Saturday, June 16, 2012

Home is where the __________ is.

Home. That one word evokes so much emotion. And we've all heard the different sayings:

"Home is where the heart is"
"Home is where you are"
"Home is where your mother is"
"Home is where I am when I'm with you"

And the list goes on...

This week my husband and I are on our annual summer vacation back in my hometown. I come from the Jersey Shore....the real one. Not the one with all of the fist pumping, hair gel and gold chains (we do have those here but the locals aren't the culprits). The one with the beautiful views, boats, water, beaches, fishing and so many friends and family that I've been missing so much lately. We missed last summer's trip home because we used up all of our time off for the wedding and our honeymoon in Jamaica. It had been so long since I've been up here that the ache for "home" was so deep in my soul I could barely stand it.

Years ago I left home for college and then went to grad school and then before I knew it I had started my career nearly 500 miles away in North Carolina. Some people run away from home the first chance they get. They vow that they're "getting out" and will never look back. I wasn't ever running away from anything. I was just pursuing my own thing and learning more and more about myself in new environments with new people and new jobs and interests. One thing after another and now I'm married and loving my life in Raleigh. It wasn't until pretty recently that I really started longing for my "home" and wondering what it would be like if my husband and I were living somewhere reasonably close to here.

But this begs the question...what am I really missing? Is it the nostalgia of being here that evokes my deep feelings? The thought and sight of all of the places I spent so much time in my younger years? The mornings before work spent sipping coffee on the beach, the winter evenings sitting at the inlet just watching the tide roll in and out, the smells, the sounds and all of the relationships that are unique to here? Or is it the feeling of missing out on so much of the people who were always such a significant part of my life? I don't know that I'll ever be able to answer that question from Raleigh.

The last couple of weeks I've been thinking hard about the idea of home. Is it possible to be completely at home in two distinctly different places? To have half of your heart in one place and half in the other? To long for one place so much it hurts but to so deeply feel that you can't leave the other place because you love it there too? How do you manage when that's the reality of your life? I'm sitting here on my last day at "home" and I'm so happy for the time we've had to spend here but I'm really sad to leave. However I'm excited to go "home" to see my dogs and be back in my routine and get together with friends and just be in Raleigh. I'm lucky, you know? I have two places so close to my heart that I get to experience on a regular basis. I have close relationships and fun memories in both homes and for that, I am fortunate.

So for now I will be a girl with two homes and two hearts each filled with love for those places. It's been an amazing week and I eagerly look forward to my next trip. Now to head off and get ready to go home...

Until next time.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

90 Pledge

I never said I was good at keeping up with this blogging stuff. It's true, I want to be good at it. I want to have a blog that people look forward to reading and that I look forward to writing. I want to inspire others, make people laugh (and hopefully not cry...), provide a vehicle for my far-away family and friends to keep up with life, and create a way for me to document my existence so we can someday look back and smile at all of the cool, and sometimes seemingly insignificant, things we've done.

I love to write. Sometimes when I've composed something I'm proud of, even if it's a boring work document, I'll go back and read it half a dozen times. I enjoy putting words together and letting my personality show through my writing. I hate the lack of time that I have, or think I have, to commit to writing. It's my dream to create my own little freelance writing gig where I do business and technical writing for all sorts of different clients. I also really stink at making time to work on making that dream a reality.

For those of you who have been around lately, you know that I am going through several health issues these days. With these issues, I've had to adjust a lot of things in my life. Daily B12 injections means constantly sore arms and no alcohol, six months of antibiotics means a much more careful diet and numerous side effects that I'll save for another day, Lyme flare-ups mean unpredictability in how I feel from day to day and sometimes, hour to hour. The weight gain that has resulted from much of this over the last 8-9 months is discouraging and depressing to say the least. However, I have committed to start to combat some of this instead of wallowing in my own self-pity.

So I've made a pledge. I will be going through the P90x program in my home for the entire summer. I started on Memorial Day and I will end on Labor Day. I have chosen to do this because I'm ashamed of how badly out of shape I've become and I went from loving the gym to loathing it. Once upon a time I could keep up with the others around me in the weight room but those days are dormant. I can get a good workout in my own home and not feel so awful when I wake up feeling like complete crap because of a certain antibiotic or Lyme reaction. I don't have to worry about other people.

