Me time

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I’m finally returning to my routine, which means my days are filled with a little me time.

This past month, well more than a month, has been a little tricky for me to get away and go to the gym.

Once you get yourself into a routine, one that you truly enjoy, it’s a hard habit to break. Because of my healthy “habit,” if you will, I had to put more focus on it again.

So far it’s been a success . . . . 

For the past three days I made myself a priority and headed to my favorite place and got some running, weight training and either the elliptical or bike riding into my slotted “me time.”

My me time has been put on the back burner because of Lucy.

This is where my guilt comes into play. I know she’s a dog, but it breaks my heart knowing she has such a hard time of being alone.

She’s starting to pick up on my routine. She knows when I put my running shoes on and grab my purse it means she’s staying home.

When I take her out one last time before I leave she doesn’t go, but follows me and constantly tries to get my attention. Today she began shaking outside, one of her favorite places to be.

Yesterday and today she started to run out of our bedroom when I sit on the bed close to her crate. She knows.

I’ve done everything possible to help her conquer this fear, but so far nothing is working.

When I finally get her to come to me at the foot of the bed,  she’s shaking like a leaf. It breaks my heart that this poor puppy has such anxiety when she knows I’m leaving.

I try and console her before putting her in her crate, but it doesnt help, the crying begins as soon as I walk out of the room.

I put a few treats in her Kong, hoping that would keep her busy, but of course she’s not interested because she’s watching me leave. (When I returned I found all three treats in her crate out of her Kong not. She loves these treats. I was shocked.)

With that said, leaving and getting in my workout has done wonders for my mood today and yesterday. Today I ran my fastest mile in a long time. It felt good to pick up my speed. I also rode a longer distance in the same 30-minute bike ride I typically do.

I left the gym with a huge smile on my face. I walked out a new person ready for my day. I absolutely love the therapy a good workout provides for me.

I love having a gym membership. I love walking through the doors, putting my ear phones in and going about my workout with no interruptions.

Yes, going to the gym on a regular basis was something missing out of my equation. A very important missing factor.

Now the challenge is getting Lucy to enjoy that small fraction of time away from me, while I indulge in a little me time.

Laughter

Today was really needed, past due if you will.

Jason has been working nonstop and I seem to always have something to write or edit. Our schedules have been busy with only a little bit of time to spend together. That time is usually at the end of the day when we are both exhausted.

So, today was Jason’s first day off since we drove to Maryland for my nephews birthday party. After doing an interview early this afternoon for work, Jason asked if I wanted to go out to lunch. It’s been a long time since we treated ourselves. A long time since it was just the two of us out and about enjoying each others company.

As soon as we sat down at our old favorite place, one we frequented often in Fort Myers for a drink, wings or a burger, the laughter instantly began. Our waitress was laughing with us. That’s the thing about Jason you never know what he’s going to say.  I won’t lie, sometimes my jaw drops before the laughter begins.

I love how Jason makes me laugh. How he keeps a smile on my face. The mood is always light, always stress free, which is something I need from time to time.

This is the first time we have visited this restaurant of ours in Kingsport. After our experience, I’m sure we will return.

Today reminded me why I have grown to love having nothing planned ahead of time. Yes, I have grown to love this quality about him. I’m a planner, so it was hard to get used to.

Yesterday while I was at the gym he called and asked if I wanted to go hiking. This of course was not in the plans, and, my first reaction was no thank you. He chose to make plans to go hiking the day I worked out my legs and did the elliptical, ran and rode the bike.

My decision of course changed.

The hike was quite honestly difficult once we started because of the intensity of my workout. Because of this it was the first hike I got cranky. My frustration got the best of me because the soreness was already starting. But it got us out of the house and out in the woods. Out in the cool, often times really cold temperatures with Lucy by our side.
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I’m glad we went. I’m glad we got to see one of our favorite waterfalls once again. Laurel Falls.
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Throughout our lunch today we were both laughing. Old memories were brought up and new memories were made. It’s moments like these I treasure the most. It’s the simplest of gestures.  The smile,  the touch, the kindness that speaks volumes to me. It’s Jason knowing when we need to go out to lunch and have some time together.

The best part is the laughter continued when we got home. I love having Jason home for this reason. Our home comes alive, it comes alive with laughter and good times.

I cherish what we have together. I don’t know what I would do without him. He truly is my life, such an important part of my life. The best thing that ever happened to me.

I’m so glad we got to spend quality time together. Days like today rejuvenate me for what the week has in store for me.

I truly found the best man for me. He’s a keeper for sure.

A look back, while looking forward

Every year on this day, I always find myself reflecting on what has unfolded.

My day started with messages on my phone from my family and a message on Facebook from a great friend who spent this day with me last year.

. . . today marks my 33rd birthday.

Although I was a little bummed that Jason had to attend an orientation for his second job (yeah) and work at his first job tonight, I made it into a great day. It started off rather lazy . . . I called my editor Christina and she instantly wished me a Happy Birthday, which was a great way to start the day. We talked about story ideas – some that were already in the mix – and many more that were added to my workload. I always enjoy talking to this wonderful friend of mine. We always find ways to make each other laugh and provide little updates of what is going on. I’m so glad we stayed in touch . . . one of the first people I worked with when I started my career in journalism.

