little thoughts

Maybe.

Maybe we stop trying to read between the lines and figure it all out. Maybe we stop trying to decide if we should trust our instincts. Maybe we stop putting ourselves through the heartache of wondering. Maybe we stop looking for problems, because, at this point, we’re creating them. Maybe we just relax.

Maybe we enjoy life.

Admire it for its face value; enjoy it for what it’s worth.

If you’re spending time worrying, you’re not spending time loving.

And your time is worth so much more than that.

 

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Sunday’s are for… the gym?

I never thought I’d hear myself say that.

My company is working with a company called Healthy Wage to host a healthy weight loss challenge. You pay $70.00 and, if you lose 10% of your body weight, you get your money back. I really wanted to join, didn’t at all want to pay the $70.00, but definitely wanted to lose the last 15 pounds I’ve been waiting on for 3 years.

So, I joined.

Losing $70.00 is enough to get me motivated, don’t you think?

We technically started last Friday, although I’ve been on a weight loss journey of my own for like, 4 years. There’s an app, and we all had to start off with a verified weigh in (meaning we literally took a mirror-selfie video of ourselves weighing in).

This morning, not only did I go to the gym at 8:00 am, but I went out and bought a new scale so I could do my verified weigh-in.

Who am I?!



Honesty, I’ve been working my way to a healthier, lighter version of me for quite awhile. About 4 years ago, I got really sick and went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. The chest pain I was experiencing was absolutely awful, and it was aching down my entire left arm. All the things we’ve heard that you experience during a heart attack, right?

Wrong.

It was acid reflux.

I paid for chest x-rays… for acid reflux.

Twelve hundred dollars… for acid reflux.

I turned my life around that day. I took home a pamphlet on heartburn and found so many things I was eating too much of on a regular basis. Dairy, spicy food, red meat… all of it was arguing with my esophagus. I lost 20 pounds, and haven’t seem to have been able to get the rest off.

About a year ago, I started following Beachbody workouts, Shakeology, and meal plans. It truly works, but I have not stayed on the wagon. I’ve been about 50/50, and it’s time for that to change.

So, here I am, going to the gym on Sunday mornings. Buying scales. Ordering tall coffees with skim milk instead of 2%. Eating one serving of Uncle Ben’s instead of a whole bag. Turning down pie when my mom buys extra at Costco. Going to bed on time.

I’m a new woman!

Er, I will be, someday.

TTFN! 🙂



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Pedal for Paws

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to drop in and write about the charity bike ride I went on today! I have volunteered at the ARL a couple of times, but this time I was an attendee! If you’re familiar with the Des Moines area, you probably know the bike trail well. We started at Mad Meatball and made stops at Confluence Brewery, Jasper Winery, Orlando’s, and Cumming Tap. It’s a 26.2 mile ride round trip, and the longest ride I’ve ever been on.

There was rain in the forecast all day, and we really didn’t know for sure if the event would still happen. When I say there was rain in the forecast, I’m talking 70% chance of thunderstorms from 1:00 – 7:00 pm. I wouldn’t have thought twice about a little rain, but a thunderstorm is a different story when you’re on a bike and 20+ miles from home (or your car).

About 11:30 this morning, we decided to load up the bikes and head downtown. We figured it couldn’t hurt to check in and see what was happening. It was $25.00 to register for the ride; the money was going to a good cause whether we ended up participating or not.

It. Was. Humid.

Humid to the point that, 12 years ago, my pubescent self would have run home immediately for some anti-frizz hairspray…

And some extra strength antiperspirant…

And an extra shirt…

And maybe an extra pair of underwear.



You could tell it was going to rain something fierce. I do think a lot of people decided not to show up because of the nasty weather we were supposed to get, but it didn’t stop those of us that were there!

(Side note, I don’t blame anyone who didn’t attend. We got caught in a torrential downpour!)

We rode the few miles from Mad Meatball to Confluence, the first stop. The clouds were getting darker, the wind was picking up and getting cooler… All signs of an impending storm. As we were sitting at the brewery, we started to feel raindrops. Everyone pulled out their phones to check the radar, and, sure enough, the storm was coming right for us. There wasn’t enough coverage from the rain at Confluence, so we hopped on our bikes and booked it to Jasper Winery. Thankfully, they had a tent outside.

We sat in that tent as the rain pounded down for over an hour. It hadn’t finished raining when we finally left the vineyard, but we couldn’t wait forever! A few miles down the trail was Orlando’s, and the rain had completely cleared up by the time we got there. Now that we all had raindrop-stained sunglasses and mud splatters all up the back of our shirts, we were golden. We sat at Orlando’s long enough to have a slice of pizza and a beer, and then we headed for Cumming Tap.

This was the long stretch of trail. I think the only reason we ended up even doing this part of the ride was because nobody wanted to be the one to bow out first; nobody wanted to admit to being tired and ready to go home!

