Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter Term Wear: Wk 4

Sunday: Church
Thrifted skirt, hand-me-down button-up, old ruffled cardi, black leather boots, belt borrowed from a dress, earrings made by N

And y'all know that returning to church was...awesome...and needed.

Monday Evening: Dinner w/ Friend
gray suede flats, gray ruffled tunic, mustard cardi, jean skinnies, gold earrings from mom's closet
And I loved this outfit combo honestly.

First time I'd seen one of my old undergrad gals in FIVE years--caught up on much in a very tiny amount of time!

Tuesday Evening: Exam & Lesson
tweed back-ruffle pencil skirt, black suede shoes, merlot ruffled blouse, black belt
Side shot to TRY to show the ruffles in back of skirt and the ruffles up top on blouse...

Note to self: totally want to wear this top sans belt w/ skinnies and sandals come spring....

Wednesday Evening: Exam & Lesson
Thrifted skirt, black cardi, merlot tunic, black suede shoes, mix-match black jewelry

And this shows something that I NEVER do (but that I always thought was a very Southern thing to do...)....wearing dangly earrings and a necklace at the same time. This is something that feels like it's rare in the PNW, but I saw it in the south all the time...and it just feels so strange do wear both at once.

Was so behind schedule here, so this outfit was thrown together, make-up was put on, and a quick shower occurred all within 20 minutes....

What's Up w/ Work & Job Searching: 
Well A) frustration about the no additional job nor real bites yet...and frustration about finances of course. Most the positions I've applied for haven't closed yet, but it's still making me nervous for various reasons. I know the market is bad, but I'm realizing that leaving Portland when I did and removing myself from the field was probably not a great idea...since my experience in my main/desired field is old now and also fairly education based. It's rare that I see many positions posted that I'm both qualified for and that excite me currently... and this is also frustrating at this point. 

B) I also have been having mixed thoughts on how realistic it's going to be to both teach and try to have another job...mainly because I've been cognizant of how much time I'm putting into grading and the like...and well, it's a LOT. Twelve hours of online grading on Saturday, 2-3 hours yesterday afternoon, and then almost all day to get through the assignments today. Just to have it all start again tomorrow now that the exams are completed. Granted this is my heavier term, so there'd be a little less grading during my regular term loads...but still something to take into consideration.

C) Most of this week's class was devoted to the exam and explanation of the next big assignment, which I discussed slightly in my nutrition post a while back. The last 30-40 minutes, I showed parts of King Corn to stimulate thoughts as we head into the nutrition lecture next week. 

Technically the work week isn't over yet as I'm attending an internal teaching conference but maybe I'll just reuse one of the outfits from above ;)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Ephesians Reminder

So I don't know about y'all....but some days God just calls me to go to church. And yes, I know I should be going to church probably every Sunday, but for a few Sundays in there I wasn't really being spiritually fed and Christmas was just r-o-u-g-h and left me questioning. I'm still questioning...but that doesn't mean that the Big Dude isn't still trying to break through to my jaded lil heart....and shake me upside down and then put me on my feet again....

So last night I knew in my heart that I was supposed to go to church this morning in a big bad way....and I did....and well, (big surprise), it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I mentioned that the date on Friday provoked a lot of great thoughts and insights--much of which is exactly the type of stuff that I've been needing to think about....and church this morning sort of wrapped around some of those same themes...but in a different and of course, bigger way.

And I took this post is a summary of what I got out of the service (which currently they are journeying through Ephesians).

The pastor summarized part of what he'd preached about last Sunday (which was great because it also was a good message...and it's just good practice to re-lay the groundwork...).
1) The EGO is what we think of ourselves. 2) REPUTATION is what others think about us. (and what we tend to be too concerned about...although people think about us MUCH less than we think) But 3) IDENTITY is what God thinks/feels IS you. The Church is there to be a body of people who are experiencing and EXPRESSING Jesus.

Starting out with today's scripture: Ephesians 1: 3-8.
God HAS already blessed us---He created and predestined us. He already gave us in life everything that we need, although the Devil (and I thought: society) tries to blind us from this knowledge (so that we are constantly seeking, desiring, wanting more, or trying to find other things to fill us or provide us with the knowledge of who we are...EVEN THOUGH we ALREADY KNOW IT). Sometimes our actions can lead God to wonder "You're not acting like who you you not know who you are (or who I made you to be)?", even though He already has provided us with all of the answers. We can move forward in our potential (who we are and who we are destined to become) based on what God has already provided to us and within us.

Then there were 3 additional key points:
Lasting Choice---God doesn't regret His choice in creating each of us...He already knew who we would become and He remains steadfast in His choice (love) of us. (He loves us unconditionally.) He won't trade us in or pass over us for another model.
Loving Adoption---In Christ, each of us has a destiny to fulfill a HOPE and a FUTURE. We've been adopted from exposure/the garbage heap and we can't be disowned. Our defining moment is not based on who threw us out in this world, but rather it's who actually took us in (Lasting Choice).
Lavish Grace.

All good stuff to remember and to take to heart!

{...and also got me thinking on a few other ways to move forward...based on the person that God created me to be, the potential He granted, and the desires He's consistently placed in and on my heart (including, ahem, His and my conversation on that embankment when He told me just GO abroad....but how does one do this with two dogs that I love and refuse to give up? We're still in negotiations the Man and I.....with Him needing to show me the way....believe me, no doubt that God will continue to kick my butt exactly to where He wanted me to be anyway....)}

And here's an extra little kick for your Sunday:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Memorable Moments: Three

Things to make me smile, laugh, appreciate:

---Students that hang around after class just to chit chat and gather advice.

---Seeing a red truck with all of the following stickers: 2 Marines stickers, 1 cowboy up sticker, 1 rodeo sticker, and 1 Obama sticker......

---Day long text exchanges encouraging and enjoying acquaintances in the same general life situation.

