Monday, February 27, 2012

Ebb and flow

At many times in the last 8ish years, I've thought that things were about to calm down, that at some point in the somewhat near future, things would settle and I would have time to get used to life. First it was, "wow, pretty soon I'll get used to being away from my parents' home and used to living on my own (whether that be college or beyond", next it was, "pretty soon, I'll be used to college classes and not having a very strict, set schedule like high school," "pretty soon I'll be used to be a college grad and living on my own", "pretty soon I'll get used to having a real, grown-up job," "pretty soon I'll get used to the stress that I feel from this job and start feeling used to it and not feel like I'm just barely keeping my head above water," "pretty soon I'll get used to NOT living on my own but living with the love of my life and two dogs."

Lately, I've realized that it was a lot easier to feel calm and settled as a kid. I moved once prior to graduating high school and moving to college. Since then, I have yet to live in one dwelling for longer than a school year. I did think that two years ago would be my craziest year and that at least by comparison, it would settle and give me the illusion of calm. As a reminder, in 2009, I started grad school, in 2010 I graduated grad school, got a job, moved, started the job, met Joel, and fell in love with Joel. So far in 2012 (well, the decision was made in 2011) I've decided for sure that I would not be teaching after this year, decided that my next step is to go through a certified personal trainer course, started a course at University of Richmond to get certified, and later this year, I will get certified, officially leave my job, get married a week later, go on a honeymoon two weeks after that, and then two-ish weeks after that, my last teacher paycheck will come and in order to avoid going nuts and having another breakdown (what, you think deciding not to be a teacher after always identifying myself as a teacher was easy??), I have to assume that I'll get a job or jobs or some source of income. Even if I immediately have a job that starts when the last teacher paycheck comes, I'm not fooling myself to believe that means calm. Someday in the not so distant future, we're thinking about bringing little ones into the world and I know that means that for another 18+ years, there is no calm in my world.

And ya know what? I'm beginning to finally come to terms with that. I've seen my grandmother worry for my entire life about things changing, I've watched her try to control things, and I just don't want to follow in those footsteps. My grandparents currently own 11 acres of land out in the "country" where their closest neighbor is really not that close and the closest relative is an hour away. They decided this past Christmas would be their last in this house because they just can't take care of it anymore. On Christmas Day, my grandfather gifted his three grandsons each with one of the rings that my grandmother had gifted him over the years. Even though my grandfather's arthritic fingers had been unable to wear them for years, this was clearly an emotional moment for my grandfather. My grandmother literally yelled at him for getting emotional. When you try to control other people's emotions, I think it's gone a bit too far. I love my grandma and always will, there are just some things I've learned from her to try to enjoy life. Letting things go and taking life as it throws things at me is the way to go. It's going to be ok, no matter what. Right now, I know what I can't do is continue to be unhappy, stressed, and overwhelmed in a job that I know will never change for me. So I've taken steps to fix it because the answer is not to quit my job and sit around and hope that by some grace of God we'll be able to live on one income. But I am by no means attempting to control the end outcome of this situation because even I don't know what that outcome will look like.

I started writing this because I've completed two of my five personal training course classes. I decided that if this is where I'm headed in my life, to train others, that I should go through the experience myself. Tonight, I met with a personal trainer. At first, I told the people at the gym that I would prefer a female trainer, but when told there was a male personal trainer available for consult this evening, I took it. Let's just say I learned a lot about how not to treat a client/potential client. There have been a lot of words here so far so let's turn this into a list.

What not to do as a personal trainer:

