Happy New Year and Happier New Beginnings

on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just as I did last week, let me wish you a Happy New Year a little early! Today is my last day in the office this week, and chances are I won't be blogging during my time off, so consider this my final post of 2008. Eek!

I began this blog right after the new year last year and it has been an interesting journey. I didn't really know what it would become when I started it, or if I would even share it with anyone, but I am quite pleased as I look back at my nearly 100 posts! Although I haven't been the best, most interesting or most consistent blogger out there, I have found it to be therapeutic, introspective, revealing and fun. It has allowed me to express myself in a way that I never have before - through writing. It has made me more open with my thoughts and feelings and exposed me more than I've ever felt comfortable with before. I think it has helped me along in my journey to live my best life...it has helped me identify my strengths and weakness and has held me accountable for my actions, because once you put it out there in the blogging universe, you can't just pretend you never said it! I find myself ending the year more committed to blogging than when I entered and I have every intention of continuing my blog and making it a more interesting place to be :-) As I said before, I have the distinct feeling the 2009 is going to be a history maker!

And, on that note, let me update you on my New Year's resolutions. My resolutions for 2009 are more goal-oriented than resolution-like, but nonetheless are aimed at helping me live my best possible life. I have loosely organized my goals into 4 categories: mind, body, soul and other/random. I believe that the achievement of each of these goals will assist me in my overall personal goal of continuously working toward a better me, as I believe there is always room for improvement in all of us. My goals are designed to expand my horizons, increase my knowledge, deepen my purpose and better myself mentally, physically and spiritually. They are also designed according to my desires and standards, and not based on other people's opinions or expectations of me. It is my life and I need to decide the best way to live it.

After a lot of consideration, I've decided to keep my specific goals/resolutions to myself (and my hubby, of course), as they are very personal to me and, as much as I'm all about full disclosure, I've got to keep some things for myself. I'm sure I will reveal many of them throughout the year, as I intend to blog about my learnings and life experiences, but for now, this is all you get!



on Monday, December 29, 2008

So, as you can tell, I have given my blog a fresh new look to help ring in the new year. But before I focus on the new year that is about to begin, let me reflect on the year that has passed. A year that has flown by, had it's ups and downs, and has been genuinely interesting. I won't rehash the year in full (heck, you can read back through my blog if you really want to know what's happened), but I will point to a few of the biggies...

The year began with my dad moving out! As glad as I was to help him, I was also glad to get my home back (which has subsequently been invaded by my little sister...ugh! But, let's save that for another time). I landed a fabulous new job in April...one that I absolutely love and am great at, if I do say so myself. My dearest husband has been on a career rollercoaster, which has included being a part-time residential real estate agent, purchasing and renovating his first investment property, partnering with his friends to form a real estate investment company, doing several construction-type projects, breaking off the partnership with his friends to pursue his own dreams, starting his own real estate investment company, and trying to find his way in the crazy and complicated world of real estate, all of which has occurred during the worst real estate market of our lifetime. We went on a few fun getaways...Cape Cod, Hampton Beach, Old Orchard Beach, Burlington (VT), and even made it back to our old stomping ground, Boston, a few times. We've managed to spend lots of quality time with family and are thankful to have our loved ones be in good health and prospering despite the difficult times we currently face. We also got to share in the many joys experienced by our friends this year, including two marriages and baby news from five! John and I have had our share of joyous moments together and have also had our share of fights (what couple doesn't?), but have come out of 2008 stronger, happier, closer and more in love than ever. I am so thankful to have him as my husband, my partner in life, and some days I can't even believe how lucky I am to be married to a man that is as unique, challenging, motivated, passionate, and caring as he is. The love I feel for him has no boundaries and cannot be described in words. But enough gushing about him :-) And last, but not least, we elected a new president! I am so hopeful and invigorated at the prospect of change and am excited to see what happens in our crazy world in the year to come.

But, no more looking back, because an exciting new year is upon us! Yesterday, John and I took Bailey to the park, and as we walked around we talked about all of our hopes and dreams for 2009 and how excited we are for the fresh new start that the new year brings with it. We are confident that 2009 is going to be one for the books! We have big dreams for this year, huge in fact, and we WILL make them all come true. I really think that this year is going to be a big turning point in our lives in many ways, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens. So, stay tuned and enjoy the ride with me! Happy New Year!

Today I am thankful for the fresh start and abundance of opportunity that the new year brings. Although many might consider it "just another day", I feel like it is a new beginning and I always enter the new year determined to make it the best year ever. Hello 2009!

Merry Christmas!

on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Since this is my last day at work before Christmas, and let's face it...I'm not the best blogger when I'm at home, I am going to send out my holiday greetings today.

Merry Christmas Everyone! It's hard to believe the holidays are here (and 2008 is almost over!). I am looking forward to time with family, seeing the reactions to the gifts we bought this year (I think we did a pretty darn good job, if I do say so myself), good food and drink, and all around good cheer! It will be a busy couple of days for us for sure...tomorrow includes dinner at a family friend's house, followed by spending the evening at John's grandparent's house (and possibly church in between, but John isn't too keen on the idea). Then on Christmas, we will be cooking breakfast for and exchanging gifts with my father and sister at our house, then heading up to my mom's for quality time and gifts with my mom and brother, then back to John's grandparent's house for Christmas dinner, followed by Rosie and Jerry's (John's parent's neighbors and good friends...they're practically family) annual Christmas party where we always have a scrabble yankee swap and play the "LCR" game (a dice game involving lost of $$$!). It will be a whirlwind for sure, and there's no doubt we'll be sleeping late on Friday to recover, but I am so excited for it!

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday!

Today I am thankful for being blessed enough to have another holiday with myself and my family in good health and high spirits. I cherish each and every moment of it, because life is too short not to!

Counting My Blessings

So, I should probably explain the whole "Today I am thankful for..." tidbits that I've been including at the end of my posts lately.

In my never-ending quest for knowledge, I recently came across an article entitled "Count your Blessings for Happiness" (included below) and it got me thinking. I truly have so very much to be thankful for in my life. I am blessed in many ways...some obvious, like the fabulous husband and the wonderful home, and some not so obvious, like the care and compassion that I carry in my heart each day and the desire to help others that I feel deep inside. But, my life is in no way without its trials and tribulations. I have struggles and tough times just like everyone else. And, much like everyone else, it gets really easy to focus on those "bad" things and forget about all the great things that touch my life each and every day. When you take a step back and really examine things, the "bad" things really aren't so bad, and they certainly pale in comparison to the magnitude of the good things. So, I have vowed to myself to pour my energy and focus into the good things, because it is those good things that are at the core of my happiness and define my imperfectly perfect life.

Today I am thankful for my unending desire to learn and experience as much as I possibly can. There is always opportunity for growth and improvement, and I will never stop trying to live the best and fullest life I possibly can.


This is an excerpt from 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life by David Leonhardt

"Count Your Blessings" for Happiness

Have you ever bought a new car? Remember the pride you felt and the excitement when you made the choice? When you signed the papers? When you drove it off the lot? Do you remember that "new car smell"? Then something happened. Where is that pride today? Where is that excitement now? What happened to that "new car smell"?

Simple. You stopped counting your blessings. When you bought the car, it was a step up. Perhaps it was a better car. Or a bigger car. Or simply a car that would spend less days on the hoist. You were grateful. You were appreciative. You were counting this blessing. It does not take long for a new blessing to be taken for granted. And the new car becomes just another thing in your life that you take for granted.

Consider this incredible set of statistics:

99% of people in the developed world take shelter for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take breakfast for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take lunch for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take dinner for granted.
99% of people in the developed world take clothing for granted.

At the risk of sounding trite or glib, most people in the developed world take cars, televisions, computers, vacations, toasters, freedom of speech, paper clips and thousands of other conveniences for granted. In fact, a TV remote control that requires a battery change or a web page that takes more than five seconds to load are considered serious irritations. Who is happier, the person grateful to be able to change those batteries and wait for that web page? Or the person grumbling about the time it takes and the inconvenience and the bother and why can't things work better? (Why don't they make things like they used to? Why does the lineup have to be so long? Why is it so cold outside? Why do I have to go to work today?)

Of course you have every right to complain any time you choose. Nobody wants to take away your right to be unhappy. But I would love to take away your unhappiness, if you are willing to take action. Math is not everybody's strong suit. This is where "counting your blessings", simple and even corny, is not as easy as it sounds. Our knee-jerk reaction is to complain, to grumble, to be frustrated, to feel almost offended when things don't work out "perfectly", just the way we want them to. Imagine poor God, sifting through the millions of prayers he receives daily. Despite the cornucopia of blessings we receive, I am willing to bet that he receives ten times more "Gimmee" prayers than "Thank you" prayers.

Counting our blessings in this day and age of entitlement is not as simple as it sounds, and it sure is not easy to do. In fact, billions of dollars of advertising conspire to reinforce the belief that whatever we have is not good enough and that we deserve better. Who is there to tell us we have enough? Who can help us feel happy with what we have? You. Only you.

Are you ready to give up your own natural knee-jerk reaction and choose to be happy? You can have all the confidence in the world, but if you do not actively feel grateful for the fruits of your confidence, it will not bring you happiness. You can have immaculate health, but if you do not think about how wonderful that is, it will not bring you happiness. You can smile, build friendships, achieve success, win the lottery, or do whatever you desire, but if you are not saying every day, "Wow! This is wonderful. This is grand. I am the luckiest man (or woman) alive because of this," don't expect it to bring you happiness.

