• When progress isn't obvious

    Over the last year, I've lost about 30 lbs. It's not earth shaking, and certainly, I would like it to be more. It's not even enough that I feel like I look any different, which is frustrating.

    However, I just got my blood work done with my primary care doctor. I compared my results this year with those from last year. The results were definitely better than last year. Now, I wasn't told to worry about any of my results from last year. Everything was within a normal range, but several things are, to my untrained eye, in a better spot in that normal range.

    For me, that's really encouraging. I know that I tend to be a results oriented person, and it's frustrating when I expect to see change and don't. But that doesn't just apply to the scale. There's a lot of things that we work on and feel that there's little, if any, reward. 

    Sometimes success isn't immediately obvious. Sometimes there are pitfalls before we see any progress at all. But just keep working at it, whatever that thing is. Eventually, you will see progress, and you'll be glad you kept at it. 

  • The scary thing that happened in DC

    On my way back from Michigan, I have a roughly four hour layover in DC's Union station. I was on my way out of the food court that afternoon, ready to seek out a bathroom. The food court was pretty crowded between people and tables. Not a very forgiving situation for anyone, let alone someone with a bulky bag.

    So I brushed against a guy's arm. It wasn't hard - I barely registered that I'd done it, and I had certainly been bumped into a lot harder already. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him move towards me. My first, brief thought was, oh, maybe I dropped something. 

    Then he started screaming at me. Leaving out the obscenities, he threatened to knock me down and beat me because I had crashed into him. 

    I panicked, because nothing like that has ever happened to me before, and I couldn't believe it was happening over something so minor. So I kept walking. I might have smiled, in fear or apology, I don't know, but he then continued screaming at me and following me through the food court.

    Eventually, I didn't see him anymore, but I kept moving until I reached the women's restroom, where I barricaded myself in a stall and sobbed in fear. 

    Obviously, I'm okay. No harm actually came to me, though I spent the rest of the time afraid that something -would- happen. 

    Would he have actually hurt me if I had stopped? Was he just having a bad day and angling for a fight with the unlucky soul who crossed him? I don't know. But it was a really terrifying experience for me, and frankly, there's no excuse for what he did. 

  • Home is where your bathroom is

    I'm sitting here in Matt's office, spending the morning here before I get to squeeze in a couple hours with some friends before we run some more errands and take me back to the train station tonight. 

    It's been a great few days, though it has been completely chaotic. There hasn't been any time for just sitting around. Every moment feels like it has been accounted for. I don't mind busy days, and I'm grateful for all we managed to do in such a short amount of time, but I am so ready to be home.

    I am looking forward to my bed, where I can pull my blankets up to my chin and the little westie snuggles in the crook of my legs. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents and my animals. I feel worse for leaving the animals, because there's no way to communicate that it's nothing personal, and I'm coming back. Aeris has been spending some quality time with my dad, by which I mean she has apparently been chewing and scratching him to pieces. Not maliciously, of course, she's just lonely, and apparently she likes my dad enough to be very happy for his affection. 

    On a different level, I'm really excited about using my own bathroom. I know where everything is, who has used it, and I don't feel the need to bathe in hand sanitizer after leaving. It really is the little things you take for granted. (Also, walking outside in above freezing temperatures. I definitely miss that.)

    I think I'm going to need a few days to decompress, sleep, and let two animals cling to me for dear life. But then, I'm ready to get back to business. 

  • Feeling Anxious

    It is a great rule of anxiety that you can feel great, and awful, and both on the same day. Heck, probably at the same time. Anxiety is fluid. 

    It's terribly inconvenient. 

  • Blogging from my phone

    I really haven't spent much time on computers since moving to Virginia. I don't know why, exactly. It took me just long enough to set up my office that I've fallen out of the habit, I guess. So, that explains a lot of my internet absence. 

    Im sitting here right now though, at a Starbucks, listening to the Four Seasons, and typing this out one phone. It's not ideal, but it's working, so maybe this means that I'll blog more! 

    I have to confess, I really love my iPhone. I didn't expect that I would, not this much anyway. But it makes a lot of things easier. I've been a critic of things like checking email in public - well, when I'm trying to set up a get together with friends in the blink of an eye that I'm in town, it really helps! So, I'll eat crow. I really enjoy my smartphone. I still don't want to be one of those people who ignore those around them in favor of checking Facebook, though. 