1) Ask your client what their goal is and then progressively add more and more weight to their weight-loss goal.
2) Repeatedly call your client overweight when they're not (check that BMI chart, it may not mean everything, but it does mean something) and their main goal was to tone up, which you'd know if you listened. At all. Ever.
3) Ask your client if they have any "other overweight" friends that might want to train with them.
4) Invite yourself to your client's wedding the first time you meet them
5) Tell your client that they've been doing something wrong after they've done it wrong multiple times and you're trying to do a test on them. Tell them that the other tests looked good but not that one because you did it wrong.
6) Don't find out where your client is coming from exercise-wise. Just because they may not be working out currently, doesn't mean they're a complete idiot and that they've never exercised. Maybe your client even mention something about working out at one point, which you'd know if you listened. At all. Ever.
7) Don't find out where your client is nutrition-wise. Maybe they're already eating healthfully or maybe they don't want your nutrition advice because they realize you're a personal trainer and not a nutritionist. Not that you'd know anything about their nutrition because you didn't bother asking a thing about that and she wasn't going to offer any information up because she's saving her breath for someone who might listen to her. At all. Ever.
8) Talk to your client in a condescending tone.
9) Ask your client what metabolism is and when they give you the right answer, continue explaining it because you're so into talking to yourself that you're not listening. At all. Ever.
10) Forget your potential client's name about 50 times, despite writing it down several times, and not even attempting to figure it out before saying, "uhhhh" and giving a creepy grin with your missing tooth on the side. Ya know, like Harry from Home Alone after the gold tooth falls out.

Needless to say, I will not be giving you $150 a week, nor $100 a week, or even $50 a week. Or even $50. At all. Ever. I was looking for someone to motivate me, to help me, to coach me. Unfortunately, it looks like you motivated me to do it myself. And I'm not paying you for making me figure it out myself. Go use your Vegas tricks on someone else, someone who will believe your "course" from Vegas that I could probably Google and get the same crap from, someone who somehow gets off on being belittled and will sing your praises to high heaven when you help them meet their goals and will then invite you to their wedding and forget about their friends and family and toast to you and only you. I'll go be a guinea pig for one of my fellow students in my class who has had two sessions of learning what you supposedly are a professional at.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Year in Review by Photo


Ended 2010 / began 2011 with Joel, my brother, sister-in-law, and friends. We brought in the new year with bagpipes, fireworks, and an "Irish Kiss."

Attended my very first Skins game (v. Giants .. final game of the season).

Celebrated a quiet birthday with dinner and cake at Joel's house.

Got a new tattoo!


Mostly revolved around gallbladder surgery and recovery. With a lot of love around me.


Ended my lease.


For the very first time, went to --and got engaged in -- VEGAS, baby!


Moved out of my apartment in into our home with Joel.

 Toasted and celebrated our engagement with school colleagues.

Attended Tiffany and Erik's lovely outdoor wedding.

A visit from Ted and Dana from GA (and met my "nephew" just in time to celebrate his 1st birthday!) and Alie.


Short beach vacay to search for a wedding venue. Despite the one wrench in our plans, it was a great success!

My favorite pictures of us ever, waiting at a sound-front restaurant for dinner.


Bathroom paint job -- thanks for your help, Alie!

Our first concert together -- Tim McGraw in VA Beach.


 Joel went to Scotland with the International Children's Games and took advantage of the time to create a surprise bedroom redesign.

First real beach trip as an adult (aka, rental house with brother and friends, paying our own way, no help from mama and daddy). It included some sweet wedding planning, lots of hot tub time, and of course, a fabulous seafood feast dinner.


Back to school ...

Opening game of the 2011 season.

Nerd alert -- cheesin' about the completion of my 365 photo project.


 Engagement pictures with the fabulous Sarah and Matt Stanton.

First trip back to campus since graduating -- and first game in the newly renovated stadium.

Showered with love from true friends during a rough time.

Spending time with bridesmaids and picking out dresses!


Joel and team representatives waiting to receive his trophy for SCMS' soccer team for going undefeated in the regular season and becoming the 2011 season champions.

A trip to NoVA with BYOT ladies to help Jen look for wedding dresses.


A trip to Tennessee with Ted, Dana, Jack, and Alie.

Celebrating the holidays.

