Friday, December 16, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Sitting in front of the fire, contented beyond anything I've ever known, I face my third Christmas with Mark and family.

Christmas isn't a very big deal to me. As a matter of fact, I see it as more of a burden -- stimulating someone else's economy at the expense of my own. While I could forego it all together, I feel a reasonable responsibility to offer my kids at least a small taste of normalcy in their otherwise occasionally odd and always on a shoestring lives.

And as it happens, this holiday season is as comfortable as any I've ever known. No longer subsisting on student loans, I have my diploma, a job, and was even recently promoted to a permanent director position at the Y. I'm not stopping here by any means, but for a girl just six months out of school I'm feeling a mite proud of myself.

So I managed a few more gifties for the kids this year -- fewer of them from a thrift store than in years past. I didn't go overboard by any means, and under the tree are the usual socks, pants, toothbrushes and lip balm, but the extras that I haven't been able to offer make me feel pretty darn good about the path I'm travelling.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Biennial Review

Waaay back in the days of working at the thrift shop during the time I was contemplating the demise of my marriage, I recall a conversation with Concert Katrina in which she asked what I desired in a future mate.
"He needs to have a job," I said.
"What else?"
"That's it. A steady job. That's my only requirement."
"You have to want more than that. You need to figure it out and write it down so that you don't settle for less than you deserve," she insisted.
Well, it took me a couple of major romantic flops before I scribbled down a few requests. [Exactly] two years ago, I spent a pensive day composing a post that outlined what I expected from my next relationship. I had just exited a dangerous liaison and wanted to have some words that I could glance at to remind me of what I demanded in my next love. Admittedly, I had a certain fella in mind when I wrote these words, but as I told him after he read the blog post that I had also "kept my thoughts open to another unknown special someone." If I learned only one thing through all those years of love and heartbreak, it was that I had to keep my options (and my heart) available to all possibilities.

Luckily, it was only a few days later that Mark and I decided to give it a go and haven't looked back. As I glance through this letter, I see that what I've got is just what I wanted out of what I definitively declare to be a great love.

And just so I can make this post look longer and save you from digging two years back...here it is.

An Open Letter to my Next Great Love
11/11/09

Dear Mr. Right,

I'm sure you have been wondering when I would come along. You've been living a good life for some time now. You are a wonderful person with tremendous love for your family and friends. You are complete on your own, but feel a tug toward a giving, loving relationship. And here I am. A like-minded spirit who longs for the same partnership. We are not the same, but we are not a case of "opposites attract" either. Our full lives leave just enough room for each other.

A little about me...I am not perfect, but I'm damn good. I am loving. I am smart. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am funny. If you do not believe these to be true, then this letter is not addressed to you. By societal standards, I might not meet any of these metrics, but for you, I give more love than you knew possible. To you, I am impressively intelligent. Because of you, I can move mountains. In your eyes, there is no greater beauty. With you, I laugh like no other.

And you are the most handsome, charming, witty delightful fellow I'll ever know. The mere thought of you brings a smile to my face. Your presence brings me comfort when I feel the world collapsing on me. You are my rock. If you don't believe these things about yourself then this note is not intended for you.

I have no desire to change you and you must not wish to change me. I will not surrender my sense of self. I will not give away those things that make me Me. Yet I am not stagnant. I will continue to grow in the way my heart directs. You will continue to grow in the way your heart directs. And if this essay was written to you, our hearts will move forward together.

I have much to offer, and am open to receive as well. Despite the fullness of my life, there is a void that only you will fill. And we might not recognize our love immediately. This could very well take time. We will learn each other, ourselves and us. Only then will we know that this message was meant for you. Parts of our lives will mesh seamlessly, others not so easily. But obstacles will pale in the light of our love. I have quirks and flaws. So do you. These will sometimes grate nerves, but more often than not, they will be overlooked or even embraced. We each love the other's whole self.

Our lives will be filled with more laughter than tears, more joy than pain, more love than doubt. And lots of music and dancing and kisses and hugs.

Because we are meant to be, when you are ready, I will be too. I will not be impatient while you find your way to me. I have much to do, continuing to grow and learn and teach and be. For now, I will live my life, and you, yours. Sometime, somewhere, our paths will cross. When they do, it will be an extraordinary union, for we are both extraordinary people and together we will build an extraordinary life.

Thank you for your time, my truest love. I look forward to the day we meet.

Sincerely,
Your next great love


Monday, October 24, 2011

California Dreamin'

Usually when Mark alerts me of an upcoming business trip, he's requesting my services as a dog sitter, so when he told me about an upcoming conference in San Francisco...and then offered to fly me out to join him for the weekend, I was immediately concerned for the dog's well being.

Or maybe not.

I had a few weeks to revel in the excitement of our upcoming getaway (and wrangle a kid weekend swap -- thanks, Mr. X). And as the big day grew near, I got my work-ducks in their work-rows, packed my purple boots and was on my way.

I hopped my flight, didn't miss any connections and even chose the correct train and ended up in the right part of the City by the Bay. Google maps told me to take a trolley up to the hotel, but the waiting line was prohibitively long and my amazing pocket computer's map said I was only 0.8 miles from my destination, so I hoofed it. Up a hill. I'm serious. This was a hill. No, really. A hill.

When I got to the top of Nob Hill, I took a moment to stop panting before entering the posh Fairmont Hotel. Mark was wrapping up his last session of the day so I headed back out (sans suitcase) and strolled through the neighborhood for a bit before I joined him for a cocktail reception. Our weekend had begun!

That evening we set out for dinner in a cab, but opted to return via cable car. I nestled into Mark as we climbed the hill in the evening breeze and savored one of those romantic movie moments that a young girl dreams about. A gorgeous night in an amazing city clutched in the arms of my true love...swoon.

The next morning after a cappuccino, we managed a 12-mile run through the city and along the bay coast. It was quite a treat to be enjoying new scenery, sounds and, well, smells. We made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge, turned around and eventually headed through more of the city so we could finish at the amazing Blue Bottle coffee shop for a much needed caffeine boost. Again intending to take the cable cars up to the hotel, we found a massive line, so opted to walk, weary legs and all. Then Mark had a brilliant plan: We should run the hill. Always up for a challenge, I gave chase and we trudged up Mason Street, much to the amusement of those making their way down.

As we cleaned up, Mark asked if there was anything I'd like to do while in the city. My response? Go to a thrift store. Mark suggested we consider seeing the massive redwoods. (I suppose a thrift store can wait.) We soon took off for Muir Woods to stand among trees that have seen a millennium and then some. Our legs fussed a bit, but the forest was awe inspiring.

