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I will be in Florida for the next 10 days nannying for a friend’s grandchildren- not sure if I will have time to post, but if I do, be on the lookout for beautiful sandy beach pictures and lots of sun!



School is crazy.

Life is crazy.

I muss the blog, but I am stressed, and thinking about blogging, or actually the lack of blogging, stresses me out even more.

Few health updates:
Starting over AGAIN with trying to eat healthy. I have gained about 20lbs in the past 6 months from not taking care of myself and eating from the drive-thru. Going to Mexico for spring break in April so would really like to gain back some muscle. Plan to workout 2-3 times a week and have planned my meals for the week already. In the plan is atleast 2 veggies and 2 fruit servings at each meal.

Also just bought my plane ticket to FitBloggin 2011 and I am super pumped to see a tom of my online friends in real life. Hoping to be fit enough to do the 5K this year. OK, back to the grind!! AJ

How Grad School totally screwed this blog…

Its really a very awesome story.

But I will save that for another time.

I haven’t been here for a while, and while I feel guilty, I don’t feel TOO guilty.

And I feel guilty for not feeling too guilty. You get the picture.

The past few months have been a roller coaster and while I usually hate riding them, I don’t ever want to get off this one.

Grad School is going great. I got all A’s again (another A in MATH!! WOOHOO!) and I am on break until January 14th.

Kindergarten is A.MA.ZING. I can’t tell you have unbelievable it is. While I am so tired I go to bed each night before 7 pm (really), I have so much fun each day that I can’t wait to go back.I wish I could share the kids with you. I have 28 brilliant, talented and hilarious students who amaze me every single day. They are helping me become the best darn teacher I can be. But without parent consent, I can’t tell you anything. Maybe when I am retired I will come back to this poor blog and share my experiences.

On the fitness front… yeah….no.

I am probably the heaviest I have EVER been. Yippee. I haven’t jumped on a scale (yet). I am too scared too. But I do know that my belly is really getting out of hand and I am starting to huff and puff as I go up stairs. Oh and I have an @ss shelf again. Damnit.

I can’t blame anyone else but myself. I have been burning the candle at both ends and have not been eating right, sleeping well or exercising. And as EVERYONE knows, sleep, healthy food and moving are the key components to losing weight.

I know what to do.

I know HOW to do it.

I KNOW I can make healthy choices and move more (other than the 12-17,000 steps a day I take while teaching).

Fitbloggin is in May and I really don’t want to huff and puff my way around the conference. And I want to atleast be able to complete the 5K without having a heart attack.

I think I am going to go back and read some of my old posts when I as actively losing weight and see if I can find some of the menus I used while I was in Weight Watchers. My breakfast and lunch eating is fine – no fast food at school. I either am too tired to make food when I get off work so I pick up a pizza or McDonald’s then sit on my butt all night, or I eat something fatty and salty at home and fall fast asleep at 6:30pm.  So to sum up, I am kinda a hot mess at dinner.  I bought a few boneless turkey breasts (fresh to minimize salt content, then froze them) so I can cook them up on Sundays and package up atleast 6-7 meals for dinner- my goal is to make 3-4 different meals with the turkey so I won’t be eating turkey {insert dish here} every night- I would get sick of that really quick.

I am also vowing to take better care of myself. I have new teacher syndrome right now- I have caught every cold the kids have had. I am taking vitamins and trying to get as much sleep as possible, but all those new germs are invading me. Even Emergen-C and Cold Calm have only been putting off the inevitable for a few days at a time.

I am currently visiting my grandma for the Christmas and we pretty much just sit and eat while I am here. While I need to relax and rejuvenate, I really need to get up and move. We are expecting 5-7 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, so we will probably be stuck inside again. Ick.

Anyway, I hope to get a few blog post stubs written up while I am here so I can atleast post once a week with minimal effort once I get back into the swing of school. The posts may look a lot a like (but with different information), but atleast I will be posting something, right?

Happy Holidays!!


