end of summer thoughts

So in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus. I meant to get on here and explain why and then just didn’t have time. When I started blogging again a few months ago, part of the reason was to dedicate myself to some “just me” time and allow myself to focus on me and not work or other things. I had let my life get to a point where there was never any time for me and I wanted to change that.

And then, well, this summer has completely changed my life. In the last couple of months I’ve gone from work, work, work to still doing a lot of work, but a lot of taking care of me and myself as well. So many things, ideas, plans, and goals have changed in my life just since spring. A lot of the change has been positive and involved be taking care of myself physically – which in itself is time consuming. With the arrival of my son here this summer and our goal of running the 5K together, along came many hours of training with him on top of my own running schedule. I also added in a personal trainer, which involved more hours of my time. Then I decided that I was going to start making better, solid, healthy decisions for my health and family and well, there goes almost every hour of my day.

Now the summer is almost over. My son goes home this coming weekend – one week from today. It’s my least favorite weekend of the year and every year on the drive back from Nebraska, I cry. I’m an excellent “drive-through-the-tears” driver. You would think that after 11 years I would get used to it, but I don’t – it never gets easier. And in only a couple of weeks, the semester starts again and my mad crazy of awesome begins at work again. My goal through all of this is to not stop taking care of me. I’m thrilled with how I feel and the results that I can see from training and living healthier and I have no intention on stopping – but it will be a struggle. I’m kinda notorious for working 60+ hour work weeks during the school year and my challenge will be to find a way to balance that with my fitness regime I’ve got going on. I have faith in myself though and I also have one hell of a support system at home (seriously – I have no idea why this man I live with puts up with me and my “hey, guess what I want to do now?” ideas lol).

This is me saying then that I won’t be here as often. Definitely not every day but I will keep in touch with updates and struggles as always. And photos – I so love doing photography that I want to continue doing photo posts. That’s all for now – talk to you all soon. πŸ™‚

thinking about change

I’ve been thinking almost all day about change – how life has a tendency to throw changes at you along the way. I think sometimes we get zoned out in our life – like we’ve been traveling on the interstate for hours across the midwest, not really thinking about where we’re going – just knowing that we’re going somewhere, that we have a destination. And then, you drive over the hill and bam! there’s construction, a detour, or the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen – and you wonder to yourself, “how did I not see this coming?” or “were there signs along the way that I missed?” or some other questions that you make you think that maybe, just maybe, you’ve been zoned out for too long. It’s time to start taking a look around and thinking about where you are, what kind of trip you’re currently on, and where it is that you’re going.

That’s where I’ve been today. Lost somewhere so deep in reflection that I seem to have missed most the day. But I think it’s important to take time to stop and look at where you are and really, really paying attention to the changes that are upon you and deciding if you’re up for the challenge. Or if it’s time to pull over and just enjoy the view of the road ahead of you.Β  πŸ™‚

out in the country – and fire!

Yesterday morning we went to a different park on the other side of town for a change of scenery and because if you run the track/path twice, you’ve mostly ran a 5K. We wanted to see it how long it would take to do it, even if walking some of it. But I’ll write more about that in a different post – today, let me tell you about we did that afternoon. In between showering after running and church, we were invited out to a friend’s house, about 45 minutes away in the country. It’s beautiful out there:

They are moving soon and had an old shed and some other stuff to get rid of and that means burning it. If you don’t live in a rural area, that probably seems a bit crazy to you, but trust me, in the midwest, that’s how we get rid of stuff. And who doesn’t love a bonfire? So my family and I got in the car and away we went. One of the coolest things about being out there is the number of goats – including a brand new baby goat!

So, it’s lots of fun to go out there and pet all the goats – they’re kinda like dogs or pets. But, to get to the bonfire part, here’s what we were burning:

Before the Fire - Old Shed

Before the Fire – Old Shed

After checking the Rural Fire folks (who I believe have to give permission to burn on any given day – well, I think that’s what they do. I really don’t have a clue. I live in town and have no understanding of country rules.) to make sure all was good, the fire was lit. I may be in my mid-30s and all grown up and stuff, but there’s still something about a fire that is strangely cool and beautiful at the same time. I think it’s the colors – I’ve never seen any person be able to create the same vivid color of flame outside of nature. I took some pictures of it – sadly, I’m only a pretend amateur photographer so these photos do not do it justice.

It was pretty beautiful (in that weird, fire-kind-of-way) and all went well until the wind kicked up and we had some complications – but we got those handled and everything was all good. It was definitely not a normal Sunday afternoon/evening for my family and I’m quite happy I brought my camera to take photos of the good times – in fact, here are some more random photos from the earlier afternoon.

Oh, I should mention that Sunday afternoons = no makeup or doing hair. So no judging me on my Sunday beauty. Or the fact that I’m holding a newborn goat and a beer. LOL.

That’s all for now – will write more about running adventures tomorrow – when The Cutest Boy starts his training for the 5K!!!

running lucky

 

Some days I feel pretty darn lucky to be able to get out of the house and run. Yes, I said it, it’s official: Β I’m running again. I suppose that’s not a complete secret to most since I’ve mentioned it a few times lately, but I have been doing my best to NOT talk about it nonstop. Part of the reason is that I’m a little afraid I’ll jinx it – like, if I start talking about running – or worse: call myself a runner (gasp!) – then I will get injured or hurt. But I’ve been going about it differently this time around – started out really slowly rather than my normal “hey! let’s run 2 miles for our first day!” style – and it’s been now over a month and some weeks.

