Monday, March 26, 2012

Wonderful Weekend

Did everyone have a nice weekend? Mine was spectacular. Here's a rundown of the ingredients that came together to create a wonderful three days:

1. Grilled Deliciousness. We bought a grill from one of Steve's AF buddies at the end of Fall last year and were finally able to use it last week. We first used it Wednesday night for grilled pork chops and they were yummy. On Friday, we grilled hamburgers and last night we grilled hot dogs. It's amazing how different things taste when they're grilled as opposed to using a grill pan on the stove. I'm already thinking of foods to cook this week on the grill. And, it's fun to see Steve learning how to grill and how proud he is when it turns out so delicious.

2. Sarah and Aaron. Friday evening, we had dinner with my wonderful friend Sarah and her boyfriend Aaron. Having used up most of our date night budget for the month, Steve and I decided to have a date night at home. I had wanted to call Sarah to find out about her new guy but decided it would be even better to invite them over to join us for the evening! It was great to see Sarah and to chat with her AND it was extra special to see how happy she is in love. Aaron seems like a super nice guy and obviously has excellent taste in women. After dinner (grilled hamburgers, baked tater tots and sweet potato fries, and coleslaw), we played Trivial Pursuit. It was a lot of fun although I kind of wish it had left more openings for asking Aaron more questions about himself. :)

3. Bike riding. I love riding my bike. I love the feeling of wind blowing through my hair, my legs pedaling hard and fast, the world rushing by at a fast, but still see-able speed. I love that I see parts of my neighborhood that I wouldn't otherwise because they are "too far away" for a walk. Not that I couldn't walk them, but I usually don't have enough time to walk that far! A seven-mile walk takes me almost 2 hours but the same distance took me 45 minutes to cover on bike. This weekend my biking became even more enjoyable. First, Steve attached a water bottle holder and an odometer to my bike. I love love love knowing how fast I'm biking and how far I go. Second, we bought Steve a bike! Yesterday evening we went on our first bike ride together and it was wonderful! The man is in much better shape than me and has stronger legs, but I was able to keep up with him most of the time and he didn't have to go too much slower than he probably would alone. It's yet another thing we can do together. Yippee!

4. GMAT. Spending 3 hours in a way-too-cold testing room, overly taxing my brain on a Saturday morning wouldn't add up to a great way to spend the morning except that I got a pretty decent score. The average score for students that are accepted into the Masters of Accounting program at WSU is 560 so I really wanted to get higher than that. Also, I wanted to get into the 600s, just a personal goal. I scored 620! It doesn't guarantee that I'll get into the program, but at least I'm confident that it won't hinder me from getting in! And, it feels good to have it checked off my to-do list. It also means one less thing for me to have to study during the week.

5. Spring. I loved the weather this weekend. It was warm but not hot. I wore shorts and a t-shirt on Saturday. Nice! At one point, on base at the dog park, it got a little nippy so I put on a sweater, but I ended up tying it around my waist when we went for an afternoon walk along the Ogden River. I even got my first sunburn of the year - just a mild one that faded by Sunday morning. I love seeing green buds on the trees and daffodils and other flowers blooming all around my neighborhood. Birds chirping, grass turning green, and the smell of dirt make my heart swell when I'm outside either walking or riding my bike. I realize it's still early Spring and rain/snow are going to happen, but just knowing that Spring is here makes me happy. The only downside is the swarm of mosquitoes that are going to start showing up. It's something I would have forgotten about (since my hometown doesn't have mosquitoes) except this weekend I also got my first mosquito bite of the year. Sigh. Oh well, it still doesn't erase the joy of Spring!

I hope you all had a good weekend, too, and that this week is full of wonderful things for all of us. If nothing else, hopefully we'll survive to get to next weekend! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Me as a Woman

This morning (sooo early!), like every Tuesday and Thursday morning this semester, I walked across the covered bridge between Weber State's student union building and its student services building. I noticed as I walked that there were posters celebrating Women's History Month hung up along both sides of the bridge. Each poster portrayed a positive womanly attribute, focusing on how these attributes have influenced history and especially the fight for gender equality. I didn't have enough time to read each poster, but one poster started me thinking. It posed the question, "How will you be remembered in history?". My initial response was, "I probably won't be." I reconsidered because I may never make it in the History books, but I will be remembered, at least by some of the people whose paths cross mine. As I asked myself how I wanted to be remembered, it made me think about the kind of woman I am and the kind of woman I want to become.

I'm the kind of woman who likes to wear dresses. I'm wearing one right now. It's new and I love it. While wearing dresses, I feel feminine and confident and tend to act a little more gracefully.

I like feeling feminine. Growing up with three brothers and a dad who liked to teach them how to wrestle, I learned how to play rough with the fellows. Luckily, I also liked to read and loved Jane Austen books. They instilled a desire in me to be a lady; to be graceful and gracious, to speak and act properly, to have manners and etiquette. I can still play rough and hold my own with the guys, but I get a big thrill out of being womanly, feminine, lady-like.

