Saturday, December 31, 2011

This is exactly how I feel about 2011...

So long 2011...hello, 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I want to quit running...

Ok, I don't even have a real reason. I just don't want to do it anymore.

I'm a quitter.

Not really, though. I rarely quit things in life because I have a huge conscience and I just feel terribly guilty.

But my motivation for running has completely gone out the door.

I feel like such a loser, but I am going to focus on the positive.

I ran 5 miles! I never thought I that I could do it, but I did. That's a huge accomplishment for me. The thing is, I am not in love with running and I never have been, however, I do love the feeling of setting out with a goal in mind and then accomplishing it. That is what running has been for me.

But lately, I feel like the idea of training for anything is just too much for me to handle. I am way too overwhelmed. Perhaps it's the pressure of a training plan, which usually keeps me in check. Or the thought of a half marathon at the end. I don't want to say it feels daunting because I do know that I CAN DO IT. That isn't the point.

It's a matter of wanting to do it, and only doing things in life that you want to be doing.

I don't know. I just don't know. I think I need to focus on just overall health and wellness. In addition, semester 2 starts soon and I am going to be swamped with work full time, and school part-time.

I feel almost sorry if I am letting people down, but I don't even feel like I am letting myself down because I feel like I know what's right for me at this time.

I feel like I have missed too many runs at this point to adequately be ready to run 13.1 miles. And if I am going to run 13.1 miles, I want to be trained the right way.

Perhaps I will keep running, but just for myself, not for a training plan. I feel like I cannot compete with all of these running blogs, and they put too much pressure on me. I know that running is just supposed to be about yourself and your own accomplishments, but the pressure for me is just overwhelming.



Monday, December 26, 2011

I survived Christmas 2011

Christmas is over and I survived!

I was incredibly stressed about it. I threatened to take down the Christmas tree and to cancel Christmas altogether, but Mirza wouldn't let me. hmph.

I worked on Christmas Eve Day and then my brother came over afterwards. We ate pulled pork sandwiches, watched a movie, and generally just hung out on the couch. Mirza also entertained us with his guitar playing.

We had planned to wait until the morning to open our gifts, but Mirza was too eager for me to see what he got me!!

A new set of pots and pans!!

These are so needed. I've been using a crappy $50 set that I bought from Walmart since graduating college.

He also bought me beautiful cookbooks that I've been eyeing.

We stayed up until 2 am. I don't know how since I worked 12 hours that day!

Christmas Day we hung out with his mom for a bit, and then at 4pm, we saw, "We Bought a Zoo."
LOVED it. So much. I would even see it again. I think it's going to become one of those movies that eventually comes on TV and you end up watching over and over.
It was just nice.

That's all for now.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recreating Christmas Magic

Christmas traditions.

Growing up, Christmas eve involved family get-togethers with lots of food, laughter, and love. My mom would do my hair in pretty curls; sometimes with hot curlers, or sometimes with pink overnight curlers.  I remember one time getting all prettied up with my curls, red velvet dress with white stockings and black shiny shoes, and my mom let me put on red lip stick. I said, "Everyone is going to want to kiss me under the mistletoe tonight!" I wondered why my mother laughed herself silly and repeated this to family members throughout the night. I was serious! I looked damn good!

When we lived up north, we usually went over my Aunt Bevie's home, and as the night progressed, we'd all have to rush home quick to get into our pj's and tucked into bed before Santa arrived. Inevitably, we'd see Rudolph's red nose in the night sky. I would have so much anxiety that Santa would be at our home when we got there!

I still remember to this day, and I would swear to it at the age of 26: Coming out of my uncle's house in the cold, dark Christmas Eve as everyone pointed up to the sky, and seeing clear-as-day, the bottom and side of Santa's sleigh. It was outlined in gold, and the sleigh was green with large, gold circles. It happened.

And each Christmas eve, we were allowed to open ONE present. We all knew what it would be. Did you have this tradition, too? Nice pj's, of course! So you'd go to bed in brand new ones and then wake up in nice pj's for the morning photos! Sometimes, if we were good, we were allowed to open a second present, but this was rare.

This picture sucks, but isn't my mom pretty?

We also had the tradition of listening to a cassette tape of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that accompanied a beautiful pop-up book.

I always remember that magical feeling in the air on Christmas Eve. This feeling is what I miss most about Christmas and cannot wait to share with my own children one day.

