Where have I been?

Where have I been?

I don't know.

I've been here, but I haven't *been* here. Does that make sense?

The horrible meetings that I mentioned in my last post didn't go nearly as bad as I thought they would have gone. Both meetings dumped a crazy large amount of work on me that is due by Thanksgiving break. Why is it that they assume since I'm young and try to remain positive that I am invincible?? A Superwoman, if you will?? Cuz I sure enough AIN'T. 'Nuff said.

Tired of waking up extra-early (try 4:30) to get to work early (try 5:30 or 6:00) so that I can work on my paperwork, and I'm also tired of staying late (try getting home Monday night at 6:00) after a long day. Is it ever gonna get done? Oh, come on, Thanksgiving break!! I come home, make supper, and crash. Last night, I was seriously fighting falling asleep during Biggest Loser ... and then Abby left ... and I sobbed from sadness and exhaustion. Then it was off to bed for me!

So I've been dealing with the extra work, and denying my new mantra of exercise. Oh, the shame. I have avoided y'all because I feared 'fessing up. But here I am. And denying it isn't going to make it any better.

On the plus side, I *have* been good with my eating. I even ate a fat-free lunch on Sunday afternoon (which y'all know is huge), and even moreso, I did this AFTER I carried the rest of the family's lunch in my lap to the house. Those Arby's curly fries smelled so good they about drove me wild. But I didn't have a single one. Doesn't that count for something? :)

And since I try to remain positive, I'll let you know that my classes have been going fantastic. AND! It's very possible that I may be getting a horse! I've had the horse bug ever since I went horseback riding over fall break ... thinking about owning a horse has consumed me. It's like it suddenly clicked that horses are not mythical creatures, and I can own one just as good as anybody else. Well, last Saturday morning we went to an auction (of a farm selling out) and Phil bought me a box of horse tack for $20. There were halters, reigns, saddle bags, and blankets in there -- some of it brand-new! Very good sign. And he's conceded to going horse shopping with me a couple of times. I have absolutely fallen in love with a strawberry roan mare that is about a 2 hour drive away from where I live; we are going to go see her on Sunday afternoon. I am hoping so much that Phil will let me get her. I have my eye on a chestnut gelding for Phil, too (for after all, if you get one horse, you really need to get two, since they are such social creatures). I'm hoping it works out. But, if it doesn't, it doesn't. Just dreaming about it is a bright spot in my life right now. My mind drifts while I'm doing my paperwork.

Here are the horses I've got my eye on; what do you think?

This is the strawberry roan mare...

... and here is the chestnut gelding.

Sorry I'm making y'all endure my horse obsession right now, too. It's a pleasant distraction for me. :)

And as for now, since I can barely hold my eyes open and I've been yawning while writing this whole post (it probably isn't even coherent), I'ma gonna go take a nap, and then I hope to jog later on tonight.

Sorry I've been out of pocket, friends. I will try to do better, on all accounts.

I jogged!

So, today, I got home from a very long day, wary of the even longer day that I know I'm going to have to have tomorrow, and I was feeling sorry for myself in general. (Tomorrow is going to be one grueling meeting after another, most of which seem to revolve around either my incompetence as a teacher since I can't seem to satisfy this insurmountable workload, or committees which will be discussing eliminating my job altogether. I have a bad feeling that I will be lucky to get through the day tomorrow without crying ... and I can't tell you how much I dread that.) So I got dressed in my workout clothes with all the speediness of a snail, and lowered my treadmill to the ground, and stared at it.

Nope. How can you run with a dead battery? No. I wussed out.

So I took Lola for a walk, with my tail between my legs. I had some thinking to do.

With the autumn breeze blowing, and walking out in the fields with my wiggly little black lab puppy, I had this following thought:

How can I be Jogging Auburn if I don't jog?

Does that just make me Auburn?

Is being Just Auburn working for me? .... no.

So, then, I'm a hypocrite. Not living up to my name. The name I gave myself for this moment, to remind myself that that is who I want to be, even if it is not who I am.

