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Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's All About the Under Armour...

There was a time when being in any store that sold Vera Bradley was dangerous...I would be overcome by the power of pinks and purples and flowery prints.  This is no longer case, which is good.  The problem is, that same giddy feeling I used to have for Vera Bradley I now have for Under Armour.  I see it and I want it.  I was always a Nike Girl...and I talked about the change over...which was peculating...this past summer.  Read Here.

Just like with Vera, I can always justify a purchase.  Actually, with Under Armour, it is much easier.  It is for my health...it wins every single time.  I find workout clothes to be motivating...they do help you work out better.    Especially with strength training and all of my continuing adventures with the Red Ball and a Grey Ball too.  Free movement requires the proper attire.  And now that I'm taking the plunge and adding Pilates to my regime...free movement is essential.  Besides, when you look good...you feel good.  When you feel good, well, you don't really need anything else.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A different spin...

So as 2012 fades behind and 2013 rises ahead...I'm doing a bit of reorganizing and refocusing.  I have said goodbye to the flowery bright of my old blog design and have moved to a more subtle design.  Less Flash (no pink or loud flowers).  More calm (subtle grey, interesting font).  A focus on words and pictures (note new title).  Better accuracy in terms of my interests (no mention of Vera Bradley but instead soccer and my boy Gym).  What I hope will remain are my simple strings of words to express my meanderings in life.  Snapshots of Joy....   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grandpa...

There was something about the five year mark yesterday that made it different from previous years. I don't know if it was because in some ways five years feels like a really long time and in other ways it all still feels like just yesterday.  There were many tough years of care giving...but those last two weeks that my Mom and I got to be with him...were heartbreaking and beautiful...we were thankful for each and every moment.  I still miss him...every single day.  I think it is in the remembering and with the tears that you feel closer to those who are out and about in the universe watching over you.  They are reminders that the love is real and that it connects you...always.

It is hard to determine what I miss more...his hugs or his stories.  My Grandpa was an open book...he wielded his stories from his adventures with natural arcs that blended to form the exact string of words you needed to hear. A perfect story teller...lessons and wisdom wrapped up in wildly entertaining packaging.  I could sit for hours listening to him.  He enjoyed his youth...cars and lovely ladies...and school...well...it was just the place where he could play his sax and park his sedan.  When World War II came along, he was drafted and it broke him.  His spirit, his lust for life...it was all gone...and it made the rest of his life very hard.  For one, he was one of the lucky ones from the greatest generation to come back...and he felt guilty about it every single day of his life.

He held my feet to the fire.  He taught me how to work hard and never do anything half-assed.  He drove me to my first job interview...I was a high school junior interviewing for a summer student job that I was competing with college students for.  He knew that I had nailed my interviewed and had in turn sealed my future (my career) at the place that I longed to work for.  I'm still there...working hard.  He believed in me.  He always encouraged my writing...he thought my words were powerful...even if he did not always agree with them.  He believed in me.  He still does.      

Other Musings about Grandpa...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

That Thing I Do… (Word Count = 50,116)



I’m a few days late…but I am happy to report that I did win National Novel Writing Month this year…with a few hours to spare.  I finished at Panera with many of my writing friends watching.  I tweeted and facebooked my final dash to the finish line.  I had cheers in person and virtually…it felt really, really good.  It was a very different experience this year.  It was the first year where I had to balance my quality time with Gym and manage to consistently write.  It was the first year where I had to be a dedicated sports fan and still manage to write.  It was the first year where I had to balance more than just work.  I think these are all excellent signs that my world really is transforming. 

I switched my workouts to the early morning so that I could write at night.  I spent many a day/night at Panera.  I did pound a few words out while tailgating.  I plotted in the car rides to games, while driving to Virginia Beach, and while walk/running on said beach.  I wrote words while staying with one of my campers and her family…at night after she and her Mom had gone to sleep.  I wrote from the writing cove at the home of two of my NanoWrimo buddies (8K in one sitting).  I wrote from Starbucks while waiting for one of my childhood friends to join me for an always inspirational chat.  To be honest, I don’t know that I wrote much of anything at home.  Instead of clocking thousands of words during a weekend, I would clock thousands of words in a single day (10K, 8K…crazy!!).  It was fun.  Writing is my marathon.  It felt so good to get my fingers moving.  It felt even better to be truly living while writing…that was a first.

In the last hours, I had a personal best.  I wrote 5K words in 2 ½ hours.  At times, I was writing 1K in 20 minutes.  My goal is to write 1K words in 15 minutes…I’m getting closer.  It is good to have something to aim for next year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

8,000 Words...

