Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This morning I drank my coffee out of one of my old stand-by mugs: it's seafoam green--one of my favorite colors, a tall cup, and one that I took the time to paint and have fired in my hometown. It was my favorite mug that I had in my first solo apartment in 2005 and I've continued to keep it even's broken. The handle broke off in a dishwasher unloading accident not too long after I made it--but it still holds coffee, it still is beautiful, and it is the perfect shape to wrap my hands around. The parts where the handle affixed are a stark white in comparison, bumpy, and if I'm not careful can poke my skin.....but yet, over the years, I've continued to hold on to and cherish it even with its imperfections.

Late morning I went for a run...I needed to clear my mind and to process even in 50 degrees and non-stop rain. Ironically soon into it I found a perfect rhythm, I put my hood down and took my cap off, and lifted my face into the soothing rain. I stopped over by the bus stop near Intel and filled my cap with nuts dropped from the trees, which I then balled up and stuffed into my sweatshirt pocket, before running the rest of the route with this sack bouncing against my ribs upon my return. I came home and emptied them into the glass hurricane on the counter, replicating a similar fall decor I used in my original downtown apartment in 2007, when life was much simpler and yet much was unknown. The glass vessel is the same one I used to capture Major's "gifts," the same one that let me see that my mouse was actually a rat, and that helped me to purge and dispose (although sadly) of the rodents. The glass vessel now holds something basic yet ornamental--and in some ways the return to an old decor is almost like life coming full circle.

This morning I pushed myself to finish my run even though multiple times I didn't see the point and wanted to quit. To keep going I repeated over and over mantras of things I still need to work on "Divorce is okay," "Everyone fails," "Mistakes teach life lessons," "Accept the reality," although at times I still got hung up and realized that as of yet...I still have not entirely LET GO. The run was completed, the end was sprinted, the knee held out, and although I made less mileage this month than last I still made what I'd hoped to accomplish.

It was a good Friday evening through Monday overall. I pushed myself to attend a Halloween get together with an old undergrad friend--I made small talk even when I didn't want to, I smiled, I chatted, I devoured the most amazing pumpkin martini ever, and I left feeling satisfied that I had done something that I struggle sometimes with doing but that also felt good. Saturday I had my next counseling session where I processed a list of items I'd created....and the evening ended with a new experience with two of my gals: eating Moroccan downtown--delish. Sunday included getting my butt to church and visiting an old high school buddy & his family who I haven't dedicated much time to in the last year. I finished my grading in record time that night and spent the rest of the evening just enjoying life and loving on my critters. Monday was just as productive with three hours in the yard, a good catch up and run with G, & then dinner at my favorite pub with G...and Tall D. And the weekend taught me that I don't necessarily miss the marriage...but I definitely miss the companionship. Yet life goes on. We enjoy, we relish, we push ourselves in new ways.

....and four days after we filed, judgment on the divorce was granted. Notification arrived yesterday....that I've been divorced since Friday. Ironically...even when you sign and you know it's coming....its reality still feels....well, strange. Divorced? Who me? But yes, that's now my real reality....

And while some would debate me on this, I can't help but think that someone greater than all of us granted this transition in life to happen and in fact, gave it His blessing. In a county known for weeks to months for divorces to be granted...this one took four days...maybe I'm seeing signs where they don't exist, but these days I need all the signs I can get.

Still accepting, still embracing, still transitioning.....but the reality of life door is shut and it's time to step across the threshold to see what the future will hold......

...although my therapist did put the kaboosh on any dating for 1-1.5 years :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home Office Tour

Continuing on the home tour :)

I haven't done much with/in/around the house & property the last week or so beyond just trying to keep it picked up and functioning, but I figured that the office area was fairly set so it's able to be shared. I honestly LOVE this space. The room has always been sort of a weird shape but this use of it utilizes its length and allows the afternoon sun to truly warm up the space. Ironically all of the furniture in this space is second-hand, thifted, or was built for me. 

The view looking toward the door:
I love the items in this space and the fact that many of them have multiple purposes. The futon is something that we were given second-hand when we first had the house in Louisiana. It's definitely been patched up over the years, but still provides great seating AND supplies extra sleep space when needed. The carved chest used as a coffee table is one my parents had made for them when we lived in the Philippines, thus it's both sentimental and functional. Beyond being a coffee table, currently it's also functioning as a sort of filing cabinet, although I still have to finish this Pinterest-inspired project.

Looking forward: 
One of the other things I really love about this space is that it holds an actual seating area, so it's a great space to grade comfortably. The drapes were swapped out to these lighter ones I had stored in the hall closet--allowing more light in and adding more color to the space. The colors in here are soothing in general but the entire space is surrounded by comfortable items and things that I love. The Ikea chair and stool were both acquired by Tall D from Salvation Army and the pillow in the chair is one that my mom and I made years ago.

The desk & shelving: 
Originally I was going to purchase a L shaped desk for this space and then I decided to attempt to reuse something I already had. Ironically I hated this desk when we had it in Louisiana, but I dragged it out the shed here, cleaned it, & spray painted the top brown--it is actually the perfect size for this space currently. The bench is one my dad made for an old apartment of mine, however it also got spray painted recently and the seat was recovered in faux leather. Eventually I might put the bench elsewhere in the house (I intended it to go elsewhere actually but liked it in here for now) and pick up a second-hand chair and side shelf. The painting is the one I purchased this summer from my best gal's dad after wanting it for the last 8 years. The shelves were originally in the living room (& made by Tall D) and I took them down, cleaned them, finished painting them, and had my brother hang them staggeredly. I love that I can have items that I both love and consistently use on display.

The Closets: 
I also converted this space into a dressing area, so most my clothes and shoes are now located in here. I still need to hang the full-length mirror there on the wall, but space wise it works well to have my clothes in here.

The shelves: 
Loving having so many things easily accessible on the shelves. One basket holds my bracelets, the other holds pens, my stapler, needed items, and containers of spare change & paper clips. Used books & reference magazines, framed pictures I've taken, Goodwill frames hold my race bibs, plants, and my weather report station (which in this location I use all the time now!). The empty spot on the top shelf pictured below is where my camera resides--easy accessible but fun to display! 

And my other secret spot:
the backside of the bench holds my printer/scanner, a container of random cords for computer stuff, & another organizer with stuff I don't use as frequently: 

Definitely a simple room but one that I find to be so comforting and full of so many items that I love!

Monday, October 29, 2012

One Dress, Different Combos & Another Self-Imposed Challenge

So one thing I've been thinking about in regards to this no buying month is the obvious reality that I should just be using that which I already own. I also started wondering whether posting outfit combinations was really in alignment with this whole "buy nothing and focus less on consumerism" mentality again, but upon further thought, I decided that it's okay as long as I'm just focusing on using clothes I already have rather than desiring to purchase more.

Y'all know that I have the tendency to just wear the same general type of things anyway and in some regards I wonder if this whole mentality shift might help me to reduce my wardrobe (and other items) down to what I really use and need. (I mean do I really need three pairs of suede boots when you can't wear suede in the rain...and this is Oregon?!) The catch though is to not restock to over-filling which is what so many of us, myself included, have the tendency to do. So do I really need this? Will I really use it? Do I really love it? Is it functional and is it flattering? Does it have meaning? These are all questions I'm starting to focus on again, especially as I begin to think of the many ways I've spent money this summer on THINGS to attempt to fill me in some way while going through this most recent life transition....hmmm.

