Saturday, December 25, 2010

No Retail Holiday Rant :)

Today is Christmas (obviously). But I don't feel like giving a Retail Holiday Rant this year for some reason. I think it has to do with the fact that I rediscovered the reason for Christmas this year. I was writing to a friend last night, while I was waiting for Santa to come (we seriously needed to chat because for the past few years I've asked for a boyfriend and he has not delivered) and I just wanted to share a small part of the email with everyone:

 Do you remember when you stopped believing in Santa? I do. Let me tell you that story. I was about 8ish and my mom pulled me into her bedroom one day during the Christmas season. I thought maybe I was in trouble because you don't normally get pulled into closed doors without being in trouble :-). She sat me down and proceeded to tell me Santa wasn't real, that he was made up for small children to believe in. I remember my eyes were so wide! I had no idea! Santa wasn't real? At that moment, I felt so grown up, though. I was let in on this big secret. My mom then told me that I had to keep the secret from my younger brother and sisters and pretend for them until they were old enough to be told. My nephew, Jimmy, does the same thing now. He's 11 and he's so good at pretending to believe for his younger sisters that I had to whisper to my sister, "does he know?" My nephew, Jimmy, is awesome. He is definitely a special, special spirit. He should be at the age where he's starting to focus on himself, where friends are more important to him than family (don't get me wrong, he is super social and has lots of friends), but he's so great with his older brother, Daniel, who is severely autistic and, although he is sometime the typical "older brother" that teases his little sisters, they all love him to bits. And he is such an impressive young man. He met me at the door tonight and I was carrying several bags and he immediately takes most of them from me and asks if I want them up in my room...without me saying anything. Seriously great kid. Plus, he's smart. Like he could have skipped a couple grades smart. He just finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I didn't read that until a few years ago when the movies came out and I thought they were definitely adult reads. I'm fairly certain at age 11 (when I was reading Baby-Sitters Club) that I wouldn't have been able to get through the Lord of the Rings. And he hasn't lost the ability to give his old aunt a hug. I love it. I was worried when I moved back down here that he would think he was too old for that (and there still may come a time when he is), but for now, I am enjoying the fact that he loves to just hang out with me because I'm cool...and his favorite aunt (although he is smart enough to know he can't say that anymore ;)). One great thing about being single is that I can be the favorite aunt. Whenever I am at a sibling's house, I am able to focus on just them. I don't have to chase around any kids or do anything else besides that, so I am able to make them feel special. Plus, I really do like dressing up and dancing around...or playing a video game, if they teach me...or discussing the latest and greatest books...or just running around outside. Kids love the active participant. niece, Deena, asked me tonight (I am also her favorite aunt ;) and truth be told, she holds a very special place in my heart, and haha, she's turning out to be just like I was as a poor sister), anyway, she asked me tonight if I was going to stay forever at her house. She loved it when I lived here, but I told her, no, I wasn't going to live forever at her house. Then, I told her that her mom probably didn't want her to live forever at her house either. That one day, she would live somewhere else, too. Deena looked confused at this. I just chuckled and gave her a hug. Someday you'll understand. But you know what I realized tonight. And this isn't any great epiphany or anything like that, but while I was having these conversations and hugs with my nieces and nephews, laughing with my sister and brother-in-law, something softly whispered...this is why Christ was born. This is the real reason for Christmas. Family. Eternal family. Family brings such joy to me. Yes, sometimes my family drives me crazy, but for the majority of the time, such joy. I cherish them.

Merry Christmas everyone!! Celebrate the Spirit of CHRISTmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I am sick. Fuzzy sick. Why is there no one to tuck me in?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sarah Palin Did a Turkey Trot, so I thought I Might Do One

Brrr...cold. That is all I can say about my first 5k. Okay, that's not all I can say, but whenever I think about the first race I ever entered, the thought of, "dang, that was a cold one" will probably always come to mind. I believe the temperature was 5 degrees this morning when the race started. Yes, that is a 5 with no other number to go with it. What race, you might ask? Well, since it is Thanksgiving, it would have to be a Turkey Trot! You know, imaginary cyberspace friend, ever since Sarah Palin did the Turkey Trot last year in Richland, I wanted to do one. That can be kept between me and you, okay? Hehe.

So, let's take a step back and trace my path to my first 5k, shall we? Let's see. It was about four years ago when I moved back to Prosser to "save money to go to New York". Well, I joined the local gym shortly thereafter. The owner wanted me to check out the new kickboxing class that was just starting, so the first night there, I went...and fell in love with kickboxing (yes, this is a little side note, but it does have something to do with how I really got into running). Let me just tell you my feelings about kickboxing. It is empowering. It makes me feel strong and able. It is a whole body workout. There is a reason MMA people have killer bodies (no, I am not an MMA killer body example...). But during the course of the kickboxing class, the instructor would always have us run through the gym. Running?????? What the heck was this thing? I did not like it because 1) I had no idea how to do it and 2) I was almost always the slowest person out there. Running has always, always been a struggle for me. Who's with me? Who was always the last person to complete the mile during gym? Me. Who was always the last person to get back after running laps? Me. Get the point? Running and me were arch enemies. But I loved and I mean LOVED kickboxing. But running seemed to come with the territory every class. So, I decided to try something. When I wasn't doing kickboxing, I was usually out in the gym just messing around on the weight machines (this was before I knew what to do) or walking on the treadmill, perhaps doing a brisk walk, almost jog. Well, one day, I decided if I was going to continue with kickboxing, I was going to have to start running better. So, while I was on the treadmill, I pumped it up to 5.0 for 30 seconds. I thought I was going to die. Literally my lungs would burst out of my chest and my poor, short, non-runners legs would fall off. Hmmm...they didn't. I kept walking. Hit it up to 5.0 for another 30 seconds. The sweet release of death still did not come. I tried another 30 seconds and another 30 seconds. I think I did a total of two minutes of running that day. Split up between many, many minutes of walking. Not a bad start, I thought. I wasn't dead, so it couldn't be all that bad, right?

I kept going to my kickboxing classes and upping my running times. Still mostly 30 second intervals, but the walking was becoming shorter. I think once I did a one minute run. Yeah...thought I would die again. But I was getting better and better during classes. I wasn't always last now when we ran through the gym. When we did stairs, I was able to complete all of them without stopping. Funny how things like this happen when you work on them. Then, I moved and no more kickboxing classes. I had a little gym where I lived, so I would do my walk/run thing on the treadmill, but why was I running? What was the reason to get my butt out of my couch and go run? Wasn't I only doing it so I could be better in my kickboxing class? Turns I was starting to actually...enjoy it? I was now at 1 minute of running. I even got a running journal and filled it out religiously, which is strange for me because I'm usually so bad at things like that (tracking...anything). Then, my dad died.

One of my most focused memories during that time was either a day or two after my dad died. It was before his funeral and I really wanted to have a little normalcy in my life, so I put on some workout clothes and headed out to my little gym. Fortunately, there was usually no one else there (crazy people who have access to a free gym and don't use it!), so I was there by myself. Unfortunately, there were full length mirrors. What that had to do with this story, well not was just unfortunate that I had to see myself run/workout almost everyday (this is where I developed the habit of wearing only black while working out because I didn't want to see the jiggles ;)). How was that at attempting to dissipate the somber mood this entry has taken? No? Okay...back to the little gym and the treadmill. I started out going pretty good. Do you ever start a run and just know it's going to be a good one? Oh, I was up to two minutes of running/30 seconds off/back on for two minutes. Well, this was going to be a good one. I had just lost my dad and I had some serious load I needed to give to the treadmill. Unfortunately, I think the treadmill couldn't take it all. If you didn't know this about heightens almost everything. Your brain synapses explode during running (okay, maybe not quite explode, but they are very, very active). I actually didn't know this at the time, so when I was suddenly doubled over in tears, it came as quite a shock. I was already out of breath from running and I felt like I couldn't get enough air. I didn't know it, but my already heightened emotions were overflowing from the chemicals running through my body released by cardiovascular exercise...running in particular. After that, when my whole life seemed to be crumbling around me, I would come to the little gym and run. You would think that I would be getting better and better, but the rest of my life did not support a runner's lifestyle, so instead of getting better, I actually became worse. My times became shorter, and I kept getting in worse and worse shape. Then, I did inventory with Michelle Price.

This was about two and a half years ago. I wasn't in the worst physical shape of my entire adult life, but it was close. I weighed over 300 lbs. (there you go people, you can know where I came from). 313 to be exact when we started a Biggest Loser competition. I'm not ashamed of that number because it represents where I came from and where I will never be again. Well, during this competition, I decided to follow Jillian Michael's exercise plan. She does circuit training with one day of cardio. She also encourages cardio on the days that you do circuit training for "extra credit". I fully embraced this and started my education on exercise. For the most part I chose running to be my form of cardio. I also started to eat better and learn about food and nutrition. Put all three of those together and you can't help but get results. It is when you take one of those away that progress slows way down or halts all together. But I digress, this is a blog entry on my running past. So during this competition, I decided that I wanted to be a runner. Before this I had only dabbled in it basically halfheartedly. I started to run outside. Now, this is an entire different beast than running inside. It is hard! At first, I thought I was crazy until I had a friend confirm that the same thing happened to her, so I felt better after that :). It was also during this time that I realized I did my best thinking while running. And this made sense once I read about the brain thing. And I just felt great after I got done. Usually not during, but after...about a half hour after I just started to think life was really, really great. But, unbeknownst to me, I was not pushing myself like I could. The competition ended (I won) and I kept on it. Then, I moved to Utah.

