Books, Everyday

The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by:  Nina George

  • Fiction
  • © 2015
  • 392 pages with Readers Guide and other extras
  • Personal rating 3.5/5 stars

Jean Perdu owns a floating bookstore called the “Literary Apothecary” where he “prescribes” people the books he thinks they need instead of the fly by night “smut” that they want to read.  His great advice on life is always found in-between the pages of the books he sells and stands by.

Despite the great advice  Jean offers to other, he comes faced to face with his own demons when a women moves into his build across the hall from him.  She discovers a letter that Jean had not known about for 20 years and soon Jean finds himself faced with the woman from his past and possibly the woman of his future.  Too confused and consumed by the emotional tug of war going on in his brain, he makes a bold move and lifts anchor to sets out on a journey that will force him to face all of his emotions.  He will be joined by an aspiring young author, two cats, and some other new friends they pick up along the way.

This book tells the story of one man’s passage through the stages of grief and loss of love.  Jean comes full circle in a twenty year time span, as he tells the story of a love that he thought he could never feel again.  Even though at times the book seems a little drawn out, I really enjoyed reading it.  There were lots of references to other great literary pieces of work (some of which I purchased and will be reading next) and it paints a beautiful picture of all the little places down stream of Paris as they float along.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“When the stars imploded billions of years ago, iron and silver, gold and carbon came raining down.  And the iron from that stardust is in us today — in our mitochondria.  Mothers pass on the stars and their iron to their children.  Who knows, Jean, you and I might be made of the dust from one and the same star, and maybe we recognized each other by its light.  We were searching for each other. We are star seekers.”  – Manon to Jean Perdu, page 136

“Women tell you about the world.  Men only tell you about themselves.”  Cuneo page 193

“To carry them within us – that is our task.  We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves.  Only they make us whole.  If we begin to forget or cast aside those we’ve lost then… then we are no longer present either.”…….”All the love, all the dead, all the people we’ve known.  They are the rivers that feed our sea of souls.  If we refuse to remember them, that sea will dry up too.”  thoughts of Cuneo and Jean, page 226-227

“Do we only decide in retrospect that we’ve been happy?  Don’t we notice when we’re happy, or do we realize only much later that we were?”  Jean to Samy, page 252

“Perdu chuckled.  It’ amazing how close you are to your essential self as a kid, he thought and how far from it you drift the more you strive to be loved.”  Jean pondering something Samy had shared with him, page 254

 

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Everyday

Turn turn turn

Fall, the autumn equinox.  The changing of the seasons.  I’ve had some major changes occur as I have watched a year of seasons go by. Sometimes change can be difficult to deal with.  Sometimes it can be a time to rejoice, but it is inevitable and no matter what we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Last winter marked a time of loss and of letting go for me.  I lost, what I thought was, my “dream job” and it was very devastating.  It made winter feel very sad, quiet, and depressing at times.  I mean what was I going to do now?  I had planned on making some changes in my life at the beginning of the year, but that was all under my own control.  With this happening the way it did, I felt a complete lack of control which became very hard to deal with.  This change, this ending of a season of my life, filled me with feelings of uncertainty, anger, fear, grief, and sadness.  It was hard for me to see any of the good that would come from it.

For the first time in my marriage I really had to let my husband take the wheel and be our sole provider.  We were not destitute by any means but I felt a little less value in myself because I was not giving back to our family.  He reassured me over and over that it would be fine and that all he wanted from me was to take some much-needed time off and to do the things that I loved.  That was hard at first.  I mean the things that I loved were not going to pay our bills or put food in our mouths.  I was very out of my comfort zone.  Plus there were days that I had a very hard time getting over the anger and sadness inside of me.

Winter changed to spring and spring brought a glimmer of new beginnings as I started to rediscover myself.  I have always enjoyed writing and recently had discovered a pull towards photography as well.  I have had this blog on and off for years but never really had the time to commit myself to it.  So I dove into writing almost immediately. I made sure to write almost every day.  I joined a “No Spend” challenge and had shared my progress, which helped to hold me accountable for writing something everyday.  I also found myself writing about my feelings and my running and my choice to be vegan.