The other thing y'all know is that I love dresses and skirts, but seriously, dresses are back to being my go-to item. You just throw a dress over your head, add shoes, potentially add a belt, some earrings, and of course maybe a cardigan---and there ya have it. Accentuate what you want, hide the rest--LOVE. (Sounds like a good motto for life!)

This week I've been thinking about some of the items in my closet. I already cleaned it out earlier this fall, but I also know that there are still other items I almost never wear and there are a few items I rarely wear but also have duplicates of (black button-ups!). I'm waiting on my gal R to come over to look at the stuff I already cleaned out and to decide if there are items left in my closet she'd's so much easier to pass stuff on when I know it'll actually be needed and routinely utilized. My other current issue is that due to all the routine exercise/running and not eating as much due to stress & living solo, I'm finding that half my wardrobe is a little baggy on me these days. I don't want to get rid of much of it, because the (still healthy) weight is guaranteed to come back eventually but it also means that I'm having to keep some things I wouldn't currently wear...and figure out how to alter or belt a lot of items that are a bit looser.

All that being said (gosh I'm wordy these days!), this week I rediscovered a great dress I fell in love with and purchased on sale this summer, and I wanted to see how I could transition it into additional seasons beyond just the summer.

Here's the dress when I wore it to the Women at the Center presentation/dinner downtown in September:

And this is what I came up with for errands the other afternoon when I rediscovered it: 
I also almost wore it to a get-together Friday evening in this same combo but with my skinny jeans underneath--it looked pretty decent and my legs were covered for the cool night. I could also probably wear it with a pair of gray leggings or brown tights with this same combo or with brown flats.

And then because I love to wear the same thing multiple times in one week these days :), I added leggings, flats, and swapped to black extras in order to wear this yesterday to church and to visit my high school friends: 

Upon further thought I could probably also wear this with a similar combo in the form of my dark blue cardigan & blue flats or the same mustard cardigan & orange flats. 

Another example: I just showed you that I wore this black & brown combo last Monday to the courthouse. I seriously love this dress because it can be worn to work yet it's also an item that could be dressed up to go to a winter event also. Plus the dress is incredibly warm and cozy, yet professional. While it's pretty basic I can add warmth with tights and camis underneath and I could play with color via belts and tights also. Today (and most days) I still kept it basic to run to campus with tall black leather boots and a black belt at the waist.

So my challenge for myself this fall and winter is to truly look at what's in my wardrobe and what I have for accessories...and continue to ask myself those questions: Do I really wear this? Do I really love this? Can I wear this multiple ways? Should/could I wear this more and if not, then why am I keeping it? Can I think of someone who would use this more than I? Is it flattering? Is it comfortable? Is it age appropriate? Is multi-seasonal or can I figure out a way to make it function in more than one season?

Because the reality is...we can only wear so many clothes..period. And at this point, I'd much rather have a wardrobe that is full of pieces I love and that can play double duty. Pieces that are flattering, that can be worn in multiple combinations, and that make it incredibly easy to get dressed. I don't need a large wardrobe honestly, I just need pieces that will get the job done and yet still make me feel good while wearing them. And I also know that those pieces are already IN my closet--some will need altering, some will require me to play dress-up to figure out additional combos, but I'd love to get to the point where I can always just grab and go without having much to question! Sometimes less truly is more....

These challenges for myself just keep on growing..... :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Revisiting Old Thoughts & Placing into Action: November Challenge

Wednesday evening as I was packing up my stuff after lecture, I had a student approach me to ask a question. I'd been wanting to touch base with him after a disclosure he'd had in a previous assignment and as much as my job is to *just* teach my students, I always desire to help them be as successful as possible in all aspects of life. This student had had a falling out with his family and was facing homelessness, and while he's connected to case workers and has a good understanding of the local resources, it was still heart breaking to learn in our conversation that night that he was indeed spending his nights on the street until he was able to gain government housing or access into a shelter.

As a now single, female instructor, I didn't feel that I could offer to house him in a spare bedroom and the student continuously repeated that he wasn't looking for sympathy or a hand-out, just a conversation about the reality of working with him to ensure his success in the course. I verified that he had two warm sleeping bags to at least attempt to protect him against our 30-40 degree nights and asked about socks, coats, and access to food. So at the conclusion of our conversation, the student vanished into the night.....and I headed out into the elements in my leather boots, wool hooded trench, and scarf before piling into my gas guzzling cross-over to stop at the store to buy more food when I already have full cupboards and then heading home to my huge house that I've fretted over rearranging and redecorating twice in the last six months and yet is only currently housing one person...all the while thinking about how much excess I take for granted, how far I've come from my years embracing the simplicity movement, and feeling guilty about my current state of always wanting more or something different even when I have SO much already and when so many others are just trying to get by on so little.

Thus this is where my mind has been the last few days--still contemplating my student's reality, still wondering how I got back to here, still pondering how I can re-bridge the gap, still asking myself how I can do or give more, still trying to figure out how to live in one world yet also in a way as to not so negatively impact others and the decline of the world/planet.

Some of these thoughts surfaced again the next day when I also discovered that one of my former veteran students/employees is also facing homelessness--granted he has more choice & resources ahead of him than my other student, but still disconcerting.

And some of these thoughts were also brought to light back in late September when I attended Women at the Center hosted by Oregon Environmental Council and Population in Action, when I was again reminded how much our current levels of over-consumption, toxicity, and over-population are truly not sustainable. I was saddened to learn that Anna, based on her size and breed, uses and consumes more resources than 5 citizens from third world nations. I was forced to again see the negative projections that the future holds based on our levels of consumerism. I watched this film and heard the overview of this report based on the state of the world. Regardless of whether or not you believe in climate change, I would think that you can't help but agree that the world has been changing...and that we live in a world of inequities--inequities that those of us that "have" frequently turn a blind eye to. We tend to take our lives for granted...and still want more to fill it. And in this, I have absolutely not been an exception.

The last few weeks but the last week especially, I've spent many moments thinking about my current levels of consumerism (even as I still awaited my Iphone 5 on order, enjoyed my new blue-ray player that replaced my dead DVD player, and made another trip to Target....sigh...FAIL). I've tried to think through why I'm making the spending/credit decisions I am. I've wondered if I should give up Pinterest and/or FB. I've looked around my house and asked myself to be settled with the furniture I have now (that in it's current arrangements meets my needs). I've asked myself to think less about wants and to recognize that I have my NEEDS met. I've reflected again on the old adage to "live simply so that others can simply live." I've again thought about advertising for a housemate. I've asked myself how I let myself stop seeing the world and instead only focused on seeing myself....

In the last three months, I've again started to pray for God to remove suffering from people across the world--even if just for a few moments at a time. Today I sent another donation to the gospel mission. I still have a full bag of clothes to pass on. I'll recycle the old DVD player rather than throw it out. I frequently share how I can.....But all these things are minimal, especially when I'm still living a life of ME, ME, ME and I WANT, I WANT, I WANT. I'm reading Flower Patch Farm Girl consistently this month about her series on Going (even though sometimes it's also waiting to hear & see just where God wants you), and I'm wondering how I can USE MY LIFE to do more, to be the reality of what I want the world to be.....