I’m that person. I will freeze to death at a baseball game in Minnesota in April before I will admit to being cold and wanting to go home. I am that stubborn of a person…

I am a Taurus, after all.



Brian and I had been riding with a few people we knew so far. We hadn’t really planned on riding with them; it just kind of happened when we all got there. At this point, Brian and I took off for Cumming Tap on our own (silently wanting to go home). We did the eight-or-so miles, stayed long enough to use the restroom and get a drink of water, and then we turned right around and rode back to our car.

My Fitbit told me that the last leg, the return, was just over 13 miles.

Now, it’s 9:45 on Saturday night, and I’m in bed writing about it.

Even though I don’t think my ass will ever get used to being on a bike seat, this is truly the life I’ve always wanted.

Goodnight, followers!

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Words are pure magic.

When I first moved in with my boyfriend, I felt like I no longer had a place. I felt like everything in our apartment was his; all I had was a bathroom and my bookshelves.

Did I blame him at first? Absolutely.

Was it his fault? Absolutely not.

He had lived by himself for something like 3 years, and I had lived alone for about a year. We had both collected our own things over those periods of time, but mine were all hand-me-downs. Rightfully so, we moved most of his stuff into our new place. When I walked in for the first time at then end of move-in day, I thought ‘Well, it looks like I just stay here on weekends.’

I’ve gotten upset about it more than once.

I’m silly.

To think that all I have are my bookshelves? Are you kidding me?

I realized, after 6 months, that my books are the most magical things here.

Words are pure magic, and so are the souls who put those words on paper.

I’ve gotten braver over the years, and I know now, that no matter what happens in my life, I can get through it. No matter who walks in or out of my life, I can handle it. Whatever stones are thrown at me, I can handle them.

But only if I have books!

Our apartment is great, and I shouldn’t need things to feel at home. There are things of mine here. Home is a who, not a what.

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There was always a light.

I feel lucky, every single day, to be where I am right now. We all have a past. I have demons; I have skeletons in my closet. Some of the people I chose to let in to my life, and some of the choices I made… I could have been given less of a chance to thrive in this life, less of a chance to see. I could have given up, and I could have been given up on.

But I didn’t. But I wasn’t.

It was awfully dark for me, for awhile. It was dark enough to leave me in confusion, but it was never dark enough for me to hide from myself. There was always a light at the end of that tunnel, it was just up to me to pay attention long enough to find it. I had to open my eyes long enough to believe in it, to fight for it, to claw through the darkness until there was none.

But here I am now: squinting up at that light and letting it belong in my life, letting it burn my eyes because it feels so much better than what I saw before.

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Here’s to you, Mom.

To the one who has taught me all of the most important things in life, like how to make homemade mac & cheese, and that I can always say “Sorry, my mom said no” when I don’t want to do something… Even at 25, I’m still using that one.

She taught me that what may seem like a disaster at the time will always turn into a memorable adventure. (You remember? Von Maur circa 2004.) She taught me not to take life too seriously, to work hard, to laugh as much as possible, and that there is good in everyone – even the ghost in the upstairs bedroom. No, especially the ghost in the upstairs bedroom.

She taught me that heartache does fade over time, and that a cut on my arm was not going to kill me. (“It’s a long way from your heart,” she would say.) She taught me that pining and moping over something I wanted was not going to get it for me. She taught me to be passionate in everything I do, and to never quit until I was sure I had given an honest attempt.

She always wanted me to do what I wanted, even if it broke her heart when I told her I didn’t want to play guitar anymore. If I wanted to write, she wanted me to write. She always bought me a new book for any given holiday, and she never made me put it down when I spent the rest of the day finishing that book.

She continually told me I had a great voice, as I belted Christina Aguilera songs out at age 9. My taste in music hasn’t changed much, but my ability to hide the notes I can’t hit definitely has!

She has supported me in everything I’ve done, from quitting college to dating some of the losers I’ve fallen for. Even when I think I could have done more, or I could have done better, she thinks I tried as hard as I could.

I will hug my mom a little harder today, because I know a few out there who can’t do that anymore. Here’s to my mother and yours, wherever she may be. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Floral shirts are best on rainy days.

Stumbling through my closet, tripping on shoes and dirty laundry, digging for something, anything, to wear to a multi-occasion night. I needed something that was BBQ appropriate as well as bar appropriate; I needed a daytime shirt that could be “night out” shirt as well.

Floral is always a go-to for me. How about you?

Check out this adorable top on my Instagram!

 

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The plasma donation and the 30 mile bike ride.

The first bike rides of the season took place this weekend. Finally! I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to be nice enough. We were planning on biking to the Valley Junction Farmer’s Market last Thursday, but, of course, we got the worst thunderstorm of the season. Funnel clouds, winds up to 30 mph, rain, hail… you name it.