When I opened myself up to the universe in this way, the universe gave back.  I had followers!  Actual people who wanted to read my blog.  I was putting something out there that in whatever way, shape, or form someone else found a use for.  That was very awesome feeling.  I also had all the time that I needed to sign up for and take 4 different photography sessions.  I learned the basics, the not so basics and about Abode Photoshop and Lightroom.  I love learning and I loved being creative.  I also loved connecting to a hobby that my father had the same interest in.  It felt like it was natural for me to have a connection to a camera because its presence was always there as I was growing up. Creativity was always a part of my life when I was younger as well.  Over the years I had forgotten that.  Life always had away of showing up and pushing creativity farther and farther away.  And when you start to disconnect from something like that, I think  you start to disconnect from your true self.

Summer came in shortly after and everything was just starting to get heated up.  I was starting to realize that what happened in the past was just that; the past.  I had started to learn to let go and really take in everything that I loved.  I went to the gym more.  I read more books then I had read in a long time.  I had forgotten the joy in that.  I had even found myself the perfect part time job within walking distance of my house.  I made greater connections with my friends and family.  And I shared a lot of it right here on my blog.  I really started to understand the force in allowing yourself to be yourself and not worry about what anyone else thought of you or your life style.  I am blessed to have a wonderful home, a husband and parents who love me for me, two fur babies that have been through everything the last 13 years has thrown at me, great friends, good health, a great new job and so much more to look forward to.

Winter changed to spring, spring into summer and now here I am, almost a full year later; entering into my favorite season of them all.  Fall.  For me fall is my time of rebirth.  I know that seems backwards but I have always lived in a hot climate so when the cooler nights and milder days start to roll in I feel sheer bliss.  It means the start of running season.  Pumpkins and fall festivals.  Hoodies and hot tea.  Everything that makes me feel warm and toasty and loved.

It also means that I have come full circle from last winter.  It’s amazing how true the statement “a year from now, this will seem like nothing” is.  When you are suffering within a hard time, it can feel like you are drowning.  Like nothing will ever be the same and the sadness will consume you.  But time literally does heal all wounds.  From time to time I still find myself annoyed with the past but not like I used to be.  I literally used to have bad dreams and ill thoughts that could spin me into a sad, dark, place.  I would let my anger consume me to the point of exhausting tears.  But I have come to terms with those circumstances.  The door that slammed shut allowed me to see down the hallway of new possibilities.  I no longer focus my energy on that closed door.  Instead I walk from (new open) door to door and allow myself to feel free.

 

 

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Starting all over again is going to be rough…..

Short and sweet and right to the point!  I started running again about a month ago.  This morning I did my first group strength workout in about 3 months.  Little by little I want to get back to where I was this time last year.  I want to see my pace be closer to the 9 minute mark then the 10 it currently is.  I know in order to do that I have to commit to the long runs, the speed work and the strength training I used to do.  My body feels great; no aches and pains and no injuries (knock on wood).  I literally have no excuses to not give it my all and become a better me then the summer me.  I have a half marathon in January and I want to PR and run it in 2 hours.  I know that is going to require work and determination on my end and I am ready.  Let’s do this!

