#7. UPDATE – Palm Reading or Tarot Card

“Divination is the quest to understand more about the past, present, and future. In other words, Tarot readings are an attempt to understand ourselves better and discover how we might live better in the future.” ― Theresa Cheung, Teen Tarot: What the Cards Reveal About You and Your Future

Me: “Are you picking me up for dinner tonight?”

Friend: “Yes, be there around 7.”

Me: “Have any extra time? I’ve got this thing I need to check off my list. Bring $35 cash, and pick me up at 5:30.”

Friend: “Cool.”

And so it went. While preparing for a friend dinner out at a local eatery, I booked us an appointment for a “basic tarot” card reading at a place I found locally via Google. $35 cash for a reading of approximately 30-45 minutes each. On our way I discovered my friend had never had a reading done, but was excited to try. And I was ready to check this item off my list by my deadline of Halloween.

Overall, I tried to be very practical in my approach to the reading – I had no major questions or issues I needed solving. Putting this item on my list was to overcome the fear of hearing things that I didn’t want to hear – health, child or marriage prophecies – . Even if it is all “garbage” as another friend described Tarot, hearing anyone talk about your life and what may (or may not) happen can be intimidating.

The Reading

I went first. My girlfriend waited outside on the steps per Tatum’s request. I was ushered into the dining room in her well-kept house. With the neon sign in her front window indicating “Tarot Readings”, I wasn’t sure what to expect (which seems pretty shallow of me now that I write this down officially). She explained the different services available – I opted for Basic Tarot versus Egyptian Tarot. And she gathered her deck of cards. I was to shuffle by way of sliding cards between my hands, NOT “thumb shuffling” or bending the cards, and clearing my mind of thoughts while doing so. I cut the deck in front of me, and then placed my right hand over one pile. This is the pile she read from.

She placed a number of cards out on the table and just went for it. It should be noted I gave her no information about myself prior to this (age, marital status – but I was wearing my wedding ring, where I loved, children, health, etc.). My husband reminded me that providing an email address and phone # via her online form is as good as giving her all my details, and after Googling my email address realized that he was right – Linkedin, Facebook public photo – some good quality insight. However, my friend did not provide anything and got some interesting results.

Tatum had a pleasant demeanor but was direct. She asked only for yes/no responses to indicate she was on the right path, getting the “right” information, and made lots of statements regarding all different aspects of my life and those close to me. When she appeared stalled with the first cards she laid down, she placed another layer of cards down on top of the first, and kept reading until all the card had been laid out.

Once she was finished, about 10-15 minutes later, she looked up and said, “Now, what questions do you have?”. My mind was blank. In order to remember everything for this blog post and to see if everything she said would come true, I worked backwards and repeated back to her the themes I heard. Only some of those I’ll share here. I also wanted to confirm my understanding of the reading. For example, if the cards say something is “so”, do I still get choice? Do I have a say? The answer: “We have a choice in everything.” Here’s the big BUT –  BUT, some of these events will happen – we have a choice how to respond, or how to make the most of it. Hmmmm. Ok.

Key Themes

  1. Career – In the next year I will have a new career. New title, new location but undetermined if a new company. My communication and management skills will be needed for this new job. I will always work. I like having a career, it is important to me. I will retire, but then my career will continue in a different way – likely I will work for myself. I take great care with decisions, big or small.
  2. Health – I will have a long healthy life. She sees me living into my 80s. However, there is something wrong with my stomach and my thyroid. I need to get those checked. I also need to drink more water, move (walk) to improve digestion, and carbohydrates are my favorite, but don’t agree with my body.
  3. House – We are not meant to stay in the same house or same area. We will move in the next six years.
  4. Vacation – Two vacations in the next year, one may be just 1-3 days, but they are needed for rejuvenation and connection.

There was more. But the above is enough for a glimpse at the broad strokes she drew, with small details thrown in. I’m glad that I went, and curious more about the art of Tarot. Not enough to learn to read them myself, but this experience did draw out the memory of the spirit guide from my first reading and I’d like to dig into that. After the reading I also, more thoroughly, enjoyed the podcast “By the Book” when they read Past Lives Future Healing by Sylvia Brown. Note: would highly recommend this podcast.