Today a line of Jason Marz's stood out to me "I like the way you think, but I hate the way you act...." I was again reminded of needing to THINK but yet to also follow through on those thoughts via my actions. I imagine the next several months to be a period of reacquainting with myself--the old version, the current version, in order to determine the version I want to be in the future. And part of what I need to be doing during this process is again remembering how much I have and yet how little I truly need. I need to remember to be settled in myself and in my soul rather via the way the rest of the world would like to view us all. I need to reread old posts like this one from my former self on living simply.

So, in terms of actions and in a way to re-explore the notion of simplicity and less consumerism, I'm thinking about making November a buy-nothing month. No new gadgets. No books. No clothes. No new house goods. I'm stock piled on feminine products, bathroom goods, clothes, canned foods, bedding, etc. I'd grant myself permission to buy fresh fruits & veggies. I'd grant myself permission to potentially buy plane tickets for December. And because I honestly feel like I NEED to be social to keep my mental health up these days, I'd also grant myself 1-2 social events/meals out each week. I'd prefer to keep it to one out, but we'll see.

There's so much more I should and need to be doing...but this might be a place to start. Buy nothing, be mindful, focus on gratitude, PROVIDE where and how I can, APPRECIATE, enjoy, reacquaint, settle in, and GROW--all sound like great words and great actions for November.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Half-Week of Outfits & Some Interview Talk

Saturday Lunch w/ N & Errands:
The irony is that this is what I came up with when "nothing else worked." Bahaha.

Black cardigan & white cami: recent sale Target
Dress: old Target
Black leather boots: Jc Penney
Black belt: from another dress

Monday Courthouse Trip:
I guess this is what you wear to sign divorce papers---black & brown seemed like the right combo for this event.

Black cowl-neck sweater dress: Dillard's (south)
Brown belt & flat boots: Target
Hooded tweed coat: old Target

COMMENCE: One shirt, three wears :)

Monday Evening Happy Hr w/ T: 
I fell in love with this peach long-sleeve shirt from Target over the weekend, so on Monday I went back for it. As a kid, my mom had my colors done and they suggested I shouldn't wear peach as my skin undertones are peach. However when I have a tan, peach just makes the tan pop more...and at this point in my life I think I've figured out when I can wear what.

Long-sleeve shirt: Target $12
Jeggings: old Wal-mart
Leopard print flats: old Target
Gold accessories: old ring from Granny, earrings from Mom's closet, bangle from art museum gift store

Tues Morning of Grading at Home:
Have I mentioned that when I get something new, I love to wear, wear, wear it :) Haha!

Same shirt
Leggings: recent Target $8
Old faux Uggs: Macy's
Long sweater: old Old Navy

Side note: I would never wear this outside of my property. I don't believe in wearing leggings unless my rear & upper legs are covered by something like a sweater dress. People don't need to see those aspects of myself.....nor of others, if I'm being honest....
Side side note: My hair is getting longer! :) I'm beginning to swear by biotin supplements.

Tuesday Evening Lecture: 
Same shirt
White button-up: Deir's closet 
Black pants: thrifted Express via Goodwill
Black leather boots: Jc Penney

Tues Lecture in Coat & Scarf: 
I'd forgotten that this coat matched with my work pants frequently looks like a knock-off suit, just warmer. Can you believe we're already into pants, boots, tights, and scarf weather?! PS HI ROXI (and Anna in the background if you look...) :)

Military-inspired coat: CK via Costco
Pink scarf: Made by yours truly years ago
Bottoms same as above

Weds Interview & Lecture: 
Today I interviewed for a full-time position I could do in conjunction with my teaching. Honestly the job is fairly ideal as it meshes both my career services experience with my passion for the health field, while granting new experiences. It's a short-term position however (six months max), but the pay would be great--I could pay down some debts, put away into savings just like I did for what I've been living off of now, and then potentially could travel again next summer since the job would end in June. The catch is a) I have to be offered the position first b) I have an interview tomorrow for a similar position that would be part-time and probably more long-term (ie safer) and c) it'd be a big leap in faith right now taking a job that I know would end and continuing to trust that God would open yet another new door when needed......  The interview tomorrow isn't health specific and the pay would be less, but the pros are that I already know the staff, there would probably be flexibility for some vacation, I generally like working part-time, and it's a slightly more secure position. However, finances would be tighter overall than if I had a full-time position. But again, I have to get both jobs first and....Maybe the decisions will be made for me?!

Anyway, this is what I wore to the interview today. I decided to play it professional yet safe. Same outfit you saw before but I added the more substantial black belt rather than using the regular tie belt that came with the dress and is pictured here.

Dress: old clearance Target
Flats: summer Kmart finds
Old tank & tights: old Target
Belt: From another dress

And a Church Outfit from a few weeks back:
Love this outfit btw.

White tank: Thrifted (mom find)
Mustard cardigan: recent Target sale $15
Blue skirt w/ white & yellow dots: Deir's closet
Blue flats: old Target

What's Cooking Good Looking?!

One of the many discussions my gal Deir and I had during my Savannah visit this summer was regarding people actually USING the recipe pins shared on Pinterest. I've definitely used "pins," but more for home decorating and fashion inspiration. One thing I've been trying to do the last week or so is to find additional easy meals, as I'm trying to make sure I eat enough of what I need to sustain....and the antibiotic I'm on requires that I have food in my stomach. Thus over the last week, I've been checking and trying out a few of my food pins, plus adding in some other stand-bys and recipes from ripped out magazine pages.

Here's my disclaimer---I tend to ALTER everything when I cook (ie if I don't have a spice, I use something else...or I use cranberries instead of raisins based on preference, etc)...and I'm not an exact measure type of person--slightly rounded or slightly under is good enough. Plus I'm actually getting in the hang of how to alter some recipes to make just enough for one...or one plus next day's snack or lunch.

So what have I been eating throughout the last week or so?

Breakfast Burritos for dinner---an old stand-by & favorite. Chop & saute a potato, add 1-2 eggs, sprinkle with Tony's, mix in shredded cheese. Smother tortilla with homemade guac, salsa, & sour cream and layer in egg/cheese/potato mix. DELISH!

Waffles for breakfast or dinner. The great thing about waffles--super quick and they can be altered in so many ways. Most recent was adding pecans to the batter, slicing bananas on top, and serving with real maple syrup. Last week it was almond butter w/ sliced strawberries & powdered sugar. YUM! Similar to my once-a-week French Toast experience.

Quinoa w/ peaches, blueberries, a dash of coconut milk, & a bit of maple syrup. Healthy & filling.

4 Cheese Ravioli tossed w/ sauteed tomatoes (from the garden), kale, onion, garlic, & pesto. Altered from this summer's Real Simple magazine recipe.

Tilapia Fish Tacos w/ guac/sour cream sauce & broccoli slaw. Altered from here via Pinterest and absolutely AMAZING.

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap using broccoli slaw. Altered from here via Pinterest.

