A Little Something About Dream Jobs

I think it was about a year, or so, ago when I saw an article online promoting an upcoming contest for the "ultimate dream job." The exact details of the job itself escape me. The only thing I really remember was that it was located on a tropical island.

After reading the details on this dream job I thought to myself, "Eh, I guess I could see how that might be cool for awhile, but this 'ultimate dream job' is not for me." All this caused me to start thinking about what my dream job would look like. Actually, this topic has been something I've been thinking about for sometime now and the catalyst for project "Life Map 2010/2011.... (possibly) 2012."

So when Sara (Moma Rock), from my blogging group, asked us to write about our dream job for this week's group entry you'd think I wouldn't have had to take a pause and think about what I would write about. Think again!

Like with the $250K Susanna gave us, I took the assignment quite literally. I skipped the part where the word "dream" gave me the right to transport myself into a fantasy world. Instead, I started to think realistically and recapped all the career interests I've had over the years.

This trip down memory lane began with recalling my dream to be a radio personality. I still wonder what would have happened had I auditioned for my high school's radio station all those years back. Would I be a spinning tracks at a local radio station? Or be some big time radio producer? Recently, I became friends with an individual who is in the radio business. Before I could chat her up about the job she said, "It's not as glamorous as it seems." Oh, I'm sure it's not. The reality is that no job is 100% glamorous - no matter what you do. However, it's fun to fantasize and in my world being on the radio sounds like a fun occupation.

Moving on from here I reminisced about the time I got paid to copy. Seriously, that was my job. When I got the temp assignment I thought it would be perfect. When there wasn't anything to copy I could cruise the internet all I wanted. The novelty of that wore off after awhile. This was the job that taught me that I enjoy work that keeps me engaged and challenged.

Then I got to thinking about a period in my life when I was only working part-time. Though my "off days" weren't necessarily days off from finding a full-time job the schedule was nice - even if the pay wasn't.

All said and done, if I had to put together my dream job it would be a situation that would allowed me a somewhat similar schedule as the one I had when I was working part-time. I would live part of my work life in the business world and the other half would be spent pursuing development in creative endeavors such as photography, writing... and maybe even art. I would also use some of this non-business time to continue my various volunteer projects.

Whether you are volunteering, learning a new skill or out in the business world taking names and kicking butt, all "dream jobs" are in fact work - it's unavoidable. I think that is one thing anyone has to remember when drawing-up their personal life map. Just like no person is perfect; no job is either. Maybe this is why I see that it's people aim to find a job that they are passionate about. All said and done, I believe this to be the truly winning component of my dream job.

Now that I have shared my thoughts on dream jobs, take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about the topic as well:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

momarock (Sara)

Until later . . .


Rainy Day Rambles

• If you haven't heard, or experienced it yourself, we're getting a lot of rain these days. As much as it is not my favorite weather condition, I don't find myself really complaining about it. This might have something to do with the fact that when I lived in Oregon this was an everyday occurrence for me from about September to May. Whatever it is, I am sorta over the rain and am looking forward to the sunshine and warmer temps.

• I had what I thought was going to be an uncomfortable conversation this evening. It turned out not being so horrible. I think part of my dread had to do with thinkig about what I had to pan-out. Once I actually did what I had to do it wasn't so bad. It makes me hopeful that the next conversation that I am dreading will turn out to be the same way.

• "This is my one and only life, And its a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive." ~ P.S. I Love You

• This weekend I posted on facebook that I was giving away yarn and needles. This caused several responses. One of which was the question as to whether or not I was moving. I thought it was interesting such a thing could lead people to this conclusion. I guess that is the only reason people think I would give away yarn and needles. The truth of the matter is that my initial reason for cleaning out my yarn stash had more to do with the fact that I was tired of looking at all fashion yarn and knitting accessories I wasn't going to ever touch. Once I came to this realization there was no reason to keep it anymore. It seems more like clutter to me than anything else.

All this said, I am in fact seriously contemplating a move in the near future. It's been in the back of my mind for at least 9 months now; however, now is the time I need to officially act. Or at least in the next couple of months.

• On the coattails of all this move talk, I got to thinking about when I first moved to where I am now. I choose this neighborhood because it was comfortable, safe and an easy location to relocate too. These were all things I needed at the time. However, I didn't feel at home right away. I didn't have any family nearby which made it lonely. That changed in early- to - mid- 2009 thanks to my knitting group. When I decided to re-up in 2009 I did so because I wasn't sure where else I would move and in 2010, so many things where in flux that I just didn't want to deal with a move. Both very passive choices. Now, though things are still in flux I feel like I'm ready to deal more with the "if not here, then where" question. I kind of feel it's time to make a move (if that makes any sense).

