Where Am I?

Well, let me first say that I was obviously not successful in finishing out my trip journal! Fail! Here’s the very shortened version.

Day 26 – Lake Plitvice, Croatia. WOW stunning
Day 27-29 Zadar, Croatia. YES we were in Croatia for the World Cup Final! However, we were unable to stay. That is one of the many occurrences that made our Croatia trip a little underwhelming. It was purely coincidental and poor planning – Croatia is amazing!
Day 30-34 Budapest. Those days just flew by!

So, at this point we’ve been home exactly two weeks. It feels unreal to be back, but the whole trip seems a bit unreal as well, like it took place in an alternate universe or something. I’ve had the usual post-trip lows, combined with getting too stressed about socializing with friends and family, trying to squeeze in my own favorite summer Austin activities, before getting back to the grind of the school year. *Sigh*

Since getting back we spent: one day at home, one day at a family reunion, and then about five days at home before heading to South Padre Island for a friend’s birthday.

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It was lovely, but we were SO happy to be back in our beautiful home on Tuesday. What’s really cool, is that we were able to Airbnb our place during our short trip to the coast – we are really starting to enjoy this whole Airbnb-ing thing. We already a group booked for Labor Day when we’re headed out of town again!

This summer has been one amazing experience after another. I am so grateful. However, there’s always room for emotional baggage to sneak in. 😉

#1: Family. I had big plans to confront my family with some big topics before I left. I had so many reasons to go for it. I wrote a poem that I think really sums up how I felt about laying it all out there. But, when the time came.. I just couldn’t. At first I was incredibly disappointed, but I’ve since learned that it just wasn’t my right time, and that’s okay. However, since there was this big build-up that ended up leading to nothing, I feel a little confused and uncomfortable about when I stand with all of them. I’m working on figuring that out.

#2: Friends/Relationships. One of my friends – let’s call her Mary – went through a really bad break-up this past Spring. I’ve chosen to adjust my life quite a bit to be there for her, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, with that comes the added challenge of maintaining boundaries, which is something I think we all struggle with, especially when we’re really worried about someone we love and care for immensely.

So, during my first week back, I just felt like I HAD to see Mary as much as possible, who had missed me so much while I was gone, AND everyone else. I was extremely stressed and overwhelmed, and didn’t really want to see anyone. I felt like I was letting everyone down by not being social enough. Not wanting to see anyone is pretty typical for me post-trip, but it was worse this time because I felt more obligation.

It took some time and a therapy session to figure out what was going on. You see, with my family,

a lot of my process has been setting boundaries with my mom… and then my dad (unexpectedly) and now, even more unexpectedly, my brother

When this happened with him, I just felt a lot of anger, disappointment and helplessness… as most importantly, responsibility, because I was so worried about him. All of these feelings transferred to Mary, and then onto all of my other friends. I was only allowing myself to see the “burdens” of friendship, not all of the joy I’ve cultivated over the last few years as I’ve build up my friend group and re-learned how to trust friends.

Furthermore, I allowed myself to believe that these burdens were real. I’ve now realized they aren’t. Loyalty, “being there,” helping others, sure it’s all really good, but it’s not a REQUIREMENT of friendship. My therapist asked me two really great questions: What do you think it means to be a great friend? I responded with some variation of the list above. Then she asked, “What do you think your friends would tell you that you need to do in order to be a great friend?” I laughed out loud because I knew right away – they love me just as I am, and they would 100% say, “Just be you, silly!”

Once I realized this, I was able to drop my expectations for myself as a friend a little more easily, which was really good because I still had to make it through the beach trip with five friends. 😉 Sidenote: It is so wonderful to have authentic relationships. I felt so isolated just a few years ago.

#3 My weight: I lot of my thoughts about it can be summed up here. Even though it was almost two months ago that I realized I’ve gained so much weight, I’m only now starting on my weight-loss and overall health reset. I suppose that’s not entirely true – I started doing Yoga With Adriene very regularly while on the trip. I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene because it is just so easy to do it everyday. It’s free, it’s usually only about 20 minutes, and she focuses on self-love and being our true selves, something I know I need to be reminded up everyday.

Anyway, we got back from the beach on August 1, so I started my Whole30 on August 1. I will do this Whole30, reintroduce the foods the right way, and stay on track until I reach my target weight and lifestyle. 🙂 I know I can do this. I know I am capable of change, but that doesn’t mean I don’t spend a lot of my time feeling really down about my body and the journey ahead of me.