I still have not entered a race at this point. Running was still a very personal thing to me. It was me time. It was a time to forget the world and refocus on what was important in my life. But moving to Utah and meeting my running friend (see previous running blog in September) inspired me to be better at it. Inspired me to take it a little more serious than a couple times a week cardio workout that made me feel really, really great. So, I entered my first 5k today. It was a glorious struggle. I have never, ever run in weather this cold. Not even close. And here I was, all alone in a sea of runners and people like me who thought they might be considered runners someday. I did not recognize a single face in the crowd. But I felt excited and determined. I knew I was able to run for 3 miles straight, but in this cold weather? Would it defeat me? No. I will not be defeated because once I set my mind to something...I do it. It hasn't always been this way, but it has become who I am. And who I always wanted to be. The horn sounds and we're off. I start at a steady pace, keeping my eyes ahead, my arms in a relaxed 90 degrees, pumping slightly, neck and head relaxed. And I just go. Not fast by any stretch of the imagination (confession: I only had one hour of sleep the night before because I was so excited, I couldn't sleep), but I did not stop. I did not walk...for 3.1 miles. At mile 2, I pulled my hat off because I was too hot and near the end of the race I reached up to my head and it was a mess of ice and hair. And I finished at 37 minutes. I'll take it. But here's the thing. I'll take it for my first race, but I won't take it for my second. Today, I became a runner in my mind. Truly a runner. Watch out Sarah Palin....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Plan For Not Writing My Retail Holiday Rant

So, remember how last year I came up with a great way to combat the retail holiday blues by working out and just thinking positive? Do you remember how well that went?? Yeah...not so well. By the end of the Holiday season, I was pretty much mush that would come home and just sit in front of the tv. I had no energy to do anything else. This year, though is going to be different, imaginary cyberspace friend! Okay, so I'm going to workout, but I'm not going to force a positive attitude because I know that will never work when I'm in the midst of Retail Holiday Hell (can I copyright that?). So, I am going to have a goal instead in the month of December. My goal is to read the entire New Testament. I figure it will get me a little more in the Christmas spirit and maybe, just maybe I'll have a better attitude. I'm not going to hold my breath, but it maybe, just might work. And maybe by time December 31 rolls around I won't be giving my soon to be annual Holiday Retail Rant. Maybe. Like I said...not holding my breath.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stefanie's Mission Statement

Well, imaginary cyberspace friend, it's just you and me again. I feel like I'm with an old familiar friend when I'm writing to you ;). I just finished a book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I started reading it a few months back and got about a third of the way through when I got distracted in my life and set it aside to do other things (you know...move, change my whole life, etc.), but I picked it back up because just reading the first third opened my eyes to what I was putting in my mouth so much that I couldn't wait to see what the rest of it brought me. I was not disappointed. I don't know if I'll ever be able to look at a piece of meat the same way again! Especially meat from a fast food restaurant or even a sit down restaurant. For example, an ad on TV for a local restaurant boasts that their Grade A USDA choice beef is from cows who are only fed an all grain diet. Wait. That's probably not something you want to be proud of because, in case you didn't know, feeding grain to a cow is like feeding grass to us. They can't digest it without great difficulty and it wreaks havoc on their system. Also, if they're being fed an all grain diet, that means the cow was raised on a killing farm, where he lived a lovely life standing in his own feces and being pumped so full of antibiotics, there was no way he was getting sick in his short, unhealthy life. Don't even get me started on the hormones to bulk him up! And yes, we are ingesting that whenever we eat meat from a cow that was fed an all grain diet. Sigh. I love learning about food. And I love that I have such a passion for it! I have never enjoyed reading non-fiction before. But that was mainly due to the fact that I had to read history books that were quite boring (at least to me...yeah, once again...wrong degree there). I started reading another book called "The China Study." I'm only in the first part of it, but already it has made me say out loud...on the way! How's this for no 2006 "we [spent] one out of every seven dollars the economy produces on health care." That was five years ago (almost). And we all know the economy tanked since then, so who knows how much is spent now. I know we, as a country, haven't gotten any healthier (in general). The man who authored this book, T. Colin Campbell boils it down to this: "The answer to the American health crisis is the food that each of us chooses to put in our mouths each day. It's as simple as that." I am so excited to read the rest of this book and compare it with what I've read so far. I can also tell why Jim gave this to me...vegan boy ;). We'll see what happens.

So, I've been going without dairy this week. It was two different people who led me to try it, and I figured if two people, that I trust eat well and are well informed, told me I should try it.... Okay. It's been hard! There is dairy in everything! Unless I go to specialty stores and get the non-dairy stuff, I could not eat chocolate! Even the darkest 80% make you want to choke on some dust of chocolate had milkfat in it!! I couldn't believe it. I have eaten way less sweets this week, but it seems like I've eaten more breads. I've eaten more fruits and veggies, which is a great thing. And I discovered bananas don't upset my stomach as much as I thought they did (although I know now I can't run with one in my stomach!) I also discovered I like soy chocolate milk. Oh, and peppermint hot chocolate (as I am typing this, I realize that this contradicts my previous statement about chocolate...there was probably trace amounts of dairy in the mocha used to make the hot chocolate). So, I've learned soy is not the devil. And not as gritty as I remembered it being. I will admit, I haven't tried soy milk, plain and simple. I guess I probably should before my week is up...tomorrow :). Now, I don't have terrible skin, but one of the two said my skin would start to look better...I'm still holding judgement out for that one as I have a zit forming below my lip as I type ;). I do feel better, though. I hate to admit it, but I do. As I was riding the train home today from work (yay for public transportation!) I just kept thinking that I feel great! Both mentally and physically. I didn't think that there was a connection until right now. I know I won't be able to give up milk completely, but this week has been such an eye opener to exactly how much dairy products I've been consuming...all of my life. And it got me to thinking...if I consume that much dairy in my foods, why the heck do I need to drink 3-4 glasses of milk on top of that?! The system is screwed up. I could probably give up drinking milk out of the carton and be perfectly fine in my daily nutritional requirements that dairy provides. On a side note, it has been fun to get other people to find non-dairy things for me. It's like a hunt! The chocolate hunt left me a little sad because I came home empty handed, but other than that :).

So, reading these things has got me to thinking about my future and what exactly I want to make out of it. I've been thinking about a mission statement because all great companies/people have one and stick to it. I've never had a mission statement for my life because I've never had a mission in my life and reading today brought back all of that passion that led me to so drastically change my life. It has been simmering these past couple of months, but today it boiled. I think my mission statement will start out with a quote I read today and end with what I will accomplish and with what dedication I will put into it. Okay, let's see if we can flesh this out, shall we, imaginary cyberspace friend?

Stefanie's Mission Statement
"There are, in effect, two things: to know and to believe one knows. To know is science. To believe one knows is ignorance" Hippocrates. My goal is to know. To learn, study and continue to learn and study everything about nutrition. To not be complacent in this knowledge, but to foster it's growth for the good of the community as a whole. My goal is to never compromise my nutritional standards and to be the best Dietitian I can be. I will not strive for recognition, but will, instead focus on the rising generation, one individual at a time.

Okay, that sounds pretty good. :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Distractions Abound While Texting

So, I somehow formatted my internet in a what I can only call a "large print" mode. It's not terribly inconvenient, but I would like to know how I did it, so that perhaps I can undo it. I may have to ask for help on this one. Hey! This will help with one of my 15 things, which is asking for help. Yeah...we'll see if I can't figure it out on my own ;).

