Monday, December 30, 2013

End of December, MidVacation Update

Healthy, happy, feeling fulfilled. These are the words I used to describe myself today and are the things I've been thinking on over the simple busyness of the last few weeks. Blogging is blogging. Sometimes I post to keep a running record for myself of where I've been and where I'm heading, sometimes I hope to maintain connections with others via the blog, and sometimes I just let it lay where and how it is.

I don't know that I'd truly say that things have been "busy" as the days kind of have a simple joy to them too and I try to just focus on one or two things each day that happily fill the time. Two weeks of break goes rather quickly I realized, as I woke up this morning and thought about needing to finish prepping for the upcoming term that starts in exactly one week. I already have my term prepped as a student, but I need to prep for my instructor role and alter the courses that I regularly teach. The dogs are lazily lounging by my feet, there is a cup of tea sitting on the ottoman to my side, and I've spent most the morning lost in my own thoughts and reflections. Sometimes it's just nice to have time to b.e.

I'm halfway through that book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker that I've been wanting to read for over a year. It might turn out to be the only book I read fully over break but I'm okay with that. It's words and reflections are allowing me to re-ponder the years of my life when I focused on living a more simple and mindful life that included more awareness of how my actions truly impact the globe as a whole. I also was gifted "MiniFarming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre" from housemate M...and it's reminded me that I probably need to finally let myself ponder a little deeper about where and how I want life to head. I'm pretty sure that some of my coping and happiness has been due to staying busy and allowing myself to live more superficially while not thinking too deeply upon things. In the big scheme of things, I'm still not letting myself really live deeply and authentically these days....which is somewhat ironic, since I FEEL pretty good about who I am right now and where life is heading...and for now, I'm just going to be okay with that alone.

Christmas was quick but lovely. I was able to catch up with one of my gals from grad school and her husband who were in town for the holidays before driving down to my parents for two nights. A little time with my brother and his lady, a good run in my hometown, a trip to the beach with mom and the dogs, the candlelight service at my parents church, and a lazy morning opening stockings, before returning back up to the city where I hosted my parents for a night. This Christmas made me realize how much I consider this to be my home, how content I feel with where things are in this moment, and yet also feel a little hope for what could be in the year or few to come. Prior to heading south, I was able to finally check repainting my bedroom off the to-do list, and the day after Christmas I spent 12 hours cleaning the carpets in my rental home (although they could totally use I would love wood/laminate floors!). My cousins and I were able to spontaneously meet up and have happy hour with Granny, we've had a few other family moments together, and I also had my regular girls coffee date with my gal N.

M's back in the house and working nights, so while it's nice to have him back we're also on completely opposite schedules. In some ways it makes the transition easier as we both do our own things but appreciate the stability of the other. We did have a little transition conversation to reset the expectations in the home to keep the peace with all three of us still being here, but I'm hopeful that things will continue to truck along fine with both housemate C and M here together through at least January. Continuing to rent the middle bedroom will be the best financial option....and regaining financial independence continues to be my main priority for 2014.

Speaking of 2014, I'm really looking forward to what all it might bring. I know I'll be busy throughout the duration of the rest of the massage program, but I'm hopeful that next term's scheduling might ease some of the overscheduledness of the last several months. The last two years have been full of some great experiences and amazing moments (many of which I won't have as much time to repeat this coming year), but the last two years have also taken me through the bottom of a place that I hope not to have to return to.....thus, I'm looking at 2014 with realism that it might not turn out 100% but I'm still hopeful for what it might hold. And's just have that hope.

Some other random things:

--I'm bringing the mayo, meat, and cheese sandwich into daily rotation.
--I'm so incredibly thankful for my brood of gals who normalize that waiting til your mid 30s to have babies is just a-ok. Every time I talk with any of my other MPH related gals, life just feels well, normal...and encouraged. I've been focusing on surrounding myself with supportive friends who encourage and embrace where life has taken us.
--Next Christmas I want to be traveling...
--There's something about a peaceful, organized home that is just so enticing.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy December!

So yea...apparently I didn't exactly use my Thanksgiving break to catch up on blogging! :) Oh well...I relaxed and focused on trying to heal myself which was much needed. Currently I'm up to speed on everyone (I think) and I'm up to speed on grading/studying....and sitting in my kitchen area waiting for the repair guy to return and finish fixing my leaking shower faucet. So what's the latest?

a) I ended up staying home sick most the rest of that week after I last posted. I slept in way late for me (and even now on my "sleep-in" days I'm sleeping for 12-13 hours some days). I also chose not to receive any massages that week which was a nice break (yes, you CAN get tired of getting massaged!), AND I finally got an anti-biotic from the doctor. Apparently an article had come out that week in the Oregonian talking about over prescribing for bronchitis, so of course my request was poorly timed...BUT an antibiotic seems to be the only thing that actually kicks my chronic cough. I still have some coughing but WAY improved compared to 2-3 weeks ago. (Chalk it up to crappy childhood lungs!)

b) Housemate turn over! The late night comer and goer moved out and the room has been readied for M's return. He and I video chatted on Saturday night for several hours to get him up to speed on a few things and just to check in---it'll be great to have him back, even if it'll mean a whirlwind of activity next Sunday/Monday...right as I head into finals :) The gal who is still in the house was offered a job (her dream job mind you) at her internship site, so it's looking like she'll be here a few extra days this month and then be here at least part of January too. In looking at (and starting to stress about) finances recently, this actually will work out perfectly. M and I have also decided to try to switch from using Craigslist to AirBNB to rent out the middle room for short term individuals after January--we'll see what comes of this.

c) My work term ends this week, so all the major grading is already done, and this week I'll grade their finals and transfer grades over. Next week marks the end of my school term with a final this Saturday, one on Tuesday, and the other on Thursday. Hopefully the weather continues to hold out so that we don't have to extend any days on....wrapping up on the 19th/20th already seems far enough! Part of the two weeks of vacation will be used to prep for the next round of 12 credits I'm teaching next term. I'll be teaching four sections of the same class, but two are in the evenings and two are online.

d) My running has totally hit a new groove. I think sitting long hours in class has made my body just itch to still get mileage in. I'm running much less in terms of days but still smashing mileage out. My outings have just gotten now it's much easier to average a 5-7 mile run. Last month I had a goal of doing at least two 10+ mile days and that totally made it easier to achieve major mileage. My original goal was 70 miles for the month and I made 80! This month has started slow due to the COLD weather we've been having, but thanks to Lauren's layering advice yesterday I finally got out for 7.5 miles with the equally antsy dogs. I have 54 more miles to go this month to round out my 800 for the year. But the recent cold front has provided more than enough snow on the mountain already for snow shoeing season, so I'm hopeful to get up there at least 3x for at least 20 miles before the end of Christmas break.