We snuck in a nap once back at the hotel but had to make it a short one -- we had dinner plans. One of Mark's high school classmates lives in Oakland and promised to make us dinner. We arrived to a breathtaking view from their living room and fantastic company. Kathy and Tyrone proved amazing hosts and we enjoyed ourselves until way-too-late into the night.









The next day was a short one with little more on my agenda than coffee and to take Mark out for a thank-you lunch. At the same time, I was going to be a little selfish, wanting to be sure I could eat more than two menu items (Friday night's restaurant was surprisingly unable to comprehend my food sensitivity). Through the magic of Google, I found a completely gluten-free restaurant. When we arrived, it took all of my strength not to ask if each item was really GF. The menu was inexpensive, so we ordered one of almost everything, trying the various  fillings, toppings and breads inspired by Venezuelan cuisine. I was beside myself, eating without worry of being glutened. We ended up walking the two miles back to the hotel, which was a pretty good idea after eating half an acre of  corn[meal]. We also had several hours on an airplane ahead of us and our legs didn't fuss too much knowing we'd soon be sedentary.

We headed toward home with thoughts of a busy workweek on the horizon, but enjoyed a few more moments of relaxing together before we called it a weekend. I caught a vision of what it might feel like to lead a grown-up life -- one with getaways and vacations and adventures. I think after all these years of avoiding it, I'm ready to take the plunge into adulthood. Despite its challenges, it appears to have some decent perks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Much Obliged

I've had a few moments lately of immense appreciation for my current financial position. While my job might end in February (it's a pilot, after all) and my wages are reflective of my employer's not-for-profit status, I feel a sense of security that I haven't known in years...or ever really.

A few days ago as I was nearing the Y, I passed a garbage truck and the men who work so hard to dispose of our filth and waste. I looked at myself, dressed to sit in an office and interact with fellow professionals and clients, and I was flooded with gratitude for my education. I'm pretty sure the sanitary engineers are earning more per hour than I am right now, but my future is bright (and less odorous). I will be able to work many more years, multiply my skill set and increase my income. I'm so grateful to have a degree.

And just last night when the two young ones expressed a need for school supplies and Halloween accessories, I was able to readily agree. It wasn't until I'd been wandering around WalMart for far too long that I realized how not stressed I felt. And there was that flood of gratitude again. Just a few months ago (and for most of my tenure as a parent), additional expenses, especially of the surprise variety, could put me over the edge. I can't count the times in the last two years I've had to deny my kids a $10-something because the household budget was so tight. It's not like I'm throwing cash around now, but to be able to buy the boy a hat for his field trip was enormously satisfying.

So while it's more or less a joke that I always offer the same pat response when a co-worker asks how I'm doing, it's true. Livin' the dream, folks. I'm livin' the dream.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bleh...

I've decided that my ability to blog is lost. I've recently started several posts that are completely factual and inherently un-witty. This isn't good. I'm pretty sure one of the reasons I snagged my main man was that he could tell who I was from day one, having honestly chronicled my life for all to see in some sort of clever fashion. I'm not sure I have it in me anymore.

I'm thinking that time is so much harder to come by now that I'm employed than it was when I was a student. Don't get me wrong...being in college was soooo much harder than having a job. And while there was a finite amount of energy I could put toward researching and studying and paper writing, I still had time and wit at the end of the day for a post every now and again.

Though not nearly as mentally exhausting as school, employment is ridiculously time consuming. I make it to the end of my days and weeks with little more than dinner and maybe a light clean-up in me. Typing is just too much to ask of my keyboard-weary hands.

Sorry if you had your hopes up that I might actually say something...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are You A Laundry Service?

This was the subject line to a recent email. It took me a second before I remembered that I owned a blog and it's title referred to laundry. Oops.
Hey Jennifer,

I'm reaching out to you because Thumbtack is getting a lot of job leads for laundry services, and I'm looking for another laundry service who is interested in taking on more clients.

After checking out your website I think you are a great fit for Thumbtack and I'd love to start sending you job leadsPlease fill out a few details about your skills and rates, and I'll start forwarding you potential new clients.

If you have any questions about what Thumbtack can provide, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks,
Heather 
Oh, Heather...I promise, you don't want to send me any leads for laundering jobs. I don't sort out my whites and my running gear has perma-funk.

And wouldn't you be better off pursuing someone with a molehill of laundry?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Love Shack

Because it would be flat-out wrong for my life to move forward in a linear, uneventful fashion, on the eve of my Just-Right-Job-Offer, my landlord called to let me know he needed to sell the house. My precious Casa del Mar will be turned over to some other family so they may reap the benefits of its love.

I've felt it since the first day I came to see it. Casa del Mar hugs you when you walk in the door. Every time. It has held my hand through my first lonely nights sans kids. It provided the perfect corner for the Chair of Fabulosity. It's where I have celebrated my independence and created a fantastic home for my children. I love Casa del Mar.

I remember when I was getting ready to leave Los Angeles and I couldn't bear the thought of moving out of the Big Blue House. Princess Pearl was born in its tub, for Pete's sake! How could I turn such a precious home over to someone else?

Well, as monumental as those not-quite two years were, the almost-three I've enjoyed in Casa del Mar have dwarfed them. Moving out, finalizing the divorce, returning to school, buying Viv, chapters of friendship and love with Wasabi, conquering a marathon, earning my degree...the memories I've made here are layers of wallpaper that will soon be covered by someone else's dreams.

And that's okay (or so I keep telling myself).  Casa del Mar has been such a blessing in my life. I will always love it and will wish it well. It's obviously time for it to play a pivotal role for another family. The right person will pass the threshold and feel the love and it will become theirs.

And I guess that's all I ask...that someone loves it as much it it loves them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Plan B


There you go. A toast. A job.

As a matter of fact, after nearly three  months of searching and networking and begging and moaning, I ended up with two job offers. After each of the first interviews, I was fairly certain I'd knocked their socks off. Turns out, I was right.

I was referred to Job A by a friend of a gal who takes my spin class. After the first meeting, I was asked to return the following day to shadow one of the head honchos. That went well, but I then learned HR was going to be vacationing for a week, followed by other interviewees and whatnot. In the interim, I was asked to take an enlightening personality test and finally shadow the other head honcho. The following day, I was offered the job.

Sounds great, right? Except I wanted Job B. Desperately.