And suddenly...it is the last day of November.  Just 8,000 words stand before me and a win.  I think this may be the first time in my 8 years of doing National Novel Writing Month that I have been this far behind on the last day.  I have until just before midnight.  Just 8,000 words.  That finish line is getting closer...and I will push myself through and over the line.  I am after all...a writer...and I like to write stories.  So filling the page should not be a problem...and I love the pressure of a deadline.  It shall be a mad but fulfilling dash to the end.  Ready, Set, Go...well...in a few more hours anyway...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So close...but so tired.... (Word Count = 39,342)


I started the day at 30,000 words...I started writing around 3:30pm this afternoon...I wrote close to 10K words today!!  Pretty darn good.  I had really wanted to get to 40,000 words before my head hit the pillow...but I am zonked.  I did lots of writing...thanks to a write-in hosted by two of my nanowrimo buddies...I had really good luck with the words.  My story took an unexpected turn and that always helps with words.  I feel like I am grooving right along now.  The worry and stress of getting to 50K words seems to be less now.  I know, my goal for this year was actually to get to 65K...but I changed it.  At the end of the month, I will be glad to have partipated this year...and won.  I think this will be my eighth time wining.  Every year since 2005 except last year...but last year I did write 50K words in the month of July for CampNanoWrimo...so I still count that one. :)  Here is to the rest of the month filled with words and fun adventures...not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oh Right...it is November (Word Count = 25,045)

Why yes...it is November!!  And yes...I am still noveling!!  I am a bit behind, but that is part of the fun.  The frantic writing in those last few days of November are my favorite part.  Most of my words have been born at Panera during Word Wars and while hanging out with my NanoWrimo buddies.  Perhaps I should explain, a word war is typically 15 minutes and we all try to write as many words as we can.  We flip an hour glass and then it is go time.  I usually clock about 600 - 800 words in a typically war.  My goal is to get 1,000...I'm still working on it.  That would make my whole November to reach that goal this month.  I never would have thought that I would be the type of person who would love to write around other people, but there you have it.  My new routine of going to the gym in the AM has made this month's noveling possible.  I'm glad that I figured out a way to balance both of my hobbies.  And...I'm not going to lie...I am loving the Panera sleeves for their coffee cups...bet you can guess why!!  In my continued quest to write from different places, I'm even thinking about taking my laptop with me to the next Maryland soccer game on Sunday..a 1,000 words in 15 minutes at Ludwig Field?  That would almost be as wonderful as if it snowed.  I'm thinking there would be all kinds of inspiration for really fantastic words.  

This November has not been without some writing complications...there have been many distractions and scary moments.  I have had an exhausting cold for over two weeks that has slowed my time with gym and my word count too.  There has been
lots of soccer...games in College Park, Germantown, Philly, and at RFK.  There has been work...which always seems to be crazy, busy.  There has been a fun weekend in Virginia Beach with one of my campers and her family.  I even managed time for a walk/run on the Beach!!  There has also been a data loss scare.  Yep...you read that right.  My Netbook crashed after a super productive writing day.  I had clocked 5,700 words...I stopped to take a nap...and when I cracked upon my Netbook to get in another 2K or so words...a blue screen appeared.  I was calm.  I tried to be zen.  I never back up my work (I know, I know).  If I lost 2 or 3 draft novels, it would be own fault.  Luckily the Geek Squad came to my aid and was able to save my data.  My Netbook was toast...so I bought a new laptop.  The hardest part was the fact that I loved all the NanoWrimo stickers I had artfully arranged on my Netbook.  Yep...that is me...I was mourning the sticker loss...

Friday, November 16, 2012

A familiar voice....

My Grandpa...

It is in the moments of your regular routine when divergent paths present themselves.  You are then faced with a decision to make…in split seconds…with limited information…and only your intuition to guide you.  Do you take a few extra seconds to veer of schedule?  I think it is called stopping to smell the roses.  I’m trying to be better about that.  Every morning I arrive in my office, take out my cellphone and blackberry; stow away my purse; log into my computer; and check to see if I have any unanswered calls logged and if the red light appears on my phone.  This morning as I checked my voice mail…I was reminded that an old message was about to expire.  It was a message that I have not ever listened too.  It was one that my sister forwarded to me…just in case I ever wanted to listen to it.  I have been saving it for the past five years.  It was a voice mail my Grandpa left my sister…towards the end of his days.

This morning, I was ready.  Instead of instantly saving it, I decided to listen.  Hearing my Grandpa’s voice was exactly what I needed.  His 92nd Birthday would have been yesterday…the five year anniversary of his being out and about in the universe is next month.  It felt like it was time.  Did I cry?  Yes.  Did it feel like he was right on the other end of the phone? Yes.  Did it remind me how much I miss him?  Yes.  Did it give me strength?  Yes.  Did it remind me how much I am loved?  Yes.

I am firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I knew that I needed an extra energy boost as I head into the weekend.  I want to be all that I can be this weekend…I want to listen…I want to bring cheer…I want to be strong…I want to be fully present for each and every moment.  Actually, maybe that sums up how I want to be always...each and every day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the Eve of November..

