Finally, Useful Snow!

Upon moving back to DC a few years ago, I came up with a new way to describe snow. I’d love to say that it’s something lovely and heart-warming, like poetically describing the difference between light, fluffy snow and dense, heavy snow that creates amazing snow forts/people/balls.

But it’s not. Rather, I’ve come to classify snow as being either useful or useless.

And there is but one simple criterion for this: whether or not the snow causes a delay or cancellation of work. Useful snow enables sleeping in and lollygagging around the apartment, whereas useless snow is dead to me. I don’t even want to look at you, useless snow.

Now, I know this makes no sense, but allow me to explain: I’m from Colorado, where the snow is a source of fantastic outdoor, mountainous recreation — and where the extreme cold never lasts for long. Snowstorms and ski days interspersed between multi-day stretches of sunny 50 degree weather is a fantastic way to do winter. If you’re going to live in a place where it snows, this is the way to do things.

In DC, though, it’s flat. And miserably cold. So, if it’s going to snow, I want it to be enough to call off (or, at a minimum, delay) work. Instead, this winter has been a combination of my all-time least favorite weather patterns: bitter cold, powerful winds, and a total lack of useful snow. This means that we all venture out into the bone-chilling cold of the early morning commute, walking diagonally into the window-rattling wind, so we’re able to get to work on time; around 10:30 some start to contemplate a Starbucks run but quickly abandon the idea, because even non-cafeteria coffee isn’t enough to lure them into the elements for the 4-minute walk to Starbies; and then, in the evening, trudge home in the same cold and wind that cut you to the bone. Our struggle is real, you guys.

Milton cold

But! I started having hope last week when local meteorologists began talking about a possible Presidents’ Day snowstorm. I held my breath (metaphorically, obviously) and crossed my fingers: could it be legit? Might we wind up with a four-day weekend? To quote Talladega Nights, please, sweet 6 lb. 8 oz. newborn baby Jesus, let us get a snow day.

And lo, my prayers were answered! The snow started yesterday afternoon, and it started sticking right away. It was forecast to continue throughout the night, and as Brandon and I ate dinner last night, my phone was buzzing with notices about all the local school districts being closed today. I was obsessively looking at my phone, waiting for The Big One (aka: the federal government’s operating status) when finally it arrived: CLOSED ON TUESDAY! Happy dance!

So, I’m happy to say that I’ve spent my morning drinking tea while reading InStyle, and I’m about to hit up the gym for a long workout. Thank you, useful snow, for this glorious extra day off!

Feels Like Home

This post got me thinking about the idea of home — and the idea that while I’ve lived a great many places, very few have felt like my own. We moved around a few times when I was growing up, so the concept of home became very (ok, incredibly) important to me. Home wasn’t just where I slept; it had to feel like home in addition to being a structure that I happened to live in.

One of the pitfalls of being a millennial who lives and works in an expensive city is that home ownership isn’t in the cards for me. Instead, I’m a serial renter: a few years here, a few years there. All told, I’ve lived in four different places in the DC area over the last ten years.

Apartments tend not to feel like home for most people, and generally speaking, that has been true for me too — with one huge exception. My apartment in Denver, which I rented while I was in grad school, was glorious.

When I moved back to Colorado (where I grew up) for school, I was basically on the brink of exploding with excitement. I was excited about my grad program, and I was doubly excited to be living in Denver. I began to look for apartments near campus, though, and my excitement started to wane a bit.

I didn’t need a big space; I wanted a studio apartment, but I couldn’t find anything smaller than a one-bedroom.

I wanted a controlled-access building, since this was going to be my first-ever solo apartment, but I couldn’t find one to save my life.

I didn’t need anything fancy, but every place within my price range had shag carpet that hadn’t been cleaned since the Nixon Administration.

My mom and I drove around for two days, finding nothing but places that didn’t fit my parameters. Just when I was thinking I might need to bite the bullet and compromise, I saw a Craigslist ad for a studio condo near my school. The price was right, so I decided to get more information.

An hour later, the landlord, Tony, gave me a tour of what would wind up being my home for the next two years: a gorgeous, newly renovated studio in a controlled-access building, replete with decorative finishes that I never would’ve thought were possible in a place I could afford on a grad school budget. I was sold. He even reduced the monthly rate if I was willing to sign a two-year lease. Done and done, my friends.

And oh, did I love that place. It had soft pink halogen lights spanning the ceiling and highlighting a brushed steel panel against one wall. The kitchen and bathroom fabulous. There were sliding glass doors that led to a wide, spacious balcony where I spent many hours doing yoga, working on presentations, or reading under the shade of the tree growing next to the building. It felt like my home from the moment I walked in.

The feeling of home wasn’t the only thing that made this apartment so awesome. It was there that, after living with other people for all of my 25 years, I finally had a place of my own. I lived there under my own rules, and I got to let my idiosyncracies run the show.

