I just updated our bio pages for the first time in 4 years. Crazy how things change.

I’ve never been shy about the fact that I love resolutions, but I strangely don’t have any this year. I love a new year and a new start and all that – and I feel like that’s happening – but I just don’t want anything stressfully exciting to happen this year. I want a year of nothing new. I guess that’s my resolution/intention for the year?

I’m pretty certain I’ve said this before – and I’m pretty certain I’ve failed. I am not prone to nothingness. I usually have something going on – a new degree, a cabin to rehab, etc. I like to keep life … exciting? Stressful? Both?

I thrive on pressure – but I think I need a break.

So – no new plans. No moving (meaning I have to delete my Zillow app). No major house projects. No new pets. Nothing.

I want to see if I can embrace nothing changing.

We have some travel plans and some small projects to do at the cabin – but that’s about it.

One thing I want to focus on is developing small hobbies and projects. Health related stuff has always been a hobby of sorts – so I’m planning to commit more brain space and time to it.

(I also want to learn how to sew, but that’s much less likely to work out. Like, comically less likely.)


I mentioned a few weeks ago or so that I’m counting macros. Still doing that.

I started back in August just before my shoulder surgery. I sort of panicked when I realized surgery would be necessary because I felt super unhealthy and unprepared to put my body through it.

The lowest weight I saw when I was actively losing was 158 (in 2012), though I maintained in the 160s until late 2014.

I spent all of 2018 hovering right around 205.

I suddenly felt like I needed to do something to regain control of my health and stop the upward trend.

I signed up with Stronger U after reading about it somewhere on the internet. I have spent tons of money on exercise related stuff, but this was the first time (outside of joining Weight Watchers 10ish years ago) that I think I’ve ever invested in help with nutrition.

I don’t like being told what to eat, how to eat, etc. – and have major issues with ideas about good/bad food that I still struggle with – so the macro thing seemed like a good fit with a focus on moderation/guidance without crazy restriction/food judgment.

I’m on week 22 and am down to 189 (from an official start of 204.4). I’ve taken a few weeks off here and there for surgery and the holidays – but I always jump right back in.

It definitely provides what I need to get my nutrition under control: accountability.

Plus a spreadsheet is involved. I love some tracking of data.

I don’t care so much about the actual weight – but it’s a clear representation of what’s going on, how I feel, etc. Weight gain for me = lack of focus on decent nutrition/good health.

It doesn’t necessarily mean a total departure from concern about my health. I was working out with a trainer 2-3 times a week THE ENTIRE YEAR I weighed 205. It just means I’m not eating optimally. Food has always been about more than eating for me – as it is for a lot of people – but it’s dangerous in that I know I could easily wind up back at 272 during periods of high stress.

Anyway – I’m really liking Stronger U. Jon thought it was crazy and didn’t understand why I’d pay to send someone a spreadsheet each week, but he has since come around and signed up, too. He’s just getting started.


Yesterday was my first time in a gym since my shoulder injury in June. I was actually nervous to go! I’ve spent the past 10 years trying out different gyms and various personal training studios, but I was legitimately scared to walk in the door of a big-box gym and use an elliptical for 30 minutes! I don’t remember how I motivated myself to walk into a gym for the first time EVER at 270ish pounds, but I’m impressed as hell at my previous self.

I’ve been cleared to do more with my arm – and my physical therapist recommended that I use an elliptical between PT sessions now to move my arm more – so I started.

I’m doing at-home body-weight workouts, too (also via Stronger U). I still have to modify just about everything that involves my arm and can’t push/pull much weight. I can lift zero weight overhead.

Realistically, I’m actually kind of liking taking control of my fitness and learning how to modify and make things work for myself. I’ve always just followed someone’s direction (either via a trainer, classes or something like crossfit) – and have liked and needed that – but I’m at a place in life where I’m ready to take more control of how I exercise.

So – I’m learning.

(I am also SUPER out of shape. I’ve done a week of working out plus one time on an elliptical and my entire body is sore.)


I have another MRI scheduled next week for my shoulder. Long story short, my shoulder is still messed up. Very generally – given the complications when I had the surgery – the surgeon didn’t tighten a ligament as much as is typical. He has always told me that this call he made on the spot might have been a bad one – but he had to make a decision while facing an unknown/bad set of circumstances. Turns out the decision means my shoulder is still unstable. We’re just discovering that as my shoulder is “unthawing.”

A second surgery to tighten the ligament was discussed in detail at my appointment last week. He has mentioned here and there that it might be a possibility – but it’s sounding as if nothing I can do via PT is going to correct this issue. He gave me two possible surgery scenarios – both which make me super anxious.

So I don’t know. The MRI will hopefully explain what’s going on.

My shoulder rubs/pops constantly and is unstable in that it gets close to the edge, but never quite dislocates. It’s MUCH better than it was prior to surgery – but it’s not right. The rubbing is going to cause arthritis and other drama long-term. Right now, it just hurts a lot. I’m 4 months out and still can’t lift it much or do anything overheard.