Yes, there is a secret to happiness. The secret is gratitude. The secret is appreciation. Or, as I call it in Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness, the secret is to count your blessings.


on Monday, December 22, 2008

It's time to admit it...someone in my family has an addiction. You see it happen to other people, but you still never imagine that it can happen to you...until it does. Addiction can come in many forms, and is often debilitating and destructive. Occasionally, addiction is a little less serious.

Here it goes...

Bailey is addicted to the snow. She has an unnatural, uncontrollable obsession with it. She love to run in it, jump through it, tunnel around in it. She likes to search for things buried in the snow. She likes to roll around like a wild animal in it. She insists on sticking her head in it like an ostrich. She absolutely cannot stand being inside when she knows that there is snow outside.

We took her out for over two hours yesterday...first we took her to the park down the street for an hour where she had free reign to run and jump and act like a pup. Then we played with her in our own yard for a total of another hour as we shoveled our driveway (twice). She never slowed down, never got sick of it. Then, when it was finally time to go inside, warm up by the cozy fire and watch football (our fall and winter Sunday tradition), she could not relax. She paced around the house...back and forth from us to the door. She had this look on her face like something was wrong, like she was stressed out. She even whined a bit. We proceeded to let her out a few times when she got most antsy, and she's burst out the door straight into the snow and would be back to her old antics immediately...running, jumping, tunneling. She loves the snow more than you can even begin to imagine. There is no doubt...she is addicted.

I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon, seeing that this was the first big snow of the year (about 12" on Friday, and another 6" yesterday!). But, without fail, every year's first snow is as exciting as the first time she saw snow nearly 6 years ago. My girl...or as I like to call her...Snowface!

Today I am thankful for the simple joys in life, like watching my beloved doggie frolic in the snow. Her excitement over the simplest things never ceases to bring me immeasurable amounts of joy!

Christmas Times Three

on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Apparently everyone we know thought that this coming weekend (December 20th and 21st) would already be filled with holiday plans, so instead they scheduled their parties for this past Saturday, December 13th. We attended three, yes three, Christmas parties on Saturday evening.

First up was Century 21. John's co-workers there (although he is not doing much work at C21 these days with the upstart of his own real estate investment company, JMG Properties) are very nice and we had a fun, albeit quick, time catching up, munching on some yummy appetizers, and enjoying a delicious cocktail. Of course, with two other parties to attend (and an out of town guest, my dear old college roomie Amelia, joining us for the last two parties) we had to make a swift exit to go meet up with Amelia and continue our night of festivities.

After swinging back by the house to pick up our host/hostess gifts and the Christmas gift I got for Crystal (oh yeah, and Amelia!) we were off to Southampton for Crystal's party. The food there was delicious, the decorations were beautiful and the champagne was flowing...all wonderful things! But...we hardly knew anyone there! I find it very strange that I didn't know many people at my own best friend's party, but that's because most of the guests were Marty's (Crystal's husband) co-workers and army buddies. Regardless, we made the best of it by chatting it up with the people we did know (and a few we didn't) and kicking butt on the holiday trivia game that Crystal had organized (see - useless information always comes in handy at some point!). I am proud to say I got all the questions right (although I did get some help on a few of them)! But, we didn't have much time to celebrate the trivia victory, because we had to head to the third and final party of the night.

We were soon out the door and off to Enfield (CT) for Sean (John's cousin, who I also know from living in the same dorm and having the same major at UMASS) and his wife Missy's party. I think we arrived a little too late, because by the time we got there, everyone had enjoyed a few too many beverages, if you know what I mean. It was still nice to see some of John's family members...something that I wish we could do a little more. Unlike me, John actually has cousins that are close in age and close in lifestyle to us. It would be great to spend more time with them and develop a closer relationship. In my family, I really only have one cousin that I can relate to. The rest are either in jail, on drugs or staying as far away from our crazy family as possible! OK, OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but I don't have a lot of family that I could be all that close with. But, I digress... Sean and Missy's party was...interesting. Like I said, most people there were a little off their rocker (and we were not) so there was a lot of inappropriate behavior, obnoxious yelling and slurring of words...everything you'd expect at the party of a UMASS alum! The highlight of our time there was getting my first sobriety test ever! See, Sean left the world of Finance too (I guess we both figured out how crappy it is!) and is now a CT State Trooper. He was trying to get me to drink the world's most disgusting champagne, Asti (ack!), and I used my being the designated driver as an excuse not to drink it (although not entirely untrue). Joking around, I said something about needing to be able to pass a sobriety test and he jumped at the opportunity (I think to show off how he's such a tough cop...another story for another time!). I did pass with flying colors and was even described as "stone cold sober" (which I was). Soon after that, it was time to hit the road back to my comfy home and my comfy bed. Bliss!

So, in one night, we got our fill of holiday cheer! We don't have any parties (that we know of yet) for this coming weekend, so we might actually have some time to relax before the real holiday madness begins. Cheers to that!

Today I am thankful for having friends and family that care about us enough to want us part of their holiday celebrations...as simple and silly as it may seem, I feel like it is truly a blessing.

Accountability (and some good news)

on Monday, December 15, 2008

Why can't people take accountability for their actions? It seems like every single day there is another public figure who thought they were above the law and who felt they were too good or too special to have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. Why is it that, according to them, they are never guilty? Why is it always someone else's fault? This whole Blagojevich thing (Illinois Governor who accepted bribes for appointment to Senate...just one of him multiple illegal and/or unethical activities) has got me so disgusted. You made a conscious decision to betray your oath to your state and country, you chose to act in an illegal and unethical manner, and you got caught. The jig is up. Own up to it. I would have much more respect for someone who takes accountability for their actions than someone who denies guilt despite overwhelming evidence and who perpetuates a bad situation for no good reason. Resign already!

In addition to ranting about politics, I do have some good news to share. I am done with my class, baby! I got down to business on Friday and wrote my final paper. Done, done, done! I am thrilled!!!

Today I am thankful for my desire and ability to learn about life on my own terms, and for having enough sense not to go down a path that is not right for me just because it looks good on paper.


on Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am taking tomorrow off to write my paper that is due on Monday. I have had all semester to write it, but I decide to wait until 3 days before it's due. Let's hope I have some spark of genius and write an incredible paper in no time at all.

I've really been rethinking this whole MBA thing lately. If I were really meant to pursue my MBA, wouldn't I be enjoying it more? Instead, it's more of an inconvenience and an annoyance than anything. I find myself really not caring about getting anything out of class or even doing that well in it (and this is coming from a straight A student). In fact, my only motivation to finish the class with a semi-decent grade is so I can get reimbursed for it by my company. And I'm supposed to do this for another 3 years? Ugh!

All of this leads me to believe that this is not the right path for me. I don't know what is, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it. Maybe I need to continue to devote my time to education, but in a different sense. I think I just need to explore the things that interest me on my own terms. I want to learn and I want to grow, but I want it to be about something that I care about, something that I have some passion for. And, business just isn't it. I need to make some decisions for myself, but I have been unable to do so because my thoughts have been clouded by being in this class. Hopefully after I finish and submit my paper tomorrow I will gain some clarity. And, if nothing else, at least I won't have to waste my weekend on boring schoolwork.

Today I am thankful for having a job with very generous vacation time. I have been able to take all the time off that I've wanted to this year, and I still have some time left over.

Did I Mention...

on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That all 90 of our Christmas Cards are in the mail as of today? It's all fun from here on out!

Today I am thankful for my self-motivation and my organization skills...although I don't utilize them nearly as much as I should, it's nice to know how powerful they are when put to good use.

Laughing Out Loud

So silly, but I can't stop cracking up about this...

Last night I am getting ready for bed (washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc...) and John comes into the bathroom and the following exchange took place...

John: "Bailey is sprawled out across our bed"

Me: "Yeah, so what?"

John: "She got her ass on my pillow!"

Baileytales - The story of how we got Bailey

I will try to keep this as brief as possible, because lord knows I could go on all day about my girl.

When I was in high school, my family adopted a Pomeranian named Petunia. She was adorable and really was the sweetest, most loving dog you could imagine. Toonie, as we like to call her, instantly became part of our family. In the early months of 2003, Toonie was killed. People have actually laughed when I told them this (which subsequently sent me into tears), but Toonie was run over by a snowmobile. My mom lives in a rather rural area, and she lives right next to railroad tracks. People fly up and down the tracks all winter on their snowmobiles. While out in the yard one day, Toonie wandered over to the tracks (which was very out of character for her, so something must have attracted her there) and was hit. The jerk, may God punish his soul, didn't even stop. My poor mother found here there. It was devastating for us. It was like losing a family member.

But, a few weeks later in typical Micki fashion, to ease the pain of losing Toonie, my mother found another Pomeranian at the mall pet store that she wanted to get. She was going on and on about this Pom and how much she wanted it and how I just had to go to the mall to check it out. So, one Saturday, with nothing better to do, John, Amelia and I decided to head to the mall to check out the "replacement" Toonie. Little did I know at the time, but that innocent trip into the pet store to pacify my mother changed my life forever.

Our girl, just a tiny pup of 6 pounds, grabbed our eyes and our hearts immediately. She was THE CUTEST thing I had ever seen. We just knew that we had to meet her, so we had the pet store attendant get her out of her cage and bring us into a private room with her. We fell in love instantly. Beyond in love. She was cuddly and playful and full of life. We debated back and forth about whether to get her, but there was never really any question if we were actually going to. She HAD to come home with us. She was perfect. We absolutely should not have gotten a dog at that time...we were still in college and didn't even live together...but all logical thinking went out the door when we saw her face. Only minutes after meeting her, we were walking out of the mall with our tiny little ball of love in our arms. And, the rest is history. Here we are nearly six years and 70 pounds later, and we could not be more thankful for having her come into, and truly enrich our lives beyond our wildest dreams.

