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30 April 2008

Taking a break from packing

As the boxes pile up around me (I've packed 10 in the last few hours! Go me!), I realize that I'm pretty stoked about my new place. And stressed! I move in 23 days!!! I have all of ten boxes packed and MANY more to go. I've lived here for two full years. I'm rather settled. I have a ton of shit! I can't even begin to comprehend how much crap will accumulate after 5 or 10 or 20 years of living in one place. How do people do it?

Anyway, the new place should prove to be friggin' awesome. It is a two-story duplex 0.9 miles from campus along Spring Garden. There are two bedrooms and a bath upstairs and a "bedroom" downstairs. Of course, this "bedroom" is just a really large room with a closet. It has no actual door to close. Just an opening. Since it is directly off the kitchen, it will serve as the dining room. The "dining room" is a very small space so I will use that for my baker's rack and my church pew. I'll be using the back bedroom upstairs as my bedroom (I think) and the front bedroom as an office. Although the front bedroom has a ceiling fan and that would be nice to have in the bedroom. But the front of the house faces the street and that could be noisy at night. We'll have to figure things out. There are tons of closets and storage areas throughout the place, so I'm pretty stoked about that. The best thing about it is that I can keep The Beast wrangled downstairs all day while I am gone because the rooms upstairs all have doors! No more "dog-proofing" the entire apartment. I am totally cashing in my parking deck pass and plan to walk to campus as much as possible. You know, doing my thing to help both the environment, my wallet, and my waistline! One of the best things about the whole deal is that the new place is about 50 sq. ft. bigger than my current place and is $200 cheaper a month. No joke. God has seriously smiled down on me.

The best thing is that when people come to visit (Kiki, Bo, the brothers, the 'rents), they can have their own room to crash in without worrying about The Beast bothering them. That, my friends, is fantastic!

Well, back to boxing shit up.

(P.S. My dad has his doctor's appointment tomorrow with the specialist. It would be great if you would all say a prayer for him tonight. Thanks!)

A five pound chunk of flesh?

I think not!

I've lost FIVE POUNDS this week, ladies and gentlemen! I am now well on my way to my Birthday 20!!

What a good way to start a Wednesday morning! Now, if I can only convince this new apartment management to accept dogs, I'll be on cloud nine.

29 April 2008

And then it really pours ...

So, not only is my car jacked up (but thankfully now fixed!), now my toe is as well. As I was walking into the car rental place today, I totally kicked my own ass and peeled about a quarter-size chunk of skin off the tip of big toe. It bled like crazy, filling my shoe with nasty blood. Of course I took pictures to share with you!

Nice, huh? I've got mad walking skills!

Rental car ...

is on it's way.


This blows.

28 April 2008


I'm still waiting.

Looks like it'll be tomorrow.

Damn it.

When it rains, it pours

Picture this ...

I'm driving down Spring Garden in a down pour. I'm on my way home from school to eat lunch and get ready for Job #2. Suddenly, the car starts to shimmy and I lose all power. I think that I'm hydroplaning. I slow down to figure it out, and, when I start speeding up again, there is still no power and my RPMs are VERY high. I have the haunting feeling that a breakdown is just around the corner so I try to find a place to pull over. Of course, there is no place handy because it is Spring Garden at lunch time. I end up stalled out in the turning lane with the flashers on, waiting for AAA.

When AAA shows up, this really nice old tow-truck guy (not the sketchy skeevy kind that normal show up) loads the car and offers to pull into a gas station so he can check if the serpentine belt (?) was shot. He then suggests that we fill the gas tank in case the gauge was off (I knew I needed to get gas but I was still above the orange line and the lit had yet to come on) and I was simply out of gas. Of course, neither of those two were the problem. Then he suggests that I take the car to a local mechanic rather than the dealer. Never having had major repairs done before, I automatically told AAA to tow me to the dealer for the repair. But I followed this guy's suggestion because he seemed like a really nice old dude. So, right now, my car is across the street at the mechanic's and I am waiting to hear the verdict.

Whatever the verdict is, I am praying that it doesn't cost a bazillion dollars.

24 April 2008

I hurt ... a lot

I just got my ass kicked. It sucked. A lot. That hot yoga is going to be the death of me.

But I kind of like it. Does that make me crazy? (The yoga man even complimented me by name on my "excellent form" on one of the positions. Go me!)

I was really good about the diet today. I worked out (my arms and shoulders) and rode the bike for 20 minutes. Then I took B out for a nice long walk at Battleground. I just got home from hot yoga after spending 90 minutes sweating my ass off. That's pretty good for me. Yeah!