A’s all around! And I need a kick in my fitness pants, please

I got my grades back – 6 A’s so far.. with only 3 more classes to report!

I have NEVER in my life received straight A’s - and I have never worked harder to get them! Not only did I get straight A’s- but I got straight A’s while taking 26 credit hours, most of the credit hours in 7 weeks!I worked my @ss off and I am P-R-O-U-D of myself!

I have no idea why I haven’t crashed and burned yet…. but I am so glad I haven’t.

The ony thing that sidetracked me this week was the dreaded hay fever that always comes this time of year—it is like clockwork. You think I would have learned my lesson by now sice I have been living with allergies for years. I have looked like a weepy-eyed Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the past week and have gone through 3 big boxes of tissues. My nose and upper lip are chapped and red, and I look like I have a little chapped red mustache.


Anyway, my Rx medicine (Allegra – pill and Nasocort – nose spray) that have worked for the past 8 years DID NOT (obviously) work this year. I headed to the doctor Friday afternoon and he added another nose spray to the mix which seems to be working. I used about 20 tissues today – BIG improvement over Friday.

I usually am miserable for the last 2 weeks of August and the first week of September, then fine until April. This year though, I want to be over this ASAP as I am beginning my teaching residency and don’t want to look like a scary read nosed mean lady when I walk into the classroom.

And now, to talk about the (literal) elephant in the room – MY BIG BEHIND

I am so disappointed in myself. While I have been doing awesome in school and have been proud of myself in that aspect, I am so down about my eating and my weight. Here’s my secret:

I am probably (back AGAIN) at the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I am too scared to step on the scale, but I know I am not fitting into my clothes like I used to. I know my legs are way bigger. I know my arms are way bigger than they were. I just don’t feel good, both health-wise and body-image wise.

I read other fitness and health bloggers and I am so excited for their success at either taking off the weight (slowly but surely) or for those who are maintaining. I KNOW they have been working at eating healthy for YEARS, but I am so into the quick fix right now, it is scary. When I eat well for 3 days, I need to see benefits, people. And I am not seeing anything. ZILCH.

WAIT – That last paragraph, as I read it over, makes me so sad. I KNOW being healthy and losing weight is not a QUICK FIX- it cant be. ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO TRY AND WORK HARD.

But I am letting school, my grandpa’s death, Mr More’s death, being “too busy” and…and…and…and… get in the way of the biggest goal I hold for myself- being a healthy person.

Yes, I said being a healthy person.

Not being a person that is 120lbs.

Or being a person who can fit into size “X” clothing.

I seriously want to just be a healthy person who can run around with my niece and nephew anytime I want and not get winded. And put on a pair of pants without them being so tight I am gonna burst out of them (whatever size they are). And not worrying about a risk of high blood pressure or diabetes or not being able to get pregnant in the future because I “F’ed” up my body so bad in my 20′s and 30′s.

I am 32 years old, for goodness sake. I will be 33 in November.

Why do I treat my body like crap?

I am going to be teaching children about healthy eating habits but I DON’T CURRENTLY HAVE ANY HEALTHY EATING HABITS.

Obviously I am at a breaking point- and anyone who has healthy goals in mind (weight loss or other) has had one or two (or 12) of these.

As my mom puts it, I need to have a Come to Jesus Meeting with myself and decide what my priorities are and what I am willing to do to tackle them.

Because hell, I just got 6 A’s in 7 weeks- making healthy goals AND STICKING TO THEM should be a walk in the park next to that awesome feat, right?


A 30 second update

An update in 30 seconds:

My grandpa died one week ago today. I got a call at 2:45pm that he passed. I bawled.

I am devastated. The man who was pretty much my father for 32 years – gone.

I am still in the denial phase of grieving – not sure how long I will stay here.  Not alot of time to grieve because…

I am overwhelmed at school. 19 credit hours in 8 weeks is TOUGH.

I have finished 3 classes and started 2 more. I have 2 more 8-10 page papers due before Aug 20th (one is due next week. Have I even started looking for research? Nope)

I am worn out.

