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Monday, January 28, 2013

One Mile at a Time...

So I made two big decisions...to walk a half marathon in June and walk a full marathon in October.  I now know where my focus will be for 2013...and as scared as I am...there is great excitement as well.  This commitment is going to require me to be disciplined in many different aspects of my life - nutrition, hydration, glucose control, strength training, endurance training, and work/life balance.  All pretty important things...and having harped for years about needing to do all of them...this is my last ditch attempt to truly do it.  I will have to do these things to get something I want.  I want to walk 26 miles.  I will have to do it within 7 hours.  I have not ever had to confront my Type 1 Diabetes to get something I really wanted.  Actually, if I did, I would just avoid it altogether by deciding it wasn't really something that I wanted in the first place.  Not this time.

This time, the fear is my fuel. My original walking goal for this year was to walk 10 miles.  I'm already walking 7 miles...talk about aiming low!!  I have thought about walking a marathon for many, many years.  So much so, that it made on my short list of life goals.  Every time I would tell someone about it, it would be my Type 1 Diabetes that was my excuse for not doing it.  As my walks started to get longer and longer...I decided it wasn't so impossible.  Maybe this was exactly what I needed to do...to go after something that I see my health as a barrier too.  So, I am chipping away at it...one mile at a time.  It is happening.  I am going to walk 26 miles.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Charmed...

Another year older and happy to have it...may they keep piling on one after another.  Each one gets better.  Each one is filled with more fun and less stress.  Each one...I feel younger, not older.  It is a gift I think.  I was an intense, serious kid...I mean...sometimes I think I really was not much of a kid at all.  My reward...being less serious with age.  I think it is a good deal.  I have no regrets.

It was a fantastic birthday...filled with fun with friends, a surprise cake (it is worthy of a separate blog entry...stay tuned),  lovely/sparkly gifts, spa time with my mom and sister, fun messages from all those I care about, and watching my favorite EPL team win in one of my favorite pubs...on my birthday.  Every birthday should start off with a cider in a pub while watching footie on the telly.  It was a good day.

One of the sweetest gifts I received arrived from Texas...it was a charm.  I have never had a charm bracelet...but now I do.  It all started with a Texas Boot Charm from one of my bestest friends N.  I see it and I am reminded about going after your dreams, never giving up, and believing in yourself.  All pretty important things to have in life.  I'm glad that I have a best friend (big sister) to set such a great example.  My Mom had some butterfly spacers that she gave me...just because.  Butterflies are important...they remind  me of my Camper Chassity...she flutters around watching over me...and reminding me to just go after whatever I want.

With a few pieces in hand...I went to off to the store trying to think of other charms I might want to help fill in  a bracelet...which I also needed to pick out.  I decided to keep with a theme of things to inspire me.  Things that encompass what I truly enjoy.  So the two other charms I selected were a laptop and a running shoe.  They seem pretty obvious...the laptop because I love to write (and do work...yep...it is true) and the running shoe because my time with gym is vital to everything I do.  I may not run...but I love to walk...and one of the crazy ideas kicking around in my head is to walk 26 miles.  I'm still thinking through it...but it doesn't seem as impossible as it used it.  And...I'm charmed...so really...I can do anything I put my mind too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Paperless Joy...

For the past many years, typically in early December, I have sent out Christmas Cards.  This year, I was lazy.  No cards.  No address lists.  To be honest, my card sending was always spurred by finding the perfect cards...always with "Joy" incorporated in some way.  That is one of the many perks of having the perfect first name!!  So, maybe it wasn't really laziness at all...it was just that I did not find any "Joy" cards this year.  Let's go with that explanation...

So, this year, I'm sending along some Paperless Joy for you to enjoy...an electronic wish from me to you (and yours) for an amazingly wonderful new year.  2013...look out...it is going to be FANTASTIC!!

In case you are curious, here is a list of some of the fun adventures I had in 2012...

List of 2012 Happenings...

Meeting Joel's Brother and Sister in Law - On New Year's Eve last year I had the pleasure to meet my Camper Joel's Brother and his wife...it was so perfect.  Chatting about Joel...sharing stories...good people are always fun to find.

Caps Game on my Birthday - A long weekend at the Mayflower in DC...and a Caps Game on my Birthday with my family...my Mom, Sister, Nicol, and Rob.

DC United -  So the love of soccer which was discovered in the Fall of 2011...carried over into 2012 with my first MLS (Major League Soccer) game at RFK stadium.  It was an instant love...so much so...that I am a DC United season ticket holder for the 2013 season.  It is serious...I mean...I have a magnet on my car and everything. We made it to the playoffs this season...and I even got to see my favorite player at UMD games a few times at Ludwig Field (you will read about UMD below).  Following soccer has transformed my life...it motivates me at the gym and gets me out and about in the world. And evidently...makes me much more fun to talk too.

St. Patrick's Day -  On the eve of the one year anniversary of my Grandma heading out and about in the universe...we spent a long weekend  in Baltimore making my Irish Grandma proud at James Joyce.  We saw Henry Rollins perform...which is always a pleasure and sets you on the path to be better in the world.  We also headed up to Philly to catch our first Philly Union (another MLS Team) game at PPL Park.  We had so much fun at PPL that we went back in the Fall to catch a game and then drove back to College Park to watch our Terps play...the same day.