Why am I sharing this? Because as a part of that pledge, I'd like to pledge to blog daily - or almost daily, through the same time frame. If I'm waking up everyday at 5:30am to workout, I can use the time right after my workout to write.

I don't expect that anyone is reading this anymore but hey, if I can make it a habit once again maybe it'll someday be worth reading regularly!!

Until next time...

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Hokie Day of Remembrance

Usually I'm rushing out the door with my hands full of what feels like 10 different bags, a coffee mug, keys, and a bunch of other odds and ends. Typically I have 17 different things on my mind and a to-do list is already running through my head. Today is different. I'm sitting here on my balcony overlooking the city as I enjoy my morning coffee. I have chosen to slow down and enjoy my morning today as I spend a little time reflecting on the last 5 years.

Five years ago today, 32 of my fellow Hokies lost their lives at the place I cherish most. Thirty two beautiful, innocent, young, vibrant, and promising young students and professors were brutally gunned down while they were simply in class engaging in learning. Those 32 students and faculty got up five years ago this morning and they were rushing out the door to class with a hundred things to do and a million different things on their minds. Thinking about finals, graduation, job interviews, grading papers, finishing projects, and the list goes on...they never could have imagined that their lives would tragically end before any of that mattered.

On April 16, 2007 I was living in Harrisonburg, VA and I was completing my final semester in graduate school at James Madison University. I remember sitting at my desk at work when people started talking about a gunman on Virginia Tech's campus and how many lives were thought to have been lost. I picked up the phone to call several of my fellow Hokie alums to hear what was going on. I remember driving back to my apartment with fear for those who I both knew and didn't know back in Blacksburg and dread for the place I once called home. I turned on the TV and with shock I watched the scene unfold before me. National news and law enforcement crawling all over my pristine campus. The buildings I spent four years in were all over the TV with crime scene tape. Poor, innocent, and wounded students were being pulled from classrooms and stories of fear, desperation and heroism were being recounted for the National audience. I remember the tears rolling down my face as I couldn't believe that such evil and horror could overtake the place that I hold so dear to my heart. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that so many people lost their lives in a place that is supposed to be safe and nurturing and hold so much promise for the future. I just stood there and cried. And cried. And cried. I remember driving from Harrisonburg to Charlotte for a job interview and as I passed by Blacksburg the tears were clouding my vision. I stopped on campus on April 18th and I sat on the top of War Memorial and gazed out onto the Drillfield. Amid all of the chaos, saddness, and tears,I felt at home and at peace. Virginia Tech can never lose it's magic and now we have 32 angels to look over our incredible Hokie Nation and the place we all hold so dear.

I feared that the world would now only think of tragedy when they thought of Virginia Tech but fortunately, my fears have not come true. For me, April 16th is a reminder to slow down and reflect. It's a time to think about the life I've been fortunate enough to live and appreciate all that I have. It's not a day to be rushed through but a day to be thankful and proud. It's a day to think of and pray for all of the families that lost their children, friends, and parents and hope that they have seen the light through all of the darkness.

To all of my Hokies out there, I love you all today and always and I'm proud to call you my family.

Never forget...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a dog-eat-dog world

These last few weeks of city living have been fun. Different, yes, but still really fun. The first question people ask when they find out we moved into a city condo is about the dogs. I mean, we do live on the 6th floor so that requires two trips on an elevator and a jaunt at least around the block everytime one of them has to pee. Thankfully, our dogs are fantastic and we've got them on a schedule so they're not having to go out every 10 minutes. I've been rather enjoying my longer walks through the city with the boys and now that Jackson has adjusted to the lesser amount of grass and the higher level of noise, I have been able to relax a bit and not be so stressed out. On another note, it didn't take a whole lot of effort to get used to being able to just step outside and walk anywhere we want. Nothing in the house to cook? No problem! There are at least 20 great restaurants within a 5 minute walk of here. Want to grab a drink? Easy peasy...we've got margaritas, craft beers, and southern specialties all within three blocks. Headed out to the movies? The IMAX theater is 5 blocks away. Museums, bars, restaurants, parks, farmers's all right here. In fact, we barely even take our cars out on the weekend. If it weren't for the weekly Harris Teeter trip, we'd be burning absolutely no gas from when I pull in from work on Friday evening to when I leave on Monday morning.

