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29 February 2012

Filling in the gaps

I've been a superficial blogger in recent weeks. I've been blogging mainly about things that are of little importance and don't really reveal too much about my real life. And there has been a very good reason for that. I've been through some major life transitions this winter, and only now do I feel comfortable and ready to write about them in a public forum.

Most importantly, this past December, The Boy and I parted ways. After being together for the better part of a decade, I made a really hard decision that forced me to be selfish and to consider my own personal future and happiness more than that of someone else. For those who know, I struggle with balancing my own happiness with the happiness of others. That's why one of my New Year's Resolutions was to say "no" more often and take care of me a bit more. While I love The Boy and want nothing but the absolute best for him, I had come to the realization over time that he wasn't what I needed to be happy. Our values and plans for the future were just different enough to make a long(er) term relationship work. Of course, I could have just kept up with the status quo, but I realized that I wasn't happy accepting anything less than my ideal. That may be a Disney fairy tale expectation, but it is what it is. (I am, after all, a girl who always wanted to be a princess!) The Boy moved back to his home state, and I've begun living a solitary life. The transition has been a hard one, and one that I've never navigated before. But we are still friends and keep in touch. Obviously, because of the intensely personal nature of the situation as well as the fact that it involves another party, I chose not to share until now. I told those close to me individually, but I'm not the kind of person to advertise things of this nature on Facebook and Twitter and the blogs.

The break-up was hard. Lots of tears and feeling like total garbage. A ton of second guessing myself and wondering if it would just be easier to stick it out and compromise rather than make a change based on my needs. It took everything in me to not take the easy way out. I'm always telling others that "growth means discomfort," and I can't be a hypocrite and then avoid the discomfort and thus growth. It sucked. A lot. I cried. A lot. But, with the love and support of my friends and family, I made it through. And I'd like to think I'm better for it.

Being newly single, I realize that I haven't actually dated since ... high school. Yep. Seriously. The last person I actively dated was my ex-husband (before he was my husband and then ex-husband, of course!). When The Boy and I got together, we didn't really date much. We just connected and things went from there. So here I am, faced with playing the field at 31. And it's weird. I don't even know how to do this. I'm definitely not looking to get tied down right now, but I don't even know where to meet people. And, given my trust issues, I think I may have even more problems. Great. I've been out a few times with a couple of guys, but it definitely wasn't anything noteworthy. Thankfully, I'm quite happy with my life right now and being alone but surrounded by friends and people I love is pretty fantastic.

Perhaps in the months to come, my dating antics will become a (regular?) feature of this blog. We'll see. But, for now, I'm enjoying my space and my time and my renewed independence. I've been attached to someone else for so long (whether married or in long-term relationships), that I've forgotten (never knew?) what it is like to be solo. I like it so far. Granted, it's relatively new, but the shine certainly hasn't worn off yet.

23 February 2012

Scale-y surprises

I stepped on the "official" scales at work today. I call them "official" because they are real doctor's scales, and they are actually calibrated. Far more accurate than my Target special. Anyway, when I stepped on them this morning, the scale revealed a number that I was THRILLED with. I am officially 25.5 pounds lighter today than I was one year ago. And that, my friends, is awesome.

I know I've been losing weight and getting fit over the last year, but I'd been hovering around that 20lb. mark. My ultimate goal was to get back to my high school weight (which was 30lbs. from my starting weight), so I was quite happy with a 20lb. loss. I could certainly live with that. I've become a lot more active in the past few months, running a few times a week as well as taking a killer kickboxing class once a week. I generally work out between 3-5 times a week, and that, for me, is amazing. I've always HATED working out and only did it out of obligation. Now, I kinda look forward to it (but don't tell anyone!) I've also been much more conscious of what I eat. I eat a large salad with spinach leaves every day for lunch, and I generally have a fruit, veggie, and yogurt smoothie almost every night for dinner.