I found Job B via indeed.com, but I also had an in at the organization. After reading the job description, I was certain it was my job so I applied online and then shot an email to my contact. I lost sleep that night thinking about that job. At my next opportunity, I made my interest known in person. A week or so later, I was called for the interview. It went well, and just a few hours later, I was invited to a 2nd questioning with one familiar face and a new one from yet another organization. I was pretty sure I aced that too, and knew their decision would be a quick one, but also knew Job A would probably be offered to me at about the same time.

Job A got themselves in a hurry and tried to snag me. I asked for some time to crunch numbers (you  know by now that I can make ends meet on next to nothing, but I needed to buy time) and then I lost sleep all weekend, worrying that Job B might not come through quickly enough...or not at all...or that I would feel like I had to take Job A then quit Job A to take Job B once it was offered. I'm worry-tastic like that.

By Monday morning, I was making myself sick over needing to answer Job A, fully believing I would get Job B, but, well, maybe not fully. So I couldn't just turn down A. I had to string them along. But I also had another job interview on Monday afternoon -- same organization but different position  as Job B. I dragged myself to it, knowing I didn't want anything but Job B. As I entered the building (different location), I saw one of my previous Job B interviewers. What I didn't know was that she saw me and panicked. She didn't want me to interview for Job C. She knew I was going to be offered Job B but some finalizing of offers was still in the works.

After a tour, I was seated to wait for my interview. A few minutes later, she grabbed me, dragged me into a room with a telephone. We were having a conference with yet another Job B interviewer. My smile grew...I was pretty sure I'd driven 25 minutes to accept a job that I could have been offered in the comfort of my home. And that was fine.

So it happened. My first Big Girl Job was offered to me. A job for which a college degree is required. A job that fits me like a [vintage full-length] glove.

I'll be a Healthy Living Coach at my YMCA. The job is a pilot initiative funded by Blue Cross and will target families who have children who are at risk for childhood obesity. I'll be conducting classes and activities, as well as teaching fitness and nutrition to entire families. I get to keep teaching my spin, youth fitness and family yoga classes. I get a desk. I get to wear grown-up clothes and do grown-up things. I get to be part of the solution.

Sigh (of the relief variety).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summery Summary

Have I forgotten about the Mountain? Kinda.

You'd think that nearly three months of extreme underemployment would leave me with time to tell you all of the fun things one can do while not carrying 18 college credit hours or working for a substandard wage 60 hours a week. But, not really. Walking to and from the refrigerator between attempts at networking really wears a gal down.

I have kept my usual insane workout regimen, but that, of course, consumes only the wee hours of the morning so as not to interrupt the eight stressful hours of worrying that I have assigned myself each day. A girl's gotta set goals in order to meet them, right?

Actually, after countless weeks of only whispers of hope for a full time job, I finally feel like a couple of opportunities are ready to fall into my lap. If I don't have a photo of a champagne toast by Tuesday, check my house for a sad puddle of goo wearing a vintage hat.

Really, a jillion other reasonably entertaining things have been going on around these parts. And blogging about them has even crossed my mind once or twice. Today I was rear-ended while sitting at an intersection. Yesterday I donned my workout shorts inside-out at the gym. The kids are working on a duct tape venture that proves the whole creativity-is-borne-of-boredom theory. Outdoor temperatures in Kansas City have been consistently in the range of 135 - 198° F for five months straight. My old boyfriend, Trader Joe, moved to the neighborhood a coupla weeks ago. I celebrated my heart surgery-iversary this month.

So now that we're all caught up, maybe I won't be so shy about coming back here and sharing the super fantastic and fun tales that complete my life. Oh...I almost forgot...I took a personality test for one of my job possibilities and learned that I'm an ENFP. Later when I was interviewed by the doctor who proctors the test, she commented that she jokes with her ENFP friends that their journeys are so important to them, they wouldn't know what to do if they made it to their destinations.

Hey...I resemble that comment.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Forty-One-Derful

This month has been pretty quiet on the old blog-front.  Historically, June has been declared "Birthday Month" and I fuss about reinvention and me-me-me and take the time to draw even more attention to myself than usual. I think it was the 3rd or 4th before I even realized it was time to turn the page on the calendar. My gaze has been so focused on my job hunt and its accompanying stresses that I didn't take time to reflect on leaving Forty behind until just before bed last night.

It was a fantastic year. So fantastic, in fact, that I'm a bit nervous about out-doing it.  Going into Forty, I had clear expectations, and they came to fruition: run a marathongraduate from college. Heart surgerygetting hit by a car while on the scooter and having the transmission fail on the van aside, it was undoubtedly the greatest year of my life.

And so as I was hitting the sack and reflecting on the year and my life and my path, I see that I might very well finally be a grown-up. I have my college degree. I'm [desperately] seeking a real job.

So what do I have to look forward to now? Well, very soon I will have a grown-up job with a grown-up paycheck and grown-up responsibilities. That means I will start paying my student loans, socking away money into savings and retirement accounts, offering my children opportunities like team sports and music lessons, and maybe even getting the cat in for a checkup (news flash: she's overweight).

So while I can't run my first marathon again, and I can't earn my first college degree again, I can continue to enjoy new and fantastic experiences, like paying my bills on time and getting regular oil changes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Run Like a Girl!

Tears welled in my eyes as I read my email that April morning. Nine-year-old Princess Pearl had sent me an invitation to run my first 5K with her...on Mother's Day. That she was eager to share one of my greatest passions was almost too much for my weary-from-school head to comprehend.

We'd run together once before. She was a natural. Her pace was comfortable and confident. She had stamina that left me envious. She ran two miles without any breaks and felt great afterward. A 5K would be a breeze with only a bit more training.

It just so happened that this 5K was the day after graduation, so Casey and her youngest would be at my house for the celebration -- and the race. Princess Pearl was thrilled to have her long-time (and by that I mean friends since they were two years old) friend J run with her, and I was naturally tickled to hit the road again with Casey (no need to do the friends-since math here). A 3rd grade classmate and her even younger sister were also participating with their mom, so we were working the whole friends + fitness = fun equation to the third degree.

The morning after the graduation party came at an ungodly hour, but we all arose to the task, excited to participate in a girls-only run. The weather was delightful and once we were armed with coffee, we headed out.

While I have a propensity to ramble, I think I'll let the photos do the work today...
Smart AND Strong!

Go, runners, GO!

Best finish line expression EVER

First-time 5K runners get tiaras!