That was not the topic I had in mind. Although it would, I'm sure make for an entertaining topic (entitled, Times I Should Have Asked for Help, but Didn't...maybe next time) it is not what I have on my mind. What do I have on my mind, you might be asking yourself. You are asking yourself, aren't you, imaginary cyberspace friend? (On a side note, I'm listening to the Carpenter's "Superstar" and thinking of Tommyboy...not what I have on my mind) Okay, now I'm torn. I could either be all serious or humorous. When confronted with that option, well I...I don't know. I am feeling really distracted right now and that is what I want to talk about. Distraction. I cannot remember if I've ever talked about distraction before. This world seems to be so busy. I go through my day just thinking that everything is going alright, but before I know it, it's 10:23 pm and I haven't worked out yet. I haven't eaten dinner. I haven't written the blog I've been meaning to for a few days. (Distraction: it just shifted to Wilson Phillips' "You're in Love" which I associate with my preteen years...ahh...the preteen years, which are a precursor to your teen years which only suck slightly less than said teen years. ;)) So, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. Distraction. I wrote about planning in my last blog and you would think, wouldn't you, imaginary cyberspace friend, that I would have embraced planning my life out to great detail after that. Having my eyes on the prize. (Another side note: Rascal Flatts just shuffled in. I love them so much and cannot wait for their new album :)) Okay, back on subject. Distraction. I don't know about anyone else, but I use distraction to both my advantage and disadvantage. I try to distract others when topics or situations become uncomfortable for them. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on their focus really.  Maybe that's all I should say on that subject. I don't know who is reading this and I don't want to reveal all my trade secrets ;). Wow, my mind is swirling. All these things going through it. For example, sometimes I feel like a bad sister, a bad daughter. Maybe bad is the wrong word, but definitely not the greatest in the world. I feel like sometimes I am trying so hard to live and build my life, that I forget who has helped me to build this life I'm trying to live. I lose communication with them for long stretches of time and in my mind that is a failing of mine. It's not that I don't want to talk to them or that I don't think of them often, it is just I am distracted in my life from taking the time to do these things. Like pick up my cell phone, touch a button and call. I was watching a talk tonight on addiction (having a food addiction, these types of things help me to focus) and one of the things mentioned was a texting addiction. Now, I don't think I've become addicted to texting, but it has become the preferred form of communication for me. (Side note that is actually relevant to the topic: one thing mentioned in the talk was observing two teens texting each other while standing next to each other...yeah. One of my favorite memories is sitting around the living room at my mom's house with my sister, Melanie and my brother, Matt and us texting each other...while we were sitting next to each other. Laughter abounded that night.) Texting allows me to "talk" to someone while doing something else (not driving!). It does not allow me to focus on that person, which is a form of distraction. It has gotten to the point where I almost feel like it is going to be, you know, hard, to make an actual phone call and carry on a conversation where you can't think of the perfect thing to say, then type it, then do something else while waiting for a response. A phone call takes focus and I think it should say to the other person...I'm thinking of you and only you right now. Something to think about. Haha! Who would have thought 10 years ago that making a phone call would be such a hard thing to do (besides the obvious calling of the person of interest to ask out on a date, which has been and will always be hard, but guess what? We have texting to overcome that anxiety and also the anxiety of breaking up with person not of interest anymore!)? So, you know what I am going to do? I am going to call one person a day for the next week...or so. I want the people in my life to know they are not mere distractions to me. (Final side note: Imaginary cyberspace friend, I added that picture above as a tribute to you...and to distract those who happen upon this blog.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

So, a quote has been rolling around in my head for the past week. It goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This was the subject line to one of the Jillian Michaels' emails I get every day. Now, I will admit that I didn't actually read it, but I can guess what it said. Something along the lines of plan your workouts. Plan your meals. Plan your diet, etc. I was driving home tonight from work and was thinking I wanted to write in my blog tonight (which I'm doing, yay me), but I wanted a subject. Since I was thinking of it before I sat down to write, this quote came to my mind...again. It makes me think of progression in this life. As in, if you're not progressing in your personal, spiritual and professional life, you're sliding backwards. Life is such that you can't really stand still. Time is always moving. This world is always moving. What we do with each second, with each minute will determine whether we are moving forward or backwards. Whether we have planned to fail or not. I, for one, do not want to fail in this life. For those of you who are LDS, remember God has a great Plan. He does not plan to fail and it is His greatest work that we do not as well. That is the Big Picture. It is good to be reminded of that on probably a daily basis, but what about the now. I'm asking myself this question. How well do I plan? There are things I'm great at planning. Hmmm...let me think. I know there's something I'm great at planning. Wow. I can't think of one thing I am really great at planning. I look at my typical day and usually it is filled up, but it is never really planned out. Is every day a failure, then? I don't think so, but if I had a plan, would it have been a better day? A more productive day? Every year, I buy a planner. At this point in my life, I don't know why I do this. I might use it for a few weeks at the beginning of the year, then maybe for a few more weeks during the middle of the year when I stumble upon it again, but for the most part, my life is not planned out. This past year, I came up with a five year plan, but it is not set in stone. There is a timeline I want to follow, but it is not written down. It is not planned out as well as it could be. I do not plan to fail in this, but if I do not plan it out correctly and in a timely manner (don't you just love the phrase 'timely manner'?), then I might just be planning on failing.

Okay, so I have my five year plan, but what about my day to day planning? I know that I should plan out each week, say on Sunday, just so I, well, have a plan and that I don't fail that week to workout or that I don't fail that week to eat right because I didn't plan a grocery trip and I was out of good food (not that it happened tonight or anything like that...ahem). So, probably what really brought this on was yesterday, Saturday. I didn't work until 4 in the afternoon, but the day was spent tooling around on the computer without accomplishing anything. I woke up too late and did not get a workout in because I did not plan my day properly. I wanted to go running, heck, I even put on my facebook status (time waster galore) that I was going running, yet, right after I typed that, I looked at the clock and realized I had to start getting ready for work then. The day was a complete waste and it was really all due to lack of planning. Then, I didn't leave myself enough time to pack a lunch (yet, more failure) and so I had to eat out, costing me money and calories. I rode trax (public train transportation), but even that was almost an epic failure. I've been down here for almost a month and decided on a whim to give it a try. The only planned part of the day was to leave early enough to catch the train to make it to work on time (which I did), but if I had researched or planned better, I would have realized there was a parking lot right next to my stop and avoided walking a mile home at midnight (not that it's really that unsafe in Sandy, but you never know). So, Saturday was almost an epic fail, with the exception of getting to trax on time.

So, guess what this means? I need to dust off my planner and start actually planning my life. I don't want to fail. You shouldn't want to fail either, imaginary cyberspace friend. Let's get planning (yes, that is a bit hokey, but I like it :))

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Get What You Ask For...Or Not

I have a feeling today's blog is going to be a mish mash of topics. For this past month I feel like I have been just going and going and going (my energizer battery was going full steam) and if you know me, which I assume you do since you're reading my blog, you know this is highly unlike me. I am a creature of habit. I like the occasional surprise and change in my life, but for the most part, I like stability. Now, I knew moving to Utah would bring an upheaval in my life and I tried to prepare myself as best I could, but sometimes your best isn't good enough. There have been times this past month that I got through with my day and I just sat in my room and cried. Nothing terrible had happened during the day, it was just a different day than what I was used to. There have been so many positive things to come out of this move already that I can't say it hasn't been worth it, but change is hard! I feel like every single part of my life has been touched by change. Change that I allowed to come in. I cannot blame anyone else, but me. I no longer want to go to South Dakota (because I have a feeling I would only be able to make it to Wyoming at this point and who wants to live in Wyoming during the winter??). Hmmm...I bet I have your interest as to what the positives have been (or not, but read on anyway!). Well, for starters, I have met some pretty cool people since I've been down here. My social life, which used to be less than zero (yes, I considered work my social life...HA!) is now probably a 5ish. Not exactly where I want it to be, but I'm working on it. Another positive is that I'm praying again. If any of you reading this have gotten out of the habit (and it is so easy to do!), I challenge you to start again. I've found that as I pray and have a prayer in my heart throughout the day, I am much more receptive to promptings of the Spirit. Yes, even out on the Utah freeways. I think I need prayer there. ;). Another positive has been getting over my fear and anxiety of driving on the my car. For those of you who don't know, a few years back, I took a trip to Utah and Idaho by myself and in the process had two tires blow out on me on the freeway. Not one...two. And these were good tires. Fairly new and were replaced for free, but it was slightly traumatic. So, every time I got on the freeway after that, it was almost like I was having a small anxiety attack. I would have to turn my music up so loud and preferably have my cruise control on, so I couldn't hear the tires. I got so freaked out every time there was a noise shift in the way the tires were gripping the road. It was almost debilitating at times (sorry, mom). So here, I lived in Lehi, UT and my work was 45 minutes away...almost all on the freeway. I had to drive! For the first couple of days I was just glad to make it to work and back. Period. Plus, I've never lived in a city, so it was all strange and big and new (wow, don't I sound like a little innocent) and there were cars weaving in and out, not using blinkers. I am also thankful I did not see an accident for the first couple of weeks, so I didn't worry about that while I was getting my driving feet under me again. But day by day it became easier. I learned to become part of the dance of I-15. I learned to glance over my shoulder and weave in and out of traffic. I gun my engine (not too much because, hey, I'm still a Washingtonian) and start to signal as I'm changing lanes already (at least I use my signal). And my fear is gone. I don't have anxiety when I'm getting onto the freeway and I don't wonder if my tires are going to give out on me. That has been such a great relief and blessing in my life, y'all have no idea.

Subject Change: Right now my heart is so full. Do you ever feel like that, imaginary cyberspace friend? Where you feel like there is so much inside of you that you're going to explode if it doesn't come out? Sometimes I get like that and I have all these great ideas (most of which just get pushed back into my brain), but today I feel like I could move mountains...and there is absolutely no reason for this. Nothing big has happened. I did see my friend, Jenny, but I felt like this beforehand. There is this deep and abiding passion for life that is bubbling inside of me. I feel the need to sing and to run and to write. Outwardly, I am the picture of calm and practicality, but inside I feel so alive. And if I had the stage, I would be unstoppable on it tonight. I would sing ballads. I would sing rock. I would sing with my heart and all the talent God gave me. But I have to unpack. You know, I just had a thought. Maybe my writing is an outlet for this passion. Maybe. Sometimes I just want to have someone there to listen to all that is inside of me. There is so much there. Some of it is buried deep, but if I had someone to sit there and listen to me for a day or night, I can imagine it would all come out. Someone who actually wants to discover what is inside of me. Because it would be a discovery. Where did that come from? Imaginary cyberspace friend, you are supposed to keep me reined in. Do your job!