This post is being written after the occurance. The tarot card reading was checked off the list on October 21. As an update on November 9, it should be noted that:

  1. Career – I have a new job. As of last week I’ll be moving, within my current company, to a newly created role with new responsibilities.
  2. Health – When I was in the reading, I was having stomach pains. I had been for about 2 weeks following a trip to the UK. I have completed many Whole30’s before – removing food that can trigger inflammation or spikes in blood sugar essentially – and was thinking it was time to start another. Her comments ensured that I followed through and I started my 6th or 7th Whole30 2 days later. I am more open to living a lifestyle of Whole30-esque eating because I know how good I feel. I have also noted ‘thyroid’ on my list to ask my doctor at my next physical.
  3. House – In late October my husband and I started planning some renovations/updates to our house. Tatum’s comments helped frame for me the question of “will this investment be worth it if we ever move?”. Not that we have a plan to move, but thinking of that as a possibility – what work will ensure pay off if the house was sold?
  4. Vacation – No major updates here except that I know our entire family needs one. Time to focus on this planning and prepare for some fun excursions.


#14. UPDATE: November Project

“Are you good?” – November Project Leader

“FUCK YEAH!” – November Project Tribe

4:15am wake up. Workout clothes, head lamp, water bottle, bandana*, gym gear, work clothes and work back all laid out made the AM a grab and go kind of experience. The November Project is crowdsourcing fitness and accountability group with a crazy loyal following and a global presence. Their story can be read in their own words here, and the specific workout I did was the Stadium – climbing the stairs of the iconic Harvard Stadium. Over, and over, and over again.

In order to accomplish this feat of fitness and knowing my need for accountability (especially if I’m waking up at 4:15am), I enlisted a colleague who I knew had done it before. Peter became a willing accomplice from the start, and we quickly set a time and day to meet. Given I was already getting up, I sent out a note to a few more colleagues to see if anyone would bite – and Sherri did. Funny thing about human nature, when you tell someone “I don’t want to do this alone.”, it is likely that they have had that feeling too, and likely that they want to join in. With a major storm pushing out our original intended meeting date (note: the hard core November Project Tribe still showed up storm and all), we landed (Coincidentally? Universe sending a sign?) at the stadium on Wednesday, November 1 – November Project’s 6th Anniversary, and the day they were celebrating Halloween. “We’re celebrating BOTH Halloween + Yearbook Photos (Talk to me about an adventure)!!!  This year’s theme is Multiples.  Be creative. Get weird.  Partner up.  Use your noggin. Then we’ll photograph your noggin.  BUT most importantly #justdressup.”

*Peter, incredibly dialed into social media, has been searching the world for the best coffee. With his famous Instagram hashtag #nbcoffeebandit, he features beautiful latte art and NB’s fantastic footwear in each of his shots. What better (read: easy to execute the day before) costume then, that NB Coffee Bandits.

And so it began. The Tribe lines up along the base of the stadium stairs in Section 36. The Tribe leaders get us fired up – “Are you good?” and a resounding “FUCK YEAH!” from the Tribe. And the workout is called > today’s challenge was the Seven Boroughs of New York. We each had to think at which level of speed we’d be climbing today – Borough 1 = Fastest, Borough 7 – Slowest. Personal choice on what speed you’d be working at, and the then Tribe split up. Each borough was dedicated 5 sections of stadium to climb and descend (the descent is important here – almost as painful as the climb towards the end). Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, across (back to beginning section), down…and so on.

It was dark. I had left the above mentioned headlamp in the car. Who wants to be the over-prepared kid on their first day? I don’t think I needed it until I fell off the bottom step because I didn’t see it. Umpgh. And the darkness made the experience surreal. Stars above, tapping of feet, muffled chatter of Tribe members talking and grunting up and down. Shout out to Matthew who was incredibly friendly and introduced himself. We chatted for a few sections – he loves going to November Project because it works with his schedule, some of his friends usually go, and it is a great (free) workout. Cheers from the other boroughs, which I couldn’t see, reminded me how many people were actually there. Doing this. In the darkness and cold. It was so cool. I mean fitness geeky cool.

