Saturday, December 26, 2015 that...

It's been a very weird holiday season for me, mostly because I have a man-friend at this point in my life...and well, I don't know what to do with him.

See, I told him weeks ago that I don't have any feelings for him and if he were a guy I had feelings for, his response would have been super sweet... "I'm fighting for you and I'm not going anywhere, no matter how much you try to push me away..." but, because of my cold beating heart, I find it a bit...annoying.

However, he doesn't care and he would be happy with 1% of my heart and would gladly settle with that.  This also annoys me because I'm a passionate person and I want 100% of the heart of the guy who has 100% of mine.  (Unfortunately, I have 110% of my man-friends heart and I keep trying to give that percentage back!)

To prove the difference of our feelings, I'll share with you the gift I got for him...and the gifts he got for me.

I bought him a $12 apple pie.  Not only that, I made him drive 30 minutes to a different city so he could pick out the pie he wanted.  He doesn't really like sweets but he does like pie.  I didn't even get him a card.

He...on the other hand...gave me his old flat screen television, bought me a super soft blanket, and lovely sterling silver with small diamonds in the earrings and necklace.  He spent a little more than $12 on me.

He also got me a card... which I thought was a little over the top....but had I had feelings for this poor guy... all of this would have been a heart melting Christmas miracle.

I'm going to a New Years Eve party with him... one that I've been dreading since he asked me to go with him....but I figured since I didn't even see him on Christmas day... knowing he doesn't have family in this country and he would spend the holiday alone....I figured the least I could do was go to a party with him.  After the New Years though, I am going to have another talk with him and prove to him that I am a cold heartless woman and his love for me will never change that.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Sticky Christmas Situation

Merry Christmas!  I hope you find yourself filled with love, happiness, warm moments, giggles, and making the best memories you possibly can.

My niece has been in town for almost a week.  Whenever she comes to town, life is very busy, filled with sweets, and very exhausting.  I get to see my niece a few times a year, so when we do see her, we are busy giving her so many new memories which wears us out...pretty quickly.  

She travels from relative to relative, having slumber parties with her Aunt Jennee, sleep overs at Grammy and Pappy's, and staying the night with Dad and Uncle B.   On Christmas Eve, she decided she wanted to stay with Grammy and Pappy since they had the tree that Santa would be dropping her presents at.  I also decided to stay at Grammy and Pappy's because I thought it would be much easier to roll out of bed and enjoy the moments of Christmas morning instead of hearing my phone go off as a wake up call, telling me to come over immediately so the niece could open some presents.

After the niece went to bed, it occurred to me that none of the presents from "Santa" were at Grammy's house.  And the niece is still a believer of the jolly old man in red.  We decided we'd tell her that Santa got confused and left them at Dad's house in the morning....only morning came....and there were presents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But after a quick inspection, she realized NONE of the gifts under the tree were from Santa.  She was devastated.  Santa had forgotten her.  Tears rimmed the corner of her eyes and she tried her best to hide her disappointment, but the sadness weighed her down as if a sumo wrestler was sitting on her shoulders.  I did my best to distract her.  I told her to get dressed and brush her teeth...but her mind stayed busy.

"Aunt Jennee, I think it was Pappy who drank the milk and ate the cookies because there's only presents from you and Grammy and Pappy under the tree."  She said with a heavy heart.  As soon as I had a free chance, I huddled with Grammy and Pappy, informing them of the about to lose her belief on Christmas morning!   A few minutes later, my mom and I were hiding in the bathroom and on the phone with "Santa" trying to thing of a clever plan.   "Maybe Santa left the presents in the garage...oh... the Christmas tree on the porch... yes, he couldn't fit thru the wood burner pipe!"

While we waited for Dad and Uncle B to arrive, the niece sat on my lap and said, "Aunt Jennee, I can't believe Santa forgot about us."   I gave her a hug and said not to worry, but I know it didn't bring her any comfort.  She was a child and Christmas didn't come!