I don’t know what I’ll wind up doing, but whatever it is – I’m going to go into the decision in better health than the last time around. I’m committed to that.


I have an instagram account that I’m using to document food/health stuff: fit_together_now.


Happy new year!

I’m just about 3 and a half months since surgery and am definitely improving. I’m still pretty stiff – but that was expected, I guess. The surgeon thinks my shoulder is starting to “unthaw,” so to speak, so I’m counting that as progress.

Jon and I started this thing where we travel somewhere new for Thanksgiving – just the 2 of us. Last year we went to Stowe, Vermont. This year we went to Newport, Rhode Island.

His kids generally visit his ex-wife’s family in a nearby state, so we just catch up with them later. This year, we had a weekend at the cabin with everyone the first weekend in December. Totally cuts down on holiday craziness.

Both times we’ve booked rooms at small inns that we’d otherwise not splurge on – and we’ve booked at places that have some kind of Thanksgiving meal we can make a reservation to attend.

HIGHLY recommend this.

Anyway – I spent a few days in Rhode Island with some fancy pillows and then spent a week at a (work related) conference with some fancy pillows and it FINALLY dawned on me that maybe my firm bed and firm tempur-pedic pillow at home aren’t so great for my shoulder.

I know you can’t really prepare for everything – and maybe (probably) other people would have figured this out quickly – but it took me 3 months and some time in hotels with other options to realize that pillows with a little flexibility are better for my joint (meaning better sleep). So … there’s tip #1 from me re: shoulder surgery. Down pillows!


I’ve somehow managed to lose 15 pounds without much effort – so I’m about 20 pounds from my lowest weight. I’m thinking I’ll hit that goal in the new year, for sure.

Things have been super crazy lately so I haven’t been focused on it much, but I have been focused on maintaining, which I’m doing.

All of our parties and travel are done as of Sunday, though – so I’m looking forward to some downtime for the rest of the year.


I’m still doing acupuncture. In fact, I bought my own moxibustion thing.

The acupuncture guy also gave me some pearl powder. Supposed to help with the scar.

I really don’t care much about the scar, though. It is what it is. I have super fair skin that scars easily – and takes FOREVER to heal. The scar seems be lighter or darker depending on temperature and stuff like that – which is super interesting to me – so … I don’t know. I just don’t care so much outside of being interested in watching it heal.


Life is really good lately.

I feel like I’ve learned some kind of life lesson from the shoulder ordeal – or maybe I should have learned some kind of life lesson. Either way, I am a super type A person who likes goals and plans and likes seeing progress toward stuff. Nothing like a physical limitation that you can’t do a damn thing about to prompt some inward reflection.

I’m just over 7 weeks post surgery and I seriously feel like I’ve turned a corner. I was discharged from the sling at 6 weeks + real movement/exercise started at PT, so life is improving.

I remember some guy a few weeks ahead of me in his recovery telling me about how happy I’d be to be done with the sling when I was about 3 weeks out. At that point, I could NOT imagine taking it off. I was in pain, I couldn’t move my arm, etc. At 6 weeks, though – I took that thing off and haven’t looked back!

I am too stiff and am battling a frozen shoulder situation – and still can’t raise my arm very far – but I think I’m making decent enough progress.

I traveled (for work) to Boston last week and noticed that my shoulder/arm was super stiff and hurt quite a bit at the end of each day – but I packed my heating pad, which was some genius forward-thinking. I likely overused my arm – for example, I’m not supposed to lift/hold more than a coffee cup, which is difficult since it’s my dominant arm – but I tried to let the pain guide me. The actual inability to do things helped, too (had to check my bag because I can’t raise my arm high enough to get it overhead, etc.).

I have been following the advice of the surgeon and other medical professionals, but I’m doing a couple of other things, too.

1) I started acupuncture the week before surgery. I go to someone who specializes in pre/post surgery stuff. I don’t know that I have any strong feelings one way or another, but I keep going each week – so there’s that.

The other thing:

I bought this from the acupuncturist after a really bad day (pain, stiffness, etc.). I was almost sort of desperate for … something. I was just over it.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or what, but my incision went from being super bumpy (scar tissue, inflammation, ??) to almost completely smooth and just … fine … in a very short period of time (maybe a week). (I put it directly on the incision and the surrounding area.)

I’m honestly pretty surprised at the change. I’m totally sold and am using it daily.

Otherwise, life is chugging along.

I’m excited to get back to cabin stuff. We’re super close to it not being a construction zone, though there’s still quite a bit of work to do.

Our neighbor started building a shed for us while I was recuperating – so I’m excited to get all of the tools and construction stuff OUT of the cabin once he’s done.

I’m still steadily losing weight – slowly but surely (about a pound a week).

Overall, I’m feeling great. I haven’t exercised at all – and I guess I could do things that don’t involve my arm – but I’ll get around to it. I know I’ll feel even better (emotionally) once I get back to it. Soon!

