Reflection Time

First of all, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my mama. She’s the best.

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On Friday, I realized it had been five years since I graduated college. This made me reflective and several pages in my journal is a testament to that. The truth is, the years don’t really matter, except that we can no longer count life in “school years.” I am no longer a super-senior of real life. I just am. And yet, I still have nightmares where I’m lost in high school and can’t find my classes, so what does that signify?

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When the picture above was taken, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had just lost a ton of weight, I was graduating with honors, and even though I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, I had a temporary summer job, and I figured I would figure it out. Five years later and I’ve held five different jobs, all for the better, lending to well-rounded life experiences and honing professional skills, and I keep telling myself that it’s important to figure out what you don’t want to do, as much as what you do want.

Life is not perfect or easy, but I have been blessed. There have been struggles and losses and hardships, but I’m choosing right now to focus on the good. Those top three, since graduating, include becoming a published writer, getting my personal training certification, and moving to LA- if only because I had been talking about it for five years, so it was move or shut up.

*My parents would probably like me to insert my Master’s degree into this list and while yes, this is an accomplishment, I have (un)gracefully retired from teaching and will never use the degree in the traditional sense. Call it an invisible fourth choice if you must.

I should also note that this blog is also five years old and I’ve been trying for five years to find a direction for it, but it’s been chaotic. Such is life.

Looking back at pictures of my friends, I found this gem.

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This was taken six years ago right before I started my weight loss journey. This girl is me, and yet, I do not recognize her. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t particularly enjoy looking in the mirror at this time. But, a few months after this was snapped, I did look at myself in the mirror, long and hard, and I discovered that I was worth more than I realized. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times. My relationship to myself did not better after I lost weight. I chose myself and saved myself because I liked myself, and it helped me find the strength to exercise, eat right, and be kinder to my body, mind, and soul.

It’s funny that I struck this particular pose because in just a few months, I would be employing that strength, both physically and mentally, and completely uprooting my life for the better.

This blurb was longer than I expected when I first started typing, but the only other matter of the weekend I’d like to discuss is that I saw Billy Joel at Dodger Stadium and it was awesome. I love him and I’m not sorry for it.

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Also, Dodger Stadium looks strange without that large looming wall in left field. Just sayin..

Quinoa Three Ways

At least Monday’s bringing some sunshine! It was a dreary weekend after a dreary kind of week weather-wise. Friday night included some curling up on the couch time watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, which was disappointing. Saturday was a full-work day that was followed up by a long run on the treadmill, not friendly for these hips, and more time curled up on the couch watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, even more disappointing. I was up early again on Sunday for a softball game, followed by Mother’s Day celebrations. I ended Sunday with a massive load of laundry, which always feels so productive, while watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, far more satisfying!

This morning, we jumped right into some food prep for the week! I haven’t made quinoa in forever, so I decided to get a little fanciful. Quinoa three ways!

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First up’s quinoa with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta!

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Next we find quinoa with cilantro and lime, a little knock-off from Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice.

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Finally, we have caprece quinoa with fresh tomato, mozzarella, and balsamic vinagerette! I’ll enjoy this one for dinner tonight as it won’t last as long as the others in the fridge.

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To go along with my delicious quinoa concoctions, I made a batch of Tasty’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, which are amazing!

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Fret not, I didn’t forget my greens! This zucchini and spinach dish (mixed with a little garlic and olive oil) will have to be replenished a few times over to meet my needs for the week, but it’s a start!

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I’ve got meals to keep me fueled and workouts planned to keep me strong. Starting off on the right foot!

I would be remiss not to flash a picture of my breakfast this morning. This time, I went with the peanut butter Kodiak Cake waffle mix, and I was not disappointed. And look at those berries! (Butter is difficult to spread).

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Do You Want To Build A Sand Castle?

I love Spring time, I really really do. I love smelling the flowers and seeing them bloom again after a long winter. Running outside compares to no other exercise when the sun is warm but there’s a slight cool breeze keeping your endurance up. Eating melty ice cream tastes better even if you have to keep licking your hand to stave the drip. A fresh seafood picnic with the scent of the beach lingering and the sun shining in from the windows promises the cusp of summer. Just being outside, playing basketball with my brother, walking with my mom, cutting down trees (ok watching someone else cut down trees because let’s be real) with family and neighbors, and then enjoying a cold, crisp glass of champagne sangria with my sister, is divine.

Spring appears to have a love-hate relationship with me. My allergies are killing it this year and I have constant raccoon eyes due to the intolerable itchiness. Every so often, I struggle to breathe and can’t keep the window open above my head because my nose clogs and runs. My skirt might have blown up over my head in the wind, and even though my family’s (and my own) first inclination is to laugh so hard that we can’t see straight never mind fix the situation, my sister eventually got a hand on it and minimized the damage.  My mom aspirated on a sprinkle laughing so hard, but I just wanted her to get a good ab workout in on Mother’s Day, so you’re welcome. 

I’ll take it though, every part of it, so long as you promise that the only shovel I have to pick up within the next five months is to build sand castles.