November 29, 2010

it's the little things...

My loveliest of college friends, Girlymama, has a blog that I read daily and let me tell you she is the most amazing, put together woman I have ever met. She's a mom to three adorable and hilarious children, a wife, an entrepreneur, a fashionista, and TALENTED with her creative crafts and child rearing ideas. I file a lot of those ideas away for when I have kids, or pass along the tidbits to my friends who already do! Today she challenged her readers to think of ten unimportant things that make you happy, so here goes!

10. Christmas lights! It started when I was little and my Grandma would take me driving along Lakeshore Drive where all the big fancy houses line the lake. They all had their lights professionally done and are always spectacular. I continued the tradition after my grandma passed away and will often take the long way home from work just to drive through various subdivisions and look at the lights.



9. A good book! I have been a bookworm since the third grade when we had a reading contest (perhaps that's where my competitive nature started). We hung construction paper kites from the ceiling and got a bow on the tail for every book we read. Mine had to be moved to the back of the room because the tail was too long. Books have the ability to captivate me and take me somewhere else - I can so easily tune out the noise around me, it's the perfect getaway.

8. A puppy cuddle! My dog Penny and I have a routine. Each night we climb into bed (I recently had to get a bigger bed because she's such a bed hog, by the way) and we cuddle up to watch TV or read a book. She snuggles right in and puts her head on my lap and paw on my knee.



7. School (and homework)! I know it's odd. And I do get burned out, it's not that I never hate to do homework, it's just that I need it after a while...kind of like chocolate. I knew it was time to go to grad school when I was watching TV one night and a commercial came on. My first thought was not "ooh, look at that Arby's roast beef sandwich" as the advertising mogule was surely aiming for, but "I wish I had some homework to do right now." That's when I knew. A similar thing happened when I started working on my Ph.D. though that was also accompanied by, "I might as well get this out of the way since I'm bitterly single." Not so bitter anymore, by the way :)

6. Buying presents and doing thoughtful things for others! I love to let people know they are loved, and thought of, and cared about. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not some saint who never thinks of herself, I enjoy showing myself the same love and care in the form of purses and lipgloss, but nothing beats surprising my Mom with a dressed up afternoon at the theater, or a massage for my best friend when I know she's been having a rough time.

5. Personalized license plates! It started when my cousin Philip and I worked together and carpooled. We always have the most hilarious time and have too many inside jokes to even remember what most of them are about, but are still funny. We can convulse in laughter at the drop of a hat. When we used to work together, we would always see the same cars driving to works and some had vanity plates. It became a game to make up different meanings. We have a longstanding argument over whether LMNCHKN is Lemon Chicken or Little Munchkin. We no longer work together but text each other the vanity plates we see all the time.



4. Organizing, cleaning, and To Do lists! I have to admit, I'm a little addicted to organization and efficiency, multi-tasking and crossing things off my list. You know my life has gotten a little hectic when something is messy. I leave my desk at work every night completely organized and clear of clutter. I can't wait to clean out my linen closet over the winter break and use my label maker. And if I can get more than one thing done at once? Oh. My. Stars. For example, tonight when I drive home from work not only will I be battling traffic, but I will also be playing catchup on the phone with my best friend. Leftovers for dinner, cleaning the bedroom, laundry, and making my packing list for my trip to California in two weeks. And making my To Do list for the rest of the week :) Love it the feeling of accomplishment and productivity from all of that.

3. Warm weather! Even if I have to appreciate it as a reward for enduring what seems like an unending winter. The past couple years I have cheated and escaped to California and Arizona for a week's vacation during the cold winter months in Michigan. And I appreciate the seasons, really, I do....I just wish the worst ones were shorter and spring and summer were longer :)



2. TV on the internet! TV is my escape, allows me a little mindless vacation during my lunch hour at work, or to catch up on my shows when I miss them because of all that mult-tasking!

1. Quality time! It's my biggest love language, I'm an extrovert so it's how I relax, and what could be better than spending time with your favorite people?!

What's in your top ten?

