Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trotting for Turkey

It is kinda hard to see. There was a huge mass of people. But if you look closely enough you can see me and the Pilot crossing this finish line of my first 5K! The picture was taken by my father, who braved the cold (reminder- he a recovering heart surgery patient) and stood outside throughout the whole race to see me start and finish! There were other spectators there just for us. My cousin kept my dad company at the start/finish line. My mom and aunt strategically placed themselves at the half-way point and members of the Pilot's family also crowded the finish line to yell our names.

I did it. I ran the entire distance. I did not stop. I did not give up. I did not even really complain. But, once again, I had the Pilot by my side, supporting me and talking about everything under the sun to keep my mind off the pain shooting through my hamstrings. Then we crossed the finish line together at 36 minutes and 19 seconds. Although on the race results website they listed me as finishing 2 ahead of him!

This is me crying tears of joy at the finish line. I had no idea that was going to happen but the flood gates opened and I was so proud of myself. 3 months of training had finally culminated in the completion of this race and the tears streaming down my face.

I wore my race t-shirt all day. The Pilots family joined my family at my parent's home for formal introductions and breakfast. I made cranberry-orange relish and was able to proudly declare, "I contributed to Thanksgiving dinner." My abnormally loud family was silenced by the delicious food my mother had prepared. I joined the Pilot's family at his parent's home for pie, wine, Rummikub and good conversation. I read all the sale flyers and found the perfect present for the Pilot and then bounded out of bed at 6am Friday morning to go buy it.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but, by far, this year's celebration takes the cake (or pie)!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who I am

These lyrics have always struck a nerve with me. Maybe it wasn't the lyrics but the passion and conviction in which Jessica Andrews sings about knowing herself. It was definitely a quality I could admire and be jealous of. I didn't know, until recently, who I was.

For many years many of my interests and identity was dictated by the interests of my boyfriends (cars, music, etc...) and some of my mannerisms closely mirrored those of friends that I admired. In the past 9 months, that has all changed. I have finally matured into the person I always wanted to be and I can confidently say that I love myself and I know exactly who I am.

I'm a saint and I'm a sinner
I'm a loser, I'm a winner
I'm steady and unstable
I'm young but I am able

I am a runner. I am a Catholic, working every Sunday (and occasional weekdays) to restore my faith. I am a student. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a woman (with a figure I am finally starting to appreciate). I am a girlfriend. I am a listener. I am a planner. I am one half of a happy, healthy and mature relationship. I am an individual. I am a roommate. I am a laugher. I am a blogger. I am confident. I am a reader. I am a writer. I am a dreamer. I am a cynic. I am a sister. I am a Chicagoan. I am a Seminole. I am a Floridian. I am a goal setter. I am a goal achiever. I am growing. I am a work in progress (steady and unstable/ young but able). I am happy.

I am Rosemary's granddaughter*
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My mommas still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It's all a part of me
And that's who I am

I am Joanna- that's who I am.

*My grandmother's name was Mary. However, all the rest of the lyrics ring very true.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama, you da bomb!

I want to remember yesterday forever!

In 2004 I cast my vote for John Kerry in Florida. The state did not end up electing him and neither did the country. But last Thursday, I stood in line for 2.5 hours to vote early in Illinois for Barak Obama. This time the state and country agreed with me and made history happen right before my very eyes.

I held back tears of joy. I celebrated my victory with a cold bottle of Coors Lite. I enjoyed John McCain's concession speech; not only because it was not a victory speech but because he was gracious and supportive and a human, not a politician. I listened to President Elect Obama speak to my fellow Chicagoans in a park only blocks from where I attend school. I silently wished I was at Grant Park experiencing this history first hand. I cuddled with my republican boyfriend with respect, affection and admiration, not drawing any attention to our political differences; I had made my choice and he made his and no amount of arguing (although, we did our fair share prior) is going to change anything now. I watched FOX News. I watched MSNBC. I ate popcorn and watched a movie. I went to sleep with a smile on my face and woke up with a sense of calm and peace.

I am proud to be an American.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fun in the Sun

I have just wrapped up what can only be described as one of the best summers of my life and here are the...


20. Buying my bike
19. Making major life decisions (the details of which are to be disclosed in an upcoming blog)
18. Kane County Cougars game
17. Eating as many lunch and dinners outside as possible
16. The parks, pools. and bike paths in St. Charles
15. Pirates vs. Brewers game
14. Great America
13. Plain White T's concert and dinner at Taste of Chicago
12. Cubs game and wild times at the local park ;-)
11. Lincoln Park Zoo/Conservatory
10. Bottles of champagne at Marche and wide-eyed wonderment at Kooza
9. Dinner at Wildfire wearing my favorite "little black dress" and the "Cupid Has A Heart On" show
8. Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles and Counting Crows concert
7. Watching the Pilot run the 10k Nike Human Race and the Fall Out Boy concert
6. Discovering that I can run and setting my first 5k goal
5. Sara and Jerry's wedding
4. Jimmy Buffett concert
3. The Signature Lounge
2. Jersey Boys, nachos at Rock Bottom and dinner at India House
1. Meeting the Pilot

The Pilot's Top 3? The Cubs game, Kooza and Jersey Boys.

