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Roads

It’s amazing how roads can invoke a feeling of a certain time or place, of a certain destination or emotion. Different roads will always remind of different eras in my life, times when I drive that stretch daily or weekly, or only when going on a particular kind of trip. Driving from work to a friends’s house one day recently, I took a route that that ended up driving me through the story of my life, via the freeway. A quick jog up freeway A was a normal after-work experience, very much a part of my current life. As soon as I merged onto highway B, I was on the freeway of my childhood, a well lit sunken road that reminded me of late night drives home while I laid in the backseat of my mom’s minivan, watching the streetlights flash by. A long entrance ramp later and suddenly I’m on highway C, and in college, going to visit my boyfriend (now husband). This wide but busy road makes me reminds me that I once knew exactly how long it would take to get from certain landmarks to his town, as I made the trip so many times and was always so eager to do it. Once past that town and heading to my final destination, my only thoughts are visiting the friends I’m off to see and all the good times we’ve had in their town the past few years. By the time I arrive, I feel like my life has flashed before my eyes through the windshield.

Other roads invoke similar memories. Driving around the back country roads near my parent’s house will always remind me of high school, and I find it difficult to stop myself from flying down dirt roads at 60 because that’s how I drove then. The lighted tunnels on another highway, close to my current apartment but seeming a world away when I was younger, make me think for a moment I’m on my way to the zoo – the only reason we drive that way when I was a kid. Sometimes I still hold my breath going through the tunnels, part of a game my sister and I used to play. Driving on the long interstate across the state will bring to mind my grad school years in a Big City, and crossing the state boarder heading south will do the same for my time in college.

I love how roads can connect me to the past.  Will any roads make me think of this time in my life, bringing back a time when Hubster and I were struggling newlyweds, trying to figure out our futures?

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So, it’s been about 6 months since I blogged. Oops. I’ve been thinking about trying out again….so we’ll see how this goes. I’m going to try to write less “here’s what I’ve been doing recently” things, because that clearly wasn’t working, and more “here’s what I’ve been thinking about recently.” Maybe this time it will actually stick!

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Ok, so let’s be honest- my New Year’s non-resolution of actually blogging more has kinda failed. It’s been, what, a month since I last posted? That’s pretty much a big fail. There’s been a few major reasons why the blogging hasn’t been happening, largely to do with access to my computer. Hubster has taken to studying with my laptop in the evenings so he can be in the living room rather than the bedroom (where his desktop is), which means I don’t can’t actually type on it even when I want to. Sure, I could go use his desktop, but that would kinda defeat the purpose of him coming out to the living room to be with me. Also, to be honest, I just haven’t felt like it. I’m on a computer all day at work and when I get home I don’t want to spend more hours staring at a different computer. And when I do, I mostly want to check facebook and read other blogs. So, in the 30 minutes of laptop time I maybe get in an average evening, I don’t write, I read. Of course, I still have things I want to say! I’m constantly thinking about things I want to write about, but then when I actually get the opportunity to do so, I’m no longer in the mood. I really need some sort of device I could talk to in my car and would automatically turn my thoughts into blog posts. I spend a lot of time on the road. That would be awesome. I’d update everyday, sometimes twice! Oh well. Looks like that just isn’t going to happen.

Failures in blogging aside, my other New Year’s I-don’t-want-to-call-this-a-resolution-but-it-really-is resolution was to get in shape. I started the Couch to 5K program, with intentions of running a 5K in April. I also wanted to eat healthier and lose 10lbs. The running has been going great! I kinda abandoned the specifics of the program once I got into the groove of things, but I’m now running 20-25 minutes, 5-6 days a week. And more importantly, I’m enjoying it! I still dread walking down to the workout room every evening, and yes the runs are still hard, but I love the feeling of pushing myself, and I love how good I feel after running. I’ve gotten to the point where I can zone out while running, and not have to stop to catch my breath. I’m super happy about how well this is going, and feel completely confident that I’ll be able to run a 5k in April.