e) I've had a lot of feedback about my being really thin in the last month or two, although it's not something I've consciously been trying to do and in fact I'm not really thrilled to have dropped down to where I am. Those black skinnies I bought and love are now too big...and honestly my ideal size is a 6 and I'm definitely below that at this point by at least one size if not more. Ironically I still weigh exactly the same (145ish has been my weight average/goal for about oh...15 years?! (I have been 10 more than that but I never let myself go below 140 even if the BMI charts say I can go down to 120....say what?!)) More than anything I'm annoyed that again my clothes are bigger though...although it makes it easy for me to be layering leggings under everything at this point with the cold weather! I finally had one of my instructors who also is big into fitness look up how many calories a LMT burns and it turns out that it can be up to 280 an hour depending on the individual of course. This term I've been giving 4 massages a week so that equates to 800-1000 more calories being burned potentially. Sigh....I just.can'

f) In other eating news, I've started eating chicken. Although I had to figure out how to cook it. And don't laugh at's been 17 years since I've routinely eaten meat :) I've discovered I like breast meat....but not legs.

g) Thanksgiving was great. Very relaxing and it was nice to have time run, spend time with family, and enjoy friends. I made cranberry sauce, traditional bread stuffing, salad, and an apple pie and split my time between my family's and the Tall one's gathering of his friends.

h) There's nothing quite like the sparkle of a Christmas tree. I dragged my buddy R out with me to the Christmas tree farm the weekend after Thanksgiving and it was the fastest tree picking/cutting experience ever. We didn't have too much time but settled on a great one, we split the sawing duties, and then he hauled it up to the paying station. We loaded it into the Sorento--it just fit! And then we got it set up inside that night and decorated the next day. Super easy....and I love the nighttime sparkle of the tree.

Off to campus I go to pick up a make-up exam....after I eat breakfast #2. Bundling up, because this cold spell is COLD! :) Hope you all have been well!

Monday, November 18, 2013

If We Met for Happy Hour, I'd Tell You...

So I'm not going to lie, I should be using this next 30 minutes of lounging in bed to actually take a nap BUT I've been meaning to do a post so here we go:

IF we were meeting over happy hour today (which I'm headed to in an hour):

---I'd ask how you were doing and want to get the low down on your life. What are your highs, what have been the lows, and what are you most proud of/grateful for at this time of year?

---I'd tell you about how I took my uncle's advice and took some of this OTC med that is supposed to increase mucus production in a means to get rid of my chronic cough....except apparently that hardened mucus probably had formed a bubble around an active now I feel like ab-so-lute crap today. Back to the aches, chills, and just being so incredibly exhausted.

---I'd tell you about how glad I am that I arranged that mini vacation for myself next week. That I still haven't decided where to go for Thanksgiving as my immediate family has split between our two extended family options. I'd tell you that really I want the delicious food....and just to stay home.

---I'd tell you how last weekend I dog sat for my buddy R and realized how glad I am that my dogs are middle aged and decently well trained. They enjoyed having a one year dog here, but they weren't too sad to see her go either.

---I'd tell you that at the end of the trail run/hike I took all three dogs on, I made the mistake of actually talking to a guy at the trail head and helping him out with a broken down car.....I've made it clear that I'm in no ways interested but I did agree to let him buy me breakfast on Sunday as a thank you. Sigh....back to my own rule of not talking to dudes on trail. Since when did kindness get confused with interest/flirting? After avoiding the situation for over a week, I also finally sent a text to my colleague letting him know that I thought he was starting to show interest and that I'm not on the same page. I haven't heard back from him...

---I'd tell you that I'm seriously stoked for my one housemate to move out over Thanksgiving weekend and that I may have had some words with her the middle of last week. Nothing unbearable but just a continual lack of respect regarding coming home late during the night which wakes the dogs up which in turn wakes me up...and is something that was clearly discussed in the ad, in the interview, and during last month.

---I'd tell you that I totally forgot that my mom is coming up today for a conference on the East side, but I'm actually really looking forward to seeing her. She'll only be here until Wednesday and we'll have limited time together since I teach tomorrow night...but still will be nice to have her.

---I'd tell you that I'm seriously giddy with excitement about Housemate M coming back and that I'm grateful for exchanges like this that happen between us:
Me: So I know you'll have lots going on when you first get back.....but ....can you help me clean the carpets in the house and move my bedroom furniture so I can paint the walls over break?
M: Of course. Can we go snowshoeing? BTW what do you want for Xmas?
Me: Uh, for you to build me the compost bin out of the pallets in the shed that I've been wanting since summer.....and of course we can go snowshoeing!
M: Ha, um okay. But what about something material?
Me: Um....nails for said compost bin??? And what do you want?
M: For you to agree to try snowboarding for once and come up to the mountain with me.
Me: Ha, uh, damn. Okay fine I can do that.
Seriously stoked for this dude to get back! What's better than gifts of experience, time, and creating?!

---I'd tell you that I did almost nothing physical this weekend (except full body massages and those have to burn calories!) and it was well needed after covering a total of 32 odd miles last week. Wow! I'm continually amazed at my body sometimes....but also trying to listen to it's needs for rest. I still haven't decided if I want to run the Holiday Half. Housemate M flies in that day we think so I have to pick him up from the airport, but maybe it'd be doable....? Idk.

--I'd also tell you how I've been meaning to clean my closet out and the perfect opportunities have been presenting themselves. One of my younger classmates mentioned she was really cold the other day and she only had a lightweight coat. She lives in the area and has no money, so I brought her to the house and gave her my old winter coat, several layering pieces, and some sweaters. I haven't had the opportunity to do much "giving" lately of that sort....and it seriously just felt amazing. I also gave my housemate a skirt and a tank, since she's been wanting clothes but been struggling to find what she wants. I knew she'd wear some of my pieces more than I will so I went ahead and passed them on.

---Additionally that housemate and I have developed this Friday evening habit of lounging on the couch and watching old Netflix What Not to Wear episodes. It's been nice to just spend a bit of time checking out but still spending some time with her void of lots of talking.....

---I'd also tell you how happy I am that this weekend I get to see three of my favorite gals for coffee. I've really come to cherish these monthly coffee outings with my gals....and this month our gal from California will be in town too. :)

---I might also tell you that the gal I'm seeing for Happy Hour downtown today is someone from high school that I haven't seen since I was 17. We reconnected through that online fitness support group I was telling you all about and I'm really looking forward to seeing her in a few!

---Oh and I also scheduled a counseling appt for Sunday to help me work through some of these fears about eventually developing a relationship. I'm looking forward to checking in with her and hearing some of her feedback/words of wisdom.

---And I suppose that's about it in a nutshell!!

Hope you all have been well! :) Hope to check in on blogs and catch up with all of you next week finally!

Friday, November 8, 2013

What I've Been Eating: September & October

I know that I've been missing Heather's link-ups over at Townsend House, and honestly I've been doing a really bad job of coming up with new food options lately. (M asked me a week ago via email what I had been cooking lately....and it dawned on me that I really hadn't made much new! When he's around I'm inspired to try out new recipes on him, but until this weekend, not much new had been cooking/making.)