 And just like that, it was 2012. The year we will get married!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas fun

I know I never post here, but here's some Christmas fun that's floating around the blogiverse.
1. egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. I tried egg nog once, never again!
2. does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? At my parents' house, Santa used to leave his gift unwrapped.
3. colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored lights on the tree.
4. do you hang mistletoe? No, it's bad for dogs and our dogs WOULD find a way to get it.
5. when do you put your decorations up? We got our tree two weeks before Christmas but it didn't get decorated until a week later.
6. what is your favorite holiday dish? Grandma's mac and cheese
7. favorite holiday memory as a child? My brother and I spilling the beans about everything we knew our parents were getting each other :)
8. when and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I have no idea.
9. do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We used to, now we celebrate with my dad's parents and aunt&uncle on Christmas Eve so we don't really need to open one from immediate family, we're a little more patient.
10. how do you decorate your Christmas tree? Colored lights, assorted ornaments, and a crocheted angel on top
11. snow! love it or dread it? I hate cold and I hate snow. I don't mind quite as much if it's enough to get it out of school.
12. can you ice skate? Yes, the last time I did was at all-night grad party.
13. do you remember your favorite gift? I think my favorite gift was my mac a few years ago. It was a Christmas/birthday/college graduation gift.
14. what’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? This year it's that it's my first Christmas that I get to spend with Joel. Last year, we'd been dating for a month when Christmas came along so I'm not really sure our family took us seriously so we got to spend Christmas Eve together but not Christmas Day. The most important thing every year is continuing traditions.
15. what is your favorite holiday dessert? Grandma's sugar cookies
16. what is your favorite holiday tradition? Spending Christmas Day at my grandparents' house "up country". Unfortunately this is the last year as they have decided that this is their last Christmas and in the next year, they'll be moving to a retirement community.
17. what tops your tree? a crocheted angel that my fiance's grandmother made
18. which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Is it cheating to say both? I love picking out gifts that I think people will enjoy but it would suck to get to Christmas morning and not get anything.
19. candy canes: yuck or yummy? Depends on the flavor.
20. favorite Christmas show? Elf.
21. saddest Christmas song? I'll let you know the next tears I shed while listening to the Christmas music station.
22. what is your favorite Christmas song? Baby it's Cold Outside