Thankfully, I had a really big “aha moment” while doing yoga in Budapest. The AC wasn’t on, so I ended up taking off my shirt and doing yoga in my sports bra. This meant having to see more of my body. Shame instantly came over me… but then I heard my yoga teacher within say, “If you can’t love your body now, how can you expect yourself to treat it better and reach your goals?”

I love the skin I’m in.

Because I love my body, I will treat it well. I will live the healthy lifestyle I deserve.

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Day 04/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Budapest

Bartley and I went to my new favorite neighborhood spot from yesterday, Mozsár Kávézó, and ordered a quick latte and croissant because I was super hungry. Then, we headed over to the area near Kálvin tér to meet a friend of mine. She and I studied together at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary nearly ten years ago. This was my first time seeing her since then! We’ve skyped a few times, but it’s actually been many years since we’ve even done that. It was great to catch up, and see that’s she’s doing so well in Budapest.

The Boyfriend joined us for the end of lunch at Fecske. Then, he and Bartley and I attempted to go to Nagyvásárcsarnok (The Great Market Hall), but we were cut off due to little Bartley. At this point, we were tired of the heat, and The Boyfriend was quite hungry, so we decided to try to find somewhere along the Danube to eat. Everything on the Danube was either too expensive, or, oddly, didn’t have a nice view of the Danube, so we ended up at a more affordable hungarian restaurant chain called Kantin on Váci utca. Bartley was really pleased to have a bowl of water. He had ignored his bowl of water the whole time at Fecske – bad move.

At the start of the meal, we were so tired and hot, we thought maybe we’d just take a cab home. But after the meal (and a few refreshing rounds of wine & beer 😉 ) we were ready for the challenge, and I’m so happy we changed our minds! We walked back through the Jewish district, and ended up at this lovely food court, that was MUCH less crowded than Karavan.

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At the vegan food court, Rácskert, we each enjoyed a Soproni, and some quiet time reading. Bartley enjoyed some water and a nap. It was really nice to have a some quiet time, but not feel like we were missing out on exploring the city. When we got home, we got ready to go out and see Budapest a night, something we’ve been meaning to do, but hasn’t happend yet.

We started with the gorgeous Szent István Bazilika, which is just a few blocks for our place.

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Then we continued towards the Danube, taking in all of the people, the pubs, and the views, as we went.

When we got to the Szécsény Bridge, the sight was so gorgeous, that we decided we had to continue on, even though we were tired.

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We crossed to the other side, walked along the Danube on the Buda side, and found a pub to have a drink at while taking in the view of Parliament.

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Then, we walked back along the Margaret Bridge, stopping often to take in the beauty that is Budapest at night.

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We finally decided we were so exhausted, we’d take the tram home from there. Considering this was our final step count… I’d say we deserved it. 🙂

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Once home, it was time for a tiny bit of yoga to stretch out after so much walking, a bit of internetting, and sleeeep.

The Yo-Yo Dieter

That’s me.

I did my first Whole30 back in 2014, with great success. I felt amazing, I dropped 14 pounds in one month, and I genuinely didn’t want to go back to my old eating habits. I kept it up, with a few less restrictions, for several months after the thirty days. Gradually, I slid back into my old ways.

A year later, I did another, and a year later… well you get the idea. It turns out that after each “re-set,” I regained by bad habits – and therefore the weight! – faster, not slower. This most recent time was by far the fastest yet. This past February, I did a Whole30 and I dropped from 149 to 138. I was super excited! I felt like I just needed to stick with the majority of the restrictions, with maybe one cheat day a week, and I’d continue to lose weight but at a slower rate.

That’s not what happened. It’s a mere 4 months later, and I’ve actually exceeded my start weight. I’m at 155 pounds. That’s the highest number I’ve ever seen on the scale. Sad day. It’s almost like I was trying to gain weight.

I did a tiny bit of research today, and it seems that yes, I am a yo-yo dieter. I’ve lost about the same amount of weight repeatedly for the last five years. I always lose it really quickly with a Whole30. I basically have an on/off switch: I’m either super restrictive, or I eat whatever I want. There are many reasons why this is bad for us, the most obvious of which is probably that it makes me feel bad, like it’s not even worth trying. That’s how I’ve felt most of today.

But it is! I’ve accomplished so many goals throughout my twenties: I’ve become financially stable using the methods of Dave Ramsey and Mrs. Frugalwoods. I have a great group of friends after searching for community for what feels like a decade. I’ve established healthy boundaries with my family, although that is a constant struggle. The work/life balance is also much more manageable.