Just knowing that Santa was working his way through the night sky on his sleigh, and while I slept, he would be eating our church windows and leaving us wonderful gifts (In hindsight, this was also kind of terrifying, ha!). Sometimes Santa would leave us handwritten notes to read in the morning. He'd remark how the cats reacted to his arrival and thank us for the delicious treats. Santa was a gentleman. A few years, we would see Santa's sleigh marks in the snow out back! My mother and father always heard the reindeer on the roof. If it happened to be snowy night where the reindeer couldn't see, Santa would arrive via helicopter! Of course, my mom and dad told me all about it.

Each year, I inevitably would ask, "But mom, we don't have a chimney, how will Santa get in?" Magic, she would say. Oh, right. No question. Duh, magic!

On Christmas morning, the three of us would be up before dawn much to the chagrin of our parents. To hold us over, Santa was nice enough to leave our stockings outside our bedroom doors. I told you, Santa is a thoughtful guy.

We knew there were strict rules about entering the living room until everyone was awake and the adults had their coffee in hand.

Once the doors opened to the living room, it was beautiful. Tons of shiny presents in different wrapped paper that were not there before. All signed, "From: Santa."

I struggle now with the notion of creating new Christmas traditions with my mom gone. Granted, the last few years were not the greatest holidays, but they existed as traditions, nonetheless.

Mirza did not celebrate Christmas growing up in Bosnia. He never knew the magic of believing in Santa. He just doesn't get it. I know when we have children in the very near future, we can bring this magic back into our lives, but for now? I'm lost.

I'm eternally grateful to my mother for creating wonderful traditions, and allowing me to genuinely believe in Santa Claus and the magic that Christmas would bring into my life.

I know that my Christmas as a child-less adult will never be as magical as they once were, but I do wish we could create some new traditions until that time comes.

Share with me your traditions and offer some tips on creating new ones!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cleanin' up!

Do you ever see pictures in magazines or on blogs with beautiful homes and apartments that just seem so perfectly clean and organized all the time? And you feel like a slob or failure for not being able to keep your place as impeccably clean?
Well, sometimes, I do!
I'm not perfect. I LIVE in my apartment. WE live in our apartment. We work, cook, make a mess, etc. We also clean, but it doesn't stay clean for long or forever because of the reasons I just listed.

Today, I will take you on a tour of our incredibly messy apartment as I go through and clean it. Why? To show the world how normal, every-day-people live.

We'll start with the bedroom...

You may notice we have pretty much nothing on the walls. I'm working on it!!


I admit. Our bedroom is incredibly boring. We keep our bureau's in the closets, so it looks bare. That corner with the table? I've had plans for almost a year to turn it into a comfy chair with a light for reading. Still hasn't happened...

I definitely think we need a few things to spruce up the bedroom. For one, art on the walls. I am thinking of getting a couple of framed prints of our engagement session, but would that be cheesy to hang in the bedroom?
In addition to the chair with light and bookcase for me, I would love a bed frame and headboard. I think it would just make it feel much more like a bedroom. Also, does anyone else agree that Mirza needs a nightstand and light? He said he doesn't, but for the symmetry alone...

Bathroom #1



Dining area.





This actually wasn't as bad as it could have been. Our kitchen never stays clean. We use it too much! That's a good thing, right?


Living Room:



A few things: When the tree is gone, that's all blank, white space. I'd like to get a a book shelf or cupboard with glass doors for my mom's tea cups...something! I also hate that coffee table. It was hand-me down I've had since my first apartment. I'd like a more grown-up piece; something wood. Any suggestions?

Note: We do not own the TV. It comes with our apartment mounted to the wall. Pretty sweet, right?

Music room:


Also known as: WTF happened in here??


Ah, much better.

This room took me the longest. I didn't photograph the closet, but it's much more organized now. In addition, Mirza's desk? That man doesn't throw away anything. We're the complete opposite. I throw out everything. Nothing is safe.

Bathroom #2




I didn't make it to the laundry room or porch. They will have to wait until next time.

So, there you have it. Embarrassing photos of my messy apartment.

I dream of one day owning a beautiful home with a big kitchen full of windows, nice lighting, a great island, and tons of counter space where my vitamix can sit out at all times. 

For now, I am stuck in my 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment.

I'd love ideas on making a smaller space more functional without adding tons of furniture. I hate when every wall has a piece of furniture up against it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week 3 Half Marathon Training Recap

Week 1 recap
Week 2 recap

Also known as: the week where I stopped believing in myself.

My runs through the week were absolutely terrible.

It was a combination of starting too late in the morning with warm (December in Florida) temperatures, stress, dehydration, and pain. I also think I screwed myself by switching Monday's run to Tuesday, making me run two days in a row.