Tomorrow will be 5 weeks since the shoulder surgery. Crazy!

It turns out I had a partial rotator cuff repair in addition to the repair of the labrum. I had a frozen shoulder when I had surgery, too – which is a thing I had previously never even heard about.

It’s all sort of a blur. I feel like my brain is fully functioning as of about 4 days ago.

I spent nearly a week in a recliner in my basement watching tv day and night (though I barely recall what I watched). I had a decent enough setup and was so out of it that I didn’t mind sitting alone in the dark around the clock.

I didn’t emerge from the basement until the 2nd week – but I spent that week pretty solidly camped out on the couch. Moving around was pretty painful and I was just incredibly tired. Everything took a lot of effort.

Sleeping was difficult. Eating was difficult (because I had to use my left/non-dominant hand). EVERYTHING was difficult. I cried more those weeks than is probably reasonable, but frustration + exhaustion + pain + crazy-making pain meds = not so pleasant combo.

I was convinced I’d only need a week off work and would be back by the 2nd week.


I’ve had a couple of bad days here and there – especially during the 3rd week when I returned to work. I was also pretty adamant that I was going to get back in my bed that week, though, which didn’t go well.

I showed up at PT one morning that week and cried and was kindly told to back off – so I did. I took some half days at work and went back to sleeping on the couch.

I slept in my bed for the first time since surgery this past weekend – though I still have to be somewhat propped up and am wearing the big sling – so it’s uncomfortable. This is the first week I’ve worked full days, too, though. So – progress!

My scar looks … not so bad. Comparatively.

The crazy swelling, redness, and bruising have gone away, anyway.

I thought I’d have the energy to write more about it, but I just don’t. It sucks. Avoid it at all cost. If you can’t, watch YouTube videos and be sure to buy the ice machine.

In other news: Jon is 50!

We celebrated his birthday last week.

(2016, 2017, 2018)

This little guy is FOUR.

Henry is still hanging in there. He’s mostly blind and deaf – and has congestive heart failure (plus diabetes) – but, as always, he has adapted super well.

We’re still working on the cabin, though I haven’t been out there since the day before the surgery. We’re almost done, though. We have a mailbox!

I haven’t exercised in a couple of months. Like, at all. I’ve barely walked around my house in weeks. I signed up for a nutrition coach (macros), though, on a panic whim and I’m actually really liking it. I’m on week 8 (yes, I did this through the surgery drama because I’m crazy, though I took a solid week and a half off) – but I’m down 10 pounds.

I gained 35ish pounds (from about 2014 -2016) from my lowest and hovered there for a couple of years, so this is the lowest weight I’ve been in a while. Something just seems to have clicked. Right place, right time, I guess.

I have been sitting around a lot lately and twice now I’ve accidentally clicked on the wordpress app on my phone and found it at the new post screen – so I’m taking that as a sign.

I discovered when I logged in this morning that I started this account and posted for the first time in August 2008. I am amazed it’s been 10 years.

Life is still rolling along. Lots to update, but I’m doing this with one hand – so keeping it short for now.

Most recent news? I injured myself at the gym. I was doing a plank and moved from straight arms to elbows and dislocated (or partially dislocated) my right shoulder on the way down. It hurt, I tried physical therapy for a month and nothing improved – MRI showed a torn labrum (a Bankart tear, to be specific).

I had surgery 9 days ago to repair it. I went in for a quick arthroscopic procedure and woke up hours later with a 7″ incision. Turns out I had some stuff going on that couldn’t be repaired without opening me up. So I have the big incision plus the 2 small arthroscopic incisions on the back of my shoulder. I apparently had some loose cartilage in there that was floating around … so that’s gone. I wound up with 4 anchors (securing to the bone).

This is definitely unpleasant – but I’m starting to feel better now that I’m off pain meds (except OTC stuff, of course) and am moving around a little more. I remember next to nothing from the first week – except I passed out when I tried to stand up the morning after the nerve block they gave me pre-surgery wore off. That day was rough.

It’s been really helpful to read (and watch) the experiences of others who have experienced this (especially when I’m sitting up in pain in the middle of the night), so I will probably post more about the surgery and my recovery sometime soon.

In the meantime, I’m at day 9 and I still haven’t slept in my bed and I’ve only been out of my house twice for maybe an hour each time – so yeah. I’m at least at a place now where I can sit without pain for long stretches of time as long as I don’t move, so that’s been a relief.

Jon has, of course, been the best caretaker ever.

Anyway, more soon.

So it’s been 9  months.

I have no idea what happens to time. Or my energy.

Things are the same, but they’re also very different.

I’m 27 days away from defending my dissertation. (!!!!!!!)