It is time to see what activities the fall has to offer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Run Joanna Run

Most of you are aware of my single-minded sports obsession. Anyone, (me) who starts watching NASCAR races because they need something to fill their Sundays with after football season is over and stops watching them once baseball seasons begins, clearly has a "sports problem." However my need for mental stimulation via my visual intake of the sports programming has not translated into any physical capabilities (or desires really).

Because of the healthy competition, because I so admire The Pilot's dedication to and motivation for his marathon training, and because my father ended up in the hospital this week I decided to fully dedicate myself to a running plan The Pilot has shown me.

The running workout is structured as follows:
5 minutes warm-up
1 minute run fast pace
2 minutes run medium pace
1 minute run fast pace
2 minutes run medium pace
1 minute run fast pace
2 minutes run medium pace
5 minutes cool down

The first couple attempts at this "running thing" looked more like my miles did back in high school; a little bit of running and A LOT of walking. My medium runs were much more like power walking (or just walking. No running) and my 1 minute fast runs were probably a speed thought to be more appropriate for the medium runs. On Tuesday that all changed. After getting yet another, "your dad is in the hospital" phone call from my mother I found the motivation I really needed to get the ball rolling (haha- sports analogy).

During Tuesday's run I realized that I could actually run all 9 required running minutes! No medium pace equaling power walking. There were faster paces and slower paces but all 540 seconds were at running paces. Then today I decided to pay attention to the distance that I ran during those 9 minutes and it turns out I was able to actually run 3/4 of a mile! In high school, I couldn't even complete a 1/4 mile. It may seem small and insignificant to some of you but it's an amazing victory for me! And I want to go back and do it again!

I'm so excited about possibly establishing a running routine that I made playlists on my ipod! Each day that I am scheduled to run (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday) has it's own 19 minute playlist complete with warm-up and cool down songs. The songs played during my 9 minutes of running are upbeat songs sung by artists whose bodies I envy (Fergie, Madonna). A special note of thanks to GR for giving me that idea. But some of the songs also have a motivational quality to them. For example, today during my last 3 minute set I never thought I was gonna make it but then "Gotta Get Thru This" by Daniel Bedingfield came on. How appropriate! I got through it and now I'm here to brag!

My other appropriate reactions to my father's hospitalization was to choose to stop tanning indoors (I canceled my membership!), wear more SPF when I'm tanning outdoors and go see a Dermatologist at my earliest convenience.

I do want kids. And I want to be healthy for them. So that they won't have the constant fear of losing me that I am currently encased in regarding my dad.

Thanks for all your help AJR. Loke you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

grudge match

When I am wronged one of two things happens; I hold a grudge (forever) or I let it roll off my back. Recently, I've come to realized that the established pattern is, I hold grudges against women and look the other way when I am wronged by men.

My grudge-holding capabilities came up recently in a conversation with The Pilot because I'm finding myself still slightly angry at a friend for an occurrence over a month ago. The conversation started out calmly while I explained to him that I have been known to do this before; remain irrationally angry at someone for a long time. I gave my favorite grudge holding example. Soon he could literally see my blood pressure rising and my blood boiling over. He abruptly stopped the convo. I'm assuming he got my point.

My favorite grudge holding example:
Sophomore year of college I was in the ideal living situation. I was finally in an apartment where I got to choose my roommates (something that had not occurred the previous year). I was living with a close friend from "high school," GR, and a "co-worker." We were all getting along. We had decorated the common room and even spent time in it (together)!

Then winter break came. "Co-worker," GR and I returned from our various permanent residences to no "high school."

*Warning* What happens next may not be exactly accurate but it is how my angry little brain remembers it.

There is a knock at the door. Maybe it's "high school" with no keys? Nope. It's mutual friends from the apartment complex coming to commiserate because "high school" is moving out. This was of course the first I (or GR or "Co-worker") had heard of such a thing! The long and short of it is, "high school" never bothered to actually tell us she was leaving, I guess she felt that us hearing it from mutual friends was sufficient enough. I, however, do not believe it was sufficient and told her so in a very carefully worded and maybe slightly verbally abusive e-mail. She came to move her stuff out in the middle of the night (give or take 8 hours) and uttered 3 words to me (I was the only one not working) as she was walking out the door. I have not talked to her (nor do I ever plan to talk to her again) since! The end.