By no means am I on a strict diet, though. I love food far too much to give it up. I've just finally realized that, if I want to be svelte (haha!) and fit, I need to make a more deliberate effort to burn off what I put in. If I'm not going to work out on a given day, I don't have an evening cocktail or an after-dinner snack. If I am going to work out, I'm less worried about having a treat. I'm not willing to live a life void of good food and good drink, but I am willing to work hard enough to earn (and not pay for) said food and drink.

Anyway, I'm not sure where the last 5.5 pounds went, but I'm not sorry to see them go. I'm sure my new desire to become a runner has certainly helped. Even if I hadn't lost pounds, the change in my body composition is quite satisfying. My calves are thinner and more shapely, my arms are less flabby and are far more defined (although I am certainly not "cut"), and my waist feels thinner. All of this equals clothes that are a little too big on me. This saddens me because I LOVE my wardrobe. I built it slowly over time when I was managing and working at Ann Taylor, and to know that some pieces are no longer flattering is disappointing. Thankfully a friend knows a good tailor so I can get my favorites altered down.

Looking down at the scale and seeing a number that I saw in my early college years is a wonderful thing. It gives me the impetus to keep working and get rid of the last 4.5 so I can see what I looked like in my senior year of high school ... but with shorter hair, more tattoos, a few piercings, and higher heels. :)

21 February 2012

Lenten Promises - 2012

Today is Mardi Gras, which means that the season of penance and introspection begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. I've never been a big go-all-out-and-get-crazy Mardi Gras kind of girl. While I understand and appreciate the purpose of the celebration (to enjoy life as much as possible before a period of sacrifice and abstinence), I've never personally bought into it. I think that having a total all-out-crazy blowout makes the coming sacrifice less significant. Of course, I get the cultural and historical significance, but it's just not me.

That being said, I truly look forward to Ash Wednesday each year. It's weird, but I enjoy attending the solemn mass first thing in the morning and receiving my ashes as a sign of my sin to wear throughout the day. While I try to be a good Catholic on a daily basis, I too often fail miserably. And it's easy to forget those failures and just keep moving on with life. The ashes remind me, for at least one day, that I am flawed and sinful and in need of God's grace and forgiveness. Thankfully, all I need do is ask and it is given. And, while I wear my crucifix on a nearly daily basis, I like that the ashes serve as an outward sign of my faith. I am not perfect in my faith, but it is still my faith and it is a central part of who I am.

Each Lent, we Catholics make sacrifices as a way of preparing our spirits for the coming celebration at Easter. Lent is a period of purification and penance, and people make sacrifices of all kinds to prepare themselves. Not all sacrifices are going without. Some people choose to give more -- volunteer work, donations to charity, other acts of generosity -- instead of giving something up. The important thing is that the sacrifice is individual and personal. It needs to actually mean something.

This year, I'm doing some of my traditional sacrifices as well as a few new ones.

First, I'll be fasting on Wednesdays, starting tomorrow (which is required because of the holy day). Weekly fasting will be a physical reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made for me. Hunger pains cannot begin to compare to the agony of The Passion, but it is my small sacrifice. 

Second, I will be praying the Rosary twice weekly (at least). I always love praying the Rosary. It provides me with a quite time, dedicated to introspection and contemplations, but I never make time to actually do it. Praying the Rosary will help me to deepen and strengthen my faith as I prepare my spirit for the joy of Easter.

Third, I'm implementing TV restrictions. No more than 60 minutes of TV a day. I allow far too much of my time to be sucked away by mindless television. Time which would be better spent working, reading, exercising (or, praying the Rosary, for that matter!). Limiting my exposure to the mind suck for 40 days should be a wonderful opportunity to do something more worthwhile. 

Finally, I'm also making my traditional sacrifices of no chocolate and pop of any kind, not even diet. Chocolate is something I TRULY LOVE and going without it for 40 days is pretty major for me, but I do it every year. Pop is something I enjoy just because it's there. It's something I don't need and shouldn't drink, and, therefore, Lent is the perfect opportunity to "kick it." It does nothing to help my body or spirit, so I shouldn't be drinking it. 

Looking back at this list, it looks a little daunting. But any sacrifice worth making should be challenging and difficult, right? If it wasn't it wouldn't be a sacrifice. 