Did I want to watch Law & Order for 5 hours on a Saturday morning during spring break? Yes, I did. Did I turn up Madonna and Britney while cleaning or doing the dishes? Indeed. Did I want to cook random meals for no other reason than the fact that they sounded good? You betcha. Did I want to take a break from writing papers by either somersaulting across the room or having an impromptu dance party? Heck yeah. And I didn’t need to ask anyone for permission to do any of those things.

When I finished grad school two years later, I decided to move out to North Carolina to be with the guy I was dating while I waited for my job in DC to come through. (Side note: this turned out to be a disasterous decision.) I was verklempt while packing up my apartment, even though I knew it was time for me to go. The space was tiny, yes, but I had loved it dearly.

On the day I moved out, my parents arrived with a moving van to help gather up my stuff. As they drove up, dark and ominous clouds rolled in — and these were dark and ominous even by the standards of Colorado summer thunderstorms. We tried to beat the rain, but as soon as we walked towards the door with the first load of stuff to go into the truck, a flash of white light was immediately followed by a thunderclap so loud that it shook the building. And with that, the skies opened up into a a downpour so torrential we could barely see across the street.

I try not to read meaning into random events, but it absolutely felt like a sign. It was as if my ancestors, who were among Denver’s first inhabitants, were telling me not to go. “Stay here,” they seemed to say, “In this city you love and this apartment that feels like it was made for you.”

Two months later, I was back in Colorado (like I said, the North Carolina thing wound up being a complete disaster) and staying with my parents. I went to Denver every week or so to see friends, and every time I went, I’d go on autopilot and find myself parking in front of my old apartment building.

I once got as far as the building’s front door, perplexed by why my keys weren’t unlocking it, before I realized I didn’t live there anymore.

Even now, almost seven years after I moved out, I still think of that apartment, how much I loved it, and how lucky I was to have had it basically fall into my lap at exactly the right time.

Updates Galore

Since it’s been a while (cue Aaliyah! “It’s been a long time/we shouldn’t have left you/without a dope beat to step to”), I figure I owe y’all a an update on the various goings-on over the last few months.

In my last post before my long hiatus, I was waxing poetic about how much I miss Colorado. Thankfully, Brandon and I were able to head out there a desperately needed two-week vacay in February, which was awesome. What wasn’t awesome was the weather, which was predicted to be in the 40’s and 50’s and gorgeous, only to be revised (on the day we arrived, no less) as highs of 3 and wind chills of -20.  So, while we didn’t get to hike much, we did get to watch a lot of movies — and we got to see some of my favorite people, which made me sublimely happy. I did get one very brief hike in, juuuuuust as the weather improved before we flew back to DC — and of course, I had to take pictures for posterity. This is from one of my favorite local trails:

 

Bear Creek Trail

Oh, and the Broncos lost the Super Bowl. Guys, I knew it was doomed from the moment I saw that first fumbled snap. I’m not a big drinker under normal circumstances, but I made a considerable dent in my dad’s GF beer supply during the course of that game. As soon as the snap was fumbled, my dad and I exchanged one of those “oh, sh*t” glances and helped ourselves to a few adult beverages. (In case anyone is wondering, Colorado has some awesome GF beer.) To illustrate how much I love my Broncos, on the Friday before game day, I wore this shirt to work:

 

Broncos Country
I think this solidifies my candidacy for upper management, does it not?

 

While Seattle obviously played a great game and Seahawks fans have every right to be thrilled about the outcome of that particular massacre, I’m not going to want to talk to any Seattle fans about that game for a very, very long time. In fact, probably not ever. As the game concluded, I put up a PSA on Facebook to let everyone know that if any Seattle fans talk any trash to me, ever, about this game, I will summarily de-friend them. Because my devotion to the Broncos obviously comes before human relationships. I’m nothing if not logical, folks. (As an example of my irrational sports fanaticism, I still loathe the University of Michigan after they beat my beloved Colorado College hockey team, in double overtime, for the NCAA national championship…in 1995. Now I rabidly root for them to lose in all sports, all the time. But I don’t carry grudges, I swear!)

Once we got back to DC, we were met with equally frigid and snowy weather as what we’d experienced in Colorado. The good part of this was that we had a bunch of snow days off from work – yay! – but the bad news was that once we did return to the office, my bus stop looked like this:

 

Bus Stop with Snow
To give you a sense of scale here, the ice was up to my knees. It was fun times.

 

I mean, who doesn’t like a treacherous, icy schlep to work in the mornings?! They’re beloved by everyone, obviously. Thankfully, winter fiiiinnnaaaalllly seems to be releasing its vise-grip on DC, since today is supposed to be gorgeous and warm. Despite the incoming pollen-bomb, my inhaler and I are totally going to take advantage of the sunshine by going for a run outside this afternoon. I may be a wheezy, sneezing mess by the time I get back, but I think it’ll probably be worth it. (Albuterol, don’t fail me now.)