The night of the grudge conversation I had a string of various weirdly related dreams. The first dream included the embodiment of the first girl I ever held a grudge against; someone who I called a friend but was the "other women" during a Monkey cheating escapade (Sidebar; notice how I held a grudge (and continue to do so) against this girl but dated Monkey for another 6 months or so). The second dream included The Pilot's Ex; who I hold no grudge against and neither does he (by the way my characterization of her looked exactly like America Ferrera). In this dream The Pilot refused to let the Ex know about us and cast me aside during more than one scene in the dream.

Insecurities. That's what these two dreams have in common. I feel (felt) insecure about Monkey and The Pilot's relationships with these women and with me. So I've begun to wonder do grudges stem from insecurities? Or do insecurities stem from the anger fueling grudges?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy and having fun

  • I bought hot silver pumps to go with my "smokey teal" wear-to-weddings dress and now I'm completely obsessed with them.
  • The previously mentioned dressed blessed me with many compliments and two broken straps which were fixed in MacGyver fashion with paperclips.
  • The healthy competition between The Pilot and I has turned into more of a support group than a competition. Complete with him finding me a bookmark folder full of 9 diet and exercise websites and a 10 mile bike ride and picnic last weekend.
  • I've started running sprints!
  • Big Brother is back.
  • Kooza and Marche on Friday.
  • Sports with smarts and wit.
  • "It's better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else."
  • Holland, Michigan or Sandusky, Ohio?
  • Jimmy Buffett concert.
  • Working diligently on a "friends with exes" blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

healthy competition

The Pilot runs marathons. I write marathon e-mails. The Pilot rides his bike almost daily. I ride the brown line almost daily. The Pilot is a black belt in Taekwondo. I own a black belt. The Pilot wants to lose 6 pounds for vanity purposes. I need to lose 6 (or more) pounds to be healthy.

So naturally we made this a competition. Whoever loses 6 pounds first wins. Although it has not quite been decided what we will win, the competition started today. Fittingly the start of this competition falls on the 4 month anniversary of me giving up coffee and pop. For me, losing 6 pounds seems like the next logical step.

Ready. Set. Go!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The english language is not beautiful sounding, eloquently delivered or full of enough vocabulary words to express emotions. The lack of emotional descriptors in my native tongue coupled with my "all or nothing" or "black or white" thinking is making my current gray relationship zone particularly uncomfortable.

In high school (and college) I remember saying "I love you" (to not just 1 but 3 boyfriends!) after only a month. Looking back on it I know I did not love them at that moment. And sometimes I wonder if I ever loved them at all. I've decided that I loved them as best anyone can at 14, 16 and 19. However, I digress, the point is I said it way to early and now I know why; there are no words to say during those wildly perfect silent moments that occur while gazing into each other's eyes (I swear it does happen, just like in the movies) early on in the relationship.

Now, I am 24 and have been dating The Pilot for 2 months and haven't uttered those 3 words; actually I haven't even thought them. What I have thought is that I "more than like" him. And my immediate next thought is, how do I verbalize that? When you "more than like" someone but less than love them how do you say that?

"I really like you" sounds cheesy or juvenile. So I've been saying "you make me happy." I have also tossed out an "I enjoy our time together" a couple of times. Instead of saying something, should I just relish those silent moments for what they are; a representation of the lack of words available to articulate my current thoughts and feelings?

But shouldn't there be a word? Just one word to place on the continuum between like and love?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

tick tock

What is that sound? It vibrates in my abdomen and tugs at my heart strings. Wait- it can't be my biological clock, can it?!

My life goals when it comes to children have varied from "I want 4" to "I'm not suited to be a mother." Currently I've landed somewhere in middle and say, "it's a decision about my future I haven't made yet." However, dating someone older who has blatantly stated, "I want children with every fiber of being" is not only a very attractive quality but it also brings the topic to the forefront of my brain.

I am obsessed with the NBC show "The Baby Borrowers." I was appalled at the idea originally but now I can't avert my eyes. Do I want to be a "young" (I still struggle with believing I'm a full blown adult at times) mom?

Recently I find myself pointing out all the cute babies in their awesome summer outfits to the Pilot as we walk past them on the way to dinner. I say "aww," smile wide, wave and laugh as the babies giggle and explore the world. I can feel my heart grow.

I babysit 3 days a week and the differences I see from week to week are constantly amazing me. Not only are the kids changing, but I am too. I find myself more patient, more creative, more concerned for safety and more able to communicate effectively (on the children's level) with each passing week.

I learned about this website today- totlol- and I think that I find it more entertaining than youtube.

As it stands right now, I still have no idea what my future holds. I suspect the decision will unfold naturally if I find the person I want to share my life and procreate with.

I have made one serious decision in this department though; no children will be born into my family until I finish school ;-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The second city is first in my heart

I am officially a resident of the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.

After living here for (only) a year and half I was forced, by my auto insurance company, to get an Illinois drivers license. I studied. Passed the test. Took a horrible picture (complete with unruly hair and shinny skin!). Now I carry around an insanely ugly (compared to my gloriously beautiful Florida drivers license) ID that shows my Chicago northside address.