While Jason was getting ready for work, I opened the card and presents Mom and Dad sent to me. The card definitely made me smile, as well as her thoughtful gifts.

Once Jason took off for his day of work, I got ready for the gym. My favorite place to go, yep the perfect birthday present for me. I kicked butt on my run – and almost added a mile onto my bike ride in the same amount of time I usually do. To say I had a great workout is an understatement. After talking with Julian about resolutions – well I set goals instead of resolutions – I have added a few more to my list that I hope to accomplish this year. One of those is of course increasing my running distance. It’s time to really work towards that distance – pushing myself to achieve that goal, so I can set yet another one.

Throughout the day I heard from friends, all wishing me a Happy Birthday, which made me smile with each wish. The highlight of the day, would have to be getting a text from my long time friend Anna! It was such a nice surprise to hear from her. She was such a huge part of my life growing up! Like always, even though we have gone in our separate directions, such as life, we have stayed in contact. Now that we live close to each other once again . . . hopefully we can make that trip to see her and her family soon.

That uplifting moment was a surprise phone call from Jason between his orientation and his work shift. That call absolutely made my day, brightened my day. He always knows exactly what I need to make me feel better. We talked about some of the plans for tomorrow and just shared how the day has gone so far. I love hearing from him, especially the “Happy Birthday babe,” “I love you.” I cannot wait until tomorrow, we have the entire day, just the two of us, to spend together and celebrate my birthday.

The icing on the top of the cake was that phone call from Mom. The last few years we have both took the day off of work to spend together on my birthday. This year, since we have more distance between us, we talked through messages, until we could talk to each other on the phone. I love this woman to pieces, she is the best part of me. Her gifts, as always were right on – she knows me so well. I cannot wait to put those presents to use!IMG_20131230_171106

So after I left the gym, I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner – one of my favorites –  tacos. As I was walking around the store, I thought why not buy myself a little desert to help celebrate my birthday.

It was delicious . . . and there is more than half of it left.

This past year has been absolutely wonderful, one of the best years of my life.

Foremost, Jason and I made a long plan into a reality and it’s been wonderful . . . moving to Tennessee. We have traveled to so many places – Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and parts of Florida –  seen some beautiful sites and really experienced life in 2013. He  has taught me how to live in the moment and appreciate everything about life, everything. With that said, the hikes to the waterfalls we saw, are definitely memories I will hold onto for a lifetime. All of our experiences continue to make us closer. Every day my respect and admiration for this man I love becomes a little more intense. I am beyond thankful and grateful I have a man in my life that makes me feel special every single day. I honestly could not imagine my life without Jason . . . he enriches it in so many beautiful ways on a daily basis.

Another highlight of 2013 are the enhancements I have made for my career. I walked away from a dream job, being an editor of a daily newspaper on the little sleepy island of Pine Island to writing for publications in three different states.  (Wait, I have to stop right there, one of the best parts of that editor’s job was working alongside Charlene. She was the best coworker a girl could ask for. We laughed, vented and just shared our daily lives while sitting in the office between interviews and appointments. You definitely helped me keep my sanity on more than one occasion. The best part is our friendship has continued.) This blog, as well as my Twitter account, has allowed me to reach people from around the world and share this passion of mine – writing. I still have to pinch myself from time to time – my writing is in print in Arizona, Florida and Tennessee! The best part is I contribute to the Herald & Tribune on a weekly basis – anywhere from two to five articles a week. I am a part of another great community, a small community of about 5,000 people in Jonesborough. I work with, and for, some incredible people who constantly help me develop into a better writer.

This is the year, some ideas will be recorded for that book I hope –  no, I know – I will publish one day in the very near future. Jason just better be ready for pen and notebook, camera, and possibly a tape recorder in hand while we are out on our adventures. It’s time to jot those ideas down, get that thought process flowing.

To say there is more . . . . well I have to include a little blurb about my friend Dorene. This time last year she was taking incredible photographs of Jason and I, creating even more memories for me to hang on my walls. We planned a baby shower together for her adorable and precious baby girl Calie in January and about a month later welcomed her into this world. She has been such a dear friend of mine, has helped me in tremendous ways as Jason and I have made that transition from Fort Myers to our new home in Kingsport, Tennessee. There is not a week that goes by that we don’t touch base and catch up on each other’s life. Dorene, you are such a special friend, I’m so glad we met all those many years ago.

Judy, oh Judy, I cried when I had to say goodbye to you back in April. In such a short amount of time, you brought so much joy into my life. Your friendship means the absolute world to me. You are constantly in my thoughts. Thank you for all the long conversations, all of the helpful words during our moving process. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

The main woman in my life – my mom – oh boy where do I begin. I am beyond thankful I have such an incredible relationship, open relationship, with this woman, who sees me through my troubles, accomplishments and everything in between. What we have only adds to the beauty of what we call life. . . you are the best!