My food intake's been real good too. Although the chocolate chip muffin on the counter is SCREAMING my name. Maybe I'll have some tea and blackberries instead. This totally blows. Ugh. Just keep thinking about my birthday and my thinner waistline!

Here's the plan

My Weight Loss Strategy

-Exercise EVERY DAY!! This can be a full-fledged workout or simply taking Bailey for a nice walk. In theory, I plan to work out with weights and intense cardio on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday (?) at the gym and do the hot yoga thing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. On Saturdays I plan to go for long walks with B and The Boy at the park. Plus, now that the weather is getting better, I plan to get some serious hiking in!
-Weigh myself on Wednesday mornings at 6am and keep track of that weight carefully.
-I will get a good night’s sleep EVERY NIGHT. That means in bed by 10:30pm and up around 5:30am. That should suffice.

-Eat regular meals every day. That means breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY DAY. No skipping meals or eating popcorn for dinner.
-Keep snacking to a minimum. And, when I do need a snack, make it healthy. Fresh fruit and veggies, homemade popcorn (with LIMITED salt and butter), nuts … No more than three little snack per day (mid-morning and mid-afternoon and MAYBE after dinner if I’m really good!)
-Limit eating out for lunches/dinners to once or twice a week.
-PORTION CONTROL!!!! Eat meals on my smaller plates so I can trick my mind (and stomach) into thinking that I am eating more than I really am. This really works, but I’ve gotten out of the habit.
-Cut down dramatically on candy and chocolate (*tear*).

-Drink lots of water!! Even if I have to spruce it up with cucumbers or strawberries or lime …
-When I am craving soda (which is being cut out as well), I will have a cup of hot tea. I will not buy soda or other caffeinated/carbonated beverages at the grocery store.
-Limit my alcohol consumption to weekends only and even then 2 drink maximum. (*tear*)

Most importantly ...
-I will not beat myself up when I screw up, but I will get right back on the wagon and keep going!

23 April 2008

Let the games begin

So my birthday gift to myself is to lose twenty pounds. My birthday is roughly three months away and I set 18 pounds as my goal. Of course, I am shooting for 20 but will be pleased with 18. If I make my goal, Happy birthday to me!!! If I do not make my goal, I will be cutting four $50 checks. One to Kia, one to Melissa, one to Kirsten, and one to the John McCain campaign fund. (Brandy refused to accept my money so I figure donating her share to the McCain campaign--ugh--will be a good incentive to lose weight and lose it quickly!!)

I'm looking forward to this. I really feel ready to lose some weight and get healthy again. I hit the gym this morning in a new sports bra (as well gym clothes on top!) and a fully charged iPod and felt really good afterwards. I'm actually looking forward to giving hot yoga another try tomorrow.

Now if only I can curb all of my munchies and food problems. That's the hardest part!!

22 April 2008

The Queen of the West Bank is a Masochist, Or, Who Wants to Make $50?!?!

I went to hot bikram yoga with Brandy today at 6am, and it kicked my ass. It was a bazillion degrees in there, and I was operating on roughly 4 1/2 hours of sleep. Today's lesson: Sleep well and drink LOTS of water before participating in sauna yoga! Seriously, I almost passed out once. But I pushed through and feel really good about it. I feel ready to take on the day (except for the shaky muscles thing. But that should fade soon.)

My 6am yoga adventure and my vacation at the beach has finally kicked my ass into gear. I am going to get back into being healthy! Working out EVERY DAY, eating better, being less lazy. Last fall, I looked fantastic. I was slimmer and my clothes were fitting better, and I was super happy with myself. Now, not so much. I'm not unhappy with myself, but I know that I could be better. I sit around too much and eat too much crap. My mom and I had a long conversation about this, and, since she is deciding to do better, so will I!

So here is what I need from you. Here is where you get to earn $50! How? you ask. It's never been so simple. You just hold me accountable. If I don't lose the weight I want in the time Is et, you get $50. If I do lose the weight, I get to be thinner and keep my cash. And, as we all know, grad school makes us poor and every penny counts, right?!

The first four people to respond in the affirmative wanting to participate will be the ones I contract with. All you have to do is respond through comments or emails to tell me that you are on board. Once everyone is game (and I have a new scale because it broke today! WTF?!? -- but not because I stepped on it!! It just doesn't work. I don't need to lose THAT much weight! :P), the contract will begin!

Looking forward to hearing from you all!!!

Yeah for being healthy again!!!

21 April 2008

How does this whole thing work?