And then the doorbell rang.   "Go get the door!!!"  I said with excitement, but it took me pushing her off my lap for her to go get the door.  She pulled open the door and not only saw Dad, but she saw all the gifts under the tree on the porch.

Her spirit soared!  Santa hadn't forgotten about her after all!  And how silly it was that we didn't look under any other Christmas trees around the house!  She skipped, she danced, she giggled, and she glowed.  Christmas was going to be wonderful after all.

But better than that.... it was DAD who bought her the present she wanted most, not Santa.

 And though she will figure out very soon that Santa is her family that loves her so dear, it's been so magical making her believe the man who loves to wear red and spreads happiness all around.

Merry Christmas friends.
May you all create some magic this holiday season.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Hustle

It's finally starting to feel a little bit like Christmas, even though we are still having surprisingly warmer temperatures here in Ohio.  My beloved little niece has finally arrived for the holidays and the Christmas magic is starting to come alive because she has brought her belief of Santa and miracles to the Thompson household again this year.

Now, I've been trying to get the Christmas spirit most of the month.  I've decorated my apartment with as much Christmas cheer as a typical elf but it still didn't sprinkle any holiday magic on my heart.   And then SJ and I went looking at Christmas lights all over town, and they were beautiful sights to see, brilliantly shining in the dark sky, but without the snow, it didn't feel right.

A few days later, I went to another Christmas light display, and much to my surprise, it still didn't feel like Christmas was a little over a week away.

And now, we are in the week of Christmas and though I'm going thru the motions of the holiday, it still doesn't feel like it's Christmas time.  However, when my niece first saw me, I was wearing my fury fury jacket and instead of saying hello, or I've missed you Aunt Jennee.... she gives me a hug and said, "YOU LOOK LIKE MRS. CLAUS!"

However, a little while later, when she calmed down, she told me in a soft and sincere voice, "Aunt Jennee.  I finished reading Holy Jamolie.  It WAS AWESOME."  I'm not sure which one of us smiled more.  When I wrote it for her last year, she didn't seem so thrilled at having a book where she was the main character, but now she's read it and liked it...and I'm slightly regretting my choice of not having book two ready for this years Christmas gift.

Since the arrival of the niece, we have filled our tummies with chocolate and sugar, built gingerbread houses and talked about Santa coming down the chimney.  It's feeling more like Christmas but I have a feeling it will rush by and I won't get to enjoy the season as much as I would prefer too.  Hopefully, with the magic of Christmas, time will slow down and I will get to spend quality time with friends and family, and not lose myself to the sugar and dairy that is already changing my mood and bloating my body up to a size I'm not comfortable in, anymore.  Whether we are ready or not, the holidays are here!  And since I know I won't have much time to myself until Christmas....I'm wishing you now, the happiest holiday season of all.  May the child like spirit of love, peace, and joy, fill your hearts and sound thru your laughter, as you spend time with those nearest and dearest to you.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Never A Dull Moment

For the last few months I've been working full time in an upholstery shop.  I manufacture restaurant booths for Wendy's and Outback.   Business has slowed down and my boss is doing her best to keep me busy to give me hours.  So, this week I have....
Painted her son's bedroom

Made her sister a Christmas gift

Put letters on a letterman jacket

Made a quilt for her son

Run errands..and a few Starbucks runs

I've picked the kids up from school, dropped her husband off to fix a vehicle, gone to Staples, and Joann's (which worked out perfectly because I needed to pick up a few items there as well) and it's been an interesting week.  I'm not sure how I feel about being a personal assistant... however I've decided I really need to start looking a little more presentable at work so if I do have to go out in public, I'm not immediately regretting my lack of effort in clothing, hair and make up.

How was your week?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jennee version 3.3

Today I turned 33 years old.  Gulp.  I'm finding it hard to believe I'm in my 30's....

Anyway, this year was a big year for me and I'd like to review what Jennee version 3.2 did with herself.
Jennee version 3.2

I dated a lot more than I ever have in my life.  I dated a guy I didn't like, a guy that I really liked, and a guy that I think I liked.   I was treated poorly and disrespected by some, and I was valued and adored by one.  I really like feeling valued and adored.