And, my mom never ended up getting the "replacement" Toonie.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

on Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Christmas at my house! We put up our tree and decorated this weekend and I am so happy with the result. It's so warm and cozy...just the way I like it. And, in true Melissa fashion, I again selected a huge tree. They always look so much smaller at the Christmas tree lot. John says our tree is fat. Poor tree is going to develop a complex :-) I will post pictures soon...I'm just waiting on the finishing touch (my mantle decor) to arrive today!

In other news (about my holiday timeline), I am doing quite well. All shopping is done and all presents are wrapped and under the fully decorated tree. Our Christmas cards are nearly ready to go out...we just have a few more to write out and then they'll be in the mail. We have also semi-secured our New Year's Eve plans...we are having another couple over for dinner, which is in keeping with the low key evening we wanted to have. We haven't quite decided if we are going to spend the whole evening at home, or if we'll try to go out somewhere after dinner, but either way, it should be fun. Oh, and I've been crafting my New Year's resolutions already...but I'll save all that for a later post. Can I just say how much I love being organized. It has made this holiday season (thus far) completely stress-free and so much fun!

Less than helpful

on Friday, December 5, 2008

So, I have an allergy. To cats.

Well, duh! My eyes burn like battery acid and my nose runs like crazy when I come in contact with a cat, so I kind of already figured out that I am allergic. The testing just confirmed it.

The troubling part is...I'm not allergic to anything else! So, considering the fact that I am rarely in contact with cats, I have no explanation for the symptoms I've been experiencing for 4+ months.

The plan from here is to continue using the Rhinocort (which I've been on for 2 weeks and have noticed quite a big improvement) for another month or two and then try to go off it if my symptoms have subsided. If the symptoms return when I go off the Rhinocort, I will have to go see an allergist for extensive allergy testing. Symptoms, I command you to go away!

In other news, something I was listening to on the radio this morning got me thinking. Maybe my lack of motivation and foul mood lately is caused by SAD...seasonal affective disorder. Let's review the facts...When I wake up, it's dark. When I leave work, it's dark. I don't leave the office building during the day, so I have virtually no exposure to sunlight. So, I think I am going to perform an experiment. I am going to try to go for a walk every day at lunch for a couple of weeks and see if it helps. If nothing else, at least I'll be squeezing in a little extra exercise.

Boy, am I in rare form today!?!?

on Thursday, December 4, 2008

A recent trip to the ladies' room inspired this post...

Biggest Fashion Faux Pas According to Me (in no particular order):

1. Novelty sweaters. This time of year just kills me. A 3D Santa Claus is never OK on clothes. Ever.

2. Pantyhose with open toe shoes. Just the thought makes me cringe.

3. Floor length skirts. Sorry, but they don't look good on ANYONE.

4. White athletic socks worn with business casual clothing. Please just invest in a pair of $2 trouser socks.

5. Flip flops worn with business casual clothing. Nothing says professional like the flopping of a rubber shoe.

6. Pajamas. How can anyone think it's OK to wear plaid flannel pants in public?

7. Crocks. They are appropriate for precisely two occasions...gardening and gardening.

8. Anything ill fitting. Sorry, but bulging out of skin tight pants does not make you look thinner.

9. Cell phones worn on belts. That's why God invented pockets and purses.

10. Sweatpants. Unless you are participating in an activity that makes you sweat (hence, the name SWEATpants).


My mind has been swirling with a thousand different thoughts these past few days, so I'm hoping by getting them down on paper (proverbial paper, that is) that I'll straighten myself out!

I am going for allergy testing this afternoon. I am not nervous that I'm going to find out I'm allergic to something, but rather that I'm not allergic to anything. Then I'll really start to worry about what's been causing my 4 month runny nose. It's easier just to assume it's allergies.

I went to a pitch for a pyramid scheme last night. My mom convinced me to go and it was the biggest waste of 2 hours in my life. It felt so slimy and skeevy. Yuck!

Mornings have been such a challenge for me lately. I don't know if it's the dark/cold combination, or whether it's the fact that my schedule has been completely disrupted lately due to having lots of time off, but whatever it is, I don't like it. I like popping out of bed and being at the gym at 5:30. I do not like barely dragging myself from bed to shower at 7:00.

I reluctantly "crashed" a high school reunion last week. Crystal convinced me to go to the class of '98 reunion (even though we graduated in '99) because we were "invited". It turned out to be the lamest, most uncomfortable experience I've had in quite some time. Everyone seemed exactly the same as they were in HS and it was so fake. Plus, all of the "my life is so fabulous" and "I make so much money" and "I am just so happy" makes me want to vomit. Quit trying to convince me that your life is so great. I guarantee it's not.

To MBA or not to MBA, that is the question. I am close to finishing my first class and I'm just not convinced that I want to continue to pursue this. I cannot think of one good reason not to, but yet I still can't psych myself up for it. I think it's yet another sign that my "professional life" is supposed to go in another direction. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to have that revelation telling what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Does anyone else feel this confused? Why can't I be one of those people that has known what they've wanted to do with their life since they were 7 years old. When I was 7, I wanted to be a florist. Now, I work in compliance. Maybe I should give floristry (is that even a word?) a chance.

Sista sledge has got to go. I love my sister dearly, but she needs to get her hiney out of my house. She is a slob. Her room is disgusting (and it smells like pee). She's been smoking in there too. Seriously, how disrespectful is that? We don't smoke, and we don't allow others to smoke in our house. Who does she think she is that she can just make a mess and smoke in there when she feels like it. Here's the kicker in it all. She has no home of her own, no money to find her own place, she can't afford her own cell phone or car insurance (my dad pays for them), she's in debt, she's not in school, she's making close to minimum wage at a dead end job, she's less than a month from having no health insurance. She is really in a bad position, and if one thing goes wrong, she's screwed. If her car breaks down, if she gets sick, if she gets laid off, etc... she will seriously have nothing. Pretty dire situation, right? If it were you, wouldn't you be freaking out and doing everything in your power to get yourself out of that situation? Well, she apparently has other plans. She's buying her ghetto on again, off again boyfriend a $400 video game system for Christmas. Boy, does she have her priorities straight! HA! Please tell me what person with half a brain would say "Gee, I have no place to live, I'm in debt, I'm completely screwed if one thing in my life goes wrong, but obviously buying this loser guy who probably won't be in my life in mere months from now a $400 Christmas gift is the most important thing I can do with my life right now." Not "Gee, maybe I should save all the extra money I have to get back on my feet" or "Gee, maybe I should try to pay my own bills instead of mooch off my dad" or "Gee, maybe I should kick in a little cash for the household expenses at my sister's house since I've been living there scott free for 3 months". Nope. It's a video game system for Geoffrey. Ugh!!!!!

OK, now that I've been a Debby Downer and vented, I actually feel better. Sometimes you just need to scream, right?

Quick update to holiday timeline...

on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My shopping list is nearly complete! I usually have a really hard time coming up with gift ideas, but this year the ideas are flowing! I will finalize the list with John tonight, and then tomorrow is shopping day!

Also, Dad informed me that he ordered several pies for Thanksgiving dinner, so I'm rethinking what I am going to bring. I was going to make Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies (to which John has referred to as the best cookies he's ever had!), but now I'm thinking I might bring an appetizer instead. Any suggestions?

That's what I like about...me!

Last night, I was thinking about how I've never written a post about the things I like about myself. I've written plenty about the things I'd like to improve on, but not much on the things I don't want to change. So, I've decided to write about the qualities about myself that I perceive as good. I hope this post doesn't come off as conceited. I just feel that it is important for all of us to remind ourselves about the good in us.

So, here's the top 5 things that I like about myself:

5. I'm smart.

4. I am ethical and have strong morals, which I will never compromise.

3. I have become quite self-aware and introspective.

2. I am extremely honest. I couldn't tell a lie to save my life.

1. I really love with all my heart and care with every ounce of my being.

My Holiday Timeline

on Monday, November 17, 2008

If you recall, a few posts ago I talked about taking back control of my life. For me, organization is the key to doing so, and it's been working quite well so far. One of the most wonderful, and most stressful, times of year is fast approaching...the holidays! I've organized all of my holiday plans to help me alleviate stress and really enjoy the spirit of the season. Here it is...

November 17th - 19th - Create gift list and order any gifts that are being purchased online

November 20th and 21st - Finish Christmas shopping!

November 23rd - Buy cookie ingredients during weekly grocery shopping and pick up bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner

November 26th - Bake cookies and go out with friends for the traditional night before Thanksgiving night out.

November 27th - Thanksgiving with the Garton Family!

November 28th - 30th - Wrap Christmas gifts

December 1st - 5th - Finalize New Year's Eve plans

December 6th - 7th - Buy and decorate Chirstmas Tree

December 8th - 14th - Write out and send holiday cards

December 21st - Buy cookie ingredients during weekly grocery shopping and pick up 2 bottles of wine for Christmas Eve party and Christmas Night party

December 24th - Bake cookies in the morning and attend Christmas Eve party in the evening

December 25th - Mom's in the morning, Dad's in the afternoon, In-Law's in the evening, and Christmas party at night...busy and exhausting day, but very enjoyable

December 26th - Sleep in! Put away/organize Christmas gifts. And, avoid mall at all costs :-)

December 31st - Celebrate the end of a great year!

January 1st - Decide on my New Year's resolutions and get ready to make 2009 the best year ever!