MC is 3. He and Jon’s daughter moved out in May, he turned 3 in July. That was rough. It was the best thing for them (and for us), of course, but I miss him like crazy. He has his own bedroom at our house and we seem to have fallen into a pattern of having him every other weekend – and now we see him twice a week for t-ball games, too – and we talk to him on the phone at least once a week – but it was an adjustment.

Jon and I hadn’t lived alone in 4 years, which seems crazy.

(Jon’s birthday last week – he’s 49!)

I’m still working FT. Still love my  job. Jon is still doing the same thing, except he’s in an MBA program, too. He’s been in a 16 month “professional” program – which essentially means he’s at school all day every Saturday and most Tuesday nights.

He graduates in December and I officially graduate in December, too (though I’m pretty much done now) – so we WILL BE FREE SOON!!!! We’re planning a freedom celebration/party the weekend after graduation and I can.not.wait.

We’ve done a little bit of traveling, but not much. We went to Chile in March, which was a lot of fun, but to continue the FREEDOM theme – I have a celebration trip planned for February 2018.


The dogs are doing well. I’ve been having Molly’s hair shaved because I couldn’t keep up with the shedding. Something had to give. Henry’s hanging in there with the diabetes. I think we finally have him on the right insulin regimen. Crazy to think he’s 11 years old now.

I can’t remember if I posted about the cabin, but we closed in February and have had a contractor working on it since then. We go out there every other weekend or so as time permits, but we haven’t really rushed him because we’ve been busy. The goal is for it to be done by the time we’re both done with school. We’re on track for that.


I haven’t been great about uploading pictures, but I’m working on getting everything to flickr now. I can’t wait to catch up. I have 17k pics on my phone right now so we’ll see how far I get.

I feel like I’ve been keeping it together for the past 3 years (since I started the PhD program) – but just barely. I really can’t express the freedom I’m starting to feel and the energy I’m feeling for other things/hobbies/traveling/etc.

27 days!

I’ve been hanging in there with the health and fitness, but – to be honest – it’s a struggle. I haven’t gained any more weight, but I haven’t lost any, either. I am still 30 pounds above my lowest, which is fine for now.

I just started with a new trainer at a small studio (maybe 2 months ago?) after taking a long break. I joined a new gym, too.

I’d really very much like to go back to 2012ish days when health and fitness were a hobby.  I see it on the horizon.

Anyway. I’m still around. Things are winding down. Looking forward to FREEDOM.


Sooo … I’m a day away from completing another Whole 30. I don’t know what has happened this time, but I feel fine. Completely unaffected. It’s not emotionally challenging, anyway – as in the past. I could keep doing this indefinitely, I think. (Not that I will …)

I had a headache for the first week or so, but now I feel great. In fact, I totally recognize the shift in how I feel.

The mid-afternoon blood sugar crashes and complete exhaustion I’d come home with after inevitably having some sort of sugary snack? GONE. This is huge.

Also gone? Ravenous hunger. I’m rarely hungry.

One interesting thing I’ve noted: I only crave sugar after late-day meals. It seems as if I start to think about sugar every.single.time I eat dinner (and sometimes after a late lunch). Only after I’ve eaten, though. It’s sort of strange that it’s so prominent and so predictable. I don’t know what’s going on.

I really feel great, though.

I’m going to keep on with it, but add dairy. I miss butter. I also have a box of chocolates that were given to me as a gift the night before I started this – so I’m going to get those out. I’ve been thinking about them all month as the sugar cravings would hit. Otherwise, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

It’s been so easy this time around. Weird.

I think being able to have potatoes this time has made a difference. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

I’ve been weighing (despite Whole 30 advice not to) because of our weight loss challenge. Right now, I’ve lost 8.8 pounds and Jon has lost 14.8. I’m going to weigh on Tuesday for an “official” weight loss amount to close out the 30 days – but I’m sure it will be close to today’s weight.

3 of us (couples) have lost 63.5 pounds as of this morning (haven’t heard from the 4th couple yet)!!

That seems crazy. 63.5 pounds!

We’re all doing the Whole 30 – the 2 other couples for the first time – so it seems like it’s definitely been a good thing.

I have a few pics of the things we’ve been eating:

Jon made this breakfast one day: sauteed kale, leftover crockpot pork, eggs.

Last weekend he made salmon cakes using a little almond flour.

We went out to dinner one night, so I had to make the best of it with a plain baked potato, mushrooms that had been sauteed in oil, and plain broccoli. I don’t like steak (which is what Jon had), so this was the best option. We’ve actually been to this place several times this month. One time I had a plain burger and another they had grilled shrimp for their special (not a regular menu item) – so I’ve been able to add some protein to these sides. Who knows about the oil, but I did the best I could.

Chicken burgers with guacamole.

Our version of fajitas: Jon marinated chicken and peppers and baked them (plus guacamole).


I made some applesauce in the crockpot.


Sunday prep.

I’ve been eating way too many potatoes.

Made some mayo several times to make tuna salad.