Mainly due to time constraints I've settled in on a routine:

Breakfast is ALWAYS a Chobani yogurt, a banana, my D vitamins and then either some take on a small bowl of oatmeal, a scramble, toast/english muffin, etc. Coffee w creamer gets drank on the way to class or in the comfort of home on weekends and M/W.

Lunch has to survive five hours in my bag before being (heated up) eaten, so mostly what I've been doing is some combination of the following: veggies & hummus, small oranges/apples, V8, pyrex containers of soup/stew, bagels w/ cream cheese and turkey slices. I also haul healthy granola bars, protein bars, bags of cranberries & almonds as snacks.

Dinner has pretty much been a salmon burger w/ BBQ sauce, a side of avocado & either a tomato, soup, or other sauted veggies on the side. I eat this probably twice a week. The smoothie (frozen fruit, greens, flax seed, coconut milk, vitamins, almond butter) gets consumed 2-4x a week. The scramble or omelet might come into play here with veggies. Other items that have been consumed for dinner: sauted pepper & refried bean fajitas, shrimp & homemade (canned) veggie laden sauce with pasta, various soups, baked potatoes with various toppings, roasted veggies, and one night out for dinner with a housemate.

Honestly the main things I'm eating are variations on scrambles and the crock pot soup/stew is saving me! I make a big pot of something 1-2x a month: it feeds me a meal then, a meal later that week, gives me 1-2 lunches for school, and then lets me freeze 1-3 portions for school lunches later. I've been living off this for most the month! I'm also relearning to make 2-3 portions for dinner and then having left overs to use for lunches the rest of the week.

In September the crockpot and I made a combination of several quinoa & black bean veggie chilis from pinterest. I also made a "root veggie" soup from veggies I had on hand. This last weekend I just made an african sweet potato soup and also did a combo lentil/quinoa/veggie soup/stew. I've also been buying english muffins and bagels in bulk and then freezing half the bag until I actually use them. Left over muffins that I froze this summer have been used for breakfasts and snacks also. And if I'm honest doing this has totally ensured that I'm fed and sustaining most weeks (even if there isn't a ton of variation!). One of the things I'm *hoping* to do over Christmas break is to make several soups, muffins, pizza dough, etc that can be frozen in portions and that will get me through Winter term. :)

Looking through and cleaning out my pinterest recipes (and seeing what my health conscious classmates bring) has been inspiring me to get down on bringing salads/greens with healthy grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, and legumes. So hopefully I'll start putting together a few of these options this month. This one and this one look amazing! (And I just realized this weekend how incredibly simple making lentils is! How did I not know this?!)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Priorities & Living with Intention

So I seriously love reading most of the posts that show up on A Life Less Bullshit, and last week or so this particular post on priorities really made me nod my head and just plain think....

....and I started thinking about what my priorities were, what they currently are, and what I feel that they SHOULD be long term. If I'm truly living with intention and authenticity, then where and how I choose to spend my time should also correspond to what I value in life and be helping me head toward the life I want to be living. Nothing like getting to take a good look at where I'm currently investing my energy vs where I want to be investing my energy long term! :)

You all know I'm a goal-setter by nature and that I like to challenge myself in healthy ways. These goals consistently get reviewed to ensure that they're truly representative of who I want to be long term, but it's been a while since I've really thought about what I'm doing NOW and what those choices transmit to others. While I recognize that my current schedule has had to change my priorities some in recent weeks, I've also been reflecting upon the reality that I feel that life (while heading into a totally separate plan than what I expected) is actually heading back in the right direction. I'm honestly not sure how all this will play out (and I'm okay with not knowing for now), but I feel like this is where I am supposed to be and this current program is directing me back full circle (ironically...potentially heading toward the version of me I wanted to be back when I was 15). I'm *happy* with where life is heading and also with the version of myself I'm currently living, even if I can't fully engage in all the areas I'd like to have be priorities.

So what might those current priorities be? Well the main ones:
--Basics: Sleep, hygiene, food
--Engaging in time management

Lesser but still important priorities:
--physical activity
--social connections

Smaller priorities:
--pets & house care
--mental health days/moments
--financial focus
--family obligations

Things that generally ARE priorities but currently (and unfortunately) are not on the list:
--spiritual health
--creative engagement: reading, projects, crafting/DIY
--yard duties
--travel & outdoor pursuits/planning
--outside intellectual stimulants (lectures, personal research, etc)

And other areas I would like to see on the list again in the next few years:
--Social engagement on a larger scare
--Donating time/money/resources

And honestly if that/those are my list, then I'm happy with what that does say about me. Granted not all of that gets discussed here on the blog. I tend to post pictures of outfits, hikes, and the occasional check in...but when I really think of where my time/focus/energy is going then I'm happy with where things are for the moment.

Having to decrease focus on social interactions and physical activity is an adjustment and they're still very important to me, but I'm also having to be realistic about just how much I can do in any given day, week, and month. Since school is my current priority and work pays my bills (and is something I love), then those two have to get most my time. The basics is what will keep me sane, healthy, and functioning (and while physical activity I know should be in that just can't be right now), and time management is how I'm staying sane with everything right now and assists me in making sure that everything works out realistically and smoothly (even though time management, takes time!). :)

Generally speaking though, I think it's so important to live a life that is representative of who we are but also of who we want to be. This could be due to how I was was raised...with a clear focus on striving to be a "good" individual and being mindful of how our daily actions appeared to others. Do you think that your time and resource allocation is representative of you and where you want to go with life?? I'm intrigued to know what others think of this....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Day in the Life: Tuesdays

Tuesdays are my LOOOONG day, so I thought it would be interesting to document one of them.

5:30am alarm goes off after falling asleep at 11:45pm.
5:35am crawl out of bed, turn heat up, nudge dogs outside
5:40am hop in for super quick shower, put on "face," get dressed
5:55am feed dogs, make coffee, get lunch & backpack packed, make & eat breakfast (Chobani yogurt, banana, Vit D, small bowl oatmeal w/ coconut flakes, pecan pieces, & brown sugar)
6:30am shut bathroom doors and make sure dogs seem settled for day
6:35am head out to car; drive to transit station
7:00am arrive at transit station, park, get on MAX
7:40am get off MAX and walk two blocks to school

8:00am attend Swedish massage class: watch example for 40 mins, receive practice for 40 mins, give practice massage using techniques shown for 40 mins
10:50am head downstairs to heat & eat lunch (quinoa, lentil, cauliflower, & sweet potato stew, 2 small oranges, V8 & mint tea) w classmates & try to review forearm/hand muscles for big quiz
11:30am attend Kinesology class, take written quiz, complete practical quiz in 2nd group (showing two randomly selected muscles at their origin, insertion, and naming all their actions), spend rest of class reviewing for midterm, finishing Friday's homework, and finishing reading for Thursday
2:15pm class is let out, walk to MAX stop
2:25pm get on MAX
2:55pm get in car at transit station and start drive home

3:25pm arrive at house, check mail, pull in garbage cans
3:35pm let dogs out, put dishes away, unpack school bag, pack work bag
4pm make caffeinated tea (something I never do in the afternoon), make & eat dinner, change clothes for work & touch up make up, feed dogs
5pm sit down for 15 minutes to relax, think about rest of week game plan & pin crap on pinterest
5:15pm leave for work