We paused briefly when our borough was called for “Yearbook Photos”. Given it was November Project’s 6th Anniversary, Yearbook Photos are taken of individual Tribe members for posterity. And we are now officially in the book. Now we must show up again.

I didn’t count how many sections or steps I did. I completely underestimated how big the steps were. 15 inches tall and 30 inches wide. That is a freaking long stride. My focus attempt was on the seat #s. Follow lucky # 11 up. I snagged this cool shot (while still moving!) as a fellow climber was going up with their headlamp.


How was it? Awesome. Meeting up with colleagues and making memories outside the office. Being held accountable. Going at my own pace. Taking photos and meeting strangers doing the same hard thing. I loved it all.

Will I do it again? Ugh (first thought). FUCK YEAH! (second thought). Committed to showing up at a minimum of each first Wednesday in November. Climbing the stairs is convenient for work, but not my home life, so weekly participation is unlikely. BUT, I will go back.

What was the coolest part? Just as we were walking in, I saw two kids going up the steps. KIDS about the same age as mine. All I could think was, “Well that is fucking bad ass.” Get your kid out of bed, show them this super cool fitness culture, and maybe they get some exercise. Or maybe that isn’t the point. Maybe the point is that if you committed to doing something, you show up. Kids and all.


#7 – Palm Reading or Tarot Card

“Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” – Charles F. Kettering

You may wonder why a quote from a famous engineer and inventor preceeds a post about palm reading and tarot cards. I do too. But having had my palms and tarot cards read in the past, I know an open mind is how you need to approach either of these experiences.

Note that I wrote “open mind”, not “sense of belief”. Unless you are Wican or roaming soul looking for something to believe in, having your palm or cards read can provide you with possibilities – things that you would never expect to happen, different ways to approach problems or see opportunities where they aren’t obvious.

When my husband and I first started dating we went with another couple to have our tarot cards read by a credible reader. She worked in a holistic wellness collaborative owned by a friend’s aunt. The collaborative included massage, yoga, reflexology, and tarot. We did our reading separately. I sat down, and met the reader’s inquiring eyes with as much deadpan as possible. I kept thinking “I’m not going to give her anything!”. As we went for entertainment purposes, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a specific answer to my life’s questions. That made it fun, and not fatalistic. What followed in the reading was a fascinating discussion about her approach to tarot. Our spirit guides can give insight into our lives, or as said by Tarot Pug, “Spirit guides have a purpose to help you stay on track with your soul’s purpose in your current life.” Fascinating, right? This world is hard enough to manage solo, knowing there is a specific spirit guide out there to guide is comforting. At this time in the post I should note that I do not practice any religion formally. Raised agnostic,  I have attended Catholic church services for most of my life for holidays, however was never baptized into any particular religion. Back to my reading. She talked a lot about who my spirit guide was. She was Irish, she lived on the coast of Ireland, and was surrounded by horses.


That was it. I don’t remember any else specific about the reading, just this insight into my spirit guide. I have traveled to Ireland many times, lived there for a short stint in 2002. It has always felt like home. Always. A strange sense that I was supposed to be there. But I could never reconcile this feeling. I’m 1/8 Irish via my father’s mother, and while I have freckles, I’m not overly Irish looking. And yet I’ve never had that feeling of belonging, of home, anywhere else I’ve traveled.

Point of the story is, that without going through that tarot experience, my sense of belonging would continue to remain untethered. And despite spirit guides and all they represent being ethereal and difficult to wrap your head around, it works for me.

Approaching a milestone birthday is a great excuse to get another dose of interesting perspective. I’ve been hesitant to experience palm/tarot since I had my girls. That the cards would foresee something awful happening. Then I saddled up and said “Stop being so ridiculous! It is all about perspective.”

Given the approach of All Hallows’ Eve (which has roots in Celtic history), I am setting myself a deadline of completing this checklist item by 10/31/17. I think the mystery of the season will add to the experience. To see how it all went down, read this post.



#33 – Buy Swim Goggles

“Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.” – Roger Staubach

Seems simple enough. Why even make a list with the item “buy swim goggles” on it?