McPherson's finest

Like mothers, like daughters

We resisted making faces (in front of the camera)
I'm so proud off the little ones for participating and finishing. It was incredibly inspiring to see nearly 4000 young and not-so-young ladies of all shapes and sizes gather to celebrate community and wellness and girl-power. Can't wait to share more experiences like this with my Three Little Diggs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Uphill Battle

As we said our goodbyes the 2011 Hospital Hill half marathon, Mark and I agreed that it was probably our last. He's run it twice, me, three times. And while for me the first year was absolutely magical, the past two (which I dragged Mark into) have been anything but.

Last year I observed that anticipating the difficulty level proved counterproductive (at least for the way my brain works). That, and the difference between a cloudy 60° v. a humid 85° is akin to the difference between Ghirardelli 70% cacao and chocolate flavored chips.

Like last year, the heat was oppressive.  At the 7:00 a.m. start, it was 80° and 70% humidity. But I went in feeling like I was well prepared to PR (personal record) as my average time had improved by more than 30 seconds per mile. I was determined to stick with the 2:00 pace group regardless of pain or exhaustion. And I did. For about three miles.

Then I had to pee. And there was this hill. And the pacer really sped up. And. And. And. By mile five, I wanted to quit. Really. I really, really wanted to walk away from the miserable morning to which I had subjected myself. And then I was really, really bothered by those thoughts that were so uncharacteristic of me. After a way-too-long portapotty break (a line three deep and I swear, the others had forgotten that they were running a race!), I kept moving forward, knowing a PR was well out of reach, but really, unless heat stroke or a broken leg took me down, I wasn't about to allow myself to quit.

It was a long haul, but not terribly lonely. A gal who has taken some of my spin classes caught my attention and we chatted (read: complained) for awhile. I grabbed a high-five (they provide about fifty yards of turbo boost) around mile nine from another Y acquaintance. And Mark's son was waiting at mile ten with an icy washcloth and a big bottle of Gatorade. At that point I was just putting one foot in front of the other. I was hot and miserable but didn't doubt my finish. Crowd support was good, but not entertaining enough to make me leave my sorrows by the roadside.

Finally I turned the corner that foreshadowed the last beast of a hill before a long downhill slope to the finish. I maintained my jog up the hill and just as I crested it and wanted to let momentum carry me downward, my stomach started turning. I couldn't give any more power to my legs as I was using it to keep my wits about myself. The 2:15 pacer was teasing me to beat him in that last long half mile. I'm not sure if I did, but I finished. 


I grabbed a water and my medal and soon found Mark. He beat my time by a potty break and about three minutes. As we limped back to the car we expressed our lack of enthusiasm for running Kansas City's hills in June. I remarked that I hadn't gotten an exercise high in quite some time. He replied, "Well, it's 'cause you're in love."



And that's when it all added up.  Remember way back in the day when this blog was titled Exercise is a Reasonable Substitute for Love? Well, I meant it. And while I'd love to argue that exercise is a delightful compliment to love, I occasionally fear that love might be a reasonable substitute for exercise.

Naaaaahh.   I'll stick with the compliment version. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go on without one or the other.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Now What?

I crossed the threshold. I finished.

Like I said, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. But from this side of graduation, all of the headaches seem inconsequential. It's hard for me to remember the late night panic attacks and countless hours socked into case studies and papers. That I crossed 17,680 miles is unfathomable. I don't even know how much student loan debt I accrued.

After turning in that last assignment, I had an emotional twelve minutes of disbelief, followed by a surge of unemployed panic, my new constant state of being. I also have lost my gimmick. I'm no longer a co-ed. If someone were to ask, "What do you do?", my response now would be a charmless, "I'm looking for a job."  It was fun to stir up admiration in strangers by explaining that I was a student, fitness instructor and single mother. Now...well, not so much.

I'm scared.  And I feel incredibly powerless.

If I look back on my journey from pathetic not-yet-divorcee to now, the times when I've felt most strong were those moments when I [thought I] was in control of my destiny. When I got my cooking gig at Hope Care Center, I finally knew that I could create my new life. I knew money would be tight, but I was certain I could do it. When I later realized I wanted more and started my college career, I felt like the world would soon be my oyster. As challenging as those two years were, I felt like I was making something of myself. I thought I was demonstrating perseverance to my children. I was certain I was creating some fantastic new adventure for my family.

And now, two weeks after graduation, I'm wrought with fear and self-doubt. I'm looking at jobs and careers and see that I probably should have gotten a degree in business or accounting or engineering (wasn't gonna happen, but I'm doubting myself right now -- please play along). I see that I don't know the first thing about getting a grown-up job. Mark, Spinning Marcy and others are coaching me on the ways of networking and schmoozing and charming my way into a job. I've been warned that it doesn't happen overnight -- it takes years to build a career. WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE MAKE ME DO THIS WHEN I WAS 23???

Okay. Now that I've gotten that out...just to clarify (because I haven't blogged much in the last three months), I'm not pursuing my R.D. anymore -- at least not right now. I don't really want to go to grad school in the fall. I would like to begin a career that merges fitness and nutrition with my old happy-go-lucky self. Corporate wellness, more or less. I want to organize weight loss challenges, teach cooking classes, tell people what to eat, convince folks to run a 10K, all under the umbrella of an employee-minded organization that sees the value in caring for their associates' health.

So feel free to network me into a gig. I'd love to turn my back on the insecure version of Jennifer. She's way less fun than her foolishly optimistic counterpart.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Woman of Few Words

Never a prouder moment in my life
May my Three Little Diggs please learn from my mistakes...


My main man...plus it's one of only a couple of shots that shows my all-important shoe selection



So tickled that Mom and Dad were able to see me walk across the stage as a graduate

I really couldn't dig this guy any more

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Endings

I've never worked so hard for anything in my life.

Tonight I turned in my final final.

Tomorrow I drive to Warrensburg to sit through a class and return books.

Saturday I drive to Warrensburg to graduate from college.

I don't have much else to say right now. I'm kinda surprised at the emotions rolling down my cheeks.

Note to self: buy waterproof mascara before the weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tragi Ridiculi

Casey, Big Sis and I are apparently creating a tradition. Last time the three of us were together, we paid to have holes drilled in our noses. This time, our tragi were pierced. (If there's one, it's a tragus. Three: tragi. One of us: ridiculous. Three: ridiculi.)

Not long ago, Big Sis mentioned that she was jonesing for her next piercing. I'd been eyeing one too, as had Casey. Happenstance found the three of us in the same city at the same time just weeks later. After only one strong cocktail , we were back at Irezumi having metal pushed through flesh and cartilage.