I am also now a registered voter in the city of Chicago. Which is very important given the looming election (just a reminder Obama '08!). As history says, Chicago residences vote early and often ;-) How fun to be part of such a politically savvy city!

I bought a bike!! Chicago is a very bike friendly city. It's all part of my attempt to incorporate exercise into my life, without realizing it. Plus gas prices are insane and I am only living on a graduate student's budget.

Today I joined the park district. I can exercise at the fitness center 2 blocks from my house for the next 3 months for only 45 dollars! I can also show up at yoga, kickboxing or step aerobics anytime and pay only 2 dollars!!

I am about to re-sign my lease; keeping me here for at least another year. I love this city!

Friday, July 4, 2008

my least favorite holiday*

July 4, 2006; the description of perhaps my worst 4th of July to date. It also includes slight hints at the horrible 4th of Julys of the much distant past. The pattern is always the same. The holiday proves disappointing and therefore unlikeable (by me) because it is NEVER spent with the person I most want to spend that time with. No fireworks with Dnab, Monkey, GarBear or WDS.

This year the story takes a turn. I get to watch the fireworks with The Pilot. But I am the middle of PMS hell that is causing destruction all over my life and saving no prisoners. One prisoner is the hostess of the party I plan to attend. We are civil and no one else present at the party will know of any underlying tension. But I know it exists. And I know my feelings are hurt. But I also know I will get over it.

My main reason for hating the 4th of July is because the day/evening never turns out the way you want it to or the way you planned for it too.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I am still pursuing happiness and I believe despite the tension (I'm working to diffuse the situation) celebrating the 4th of July with The Pilot will bring me one (albeit small) step closer.

*Stay tuned, there will be a similar blog posted on December 31

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press"

My Sunday morning routine goes as follows:
I wake up (no matter how late I was up the previous night) and make myself a cup of jasmine green tea in time for the 10 am (central time) showing of Meet the Press. I would officially start my Sunday by hearing Tim say those magic words, "If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press" at the end of every broadcast.

I had a seriously sick obsession with Tim Russert and his insane political knowledge. For me, whatever Tim had to say about politics was the final word. I obviously ogled over every word he spoke on Sundays, but Tim on NBC was also the place I would turn to during the primary season or on any obscure weekday morning when he would make an appearance on the Today Show to discuss the political happenings in Washington D.C.

I missed last week's episode and as I watched to news coverage of Tim's untimely death yesterday all I could think about was how I missed my last chance to hear him speak those words. It seems silly to be close to tears over the death of a news anchor, but I battled them all day. They finally appeared during a tribute show on NBC last night, when Tom Brokow closed the broadcast by saying, "Do me a favor and say a prayer for Timmy, knock back a cold one and Go Bills!"

Tim, like my father, was battling heart problems. I encourage everyone to stay informed about heart disease.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Most of my blogs seem to contain unhappy content, which is an unfortunate scenario because I am surprisingly content with my life right now.

At this moment on this day, to me happiness is:
  • GR checking my blog daily
  • Sipping wine
  • My new (fuel-efficient) car
  • Planning California road trips
  • Another Cubs win
  • ALL my new clothes
  • Summer sunshine
  • Not studying
  • Being friends with Benny-Boo
  • My new computer with Windows Vista
  • Karaoke nights at The Spot
  • Having plans with my friends
  • Reading "the classics"
  • Going on dates
  • My new phone with Windows Mobile
  • Eating lunch or dinner outside
  • Megan always answering the phone, "hey friend, how are you?"
  • No pop of coffee for 3 months (which is half-way to my goal)
  • Obama becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party
  • Not having financial difficulties
  • Cuddling
  • Being treated like a princess
  • Laughing at Poison's jokes
  • Alyssa's non-judgemental and unconditional love for me
  • Being able to sleep at night without the help of Ambien
  • Viva La Vida
  • Hearing the girls I babysit for laugh
  • Pillow talk
  • Receiving text messages that convey (in-directly) that I am being thought about
  • Invitations to Fox Lake
  • Sleeping in a king bed
  • Having an honest relationship
  • Having DTR (define the relationship) talks

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Psychological Geometry

Working with Relationship Triangles is the latest in a long line of textbooks that speak to me on a personal level. Drawing me in and intricately explaining every minute detail of my life; as if the book was written specifically for or about me.

Based on the Family theory presented by Murray Bowen triangles in relationships form "whenever tension exists in a dyad." Then "emotional forces begin to operate in a way that brings about a stabilizing relationship triangle."

Stop. Close your eyes and picture the triangles that exist in your life. They are easy to see once you understand the theory.

I am involved in several triangles but the most recent and prominently displayed one would be the one that exists between me, Poison and The Pilot.