I have plenty of time built in for all of my planned holiday activities, so there will be no holiday stress for me this year. Gotta love that :-)

Top Five Favorite Things From the Past Month

on Monday, November 10, 2008

To quickly catch you up, here's a summary of my top five favorite highlights of the past month:

5. Meeting Nick and Elaine's new puppy Rocco...seriously one of the cutest puppies in history.

4. My hubby finally pursuing his professional dreams, not the dreams of his business partners. I'm so proud of him!

3. Getting to see pictures of beautiful Baby Jordan and hear about his amazing arrival. Congrats to proud parents Andrea and Sam. I absolutely cannot wait to meet him in person!

2. Rare quality time with my dear college roomies, Elaine and Amelia!

1. New President!!! Woot, woot!

Yet another attempt at being a better blogger...

Time to be honest. Blogging is kind of a pain. That's why I don't do it much these days. I have such little free time during the work day to post, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on the computer, so the blogging has suffered. Don't get me wrong...I do like keeping a blog and I've enjoyed the experience thus far...I just have trouble keeping up with it.

So, I've come up with some ideas for being a better blogger. (1) Shorter posts, because they take less time to write; (2) More posts that aren't about my day-to-day life, because that can get a little boring and repetitive; (3) Scheduling time each week to write at least one blog post, just like I'd schedule a meeting or appointment; and (4) Remind myself that journaling is good for my heart, mind and soul.

This is the life!

on Friday, October 31, 2008

What a perfect night this is! I'm at home with a big bowl of candy ready for all the trick-or-treaters, I've got a delicious pot of turkey and butternut squash chili on the stove, a glass of red wine in hand, and a husband who is in our backyard collecting kindling to build us a cozy fire. I LOVE IT!!!

And the award goes to...

on Thursday, October 30, 2008

I would like to accept this award for "worst blogger ever" on behalf of my job, who has kept me beyond busy the past 2 months, and school, who has dominated what little time I have outside of work.

No need to rehash the past few months in excruciating detail...here's the quick recap...work, school, sister, mom, work, sick, work, cold, school. Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention, work. Absolute craziness.

The past couple of months have made me realize a few things. My life is not busy right now. My life is busy in general. I feel like I keep waiting for things to slow down, but they never do, and I feel like I've finally realized why. I am a 27-year-old wife, daughter, sister, friend and doggie-mama who has a demanding professional, physical, scholastic and personal life. I am active, energetic, involved, and ambitious. I take on many challenges in my life willingly because that is what I enjoy. I thrive, I am incredibly happy, and I am most successful when I am not complacent, but rather am pushing myself farther and harder than I ever thought I could. I don't know why I didn't recognize this before...my life is busy because I have chosen to make it that way. It's not going to "slow down" because I don't want it to...I love my life the way it is and I don't want to give up anything in it. In fact, I want to add to it!

I've finally come to the realization that I've been waiting for my life to slow down because I am not used to having a such a full and demanding life. I've always had to juggle multiple things at once, but never before like now, so I think in the back of my mind I keep expecting things to change. But, they aren't going to. So, instead of living in this constant state of chaos and anticipation, I need to adjust my way of life to adapt to my circumstances. I need to learn how to better manage all of my competing priorities so that I am in complete control of my life rather than letting all of the things in my life control me. It is when I feel like things are out of my control that I feel overwhelmed. So, here's my plan, laid out in the simplest terms possible:

  1. Organize, organize, organize EVERYTHING. I love to be organized, so this is more of a fun project for me that anything.
  2. Delegate. I need to accept that I cannot and should not do everything myself.
  3. Plan. Plan my days, plan my projects, plan my goals, etc... but also be adaptable and realize that (1) you can't plan everything and (2) plans need to be flexible and changeable.
  4. Stick to my plan. Use my discipline and motivation to make sure that I adhere to my plans.
  5. Learn to say no. I can't be all things to all people, and while I love to help as much as I can, sometimes people need to handle their own problems on their own.
  6. Always make time for fun. It can't be all business all the time, and the fun parts are really what life is about.
  7. Be thankful every minute of every day for what I have, because I really do have an amazingly wonderful life.

So, now that I've made my declaration, I'm off to put it into action. Here's to Day 1 of taking back control of my life!

Too Much Stress!!!

on Monday, September 29, 2008

I am feeling so much better! I think I had a mini-meltdown on Friday, but thankfully I took full advantage of this weekend to recover. See, the thing is that I really don’t get stressed out about much. I can manage a lot at once and I usually let most things just roll off my shoulders. On rare occasions, it gets to be too much for me to handle and I lose it. Friday was one of those days…the culmination of days of stress when I reached my breaking point. What’s caused all this stress? Work is insanely busy with a lot of pressure to deliver and a lot of eyes on me. Mom’s been back and forth with the dreaded ex. Then there was the whole windshield wiper stopping on the highway in the middle of a storm incident. And, to top it off, John and I found out that we are going to have our 2nd long-term house guest in just one year…my sister Ashley. On top of all that, the allergies from hell have been making me miserable. Seriously cannot breathe. And, for some strange reason, I was exhausted all last week.

All of this just got to me on Friday. I was on the brink of tears all day while I was at work. I got nothing productive done and I had to reschedule two meetings. Since I had to have my car towed, John picked me up from work at 2 PM. We went home and I immediately changed into my pajamas and hit the couch, where I proceeded to take a 3 hour nap! I really needed it though. I felt a million times better when I woke up. Then, after a great night sleep Friday night, I was ready to tackle my stress.

I started Saturday with a killer class at the gym – the “Saturday Sampler” – an intense mix of step, kickboxing, floor aerobics and weight training. I then went home where I cleaned the entire house and got showered and ready for the rest of the day. We then went to pick up my fixed car (which I also got an oil and filter change while it was in the shop - kill two birds with one stone and check one more thing off my to-do list) and headed to the mall to beef up John’s fall wardrobe. Amazingly, I didn’t buy one thing for myself! After that, we went for a few games of bowling…my faves! We then returned home to our dinner ready for us…I had set the crock pot and bread maker before we left for the afternoon…so yummy. We spent the evening cleaning out and combining our closets, and then we had a few cocktails while we played pool and darts in our basement. Really fun and relaxing.

On Sunday, we slept in and then went for brunch at our favorite spot. After that, we headed up to my Dad’s to pick up his key to our house to give to my sis and then we went to my mom’s to drop off all the old clothes I was getting rid of. We spent the rest of the day at home just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. It was just what I needed.

Because of this fabulous weekend, I woke up this morning ready to face all the stress that I left behind on Friday. I had a great workout at the gym, took Ms. Bailey for a nice walk, finished preparing the guest room for Ashley’s arrival this afternoon, and got ready for work…and all of this before 7:30 AM! I also forgot to mention that I revamped my allergy remedy this weekend…as of yesterday, I am back on the stronger Claritin and using saline spray to supplement. I cannot even put into words how much better I am feeling already. It’s like night and day. I’m so glad that I finally figured out the remedy that works for me!

So, here I am, finishing up my personal business for the morning and ready to tackle my overwhelming to-do list. I am determined to have an incredibly productive day and get my business in order. Cheers to a fabulous Monday!

Blame it on the rain

on Friday, September 26, 2008

This morning I had an 8:00 am meeting, so I was headed to work a little earlier than usual. Not a huge deal...the only drawback being that traffic is much heavier at that time then when I normally come. Well, when I merged onto I-91 this morning (at one of the most dangerous sections of the highway, btw) you'll never believe what happened. My windshield wipers stopped working. Just stopped. Right in the middle of the windshield. As it was pouring outside...the start of 2+ days of pouring rain. I seriously thought I was going to die. I could not see a thing and I was right in the middle of rush hour traffic on a stretch of highway with no exits surrounded by other commuters and numerous 18-wheelers. Truly terrifying. As you can tell, I made it to work in one piece, but I was less than thrilled to say the least.

Long story short, my car's been towed to the dealership to be fixed and my hubby has to come pick me up. I guess the bright side is that I get to leave work a little early for it.


A Complaint-Free World

on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways. And sometimes it works in more obvious ways. Yesterday was one of those…

After complaining about everything that was wrong in my life in yesterday’s post, I found some motivation and got working hard at tackling my to-do list. As a result, I worked a little later than usual so I was driving home a little later than usual. On my drive home, I was listening to a radio show that I don’t normally catch and wouldn’t you know it…the whole show was about not complaining! It was a minister of the Unitary church who started a movement called “A Complaint-Free World” to stop the negativity that is complaining. He challenged everyone to a 21-day complaint free challenge. So, you know what? I’m going to do it! Complaining only makes me feel worse and I should expend that energy on solving whatever is plaguing me instead of whining about it. In that spirit, let me rebut yesterday’s negativity:

  1. It’s Tuesday, and I’m thrilled that it is! Why? First, because it’s bowling day (yay!) and second, because it’s movie release day and guess what I was able to snag this morning on my way to work? Sex and the City!!!
  2. I’ve got a renewed focus on my work today and I am confident that I will accomplish many of my goals.
  3. I had an awesome workout this morning. Spinning rocks!
  4. I hopefully burned off some of those muffins from yesterday in said spinning class. Plus, they were so good that they were totally worth it :-)
  5. I came home to a wonderful candlelit dinner last night, followed by a night of cuddling on the couch, so I think it’s safe to say that the stupid fight is long behind us.
  6. I am going to try my hardest to support my mom no matter what, because I know she’d do the same for me. I will try to be open-minded and give Chris a fair chance.
  7. I’m going to pour all of my energy into finding a way to solve my “problem”. And whenever I find myself feeling down about it, I will just remind myself that I have an absolutely wonderful life and in the grand scheme of things, it really is no problem at all.
  8. Job titles are just semantics. My job is not going to change and maybe being an “Operations Consultant” will open up new opportunities in the future that I never knew even existed. Plus, no matter what you call it, I love my job and I’m so thankful to have it.
  9. The allergies have been slightly better the past two days. If they get worse, all I need to do is go get some stronger allergy meds.
  10. I am shaking off yesterday’s mood and starting today off on the right foot. I am in a wonderful mood today and I love feeling like this!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

on Monday, September 22, 2008

If you, too, would like to eat multiple muffins in one day, I suggest the following...