How can I continue to blog about the Quest for a Mile if I'm scared to jog? If I'm too drained to jog?

So I got home, and decided that I needed to jog again. But I also knew in my heart of hearts that I am starting off with a battery that is much more drained than back in the summer, which I enjoyed the delicacy of regular sleeping habits and lack of stress.

And I also remembered that I promised myself back in the day that I would not make myself jog at a pace that seemed unattainable, that was not fun, that was too hard. And I simply knew that I could not jog for one minute increments.

And then I briefly felt disgusted.

And then I picked myself back up again and thought, "Well, what CAN you do? Can you jog for 30 second increments?"

And I decided that surely I could jog for thirty seconds at a time.

And I thought that I need to pursue that Quest again. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO RUN A MILE! So, I am going to jog every day, at what I can do that day, until I can jog for 2 minute increments. Then I will begin to add in cross-training.

So, I jogged tonight. Jogged for 30 seconds, walked for 2 minutes. I only was able to go a little over thirty minutes before I got dizzy enough that I almost fell off the treadmill, and I remembered that I wouldn't push myself beyond what was safe/attainable, so I gave it a rest.

It is a Start. It is a Renewal. It is a Beginning. It is the Quest.

And I can do this. One step at a time.

With y'all's help, of course. :)

Update from Fall Break

Whew! I'm back! Fall break was wonderful ... I got to catch up on some much-needed sleep, everyday was wonderful and exciting and new, and I was good. Watched what I ate, exercised when I could ... all in all, very good. :)

I found that since I was so busy, I seemed to eat a lot less than I normally would have (sometimes I accidentally skipped meals without even realizing it, which is very unlike me), and I have noticed that this week so far, even though I'm back to the ole grindstone, I am not as hungry. I hope that this is a trend that will stay!!

Incidentally, when Phil and I went to the log home company to talk about our house plans, we had a little excitement over the fireplace. We had noticed that our fireplace had been deleted in our last revision, and we thought it was just an oversight. Turns out, it was NOT an oversight: fireplaces do not come with the package. So we asked how much a wood-burning fireplace would cost to add ... the answer? "Oh, you're lookin' at probably between $25,000-$30,000." WHAT?!?! Does it really cost that much?! How does ANYONE have a fireplace if that's what they cost?!?

In other news, by way of exercise, I thought I'd let y'all know that last Friday I fulfilled a childhood dream of mine and went horseback riding for the first time (that really counts). I went with a couple of friends of mine named Catherine and Kristen. Catherine brought three of her own horses (but Kristen also has her own horses, incidentally). We took a five-mile trail in a local park, and even though it was drizzly and cold and my pony was pokey and liked to graze ... I still had the BEST time!! I was so, so happy to actually be horseback riding -- I thought my heart would burst from the pure joy of it. After it was over, Catherine let me brush the three horses down, and while she and Kristen were getting the brushes, I petted the horse I had ridden and found that I couldn't keep the tears at bay. I had wanted that moment my whole life, and it finally happened. I didn't want the trail to end! I didn't want that afternoon to ever be over, even though I couldn't feel my toes and my nose.

Catherine and Kristen were pleased that I enjoyed myself so much. Kristen even said that she's considering getting one of her horses broke so that we can ride together (only one of her horses is broken). I would love this more than words!

And GEEZ, was I SORE the next day!! I thought I wouldn't be able to sit down comfortably for a week!! What a workout, though! And it was so much fun!

Well, I've gotta be going. Got a parent-teacher meeting to attend (fun!). If all goes well, I hope to run this afternoon -- the Quest is Back ON!!


Something weird happened to me last night. I have no explanation for it. It kind of scared me. But then again, I'm not that worried about it. Funny how you can feel both at the same time...

Well, I decided to try out the Deck of Cards workout. If you are not familiar with this workout, it goes like this: assign each suit an exercise task (last night I had hearts = jumping jacks, diamonds = squats, spades = sit-ups and clubs = push-ups), and shuffle the deck, placing it facedown. Whatever number is on the card is the number of reps you must do of that activity. (Incidentally, I made Aces a one-minute rest, and Jokers were a one-minute wall-sit).

