Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The day I ran a race

Chip time 00:36:42
Event Placement 875 of 2238
Us with our medals
They say "5K Finisher"
In the winter, my sister invited me to do a 5K with her. I was running at that point and thought it sounded like a good idea. The C25K was a great guide to get me going. I have yet to actually finish the entire program.

Over April and May, I sort of stopped running. I didn't have the time or the energy to do it in the morning and with my studying getting more intense, the weekends were out. Plus it was raining, which is a lame excuse, I know. I didn't feel ready for the race and it was one thing on a long list that is between France and I.

Sister and I ran my first 5k (her second) together the whole way and we crossed the finish line holding hands. We did it. Together. I had no clue how fun it would be. There was SO many people running and it took a bit to get going through the crowds. The energy of everyone around was awesome.
I figured we would take around 40 minutes to complete it. We usually did 4.5k in that amount of time when we were training together, so I was thrilled to see we were under that. We might sign up for another!


Monday, May 27, 2013

May Happiness Project: Success or failure?

I don't believe this month was a failure. It all depends on how you look at it.
Did I finish my tasks I set out to do? Not at all.
Do I feel lighter? Happier? Absolutely.

Take time for a project
I managed to get my garden going and it is growing like crazy! I'm still waiting for the beans, potatoes and one squash plant to surface, but things are looking good. I can't wait to have fresh veggies late summer/early fall.
Not complete
Wedding album photos
Photos of Beta/Taylor into album

Be a house of memories
I unloaded the camera of a bunch of photos that have been sitting on there forever. It's time to remove all the wedding and honeymoon photos that are just sitting on the card. They've been on the computer for a long time now, so there's really no need to keep a card half full.
I have yet to get around to making albums, but perhaps this summer.
Not complete
organize memory boxes
Update picture frames

Pray in the morning
I have been praying in the morning and it does lighten the day. It is a good start to let everything go and start fresh.

How I lightened up in unexpected ways
I am learning to let go and I believe a lot has to do with my garden. It's something new. Something I haven't ever done before. It's not up to me for it to grow. I can provide the seeds, the dirt, water and in part, the sun, but I can't actually do the growing. That is left to the plants themselves. If they grow, I'm ecstatic, if they don't, I guess it just wasn't the right.

When I was in therapy last week, my therapist thought it was interesting that I was able to just let go and not stress over my garden. It will grow or it won't. He also thought it was interesting that I have the same sort of laissez faire attitude towards other parts of life very near to my personal life.

So why can't I "lighten up" in different parts of my life? My go-to strategy needs to be adjusted for certain situations. I've discovered that I can use the "whatever happens, happens" attitude for things that are internal. Situations that have no influence by someone else, in other words, situations that are under my control.

A friend of mine sent me that image once and I'm finally starting to see why it makes sense. In my most stressful situations or the ones that I worry about the most, I am in the yellow or the red. I need to shift my focus for those situations to the green and concentrate only on that part. It's a hard task to do for someone who is a nurturer or a giver. I have tendencies towards making other people happy before myself. It's a hard skill to learn, to take care of yourself first.

I feel lighter in May, even though I didn't get my tasks done I set out to. They'll be done eventually. I am working on reframing how I think of things. Looking at the things I can control and trying to forget about those I can't.

It's nice to let go. <-- never thought I'd say that!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

13/30: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Read from April 13 to May 08, 2013
Format: Ebook

From Goodreads: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

I was not overly thrilled with this book. Mostly because I wasn't aware of the heavy subject matter until it was too late. If someone would have told me what it was REALLY about, I never would have picked it up. That said, I won't be recommending this one to anyone. There is a warning on Goodreads if you view the Kindle Edition that is not there on the paperback.

I liked the Sky and Holder as characters, but they seemed more mature than I would expect for 17/18 year olds. I would have expected this book to be in university age rather than high school. The seemed to be so much older than they were and it threw me off. Most 18 year olds would not deal with the situations they were thrown into as well as they did. I felt it was a little unrealistic that they both dealt with the realizations as well as they did. Holder sounding like a therapist in parts made me roll my eyes. It seemed like everything was really rushed near the end during discovery and dealing with the past that they didn't have time to really let things sink in.

The relationship between Sky and Holder was worth reading. The chemistry between them was written really well and I loved that fact that he was a respectful boyfriend. And how many books actually go out of their way to work in safe sex to a scene? Not many because it's awkward and breaks up the scene but it was done well, so that was awesome.

I'm conflicted with this one. If I had known the content, I would have went in reading it differently rather than just a romance book. I would only recommend this one if the reader was aware of the content rating and was that it is not a YA book as I was lead to believe It is definitely fits better in the New Adult genre. (Which I'm starting to love the more I read of it.)

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Becoming greener!

Ever since my sister started selling Norwex, I've been thinking more and more about how to make our home greener. It takes a little work and buy in from the husband, but it's well worth it. The effects of chemicals on our bodies is astounding and the more we can eliminate the harmful effects, the better our health will be.
We don't do a lot, but every little bit makes a difference.

