Monday, April 30, 2007

Ode to a Husband

I write this entry not to brag, but to encourage readers to write an ode to someone special in their lives (or several people). In addition, I encourage you all to pat yourselves on the back for having had the insight to make these people part of your lives! Go ahead, gloat! I hereby give myself permission to do so as well:

I have married an amazing man! I have only known him for seven years of my life, but have learned so much about myself during that time through his eyes and his outlook. Everyday I see examples of how my natural instinct to choose a mate has proven successful. Allow me to gloat a bit…to “count the ways,” so to speak:

  1. He is handsome (see below).
  2. He bears a wonderful blend of each of his parent’s personalities in his ability to be extremely levelheaded (his Father) and sensitive (his Mother) at the same time, which leads me to...
  3. He has given me the two best in-laws I could ask for .
  4. He achieves balance every day by working hard but allowing himself time to play and enjoy life.
  5. He is flexible and open to the world, always ready to learn and try new things.
  6. His capacity to make me laugh in stressful or tense situations is uncanny.
  7. He writes the most poetic love letters.

Gosh, somebody stop me…I could go on, but I’ll do you all a favor and keep some of this gushing between husband and wife.

Owning a business has given my husband and me even more opportunities to learn about each other and develop our relationship. I have remarked many times in the past several months since we have started our venture how well my husband deals with frustration. While I tend to bubble over easily, Ryan’s unwavering, even-tempered perspective allows him to handle each trying situation with grace and to move on quickly, not wasting time dwelling on negativity. This has been an important life lesson for me. I have learned great things from this man!

So here’s to Ryan! And may all of you take some time today to gloat about your loved ones.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day Fun

How do you celebrate Earth Day when you try to embrace nature every day? Go for a hike!
Ryan and I got nearly lost just minutes from our apartment in downtown Austin, hiking for hours.

The weather in Austin has been wonderfully moist this spring so our hiking environment often reminded us of our home in the Northeast.

There are hills in Texas!

Sadie plays her favorite game of "rocks" by the creek.

Me, caught in deep thought at the end of our hike.

My favorite vista on our hike: majestic, round hills and Barton Creek, a powerful presence after 2 years of drought. Even in the city, the earth and its bounties are really something to celebrate.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I love to have balance in my life. I think balance is one of the most important elements to living a good life, actually. This week was very well balanced, most likely because I remained aware of what my body needed and what my spirit wanted. Luckily I have a husband who has similar needs and wants, and listens to those urges most of the time. Each of us has to be flexible with our own plans in order to keep in mind the other’s plans and ideas. Also, it is important as a married couple not to cling too tightly to the plans we make together in case a friend should call and ask us to go out to pizza, for example. I am happy to accept friends’ invitations because these outings are so important to nurturing relationships and making room for spontaneity on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, however, it is important to know when you just want to stick to your own plan and nurture something inside yourself that is not necessarily shared by anyone else. We must give ourselves elbowroom to live a good, balanced life.

I felt incredibly drained and irritable by the end of last week. I stayed up late Tuesday night drinking tequila with friends, which was fantastically fun, but I did not give myself the time and space I needed the rest of the week to balance myself out. I went out again on Thursday night with friends to see a great Austin band. Though it was a nice evening I felt irritable most of the time and expended even more energy just trying to be a nice person. You know that feeling when you just feel like you should have stayed home, alone and grumpy? I should have done just that; reserved some time for myself and focused on activities that would rejuvenate my body and mind.

I did a much better job this week. My husband and I were very productive for the first three days of the week, not consuming any alcohol, eating well, exercising daily, and getting a lot of work done. By Thursday, our plans to go two stepping at the Broken Spoke (pictured here) were met with open arms and I enjoyed a night out with my sister and friend, drinking pitchers of Lone Star beer and dancing with abandon. I even threw in a shot of tequila, went to an all-night diner afterward for some tasty, fatty food and went to bed at 1:30 am or so, way past my bedtime! I didn’t overdo it, though, which is possible if you just keep that goal in the back of your mind (way back there!). I was more tired than usual on Friday, but man was it worth it to just have that one night during the week to let go of my standards and personal “rules” and have a great time! Had I not woken up in the morning, I would have died a happy person. I made sure to meditate upon waking Friday morning, then I ate well and focused on my work. And when we got a call from a friend to go out to pizza and beer that evening, I accepted with glee, but kept my consumption to a minimum and went to bed at an earlier hour. Sometimes I want to drink and dance, or hike all day, and sometimes I just need to hole up and be a homebody. It’s important to realize which option I want/need to choose.

Giving yourself certain “allowances”, though it may sound restricting, is important to living a balanced life. Balance is all about moderation, the happy medium, and that takes practice, focus, and determination. I believe there is such a thing as being too healthy, and we all know being too drunk all the time doesn’t work out so well either (tee hee). When I wake up in the morning and say, “This is going to be a great day,” this means allowing myself to be healthy and have fun, which can be one and the same, or not. This level of balance is just the kind of elbowroom I need. What ways do you keep balance in your life?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy.

Incidentally, I started this blog the day after the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. I have since been contemplating, "How does one have a happy day when one hears such terrible news?" This is an important concern as bad news circulates everyday, whether through the daily news or your own personal circles. In a situation such as this recent tragedy, I find the best way to deal with the situation in the context of my own life, and to feel at peace in my day, is to send out thoughtful prayers to people who are suffering much more than I. Or perhaps a donation of time and/or money is in order, as with the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Either way, sending something positive in the direction of the source of grief can only make your own day better as well as help those in need.

Being selfless and selfish are polar opposites, but I believe there is a happy middle ground. Taking time out of the day to reflect upon your own life as well as thinking about others are ways to exist in this middle ground. It is important that neither selflessness or selfishness take over your daily life. It's about balance, and as a Virgo, I love balance!

I feel guilty sometimes that I don't think more about our servicewomen and men who are fighting and working for our nation all over the world. Regardless of their reason for being where they are, or whether you agree that they should be where they are, thinking about how grateful you are that they are making that sacrifice is an incredibly enriching practice. Sometimes when I'm holding a yoga pose or sitting thoughtfully, I will say in my head or out loud how grateful I am for all the elements of my life that I take for granted and that have been given to me through the hard work of others (and I don't always know what these are!). Then I praise myself for having the motivation to do yoga and eat well and work hard to make things happen in my life all by myself!

Today has been a gift, despite the tragic news, and I have been focused throughout the day on staying positive, even as the less exciting details and logistics came to pass. I also made sure to enjoy the details that were not part of my To Do List: looking at all the beautiful yards and flowers on my way to the grocery store, appreciating my husband as he and I cleaned the bathroom this morning, sharing my thoughts and news with my sister-in-law for the first time in a while, and spending some time writing on our balcony (pictured here) and enjoying the beautiful Texas spring weather.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Beginnings

Welcome to my first blog! This will be a project that will allow you, the reader, to follow along with me, Larissa, as I strive and search for ways to have a good life. What does it mean to have a good life, you ask? It means something different to each person, of course. It is a goal I have started to work toward more and more as I move into adulthood and the rest of my life. Most importantly, though, to a great extent, living a good life is a choice; one made within the context of your own life, day to day. I want to wake up each morning and say, "This is going to be a great day. This is my one chance to have a great day." In other words, and as Mary Oliver so poetically wrote, "Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Over the course of this exploration, you may see me thrive, trip, fall, blunder, survive, rejoice, mourn, laugh, and even babble. But I hope you will glean as much insight, knowledge, and inspiration as I will in the process. Here's to a good life!