I got home from vacation today and was happy. Relaxed and anxiety free. As soon as I walked into the door of my apartment, all that release of anxiety came rushing back at me and hit me like a ton of bricks. I was enjoying feeling free and stress-less so much, and I wish it could have continued forever. But, alas, no such luck.

As you all know, I am super stressed about employment and housing at the moment. (Of course, there are many other sources of stress right now, but those two are the front runners.) I found out today that I was passed over for the job I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really wanted an interview for. Of course, I keep looking, but I'm not sure how many more blows to my self-esteem I can handle.

The Boy tells me to "let go and let God." But, how does one do that? Doesn't "God help those who help themselves?" Aren't those two theories of life management contradictory? How do I let go of everything and let God take care of things while I help myself? I don't think this is possible. I talk to The Boy (because he doesn't like how I worry and "stress myself out"about things) and tell him that, while I have faith that God will take care of things, I need to do my best to take care of things myself. If I just sit around on my ass, I'm pretty sure that God will see me as lazy and, well, we all know the seven deadly sins. So I search for jobs and apartments and come up with my tiered system of best- and worst-case scenarios. Of course, when some of my best-case scenarios fall through, I get a wee bit depressed and low. That's only human, right? I'm not giving up and throwing the towel in (no matter how much I want to).

So, my question is, how do I find a happy medium between "letting go and letting God" and "God helps those who help themselves?" Can a happy medium be found? How does one not worry about the future and try to find solutions to their current dilemmas? I have faith that God will provide, but is it wrong to try and make those provisions a little easier for Him by trying to work them out myself? I'm not saying that I can do it without Him or better than Him or anything like that, and I pray for His intervention and guidance and support multiple times per day. I have faith that what He has planned will come to fruition, but that doesn't mean that I give up trying, right? Or am I crazy?

A little help here, please?

Florida is more fun than the 'boro

Day one in Florida. I woke up at 7ish (Damn! I really wanted to sleep in, but the beautiful weather was calling!)The sky was beautiful and the ocean was calm. I walked on the beach for a bit and enjoyed the warm weather.
On Friday, we all went to the Ringling Museum. Yes, Ringling as in "Circus Man." We toured his winter estate and saw the circus museum and his bog ole' house. These are banyan trees given to Ringling back in the 1920s from Mr. Thomas Edison himself. (The Edison winter estate is down in Fort Myers and has one of the biggest banyan trees in existence.)
I could live in a house like this. The piazza looks over Sarasota Bay. Amazing view. The house was not as impressive as Biltmore, but that is a very high standard to meet. Although the Vanderbilts regularly visited Ringling and his wife at their estate. (I'm not really sure who the people sitting on the right are. They were in my way. Stupid people.)
Someday I will have a bar like this.
Mom and Dad making out in front of the estate. Gross. :P

The waves were pretty rough on Sunday. Not too rough to enjoy but far more rough that the previous three days. Beautiful, though.
Me and my favorite travel buddy. We had such a blast!!
Mom and Pops.
Pops and my cousin Jennifer (who lives just off the island.)
Our last sunset. *tear*

My special find. It is a charm for my slider chain. It's part of a shell and is trimmed in silver. I cannot wait to wear it!!!
Dresses were on sale in Florida!!! And there were a million. And you all know how much I like to wear dresses every day! I bought two and Mom and Dad bought me one. This one has little palm trees all over it. So cute.
This makes my fourth (or fifth?) pink dress.
This is my (and Laura's) favorite. Pretty red poppies. Gotta love it! And, when I return home, Kia had sent me a present in the mail!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!

So, vacation is over and real life returns. Ugh. It was so wonderful to spend four completely stress-free days on the beach. I didn't think about work (or the lack thereof), money (or the lack thereof), health insurance (or the lack thereof), or housing (or the lack thereof). It was fabulous. Of course, upon my return, it all came rushing back. I'll try not to think about it. I am working really hard to adopt the Scarlett O'Hara view of life.

"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

15 April 2008

Turns out, I suck

A few weeks ago, I submitted some sample responses to Dr. 20th Century (Sorry. I am too jaded to think up a clever name for him) after he requested that I write "a few (relatively informal) pages on each and see what you can come up with?" So I did. I wrote about 2-3 pages on each question and submitted them for his review. I sent them to him about a month ago and he responded today. Basically, he ripped me to shreds. He told me that "they do not demonstrate a level of intellectual analysis, synthesis, or critical rigor appropriate to a doctoral examination." My responses were too brief, too general, not analytical enough, and, well, not PhD level obviously. I didn't discuss poetry as an "art" and didn't focus on Eliot enough. Way to go me! My bad. I thought he wanted informal responses and told me in the meeting that he wanted me to jot down general ideas and thoughts. I'm sorry but when someone uses the term "jot down," I automatically assume that extensive revision isn't required. Clearly, I was wrong. According to him, "Anytime you turn something into a committee member—especially doctoral work—it should be at least minimally polished and well-revised." Well, then don't tell me to "jot" some ideas down.