I don't know what two more years will bring. The other two think they might come to watch me get a tattoo. I'm pretty sure there will be shared merriment and communal body modification.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Plan B

Last January, I realized that the internship required in order to sit for the R.D. exam was a seriously hot commodity -- only about half of applicants make the cut. This fact has been a great stressor in my life for the last fifteen months. I have silently panicked about it. I have lost sleep over it. I have had full-on eating binges because of it. 

For a student who is able to relocate, the odds are improved.  For a student whose undergrad is from a well-regarded dietetics program, the odds are improved. For a student who didn't completely jack up her grade point average when she was an idiot teenager, the odds are improved. See where I'm going here?

This is not a story about beating the odds. I did not get an internship.

This is not the end of my journey, however.

I can work as a waitress at Plaza III. I can go to grad school at KU Med. I can get my personal trainer certification and become a Wellness Goddess (Mark's words, but I'm keeping them). I can reapply for an internship in a year. I can explore the numerous other options that I have yet to discover.

On a seemingly different subject, tonight Mark and I went to a book signing. One of his high school classmates called last night to inform him she'd be in town promoting her children's book. She penned a manuscript, got it published, and not long after, received a phone call that it had won the Newbery Award. This is a really freaking big deal. Think Bridge to Terabithia, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and Summer of the Swans. This was her first published book. She worked hard at it -- for six years while she reared four children. She has actively been writing for seventeen years, attempted to get a previous manuscript published, and was told no.

So she wrote another.

That's a little something I like to call Plan B.

I'm working on my own Plan B right now. My journey thus far has not been a cake walk, but I wouldn't turn back for anything. I have made some remarkable changes in the last two years, and in a mere 33 days, I will cross a stage as a graduate with a bachelor's of science degree. And while I didn't get the internship on a long shot, that misstep opens up a whole new world of unfathomably fabulous Plan Bs.

And really, would you have expected anything less than a detour or two for this gal?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nice Buns!

I've been craving a hamburger for more than a month now. I don't think I have ever craved a hamburger, let alone allow the desire follow me around for weeks, yet that is exactly what happened.

Oddly enough, I felt compelled to share this craving with The [vegetarian] Valedictorian. I can't recall why I told her I wanted a hamburger, but during the conversation (in which I used strong language to convey my distaste for the styrofoam discs labeled as gluten-free burger buns) she suggested that a baked potato replace the traditional bun.

Pure genius. (She's The Valedictorian for many a reason.)

Getting a hamburger craving with a brilliant g.f. bun solution from desire to dinner proved somewhat challenging, however.

Time, equipment and motivation have been in short supply in recent weeks, so when Mark asked what I wanted to do this weekend (our kid-free weekend), I replied, "I want a hamburger." I can only assume that he thought I'd lost my mind, yet didn't want to question or quell my carnivorous cravings so he happily agreed. I wrangled supplies and he dusted the winter off the grill and we made burgers.

Fantastic! My appreciation for the white potato has increased in the last year or so. Versatile and inexpensive, high in fiber and vitamin C (no scurvy for me, thanks!), it gives Idahoans a reason to be proud. I started the potatoes in the microwave, gave them a good rubdown with oil and salt, then finished them in a hot oven. The skins turned slightly crunchy, making them great finger food. So to a sirloin burger I added caramelized onions and mushrooms and garlic-scallion sour cream.  A happy baby greens salad and grilled strawberries rounded the meal as did a delightful rum-ginger concoction. The outdoor furniture was moved from the basement to the porch and we celebrated a beautiful spring evening.

Do I need another burger? Probably not for awhile. But next time I do, at least I'll be happy with my buns.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chipmunk Roundup!

'Tis the season.

It's spring. For me that means running, opening the storm windows, mowing, Ike's allergies, sidewalk chalk covered driveways, ants and chipmunk roundups.

...because for every sacrificial chipmunk, there are at least three roundups.

I know I'm not the only cat owner who regularly experiences The Food Chain: Live and in 3D, but I do believe that Charlie is an overachiever of sorts.  The time she delivered two [dead] baby bunnies and placed them parallel to one another on the back door mat (the day after Easter, oddly enough), I knew I was contending with a hunter of impressive ilk.  Since then there have been rabbits too numerous to count, mice by the dozens, and birds of many a feather, in varying states of living brought to and into my home.

The Chipmunk Roundup is a relatively new activity at Casa del Mar. I suppose we had our first rough go at one in late spring of last year, but had perfected it by fall.  While most nine year old girls might be frightened (or delighted) to find a living, breathing chipmunk in her room, Princess Pearl now sighs in exasperation and then loudly announces, "Chipmunk Roundup!" This is a family event, after all.

Through trial and error, we have developed a patent pending technique that is as follows: Upon the sounding of the alert, doors are closed to all rooms which are known to not harbor said chipmunk. A ruckus is then made in the remaining room and generally within a minute the offending rodent has exited to the hallway. Easily persuaded from the hallway into the main living quarters, the we-added-this-bifold-shuttered-door-to-this-awesome-mid-century-house-when-we-remodeled-in-the-seventies door is closed and the chipmunk is now carefully quarantined in the living room.  One child is charged with opening the front glass door, while another is put on guard between the kitchen and living room (great open space for entertaining, but a slight challenge for Chipmunk Roundups).  At this time, the rodent has typically hidden behind the Chair of Fabulosity or another piece of discount (albeit similarly delightful) furniture. The cat is then introduced as a key player (don't fret, this isn't gory...usually) who can sniff out said visitor, sending it into a slightly panicked state that usually leads it to the great outdoors.  The front door is then closed, high fives are distributed and the Three Little Diggs return to their previous duties.

How do the chipmunks get into the house? Charlie brings them inside. But how? Her "cat door" (a window without a screen) which is left open during fair weather. So yes, it is easily be argued that Chipmunk Roundups could be all but eliminated. As would the family bonding that they induce.

So I'm keeping that window open again this spring...because at my memorial service, the kids will need something to talk about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nothin'

I suppose when the seventh paragraph of an angry essay begins, "I probably shouldn't even post this rant, but...", it's time to step away from the computer.

Not surprisingly, I kept typing. I didn't finish as I had to go to work, but did verbally continue my ramblings to Carpool Lou.  And she told me I shouldn't broadcast my tirade. Not yet.

Still not convinced, I set up my soap box at Mark's house and he too warned of the poor timing and potential (though doubtful) ramifications of speaking my piece too soon.

