Starting a Peaceful & Accomplished Year

After my very lame, unfortunate brave act in November, I knew I needed to wrap-up 2013 with something far more exciting. As I've mentioned previously, rather than a list of resolutions I never complete, I chose one word for 2013 and then for 2014 to define my year. 2013 was brave and this year, I've chosen peace. I gave you a heads up in my last trip recap I would be sharing my final brave act of 2013 and first peaceful act of 2014, along with a guest blogger today (Hint: you heard from him previously here!).

While on the last day of our two-week holiday trip, Keith and I visited Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe. We each scheduled a massage in the evening, before our dinner reservation at their on-site restaurant, and were told in advance about their communal baths. Technically this was three days into 2014, but since I didn't get around to anything especially brave in December  aside from snow tubing for the first time in 12+ years, I decided this was as good a time as any for one final brave act before our very "peaceful" evening. Since we found out about the spa's communal baths in advance, we each brought a bathing suit to wear if spots opened up for us before our massages. We changed into our suits in the locker rooms, wrapped ourselves in robes and relaxed at the hot foot baths before being told spots had become available in the communal baths.

This spa does have private baths you can reserve in advance, but they were all booked by the time we called. There are also women-only baths but I didn't want to make Keith go to the community one by himself. We did know in advance that the communal baths were bathing suit optional, but didn't realize until we walked up the stairs and around a discreetly walled corner that every single person in the communal bath would have chosen to go without. At this point, you can probably guess what my final brave act was. And yes, I convinced Keith to join in my brave act too. The fact that it was evening, there was very minimal and discreet lighting, and the entire area was surrounded by a privacy fence, made it a little easier. Not much, but a little.

If you had told me one year ago, that I would have done half the things I did in 2013 (chop off my hair, get 2 new tattoos, run 2 half-marathons, gone nude in a public place, etc.), I never would have believed you. But the purpose of choosing the word brave was because I wanted to be an overall braver person. I definitely feel that I have achieved that and when caught between two choices, now I always purposefully choose the one that scares me more. I'm hoping to be just as successful in this year of peace.

My first peaceful act of 2014 was also at the spa and what a perfect way to kick it off! Once we changed into our plush robes and slippers, we rested at the hot foot baths for about twenty minutes, before moving to the soothing heated bath surrounded by a sky full of stars, and yes, several other spa visitors. Next we lounged in the warm sauna for a few minutes, rinsed off, and lastly headed to the peaceful meditation room for about fifteen minutes before our relaxing hour-long massages. Keith and I want a meditation room of our own after enjoying theirs - with the soothing music, low lighting, and plush floor cushions. I started my February peaceful act last Saturday and am looking forward to sharing all about it at the end of the month!

Guest blogger Keith here again. A month come and gone. The difficulty of completing a task for my first month of accomplishment was a bit greater than I had anticipated. As some readers may be already be aware, my job keeps me fairly occupied most of the time (for 13 hours a day, 6 days a week). This leaves scant few moments remaining in which to complete any chore, project, or random task my wife happens to throw at me. And unfortunately, I must admit, many of these remaining hours are spent in leisure and lethargy. I work hard and I nap hard. BUT, this is no excuse for falling down on my New Year's goals. So, with the help of my lovely wife, I was able to finally complete a project begun many months ago.

First, I must admit the purpose of this project. For our wedding anniversaries, my wife and I make each other gifts rather than purchase them.  So for our last one, I rolled up the sleeves, dusted off the old power tools, and got to work building her a craft table for her yet-to-be completed office. Her loose books, fabric, sewing machine, and knick-knacks would all finally have a place. I did well at first, building the table just in time to present it to her the day of the anniversary. It was, however, un-sanded, unpainted, and unfinished. But I vowed to complete the gift within the fortnight. So we hugged, rolled the thing in to some dusty corner, and there it remained for 6 months as we completely forgot about it.

I wanted to make this the first task on my accomplishment list, mainly because the unfinished beast was a mark of shame on my prideful soul. I must again admit embarrassment, because the painting of the table took longer than I had anticipated, and ultimately Alanna had to pitch in at the end and help paint her own anniversary gift. Yes, I hang my head in shame even as I type this. But the craft table is completed and now proudly occupies a corner in my wife's office. I'm pretty proud of the construction job. I found designs for the table in the book "A Hand-Built Home," by Ana White. The sides of the table are collapsible, and when fully employed, produce a very wide surface for Alanna's crafting. We decided to paint the table white, to match much of Alanna's office, but gave the interior cubby holes a nice accent with patterned oilcloth.

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I'm pretty proud of the finished product, though deeply shamed by the manner of it's creation. At Alanna's insistence, my project for next month will be simpler and accomplished by me, and me alone. I'll let you know how it goes.