Baked Apples infused w/ rum & stuffed w/ bisquick, oatmeal, cranberries, pecans, butter, & brown sugar. This arrived via a sweet tooth fix...and provided two days of breakfast.

Pumpkin Soup--actually made by my aunt and altered from this recipe in the Oregonian. Was pretty delish!

Pancakes in the muffin tin---FAIL! Didn't work, so don't try's supposed to produce lil pancake cups that you can fill with fruit. Instead it made pancake muffins that I cut in half and covered with homemade apple butter.

And then I've been sustaining on the usual stand-bys: almonds, bananas, smoothies, dried apples, cranberries, veggies & hummus, V-8 juice, and granola bars. Plus more coconut milk than usual--cause let me tell you, it sure helps get huge pills down much better than water! :) And two meals out: Happy Hour at Old Chicago (DELICIOUS & cheap!) and masuman curry at my favorite Thai restaurant in North Portland (Thai Ginger).

Other diet changes: I'm trying to cut back on some dairy products such as yogurt, cow milk, etc. I'm still sticking with eggs and some cheese in moderation, but am completely sticking with coconut milk and have switched to coconut milk based creamer for coffee. I bought coconut milk based yogurt...but I just couldn't do as of right now I'm just going to do less overall. Somehow I'm back to realizing that most dairy products leave me feeling weighed down, make my face break out more, etc. So I'm going to try the less dairy way of life for a bit again, especially since I've added fish into my diet so I have a steadier stream of protein sources.

Next up on the menu to try?
Roasted Veggie & Black Bean Burritos--Deir made these in Savannah--delish!
BBQ Cranberry Chickpea Wrap--updated: turned out so-so, wouldn't make it again...
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

YUM! Happy eating y'all! Any other good recipes to share?!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Closing in on Finality & Some Gratitudes

Yesterday evening Tall D called and came by. He loaded up some of the stuff out of the garage, we filled out the divorce paperwork, and arranged a time to head to the courthouse today for filing. After he left, I let the tears fall as they may and Anna lay by the front door sad to be left behind, I graded, I mourned, and I went to bed early.

This morning he came by as scheduled. We stopped by Starbucks to pick up coffee and we headed back to the same courthouse where our journey into marriage began 3 and 1/2 years ago. After finishing one final section, the paperwork was notarized, we paid the fees, and if everything was filled out as required, the divorce should be granted within a few weeks. (If not, they mail it back and we re-submit.) We drove back to the house slowly and then sat in the truck at the end of the driveway talking for a bit--catching up on the last several weeks, discussing separate holiday plans, saying the few things we'd allow ourselves to say about how we felt, sharing that we'd still do it over again given the opportunity, acknowledging the difficulty of trying to see each other but tentatively talking about backpacking next summer, attempting to arrange pick-ups for the rest of his stuff, and giving each other one final long hug and emotional verbal exchange before I hopped out of the truck, ran inside, and let the tears fall in the safety of my own home.

Divorce is hard. It's sad. It's bittersweet. It's not like you all don't know that...but I could never have even imagined what it would be like...except by going through it.

In some ways, Tall D and I are fortunate. We've almost always had separate finances, so selecting how to navigate after the divorce in terms of finances is easy. He pays for what's his. I pay for what's mine. Most the details of other bills and things have already been separated and arranged over the course of the months of our separation. There's one more official account to split and then there are two smaller things that I'll still use under his name until upgrades can be made. Everyone keeps telling me to be grateful that we also don't have kids, although I have mixed thoughts about this, since I do want kids....and I think Tall D would have donated great gene material....  I've agreed to continue to house some of his stuff that is tucked along one side of the garage until he can figure out another option eventually, although based on recent circumstances, he might be needing some of it sooner rather than later.

Honestly in some ways, at least with Tall D, and I think with the end of a lot of relationships, it's just that sadness of having to truly force a separation between yourself and another individual who in many ways has been your best friend, your confidant, and that person that you just actually enjoy spending so much time with. Even with the many ways I've felt unsatisfied/unfilled in my marriage or that I felt I wasn't enough for him, I've still really enjoyed the good moments and having someone to spend so many moments with---period. As much as we drove each other batty and left each other worse for the wear in some ways, it's partly because we're both slightly batty to begin with...and in ways that only we get about each other. I also do know that separation between us must ensue, at least for a while, as it's so incredibly hard to see him and continue to recognize the forced change that must exist between us. It's also hard to be okay with him potentially being with someone else or wanting to move on myself if we were to continue spending time together. As much as I want both of us to "get it right" and be happy in the future, it's still a difficult process to watch happen, when you're also still trying to process that it wasn't you who could make it work with that same partner.

All that being said, I am feeling grateful this evening as well. Maybe it was the 3.4 mile jog this afternoon, maybe it was letting myself cry as needed throughout the day, maybe it was a well-timed conversation with a coworker during my quick trip to campus this afternoon, maybe it was happy hour with T this evening--whatever it was and is, I also recognize that I am and have been fortunate:

--I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and spend so much time with Tall D. For the lessons he taught me about myself...and the difficult reality of him finally choosing to let me go. For the opportunity to meet the man he thought he wanted to be...and the newer reality of getting to choose in the future to embrace in my friend set the actual man that he is.

--I'm fortunate to have a great job that I love. For wonderful & supportive coworkers. For the ability to set my own schedule and to know in advance about job security. For two interviews lined up for this week and the opportunity to add needed employment.

--I'm fortunate to be in one of my physical primes. To be embracing good health and reaffirming the notion of balanced health. To be able to run longer distances than before. To be mindful of where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going.

--I'm fortunate to have the capacity to pray as I desire. To believe in God & His son Jesus Christ. To feel their reaffirmed presence in my life and to recognize their guiding hand along the way. To open Bibles and "stumble" upon the passages I most need to read & hear.

--I'm fortunate to be surrounded physically and emotionally by so many wonderful individuals in my life. To have reconnected with old friends, to have made new friends just when I needed them the most. to have developed renewed relationships with many of my family members. To feel unconditional support and love in the truest form from so many has really been amazing.

--I'm fortunate to live in a nation where I have access to things like clean water, curbside garbage and recycling pick-up, so many freedoms, and so many valuable laws to protect us.

--And... I'm grateful for the hope of the future. Even though I have difficult days wondering if the future really could hold the hopes of my heart, I can't help but continue to hope that this shut door might truly lead to a piece of the future I long for...and have longed for. So even though I won't be ready for that future for some time now, I pray and dream that it's reality won't be as far away as I fear...and I'm grateful for the opportunity to believe in its existence again.

--And many thanks to you: those of you who read, comment, and brighten my day with your encouragement, humor, and support. To those who write words that leave me moved, impassioned, and nodding my head in recognition of similar lives. And to those of you who quietly read from a near or far distance. May you each find your own moments of gratitude out of the sorrows that so readily can exist in our lives.

Where one chapter closes, another one duly begins.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Run Like Hell--10K

Woot, woot! Today I completed my first official 10k event...and it felt great! It was a lot of fun completing the run with S from book club, and I was totally impressed with her ability even after not having run for the last two months. The race was about twenty minutes behind schedule for some reason, but we lucked out as it stopped raining/sprinkling about ten minutes before the race was set to begin. By the time it got started, we all were chilly and ready to get moving!