5:30pm arrive at close campus
5:40 arrive to classroom, get organized for evening, check work email, answer student questions
6pm class starts: mainly lecture & discussion (body composition, fitness, & body image issues)
9pm class over, answer student questions & concerns until 9:20pm
9:20pm respond to text messages, head to car
9:40pm arrive home, let dogs out & give attention, change into work out gear

(Below not normal for Tuesday, but think the tea needed burning off!)
9:50pm do 35mins of yoga, interact with housemate for 5 mins afterward, prep dogs and go for 4.1 mile drizzly night run, dry off dogs when home
11:10pm get in shower
11:30pm drink 20oz of water, pour a very small glass of wine, crawl into bed, drink wine & day dream on pinterest, think of game plan for Wednesday
11:40pm fall asleep

Monday, November 4, 2013

Spontaneous Day Hike

As mentioned, on Wednesday I bailed on my optional work meeting and instead came home, changed into comfy clothes, loaded up the dogs, and stopped by Starbucks for a chai on the way to one of the dogs and my favorite trails in the Tillamook Forest. The dogs have been really squirrely the last few weeks as they're not used to being home so much and to not having me around as much, and it dawned on me that it had been several weeks since they had been out on a drive. To say they were excited is an understatement...and it felt amazing to have that sensation of spontaneous fun and freedom again (something I probably slightly took for granted throughout the last year). I still had to teach that night, but for a few short hours we got to get away and just enjoy ourselves and our surroundings.

Gorgeous leaves lined the trail.

Cement stepping stones to go around the open ground spring.

Gorgeous sky views.

Chilly enough to see the dogs breath.

Peace overcame my soul.

Beautiful trail views....with the sunlight streaming through the trees, happy dogs sniffing and smiling, and the large ferns seeming like sprouting treasures.

The dogs and I at the creek crossing.

Just a few hours....but that freedom was oh so good for the soul. Time in nature soothes and there's nothing like the happy smiles that cross the dogs faces as they sniff and jog along the trails.

Note to self: take time to just enjoy and embrace free days of life...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Other October Attire

Again, October recap in November :) but seriously, dressing for massage school has been an adjustment but I think I've found a happy medium :) Also clothes and the act of putting an outfit that works together has totally become one of those happy daily tasks. I think I'm hitting a style of my own...even if it's 1/3 pinterest inspired, 1/3 me inspired, and 1/3 WNTW inspired. Ha!

And if you're on instagram then you've already seen almost all of these :)

Totally comfortable...and made me realize I matched my house!

New top for massage....awesome!

Also both massage and yet everyday appropriate. (And the first time Lady has made her outfit photo appearance!)

IN LOVE with these shoes....and the way it looked against nature!

Massage school day to teaching evening. I changed shirts cause I'd already worn that one to teach in before but I couldn't remember for which day of the week class....(I try not to duplicate outfits within the term...)

Coffee w the gals, freedom/hike day, and work evening. That middle picture tunic and leggings had a 3-4 day run. I'm all about rewearing the same outfit in a row these days if I can! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Update & Randoms

Since I'm so sparsely writing get ready for an all-in-one randoms and updates! :)

1) I get so frustrated with apple updates. Why do I have update in order to continue to use my Icloud?! Frustrating!

2) I've never had a male cat before. I never knew that male cats could and do hump things. I've had to throw said male cat outside twice now in order to get him off (pun not intended) of the dog's fleece blanket. Suggestions from any male cat owners?!

3) I'm tired.all.the.time. Seven hours of sleep in one go seems like a luxury these days. Most weekdays I'm running on 4-5 hours of sleep thanks to being a night owl and my housemates followed by 5:30am wake-ups. Even when I try to go to sleep earlier, it just doesn't happen.

4) The dogs and I had our first taste of freedom on Wednesday (since our hike in mid September) when I bailed on my optional work meeting that was all the way across the city. 45 minutes into the commute I was still on my side of the city and I realized I had been uber bitchy to the gas attendant. At that point I took the next exit and came home to get the dogs before using a Starbucks gift card to get a chai I'd been desiring for three days and heading to our favorite trails. Spontaneous freedom was incredible and much needed---it was an eye opener that I need a day off now and again....and that I hope that what I'm envisioning for January's schedule and load is truly going to be the case.

5) I seriously can't flipping wait for housemate M to get back. He drives me crazy at times and I know he's going to be needy, but man, I feel so much happier and just plain comfortable in my own skin all the time when he's around. Plus he's my built in outdoor/running buddy, he's always up for a beer, and he'd make the perfect massage feedback client. One month-ish to go...

6) So far I've been doing really well in my massage classes and I can't believe how much I've already learned! It's definitely taking more time than I intended but it's pretty incredible how it's all coming together.

7) I think massage school is turning me more into a hipster though.....and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Especially cause I cut my hair (thanks to my hair stylist neighbor!) and so now I have (awesome!) thick bangs :)

8) I can't wait for winter break when I can relax.....and maybe paint my bedroom, and make curtains, and deep clean the carpets in the house....and get a christmas tree, etc etc etc

9) I'm not really hanging out with Tall D again. We're still chatting/friendly some and I'm going to use him as a massage client, but I wouldn't say we're "hanging out" anymore. Which really it was great to spend the summer with him and get affirmation of the fact that we made the right choice last year.

10) I absolutely positively am looking forward to November. I think it's going to go fast. But the leaves are still gorgeous, we're just having frosty mornings, and it just makes me think of fires, coziness, and warmth even with the coolness of the season. This month also makes me focus on gratitude (which I could use right now), and it's wonderful to have a whole month dedicated to being grateful for what I already have.

11) Speaking of being grateful for what I already have, I totally failed on my no buy. I held out great til I bought those black skinnies from Target and then several more trips to Target slid me further down the hill. I'm now up to several long sleeve shirts, a couple short sleeve shirts, a new cardigan, a new winter coat, a leather jacket, a pair of skinny cords, and two pairs of replacement flats. Will I wear it all? Yup and definitely have been! I'm going to TRY my hardest to get back on the wagon for November & December....especially since my finances could benefit from it.

12) Speaking of finances....sigh. I'm SO totally hopeful that this massage licensing will pay out in the end because it's going to be a lot of money up front. And on the financial note, I'm also really realizing that I totally miss my parents being here routinely each month. It's great support and just plain nice to see them for a night. As much as I need to rent out the middle room to create more financial freedom for myself, it'd be great to have Mom and Dad around on the regular again.

13) My personal stress reducer is to be on pinterest. I'm not going to lie. I love it. It calms and yet inspires me....and it just plain keeps me grounded to who I am and where I'm headed. I let myself get on there before I go to sleep and when I'm zoning out on public transit.