Lastly, and most exciting, two weeks ago I had a re-biopsy to see where things stand with my endometrial cancer treatment, and the results look good! Things aren’t totally back to normal, since the cells have regressed into a pre-cancerous stage — but this means that a) the cancer itself is gone, and b) the meds are working. HAPPY DANCE!

 

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Colbert + Kermie = best happy dance ever

 

The state they’re in right now is basically a half-way point: when endometrial cancer develops, cells go from being normal to pre-cancerous to cancerous — so in treating it, the meds are supposed to make it go in the opposite direction. Since the meds are doing exactly that, my doctors are really encouraged that a bit more time will hopefully knock this out for good. I’ll remain on the progesterone treatment for another six months before we re-biopsy, and hopefully by then things will have returned to normal. My fingers are crossed — but, should you feel compelled, please feel free to light a candle/say a prayer/sacrifice a goat to add some oomph to my cause.

So, that’s a recap of the most notable goings-on during my blogging hiatus. I hope all you lovely people have been doing well!

Homesick

One of the things that really sucks about having a career-driven life is having to live in DC. There are a lot of genuinely awesome people here, and there are also genuinely awesome people who like it here (DC isn’t inhabited entirely by Congressional reps who’ve taken leave of their senses, I promise!) – but sweet fancy Moses, I’m not one of them.

Long before this summer and its health crises (and the attendant fear, sadness, and general misery), I was seriously homesick. I miss the mountains, the sunsets, and the 300 days of sunshine per year. I even miss the smell of Colorado. But most of all, I miss the people. I miss my parents, our extended family, the family friends who’ve known me since I was 3 feet tall, and old friends from when I was growing up. Colorado is where my soul feels centered, safe, and happy.

After things got rough, though, I became acutely, painfully homesick. A few weeks ago when I was on the Metro, I saw a woman carrying a bag from the exact yoga studio in Denver where I used to sweat out my grad school stress with one of my closest friends. I nearly burst into tears, so I distracted myself for a bit (there was another passenger with truly fabulous shoes, so I focused on those for a few minutes). I started to feel better, only to look up again and see a bag, no more than a few inches from my face, with a big COLORADO written on it. At that point, it took everything in me not to weep openly on public transportation.

 

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That’s right friends: I nearly had an ugly cry of Kim Kardashian proportions.

 

A similar moment happened the next day, when I was reading my hometown newspaper online and saw an ad for the library system there. Now, I looooooove the library and spent the better part of my youth at the branch near our house.  That place holds more fond memories than I can even count. In a fit of nostalgia, I went to their website and poked around a bit. Lo and behold, I found the activity calendar for the branch where I grew up – and as it turns out, they have tons of awesome free classes: Reiki 101, how to grow a vegetable garden in your back yard…the list goes on.

At that point I nearly cried again, so I decided to see what sorts of classes/talks are available at the Arlington public library. I was hopeful! I was optimistic! Maybe there’d be similarly cool offerings here!

Well. Let’s just say I live in a place where people have a different set of interests than those of people back home. Here in DC, the library offers Mandarin conversation groups, nanny groups, and stock trading talks. To put it mildly, I’d much rather learn about Reiki and gardening than Mandarin grammar and stock trading.

That’s when it really sunk in: there are so, so many ways in which I don’t fit in here. I’d known this on an intellectual level for quite some time – after all, I spent years going along with the whole “shut down your emotions, be super ambitious, learn to be a bureaucrat, and only wear gray or black pant suits” motif, only to realize that I’m creative, emotive, and independent, and that I absolutely hate pant suits – but suddenly, the fact that I don’t fit DC’s demographic hit me on a whole new level.

It’s funny: when I was younger, I wanted nothing more than stability and permanence in one location. We moved across the country when I was 16, and then my parents moved to the Midwest just after I’d started college – so I started my adult years with a profound sense of dislocation. (They wound up moving back to Colorado when I was 24, which was also when I returned to Colorado for grad school.)

When I was in my 20’s, I figured that the solution to that sense of dislocation was to find a job, settle down, and stay in one place. I figured I could bloom wherever I was planted, provided that I stayed long enough to put down roots.

As it turns out, though, spending a long time in one place isn’t enough for me. I’ve been in DC for almost five years – this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was 16 – and yet the more time passes, it the less it feels like home. And, when things got incredibly stressful and scary over the summer and early fall, I found that I need that sense of being at home more and more.

I miss the mountains.... the feeling of something bigger than me.  My silent guardians.  >Sigh<  #homesick.