  • No chemical cleaning using Norwex cleaning products
  • Vegetables from the local farmers market
  • Try to buy hormone free meats whenever possible
  • Installed a clothesline to dry our clothes - love the smell of sunshine!
  • Planted a garden - small one for now, but if all goes well we will put much more in next year.
  • Installed a rain barrel
  • Programmable thermostat - we shut our furnace off completely in the summer, but the winter it is programmed to only be on when we need it.
  • No A/C in our house - We cool it down at night with one fan in the basement to pump cool air up and one fan in the upstairs bedroom to pump hot air out. All the windows get opened at night (that are safe to do so) and then close them all during the day. 
  • Frenchie rides a bicycle to work 3 times a week. I take transit daily
  • Using natural remedies for ailments when possible - the overuse of antibiotics is making our body systems weaker and bugs stronger and resistant. 
  • We cook almost all our meals - healthier!!
  • I have switched to natural deodorant - surprisingly I sweat less than I did with antiperspirant and do not smell. Plus my white shirts don't have yellow stains anymore.
  • We recycle - our garbage bin is nearly empty every week
What do you do to be greener?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

12/30: Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology

Essentials of Human Anatomy &PhysiologyEssentials of Human Anatomy &Physiology by Elaine Nicpon Marieb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Read from April 17 to May 08, 2013
Format: Paperback

From Goodreads: Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology continues to set the standard for short-course A&P texts. Its dramatically updated art program, more streamlined presentation of material, and integration of chapter objectives will help you better visualize and understand the structure and function of the human body. Elaine Marieb's clear and friendly writing style emphasizes the relevance of anatomy & physiology to your life and future career. The book clarifies concepts, defines key terms, and offers just the right balance of anatomy, physiology, and clinical coverage to make the content complete without being overwhelming. Elaine Marieb wrote this book specifically for the one-semester course and continues to carefully select a range of material that proves just right for the shorter course. New information on hot topics like the HPV Vaccine, Infantile Polycystic Kidney disease, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) draws students into the material.

Textbook #2! This book was required for the Anatomy and Physiology Subject of my Natural Nutrition diploma. Short course indeed! I burned through this material. My test is now handed in and I will wait 2 - 4 weeks for the results. Such a long time, but thankfully you don't have to wait to move on to the next module.

This book gave a really good overview of the anatomy system and all the interactions. I skipped taking biology in high school so with no background, I found this text really helpful. It was laid out well, the diagrams that went along with processes described really helped drive the information home. The "Did you get it?" questions sprinkled throughout the chapters were also great.

It truly amazes me how our bodies function. Every little cell plays a role and each organ is so interconnected. I especially loved the Lymphatic System (immune system) and it was very helpful to think of all our immune cells as a little army and what role they would play. I had no idea there was 5 types of white blood cells!
I have to say though, that people get really weirded out when you are reading about the Reproductive System (with drawings) on the bus. Come on people, it's not like you don't have those exact same parts.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

May Happiness Project - Week 1

May - Lighten Up
I almost forgot about my Happiness Project this month until I remembered I need to make a blog post about it. Life has been so busy over the last week, but somehow, I did manage to work on one project - the Garden

Take time for a project
  • Wedding album photos
  • Photos of Beta/Taylor into album
  • Garden (more pictures later)
    • Planted!! I finished putting in my first garden this past weekend. It's mostly in containers with one raised bed. 
    • We bought brand new dirt at a garden show a few weekends ago and it was delivered right to our door. I realized that we would need more tools than what we had in our garage. Wheelbarrow perhaps? All the seeds were bought a few days after that.
    • What we planted: 
      • Squash, Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Onions, Lettuce, Yellow Beans, Zucchini.
Bag of dirt

Be a house of memories
  • organize memory boxes
  • Update picture frames
Pray in the morning
  • I have said a prayer most mornings on my way to work. Everything from "PLEASE ...." to "Thank you" to "You're awesome" 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

11/30: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Read from April 24 to May 03, 2013
Format: Hardcover

From Goodreads: When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

I wanted to gush about this book. I loved Forman's other books. I just can't. It was good, but not gush-worthy.

I love Gayle Forman's writing. She has a way with words that really sucks you into the story. The descriptions of Paris and Amsterdam made me want to be there... RIGHT NOW. Getting lost in Paris sounds like the perfect way to fall in love with the city.

I didn't love Allyson. She seemed like a smart, strong girl that completely cracked, which threw me off. I've seen incredibly gifted, smart women crack under pressure, so I get that it happens. I know that the point of the book was to show that "one day" can make all the difference, it just seemed unrealistic for me. I didn't get to the point of feeling what Allyson felt, and I think that is what was missing for me. Perhaps it had more to do with her first time, than "being in love" but I didn't see the part where it ruined her life.

I also didn't fall in love with Willem. He just wasn't that guy that would sweep me off my feet like he did Allyson. He wasn't overly romantic to me and he didn't strike me as the guy you'd lose grades over. He was a fling. Love comes and goes and I really didn't feel like he was in love with Allyson at all.