Even though it would be a local move, the thought of moving is bittersweet. Though not blood, I have family, and a good life, here. To pick up and start over, at least in a new neighborhood, makes me a bit sad and nervous. However, it also excites me.

• Recently when I was on the train I saw this dude sporting a fly Fendora. Actually, his whole overall look was pretty rad. It had a modern Rat Pack feel to it. Or maybe this is what the "hispter" look is about? Nah, I doubt it. Nonetheless, I liked it. I didn't tell him this, but the Conductor apparantly liked his hat as well and told him so.

The other type of hat I'm diggin' on guys these days are caps. Not baseball caps, but tweed caps. I'm glad to see they're back in style. Or, maybe they never went out of style and I'm just now more acutely aware of this fashion trend.

I realize mentioning all this makes me more of an uber geek than I already am, but I'm cool with that.

• Last week I won a copy of an audiobook - "Sweet Valley Confidential" by Francine Pascal. If you're a female who was a pre-teen/teenager in the 80's you know what I'm talking about. I was a dedicated fan of this series. (Kind of how I'm a dedicated Emily Giffin fan.) I was thrilled to hear this book was being released.

I'm looking forward to receiving my audiobook. I wish I had my old SVH books. I'd happily reread them just to get back into the who Jessica v. Elizabeth mindset prior to jumping into SVC. Maybe, if I'm feeling so inclined, I will write a review of it like I did "Heart of the Matter."

• I'm amazed how much of an impact and impression one person can make.

• I've decide to participate in that 30 Days of Songs thing that is going around facebook. Except I'm also going to post my selections here as well so the whole world can - for better or worse - get a sense of my music tastes.

• As the waiting continues my tendency to set "realistic" expectations sets in more and more. Thankfully, there is a part of me that remains optimistic. Lots of things that happened in late March/early April shocked me and made me realize maybe the impossible is in fact possible.

• I've determined I need to rename this blog. I just need to determine what that will be. I really want to register the domain "," but that is on backorder which means I could pay for a chance to win it once it is available which I gather might not be anytime soon. "" is available for the super low price of $2,788 according to GoDaddy.

Yeah... I think I'll hold off on that one. Time to get the creative juices going and figure out an appropriate url.

Until later . . .


It Was Easier To Quit Smoking

In some regards I never really considered myself a "real" smoker. I only smoked when I was out with friends. (I believe they call that being a social smoker.) I can only recall one or two occasions when I smoked a cigarette outside of a social setting, but I would imagine there were more of those times than I can remember.

When I decided to give up smoking for good, I went cold turkey. I just made the decision and never looked back. That was five and a half years ago. Since then, I've given up other things that are bad for me - like different types of foods, bad habits, etc. At one point I went about a year and a half without any fast food.

Most recently, I gave up chocolate. Yep, that's right, chocolate. Whenever I've told someone about this they look at me like I'm crazy. This look is typically followed by the question, "Why?"

The Intent

It all started about over thirty days ago when I was at my friend Bostonian's for a dinner party. It was the Sunday before Fat Tuesday and a few of the conversations that evening centered around Mardi Gras and Lent. Our friend, Ally, mentioned that she was giving up all sweets for Lent. I wished her good luck with that as I enjoyed the yummy dessert she had prepared that particular evening. Prior to my departure, Bostonian offered up some candy he had stashed at his place. Turns out he had won a year's supply of Twix, M&Ms, Milky Way and Snickers, but was sick of them. I figured "why not?" and took a few Milky Way bars and some packets of M&Ms.

A few days later I was at the train station food court with my friend D. As we were deciding what we would eat, D commented that the wait for my meal might be a bit longer than I'd like because it was Ash Wednesday and McDonalds, the establishment in which I decided to dine, was the only place that served any type of fish item.

I think the comment was meant to be funny and make me laugh, but instead it led me to ask the question, "If you observed lent what would you give up?" I've always been intrigued by Lent given that Judaism doesn't ask you to choose what to give up, it tells you. Leaven products on Passover and food for 24 hours on Yom Kippur. The whole idea that an individual gets to choose what they are going to give up intrigues me and got me wondering what I would give up if I were to observe it.

Before I go any further, no, I did not give up chocolate for Lent, but you'd think that is what did it. If I were to observe Lent I wouldn't take something away; instead I'd add a habit that was good... but I digress.

On my way home that evening, I got hungry. It was late and I hadn't had anything of real substance to eat since my oh-so-healthy lunch. Being the Girl Scout that I am, I looked in my bag to see what snacks I had brought with me for such an occasion. The only thing there was one of the Milky Way bars I had snagged from Bostonian's place earlier that week. I told myself it was better than nothing and started munching away. I was no more than a 1/3 of the way into my snack when I started to realize I wasn't going to finish the candy bar. Not only did I not like that I had such an unhealthy snack on me, but I wasn't even enjoying the taste of chocolate.