It’s kind of an odd lesson to learn amidst everything else that’s going on: that what I really need in order to feel at home is, in fact, completely different from what I always thought. I can’t just make a place my home – being there for a long time just doesn’t work, nor does my trying with all my might.

We’ll hopefully be able to visit Colorado sometime in early 2014, and there’s a good chance that I’ll be tempted to 1) kiss the ground when we arrive, even if it’s the icky airport floor, and 2) chain myself to a tree in my parents’ backyard to keep from having to leave. (Moi? Exaggerate? Mais non!) I’m sure everyone will totally appreciate both of those things.

For now, though, I have a small piece of home sitting on my dresser: some rocks that my parents picked up and my mom brought out for me when she visited earlier this month. By way of explanation, since I was a baby, I’ve been fascinated by rocks. Growing up in Colorado, where there were rocks all over the place, I amassed an impressive collection.

Like most childhood things, though, my rock collection has long since disappeared. However! My parents, knowing how homesick I’ve been, decided that I needed a piece of home to keep with me. While they were out hiking along one of our favorite trails, they picked up pieces of quartz and pink granite – the main things you see in Colorado Springs – and sent them along to their displaced daughter.

 

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So, while I can’t go home anytime soon, I at least have a small piece of Colorado that I can look at each morning. It’s not the same as being there, but it’s better than nothing.

And, with that, let it be known: someone needs to invent a teleportation device ASAP. If any of y’all happen to have jobs in science and technology, please get on that project. 🙂

If you don’t live in or near the place you call home, do you ever get homesick?

If so, how do you deal with it when homesickness strikes? (I’m open to suggestions!)

Weekend Recap

Aaaaand just like that, the weekend is over. Blergh. I don’t know about you guys, but this is how I feel each and every week:

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No dice on that one, I’m afraid — but at the very least, I can revel in the fact that I had a lovely weekend. I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and I decided to take advantage of this and get some errands done before the hordes of people descended.

A quick side note about DC: it takes freaking forever to get anything done around here. Between traffic, finding parking, dealing with the crowds in the store, and then waiting to check out, two errands — like hitting up Walgreen’s and Trader Joe’s — can take hours under normal circumstances. There have been times when our entire afternoon is consumed by just going out to lunch and hitting up Whole Foods on the way home, so I decided to circumvent that whole mess and hit the road at 7:45.

Happily, it wound up being awesome. I was one of the only people at Walgreen’s, and TJ’s was blissfully lacking in huge crowds. I was out and done in record time, which was a huge win! I also picked up epic loot at TJ’s; I didn’t get a picture before putting everything away, but let’s just say I could’ve used a barge to transport it home.

 

After the grocery run, I met one of my dear friends for coffee — which, I must say, was awesome. Once we had caffeinated ourselves and talked for aaaaaaages (it’s a time-honored tradition with us), I came back to find Brandon watching The Conjuring. Now, Brandon and I have divergent views on horror movies: Brandon really likes them, but I hate — nay, abhor with every fiber of my being — anything even remotely scary.

I have a wildly over-active imagination, which means the slightest hint of something scary will send me over the edge. I’m 32, and I totally close my eyes during previews for horror movies. When I finally got up the nerve to watch Scream in 1998 — a movie that most of my friends thought was funny because it was just so campy and ridiculous — I could barely answer the phone for a week.

So, I created a rule that Brandon can only watch horror movies when I’m not home. Since I was at coffee for a few hours, he understandably seized the opportunity to watch the horror movie he was most interested in. It wound up working out well: when I got home from Starbucks, I knew I needed to hit the gym — but my motivation was flagging. Knowing that The Conjuring was playing in my living room? MOTIVATION RECOVERED. I grabbed a magazine and my headphones and then booked it towards the door. I. Was. Outta there.

 

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This is an alarmingly accurate depiction of what I look like after merely *hearing* the previews for horror movies.

 

After 50 minutes of cardio, I was pleased to find that the movie was long since over once I got back. Biggest sigh of relief ever, y’all.

After a busy Saturday, I spent most of Sunday getting caught up on stuff around the apartment. Sundays tend to be my big chore days — when I clean, do laundry, and chop veggies/act as my own sous chef — and this week was no different.  I get all kinds of discombobulated and flustered when things aren’t in order for the week ahead, so Sundays are when I prepare, organize, and try to come up with ways to save time during the week. (Outer order equals inner peace, folks.) I had a truly ludicrous pile of laundry to deal with and an equally ludicrous pile of veggies to chop up, so one could say that I had my work cut out for me.

 

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Yup, a Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry seems about right.

 

I did, however, take a break from all this in order to hit the gym. I’d intended to go for a run, since the weather we’ve been having lately — cool, crisp, and sunny — feels sublime after an oppressively hot and humid DC summer, but my running route was blocked off as part of the Marine Corps Marathon.