The book further explains, "triangles are a short-circuiting mechanism that serves the purposes of avoiding discomfort with intimacy and of avoiding discomfort with facing conflictual issues." My triangle makes perfect sense given this explanation. I'm moving slowly and cautiously in my relationship with The Pilot. The entrance of Poison into the triangle (which is a blog of another day but does involve a concert, a dinner and a fight in the middle of Fado) is to help ease my discomfort with possible future intimacy between The Pilot and I. On the flip side, The Pilot has entered my life to relieve me of the "discomfort with facing conflictual issues" that occur between Poison and I.

Do well to remember that all of this is occurring unconsciously. Interesting stuff, isn't it?

Further down on the page containing the previous quote was an entire paragraph that completely clarified my relationship with Poison:
"Fogarty's observations of patients in his office led him to think that certain individuals may have greater tendencies toward separation anxiety or incorporation anxiety. This produces behavior that he labeled 'emotional pursuit' or 'emotional distance.' The partners of emotional pursuers perceive them as threatening incorporation, which activates the distancers' anxiety and intensifies their distancing behavior. The partners of emotional distancers perceive them as threatening abandonment (separation), triggering the pursuers' anxiety and intensifying their pursuit. The more intense the anxiety on either part, the more likely are efforts to stabilize the the dyad by activation of a triangle."

I am an emotional pursuer and Poison is an emotional distancer. I was emotionally pursuing Poison because I was afraid (rightfully so) that he would abandon me. Which only further distanced him from me. No healthy relationship can develop under these circumstances.

However, things are developing in a healthy fashion between The Pilot and I. And that is what an emotional pursuer should be looking for; something healthy. I'm going to consciously battle my unconscious tendencies to avoid intimacy and triangulate relationships.

Good-Bye Poison and "conflictual issues." Hello Pilot, intimacy and healthy pursuing!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

When it rains it pours

Can men smell other men's interest in me in the air?

I had my first date with The Pilot last night. And this morning, after six weeks of silence, Poison said hello by "cutely" calling me "stranger" (it had the feel of an implication that it was my fault we have not spoken for so long). Poison has a knack for this. I was spending New Year's Eve with Safety-net* when I received a text message from him after about a month of no contact.

However, he is not alone in this special skill. I had been (pseudo) dating Doc when I met Poison. And Doc, like Poison after him, disappeared for about 2 weeks. I'm not exaggerating when I say this; Doc called 7 minutes after my first phone call from Poison!

My high school boyfriends always managed to do this too. My most serious high school boyfriend, Monkey and I only dated for 10 months but we were together for 2.5 years. During all that time, I dated several other people because I thought things with Monkey and I were officially over (for real) each time. Then he would magically appear again, as if on command. I swear he could smell it in the air when I started dating or was becoming interested in someone new. Sadly, I always took him back (which got me no where). God only knows what my relationships with some of those other guys would have looked like or resulted in.

The boyfriend before Monkey, aka Dnab, did this same thing! His radar was always up and he could hear a whistle, like those only dogs can hear, whenever I was beginning my slow ascent towards getting over him by dating someone new. Although my relationship with Dnab did not last as long as my relationship with Monkey, the cycle was exactly the same (see previous paragraph about breaking up and getting back together).

I refuse to let my relationship with Poison mirror those I had with Monkey or Dnab. Our conversation this morning was pleasant but there was no discussion about what has transpired between us and there were no future plans made. I'm happy about that because The Pilot called this afternoon to tell me what a great time he had last night and that he would like to do it again sooner rather than later.

Go ahead Poison, bring on the rain showers. I'm ready and willing to say no.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Presidents, Pilots and Purchasing

"Poison" reviews concerts for a living and one night during one of our grandiose summer plan-making talks we decided to go see The Presidents of the United States of America. That show was this past Friday. Him and I have not spoken in over a month. So we (or at least I; I have no idea what he did) did not go to the show. Total bummer.

So instead, on Friday night I went out with some very supportive friends. And met The Pilot. Who (for all those who are curious) has already called. I'll be seeing him sometime this week.

On Saturday, I went to Woodfield with Lindsey and bought enough clothes to safely say that I've acquired a new wardrobe. Recently, I've glanced into my closet many times and have been unable to find anything that I like enough to want to wear. Friday night this reached an all-time disaster level when my entire closet ended up on my bed/floor while trying to find an appropriate Redmond's outfit. The new wardrobe was also accompanied by 4 pairs of shoes, tons of accessories and a new phone!

Out with the old and in with the new.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Meet Silly

In my family we name our cars. My new 2007 silver Chevy Aveo hatchback looks similar to that of a cute clown car, thus she has been name Silly.

She is used. But only a year old with less than 11,000 miles.

And big THANK YOU to my Dad for buying me one last car. By the way, he bought Jimmy one too!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


The cell phone gives you one final chance; Delete [insert name of a person from my past]? Cancel or Delete?