So despite my own warning to myself, it took two more people to stop me from writing myself my own obituary. (Alright...that might be a bit dramatic.)

It's about school as you might have guessed.  If I'm still simmering after graduation, I'll publish my feelings.  That's it.  That's all this post is about.

I just told you that I'm not telling you anything.  Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm Waiting...

"Um...I've never worked fine dining and my product knowledge is a bit scanty, but I'm forty so I've lived long enough to know how to charm folks and make them happy."

"Well, that's 90% of the job. When can you start?"

It was just that simple...more or less. I also had an in.  Thanks to the goodwill of Carpool Lou, plus my thirty-second interview, I now am a part-time server (and a part-time fitness instructor and a full-time student, not to mention mother, girlfriend, classmate, friend and housekeeper extraordinaire mediocre dishwasher.)

I realized a week or so ago that my student loan fundage is running low, and even if I do get the internship or go to grad school, there won't be more cash in that account until August.  While I would love to find a gig in nutrition and fitness right after graduation, I'm just enough of a realist to know that a backup plan is not a bad idea (hearing horror stories on NPR every morning about educated folks unemployed for months on end is probably a healthy dose of reality for an otherwise living-in-a-fantasy-world kinda girl).

So I now have a job. I started today. It will be fine.

But I will also take Spinning Marcy's advice and go to Career Services at school to see if they have any amazing connections for degree-appropriate gigs in the KC area.  I will also listen to anyone who has a suggestion for a more fitting job that might carry me through until I earn those prestigious initials, R. and D.

But mostly I've learned (from this photo) that I'm going to have to find a way to charm my clientele without smiling. Where on earth did those lines around my eyes come from?!?!?

Monday, March 14, 2011

But. I. Don't. Wanna.

I don't want to step on the scale.  I've been hungry and hormonal and crabby and munchy this week.  Logging my food has been completely un-fun and I just wanna eat peanut butter and drink wine.

That said, I'll try to hop on the scale soon and squeeze the fat machine at work. Gimme a coupla days though...

For now, back to my homework, my peanut butter, and my whine...er, wine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Safe Pair of Hands

Every time I use my mandoline without injury, I want to announce it to everyone I know (though I usually just let Wasabi know).  I still get nervous when I pull it from the cupboard, awkwardly massaging my still-numb thumb from the Great Mandoline Tragedy of 2005.

Today I decided to turn the last of the potatoes from the pantry into french fries -- pretty, uniformly cut french fries.  That task requires the use of my scariest tool. But hey, a girl's gotta step out of her comfort zone now and then, right?

While I usually let Wasabi know before I start slicing, as well as after I've emerged unscathed, today I decided to jump in without 911 on hold.  I managed to turn six potatoes into cute little sticks, parboil them, toss them in a smidge of oil and salt then bake them in a roasty-toasty hot oven -- all without need for emergency services.

I then carefully scrubbed the surgically-sharp blade and its housing. All blood and muscle tissue remained handsomely encased in my dermis.

After they were done, the consensus was that they were really quite delicious.

And not having to go to the ER made them even tastier.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ouch!

Underwire sports bra.

What on earth was I smokin' when I plunked down cash for that?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The More, The Merrier

I stepped on the scale twice. I wanted to make sure it wasn't lying to me. After more than two weeks stalled out at 141-ish, I finally moved my number. Downward.

What made the difference?

I ate more.

When I was running with Leah on Saturday and I was rambling about food, I remembered reading some post somewhere sometime about someone who lost some weight by eating more food. And it made sense. While I know a whole slew of mid-life exercise fanatics who are armored with muscle mass, the brainless calculator on any given website sees Age: 40  Height: 5'5 1/2" then asks if I want to lose 1, 1.5 or 2 lbs. each week. Then it tells me how much I should eat. (This is the part where we ignore the fact that I'm studying to become a dietitian and should have explored this independently...in my free time.)  Anyway, this calculator does not know that I have rock-hard thighs (carefully ensconced in a layer of adipose tissue). This calculator does not realize I have six-pack abs (which are hard to see because the eye is drawn to the freakishly unattractive stretch marks). This calculator does not know that my biceps are awesome. Luckily, I know that muscle burns energy at a much higher rate than fat, and while that first exciting week of watching what I ate and seeing the pounds drop off was really cool, my body watched that happen too and then decided that we were obviously running out of food so it very wisely opted to take a metabolic chill-pill.

After Saturday's run (which earned me more belly-up-to-the-buffet calories than I could stomach), I changed my plan. I'm still keeping my food diary but have upped my daily caloric intake by about 400 kcal. I will try to keep my fat intake somewhere in the vicinity of 50 g. My extra calories will come primarily from carbohydrates and maybe a smidge from protein.

And after just a few days of just a few more calories, the scale was very nice to me. I needed that, because  Jamocha Almond Fudge had started calling again making a compelling argument for taking him back.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun Run

I don't know that I've mentioned that I've been working very part time at the Y lately.  Subbing for spin while my instructor was on maternity leave led to a couple of months of Monday nights at the front desk while two more gals were off due to the same condition, and as a result of getting chummy with one of the directors, I now will be instructing three classes permanently: Monday evening spin, Tuesday evening family yoga and Thursday afternoon youth fitness.

During those front desk nights, I was usually paired up with a sweetheart of a gal, Leah.  We hit it off from the beginning...then we realized that we both come from similar families (she was reared in a missionary family; my dad is a preacher), share congruent world views, but most importantly, we're both runners.  She's shooting for her first half marathon in a month and has been diligently training through this harsh winter (while I've found reasonable substitutes for cardio that do not involve dreadmills or trudging through the snow). She's now to those last few long training runs and suggested we run together.  While I've never really run with friends (with the exception of the first half of the Gobbler Grind and about half a mile with [super fast] Running Jamie one day when we accidentally happened upon one another), I thought it would be a great motivator  to tackle a significant distance and do something new and potentially fun in the meanwhile.

So this morning after I savored my yoga class, I bundled and geared up then met Leah for our joint run.  It was cold and windy, but the sun was shining so we were able to somehow justify the torment.  We went music-less for the first half, chatting here and there (mostly me yapping about food) and when we got to the five mile mark, we slowed for water, Gu, and opted to slip on our headsets. But her iPod battery was dead! I offered to go without, but she insisted at least one of us enjoy tolerate the rest of the run.  Luckily the wind was at our back at this point and we made the return trek with only the occasional grunt or complaint.