---An afternoon RUN of the type that just feels OH.SO.RIGHT w/ happy dogs and a good indoor play & smile session afterwards. (Plus not being able to help myself and running the dogs toward the flock of geese in the nearby field....)

---Noticing a bird just floating and soaring in the sky out of the corner of my eye on an afternoon jog.

---Mt Hood looming on the horizon of TV Hwy on an afternoon drive, windows down, country music blaring, singing to the radio, sun out bright, and a slight chill in the air.

---Meeting my gal N for a spontaneous afternoon happy hour on MLK remembrance day.

---Undeniable hours of entertainment looking thru online profiles and chuckling.

---A spontaneous afternoon soak in the outdoor pool/hot tub at McMenamins with T....and later hearing her report that her head (concussion) had finally stopped throbbing.

---The ex sending me a text saying that the dogs are mine to have...knowing how much that decision must have been challenging and yet how much I appreciate it. AND realizing that those dogs have been my non-stop companions, constants, and care takers (as well as needing care) for three years straight now (Anna for 3.5 years). They make life jolly and bright with their big goofy smiles :)

---Hosting coworkers for my first solo dinner party and having a blast. Great tasty food, four bottles of vino devoured, and wonderful time with friends. Flexibility with start times...and L's tasty brussel sprouts with maple syrup & red pepper flakes!

---Midweek solo snowshoeing fun with the dogs! Gorgeous vistas, sunshine and warm days.

---Afternoon phone calls of length and realness with Dad. Appreciated his humor & insights...and that non-stop support and unconditional love that only my parents & family know how to give.

---Text chats and phone calls with my brothers about our individual snow adventures.

---Reconnecting with new/old hiking buddies & running friends.

---An evening texting catch-up session with an old military buddy; offering & garnering support at the current events of life. Convincing him of Oregon's natural beauty.

---Morning wake-up snuggles with my furry bed companions. Our pretty funny wake-up routine these days which includes plenty of tail wagging, kisses given, and fur flying!

---An sensation of returning contentment....that I truly have everything in life that I need...and that the unknowns will eventually be resolved.

---A first date that while not a great connection...provided two days of great food-for-thought that opened my eyes to more of myself...and past relationship cycles to reflect upon.

---A great evening spent curled up in comfies with brews and snacks and my cousins.

---An afternoon stop-by from my brother and his lady, providing me with a great mid-day break from grading.

---One of the best work-outs I've had in months, sweat dripping, pause-button-pushing, pure awesome butt-kicking.....and the great blueberry smoothie that followed:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Snowshoe Trek: Twin Lakes

Last night I contemplated snowshoeing again today--I went to bed way late (1:30am) but set my alarm anyway after having checked the roads and weather (sunny til noon with some rain in afternoon). Twice through the snooze, I really just wanted to keep snoozing all morning, but after checking the roads I decided it was time to Carpe Diem!

Threw on my snow gear, packed up a bag, fed the dogs, crammed a hearty breakfast in, and headed out with coffee in hand. 

A quick stop at my rental store up at Government Camp, where I decided to ask the gal if she had any suggestions for a different snowshoe today...and she told me about Frog Lake.

Drove over to Frog Lake and checked out both signs...and settled on heading up toward the lower Twin Lake. This sign is about a mile up trail:

And luckily I decided to take a picture of the area where I was...definite good thing as I had to rely on this picture (and my gut instincts) on multiple occasions. :) 

Initial miles were sunny, green, and with packed and limited snow on what looked like a snowy but regular hiking trail. 

The dogs were SO glad to be out and about again. They're remembering the general drive up to the mountain more and more these days...and that smile breaks out on their face sooner and sooner as they realize we're headed for a day of trail fun! 

Sign heading to Lower Twin Lakes (1 mile away): 

At lower Twin, and here I calculated out about how fast I'd been moving, consulted the map, and decided I'd have time and energy to attempt the next lake (and probably the rest of the mileage).

About another mile along, we were at the Upper Twin Lake: 

Go doggies, go! Running across the lake. 

Roxi couldn't help but plant a cheap shot: 

Headed up through quite a few switchbacks (trail rated: difficult) and eventually reached the summit:

Somewhere beyond here there was an unexpected trail that veered off and the map didn't show everything, but I decided to head the way that felt right and knew I could always backtrack if needed. Through sections of the trail, the snow in the trees melted and in other spots there was some rain, but also some powder like snow and conditions along the way:

Eventually the trail connected back to the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), which followed back to the Frog Lake Sno Park. Looking on the pictured map, I'd calculated out about 7 miles, but looking up the actual loop online tonight, it says it was 8 miles--woot woot! Total incline gain wasn't much (700 ft), but lots of up and downs throughout the trail. The trail also seemed like an awesome one to come back to this summer for a mix of hiking/trail running.

Altogether another great day out in the snow. Muscles worked, dogs and I equally smiled, senses were sharpened, mind let thoughts come and go, and nature just stilled the soul. Absolutely lovely!

Winter Term Wear: Wk 3

Monday Happy Hour:
Skinnies, old turquouise cardi, old brown flats, brown belt & bracelet, resized hand-me-down tunic, earrings made by N

Tuesday Lecture: 
Target dress (3yo), black cardi, black leather boots, black reused belt, black drop earrings

Wednesday Lecture: 
Old black H&M sweater (4yo), thrifted skirt, black leather boots

Ha obviously this was the teaching week of polka dots! And that dotted skirt? Well it's another one mom picked up unrequested this last month from a thrift skirt...not sure if that counts as breaking the challenge or not?!