One hour group workout @ 6am

Warm up 1000m row in 5 mins

First set x4

  • 12 kg kettle bell front squat holds for 30 sec (x4, x4, x3, x2)
  • Partner plank holds tapping opposite hands for a minute
  • Alternating dead bug for a minute

Second set x5

  • Front squat with barbell (35 lbs x1, 55 lbs x4)
  • Squat jumps x10

Third set x3

  • Single leg dead lift to a row, using cable machine set at 25 lbs both legs x12
  • Single leg tap down both legs x12

Forth set x3

  • Deadlifts with dumbbells ( 17.5 lbs x2, 20 lbs x1) x12
  • Push ups x12

Cool down foam rolling

3.8 mile run 88 degrees @ 6pm (from yesterday)

  • Overall time 38:35
  • Average pace 10:09
  • Splits 9:46, 10:00, 10:25, 10:28
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

Priceless practice

This morning my Lifetime Run group had a change of pace (pun intended) and we went out for a long run instead of doing our Saturday speed work.  I was thrilled with this.  The temperatures here in Central Texas are finally starting to cool off and feel like fall; like perfect running weather.  We met up at Brushy Creek Regional trail before the sun had even come up and the temperature on my Garmin said it was a chilly 59 degrees!  There were about 10 of us that made it out this morning and after introductions, distance goals, and when the sun started to make its grand appearance, we were off.

It felt really good to be out there this morning.  I ran with one of my running/work out buddies the whole time and we pushed each other through an awesome 5 miles that neither of us thought we would survive in the beginning.  I love being able to run with someone else that has a similar pace to my own.  I feel like I push myself harder to keep moving when I am running with someone, instead of behind someone.  Lately I have been a “back of the pack-er” and honestly I still was this morning, but today it just felt different.  I didn’t hit my 2.5 mile wall, my body felt good, I still love my new shoes and the temperature…. oh man did I already mention how great it felt outside?  Well either way it was wonderful!

When I got a little past the 4 mile point I picked up my pace a little and started to feel like I could have gone an extra mile.  Afterwards I wasn’t overly tired or sore and really felt like myself again.  Even though my pace isn’t where it was this time last year, I can defiantly see where over time it will get better.  And right now I’m pretty happy with just running and not looking to “beat” something.  Improvement is great but just feeling like yourself again is priceless.

5 miles 59 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 50:23
  • Average pace 9:52
  • Splits 9:56, 9:50, 10:13, 9:53, 9:29
  • Average cadence 176

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Books, Everyday

29 Gifts

29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving can Change your Life by Cami Walker

  • Self help/Memoir
  • © 2009
  • 226 pages
  • Personal rating 4/5 stars
  • Website for 29 gifts challenge

Cami Walker’s book will make you want to get up and find someone to share a gift with.  This was the feeling I got when I was only on day 4 of the 29 days of giving.  I literally had tears in my eyes and my heart opened up to the idea of joining this wonderful challenge myself.

Cami starts off the book in a rather desperate state of mind.  Only in her mid-30s, she has been battling with MS for some time now and it has taken a turn for the worst.  She is in pain all the time.  She depends on her newly married husband for almost everything and is depressed that she doesn’t feel like a part of society any longer because she doesn’t have the strength to work like she used to.  But all that starts to change when she has a meeting with her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo.  Mbali is originally from South Africa, moved to England when she was a child and now resides in Oakland, CA and works as a spiritual healer.  She was Cami’s next-door neighbor and wound up being her lifesaver.  When Mbali prescribed the 29 Gifts challenge (an African ritual) to Cami a whole new way of life opened up before her.

The 29 Gifts challenge was simply giving a gift, selflessly and effortlessly, for a 29 day span.  If you forgot a day or if you had to put too much thought into what to give or to whom, you had to start over at day 1.  The gifts did not have to be physical objects but did have to come from a place of love and kindness.  Also in order to deepen the connection, the giver is to journal about each day’s gifts and experiences.

Each chapter in the book covers a new day.  As more days of giving go by, Cami starts to understand why such a challenge was presented to her.  Things begin to change in her life.  Her health, her relationship with others and just her overall wellbeing begins to transform.

I really enjoyed this book and immediately wanted to learn more about the challenge through Cami’s website.  It’s contents make you look at life and the people you share everyday with (strangers or loved ones) in a different light.  And it goes a little deeper into the idea that the universe with provide for you if you open up to it and embrace it selflessly.  I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone.  Of course a person facing a difficult time in their life would seem like the ideal reader but honestly we all could learn something from simple, random acts of kindness.