I’ve become addicted to these things that I lovingly call “crack water.” I typically don’t drink anything but water, coffee and unsweet tea, but I tried these for the first time this month and am now addicted to various flavors. I don’t know how I feel about the “natural flavors” – but they became my afternoon “treat” – so I’m thinking this is better than reese’s PB cups.


I had a meeting at Panera one afternoon and had to go straight from that to pick up MC. They had a pan of warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, so I bought one to take to him. YES, I MIGHT BE CRAZY. SO tempting, but I didn’t even lick my fingers when I got chocolate on them when I broke the cookie in half. (He’s had a little disastrous haircut situation, hence the lack of bangs and crazy hair.)

I haven’t started exercising yet, but I downloaded (and paid for, which boosts motivation a little) an app – so I’m going to try to get up a little earlier this week and do some 20-30 min home workouts.

I will probably head back to the greenway once it’s light past 6PM.

We are allegedly set to close on the cabin on Tuesday. We’ve been under contract since early October, so we’ll see. There are major renovations to be done, but it’s a very rural community (there is literally ONE licensed contractor in the entire county) – so we needed to secure the ability to do everything before feeling comfortable about moving forward. Jon and I can’t, for example, do the well or install an HVAC system.

We’ve been going out there, but will be SO glad when it’s ours and we can start working on it.

We’ve had a drought, so we didn’t know that we have a really great stream right by the cabin. We saw the stream bed, of course, and a small stream (and the cabin was on a spring-fed water system) but had no idea that it would be LOUD and AWESOME until recently. It’s what realtors would list as “musical,” for sure.

We’re really excited about it. I can’t believe this place was just abandoned. We lucked out.




I am really dragging my feet on the resolution thing this year.  I think I needed some time to think about what might be realistic – and what is actually important.  I could say weight loss and managing stress and all of the typical stuff I lean toward – but I’m just … tired of that?

I’ve been working on pulling my head out of the sand, prioritizing my time/energy/physical presence, and freeing up emotional space – and it’s been pretty liberating.  I think that’s what I want to continue.  I want to change things.  So … I guess it’s as simple (ha!) as that.

My pants are too tight?  Either lose weight or buy some new clothes.  Those are the choices.

I’m not going to wallow in stress/angst about things I can change.

I’m tired of my own bitching.

Brené Brown posted some questions on Facebook the other day that I like:

1. What do I want more of in my life?

2. How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?

3. What will make me feel more alive? Braver?

4. At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?

I know what I want more of out of life: the feeling I had when I took control of the rental house situation and changed something that had been bothering me, the feeling I had when I realized I’d taken control of my health and lost 100 pounds, the feeling I ALWAYS  have when I just do what I know needs to be done.

So I guess I’ll be working on strengthening what I started in 2016.

I  hate feeling powerless – especially when it’s self-inflicted.

How do I let go of this stuff?  I don’t know.  Resolve.

What will make me feel more alive? Braver?  Trusting myself.

Regarding #4 – that applies to the powerlessness situation, but in ways I can’t really articulate. The contributed vs. criticized thing is something that really resonates, though.  I think I’ve gotten bogged down in some negativity lately and have tried too hard to work with that (and people who lean that way) vs. being someone who contributes more than criticizes.

I feel the the exact feeling of powerlessness (i.e., the rental house situation) when I allow myself to be swayed by other people and their negativity in conversations/actions.

So, anyway.  More being true to myself this year.

Jon and I have gotten ourselves into a weight loss challenge with 3 other couples.  We’re going for highest percentage of weight loss at the end of 6 months – $100 on the line.  We’ve got a color-coded spreadsheet and a group text going, etc.

This is JUST the boost in motivation I needed.  The $300 for the winning couple isn’t even the motivation – I just like to win.  And this is something I can win.

We started on the 1st, of course, along with every other resolutioner.  I’m down 6.2 pounds today, which is REALLY indicative of the shit I’ve been eating.  Together, Jon and I are down 13.2 pounds, which is -3.1%.  We’re tied with another couple for the lead.

Should be interesting to see what happens over the course of 6 months.  We set that goal specifically to encourage everyone to stick with it over the long haul vs. just losing some weight in January.  That would have been too easy.

We’re doing a Whole 30 to detox, so I’m on day 8.  I feel ok.  Everyone else is doing it for the first time, so I’ve actually had fun helping them learn how to read labels and cook new things.

We’ve been sending pics of meals here and there, so I have a little bit of a record of what I’ve been eating (at least for the first couple of days). Looks like I relied pretty heavily on potatoes at the beginning of the week.

(Jon made a beef thing in the crockpot one day.)


(He also made some homemade sausage, so I had that for breakfast nearly every day with leftovers.)



(I ate quite a few turkey burgers for lunch.)


We had carnitas salads from Chipotle 3 nights in a row because … it’s easy? It’s right down the street and we can order online and we were busy after work, etc. Also – it felt like a “treat” by the 4th or 5th day, so it was easy to do it again the next couple of days.