The bigger adjustment has been the fact that city people don't like dogs. Seriously. Not at all. I mean, I might be biased but I think that Jackson and Vince are pretty stinkin cute but it seems that the people we pass on almost every walk don't agree. It's not even that they just walk by and ignore Vince's ewok ears and butt wiggle but they actually scowl and physically move further away from them. When I see a dog walking by I about crawl out of my skin to get my hands on it so I guess I just don't understand. Now, I realize that not everyone is like me but how could anyone scowl at these two?

So I may be making it my personal mission to use Vince and Jackson as the catalyst to change the minds of all of the dog-hating city people in Raleigh. I'll let you know how that goes!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reunitied and it feels so good......I hope.

As my dear friend over at The Adventures of a Holmesinelli proclaimed recently, me and blogging have not been the best of friends lately. In fact, we took a break. We're testing the waters again so here I am, tentatively re-opening the door of our relationship.

What's happened since you last heard from me? Well, my husband was laid off AND started a new job, we've rented and moved into a new condo in downtown Raleigh, I've started running again, and I've just been working working working as usual.

In addition to the above fun and exciting things that have been going on, I've been dealing with a few health issues that I have done a good job of not addressing...until today. Today I'm heading to the doctor with the anticipation of a long run of antibiotics being perscribed. Why? Because I'm 95% sure I'm in the midst of a Lyme Disease flare-up that I've managed to ignore for awhile now. It was easy to ignore the crazy knee pain that I've had since September and the inability to sleep. The constant weight gain and difficulty with weight loss is easy to blame on the lack of exercise that resulted from the weird knee thing. The confusion and bad memory are just from stress both at work and at home and they're sure to clear up soon. The persistent lightheadedness for the last 6 weeks must be from allergies and sinus issues and finally, that strange pain on the back of my head and behind my right eye must just be something that I'm fighting. The bone-crushing exhaustion that I've been feeling for the last week, combined with several of the above symptoms, has finally put me over the edge. It's not okay to be in tears on my way home from dinner with my husband because all I want to do is crawl in a little ball and not move. So I made the leap and called the doctor and now I'm watching the clock tick down to my appointment time.

It's difficult to explain why I don't want to go to the doctor. My antibiotic protocol that was perscribed when I was first diagnosed with Lyme and then a couple of times since then, is no shorter than 3 months. If you've never been on a long string of aggressive antibiotics it's nearly impossible for you to imagine how it effects your body. This time around I am more educated on some holistic natural approaches (thanks to an amazing Integrated Medicine doctor here in Raleigh) to managing these effects so I intend on dipping into that knowledge and strategy if it comes to that. I'm crossing my fingers that there's some other much more easily treatable something going on with me and that I'll be reporting later on that all is well with my world.

So anyhow, our new fun urban lifestyle has brought with it a lack of me spending time in the kitchen and us spending more time checking out all of the local spots around us. While this is fun, it is not exactly easy on the wallet or the waistline or the healing process. As is the story of my life, I need to find a good balance that works for both me and my healthy living efforts and my husband and his pursuit of downtown adventures. When we figure it out I'll let you know!

Until next time..

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ten Commandments

As I was Pinteresting (that's a word, right?) I came across the following Ten Commandments of Weight Loss:

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, supported anyone else trying to lose weight, read a women's health/lifestyle magazine, turned on the TV, stepped into a gym, read the news, or basically ever left their house has probably heard at least a few of these. They're good, they're true, they've been around forever. After awhile commandments like these, the ones everyone knows, don't resonate. We have to take a long hard look at our efforts to see what's working and what's not.

Reading the above list of the 10 Commandments of Weight Loss inspired me to come up with a list of my own. Sometimes we all need a little brutal honesty.... 