This recipe is originally from Allrecipes, but with a few minor changes:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Good luck trying to not eat all of them!!!

Blahbidy Blah

Blahbidy Blah. That's how I feel today. Why?

  1. It's Monday.
  2. I have so much work to do that I don't even know where to begin. So, instead of just beginning somewhere, I've done nothing.
  3. I didn't go to the gym this morning. I was going to go after work instead, but then I sort of volunteered to go for a bike ride with my mom instead. Now I wish I didn't because I have the distinct feeling that a certain someone that I DO NOT want to see will be there (see #6 below). I just want to go home and be alone instead. I need to come up with an excuse to give her ASAP. Maybe not feeling well? That's always a good one and not entirely inaccurate (see #7 below).
  4. I've eaten 4 muffins today. Yes, four. In my defense, they are ridiculously good and I rarely bake, so this isn't a common occurrence. But, yes, I've eaten four already. All the more reason that I should go to the gym. But odds are that I (1) won't go to the gym and (2) will eat more muffins.
  5. I got in a stupid fight with John yesterday. We had such a wonderful weekend in VT and then I ruined it by being grumpy and picking a fight on our drive home. In my defense, I was somewhat justified in my argument, but I certainly didn't approach it in the best manner possible.
  6. I'm so disappointed in my mom I can't even stand it. She's back on good terms with the wretched ex and I am so disgusted with her for taking his lame self back. She claims that they aren't back together, but I know that it's only a matter of time. How am I supposed to embrace and be nice to a person who has broken my mom's heart repeatedly, walked all over her, taken advantage of her kindness, treated her like crap, mooched off of her, and been an all-around worthless piece of you-know-what? I know that it's only a matter of time before this causes a rift between my mother and I because I, unlike her, can't just forget everything and pretend like nothing happened. Just thinking about it, and her inability to respect herself and kick him to the curb for good, makes me sick.
  7. I think I've sort of been in a rut/funk the past few weeks or so that is affecting everyone around me (especially John). I'm pretty sure I know why (reasons that I'm not comfortable sharing) and I don't really know how to make my "problem" go away right now, or at least not bother me so much. John knows what this "problem" is, but he just doesn't understand and he is, quite frankly, no help at all. In fact, talking to him about it just makes it worse, so I've been exercising every ounce of restraint in myself not to bring it up with him. And, I don't really feel comfortable talking about it with anyone else, so I just bottle it up inside, but now I'm at the point where I want to explode. I know that this "problem" will eventually work itself out, but not knowing when and not being able to effectively deal with it until that time comes concerns me. How am I supposed to go about my everyday life like nothing is wrong when this is always on my mind? I know I am being over-dramatic and ridiculous, but I can't help it. This is just how I feel.
  8. I just found out today that my job title is changing from "Compliance Consultant" to "Operations Consultant". How lame of a job title is that? Nobody will have any clue what I do.
  9. These stupid allergies are making me bonkers. I seriously could not breath yesterday, which no doubt contributed to my misery.
  10. I hate to be in a mood like this. 99% of the time I am such a positive and happy person, so feeling like this makes me feel even worse because I hate feeling like this.

Fall (and other random thoughts)

on Friday, September 19, 2008

So, my “allergies” have flared up again. I ran out of Claritin on Saturday, so I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t take anything. Well, each day since then has gotten a little worse, yesterday being the worst of them, so I bought some more meds last night. I am trying a different kind this time (on sale super, super cheap at Target) so we’ll just see how well they work. And, I’m having a weird eye thing going on right now. Yesterday I started to feel pain in my right eye like someone had punched me in it. At first I just thought it was sinuses, but it’s clearly not. And, it hurts worse today. Thankfully it doesn’t look abnormal, but it feels yucky and I’m afraid that my eye is going to swell up or start watering uncontrollably or something. Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen.

OK, so enough of the whinny post! Let’s talk about some good stuff. First off, it’s Friday!!! Who doesn’t love that? John and I (and Ms. Bailey) are going to northern Vermont this weekend to visit John’ sister, so I am really looking forward to that. I’m really feeling in the fall spirit these days with the crisp, cool weather that we’ve been having, so I’ve decided to try out a new recipe that I got to bring with me to VT this weekend. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins…seriously, how good does that sound?!? I cannot wait to try them! Also in the fall spirit...last night I did some serious damage at New York and Company on some great fall outfits, got a Pumpkin Spice candle at BB&B (which btw, Yankee Candle Pumpkin Spice and a few other fall scents are on sale at BB&B right now, so be sure to run out and get one!), and then I pulled out all of our fall decorations and decorated our house to celebrate this wonderful season (of course while burning my yummy fall candle).

I have to say that as I get older, fall is creeping up on my list of favorite seasons. There is just so much that I love about it! Crisp, cool air, sweaters, scarves, leaves, fires in the fireplace, pretty colors abounding, football, apple picking and then baking up a storm with the fruits of my labor, hot apple cider, butternut squash, pumpkins, Halloween, the Big E, gosh…I could go on and on! It’s hard to explain, but this time of year just gives me a feeling of comfort and contentment inside. Being outside in all this fall glory just makes me feel so inexplicably happy in a very unique way…a way that only this time of year can do. I just feel so relaxed and feel like all is right with the world. It’s fall-tastic!

Girl in need of nap

on Friday, September 12, 2008

I am just so tired today. I cannot even being to express how busy work has been for me...I am juggling several huge, high-profile projects and have been pulled in a million different directions by a million different people looking for guidance, help and support. Don't get me wrong...I'm really enjoying the work that I'm doing. And, I am so happy and so proud that people around the organization view me as a valuable resourse and feel that they need me and my expertise. BUT...it has been difficult to manage everything and I've been pushing myself really hard, and I think it's caught up to me today.

I've definitely been feeling very stressed at work and that stress, which I am not used to, has given me some serious insomnia this week. However, eventhough I haven't been sleeping much, I've still been at the gym at 5:30 AM every morning working out hard, working 10+ hour days without any breaks, trying to squeeze in time at home to do my chores, get my schoolwork done (which I had hoped to get done during my lunch breaks...but that's impossible when you don't get a lunch break!), spend quality time with my husband, and still try to have a little fun. It's a lot, and today my body is telling me to take a rest! So here I sit, writing a whinny blog post when I should be tackling my mile-long to do list. I have a lot to get done and absolutely no motivation...a deadly combination for sure.

I need to just power through and finish out the day strong...the more I accomplish today, the less I'll think and stress about work this weekend. Get going Melis!

Welcome to Update City

on Friday, September 5, 2008

Hello old friend! It's been a long time. I haven't been blogging much lately, not for lack of things to write about but, to the contrary, too much to write about! Where do I even start? In a effort to not make this post the size of a small novel, I will try to highlight the big things in the adventures of Melis:

We had a fabulous long weekend (Labor Day, that is)...highlights include attending a Jack and Jill, renting a boat and cruising on the Connecticut River for a day, and going for a great bike ride on a newly discovered bike path. And, we managed to get a lot of relaxing in too. Why can't every weekend be a long one?

I did, in fact, join the gym again and I'm so glad I did. I've been going to the 5:30 AM classes (I know...I'm insane), but I love them. It's such a great way to start my day and my workout is done before my day even gets started. The classes are tough...I've been working out harder than I have in a long time...but it feels so good. I convinced John to try spinning and he really liked it, so I'm excited that we can go to spinning class (yes, at 5:30 AM) twice a week together. Awww!

School started! I'm all set up and organized for my class except for one small detail...I haven't gotten my book yet! Fortunately, I don't have to complete my first assignment until next weekend, so I've got a little time. I'm hoping that it will be sitting on my doorstep when I get home today (I did pay extra for fast shipping, after all!). I've been participating in this week's discussion actively, however. It's the perfect topic for me...banning trans fats in NYC restaurants. Right up my healthy alley :-)

And speaking of my healthy alley, personal trainer studies are nearly complete (again, waiting on my last shipment of study materials...hmmmm...I'm starting to see a trend). Just need to get my CPR cert and I'm all set. 3 weeks until the exam!

Bowling started, baby! Love it! It's so great to have John back on the team and I'm looking forward to what is sure to be a fun season.

Work has been insanely busy, but super productive. I feel so accomplished and I really feel like my hard work is being recognized. I've got a lot of key deliverable coming up soon, so I've got to stay on my A-game!

I've got a busy month ahead of me...running a 5k (the "Jail Break 5k" where 3 prisioners "escape" and we have to chase them down. If you cross the finish line before them, you get a special prize. So cute!), a visit from my beloved college roomies, the Big E (my absolute fav!), a weekend away in Vermont (WITH Bailey...yes!), and of course, the personal trainer exam. Oh, and I'm supposed to take my mom to a pow-wow for her birthday (seriously, mom?). How am I supposed to fit this all in with work and school? If you know, please tell me!

Well, I really could go on and on (in case you haven't noticed, I tend to be long winded), so I'm going to stop myself before it gets out of hand. I just want to say how all of these wonderful things are a great reminder of just how good I have it. I am truly blessed to have the life that I do.

F/U to Stinging Nettle

on Friday, August 29, 2008

And by F/U I mean follow up...although the other famous F-U could apply. I tried to give it a fair chance, but after a week of taking it and still sniffling, sneezing, and suffering from all of the other fun symptoms of allergies, I could not take it anymore. I broke down and bought some Claritin. And...it's my savior! The past few days have been, for the most part, blissfully sniffle free. I love it!