    So obviously, I'm up in Michigan at the moment, for ConFusion. It's ... Cold! I didn't realize that Virginia would spoil me in such a short amount of time. Also, I've noticed what a hurry everyone else seems to be in up here. Sure, the speed limit is higher, but a lot more people drive a lot more aggressively up here. I will say this though - at least I haven't seen anyone come to a complete stop on a merge lane. They're pretty bad about that down there. 

    Until next time, when hopefully I'll have something more substantial to say. :)

  • Bedtime with a Westie

    Bedtime with a Westie

    She's such a pillow hog! You would think, with a queen sized bed, that we could spread out a little. Nope.

    It's okay though ... I love that little cuddle bug.

    In other news, I booked my train tickets for ConFusion next month! I'm not super excited about taking the train up, only because sleeping on the train is not super comfortable. But I'm pumped to be heading up to Michigan for ConFusion. I have a teeny tiny bit of leeway before and after the convention, and I'd like to try and squeeze in a little bit of friend time while I'm there. But I also have an appointment for a physical, so it won't be getting lunch, that's for sure. I have to fast until my appointment at 4pm, which may make me a bit murderous.

    It's funny...We haven't had any snow down here in Virginia (YET, KNOCK ON WOOD), and it's been really nice. As far as I know, the weather in Michigan hasn't been very crazy (YET, KNOCK ON WOOD), and I'm really hoping it stays that way. I'm imagining going up north and finding myself smack dab in the middle of this big snowstorm. How did I survive eight winters?


  • Home is Where the Westie is

    I had a realization the other night: I love coming home.

    I realized that I love coming home, not because it's where my belongings are, not because it's where my animals are, not because it's my place of introversion. I love it because it feels like my home. I haven't felt this way in so long, it's a really strange sensation.

    This place isn't perfect. I really need to vacuum again, and there's a few too many dishes in the sink, and I think it'll be a while yet before I'm not involved in some minor improvement project that creates a bit of chaos. But if you could just see the delight on my face when I hang up a picture or new curtains, you would see my heart belt out HOME. 

    Even though we made efforts to make our last apartment 'ours' (at least as much as I've done here), it never felt like home in the same way that this place does, even after almost six years. I know that one of the elements at play here is safety. I never felt truly safe while in Michigan, whether it was from screaming neighbors, finding my car door wide open one day, or because the unit flooded and we had to be moved. I feel safe here - I have both distance from strangers and the comfort of loved ones nearby. I never felt settled in Michigan - I don't blame the state itself for that, but the fact that Matt and I never found a spot to really settle down, spread out, and get comfortable. Our entire marriage has been spent being nudged towards living in communities that to us, feel too large, too chaotic, and not happy, for the sake of being closer to work. We never found that place that felt like we'd be really happy. Could we have? I know we could have found something, but I really don't know if either of us would have been truly happy with it.

    Here? I genuinely like this area. It's pretty, it's (mostly!) sunny, warmer, and I'm not afraid to drive myself around. I could see Matt and I settling down in the Lynchburg area and being happy here, and I've never really felt that way before.

    I don't really know how to convey the difference here, when it comes down to bare bones. I can do all the same things here that I could in Michigan. But I feel peaceful here. When I come home at night, I can slide into my fuzzy pajamas, settle in on the couch, and I am content. I never really felt like New Jersey was my home, and I never found my place in Michigan. I feel like a cat who made a thousand mile journey and just now found a comfortable lap to snuggle up on. I am content. I am peaceful. I am home.

  • So, about that novel...

    Unfortunately, I didn't finish the novel I've been working on this month, but I did meet my word goal. That's a huge step in the right direction, and I am so glad that I've spent this time working on it. It's given me something to focus on when a lot of other things have felt so chaotic.

    It's also given me a writing project to work on, and forced me not to be so picky, and I'm also grateful for that. At this point, I feel like I'm a little over halfway through the novel story-wise, so I have a lot more to go. I'm excited to keep writing, and pehraps one day, go back and revise it. I liked the concept when I started writing it, but here, at the end of the month, I love the story far more than I thought I would. So I would like to do it justice, and I already know that there's a lot to be tightened down and cleaned up.