Unfortunately, the other half of that non-resolution hasn’t been going as well (maybe I should have made the title 1 out of 3..but that doesn’t sound as good). Despite my new workout routine and eating less, I’ve only dropped 2-3lbs (depending on what time of day I weigh myself). It is so frustrating! Hubster, who has been the same things as me, has already lost about 8lbs. Seriously. Ok, he might be a little better about eating healthier….I have really hard time saying no to free snacks at work….but not so much better that there should be this much disparity. He also spends most of his days walking around a hospital while I sit in front of a computer. But still….I’m exercising and eating (mostly) well….why can’t I lose any weight? I know it shouldn’t be about the numbers, I know muscle weighs more than fat, and I know I feel better so  I shouldn’t be upset when I look at a scale…but I am. I want those numbers to go down. Oh well. Maybe I should start doing jumping jacks in my cubicle…that wouldn’t be weird, right?

 

 

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So, for the past three-ish days I’ve had intentions of updating this blog. I planned to talk about what I great weekend I had (dinner out! a museum exhibition! general lazing around/cuddling with my husband!) but I got distracted. With the thing that always distracts me: television.

I’m not going to lie, I love me some TV. I love getting into a really good show, watching the characters evolve and story lines unfold. This has actually been a fairly recent phenomenon. When I was younger, there were shows I watched (like everything on TGIF, obvs) but it wasn’t a big deal if I missed a week or stopped watching for a while. In college my friends would all get together to watch Grey’s Anatomy and eat cookies every Thursday, which we continued to do even after most of us got sick of the show because it was really just an excuse to get together and eat cookies. But I only watched a few other shows during college, and again it didn’t really matter if I missed things.

Then I went to grad school. To a city where I didn’t know anybody. And had a lot of free time (well, sometimes). And most importantly: got Netflix. As a result, I spent a lot of time going through entire series of shows in a short amount of time and got completely absorbed in them. Don’t worry, I didn’t become a total hermit. I did make friends and spent plenty of time outside of my apartment. But even so, living alone makes it really easy to do whatever you want, and sometimes that would involve having a marathon of whatever show I was into at the moment. I do not apologize for this; it was awesome.

I actually get way more into television shows than movies. With TV, once I’ve gotten into a show, I know the characters, the general purpose of the show, and that I already like it. With movies, you have to spend the first 30 minutes just getting to know the characters, once it’s over, it’s over (or at least until a sequel comes out). I also always feel like it’s a crap shoot whether a movie will be any good or not. Sure, some movies are more likely to be good, but I just love the familiarity of sitting down with a TV show I love and seeing a new episode with the same people and places rather than picking a movie that looks somewhat interesting and hoping it lives up to it’s description. My husband is the other way – he always wants to find a movie on netflix when we have time to watch something together, whereas I just want to watch a TV show we both love.

To bring this back to the beginning of the post, over the weekend I got completely caught up in the elegant, fascinating, and drama-filled world of Downton Abbey. I kept seeing the show come up on different parts of the interwebs, so on Friday after work I thought I’d check it out as I didn’t have a show I was netflixing at the moment. I was hooked after the first episode. I watched the entire first season over the weekend (to be fair, only 7 episodes) and the first episode of the second season, which debuted Sunday night on PBS. It is SO GOOD. So many things about it are amazing: the setting, the clothing, the characters (I love the interplay between the family upstairs and the servants downstairs). I also looooooove a good drawn-out love story, and Downton has more than one of those! I’m now going through serious withdrawal, even though the next episode will be out soon. I hate being able to go through multiple episodes at once, and then being forced to slow down once I’ve caught up! It’s torture, I tell you, torture!

So anyway, that’s where most of my weekend went, with a few exceptions. Sucked down a late-Edwardian inspired drain.  Oops.

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I have this problem. I care what people think of me way too much. Not so much people I know, but strangers. Especially when I’m doing something new or complicated. I am constantly afraid that random people will know that I don’t know what I’m doing.

For example. My job has a cafeteria where you can buy lunch. I generally prefer to bring my lunch simply because it’s cheaper, but for the first month or so that I worked there I also was petrified of buying lunch because I didn’t know exactly how the cafeteria worked. Did you order things? Did you just grab whatever you wanted? Was it all a la carte or did you have to get certain things together to make a meal? What would people think of me if I just stood in the middle of the room looking confused as I figure it out?

The obvious answer to that last question is that they would think I was new. They might even try to help me. And to be honest, how confusing could it be? Its a cafeteria, for chrissakes. But still, I didn’t want to buy a lunch because I was afraid of looking stupid. And then one day, I forgot my lunch at home and was forced to buy something (or starve). I went in, looked at my options, was probably confused for about 2 minutes, then found a slice of pizza to eat and paid. Success! I was so proud of myself – I figured out the cafeteria! But really, I shouldn’t have been nervous at all. What does it matter if I look confused in the cafeteria?