As I headed to the gym as my Plan B, I thought about all the people running the marathon and promptly realized that I have a confession to make: when it comes to running, I max out at 4 miles. I can eke out five miles if I’m really, really feeling awesome and ambitious.

But a marathon? Nope. I mean, I know marathons are all the rage these days. Marathons are one of the trendiest trends ever right now, and it seems like everybody who’s anybody is doing them. Those people all deserve major credit for doing something so challenging, because holy crap — that’s an impressive undertaking.

That said, though, I’m actually pretty sure I’m the only health/fitness-ish blogger alive who isn’t in marathon or half marathon training — which probably totally negates my credibility as someone interested in health and fitness — but I can’t even express how much my knees start screaming in protest when I even contemplate running a marathon.

 

This course is about 21 miles too long for me and my creaky knees.

 

So, that’s my big “I’m a lame health blogger” confession: I have no desire to run a marathon. Do I love running in 5Ks? Heck yeah. Do I love solitary four milers? Absolutely. But marathons are so, so not in my future. Forgive me, running gods, for I have sinned!

That being said (please don’t turn me into the health blogging police!), I also took a break from my mountain of chores to watch my beloved Broncos take on the Redskins. As a displaced Coloradan who only gets to see her boys when they play on national TV (as opposed to every Sunday back in the Motherland, le sigh), this was a big deal. I like to get decked out for game day in all my Broncos paraphernalia, which probably looks ridiculous — but whatevs, anything in the name of team spirit! (Is it overkill to wear a Broncos sweatshirt while drinking out of a Broncos glass? I think not.)

Anyways, now that another work week is upon us, I hope you’re all getting your day off to a good start!

And, with that, tell me: what was the highlight of your weekend?

{Currently…}

Good morning, y’all! Hopefully your Thursday is off to a good start, or at least a tolerable start. 😉

I haven’t done a Currently post in a while, so I figured I’d hop back on that bandwagon. So, without further ado, a list of current goings-on:

Currently…

…In heavy rotation on my iPhone:

Radioactive, The Other Side, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark, and Come and Get It (I know I should be totally ashamed by the fact that I find a Selena Gomez song so effin’ catchy, but really, that ish is pretty awesome).

…Awaiting with baited breath:

The arrival of the royal baby. Much like the Selena Gomez situation, I know I shouldn’t care about stuff like this — but whatevs, I kind of adore Wills and Kate. Add to that the fact that I’m a total Anlgophile, aaaaand…royal baby obsession it is! Also: please be a girl, wee regal fetus.

Tabloids can pretty much never be trusted, so who knows whether this is actually true or a pile o’ BS.

…Reading:

Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin, and I’m loving every second of it. This is an amazing book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! (I’ll do a separate and more detailed post on this awesome tome once I’ve finished it, just because it’d be kinda ridiculous to do a full post on something I’m 40% of the way through.)

…Craving:

A yoga session followed by a big green smoothie, grilled chicken with avocados, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (WHY OH WHY did I take them to work?!), and as much summer fruit (nectarines, cherries, grapes, berries, etc.) as I can consume.

…Excited About:

The fact that my one week of post-op rest is finally up, and I seem to finally be recovering from the epic glutening earlier in the week — which means I can start being active again! I’m going to take it easy today with some yoga, and tomorrow I’ll return to the gym (during which time I’ll shamelessly catch up on Scandal).

I’m also seriously, insanely excited about our impending vacacation to Colorado later this month. I haven’t been home in over 18 months, and I’m craving Colorado time like woah. I can’t wait to see my parents and my brother, hang out with old friends, visit extended family who I haven’t seen since the wedding, hike like a madwoman, eat my weight in gluten-free goodies that haven’t yet made their way out East, breathe mountain air, and celebrate our anniversary with a trip to Elway’s and a hike around the Flatirons.

…Watching:

Our DVR has gotten surprisingly sparse lately, which is really saying something considering how many shows we have set to record. We’re all caught up on North America — as a tangent, I’d like to note that a show prominently showcasing the West is slightly problematic for someone like me, who happens to be desperately homesick for that part of the country — and are now on a rampage through the original seasons of Arrested Development. Second tangent: that show is amazeballs. I know I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating.

So, that’s a wrap! I hope y’all have an awesome day — here’s to it being almost Friday (why, oh why, must every weekday basically just be a countdown to the weekend?)!

What are you up to lately?

What are you looking forward to the most?

What are you listening to/watching while at the gym?

Here Comes the Sun

Good morning, y’all!

