Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Seeing as how tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd take the opportunity to write about a few things that I am most thankful for.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my family. My mom and my sister are two people I absolutely could not do without. They support me through thick and thin, they give me hugs when I need them, are always there to listen, and tease me constantly (to make sure I don't take myself too seriously, I'M SURE). I love them both very much, and more than anything else in the world, I am thankful for the two of them.
*I considered putting an embarrassing picture of the two of them up here, but thought it might negate all of the nice things I just said...

I am thankful for my wonderful friends who, even though I have been living in a hole for the last few months, never stop calling. I have so many different sets of friends -- volleyball friends from Lincoln and from Texas, running friends (who have become so much more than just people I run with), my two wonderful friends from Hastings, and very dear friends that have stuck with me since high school. Over the last year, these friends have had weddings and babies, lost loved ones and pets, triumphed and failed, and through it all, they have allowed me to remain in their lives and have never failed to be there for me when I needed them most.

I am thankful for the fact that (even though at times I want to deposit the entire contents of my desk into the trash can in one fell swoop) I am able to do something that I love. This has been the hardest semester of my life - unfortunately it's not over quite yet, and extra unfortunately, I'm sure there will be one in my future that tops this. However, every day, I get to get out of bed and pursue my dreams. I feel extremely fortunate, especially in an economic climate where some people have lost their jobs and their homes, to be able to do something that I enjoy so much, AND to have a steady (albiet small) income from doing it.

I am thankful that I have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. I am thankful to have a body (minus the knees) that has allowed me to run two half marathons and the mental toughness to finish them.

I am thankful for my cats that keep me company and keep me warm at night. (That's my Nellie in the picture.)

I am thankful for Aaron because he sees who I really am. He is one of the kindest, most genuine and open people I have ever known. He enjoys doing things that make me happy and appreciates the things that I do for him. I haven't always had this in my life, and I recognize how lucky I am to have it now.

There are so many more things to be thankful for and I couldn't possibly list them all here (I do have a paper to write this weekend, after all!). Tomorrow, as I (try not to) stuff myself with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and lots of pie ... as I sit around the dinner table with my mom, my sister, aunt, uncle, cousins, Aaron, and Aaron's family, I am going to try to remember how thankful I am - how lucky I am to have all of these things to be thankful for ... then I'm going to have another piece of pie...


What are YOU thankful for???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Starting Fresh

Do you know what I love about mornings? What motivates me to get out of bed at 5:15 every Tuesday and Thursday morning? The chance to start over.

Last night, I lay in bed fretting about all that has to be done over the next week and month, worrying that I might not be able to do it all. Here's a brief rundown for you, just in case I drop out of the blog universe for a while:

This week (today and tomorrow):
homework assignment due Saturday morning, Statistics homework due tomorrow, study for GRE, oil change, dinner with friends tonight, go to classes, Dallas for a wedding (Thursday through Sunday)

Next week:
Monday - classes and statistics test
Tuesday - the dreaded GRE (which I hope to goodness I will be prepared for!)
Wednesday - following Wednesday - write 16 page paper, finish 1 grad school application, prepare resume, prepare for upcoming BIG TIME conference, with Thanksgiving thrown in there somewhere

Following week: Thursday - Sunday - American Anthropological Association conference in Philadelphia, where I plan/hope to meet lots of people from the PhD programs I'm applying to

Week(s) after that: Statistics final exam, Human Growth & Development take home final (THANK GOODNESS!), grade 180+ papers (at least they're short!)

Then... Christmas break!!! aka heavy drinking and lots of sleep OR aka time to finish all other PhD applications (probably the second one).

Phew! That's A LOT! So... That explains why I was tossing and turning last night...

This morning, I rolled out of bed, drug myself into yoga class, and once I was seated on the mat, I realized what's so great about mornings -- especially yoga mornings. Luckily, usually, I wake up with very little recollection of what feelings or thoughts I was experiencing the night before. Yoga offers me a chance to jump into a brand new day; a chance to start fresh, with the attitude that I choose. I can erase all of the negativity I felt the night before, or I can embrace any happy thoughts or experiences and build on those. This morning, I chose to ERASE! My challenge for the rest of the week is to start each morning with the mindset that I choose, whether I go to yoga or not, and my intention for the day is: POSITIVITY!

Another great thing about mornings??? Banana nut oatmeal. It's calling my name.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Although the economy seems to be rebounding, apparently Corporate America doesn't think that's going to translate into $$ spent on Christmas this year. Hence, Christmas commercials began on November 1 and Target has had decorations out since before Halloween.

