life

Original Work Friday: More

I’m not the girl I used to be;

stronger in some ways,

weaker in others.

Old cracks have been repaired

while new ones split wide open.

The past has an impact,

it filters through time;

there is no escape

but I decide how to handle it,

to let it influence or ignore.

The future is now,

no time like the present

to become who I want to be

and to stay who I am,

to know my own worth.

I will still make mistakes,

I will still stumble and second-guess,

but I am in charge of my fate

and I have learned from before.

I am more than I was.

katME

SPRING BREAK!

Hi all!

My most humble apologies for my absence in the last three weeks. I had some crazy days leading up to my spring break and then by the time it was all over and I was able to go back home to visit my family, I pretty much swore off technology and the internet so I could really enjoy my time in New England. But I’m here with an update and maybe I will even post a new work for you tomorrow to make up for it. Forgive me?

Here are a few of the things I did while on hiatus:

-had family Pi(e) day including at least a dozen different pies and gamesspring break irish bread

-went bridesmaids’ dress shopping with my bestie (we’re still deciding)

-met a couple of adorable new kitties but I wasn’t ready to adopt

-went wedding dress shopping with my older sister (she said yes to the dress!)

-also picked out the bridesmaids’ dresses at the same time

-spent some quality girl time with my mom and sisters

-made Irish soda bread (with black currants) from scratch for the first time

-made my first boiled dinner all by myself for St. Patrick’s Dayspring break boiled dinner

-went swimming (indoors, obv) with my mom

-had dinner with my grandmother and great aunt

-helped my mom pick out mother-of-the-brides dresses

-went wine and cheese tasting with my mom and her friend

-watched season 8 and 9 of Smallville

-watched season 2 of Eureka

-avoided all schoolwork

-snuggled cats

-drank non-French Vanilla coffee

-slept in as much as possible

-went snowshoeing for the first time…and wanted to die after 2.5 hours and 5.5 miles

-ate freshly made donuts minutes after they were done, still warm

spring break hikeSo I think that mostly catches you up on what I’ve been doing. I have also been totally swamped with schoolwork, four classes instead of three in grad school is A LOT of work. I apologize if I disappear again to deal with that. I’ve also been struggling with some OCD flairs and some depression and anxiety. But I am so thankful that I had the time off to go home and be surrounded by love. And grateful that I have such an amazing support system that takes my calls any time that I need them to.

Thank you for your patience and I promise, I will try not to neglect you for as long in the future. But just in case, here’s what I’m reading right now:

currently reading 3.26.15

I have also been drawn back into The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon and am currently on book 2: Invincible. I was just in a mood to read about a sharp-mouthed Cajun who fights evil while trying to figure out himself, girls, and puberty. Good fun. And builds off of her Dark Hunter series…so, pick up one of these if you want something interesting to read.

Until next time, take care and as always, feel free to leave comments and remarks!

Live In Your Strength

Last night I received some cheesy but much needed advice…from a bag of tea. Yogi Tea Products puts inspirational notes on the tags of all of its tea bags and I’ve been trying to drink a cup of their “Detox” tea every day to help filter out some of the junk that lives in my body and immune system. Yesterday’s inspiration was the title of this post: Live In Your Strength.

What does this mean to me? This means being true to yourself and owning who you are, not letting other people talk you down or be ashamed of what you need to get through the day (even if it’s a hug and chocolate bar). Lately, I’ve been feeling a little like someone else is running my life and I have been running myself ragged to please them and not getting what I need in return, not a good feeling.

So I’m going to embrace who I am: a neurotic, OCD-filled, anxious, organized, perfectionist, detail-orientated, nerdy, affectionate, loyal person who gets in her own way a lot and doesn’t have as much confidence as she should.

And that’s OKAY.

I’m not perfect. I have flaws. And not everyone is going to be equipped to deal with them. And that’s okay. Because I have an amazing support system of people who love me and care about me and who genuinely want what is best for me. So the only people I need to think about other than myself is them.

My strength lies in my willingness to help and to take the lead, to reach out to others, my strive to succeed, my caring nature, my support for those I love, and my ability to push others and myself to be their best. My strength lies in navigating the world in such a way that works with my quirks, not against them. Yes, I am growing to be more flexible and patient. And this year, I have a goal to be more positive. But that’s doesn’t mean I have to change who I am entirely…or even all that much. Sometimes all I need is to take a deep breath, a step back, and look at the option that will play to my strength, not prey on my “weakness”.