I’m to the point now that I’m running in the day. Usually I run at the crack of dawn before the sun comes out but that really hurt me when I ran that race last year – I just was not prepared for the heat and sun. I just registered my son and I for a local 5K for early August and because of that, I’ve been out mid-day or early evening more often now. Of course, this summer in Kansas has yet to be brutal so it has been all good so far. We’ll see how I feel when the heat really gets going.

But I digress. Back to why I feel lucky to be running. The other day I took the photos above while out on Linear Trail running. I had my phone with me because 1) my iPod shuffle was dead, 2) I was too amped up to run without music (more on that later), and 3) I was running alone on Linear Trail in the near evening and I bring it along in case I’m raped/mugged/killed along the way. As I was beginning to run, the amazing beauty of the area just hit me and I’m quite thankful that I am able to be out there soaking in the nature and feeling good. And feeling mostly safe – I mean, I’ve never been attacked on Linear Trail but I also have seen way too many Law & Orders to completely trust a wooded nature area alone.

The other reason (besides nature) I feel lucky to be able to just leave and go running is due to stress. I think that is what is the major difference this time around. Whereas before (and it started that way this time as well) it was all about making myself leave the house to run, now it is more about me being so amped up, stressed out, crabby, or having a million things on my mind that I feel if I don’t get out the house and go run, there will be serious hell to pay and I will go crazy. I’m super lucky (though maybe self-made lucky) to be a tad addicted to running to cure those antsy pent-up feelings rather than a host of other things I could be (and have done) in the past (read: alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc.).

So that’s it for today – just a little note to say I’m damn happy to be running again and looking forward to see where it takes me. Who knows – maybe it will take me to running an entire half-marathon. πŸ˜‰

and away we go…

Thursday after work I was supposed to be traveling a few hours to meet my mom who was bringing The Cutest Boy halfway to meet me. The plan was that he was going to stay here with me a few days and then Dave and I were going to head up to my mom’s house Sunday and stay there for a couple of days. My ex is coming to get my son on Monday afternoon as they are flying out of Omaha early Tuesday morning to head to Arlington. That WAS the plan. And then it snowed. A lot.

With I-80 being shut down and Nebraska locked under a snow and ice fortress, there was no traveling on Thursday after work. And Friday didn’t work out either. So, instead, Dave and I and The Cleo are headed up to my mom’s bright and early this morning where The Cutest Boy awaits.

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Presents!! And an old sled of mine. And a chair.

As you can see, we’re ready to go! I do so love giving presents. I actually think that’s one of the hardest things about me being under the “no spending” regime – I have spent many, many years using my favorite language of love: giving presents. Now, things are different and I can no longer do that. But this year, we did very well saving and collecting gifts for my family and I get to take this whole pile of presents with me today.

I hope everyone travels safely for the holidays and you get to spend time with family and loved ones and friends. Be back in a few days. πŸ™‚

the random awesome of my life

So yesterday was kind of a frustrating day. This happens sometimes – no one has perfect days at work every day (and if you do, please message me and tell me about it – seriously). But the cool thing is, the bad didn’t overcome me. Well, it almost did, but then three awesome things happened:

1) I had the sheer enjoyment of going shopping with my friend after work. I’m not being sarcastic – it was awesome. You may think that shopping sounds kinda selfish but wait! First let me tell you about what we were shopping for! See, my department at work ROCKS and we’ve been adopting a charity at Christmastime the last two years – this year we adopted the local emergency shelter. We gathered money together and I called the shelter to see what they needed the most right now. That list consisted of cleaning supplies, disinfectant wipes, laundry detergent, printer paper, toilet paper, and paper towels. My amazing colleagues contributed so much that we were able to buy this much stuff (and for scaling purpose, that’s the back of a big ol’ Honda Pilot):

All the supplies for the shelter!

All the supplies for the shelter!

The picture really doesn’t do it justice – it’s 2 boxes of printer paper, like 24 rolls paper towel, 60 rolls of toilet paper, super size glass cleaners, dish soap, all purpose cleaners, scrubbing cleaners, floor cleaner, 8 things of disinfectant wipes, four large boxes of laundry detergent and some kleenex. And I’m probably forgetting something, but you get the idea. I’m so happy to be able to deliver all of these supplies to the shelter today!

2) While we were loading the stuff into the vehicle, two older ladies got out of the car next to us and we were talking about the snow forecast. I stood up from loading things into the car and one of the ladies stopped mid-sentence to say “you are so pretty!” – um, that doesn’t happen to me everyday. Yay, random stranger compliment! πŸ™‚

3) Then, after I was home from work, another friend stopped by and to give me a present – but not just any freaking present – like the best present EVER! I enjoy coloring to relax (check out meditative mandalas – very good stuff) and she brought me new colored pencils, a fancy sharpener, and these two super fantastic coloring books, The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book and this super awesome gem:

Unicorns are Jerks Coloring Book

Okay, so these first of all are like the best coloring books EVER. But, the extra cool part is that I was *just* talking about Unicorns are Jerks on Facebook the other day and this particular friend is not on Facebook – she is however, psychic. Not kidding.

So, that’s it. That’s how my day got 1,000 times better. Β The total random awesome that sometimes in my life. You just can’t make this shit up. πŸ™‚

horrifying tragedy

I have nothing to add today beyond expressing my deep sympathy about the horrifying tragedy today, confusion about why the media thinks it is okay to interview very small children right after they’ve lived through said tragedy, and agreement with our President when he stated todayΒ “We’re going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics”.Β Grief. Deep grief. I pray for the victims, the children and teachers and staff, their families, and everyone who was there or connected to this tragedy.

Tonight, hug your children and your loved ones. Talk to those who live far away. And love and care for each other.

Update: I find this helpful – advice from Mr. Rogers about talking to children about tragedy and disaster:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.