This time tomorrow...I will be noveling!!  I can't wait!!  There are three bags that are going to get me through it...you didn't think I wasn't going to accessorize for the occasion did you?  I have my gym bag, my writing bag, and my purse.  These will be carried with me each and every day because I am going to use each of them every single day for the month of November.  That's right...the balanced me.  Time for writing.  Time for work.  Time for gym.  I am so on it...can't you tell??

For the month of November...I will have a few things on my list of to do's...and I am excited about each and every one of them.

My November 2012 To Do's

1)  Writing a crappy first draft of a novel with atleast 65,000 words.  Notice that the word count is higher than the 50,000 words required for National Novel Writing Month (NanoWrimo).

2)  Watching the University of Maryland Men's Soccer Team and supporting them as they continue to do work in the ACC and National Championships (and always for that matter).

3)  Watching DC United and supporting them in the MLS Playoffs (and always for that matter).

4)  Visiting my Camper Becca in Virginia Beach.

5)  Attempting CrossFit with my friend Bianca in Virginia Beach.

6)  Doing all the dishes at Thanksgiving...and by doing...I mean cleaning...I am culinary challenged remember.

7)  Clocking time with Gym...each day...or pretty close to each day.

8)   Eating in smart ways that are centered around healthy veg/fruit carbs and protein and healthy fat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Two Days...

It is just two days and counting until National Novel Writing Month begins...the 2012 version.  I'm ready and excited to get my noveling on this year.  Last year, I was worried that my quest to be healthier would be sidelined if I tried to write a novel too.  So I skipped last November...although I did write a shitty first draft of a novel in July 2011...so I figured that counted as my one for the year.  I know it was the right decision.  When you completely transform your life you have to prioritize.  This year, I have reworked things to make it completely possible.  Now that I am hitting the gym in the mornings, I can easily write in the evenings.  I have an idea for a quirky main character and the boy hero (or will there be two?) is starting to form into view.  I haven't planned much, just made a few notes about some of the main ideas I have.  I don't even know what my characters names will be.  It is such a fun time of year.  The moments before a novel is born.  I am really, really excited.  I can do this!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Don't Fear the Chicken...

So this happened tonight...I combated one of my biggest fears...I cooked chicken!!  All by myself!!  I am not savvy in the kitchen...I do the dishes, I microwave, I make coffee, and I make toast.  I can scramble eggs and make hot dogs too...but that is the extent of my culinary abilities.  I know, not really culinary...and abilities...well that may be a stretch too.

In my quest to keep getting healthier, I knew there were still some areas where I needed help.  So, I enlisted the assistance of a dietician to help me hone my intake to allow for better blood sugars, better eating habits and to get to my goal weight (or at least in the next bracket).   In attacking goals over the past year, I have learned many things.  The main lesson has been not being afraid to ask for help.  Sometimes you need a team to support you along the way.  You don't have to do it all alone.

My team just grew by one.  I have been lucky to find people who "get" how I work and what motivates me.  In meeting with my dietician tonight (yes...she takes a late appointment because she understands my crazy work life), she honed in on exactly what it is that I am working towards.  It instantly established this level of trust.  Much like when my endocrinologist looked me in the eye last September and said, "I know you can do this."  It clicked for me...the switch was flipped.  I know I can do this too.

The proof is in the picture tonight...for whatever reason...I have always been afraid to cook chicken.  Tonight...I did it.  I took raw chicken and cooked it so that I could have a healthy dinner.  I actually cooked three pieces...so I have some for lunch and/or dinner tomorrow too.  Turns out, I really can do this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's it all about???

I have been thinking about something one of my camp friends said at the end of camp last month during our staff debrief.  It had do with how as adults, we lose sight of our initial childhood dreams.  When I think about my childhood dreams, they were pretty simple.  I wanted to have a job where I kept a bunch of really important papers organized.  I think I nailed that one.  The other was probably more simple and I cast it aside...after I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  I started to remember that life goal around this time last year, it was buried pretty deep. It is still in my brain space and part of me is starting to accept that I can make that one happen too.  I think I was afraid more than anything else...and maybe I am not so afraid anymore.

I'm feeling very lucky these days...I have such tremendous support around me...pushing me to do better, be better, and reach further.  I set out this past week to turn my world upside down, I knew that I needed to shake things up.  My latest blood work revealed a set of numbers that I was not proud of.  They were so bad, I had no choice but to immediately implement changes to get back on track.  I think it was good it happened...it was only the second time (in 25 years) that my Type 1 Diabetes made me cry.  I'm getting the balance back...with help.

That is what is different...I am asking for help.  I am accepting help.  My family, friends, and trainer/coach were crucial to my success during the last year.  They are still with me for the next set of hurdles...but I have added a few more...my boss, my endocrinologist, and a dietician.  I know that I can do this...    




Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Bug Returns...