How are you going to live in your strength?

Timeout

I need to take a minute to write some of this down. I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment and need to get it off my chest.

As many of you know, I am currently around 600 miles away from my family. Something that has been made infinitely harder by the fact that I have recently decided to move back to New England to be with them this summer. Another thing that has made my time away even harder recently has been the engagements of not one but both of my sisters. It has come to my attention that I am one of those people that can’t be without their family, especially not for long periods of time. And with all the family joy spilling over, it’s becoming even more difficult.

wedding bellsAnd currently, my little sister is trying on wedding dresses.

I wish I could be there so badly and it absolutely sucks that I cannot. Instead, I’m stuck in what I’ve come to think of as my dungeon, also known as my bedroom, attempting to do the mountains of homework that are required of me to pass the four grad classes that I am taking this semester. (For the record, three is the recommended maximum amount of classes.) But my concentration has been totally shot all day, especially now that I am receiving pictures and wondering how much better everything looks in person.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m miserable because she is getting married and I am not. On the contrary, I am very happy for her, for both of my sisters. But not being able to be there is one of the hardest things. It’s one thing to miss the snow and the weather, it’s another entirely to miss out on events that I would love to be there for.

I’ve tried all my normal avenues of distraction: my favorite tv show, a book, homework, music loud enough to shatter an eardrum. So far, nothing has worked. I’m hoping if I tell you about it, that might help. Or you might have some other suggestions.

Although I guess I should give that book thing another try since I know you’re expecting a review this week 😉

I guess that’s all I can say and just hope that it gets easier.

Jan 31st

Welcome to the last day of the month of the new year!

What have you accomplished so far? What are you planning to do better? What hasn’t turned out like you expected?

As for me, I have officially begun the second semester of my first year of grad school and it has so far been rather uneventful. Sure, I have lots of things to read and I got to see my friends (although I sadly do not have any classes with many of them), but since I changed my courses to taking mostly online classes, I have more free time than I would like. Not that I’m complaining exactly, but I find it harder to concentrate with more open areas than I do with tight spaces of hours.

But that could just be the procrastination talking.

EXIF_JPEG_T422The first week of classes is behind me and I’m already looking ahead to all the projects I need to do and figuring out the best way to complete them. I have more time to do that now which is nice but it also means more hours stuck in my bedrooms, trying to avoid technology for fear that it will consume me and I won’t get the necessary work done.

But other than that, I’ve started working out on a more regular basis now that I have time to do that, and the alone time in the house to sweat in private. My energy is up, my sleep levels are good, and I’ve been able to invent new recipes to try out for lunches at work.

I also have a few books that I’ve managed to read so far and a couple of others that I am currently wading through. Lately, I think I’ve been reading too much heavy materials so I’m making the decision to switch to some lighter reading while I’m in classes. After all, my hours between homework are precious and books should be an escape, not a chore. Well, the ones I’m reading for pleasure at least.

Overall, it’s been a quiet, and slightly boring, first month, but things are about to pick up pace so I can really get back into the groove of schoolwork and planning out every minute of the day for maximum efficiency!

Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

Magnets

Eyes lock

instantly closing

the distance.

A pull

in my gut,

magnets aligned.

I couldn’t

resist, nor

did I want to.

A long fall,

no landing

in sight.

Drifting and

spinning to

you and me.

Hearts unitetwo hearts

lust binds

life sighs.

Happiness here

love there

holding true.

Fill in

the cracks

for you

As you

prove that

this is real.

This one

will make

or break.

Either we

both commit

or both crash.

Forgive & Forget…or Not

forgive not forgetI’ve been having an internal debate lately. Is it better to forgive and forget or will those who truly need your forgiveness never be forgotten?

Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. Sometimes someone you think has walked away for good makes a sudden reappearance. There’s never a good time for this to happen, let’s be honest and get that out of the way now. Normally, this will happen at two possible times: when you are very happy or when you are very low.