14) There is at least one guy who has sort of been hanging around, but honestly I need to just sit him down and have the direct talk. I'm back to that place of not really wanting to date. I never wanted to date when I was serious about my education before...and really, until I'm financially on my own feet again, I just don't feel like I want to try to create something new with someone else when I'm still totally trying to figure it out myself. Plus, I'm not going to lie....I'm just feeling lazy. There still seem to be some great guys out there...but I'm just not there yet. I mean how DO you know who/what the right one is? My gal D is giving me one more year before she starts kicking my butt in gear....and I'm also thinking about re-starting counseling to help me work through some of these thoughts/questions.

15) Two of my gals and I just started a monthly coffee date. I can't tell you how much I've missed them and how good for my soul it has been to have our coffee dates. I'm so inspired by them with babies and new home purchases and work advancements all around!

16) My buddy Randall let me go to church with him a few Sundays ago. It was like the universe (massage school, friends, random events) had been telling me to get my spiritual health back in order. I've been so frustrated and at odds with God in the last year....and I kid you not, the message that Sunday provided the answer I needed. That God strips us of all that matters to us to remold us into what He needs/wants us to be. "Give up YOUR life...." Six months ago, I wasn't ready to hear that....but where I am now and with the future I'm contemplating, it all sort of makes sense again. (This particular church also was all about how we are missionaires in our every day lives....where can we DAILY be of service to others??....for this reason, I have started opening my massages by grounded myself with a prayer of intention to provide what clients/students/friends need....)

17) And so these days, aside from the occasional social outing, weekends studying/grading, commutes, and teaching, My life pretty much revolves around this:
Attempting to maintain balance, choosing to be happy, and lots and lots of massages :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Exercise Recap, Insights, & Goals

This post is a month overdue. In Sept I wrote this post here, which contained my year exercise stats from the year prior since I had been tracking. I also discussed that I was nervous about the busyness of the fall schedule with all the upcoming changes and being able to maintain my physical activity levels. In order to try to counteract the potential upcoming scheduling issues, to make up for all the "off" days I'd had the year prior AND to set a new challenge, I had decided to spend September working out every single day, even if that meant just stretching for 20 minutes and rolling out on the foam roller. 

So the Sept Totals came to: 82.4 miles ran/hiked, 4 Insanity DVDs, 6 you-tube yoga sessions & 17 miles by bike and a weekend learning to paddleboard. (Also some of the mileage was from the hellish backpack trip.)

But more importantly I learned a few things from that month. I read several bloggers who cover some pretty impressive mileage and cross train a LOT. When I look at what they accomplish, I'm always in awe. If I'm 100% honest, I don't know that my body is made that same way...and that's part of what September reaffirmed for me. Yes, I can up my mileage and I can make myself work out every day. Yes, I'm proud of what my body accomplished and how fast I recovered from that initial backpacking trip, but I'm not going to the end of that month my body was physically just plain tired. I could still push it (and I did) but I should have listened to my body and taken an easier month for October.

Instead I pushed it because I got caught up in another friend based challenge of trying to push through to make another 80 miles this last month (while also adjusting to less sleep and a lot more stress), and I have no doubt that this was a major reason that I ended up sick this last month. Not taking a break led to my body mandating rest and recovery via illness, and I spent almost half the month too sick and wiped out to do anything physically active.

As much as I love being physically active and it was fun to see my body push continually and efficiently in September, I also know that actual recovery days and breaks are SO important for me. And in fact, I think I actually do better with distance running when I'm LESS active continuously. For example, this last month I was able to run a 13 miler for the first time since last winter, felt fine the next day, and then ran a 8 miler two days later. Back to back "longer" runs aren't the norm for me....but I honestly think part of that ability came from doing nothing many of the other days along the way. In fact I'm honestly contemplating running my first official half race (the Holiday Half) because I know if I can run a half when I'm sick and haven't run for five days, then I should be able to get up off the couch without training and run a half on my old undergrad roads. But we'll see....especially now that I've signed up for a new challenge...but more on that in a second.

Ironically my other thoughts on this are that the 13 miler was....amazing, I felt great, and I could have pushed on. I know that I could run a marathon (and reading everyone's Chicago recaps I actually started daydreaming about it....) but the truth of the matter is that I don't feel like putting the strain on my body or breaking it down. Running that 13 miler, my IT band was tight by mile 8, my feet were sore from the Vibrams (which is another consideration as I'd have to figure out and adjust to a different footwear option) and all the stairs at school have made my knees start to feel creaky and old....I just don't (currently) see the point in breaking myself in order to make distance. I'm not saying it won't happen. I DO have a 20 miler distance on my life goals list...but at this point a full marathon, I'm not so sure. Maybe with regular massage and acupuncture I could make it happen, but I just don't know that it's worth it....

Now...all that being said. It's now November and I've had a month to adjust to this crazy schedule. I'm still hacking (in fact they gave me an inhaler to try to stop the cough from continuing), but I'm tired of feeling too crappy to work out and I only have a month to go til there's a real break with time to sleep, heal, and I'm trying to figure out how to get back into some routine exercise. Insert: My gal D's friend Emily (we all went to high school together) has become a huge fitness motivator and just created a FB "group" where we can all motivate/encourage each other along toward our fitness goals. (Awesome idea, no?!....I'm trying to convince her to make this into a job....)

So for this month (and after watching last month), I'm setting realistic, obtainable physical activity goals but ones that will still challenge me due to time constraints etc.

November's challenge is to work out 4-5x weekly (although I can do a double if I need to...and this means 3+ miles of running/hiking, Insanity, 30-60 minutes of a youtube yoga video, or 6+ miles biked) with two long runs (10 or more miles) this month. I also intend to drink 80 oz of water a day (I've been noticing I'm dehydrated)...and not eat any ice cream or candy this month (I almost never do but totally succumbed last month!! although I get a pass on Thanksgiving). On a side note: I'm also hoping to do at least two things for my spiritual health this month--either submerse in the Bible, go to church, volunteer...something.

So there ya have it. I learned some things (I need and do better with major rest days, stretching really helps me, having GOOD vibrams is important) and I'm headed into another month looking forward to getting myself toned up again. (On a side note: I might be trying to end 2013 with 800 miles in the bag. That means that I'd have two months of about 70 miles ahead...but definitely think it's doable!)

And what do you think, can I run a half without training in December mind you? I'm a little nervous about maybe pushing this month and then undermining myself because of it next month. We'll see. But it'd give me something to check off my goal list, as would the sprint tri that I'm contemplating for next summer.....

What are your fitness or health goals lately?!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tillamook Forest Hike W Dogs

I mentioned hiking with the dogs the other day. It was sort of a spontaneous outing and really I should have spent the afternoon grading, but on the way back from brunch it was TOO gorgeous a fall day not to get out and enjoy it---so we did.