Well, it was only a slightly mishmash of topics, but you get it. The moral of this blog: You get what you asked for...or not. Hehe.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Worms Are Gross

So, I'm just sitting here on the couch at my sister's house waiting for a storm (and rush 2-3 hour traffic) to end. I went on facebook and took four quizzes determining that I am Juliet, Indo-Iranian Goddess Anahiti of Water, Mary Magdalene and that the era I should be in is the 70's. Thrilling stuff, let me tell you. I know there are better things I should be doing with my time...yeah. I'm trying to think about what they could be while waiting for weather and traffic to pass. Let's see. I could be listening to music (but then I could also be taking quizzes at the same time). I could be reading something, but all my books are either packed, in storage or at my new apartment, which I am not at. Hmmm...I could be cyberstalking other people. Isn't that a funny word, cyberstalking? I invite people to do that to me. As long as they don't steal my identity, go ahead and see how wonderful I am! Hahahaha. Sometimes I wonder at how I became this person that thinks she's so wonderful. I mean, I'm not terrible, but I could always be better and I suppose that if you go way down deep, I have flaws ;). I'm not going to point them out because that would defeat the purpose of presenting a wonderful person to the people around me. (Ew...worms on the tv...sorry, Curious George is on and he's learning about worms). Okay, let's go back to what I could be doing besides taking quizzes on facebook. Ummm...I could be digging in the dirt. Sheesh, I really need to stop taking my cues from cartoons on PBS. Maybe I'll just take a nap.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Right Into the Crapper

I'm in a writing mood. Today has been a crapper of a day. I woke up feeling less than cheery, but alright. I was still on a high from running so well last night, so that helped, but I woke up only 6 hours after I went to sleep, so that didn't help. Ugh. I don't feel like rehashing it at all, so I won't. I'm feeling slightly exhausted right now and I think that whatever comes out won't be the most flattering to anyone involved ( imaginary cyberspace friend, etc.). All I can say is thank goodness Gone With the Wind is my favorite movie because "tomorrow is another day...." Tear stained face (check). Hopeful look in my eyes (check). Going to bed now. This day goes right into the crapper.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Running in Cool, Crisp Autumn Air

First off, I really need a computer lap desk. That has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it is very hard to find a comfortable position for a 16.5 inch laptop sitting squarely on your lap when you don't want to be sitting up. So, it is right now propped up on my stomach and thighs at an angle as I lounge on the bed with two pillows propping me up. We'll see how long this lasts....

Okay, subject of the day. Running. I actually have a topic in mind even before I start writing! This hasn't happened for awhile, has it, imaginary cyberspace friend. So, as we all know I am in Utah to get residency to go back to school next year. (You know I really should know the titles to my own blog entries because I want to reference them sometimes, but it always seems like such hard to work to go look them up, so look back at the one around July 1st that has to do with my big decision of the year if you are new to this blog. I know that's probably a reach to expect anyone to be new, but one can always dream ;)) So, I'm in Utah. For a year before I start school. And yes, I know I wrote that at the beginning of the paragraph, but if you took the time to look up the referenced blog entry, you might have forgotten in the lapsed time, so I'm just helping you out. Seriously, you should see me right now with the is starting to dig into my ribs. Wow. I am seeing shiny all over the place tonight. Focus, Stefanie. So, I met this man last night (mom, notice that I am using the word man and not boy) who is very into running. Now, for those who don't know me, or for those who do, but don't know this, about 3 and a half years ago, I joined a gym in Prosser. It was here that I learned kickboxing (okay, shiny), but I also started to attempt to run. Man, you should have seen me back then. I would walk and then pump the treadmill up to something like a 4.5 and jog for 30 seconds, then go back to walking. I think I worked my way up to a minute before I moved to the Tri-Cities, but the seed was there. I moved into my apartment and there was a little gym there with a treadmill. So, I started to made the intervals of running longer. 1.5 minutes, then two, then 2.5 until I was running a good 15 minutes with only a little break here and there. (Then, I would usually walk for 5 minutes and start the whole process over again) Those little breaks became my crutch. Whenever I felt like I was too winded or that I had been running for too long, I stepped off the treadmill and took a drink or wiped my face and then got back on. I started to run outside, which I found was much more difficult, so I had to build up again. But I still had my crutch of when it got too hard, I stopped or slowed. I never truly pushed myself. I knew I was getting into better and better shape, but then I plateaued. Oh, the dreadful word called plateau. In nature it can be beautiful. A raised flat piece of land that can go on for awhile, but when you are trying to change your body a plateau is not beautiful. It is rather ugly, imaginary cyberspace friend. And I know most of us have been there. So, I've been there for awhile. Running the same distance, walking at the same intervals, running in rhythm to my music, using the perfect playlist for running this same run. So, I met this man last night (and yes, again I know said that earlier in the paragraph, but just making sure you remembered). He has this passion and skill for running that just sparked something in me. We spent probably an hour just walking around this park track thing and talking about running. I had never done that before. I had always relied on the knowledge I gained from books or magazines to get me through. But to hear another person's personal experiences with the sport, to see the effect it had on someone's life was really, really cool. Then, I got to see his medals from all the races he's been in and a fire just started to grow inside of me. I wanted that. I wanted to beat all the odds that have been placed in my way and just run them over.

What is all this leading up to, you might be asking? Well, this morning I woke up and the fire that was ignited last night was still burning, so I made a plan to run after work. I get home, ask my brother-in-law, Dave, if he has any reflective gear for me to wear (he does...yeah, didn't even know about this stuff until about two weeks ago, but it's important if you're running at night, so people can see you...I guess ;)), strap it on, put a heart-rate monitor on, and stick my ear buds in my ears. Pump up the music and after a brief warm-up, start running. I have told myself that I am going to run for 15 minutes without stopping (i.e. using my crutch). So, I'm running along and it seems like it is such a struggle to find my pace. I'm not slowing down and my body, for the first 10 minutes is wondering why? But I ignore my body (if it seemed like there was actually something wrong besides my body just wanting to be lazy, then I would have stopped or slowed to a walk...this is just for legal reasons, imaginary cyberspace friend). And I keep running. Well, 15 minutes goes by and I have hit my stride. I didn't want to stop, so I said to myself, I'll go 20 minutes. That's been the maximum I've ever gone without stopping before and wow was that an accomplishment. 20 minutes comes...and goes. Feet are still pounding the pavement. The stars are twinkling above me, and the cool, crisp Autumn air surrounds me. Music is in the background, urging me forward. My mind is clear and my body is doing what it has been training to do (although I didn't realize it at the time)...running. 41 minutes. And I only stop because I have come back to the beginning of the neighborhood. 41 minutes without stopping. And after that first 10 minutes, I felt great (you know until I saw the beginning of the neighborhood and realized it was coming to an end and my body said...I've been running for 41 minutes and I'm a little tired). 

I think I might have burst through my plateau.

Oh, and for all of those worried about the computer went from the stomach to the bed with me hunched over it to the little side table with me laying stomach down on the bed typing at almost eye level.

I took this picture after I got done make-up and hair a hot mess. I love it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Miss America...

Once again I'm at a loss as to what to write. My life this past month has been so different from what it has been over the past four years. I'm living with my sister and it's like being in a family again and I love it. I love waking up and having my niece, Deena, there saying good morning, Aunt Stef. And Jenna does my laundry...ahhh...that I will miss ;). I really appreciate everything that everyone has done for me. Without their support this move wouldn't have been possible. I'm feeling a bit like Miss America (maybe I'll post a fancy dress picture of me with this). I wish for world peace and harmony. Wait. Well, I do, but I'm also a realist. Okay, back to reality. I will never be Miss America. For one...I'm too old. That's probably the only thing holding me back from accomplishing that dream ;). I am laughing so hard right now, imaginary cyberspace friend, you have no idea. Okay, back back to reality. I've been debating about whether or not to write about this, so I probably shouldn't, but here goes. I've been doing the whole online dating thing. You know, you get to a certain age and just figure, why not? (Wow, that is two old comments I've made in one post...I'm really not that old...really). Well, I find it interesting how some men seem so desperate in their statements about themselves that I figure, heck, this should be easy, but they're the hardest ones to get to meet you. I've only met one of them at that turned out disastrously that it almost turned me off...wait...twice...and they both turned out disastrously. Hmmmm...maybe I should take that as a sign. Nah. When have I ever been one to listen to reason, imaginary cyberspace friend? That's right...hardly ever. And do you know why that is? It's because I am such a reasonable person to begin with that what other people consider reasonable, I have already tried and found that it is in fact not reasonable (get inside my head, it's even funner there...funner? What am I? 16?). So, back to online dating. I rarely get my hopes up when it comes to meeting people (probably why I'm still single...I had a guy pop up to chat once and he couldn't figure out why I was still single. I told him I didn't get it either until I reviewed my dating past and it all made sense after that). I still haven't found...the one. The elusive one. And maybe I never will (see past posts as to what I'm doing about it). But for now, I'm having fun...I guess. Well, as much fun as you can have being rejected by someone you've never met.

P.S. I love how my name always come up as a misspelled word. Stefanie is the correct way to spell the name! At least in my opinion and in this blog, that is the most important one there is!! Oh, and I decided to post a swimsuit picture in honor of the title. A swimsuit picture with that awful hat I loved so much in Hawaii.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How To Lose the Interest of a Four Year Old and Eleven Year Old

My niece, Deena, was just sitting next to me. She looks in the crack of my door and asks what I'm doing. I tell her I'm going to be writing in just a minute on my computer. She says, oh, can I come in? I look at her and say, sure, but you can't touch anything. She looks around and puts one foot tentatively in my room, not touching it down. I chuckle a little bit and tell her she can touch the floor and my bed. So, she climbs on up and snuggles up next to me. I start to open a web page to get to my blog and she glances at the door. Her sister, Jessica, is standing there with a fierce looking k'nex machine she made. Deena hops off the bed and says, I'm going to go play. What? The thrill of my words aren't competition for k'nex? I don't get that. But then again, I haven't been four for a very long time. :).