Friday, December 9, 2011

Year end 101 in 1,001 progress

Oh my dear non-wedding planning blog, how I've missed you. I, of course, have things going on in my life besides planning a wedding and there are some things I'm just not in the mood with sharing with the entire internet. For now, I have not updated my 101 in 1, 001 since the end of last year so that I shall do. Asterisks are in progress, strike-throughs are complete, comments as needed.
1. Donate hair to Locks of Love Children with Hairloss - Had to change to an organization that takes color-treated hair
* Not planning on more than a trim from now until the wedding and then planning on cutting my hair soon after.
2. Run a half-marathon
3. Run a marathon
4. Run a Disney race
5. Adopt a dog
6. Cook a Thai dish - This was attempted, not quite palatable -- will probably try again.
7. Cook an Indian dish
8. Eat at an Ethiopian restaurant
9. Eat real sushi
10. Visit California
11. Use my passport
12. Watch 26 movies I've never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet
13. Make 10 new friends
14. Complete a 365 day photo challenge
*15. Read 100 books
16. Influence a person to make a day zero list
17. Complete a coloring book
18. Buy a car
19. Go to 5 different museums
20. See a drive-in movie
21. Get over my fear of riding bikes
22. Take my parents out to dinner and pay - Dad's birthday 2010
23. Eat breakfast everyday for a week
24. Ride on a motorcycle
25. See a shooting star and make a wish
26. Attend a midnight movie premiere
27. Visit Georgia to meet Jack  Have not been to Georgia to see Jack, but I have gotten to see him twice. Knowing the effort we had to go through to get to that point, I'm counting it as done. Ted, Dana, and Jack came to VA in May and this past weekend we spent in TN with them.
28. Make Christmas cards for my friends and family
29. Research/start investment plan; start retirement fund
30. Make a gingerbread house
*31. Do one thing a month I have never done- August 2010, went to a movie by myself; September 2010, adopted a dog; October 2010, finished my first nine weeks of teaching; November 2010, cannot remember now that my notes were deleted but I'll come up with it!!; December 2010, bought and put up my own Christmas tree!! (Gosh, I didn't keep track for a year, yikes!!) January 2011, spent New Year's Eve with my love; February 2011, had major surgery/a body part removed, was that gross? Maybe!; March 2011 - picked out an engagement ring!; April 2011 - went to Las Vegas, baby!; May - met my "nephew" for the first time; June - finished my very first school year; July - watched the Harry Potter series; August - first "grown-up" beach trip -- aka no parents!; September - met my future in-laws; October - found out who my true friends are; November - inducted the first class of NJHS at SCMS (as co-advisor)
32. Visit a national park- last weekend we went to Roan Mountain, TN -- we actually stayed in a state park, but we did visit at least on national park, according to my internet searches
33. Go to a fireworks show on the Fourth of July- we tried but it got rained out :(
34. Try 20 new restaurants
35. Live by myself for a year- when I made this list, it was August 2010 and my thought was "even if I meet a guy today, there's no WAY I'll live with him within a year..." yeah... best laid plans :) I'm ok with the fact that this goal won't be met
36. Go a whole day without saying anything negative
37. Donate money to charity
38. Carve a pumpkin for Halloween
39. Get an aquarium
40. Learn to decorate cakes
41. Take surfing lessons
42. Go to an amusement park
43. Go for a whole week without using Facebook
44. Get Water Safety Instructor certified
45. Coach a swim team
46. Buy a work of art
47. Attend a photo exhibition
48. Make a blanket fort
*49. Listen to 26 bands I've never listened to starting with each letter of the alphabet.- again, I lost my list, but I pick up the free iTunes singles from Starbucks when I remember and download iTunes free singles every week which helps this one.
50. Find a poem that means something to me
51. Sing in the shower
52. Write down every dream I have for a week.
53. Dance in an elevator
54. Make homemade ice cream
55. Read ten literary classics
56. Take a trip to NYC
57. Be a member of the audience in a TV show
58. Go to trivia night at a bar
59. Send a handwritten letter
60. See a musical
61. Stay at a B&B
62. Do the 200 squats challenge (
*63. Attend 10 concerts- Sugarland in Sept. 2010 and will be seeing Jimmy Eat World in Feb. 2011. This summer added another Tim McGraw show. Not sure if I should count comedy shows, but I also saw Gabriel Iglesias and Jeff Dunham. They may end up counting at the end of these 1001 days as I'm just not seeing as many concerts as I used to!
64. Spend one whole day at the cinema
65. Finish writing another 101 things list by the end of 1001 days
66. Visit a brewery
67. Go to a flea market
68. Do something for charity - participated in Angel Tree for our school.
*69. Listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time- lost my list so will probably start over
70. Host a cupcake party
71. Take a zumba class
*72. Visit at least 5 states I haven't been to before- this year I visited NV and TN
73. Go on a vacation- actually went on multiple vacations: engagement trip to Las Vegas for spring break and OBX times two this summer.
74. Go to an art gallery
75. Build a sandcastle
76. Write a short story
77. Go to a winery
78. Get a new pair of glasses
79. Go to the cinema on my own
80. Pay off all credit cards
81. Eat a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich
82. Go to a food festival
83. Blog at least once a month- technically I failed on this, however, I feel that my frequent blogging on the wedding blog might count if I were to average it out.
84. Have a little red dress
85. Get CPR certified
86. Learn to play poker
87. Make bread from scratch
88. Finish a crossword puzzle
89. Complete the 100 pushups challenge
90. Go to a Redskins game- done times two -- went to the last game of last season and the first game of this season, both against the Giants with very different results
91. Learn to drive a stick shift
*92. Regularly update regular blog about dayzeroproject- note sure how often "regularly" is but I figure if I update all the way from here until it ends, it counts!
93. Go camping
94. Do something adventurous- I went to Vegas, moved in with Joel, got engaged ... I didn't count all the huge big events in my life last year for some reason but I feel like at this point, something along the way counts.
95. Visit Sea World
96. Make tiramisu
97. Send a secret to PostSecret
98. Become a vegetarian for a week
99. Get a more visible tattoo  

100. Put away $2 for every goal completed - this one, I officially suck at. I owe myself $54.

101. Create a budget and stick to it

Completed - 27 (and plan on making a gingerbread house before this holiday season is over!)
In - progress - 8

It's nice to see that I've made some progress this year. Mostly without even intentionally trying. In fact, I think the only one that I did and thought "I can check this off this list!" was getting the tattoo. In 2012, I think I'll be more intentional with some of the things on the list as some take a bit of planning/follow-through to complete. Considering I still have until May/June 2013, I think it's plausible that my list get mostly checked off!