Yesterday’s storms wound up being a total bust, which was good in terms of not getting snatched up by a sneaky Hamburgler-like tornado (see yesterday’s post to understand what I’m referencing with that — it’s weird, I know!), but still kind of disappointing, because I was hoping to see some hardcore thunderstorms. Alas, we had 15 minutes of wind and torrential rain, and in my neck of the woods, none of the storms lived up to their hype. I’m pretty sure this should be the official motto for DC weather, especially after this winter’s epic snowstorm that never happened:

 

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Speaking of all things meteorological, though, here’s a random fact: did you know that today is the earliest sunrise of the year? (I had no idea, but I read it today as part of the weather report. Whoda thunk it?)

One of the many reasons why I love the month of June is the fact that there’s just so much sunlight. I’ve always been a sunshine junkie — I don’t lie out and tan, but I love going outside and getting a bit of photosynthesis. (I realize that I’m not a plant, but hey, a girl’s gotta get her Vitamin D. That windowless office of mine is almost certainly going to give me Rickets.)

Anyways, I’d originally planned to do a big ol’ nerdy, quasi-scientific post about The Autoimmune Epidemic by Susan Nakazawa, but things have been really hectic this week — which means I didn’t have time to sit down and write what will be a more time-intensive post.

With that in mind, instead I’m going to do one in a similar vein as yesterday’s post. It’s random, it has virtually no substance whatsoever, and…that seems about right for a Friday. 🙂 (Does anybody else feel like their brain is fried?)  So without further ado, here’s a series of random reasons why I looooooooove the sunshine:

 

  • One of the many things I love about this time of year is the fact that it’s light out when I wake up. The fact that it’s not pitch black out when my alarm goes off makes it approximately eleventy thousand times easier to crawl out of bed. In the depths of winter, it looks like this:

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But during the summer, when it’s getting light out before six, it looks more like this:

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  • When it’s sunny out, it automatically puts me in a substantially better mood than when it’s all gloomy and gray. When it’s rainy and gray, I’m all:

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But when it’s sunny and warm out, I’m all:

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  • Growing up in Colorado means that I was raised on a steady diet of sunshine; Colorado gets over 300 days of sunlight per year, and we never went more than a day or two without sun. The East Coast, by contrast, gets — and this is a hard, scientific number, backed up by loads of empirical data — at least 80 million fewer days of sunshine per year than they do out West. Living here has made me become really hardcore about going outside on the days when it is nice out. I could be sick, incapacitated, or generally on the brink of death, but as soon as the sun appears, I’m ready to run outside.

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Brandon and I have talked about how much we miss the West and how much we’d like to someday move back there. If we ever do, I can guarantee that this is what I’ll do almost every day:

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With all that in mind, I want to know:

What type of weather do you like most?
(I may be a sunshine junkie, but lots of people love rain!)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Gettin’ My Goal-Setting On: Goals for June, the Summer, and the Big Picture

Ok, so I know I’ve mentioned this before, but…seriously, how can it possibly be June already?!

I’m flabbergasted, y’all. Bewildered. Thunderstruck. How did this happen? Didn’t Brandon and I move into our new place, like, a month ago? Insert sigh of astonishment here.

Astonishment aside, now that it’s June and summer is finally upon us, I started thinking about the things I’d like to accomplish during this month and beyond.

Making goals can be a tricky business. If they’re huge or unrealistic, it can feel like abject failure if they’re not achieved (especially if you’d have to be Superwoman on steroids to even come close to achieving them). Similarly, sometimes goals can change as we get more information/learn more/have more experiences – and, despite the good intentions of so many motivational speakers out there who carry on about never giving up, pushing harder, and doing more, all those messages can make a change of course feel like a failure.

Personally, I had that particular motif going on for a long time last year: I felt like a total failure for having worked so hard for so long, only to find out that the career I’d always wanted isn’t the right thing for me.

But then I realized: I had a change of heart because I have more information now than I did when I started out down this road, not because I’m a waste of resources who didn’t try hard enough. My old goals were informed by what I knew at the time, and what I learned over the course of the next 10 years led me to a very different conclusion than the one I’d reached when I was 22. This isn’t a personal failing on my part – instead, it’s simply due to the collection of many more data points that hadn’t been available to me before.

In any event, all that is to say that it’s important to remain flexible in goal setting. By staying flexible, we can amend our goals to account for new data – new information, new experiences, and new circumstances that we hadn’t been aware of before.

As for my own shiny new goals (jazz hands!), I broke them out into June goals, summer goals, and long-term goals, simply because putting them into one big list would make me feel overwhelmed like woah. I don’t know about y’all, but for me, overwhelm quickly leads to total paralysis, which means I accomplish a whole lot of nada, which makes me feel even more overwhelmed, which leads to me accomplishing even less. It’s a vicious cycle.

Ergo: lists upon lists, broken out by time frame!