Now, you have to realize I've been a chocoholic since I was a little kid, so feeling this way about something I typically enjoyed was a bit upsetting. However, in all honesty it wasn't a new feeling. I hadn't enjoyed the taste of chocolate in sometime. Chocolate had become something I just went for as a treat just because it was there. I didn't like this fact and felt it was time to do something about it. That evening when I got home, I took all the chocolate that resided in my home (which boiled down to some chocolate chip cookies I had bought the day before) and put it in my freezer. That's when I decided, for the next 30 days I would not eat any chocolate.

30 Days and 30 Nights of Temptation?

When I made this decision I didn't think it would be such a difficult thing to achieve. Surely, going without chocolate for a mere 30 days wouldn't be difficult - it's just chocolate. Ha! That is until I realized all the little habits I had that all seems to come back to chocolate. Here are some of those "habits" . . .

• Coffee Shop/Cafe Treats: Knit Group and a chocolate chip cookie apparently go hand-in-hand. Oh, did I also mention the cafe also has a mocha/caramel/salty drink which just happens to satisfy my love of mixing sweet and salty?

• One day, I was visiting an old employer of mine. I had gone into the head person's office to write a note. On their table is a container full of York Peppermint Patties. Later that evening, I was cleaning out my purse and found that a few of these treats had made their way from that container into my purse. Part of me was shocked by this; the other part not so much. During my time working there, it wasn't uncommon for me to go into this person's office and snag a pattie - or two - on a daily basis. When they say old habits die hard, I think they were talking about things like this.

Into the freezer they went . . .

Now, add in all the instances where chocolate just presented itself . . .

• Did you know they make Cheesecakes without chocolate? I sort of did, but hadn't really had any of them. That is until this little challenge. My mom and I had dinner together one evening not too long after I started this no chocolate hiatus. I had specially suggested to meet at Cheesecake Factory as I felt like having a slice of cheesecake. After we made our plans and had hung up the phone I thought to myself, "Crap Monkey!" I knew I had just set myself up for temptation.

• "Chocolate Happy Hour": Seriously, y'all! There is a coffee shop near me that has a chocolate happy hour. For a long time I didn't understand why they didn't offer chocolate cookies in their bakery case, but never really complained about it. It wasn't that big of a deal and it kept me from buying junk food. Guess others did complain . . .

• An invitations to a Chocolate Lounge party - Didn't know such a thing existed.

and . .

• Apparently, dessert tables at a lot of events are 99% chocolate and 1% other. When you're not eating chocolate you become vastly aware of this fact.

You probably get the point, chocolate was everywhere I turned. Yet, I held strong to my commitment. At first, I was counting the days. I may have even mention this a time or two on this blog. By the time I reached week three I barely thought about it at all.

The After Effect,

It's now day 43-ish and I have still not had any chocolate. Honestly, I have no craving for it. I find this humorous - like I said, when this all first started I was counting the days.

I say it was easier to quit smoking because smoking was blatantly bad for me. (I dare anyone to find a report that shows one cigarette a day is good for your health.) I was fully aware of the effects even inhaling second hand smoke could have on a person's body, so why would I keep directly putting it in mine? For me that was enough to just quit. On the other hand, with chocolate it isn't that clear cut. Ok, chocolate is bad for my waistline and is not nutritious by any mean, but there are studies out there that show chocolate, in moderation, is good for you.

When I look back on the past 43 days I notice one problem with what I set out to accomplish. Chocolate was the only thing I cut out of my diet, not sweets altogether. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I just feel like I replaced one bad "habit" with another. Instead of having a chocolate chip cookie I had a Snicker Doodle. What's the difference? Ultimately, what I've come to discover is that I need to do is cut down on sweets altogether. I have a major sweet tooth that I need to curb. I do love sweet, but not the weight that accompanies it.

Maybe one day I'll have chocolate again, but right now I think keeping it out of my diet is the best course of action. Especially if I plan to eventually curb my sugar intake as well. Cutting out sugar all together seems like an impossible thing to do, but I've seen it done. One of my family members actually gave it up several years back.

Either way, now that I've seemingly over come my obsession with chocolate, I can now focus my attention toward furthering my on-going effort to develop healthier habits and making positive changes... after all 2011 is the year of change, isn't it?!


It's Thursday, which means it is time for the weekly blog project. This week it was my turn the pick the topic. My question for everyone was . . . You have to give up something up for 30 days, what would you give up and how do you think giving that up will change your life? Or, have you given up something for a period of time - what was your experience like?

Ok, I admit it. I picked this topic because over 30 days ago I gave up chocolate. I had intended to write a post about my experience so why not make everyone else do it. :) Please take a moment to see what the lovely ladies of this blog project have to say about the thing they'd give up, or have given up, by clicking on the links below.