GYM - My boyfriend Gym and I had an absolutely magical year together.  Cardio, strength training, the sauna...my stress relief is now found in clocking time at Lifetime Fitness instead of eating lots of nasty carbs. My trainer Stacy K creates the most amazing workouts for me...constantly challenging me to do more.  It has been (and will continue to be) an amazing transformation.

Kennedy Center -  I saw my first ballet and added two more operas to my list...story telling in any form always spurs the writer within me.

Spring Family Weekend and Reunion Weekend -  My camp season with Special Love started off with a bang...it brings me such joy to be able to know and spend time with such amazing people.  It keeps me motivated...constantly...to work harder at work.  I hate cancer and even if I am not a scientist, I feel like I do something to help...just using my uber organizational skills and drive to get stuff done.

Foster the People - Probably my favorite show of the year...I had such a great time.  I forgot how much their album was a part of my journey in 2011 to get healthy.  I was jumping and dancing...it was the perfect summer concert experience.  Plus, they had a section of the Ravens Marching Band join them for one of my favorite songs.  There is nothing better...seriously.  Such an awesome night.

July Power Outage - After a crazy thunderstorm...almost hurricane like...which we were oblivious too because we were in the movie theater when it was happening...we lost power for a few days.  On a whim, we decided to just stay in a hotel.  Off to the Mayflower for a week stay...it was fun to Metro and play DC city girl for a week.

Coldplay -  For my b-day gift for my Mommy (it was a big number this year)...we went to see Coldplay...right up front.  It was amazing.  We had a really good time.  It was a once in a lifetime experience for sure.

Camp Fantastic - It was my 11th year volunteering for Special Love this year...it is always hard to put into words what this one magical week means.  This year was a new challenge...after many, many years...I got to be a counselor again.  I had no idea how much I missed it.  I got to have that role and also had my regular role as the hostess with the mostest at the Hot Spot.  I had so much wonderful help...it made for yet another perfect week in the best place on earth.  Two years in a row...a camp dream has come true.  I am so lucky to be able to part of such an amazing group of people.

Annapolis - Immediately after my return from camp, my sister whisked us away to Annapolis.  Always fun to be near the water.  It was by no means our first trip.  Our favorite place to watch EPL (English Premier League) soccer is at the Fado's in Annapolis.  We even watched some DC United away games there too.  Always fun.

University of Maryland Men's Soccer -  It is on my list to try to and write a few words about what following this team has done for my Mom, Sister and I.  I never would have imagined that watching a sport would spur the healing after our many years of care giving were suddenly over.  Our first game in August 2011...after my sister's instance that we go...brought us back to life.  We did not miss one home game at Ludwig Field in College Park this year.  We watched them win the ACC Championship at the Germantown Soccer Plex (which is where we first saw them play).  There were games in the pouring rain, rainbows, and even more driving rain.  And yes...it gets pretty damn cold when they play into December.  I leave work early to catch games...yep...you read that right!!

Trip to San Antonio, Texas (October) -  My good friends moved to Texas in August...so of course I hopped on a plane to visit them in October.  It was a true break from work...I really ignored things...and enjoyed some good quality time with my friends...who are the true definition of Ohana...they are family.  Shopping (of course...but no Vera Bradley!!).  Hockey Watching (Go Rampage!!)  Eating (Hello Chuy's!!).  Chilling (Couch Sitting, Drinking, Chatting, TV watching).  It was perfect.

NanoWrimo - National Novel Writing Month brought my 8th win...I clocked most of my words at Panera surrounded by nanowrimo writing buddies.  It was probably my most epic finish ever...there were some moments there on the last day where I was writing 1K words in 20 minute sprints.  Crazy Fun!!  Still nothing finished or ready for anyone to read...but then...that is not my goal at the moment.  I just love to write. ;)

Trip to Hoover, Alabama (December) - The Terps made it to the College Cup...so we traveled to Alabama to watch them play for the NCAA Championship.  We played Georgetown in an epic match.  We came from behind at the half (they had 3 goals, we had 1 goal)...we tied it up to 4 - 4.  I was on the jumbotron with my sister...we were on the broadcast of the game on ESPN U too...cheering like soccer hooligans...because we are.  We went to penalty kicks...my Mom, Sister, and I ran with the members of "The Crew" (the amazing group of student/alumni fans who chant, jump, and taunt the opposing goal keeper throughout the entire game) to be behind the goal post to offer our support and cheering and good energy.  It wasn't enough...we lost.  We stood by the bus to still cheer.  We hugged some players.  We shook the hand of the coach.  True Fans...always...win or lose.

Trips to Virginia Beach (November and December) -  I had not been to the beach in a long, long time.  It was always on the list...but I never made the time.  Virginia Beach is always special...it was where my Grandparents would always escape too when we were little.  They would hop in the car and take a long weekend.  I was able to go in November and December.  In November I got to spend time with my camper Becca and some of her family (her Mom Gina and her brother Drew).  I got to spend the night and everything...I felt like an honorary member family.  Actually...I felt like I was the first time I met all of them 10 years ago...at their first camp event.  I got to be Becca's counselor at camp too...I had always wanted to be and .my camp dream finally came true.  The visit again to Virginia Beach in December was bittersweet.  I brought my Mom and Sister with me.  I stared at the Atlantic.  I walked along the beach.  I randomly ran into one of my friends at a pancake/waffle house...and got a perfectly timed hug.  I...with my campers and other camp family...celebrated Becca with stories, tears, hugs, pink, and lots of laughter.  As always, when camp family gets together...there is nothing better...it is the best medicine.  We are never alone...

An assortment of Joy Cards...