And now a random note about hair, my hair: It's finally been growing! And I get lots of comments on it lately. In fact a lot of comments that it seems like I must have invested a lot in it...and then I chuckle, because my hair is about as low maintenance as it comes. I wash it daily with "hippie" shampoo and let it towel/air dry. I hate blow dryers and try to only use them a couple times a year if I have to---my students know to expect me to show up with damp hair from my shower, usually it's pulled back in a pony tail/bun til it half drys, and once it's somewhat dry then I'll let it hang down...where it somehow 9/10 drys perfectly shaped. I give that part to my "hairdresser"...the tattooed, hard-edged and fabulous Nicole at Bishop's Barbershop, which I only go into about 4-6x a year for a trim. Usually when I'm in there someone asks who dyes my hair.....uh, well that would be the sun....and it changes with the seasons randomly. Usually in winter it's got a little more of a red tint, I might even get a blondish streak up front at times---I think it's my hair's way of stockpiling the summer sun and then putting it on display--ha ;) Also I wear that hair tie on my wrist like a badge of courage because 70% of the time my hair will be pulled back out of my face...and I need easy access to a hair tie. Oh...and my sign to get my hair cut? My bangs have gotten too long. So there ya have...the simple girls guide to hair care....but I'm not gonna lie, I'm secretly glad to get comments about it looking spendy. :)

Oh....and week 3? How are we already done with week 3? Next week is their first exam! Lots of grading to get through this weekend but once I do, 1/3 of their assignments are already done too. Did I mention that most of today I swore it was already March? If the term keeps trucking along like this, it truly WILL be March before I know it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back on the Up

....and you know how I know? Cause this week (and 4x today alone) I've heard on the radio this specific country song that the ex used to put on his mixes cause he could never get himself to say the things the song specifies.....and you know what? I've just sung along and enjoyed the song, and most of the time the song is over 70% through before I even remember which song it is....

....but it also might be because I'm being proactive in life again. I'm making lists each day and checking things off as I complete them. I'm applying for jobs, I've posted and emailed for housemates, and I've called the neighbors to tell them that they're going to have to deal with my dogs again because I refuse to keep them cooped up inside when the weather's nice. I've told the naturopath that I took myself off all her supplements and I want a food-based diet "fix" and I've told them that I'm coming less frequently because I can't afford it. I've also told the ex that after not living here for seven months he needs to relocate the rest of his stuff or I'll donate it, change his address officially, and finally tell the military that we aren't married.

....or it might be because I'm doing things like hosting dinner parties solo, having real heartfelt honest conversations with my parents again, I'm reaching out to friends in ways I didn't for a long time, I'm socializing and being authentic in the process with where I am and what life used to be like and where I want it to go....

....I'm enjoying the sunshine falling through the trees and I'm opening the curtains and letting the light stream in. I'm cleaning off the patios, picking up the backyard, dusting the picnic table and envisioning a new stain color, and daydreaming of the summer hosting season and the potential for what could be in the raised beds.

....I'm making sure to take time among the uncertainties to enjoy life. I'm taking the dogs on afternoon jogs, spontaneously zipping T off to the soaking pool for relaxation (and to work on easing her concussion pain!), and enjoying those mid-week solo snowshoe opportunities.

...I'm being true to my professional goals and thinking about long term lifestyle desires. I'm responding to student emails asap and being an organized instructor. I'm emailing old supervisors to let them know where I'm at and how much I appreciate their support.

....I'm saying something to the big one upstairs each day, even if it's just a little hey G, don't forget about me know the desires and hopes of my heart.....

....I'm gathering opinions, weighing them and holding them up to the light, and then making decisions for myself that make the most sense....and with that, I'm just going to put it out there...I totally went and created an online dating profile. My girlfriends are secretly looking forward to enjoying this vicarious experience without having to the be the one to do it, but let me just tell the last 24hrs, it's been great for my ego. I mean, obviously I shouldn't base my self-confidence off what other people tell me, but after being married to a man who for three years treated me more like his sister than a woman/wife, it's nice to get some validation that I just might sorta still be a catch. :) And no worries, I'm being level-headed about this...I'm looking at it as an opportunity to get to see what's out there again without really looking for the next big thing...and having to explain myself to others....sort of as a means to have to prove that I do still know myself. I know this might sound funny, but I'm seriously really excited about this experience....let's see if I still feel that way at the end of three months. (Oh ps my frugal side totally swept in too, because I ran a search for the site and promo codes and guess what....totally scored!) I've been joking about starting a second blog just to record the process of this whole experience but for now let me just assure that the dude who had a pick-up line of "hey fancy pants" in his email DEFINITELY got deleted...and led me to provide a few more specifics on who should not contact me.

....and I'm feeling my health stabilizing: emotionally, physically, spiritually, nutritionally, mentally. I'm making sure I'm getting enough sleep. I'm resting a few days each week on the exercise front AND finding that I'm feeling much better and recovering faster on the days I do exercise. I'm not monitoring my food or pouring numerous supplements into my body, but instead focusing on snacking on protein foods for mood stabilization and eating regular solid meals. I'm singing to the radio with the windows down. I'm scheduling my time and smiling. I'm surrounded by support of both family and friends...and regardless of how long this job process takes, today I'm feeling immensely and incredibly blessed....and its a great place to be again.

Life ain't perfect by any means and its not going to be, but the last few days I've been feeling better consistently. I'm looking at Fearless on that bathroom mirror and truly feeling that I might be feeling that way again. Hope y'all are doing well too---sending big hugs to each one of you!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mid-week Snowshoe Trip

A freebie day mid-week when one is hoping to acquire a full time job=soak up what you on limited sleep, the ladies and I headed back up to the mountain to get in some outdoor fun! We headed back to the same spot as the first time we went with T.

Halfway along the trail--debating heading up the ridgeline...and then I saw this guy and his dog had made it over....true to form I thought "well, if he can do it, then so can I...."

...except I couldn't figure out an easy way to get down on this embankment to get over o the you see that straight line down embedded in the snow? Yup, I purposely slid down that sucker on my butt and laughed the whole way. :)

The dogs and I starting to head up the ridgeline from the river bank.

Roxi rolling around in the snow.

The dogs investigating a rocky section. Can you see those two itty bitty trees straight up on the left? That was my destination point....

Dogs playing....itty bitty trees still behind them.

At our destination, Anna's glamour shot with Mt Hood in the background.