Home Sweet Gym

This is hard for me to admit, but as I’ve said many time before, this blog is a place for me to be completely and unabashedly honest. Here it goes…I am sick of my home gym. Ugh…I feel guilty for even saying it!

It was a rather large investment, and it’s been wonderful to have over the past couple of years, but I am plain old bored with it. I like running, but I don’t love it, so if I do it too much, I get sick of it. It’s pretty much the same story with elliptical-ing (totally not a word, but you get the idea) and biking. I like them all, a lot in fact, but too much is just too much for me. I get bored easily by them. I have a lot of dvd’s that I like, but you can only do them so many times before they become uber-boring as well.

So, what do I love that I can’t get enough of? As cheesy as this may sound, I love the classes at the gym! Kickboxing, step, boot camp, yoga, pilates, spinning, groove, body pump…the list goes on and on! So many choices, so much variety, and being in that environment really motivates me. I was going to these classes religiously before my wedding, and I was seriously in the best shape of my life. I’ve missed them since I stopped going, but lately I’ve really been missing them.

I tried to suppress my desire to go back because it seemed foolish to pay for a gym membership when I have a rockin’ home gym right in my basement. But, recently John told me that he was feeling the same way…that he really missed the gym and getting to work out with his buddies…and you know what he did? He went and re-joined the gym! So, I’ve been mulling over this in my mind for a few weeks now, and I think I’ve finally decided that it’s back to the gym for me too. It’s not that expensive, and I’m sure I’ll still get some use out of our home gym...in fact I’ll probably be more inclined to want to use it when the monotony is broken up by the variety that the gym offers…so it’s really not that bad of an idea. Sure, it’s a little wasteful, but there is so much more to it than money. It’s my health we’re talking about, and you can’t put a price on that.

So, sorry home gym, but you’re not the most important exercise location in my life anymore. I still love you, though :-)

Ode to the Peppermint Patty

on Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh Peppermint Patty, how I love thee
Your yummy goodness makes me so happy

Your creamy peppermint filling is quite simply the best
When you add that dark chocolate coating, you have a recipe for success

Your genius creator, York, knows where it’s at
At just 50 calories each, you won’t make me fat

How did I go all these years without knowing of you?
It’s truly a miracle that I was able to make it through

Your deliciousness can only be described as sublime
I could eat you day or night, I could eat you anytime!

Allergic Reaction

on Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I’ve never wanted them (who would?). I’ve gone 27 years without them. I’ve never fully understood how terrible they are…until now. What could I possibly be talking about? Allergies. For the first time in my life, I think I have them. I’ve got classic symptoms…runny nose, sneezing, headaches…it’s no fun at all. I thought I’d give it a little time before taking any action, just to see what happened. Well, the symptoms continue to persist, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been doing a lot of research on natural remedies for allergies, and my proposed solution to my allergic state is Stinging Nettle. Here’s a little science lesson on my potential miracle herb:

From prevention.com:
Stinging Nettle is a leafy plant that is found in most temperate regions of the world. The Latin root of Urtica is uro, meaning “I burn,” indicative of the small stings caused by the little hairs on the leaves of this plant that burn when contact is made with the skin. The root and leaves of nettle are used in herbal medicine.

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of nettle’s active constituents. Currently, it is thought that polysaccharides (complex sugars) and lectins are probably the active constituents. Test tube studies suggest the leaf has anti-inflammatory actions. This is thought to be caused by nettle preventing the body from making inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins. A preliminary trial reported that capsules made from freeze-dried leaves reduced sneezing and itching in people with hay fever.

From necessarywriting.com:
In 1990 The National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon sponsored a double-blind randomized study on allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. They compared the effects of freeze-dried nettle to a placebo. (Plant Med, 1990) After only one week of therapy the results were nothing to sneeze at.

Stinging nettle (Utica dioica) contains, among other chemicals, histamine, serotonin, and actylcholine. It might seem counter-intuitive that these substances have a positive effect on reducing allergy symptoms but histamine actually acts as an autocoid (a local hormone) to modulate the immune response. (Melman, et al., American Journal of Medicine, 1981) In fact, the participants of the above study all rated stinging nettle more effective than the placebo, and in many cases, more effective than their traditional allergy treatments in relieving hay fever symptoms.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Healing, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) says that stinging nettle has long been a traditional remedy for dispelling mucus, treating coughs and providing an antihistamine effect. Dr. Weil recommends nettle as an effective and safe treatment for hay fever symptoms, saying, “Stinging nettle is the best natural remedy for hay fever that I know.”

When a person gets hay fever, an allergic response is initiated, causing the immune system to work overtime. According to Dr. Weil, “Getting an allergy is an example of misplaced immunity. The goal of treatment should be to convince the immune system that it can coexist peacefully with external allergens.” How does nettle factor into these physiological peace talks?

Delving deeper into nettle’s pharmacological nature reveals an important immune-balancing component. Greg Kelly, N.D., reports, “Stinging nettle contains, among other things, a small molecular-weight lectin that is capable of favorably inducing a balanced immune response.” It works similarly to histamin mentioned above. Dr. Kelly adds, “This means that unlike most things stimulating the immune system toward greater activity, this super-lectin appears to stimulate the immune system toward balance.”
The most common stinging nettle allergy product is found in freeze-dried form, produced by Eclectic Institute. This company has pioneered a freeze-drying technique that they say preserves herbal vitality and potency. The process involves harvesting nettle plants at their peak, freezing them immediately and placing them in a vacuum. The frozen water then evaporates without passing through the liquid stage. According to Eclectic Institute, “It’s the next best thing to fresh plant materials as no nutrients are lost in a liquid solution.”

Well, when I read that Dr. Weil is a big proponent of Nettle, I was sold. I am a big fan of Dr. Weil and his philosophies. I frequent his website and have read many of his works. He has made me a believer of homeopathy and has inspired me to seek out natural remedies to the ailments that affect me rather than turn to pharmaceutical solutions. So, today is the day that I am going to buy some Nettle and hopefully stop suffering from allergies for good!

Painted Lady

on Monday, August 18, 2008

Just a word of advice…if anyone ever asks you to help paint their house, SAY NO!

I spent this past weekend helping my dear mother paint her house. It’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time, and with her recent break up, I thought it might be a good way to help lift her spirits and make her feel a little more in control of her life. Plus, the house really needed it. So, we spent the entire weekend prepping, priming and painting.

I seriously underestimated how difficult it would be. I am not exactly sure how we pulled it off, but we got it done!!! It truly is a miracle that we finished. And, the best part of it all…it looks fantastic! My mom is thrilled about it all, which makes all the hard work worth it. I’m exhausted, sore, bruised, bug bitten, sunburned, anbd covered in paint, but I don’t even care. The satisfaction I feel from completing such a monumental task and making my mom so happy far outweighs the physical ailments I am feeling today.

But, alas, there is no rest for the weary… I have so much to do to make up for my lost weekend. I need to grocery shop, do laundry, clean, study, run errands, and get ready for our trip to Maine next weekend. This week is going to be crazy busy and very exhausting. But I guess that’s life!

Today I am thankful for my family…my mother, my brother and my husband (and me!) make an incredible team. I love them so dearly and I am in awe of how amazing they are.

Mama Drama

on Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WARNING: This post is going to sound mean and cruel, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I am going to be completely honest about my feelings. I always try to be positive and see the good in people, but sometimes that’s impossible.

My mother is a wonderful woman. She is compassionate, caring, loving, generous, funny, smart, beautiful…she really is special. Beyond special. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

She and her boyfriend, Chris, broke up yesterday. Naturally, she is heart broken and sad over this, but in my opinion, this is the best thing that ever happened to her. Without going into too much detail, Chris is…well…a loser. He is an unappreciative, cold-hearted, selfish, mean, unhappy individual who, in my opinion, brought nothing positive into her life. He’s toxic. He’s a sad individual who is not worthy of my incredible mother…not even close. She was so blinded by her unconditional love for him that she overlooked the truth of the matter. And he treated her terribly and made her feel bad about herself. So unfair! She has every reason in the world to be filled with confidence and yet she has allowed him to be the decider of her worth. Well, no longer! I believe that after she gets over the heartache of it all, she will see how much better off she is without such a wretched individual in her life.

So, goodbye Chris. And good riddance! I hope that you get what you deserve in life…a big fat nothing! And, I hope that you will someday realize what you have lost and live to regret it for the rest of your pathetic life.


on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve become a health and wellness junkie in my 20’s. I eat healthfully (most of the time, anyway) and I exercise religiously. I have my own home gym that I can be found in nearly every day of the week. I’ve developed a love of running…I’ve run a marathon (although I’ve vowed never to run another!) and I participate in races every week (weather permitting) as part of a running club. I’ve also developed a love of biking, and I am so excited to finally get a new bike this coming weekend…tax free weekend! I take my health and wellness very seriously. I could talk about fitness and nutrition all day long and never grow tired of it. I love reading books and articles and I've had my subscriptions to Fitness and Shape magazine for several years now.

To take my love of wellness further, I decided (with a little encouragement from my mother) to pursue my ACE Personal Training Certification. I began studying in January, but I sort of got side-tracked…first with my job search, then my new job, and then with the summer. My studies got put on the back burner and, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t picked them up in months. Well, my recent decision to go to graduate school reminded me of my ACE studies. It made me want to finish what I started and pass that certification.