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Moma Rock

Until later . . .


Simple Bullet Points

• QRC generators = the newest way I channel my inner techy geek.

For those of you with QRC scanners, here's some mindless entertainment...


• Why I have so much trouble defining what a hipster is according to someone I know: "Not all Chicago hipsters do it right."

• Cut the Rope is apparently "the" game in my family at the moment.

• Tonight, there is no place like home.

• Classical music being played in a train station depot. It was a first. It is an interesting touch and one I have to admit I liked.

• This year putting peanut butter on matzos doesn't make it taste any better.

• Apparently when I'm focused on something I'm FOCUSED on something - and it is apparent to everyone. I did not know this about myself.

• Pot-watching is getting a lot easier?

• "Sometimes when I do not write for a while, I feel guilty and like I am neglecting my anonymous, possibly non-existent audience." ~ MH

Good quote! I know how this feels.

• Debate over where to get the best coffee has taken the place of debate over where to get the best Chai Latte.

• So many songs this week sum-up the thoughts and feelings I have on things I wouldn't know which one to quote. So I will quote none.

• I think I'm the only one who still cares. I hope I'm wrong.

Until later . . .


Story Time

Just a bunch of stories (things) that have been on my mind lately . . .


When I was third grade I started playing the violin. I enjoyed it a lot. Actually, I enjoyed it so much I took private lessons during the summer between third and fourth grades.

However, this love was short-lived. During the first half of fourth grade playing the violin got harder. I was part of the orchestra. Keeping up with everyone was difficult for me. Instead of putting in the practice I needed to get better I quit. I quit because I convinced myself that I wouldn't improve with practice. Before I made my decision final, someone in the music program sat down to talk to me about my reasons for quitting. I don't remember all of the conversation, but I do recall them saying I would probably find myself sitting in one of our school orchestra concerts someday wondering what could have been if I had just stuck it out. I don't believe I ever did ever feel that way . . . at least not at that point in my life.

During Summer 2010, I saw an individual outside the Chicago Art Institute playing the violin. It was lovely. I was mesmerized by the sound of the music. As I stood and watched him play I began to wonder what could have been had I practiced more. Would playing the violin be just one of my many hobbies as an adult? Would I be a musician instead of a member of the business world?

I don't think about my former days as a violinist often. Aside from this past summer, today was the first time I had thought about it in years. No, I'm not interested in playing the violin again. I am, however, interested in other pursuits that are causing me some challenges. This morning, I was considering backing away from following a path I'm pursing because things are getting tough. It's really tempting to do this - just walk away, that is. However, I can't seem to walk away. I guess I figure if I walk away I'll always wonder what could have been. At least this way I will know for sure.

Getting To Know You

There was this guy I dated. I was really in to him. Dare I admit I even used the "L" word in relation to him?

In the midst of our "should we break up" discussions he shared with me all this personal information about his past and what has made him who he is today and drives him in his current pursuits. We ended up breaking up. Post break up, as I thought about the information he had shared with me I found myself wondering why he hadn't shared this with me earlier. I wasn't upset with him about this, just confused why he hadn't shared it with me before. This information only made him more endearing and made me appreciate him as a person even more.

I have a friend that recently confided in me about some truly personal struggles they are currently having. The conversation started with the disclaimer, "you can't tell anyone this." (Have I mentioned I was once told I was the Ft. Knox of secrets?) I appreciate their honesty and candor. It made them more endearing.

The other day someone I've know for many years just spilled their guts to me about all their concerns, frustrations and insecurities. This was the first time they ever did this. Now, you have to understand this is someone I've come to know as a pillar of strength. On the list of people I feel "have their act together" they are close to the top. I was shocked to see them so vulnerable; however, something about the experience was refreshing.

I can't fully explain why I find endearment in others adversity. I don't wish bad things on anyone. (Even people you'd think I would.) Maybe having been through adverse experiences myself I realize such knowledge gives you a better picture of who that person really is and what makes them them. Whatever the reason, I just know I find it endearing.

The Cabin Report

Recently, I indulged in some Garrett's caramel and cheese popcorn. As I munched away, I couldn't help but thing of the summer BFF and I went to overnight camp together. It was a theater camp located in Elkhart Lake, WI.

It was your average weekday. BFF and I had a break between activities so we made our way to our cabin to hangout before we had to be at our next activity. When we got to the cabin, one of our cabin-mates was there checking out our cabin report card for that day. It wasn't pretty. Apparently, despite the group's greatest efforts to clean and straighten the place we still didn't get good scores. This wasn't good news. One of our counselors was not pleased with our cabin report card scores and told us if we didn't improve ... well, I can't exactly remember what would happen if things didn't improve, I just know it wouldn't be good.