As fall returns, the bug returns.  The writing bug.  The novel idea I had back in July has been percolating and maybe this November I will figure out how to work in time for writing along with work, time with gym, and fun.  I think I can do it.  The past few weeks have been really tough, especially with work.  But this past week was all about getting out of my comfort zone and taking some ownership of creating the life I want.  A balanced one.  And so...I'm starting to feel in control again.  I have flipped around my schedule to go to see Gym in the morning, trying to leave work no later than 6pm (the boss's orders), and checking my blood sugar throughout the day.  I seem to have grown a bit of confidence in the process.  My blood sugars are already improving as a result and right now that is my first priority.  I'm making my health the most important thing...first time ever.  Everything else will balance around that...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Year Two...Let's Get it Going!!

Nothing like an appointment with your endocrinologist to help you set things in perspective...and to really help you hone in on the next set of things to fix about yourself.  I set out a year ago to completely transform how I manage my stress and have better balance...I pretty much nailed it...for the most part.  There were a few tenents - going to the gym, eating less food, and watching soccer games.  All of these things helped me to lose over 30 pounds, get stronger, lower my overall blood sugar levels, take less insulin, and have fun interests outside of my job.  Going to the gym and watching soccer games sort of go hand in hand...both get me out of the office and help me to forget about said office...even if just for a few hours. 

At the end of the month, I hit the 25 year mark for being a Type 1 Diabetes.  It seems after all of that time, I have finally decided to take on the hardest task.  Checking my blood sugar regularly...which means more than once a day.  The number that comes up on the screen has such a power over me, I know that it shouldn't...but it does.  If it is a good number, then it means I am a good person.  If it is a bad number, then it means that I am a bad person...not doing all the work I need to do to make it a good number.  To avoid that feeling, I just don't check it.  But I am going to get over that.  The level of my blood sugar should not define me or have any bearing on my feelings of self worth.  I need to be stronger than that...

So my goals for the next year are focused - -

1)  Check blood sugar more than once a day
2)  Continue to make healthier food choices, but track calories and carbs better.

Make no mistake, there may just be two goals stated...but that first one is a huge hill to climb.  But I am ready to climb it...I will climb it.  I'm thinking of it as work...it is my job to check my blood sugar throughout the day.  It is my job to track my intake of food better.  If there is work to be done, I will get it done.  That much I know...

       

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shake Some Action...

I have rambling on for weeks about what I was going to do to reward myself for a year of being back at the gym.  So...I figured it out.  My reward is MORE WORK!!!  How perfect is that?  I have been walking by a big placard at the gym about the 90 Day Challenge for several weeks.  I watch it as more and more names get scribbled on with black sharpies....wondering if I have the "chops" to sign my name too.  Well, today I decided that I do.  Mainly because I learned that I will be able to still work with my awesome trainer/coach Stacy K.  That sealed the deal for me.                                                        

I have spent the last year on two basic ideas, eat less and exercise more.  It has worked...but I still have more work I need to do.  I have not been managing my diabetes as well as I should be.  I don't check my blood sugar all day long.  I don't maticulously count my carbs.  These are the things that I really want to focus on next.  So there we go...what better way to kick start things than a 90 day weight loss challenge?  My focus will be on nutrition and providing better fuel for all the work I do (office work, gym work, soccer watching, writing, and who knows what other things are on the horizon for me).  90 days...new habits are created in that time span.  It is going to be hard.  It is going to take committment.  It is going to be a struggle.  It is going to require more balance between my work life and everything else.  It is just what I need...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Switching Things Up...

I am all for routines, they help you to keep organized and allow for efficiency in getting work done.  These are both things that are pretty much part of my core.  My lesson this week was in embracing the freedom in doing different things that aren't part of the plan...for the afternoon, day, or week.  Work was crazy busy, but to be expected.  What I had not expected was that I would not get to they gym all week.  Not part of my normal routine, but on Thursday I had an idea.  I left work after 8 hours (see...already something different) and met my sister at the Mall for some random, meaningless shopping.  That is the fun thing about doing things that are seemingly random and meaningless, they still lead you to where you need to be.
I am a diehard Nike girl...the only running shoes I have ever worn have been Nike...my entire life for the most part.  Most of my gym attire is Nike...but I have been slowly embracing the power of Under Armour.  It started with a few gym outfits and then it happened.  On Thursday, I tried on a pair of running shoes and it felt like kismet.  I tried on two different pairs and then settled for bliss.  I was so excited about my new venture that I decided to continue on the path of unexpected and went to the gym the next morning.  I was excited to try out my new shoes and do some strength training before heading to work.  It felt great, but I knew I was not done for the day.  I also wanted to go back after work and do a six mile walk.  I made it back to see gym, but only did 5 miles.  I had to work later than expected and it was getting late...and I felt bad about delaying dinner plans even later. 