I am eating poorly (though I am trying very hard to eat better. Really, I am.)

I am not sleeping well at night.

Button-kitty is yowling all night long because he misses me.

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness my friends have shown at the loss of my grandpa.

I am still weepy at the thought of my grandpa’s death.

I am numb.

But I am surviving.

I made lasagna for dinner tonight.

I am thriving at school. I am enjoying each day.

THE CUBBIES ARE WINNING (thanks grandpa)

3 Weeks down…and a few updates

This week was hard.

Mr More was a big part of my life, and with his death last Saturday, I wore my heart on my sleeve for most of the week. I made it to the bathroom before it happened, but I cried on Monday during a break at grad school. The teacher is NOT A NICE PERSON and she embarrassed me in front of the class. Normally I would have just sucked it up, but since I was so emotional, it really tore me up. The other girls in the class helped calm me down, but I was a mess for a few minutes. I think the fact that I hadn’t cried since the beginning of school and I had alot of pent up stress really didn’t help the situation. :-)

School (other than the teacher from hell) has been going well. I love all but one of my classes, and feel like I am keeping up with the (massive amounts) of work. I have two 10 page papers due in 2 weeks, so I have a new source of stress. I have been out of school for 10 years and I can’t remember the last “academic” paper I had to write. One of the papers is for the class/teacher I dislike, so I am not excited to even start it. But I have done some of the research, so I at least know my topic and sources.

My eating has been OUT OF CONTROL. I have been “trying” the new food around school, interspersed with bringing my lunch from home. The problem with bringing my lunch is that I am not getting enough protein and I am getting WAY too much sugar. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY toooooooooooo much sugar.

My pants are getting tight and I have been feeling crappy. Also, I have a HUGE, painful underground pimple on my chin that is Reeeeeeally pretty. I went to the store Friday and bought more protein-rich foods, and more veggies. GOAL: I am going to try to bring my lunch 3 days next week and make better choices when I eat out. On the positive side, there is a Subway right downstairs from my morning classroom; they have really good healthy choices and it helps me getting veggies and protein in during the day.

I spent my day yesterday at a friend’s wedding (which was beautiful) and was able to relax by taking photos. Taking pictures and learning the ins and outs of my camera is really relaxing to me. Below are two of my (no people in the picture) favorites…

petals and the wedding

flowers on chiar

I got a new MacBook Pro laptop 2 weeks ago and I am GIDDY- I love this thing. It makes my grad school life SO much easier. I now have a reliable computer than can be completely wireless for more than 15 minutes. Oh, and that turns on (every time) when I open the lid.

OK, I gotta go figure out what I am going to eat for dinner. Will be back later this week with an update (hopefully). :-)

Please come quickly—there’s a man in my house…

I traveled back to Iowa last weekend. And BOY, was the trip a DOOZY.

I grew up in Eastern Iowa, and still visit often, as my grandparents still live there. While I lived in a metropolitan area when I was in junior high and high school, my grandparents lived on a farm until about 12 years ago, when they moved to a town with about 5,000 people. It is a very quiet town, when almost no crime and everyone knows everyone else’s business.

My grandpa was put into the nursing home about 8 months ago (due to COPD, Congestive Heart Failure and uncontrolled diabetes) and my grandma has been living alone in their house ever since.

Before he went in to the nursing home, she was his primary caregiver, and I think she was really ready for someone else to take care of him. Now that he away from home, I think she gets lonely sometimes.

But I digress.

I arrived at my grandma’s house about 1:30 on Friday afternoon. We went to get pizza at my favorite joint, then drove the 25 or so miles to visit my grandpa. We had a good visit, then headed back home to grab some dinner ingredients from the store and a few videos from the (going out of business, we found out) video store on the corner.