S and I started out middle of the pack and then jogged at a conversational pace for most of it. I kept conversation flowing and pushing the pace as we meandered around other runners, and continued telling stories about mile 3 or 4 when S started really feeling it. She'd told me ahead of time that I could run ahead if I wanted but when you're struggling, it's so much easier to have someone else motivating you on. Like a champ she was able to keep with it though and when we hit mile 5, she knew she'd power on so I kicked my pace up almost to a sprint and started passing as many people in front of me as I could before sprinting the last .2 in to the finish. I finished in 1hr 2mins which really didn't feel too bad given the pace of the run for most of the event.

I could feel my knee pulsing the first mile or so and again at the very end, but for the most part, the 800mg of Motrin at 6:30am did the trick. I honestly felt so good at the end that I contemplated trying to round out the day with an easy 4 mile jog with the dogs...but then decided not to push it. I'll probably try to increase my outings again this week if I can and hopefully get in some more decent miles before the end of the month.

Overall the race felt absolutely wonderful though and left me looking forward to trying to find a 10 miler to complete. S also wants to train for a half, so we're going to try to choose one for next spring or summer and then run it together. Woohoo!

And just because it's somewhat related...I have yet to show y'all yet but this is the new sticker I ordered this summer for my Sorento (after seeing the Hurricane Evacuation Plan sticker on D & J's car in Savannah). LOVE IT! (Although I'm sure my public health emergency preparedness folks wouldn't necessarily think it's as funny :) ....and at this point, I'd add a #3 Pray Hard.
Tsunami Evacuation Plan Square Sticker 3" x 3"
Image and ordering info HERE.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kitchen & Dining Area Tour

So if you want to know what the house looked like when we first moved in, take a look HERE. If you want to know what it looked like earlier this summer when I first wanted to make a few changes, then view HERE. With the most recent changes, there are things I want to highlight, so I'll give you a tour section by section as things continue to finalize, even though the dining area shown here is not going to be the total final product either ;)

Items got moved off the counters & stream-lined. Cupboards were rearranged. I'm still thinking about actually growing herbs in that window behind the sink....

Table & rug got moved into this area. New white curtains hung. Eventually I'd like to either bring in the old picnic table or purchase a large farm table for this area, and along the right wall (not pictured) I'd like to have an old farmhouse bar/buffet. Having the table in here just makes more sense to me.

Nothing as easy as fall squash in an old bowl--especially since the squash can be made into soup as winter approaches--double duty!

You can tell in this picture that when they remodeled the kitchen in the 90s, they had this spot made to fit the size of their microwave. I finally decided to move my recipe books to fill the spaces surrounding my microwave and I seriously love it. (Although it also might still get some sort of sign to fill the space above :))The glass cupboard to the right also now holds a picture I took at the farmer's market in Savannah and Mom & Dad's old wood bowls that are now in my possession. I like the idea of being able to see beautiful things, even in the kitchen, plus the space behind the large picture is the perfect spot to stow my food dehydrator! :)

Before food was stored in different areas throughout the kitchen, but when I rearranged I decided to put all the canned and bulk food items in the actual pantry. I used left-over glass jars to store grains & beans. I already had large plastic tubs for flours & sugars. There's one shelf designated to pastas, one to extra canning supplies, and two for baking items. It just makes so much more sense to have the food (almost) all in the same location!

I say almost because I did create two specialty cupboards. One is that bottom corner you can see to the right of the pantry, it has a shelf specifically for the blender & my smoothie extras and another shelf that holds  coffee supplies. The other cupboard is a snack & breakfast cupboard so it has all the cereals, oatmeal, dried fruits & nuts, granola bars, crackers, popcorn & my tea supplies.

Some other changes: I decided that items that get used a lot should be left out/visible, so the two cast iron skillets stay on the stove top ready to use and so does the stove-top coffee maker. I also hung a couple oven mitts on the wall next to the oven, so they'll be easier to grab. The main oils stayed next to the stove top & the utensil container got moved closer. The towel to air dry hand-washed items will stay on the counter, but my compost container got moved under the kitchen sink. I also moved all the spices & vinegars into a small cupboard that's right next to the stove/oven--made sense to have them all located within reaching distance of the cooking area. My plates/bowls stayed where they were, but all mugs/glasses/wine glasses got moved into a cupboard right next to the fridge and next to where the built in wine rack is--again just made sense! My towel & linen drawer got cleaned out and organized--any that were too stained got put in my newly created rag basket in the garage. I now have one shelf in a cupboard designated for organized left-over containers and the lazy susan continues to hold baking bowl sets and now has oversized/bulk items like vinegar & extra oil on the bottom part as they just won't fit anywhere else. 

For the first time, the kitchen really feels like it makes sense! Granted I was the one who unpacked and located stuff originally, but this round is a much improved version-HAHA! Definitely enjoying all the changes :)

Outfits: Fall Transition

Tuesday Lecture:
Merlot dress: old Walmart clearance from Louisiana
Brown shoes: oldies from Lousiana
Brown belt & Mustard cardi: Target (still available)
Gold cuff: Art museum gift store

Weds Lecture: 
Patterned tunic: summer BR outlet (and I have mixed thoughts on it...)
Black cardi: recent Target sale
Work weight denim pencil skirt: Target
Black flats: Kmart

Weds Teaching: 
Dress: Deir's closet
Black flats: Nordie rack 
Black cami & gray cardi: oldie Target
Black belt: came w/ another dress

Almost morning coffee w/ cuz, but I didn't like it. As much as I've gotten comfortable with some skinnies, I felt this outfit made my hips look way too wide and showed my legs more than I'm comfortable with. Somewhat Pinterest inspired but pass....until I change the bottoms to my merlot skirt that is... :) 
Leopard flats: old Target
White button down: Deir's closet
Gray cardi: Target
Skinnies: old Walmart

Actual coffee outfit: 
Striped sweater: old Target
Same pants as above
Red scarf: hmmm?
Red hooded pea coat (not pictured): CK via Costco

Most recent favorite purchase & totally Pinterest inspired:
ie worn for errands, one night teaching when I was running late, church, uh, everywhere....
Striped dress: recent Ross ($16)
Black leggings: way old Target
Brown boots: old Target
OR black flats from Nordies Rack

Old jeans: The Limited
Black flats: Nordies Rack
Black & gray long-sleeve: old Old Navy
Black down vest: OLD LL Bean

HAHA This was fire pit night and that the gals and I laughed and I HAD to snap a picture. The irony is that people would totally wear this here out and about! :) Originally I just had the leopard dress belted with leggings, and the boots while running errands earlier in the day, but threw the sweatshirt and beanie on for the cold out back in the evening! :)

Leopard dress: old Ross
Black leggings & brown boots: old Target
Gray sweatshirt: H&M


...and that's Rats, as in I have them. DISGUSTING!