Anyhow, we were all concerned by this report card so we did what any normal 12-year-olds would do.... we ripped it up and flushed it down the toilet. Afterwords, grabbed the tub of multi-flavored (traditional butter, caramel and cheese) popcorn BFF's parent had sent her and talked about what we had just done. Next thing we knew heard our counselor walking into our section of the cabin. She looked at all of us and asked if we had seen the report card. I'm not sure how we did it, but all three of us managed to keep straight faces and convince her we hadn't a clue what happened to it. After she was out of sight and earshot we had a bit of a freak out. We were all so nervous about what had just happened. Every time I have caramel and/or cheese popcorn I think of that afternoon.

The story makes me smile.

Until later . . .


It's Under My Pillow

The largest amount of money I every received at one time came to me in the form of a cashier's check. It freaked me out so much to have that check in my possession I put it under my pillow that night I was able to go to the bank the next day. So, you can only imagine my reaction when Susanna told me she was giving me $250,000. . . How do I low jack my pillow?

Ok, seriously, Susanna didn't give me $250,000. She did, however, ask our blogging group to write about what we would do if she were to give us that much money.

Before I get into the details of what I would do with this much money I'd like to mention I've spent WAY too much time trying to figure this out. My first response was to divide up in a very practical manner - as if I really did have this type of money handed to me. Then I started to think of more epic ways in which to use this money.

After all this thought this is what I came up with . . .

Practical Me:

Charitable Contributions

I believe in giving back. I couldn't imagine not donating some of this money to charity.

Financial Responsibilities

There are a few bills I'd pay off. Never hurts to get those out of the way if you can.

Have Some Fun!

Don't think I wouldn't have some fun with this little windfall. I believe this fun would come in the form of a trip overseas. Specifically France and Italy for sure; possibly Australia and/or Spain. Oh, I'd need new clothes for this trip as well!

Investments and Retirement

I would never forget putting away for retirement. Especially if we're talking about the practical me.

Four Wheels

I'd buy a new car. Not an expensive, fancy car. A nicer car than I have now.


The next academic endeavor I wish to pursue is actually a bit on the pricey side. After all the above was done, I would have a nice chunk of this money left to cover the bill for the degree I wish to pursue. It would be nice to leave the program with little, or no debt at all.

(Let me just say I actually did sit with a calculator to make sure all above was reasonable for my given gift.)

The Less Practical Me:

Plan C - Super-sized!

The less practical side of me would pack up all my stuff and put it in storage for a year because I would out exploring the world.

Yarn Shop?

Another approach I would take the less practical side would take is to use the money to open my own business. Maybe it would be a yarn shop, but possibly something else. (Haven't really hammered out the details of this one. I do know it is something I've always been interested in doing.)

Since I can't seem to settle on what I'm going to do with my $250,000 at this very moment it looks like I'm turning on the low jack and the money is going under my pillow . . .

To read what my fellow bloggers would do with their new found fortune click on the links below:

MerrylandGirl (Melissa)
Mom of Many (Susanna)
momarock (Sara)

Until later . . .



• I don't really expect much from my friends. So, when they do something uber thoughtful for me I'm most appreciative. It also makes me realize how awesome and thoughtful all the people I surround myself with truly are. I feel lucky because I know this hasn't always been the case.

• Cupcake Fail: Clearly I didn't think this one through . . .

• Now I know where he might have thought he knew me from, but still I don't know why. Nonetheless, it was definitely an odd coincidence that he works for the firm that represents them.

• Dogs just seem to be causing all kinds of trouble these days.

• "The Wind"

• Adele - Your words were everything I wish I could have said and the words I wish had been said to me.

• Digital remains can be harmful. Especially when you stumble upon them unexpectedly. Time for some house cleaning?

• I began to feel the same feeling of stress I felt back in January when I first started preparing for round one. This time I believe I managed it better. I hope this remains the case as there are several more weeks of this ahead and I refuse to be like I was the last time.

• It's been six years since I had to buy a pair of jeans. Apparently a lot has changed since then. Women's jeans aren't the same. I believe this is going to be more difficult than I first thought it would be. At least I was able to hold on to most of my self-esteem during the process.

• Excited to play dress-up this coming weekend!

• Miss Mia looked adorable in her monkey pjs, flower headband and blinded-out turquoise sunglasses. Definitely a picture perfect moment.

• I've traded in Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Paper Toss and similar games for word games and logic puzzles. I find this an interesting development.

Until later . . .


A Year Of Change

By now it's not a secret I have a lot going on these days. A lot of change going on. Even things that I didn't expect are happening.