I started practicing yoga... and I've stuck with it for 8 months.   It's changed me mentally, physically, and spiritually.   I can now touch my toes, do headstands, and balance my body in positions I would have never imagined.

I changed jobs and got back to pursuing my dreams.   I'm back to my roots of doing upholstery and working on getting a full time job with my passions of health, fitness, writing, and photography.

I crossed the border and finally went to Canada.  I've done a bit of traveling this year.  Niagara Falls, Nashville, and tons of waterfall chasing all over Ohio.  

I published a children's story just for my niece.

I reached a lot of goals.

I listened to a life coach podcast to help with my broken heart and self esteem.  I continue to listen to the same life coach so those negative voices stay out of my life.

I invested in myself and my health.  I'm still learning how to say no, but I'm starting to get better.

I've searched out for adventure, I stayed active, I lived life to the fullest.

I overcame a broken heart, I lost some weight, I accomplished some goals, I had some set backs, and I bought a new car.   I've made new friends, I've mended broken friendships, and I've lost a few friends.  I've taken chances... on love, on life, on my future, on a career.

This year started with a lot of crying but it's ending with a lot of joy and laughter.   I learned how to find joy in the ordinary, and I've learned that creating joy in my own life brings happiness full circle.

I'm really excited to see what Jennee version 3.3 will do with her life, and I'll get to see it one day at a time.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Worth It

In July, I was approached by a Beachbody Coach to join her team.   I liked the idea of everything, hosting yoga challenges on instagram, getting healthier, making a couple bucks, and finally drinking shakeology which I had learned about while doing P90x....and Insanity.   The truth is, I always wanted to get Shakeology when I did those work outs but when I looked it up and saw the price.. I said NO.

So, knowing that being a coach would require me to drink Shakeology on a daily basis, I told the lady I'd have to think about it and see if I could afford to be a coach.  Everything was telling me to take the jump and do it, but the finances told to stop wishing and dreaming that I could afford something like this in my life.

Like I do in most things in life, I followed my passion.   Since July, I've worked out on a regular basis, I'm eating better, I have a better self esteem, and I drink shakeology daily.  When I don't push for sales, the financial side whispers "I told you so" in my ear, but I know that signing up to be a coach is the BEST thing I've EVER done for myself.

My sales record isn't the strongest but last month shakeology paid for itself which made me feel like I'm on the right path.  But then the strangest thing happened when I went to the store to pick up the supplements I use to help with my Hashimoto's disease.... I started checking on the prices of everything in the store.  I mean, really looking at the prices.

Because of coaching, I'm learning even more about health and wellness, more about supplements and vitamins, and so I started seeing the same ingredients that I've been drinking for several months in pill form.

When someone asks me about Shakeology because they see how much it's changed my life in a few months, I tell them to give it a try for 30 days... there's a bottom of the bag, money back guarantee but most of them say, "I can't afford shakeology but I'm glad it's working for you."

I slap myself on the forehead.   Is money more important than health?  Would you rather feel like crap and save a couple bucks or get your money's worth in a shake that can either be a snack or meal replacement.  The truth is, if I can afford shakeology, I'm pretty sure you can too.   Seriously.  You probably make twice the income I make, yet I made my health and wellness a priority.  So, I don't have cable, or go out to the movies anymore, or buy stupid stuff I don't need from online anymore, I INVESTED in my LIFE.  You can afford it if you WANT it bad enough.

So, while I was at the health food store, I tallied up the prices of 6 ingredients in Shakeology and it was $79.72.... suddenly $129 for 70 ingredients that lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, help regulate our bowels, aid in weight loss, give more energy, etc, etc, etc, doesn't seem so pricey, does it?   Breaking it down, shakeology is $4 a day....and you know what, I'M WORTH IT.   I'm worth paying that much/little for nutrients my body is craving for.  