This wasn't what I was intending to write about, but then again, I rarely have a subject in mind when I start these things. I think it makes it all the more fun to struggle for the first few sentences before something evolves into what looks like a subject.

My nephew, Jimmy just happened by my door. He looks in and I ask, what's up? (You have to sound cool to an 11 year old...actually if you're over 30, which I am, you should never 'try' to sound cool because it just comes out that you're trying to sound cool, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place.) Anyway, I asked what's up. He says nothing (the usual response), but then comes in and asks if I just got up (Sunday nap...yea!). I tell him I've been up for about a half hour. He says, oh. He hops onto my bed next to me and shows me what he's actually been doing instead of nothing. He has a picture of a warrior centaur. Jim has always been into drawing manga-like characters. Ever since he discovered them, at what, age 2? Help me out, imaginary cyberspace friend. My memory isn't what it used to be. I am 30 years old after all ;). I look at the drawing and proclaim that it is fierce and would most likely kill anyone in its path. Jimmy looks pleased with that and asks what I'm doing. I tell him I'm writing a blog entry. He says, oh. I say, really interesting, huh? He just laughs a little and glances at the door. He slides off the bed and goes to play. Dang. Once again my words lose against playing.

Okay. Subject. What are you going to be? Hmmm...looking up at what I've got so far, I think I have my subject. P.S. I always write my title after I complete a blog entry :). Wait...where are you going, imaginary cyberspace friend!? You can't leave me. It's in your job contract to stay even if you would rather be playing....
On second thought, I think I might go play :).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm Not Perfect

So, I was all gung ho about writing in my blog tonight. I was going to write about how well I'd been doing with weight loss, about how all my clothes are starting to feel loose when I ran into a snag. The snag is, I'm not perfect at this. I ate cookies last night (sure they were organic Newman's Own, but still cookies) and tonight I went to In-n-Out Burger for the first (and last) time. Here's the story of how it happened. I went to have my car inspected today so I can register it in Utah. My check engine light was on, so the guy who was going to do it warned me that I would most likely fail since it indicated something was wrong with my car. Boo. I knew my car was fine, but he told me to reset it and then I had to drive around for 115 miles just to make sure it didn't come back on (supposedly that's the magic number for the car to reset itself...bah). So, I get my light to shut off. This is all fine and dandy, but now I have to drive around for 115 miles. I don't really want to go on the freeway, so I start to drive around. I get about 30 miles in before I'm just done with driving in Utah. Okay, imaginary cyberspace friend, I was done with driving in Utah about a week ago. So, I come back to my sister's house and hang out for awhile. Watch a little Wimpy Kid and it gets done about 9:30. I go to return the movie and try to drive some more of my 115 miles. So far my check engine light has not come on. I drive down this new road called Pioneer, uh...something, which is great because there's really only a few lights until you get into American Fork (a neighboring city) and it's not the freeway. So, I'm driving, la ti da. Listening to some Chicago, when I come across In-n-Out Burger. I had always heard stories about this place. Good stories. Not the kind that make you not want to eat somewhere. I thought, Hmmm...maybe I can get a chicken sandwich or something and see what all the hubbub has always been about. So, I pull in and walk in the place. I look at the menu above the register and guess what? All they have is burgers, fries, soda or shakes. That's it. Simple, right? I should have just walked out, but instead I ordered a burger and some fries. I saw them cutting the potatoes, so it can't be all terrible, right? Ha. I love the concept of justification. I use it often and tonight I used it because my day didn't go like I had planned. I not only ate red meat (don't hate me, Jim!), but I also ate fries. I couldn't finish it because it just made me so sick. I'm sure in the world of fast food, that In-n-Out Burger is super great, but tonight it represented me not being perfect. It represented justification. It represented a stomach ache that I'd rather not have right now. All week I had been doing so good. Grrrrrr...that's all I have to say.

Monday, September 6, 2010

South Dakota Anyone?

So, I'm sitting here on my sister's bed after my first day at a new store and I'm thinking...what the heck was I thinking? I mean I know it's only been one day, but sheesh. I don't think I like being a bookseller without the power. My sister asked me a question off of a little question game key ring yesterday that said what is the hardest thing you've ever had to do. I answered this was. I feel like I dumped my whole life I had built out the window to pursue something that would eventually give my passion wings. But it's hard to remember that in the end it will be worth it when you're in the midst of the five years before the passion can take wing. And it's only the first week of the five years. I don't know why this is so hard. The only thing I can think of is that I'm older this time around. I am older and I don't like change. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a place in this world. You know what I mean, imaginary cyberspace friend? Of course you do, you're imaginary! You don't exist, therefore you don't have a place in this world. Interesting. I wonder if others feel this way, too. You go along and try to find the little niche that was meant just for you. But finding that niche is the tricky part. At least it has been for me. I feel sort of transient right now. Like I could disappear into the world and no one would be able to find me. When my money runs out, that where I stay (probably wouldn't be too far away...say, South Dakota). I did actually think about that this morning. Just taking off in my car and seeing where the road took me. But, dang it! Why do I have to be a responsible adult? So, I didn't. I left for work an hour and a half before my shift and toured around my store for a half hour before my shift started. It's a nice store. Not as big as Kennewick, but still very nice. It has odd angles to it. Ugh. Bookseller. I'll get over it and swallow my pride (what little is left). Barnes & Noble in Kennewick was really my second family. It's kinda crazy to think of the people you worked with as family, but that's how I've felt for a long time. I knew I could count on them (well, most of them...:)). Now I'm just babbling. Oh, well. It's my thoughts and this is what I've been thinking about. South Dakota does sound kind of nice right now....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grumpy Day

I'm sitting here at my mom's house feeling a little, I don't know, grumpy? Is that the right word? It has nothing to do with my mom or anything like that, I just feel grumpy. I woke up this morning and I felt it. Have you ever felt that, imaginary cyberspace friend? I haven't felt that way for a long time. I can't remember the last time when from the moment I woke up, I wanted the day to end. I came down the stairs and saw Titus sitting on my brother-in-law's head bouncing up and down and usually that would bring a smile to my face, but I just walked on by. I might have grunted good morning, but I really think I just walked on by and climbed into the shower where I thought maybe if I just wash everything away, my bad mood will wash away with it...nope. I got out and still felt grumpy. I ate some breakfast (grapefruit and yogurt...not mood enhancing food at all). Then, I had to separate my boxes into storage boxes and boxes I want to take with me...realizing I have way too much stuff even after all the giving away and selling and downsizing. Grrrr.... I gave up my bookcases, my desk, my bed, my couch and eventually even my chest of drawers aren't going with me. Only taking one box of books. No Christmas stuff (I told my mom I'm not celebrating Christmas this year). The list goes on and on. Most of this stuff is stored (haha...the storage my mom rented for her kids stuff has a corner for Matt, a small stash for Sara, a little bit bigger stash for Melanie and one side for me. Ugh). Back to my grumpy day. Once I was done separating these boxes, I have to take off for the Tri-Cities because I still have to get the last bit of stuff out, take one more load to Goodwill and vacuum. Halfway between Prosser and Kennewick, I car is still loaded with stuff. Crap. Crap. Crap. I had emptied a couple of things from it, but for the most part, I was pretty full. And that was the car I was driving. Could this day get better? So, I get to my apartment and load up the goodwill stuff first to take. I get to the drop off point and it's about 1:09. It looks like it's closed up. I pull up and there's a sign that says closed for lunch between 1-2. If I swore, I would have right then. I pull into a parking spot outside of B&N because I discovered a cupboard full of pots and pans the night before without any boxes to pack them in. I run inside to grab some boxes. I talk to Paul (which was a good part of the day) and say another goodbye to everyone on my way in and out. (I didn't get to see Jim, so that was another bad part of the day). I cannot wait until 2 to drop off my dishes and dolls, so I go back to my apartment, stop by the dumpster and toss it right in. I will admit the crash the dishes made was quite satisfying. I spend the next 2 hours trying to fit everything into my full car and vacuuming the heck out of my apartment. Now, since I knew I was moving out and was going to be doing a full board clean, I hadn't vacuumed in a few weeks. When you live in the Tri-Cities, this calls for lots of dirt in your carpet. I think I emptied out my vacuum more than 10 times in the few rooms I have. Dang. I'm feeling a little better at this point because who doesn't feel good when something you've worked so hard on looks so great. And my apartment looked great. I had been living there for over three years and it looked almost like it had when I moved in (some places looked better...just sayin'). I got the sign off from the management and was out and on my way back to Prosser. Oh, wait! I forgot the icing on the cake. When I was driving over in the morning (okay, it was the afternoon at that point...I had a very late night the night before), I was thinking to myself, something always seems to go wrong right before or during transit whenever I have moved to Utah...I really hope nothing happens this time. And I am not even kidding you, imaginary cyberspace friend, two seconds later, my check engine light comes on. It wasn't even a full 10 seconds later!! I should know at this point, I shouldn't think things like that. Anyways, I came home and pulled into the driveway. No one is home at my mom's house. Great. I have no key. I'm starving at this point because if you don't know this, grapefruit and yogurt don't last long and it's after four. So, I decide to treat myself to a lunch of Subway (oh, I'm going to be writing more about how I'm getting to my ideal weight in later blogs...btw, Jim, I had the lady put meat on only one side of the sub, the other was vegetarian, which is the side I ate for proud). Even though my apartment was great, and I thought my mood was lifting, I find that as I'm eating, my mood really hasn't gotten better. I'm still grumpy. Hmmm...maybe working and cleaning some more will lift it. So, I spend the next several hours getting my mom's house ready to show. We listened to the Beach Boys and cleaned and talked. My mood got better. Then, I decided to sit down at the computer and write a blog about my grumpy day. By the second sentence, I am in tears. You know, maybe I wasn't grumpy all day. Maybe I was just sad.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Still Sitting Here