Often, I try to avoid these situations all together. Ever since I was 16, I’ve only ever gotten the oil changes in my car at a small oil change place in my hometown. I tell people I do this because it is cheaper, which is somewhat true, but also because I know how that place works. There was no worry of the oil change guys thinking I was an idiot for not knowing where to park my car, when/if I should get out, how to pay. This plan was fine when I was in college and could put off oil changes until I got home and was even easier when I moved to a Big City after college and didn’t bring a car. Now, I have a car in the suburbs and although I live close enough to my parents that I could, in theory, drive there to get my oil change, it would be pretty silly to do. My solution? Convince the hubster to go get the oil changes in my car for me. It gets the job done, but really, it just allows me to hide from new things. Not really a good plan.

My new goal is to try to ignore my nervousness and just do things that need to be done/that I want to try. I’ve been putting this goal into action this week as I’ve been going to the workout room in our apartment complex. I always find gyms a little scary because you have to figure out how to work the equipment, then you have to not look like an idiot while you use it, and to top it all off you have to worry about feeling like you look lazy if your workout seems easier than the guy’s next to you. It seems even worse in the workout room here because it’s a small room and there’s often just one other person there, making it much more likely they are looking at or thinking about you. I’ve often chickened out in the past when there’s other people in there, but this week I’m making myself go in. I keep telling myself that whatever they think about me, it’s less important than what I think about me – which is that I’ve been gaining weight and need to work out. Who cares if that guy just ran 6 miles on the treadmill while you are switching back and forth from running to walking every 2 minutes, and aren’t always sure what buttons to press? If anything, he should be impressed that you are making the commitment to get in shape.

It’s working. I’m working out every other day, and feeling less scared of going in the gym. Now I just need to do the same thing when other confusing situations come up. I need to tell myself it doesn’t matter what others think. Most likely, they aren’t thinking anything of you. Even if they do think you look stupid, that doesn’t have to bother you unless you let it.

I really like that last line: Even if they do think you look stupid, that doesn’t have to bother you unless you let it.

Now I just need to remember that.

 

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Fitness

Like many other out there, I’m trying to start January out with a new fitness routine. However, I’m trying not to make this a “New Year’s Resolution”- like I said in my last post, those are so easy to break its almost comedic to mention them. Actually, my goal is to get back to where I was about 2.5 years ago- the height of my adult fitness life. Throughout spring, summer and fall of 2010 I really got into running, and I actually was running about 3 miles regularly by late summer. I know that’s not much to some people, but to me it was pretty impressive. I was proud of myself for not only reaching that 3 mile mark, but also for making it a habit. I ran 3-4 days a week, without having to force myself to do it, and if I didn’t run as often I wouldn’t feel right. I’d have less energy, I’d be sadder. It was awesome! When you attempt to start working out regularly, it’s really hard to get to that point where exercise is enjoyable and you don’t feel like quitting every other day. I was so happy to reach that point.

However, things began to slack of slightly after that point I didn’t stop completely, but I slowed down and never really picked it back up at full steam. When winter came, I was forced indoors to a treadmill, which is never as fun. I would still work out fairly regularly, but I knew I wasn’t doing it as much or running as long. Then around spring, I was excited to get back outdoors, but I was also swamped with work as I was finishing my master’s degree and graduating. After graduating, I moved back home for about a month, and again tried to get back in the groove of running. I ran, but it wasn’t as good. And I was still crazy busy because I was in the last stages of wedding planning (which was extra crazy as I had put a lot off while I was still in school). I was still in fairly good shape, but not as good as I had been- an although no one else claims they could tell, I felt like my wedding dress didn’t fit as well as when I bought it.

After the wedding, I moved in with my husband, and had plenty of time to run…..since I was unemployed. The bad thing was that there was no good place to run around our apartment. My best option was to drive to a nearby park which had a one-mile path and run around it multiple times. Don’t get me wrong, I did it, but it just wasn’t very fun. So again, I didn’t get as excited about running as I had the summer before and I never really got past the 2 mile mark all summer.