12 February 2012

Okay, time to get serious ... again

Recently, my diss committee has imposed some strict deadlines on me and my dissertation. I readily admit that it has taken a back burner for quite some time, but these new deadlines are forcing me to refocus. Which, in all honesty, is what I need. I've never been good at self-directed study. I lack the discipline. So, I have my first chapter due at the end of this month, the second chapter and revisions of the first due 45 days later, the third chapter and revisions of 1 and 2 45 after that ... and so on and so on. So now I need to get back in gear.

Starting tomorrow (because Mondays are ALWAYS the best day to start things), I'm going back to my strict evening schedule. It all boils down to eliminating the distractions at home and setting mini-goals for myself.

First, I exercise immediately after work. Whether it is a run with The Beast or going to classes at the gym, it happens immediately after work. If I run, I'm usually done by 5:30. If I go to the gym, I'm usually home by 6pm. Of course, I need to shower and eat afterwards. So, depending on the day, my at-home work-period should begin between 6 and 6:30pm.

Second, the TV is OFF until 9pm (except for a 30-minute window during dinner). Thankfully, I now have DVR so I have already set all of my favorite shows for recording. That time restriction should give me 2+ hours of work time at home before relaxing. Most of this time should be focused on dissertating, but some of it will definitely require grading and planning and such. Two hours a night should be sufficient.

Third, no more than two social events during the school week. Last week I had functions and get-togethers every night of the week, and, while I loved hanging out with people, I got nothing done. I can't do that anymore if I'm ever going to finish this thing. I've already got plans for Monday night and some tentative plans for Wednesday night, so that's it for this week. The rest of my evenings will be working evenings.

Fourth, going out on weekends is going to be limited to just one night (I think. This one is going to be harder to stick to, but I'm going to give it a good shot.) I generally tend to stay out too late when I go out on weekends which means my day doesn't start until later in the day the next day. My going out night will most likely be Saturdays, so Fridays should be a work night and Saturday morning should be a exercise and work day. Hopefully.

Fifth, I'm not going to be drinking during the week (with the obvious occasional exceptions). Most importantly, my waistline doesn't need it. Secondarily, it's just unnecessary. I feel like garbage the next morning (even after one drink ... what is wrong with me?!), and it makes me sleepy so I don't get as much done in the evening.

So, that's my plan for the next few months. The committee wants a solid draft by the end of the summer, and I've got a lot of work to do. I've got 30 rough pages of one chapter, but that's about it. Which is horrible. So time to get me ass a tappin' and make something happen!

10 February 2012

Extended absence catch-up

I've been a bad blogger ... nice again. Life has been insanely busy for the past week and a half, and I've not had time or the attention to post. I've even been bad about posting my daily pics (but I've thankfully caught up on them!). I'm certainly not complaining about the pace of life these days, just acknowledging the chaos.

My days have been filled with teaching and my afternoons/evenings have been filled with meetings, fitness, and friends. Rather than give a daily blow-by-blow, I'll summarize.

Running has been going well. I'm eating normally again and have regained my lost endurance. It's been hard to get back into my regular workout routine, especially with so many after school meetings in the past few weeks. I'm definitely not at my goal yet, but I'm getting there. And I'm still enjoying it which is the hardest part of the battle. Bailey especially loves our runs. And I especially love how tired she is afterwards.

I've had a wonderfully busy social calendar these past few days, and I've really enjoyed it. I've had some wonderful times with great friends, and it makes me realize how much I love my life here. Happily, there are more good times on the horizon (like tonight's dinner with Scot and Sheila and tomorrow night with db).

I didn't watch a single second of the Super Bowl, and I'm happy with that move. I had no vested interest in either team, and getting a good nights sleep was far more important to me.

That's the recent me in a nutshell. Hopefully I'll be a better blogger in the days/weeks/months to come.


I love this pie. 

02 February 2012


 I love to see my kids completely engrossed in their own book worlds while sharing such small spaces.
Reading is both individual and communal.
And I love it. 

01 February 2012


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