At the beginning of the year, when all this change was initially set motion I was talking to a friend of mine about it all. After I was finished telling her about "Project Life Map," she said to me something to the effect of "This is a year of change for you." After she said this, I looked at her with a blank stare. Yeah, I guess she was right. There were a lot of things changing, but I had never really thought of it in such a way that I would assign that label to it. I guess I figured since life is really ever changing, every year was a year of change. Some years the changes were just bigger than others; however, as time has gone by, I am warming up to this label more, embracing it and working to make the most out of 2011. Or should I say, my year of change?

A few weekends ago I was at a wedding where I was placed at a table with a group of the grooms friends who were triathlon participants. During the course of the meal, the group talked about the various races they had recently completed and those that they intended to participate in during the coming months. At one point, the girl sitting next to me turned to me and said, "Do you run? Bike? Have you ever participated in a race?" I simply answered, "No, but I have always wanted to." I went on to explain that I use to run, but stopped several years back. I mentioned how at one point it was my goal to one day run the Hood to Coast relay race that takes place annually in Oregon.

Since that evening, I've been thinking about the "good old days," when I use to run. I recalled how dreadful it was when I first got started and how much it was a part of my life at one point and what would ultimately lead me to stop running. All this reminiscing led me to start researching training programs this past weekend. That's when I came across Couch-to-5K.

If you haven't heard of this program, it's basically a training program for beginners. In the past, I didn't need a formalized training program - I just sorta made the decision I wanted to run and did it. However, what I wasn't able to accomplish was getting to the point where I was ready to run a race and that is what I am looking to accomplish at this point in time. Additionally, I believe I'm at a point in life where I need a more formalized program and a community to keep my enthusiasm going. I'm sure once I formally mention this on Facebook all my friends and family will be encouraging, but figure it never hurts to have additionally support wherever I can find it.

In addition to my family and friends, and the C-to-5K community I have also paired up with my friend Ally on this endeavor. Ally was commenting the other day on her FB page that she wasn't going to her Barrister's Ball (a.k.a. - law school prom) because she wasn't in as good of shape as she was last year. After expressing my thoughts on her reason for not going, I suggested if she was really that unhappy she should join me in C-to-5K. Turns out she had tried starting this program awhile back, but never got into it. Her intent was to start up again this month.

Perfect! Sorta . . .

Given my hectic schedule these days, I will not be starting this program until June. June 12th to be exact. This is when I anticipate life will be less hectic for me and I can give it the time and attention it truly deserves. Ally has agreed that she will wait for me and restart program on this day as well. This way, we both have accountability not only to ourselves, but to a friend participating in the program as well.

The program itself is 8 weeks long. This means we'll be "finishing up" sometime around mid-August. To raise the stakes a little higher, Ally and I have already picked out a race to participate in. Race for the Cure to be exact. A friend of mine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a year and a half ago. Since then she has had surgery and things look good for her. Personally, I can't think of a better race to be my first race.

So why talk about it now?

Well, first and foremost, I'm really excited about all this. I can't imagine not mentioning it for another two months. Secondly, I still have a lot of work to do leading up to June. About two weeks ago, I started walking more or less two miles every day. Sadly, this has been tough on me. I've been experiencing some painful shin splints. I take this pain as my body's way of telling me that it's been awhile and it needs some time to adjust. All this boils down to is that for the next 8 weeks or so I have to dedicate as much as time as I can getting my body readjusted to walking for miles and miles at a time. You'd think this wouldn't be a problem since I did actually walk places during the winter, but I realize since the regularity of such action was not consistent over the past 5 months, my muscles have most likely tightened up. I figure my training to start training is just as relevant to this whole process which I plan to chronicle on this blog.

I'm looking forward to getting started with this program, blogging about the experience, running a race in September and, more importantly, incorporating running into my life routine again. When I look back on my running days I realize how much I truly loved it and how happy it made me. I hope I can say the same thing this time around.

Maybe 2011 really is a year of change for me after all. If so, I'm ready!

Until later . . .


Defining The Moment

It's week two of the blog project.

This week, Mel asked us to talk about what experience for us has been the most legendary. (Or, what would be legendary if we got the opportunity to experience it?)

Thus far, 2011 has been a bit of a whirlwind. I'd say I wonder where the first ninety days have gone, and what I've been up to, but the truth is I know exactly where they've gone and what I've been up to .... pursuing my life map.

As part of this pursuit, I was tasked with writing a personal statement. From January to mid-February working on this statement was difficult. I was pre-occupied with other things I needed to prepare for. The problem with this was that I needed to have my personal statement completed by March - or at least that was my first deadline. This meant having all the words in their final format and ready to go by February 25th-ish at the very latest. When you are first starting on something like this around the 15th of the month that is quite a task to take on.

Thankfully, cranking out papers on a tight deadline is one of my specialties. I've been doing this since high school, and with much positive feedback. This was not an exception to my past experiences. I successfully completed the statement, however I felt something was missing. Though completely sincere and honest it felt a bit contrived. I would repeatedly tell my friends, "It's good, but it's not great."

