Farewell, 2011.

I’ve gone through the thoughts behind this post in my head so many times, and have attempted to put all of those thoughts into words multiple times.  Yet, I guess there really isn’t much for me to say, except that 2011 has been a challenging, but incredibly rewarding, year.

In January, I began my last semester of graduate school.  I also got the flu in the first week, and while I sat around feeling like death, I began to think that this was an indicator of what the whole year was going to be like.

When I got into a really bad car accident on March 4, I still believed this year couldn’t get much worse.  I can’t remember much from the moments of that accident.  All I remember is believing that those were my last seconds of life; I sincerely thought I was going to die.  I walked away from the accident with soreness, cuts, and bruises, but otherwise, I was fine.  I have no doubt that someone was watching over me that day, because based on the condition of the car, and the fact that I literally went across three or four lanes of the highway twice, I am lucky that I didn’t get hurt or hit/hurt anyone else.  I learned a lot that day and though I still get really upset when I have flashbacks to that morning, it gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for everything and everyone I have in my life.  And my year also started to turn around.

So here are the highlights of my year in bullet form, for all of those people who don’t like to read long-winded posts:

  • In May, I quit a job I simply worked to pay the bills while I finished my Masters.  I found myself unemployed for the first time in years.
  • In May, I also attended my Masters graduation (and successfully sneaked* out after my name was called, saving me about three hours of my life that I wouldn’t otherwise have), and moved home for the first time since leaving for college.
  • In June, I got my first “real” job out of college.
  • In July, I decided to run a half marathon, and in August, I ran my first half marathon.
  • In October, I ran another half marathon (and ran it about 3 minutes faster!), and also upgraded my registration for Las Vegas to make it a full marathon.
  • In November, I turned 23.
  • And just a few weeks ago, I ran my first marathon.

Scattered in between these bigger moments of the year were some other big personal moments, and a few little ones that maybe aren’t worth writing about.  I guess what I just want to take away from this year is that more than anything else, it has been a year of tremendous growth.  I have come so far from where I was in January, and I’ve learned to challenge myself in new ways and do things that aren’t always comfortable or easy for me.  I can also say that I’ve learned more about myself this past year than ever before, but with that comes the challenge of figuring out what to do with that new knowledge and also determining what I really want out of life.

Truth be told, I’ve felt like a lot has been missing lately.  It’s caused me to make some pretty big decisions, and while it hasn’t been easy, I do feel optimistic about the new year.  Definitely more than I have in previous years.  It also probably doesn’t hurt that 23 is my favorite number (and was my number for field hockey), so I feel like this year of my life is going to be a good one.  And, if all other logic fails, since the world is going to end in 2012, I might as well make it a good year.

Anyway, I hope your year has surpassed your expectations, and that next year brings you incredible experiences, people, and memories.  Happy New Year!

*Snuck is not a word, apparently, but sneaked is?  Weird.

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I’ve Been Up Since 2:30 a.m.

For no reason at all.  If I set my alarm for a time earlier than I usually get up, my body likes to try and wake up before the alarm goes off.  On regular days, I set my alarm for 6:40 and I’m always up around 6:30 before the alarm goes off.  So last night, I set my alarm for 5:30 to get up and work out.  And then my body decided to wake up throughout the night, and 2:30 was the time it decided to really wake up at.

I stayed in bed for a while, trying to get back to sleep.  Then I gave up and:

–  Caught up on all my blog reading.
–  Played Words With Friends.
–  Read some older posts on a blog I really like but only recently got into.
–  Left my house by 4:45 to go to the gym.

At the gym, I:

–  Ran four miles in 36:08 (not too shabby on such little sleep).
–  Did significant ab work, including planks, side planks, crunches, and leg lifts.

I was home by 6:00, I showered, and since I had nothing to do and don’t mind leaving work an hour earlier, I left for work to get here at 7 a.m.

And naturally, as I’ve stopped moving and am now sitting in a completely silent office because only two other people came in this early, my exhaustion is finally hitting me, even with two cups of coffee sitting next to me.  So much so that I just tried to write exhaustedness and when the automatic spell check highlighted it in red, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, until the computer pointed out that such a word does not exist.

Today is going to be a long day.

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Edited to Add (8:45 a.m.) – It’s been almost an hour since I chugged those two cups of coffee and I feel nothing.  Nothing.  What is this?  Nonsense, is what it is.  Insanity.