So, I just spent my last night in my apartment. I must admit, I hugged the walls a little bit last night. Now I'm just sad I have to clean it.... Oh, well. I suppose I should just get to it. Yeah. I probably should. Here I go. Sigh. Still sitting here. It's been real La Serena #E305. I don't know why I keep saying that to people. I said that to a couple of my co-workers when I was leaving. Of course it's been real. These past four years haven't been fake, but sometimes you just don't know what to say. Should I have said, "See ya, sucka's!"? Probably not. I really should be cleaning right now. Not sitting on my butt writing silly things. Alright. Here I go. I'm going. Yup, still sitting here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There Shall Be Great Rejoicing and Cake!

So, I'm getting ready to move next week (seriously, where has the time gone!) and just in the past two days, I've had two conversations with two different people that really hashed out my feelings about this. The first was last night after I got home from work. I had just worked my last shift with my fellow Merchandise Manager, Jim Higgins, with whom I had probably the best work relationship I've ever had with anyone. (That was just a side note.) I messaged him and told him I would miss him terribly and I couldn't believe I would never work with him again (sniff, sniff). And also that moving to Utah was the real deal. Here's exactly what I said, "as in as soon as I get down to Utah, it's for real. No more crap foods. No more being stagnant on my weight loss. I HAVE to be at my ideal weight before school starts or I don't know if I can do this. How can I tell someone else how to change their lives or lose weight if I'm still carrying around excess baggage myself? I can't. Pure and simple." It put that part of it sharply in focus. I had kind of known that I probably needed to get down to my ideal weight, but there is reason behind it and a deadline now. Of course, the next line I asked him to bring me some cake from his amazing baker wife, Kelly. Hey! I still have a week before it's serious :).

The next conversation I had was with my sister, Melanie, today. We were sitting at Applebee's (still have one week!) and she asked me if I was nervous about moving and without hesitation I said, no. I keep thinking I should be, but to be completely and totally honest, I have never once doubted this decision and because it is my decision and I feel I have the full support of Heaven in this, nothing but great things can come from this. I'm not saying it won't be hard. Nothing worth anything isn't hard. And in the end, this will be worth much. I then told her that with this move, I finally feel like my life is starting. That I had been floating through and now there is direction and a goal and life and light.  As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I knew they were true.

Hmmm...that's some serious stuff right there. I think I shall have to end this on a lighter note...cake!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeling A Country Song Coming On

Hmmm...what am I thinking about right now? Well, to be completely honest, I'm trying to think of a topic that doesn't have to do with "The Jungle Book" or being lazy. These are two ideas that I just tried to flesh out and it ended up with mass deletions. I'm listening to Lady Antebellum right now. You know, imaginary cyberspace friend, I used to hate country. As a teenager, I was convinced it was the worst music ever invented. Then, my friend, Kelly, introduced me to Reba McEntire. And you would think that since Reba is really real country that I would hate it, but I loved her. Well, I loved the one tape I had of her. So, I had to make a small concession that maybe all country wasn't an offense to my ears. And it went from there. I added Rascal Flatts to my group of favorites. I like Keith Urban. I like George Strait. I like Carrie Underwood. I like Sugarland. And I still like Reba. I will listen to country music stations for long periods of time and I find that I enjoy the songs that have to do with tractors (because a lot of them have to do with tractors and everything you can do with or in them). Yes, most of the country nowadays can be crossed over, so that may have a little to do with why I don't despise it anymore, but actually prefer it sometimes to the contemporary stations we have out here.
Subject Change: I'm moving in a few days. I feel good about it. Calm. That is something else that's going through my mind. Although, I may be a little more stressed out about it than I am thinking I am. I should know how I'm feeling, but sometimes it manifests itself in strange ways. Right now I seem to be eating a whole lot more crap. And I think it may be associated with all these changes in my life. is good to realize this, imaginary cyberspace friend. So...I feel good and calm, but stressed. Ah, the joys of being a woman.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Today I woke up feeling blah. Do you ever feel like that, imaginary cyberspace friend? I'm sure you do. I'm sure everyone has felt like that. But, why? Nothing bad has happened in the day yet? So, why should I feel an impending sense of doom and dismay and blahness at the world in general? Too many questions I don't have the answers to. I suppose it could be the things that have happened in days past. Maybe. I moved a bunch of my furniture out of my apartment yesterday and while I am glad to be moving on with my life, this apartment I've lived in these past 3 years has been my first real home. I would come home every night and just be glad to be living where I was living. I made it mine and it was comfortable and inviting. Everything was set up just so. I had enough room to workout. I had my perfect couch to take naps on. My kitchen was always stocked with whatever I needed and it was a nice kitchen to cook in. My bathroom was decorated and I had a walk in closet with color coordinated clothes hanging up, so if I felt like I wanted to wear black, I shuffled through my black shirts. If I felt like pink and so on and so forth. It was a nice place to live. But in truth, it was really never mine. As long as I live in an apartment, I will always feel like a guest in my own home. I was limited in what I could do. For example, if I wanted to workout at 11 at night (or really any time my downstairs neighbors were home), I would have to pack up all sorts of gear and head out to my little gym. The little gym was nice, but it definitely kept me from working out on several occasions. And yes, I know that's only an excuse, but I had it, so I used it. I couldn't listen to music very loudly (not that it stopped me sometimes). Don't get me wrong, as far as apartments go, this has been awesome, but there is just the fact that they are limiting when it comes to living situations.
I thought maybe writing might get me out of this blahness I'm in, but it hasn't done the trick, nor did working out. And now I have to get ready for work...blah.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Friendliest Salesperson in the World!

So, I went into a purse shop a couple of days ago, just to browse with my sister. I didn't need a purse (or clothes that only fit a size 4 and down), but I am a girl, as is my sister and so we like girly purses. We go into the store and the sales lady is on the phone, which is fine. I get that, but there is no acknowledgement that two people just walked in on a very slow Friday, with no other customer in the store. No biggie. We're just going to look at these overpriced purses and see if one might be worth a little splurge (probably not). The sales lady gets off the phone and still nothing. We are still the only two people in the store. We walk around some more and even go right next to the counter where she is standing, looking down at something. I try to catch her eye to see if she will acknowledge me that way. Nothing. She looks away. I glance at my sister and we both look at the door. We walk out the door and the first thing I say is, "wow, that was probably the friendliest sales person, I've ever met!" Melanie agreed...well, she agreed we should probably never go back there.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Marques

Once upon a time a beautiful baby Princess was born to two loving parents. They were so excited to have her in their family. She grew up surrounded by Princes and Princesses who loved to play and have fun. It was a happy childhood. The Princess loved her family, but sometimes found herself lost amongst all the royalty. She needed special people, called Marques, in her life to help her grow and become the Queen she was meant to be.

The Princess was 12 when she met her first Marque. The Princess was gawky to say the least. She was just starting to realize she was an individual who was made up of more than her immediate family. This Marque came in the form of a teacher. This teacher singled her out and for the first time made her feel special. For if you are royalty among royalty, there is no special. The teacher taught the Princess how to look up to others, follow good examples and make those around you feel special.

The Princess started to learn about herself, but was still a teenager when Marque 2 came into her life. This Marque came in the form of a teacher as well, but almost immediately became a friend. This Marque taught the Princess confidence in her abilities, in her talents. The Princess was starting to find her place in the kingdom.

A few years went by and the Princess became an adult. There were still several years to go before she would be a Queen and she knew she still had much to learn, so she was not surprised when Marque 3 came into her life. The Princess had decided to get a job out in the kingdom, to mingle with the common folk and earn a living. Marque 3 came in the form of her boss and mentor. This Marque taught the Princess to believe a leader was inside her. The Princess had doubted this ability for several years. She did not know if she would be able to be a good Queen. Marque 3 assured her the leader would emerge if she worked at it and believed in herself.

The Princess went on in life, taking what she had learned so far and applying it to better herself and the kingdom. But, the Princess did not know about love. Marque 4 entered her life to teach her about how to love another. Marque 4 was in the form of a boy. Marque 4 taught the Princess how to make others laugh. He taught her how to captivate another person for hours and to dream of something more. Marque 4 taught the Princess how to love, from deep inside, another person. After he had left, Marque 4 taught the Princess how to mend a broken heart.