    But, I'm starting to realize that this may just be my writing process. Maybe I need to thoroughly brainstorm, write a messy draft just to get everything out there, and then go back and clean everything up. Maybe it's okay not to have a pretty first draft like we would all like.

    Perhaps that's the lesson of this year's NaNoWriMo - that it's okay to just get it all out there, that there's beauty in finding unexpected joys along the way.

    For now, NaNoWriMo 2014, over and out.

  • Apart

    This is the first holiday that Matt and I have spent apart in the nine years we've been together. (Which also means that this is the first actual Thanksgiving in as many years that I've spent with my family! So strange.)

    It made me more sad than I expected. I'm not overly sentimental about holidays - or I should say, I'm not overly sentimental about most holidays. I had a nice day overall; I spent some time alone, watching the Thanksgiving parade and the dog show that followed it, did some Christmas shopping online, had some great food with my family, laughed a lot, and did get to talk to Matt for a little bit here and there. Had he been here, I can't say that anything would have been different, except that he'd have been sitting next to me.

    But I miss his presence, more than I can really explain. I miss him coming up behind me and giving me a hug when I'm right in the middle of something. I miss the way he looks at me when I use a really bad pun. I miss the way he gets all annoyed with me when I accidentally interrupt him, but then proceeds to do the same thing a moment later. I miss the way his face lights up when he's telling me something he's excited about, because his enthusiasm is infectious. I miss him talking to me in his sleep, because he says things that make no sense. I miss the little jokes, the quick touches, the smiles that can be exchanged, all of those little things that can really only happen in person.

    Admittedly, technology has come a long way from when we were first dating. Facetime is fun and so very convenient. But it can only do so much.

    I was more sad today, thinking about not spending a holiday with him for the first time in forever. But it wasn't so much the holiday that was important, it was thinking about all the other things I missed. But I also know that it's not forever. For one thing, he's coming to visit next weekend, and even then, I know that he'll be here leaving his dishes in the sink and keeping me up with his snoring permanently in no time.

    There's this little white stand that I currently can't find a home for in this apartment. It's been kinda floating around the last several weeks, and this afternoon, I moved it over by the door to plop my keys and purse down on. When I came home tonight, I was greeted by Aeris staring at me through the glass on the door, propping herself up on that stand. I laughed. She'd been waiting for me. Even without Matt here, I'm home.

  • One month in

    Tomorrow (or today, depending on how fast I write this!) marks a month since I moved to Virginia. A month, already. While a month sounds way too long, it also feels like so much has happened in that time.

    I'm sitting here on a couch, surrounded by a lot of furniture that I didn't have a month ago, that's for sure. It's been a slow unpacking process, because the basement apartment I'm living in isn't 100% finished, and because finding, building, and buying new furniture is a tedious process. (Especially in a small space, where space matters, so each piece really needs to be thought through.)

    With each bit of furniture that gets assembled, every box that gets unpacked, life changes shape just a little. I would say that things feel a little more normal, but I think it's more accurate to say that I'm finding a new normal. Even things as simple as feeding the animals involve new rituals for us. Aeris used to get her dinner - a bit of canned wet food - when Matt got home from work. Without that trigger, Aeris went for a few weeks without asking for it, and not touching it when offered. Only this past week has she come to accept that it's okay to accept her wet food from me, in the evening. Mikenna understands that when I pull the trash bag out of the can, that she's going to get to go for a little walk. She runs circles around me, woofing in excitement. She mostly barks to play or to communicate with me - not at random noises, not at neighbors, and not at the mailman.

    I've been learning how to do things on my own. I still haven't figured out a good time for grocery shopping. It used to be Friday morning. I guess the problem is that I'm still living day to day in some regards.

    I know in the morning, I'm going to get up, take Koo out, and we'll have breakfast. I know that I tend to do my cleaning in the evening, after my dad goes to work. I know that Mikenna will go to bed without me, because she can see me, and that Aeris wants to be in the same room, but not sleeping on the bed with us. But I don't know what's for supper this week, and I don't know what's going on this weekend.

    I don't know where life is going, but I'm excited to find out. Slow and steady. One month down.