Heading back down. The parking lot is beyond that row of trees jutting in from the right toward the river.

Did I mention it was warm and gorgeous? Probably even tanned my face!

Another GREAT Snowshoeing DAY!

God and I had a lil chat as I ate a snack on an embankment near the parking lot. Heading back the dogs slept and I sang songs from the radio at the top of my lungs. Now with dog bones and leg massages, I think they've had a pretty good day! :) I'm tired and headed out to Granny's, but it feels like it's been an incredibly good day!
Updated: And Granny was in a chipper mood herself---has started joining the exercise classes and has started making some friends--was good to see her back to her spunky, smiley self :)

Winter Term Wear: Wk 2

Tuesday Lecture:
Hand-me-down skirt; white cami; old re-sized teal ruffle sweater; reused belt; black suede flats

Wednesday Lecture: 
BR outlet button-down; old Target khaki skirt; old brown flats; brown belt (to resize the shirt mainly); brown cardigan; wood bracelet & necklace

So over at Literate & Stylish, the question got we ever post outfit fails? Ha, um, yes, looking back at many of the work outfits I posted during winter term last year, I'm all like "what the heck was I thinking?" I feel like in the last year I've learned a lot more about how to better dress my body. Tonight's outfit was a take off of last Tuesday's outfit obviously. The cardigan and belt did a great job of helping the pink shirt look like it fits and luckily mom had taken the sweater above in earlier this summer (plus tucking it in took care of the rest). My goal this term is both the usual (to wear different stuff each day) but to also try to mix up patterns etc, although I'd have to say that at this point I probably have some fairly standard uniforms that I know work for me. 

Most of today was spent grading my online courses and lectures this week went really well. The training/workshop on Friday helped refresh some of the old teaching strategies I'd learned in my teaching program and we're all challenged to implement them in our courses this term, so it was sorta fun to switch some stuff up (and increase application levels of learning) this week especially. The second week of the term I always have students watch a segment of Unnatural Causes, which opens the discussion about social determinants of health--very eye opening, sometimes controversial  and yet thought provoking material for most students. Next week will be packed with lecture so I'll have to see if I can integrate some other learning strategies as well. Still LOVING my job and so far, it seems like I'll have two good groups again--always incredibly different groups of students each term, but that's part of what keeps it entertaining. 

This 2013 feels like it might fly by though--already halfway into January and into week two of the eleven week term---woosh!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Update: Happenings

I've mentioned that I'm now working with a naturopath and an acupuncturist. The naturopath has had me tracking my eating, pumped me full of supplements, upped my water intake, and has made some great points, BUT I'm not going to lie, things my come to a T at this week's appointment as I'm not really a supplement person and I'm tired of thinking so much about food. I'm still struggling to motivate myself to eat as much as I should given the amount of calories I expend most days (case in point: today's jog was definitely a jog and mentally completed as physically I didn't have it in me to run....). There are some cooking issues held over from issues that occurred in the marriage, but generally I think I just don't enjoy cooking for myself. I've been given a fairly free pass to eat more fat, cholesterol  and calories.....but overly fattening and sweet things just don't taste as good these days. I'm also to be eating 100g of protein daily....which I'm still no where close and most of it is supplement based. Daily I'm taking what feels like WAY too many supplements and I honestly didn't expect a naturopath to be so supplement heavy rather than focus on suggesting more FOODS to eat.

Still working out almost daily though---good for the mood and it feels great to finally have a strong core for once. Somewhat getting burnt out on running but it's such an easy way to get a work-out in AND let's me exercise the dogs that I don't know that I truly will be quitting it any time soon. For the moment, no running pain though. Some issues with muscle recovery speed but I'm sure that's more attributed to the food/protein lack.

The counselor agreed that she thought that I was doing fine on my own and can just call her for an appointment if needed. I've started just typing things down more to get them out of my mind and it definitely helps (beyond the occasional text to a friend for feedback). I've noticed that I cycle down every 2-3 weeks just naturally about the divorce, so I need to be doing a better job of regularly writing down my thoughts and feelings throughout the process instead of just when the lower points hit.

My sleep is up and then down. About once a week or every other week, I sleep deeply and great. Other nights it takes a while to fall asleep and still others I'm just not sleeping very deeply. I've also been having some interesting dreams for the last several months :) I'm refusing to take the sleep aid the naturopath wants to put me on though, as I'd rather just struggle through it....truly naturally.

Job Hunt & Finances
Three more applications got sent out yesterday and I've got one more pulled up that I'm debating. One was submitted for a full-time research coordination position with a local health organization, a part-time career specialist with teens, and an on-call health educator. I heard back on two of the other three I had applied for--one was a no-go and the other they're still reviewing applications, however they just reposted the job again so I'm not taking that too promisingly. Also the Air Force is a no go, since I don't have a biological science undergrad. BUT I do know that the right thing will line up. I'm applying for stuff all over Portland though with some thoughts on eventually relocating if needed and IF I can find another uber-petfriendly rental.

The housemate and I have been getting along great but she just got notification that they're keeping her on past seasonal at her job downtown. A month of the commute isn't bad but now at two months, she's ready to move closer and I can't blame her. I'll be posting for another short-term house mate starting in Feb. I'm gonna miss A though--she's been a great person to share the house with and since she's out of a similar relationship situation, it's been especially good.

I'm keeping all receipts this month and have really only spent on gas and food other than the usual bills. I'm planning on doing a budget at the end of the month to look at inputs vs outputs, etc. It's pretty easy for me to not spend money actually---I've had lots of practice and in reality, I actually prefer life this way most the time. Additionally, the good news is that all my expenses are coming straight out of my account and I haven't put anything extra on my credit card. I did meet up with a couple of people socially but I either was at their place or we met cheaply over tea. I have hosted and will be hosting this month here BUT it still feels cheaper than going out for a meal and drinks with friends! And ironically when I've told my friends that I need to be cheap right now, no one has really complained and many are equally appreciative. Somehow I think I'm going to just make it through the month with what I have in my account (still supplemented from saved savings) and then the next three months I should have increased paychecks since I'm teaching more (and there's no paycheck break again til spring break). The ex and I did butt heads slightly this week via text as I'd discovered that he transferred me money, which he states is for the dogs.....but still somewhat annoys me for reasons I don't want to get into. Additionally he and I will have to rendezvous at some point end of this month to file taxes (and I've set that as the deadline to clear out the rest of the garage of his stuff.)