The Princess was pretty independent by this time, but she was still filled with flaws. Flaws that seemed blaringly obvious to everyone or so she thought. She felt ugly almost all of the time. She was a leader, was confident in her abilities, had learned to love another, but still did not love herself. Marque 5 entered her life like a storm filled with thunder and lightning. It was beautiful at the same time it was terrible. A double-edged sword. Marque 5 taught the Princess how to swim after he tried to drown her. He taught her how to survive when all seemed lost. But Marque 5 also taught her that she was beautiful in another’s eyes. After he left, she started to believe it. And from the ashes of the lightning, beauty emerged and the Princess began to love herself for the first time.

Marque 6 crept into the Princess’ life quietly. Still reeling from the devastation Marque 5 had brought into her life, she did not recognize Marque 6 right away. Marque 6 had a gift of making others laugh and letting them feel at ease. The Princess needed this right now. She needed to laugh and start to enjoy her new life. The Princess talked about life with Marque 6 and Marque 6 would make a fart joke, teaching the Princess life was not to be taken too seriously. Marque 6 taught her how to be herself in front of another. He taught her how to be a partner, how to rely on another and know they would hold up their end of the bargain. Marque 6 taught the Princess what to look for in a partner when she would become a Queen.

Having met all of these Marques, the Princess feels ready to take the leap to create her own kingdom. She feels special and knows how to make others feel special. She is confident in her talents and abilities. She is the leader that was foreseen. She can love with all her heart and survive if her Prince turns out to be a frog. She is beautiful and loves herself. She knows life will throw her curveballs, but to laugh at it. She knows to be herself and if someone doesn’t like that, they aren’t worthy of her kingdom. She knows how to be a partner and what to look for when she meets her Prince.

I woke up from a nap thinking about my life and all that has lead to the decisions I'm making today. These are six people who have made a mark on my life that is forever there. These are six individuals that helped to shape the person that I am today in very, well, marked ways. Hence the term, Marque :). I love and have loved them all, yes, even Marque 5.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two of My Favorite Things

Hmmm...what to write about tonight. I'm going to write about music and boys. These are two of my favorite things in the world. One I get. The other, not so much. Guess which, imaginary cyberspace friend. I was just scrolling through my iTunes library and was kind of amazed at how these two things are so interconnected for me. Not only do I have the love songs that remind me of certain boys, but I have so many artists on there because boys I liked, liked them, so I thought I should, too. Lame. Don't get me wrong, the love songs that I like way outnumber the "boy" songs. And there are some artists that I've been introduced to that I genuinely still like even long after the crush has faded. For example: Billy Joel. This was probably the first artist I thought I should like because of a boy. His name was well, not important, although those who knew me back then will probably know. I was a senior in high school and was in my first play (a musical called Don't Rock the Boat...ever heard of it, imaginary cyberspace friend? Yeah, didn't think so). I had a crush on a freshman who was in the same play. He was 14 and hot (I was only was perfectly legal). I had a license and a car, he did not. Plus, we were neighbors. So, I got to drive him home from rehearsal. Win. One day we were driving home and Billy Joel's "Piano Man" comes on the radio and we debate as to who the singer is. I say it's Billy Joel (duh) and he said some other singer I can't remember now. We end up betting a quarter and calling the radio station. I win (duh). I get a quarter and a love for Billy Joel. The crush faded as it should have as I turned 18 and he was still 15 (not so legal). Shortly after that I ended up buying his greatest hits Cd's. I've had it with me ever since, although I didn't really appreciated his music until several years later.

I have a lot of Celine Dion. She just happens to be my favorite singer in the entire world. Those who know me, know this. She kind of epitomizes my relationship with boys and music. I used to listen to songs like "I Love You" and "Dreamin' of You" and just dream (haha) about someone I could sing them to. That dream has since died (whoa...that's a whole other post), but every once in a while I will listen to them and see a prince charming who doesn't know he loves me or does but has to work up the courage to tell me...we embrace and the song comes on over the loud speaker. Wait. What's happening? I was...somewhere else. (Speak of the devil...she just popped into my mix: "I Drove All Night" which has a connection to a boy from college although he did not like this CD so much, but it was the first time I freely sang to a boy...hasn't happened since).

Then, there are the songs that I keep hearing that would be perfect for the song that I will sing to my future spouse at my picture perfect reception (another dream that's a little more gray as each year passes by). Yeah. Over the years there's been anything from Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road" or "The Day Before You" to Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" to "At Last" to "All I Ask of You." There have been others, but at this point there is not one. There hasn't been a boy that I've wanted to marry, well, ever, and as I mature and grow, I realize there will never be a perfect song until I meet that perfect (for me) man. Who knows? If I ever get married, I may be singing "The Puppy Song" because we both love You've Got Mail. Probably not, but come and bring a great present (or cash) just to find out ;). I promise, I will sing, though.

Sigh. I love music. And boys.
Oh, the picture is from Hawaii. My sister-in-law, Katrina, conspired with me one day to take as many pictures of me with hot Polynesian men as we could. And yes, we used my nieces as...uh...bait.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Well, I was bo-ored tonight! I got home around 4ish from work and immediately checked my facebook page (doesn't everybody?), found nothing of real interest. Decided to play a game of Mahjong Titans (I won!), then checked my email. At this point it is about 5 o'clock and dinner is in the oven. But I've run out of things to do. Bored. I look around my room and my eyes land on the book I've been trying to finish for awhile (Stephenie Meyer's "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner") So, I lie down on my bed to finish the book. I fall asleep. The timer for my dinner wakes me, so I go out and enjoy a dinner of half an organic baked potato with chili and a little cheese on top, some grapefruit and some milk. I turn on the Redbox movie I picked up on the way home (When in Rome). I stare at the television for an hour and a half being amused by other people's depictions of "real" life and love (gag me). The movie wasn't that bad and if you like John Heder flashbacks, you'll enjoy this one. So, it's about 7:30 at this point. And I am still bored with my night. I lay back down on my bed and pick up my book once again (after I checked facebook because why not). This time I finish it. Eh. It kind of felt like she was trying to do a watered down version of Bella (or what Bella would have been like if she had been a vampire to begin with). Not super impressed, but then again, I think I'm through with my Twilight faze. Eclipse (the movie) did not impress me greatly and it was supposed to be the best one so far. Eh. I am still bored. I check facebook again. Email again. Play another game of Mahjong Titans, losing this time. Then I played a game of Hearts, again losing. Bo-ored. And I think to myself, "what can I do to entertain myself that doesn't cost any money?" Well...I was going to workout, but it was only 8:30 at this point, which is still a little early for me to go to my little gym. You see, imaginary cyberspace friend (ah, you didn't think I was talking to you this whole time, did you?), I don't particularly like working out in front of other people. Especially when I'm doing a Jillian workout. Although, come to think of it, I do them much better when I have an audience because I would hate to think someone would see the size of me and automatically judge me unworthy of being able to complete a Level 3 Jillian workout...but I digress (and they would be oh, so wrong). Anyway, I get all my stuff together and head out to my little gym, actually meeting people along the way because there's still a little bit of light left. I have my earphones in, so I can start my mental focus on the job ahead (hehe...I just don't really want to talk to anyone along the way). I arrive and to my great pleasure, my friend, Tony, is there. Usually I see Tony in the mornings, but he was there tonight doing his 25 minutes of walking. We strike up a conversation (I'll always take my headphones out for Tony). Now, Tony is an 83 year old California native and his grandson is coming in from NYC tomorrow. They are heading to a big family reunion where about 75 people will attend. Then, later this month he'll be going to a wedding and then attending his class reunion down in California. I learn all this and much more in the few minutes we chat before his 25 minutes are done and he says his goodbyes. Sigh. I'm going to miss Tony when I move. I start in on my warm-up, which is 5 minutes of progressively faster walking and moving my arms around to wake them up. I jump up and down a bit and then I'm ready to hit it. Tonight I'm listening to the original Twilight soundtrack to start off with (even though I'm basically through with Twilight, the soundtrack still rocks). Supermassive Black Hole starts up and I can feel this is going to be a great workout. There are times when I just know from the beginning how the workout will end. Sometimes I feel just so sluggish, I know I'm going to stop halfway through. Today, nothing was going to stop me from finishing all 5 circuits of training. Music pumps through me as I jump, pump, squat and swing. As I roll up and lie down, as I look in the mirror and see a hot girl looking back, with sweat dripping down her face, eyes determined (and perhaps a little smile every once and a while, then back to business). I finish up with a long stretch, trying to draw it out because I know once I get back to my apartment, boredom will be waiting for me. But I have to leave. Oh! Side note. During one of my cardio circuits I looked out the window and there was this creepy man just staring at me. Watching me do harpy's (which if you know what those are, they are not very attractive to behold, I'm sure. I think that's what made it creepy). I stopped and went into a ball on my mat for a minute, ready to lunge if he decided to come in. He didn't (good for him, as I am kind of ready to try out my martial arts moves on a person). I get back to my apartment and put all my stuff down (I carry 26 lbs of weights to the gym) and it is only about 10:30. Too early to go to bed. Plus, I'm all sweaty and gross, so I can't anyway. Hmmm...what to do, what to do. I've already watched a movie. I guess I'll check my facebook. Man, I am bo-ored.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food Addict With a Stomach Ache