Some in the group are having to stop sodas and fast food and SMOKING and really completely overhaul things, so I have no room to complain about the minor headache I had for a couple of days.

I’m glad we’re doing it, though, primarily because it has opened my eyes to how many “treats” I had come to expect.  Eating at home hasn’t changed much, but it’s CRAZY how many times I have wanted a “treat” when we’ve gone out somewhere.

We went to see a movie one night and my mind just immediately started thinking about all of the restaurants nearby and I wanted ice cream or hot chocolate or dessert after the movie, etc.  It was crazy how I just immediately went to food when the goal was simply to go see a movie after work.

Sugar has been the hardest part, of course.  I start craving it around 3PM and I’ve been battling it every night.  Hopefully that will start to recede soon.  In the meantime, I’m relying on pineapples and oranges and apples.

We haven’t started exercising yet, but Jon re-joined the running group and has already signed up for a race. His oldest child (son) is participating with him, so that will be fun for them.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I’m re-evaluating and thinking about how I want to move forward.  I feel like I’ve tried everything and the only things I’ve really stuck with and enjoyed over the long haul have been strength training (with a trainer) and running (alone).  I am NOT competitive when it comes to this stuff – and really prefer the isolation of running alone (but with a training group) and having a private trainer.  I have never stuck with group classes.  I really dislike yoga.  Etc.  So, I don’t know yet.  I need to do something soon, though, because I feel stiff and creaky.

I’ve contemplated downloading an app or otherwise trying to do something at home – but I’ve never enjoyed that or been successful at it, so I don’t know.

We got a little bit of snow yesterday, so that was fun.  Molly LOVES it, of course.

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Yesterday was bedding washing day, but they wanted a nap in the big bed, anyway – for THREE HOURS. It was a nice lazy day.


I’m working on uploading my 2016 backlog of pics. I would be very upset if I lost them – but it’s also crazy to erase the year from memory just because I wasn’t in a good place.

(The wood stove was BY FAR the best purchase of 2016. I think I left that off the survey last post.)


There are actually a lot of fun things I want to remember.  Like, how it’s probably not a good idea to give a 2yo some ice cream for the ride home.

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So it’s been 6 months?  Wow.

I totally abandoned the youtube channel I last wrote about when I started working full-time again.

I still weigh about the same +/- a few pounds, so that’s not great –  but not the end of the world. I’m still stuffing myself into my clothes until I work up the energy to do something about it.

I briefly contemplated deleting the youtube stuff just now, but … what the hell?  Who knows where I’ll be in a few months?  Maybe I’ll feel like revisiting that idea.

2016 was bad.  There’s really no way around it and no way to put a positive spin on it.  I just scanned through my post at the end of 2015 and it’s really clear that this year was just … not as great.  It’s depressing to sit and look through happier times.

I said in that post that I wanted to eliminate some stress and stop doubting myself – and I’m fairly impressed that I’ve actually accomplished that – but it has come with a cost.

I haven’t been great about uploading pics throughout the past year, but let’s do this, anyway, so I can look back next year and hopefully feel better about an improved year:

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Nothing, really.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m pretty sure I said I wanted to work on managing stress and self-doubt.

I mostly did that.  I’m likely not managing stress in the BEST ways possible, but I took care of some things that had been bothering me for a while.

Example?  I fired the property management company that we’d hired 4 or so years ago to manage our rental house.  It was one of those things that I wasn’t sure I could manage properly (i.e., finding tenants if needed, dealing with leases, dealing with fixing things, etc.) given my limited free time/energy – but I was always SO frustrated when I dealt the company – mostly because I was frustrated with myself for doubting that I could deal with it on my own. I wanted more control over what was happening to/in my property/house and I didn’t like the way the leasing agent dealt with things – but I doubted I could deal with it, on many fronts (i.e., I hate dealing with money and taking it from people).

Our tenants moved out at the end of October and left the place in somewhat bad shape and I was PISSED.  I was also pissed at our agent’s response.  So?  I fired her and spent a few weeks doing some improvements (i.e., had the floors refinished and had the place cleaned, etc.) and wound up with fabulous tenants and all is well.

It sounds crazy, but I was SERIOUSLY agitated by this situation for YEARS and feel SO MUCH BETTER having taken control.  Also?  Between raising the rent and firing the leasing agent, I’m making $200 more per month – so that’s a definite plus.

So I guess this applies to #1?  I’m a landlord for the first time.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Some friends had babies.

Did anyone close to you die?


What countries did you visit?

Germany and Czech Republic!  This was a definite highlight of the year.  Jon had to go to Germany for work and it coincided with my spring break, so we added a few days and went to Prague.  I spent the week in Germany reading and writing while Jon worked and everyone thought I was crazy and worried that I was bored – but I seriously needed a week alone (most of the day) in a hotel room.  It was AWESOME.

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IMG_3515.JPG Easter market!

We also took Jon’s child #3 and MC to Florida – so not really a “country” – but I’m going to adapt this question to encompass all visits to different places.