Well, I wasn't feeling spot-on when I was getting ready to do this workout, but I thought, "No, you've just been sitting around all day, you need to get your butt in gear and burn some calories."

After I started working out, I had periods where I felt okay, and then periods where I got a little dizzy ... and then I started having what I could only describe as mini-blackouts. The entire "blackout" lasted for about a second: it started with a ringing in the ears, and it felt like the insides of my head dropped, and I lost vision for a fraction of a second, and then it was gone and I felt fine. (Remember, all that happened in a second's time.) It was so fast, I could be in the middle of my reps, and I didn't even have to stop. Part of me was thinking, "Hey, maybe you *should* stop," but other than those "pauses" I felt fine.

After the workout was over, those "blackouts" kept happening: when I was sitting down, when I was in the shower, when I was laying down. I didn't know what to do to make it stop. Phil got me a big glass of gatorade and I downed the whole thing -- didn't even know I was thirsty! -- and after that, they stopped. So, for now, I'm going with the theory that I was either dehydrated or my electrolytes were imbalanced, or both.

So, lesson of the day: Always Drink Your Water, Kids.

Today's lesson was brought to you by the letters H and O, and the number 2.

And as for now, I've gotta run. So many errands! But I hope y'all are taking care of yourselves, and drinking your water!!

Fall Break

One of the perks of being a teacher is getting random, yet LONG breaks, and this week is fall break. Yippee!

The downside? I tend to put everything off UNTIL said break, and then my vacations become packed. I have something planned for every day this week, but it's all good. Today, for example, Phil and I are going over to the log home company to discuss more changes to our house plans. (That is always exciting!) And tomorrow we are going home loan shopping.

So I might not post (or make my commenting rounds) everyday as I ususally do because I will be running around town like a chicken with my head cut off, but rest assured that I have been spot on with my diet and my exercise, and I know/hope you are too!

Before I leave you, I'm gonna post a picture that a friend of mine helped me do yesterday (yesterday's task was to learn how to use Photoshop), and we altered the digital picture of the house plan that I bought to look more like what Phil and I want. It's pretty gimpy, and not completely cleaned up because she was just showing me how to use the tools, but it's still exciting. Enjoy! And I'll talk to y'all soon, m'friends.

Perhaps a slightly defensive post...

After I posted yesterday, and I was consumed with longing for my children and my future, I strangly felt better. It was as if I remembered the person that I want to be, instead of floundering around in a daze. So, I jumped on that treadmill, and I was back to jogging. Ohhh, yeeahh! It felt so good! I am embarrassed to admit the tiny incriment that I was running (*coughcoughranfor50secondswalkedfor2minutescoughcough*), but you know what? It was HARD. And today, I am SORE. And yesterday, it was ALL I COULD DO ... so at the same time, I feel ashamed that I couldn't do more, but I am proud that I got it done, and I did it well.

Now, for a potporri of thoughts, to let you in on a few more things...

~ The last couple of days have really, truly, been terrible. My dad was let go from his job due to financial issues, and my parents are really scared about the future. The sad thing is, this is the second time this year; he was let go from another company due to finances back at the beginning of February.

~ On a slightly lighter note but still adding to the mess, I've been emailing back and forth with my uncle whom I barely know, wanting to get to know him better, and he was really rude and hurt my feelings. So much for admiring him my entire life.

~ I can't get Esther the pony. The man who bought her at the stockyard said she is not for sale, and he finally took her to his home, so I can't even visit her. I miss her, but I hope that she's happy.