November 8, 2010

don't stand so close

It makes sense, but still seems cruel, that a person nearest to your heart can so easily tear it to shreds. The person that can make you the happiest can also hurt you the most. And so it is when you fall in and out of love with all the conflicting statements and desires to hear what you want to hear, instead of the intent. It baffles me how one individual can be so conflicted. It seems pretty simple to me, you love someone, you want to be with someone, you realize who that someone is, and then you are. How do you know what you want, but aren't ready to have it? So, to the man who repeatedly breaks my heart, intentionally or not, grow up. I never was waiting for you, but it would have been nice if you picked up the pace a little bit because I'm not going to be around forever.

August 2, 2010

it's been too long

Has it really been since March since I've written? That stinks and it's a testament to how I feel; it's been too long since I've relaxed, since I've not filled up my hours with to do lists and little else. Homework, workout, work...they all say work, nothing says fun. I stick in fun things, but I'm in a rut. I'm struggling with God right now, we're having an argument where I throw a tantrum and He smiles knowingly and says, "In due time, my child, in due time." and I cry because waiting hurts. My task is to journal more, and maybe this is my journaling space - it feeds my creative need and my anonimity (there are currently few people that read this, but I think only a couple of you I actually know). Let the tales begin tomorrow, because it's back to work now!

March 30, 2010

Ta da!

Ok, I warned you March was a doozie! But I've survived and am looking at the tail end of March with a little less sleep under my belt, but huge accomplishments!

On the school front, I am done two weeks early with an evaluation of a campus department, so I'm turning that in tonight and only have the presentation to give next week. For my statistics class, I have to analyze the data I collected and write the paper, which isn't too bad, and turn THAT in next week and give a presentation. I realized last week that it has been a while since I cried in statistics, and if you've read me for a bit, you would know that at first, that is how I measured my success: the worse time I was having, the more times I cried. Then, this weekend, I was reading a ridiculously heavy article and completely understood the analyses and results. Unheard of! I am happy with the semester, happy that it's over, and happy I never have to take a full load of classes again.

On the work front, I went to Chicago as planned and had a great conference! This is the view from my hotel:



It was fantastic to catch up with old friends and colleagues and to pay attention to my professional development again! I had let it stray when I started school, but it was so refreshing and fun!

And finally, on the personal front, nothing much has changed. Still single. Still hate it. Still trying to figure out how to stop missing that guy so much - sometimes I wish I could just tell him, but then I think he's made himself clear and proximity is an issue and that isn't changing right now so what's the point? But spring is around the corner and I cannot WAIT for flip flops and shorts and tank tops - and to show off those tattoos my mom hates so much :)

March 2, 2010

week two, but really week one repeated

that's not at all confusing, is it? week two but really week one, just twice in a row? last week I posted about the Couch to 5K training running plan and at the time, I did not know if I was going to do it the straight out 9 weeks, or if I was going to repeat weeks and extend it to 18 weeks. At least for the time being, I'm going to repeat the weeks.

The first day of week one, I did only 13 minutes and did not keep track of the distance I travelled. The second day, I did the whole 20 minutes and did about .7 miles. Day three was still the full 20 minutes, but I went .89 miles, meaning I was walking and running faster than I had on day two. So, yesterday I started with day one of the week one plan for the second week (ha!) and did the full 20 minutes and went a distance of .92! I'm pleased with the distance increases, I hope to become more consistent with my speed. I noticed yesterday I was running at a speed of 4.0mph and immediately turned it down to 3.5mph because I knew I could not possibly keep up that speed, though I also wonder if it was psychological and it just freaked me out that I was going faster than I thought.

I do need to figure out if my endurance is changing, so maybe that will be more noticeable if I can become more consistent with my speeds?

peas for protein

Do you know how much protein is in peas? I don't remember exactly but I looked at the package the other day and was astounded. I immediately ate a bunch and heated them up in the pan after I cooked the chicken which had a million and one spices on it and I discovered that peas with a million and one spices on them are delicious! I wouldn't call myself an experimenter with food, if I'm cooking something outside of the basics, I will usually use a recipe, I'm just not that creative. So, in that vein, I've always been a butter and salt kind of girl on cooked vegetables, if I put anything on them, usually I just eat them plain. Once I was adventurous and put lemon juice on them. But when those peas came out with a million and one spices, oh my goodness, I made them last night on purpose! Here's what I did:

one of those frozen $1 packages of peas from Kroger
a tiny tiny bit of olive oil (do you enjoy my exactness?)
once the peas have started to thaw a bit, add to taste:
garlic
ginger
cajun jerk seasoning
curry
black pepper

when it starts to get a little dry, add up to a half cup of water slowly until the peas are cooked and the spices are well mixed throughout. Divide up into four containers and you have a lovely snack or side!