I'm also worth the $50 top notch video series that I can use over and over for the rest of my life.   An average monthly gym membership is $55.... so again, is the cost that outrageous?  Every month, my team offers challenge groups with unlimited support and encouragement to help you get in the best shape of your life... the only thing stopping you from failing at getting healthy is YOU.  

Don't wait until the new year to start losing weight or get healthy, don't try that crash diet that you won't stick too, join me in the journey of loving yourself and getting healthier because you realize you are worth it.

If you want to take a giant leap of faith, like I did, and begin coaching because you need to commit to making a change in your life, talk to me.  I care more about you than sales.  In fact, sales is not my top priority as a coach... helping people get on the right path is.  I'd love to help you take the first step to your health and fitness journey, starting now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How I Scored a 32" Flat Screen TV

I've never been one to really care about television or what I'm watching television on. I can prove this by the fact that I've owned an "embarrassing" tv for almost 2 years.   I was shopping at Goodwill looking for a television when a woman told me that I could  have hers for free as long as I picked it up. It was big, bulky, heavy, and old but it was also free and it worked just fine.   I had no problems with this TV, but everyone who came over to my apartment made some sort of comment about my ridiculous tv.

My man friend cannot stand my television. He would refuse to come over and watch television when invited, because we can only watch TV at his house because he has a nice lcd flatscreen TV.  

He couldn't stand the TV was only 32" while his friends had 55" flatscreen TVs. So on black Friday he ordered a new flatscreen TV that was 55" - and LED a step up from his friends.


On top of all this he is moving to a new location, so the other day I went over to help him clean his apartment and prepare for moving… Because I'm nice… Not necessarily because I think this is the man for me.

This was an eye opener.   

I knew he wasn't the most proactive person, and this has been a big issue from day 1 of our relationship....but he didn't have one thing packed....didn't have one cleaning fact...he's never really cleaned his apartment in 15 months.  

He didn't know there were different kinds of cleaning....he's always wiped things down, that's all.

It was disgusting.

Like I wish I would have worn gloves and a mask disgusting.

However, I've never been afraid to roll up my sleeves  and get the job done, so I started cleaning....

And every room, I got more and more angry.   He didn't have any boxes, he was packing everything in Walmart bags.  

Three hours later, I collapsed on the couch, reeking of bleach and grime, having done deep cleaning on 4 rooms and he finally finished the half bath.

"I'm ashamed Jen, I don't know how to clean.  In my culture, the woman does everything in the house."

"I understand your culture but you're 35 and living alone, you have to clean up after yourself.  This place is disgusting."  I reply, completely heartless.

I can see his eyes are borderline tearing up.  He's embarrassed and ashamed.

"You don't have to clean this much."

"Yes you do! You're moving out! You've know you are moving for 2 months, you've had 4 days off of work!  All you did was play video games the whole time.  This laziness is a huge turn off."
Again, I'm heartless. 

"Jen, I'm a good person.  This dirt is meaningless in terms of our future..." He rambles on and on for 10 minutes straight, giving me every excuse he can think of.

"It's not the dirt, it's the laziness.  It's a problem.

He swears up and down he will change but the truth is I checked out of the relationship weeks ago.  The problem is he's a nice guy and I like hanging out with him so it's been difficult to end it....and he doesn't listen because I've broken up with him three times and he ignores it and then buys me a really nice gift.

So, the next day, what does he bring to my apartment?

His old tv.

Even though I told him I didn't want it, and that he's bribing me to give him another chance.  

I surrendered, took the tv,
and passed mine in to a resident in my apartment.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Confessional

I have to make a confession.

I have neglected this blog and the blogging world.   I have neglected my love of writing.  I have neglected story telling, and I even dropped out of NaNoWriMo 1,000 words in because I didn't have time to write.

Who am I anymore?  I love writing.   I used to live and breathe writing.   I always had a journal full of ideas with me.... now, I keep forgetting to take my journal with me.

I really miss it.  I still have all these ideas in my head I want to write down.  I have a perfect children's story plot.  I have memories to share.  I just got back from a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.   I never even told you about all of my adventures in Canada either!  