I'm slightly less social than I was before I started the tighter budget, but have still gotten together with several of my friends. As mentioned in my Memorable Moments, I met my buddy N down at the waterfront on a very chilly recent Sunday where we walked his dog, tried to keep warm, and drank tea. It's always really great to see him, hear his insights, and just generally spend time with someone who is so much like me in so many ways and experiences. He just started seeing a new lady, so I'm stoked to get to meet her too! On Saturday I met up at a tea house in NE PDX which is about a half way for my gal N and I. It seriously was so good to really sit down and catch up over the last few months, even if most of what I felt I needed advice on I wasn't able to share until later in the afternoon via text. I really enjoyed getting to hear some of her updates and what she's been working on in herself though---definitely a wonderful lady! The weekend before that I hosted book club here at the house and also joined my gal R for an improtu dinner at her house which was seriously delicious and great just to casually spend an early evening together. I also had a work meeting/training Friday afternoon which was sort of like a social event since everyone there is already comfortable and/or friends with each other. After the meeting, R and I chit chatted for a bit and then I drove over to my old coworker's place (who lived with D and I early last year) and spent the evening catching up with him and his lady.

Other than that I've mainly spent time with the housemate (lots of conversations about relationships) and family. My sis and her boys came for a visit to see Granny and I early January. Dad decided last minute to come up to see Granny so he and I chatted over breakfast here one morning. I created a visitation schedule for all of us to see Granny, so Thursday evenings have become my night with her (and the occasional weekend stop-by). It's been fun to bop over for a couple hours here or there....and as always you get sucked into whatever game she's got on the TV (she's a HUGE sports fan!). Plus on my rough afternoon/evening the other day, my aunt had me (and the housemate) up for dinner, wine, conversation, and the game---my aunt and uncle have been a HUGE support and resource through everything....

Ironically, the two questions I seem to be getting the most are......a) why did I stay with him so long when he obviously didn't treat me right? and b) when am I going to get back on the horse? While it's not worth it to explain A, all I can say about B is that it might be coming sooner rather than later....we'll see. The divorce finalization wasn't too long ago, but we're gaining on the one-year mark of the separation. I know there are lots of options out there, but I don't want to jump in too soon. However, I AM getting to that point where I feel like just getting to know other people might be fun....especially if they want to go running, snowshoeing, or uh backpacking this summer--ha ;) Part of the ease of the initial separation was that I had new fun and uplifting people to hang out with, who made me feel good about myself, and were interested in many of the same things I was. Thus people also keep asking me what I want in a new partner....and I don't know that I'm really ready to wrap my head around that yet. Some of it would be incredibly similar and yet some of it would be Although honestly casually dating would probably help me figure out some of all that. For now it's entertaining watching friends try to go through their rolodex of single friends to see if they have someone they think would work....ha.ha.ha. :) Starting over at this stage is most definitely not where I saw life, but oh well, I can imagine it's going to be entertaining at least.

For now, upcoming social stuff includes hosting a couple friends to dinner here at the house on Friday and I hope to connect with my gal D in the next week or so. Book club (and our final goodbye to my gal E) is coming up in early Feb and I also plan to host a brunch in Feb for my female family members.

Reading through the Bible again has been a good thing. This morning I sat in front of the fire with light snow dusting down out the windows as I plowed through the rest of the scheduled reading for this month and started in briefly on February. If I remember correctly last time I followed this program, I think I finished early in September and I'm hopeful I can do something similar this year too. But for a lot of reasons reading regularly or almost regularly has been really good for me.

I haven't been back to church yet. I'm not sure why I'm hesitant, but I've been meaning to at least listen to some of the sermons online....

I should be praying more....but right now, I'm not exactly sure what to say, other than something like "Well, G, I guess you've got this, yea?!"

The dogs are doing well--recovered from their illness and always anxious for ever more attention, car rides, and outdoor fun. I took them for their annual shots on Saturday (to Petco via Luvmypet) and was able to get both done in the same morning. Roxi was incredibly nervous this go around but she actually did great with the other dogs in the long line. I'd left Anna in the back of the car, and they let me just switch out the gals without having to come back another day or get back in line, which was Fabulous! As a reward, I tried to take them briefly to the nearby dog park---Roxi did great with the dog that was in there but was aggressive and growled at the next dog to arrive. Since she was then on a leash and all Anna does is run around sniffing stuff rather than play, there wasn't much point in hanging out there :) But overall the dogs are getting lots of love each day, are routinely begging their way onto my run/jog outings (although Anna's taken up marking territory every half mile or less), and are always excited to join on car rides.

Lady is going to desperately miss A once she moves out, as she's really taken to her and she even gets to stay sleeping on the bed with her. She's truly converted herself into a mainly indoor cat, much to my chagrin. Major....oh, Major---spends half his nights sleeping on the bed with the dogs and I....and always wakes me up between 3 and 6 to let him out for more food or into the night. I think I spoil these animals too much, but they seriously sustain me. :) The ex and I also have been staking out lines about he still one day wants her and the idea slightly infuriates me.....
And I suppose that's most of life in a nutshell!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Memorable Moments: Two

Things that make me smile, bring me joy, create the feeling of gratitude, or transmit laughter:

---Scrounging up $5 in quarters from a stash in the house as my "donation" to have my two Christmas trees hauled outta my driveway. No clue who the young guy knocking on my front door was but I felt like a teenager while searching for change in order to receive my "treat!"