February 26, 2010

march madness

I was trying to make an appointment with my pastor today and suggested this upcoming Thursday. He emailed back to ask if it could be the following week and as I was flipping through my planner to see what would work, I realized my March schedule is insane and I ended up in April looking for an open date for a meeting.

Here's a brief synopsis:

Week 1-
Lunch meeting about an internship next year
Class two nights
Dr. appointment
meeting for my mentorship class this summer
(3.5 off work, otherwise a full week)
leave for Chicago which carries into....

Week 2 -
attend a conference in Chicago (read working exhaustion mixed with fun)
Skype into Tuesdays class while in Chicago
fly home and immediately drive from airport to Wednesdays class in which a paper is due
work late at an Admissions event
hibernate and refuse to do anything that weekend to recoup
(3 days off work but not really because I'll be working at the conference)

Week 3 -
register for NEXT YEAR'S classes 6 months early
two nights of class
therapy
sorority meeting
(1 hour off work to get to an off site class in time)

Week 4 -
two nights of class
therapy
sorority sister's baby shower

Week 5 - because March is trying to kill me
two nights of class

So the month gets progressively better, I guess, for goodness sake! The first two weeks really suck, and week three...well, let's just say the last sorority meeting was 9 hours. Gracious!

I should probably pack for Chicago this weekend, and write that paper that's due when I get back. I'm excited about the conference! A lot of my college friends live in Chicago and some folks from grad school, so hopefully I'll get to see some folks! And I get there the day before the conference since it starts early in the morning so I'm hoping to do some fun Chicago stuff! Any suggestions?!

February 25, 2010

at it again

Y'all, I have been in the worst mood lately, but I am feeling so much better, thank God for endorphins! And dolphins with dorsal fins...speaking of which did you see the thing on the news today about the killer whale at Sea World that KILLED its trainer! And how no one is sure why it was allowed to perform because its KILLED BEFORE!!!! I hate that there were children and families who witnessed it!

But that is not why I have endorphins or am in a better mood. If you remember, last year, I started running. Well, I broke my foot (not from running) and then got sick for over a month with a nasty cold that wouldn't quit, then bruised my rib from all the coughing (which is PAINful by the way) and so needless to say, I was down and out with the running for a while. My friend, Martha, who I originally started the running with and who is still doing it, encouraged me the other day to get back into it with the Couch to 5K training plan.

You've heard me talk about this before, it was how I started running way back when. But y'all. The first time I did it this week, I thought I might die. Oh. My. Goodness. Around minute 13 I could no longer find my breathing rhythm and felt like I was going to pass out from all the lightheadedness. So, I quit, because I was home along and didn't want Penny to have to witness my face being burned off because it landed on the treadmill when I fell out. So I talked to the Best Friend, because she runs, ya know (what, does EVERYONE do this?) and she gave me some tips:

1. Eat something about an hour before you go exercise. Something like a banana, something about simple carbs, that part I don't really get. Her trainer eats a sweet potato with brown sugar? Seems counterproductive, but he's a trainer (in amazing shape, really) and he should know.

2. The breathing thing will adjust itself because your lungs need to be conditioned too, just like your muscles.

3. Load up on protein afterwards.

So, even though you're not supposed to do the program two days in a row, I did it again last night because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do it until Friday and that was unacceptable, I may have lost my motivation by then. First, I ate the banana. Then an hour and a half later I went down to the treadmill and did the five minute warm up. I thought I might die from the lactic acid BURNING, which is, I guess, why they tell you not to do that two days in a row. So, I got frustrated and got off the treadmill and changed my laundry. I decided I wasn't going to quit because then I would never EVER be a runner, so I got back on the treadmill and did the rest of the 20 minutes. Did you read that? After the first time of only being able to do 13, I did the WHOLE 20 MINUTES!!! Here's what I think:

1. the banana helped.
2. my determination helped.
3. I slowed my walking in the first part so I could catch my breath, but found that the slower I walked toward the end, the worse it was, so I walked faster so I could keep up with my breathing
4. I noticed that I was raising my shoulders while I was running and it was making the breathing more difficult, so I consciously put them down and it made all the difference.
5. I should not have waited an hour and a half, I should have gone after an hour because by the time I was done, I was STARVING and a little lightheaded.
6. Afterwards, my bad mood was totally gone!