We picked up August Rush, The Time Travelers Wife and Marley and Me. The only one I hadn’t seen was The Time Travelers Wife so we popped it in, grandma falling in and out of sleep as we watched it. If you have seen it, you know that falling asleep is not the best thing to do, as the movie can be kind of confusing, what with all the time traveling. :-)

We got ready for bed when the movie was over, said good night and went to bed. It was about 10:15pm. I stayed up playing with my phone and reading a magazine. I think I finally fell asleep about 1:30am. It was a calm and fun evening.

Everything changed at 4:00am.

I woke up to the sound of what I thought was the TV in the living room. I could hear two voices—2 women talking, though muffled and I thought I recognized one of them. I saw that a light was on (again, I thought it was coming from the living room) through my open-by-about-3-inches bedroom doorway.

I noticed it was still dark outside and thought that my early-bird grandma had gotten up and was watching TV. I was just going to get up and close my door when I heard my grandma say these words:

“Please come quickly—there is a man in my house.”

In about 2 tenths of a second, I figured out what was going on.

The two women’s voices I could here were my grandma and a 911 operator. Her phone volume is up very high as she is a bit hard of hearing.

I didn’t hear the voices coming from the living room, I was hearing my grandma talk from her bedroom. 

And the light I saw was in her room.

As I looked again out in the hallway, I saw a pair of men’s shoes, with feet still in them, laying in front of my bedroom door (see diagram below).

Holy Shit.


I could hear my grandma answering the 911 operators’ questions, but for the first few seconds, all I could do was stare at the feet in my doorway, illuminated by the light coming from my grandma’s doorway.

Then I went into survival mode. I heard my grandma tell the operator that the intruder had his head inside her doorframe, (and obviously his feet were in mine) so she was stuck in her room.

I heard the intruder snoring—and realized he was passed out. I knew as long as he was snoring we were in no danger. I calmed down a little bit.

The 911 operator asked her if she knew the man, and my grandma answered her “no, but he is young, so my granddaughter might know him, I don’t know.” My grandma also told the operator the man was “sleeping.”

Realizing that my grandma had no idea I was awake let alone that I was ok, I called 911 from my cell phone (which was charging above my head on a table) and told another 911 operator that I was fine and to please pass the word on to my grandma, I DID NOT know the man, and the man was not just “sleeping”, he was dead drunk passed out.

About 12-15 minutes after my grandma originally called 911 (she called them back after about 8 minutes wondering “where the hell” the police were) 2 policemen entered the house and woke the sleeping dude up.

His first words? 

“Please don’t call the cops.”

The police asked the dude his name and where he thought he was.

He had no freaking idea. He thought he was in a town about 20 minutes up the highway.

We found out from his ID that he was 26.

Obviously he was drunk, and obviously he was oblivious that he had passed out on my poor grandma’s hallway floor.

The cops took him out to the car, and one came back in and asked if we wanted to press charges. I asked the cop if it would be a felony or misdemeanor charge——because my grandma forgot to lock the front door before going to bed, there was no breaking and entering—he didn’t break in. He would be charged with Trespassing, a misdemeanor, and would be held in jail overnight.

We agreed to press charges and the cops left with the dude.

For a little bit, my grandma and I joked about how FUNNY it was (not funny ha-ha but funny strange) that this happened in her little tiny town and not to me in Chicago. And how crazy it was that I happened to be visiting when it happened. And how bizarre that he picked HER house.

And then she started crying.

And she didn’t stop for 2 days.

She asked me to call her pastor at 7am—we couldn’t go back to sleep after that rude awakening- and pastor Sarah came over to counsel her about 8am. My grandma was going through the 5 stages of grief, shock and PTSD all at the same time.

She was also very embarrassed that she could not stop crying.

My grandma is a quintessential German woman from the depression—WE SHOW NO EMOTIONS BECAUSE EMOTIONS MAKE US WEAK. 

I have had many years of emergency training through work and am best under pressure or stress. I had to take care of my grandma—she was really struggling. I could take care of me later. I still have not processed the “break-in” – it will probably take me a while to finally get to crying about it.

After pastor left, my grandma was feeling a bit better, so we drove to the nearest bigger town and got some lunch, then went to see the movie she had wanted to see: The Last Song.