Instead, we biked to our favorite place in Valley Junction – Fox Brewing! It’s a small brewery in West Des Moines that’s fox themed, for obvious reasons. We love it, and it’s owned by one of our good friends! (Brian actually grew up with the guy; his name is Brian too.) If you haven’t been there, I suggest checking it out. If you have been there, make sure you hit me up next time you go! They do fun stuff like trivia and yoga.

You have to know it’s a great place if I say it’s my favorite, because… Do you know how many antique stores are in Valley Junction?! #antiquefreak

We biked there on Friday night, which is about 7 miles one way. It’s an easy ride, and the bike trail will take you most of the way there. The weather was perfect; I started in a light jacket and was sweating through that within 20 minutes of the ride. Ditch the jacket, grab a drink of water, off we go.

I forgot to mention… Friday will not go down in history as the day I had the best ideas. I donated plasma that afternoon. I donated plasma and then went on a 14 mile bike ride. To a brewery. Double no-no. I took about 4 sips of a beer, and my mom started giving me the look. I switched to water at the point.

We had gone to Fox Brewing with our families to celebrate our birthday’s since they’re only 7 days apart. I didn’t mind just drinking water; we ordered pizza for dinner, so I wasn’t missing out on that. We played a board game, something like the Worst Case Scenario Survival Game. It was really fun! The questions are hilarious, and I mostly hope I never run into any of those situations. Killer bees? Open wounds? I’m all about the outdoors, I’m actually a nature freak, but only if I get home unscathed.

I was carefree on the way over; it was a rough ride back as I was thirsty and trying to replenish my plasma supply, but we made it around 10:30 pm. We slept 9 hours, and got up to do it all again the next morning. This time, we were headed for Friederick’s Coffee on 22nd St. – almost 8 miles both ways.

I think I was too optimistic at this point.

We’re partaking in Pedal for Paws later this month, which is a 26.2 mile ride. Well, Brian told me I “have a lot of work to do” before that event. On Friday night, slightly insulted, I’m like ‘Okay, I’m just weak from donating plasma. I’ll be fine after I sleep tonight.’ 

Folks, she was not fine after she slept that night.

The ride to the coffee shop was not a flat ride. Every time I saw a hill staring me down, I tried to turn a corner to avoid it. Every time I did that, I found myself facing a bigger hill. It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound! I was just very dramatic from having a 14 mile ride the night before, and from this being our first actual ride of the season. Coming back was a little easier; we broke the ride up into 3 parts. I had to stop once to shop and once to eat.

When we finally headed home, I had to use every last ounce of umph to get there. It was getting warmer since it was pushing 1:00 pm now, my legs were throbbing, my backpack was weighing heavy on my shoulders thanks to our stop at Michael’s Craft Store. I only spent $33.00… But I made it. And then I napped, because… priorities.

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I almost pass out a lot. Like, a lot. Probably once a month, and it’s different every time.

Once a month may not sound like a “very often” thing… until it’s happening to you, and all you can think is “Not again, not again.

I don’t know why it happens. I haven’t been able to find any medical explanation for it. I thought I was diabetic for the longest time, because it would mostly happen mid-afternoon when I needed a snack. When I was younger and it would happen, I would scarf down a candy bar and a Diet Coke. Now, it doesn’t seem to matter if I’ve monitored my blood sugar; it still happens.

I remember every time it has happened like it was yesterday, and it actually did happen yesterday. It’s a little bit emotional for me, because I refuse to let it dictate my life. When I feel it happening, I have to talk myself out of it happening. At this point, I’m certain it’s a mental thing and not physical.

Close your eyes, take deep breaths. You’re okay. You’re going to get through this. 

That’s my mantra. When I start to see things swimming in my vision, when I get clammy and my hands go cold, when I start to feel numb, that’s what I tell myself. I can tell you one thing very proudly: I’ve never actually passed out from these episodes. I’ve always been able to calm myself down, but I dread the day I can’t talk myself out of it. I dread the day it takes control and I lose it.

It has happened in church. That was actually the first time it happened, and I had a good explanation then. I was young, probably not even thirteen yet. I was at church with one of my best friends, her mom, and her sister. I didn’t know what was happening or how to monitor it yet. I remember standing and sitting and standing and sitting and getting too hot and starting to feel fuzzy, and then I was sitting in a different room with my friend’s sister who kept asking if I was okay. My mom said I had gotten over heated, that was all. But it kept happening.

It has happened at the nail salon. I was really into acrylic nails, for some reason, for a really long time. I’m actually still into them, but I cut too deep once time trying to remove them myself, and I haven’t had them since. They were using that little spinning filing tool, and they must have hit a tender spot. I felt a pinch, something that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, and all of a sudden I was losing it. I never say anything or act on it when this happens, I just pray I can stay conscious until I get through it. While I turned completely white, started sweating, and started seeing spots, I sat completely still. I pretended like nothing was happening, like I always do. I still don’t know if this is the best way to handle it.