Her schedule called for ten miles, so we did it -- my longest run since November.  I never felt particularly strong, but never doubted my ability to finish either.  My legs certainly remembered what they can do (and also remembered to complain a lot for the remainder of the day) and I'm now excited for spring's fair weather and long weekend runs. I'll miss next Saturday with Leah (yoga instructor training), but will hopefully do twelve with her the following weekend.  I'm gonna let her Rock the Parkway on her own, but will definitely be cheering her on from the sidelines...

...in a formal gown and roller skates.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oops...

I have adhered pretty darn closely to my caloric intake goals, yet a week of daily exercise and [mostly] careful dining didn't pay off.  Well...I can't say that.  I still feel pretty darn good, I'm more aware of each morsel I put in my mouth than I've ever been, and this will certainly be a lesson I can share with my clients once I'm a dietitian.

I acknowledged last week that the nearly five pounds that I initially dropped were more than enough for that short span of time.  I'm going to let my body catch up to my efforts now as there is no intention on my part to falter from my [self] appointed mission. If I hadn't published my goals on my blog, however, I can almost promise you that after Week Two I would have bailed and would be sitting here with a carton of Jamocha Almond Fudge in my lap rather than a computer.

We touched a subject last semester in Advanced Nutrition and just a week or so later I heard more about it on NPR (referencing American's tendencies to gain very little weight over the holidays despite deserving to pack on the pounds).  It's called the Set Point Theory. Basically, it says that our bodies find a weight and really want to stay there. That's why you occasionally meet those annoying folks who complain that they can't gain weight despite their most valiant efforts and of course, the rest of us who wish to lose five, ten or fifty pounds and just can't seem to get over the hump.

I think I found my hump already.

Like I said, I work out daily.  An average week breaks down to cardio, strength, cardio, cross, cross, yoga, cardio. I would imagine that my hump is set pretty high and my body is going to be pretty pissy about giving up any more of that insulation -- just in case I forget to feed it -- because it knows I'm going to work out tomorrow, fueled or not.

In the "good news" department, my fat stores have dramatically depleted from Day One.  As previously mentioned, my body fat percentage was 28.7.  It is now 24.8.  If the math isn't fooling me, when I started the diet (@146 lbs) I was lugging around 41.9 pounds of adipose tissue, and I now (@141.4 lbs) have 35.1.  Again, so long as the arithmetic is true, I'm gonna go ahead and declare these results to be awesome.

So I will keep on keepin' on.  My workouts will continue (though it might be time to take them up a notch) and my food diary will remain a part of my daily life.  I'm determined to be a hottie under my graduation gown on May 7, and if I gain a fabulous "If I can do it, you can do it too" story along the way, all the better.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dinner Winner

Parenting was meant to be a tag team event.  While the busy schedules of the two might collide now and then, for the most part, between a pair of capable adults, the needs of their children can generally be met.  In the same vein, it's nice to have another on your team when you're wiped and frazzled and done.

That's how I always feel by dinnertime on Sundays when I've had the kids for five consecutive days.  It's not because I can't take the kids any longer -- it's that my kid-friendly menu ideas have been depleted and I just don't know what the heck to make.

Tonight I fell back on an old standby, pizza, with yet another attempt at passing off a gluten-free crust as an acceptable surface for their own topping choices.  Last weekend, Gillian, Mark's sister, sent a clipping of g.f. recipes from her local (Sydney, Australia) paper.  Lemme tell you, it's awesome to get personal not-bills mail, let alone airmail with cool stamps from an exotic land.  Add to that fresh and fantastic recipes (including one for pizza bases)...that'll put a smile on any girl's face. I tweaked the recipe a bit for nutrition sake and of course, had to put my handy dandy metric conversion skills to work. That very night, I made pizzas for Mark and I with lovely results.

Tonight's pizza was a big hit. A neighbor girl was over and she loved it. Ike and Princess Pearl both raved. (Em had slipped into a coma-like nap -- she's a teenager after all.)  After the crusts were par-baked, I made a simple red sauce and put out veggie and meat and cheese options for each child to assemble their own pie. A little more oven time and dinner was served.  They were fabulous enough that we had to make an additional one for each kiddo. A unanimous I'll take seconds stamp of approval is a rarity.

So while you may not see much use for a g.f. flatbread recipe in the near future, I'll share my creation with you anyway.  Perhaps you'd like to invite me over for dinner.  P.S. I especially like caramelized onions.
Gluten-Free Flatbread
Makes 16, Serves 8


1 c. teff flour
1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 c. cold water 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add water and oil and blend with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes at medium speed.  It will be a fairly runny batter.  Line a  baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat and spoon on circles of batter, spreading them into circles (or ovals or hexagons or...)  I fit between three and five per sheet depending on size of pan and circles. Bake for 15 minutes then remove to cooling rack for a few minutes.  Top with desired toppings, return to oven for 7 to 10 minutes.  Remove, enjoy!
I used parchment on one pan and a Silpat on the other. Because of the high moisture content, the parchment ones got wrinkly on the bottom.  No biggie, but the Silpat ones were gorgeous. And after the first round, I decided to bake the topped crusts directly on my pizza stone.  That was a good decision. 

I have the remaining crusts in the freezer now.  I'm excited to come home from school with a grumbling tummy and satiate it with something much more clever (and tastier) than a chocolate rice cake.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Use It and Lose It

Now, as a dietitian-to-be, I wouldn't recommend someone drop 4.8 lbs in one week, but lo and behold, that is what happened to me.  I didn't do anything out of the ordinary.  I ate my meals, I snacked now and then, I drank my cappuccinos, I ate Christopher Elbow Chocolates (while listening to my 2nd annual Valentine's Day CD), I enjoyed my nightcaps.  I didn't exercise more (really, how could I?). I just logged what I put into my mouth.

...because it sucks to admit that you stuffed half a bag of cheesy rice cakes down your face.

If you really want to see what I've been eating, my profile, virasana70, at LiveStrong's MyPlate is public.  You can see that on Saturday night, I went over budget by 500 calories eating french fries and drinking vodka tonics. You can also see that on Sunday I ran nine miles and didn't make it anywhere near the top of my caloric allowance for the day. And you'll learn that I'm adding chia seeds to my oatmeal for extra fiber and omega-3s.  And you can join in on the fun.