So, I'm going to do my best to blog once a week until the end of the year.   It might only be a paragraph, but at least I'll feel like I'm writing again!

But I keep thinking, if I want to make a living as an author, how will that ever happen if I don't write... or I don't expose my writing to the world?   I used to have fans and followers of my words, and I let meaningless distractions stop my writing, stop me from posting, and eventually shut down my blog.   I know I can get there again... as long as I do some writing.

Each year I make some New Years Resolutions, and writing and blogging is sure to be a top priority for 2016.  

Ok, I'm off to prepare food for the festivities today.... but I had to get it off my chest.  So get used to me... I'm coming back to blogging!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Love Locks

I've always wanted to go to Paris.  Ever since I knew what and where the Eiffel Tower was, I've daydreamed about going to the city of love and romance.  The more I learned about Paris though, I realized there were other things I would like to do there besides see the Eiffel Tower.  Quickly growing on my travel to do list was Pont des Arts Bridge, also known as the Love Lock Bridge.  However, in June of 2015, they removed over one million locks because the weight of the locks was damaging the bridge.  Sadly, I took Pont des Arts Bridge off of my list of things to do when I make it in Paris.

Over the weekend, I went to Niagara Falls.  Not quite Paris but the travel plans did include my passport so it was pretty legit to me. (It would be even more legit if they stamped my passport but I can't have everything!)  As most of you know, I also love chasing waterfalls.  I've hiked all over Ohio finding little treasures of nature hidden off trails.  Niagara Falls was less hiking and more water.  Wow water! Seriously breathtaking.

Don't believe me.... take a look...

The weekend went really fast and I promise I will fill you in on all my adventures but on Sunday morning, I was saying farewell to the majestic waterfall and thought about all the people crazy enough to go over the falls in a barrel.  I snapped a photo of the danger sign, and that's when I saw it... the game changer....

So tiny and hardly noticeable... but as soon as I saw it, my smile exploded with pure joy!  I found a love lock.  I looked down a little further on the rail and there was another one, and then another, and then another!   I counted 65 from the bus stop on Niagara Parkway to my parking spot a little over 1/4 mile away.  SIXTY FIVE!  At first my goal was to find 30... and then I was ecstatic when I counted 65.

Imagine my excitement when I found one with JEN carved in the lock.

I think this was my favorite thing about the trip because I stumbled upon it and I'm curious how many more love locks will be there next time I visit Niagara Falls.  

Roald Dahl was right, "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in unlikely places.  Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."

Monday, September 7, 2015

Death at Apartment 13

Happy Labor Day!

Hope all is going better for you than it did for the resident down the hall from me.  I don't know the full story but this is my point of view.

I woke up Monday with a little skip in my step.  It was a day without work, one that would start of with breakfast with a dear friend and ending with hanging out with my parents while enjoying the beautiful day.  I headed out of my apartment, locking the door behind me, then searched my purse for my phone since I'm just scattered brained enough where I can't ever remember if I grabbed my phone or not.  I headed down the hallway and noticed the door to apartment 13 was cracked open.  I turned to walk down the stairs when two unfamiliar faces were walking up the stairs with a frazzled look on their face.

I offered a cheesy smile and a quick hello but they ignored me and kept walking.  I headed out the front door and saw the ambulance, lights flashing as they loaded the gurney, yet the paramedics weren't in any rush.  I made my way to my car, wondering if I should wait for the ambulance to speed off to the hospital (which is less than a block away... which on a complete side note, may I suggest moving near a hospital because you NEVER lose electricity for more than a minute when you're on the same grid as them... something to think about...) Instead of rushing away, the ambulance sat there... and then turned off the lights.

To me, this is a sure sign of death.  Then again, the slow movement from the paramedics was a sign of death.  The covered gurney was a sign of death.  There was a lot of signs pointing to death.  I don't even know who lived in apartment 13, and part of me wonders if the tenant had been dead long or if it was a heart attack while others were visiting and could call the ambulance.  I really don't know.