And guess what?!?!?!?! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

In need of a MAJOR pick-me-up (after a very challenging, very sweaty 5:45 yoga class this morning I'm dragging a little), a light clicked on... It's Gingerbread Latte time at Starbucks!!! So, I hightailed it over there and in less than 15 minutes, I was on my way back to my office, warm, yummy drink in hand. As I walked, sipping my coffee (and probably with a comically dreamy, far off look on my face), I recalled why I love this drink so much (that story will come later) and why I'm so PUMPED to celebrate the holidays this year!

I've always loved the holidays, but after one year spent sweating my ass off in a Santa hat, entertaining 2nd and 3rd graders, and just generally missing my family while in Taiwan, and then another holiday season bummed out about the break-up of a 3 year relationship, I'm ready to get in the holiday spirit!!!!!

So, I plan to have many gingerbread lattes (with a few pumpkin spice thrown in for good measure) between now and Christmas, roam the isles of Target looking at ornaments and getting super excited on the inside about all of the twinkly lights long before it's seasonally appropriate, and am even contemplating putting my Christmas music on my iPod, just in case the mood strikes...

Happy Tuesday!
And remind me to write later about my Christmas spent in Taiwan...

Are YOU a closet sucker, too?????

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Number ...

Do you know my LEAST favorite part of going to the doctor's office? That part where you have to step on the scale and see how much you REALLY weigh.

Contrary to the kind words, "no you're NOT!"s and "pshhh"s I have been getting from family and friends when I say I think I'm gaining weight, I have felt for a while now that I am. I've noticed that I have less energy, my pants fit a little tighter, I don't look in the mirror quite as often, etc. etc. My venture onto the scale at this morning's doctor's appointment (just a check up -- nothing's wrong) confirmed it. Those 3 little numbers were arranged into one big one that I did NOT like.

Momentarily, I considered rationalizing that number away ("Well... I just ate a big breakfast" "I normally weigh myself first thing in the morning" "These jeans alone weigh like TWO POUNDS!"), but then thought better of it. You might think that I've had plenty of opportunities over the last (almost) year, as the weight has been creeping on, to see I need to put a stop to this. I have, it's just that those opportunities have been met with half-efforts to do something about it. I will say, to my credit, that I have made huge leaps and bounds when it comes to things like conscious eating, awareness of my hunger, and putting the fork down before the entire meal is consumed. I just haven't made the effort to translate those important lessons into weight loss. NO MORE!!! Today, I declare mutiny on the habits that have been leading to this weight gain (or at least keeping it from going away).

I have always been an active person (I played volleyball in college, have always worked out regularly, and you may recall that I just ran a half marathon), and while my activity level has fallen off a bit (grad school will do that to a person), my real problem is what I eat. I eat TOO MUCH! I don't believe in all or nothing, starve yourself, eat only salads, feel guilty for eating dessert diets. I have tried those before. They work for a while, then the weight comes back -- unacceptable this time. I want to get to a real, manageable weight that I can maintain and I want to do that by learning how much food my body REALLY needs -- not just how much I think I should eat for fear of getting hungry later, or how much I want to eat because it tastes good (or because it's comforting). That is the goal.

**I do want to be clear about something: I don't think I'm "fat." I just don't feel very healthy, and I also don't think I look as healthy as I think I could/should. Also, the extra poundage is really hard on my knees when I'm running.

Sooooo.... Without further ado, here's what's going to happen:

  • obsess about this
  • use it as a reason to feel badly about myself
  • start reciting to everyone how many calories are in every food I and they eat
  • stop eating things I like or have any "restricted" or "forbidden" foods
  • be unhealthy about this -- the whole point of this IS health (mental and physical)
  • only eat one sweet thing each day (I eat WAY too many sweets and those add up quick!)
  • be accountable for every food or drink that I consume
  • make exercise more of a priority -- especially strength training because that helps keep injuries away
  • look for little ways to get extra exercise, like taking the stairs up to my 8th floor office
  • choose healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, more often than I don't
  • eat smaller, but reasonable, portions
  • look for little ways to take calories out of my diet, like not buttering my bread, not using as much salad dressing, etc.
  • stop eating when I'm SATISFIED (a lot of times, I stop when I'm FULL, then end up feeling stuffed later)
I think at some point I stopped believing little things could actually make a difference and therefore, stopped trying to do the little things. Now, I choose to believe that they will make a BIG difference and will practice them at every opportunity!

Question: Is there something that you have struggled with in your life and are either trying to change or have successfully changed? How did you do it???