Now, for the MyPlate app...love it!  Not only do I have the power to log my meals from my phone or at my computer (and they are constantly wirelessly synced) it shows me a pie chart of carbs/protein/fat that adjusts as the day passes. If I look and see that my fat intake is only at 15 or 18%, I know that my next snack should be a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts.  Five nutrition classes have taught me that my ideal intakes are 55-60% carbs, 20-25% fat and 15-20% protein.  This makes it so easy!

I know I won't drop weight like this again.  Last week's loss demonstrates just how poorly I'd been managing my intake as of late (and I'd been hovering as 145 for over a year, so the weight change was definitely more than just water loss and hormonal changes). I can tell you that I feel fantastic. I can tell that my belly is shrinking (the thighs and boobs haven't budged, but there's plenty of time for that). Sunday's run felt great and I have to wonder if it isn't because I was lugging a bit less around.  I also read awhile back that for every five pounds you drop, you ease 20 lbs of pressure off your joints. I would like it if my knees didn't make snap-crackle-pop sounds when I go down stairs.

And if that groundhog was right, I won't miss this personal insulation in a coupla months.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not a Hypothetical Warning

If this were a hypothetical warning, you'd be asked to keep your fluff in a safe place anytime I was in your vicinity. This is not a hypothetical warning. This is a real one.

I only keep up with a small handful of blogs. The People and Places I Dig sidebar keeps me apprised of new postings on friends sites.  Last week, Running Jamie posted a picture of a fire truck in front of her house (she's been known to set portions of her kitchen afire more than once), so I quickly scrolled down and read that her carbon monoxide alarm had sounded and she had to call in the F.D. to find the leak (I'll let you read the story if you want the exciting consclusion).

Imagine my surprise just a few days later when A-Dub reported the same phenomenon.  This is a not-so-awesome theme threading through my friends' lives. So I'm pretty sure it's now my appointed duty to alert you to the risks of living in a house in the wintertime.

Time to build an igloo!  Oh, never mind. There might be a simpler solution.

Check your carbon monoxide detector. Check its battery.  Don't have one? Buy one. (I'm buying one right now -- I guess I lost mine in the divorce.) It's cheap. It could save your life...though if you roll like the rest of my friends, it's more likely to end up causing [life saving] embarrassment.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Tell the Truth

Okay! Okay! Okay!  I'll do it!!!

Historically, it has tended to take an outlandishly long time for me to make any sort of tangible move.  Glance back to, what, four years ago? Mr. X: "I want a separation." Me: "Um, I don't believe you." Nearly two years later, I finally moved out.  Twenty years ago... Me: "Hmmmmm. I wonder what I want to do when I grow up." Eighteen years later...epiphany.  Three months ago: Me: "Wow. I'd better do something about my growing arse." Today: "Uuuuhhhh.  Okay."

My promise from last fall has been on my mind for awhile now.  A couple of weeks ago, I grabbed the body fat analyzer at work and gave it a good long squeeze.  I told it what I weighed (146 lbs.) I told it how tall I was (5'5 1/2") and it told me that my body fat percentage was 28.7% and my BMI was 23.8.  None of these numbers surprised me.

I told you numbers just like I promised. Now for the pictures.  Here's my new-ish thrift store...I mean, Banana Republic little black dress.  I would like to wear it in public. I think I would look smashing in it -- if it weren't so busy smashing me. So here I am, trying to break free from a size six dress (I cannot take a full inhalation).  My hope is that in a few months I can post a photo of the dress and I getting along on friendlier terms (perhaps under a graduation gown...).


So what am I doing to make these numbers shrink?  I'm keeping a food diary.  If I am accountable for what I put in my mouth, I'm much more likely to think twice about offing 3/4 of a bag of conversation hearts. (It happened. I'm not proud.) I have had a food log on my phone for more than a year now. After I loaded it, I didn't open it for three months.  Then one day I just did it. And for two weeks or so, I did a fabulous job of logging each meal and snack. It made exercise more fun because it automatically added the extra calories that I could eat for that day.  Then summer school started.  A cooking class. So I cooked.  And tasted.  And nibbled.  And ate.  And at the end of each day, I had no idea how to log those calories and nutrients.  So I quit tracking.

A few months later, a gal at the gym suggested another food log app.  I loaded it.  I have yet to give it a glance.  And then a few days ago at school, one of the guys in my major told me about a diet analysis program that his girlfriend had introduced him to.  It is significantly easier to use than the MyPyramid.gov app that dietetics students so often are forced to use (and it surely crashes less often), and it has an iPhone app that continuously syncs with it to boot. So this morning as I was laying around feeling the extra poundage pool around my frame, I uploaded LiveStrong's MyPlate and logged my breakfast. Game on.

So now to further cement my commitment, I post this. My goal: to look awesome in that dress. I don't know how much weight loss that will take...fifteen-ish pounds? I'm more concerned with dropping the BMI and body fat percentage to a place where the trainer at work will say, "That's good!" instead of "That's good for your age."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Unicorn is Caught in My Sweater!

It's a good thing The Valedictorian was with me today when I said that. She was able to subtly convey to Coffee-Refill-Guy that I was harmless and that he should simply take my $1.01 and smile. 

My charm bracelet had become entangled in one of my many layers of winter gear.   It's cold.  So cold, in fact, that the unicorn was seeking shelter.

See how it all makes sense now?

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Mark Spark

It's what I was seeking back in my lonely single days.  After any given Match.com date, I would catch up with whichever friend would listen and we'd review whether or not said date and I had The Mark Spark.   That's the name I'd given to that feeling -- the magic of an instant connection. There was something the very moment Mark and I met, and just a few hours later, the energy between us was palpable and must have looked akin to one of those plasma balls.  As for the first kiss...well...had there been any kindling within five feet of us, I'm sure we would have set the Blue Bird Bistro afire.

I adamantly claimed during the fifteen months between Chapter One and Chapter Two of our relationship that I was not looking to find Mark's clone (yes, I'm well aware now that I was lying to myself) -- I just knew that I wanted to feel warm and sparkly about a guy if I was going to bother with date #2.  And the ka-zing that Mark and I shared from the moment our eyes met over a loaf of fresh-baked bread was what I demanded.

Yesterday, however, The Mark Spark redefined itself.  He and I were each working away at our computers in separate corners of his basement when I shuffled over to him to offer a gentle kiss.  And instead of a soft, affectionate gesture, we each were hit by an electric shock that threw us apart and left our lips smarting.  After a few seconds and a sincere apology on my part, Mark touched my waist and then offered another kiss -- this time, without the bite.

I guess this gives new meaning to staying grounded in a relationship.

P.S. I almost forgot.  Avocado Virus.