I guess you never really know about the lives of people, even with they are a few rooms away.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Creeper in the woods

It seems like I hike more times alone than I do with others.  I don't know why this is, but when I'm solo in nature, hiking is more of an experience.... spiritual, emotional, mental... and when I'm with others, I miss out on the beauty of the earth or something.  When I am alone in the woods I am lost in everything natural.  

So, into the woods, I walked one mid-morning, killing time before I started the day at my temporary job.  I wanted to breathe some fresh air, let go of some stress, and do some yoga.  Instead of going to the left towards the blue path, like I always do, I went to the right, the unmarked path that once lead me to a pavilion.  I wasn't too concerned about this detour but as I walked into this small little corner of the woods, I saw an older gentleman caressing a tree.  I immediately thought of the scene from Superstar! but hoped he was some sort of naturalist or scientist, examining the tree with a purpose of knowledge.

I walked a little faster, and finally found a spot to do my yoga, only I could feel this guys eyes on me, and I was starting to feel panicked while hiking... the first time since my very first solo hike.  I don't panic in the woods, this is my safe haven....but my heart was racing and I didn't like knowing this guy was in the woods with me.  

I attempted to set up my phone to take a picture but either I was nervous or it just wasn't happening because the creeper guy in the woods noticed my struggle.  

"Are you trying to take a picture or something?"  He asked as he slowly approached me in traditional creeper fashion.

"Oh yeah, I do this all the time.... Just doing some yoga."  I nervously replied.

"You know, I could take a picture for you.  It can't be that hard."  

Famous last words.

I didn't feel comfortable with him taking my picture so I switched up on the yoga pose I was going to do and told him I would do the tree pose.  I handed him my brand new not even 24 hours old iphone 5 and told him to snap a picture once my hands were in the air.

I don't know what he did because as I got into my pose, the look on his face said everything.  Instead of hitting the capture photo button, he hit the image of the camera which means reverse... and so, I ended up with several pictures of this on my phone....

Because not only did he take photos of himself, the camera was going crazy snapping pictures several at a time.  I had no idea what he hit but they were going off and soon he handed me back my phone.... I couldn't get the phone to stop taking pictures!

Needless to say, I felt a little bit better knowing I could identify the creeper if I needed to since he gave me several selfies of him.  Finally, I showed him how to use my camera and he took a lovely picture of me doing tree pose, and then we went our separate ways, and occasionally, I would look back and see him looking my way.   My walk was nearly a jog until I made it back on the blue path...and you know what, I haven't been hiking solo since.... maybe I'll learn to love and admire nature in the company of friends!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Finding the Calm

I'm sure most of you are wondering if I walked away from the blogosphere again.  I haven't, I've just been busy, and scatterbrained, and busy.  The truth is, I've had so much going on that I haven't even thought about giving myself a little me time because I think if I do that, I'll start getting anxiety from feeling like I'm in over my head.

Whats been going on you ask?

Well, I quit my job.  It was time.  I've spent all of 2015 focusing on finding positive energy and getting rid of anything toxic in my life.  I've made huge progress with this but unfortunately, my work situation went from positive to toxic, very fast.  I suppose when you get promised a raise and promotion but then it's handed off to an arrogant son, it makes it hard to keep doing your best at a job with no future.  And to make it worse, the son constantly picked at every little thing you did wrong... oh there is still dirty dishes in the sink at 11:00, well that's because I can't do dishes, cook, prep, bake and clean all at the same time.  So, I gave a short noticed.  I told them I'd finish out the week, do the next week if they really wanted me too, but I was so DONE that another week sounded like torture.  Instead, they told me to leave my key and that I was no longer needed, that I wouldn't receive my final paycheck until I turned in my t-shirts.  And then they released my phone number since I was on their phone plan.