The walk was the true test of the sneakers...and they passed.  No shin splints.  I didn't even need my standard heel gels.  They were so light and allowed for complete unrestricted movement.  I'm glad I took a chance and did something out of the norm.  I have new shoes which will carry me through the completion of my first year back to the gym.  A full year!! 

PS - -  I know right?? Aren't they the cutest??

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do Work...

I really did think that I was going to snooze most of the day...I feel like I might be catching a cold...and since I have a busy work week coming up...I figured I would just rest up.  Silly, silly me.  My busy work week has started already with needing to do a few things today and perhaps this evening too, but it was to be expected.  The few things I can get done make for a few less things I have to worry about tomorrow.  What I hadn't expected was all of the other things that I was going to get done today as well.  My lazy butt day ended up being pretty productive.  And...I feel ready to take on the coming week.  I can do this!!

List of things I accomplished this weekend (I mean why not throw in a few things from yesterday too??)

*  Sat - Stopped by Starbucks and was able to give a hug to one of my camp friends who was having a tough day.  I was then met with a swirling dragonfly as I got back in my car...another camp boost.

*  Sat - Met with my trainer and worked out all of the kinks in my current strength training routine.

*  Sat - Finished a work writing assignment while hanging out with some of my writing friends at Panera.

*  Sat - Wrote a blog about Camp.

*  Sat - Watched the Philly Union beat the Montreal Impact...great game!!!  I watched some of the Whitecaps versus Toronto FC game.  I conked out and missed the exciting MLS action of LA Galaxy vs. Portland.  I also missed the FC Dallas win over the Colorado Rapids...so excited for the boys on this one.  Given my early start tomorrow...I probably won't get to see my DC United boys do work tonight...very bummed about this. ;(  I love soccer...it motivates me to work harder.

*  Sun - Did some office work...got the ball rolling on a few things for tomorrow.

*  Sun - Decided to go back to sleep for a bit and then started catching up on my blog reading.  After reading about the tremendous progress my friend is making after her back surgery last week...I decided to hit the gym!!  I usually go late in the day on Sundays through Thursdays...but knowing that I would probably have to do some work in the evening...I decided I would just skip.  Nope...no skip day for me.

*  Sun - Went to the gym and ended up burning over 800 calories with an hour of fun on the elliptical machine.  That felt really good and always clears my mind.

*  Sun - Did three weeks worth of laundry and everything has been folded and put away too!!

*  Sun - Took an hour nap.

*  Sun - Watched a bit more soccer...Red Bulls versus Timbers.

*  Sun - Did a bit more work...as anticipated...and maybe some more.

*  Sun - Go to bed early...well...I guess we will have to wait and see on that one!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

That Camp State of Mind...

I am in complete countdown mode for Camp Fantastic...it is the 30th Anniversary year...and I feel so lucky to be able to be a part of it.  It is getting close enough that I am starting to dream about it.  Thinking about it causes a giddy grin and goosebumps...it is that special.  It is an unexplainable special that you can only experience first-hand to really know.  I don't know that I would have imagined 11 years ago that I was going to form bonds that would last so long...in some cases...everlasting.  It is in that moment, where you know that you are in the right place at the right time, where your life changes forever.  Mine did.  The first year I volunteered at camp in 2002...

My life is full of these moments over the past 11 years that I carry with me always.  The first time I met Joel on the bus on the way back from Farm Day.  That all night conversation that Amy and I had with Chass.  Watching Christy read an essay at the talent show and blowing everyone away with her words.  Hanging out with Laura all week while shooting a video about camp.  Listening to Carolyn read a poem about remembering Alex.  At campfire when Daniel claimed honors and thanked me for taking care of him during the week.  When Katie wore a dress to the dance...a little black one at that.  The first I met Becca Parcells and her family at their first ever Special Love event, it was a Spring Family Weekend.  Becca was six.  Now she is sixteen...and looking fabulous in her purple butterfly hoodie don't you think?  This is a picture of us from Reunion Weekend in June.

As an incredibly shy person with very few true friends, I instantly gained
an incredible network of friends who are always there for me...in camp life or regular life.  For an introvert who had never been to camp before, I learned that there is a place for everyone .  As a team, a group of volunteers (each person with their own individual gifts) work together to create an amazing experience for campers who get a whole week to be a kiddo with the focus on fun and not on cancer.  It is a beautiful, beautiful thing.  Life changing.  It is life changing for everyone.  When butterflies or dragonflies swirl around me, I can see Chass smiling to me.  When a Cake song plays, Joel is saying Hi. 

As I sorted through way too many unfilled Vera Bradley notebooks, I put a lot of thought into selecting just the right one for this year.  I start a new notebook every year to house all of my planning, all of my lists, and all of my ideas for the following year.  I decided to use Purple Punch because it reminds me of the person who is like my big sister.  She will be moving away...not long after I return from camp in August.  She is strong, brave, and fantastic...just like my camp friends.  And just as I have learned at camp, friendship is everlasting.  No matter where you are, the people who care about you are always there for you.  No matter what.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just Do It...