 

June goals:

  • Plant an herb garden on the porch
  • Find some good GF granola recipes that I can reliably use each week (this is part of an effort to save some dolla dolla billz on groceries, because my beloved Udi’s GF granola costs a pretty penny)

 

Summer goals:

  • Form two new habits:
    • Lift 3x per week
    • Planning out and drafting blog posts on the weekend so I can have more time during the week; we do this with our meal plans, so I’d like to do the same with blog posts
  • Make GF everything bagels — I miss everything bagels like mad, but I have yet to see them sold anywhere. So, I’m going to have to take on this task myself!
  • Hike the Manitou Incline when I’m in Colorado on vacation
  • Figure out a cost-effective way to promote the blog (if any of you lovely people have any suggestions/ideas/guidance, I’m all ears!)

 

Long-term goals:

  • Continue saving money – we’ve been working on this, and it’s going well so far. I’d eventually like to open a CD or high-yield savings account too.
  • Write, write, write…with the objective of eventually being able to make it my job:
    • Continually build readership on the blog
    • Eventually get to the point where I have enough readers to warrant sponsorships, ad revenue, etc.
    • Pick up freelance writing jobs
  • Start a family
  • Explore the idea of setting up an Etsy page in order to sell some of the collages I love so much. I don’t think of myself as an artist, because I can’t draw/paint to save my life — but I do love these collages. I don’t think I’d make much (or any) moolah off of this little venture, but it’d be a fun creative outlet.
  • Learn how to do my own graphic design in Photoshop

 

What are your goals – for this month, the summer, and the big picture?

Which ones excite you the most/make you the happiest?

Do you break your goals out into short-, mid-, and long-term lists?

Currently Survey

Good morning, everyone!

Yesterday I saw a post by Tina over at Carrots n’ Cake called the Currently Survey, and I thought it looked like fun — which, considering that most of us are headed back to work after the long weekend, seemed like something we’d all need.

Feel free to play along in the comments, or to do your own post on this — I love hearing about the little things going on in your lives!

 

Current Book: Ok, so I’ve always wanted to be one of those super-disciplined people who only reads one book at a time. I’ve tried to do it (and when I do, I always feel all accomplished and like I might actually have my ducks in a row), but then I get all excited about 10 different books all at the same time and I just. Can’t. Help. Myself.

At some point last year, I finally reached the conclusion that I needed to stop fighting my exuberant love of reading; I mean, it’s a leisure activity, so I don’t need to approach it in the same way that I approach actual tasks. For me, a good book is not something to be crossed off a “to do” list.

Since then, I’ve almost always had more than one book going at one time. Right now, I’m working my way through three awesome tomes:  I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t): Making The Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough,” by  Brene Brown, The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, and Keeping Hope Alive by Hawa Abdi.

 

Let’s just pretend that the bajillion books on my nightstand are similarly organized and pretty-looking, m’kay?

Current Music: I also have reeeeaaaallly eclectic taste in music – so, my current tunage involves both Florence + The Machine and country music. I’m slightly worried that iTunes might think I’m a schizophrenic.

Current Food: At the moment? Toast and coffee. However, last night when I started writing this, I’d just stuffed my face with kabobs since our dinner consisted of chicken shwarma kabobs with brown rice pilaf and grilled Halloumi cheese. I fell in love with Halloumi when I was in Israel, and I’ve made a convert out of Brandon too. That stuff is the bomb diggity.

 

Image source: paintedpeach.blogspot.com

 

Current Favorite Show:  In my perpetual search for gym entertainment, I just got hooked on Scandal – and wow. I thought it was going to be campy, but holy crap y’all: it’s really effin’ good. Also, I find that I keep pining after Olivia Pope’s collection of gorgeous trench coats. (Is that weird? Yes? Oh well.) I’m also waiting with baited breath for True Blood to return; Brandon and I got hooked on that show three years ago, and we loooooove it.

 

 

Current Wishlist: Bluetooth headphones, the aforementioned Olivia Pope-inspired collection of outerwear, a new mattress that doesn’t make my back hurt, a new desk, and probably a gazillion other things that I’m just not thinking of right now.

Current Indulgence: Massages and pedicures. I tend to carry all my tension in my shoulders, so my monthly massages are a Godsend for my angry muscles. As for pedicures, I feel unkempt and just generally gross if my feet aren’t well tended to. It’s weird, I know, but my feetses need love!

Current Guilty Pleasure: A few weeks ago I read an article in which the author made an awesomely compelling case against guilty pleasures. (Of course, now I can’t find the article – damn you, Interwebz!) Basically, the idea that we should feel guilty about things that are enjoyable – be it chocolate, anything Kardashian-related, or sleeping late – is a load of crap.

So what if our musical/entertainment/literary tastes aren’t high-brow and uber-intellectual? (Case in point: I know Twilight is the thing that everyone loves to hate, but I read the books in less than one week. They were like literary crack to me.) So what if we looooove carbs and feel ambivalent about kale? We should feel guilty about things that hurt people, not about things that make us happy.