Wow, to put all this into words just goes to show how wonderful of a year I had in 2013. The best part is there is so much more, so many beautiful moments, memories that will carry with me as I embark on a new year. (I guess you just might have to look back at some older blogs to see and read about some of those beautiful moments.)

I am beyond blessed and grateful to live such a beautiful, colorful life filled with so many new experiences. I have grown leaps and bounds as a person as a 32-year-old. I cannot wait to see what happens this year . . . it is definitely exciting to think about.

Thank you to everyone who has personally impacted my life in so many beautiful ways . . . I truly treasure you.

Berry goodness

After my workout at the gym this morning, I decided to make myself a smoothie.

So far the best one I have made.

I poured frozen mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries and blackberries – into the blender. I then cut up a banana and threw that in as well. If that wasn’t enough I poured orange juice into the mix and then scooped Chobani Greek blackberry yogurt into it before putting the lid on. A perfect drink to have after doing cardio – running and the elliptical. The best part is I’m feeling full and satisfied.

I love having Snap Fitness right up the street from where we live. I’m finding myself going as much as possible . . . even if I can only fit in some cardio for the day. I wake up thinking about gym and go to sleep thinking of what I’m going to workout the next day – yep the addiction is back.

Now that my workout is done and my drink is finished, it’s time to start writing again.

It’s going to be another great day!

Six days in a row

To say I jumped back into my gym routine is an understatement.

I’m proud of myself for going six days in a row! I have gone at all different times throughout the week and I have to say early morning and mid afternoon are my favorite.

I’ve done both cardio – running and the elliptical – and various free weights and machine exercises … I feel incredible. With that said, my body is sore, but hey that only reminds me of what I worked out.

Some of the exercises I used to do with mom at our gym in Fort Myers are slowly coming back. I hope more does. Mom always came up with some good sets that pushed us to our limits.

I guess I forgot how nice it was to do more than just cardio. I’ve noticed with lifting weights my cardio has increased.

My stamina is finally improving on the elliptical. Yesterday I reached a new level, surpassed my other workouts on the elliptical, which made me feel incredible. Yep, I’m always setting new goals for myself! 

Today I was at the gym all by myself. It was really nice, I had every piece of workout equipment to myself. I did my cardio and then used some new equipment, which I will have to use again when I workout my back next time.

Now I know when Jason is at work on the weekends I should head to the gym. I must be the only crazy one who works out on Saturday and Sunday.

The gym has definitely helped me this week. I’m really glad it’s a part of my life again. It’s an outlet I really needed, one I really enjoy.

Although I miss meeting mom at the gym in the wee hours of the morning, I’m glad I’m doing it on my own!

Back at it again

After taking some more time off, unwanted time at that, I finally decided to join a gym!

I researched some gyms in the area and decided to join Snap Fitness, a place right up the street from where we live in Kingsport. It’s a new gym, only been open for the past few months. It’s affordable, open 24-hours and has some nice features. I walked around and was sold – this will be my destination for the next year.

Tuesday morning was the day, the day I laced up my shoes and drove to the gym. I cannot begin to explain how good it felt to workout in an actual gym again, one with new equipment.

I’ve been using the gyms at the clubhouses in the complex we have lived at for the past year and a half. Why pay for a membership, when I can workout for free? Well yesterday answered my question, gyms have much better equipment and atmosphere.

The feeling too, the feeling of working out with others, even though we are all doing our own thing, only motivates me more during my workout. Everyone seems to always be happy while at a gym, which is kind of what I experienced today.

I left the gym with a huge smile on my face, and a little sore from some of the exercises I did yesterday.

This afternoon after I met all my deadlines I got ready for the gym again. All my frustrations of the day were left on the treadmill after my run, as well as the elliptical after an incredible workout. I felt completely refreshed. Yep, working out is supposed to be a part of my life. 

When I got home and climbed the stairs to take a shower I felt every muscle I worked out, walking back down the stairs was a little more intense … love the feeling of being sore, it means I did something.

I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

Going strong

Today marked the end of the third week since I started exercising on a regular basis again.

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I love this feeling, I love continuously pushing my body to the limit and then some. When you’re drenched in sweat you know you had a good workout.

I’m finally in a routine once again. I gave myself a set schedule. Tuesday through Saturday I hit the gym for my cardio workout (a run and time on the elliptical) and Sunday and Monday Jason and I hit the trails for some hiking.

I’m slowly seeing a change in myself – the weight is slowly shedding off – and I feel much better now that I’m exercising on a regular basis. I have always been a strong believer that you need to make time just for yourself – what better way to spend that time than exercising.

Today I ended on a great note. I shed some more time off my run, making it the best time I have ran in three weeks. I’m slowly getting back to the time I once ran, which makes me happy.

The best part is I’m starting to look forward to time spent on the elliptical. It’s getting a little easier and I’m staying on for a longer amount of time. Yep, I’m making improvements, a little at a time.

I’m on top of the world … I’m definitely glowing and always smiling and exercising is only adding to that overall happiness.