I am sitting here at the computer, nursing a stomach ache because I decided I had nothing better to do than lay on the couch and watch SNL (Michael Buble was on, so...) and eat dark chocolate covered blueberries. And now my stomach hurts and it's 2 am. I should be sleeping like a good girl, having eaten healthy all day long and exercised extensively because it was my day off. Hmmm...I did do a Jillian workout, but I wouldn't call it extensive. So, that's 0 out of 3 for the day (no eating healthy, not enough exercise, no good girl). Ugh. I hate looking back on days like this, but it seems like more and more days are getting to be like this. Does this ever happen to you? I'm talking to you, imaginary cyberspace friend. Do you ever wake up in the morning, full of enthusiasm for the day and planning to be this great person, then go throughout the day, making little "mistakes" and by the end of the day, you find yourself in a sugar coma, laying on the couch, watching Poker After Dark and thinking to yourself, "what happened?" No? Well, it has happened to me on more than one occasion and I must admit, I don't like it. Sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite because I can't seem to make the right food choices all the time or I workout, but I quit halfway through because I just don't want to. (Oy, my stomach hurts) Sometimes, imaginary cyberspace friend, don't you just feel like a spectator in your own life. I know that sometimes time passes by and I look back and see...nothing. It is at times like this that I am glad I am going to be making changes in my life. It gives me hope that one day, I may be able to conquer this food addiction (sweet, sweet food), but at 2 am on a Sunday morning, with a stomach ache, it seems like I will forever be a spectator, an addict...watching myself reach my hand into the bag and pulling out another handful. Not being able to stop myself...and no amount of thinking "stop!" is going to persuade me from doing anything else. Man...I need a life. Sorry, that thought just popped into my head. Focus. And you know what the dumbest thing is? I keep thinking: "well, they were chocolate covered blueberries, so maybe I was eating healthy." Sorry, I just snorted with disgust at my thinking.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ugh. My Arms Are Fat

I would just like to clarify that Jim does not suck. For the record. Now that's out of the way...I can get on to my real blog topic. I was looking at some pictures that were posted of me tonight and right away I started critiquing them and looking at what I didn't like and how I compared to the rest of the people. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I had to mentally stop myself. Why do I do that? I can't look at a picture of myself and see a pretty smile or great hair. No. It's "oh, my arm looks fat in this picture...I hate it then" or "Seriously big head, Stef (comparing myself to others)" or "maybe I shouldn't be wearing that pink shirt." But in every picture there's always something I like or should like. I've always wanted to be one of those people that automatically likes herself for who she is and doesn't care what anybody else thinks, but I've never been like that. I have gotten better over the years (thank goodness for getting older!), but tonight just illustrated that I'm just not there yet. I'm not to the point of not caring what other people think. I think most women are like this. Not all, but most. And, as we all know, it has to do with the idea of perfection that has been our guiding light in this world. Perfection in magazines, television, Internet, movies, etc. Even though we are told over and over again, "this is an illusion", we still strive for a small sliver of this in our lives. Heck, if we didn't, we would all be wearing sack cloth and not showering. Hmmm...with that last statement, I'm going to say that a little perfection is perfectly okay. I think I'll go back and look at those pictures and find 5 good things about them. Yes, 5 is a good number since I only found 3 bad things (that I'm admitting to).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Easy as Pie

So, I was going to make a pie last night, but I didn't have all the stuff, so I didn't.

P.S. suck.'s almost like this blog entry wrote itself :))


I've been feeling really lovey lately. I don't know what it is, but I feel the romance in my air...which is strange. Really strange. Well, if you consider when I should have been feeling all lovey, I was very pragmatic and slightly distant, I think it's strange. Right now is the time to be pragmatic and focused and everything opposite of feeling lovey is. (By the way, is lovey a word? Guess I'll find out when I hit the spell check button :)) I think it all started when I watched "My Life in Ruins", ya know, the one with the chick from "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" who I can never remember her name, but is awesome nonetheless? I watched that movie and when it was done, just felt like a teenager who had a new crush (not on the chick, but the general feeling of crushing on someone). There's no better word to describe it, but lovey. I wanted to find a boy and just curl up next to him and tell him things. I think it's called cuddling. Hehe. I thought the feeling was a temporary thing because, as you all probably know, the feeling of a crush fades and is either replaced by love or hate or friendship or nothing at all. The lovey feeling, however, has remained. I found myself watching 5 hours of "Pride and Prejudice" last night. I have not watched it in years! Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan and I own both the original and the new, shorter one, but I haven't felt lovey enough in years to actually sit down and watch it. Last night, I came into my room looking for a movie to watch and immediately went for it. I usually think about what mood I'm in and then look through the movies to see which one I haven't seen in awhile and sometimes it's a hassle to just figure out which movie I want to watch (ahhh...the joys of being an analytical person). But last night it was all about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Oh, and it could be no one else, but Colin Firth last night. I think when a girl watches the 5 hour version of "Pride and Prejudice" she has to be in an intense lovey mood. Because it's 5 hours of longing looks and well, pride and prejudice that culminates in that last fantastic scene where Darcy proposes again and Lizzy says her feelings are "quite the opposite" and Darcy gets this little grin on his face. I'm giggling and smiling just a little as I type. And I just sighed. Yup, I'm in a definite lovey mood. And I'm just throwing it out there, but is there anyone who wants to cuddle right now? Anyone? Anyone? I believe I'm hearing crickets right now.

I just did the spellcheck and lovey is a word. Woot!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Decision Made

So...decision made. I announced it last night on facebook if anyone read the last part of my status. Sorry about that people. I was so exhausted from Silverwood and having to drive both ways (Matt), that I just posted the status and hit the pillow, only to get up 4.5 hours later to get ready for work. So, after a long nap today, I feel like I can spell it out for everyone who is interested :).
First off, I never chose Utah. It was chosen for me. For all of you who don't know, I lived and went to school in Utah for about 3.5 years. It was a great experience, but by the end, I was ready to move on with my life. I had my degree and was ready to get out there and use it! The only problem was, it is the wrong degree to have a career with. I have found that I like History, but I don't love it. It is not a passion for me. But I felt I was stuck with it and was doomed to be unhappy in my professional life forever because of it. A couple years back, I started losing weight and learning all I could about weight loss and exercise, and I just soaked it up. I loved it, and I loved telling people about it. I found I wanted to help all of my friends and people kept coming to me for advice, which I freely gave, but I was still unhappy with my professional life. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I just don't feel fulfilled with it. About a year ago, I was running on the treadmill in my little gym, just feeling blue about my life and I prayed. I didn't know what or where I wanted to be with my life. Do you ever feel like you're in the middle of the ocean and any direction could be land, you just have no idea which one will be right? So, I said, Father, I will go where you want me to go. And just cleared my mind and almost immediately it came to my mind "You need to move back to Utah." WHAT?! Perhaps you didn't know this, but I've already been there, done that. Eh? "You need to move back to Utah." I kept running. Slightly confused, but knowing it did not come from me because, no offense anyone who lives in Utah (and you know it can't be great when a sentence has "no offense" in it), but it is not my first choice. I wasn't even thinking Utah. It was outside of my realm of possibility. Utah, to me, means a place to go to school and leave...which I did. Oh, well. I guess I was going back to Utah. But when and for what reason followed about 11 months later.
I was having a bad day at work. If you've been reading some of my status updates on facebook, you might have noticed me using the word mojo in some of them. As in, I lost mine. I love my job, but I had lost my mojo for it. I was incomplete and it was starting to show. I felt, as my boss put it, that I was in limbo. Just floating, waiting for something to happen. It was after this, that I could have smacked myself in the face with what I really wanted to do and what my life had been leading up to for these past two years. Hello? What did I soak up? What was my life evolving in to? And how could I use this passion to help other people? I started just to research what it would take to become a Registered Dietitian. If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right. I didn't want to fluff around with my life anymore. Then, panic hit. I am 30 years old! I need to be in a stable job and continue saving for retirement. I would only have, what, 30 years in my career if I started over. Wait. 30 years? That's a long time. I could do this. It would be hard for a few years, but I could do this. I went back and forth for almost a month. I researched schools and found that no matter where I went, I would have to move. The moment I clicked on "find schools" on the website, and all major schools in Utah had the program I wanted, a light went on. Aha. But the place I really wanted to go was the University of Utah. (Shush all my BYU friends and family :)) So, in order to go there and not pay an arm and a leg, I have to move to Utah and move soon (lease ends end of August) to get residency and hopefully be able to start school in the fall of 2011. I plan to do it right this time. Be involved in ALL of my classes and actually use the help that is provided by the University. I know I will have a greater desire to study because this is what I actually WANT to do with my life. This will allow me to learn greater things and then pay it forward with the knowledge I gain. To leave my legacy. Oh, and the mid-singles program looks much more enticing there...not that it had anything to do with my decision, but I'm just sayin'.
So, there you go. I'm moving to Utah...again. I am very, very excited to be near Jenna and Sara and Matt and all of my family down there, but I will miss my family here. I am sad that just as soon as Melanie and her family moved back all of this happened in my life. I will miss them terribly. I am also going to miss my mom. I don't think it has hit me yet, but I am going to miss her so much!! This family also included my B&N family here, too (hopefully, I will get to transfer because school is not free!).
Wow. Writing it all down has made it real. I'm doing this. Now, I just need a place to live and a job/transfer....
Oh, and I have a goal for the next two months. I want to lose 40 more lbs. by time I travel down there. I can do it. I have all the tools I need, I just have to put them into practice. :).