---Lazy mornings of coffee, reviewing email/blogs, searching for jobs and updates, taking care of "business," and surrounded by my furry friends.

---Improtu last minute visit from Dad--primarily to visit Granny but still nice to have him in my home for an evening/morning!

---Good news for my cousin A, leaving me smiling on her behalf for days! :)

---Rearranging furniture/closets.....creating change in other ways.

---Students telling me at the conclusion of class one how excited they are for a term with me--ha. And positive feedback from students via email as well.

---Creating class playlists on day one based on suggestions from students as they did introductions. One of my most fun ideas yet and something the students can listen to for fun as well.

---Chilly afternoon jogs with the dogs and watching their breath steam out into the sky.

---A LATE sleeping in morning of the deepest sleep I've had in months...and feeling energized upon waking!

---Mood re-set worthy work-outs---easy jogs with happy dogs and sweat pouring Insanity DVDs.

---An evening dinner with an old housemate and his lady---good drinks & shrimp fajitas--DELISH, and great conversation to boot.

---A morning reading the Bible with soft snow flakes drifting down out the window, dogs settled by my feet, cats curled up in their respective chairs, Bible reading and the weather soothing my unsettled soul.

---Frozen hands and exploding bladders during the CHILLY walk N, adorable lil Buddha, and I shared along the waterfront on Sunday. Good conversation about exes and the potential/issues of dating/new relationships with other people. Always so thankful for the fun and insights provided by this dude!

---Wearing the exact.same outfit three times in one week just.because.I.can! :) (and it was warm!)

---An evening spent up at my aunt and uncle's with the housemate along too. Fed, w(h)ined, and football watching combined!

---Dance party moments...and the simple joy of Pandora. Swaying hips and hands in the air, singing in the shower and in the car.

---THE tea cupboard stash. A sale at Whole Foods and my naturopath's advice have produced the creation of an entire tea cupboard between the housemate and I.

---Dave's Killer Sin Dawg bread. Finally refound this deliciousness this! Most definitely put a big ol' smile over this face!!

---Quiet but packed tea houses in NE Portland while meeting my gal N for tea and conversation. Good catching up between the two of us and great Portland watching (why are all people in Portland the.exact.same?). Great insights and advice offered from N via text later in the afternoon!

---A productive morning and evening of job applications, cleaning, scheduling and general organization!

---Slight moments of sunshine bursting through the gray Oregon gloom.

What are some great moments you've been noticing lately?

Winter Term Wear: Weekend 1

The Offending Outfit aka 3x Go:
Wore on my evening with Granny, walking downtown, & visiting other family
Skinnies, peach longsleeve shirt, gray thrifted sweater, gray suede flats

Friday Afternoon Work Meeting:
Gray thrifted pencil skirt, hand-me-down white button-up, old blue cardigan, brown flats, wood bracelet & earrings, brown skinny belt from other outfit

Thermal work-out shirt, skinnies, gray suede flats, BR outlet Tshirt

AND the earrings by my gal N! Awesome no?!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dance Party w the Dogs

Today's highlight:

This song causes a dance party in the house every time it comes on. This afternoon as I got out of the shower I found both dogs passed out on the bed. However as soon as Michael Franti's Sound of Sunshine came on Pandora, it didn't take long for a quick dance party to ensue with the dogs hopping around on the bed, waving their paws up for me to grab, and big smiles of happiness on their faces.

Nothing turns a frown upside down quite like Sound of Sunshine.....

So if you're already smiling or if you're in need of a smile, hit play above....and enjoy your own lil dance party courtesy of the dogs, Michael Franti, youtube, and yours truly.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Winter Term Wear: Wk 1 & Some Oldies

First Lectures This Week:
Tuesday: blue ruffle short-sleeve button-up; thrifted black pencil skirt, black suede flats, gray cardi, reused black belt, silver hoop earrings w/ pink/purple accents, black bangle

Wednesday: crappy photo--sorry!
mustard cardi, blue ruffle tunic, thrifted gray pencil skirt, blue flats, blue & gold necklace, gold bracelet

Work Outfit:
black suede boots, white button-up, mustard cardi, black belt, denim pencil skirt

Happy Hour:
skinnies, red flats, black long sleeve shirt, afghan scarf, red coat

This has become a favorite...and I almost got rid of this shirt.
Skinnies, black flats, tuxedo inspired teal top

Lunch w/ Girlfriends:
skinnies, black flats, ruffled dotted BR tunic, mustard cardi

Casual Day:
skinnies, red shoes, red scarf, tan striped sweater

A) I've told all my students not to expect to see me in pants this term.
B) Obviously I love my skinnies lately---better wear them while I can!
C) Does it count if Mom sent a thrifted skirt to me?
D) Looking at old outfit posts, I'm loving my thinner thighs...but I miss my old curves sometimes!
E) I moved the bed over in my room and moved all my clothes & accessories back into my actual bedroom; makes showering & dressing easier, but obviously based on the first two photos, I'm still struggling to find a mirror with good lighting! :)
F) I also have a love affair w/ that mustard cardi obviously.
G) I've been thinking about taking up knitting again.....
H) I'm pretty sure that a skirt, flats, shirt, & cardi is going to be my work uniform this term.
I) Apparently this week was also full of the blues...ha! I didn't even realize until I looked at the pictures that I'd worn the same general color last night!
J) So far, this 2013 clothes challenge doesn't seem very hard.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Memorable Moments: One

One thing I realized from November's gratitude month: focusing daily on looking for the positives is 100% good for my soul.

So I've decided to repackage this same concept and call it Memorable Moments. Over the course of a week, a day, a month, I'll add things that made me smile, items that made me laugh, things I just plain appreciated, or things/people/etc that I'm grateful for.

So without further ado, memorable moments from the beginning of January:

---First time I've ever actually seen Anna drool....and over a baked potato no-less, three little droplets on the carpet and pretty hilarious actually.