~ There was a comment left on my blog a couple of days ago that really bothered me, chastising me on my use of the word "diet." For the last few days I've been mulling this over, and I would like to say in response that I agree with what was said, and I wish that I did think that way, but I am not there yet. It is all the harder when I am surrounded by people who rather openly treat dieting as a punishment. I can't help but feel shame that I must be so careful with what I eat. And, you know, if you're stomach is growling all the time, it IS a punishment, and that is hard. Also, when you are struggling to keep self-mutilation and/or suicidal thoughts at bay, just fighting against that dark depression (which, for those of you who don't know, I have been diagnosed with depression, and that's partly why I started trying to run, to learn to cope with it and control it), slipping up a couple of times with one or two negative thoughts is a step up. I'm trying my hardest, and this blog is my safe place. Thank you for your concern, and thank you for your support, but meet me where I am and help me get to where I need to be. Fair enough? :)

Okay, I feel better now that THAT is all out in the open.

Lola and I went for a wicked long walk this afternoon. It was simply gorgeous -- 80 degrees, warm breeze, sunny skies. We took the "yellow route," and once that was over, we walked a couple of miles down the road to go admire my uncle-in-law's horses and walked back. Lola was so tired she was dragging along a little behind me, pink tongue lolling out of her mouth. She'll sleep good tonight!!

All right, I'm gonna duck out for tonight. Thank you, guys, for all of your wonderful comments and support. :)

The Dream

I wrote this a while back, and it's been on my mind a lot lately, and I thought I'd share. Kind of been having a string of bad days, and I've got to recenter myself. Sometimes, the best way to do that is to focus on your goals, and remember why you are striving so hard again.

Thanks for all the support, guys. Kind of really need it right now. Thanks.


My husband Phil and I are wanting to build a house on our beautiful land that just so happens to be so very far away than where we currently are living. The house is the dream -- a very distant dream that sometimes seems so teasingly close that it hurts. When I close my eyes, I can see it so clearly...

When I see it in my mind, it is early morning, because when Phil and I camp on the building site, this is the time of day that I can pretend that we do, in fact, live there. A fresh sunrise coming up right over that distant hill, and cool dew is on every leaf and blade of grass. The air is fresh and wet and green, just as it should be on a country farm. And there is our house: a farm style log house, with three dormer windows and a wrap-around porch causing a sleepy-looking roof line around the front. On that wrap-around porch I can already sense the destiny of sipping ice tea on hot summer nights, watching the fireflies and slapping at mosquitoes. I can imagine frosty winter sunrises over a hot cup of coffee, and firey autumn sunsets full with the confetti of fall leaves. Outside the house crickets chirp and cattle low, and inside the house there is laughter and the sound of little feet. There are soft places to fall, hard chairs to pay bills, things to clean and things to cook, but outside of every window is the farm that God gave us, and inside every room is love. Our house is denim and sunshine, a strange mixture of reality and fantasy.

I can see Phil and the kids playing football in our front yard, with the dogs playing both referee and linebacker. I can picture yelling at the kids to not climb that tree or don't jump out of the barn, full of anger and relief and laughter all at the same time. I can see us, the whole family, walking with our fishing poles, barefoot down the stream, ready to relax next to the fishing pond and maybe grill what we catch for supper that night. I can picture playing hide-and-go-seek with the children, giggling and running and ducking behind tree trunks, and perhaps having secret locations be given away by curious kittens or calves. I can almost see the kids camped out in the treehouse, with the flashlights shining like dim light sabers, cutting through the dark summer night. I can picture myself painting in my dream studio, blaring my music and creating beauty. The kitchen is warm and blue and sparkly and smells like crescent rolls or pumpkin pie. And all the pet animals we will have! -- cats, dogs, horses, cows, donkeys, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits! It simply wouldn't be a farm without these things, and little baby animals that need bottle feeding, even on snowy mornings.

I can see all these things so clearly ... if only imagination could bring things into reality, then the house would exist. But then I open my eyes and look around at the little trailer that is so far away from the farm, a place where our stuff is but is not quite a home. It is achingly distant from the farm and the future and the kids. These days will be endearing in the years to come, and even here there is happiness and love, but it is not the dream.

If home is where the heart is, our home is on that little hill with the sunrise and the dew, even if that is all that is there right now.