I know myself. Over the years I have realized that in order to achieve a goal, I also need to detail out and execute the steps in required to perform. I can intentionally sabotage myself by ensuring that I cannot perform the goal – making the goal another thing that just takes up space in my thoughts, gets me frustrated and making me beat up myself about it. No one needs that!

OR, just the opposite. I’ll set my mind to doing something and will rush out to buy all the gear I need to do it. Then never do it. This example is actually most likely, and relevant to a lot of items on this list (see #17).

Over the past winter, I watched my girls diligently suit up (pun intended) for swim lessons. Suit, swim cap and goggles. They entered the pool deck just as the adults were instructed to clear the lap lanes. The adults spanned ages – but two things were certain. They were all fit and they all had goggles. If I wanted to achieve #32 – “Swim Laps (?) at Y – pretend you are a real swimmer.”, I’d have to get some goggles.

I happened to be running errands with my girls the first weekend following my 39th birthday. Outfitting them as my coaches – whistle for my run coach, #SuperE, and stopwatch for my squat coach, #SuperL – and I let them select my new wet-specs. Modell’s was great – I’ve never been in this particular store before. It was clean, easy to find items, and had friendly staff. Now I have no excuses not to begin to work on #32 (with the bonus of becoming a member of Modell’s loyalty program too).

Watch out Michael Phelps.

Swim memes are hilarious – who knew? My favorite when searching for “goggles” in Google images.

Image result for swim goggle funny photo



Getting Things Started

The genesis of “the list”.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Seneca

I am not a writer of lists. Scratch that. I write lists. I am not a FOLLOWER of lists. I write them, but rarely reference them, or retain them. Once I write an item down I remember it, mostly. Stuck in my head, and in all best efforts sometimes to get rid of the things I’m supposed to do, or forgot to buy at the supermarket, I can’t.

With this in mind, and after spending a lot of time on my daily commute listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier”, I got to thinking about how I manage my obligations to myself and others, and how I might want to change that going into my fourth decade next year. The large and powerful “40” over on the horizon, coming towards me ever quicker, has made me panic. No idea why. I’m not afraid of 40 or what it represents (OR AM I?!?), but I have not slept well, questioned all long-held beliefs at some point, caught myself daydreaming and wistfully sharing lifelong dreams with strangers (or really patient coworkers).

Rather than stew for another year. Rather than go into my fourth decade with the same old nagging thoughts/wishes/hopes/dreams/”can I?”s, I excitedly made a list. I’ve seen others write their lists, and end up on the other side of 40 full of stories, incredible memories, and an overall sense of “take-that-40” when the birthday actually hits. I WANT THAT. The list is composed of 40 things I need to accomplish before turning 40 (summer 2018).

What THIS is, is a journal of said list – going through each item, and discovering the journey between. Journaling is one of my “things”. Having a lot of solo time growing up, I mused and mused in a handful of journals. I was such a good listener to my own thoughts. Without that outlet over the years I have continued to be a good listener, but not a good actioner. Hopefully this exercise becomes a blend of both. I also hope to have my brother join in on the fun. I’ve asked him – rather told him – that we were going to do this blog thing together. He’s busy, has a family and career of his own, but as a means of staying closer and communicating on a regular basis I thought it would be fun. For the most part we get along, and for the most part we challenge each other’s opinions.

I plan to journal about each item – its genesis, what will be difficult and what will be easy about taking it on, and as some items are going to take longer to check off the old list, I’ll journal about the journey. I’ll include photos, quotes, feedback from friends and those who have offered to help me achieve my goals. And above all else, I really want to capture what checking items off an actual list feels like. Doing what I say I’m going to do – FOR MYSELF. These items aren’t for my husband, my kids, my family or friends, or my work – although I do hope that this process will help me improve my relationship with all of them.

Beginning: Like journaling in high school, I loved quotes. I have a well-worn old paperback quote book that I referenced in the age before the internet. It was a companion in writing English papers (what good English paper doesn’t start off with a proper quote?), a love letter ghost-writer, and a muse. I’ll dust this off to channel my inner teen as well.

Quoote Book
Quote book I used growing up – a snapshot in time of the “revolutionary new format…”.

Ending: As important as beginning, each post will end with a word that captures the essence of the post, or a reference resource that I’d recommend on the topic.

Fresh Start