So, my new goal is to finish the studying portion of my journey by the time I go back to school. Yes, that’s in 3 weeks, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’m off to a great start, though. I just the past week, I’ve finished 3 study units (and aced the exams, by the way!), bringing my total to 10 completed. So that means that I only have 5 more study units to complete, and they should go fast because they are the fitness topics that I am most interested in. In addition to completing my studying, I have to get my CPR/AED certification before sitting for the exam. I’ve already looked into several CPR classes in the area, and I will most likely attend one prior to my graduate class beginning, but it’s still not set in stone. After I complete all of this, I will be ready to actually take the exam! Saturday exams are not held that frequently, and I’d prefer not to take time off from work, so I’ll probably try to sit for either the September or October Saturday exam. No matter what, I WILL complete the certification, and I will do it in the near future. You can bet on that!

The truth of the matter is that I don’t know if I’ll ever actually become a paid personal trainer. I am doing it more for my own benefit, so that I can have all the knowledge right at my fingertips to achieve a healthy, strong body. I am also doing it in hopes to help others; even it’s just my family and friends on an informal basis. Maybe someday it will turn into something more than just a hobby, but for now, it’s a personal goal that I’ve set just for myself.

XM = Happy House!

on Monday, August 11, 2008

XM seriously rules! I was skeptical of it’s worth until I got a free three month trial with my new car. Those three months got me totally hooked. So, I’ve been subscribing and listening to XM in my car for over a year now…and totally loving it.

Last weekend when John and I went to Hampton Beach, we listened to XM the whole way there and back and heard so many of our favorite songs, both old and new. I don’t know what it was about this road trip…we’ve been on plenty in my car and listened to XM…but John reignited his love for satellite radio. A few years back, when XM was relatively new, John got a portable unit for Christmas. He liked it at first, but then grew tired of it, and grew especially tired of the poor reception in his car. The signal would come in and out, in and out. As you can imagine, that got really old, really fast. It was only a matter of months before he cancelled his subscription and the radio was boxed up and stored away.

Well, last weekend inspired him to pull out the old radio and give it another go. He reactivated it and got it all set up…in the car, in the house, and on the go (like an iPod). The radio still does not work that great in the car, and we’re still unsure how it will work on the go, but…it works fantastic in the house! We have it all set up with its docking station and speakers and we have had music on all week long. It’s been so great to have some music on while doing…well…anything! On Saturday, we had some mellow music on when we had company for dinner. Yesterday, I had high energy tunes cranking while I was cleaning the house, and then we turned on some softer music when we were reading after dinner. Such a great mix of songs played…including our song! Even this morning, John put some fun music on while we were eating breakfast and getting ready. It’s such a pleasant addition to our house that we never even realized we were missing!


on Friday, August 8, 2008

This is the theme of my life for the past few days. Last night, I was baking cookies for a friend’s party that we are attending tonight and I burned the entire first batch. The cookies went from looking raw to being burned in like 10 seconds! I managed to get another 27 cookies out of the batch, but John liked them so much that he had two last night, so now I’m down to 25. He’s been home all day today, so who knows how many they’ll actually be when I get home from work :-) I hope I have enough for the party!

The burning didn’t stop there, though. I got a little money for my birthday and it was burning a hole in my pocket (pun totally intended!). So, on Tuesday, I went to the mall and hit my favorite stores. I bought a fabulous new shirt from New York and Company and was saving it to wear today for the aforementioned party. This morning I was so excited to finally get to wear it. It was a little too wrinkled for my liking, so I decided that I was going to try to steam out the wrinkles with my iron. Well, I accidentally touched the hot iron to the satin for a little too long and burned a giant hole in the back of it. I almost cried when I saw the damage I had done! So upsetting! I guess my only option now is to replace it with the remainder of my birthday cash and forego the new pair of jeans I’ve been eyeing. Or, maybe I’ll just have to get both :-)

At least it’s Friday afternoon now…only 2 ½ hours of work left and then the weekend is here. And, a fun one it should be…

Tonight is the party that I’ve already written so much about…let’s hope it lives up to the hype!!! I’m sure it will be great…we’ll get to see a lot of people that we haven’t seen in a while and we’ll get to see our third bowling team member for the first time in many months! That’s right…bowling season is just around the corner and I am so excited that John is able to rejoin the team this year. He, my friend Mike and I are going to take the league by storm! We need to come up with a new team name this year and the only one that John and I could come up with (after a few cocktails) was “Shut Your Bowl Hole”. Too offensive?

Tomorrow we are going to hang out with our friends Steph and Andy. Why is this so exciting, you might ask? Well, in addition to being recently engaged, Steph and Andy are also expecting a baby and they just found out on Wednesday that it’s a boy!!! So, of course our time will be filled with conversations about every woman’s two favorite topics…weddings and babies! We’re sure to drive our men bonkers with it all!!!

Call me "Ms. MBA"

on Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Well, I did it. I signed up for my first graduate class today. I guess this means I am officially an MBA student!!! For the most part, I am really excited! I do feel a bit nervous and apprehensive as well, but I'm sure once I get used to being a student again, all of that will go away. It is a big committment to pursue my MBA, but I feel ready to take on the challenge and I am excited to begin yet another new chapter in my life. Here's to higher education!!!

All I can say is WOW!

on Monday, August 4, 2008

Well, I am officially 27! It was seriously one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had! It was such an amazing weekend from start to finish!

On Friday, my work friends took me out for a celebratory lunch. It was so great to see them all since I get to see them so rarely these days. Then, when I got home from work, I had a fabulous gift waiting there for me from my best friend Crystal. Then, John and I had a relaxing evening at home, enjoying some take out and a movie.

On Saturday, John got up at 5:30 AM and told me it was time to get up. Of course, I thought he was insane, and I told him so as buried my head under the pillows to block out the light from the lamp that he had turned on. He walked out of the bedroom and returned a few seconds later with a sweet card for me that told me to get up and get packed, because we were headed to Hampton Beach for a weekend getaway! I couldn’t believe it! He arranged everything in secret and totally surprised me! So, we got up and got ready and hit the road. After dropping Bailey off at my mom’s, we were on our way. We spent the entire ride up there listening to great music and engaging in great conversation. Unfortunately, it was not the best beach weather, but that didn’t stop us! We spent the day reading on the beach, walking the boardwalk, browsing the shops, eating yummy food, playing LOTS of arcade games, and just enjoying each other’s company. We seriously had SO much fun!!! It was a truly incredible day with my truly incredible husband!

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday weather-wise, so we decided to just get some breakfast and hit the road. We mapped out a new route home that took us on local and back roads (versus the highway) and just cruised along, enjoyed the sights, and chatted it up the whole way home about anything and everything. We stopped at my mom’s on the way back to pick up Bailey and were surprised with a delicious BBQ (the biggest steaks I have ever seen!!!) and an ice cream cake! So yummy! Then, when we finally got home, we had some people over to hang out, have a few drinks and then enjoy our city’s fantastic fireworks display (making up for the cancelled July 4th fireworks)!

Such a busy and exciting weekend full of food, friends, family and fun!!! I was so surprised by everything and so overwhelmed by the love that so many people showed. Each wonderful birthday wish, call, text message and email meant so much to me! I am so lucky to have people in my life that will plan and plot and go out of their way to make sure that I have a great day. I feel so fortunate and so grateful for the wonderful people that make my life so great!

Just a few follow up thoughts to yesterday’s post…

on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

  1. According to John, my thinking that my pants felt tight is all in my head. He also told me that he, too, has “fat days” (not exactly in those words, but essentially the same meaning). Both comments made me feel a little better.
  2. I worked out last night and this morning and I feel great! I definitely need to keep it up. I love to work out in the mornings…it gets my day off to such a great start and makes my evenings much less rushed and much more relaxing, leaving plenty of time for a long walk with Bailey (which doubles as extra exercise!), cooking dinner and quality time with the hubby.
  3. In my reinvigorated efforts to be healthy, I have been drinking a lot of water the past few days, as recommended by many nutrition and fitness professionals. And I’ve now figured out why they recommend drinking water to help you lose weight…it’s not the water that makes you lose weight, it’s all the calories burned running back and forth to the bathroom a thousand times a day. Holy moly!


on Monday, July 21, 2008

I am officially recommitting to my workout and healthy eating regime. Normally, I’d give myself an A- for my efforts in healthy eating and working out, but lately I think I’m performing closer to a B-/C+.

A deadly combo of summertime factors has led me down this path of mediocre performance. I’ve been way too indulgent at the many summertime BBQ’s we’ve been attending - there seems to be at least one every single weekend, if not more! Then, in addition, I’ve been letting the unpredictable weather ruin my workouts. If there’s even a chance of a thunderstorm (which there seems to be every single day), I won’t go out for a run or bike ride. I say that I’ll work out in the gym instead, but then there always seems to be a reason not to - some excuses are valid and some are, well, lame. My normal 5 – 7 days of working out each week has turned into 3 or maybe 4 (and…gulp…some weeks even less). Usually, if I let up on the healthy eating temporarily, the exercise will make up for it, and vice versa. But, with poor performance in both arenas, things are quickly going downhill. Bad, bad, bad!

I’ve been fully aware that my performance has been less than stellar lately, but the scale has been steady and my clothes have been fitting just fine…until now. I think my body is fed up with my behavior and is trying to alert me to this situation before it gets too late. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I swear that my pants are fitting a little tight today. Of course, when I felt this tightness this morning while getting dressed, I immediately ran down into the gym to weigh myself. I haven’t gained any weight thank goodness (in fact, I was down half a pound since Thursday), but as much as it pains me to admit this, the tightness in the pants is real. I’m sure I’m the only person on earth who would notice this change in my body, but that provides me with no comfort. I don’t like this one bit! But, on the positive side, I think this is just the kick in the pants (no pun intended!) that I needed to get back on track, so in a way I am thankful for it.