The Nicolas Sparks movie.

In which she cried through most of. (I on the other hand HATE Miley Cyrus as a serious actress so I rolled my eyes throughout the movie.)

We headed to see my grandpa after (where she did not tell him what happened) then we headed home.

We had a healthy dinner of cheese popcorn, cracker jacks, apple slices and diet coke, and watched yet another happy movie (read: sarcasm) Marley and Me.

Thankfully, grandma fell asleep during the movie (we still had not slept yet) so she missed the horribly sad ending.

I got up and cleaned up a bit, then kneeled in front of my grandma to take the DVD out of the player and turn of the TV.

Then the blood-curdling screams started.

(I have to tell you, I was doing OK up to then. I had lived alone almost 15 years – in Chicago and Atlanta — and have seen and heard about a lot of crazy F’ed up things.  Women being bashed in the head with baseball bats for their purses, a crazy dude stabbing people with scissors in my neighborhood at 8am, and countless home invasions and break-ins. This invasion was vanilla compared to the horrible things I had heard of. AND I didn’t wake up to a man’s head in my doorway. AND it wasn’t MY house I have to live in by myself.)

I jumped up and ran to my grandma, who had a look of terror I can’t describe. I think I blocked the look from my memory—it was that horrible.

She was screaming so loud and so hard.  (she ended up with a sore raspy throat for 3 days from the screams)

I started rubbing her back and saying “its ok grandma, its ok” trying to get her to stop.

But she didn’t.

For over 20 seconds she screamed, vacant look of terror in her eyes, having NO IDEA I was there with her.

Then, she kind of shook her head, realized I was standing next to her; that I was talking to her; rubbing her back.

And she began to sob.

I went in to the kitchen out of view of my grandma and put my head between my legs. I was shaking and had tears in my eyes.

I NEVER want to see a night terror like this again. EVER. 

My god it was bad.

After about 20 minutes of quiet sobbing, she got up and got ready for bed, silently.

I also silently got ready.

We both checked that both doors were locked 3 times, then turned in.

After about an hour, I saw my grandma turn off her light then heard light snoring. I couldn’t believe she had fallen asleep. Good for her.

I wish I could say that I also went right to sleep.

But my mind began to wander and I began to remember my early life as a sleepwalker/talker, having full conversations with my mom and friends and not remembering any of it in the morning. Remembering finding my also-sleepwalker mom sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor at 2:30 am going through a recipe box. Also having long conversations with my mom and her not remembering them in the morning. 

I live alone now—I have no idea if I sleepwalk/talk now.

I probably do.

But all my mind could gather from those memories was that the sleepwalking gene had to come from somewhere and my grandma was going to “wake up”, think I was an intruder, have nothing to stop her from going to the kitchen, getting a knife and stab me.

I didn’t sleep at all Saturday night.

Sunday is a blur—We went to church, but my grandma wanted to leave before the end so she wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. She sobbed through the service and was very embarrassed of her red and tear-stained face.

Because they live in a very small town, word was going to get out about the intruder. The town paper prints the addresses of “police calls” and I am sure people on her street saw the lights of the police cars on Friday night.

Since she hadn’t told my grandpa yet (but needed to) I went with her to the nursing home so she could limp through the story.

I think she was reluctant to tell our family (and especially grandpa) because she was afraid everyone would tell her to move to an assisted living home. She is prideful and enjoys her independence. This was also the second “oops” that had happened in the last few months—she rear-ended a car 2 months ago and didn’t tell anyone about it.

Anyway, she told grandpa, with tears streaming, about the dude in the house, and after the story, he half-laughed and said “Well, I guess you need to keep the front door locked from now on, right?!”

I  love him.

On Sunday, Nosy Neighbor Carol from across the street called to “warn us” of the “intruder that broke in somewhere on the street.” My grandma played dumb, not wanting to tell her story just yet to the neighbors, and Carol told her that she found out about the intruder from the police when she called to turn in a set of keys she found in her grass that morning. (The house keys were indeed traced back to the drunk dude)

So it seems drunk dude was looking for a place to crash, so he tried doors until he found one that was open.