Now, I will wait a day before I do it again so that I don't ruin myself somehow, but I'll probably do the Wii Fit tonight after work so I don't get out of my momentum.

February 23, 2010

opportunities taken

I had lunch with a friend after church on Sunday and boy have I missed her! Life has gotten far too busy this semester, trying to keep up with deadlines and such, fearful I will fall behind in homework, and admittedly, trying to keep myself busy so I won't wallow.

So anyway, we were talking about an opportunity she has to move out of state for a year and how everyone is encouraging her to do it because she has nothing she can't put off for a year, no one making her stay in Michigan, and nothing but new experiences waiting for her. It got me thinking about taking opportunities or missing opportunities, and I realized, the only thing you can really count are the opportunities taken.

I am finishing my second year of classes for my doctoral program and while I knew for a while that I wanted to persue that degree, when I first applied, it was at another school than the one I am attending, while I was working at another school than where I do now, and at that time, I thought not being able to enter that program, or not even finishing that application process was a missed opportunity. In hindsight, it was not, it was simply an opportunity that wasn't right for me at the time. So, when I came to work at my current institution, I felt like it was time to start my Ph.D. partly because I had nothing else going on at the time and no one else to prioritize. So, I took the opportunity. I started the program and could not have been happier! I love school - the classes, the homework, the challenge - adore it. Shortly before starting my second year, I met someone and we became involved to a certain extent. He lives in another state and there was talk about moving there, which I was totally willing to do if things became very serious and very permanent, but I didn't think I needed to move to date someone and I had obligations here. We are no longer involved, partly because of the distance (I never realized how important proximity is to men), and I wonder now if that was an opportunity missed. I've decided it's not a missed opportunity, it was another opportunity that wasn't right for me at the time. That is not to say I don't regret it, and I wish I lived there...it's one of my favorite places in the whole world. And maybe if I did live there things would be different with the relationship aspect, but probably not. And I chose my opportunity, school, for good solid reasons, and it's not a permanant thing, so perhaps one day I will end up moving and taking that opportunity.

I hate living in regret, and I'm glad I don't. I'm pretty happy with my life, and am secure in the fact that the things I don't like will change. But take advantages of the opportunities, if they are good ones, that come across your path. You never know the experiences God has for you in some other place than you are now.

February 18, 2010

says my therapist

After a sort of muddled start this summer, I have been in therapy for a few months on a regular basis. I was referred by my best friend (she is also a therapist) and have been seeing the most wonderful and challenging therapist since....mmm, maybe October. And I'm a little excited that it's been so regular because the only regularly scheduled activities I do anymore are school and work, which get in the way of EVERYTHING fun I've ever wanted to do regularly. Like date. Or have a dog that I can be responsible for all the time. Or, I don't know, read a non textbook from time to time. Ugh. Anyway, in my months of being therapalized (that's what my best friend and I jokingly call it) I've apparently made wonderful strides. I don't see them for the miraculous result she seems to think they are, but I guess they are there. I started therapy for a number of reasons. I don't think I ever processed through my parent's divorce and even though you wouldn't think that would affect an adult, it threw me for a loop and resulted in all kinds of messed up things like mothering my own mother and eliminating all contact with my father. And about the whole contact elimination, that's not the only time I've done that and I am more interested in resolving conflict rather than cutting that person off because, hello healthy relationship anyone? And basically there are things I need to fix about myself before I can ever be in a husband-wife relationship with anyone, not that there is opportunity for the moment, but I like to be proactive.