A few nights ago I was woken up at 4:30am by Major catching a squeaking creature. I could hear it squeaking and him chasing it, so Anna and I went into the living room to investigate. At the time I'd thought that Major brought the creature in (although now I'm not so sure). At 4:45 I'd finally caught the thing and thrown it out in the front yard, dropped Major in the front yard next to it, and locked the cats out of the house before coming back to bed. When I woke up later in the morning, I'd discovered remains outside the cat door and was glad to see Major had taken care of the issue....or so I thought.

...UNTIL today when I was vacuuming the house and lifted an item in the almost empty TV area only to watch a creature (what I'd been thinking were mice....actually are small-to-mid sized rats) scurry to hide itself in the drapes. Again I went to find Major who eventually caught it but I again scooped it up, bagged it, and uh killed it and disposed of the body. Enter phone call to my father: "uh, Dad, do you think I have a mouse/rat issue?" and of course his response was in the affirmative. Here's where I cursed being newly single and getting to deal with this infestation solo--the joys! :)

Off to Bi Mart I went to purchase D-con and plastic bins to contain the chicken feed, which is likely the attraction for the rats....if I'd only I'd known the chicken feed part SOONER.

The dogs have been running around the shed in the backyard excitedly for about a week and peeking underneath it, so I'm pretty sure that the rodents are burrowing/reproducing/living underneath the shed and are probably happily gorging off chicken feed and the compost bin which is also right next to the shed. At this point, I still can't tell if the rats are also living in the house or if the cats have been bringing them in. Regardless I've placed four D-con baits under the shed and moved the extra chicken feed into plastic bins in the shed, as well as placed two baits in the garage and a total of five in the house. Tomorrow I will also be removing the feeder from the coop and will begin feeding the chickens out of a bowl in the morning and emptying the bowl at night. From my reading online and talking to my chicken friendly relatives, apparently chicken feed is a huge attraction for rats.

And how do I know they're rats and not mice now? Well I'd had a suspicion since their fur was gray and coarse with thicker tails than I'd imagined a mouse to have, and today I snapped a pre-death picture of the one guy that I showed to my aunt and uncle this evening during our viewing of the Duck football which they laughed and assured me that it's a rat problem and not one of mice! Blah! Especially as I'd found a few droppings in the bedroom while vacuuming, so I went on a mad hunt prior to crawling into bed tonight...and I've shut the door going into the room. Here's hoping there aren't any rats in here with us...and that any that are in the rest of the house can be captured by the cats tonight! (Ironically I've been locking the cats out at night after the last incident, but I think I'm re-evaluating that decision now!)

Keep your fingers crossed I can get it under control and that none of the cats get sick in the process! YUCK!

UPDATE: As of this afternoon, FOUR more baits were set under the shed. The large amount of excess food in the coop was removed and a small container of it was placed where I can easily access & stow it in the evenings. Additionally I realized that the coop isn't completely sealed off so rats can easily enter the coop via the doorway and another corner where the chicken wire isn't connected. The random cut wood thrown behind the shed got relocated into the shed for drying, which should also decrease habitat for bugs & other critters. The chicken's boxes also got cleaned out to decrease potential for rats to investigate.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happily Exhausted

It's been a week since I last posted but I promise I've thought about it many, many times! :) I've been busy, I've been tired, and honestly I've gotten a ton done. Redecorating/project doing/rearranging continues to be a go-to coping strategy, but I'm going to attempt to force myself to slow down and just chill out for a bit in the next few days as well. I need to focus on sleep, I need to eat well, I need to heal, and honestly, I just need to, well, BE--present...and still.

So let's see, what to update on?!

Health: I finally called on Monday and made both a doctor and dentist appointment. The doctor's appointment was this morning and I walked in with 4 additional items to take care of besides the recurrent cough. The results? The cough will eventually go away, probably bacteria induced bronchitis but she prescribed a round of antibiotics and an antihistamine to help. The knee pain is probably due to overuse. Based on location she didn't think it'd be a problem and suggested 1-2 weeks off from training (although 2-4 mile runs are okay) and then picking it back up. I'm to take Motrin for the pain and to reduce inflammation...and it's already working. I got a Tetanus booster w/ whooping cough vaccine. The mole on my back checked out fine, and I had some lab tests run to ensure that everything else is in order too. Interestingly they measured my height and I've grown 1/4 inch since high school....and I've lost 12 pounds since January (although I'm sure my weight was even lower a few weeks back). Dentist appointment is scheduled for November and I'm a little hesitant to hear what all might need to be done beyond a general cleaning.

Training: Obviously my training has been off since traveling and the knee issue. I honestly was going to postpone the half goal until later in the year....but the physician (who was someone I went to grad school with actually....and a runner) assured me that I should be able to manage, even if  I'm using Motrin as needed. I had a "good" run on Sunday--meaning that I wanted to vomit every 1-2 miles from eating a kale scramble prior to running and my knee hurt like the dickens after 4 miles....but I still managed to make 6 miles and I'm happy with that. The fact that I can run 6 miles with a bum knee and wanting to puke makes me pretty impressed with my current physical health status actually. Mentally I know I can make 13.1 at this I've just got to get my body back in gear. My 3.6 mile run yesterday was awesome, even though the first mile was fairly painful, but as I pushed on, it got better and I was able to kick it into fairly high gear. This Sunday is Run Like Hell downtown and I'm running the 10k for fun with a gal from book club. Excited to run another organized race...and to be doing it with a friend!

Work: I've been grading like crazy--both online and in person classes! One thing I've been focusing on is trying to return to my passion and drive for being a great instructor. It's been incredibly rewarding already to have great feedback from students, and I can't believe that we're already almost at the half-way mark for Fall Term--where does time fly?! First exam was given this week, so I'll need to run scantrons and grade essays this weekend. Additionally, on Monday I received calls from both potential positions and have interviews scheduled for next week--keeping fingers crossed that I'll be offered both jobs and that one will just feel like the "right fit."

Faith: Church on Sunday was amazing. I almost didn't go, but decided to get out of bed, throw clothes on, and chug coffee IN church....and I was incredibly glad that I did. Not only am I relishing sitting next to my cousin and her husband each Sunday, but the message was incredible and funny too! They had a guest speaker who was originally from Argentina (always near & dear to my heart) and who really recommitted myself (and I'm sure many in the crowd) to re-embracing and accepting our faith. I'm recognizing that I need to get involved IN the church and potentially with an evening homegroup, but am unsure which evening I'm wanting to commit (especially since I already teach in the evenings). My landlord has invited me to her women's group but for some reason I've been hesitant thus far to join...

Divorce: Haven't seen Tall D since our trip to Indiana....and its been incredibly renewing. I'm still working on him to pick his stuff up from the garage and I'll be printing the papers myself this weekend. I'd really like to have this finalized as close as possible to the new tax year. At this point, I've just realized that I'm going to be much better off with this opportunity to begin again. I can't change the decisions of the past, but I'm recommitting myself to the choices of the future...and am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to see things in a new light and been given another opportunity at happiness and to pursue the life that I think God intended for me to live. Still have a few final things to take care of, but I'm really looking forward to the moment when things can officially be severed and I can truly move on for real.

Counseling: I've self selected with the support from the counselor to space my sessions out at this point. She continues to be impressed with how much I'm processing and the growth that has occurred since our initial session. We're still working on some key items, but we've started transitioning into new topic areas too. I'm thinking about choosing to implement nightly journaling for a bit to help organize my thoughts more clearly--seems like a good process to utilize currently.