"Lucky" for me, I would get another chance to write the personal statement I felt I had failed to write the first time around. To say this statement consumed my life is an understatement. When I wasn't working on it, I was thinking about it. I can't even tell you the number of hours I put into it - surely it was a hell-of a lot more than I did the first one.

Aside from any minor edits, I finished my statement on Wednesday, March 16th around 7/8pm. I was sitting at a Caribou Coffee House at the time. After hitting the period key for the last time, I jumped out of my seat and started dancing. I didn't care that I was out in public making a fool of myself; I was thrilled to be done, and more importantly elated because I had just written the statement that truly represented me and what I wanted to say.

My statement was about the hardest moment in time I've ever experienced. An experience that had a significant impact on my life, and on me as a person.

Since having this experience I have always wanted to write about it, but I never had the strength to do so. Whenever I've tried, the end product was always something overly emotional. This is not a bad thing as it was an emotional set of circumstances; however, I longed to be able to tell my story in a objective, yet powerful manner. I didn't want the impact of the experience to be overshadowed by the emotion.

After completing my statement, I sent it off to a few people I knew for feedback. The responses I received were positive. Still, I wondered if the responses were tainted with bias because these were people who knew me and knew what I had been through. That is when I sought out individuals who didn't know me from Adam. I wanted a strangers perspective. Once again, the feedback was positive. I had achieved my objective. I had written a smart, articulate and meaningful piece that captured the essence of what I had been through and the impact it had on me.

This writing also accomplished two other things I had not anticipated . . .

An unexpected result of writing this statement was that it lifted a weight I had been carrying around with me for so long. Though I had longed to lift this weight off my shoulder, I had questioned for sometime if I would ever be able to. What I went through was significant and something that, rightfully so, has changed me. However, I didn't want it to change me SO much that I was no longer the person I once knew as myself. Almost instantly after finishing the statement I noticed a difference. It sounds funny to say, but I felt lighter. I even commented to my friends M and BFF this very fact. I told them I thought this statement just might be larger than I had originally anticipated. It was no longer just a personal statement; it was a life statement. I can never fully articulate how this moment felt, but I know it was legendary. I was turning a major corner.

The second thing this writing helped me accomplish was something I had wanted to do for some time. This writing, helped me to define the moment. There comes a time in the course of life after such significant circumstances that you have to decide whether you're going to let the moment define you or if you are going to define the moment. I've been fighting for a long time to stop letting this moment define me. Through my writing, I finally took the opportunity to defined the moment. I laid out a course for which I wish to travel that I feel will turn a once painful experience into one that can help others.

Though a fairly recent experience, my story is legendary as it marks a turning point for me - and my life. In only few weeks I have already retold this story to many I know. They all sit in amazement as they can already see there is a difference. They see how calmly I talk about this part of my life and outline the path I wish to follow to move this from a once painful place to a place filled with hope and promise. At the risk of sounding cliche, I am working on turning lemons into lemonade.

For me, this is a bizarre place to reside. Having lived in the shadows of calm for so long the adjustment period, like any move, will probably take some time. I recognize I will never truly be the person I use to be, but I am confident I am not as far away from that person as I once thought I was.

Legendary . . .

Now that I have shared with you my legendary moment, I encourage you to read what my fellow blogger have to say about theirs:javascript:void(0)

MerrylandGirl (Melissa)
Mom of Many (Susanna)
momarock (Sara)

Until later . . .


Thought Provoking?

• Apparently the watched pot is really a watched phone. Is this thing working???

• I really hadn't realized it meant "shall not" until she pointed it out to me. As Alanis Morissette sang, "Isn't it ironic, don't you think?!" At the very least it has me thinking about how much I'm willing to compromise. I feel that, unless I'm willing to give up all my beliefs this won't go very far.

• The wedding was a reunion of sorts. It was nice to see everyone again. I can't believe it's been almost ten years. It seems just like yesterday.

• It was a blip... Just a blip. Phew!

• I like how Yelper phrased it . . . "It makes you more charming" - A state of calm that is. I like the state of calm. I'm getting more comfortable here and I'm not afraid all the time that the other shoe is going to drop. The interesting part is that not everything is back in place like you would think it would be for one in a state of calm.

• A stranger's advice: "Always have a dream." "Be good to yourself." "Take care of yourself."

• She gave me a small bottle of wine to celebrate her retirement.

• "Tell the world I'm coming home. Let the rain, wash away, all the pain of yesterday." ~ Diddy & Dirty Money Ft. Skylar Grey

• The most asked questions last week: Do you realize when you sneeze you sneeze three times in row? Don't I know you from somewhere? Something is different with your hair, what is it? Answers: Yes. Possibly, but not that I can recall. I cut it; and it's straight, not curly.