So, I can do this. I turn 30 at the end of August. In the spirit of turning 30, my goal is to lose 30 pounds by 2019… and stay that way. That might seem pretty fast, but that will honestly be the slowest of my weight loss endeavors.

I’ve updated my points page and I’m happy to say you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. 🙂

This was a four point day.

 

 

 

Tea Instead of Vodka

What an amazing summer it has been. (And Winter & Spring… sorry for not writing more!) For teachers, summer is an essential reset time. Many end up doing plenty of lesson planning, curriculum research, and professional development sessions as well. I still have four weeks to get to all of that. 😉

I felt like I was really due for a break this summer. Last summer, the reality of making the mortgage on my own was starting to set in: I worked three jobs: curriculum writing for the district, tons of voice lessons, and was a section leader in a church choir. I still had a decent amount of down time, but it wasn’t ideal for summer break. Summer of 2015 I spent a lot of time questioning my career choice and almost quit teaching entirely, and my sweet dog Bartley got deathly ill over the Summer of 2014.

This summer has been about countless yoga sessions and dance classes, drinks with friends, a trip to Puerto Vallarta with the boyfriend and his family, bike rides, and so much cooking. There has been an over abundance of joy and relaxation, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the space for all of the things I love. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve worked really hard to minimize the chaos and create space for joy.

The last few days, however, I’ve felt pretty down. I feel like there could be something big that I need to process, some huge ugly cry I need to have or something. Of course this is uncomfortable because I like being content. It’s lovely to be happy, but it isn’t really sustainable in my opinion, although many people think happiness is the goal. For me, contentment is the goal, and right now I don’t feel content. I feel restless, irritable, unmotivated, mildly depressed.

Several things could be the culprit: PMDD – it’s basically hardcore PMS and it’s SUCH a nuisance, but I can’t deny the reality of it – spending the weekend at a family reunion in which I had to see my mother who seems to have completely given up on life, and the fact that I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. Or perhaps some combination of all three. I’ve also gained weight this summer and I’ve allowed my frustration with that to lead to negative thinking.

With depression, everything feels like it takes too much effort, and the end result won’t be worth it. I’ve never had a debilitating depressive episode, and I don’t even think what I’m experiencing qualifies as depression, it’s more of a depressed mood. But, the fact is for the last three days now, I haven’t had a desire to do anything. I’ve still done what I need to, but it has taken great effort, and the whole time my mind has been full of negative thoughts.

So, tonight I’m choosing hot peppermint tea over my more typical summer drink: ruby red vodka mixed with lime la croix – (so very refreshing!) I’m going to explore these various culprits, but also seek out connection with the people who love & support me – the boyfriend, my dearest cousin, my best friend, and of course the pup – and rely on my most dependable (& therapeutic!) companion: yoga.

There are things in life that I cannot control, like my mom’s current lifestyle and the way my dad chooses to deal with it. I can’t change the fact that my ex-husband hasn’t found the peace and success he deserves. All I want is for these people I care so much about to find their own way to contentment, but their journey is theirs and mine is mine. It’s hard to let go of what I can’t control, but it’s often so necessary. Above all, I want to remember that letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care, so I’ll let go of that guilt as well.

 

 

Happy Feelings!

Hehe – this is what I always exclaim when I’m watching a show or movie with Andras and the couple in the spotlight finally have their first kiss, or share a sweet moment. You know, the butterflies in your stomach, ridiculous smile stretched out across your face, can’t even take a breath feeling…

That’s kind of how January has been for me. I’m almost uncomfortably happy right now, which sounds a little weird, but let me explain: As some of you know, my life has been full of change for the last 4-5 years. How can things be so simple now? I finally have a home – no roommates! And Andras and I just love staying home, cooking, hanging out, not really doing too much of anything. That should be boring right? NOT! It is gloriously simple, refreshing and wonderful.

The other reason it’s uncomfortable is because my mom has struggled with depression my whole life, and was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so whenever I feel really great, I wonder, “Am I just happy or could I be manic?” I’m certain that’s not the case because I’ve read enough about bipolar disorder, and have a friend who is an excellent resource – check out her blog! – but it’s still a paranoia of mine.