It's a 45 minute drive to one of my favorite hiking spots in the Tillamook Forest and it was nice just to be headed out of the city to a more removed setting. We only did about two miles of a hike UP and in (almost all uphill) and then we ran the whole way back down and out. I did stop lots on the hike to snap some pictures and really soak up the natural setting:

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY! And oh so good for the soul :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dressing for Class, Dressing for Work

I still like tracking what I wear so that I can attempt to not wear the same thing twice while teaching. I'm also trying to figure out how to alter what I wear to class in order to wear it to work and not have to double up on laundry that way. Transitioning into massage wear has been interesting for me (I tend to like the more pulled together professional look!), but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Trying to still keep cute flats even with the yoga pant look least until someone tells me I can't :)

Trying out the maxi skirt (thrifted) look for a meeting:

Home lounge days (my favorites):

Class wear:
Altered into this for teaching wear: 

Class wear:
Which changed into this for teaching wear:

Coffee w the girls & errands:
(Which ironically a random gal in the coffee shop told me that I'd "nailed" the look with this one....sorta made my day that compliment.)

This started with that top & black yoga pants & changed into this for work wear:


Class wear & errands:
PS Anna's face! :)

Brunch date attire:
Similar work wear look: 
And no, I didn't cut my hair....but it's getting wavier lately!

Hmmm now what to wear to work tonight? BTW are skinny cords if I dress them up on top inappropriate for college instructors? Thoughts on this?! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

School Has Taken Over

I'm alive...promise! Just tired and with too many things to do at once. Plus I mean, I know I have silent lurkers, but I don't know how many of you really are routine readers so mainly I'm just writing for myself y'all :)

Anyway...I've got the flu, a cold, something. Symptoms showed up Thursday evening and I was in bed grading all day Saturday. Felt pretty good of course I finally did some physical activity...and was worse for the wear on Monday. Today I had written and practical quizzes in both of my courses but could only complete 3 out of 4 cause I'm stick snot-nosed and hacking. The thing about health care that I'll have to get used aren't supposed to show up sick :)

Massage school is going well. It's an adjustment. I'm LOVING learning again, especially because I've actually never had to do A & P or Kinesology. In the first 2 complete weeks, I learned all the major bones, planes of reference, and major categories of joints. I also today was tested on the bones and major muscles of the neck and face, as well as some of the cervical vertebrae. That's all just been for one course. In the actual Swedish Massage course, I've learned how to sanitize and set a table, center myself and practice good body mechanics, basic indications and contraindications for massage (ie who should and shouldn't receive massage and when), and learned basic draping, how to turn a client, interview a client, and apply resting & compression strokes. There's a third class but it's mainly review of my social work skills. But altogether LOTS of reading, memorization, and practice. And I pretty much stare at this three days a week:

Honestly though, the hardest part (and the main reason I'm sick) is because of the change in my schedule. Three days a week I have to get up at 5:30am and for some reason my body doesn't want to go to sleep until midnight most nights (or my one current housemate wakes the dogs aka me up early morning hours and I can't fall back asleep some nights also). But trying to operate on 4-5 hours of sleep is no good for anyone. Plus now I have some longer days. At this point, my schedule pretty much operates like this:
Monday--reading for that week & any other self/home/pet appts/care that needs to happen
Tuesday--530 start, 630-730 commute, 8-230 class, 230-330 commute, run/shower/eat, 6-9 teach
Wednesday--finish reading, online work, run/shower/eat, 6-9pm teach
Thursday--530 start, 630-730 commute, 8-230 class, 230-330 commute, run/shower/eat, 7-830 Granny
Friday--530 start, 630-730 commute, 8-230 class, 230-330 commute, crash
Saturday & Sunday--grade for inperson & online classes, errands, try to socialize as possible

I have to have my grading done by end of day Monday which means that the weekend is the best time to do it. And based on the schedule, I really then only have Monday and Wednesday to take care of home stuff and study/do all the weekly reading for class. Between now and the end of the term, I also have to schedule 14 massages with other students into the schedule, which is obviously both a yea! and a where's the time?! :)

Luckily next term I'm changing my teaching schedule so I'll be teaching M/W nights and I can switch to 1130-6pm classes on T/R/F. That still gives me most of Monday & Weds to take care of stuff, but will cut down on early mornings and allow me time to study Tuesday evening at least. It'll mean a change in my regular work-out routine, but honestly I'm not going to be able to keep up to my old exercise levels I don't think.

It's been an interesting experience being in this particular school setting, but again, it's honestly really awesome to be learning something completely different and new. At this point, I'm thinking that I might want to focus on injury management/sports massage but also with elements of acupressure...we'll see. This whole going back to school has me researching some other potential school/career options for a couple of years down the road too. (aka what it would take to become an acupuncturist or do integrative research) Right now they're just ideas but we'll see. If anything I'm excited and invigorated by learning (even if I'm exhausted)....and I think it's what I needed.

My classes I'm teaching are going well. I'm glad I pre-organize the terms cause it's definitely helping. And this term only proves that no two groups of students are ever the same! I've also had some prior students email me to check in this term regarding events in their lives so am trying to refer/help as I can.

In other news, a) Anna's back to running and we did our first hike since the backpackgonebad experience over this last weekend. Happiness! b) I'm making some new friends in the program and have also been connecting with a colleague of mine over the last several weeks c) a month in the housemates are very different but so far okay to live with although d) I can't wait for December when housemate M gets back, I get two weeks of overlapping vacation (the last until I'm done next fall!), and it'll be snowshoe season!

And with those thoughts...I'm off to sleep....night y'all!

Monday, September 30, 2013

End of September Randoms

1) So it's been raining/storming in Oregon for days now...days I tell ya! Weather report is saying RAIN til Thursday. It's also been in the 50s, with some nights of lows in the high 40s. I already turned the heat on some to keep my housemates...and the flannel sheets on my bed....and a second down comforter...and it's September y'all!

2) I'm ready for October. Period.

3) Due to said rain, Major the cat wants to sleep inside at night. Major is not allowed to sleep anywhere except my bed or the garage cause he's a lazy feline who will pee (and not use the liter box). (And when he pees, it creates a puddle as if a grown man peed.) Major knows which sliding glass door is for my bedroom. At least 2x a night Major shows up and if I let him in, then he also 2x a night meows later to go out. I feel like the mom of a newborn....and we have some major "go in the dry garage where there is food and warmth" routine to instill.

4) I slept for 11 hours Saturday night. Don't hate me. You don't want to be around me when I'm sleep deprived...and various things have been pushing my late night hours even later. Those 11 hours were needed...and glorious.

5) I finished the book Beautiful Ruins. I didn't want to, but I made myself to do it. Verdict: not my fave.

6) Teaching started last week---first week went alright. I have smaller in person classes than normal and it's usually about week three when you really get a feel for your students. I had my orientation and first class for my own program on Saturday. Ironically the first class I had was pretty much the lecture I gave to my own students this week. Eventually I kept my mouth shut and let other students talk instead of supplying answers, and I talked to the instructor after class. The other two courses start tomorrow and will getting up three times a week at 6am--oh man. :) Tuesdays will be my long day with attending class from 8am-230pm and then teaching my class from 6-9pm.

7) In looking at the schedule for the courses I'm taking, the vacation/breaks from my program never line up with the academic calendar from work, so except for the two weeks at Christmas, there will always be work or studying until next October.