• Train-nick - Two friends, one train and gourmet, food court cuisine . . . what more can you ask for? So looking forward to it!

• About ten years ago someone told me if I get a fortune that it uber awesome to put the date on the back of it so when it comes true you can refer back to when you got it. All these years later, I still do this. I'm holding on to three at the moment. I don't know that I fully believe these fortunes will come true, but it's fun anyhow.

• My Magic 8 Ball predicted the gender of her baby correctly, now she believes any answer it gives me.

• Getting ready for round two is harder than getting ready for the first round was.

• Now that it's fixed, I have fallen in love again with driving my car.

Until later . . .


My Knitting Time #2KCBWDay7 #2KCBW

Today's Topic: Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

At the very least, I always know I will knit once a week at knit group. This is a standing date on my weekly calendar. There are very few times I will not go to knit good. There has to be a really good reason for me not to go.

Other than knit group, I spend some time during the week knitting on my own. When I'm at home and knitting I'm usually watching TV or a movie. Usually I park myself on my comfy sofa. The amount of time I knit at home varies based up what is going on during any given week or the urgency that I need to get something done. I use to carry a knitting project in the car so I'd have something to do if I every got stuck in traffic. This especially applied when we had the uber awful construction season last Spring/Summer. (Yes, it was dangerous, and I don't necessarily condone this behavior, but it kept me sane while sitting in gridlock traffic.) I gave this up in late June when I wasn't driving as much. There have been times since then I wished I hadn't. I'm thinking I might need to have a car specific project in the car at all times. Something I'm not in an uber rush to finish.

Aside from home, the coffee house and book stores various knitting groups I've attended meet at, other places I've knit include: parks, bars, sporting events, the doctor office, the train and work.

Until later . . .

Knitting Aspirations #2KCBWDay6 #2KCBW

Today's Topic: Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

Two things come to mind when I look at this topic.

The first is sweaters. I bought yarn back in November 2009,-ish, to make a February Lady sweater, but got a bit stuck when I started to make it. After frogging the project a few times I gave up. The yarn now resides in my cedar chest. I look at it every once in awhile, but never take it out and begin a sweater project again. Part of the reason I haven't taken this on has to do with my experience with my first attempt at making the February Lady. The other has to do with working on other projects like the Sock Yarn Blankie. One day I will take on a sweater project once again - when is just a question.

The other project I aspire to make is a complex lace pattern. I haven't really done anything with lace in the past. It's a bit intimidating to me. I realized that it's all really a mix of knits and purls. If I had to speculate what make these types of projects intimidating, I'd say it has mostly to do with the charts and having to keep track of repeats, etc. I really just need to get over this and jump-in and just do it!

Until later . . .


Something Completely Different #gratitude #2KCBWDay5 #2KCBW

Today's Topic: This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.

There are no rules of a topic to blog about (though some suggestions are given below) but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

Wordless; photographic post; Video blog post, Podcast; Cartoon/sketch of an idea; Write about a subject from a different perspective (for example, you could write about a day in the life of a knitted sock from the point of view of the sock); Interpretive modern dance (why does someone always suggest this?; A poem or piece of rhyming verse; Stop motion animation

The point behind this post is to get people thinking about using their blogs in different ways and pushing he boundaries of what they use their blogging platform for.

This was a tricky topic for me due to the fact that I've done some of these things in the past. Couple that with the fact that I didn't look at the topic until mid-day doing some of the others wouldn't happen for awhile. So, I decided to do something that I use to post on a professional networking site I was part of when I first started out in my field.

It's called "Five Good Things." The idea was every Friday there was a thread were you could post five good things that happened during the course of the week. Even if it was "It's Friday!" five times, the point was to figure out the glass-half full parts of the week. This thread was so popular, there was a race on Fridays to see who could start the thread first.

One day I tried getting onto the site only to find it had been taken down because someone had hacked into it. That was the end of "Five Good Things" Friday - and the board. Over the years I've tried to resurrect this as a regular feature on my blog at the time, but never did it on a consistent basis. Lately, I've been thinking about all the good thing in my life and "Five Good Things" Fridays. With that said, here we go:

1) I have options. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it's a really big one. (I forget this sometimes.)

2) I know how to knit - and knit pretty good for that matter. It wasn't until recently that I realized how far I've come with this skill/talent when I saw someone struggling with learning how to cast-on. Also, this talent/skill has not only allowed me to make beautiful things, it has introduced me to some of my closest friends.

3) It's Spring! No one really realizes what Spring means to me.

4) Once you get past all the mishigas, I have an great family. We all love and car about one another very much.

5) Lately the "unexpected" has been positive.

I hope this encourages you to put together your own list of five good things!

Until later . . .