Seriously. Dessert every night might taste great but it doesn’t look so great sqeezing out the top of your jeans.
Bodybuilders have cheat days. These are not designed for a "normal" lifestyle. If you exercise moderation, you shouldn't have to dedicate an entire day to "cheating."
Just because coffee is made with water doesn’t mean it should take the place of it. Drink water. Period.
Don’t fool yourself. That bowl of cereal you just ate wasn’t actually 160 calories. It was more like 480 calories.
  Just because you drink it doesn’t mean the calories don’t count. If you eat healthy for all of your calories and then hit the bar for a few drinks, you’ve just blown it.


Baggy jeans don’t always mean you’ve lost weight. Throw those bad boys in the wash and see what happens.
Walking from your car to your destination does not qualify as exercise.
Just keep're doing great!

What are the commandments that work for you?

Until next time...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Workout Woes

Does anyone else out there suffer from workout boredom? You show up at the gym, plug along on a piece of equipment for awhile, lift a dumbbell or two, and then throw in the proverbial towel because you just "aren't feeling it." Maybe it's lack of purpose or direction, maybe it's boredom with the same old routine, maybe you don't see the value in what you've been doing. Maybe it's just time to shake things up.

Now if you think I'm going to give you answers about my favorite way to change my workout or the best way to add variety I am so sorry to disappoint. I too suffer from this same issue and I am furiously trying to find something that I can stick with long enough to see results. I swear, I've been dealing with this very issue for at least 18 months. In May 2010 I competed in a half-ironman triathlon after months of concentrated and very focused training. As soon as I crossed that finish line it was like a light switch went out. I no longer had any interest in my bike, I decided I hated running, and the pool was my biggest enemy. I was excited to get back into the gym and hit the weights but that too became so extremely boring and unmotivating to me.

So here's my solution: 30 day challenges. I'm going to find, or create, a workout routine that I like and commit to sticking with it for 30 days. If at that point I am motivated and see results, I'll extend another 30 days. If not, I'll change to something new! This is not an entirely new concept but it's something that could work for me. So, join me if you wish as I embark on my first 30 day challenge!

Here's the workout:
3 days/week of strength sessions (they are found here)
3 days/week of choice cardio
For cardio I will most likely take cycle class, swim, and participate in a sports conditioning class that I enjoy at the Y.

For today I'm just going to go for a run and get myself excited for new and exciting workouts on the horizon. You can stick with anything for 30 days, right?!

Until next time...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nice Little Saturday

An early morning cycle class, seeing old friends at the Y, time spent cleaning, a leisurely lunch of leftover Chinese, enjoying a freshly cleaned house, a rainy Saturday, no real plans....

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Enjoy your Saturday!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Fitness Pal = My Hero

Holy Moly, it's been awhile. And don't you worry....plenty of folks have managed to call me out on my silence in the blogosphere. My brain has been working but my motivation and drive to actually create and execute full-fledged ideas into read-worthy posts have been lacking. However, I've journaled some moments over the last several weeks and I think I'm back and ready to share.

I don't make New Years Resolutions but I have vowed to take better care of myself in 2012 so that I will hopefully be a more pleasant person to be around, more fulfilled by life, and just generally happier. As you know, this blog is supposed to keep me on track with my 50 pound weight loss goal and so far, I'm not even close. I am, however, enjoy the attention to health and my actions that it has provided to me.

So far in 2012 I've managed to stick with my initial goal of logging my food and activity through My Fitness Pal (referred to as MFP from here on out..) both online and through the app on my iPhone. For those of you who are unfamiliar with MFP, it is a free....that's right, and mobile tool for tracking your calorie consumption and activity level. You basically enter your current weight, weight loss goal, and how much weight you want to lose each week (max of 2lbs/wk) and it tells you how many calories you are allowed. When you track your exercise or daily activity, calories are dumped back into your allotted amount for the day. The food and exercise database is EXTENSIVE and it's been extremely eye-opening for me. It wasn't until I actually had to track everything that I realized how much little stuff that I was consuming throughout the day. It really really adds up. Also, knowing that if I go and workout, I will be "allowed" to eat more really motivates me. I'd like to say I'm motivated by how great a hard workout feels but the truth is, this lady likes to eat.

There are lots of other tools on MFP that I have yet to use and I am sure they are also extremely useful. Go and check it out and let us know what you think!

Until next time...