IMG_7550.JPG 💦💦💦

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I went to San Diego with Jon for a work thing (for him).

upload Making sure I'm free of radioactive isotopes. 😜😜

I presented at a work/school conference in New Orleans and Jon was able to come with me.  (I actually went to New Orleans twice in 2016 for work/school stuff, but the second time was a quick trip for a conference where nothing fun happened, so I don’t really count it.)

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What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Little bit more happiness.

What moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Honestly, that rental house thing really bugged me for a long time (years!).  It was pretty liberating to take control of that situation.  A few other very similar situations happened, so I guess the conquering self-doubt stuff is what is etched.

I wanted to do it (stop doubting), I set it as a resolution/plan, I did it despite the fear, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER – in all situations. 

Imagine that.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See above.

What was your biggest failure?

Weight gain/poor health.  I’m still 25-30 pounds higher than my ideal (for me) weight.  I didn’t really do anything to lose the weight I gained, but I stopped the gain – so I guess that’s good?

I feel like shit, though.  Worn down.  Health and fitness just had to take a back seat in 2016 to some other things that I really needed to deal with.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, just feel bad.  I’m eating poorly and I haven’t exercised in a couple months – which I don’t think has happened in a really long time – so I feel creaky and achy and my stomach hurts and blah.  It’s not good.

What was the best thing you bought?

I started to come out of a funk in late November/early December and felt like shopping and caring again – so I bought some clothes that make me happy.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

I don’t know?

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Eh.  I just don’t even want to get into the election because “appalled and depressed” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been so shocked/confused/pissed.  It caused me to re-evaluate some relationships and my investment in them because I just can’t even deal any more.

Where did most of your money go?

Maintaining life and a household and pets and kids and all that.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Nothing, really.  I’m excited about some things to come, though.

What song will always remind you of 2016?

None.  I don’t really listen to music.  This has definitely been the year of politics and true crime podcasts, though. I’m obsessed.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder, for sure.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, for sure.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, I think.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

More fun. More exercise.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eh.  I don’t know. Maybe less sugar/reliance on food for comfort/coping/fun.

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas with a 2.5 year old is AWESOME.  MC asked for drums, a light saber (this is totally the year of Stars Wars – he’s obsessed!) and a firetruck.  Santa brought all of those things.

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Jon cooked a big dinner on Christmas Eve and all of his kids and their partners came over for that. We had our traditional Chinese dinner on Christmas night with everyone, too. Jon’s mom came for a quick visit a week or so before. My mom is visiting this weekend. Jon’s work holiday party was fun (and gave me a reason to get my hair cut and fancied up). Etc.


The whole season has been a lot of fun.

Did you fall in love in 2016?

I’m always in love. I love my family.

What was your favorite TV program?

I didn’t watch much tv this year.  I can’t think of anything – at all.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t hate people, generally.

What was the best book you read?

I don’t know.  I don’t remember reading anything but work/school related stuff.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered several true crime podcasts that I totally binged once I couldn’t take politics anymore.  I found My Favorite Murder early on and subsequently started listening to Last Podcast on the Left once I heard about it on MFM.  Now I’m on to binging on other random true crime ones that I’ve found via random searches.  Love.

What did you want and get?

I can’t think of anything I really wanted.

What did you want and not get?

A sane president.

What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t think I saw a movie at all this year.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 36. No memory of it and I have no pics for reference, so I’m guessing nothing.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A little more happiness.  Less difficulty transitioning back to work.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Non-existent.  I’m having fun buying clothes now, though – so maybe 2017 will be more fun.

What kept you sane?

Jon.  The stability, friendship and love that I know is always present.  He’s the best person I know and I’m so lucky to be doing this life with him.




Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I really don’t care about this sort of thing.

What political issue stirred you the most?

I don’t have the energy to get into this.

Who did you miss?


Who was the best new person you met?

Not sure that I met anyone new that’s overly noteworthy.

This child, though?


I LOVE watching him develop into a person with his own ideas/opinions/etc.  I say this about every age, but 2.5 is the BEST age.  He talks non-stop and is just … a little person.  I really, really love it.



He is the best kid.  Seriously.  Super smart, sweet, kind.  I love that we can carry on full conversations and he just … gets things now. Like a person.



Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Just do whatever needs to be done.  Take control. Live life with confidence. Fuck politeness.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I really just don’t like music.


I’m glad I wrote all of this out and forced myself to look back a little at the year.  I’m not as depressed as I was when I started.  Some good things definitely happened.

It was just a crazy year.  I spent half of it in classes and half back at work – two completely different lives.  Health and fitness took a major hit, but I feel like I’m in a new phase of life.  I feel more confident, more ready to be DONE with BS, more capable of being ok with change and stress – and more flexible to adapt to all of it.

I needed to put my head down and plow through some hard things and I did and I think I see the light on the other side.