So...I did it.  Tonight I got past my fears and finally did my new strength training workout on my own.  I'm not really sure what my hang-up was, but I was very nervous.  I had that icky tummy ache you get before a test in school, a doctor's appointment, or a meeting at work.  I had been putting it off for well over two weeks.  The lack of power and then being out of town helped me to put it off even longer...it added another week for sure.  It was truly a game day decision...as I pulled into the parking lot...I still wasn't sure if I was going to do it or not.  I know part of my hang-up is always being worried that I look like a complete dunce when I do strength training.  I know it is silly.  No one is even watching...but it definitely stands in my way sometimes.
To help me not think so much, I decided to do something I haven't ever done before, I listened to my iPod.  It really helped, especially in terms focusing.  I felt really good to just push my fears aside and do it.  I did work.  It felt so good.  I love how strength training makes me feel.  I guess there is a reason that I have always been a Nike Girl.  Like with anything, you have to just do it.

I am about two months away from my one-year mark at being back with my boy gym...I had been thinking about all kinds of neat rewards for myself.  Originally it was buying my own personal locker at the gym, but the truth is.  I don't really need one.  My lucky locker #103 is always there for me when I get to the gym...so I am good.  I also thought about buying myself a pair of Tory Burch flats.  This is still in my head, but really, do I need another pair of flats?  And then...I discovered something while hunting around the Nike website tonight...you can design your own pair of Nike Shox!! So, I think you can guess what I will be doing for my one year Gymversary...I am already dreaming up the color scheme!! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In the Waiting...

I'm just going to come right out and say it...it would be impossible to find a container big enough to hold all of my joy at the moment.  It is like Christmas Eve.  I have been waiting for several months for this day to arrive.  I have planned my outfit.  I found the perfect shoes.  I picked out a color coordinated Vera Bradley purse.  It has all been leading up to tonight.  Coldplay.  Next to camp, this may be the biggest moment of the summer for me.  There is nothing I love more than going to a show.  Live music is one of the most wonderful sources of fuel for me.  I sing.  I dance.  I don't care who listens or sees.  I go apeshit crazy when the band hits the stage.  I do it because I can.  There is a moment during every show where I feel connected...to something much larger than the usual space I occupy.  I know that all those out and about in the universe who guide me are gathered with me...dancing and singing.  Because we can...

In honor of my Mom's 60th year, I decided that the perfect gift for her would be to see Coldplay live.  She hasn't seen them live before.  After the last time I saw them play in 2009, I had her listen to some CDs and she fell in love with them.  This will be the fourth time I have seen them play...and it is always amazing.  I can't wait for the experience that is just hours away.  I have been waiting since December when I got the tickets.  She has been waiting since February when I gave her the tickets for her birthday.  I can't help but think that the most amazing part is in the waiting...when the lights go down just before they take the stage.  There is endless possibility in those moments and then everything else is in the after...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A brand new view...

There is something powerful about letting go of the familiar and opening up to something new.  I knew when I decided to get new glasses back in December 2011 that I was ready to change things up.  I had no idea what sort of changes would be on the way when I gave away my red glasses.  Life became more complicated and significantly harder...I was balancing my job and my family...looking back...I was crisis mode.  I was looking through new lenses only to see the last days of my Grandma while trying not to miss a beat at work.  I saw food...lots of food...that was my comfort and my calm.  Well, food and endless conversations with my Mom and Sister. 

The views of readjusting to a life without care taking responsibilities was harder than one would think.  From mid-March until August 2011, I had no idea how to fill to the time...so there was food...more food...and work.  There is always work.  There is a picture of me on the beach that is seared into my memory from an early August vacation...it was me but it wasn't me.  It wasn't the me that I wanted to be.  I was hiding, completely invisible.

By early September after the winds of a hurricane swept through and cleared my mind, I was ready to start filling my time differently.  I was going to get my calm in new ways...going to the gym, watching soccer, having fun, and eating less.  And work...of course...there is always work.  I fell into a new routine...my sanity time with gym after work.  Watching soccer games on Friday nights and the occasional Tuesday or Thursday...it was motivation to work hard physically, not just mentally.  There were things I had to do outside of my job...I had plans.  Suddenly I didn't feel so invisible and was getting back to me. 

By November, once my routine was set in terms of clocking time with gym, I was ready for another change.  While my new specs had seen me through the hardest of days and the beginning of a transformation, I no longer wanted to hide behind them.  The hour and half at the eye doctor's office while I struggled to put contacts in my eyes for the first time was a landmark in all that was still to come.  In the past, when something didn't come naturally to me, I would just quit.  I would stop and just move on to something else.

This time, it was different, I was going to push through.  I was going to put tiny new lenses in my eyes.  I was going to step up my workouts at the gym.  I was not going to eat bad things to feel better.  I was not going to give up on something just because it was hard.  It was a whole new everything with no limitations or blinders or spectacles in my way.  A new brand new view...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Does Everyone Have a Ted?