Projects: My biggest focus honestly has been returning the house into the state of a home---MY home. And I'm honestly embracing adding back in the things I loved before, ie I've majorly replenished my throw pillow and throws stock---nothing quite like comfy items to snuggle with and extra color/patterns. I've purged, I've reorganized, I've daydreamed, I've cleaned like crazy, and I was fortunate to have my brother come up on Saturday and help me move furniture, hang things, and saw wood. So here's a list of some of what's been done:
---ordered, received, & assembled new leather chair for living room
---unscrewed shelves in living room, filled holes, repainted
---purchased new & used frames, selected prints, battled printer for entire night, finally arranged pictures as desired and hung in lay-out on walls
---cleaned bathroom
---dusted cobwebs from every room in house, washed light fixtures, killed spiders
---cleaned mini-blinds in guest room (this job needs beer next time....or to be farmed out...)
---rearranged guest room furniture
---created craft closet in hallway & organized items in it
---turned front room into office, had bro hang shelves, hung art work, arranged items on shelves, moved futon into space, found old desk in shed & spray painted...twice, spray-painted and recovered old chest made by Dad to be used for desk seating, moved all office goods into new office and organized
---weeded out old files/photos/magazines
---reorganized clothes & moved into office closets to create a dressing space
---cleaned kitchen, removed Tall D's extra items, reorganized cupboards & fridge to better fit needs, tossed out items from fridge, created improved pantry w/ more storage solutions, created snack & speciality cupboards
---moved TV into old dining area and moved table into old den
---researched potential couches & buffets on craigslist (& short term housemates)
---swapped area rugs around in house
---swapped curtains around in house, purchased & hung new set in new dining area
---organized linen closet & napkin/towel drawer in kitchen
---organized front entry closet
---purchased fabric for more throw pillows
---purchased small cast iron pan
---turned coffee table into office storage
---hammered together & cleaned pinterest inspired sign base
---measured & marked additional wood for two more signs
---came up with idea for wood/faux log storage in living room
---reorganized closet in my room
--weeded out & reorganized some of my pinterest boards

Needless to say...I'm tired, plus these LATE nights aren't helping :) But I do love the look of things and I'll post pictures once it's all finalized! It's nice to be creating a space that's my own again...and to really be USING each space in my home once more. I feel like I've been nesting and happily so. I'm eating meals at the table. I'm hanging out grading in the office. I've been sitting on the couch in the evenings enjoying a fire and a beer while grading. I'm still relishing the extra plushness of the bed. And I'm longing to enjoy a bit of TV watching in that area once I get seating arrangements finalized. I'm even out in the backyard with the animals and using the garage for spray painting. It's seriously nice to be using the place again and its been great to watch long-awaited projects unfold!

And with that I'm off to sleep so I can get up in time to enjoy a coffee date with my cousin! Hope you each have been doing well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mid-Week Randoms

---As much as I love teaching online, its always a bummer to stare at the computer upon grading day!

---I'm feeling so fortunate for my teaching jobs. I seem to have three great groups of students this term and the material has become routine enough that it's fairly straight forward. My boss and I just set my schedule for the next two terms...and I'm already trying to negotiate summer term start dates. (First ever family vacation in June....)

---Bum knee is coming on and I'm pretty disappointed about it. I'm not sure if it was the beach run, overuse, or maybe a "knee jerk" from the dogs, but the last two days of runs have consisted of running but also hobbling. I'm contemplating doing that which I shouldn't do....and attempting to see if I can get all 13.1 miles in this weekend or next to obtain my goal and then easing off for a few weeks. Although I'll have six miles to do for Run Like Hell later this month. It's been great to finally feel like 4-5 miles is just an easy routine jog however--I'm so glad to have reached this point!

---As awesome as it is that my house is situated so it keeps cooler in the summer, I'm already freezing and it's only October. As I type this I have thick socks, two layers on the bottom, and three layers up top...and I'm still cold. How long I make it without the heat this year has yet to be determined...but it's not looking too good.

---I went on a major purging/organizing rampage the other night. Most everything of Tall D's is boxed up and in the garage or shoved into the corner of one closet. I finally cleaned out my own closet and the kitchen cupboards. I have a bag of clothes for one of my coworkers to go through and I took a small load of stuff to Goodwill this week. There's stuff up in the garage attic that I'll need to go through at some point, but it feels good to be getting rid of "stuff."

---On a related note, I'm redecorating/rearranging AGAIN. While not financially the most prudent, making the house truly my own has been a great coping strategy and helped me feel like I'm headed back toward my own life. Also this summer I realized I wasn't using certain areas of the house because of the memories they hold or because it didn't make sense to me--thus by rearranging I'm hopeful to really begin to USE all aspects of my home. Most of what I'm doing is just reusing what I already have, although I am hoping to order a replacement sectional and large table once I have additional employment secured. The current pub-type table will go to Tall D and his apartment mates as they don't have one with enough seating for everyone. Any new purchases are some I've been eye balling for years now, and I'll post pictures once I get the space all situated.

---When we purchased our specialty mattress last year, we had stored the extra pillow top mattress pad in the closet. Well the other night I pulled it out and stuck it on the bed, along with oodles of blankets and new king sized pillows. Let me tell you, I feel like I'm sleeping in an awesome luxurious hotel bed, but it's actually all mine! :) In fact 3 out of 4 critics agree, the first night I had both dogs and one cat sleeping on the empty side. :)

---In my rearranging, I uncovered the spot in the guest room where a new section of molding needed to be placed. The landlords had provided the molding months ago but we had the furniture blocking that area and it needed to be cut to size anyway. Once uncovered, I found the length of molding, marked, and cut to size! Pretty sure that was my first use of an electric saw in years and all fingers are still attached! :) Which was good practice because I've had another pinterest inspired project I've been contemplating....

---Made more tomato sauce this week for preserving and have made at least one regular meal daily. Last night's meal was one Tall D used to make and it was nice to be able to make my own variety (pasta sauce & garbanzo beans over couscous). This weekend definitely stimulated my appetite in full force and I feel like I'm hungry all the time. Tomorrow I hope to finish off the tomatoes by canning them after dicing.

---Fingers crossed--both positions I applied for close this week and will be interviewing in the next two weeks. Here's hoping one of them pans out! And I'm definitely remembering to enjoy these lazier, flexible days.

---Trying to remember to enjoy the small moments of life. Case in point: watching Major climbing up into the kiwi tree to hide himself for bird catching...and then watching him try to come back down while Anna was anxiously awaiting to chase him :)

---For the last few months, I've been adding biotin to my smoothies. I used to have to do this when I was a vegan 20yo in the dorms, but my hair has been incredibly slow growing in the last few years (it's JUST hitting my shoulders after a pixie I had cut in Nov 2010) so one of the hairdressers suggested I add biotin supplements to my diet again. I have to say--I think it's working. My hair is growing faster and my nails are stronger too.

---Getting excited for the Christmas season. I know it's WAY early and usually I'm not a fan of seeing all the Christmas stuff arriving in the stores in October...but maybe it's the warmth, the sparkle, the message...whatever it is I'm excited for it. And depending on a variety of factors, I'm contemplating spending Christmas outside of the country this year....