 

 

 

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Running, Vegan

It has begun….

This morning marked the official start to my 2016-2017 running season.  The weather was amazing at just under 60 degrees.  I threw on my new running skirt and headed out the door to meet with the Lifetime Run group for the first speed work I have done in over 4 months.

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The “before” picture.  Gotta make it look good!

Oh what a difference temperature makes for a runner.  I had been in such a slump these last few months.  My pace was in the toilet at over the 10 minute mile mark.  It was really starting to get to me.  Everyday I would run I would have to give myself a pep talk to convince myself that pace didn’t matter when it was over 90 degrees outside with thick, sticky air.  But as a runner it is hard to look down at your watch after your run and see a pace that you haven’t seen since you were in your rookie stages.  I hadn’t run over a 10 minute mile in at least 4 years.  But with the hot summer and the rest needed to recover from spring injuries, it was what it was and it SUCKED!

But this mornings run offered a glimmer of hope that I hadn’t lost it.  I still had the ability to be better, it was just in a sort of reversed hibernation for the summer.  Starting with a two mile warm up, I felt pretty good.  My body felt great but I could tell I needed to work on getting my breathing back under control (nothing a little added spin class wouldn’t help).  Then it was on to 400m repeats.  Our coach wanted us to do 4-6 of them, but I settled for half and did three that were really strong.

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Some of my peps from Lifetime Run North Austin

I don’t want to do too much too soon.  This was only the beginning of a long season ahead.  I have several races that I have already signed up for from now until April, including, dare I say it, my second half marathon!  So a little at a time will be just fine for now.

2 mile warm up, 3×400, 1 mile cool down, 61 degrees @ 7am

  • 2 mile warm up average pace 9:35
  • 1 mile cool down pace 9:24
  • 3×400 @ 7:08, 6:59, 7:02
  • Average cadence between 178-194

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Running, Vegan

And the four become one….

This morning was a very special morning for my Lifetime Run group.  Besides doing our group run at the beautiful Town Lake trail, we were joined by 3 other Lifetime Run Clubs;  Lifetime South Austin, San Antonio, and The Rim (also from San Antonio).  This “destination run” had been in the works for about a month and it was a great way to bring so many awesome runners together and enjoy what we do best!

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The big group before

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One of many little groups after!

Everyone who came had a choice of doing 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 miles.  And even though fall has not quiet made its grand appearance yet, we didn’t let the muggy, warm weather get to us.  As each mileage group fell into place, all of a sudden we weren’t “Northies” or “Southies” anymore, we were just runners.  The little group of 5 mile people who I stayed with consisted of a mix of people from each location.  We all fell into step together and talked amongst ourselves like we had known each other for years.  Asking about who was training for what or expressing the joy of fall promising cooler weather.  Everyone had different goals and stories to share.  And even though we probably all had different abilities, no one was focused on pace.  It was just nice to have people to talk to while taking in what downtown Austin had to offer for us this morning.  It was so exciting making new connections with the leads from other clubs that I have talked to on and off all month.  It was great to finally put faces with Facebook profiles and sweaty hugs (or “air hugs” as one person put it) and pictures were shared by all who came.

This is why I love running with a group.  Inadvertently we all pick each other up and hold each other accountable.  I have not had a run yet, that I haven’t had to walk since coming back from my time off in the summer.  But this morning (pace set aside) I ran the whole 5 miles that I set out to do without stopping once.  I talked with old friends and made new ones along the way.  And at the end of the run, once again we were all united through our crazy love of a sport that only another runner could understand.  I highly recommend joining a running group in your hometown.  Lifetime Fitness offers a great running program (and you don’t have to be a member of the gym to run with us).  All paces and abilities are welcome and no one ever gets left behind!

5 mile run 77 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 53:31
  • Average pace 10:42
  • Splits 10:19, 10:19, 11:24, 10:53, 10:35
  • Average cadence 176

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