In my opinion, being womanly, feminine, and lady-like are not synonymous with being "high maintenance". Up with my goal to be a lady is the goal to not be a high maintenance broad. There are as many different definitions of high maintenance as there are women, but mine (thought up just this very moment) comes down to not requiring more from others than I'm willing to put up with. My husband recently informed me that I require some maintenance (my response - "All ladies do") but that I'm definitely not high least not according to his standards, which are the ones I care about the most. I may like to wear dresses and be fancy sometimes, but I'm just as comfortable wearing jeans and a t-shirt - and getting my hands dirty when the occasion calls for it.

I'm the type of woman who hosts. (Hostesses?) Anyway, I throw parties. I organized get-togethers at my house clear back in high school - it helped that we had a big living room. For various reasons, I left the world of hostessing for awhile, but I'm back into it full swing. Every so often I have the urge to invite people over to our house for dinner or games or to watch Utah Utes football. I spend hours joyously thinking about what to make for consumption, what we need to clean beforehand, and what other preparations we need to make. During the event, I carefully gauge if people are enjoying themselves and make adjustments as needed. A part of my psyche eats it all up and revels in it. I also love having stay-over visitors. We have a guest bedroom and a futon in the study, both upstairs, along with a full bathroom upstairs. We've been told that it makes for a very comfortable stay. Yay! Again, I love making sure my guests' needs are being met.

At 34 years old, I'm pretty happy with how I've turned out so far, but there are certainly attributes I'd like to develop and/or fine-tune. I'd like to be more patient with myself instead of demanding perfection all the time. This is one of the rough edges that Steve is helping me smooth. I think that one improvement would help with so many other problems - my sometimes too-tight focus on my weight, bad haircuts causing a brief decline in self-esteem until it grows out, coming close to tears when I burn the crust of a quiche meant for a party, my anxiety when even a minute late to anything, etc.

Every morning, an alarm goes off on my phone reminding me to make the world a happier place. Its intent is to remind me to be a nicer, kinder, more generous and compassionate person, because sometimes I'm not, especially compassionate or generous. Again, these are things that Steve is helping me with, unbeknownst to him. He always amazes me with his generosity and compassion to me, to people in our lives, and even to complete strangers. He inspires me to develop those attributes more fully.

There's no wrong or right way to be a woman, as long as we're comfortable in our own definition of womanhood, and as long as we treat others respectfully. It's enjoyable for me to see the diversity of women on campus and to know that we're all unique and we're all special. We're imperfect, in so many ways!, but there is beauty in our imperfections.

I love being a woman.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break 2012

It has been 6 years since I've had a Spring Break and even then I still had to work, so it wasn't really a true break. Not this year, baby! Since the student health center is closed when the university is closed, I'm free as a bird this week!

My break started at 1pm last Friday. Since Steve was able to get off work earlier than we thought, I asked to leave work early, too, and since I work for the most generous, amazing people, they said yes. I rushed home, helped Steve finish loading up the car - including Sadie, and we headed for Cedar City. Other than an accident in Provo, which slowed us down quite a bit, the drive was easy and we made it to Cedar in pretty good time. Starving and craving steak, Steve and I invited Mom to go to dinner with us at Ninja. I love Japanese hibachi restaurants and the steak there really hit the spot for me. Mom had never been, so I was even happier that we went there.

I love being in Cedar City. It's funny to me that for years and years all I could dream about (besides a dark handsome stranger who fell madly in love with me) was leaving Cedar and living almost anywhere else. Now, I miss it. A big part of that is being able to hang out with my family, but it's not just that. Cedar is my hometown. I know it, even though things change, I know where to find things, what streets can get me where I'm going. And, I have history there. I like driving around with Steve and telling him stories from my past. Cedar is a part of me.

We spent a few days in Cedar, having a grand time! I even got to go to lunch with some good friends I haven't seen awhile - thanks ladies! Yesterday morning, we packed up and took a quick trip to St. George to go to my bariatric surgeon's office for a band fill. It was so warm and lovely that I wanted to stay there the rest of the week. Instead, we headed for home and arrived around 3pm, giving us the rest of the day to unpack and relax from our fun trip.

So, what are my plans for the rest of my break? Unfortunately, since I didn't study at all the first half of Spring Break, the rest of the time will be pretty study-intensive. I am taking the GMAT (the exam to get into WSU's Master's of Accounting program) on March 24, so that is what I plan to focus on, but I also have a few things to work on for my actual classes, especially my online class.

When I'm not studying, I'll be walking Sadie, blogging (not a lot, but a little), cooking, thinking about what to plant in our patio garden this year, and maybe even reading a very little bit. So I wasn't too tempted to spend too much time on that last item, I stayed up late last night finishing the book I started in Cedar.