In the span of time before seeing Ted last night, I could not help but think about the power of a stuffed animal and maybe a blankie too.  My favorite stuffed animal was a Giraffe that I named Woo Woo.  I had a few of them...one was quickly snatched up off of the boardwalk in Wildwood after I dropped him from my stroller.  One I got sick on.  I think I had three of them...maybe four.  I remember my Grandpa always talking about how after I lost the one in Wildwood a few months later we were strolling though Woodies and I saw Woo Woo.  A whole display of them...and I called out..."Woo Woo" with a longing of finding a long lost friend.  Of course they had to get him for me.  And then...not too long after...I remember not needing him.  I had not really thought about why.

I'm guessing it was sometime just before August 1980...because on August 5th my baby sister arrived. On August 6th, we met for the first time. When you find your best friend...you don't need the security of thing that crosses your path to get you ready for the real thing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hello Summer...

So just like that...it is the end of June.  What the heck happened?  Summer is slip sliding along...and I must say...I am really enjoying the weekends.  The work weeks are really busy busy busy...but when I get to Friday...I put the blackberry away and truly enjoy each and every moment.  Sun.  Swim. Soccer watching.  What more do you need?  Oh yes, spending time with my boy Gym.  And then throw in a couple of really good shows (Foster the People and Keane) and a Camp Weekend...and that sums up all the fun I have had in June!!

Oh right...and remember how I was going to write 50,000 words this month too?  Yeah...that did not happen.  But...the writing bug is still there...and July starts soon...so maybe...I will get back to it.  Or maybe not.  No pressure.  If I feel the urge, I will go for it.  There are no rules when it comes to Camp NanoWrimo...and I miss writing with my buddies.  

Is it obvious what my fear is?  Why I haven't written much?  I am worried that all of the changes I have been making since September will fall by the wayside...I know it is silly...but I really worry about it.  There is much more work that I need to do in terms of getting healthier...and I feel a constant struggle between wanting to do more to be healthy and wanting to write.  I just don't think you can have it all...but maybe it is that you just can't have it all...at all times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Darn Red Ball...

It was one of those long days...yep...another one. I capped it off with some time with my boy Gym. It was a strength training day...so I was ready to de-stress by working my way through my sets. Some of them are even what I call the "Big Boy" side of the gym...the side where all the really intense guys workout. Not many girls are in that space...but I head over there now...with no qualms. That was not the case seven months ago. I am not intimidated...but that doesn't mean my clumsy nature will shy away. Yep...I had one of those embarrassing "joy" moments.

I should start by saying that when I was younger my Grandpa always talked about this sign that he saw when he was in his late teens. It said something along the lines of..."the moment you begin to think you have ripened is the moment you begin to spoil."  I think he was channeling this to me today.  I was starting out my first set...leg press, lunges with arm extensions out to the sides, and then crunches with weights on the red ball.  I should say that the red ball and I have our moments.  All of my gym accidents...which usually result with me doing some awkward slide and then landing on my right knee or the front part of my right leg...involve the lovely red ball.  Planking with toes on said red ball, feet on the bosu with plank out on the red ball, and now the simple crunch have resulted in my awkward ungraceful splat to the floor.  The splat is usually followed by an "Oh Crap" or a "Grr"...in case you were wondering.

So now, back to spoiling.  On my second set...I was working through my lunges and a guy was now using the leg press I had just finished using.  He was struggling...and the weight was the same as what I had been working with.  This made me feel so strong!!  As I did my last set of crunches...I was feeling pretty good.  Pushing through...thinking that I was pretty damn smooth.  And then...after my last one...the red ball went shooting out from under me.  I awkwardly slipped and fell to the front of my right leg...which is odd...because I was on my back on said red ball.  I have a talent for weirdness with that darn red ball...and there are always witnesses. 

So here are some theories on why I had a slip off the red ball today...

*  I was eavesdropping on the conversation happening behind me
*  I was thinking how great I was...all balanced on the ball...doing crunches with 10 pound weights...and looking pretty good while doing so
*  I was wondering what I was going to wear the next day...and then which shoes
*  I was distracted by the guy working out in front of me (really nice arms are hard not to notice)
*  My grandpa was reminding that I am not that boss...and that I need to keep my head in check
*  All of the above

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Epiphany...and Other Thoughts from the Gym...

It was a long day at the office and I headed out around 9pm...but instead of retreating home...I hit the gym. It was so what I needed. It was a strength training day and pushing through all of my sets really helped to get me centered and work hard in the physical sense. But, let's be honest...the mental stuff works its way in too. My plate is full and I was thinking of ways to simplify things. I was thinking about writing and my CampNanoWrimo Novel and what is it that I really enjoy. The thought of doing 50K words by the end of the month was making feel even more overwhelmed than the usual amount I walk around with everyday. It was weighing me down. And then it hit me...do you know what I realized? My favorite thing about doing NanoWrimo and CampNanoWrimo is blogging about my progress. As this churned through my brainspace it got me thinking even more...maybe I am a blogger and not a writer.