I'm torn on this book. I liked it, but not enough to say "Read this one, it's awesome". I would definitely recommend it for those that love Forman's other books because she is an amazing writer.
I likely won't read the next one. I didn't care enough about Willem to want to find out what happened to him in the next book Just One Year

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Monday, May 6, 2013

SQUEEE!! France is almost here!

So close! And reading a book set in Paris is really making me have travel fever. Just over a month to go. May is a long month it seems but I hope it goes by quickly.

The Hot-air balloon ride is paid for and booked. Now to just pray for perfect flight conditions.
We booked our wine tour in Bordeaux. I can't wait to enjoy the sites and meet the winemakers.
Tickets to Versailles are also booked. We didn't want to take a tour guide and be confined to a group so we opted to buy the Versailles passport. It gives us access to all the ground, palace and Marie Antoinette's farm. We'll be able to take the train there, do our own thing and then train back. We decide how long to stay which is much more relaxing.
The Eiffel Tower tickets are booked. We opted to book tickets for the lift so that we don't have to wait in line. It will be the last thing we see in Paris, at night. The city will be beautiful with all the lights and the sunset. Very romantic, non?
The train tickets are also booked. We are taking the train less than we thought because of our timing, but it will work out great regardless. We had to add one more day for a car rental but I think driving from Carcassonne to Marseille will be lovely.

Now I have to learn how to use our new camera lens and start going through my clothes to figure out what to take and what not to. We're only allowed one suitcase each for 2+ weeks so it will be a lot of figuring out what I can wear more than once to maximize space. Thankfully we have a couple places that have laundry so that will help.

Things to book:
Buy Louvre tickets

Things to buy:
lightweight dinner jacket for Frenchie
European SIM card for phone - buy when we're there
Possibly new shoes for walking

What is already booked:
Direct Flights - Air Transat
Accommodations - Caen, Vouvray, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Marseille, Paris
Car Rental - Peugot 208
Le Crazy Horse - Paris Cabaret
Calanques Boat Tour - Marseille
Train Passes
Eiffel Tower lift tickets
Hot-air Balloon Ride - Loire Valley
Versaille passport
Wine Tour - Bordeaux

What we've bought:
Packing cubes - saves space and separates dirty clothes from clean
Extra memory cards for camera
Camera backpack
Travel tripod (gift for Christmas)
GPS app for phone - thinking google will be fine
zoom camera lens
plug in converter
hidden money pouch
Suitcase locks


Friday, May 3, 2013

April 2013

April was supposed to be spring according to the calendar. Old Man Winter clearly didn't get the memo. It's been nothing but cold, snowy and miserable. Hopefully all that moisture will make May a nice month.

Highlights of the Month
Scored 89% on my first nutrition exam!
Submitted my second exam. (awaiting results)
Signed up for the remainder of the diploma. I'm committed now for the next 2 years.
Booked NFL Tickets for a 49ers VS Colts game in September (GO COLTS!!)
Happiness Project - April - Aim Higher
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

Book Recap
2013 Reading Challenge
I have read 10 books toward my goal of 30 books.
I am right on track!
Pages Read (month): 944
Pages Read (year): 4728

What I Read
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas (review)

What I'm Currently Reading
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Essentials of Human Anatomy &Physiology by Elaine Nicpon Marieb

Monthly Book Spending:
Spent: ($0.00)
Saved: $0.00

I only read a textbook this month and its cost was included in my tuition so I'm really not sure how much the book ACTUALLY cost for me. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Happiness Project - Lighten Up

May - Lighten Up
This month is all about lightening up. Taking time to get a project done, remember the past and make a new habit of praying. I love to sing, but it's not something I'll do while I walk to the bus in the morning. While Gretchen had Sing in the Morning as a task for her May project, I'm going with Pray in the Morning. This month is going to be a busy one. 
We're nearing our trip in June, my piano lessons are coming to a close and I'm kicking my studying into high gear to make up for the time I'm on vacation. There are 3 birthdays this month in my family, Mother's day and Race Day (first 5K!) You could say that May is lightening my busy schedule as well which is great!

Take time for a project
  • Wedding album photos
    • We got a lovely photo album as a gift and have yet to put anything in it (2 years later). It's time I use the coupon to Black's Photography for 100 prints and fill it.
  • Photos of Beta/Taylor into album
    • Beta chewed the edge of a photo album when she was about 1 year old and I always thought it would be perfect to fill it with photos of her (and now with Taylor) 
  • Garden
    • With all the information I'm reading on nutrition, the more I feel the need to grow my own vegetables.

Be a house of memories
  • organize memory boxes
    • For our wedding we got a large box for memories. It has everything in it that was used to plan and little memories from the day. I loved the idea of keeping everything in a box, so I started a long time ago, the same thing for memories long before. Mostly pictures and cards and letters. There is a large pile of things that have yet to go into those boxes.
  • Update picture frames
    • We have a lot of picture frames that are mostly of family and good times. They haven't been updated in ages! 
Pray in the morning
  • I would like to find a prayer that gets me going in the morning. Something that I can recite that makes me feel full in the morning and sets me off right.