8) My parents are en route to Portland to pick up Granny for the rest of the week. They're also bringing me the hand-me-down treadmill via Mom via my aunt. Refer to the rain in #1. Three times this week I wished I had a treadmill. I feel like a kid on Christmas right now waiting for it to arrive. (And in true form of my mother's parenting from throughout my life...she's already informed me that the treadmill that she got for free is now my Christmas gift....gotta love them....and anyway, I'll take it because it feels like Christmas today anyway...and we all know I'm not a big fan of actual gifts at Christmas....) I'm already planning on my final Sept exercise be running on that treadmill!

9) Although regardless of the treadmill, I'm still going to have to get Roxi out on the streets at least a couple days a week....or else my bathroom trash will continue to be emptied all around my she gets bored and a lil destructive when she's not exercised or loved on to fill her quotas.

10) Since it's fall I've been in mad soup making routine. There was a vegetarian chili that was a mix of two pinterest recipes...and then a improv root vegetable soup. The crock pot is one of my favorite cooking devices in fall. Each go provides enough for two bowls for me, bowls for the housemates, and two servings for freezing. I also made a rhubarb blueberry crisp the other day too.

11) Housemates are going alright. Granted it's only been a couple weeks but I'm hopeful we'll keep trucking along for the next two months. One gal is a huge animal lover who doesn't agree with how I discipline/interact with my animals and she started to try to change their routines. We had a LONG heart to heart and she's finally backed off some and I've relaxed some. Other gal has a LOT of stuff going and....I'm not so sure she actually will be adhering to the usual routines I put out in my ads (ie she goes out and come home late multiple nights a week, stays up super late, apparently talks loudly on her phone during the night while the other gal is (trying to be) sleeping, and apparently already brought a guy home the other we might need a conversation too). Whoo, but two months ain't too long, right?! :) Oh man. Oh and in usual housemate M he's saying he might be back as soon as Dec 1st....go figure.

12) Have I mentioned that I'm glad tomorrow's October?

13) I didn't get the job. I'm glad. After the interview..I didn't want it for multiple reasons. I'm trying to have faith that finances will all work out. Keeping positive as I can.

14) Last week included a day trip up to Tacoma to go check in on my baby cousin who has been having a rough time...and to also pick up some text books from her. It was nice to be able to spend the afternoon helping her out...and to just get out of Portland for a bit.

15) There are all sorts of other family things...and a million other details flying around my brain. Like: needing to finish the garden, getting everything I need for school, redoing my taxes from last year, etc etc. I'm ready for routine...and checking things off lists....and well, again, October :)

Happy October to y'all!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Fall Off the No-Buy Wagon

Okay, okay, so I said I fell off the no-buy closet challenge sort of with the gift card and the black skinnies....

Well, then I had the unfortunate choice of spending an extra 15 minutes when I was early meeting a friend with a quick stop to check out the new city Target......which then made me fall in love with a certain shirt...and after thinking about it continuously for two days, I then went back to purchase it (and some needed file boxes)....only to walk out with it and another 75 dollars worth of new clothes all because my staples were on sale....and there was the cutest gray jacket for sale. I'm not going to lie, there MIGHT be one more new purchase of work pants (I looked at Goodwill but no go) but other than than, I'm considering September my slip up month and plan to make it full steam ahead the rest of the year....Sigh, I was doing so well!

But anyway, new and old, here's what I've been wearing lately:


Work Mtgs:
Probably the only time all year, I'll wear skinnies to work.

Fall afternoon at home & out with Tall D: 
Old jeans that make me realize I must have been much thinner than I realized 5 years ago!

Community Health Lecture:

Social Saturday: Coffee, Lunch, BBQ
New scarf, new yellow shirt, & new gray leather coat

If you didn't notice, I'm loving the scarf look (have I mentioned I'm a late adopter?) and still rocking those black skinnies probably a lil too much :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life Highs As of Late

So thought I'd share a few of the things that have been brightening my days as of late:

1) The dogs are SO loving these days and freely give much attention and kisses. Not that they weren't excitable two years ago, but it's amazing to see how much more happy and settled even they are...

2) I'm still in love with those black skinnies and I've worn them at least 7x since I've bought them.

3) The corner fence was rebuilt this weekend and it's TALL. Anyone who has seen my backyard knows that my back neighbors frequently are in my business (and we battle with dog issues) cause the back fence is 4.5ft tall in some places. This new corner fence is 6ft probably and with a new functioning gate. It makes my heart swoon.

4) The two guys who built the fence were highly entertaining. One was an older veteran (think 50-60 yo), who ended up leaving me a note with his number. Ballsy, but uh, I don't think I'll be calling him up. Even if he probably would build me the most awesome pallet furniture and new compost! :) Flattering all the same, and he was fun to talk to at least.

5) That day I had my car fixed....well I had to have my brakes replaced. The service guy found me enough discounts that I walked away paying only the price he'd quoted me for the brakes. In a sense, I got my seats detailed, new wipers for winter, an oil change, my tires rotated, and the car washed for the first time in months....for free. That's happiness right there. And with the pre-service vacuum job I did, my car feels like luxury.

6) My gal N and I met for dinner a couple weeks ago for the first time in months since I took my step away from socializing. She's been incredibly patient with me and it was great to catch up. Then to top it off, she sent me in the mail the new India.Arie CD. I've been listening to it for days when I drive...and it speaks straight to my heart too....

7) Both new housemates are in the house now and I think the two will balance each other out. The newest gal is also early 30s, just getting divorced after three years of marriage, traveled, originally from a small town, very involved with her family, and a runner....similarities much? I get nervous about living with women, but I'm incredibly hopeful that the next three months are going to fall into a great routine and go smoothly.

8) Last weekend my cousin hosted a movie night and BBQ in her backyard. It'd be a rough few days, but it was so good to sit among family and their friends and just soak up one of the last really nice days of summer. I also was able to contribute a delish blueberry & rhubarb crisp.

9) Got most my copies for the term made yesterday and was able to prep the courses as much as possible. I'll still have to look over notes etc prior to lecture, but at least exams, study guides, lecture slides, assignments, calendars....all are ready to go. Inservice is today and I'm excited.

10) Somehow upping my mileage has made my jogs turn back into runs and my body feel great while it's moving. The other evening I went out for a jog and it ended up being one of the best runs I've had in months. I must have been close to a 8min pace if not under. The jog I'd done the day before I wore my watch and in so doing realized that even when I feel like I'm moving slow, a lot of those days I'm still moving at under 9mins. Happiness!

11) Crisp mornings and gray days have arrived. Leaves are changing on campus. The down comforter is back on my bed. And we've had some of our rain return. (Including unusual Southern like thunderstorms!) Six months of this non-stop might be tiring, but in the beginning it always feels great. I'm already day dreaming about soups to make in the crock pot, roasted fall veggies, and....Thanksgiving :)

12) A new ethnic cuisine was had the other night (Venezuelan arepas). One of my colleagues has transitioned to the same position at another campus that my good buddy has at our campus, so I arranged an outing for them to meet. It was fun sitting with the three of them (buddy's lady joined too), chatting, and trying out new food.