And then fall hit. And I got a job. And that’s when it all really when to hell (although yay job!). You see, I like to run in the morning, to jump start my day. But when I say morning, I mean like 8 or 9 am. This worked fine when I was in grad school with all evening classes, or when unemployed. But it didn’t work so well with my new job, where I worked from 8am to 4:30, and had a 40 minute commute. If I wanted run in the morning, I’d have to get out really early. I tried running in the evening a few times, but it just didn’t stick. Plus, as the days started getting shorter, it would get dark soon after I got home.  No good. However, I didn’t give up and become a couch potato just yet-I figured if the problem was that it was dark, and that I hated getting home and then leaving again to go work out, what if I just worked out at home? It doesn’t have to be running. I got a fitness program for the Wii and started using it regularly. I even got up early to work out at 5:30 occasionally- not so bad when it’s in your living room! But some of the exercise it gave were…..weird. A lot of hopping, jogging in place, other high-impact activities. And then my hips and legs began to kill me! Some days I couldn’t walk! I thought I was just working too hard, so I’d take a break for a week, then start back up and the pain would come back. Finally, I just quit. I hurt. It wasn’t fun. I was stressed at work. And I just didn’t feel like caring.

 

That was about two months ago. So 2 months of being fairly lazy, coupled with the ridiculous food of Thanksgiving and Christmas – I can feel myself gaining weight. The scale has been creeping up for the last year, but only now do I feel fat. I needed a new plan. What better time to start than in the new year!

 

I’m going to try the Couch to 5k program, on the treadmill in my apartment’s workout room. There will be some challenges- The workout room is not connected to my building and is about a quarter mile away – not a big deal to walk in the summer but a cold walk in exercise clothing in the winter, but so short I feel silly driving – so I’m trying to stop in on the way home from work (that way, I get to drive without feeling like a lame-o). For the next month or so, it will still be dark out when I work out, which makes me want to just curl up on the couch, not run on a treadmill, but I think I can fight through it. My body is telling me I need a change. Also, I will have a  program telling me what to do (rather than “just go run for a bit”) and a goal- a 5k I want to run in April! I’ve never run in a race before, so I’m really excited. If all goes well, I also want to run in a relay marathon in October (doing approximately a 10k distance – I have no full marathon aspirations). I had my first run yesterday – I decided to skip to week two in the program because week one looked too easy – and yet boy am I sore today! But I’m excited to get back into it – ready to feel, and look, my best!

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Happy 2012!

One of my goals for the new year (note that I said goals, not resolutions….resolutions are just waiting to be broken) is to actually use this blog. Rather than just say I’m going to do it though, I want to break down all the reasons why I want to and how I intend to do it. I shall do this with bullet points- I love bullet points!

Why I want to use the blog more

– I feel better when I write. Sometimes just because I need to tell a funny story, or because I can work though a jumble of emotions better when I write it out. When I organize my thoughts, I organize my life.

– I want to start connecting with other people in blog-land who have similar interests as me. That means commenting and posting here! I need to stop being a lurker on other’s blogs and start participating! (This means that if you came here because I recently commented on your blog and you wondered who your new reader was, rest assured I’ve probably been reading it for months. But don’t get scared away! I’m not a stalker, just shy!)

– I used to keep journals and I love going back over old ones to see what I was doing or what I was thinking about in the past. Even though this will be slightly different as I may not post some of my most innermost thoughts on a public blog, it will still be a fun way of preserving this period of my life to look at later!

 

How I plan to make myself blog- since ‘set up a blog’ didn’t get me very far two months ago

– Rather than feel like I must write an entire post at a time, I’ll allow myself to write little bits when I think of them, save them as drafts, and then work on them later. I think I get scared away by feeling like I need a fully formed essay every time I want to write.

– Remind myself I’m writing for myself, not for others. Yes, I want to connect to other bloggers, but I need to not analyze every post I’m considering by wondering how it will come across, if it will be interesting, etc. I’ll write what I want, and if people want to read it they will, and if not they will find another blog. They will not come to my home and mock me for a silly blog post- I mean, I hope not. That would be frightening.

– Maybe try to start some regular series, or do some blog challenges- giving myself a prompt might encourage me to write more, and think of things I wouldn’t think about otherwise.

-Try to write at least a little in the evening before getting sucked into reading other blogs/random interwebs things. Once I’ve spent an hour browsing the web, I never want to write or remember what I was thinking of writing.

So that’s my plan!  Here’s hoping a few more posts happen this week- I’ve got ideas about writing about fitness, travel and lots of other things.

 

 

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