It has happened in class. In high school accounting class. I was sitting next to my very best friend, and we were just working on that day’s assignment. This time, it happened so fast I barely had time to react. Like always, when it started, I pretended like nothing was wrong. I tried to continue working on my assignment, but my friend looked at me and said “You are so pale right now. Are you okay?” At that point, I got up and ran to the bathroom. I remembered my mom telling me, after the nail salon incident, that when this happens, I should sit on the floor and put my head between my knees. That’s what I did, in the 2nd floor bathroom at West Central Valley High School. I hope someone would have come to check on me if I didn’t return to class soon. Eventually, the episode passed and I went back to class.

It has happened at work, countless times. Late in the afternoon, when it’s almost time to go home and I’m desperately in need of some fruit or a NutriGrain bar. People make fun of me for packing so many snacks in my lunchbox, but you don’t really get it until it happens to you. It’s not just a matter of being hungry, at that point.

It has happened while donating plasma. I don’t know. I grew up watching CSI. I was never uneasy around blood. I got weekly allergy shots for years when I was younger. I have like 16 tattoos. I’ve never been scared of needles. But it never fails, if I so much as acknowledge that needle in my arm, it happens.

It has happened at home, on my own couch.

It has happened while I’ve been driving in the car.

It has happened at the state fair.

It doesn’t matter where I am, what I have done to prevent it, or how nourished I am that day: it controls my life. It completely consumes me the moment it starts happening, and it drains me for the rest of the day. The horrible part about the whole thing is that I don’t know why it happens. I have tried to stop it in every way I know how. Doctors tell me to eat a yogurt every afternoon to keep my blood sugar up, but people without blood sugar problems don’t have to monitor their blood sugar. Our bodies are supposed to do that, so how can nothing be wrong with mine?

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Go Set A Watchman

I just finished Go Set A Watchman. I know, I know – I’m very behind. I mean, who’s TBR pile is anything shy of a lifetime supply of reading material? Don’t lie to me. The hardest part is figuring out what to read next. I’m going to write a review here and on my Goodreads page. Check it out!

To start off, I have to say that I’m not an avid reader of the classics. I’ve tried Jane Austen and gotten unbelievably bored. I hope you don’t think this is because I think the writing is bad, because she was a very talented writer for her time; I just can’t get into that style of literature. I mostly stick to new stuff. I’m a big fan of Jodi Picoult, Veronica Roth, J.K. Rowling, etc. I did read some Rudyard Kipling and plan to read more, though. I’m a collector of antique books, and I found two poetry/short story collections by Kipling that I can’t wait to dig into.

Anyway, Go Set A Watchman was incredible. I was a little afraid to read this, because sometimes sequels can be just that: sequels. They don’t always complement the series, and they don’t always tell their own story. I think a good sequel should do both. I love that this particular book was a sequel in that it followed the story line of To Kill A Mockingbird, yet it told a whole new story. I actually read that Watchman was originally the first book Harper Lee wrote, but that it was turned down by publishers. It’s a great book when following the story of Mockingbird, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much on its own.

I tend to have a more positive response to things than most people, and I’ve read some pretty nasty reviews of this book. I don’t hate Atticus for the way he is. TKAM made Atticus out to be a good person among a world of bad people, and GSAW made him out to be just as prejudice as the next guy. However, thinking back on Mockingbird, his case with Tom Robinson was court appointed; he didn’t run out offering to defend Tom. It is said in Watchman that Atticus defended Tom all those years ago because he knew that Tom did not commit the crime he was being accused of, not because of his race. It was a matter of justice and nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin.

GSAW is mostly made up of flashbacks, of Scout reminiscing on her younger years when she, Jem, and Atticus were a trio. Now that Jean Louise has grown up and moved away she doesn’t have those moments with her family nearly enough. She lives by herself in an apartment in New York, and she has adjusted to city life so much that being back in the South is trying for her. There is not as much prejudice and one-track-mindedness in New York. Jean Louise feels that she can be her true self in New York, and not the person everyone in Maycomb expects her to be. She has gotten away from the name she has in her hometown.

The climax of the story is her argument with her father. Jean Louise overhears her father saying things that she doesn’t agree with, things that she would never have expected to hear. She comes to believe that Atticus is racist, and she starts to think (very abruptly) that her father tricked her into thinking he was someone he was not. To keep a long argument short, she approaches Atticus with her thoughts and gets more upset when she does not get a rise out of him. I won’t give away the ending of the book, but you all know how Atticus is: very laid back and compliant.

You can imagine how this argument went. 🙂

Thanks for reading!