13) Life isn't perfect. It's never going to be perfect. It was a year of struggle...but I'm hopeful, very hopeful that I'm headed into a year of renewal...still learning, still evolving, but going somewhere forward. Having that general returned hope....well that in itself is pretty rewarding. And in some ways, I feel like I'm ready to start "passing it on".....

Hope y'all are enjoying the transition into fall. Sending happiness and love to each of you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Black Skinnies & Chambray Tops

Okay I know I'm a total Pinterest copy cat, but pretty much my thrifted chambray top and my new black skinnies have me in love. Don't be surprised if you see me in only combinations of these all fall...

(Ps that elephant (aka Africa to me) Starbucks coffee cup also still makes me swoon a year later...)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Down Range to Iraq and Back

So this post won't say everything that I want to say. Sometimes there's much that I want to write about regarding the experience of being a military spouse, but I don't because I still believe in protecting the privacy of my ex-husband. Regardless of the struggles of our marriage and the growth that both of us still need to achieve as individuals, I still (or maybe re-)love the crap out of that man for the parts of him that he gave to our nation (and for a variety of other reasons too....)

So I'll just say this to summarize: somehow I can make a positive impact on veterans when it's my job and I'm an outside participant who they want to entrust with their stories and have help them. Being that same level-headed, easy-to-turn-to-person doesn't always apply when you are the spouse of the soldier or veteran however, especially if that individual is not willing to admit to anyone that anything might be troubling him or her. For years I convinced myself and believed that any relationship issues surfacing or changes with my spouse were due to the chaos of his upbringing....and once I finally realized that his deployment probably had incredibly difficult effects for him, many of my friends were shocked that I hadn't seen the signs in my own marriage. We see what we want to see.... And for every veteran and/or soldier I HAVE helped, I also have routinely failed to be able to be to understand and support my own spouse when we were in the thick of it. Granted the veteran or soldier has to be willing to share and/or try, but I think I was naive on how to do so in my own marriage....(and even today as his friend, I still fail to know just how to "get in there.")

A year ago this week while at the funeral of our friend who we lost in action, the CO (company commander...think big, big boss but not executive boss) and his wife pulled me aside wanting to know what had happened between my ex and I (who were separated at the time). The CO's wife is an amazing, yet stubborn woman who had seen her own husband through some hard times (both of my exes CO's and their wives were great supports during this time) and she had suggested the above pictured book to help me with the experience. Through the chaos of the funeral and return events that ensued, I completely forgot about it....but this week, that book randomly arrived in the mail. Even though I'm in the midst of several other books and have become a less-than dedicated reader, I easily devoured it in two short sittings....and I really, really, really wish that I would have known of this book's existence two to three years ago. In fact, in all honesty, I sort of wish that someone would have just sent it to me as a wedding gift....

Do I think this book will change my life? Nope. Do I think I can make my ex read it and actually do something with it? Nope. But so much of what was included in it, explains so much and solidifies so much of what I've worried about and felt in my heart. Some of the info in it I learned in the course of our marriage (for example: you don't wake a combat soldier up from a dead sleep......I was incredibly lucky he recognized my face prior to making contact with me....), but much of it was stuff that I really just needed to read and see in writing while stocking it up in my heart. 

Some of the passages that stuck out to me on today's reading:

And over time I hope to check out some of these other resources:

I'm someone who needs to make sense of things in order to move on, and although aspects of this book absolutely didn't describe our situation or him, there was so much in it that did offer explanations. And as much as we're "divorced," I don't know that I'll ever really be able to turn my back on this man. Everyone deserves to be loved....and maybe our veterans and our soldiers just need continual patience, respect, and some more of that unconditional love.....

If you know a spouse of a military member or a family member who is trying to understand why their soldier/veteran isn't the same way that once were, I'd highly encourage you to suggest this title. As I for one, am incredibly thankful for it randomly arriving in my mailbox this week.....and I intend to pass my copy on to a family member who is married to her own deployed soldier.... 

Exercise Wrap-Up & Fit Fall

So if you follow me on Instagram then you've already seen these stats and pictures. On my blog under the Exercise Accountable tab, I document each day what I've done exercise wise or if I have done anything. I'm not going to lie, posting my exercise routines (or lack there of) over the last year has done wonders to keep me motivated and sweating. I'm not trying to be a role model. I'm trying to keep myself active, sane, and to be true to my job as a health educator.

Adding up all the numbers was fun and it was interesting to see the various activities I've been involved with (mainly this summer). Although my stats are much less than many of the other physical activity bloggers I've enjoyed following this year, I'm still happy and proud of the mileage I've made and the new hobbies I've engaged in. This is way more than I've ever consistently done. And my monthly goal of achieving at least 60 miles has kept me at it as well.

Routine exercise & my dogs (usually together) have made me a much happier version of myself. I've pushed myself farther this last year than I've ever been able to go before and I've enjoyed covering so many miles watching my dogs break out in jolly smiles. (Although so many miles has also worn them down and I'm going to need to do a better job of monitoring their mileage/overuse in the coming year....)

I'm also in better physical shape than I've been in a long, long time which in turn makes me feel better about myself. Running/exercise has been the best and probably cheapest therapy throughout this last year. I've ran away tears, anger, and thought through frustrations. I've hit runners highs and used exercise as a mood lifter and way to wake myself up in the afternoon. 

I've also come to have a better overall awareness about my body. I realize I have the capacity to do more than I thought but I can tell when my body needs a break. I feel my muscles, bones, ligaments, joints in ways I haven't before and I've learned of the benefit of cross training, eating, and stretching. In fact, I had to relearn how to eat in order to work out as much as I have been doing. 

Counting up my days and stats, I also realized that 1/3 of the last year I did nothing at all either due to vacation, lack of time, injuries, or just plain wanting to recoup. So to start this next tracking year cycle, I decided to challenge myself in a different way for September. I decided that every single day this month I would do something physically active...even if I'm tired, even if I'm feeling broken, even if it's the last thing I have time to do...because at the very least I can stretch for 30 minutes and that's more than nothing...and because I know that physical activity does more than just benefit my physical body. I've also been trying out some youtube yoga videos (why is real yoga so expensive?!) and am going to try to integrate more of those into my regular rotation. We're halfway through the month and so far so good in terms of adhering to moving!

I'm a little nervous about the upcoming busyness that this fall will bring but am hopeful that the more organized I am that I can continue to schedule regular time for routine physical activity. Plus I'm hopeful that I'll continue to keep garage Insanity work-outs, youtube yoga work-outs, and stretching as easy ways to get at least 30 mins in routinely. Additionally Mom inherited a treadmill from my aunt's move and I've already warned that if it doesn't get used, Dad will be transporting that sucker to my garage for winter (rain-free) mileage, which will also cut down on worrying about outside light available hours. So here's hoping that even with the increased busyness, this year of tracking will be even more successful than the year prior!