I made so many changes this month and the last few, that’s it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is bringing me such happiness. Since the blog is a great place to reflect, here I go:

  1. Routines. You already know about my obsession with those, so I’ll spare you this time. 😉 The most important one I’ve stuck to lately is getting enough sleep. It makes SUCH a difference. I have a nighttime routine now that starts at 8:30, and it’s lights out at 9:30, which makes waking up at 5:30 so much easier.
  2. Whole30 – no dairy, grains, legumes, soy, added sugar or alcohol for 30 days. We finish on January 30, and at that point I will add in small amounts of dairy (mostly as a seasoning) wine, and a sweet day – I mean a cheat day.
  3. No coffee! I sort of unexpectedly gave this one up a couple of weeks ago. As much as it feels  like I need it, I just don’t. It only leads me closer to anxiety, and I’ve noticed I now sleep much better.
  4. Yoga! 3x a week or more. Making that special time for just me is so important. When I don’t go, I at least meditate at home.
  5. Drinking enough water. I have a 24 oz water bottle, and I try to fill and drink it 3x a day.
  6. At work, my after school clubs haven’t started up. They will start up this week, so I need to do everything I can to plan carefully so that I don’t feel overwhelmed by them. They are supposed to fun extracurricular activities, something that the kids enjoy and are proud of. And that’s it. As soon as I make it more than that, it becomes stressful for me, and too much for them.

It will be interesting to see how the after school clubs, entering competition season, and modifying my diet slightly affect my happiness. Hopefully, if I keep up all of the other structure that’s making so much room for joy, I’ll stay in this lovely zone.

And when shit hits the fan, as it always does, I’ll just try to remember to breathe and laugh.

Almost nothing is ever as big as it seems.

January Blues

I’m struggling to enjoy my final moments of break. It’s been a really great break. It has been so much fun spending hours on end with Andras, watching ER (yeah! You read that right!), walking Bartley, and now cooking, as we’ve taken on the Whole30 challenge together.

Day 2 Menu
Breakfast Snack: Anti-inflammatory Blueberry Smoothie 
Brunch: 2 scrambled eggs, strawberries & blueberries, sausage, hash browns, black coffee.
Snack: Salami

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Dinner: Salt & Pepper Shrimp. It  was INCREDIBLE! You can find the recipe here

Dinner continued: For the mashed potatoes, we added one shallot, 1 T of fresh rosemary, and 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk. Mmm! It all turned out really well, and was very easy!
Snack: Strawberries

But, back to the fun stuff – January Blues. 😀 I guess I’m just getting caught up with thoughts about the impending back-to-school stress fest, rather than living in the moment. I think it would help some if I did some lesson planning early in the day tomorrow. I am beyond grateful that Monday is a professional development day, and our administrators are actually giving us the majority of the day for prep.

Goals for tomorrow: Sleep in. Yoga. Plan. Breathe. Eat Well.

Good night!

Back to school – Back to work

I had no idea the transition back to school would go so well! I am SO excited about this school year. My classes are full of kids who are truly excited to take choir, and my schedule is basically a dream. My conference period is the last period of everyday, which is going to help me immensely when I have concerts or events after school. 

It’s only day 3, but here are some changes I’ve made that I hope will turn into habits. My points need to be modified some…

  • Establish a morning routine: In past years, I’ve let my level of exhaustion determine how long I sleep, if I pack a lunch, etc. Because I didn’t have a routine, my basic needs like breakfast, lunch, coffee, shower, work outfit, etc, where often not met. Now I am aiming to do the same thing every morning, to establish a foundation for my day. 1. Quiet time 2. Take care of Bartley 3. Breakfast/make lunch (put previously divided sandwich bags and tupperwares in my lunchbox) 4. Show/get ready 5. Leave by 6:30. Of course, in order to do that, I have to wake up at 5:15 (OUCH!) Which leads me to…
  • Being in bed by 10:00, electronics & lights off by 10:30. This gives me almost 7 hours of sleep. 
  • Organizing has turned into a “10-minute” clean. I love this idea. I found it on pinterest, and it’s almost ridiculously easy. You just set a timer for 10 minutes, and clean as much as you can during that time. The craziest part? I’m usually finished in 7 or 8 minutes! All these years I’ve dreaded cleaning, and it was something I could accomplish in 10 minutes or less. Insane!
  • Before I leave work at the end of the day, I go through this checklist: Clear desk, check/respond/archive emails, make necessary phone calls, complete or review the next days lesson plans, add to the next day’s to-do list, and 10-minute clean of my classroom. 

I am feeling so optimistic about these changes. These, along with eating well and daily yoga/meditation are my current “points.” If I can build them into habits, I know I will become the organized professional I want to be.

Let my inner virgo shine!