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Yesterday reminded me once again how important it is to unplug and get away.  Away from technology, phones, email, texts…work.  I’ve been feeling the burn and burden lately, feeling like when I get home I have a second job to do.  Firing up the 6 year old laptop here in the home office that’s showing its age and taking care of more.  And more.  And I boiled over last week…see my The Ugly Crescendo post for the, well, ugly details on that.

But I’m doing a lot better now.  I know myself well and know that I always come back to center if I get knocked off balance.  Sometimes it just takes longer than I’d like.  Psst:  guys, take note:  women get “full” and overwhelmed sometimes.  We’re the supreme goddesses of multi-tasking, but sometimes we go into Tilt mode and need to empty the mental trash can so to speak.  We get full and just can’t give anything more until we empty ourselves out.  “Temporarily out of order,” as a good friend of mine likes to quip.  Sometimes the fix means a great girls’ night out, a little retail therapy or maybe a good cry.  Believe me, any combo of those works well in my book. Last weekend required playing two games of hockey in one day to really polish off the stress.

I’d love to take a vacation to truly get off the grid for awhile, but that’s just not in the cards for me right now.  So meanwhile I’ve been mentally – joyfully – riding the coat tails of my dear friend P’s latest (second!) trip to Belize, savoring her photography and stories along the way.  Feast your eyes on her travel website and get inspired to plan your own adventure! 

Tuesday night was a girls’ night mani/pedi at Medina Nails in Bellevue.  My former co-worker L and I sometimes just look at eachother and laugh at how we’ve become friends after a rocky start on a job in a cramped, tiny office a couple of years ago.  GEEZ was that nearly two years ago?  Yep.  Getting a mini massage on the ol’ tired arms and legs and some badly-overdue clean up and prettying of the nails was pure bliss.

Yesterday – Saturday – meant a little more work. Our annual HOA meeting – a requirement in the first quarter of every calendar year – and later finishing up my taxes.  I was very pleasantly surprised at the size of my refund.  2011 was my first year with additional income from self employment…my Silpada jewelry business commissions plus some additional 1099-type income working on a project for my friend A’s consulting business.  I figured those (yet untaxed) dollar amounts would trump a lot of the refund amount, but the final numbers tell a pretty happy story. 

THEN it was time to unplug.  Nope, no out of town vacations coming up for me, but it sure felt like a vacation getting outside for a long walk with my new friend D and her adorable dog too!  We each live in Kirkland, but in different parts of town.  We decided to meet at a park she had never explored, and one I had not walked through literally in years!  Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland! 

This park is such a treasure…and why I call it a Beautiful Backyard.  For it’s just a 5 minute drive from my house and like escaping into another world.  The preserved wetlands and walking trails are absolutely fascinating.  I read somewhere the park used to be a golf course back in the 1930s…it seems a little hilly for a golf course but then again I don’t golf.  I love the wooden boardwalks over the wetlands.  Turtles, muskrats, beavers, blue herons…and if you’re lucky when you look up you can see bald eagles soaring over the lake or perched proudly in the trees.  D and I were lucky yesterday and saw two.  The sun was warm on our backs while the wind off the lake was a little chilly.  I remember when I used to live about a mile down the street from this park and would visit it often, back in the late 1990s.  How fun to relish the park 12 years later with a new friend!

We admired the beautiful lake views, the blue sky and spotted a few kite surfers practicing over at an adjacent park a short walk away.  So we had to go check that out!  This looks totally amazing and I might need to try it someday.  In much warmer water or with a great wetsuit.  Brrrr.

The trees were a mix of bare branches and a few brave ones already in full, pink bloom.  D gasped as she looked up – what was she looking at?  There sat a beautiful humming bird in a tree.  How rare to see them sitting still!

I felt completely refreshed after that walk.  Being outside and getting some exercise with great company cures just about everything.  I’m inspired to do more walking to get back in better shape this year – the “stress pounds” from a few years ago are getting old. 

And D has recommended another great book about finding our strengths.  I can’t wait to dig in.