NOW. Plus, it’s free.

Below are just some of the photos I took. I could grab photos from the site, but they are too austere; they don’t have people in them (I think he would prefer having people in the shots). Some are blurred because we couldn’t use flash.

He made a snake out of 5,000 backpacks, similar to those worn by the children whose lives ended in an earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008 when school buildings collapsed on them due to shoddy engineering and government corruption. Despite the fact that you’re in another country, you can’t shake the feeling that you are on hallowed ground:

This backpack reptile winds down the ceiling of the gallery for another 75-100 feet.

This backpack reptile winds down the ceiling of the gallery for another 75-100 feet.

Aside from the snake was this, a wall emblazoned with a poster displaying all the victims’ names, ages and genders in a spreadsheet. As you walk beneath the snake and view the wall, a recording of the names read by various voices of surviving loved ones plays in the background:

note the empty cells nearest the camera.

note the empty cells nearest the camera.

I was struck later, upon viewing my photo that he left empty cells open in the spreadsheet; a reminder of our own mortality and the lives not yet lost due to the corruption. The recording lasts 3 hours and 41 minutes and plays continuously. The placard beside it said:

A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed part of the ever-changing human world: no matter how poor or how rich, all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.

Another installation in the exhibit, “Straight” was a collection of 38-tons’ worth of rebar from the site that Weiwei re-straightened himself after the catastrophe:

"The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence: we are spineless and can not stand straight." --Ai Weiwei

“The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence: we are spineless and can not stand straight.” –Ai Weiwei

“Cube Light” – my video. This particular piece is amazing; it’s close to 12’x12’x12′ … you can get lost inside the cube from outside it. You’ll see my camera lens experience the same phenomenon; it doesn’t know where to focus. That munchkin chatting in the background is my nephew.

It's gorgeous and it sucks you in. As much as I wanted to say, "Well, I  guess anything can be called 'Art' these days, I was eventually humbled to believe that I was in the presence of greatness.

It’s gorgeous and it sucks you in. As much as I wanted to smugly say, “Well, I guess anything can be called ‘Art‘ these days,” I was eventually humbled. I was in the presence of greatness.

In this picture above, shown for perspective, is my loony and awesome brother lying on the floor showing his artistic genius. I don’t know what his pic looks like, but I love taking pictures of people taking pictures of the same thing I am.

Body: Apps or Alarms

I don’t like being woken up abruptly. I don’t know who does. I have a progressive alarm clock. The difference between a standard WAKE THE HELL UP!!! alarm clock and a progressive one is that the progressive one gently rouses you. They all operate under the same standard: don’t traumatize the sleeper. For travel, I also downloaded a progressive alarm clock app for my kids to use when they wake. If you have a Droid, go to the Google Play app market and download, “Nature Sounds Alarm Clock” and it should be free; if you have an iDevice, go to the App Store and download “Progressive Alarm Clock”; I paid $1.99 for it. Two words: Life Changing.

Or if you’d like one in person, they can be lovely (and pricey), go to Now and Zen and check them out. I have the brass bowl on a cherry stand and I love it. Not cheap, I saved my milk money for two years for it and I use it for meditation timing; my cleaning ladies like to put the hair ties and change from my dresser in the bowl. nitztagrbikfragalratzen…. By the way (wei), I get paid nothing nor am I compensated for any of these items I share with you.

Spirit: Apologies

Mad props to national chain Noodles & Company for their accountability last month after I was treated like burnt tofu at their restaurant near my home. I shared that blog post with them (highlighted in red above), they sent me an email, then they called me, and a few days later, I received THIS in the mail:

This was lovely: a cutting board, a water bottle, some free meal cards and a tote bag made from recycled billboards. Let's have mad respect for Noodles, y'all.

This was lovely: a HANDWRITTEN thank you card, a cutting board, a water bottle, some free meal cards and a tote bag made from recycled billboards. Let’s have mad respect for Noodles & Company, y’all. That’s awesome.

They thanked ME! Last night, we cashed in those OOPS! cards and here is the result (caption) in an email I sent to their area manager:

"Garry,  Tonight was like the old nights. NOODLES IS BACK!!!  The penne rosa was fresh, hot, abundant and delicious. We couldn't wait any longer to use the cards, sinus infection or not.  I hope you see the smiley face in my EMPTY bowl. Thanks again for everything. Love is in the air. Molly

“Garry, Tonight was like the old nights. NOODLES IS BACK!!! The penne rosa was fresh, hot, abundant and delicious. We couldn’t wait any longer to use the cards, sinus infection or not. I hope you see the smiley face in my EMPTY bowl. Thanks again for everything. Love is in the air. Molly

The thing about apologies is this: they work. What works more? apologies and action. Noodles & Company proved that they are sincere last night. I’ve written about apologies here. Don’t bother making an apology unless you’re ready to back it up. Then it will be good for everyone’s soul.

Well, I went over by about 300 words. Captions. Sorry.

Thank you.