For me, it happens to be a low point. I’m dealing with lots of stress from school, being away from my family for the holidays, living further than ever from home, and just general frustration with life.

I suppose there is a lot to be said for forgiving someone who has wronged you and then proceeding to forget about them. But if you forget about them isn’t that sort of like pretending what they did never happened? On the other side of that, does the wound continue to fester if you forgive but don’t forget?

I think that if you can forgive and then proceed to put it behind you without ever forgetting what the person did f and f happinessbut trying not to dwell on it and let it color everything else in your life, then you’re doing okay. And that’s what I had been doing.

Forgiving wasn’t easy and moving on was even more difficult. But you hit the point, the wall, where you just can’t take it anymore, where the person has hurt you so bad or so many times that it becomes hard to look at them, let alone interact with them in any significant way.

So when they inevitably come waltzing back into your life in one way or another, what is proper protocol for dealing with that? Is it easier to tell them you forgive them but don’t want them in your life? Or if you’ve truly forgiven, should you allow them another chance?

What if they’ve already had a bunch of chances but they kept destroying you every time you held out a hand to them? Is it okay to tell them they are forgiven but no longer have a place in your life? Or is that petty?forgiveness

Those closest to us are often the best equipped to cut us the deepest, hurt us for the longest, and turn our emotions back on to ourselves. Which brings me to the second point: if you’ve forgiven the other person, does that also mean you’ve forgiven yourself?

In my case, this person had several opportunities granted to them and I practically fell over myself to offer those every single time. And every single time, without fail, the person turned on me, made me feel guilty, that it was my “fault” for ruining things and became a source of anguish, anger, and tears. So I put my foot down and after the last time, over a year ago, decided that I didn’t want to deal with it anymore, that I knew I deserved better than what I was getting. Which is now pretty much shot to hell.

I’m the type of person that is loyal to a fault (one of my best and worst qualities), even to the point where I am getting kicked like a dog. I have a hard time letting go of people I care about, regardless of how they hurt me. But I felt something break the last time and now I don’t know if it can be fixed. This person tells me it will be different, but haven’t we all heard that time and time again? How can you ever know if that’s the actual truth? How can you trust someone who didn’t have the decency to not treat you that way in the first place?

Forgive and forget. Forgive but not forget. I’m still not sure where I fall. Probably more on the latter side. Not to hold a grudge but to remember the pain and use it to make myself stronger. To build back up the walls I let fall time and time again.

Can you move on when the past keep pulling you back? I’m not sure. Sometimes it feels like I have elastics glued to the back of my shoes. I keep walking forward and they keep stretching out. Eventually they will either break or yank me back. I don’t know which I’m hoping for at this point.

Is it just me…

…or should Nutrition Fact labels have accurate serving sizes?gatorade

This is something that he genuinely bothered me for years. Why aren’t companies forced to put the accurate amounts of sodium, fat, and calories into a serving size that the average person will eat? I’m not going to drink a soda in two servings. I’m not going to count out 18 potato chips. I’m not going to separate my Gatorade into 2.5 servings. And I’m definitely not going to at half a can of Campbell’s pre-made soup. It’s just not going to happen.

Sure, maybe I will drink half my Gatorade one day and then half the next. Maybe I will only eat a few chips. But more than likely, I will drink the entire 32 ounces of delicious-ness, particularly after sports or working out or being sick, and I’m going to dump a bunch of chips onto a napkin and eat them, maybe a fourth of the bag (half the bag is air anyway).

I know that companies do this because the accurate serving size would look horrendous on those labels, especially the sodium content in most pre-packaged food, but don’t we have the right to know (without doing math in our heads) how much and of what we are actually consuming?

bc oreoIf there was a way to change this, contact the FDA and pass a law or something, I would be on board with that. Besides, for my favorite foods, I’m going to eat as much as I think I should, not how much a serving size tells me too. If I want to eat six freakin’ Birthday Cake Oreos (instead of the recommended two) then I’m going to do it. How do they even come up with these suggested servings sizes? Who ever eats just two Oreos? Who drinks half a soda? No one that I know.

I watch my caloric intake pretty well on most days. I try to balance my diet with grains, veggies, fruits, and lean meats, but when it comes to choose snacks that are healthier options, those labels can be very deceiving. Just like the ones that say “only 100 calories” or “low fat”, look at the sugar content, that might surprise you.