Even though I'm spending most of my time studying, it feels great to have a few days off - no work, no classes. After Spring Break, there is only 4 weeks left until finals week, then it will be Summer! No classes, no work, and no studying! And it will be warm weather!! Aaaahhh. Those will be the days. All I have to do is work hard and get through the next few weeks. Piece of cake!

Mmmmm. Cake. I don't have cake, but I do have girl scout cookies! Excuse me while I go grab a few to help me get through the next few hours of studying.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Did You Know...

I love writing these posts. This time, I'm throwing in some stuff about my hubby because a) it's harder coming up with stuff about myself and 2) there's many of you who don't know him very well and this will help you get to know him better. So, did you know...

...I hate when nail polish starts to peel off? It seriously drives me crazy. Like right now.

...I have chubby knees?

...Steve has a chipped front tooth? He's had it since he was a kid.

...I think Steve's chipped tooth is sexy? I do.

...Spring Break starts on Saturday and I'm soooo ready for a long break?

...Steve is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force?

...I wear a Weber State t-shirt every Friday?

...Steve's favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys?

...I have always disliked the Dallas Cowboys?

...I'm taking the GMAT in 2 weeks? No, I'm not ready.

...I'm 5 ft 6 3/4 in tall?

...Steve is 6 ft 4 in tall?

...Steve doesn't have a favorite cake, cookie, color, or candy bar? Weirdo.

...Steve worked at a hardware store before joining the Air Force?

...I was voted Most Eligible Bachelorette at my 5-yr high school reunion? There were maybe 10 of us who qualified. More like 5. I got a king-sized candy bar.

...tardiness (in others and myself) is my biggest pet peeve?

...I crave BBQ ribs about once a month? Goodwood in Riverdale has excellent beef ribs. Mmmm.

...Steve loves to fish?

...I'm working on writing a series of children's books?

...Steve doesn't like to eat mushrooms or peas?

Well, that's it for this time. I hope you learned something interesting about us. Or, at the very least, that you weren't bored to tears.

Have a great day! I hope it's sunny and warm wherever you are and that you're able to spend some time outside enjoying it!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

February Updates

I'm always thrilled when February is over. According to my very own personal calendar, it's the last winter month. It doesn't matter if it snows until June, to me, Spring has sprung on March 1st. At least I know sunshine and warmer weather (and flowers and butterflies) are just around the corner and that makes me very happy and hopeful.

That said, it wasn't too shabby of a month. My husband left me on my own for a week, but he is now back at home, right where he belongs. And though we had an extra February day this year, February seemed to go by faster than past Februaries,which dragged on for an eternity or longer.

Here's the "quick" run-down of my month:

School: Remember how worried I was last month about my Auditing class? Well, I'm doing very well in it! I have the high score out of both classes! And, I can tell I'm becoming well-liked by that professor. It's always good to get on a professor's good side. My other two classes are going well, too. I have high hopes for straight A's this semester. What's even better is that I'm making a lot of friends in my classes. There's a big group of us that have multiple classes together, and we talk before, in-between, and after classes. I missed the social element last semester, but it was my first one here and it built the foundation for becoming friends with people this semester. There are a couple guys that are really annoying, but otherwise everyone is really cool.

Summer Trip: Last Monday, the night before Steve left for Florida, we bought airplane tickets to Seattle and booked our Alaskan cruise! We're going in June. I'm really excited because I've heard great things about Alaskan cruises. Steve is a little hesitant, what with the two stories in the news about cruise "mishaps", but I'm not worried at all. I've been on 3 and haven't had a problem. I love that you get to see an area of the world without worrying about where you're going to stay when you get there and having to transport your luggage everywhere. And, I love eating dinner on-board because I feel more adventerous about trying new foods since I can always get something else (no charge!) if I don't like it. Yeah, I definitely enjoy cruises.

Journaling: Took a little bit of a nose-dive the last week of February. You'd think it would have been easier to write without Steve there to distract me, but I kept forgetting to do it. It's all about Routine, and if that's not there, somethings just don't get done. Before that, though, I was doing great at writing every night. I really love keeping a (mostly) daily journal. And, that one-page restriction is amazing! Really keeps me on track and helps me focus on what I really want to record.

Exercise: I made it to my goal of 100 miles of exercise! To do so, I upped the number of times I ride my indoor exercise bike, helping me get more miles in lesser time AND burning more calories, too. It's so cold when I walk Sadie in the morning (and soooo early!) that I tend to take shorter walks. If the weather is cruddy in the afternoon, I cut that walk shorter, too, so the bike has been really beneficial with helping me get good quality exercise every day. I keep dreaming about warmer weather when I can ride my real bike all over town AND take Sadie for longer walks, maybe even start jogging a very little bit. Until then, I'm planning to increase my bike frequency a little bit more and take longer walks whenever the weather is nice enough.

February exercise total: 1364 minutes (almost 23 hours), 109.8 - combo of biking and walking. YAY!

Good bye, February!

Hello, March!!!