The plan was 3.5 miles, 3.5 miles, and then my longest run ever of 5 miles.

I think the 1/2 mile thing is throwing me off.

I wouldn't even call what I did during the week, "running."

Check it.

3.5 miles, average pace 13:07. WTF? It was more like walking.

My right ankle was hurting, there was NO WIND, the heat was stifling; so humid.
I physically and mentally gave up from the beginning.
I only made it 2.5 miles. I seriously was so disappointed in myself.

Thursday and Friday were work days.
Thursday, I was at work for about an hour and a half, and seriously had a mental breakdown from stress and I left. I can't even get into how incredibly guilty I felt for leaving, but I could not function at work. ugh. I came home and made hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows and drank it in a santa cup. It was the coldest day yet of the season and the cats were snuggled with me on the couch while I finished the entire Season 1 of Parenthood and began season 2. Pretty much a ball of nerves and tears the entire day.

That's Abbey asleep on my lap.

I had incredibly low expectations for this morning's 5 miler. After the last runs, I felt so defeated, like I physically would not even be able to finish 5 miles. I thought that maybe I should just quit now because obviously I am not meant to do this. But I laced up my sneakers anyway for good measure in hopes that I would feel differently once I got out there.

Immediately, I knew that 5 miles would be quite the distance of me, so I decided to not have too high of expectations with my time. I wasn't sure I would even be able to make it; I thought I might quit halfway through!!
 I decided to run .25 miles, and walk .10 the entire time.

I have to say, this method worked so well. When I was running, I was going WAAYY faster than I normally do--9:50-10:00m/m. It was glorious!!

Here's the Garmin breakdown:
Mile 1: 11:27
Mile 2: 12:21
Mile 3: 12:22
Mile 4: 12:10
Mile 5: 11:57

I finished in 1 hour, and 20 average pace of 12:04. That is with walking breaks!

This was my favorite run to date. The weather was p.e.r.f.e.c.t.; overcast, NO SUN, and cool in the low 60's. I believe this helped me tremendously.

In addition, I ran my regular trail route, but took detours through a park around a lake, and then through the KAO campgrounds. The change in scenery definitely boosted my enthusiasm.

I felt so proud of myself. I almost gave up on running, but now I am back. From now on, I will be incorporating this run-walk interval because I am way more efficient and faster.
uuummmm, ignore my dirty nail.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Church Windows

(Thank you for the kind words on my last entry. I almost feel guilty and embarrassed laying it all out like that. I don't want pity or for people to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to get the story out! Written down, yes, it looks terrible, but I honestly felt like I lived a relatively nice childhood...I guess that might sound weird from story? I already have part II typed out, but not sure how or when I will post it. Oh well...let's talk Christmas dessert, shall we?).

Remember when you were little and they allowed you to bring treats into school for the holidays?

Christmas, circa 1986.

And then they changed all the rules and we were forced to eat packaged crap because the world is no longer safe....

Well, before they did change the rules and the world became corrupt, the one Christmas treat that my Mom would make for us to bring in were Church Windows.

These are chocolate marshmallow treats...kind of a cookie-candy combination. They are called Church windows because once finished, they look like the stained glass of a church.

Here's the recipe:
-One 12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
-5 cups of mini colored marshmallows
-shredded coconut

Begin with a double boiler or a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water.

Pour in your chocolate and stir occasionally until melted.

Once melted, go ahead and add in an entire stick of butter. Hey, I didn't say this was a healthy dessert. It should probably be unsalted, but I only had salted, and they turned out delicious, so I'm going to say it doesn't matter.

Stir it up!
Remove from heat.
Let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool off...
Go ahead and rip off about an 18 inch long piece of tin foil...
Spread coconut shreds in the middle of the foil, kind of in the shape of a log. Approximately 1/2 cup or more.

Next: add your marshmallows to the chocolate and mix thoroughly until they're all covered in chocolately-goodness.

Now you're going to place half of the marshmallow-chocolate mixture onto the coconut and shape it into a log...about a foot long and 2 inches wide.
Now add more coconut shreds on top...

Wrap the log and fold in the ends tightly.

Store it in the refrigerator. It's best if it sits overnight, but 2-3 hours will do.

Repeat all of the steps for the second half of the mixture...

So, you'll have two logs!

If you can resist licking the bowl before washing, then you're a better woman than I am, for sure...

After it's chilled in the fridge, carefully unwrap the tin foil...

And cut the log into approximately 1 inch thick slices...

They store well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


And for those curious, my "church windows" would be from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarian:)

What's your favorite childhood holiday treat?