The moral of this story is that everyone is OK, LOCK YOUR FRONT DOOR ALWAYS and I have a crazy story to tell people at dinner parties.

It could have been much worse, but it wasn’t.

I am coming to terms with it (writing it out for this blog actually helped.)


First up: Winners from the Fitbloggin #4 Giveaway (better Late than never are Mindy and Gemfit! Congrats! I will be reaching out to you very soon.


This week has been weird- I have been trying my hardest to be all RAH RAH EXCITED about getting fit, my own personal body image and moving forward with my life/job/school/teaching/whatever.

But to be perfectly honest, I have been nothing but BLAH.

I think the death of my 30 year old friend 2 weeks ago (from SUEDP) and the stress/realization that I am taking 2 tests that will decide if I will be suitable for the interview process for a special masters course to become an elementary school teacher have caught up with me. I have been eating everything “bad” for me under the sun and my body is starting to rebel.

I am not holding myself accountable for the actions I am taking minute by minute. Hour by hour. Meal by meal. Day by day.

I am disappointed I am “letting” the perceived bad stuff in my life take over the good stuff. I am disappointed that I lost 14lbs in Feb/March and I am letting the lbs creep back on.

I was talking to a good friend yesterday about food issues. She is going to see a Endocrinologist who has pretty much diagnosed her with everything under the sun; POCS, pre-diabetes, etc, etc, etc. She and I have alot of the same issues: Eating when bored, stressed, or upset; one track mind eating—when you HAVE to have “insert food here” (could be veggies or french fries) because all you can thing about is ”insert food here” ; a tendency toward binge eating.

This was the first time we had been HONEST with each other and shared our struggles.

I read alot of blogs about weight loss and healthy eating and I relate to alot of the people I read. But I have to tell you—hearing her story and her struggles REALLY brought it home. She was a person I KNOW in real life that has some of the same issues that I have. And while its not OK, its OKAY.

I know what I should be doing, I am just not doing “it”.

I have tried to recommit a few times in the past few weeks but have let life get in my way. I need to use the resources that I have at my disposal help me to reach my goals. I need to go back to the WWGE (What Would Grandma Eat) way of thinking and remember how I feel when I eat sensible, small, and satiating (SSS) meals.

I know I can do it, I just need to get back on the horse, as I have done 100 times before. I just need to make sure this time is different than all the others.

AJ is neglectful…

Note: sorry for typos. Am writing from iPhone.

I am so neglectful of this poor blog. And reading my friends blogs (talking about you miss Fatina!!!)

I have had a lot going on lately and have pretty much been Twittering my little heart out since it is really easy to do from the iPhone. Hence the Twitter digests for the past week and a half.

The neglect ends tomorrow.

I have an EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT regarding what happened this past week (and actually starts tomorrow) coming your way tomorrow night. The announcment will keep me posting atleast daily for the next 30 days.

So excited!

I currently in Iowa visiting my grandparents with my mom who flew in yesterday afternoon. Phone reception is crap here, so I hope I can post this from the iPhone. Anyway, more tomorrow.

Also my prayers go out to the survivors of the Haiti earthquake(s). If you are still looking for the best place to donate please consider I can vouch for the org. The have been in-country for many many years and will stay to help after the initial wave of relief teams leave. They are in it for the long haul.

Moving Moving Moving…

I will be away from blogging for the next few days moving from Atlanta back home to Chicago. I will be adding periodic Twitter updates, twitpics from the road and the like, but I won’t have an internet connection again until Monday.


PS: I took my extremely pissed off cat to the vet to be boarded this afternoon for the first time. He was UBER angry at me. FLAT EARS pissed. I half expect to get a call from the vet’s office tonight asking me to come get my belligerent child from day care cuz he is biting the other kids. Fingers crossed that I don’t get a call! LOL