Edited to Add (8:49 a.m.) – I’ve “updated” this post like 10 times in the last four minutes because I’m noticing more and more mistakes.  Wording was all wrong, grammar was non-existent, and some of this post made no sense.  P.S.  I’m tired.

Scenes From Christmas

All photos taken on my phone…sorry for the quality!

He’s yawning but it almost looks like he’s laughing.

He’s sleepy because he’s an old man.

Stuffing, mac n cheese, green bean casserole, and turkey.  So, so good.

We went in anyway.

Maple pecan pie.

A couple of my gifts.  Yes, I’m a nerd.  But, I got other things, I swear!

Vegetables, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and the best roast beef I’ve ever had.

One last one of Oscar, drifting off to sleep.  And wearing the red ribbon I put on him on Christmas Eve.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!

And today?  I’m back to work.  Have a great day!

Mickey’s Christmas

This is a dog that, back on February 25, 2011 when he came to our house:

  • was afraid of anything and everything
  • had never played with a squeaky dog toy (based on his surprise at the squeak) or likely any toy for that matter
  • didn’t know how to use the bathroom outside
  • barked every day and every night when he was in his crate
  • didn’t wag his tail
  • didn’t know how to walk on a leash
  • didn’t know how to run or play

And now, exactly ten months later, here he is…

Mickey is a dog that we don’t think was ever loved and he came to us scared and defensive.  He’s still a work in progress, and we’re learning more about how to work with him everyday, but each day he is growing and proving that even dogs who haven’t been loved and who have been abused have so much to give if someone just takes a chance on them.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday Things

So, Wednesday night, I met up with a friend and former teammate from college who happens to be living in the same area as me.  Actually, we share the same zip code and have for months but hadn’t known it until fairly recently.

There was a party at a bar in Hartford, where a ton of local firefighters and police officers were supposed to be.  Um, hello men in uniform, nice to see you.  Except, not.  We got there a little after 9:30 and the bar was pretty empty.  I guess it made sense since it was Wednesday night and all, so we decided to head to some other bars in the area.  The funny thing is, I’ve lived here my whole life and don’t know anything, while my friend has been living in the area for only a little over a year, and yet she knows all the bars and places to go and which nights they have specials.  Did I mention this girl is awesome?

So, instead, we headed to a bar with an awesome special: Spend $6.00 on a tall draft beer, keep the glass, and every refill after is only $1.00.  And, you can bring the glass back for $1.00 drafts every Wednesday after if you want.  It was actually really fun and ended up being really crowded, and naturally, since this is my life, I ran into a ton of people from high school.  Two of which are two years younger than me (hi, I’m officially old), and played on the basketball team when I was the team manager.  After, we met up with my other friend from high school at another bar, where we had a quick drink and then all headed out.  It was a weeknight, after all.

As we walked back to my friend’s car, parked on a sketchy side street near the Hartford bus and train station, my friend noticed a creepy guy and his friends walking towards us and began freaking out, trying to get into her car as soon as possible.  I didn’t really even notice until he called out my name, and then I realized that creepy guy was actually another friend from high school, who is actually not very creepy at all.

As I explained to my friend from college, I know I say that literally anywhere I go, I run into people from high school, but I think Wednesday night proved it to anyone who has any doubts about this reality.

I slacked off yesterday at the gym, biking a mere 7.5 miles and walking one.  But I figured the most important thing is getting out and exercising, especially since Christmas means I will be consuming ridiculous amounts of pecan pie, brownies, and other comfort foods.  Which I’m really excited about.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, I got a manicure yesterday, and it is indeed very festive.

I never knew how I felt about having one nail be a different color but honestly, I’m loving this.  The dark red combined with the pop of the glittery silver make this manicure totally worth the price (HA it was only $12.00, but still).

I also got a nice gift from another friend.  He got me a DVD of Diary of the Dead, also known as probably one of my favorite zombie movies ever.

I realize that I’m a total nerd and this movie got sub-par reviews on Amazon, but I don’t care because I love it.

And finally, to maintain all randomness that is this post, last night I baked a lovely loaf of banana bread.

I followed this recipe.  Super, super easy, and the bread looks and smells amazing.  It’s for the friend who got me the DVD; I know how much he loves banana bread, and he also has a batch of molasses cookies on the way too.

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I guess that is about it for now…

Happy Friday!  And for those that have Monday off, enjoy the long weekend!