I'm feeling that some of my physical barriers and connections to my past are keeping me from moving forward. I also believe they are rendering me incapable of being happy and content with the present.

I'm deleting cell phone numbers of people I no longer talk to. Or those that I know I shouldn't be talking to. Most of my connections to high school and college seem more labored than beneficial. I must reach a point in which I can appreciate a friendship or relationship for what it was, then let it go and move on. Every relationship serves a purpose. However, I have a tendency to hold on long after that purpose has been fulfilled.

I'm also organizing my room, throwing out pictures, sentimental items, knick-knacks, notes, etc. My room is small. I feel like the walls are closing in on me. I feel like every surface in my room was built with the purpose of holding complete crap. I want to clean house and open the space up. Improve the chi, if you will. I need to detach from the pictures or the memories they represent. I need to let go of the guilt that has caused me to hold on to sentimental items given long ago for purposes since forgotten. The person that bestowed the gift upon me never has to know that I threw (donated) it away.

I finally took down my trio of prom pictures. What 24 year old still displays pictures of her high school boyfriends?

I've got to separate from the past. I've got to appreciate the present. I've got to let the future unfold.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Text messages not initiated by me have been on the rise in recent days. It brings a smile to my face when my friends are making efforts to let me know I am on their mind. A simple, "I hope you are having a nice day," has made my day on more than one occasion this week.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Freedom Ride

There were several things to celebrate last week. The end of the semester. Warm weather accompanied by bright sunshine. Extra babysitting jobs. And 2 weeks of silence.

The celebrating began Wednesday at noon; lunch with Leah at Rock Bottom, a stroll around the loop, a trip to Borders on State St, a quick visit with my Dad at his office and a lazy couple of hours at Millennium Park with my ipod, my book and my journal.

Then Michael, Michael Motorcycle picked me up. Lower Wacker Driver. 290. Little Italy. Greek Town. Old Town. Clark St. D.O.C. Wine Bar. Home.

The trust, the silence and the scenery involved in being a passenger on a motorcycle have become a favorite pastime of mine. There is no better way to celebrate the start my summer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

TMA (Total Music Appreciation)

Lindsey took this picture on Easter Sunday. It was intended to give us a family picture with the "new and improved" (skinnier) Dad. My Dad does look much better than he did in the family picture taken on Thanksgiving, but my jaw dropped when I saw this picture. I'm skinner too!!! When I look at myself in the mirror that is not the girl I see. I certainly hope when I'm walking down the street, drinking in the bar or sitting in class that is the girl everyone else sees.

My Dad's "new and improved" lifestyle has yielded another decision. He is selling some of his record albums (LPs) at our next garage sale. My Mom told me the news on Sunday and fighting back tears I asked, "How many is he getting rid of?" My Dad has 4 bookcases full of albums with numbers reaching over 4,000. According to Mom, he was going to get rid of any album he now has on CD or if he ended up with a "best of" album for a band he would get rid of all their other albums. I envisioned the 4,000 albums dwindling to practically nothing. These bookcases have lined one wall of every family room in every house we've ever lived in for my entire life. They've been in the family longer than I have. I was devastated.

As I drove home today to take a picture (yes, a picture) of the albums before they were so senselessly plucked from my life I was informed that it was too late! Luckily, hearing my reaction made my Mother re-think her feelings about the situation. Jimmy's reaction was apparently similar to mine. So, Mom worked her magic and changed my Dad's mind. He still downsized (significantly; he opened up 4 whole shelves) but it wasn't nearly the massacre I was fearing. However, there is no picture to document what the collection had once looked like.

My Dad prides himself on having raised Jimmy and I to have TMA (Total Music Appreciation). So here is some music playing a part in my life right now.

Personalized internet radio. For those days when the shuffle on your itunes it just not landing on anything you are interested in listening to.

August 22, 2008: Going to the Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Sara Bareilles show with Megan.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I was a good girl all weekend

Friday consisted of two babysitting jobs. And my eventual decision to go to bed instead of joining my comrades (ode to George Orwell's 1984) at Duffy's.

Saturday was spent cleaning my room, IMing Alyssa, studying for ethics and again, a babysitting job. My bed was calling my name at the end of the night, prompting me to turn down Megan's invitation to join her and her new roomies in Chinatown for some karaoke. The stories I heard this morning have since made me regret that decision.

Today was solely devoted to studying for ethics. When the words began blurring and I could feel my eyes crossing, I decided to take a rest and enjoy 20 minutes of solitude in the tanning bed. During my meditative state in the tanning bed, I realized I had reached an important milestone.

Yesterday marked one week since we ("poison" and I) exchanged in our last set of text messages and it was one week ago today that I sent my final e-mail. One week.

My reward to myself was a $20 bottle of Syrah. I was a good girl all weekend; making decisions based on my financial and academic needs. CBT supports rewards and although I don't ascribe to that theoretical orientation, I'm not above using it's ideas when it serves me.