All that said, I now feel like I don't even belong here. Just when I was going full steam ahead, the wind is completely taken out of my sails. I am seriously questioning my intelligence and desire to finish this whole thing. I feel like a friggin' idiot. And now one of my committee members thinks that I'm an idiot as well. Great.

10 April 2008

Blue skies smilin' at me!

Nothin' but blue skies from now on!

The weather is friggin' GORGEOUS, people. Ridiculously so. It is because of days like these that I moved here! Well, that and my PhD. But whatever.

I skipped the gym this morning because I knew that I would be hitting the park with B this afternoon. I got home from the office, scarfed down some lunch, and headed off to Battleground to walk a lap with The Beast. It was fantastic. The sky was blue, the sun was warm, a slight breeze was blowing, and it was almost 80 degrees out. How could a girl be unhappy?

I also heard from two old friends today!! My friend from my masters program, Sarah, responded to my email and one of my old best friends from high school did as well! It was pretty cool. Sarah is married to Hottie Neil (which I knew before I left ... they were engaged), and Gloria is married and now has two kids! SO bizarre! I'm hoping to catch up with Sarah when I get home this summer. Damn, I miss her. She is awesome with a capital A. It totally made my day to hear from them. Never mind being poor and potentially homeless in a month, I have friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hehehe ... can you tell I'm in a good mood? This weather calls for beer. I'm off to go get one ...

08 April 2008


How is it that a full-time graduate student who made a whopping $25,000 last year owes $400 in taxes and gets ZERO for a return? Please explain that one to me.

According to the Economic Stimulus Calculator on the IRS page, I'm getting $300 back from the government. That means, after all is said and done, I'll only owe them $13!I thought the whole point was to put money into MY pocket, not THEIRS. Some Economic Stimulus.

It would be nice to get a break ... just once.

06 April 2008

A good insight into the future ...

Thought this was funny in a "oh-my-gosh-that-is-so-true-and-so-sad" way.

"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week." Evan Esar

A good way to start the week, right?

02 April 2008

My new baby

I'm going to pick up the new baby tomorrow. I am ever so excited.

Here is a link to the picture of her. She is the white one in the first pic. So excited!!


Jesus is my homeboy

Inspired by a recent email conversation with Kiki, I thought I would share.

Personal tragedy was what severed my relationship with God in the past. I was young and conflicted and couldn't understand how a loving God would allow such horrible things to happen to humankind and individuals. These thoughts led to a belief that whatever greater power there is was indifferent about our existence here on earth. Obviously, my viewpoints have altered significantly in the past year. Bad things still happen to good people, but my outlook is dramatically different. Instead of dwelling on my own personal struggles and the tribulations of those I love, I think about the sacrifices and trials that God has made for us. Our own personal struggles really pale in comparison to God's sending of His own Son to earth to be crucified so that all humanity could have a second chance. I now look at suffering of all kinds as not so much a punishment by God or the lack of His concern but more of a test for us to ensure that we are worthy of His gifts. I mean, if Christ suffered and died for me, the least that I can do is endure a bit of suffering on my own. I don't feel abandoned or alone like I did before. I feel like Christ can "relate" to me and vice versa (even if my "relating" to Him is in a far less significant way!). It brings me comfort to know that He has gone before and is waiting for me to endure my own little piece of human suffering to "earn" a seat beside Him in heaven.

Yesterday after I got the news about my dad, I went to church and lit a candle. I prayed before the pieta, and it really humbled me and brought me to a place of calm. It is so hard to be distraught about your own life when you see a statue of Mary holding her Son as He is taken off the cross. The suffering that the Blessed Virgin endured (as well as that of her Son) is far greater than anything that I will ever have to endure (hopefully), and it provides some perspective. I also know that while I feel helpless and alone and sad and worried, Christ is doing the same for me that His mother did for him: carrying me through the worst of it. With a backup crew like that, how can I honestly be afraid? Really. It makes me feel so much more comforted and confident about the future ... whatever it brings. Good or bad, I am confident that God's will will be done and that His grand design is more than I could ever understand. So, by stopping my search for things to be understood, I cease to feel unsatisfied and confused. It brings me solace and tranquility. Isn't that what it is all about?


The news is less than good.

Please keep him in your prayers.


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