So, as my gym time wound down...I started thinking about how much my life has changed since late August. How the pieces of me have changed...the things I set as priorities, the activities I enjoy, and the space I take up in the universe. Even the physical appearance of my blog doesn't really capture who I am anymore and what I want to write about. It needs to be revamped to match the revamped me. I have changed and truth be told...I don't need to write novels anymore. Instead of writing stories, I am living them. And the best way to capture those kinds of stories is in a blog.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Running Low on Energy.... Word Count = 8,065

I was hoping to hit 10K words by the end of the weekend...but I am starting to get tired and I have to focus on soccer watching. I saw Real Maryland win their first match of the season (I think) at home earlier this afternoon. And now...I am watching the US Mens National Team play Canada. I'm fading fast...but am trying to send some energylegs to the boys. This game is not going anywhere at the moment.

I will tell you one thing that is going somewhere...my novel!! It is now a whopping 8K words...which is about 21 pages. My characters have names and have some adventures ahead. I'm really enjoying writing this one. I wrote about 3K words today...which is respectable. Given all the things I got done today...it is pretty good I think.

A Sunday List of "To Do's" that are "Done"

* Laundry
* Writing Outside (see picture...all the essentials) - 1K words
* Strength Training at the Gym
* Real Maryland Soccer Game in Rockville
* Grocery Shopping
* Writing Outside - 1K Words
* Watching USMNT Play Canada
* Writing at Kitchen Table - 1K Words

And now it is time to collapse...I'm really proud of the fact that I did not do any of the work that I brought hom with me. It makes for a busier work week...but I say bring it. I am going to head to bed soon and will be ready!! I'm going to dream of all of the words that will spill out from my fingertips over the next week.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Look Who Is Writing.... Word Count = 5,009

My first write-in at Panera was very, very good to me. 5K words in my brand new novel. Happy Happy, Me Me!! Since I need to fuel up with some dinner...I am cheating a bit and getting straight to my list. Here are some things that I learned today...in no particular order...although the first bullet point is the most mind blowing...so prepare yourself accordingly. And...following the list...please find my favorite line from today.

Things I learned today...

* According to Ben's textbook on writing...fiction must contain ideas...

* My main character is afraid of elevators.

* My main character does not get along with her sister or her parents.

* My main character uses the Metro to get to work.

* My main character lives in an area that resembles Rockville Town Center. Wait...maybe it is Rockville Town Center. Her apartment number is 417.

* My main character is named Louise. I don't know her last name yet, but that is okay.


Favorite line so far....

"Her mindset was infectious, can you catch desperation?"

Let's Get it Going.... Word Count = 0

And here we go...I am at Panera...about to get my novel on. Let's do this!! I have all I need. Endless Coffee. Notebook. Pen. Laptop. Cute Writing Bag. Cute Writing Totem that matches said writing bag. Ipod. Headphones. And the most important thing...NanoWrimo Buddies!! We have occupied the orange wall...and all is write the world. I have really missed this. So...here I go...commencing novel writing...and go!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flexing the Writing Muscle...

So...blog much? Evidently not. I can't believe how long it has been since I have written something here. Or written anything fun...other than tweets and status updates. How sad is that? Here is the thing...it is not sad at all. It is a good thing. I have been working hard and playing hard. Lots of long hours at work, lots of time at the gym and lots of fun soccer watching. I have no complaints at all.

Summer mode is here...and it is time for CampNanoWrimo again...and I am all on it. Well, let's just say I have a first line and tomorrow is June 1...so...I'm going to see what happens. 50,000 words in a month? No problem...let's get it going. Have I prepared...sort of...I am a pantser after all.

List of Things I Have Done to Prepare for CampNanoWrimo - June 2012

1) Picked a summer writing bag

2) Put laptop, pens, highlighters, stickie notes, USB, headphones, ipod cord, and power cord into said summer writing bag

3) Picked out a small notebook for hand written things and notes...that is small enough to fit in my purse...so I can carry it with me all the time.

4) Received a new pretty pen as a gift that can be used for all handwritten notes in small notebook.

5) Have an inspiration song for Novel - "Watching You Watch Him" by Eric Hutchinson

6) Have a writing totem - a scarf that matches previously mentioned summer writing bag

7) Have that inner gut feeling that I am about to embark upon something really spectacular


Do I have a vision of what my main boy and girl character look like? Nope. Do I have any names picked out? Nope. Do I care? Nope. I'm a pantser...I just let it be. I'm excited and I'm ready...so there isn't much more I need. Well...I need it to be June 1 so I can have that blank page in front of me for a split second and then it will fill with many, many words.