Here’s what I am going to do…

I am going to get back to my traditional workout regime, which usually looks something like this:

Monday – Total Body Weights and 30 minutes cardio
Tuesday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Wednesday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Thursday – Total Body Weights and 30 minutes cardio
Friday – 45 - 60 minutes cardio
Saturday – Optional weights and/or cardio
Sunday – Optional cardio

And, I am going to be very cognizant of what I am eating. I am going to watch what I eat, limit my snacking, and I am going to behave at any BBQ’s that we attend.

I am going to refocus my energy on taking the best possible care of myself and get back on track…starting today! I am in control of my life...and I choose to be healthy!

Three Years Ago Today...

on Friday, July 18, 2008

My husband proposed to me.

It hit me this morning in the shower. Sadly, my husband is away for a “Man Weekend” with his friends, so I could not share my morning revelation with him.

I remember it so clearly. Three years ago on this day (which was a Monday), I was at work when John called me to ask what time I was coming home because he was going to make dinner. This was nothing out of the ordinary, so I explained to him how I had to go to the mall after work to restock some of my beauty supplies from Aveda. He didn’t want to give anything away, so he played it cool, but he later confessed that he was dying to do it and wanted me to come home right away. But, clueless me went to the mall after work for a little shopping. After my planned trip to Aveda, I decided to pop into Express and Gap to see if there were any new must-haves. Finally, I decided that I’d better get home because I felt bad that John was waiting for me to get home.

When I got home, John was already cooking dinner and there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me on the counter. I didn’t think too much of it, as this wasn’t that out of the ordinary either. Regardless of what was going on, I couldn’t focus because it happened to be one of the hottest, most humid days of the year that day (ironically, much like the weather today!). The first words out of my mouth (after thanking him for the beautiful flowers) were about how flippin’ hot it was and how gross I felt after having walked home in it. He suggested I go change out of my work clothes and get ready for dinner, so I did.

As I was doing this, John walked into our bedroom and gave me a card. This card had a sweet note about our relationship and little clue on it that led me to another card with another clue and a rose, and then that led to another, and then that led to another, and finally that led to a ring box. At this point I still didn’t realize what was happening. I never even remotely suspected a proposal, especially considering the fact that he had just given me a ring (I guess you could call it a promise ring) a few weeks before. He later revealed that this was all part of his master plan and he had given me that ring as a decoy (still to this day he calls it the “decoy ring”). Anyway, when I found the ring box I just picked it up and then looked at him with a confused look. John took the box from me and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was one of the most wonderful and exhilarating moments of my life. And it was completely private and unexpected…just the way I wanted. It was heartfelt, honest and happened in the middle of our living room. It was so "us".

It’s hard to believe that three years has passed since that incredible day. And what a three years it has been! We got married, bought a house, moved across the state, changed careers, took up new hobbies, traveled, bought new cars…the list goes on and on. So, so, so many changes, but through all of these changes, we have only grown closer and our love for each other and connection to each other has deepened even further than I knew was possible.

So here's to you John, the love of my life. Thank you for being everything I've ever wanted and more. I've never been happier.

World's Best Juror

on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yesterday I received notification that I have been summonsed for jury duty. One might think that this is no big deal, but in my case, it is. Why? Because I get called for jury duty more than any other person in Massachusetts. Seriously! I am 26 (ok, ok…I am going to be 27 in 17 days, but for now I am still 26!) and have been called for jury duty 6 times! Yes, 6 times. And, three of those times have been in the past 2 ½ years. I’ve been called more times than both of my parents…combined! Thankfully, I can get out of it this time (and did as well last time) because I served on a jury in December 2005 (drug deal in McDonalds gone wrong…Guilty!) and as a result, I am excused for three years. I thought it was rather comical when I was called for jury duty only a month after my juror service, but now here we go again and the comedy has turned into ridiculousness. I guarantee it won’t be long before I’m called yet again…and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s immediately after the three year anniversary of my juror service this December. Ugh!

Do you think this is the universe’s way of telling me I should have been a judge or something? Or, maybe I was a criminal in a past life and this is karma’s way of getting me back.


on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I usually try to keep this blog positive. I am, by nature, a positive person and I try to live my life with an optimistic outlook. But, today, I am upset. I don’t want to get into specifics, but let’s just say that sometimes people aren’t what you think they are. My husband always says that I give too much and get too little in return from others. And in response, I always tell him that I won’t play games…I’m not going to treat someone in a certain way just because they have treated me that way. I will always try to be the best that I can regardless of others, because I am the one that has to live with my actions. I know that if I were to treat someone poorly it would eat at me for a long time. I really do try to be a good friend, but the cold hard truth is that not everyone extends that same courtesy to me.

There is a particular person in my life that I’ve finally accepted is not a good friend to me. There have been little incidents and occurrences over the past couple of years that have hurt me and made me feel uneasy and upset, but I tried to brush them off and tell myself that I’m just being paranoid. Why would someone do these things to me when they are supposed to be my friend? Well, I am now convinced that I was not imagining these things…they are real. And it is quite clear that this person either doesn’t value my friendship or doesn’t want to be friends with me at all. I don’t know why that would be the case…why would anyone purposely blow off someone that wants to be a true and genuine friend to you? I am not perfect, not even close, and I haven’t always been the best friend, but I feel that I have grown, matured and changed a lot in the past few years and I have a much different outlook on friendship. I love and cherish my friends and do not take them for granted. I try to be the best and most loyal friend that I can. Distance and life in general sometimes make that hard, but no amount of time or distance would ever change the way that I feel about my friends. I will always try to do my best, and I know that those that are true friends will recognize this fact and try to show me the same courtesy.

The bottom line is that I can’t allow this situation to hurt me anymore. I have to accept the truth of the matter, make peace with it, and move on. I have way too much good in my life to let this situation bring me down. I have recognized the fact that this is not a true friendship and that this person has hurt me, and with this knowledge I now have to move forward. I am not going to dwell on this, or even think about it, anymore because I've already wasted too much time doing so and it is not worth it. Friendship cannot be one-sided. Friendship is not a title, it is an action. This is not a friendship. And, as much as I wish that things could be different, they are not.

This is what life is all about.

on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some of the best things in life are so simple and so unexpected. I experienced this first hand yesterday.

Let me give you the back story…my mother has been a yo-yo dieter for as long as I can remember. After reaching her highest weight (except for when she was pregnant with my brother 18 years ago) around the time of my wedding, she lost nearly 75 lbs. in 2007. Of course, she deserves all the credit for this amazing feat, but I’d like to think that my encouragement and assistance played a role. You see, I am sort of the health advocate for my family. Regular exercise and eating well are a huge part of my life and I have tried to impart a little of my drive and knowledge onto my family in hopes of helping them live healthier and happier life. And, in many ways, my efforts have worked…until recently. My mother has slowly started to put some weight back on. She is nowhere near her highest (not even close, in fact), but she needs to put a stop to it now for her own health and well-being, both physically and mentally. She has been getting very depressed about the fact that she is not maintaining her weight, but she also manages to have every excuse in the book about why she can’t. Well, I am not willing to accept her excuses. There is no excuse good enough to justify not making your health a top priority. So, in my efforts to assist her in getting back on track, I have offered to open up my schedule anytime she wants to work out together. And, she took my up on my offer yesterday. She asked if I would go up to her house in North Hatfield for a bike ride. I did want to work out yesterday and I do love to bike ride, but the drive up there after work was not appealing at all and I seriously did not want to go. But, I sucked it up and went, and man oh man, I am so glad that I did.

We (we being my mom, her boyfriend, my brother, and myself) went for the most wonderful 16 mile bike ride through Hatfield and Whately last night. Yes, it was a great workout, but that is not what made it so wonderful. It was so fantastic to do something like that with some of the most important people in my life. And, it was also fantastic to ride the roads of my childhood. See, my mom lives in my grandparent’s house (they left it to her when they passed away). I was incredibly close with my grandparents when they were alive and I spent the majority of my childhood with them at their house or around town. I’ve been down the roads that we biked a million times before, but not in many years. Going down those roads yesterday brought back so many wonderful memories and warm feelings. It made me immensely happy to think back to times with my grandparents when I was just a child. Going to the Hatfield parade on the 4th of July, going to elementary school (I went there through the 3rd grade), playing tag out in front of town hall with my girl scout troop, playing ping pong with my cousins at the community center, going to the only store in town to pick up milk, etc… My mind is filled with these memories, but I had not thought about them in so very long until yesterday. Also, it was really neat to see the sights that seemed so familiar to me from a different perspective. Usually, I just get a quick glimpse of them as I drive by in a car, but being on a bike and getting to see things slowly and up close was really fun. I got to read signs and look and houses and enjoy the view of the mountains, the Connecticut River, and of all the farm land that Hatfield is known for. I got to look at the cute libraries and post offices and town halls of these small towns. It brought me such a sense of peace and contentment to be out in nature with my family enjoying the country roads of my childhood. It was absolutely perfect.

I am so glad that I forced myself to go because it wound up being a truly wonderful night that I will treasure in my memory for a very long time. I am so thankful to be living close to my family now, enabling me to see them and do fun things like this with them anytime I want. I absolutely love spending time with them, and being able to do so while getting exercise is even better. We chatted it up about life, reminisced about days gone by, all while going something good for our bodies. I can think of no better way to spend my time. We are so fortunate to be able to do these things and I hope to do it many times more. This perfect evening was a clear reminder that this is what life truly is about. I can’t believe that I even contemplated not going because I didn’t want to drive there. What ever what I thinking?