There has to be a better way to manage this doesn’t there? The United States has some of the fattest people on the planet and if our fast food restaurants now have to tell people how many calories are in a Big Mac or a large fry (which people will consume in one sitting), then shouldn’t we require the same of the people who are making prepackaged food? greek yogurt big mac

Weekend Roundup

Friday night was Halloween and as such, it saw me sitting on the couch watching Beetlejuice with my cousin’s grandmother awaiting the few trick-or-treaters that were sure to grace the house. Mostly, I ate candy and listened to some pretty amazing stories. My cousin’s grandmother (my aunt’s mother-in-law) has lived a great life, full of rich experience and life lessons. She is sweet, caring, and entertaining. And I really enjoyed spending that time with her. And of course, we got less than 20 kids come for candy and the ones we did see were either a little too old or a little too young to be partaking in the tradition, but everyone got candy nonetheless.

After the triumphant return of my cousins from their trick-or-treating adventures, I once again retreated to my room where I spend most of my time. I pawed through the combined seven pounds of candy and picked out a couple of choice items when no one was looking but I hate to eat it all at once so half of it is still scattered across my desk in the usual haphazard fashion. I went to bed pretty late, deciding however not to stay up to usher the beginnings of NaNoWriMo into the United States east coast.

There was a loud pogirls gingerbreadunding on my door seconds before it opened at 8am on Saturday morning. And who should it be but my older sister and her boyfriend! To say I was overjoyed was putting it mildly. Although I couldn’t get too excited on account of the fact that it was early and had yet to have my coffee. Luckily, they had thoughtfully stopped by Dunkin Donuts and procured some essentials: coffee, donuts, and bagels.

I spent the morning sitting around, chatting with the pair of them as the rest of the house went about its business. It’s been about 3 months since I’ve seen my family and always feels so good when I do. Plus I got a proper hug which is always nice. Seeing them on skype (like we did for pumpkin carving) just isn’t the same as seeing them in person. Even if we do nothing more than talk. But we went out exploring to my campus briefly before adjourning for lunch at a Chinese buffet. Now that was a damn good deal. The three of us ate for about $25 total! Can you believe that?

Happily full we made our way back to the house where my sister’s boyfriend immediately went into the bedroom and passed out. He had been driving all night to get here and they still had another 12 hours to go before they arrived at the final destination: Florida. So we let him sleep while my sister and I caught up a bit more. The rest of the family went to church and we took naps which was quite pleasant.

After, the rest of them went to a Halloween party and my sister and I watched “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” on Netflix. I was so happy to just be in her company and so relaxed. It was better than my night out contra dancing. Unfortunately, after the movie, she woke up her boyfriend who showered and they prepared to hit the road again. It was nice to see them while it lasted, even if it did put me a bit behind on my homework 😉

They left around 10:30pm and I decided it was time to get a jump on my NaNoWriMo. I sat down and banged out about 1,700 words before 11:50pm and sat back to bask in my glory of awesomeness. Then I promptly changed, brushed my teeth, and passed out in bed.

Sunday was definitely designated to be homework day and I was up and at it by 8:30am to make up for lost time. I complete a paper due on Tuesday and found the appropriate movie clips to accompany it. I also read everything for my Monday class and half for my Tuesday class, counting on having today to finish up. After that, I wrote another 2,500 words or so for NaNoWriMo and then officially gave up on doing real work so I watched an episode of Sherlock. And as much as I love that show, this episode made me sob like a brokenhearted fool so it was probably a poor decision to watch before bed.

So I dragged myself away from my laptop and curled up with Snow Like Ashes, which I am really getting into. Sure it’s about civil war in another realm and there is lots of death and destruction but the main character is interesting and the idea that she hails from a land of permanent winter makes me jealous. Oh, and on that note, I found out that my little sister’s city had about 8 inches of snow on the ground by the end of the day yesterday. Also making me jealous. The best we’re going to get down here for awhile is rain and that’s not nearly cold enough for me.

Now I’m off to finish Tuesday’s homework and possibly write more for NaNoWriMo. But that should help explain why I didn’t have any postings this weekend! Lots to do, I’ll be back again soon.