---Major's taken to sitting on a cushion in the entryway until I get home. Before I even make it around the corner, I hear him hollering at me to hurry it up to let him inside to his food!

---Sunshine streaming through the windows while the ground lays frozen and frosty outside!

---Being stopped by a stranger in the Albie's parking lot who needed me to look up the number to Verizon at the mall. Sometimes it's just nice to help a stranger....

---Watching my nephew show Granny his Ipod during the visit from my sister and her kids.

---Standing out on the porch with my aunt getting in a few last snip-its of conversation....and having her tell me at the very end just how proud of me she is.

---Evening conversation over hard cider in the kitchen with the housemate while I made sticky buns. Random bonding over celebrity aversions, ultramarathoners, similar cooking styles.

---Hosting book club and having many of my favorite ladies all hanging out in one place. Roxi's excitement at so many potential people to pet her. The fire roaring, the house cleaned, the living room cozy, and good food laid out to indulge. And....a baby to come and a new engagement!

---My gal N made the absolutely most perfect pair of earrings for me: long dangles, seashell charms in the middle, and seafoam green accents---GORGEOUS!

---50 degrees being enough for my favorite casual "uniform:" just jeans. tank/shirt, a cardigan, and flats.

---Running errands with the housemate and treating us to Burgerville milkshakes so I could use my 2for1 coupon (seasonal hazelnut milkshake w/o the chocolate---DELISH!)

---Picking Major up and having him settle in my lap for a good 15 minute petting--something that hasn't happened in what felt like a really long time.

---A cozy evening around the fire in the still rearranged living room with the housemate...and every single animal in the house hanging out as well.

---Jogging past the baby boomer age gentleman from the MIL cottage down the street who was walking his German Shep and realizing that he was going out of his way to wave and acknowledge me since he's gotten used to me running by his place on my routes.

---Homemade soup cooking in the crock pot. Baking sticky buns and having them turn out pretty decently. Putting the crock pot and bread maker to use. Developing lists for food and slowly inching my way toward overcoming some of my food hang-ups.

---Giving the case of oil in the garage to the across-the-street neighbor who is always working on his car...and really feeling how much he appreciated the gesture...and finally feeling like I was trying to be a friendly neighbor-period!

---Accomplishing the little things on my own: clipping the dogs nails, rearranging furniture, cooking, navigating driving and rentals on the mountain, cleaning the garage, making decisions about the future, etc.

---Quitting least for a while, but FREEing.

---Salmon cream cheese dip--Enough said. I think I might be pushing my current free pass to increase protein, cholesterol, and fat in my diet....but DELISH!

---Canned apple or pear butter. And the amazing sunshine mid-winter burst from summer canned peaches--amazing!

---Creating to-do lists and making schedules!

---Many check-ins with my gals spread all over the US, a phone call with M&D, and evening visits with Granny.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fearless 2013: Beginning Update

Don't worry there won't always be weekly reviews but I just wanted to touch base to update on some things that have been going on regarding this idea of being Fearless in 2013

However I'd like to take this opportunity to list out some of the ways I feel that I've already been fearless in the last half of 2012:
---followed thru with my word and visited my friends in GA and AZ using savings to get there
---took solo day-trip to fulfill my lifetime desire to further explore Charleston, SC
---took up running again and completed half-marathon distance on my own
---hiked to the summit of kings mtn with the dogs this summer and didn't worry about my fear of heights
---engaged in activities that make me uncomfortable: girls only backpacking, attending parties solo, branching out socially, went to a movie by myself
---agreed to the divorce and signed the papers; admitted defeat
---trusted God to provide and let myself be angry when I felt He had let me down
---turned down a job in belief that something better would present itself
---tried out new hobbies that I've always wanted to do
---asked for help via counseling, social support, and utilizing other health services
---calling out the ex, supporting him as I could, and ultimately cutting ties with him

Now, granted, not all of these choices have been the easiest and not all of them have put me in the best position. I have a decent chunk of change hanging out on my credit card due to not having additional supplemental income and as mentioned December was an internal steady decline BUT....that's part of the reason why I'm glad to be approaching 2013 as an entire year of Fearless and am working on MAKING more opportunities happen to meet my goals.

In the last two weeks (and this week especially) some decisions have been made:

---I've been trying to contact the AF Health Professional recruiters about becoming a Public Health Officer. This is something I looked into earlier last year also. Ironically, I'm maybe the only person in the world who struggles to get the military recruiters that I want to actually call me back. My three weeks of attempted contact (and my buddy that I sent to the office in WA) all have gone unanswered. But what I keep telling those I've shared with about this: when you're broke, bored, looking for a direction/challenge, enjoy telling people what to do, and think it'd be awesome to get paid to work out every day, joining the military is the perfect solution. The Air Force is definitely the route to go. Ironically the Navy is actively recruiting for similar positions but I just don't know how I feel about the Navy vs AF....and there's a good chance that this whole idea won't go anywhere anyway. I've contacted a lot of my vets or military friends and most of them think I'd do really well in the we'll see.

---I un-enrolled from classes yesterday. I'd gone back and forth about this decision, but my final choice yesterday came down to two things. 1) I really want to pay off my debts rather than continue to accumulate more and 2) I don't want to go back to school until I really feel passionate that it's what I want to do. The last week I've had some funny dreams, some of which pertained to me sleeping thru or blowing off class---only further making me realize that I wasn't really into it yet. I didn't completely shut the door on the opportunity, as I emailed the instructors to let them know that right now wasn't the right time but perhaps in a year it might be. (Yesterday also saw me wondering if there might be a way to financially make it worth it to go back for my PhD.)

---I have applied for three daytime jobs to supplement my teaching position and am going to be consistently searching for others; all three of the positions thus far are incredibly different. One is management based and full-time, one is research based and part-time, and one is education/marketing based and full-time. Not sure any of them would pan out BUT I feel energized to keep trying until I land something to help me pay off the bills/debts and build up savings. I also have realized that I NEED something to distract me and to pour myself into beyond teaching, which is another reason I decided that this year I need to work rather than study.