Back to grading in-person assignments now, although I'm heading to the sun covered back patio! The term has officially begun :) Looking forward to girls night tomorrow--still feeling so fortunate for so many great individuals and moments that exist in my life!

On the docket for the rest of the week/end: continuing rearranging/decorating, selling my ring, craigslist searching, more grading, some yard work, counseling appointment on Saturday, potential get-together with an old high school friend, Insanity sessions in the garage, farmer's market, church on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hometown Weekend Highlights

What a great long weekend at home y'all! First time I'd felt ready to head down there for any length of time since so many memories exist down there, but it was time...and it was restorative in so many ways.

Reason #1 I headed south: THIS GAL:
Photo: My wonderful sisters.
My best gal, who is more like a sister to me than anything else. We've been friends through the best and some of the worst for 15 years, and while we've had lots of great moments, it also hasn't always been pretty between us. The biggest irony is the last four years have changed both of us in many ways and we've finally come to admit that we've probably always been more alike than we ever cared to admit. I love this girl more than words can express. She's my biggest cheerleader, accepts me for who I am, and is not afraid to tell me the hard honest truth. I'm so thankful for our years of friendship, I'm SO proud of the woman/mama/wife she's become, and I honestly can't wait to see where the future takes her. (And somehow she agreed to have her picture on the take backs girl! ha!)

But all that was to say that she, her hub, and babe have been in Oregon visiting. I spent one mid-day with them at her parent's place during the week, but then headed down to spend the long weekend in our original hometown together. Lots of great moments, including:

--First Friday Wine Walk downtown---totally neat to see our community getting in on this action. Mom was also going with her women's group, so I got to spend time with both Mom and D's in-laws...drinking lots of vino and checking out the local businesses.

--D's also been running (remember, she got my butt out of bed and re-motivated to run while I was in Savannah?), and we had a great run together on Thursday afternoon after I first got into town. Fun to be "training together" across the distance now!

--J's (her hub & my good buddy) mom has an annual Harvest party, so Saturday evening I headed to join them there. J and Tall D share a best friend, so all our mutual friends were there also. After D left, I spent some quality time catching up with D's lil sis and then with Tall D's "fam," and ended the evening with some good convo with J around the fire pit. It was so nice to catch-up with many of my favorite hometown people at one event, and the conversation with the "fam" was really needed and informative....and led me to decide that... yes, I will sign the papers.

Reason # 2: My Parents
This is from last Christmas, but we look the same for the most part...

What can I say? I'm blessed with some amazing parents. Sure we still butt heads about things and Dad will forever feel the need to tell me where and when it's safe for me to do x, y, and z....but my parents are some of the most steady, most supportive people I know. They might not agree with every choice I've made in the last five years, but they will not cease to love me anyway...and they continue to be proud of the woman I've become, even with recent failures and faults. In fact, my father knows my faults so well that he will warn me ahead of time "Remember, be nice" and "Take your time and maybe you shouldn't date for awhile" being some recent gems in the last six months. In his quiet way, Dad's not afraid to tell me how it is either. :)

So a few thoughts and awesome moments regarding my parents this weekend:

--They always spoil me with a trip to my favorite restaurant in town when I visit. Can we say amazing sushi and salads, please? Yum.

--Wine Walk with Mom. I know I already mentioned this, but until recently Mom hasn't been able to drink alcohol. While alcohol isn't a huge deal, it's been fun to be able to do things like this Wine Walk with mom cause she is able to partake these days. FUN!

--Their love of the dogs. You might think this isn't a big deal, except it is. My dad's never been a huge fan of us "kids" bringing our dogs to visit....however because Tall D did such a good job training our girls, Dad actually has come to love my dogs. As in he even asked if I would bring them...and then spent 20-30 minutes the first afternoon hanging with them outside...and even pet Anna's head when we put them to bed in the back of his truck one night. 

--Afternoon beach trip with Dad AND dogs. I had planned to take the dogs to a different beach than usual to run them one afternoon and Dad came along. Again, he rarely comes to the beach and the fact that he rode in the car with the dogs (he's actually allergic) was pretty big. He took pictures while the dogs and I headed down for a very short beach run, and then he met us on the beach on our return. Memorable...and truly awesome. These are the little moments that matter.

--Church on Sunday. Dad runs the projector and sound equipment these days. Mom and I sat in the pews. (Both my parents are heavily involved and/or employed by the church.) The message was good. It was communion Sunday, which I've been itching for, and for the second Sunday this fall, Amazing Grace was sang, causing me to choke back tears. (This was also what Mom would sing to me as a child...)

--And right before I left, Dad gave me a quick tutorial on how to use the Mikita he was passing on to me and we chatted about needed tools, etc. We'd also discussed what I need done around the house, so he and my brother will be rerouting the TV hook-up for me and hanging a few things....

ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: I'm trying to remember to take time to CHERISH the moments with my parents. This trip just reminded me yet again that my parents are truly, well, grandparents and nearing 70...and they won't be here forever. While they frequently make me feel like I'm 16 again, sooner rather than siblings and I will be the ones taking care of them.....

Reason #3: Other Family and Friends

1) I grabbed breakfast with an old buddy of mine and then accompanied him to an estate sale. Being a small town, his cousin and her hub came to the same restaurant and joined us for half our meal. :) Our families have been (church) friends for years and beyond our long-time friendship, there was always an unexplored interest between us that was kind of being questioned when I met Tall D. I'd been looking forward to clearing the air and restoring a friendship, but ironically, the morning did feel a little date-like only making me realize a) again I'm not wanting/ready to date b) I'm enjoying refinding who I am and what I want c) I still want the same qualities in a partner that I'd wanted 4 yrs ago and d) any questioning about my buddy was answered. Was great to reconnect with him though and I hope he and I can continue to recreate our old friendship and support each other through what life grants in the months/years to come.

2) I had coffee with Tall D's lil cousin who needed some support & advice. She was one of my students when I was a student teacher, so it was nice to reconnect and offer some words of support and insight. Tall D is incredibly private, so I'm glad to finally be myself again with our friends and family. Their family is a bit interesting, and I'm so hopeful she'll blaze her way out of the old family patterns. The gal is gorgeous, determined, and incredibly strong-willed; going to be supporting and praying for her however I can.

3) Before heading back on Sunday, I met Brook for a quick lunch. We hadn't connected since our roadtrip to Arizona, so there was lots of updating on both sides. Always great to spend some quality time with another "rock"---so love that gal. I'm blessed to have friends that no matter how much time passes, it's like no time at all when we do get together. (Of course, after 17 years....a few months truly is "no time!")

4) I also briefly was able to check-in with my other best hometown gal's "lil" brother who now lives across from my parents. Always so nice to see him doing well and happy in life...and to warn him to prepare for 600 trick-or-treaters. ;)

Beautiful drive both ways, especially with the trees just starting to turn on the back highways. Tried to stop both on the way down and up to see Granny, but she was out and about each time! And I'm pretty sure I ate more in the four days of this trip than I had in the entire week prior--still stuffed!

Hope you had a good weekend too!