So, with that, my current so-called guilty pleasures about which I have no guilt include Us Weekly, three kinds of fro yo in the freezer, and Britney on my iPod. And, for added measure, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not mildly preoccupied with Prince William and Kate Middleton. I totally had a teenage crush on Wills, and the fact that a handful of friends found parallels between our engagement story and theirs was seriously amusing. Add that to the fact that our wedding was exactly three months after theirs, and I found myself relating to them from afar. I was wigged out like woah about having everyone stare at me while walking down the aisle at our wedding, and I kept reminding myself that if Kate Middleton could make it down the aisle of Westminster Abbey without freaking out, then I could make it down the aisle of our favorite church. There are worse things to be fascinated by than the next generation of British royalty, right?

 

 

Current Outfit: Pajamas. Boom.

Current Excitement: Hmmmm. Among the small things? Our dinner menu for the week (the aforementioned kabobs, chicken marsala, breaded Italian chicken, and Thai beef stir fry with GF peanut sauce), and the fact that it’s a 4-day workweek. The big things? Our summer vacay plans, which include a trip to my beloved Colorado. I haven’t been home in about 18 months, and I can’t freaking wait to set foot in the Motherland.

 

Image source: fivetdsisters.blogspot.com

 

Anyways, with all that being said, I’d love to hear about your current goings-on — and in the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome day!

What’s your…

Current book?

Current fave TV show?

Current food?

Current wish list?

Current indulgence?

TGIF: A Veritable Hootenanny of Random Awesomeness

Happy Friday, y’all! (And, um, did you like the use of “hootenanny” in the title? I wanted to use something more entertaining than “compilation,” and that’s what popped into my head. I’m nothing if not weird, folks.)

I apologize for being late with this morning’s post — I’m taking a sick day due to, ahem, some rather hardcore lady-troubles. (Sorry for the TMI.) I decided that instead of trying to force myself to be productive at work (and probably doing a really sorry job of it), it’d be better to ride out the pain by lying on the couch and communing with my heat pack and a bottle of Tylenol. Sooooooo, here I am.

But anyways, on to happier topics! Yesterday at work I started an email chain wherein we all wrote in haiku format, which might have been the best work-related email thread ever. (It also goes down in the Annals of My Greatest Accomplishments, which include such acts as quoting Team America: World Police in an international law paper that I wrote in grad school.) With that in mind, here’s a haiku summing up how I feel about the upcoming 3-day weekend:

Thank God it’s Friday
Times ten for the long weekend
I need this like woah

Obviously, I have a lucrative career as a farcical haiku author ahead of me.

Seriously, though, I’m desperately in need of a 3-day weekend. I reeeeeaaaallly hope that the aforementioned lady-troubles abate so that I can, y’know, actually enjoy the holiday.

In the meantime, though, and in the spirit of celebrating the long weekend, here’s a random compilation of awesome things that happened this week:

1) On Tuesday afternoon I went for an awesome run around the National Mall with the help of my beloved and trusty Charity Miles app. I donated my miles to Every Mother Counts, and listened to Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out on repeat while I ran. There’s something strangely spiritual about these runs on the Mall — the trees and the monuments all make it feel like sacred space to me. While running by the World War II Memorial, I decided to get a picture of the portion memorializing my beloved home state. Not that I’m counting down or anything, but in two months I’ll be here:

 

WWII Memorial Colorado

 

2) While walking home from the bus stop the other day, I suddenly got a whiff of honeysuckle and immediately felt giddy. I love this stuff — it smells so effing good — and the first time I encountered honeysuckle as a child is one of my more vivid childhood memories. My dad and I were coming home after a bike ride (and by “bike ride,” I mean that I sat strapped into a seat in the back while he did all the hard work) when we passed a bunch of honeysuckle.  I asked what smelled so good, and he stopped the bike so I could basically bury my face in it. To say the least, I get really happy when I encounter this stuff, and I haven’t seen much of in the concrete jungle of the DC Metro area. So, as you can imagine, this was an awesome surprise!

 

Honeysuckle

 

3) After all the Crock Pot flops, we had a serious winner of a meal last night: chicken saltimbocca. This stuff is divine, y’all. Chicken breasts wrapped in Prosciutto and sage leaves, then sauteed in lemon juice and olive oil? Freakin’ awesome. The dish lived up to all my hopes, and I was seriously happy about it. I know the picture doesn’t look too appetizing (gravy/sauce has a way of doing that), but I promise: it was gooooo-oood.

 

DSC00935

Anyways, I hope everyone has a fabulous long weekend!

Do you have any big plans for the holiday?

What’s your favorite place to go running?

Do you have any happy childhood memories that pop up whenever you see/smell something?