The wine is delicious. And with every sip I am thankful for my strength.

One week will soon turn into two. What shall I reward myself with then?


As a psychodynamically oriented person, I strongly believe in psychological symptoms converting into physical ones. Conversion or Somatization.

My physical bruise is a reflection of my emotional one.

I fell on the stairs (an obstacle I've had a love/hate relationship with my entire life) on Friday. The bruise that resulted is insanely painful and I do not believe that the pictures do justice to how absolutely disgusting it looks. I think that unconsciously I fell and caused physical harm to (at least temporarily) bring my attention towards something other than the boy.

Unfortunately, the pain that ensues while I'm sitting has not only caused me to momentarily forget about the boy, it is also making it incredibly difficult to focus while studying for my ethics final.

My mom says the reason the bruise resulted at all was because I've lost weight and subsequently have lost some of my "cushioning." Thanks Mom.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My mantra

"I did it once. I can do it again." My recent mantra. I tell myself this in the mirror in the morning, right before I slip into a dream state at night, and anytime in between when I think about making contact with the person who has now been dubbed "poison" in my life. In early December, my "posion" situation was playing out exactly as it is now. I managed to cease all contact back then, and even met a new guy (Safety-net; whom I ended up dating for about a month and a half), but "poison" crept back into my life. I opened the door for him, thinking it would end differently this time. Nothing has changed (other than my ability to have "relationship talks"). So it's time to cease all communications with "poison" once again. His phone number has been deleted and the last (unresponded to) e-mail was sent on Sunday. I stopped talking once before. I can stop talking again.

"Poison" will find me though. On the "L" platform." On the 22 bus. At the same Cubs games. This city is huge! And he seems to be everywhere in it. Sitting (unnoticed) right in front of him on the bus, frozen with fear, I internally repeated over and over again, "I did it once. I can do it again." I reached my destination without contact. I walked into D.O.C. and told my wine companion about the "encounter," but then proceeded with the rest of the night as though nothing unusual had happened. No urge to send him a text inquiring, "Were you on the 22 at 8:30?" No late night call placed in a wine drinking fog. Just one journal entry.

I did it once. I can do it again.

This morning, as I went about my (new) morning routine of a 30 minute walk and a 20 minute tanning session, it occurred to me that this mantra represents so much more than my ability to leave "poison" behind. Summer of 2006, I joined weight watchers and lost 17 pounds. I did it once. I can do it again. Junior year of college, I was regularly waking up at 5 to go to a 6 am spinning class before I started my day. I did it once. I can do it again. I found a picture of myself as a freshmen in high school and I had (what I consider) long hair! For years now, I had convinced myself that my hair did not grow long and that I was destined to have the same (face-fattening) hairstyle for the rest of my life. Apparently, I did it once. I can do it again.

Monday, April 7, 2008


It has been 3 weeks since I swallowed the hot bitter substance better known as coffee or felt the bubbles of pop tickle my throat. However yesterday I folded on the pork thing. I was at the Cubs game and starving for lunch, when the hot dog man magically appeared in my aisle. I ate one hot dog, which is actually not a food I ever really enjoy, but I guess desperate times call of desperate measures. Saturday night at a fabulously delicious dinner I managed to order my bacon wrapped steak without the bacon, but there I go the very next day eating a ball park frank at the ball park. So, I fell off the horse, but I will get right back up and no more pork for me.

Timing is everything!

Psychologically and physically, 3 weeks ago may not have been the best time to embark on this journey. I am uncomfortable making excuses, hence the avoidance of writing a blog in several weeks. However, I still find them rolling off my tongue despite myself.

In the movie, Clueless, Cher shares with her teacher that her tardy the previous week was because, "I was surfing the crimson wave." For me the "crimson wave" appeared during week 2 of the "diet," reeking havoc on my body and causing my weight to fluctuate in ways that would have encouraged anyone to believe that the changes they were making were, in essence, not helping. I still have not added exercise into my daily routine, basically because I'm lazy. So as of right now. the lowest weight I have reached in these past 3+ weeks is 167.7.

Psychologically, I have realized how important food and alcohol are in my ability to comfort myself when I'm upset. While trying to give up alcohol for a month, I learned from a best buddy some news that made me unjustly mad at several people. I came home that day and shared with the roommate that all I wanted was some wine. Something wrong with that picture? Well I had given up alcohol and (although I later broke that promise too) I was determined to stick to it at that point. So I sat down and came up with a different plan. I knew I was mad at these people for my own reasons, really nothing having to do with them. These poor people were all in a no win situation. Thanks to my awareness I made the decision to just stay away from those people until I had processed my problems with the situation and had gotten over being mad at them (for basically no reason whatsoever). I did all this without taking a sip of alcohol. I have since been in the presence of all those people and no anger surfaced at all.