Part of the reason there were fumbled beginnings to this process is because shortly after I initially saw the therapist, I met someone and was happy so what would I need therapy for? Right. So after I realized that it wasn't all happiness and I was a PARANOID FREAK about everything and had a ridiculous number of insecurities, and started smoking again because I needed a coping mechanism for these issues I hadn't encountered in a very long time - I contacted the therapist again to really, seriously, find a regular time we could meet. And the relationship? Ended pretty quickly after I realized how much I didn't want him to date someone else and how that couldn't be avoided because he was in a bad place where he thought everything in his world would be better if he dated EVERYONE else. And don't get all frowny, he's not a cheater or mean or anything, he really is a wonderful man and I regret every day that things aren't different and he's having such a hard time trying to be happy. It's hard to be happy when awful things are happening and you wish everything were different. Anyway, this is not about him.

So here are my strides: I quit smoking (again and hopefully for the last time) at the very least because I started again because of a boy who isn't part of my problem anymore so why smoke? I realized that I am smart. I've spent a better part of my life thinking that I was stupid and couldn't learn certain things because of that stupidity. I'm all the way done with that now. The reason I couldn't learn those things was because I didn't have the tools to understand how I best learn things like that, because I, like many others, learn differently depending on the content. I have stopped crying everyday about lost loves. I don't know that it's a huge stride, because there are still days when I'm sad, but I'm working on it and realize it's probably going to take time. Also, I think I will be able to complete a homework assignment given to me at the very beginning of therapy.

My therapist asked me to write a letter to my dad, not mail it, just write it, about how he hurt me. Whenever I sat down to write it, all that would come out is how I am angry at him, nothing about hurt. I initially thought that it was because I was being prideful, that I was tamping down all these hurt feelings as if to say, "I'm too strong, you can't hurt me, you aren't important enough to hurt me." At the time, he was important enough to hurt me, he was my Dad! Now, it's more a matter of annoyance because he sends me presents at Christmas and my birthday, which I promptly return because I've asked him not to contact me. But hurt isn't the only thing and in fact it's a very tiny portion, the rest of it is a whole bunch of other stuff that I am better able to sort through and identify now.

So, sometime before next Thursday, I will be completing that homework assignment. Wish me luck. And pray that I can figure out forgiveness, because I know that's the next step.

February 12, 2010

things that are annoying

1. the way you can hear the same 16 songs on the radio over the course of the day. please, find some new ones. or even old ones. just not the same ones.

2. that alicia keys song about New York. and alicia keys in general.

3. the way people cannot figure things out for themselves and must be told the simpliest directions - click here. see the drop down menu? select that. my gosh, use your literacy skills and exercise some logic.

4. that ludacris song with the chipmunks. stop it. chipmunks should not sing about booty.

5. my ability to take forever to get over someone. i was in love with him and given the opportunity would readily pick up that habit again. but given the overarching complications, why can I not just get over it instead of wishing it were different. i annoy myself.

February 1, 2010

a deep breath

it's an addiction, slow to create
but too quick to satiate and i know.
i know it's the here and now
but you don't know what you're missing
because all you can see is immediate.
it's immediate, that numbness that explodes
all at once, unable to tell if it is worth it.
is it worth it? that deep breath tonight
becomes a short gasp in the morning
that you can't take back. that cool rush
becomes a slow burn and it's not like before.
like before when the solution was a deep breath
and a cool rush and that slow burn never came.

January 29, 2010

on hearts and waiting on god

Have you ever been in that place, where you miss the Lord, and you don't understand why because you don't ever remember stepping away? When you furiously search through your mental snapshots and recollect when you worshipped Him just this past Sunday, and thought of Him yesterday when you were caught off guard by that cool purple and hot pink sky. But then today. Today you miss Him, and it's an all consuming ache, nothing that chocolate or a glass of wine would fix.

I think it has to do with stress. School is very stressful right now, and I tend to look for comforting things when I'm stressed, trying desperately not to look for comforting FOOD, mind you, but comforting clothes, experiences, people. And I was reading this over at The Run a Muck and I suddenly missed my bible study that I left a while back. Now, don't get me wrong, I left for good reasons, and confirmed with the Lord it was time, but we used to be so in love with each other and hang out all the time and it just wasn't the same anymore. I miss that safe and comfortable feeling. But today, I miss what used to be, which seems to be happening to me lately, too. I have been trying to mend a broken heart and I've suddenly realized that I don't know if one heals from loving someone, or if there just remains a permanent scar and the feeling of regret of the loss. And so I find myself looking for comfort, to God, where I should be looking, but the pain still sears and the tears still come, and I wait.