Some other noteworthy 2016 things: Jon and I celebrated our 10th anniversary (by doing nothing, which is our style, but still – TEN YEARS!).

Also, he cut part of a finger off and passed out and scared the shit out of me and then couldn’t run a half marathon he had trained for because the doctor told him not to get his blood pumping too much, because this would happen:


It was awful, but also kind of amazing to watch his body heal itself. The way he cut it off meant there was nothing to stitch or reattach – so it just had to heal. Crazy.


We have some fun things planned for 2017 and (despite the fear, dread and embarrassment I feel for our country) I’m super excited.

First up?  We’re buying a raggedy cabin (and 39 acres) out in the middle of nowhere in a nearby rural Appalachian community.  We’re set to close in a couple of weeks.


Maybe we’re crazy?


We’ve hired a contractor, so I’m hoping everything will be done by spring.  I’m planning to post here as we work on it so I can track the progress.  I am SO excited about renovating this place and spending weekends out there.


It’s been abandoned for several years, so there’s a lot of work to do – but it’s got good bones and a ton of potential.





Also?  I am graduating in 2017.  No doubt.  I’m just plowing through.  All of my free energy has gone to my dissertation lately.  I’m about halfway done and on track to graduate in the summer (fingers crossed).  It’s going to happen in 2017 because I am just DONE.

Did I ever mention that Jon is doing an MBA program?  Yeah.  He’s due to graduate in December 2017, so 2017 will be the year of FREEDOM.  THANK GOD.  Seriously. 

I am going to do something to celebrate when we’re both out of school and done with classes and papers.  FOREVER AND EVER. We’re too old for this shit.

We have some fun travel plans, too.

I am so excited right now – and so glad I sat down to write this post.

I am going to make 2017 a better year.

I’ll update later this weekend with resolutions – because I love that sort of thing – and because I clearly need to write here more often.  It helps so much.



Soooo …. I’ve gained weight.  Like, noticeable weight.  I think – based on my clothes – that my weight started creeping up here and there last year.  It has gone crazy since about this time last summer, though.  I think I’ve gained 20-25 pounds since last June.  I know that I’ve gained 10 of those pounds since January of this year.  I feel it.  The jiggling and the tight clothes and the puffy face.

Something obviously has to change.

I think some old/bad habits just snowballed.  I’m not necessarily eating poor quality food and I haven’t reverted back to eating fast food or anything like that – but I’m eating too much/too often and I’m choosing things like pizza and bagels and ice cream WAY too much.  There was a stretch where I was probably eating ice cream daily.

So, anyway.  It’s time to do something about it.  I said – back on 1/1/16 – that my health needs to be a priority this year – so I need to get on it.

I created a youtube channel and I’m going to do short vlogs each day (hopefully – maybe weekly at the very least) to document what I do to lose 30 pounds.  I need to shake it up and do something different/fun that provides some accountability.

I’ve thought about doing this for a while – just haven’t been ready to commit.  I was SUPER grumpy yesterday as I recorded the videos and I think it’s because I was making a commitment and putting a goal out there – a hard commitment/difficult goal.

It really doesn’t matter if zero people watch.  I apparently need some form of responsibility to something to keep myself accountable.  I need a reason to stop and think about my actions.  It also REALLY helps to talk it out – whether written or verbal – so … yeah.  I don’t have a ton of time and have no idea how to edit videos, so it’s going to have to be simple and crappy and recorded on my phone – but hopefully it will give me whatever I need to be successful.

I weighed 196.4 yesterday.  (!!!!!)  I need to be around 165.

So, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizRTJmcPi2QdYxyUlhXdSQ

I’m sure it will mostly be a bunch of bitching.

I’m planning to keep this blog going, too.  If you can call what I do “going.”

This is the only whole body picture I could find taken within the past couple of weeks.  So this is it – 30 pounds up.

Making sure I'm free of radioactive isotopes. 😜😜

Other than that, life is good.

I’m free! Classes are officially over and I’m moving on to the next phase THANK GOD. I think I can definitely say that I am DONE with classes. Period. Forever. It took just about every ounce of willpower I had to power through the last couple of months. I’m just SO READY to focus on my own work/dissertation.

I accepted a new position at my job, so I’m going back tomorrow. Super excited/nervous. It’s a new situation with a new title and new responsibilities and lots of things I’ve never done before (like being someone’s boss) – but I’m ready.

We’re about to celebrate MC’s 2nd birthday! Unbelievable.

I can't believe I blinked and 2 years passed. 😳😬😍



Jon and I recently spent some time in San Diego (for a conference for him) and New Orleans (for a conference for me).  It worked out that I was able to meet him in San Diego, then he followed me to New Orleans – and then he went to Germany.  Crazy – but it worked out, we had a lot of fun around our work obligations and we didn’t have to go weeks in a row without seeing each other.



We don’t have any major vacation plans this year outside of a short trip to the beach with MC and Jon’s child #3. Looking forward to that, for sure.