The alcohol quickly returned to my life. My decision when it comes to giving that up (even if it only is for 30 days) is that I'm just not ready to let it go. The first sip occurred while out with "the boy." It wasn't his fault, it was mine. I will, however, blame him for some of the other times, since that fateful night, that I have consumed copious amounts of alcohol. He isn't doing everything "right" and when my feelings get hurt I decide to numb the pain (unsuccessfully; the tears still inevitably come) with beer or wine. I am, however, starting to realize that my definition of "right" is still my own issue. So, it's time, again, to sit down and come up with a solution to the anger and hurt that includes something other than alcohol.

Also, I want to share with you:
The books I'm reading to motivate and inspire my life changes.
And my thanks to special friends; Michael, Alyssa, Cindy Fey and Lindsey

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

All aboard the support train

Cindy Fey, the most wonderful "employer" to ever grace this earth, opened the door this morning to greet me and amongst crying children still asked with genuine interest, "how are you?" Of course, the exciting news to have emerged in the last several days was my decision to embark on this journey. I told her all about the book, politely titled in front of her children, "skinny rhymes with witch." We had several brief discussions throughout the morning and early afternoon about the information I had learned from the book and how I was planning on going about all of this. I even told her about the blog.

One conversation took place at Dunkin Donuts, where Cindy, having done this before, began to order me a black coffee. I stopped her mid-sentence and told her it was among the first things that I had given up. I explained that the book suggested organic decaf green tea and that on my next shopping trip I would be on a treasure hunt to find it. Several hours later, I'm pouring myself and her lovely daughters into the car when low and behold there are 2 boxes of organic decaf green tea waiting for me on my seat. The Easter Bunny had made an early stop for me.

Before the discovery of the tea, but after the Dunkin Donuts trip, Cindy and I engaged in another conversation that started out by discussing the amazing progress my dad has been making (for anyone keeping tabs, he's lost 52 pounds!). This conversation transitioned quickly into my hope that the American Heart Association would become my charity of choice and that if I could get myself trained I would like to do a 5K run/walk. While cutting noodles into manageable pieces for her youngest daughter she looks over at me and nonchalantly says, "well if you do that we would absolutely love to sponsor you."

A study date last night yielded another opportunity for me to talk about my hope for my future. I told this friend (who has witnessed me at some of my most drunken moments) that I was abstaining from alcohol for one month. He was totally supportive and even said that he would do it with me!!

Support is coming from the most amazing places. The only challenger I foresee is the one residing in me. Everyone else seems to be on board.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The book, the bet, the beginning and the blog

One of my dad's co-workers gave him the book "Skinny Bitch" to read while recovering. I think it was more just for shits and giggles, because it is clearly geared toward women. Dad never read the book, mom only briefly started it and then it somehow landed in my lap. This past Thursday night I couldn't sleep (it had been a very emotionally taxing day), so I read the whole thing. It was an easy read and I couldn't put it down, everything they said was making perfect sense and it is written in such a way that makes me feel like it was my friends giving me no-nonsense reasons to get my ass in gear. The book promotes a vegan lifestyle and gives very compelling reasons why to live that way. I am going to very slowly progress that way; taking something away each week.

Ben, the ever supportive best friend that he is, said that obviously he will support me in whatever I want to do but that he bets $20 I won't be a vegan in one year. I took the bet. By St. Patrick's Day next year I will have to have been a vegan for 3 months in order for me to collect the prize. Making the bet just pushes me further into wanting to do this, I don't think he realizes that. However, it's not some HUGE amount of money that if for whatever reason I can't remain vegan I won't cry about having to pay it.

Things began immediately. Friday morning, I gave up coffee and pop. Going as far as throwing away the coffee canister and bottle of sprite that were still residing in my apartment. I did partake in beer consumption yesterday in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but as of this morning I'm vowing to abstain from alcohol for at least a month. I don't want to give it up forever, but for right now I'm looking forward to getting it all out of my body and cleansing myself of some serious toxins. I think my next step will be to stop consuming pork products. We'll see how the week unfolds.

I'm going to chronicle my changes and adventures on the blog. I'm hoping that something as public as this will hold me accountable so that I can finally get myself in gear and stay there. Below is what I looked like this morning and 169.5 pounds. I'm planning on weighing myself daily but I think that I'll only publish pictures once a week. My goal weight is 130 pounds but I'm going to ask you, my fellow bloggers, to help me with something. If I begin to look unhealthy before I get to that point let me know. I want to be skinny (and healthy) and 130 pounds still sounds heavy to me but the truth is it's a long way from where I am now and I don't actually know how it will look on me. So keep me motivated, remind me of my bet with Ben, give me pointers about exercise routines (done at home, I can't afford a gym membership), support me, and most importanly tell me if I've taken it one step to far.
Wish me luck! It's beginning now!