---I had to text my parents and let them know that based on my decisions yesterday, I might have to suck up my pride and let them help me financially for a month or two until I can secure additional employment. Definitely not what I want to do whatsoever, especially since I was raised to be incredibly independent and I've been taking care of my own financial needs since I was 22 or 23. However as much as having to ask for help is difficult, I also recognize how incredibly fortunate I am to have parents that are able to assist, especially as I recognize not everyone has that option. I also recognize I'm incredibly stubborn, so just having them potentially going to help is extra incentive to get my butt in gear and secure an extra job so that hopefully their assistance was a suggestion rather than a reality-ha!

---Self-imposed challenges: 
A) 2013 Clothes Challenge--already explained....
B) but really it's a bigger part of an attempt to FREEZE SPENDING. I really have more than what I need period...and all fall I allowed myself one to three social outings a week with friends because I knew I needed the social interaction to keep me going....but I'm not going to lie...that social interaction has been piling up on my credit card. SO while I'm still wrapping my mind around what this should look like, I'm trying to figure out how to spend incredibly minimally. It's so much easier to just make a standard "I'm not going to spend on anything other than groceries and gas...." but I also know that life doesn't always work that easily, especially when I'm a social creature with friends spread all across the city. Ironically yesterday worked out a gal pal called me in the morning and wondered if I'd come over for dinner---a great way to still socialize and not spend much (gas & a regifted bottle of vino). So again, this no spending goal is in development but is definitely on my potentially comes a year (or at least six months) of socializing on the cheap...and not buying much of anything extra.
C) Reading through the Bible again this year. I'm not going to lie, my faith held me together initially during the divorce but Christmas found me questioning some things. Last time I read through the Bible in 2008, it was really good for my soul, balanced me out, and brought me further into a life of simplicity. I'm hopeful the same thing will happen this year, but regardless being in the Word almost daily (I have a tendency to read ahead on the plan) should be good for me.

---For now I've put counseling on hold. I recognize that there are still some things I'll need to work on, especially when I do start dating, but I honestly feel like between sessions I was processing through much of my realizations and issues already and really just reporting life to her when we did meet. I sent her an email yesterday to let her know my decision so we'll see what her reply thoughts are.

---Yesterday while looking for jobs, I also found a few potential volunteer options. Getting involved and giving back is something I want to engage in during this year of Fearless 2013.

There will be other items I know. But the items listed above are my biggest focuses currently for 2013. I know there will be new ways to push myself out of my comfort zone (skydiving?! even though it's against the no spending idea.....) and new physical challenges (maybe something other than running and Insanity, I'm starting to crave a new focus). I still want to follow-thru on my trips that I'd hoped to take as part of my Year 30 goals, even though I  know it will be difficult to achieve. Part of this fearless year is going to again be trusting that life will work out but also realization that I have the strength to make this life be something also. It's not going to be easy to stay in this mindframe but I'm incredibly, incredibly hopeful...and really that's all I can ask for! Yesterday was the first time that I greeted someone with "Happy New Year" and I actually really, truly meant it.

Some great strides have been made and pondered on in this first week of January....

So here's looking ahead to the rest of a Fearless 2013.

A 2013 Clothes Challenge

So in the spirit of Fearless, I've been thinking of some challenges and areas for personal growth for myself. One area that I've shared on here somewhat has been regarding clothes/outfits and in recent months I've mentioned wanting to get by with less....

Well..... I've been feeling inspired by Whitney over at Along the Lines of Style, who has challenged herself this year to not buy much for her closet. Now granted Ms Whit has quite the selection already, but her thoughts regarding this challenge are some that have been resonating with me for a while now...and I'm going to attempt to see if I can engage in a similar challenge for the next six months at least.

As I've mentioned before, my wardrobe is a bit sparser than it has been since I'm struggling to have most things fit me correctly anymore BUT I totally believe that I can get by with what I have, although I do have a couple caveats. IF I obtain full-time employment in an increased business environment, then I might need to invest in a pair of work pants that fit, as currently I have no work pants that fit, and maybe a few other minimal items. In the case of needing to replenish should I remain at this current size, then I will first attempt to find thrifted items rather than new. Additionally, I'm still free to raid mom's jewelry boxes.....and to try to get her to size down some of the items that I already have in my closet.

So what DO I have in my closet that I'm starting out with? Ha, ha, ha.....although it's actually way more than necessary.

A variety of dresses, most of which are more made for warmer temperatures and at least half of which require the use of a belt to fit correctly.
On the self above are my sweaters and tanks for layering.

Shirts, button-downs, cardigans, blazers are hanging--again some shirts need to be belted and most cardigans are no longer fitted.
On the shelf above are my Tshirts and long-sleeve shirts, with half of my long-sleeved shirts mainly being used for working out.

My skirts that fit (the pants and skirts that currently do not fit are hidden out of the picture but I'm not getting rid of them).
Pencil skirts: gray, cream, herringbone, merlot, dress jean, black
Aline: brown floral, blue dotted, white & black pattern, white w/ black floral, black pin stripped
On the shelf are two pairs of black leggings, two pairs of the same skinny jeans, and three pairs of casual jeans.

Flats: 2 pairs black, brown, blue, gray, leopard, orange, red.
Mary Janes: gray suede, old black
Peep-toe: zebra, brown, tan wedges, nude wedges
Sandals: brown, cream, black

Boots: brown flats, black leather, gray suede, old brown suede

Basket of bracelets


Necklaces (which I hardly wear)

And this is where pajamas, sweats, swim wear, and all my work-out wear gets stored---probably the most used stuff!! :)

So while it's not necessarily the 30 item challenge, I originally thought about, I still think this is a good one. Plus at this point I've already made it two months without buying anything new for my I'm hopeful another six to twelve won't be too challenging either---we'll see. Now to remix and match (and maybe resize) what I DO have! :)

Anyone else care to join in?!