They did this on a Friday.  I couldn't call about it until Monday, which seemed fine, until my phone stopped working on Sunday.  So, I headed to Verizon and got there at 6:04 pm, and naturally, they closed at 6, so I ran to walmart to get a month to month plan.  The not-so-helpful employee told me I wouldn't be able to keep my same number without my account info, pin, etc, etc, etc.... none of this information my former boss would give me, not that I had a way to contact them anyway.  I purchased a month to month pack after the not-so-helpful employee told me my phone was compatible for this packet.  I went over to my brothers to set up my new plan that was "easy to activate" except it wasn't.

We spent TWO hours trying to figure out why my phone wouldn't connect.  As it turns out.... my phone wasn't compatible.

Long frustrated sigh.

I've been doing upholstery now that I'm no longer working at the restaurant.  I don't mind the work.  It's hard work but I always feel accomplished after I do it.  My plan was to sort through this phone issue after I was done working however the deadline for the order was Tuesday, so I didn't leave until the order was complete...

So, I returned my phone kit and headed to AT&T at 8:03p.m., and guess what... they closed at 8:00!

I was ready to punch someone.  However, my man friend gave me a hug and told me not to worry, and that everything will work out.  He insisted I go on his phone plan because it would be the cheapest option for me.  I told him it felt a little soon to be going on his phone plan since we've only been dating for two weeks but he insisted, and then insisted some more, and then told me to relax and let him take care of it.

Apparently I don't like giving up control.

The next day, I had a new phone number, and the man friend insisted I upgrade my phone to something a little better.  I eventually caved and then had a secret anxiety attack when I had to pay for the phone seeing how I'm kinda unemployed at the moment.

I dropped of my shirts at the former workplace where I was given the cold shoulder by the boss, but soon received texts from all my coworkers telling me how much they missed me being there, how my bosses act like I never existed, my name is never mentioned, etc, and that how things are getting even worse.  It makes me feel like I made the right decision at the right time.

AND then I got an email from my former boss telling me he was holding my final paycheck until I returned the phone.... yes, the phone they gave me instead of giving me a raise.  The anxiety I had about buying a newer phone was gone, but I was still angry.  Mostly because I intended on giving the phone to my former coworker Brian who had lost his phone 3 weeks ago and he just needs a break in life.  I have yet to turn in the phone but I'll do so when I'm done blogging.

So, things are kinda chaotic in my life right now, but I'm hoping to take a little time for myself and get back to the things that make me feel better about life, like writing, and hiking, and home cooked meals.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Confused SWF

I decided to do a quick load of laundry today.  (Don't worry, this will be a great  decent  post, and not about laundry...)  I loaded up the dirties in to my portable tote, grabbed a handful of quarters, and opened the door to what I thought was an empty hallway.

"Hey boo."  I hear from behind me.

Out of habit, I respond with "heeeeeeeyyyyyy!!!!" And really, I say it out of habit since my co-worker always says "hey boo" to me.  And then I realized I wasn't at work, oh no, I actually said that to the neighbor in apartment #18.

"How you've been gurl?"  He asks, and even though I'm walking in the opposite direction down the hall, I can feel his eyes on me.

"I'm good, how are you?"  I respond.

"You still got dates?"  He asks, referring to the time a few weeks ago when he asked me to go out with him and I told him "It's complicated, I'm kind of seeing someone."  (Because at the time, I actually thought I was kind of seeing someone.... and I didn't want to go on a date with apartment #18 guy named Willie.)

"Yes...sorry."  I said, shrugging my shoulders and continued walking.

"Let me know if that changes."  He said, flashing me a grin.

I rolled my eyes and turned into the laundry room, and naturally my thoughts went to TT.... the guy that made things complicated.  Truth was, he stopped talking to me cold turkey, and it's really given me a complex, mostly because I can't understand how someone could actively pursue me for a year, then when things start actually happening, he vanishes.

So, I did what any single female would do when these questions start forming in her mind, I stalked TT on facebook.  Even though we aren't official facebook friends, I could still see his profile picture, and as it turns out, his new profile picture explained everything.  There he was, with a giant smile on his face, and a woman wrapped in his arms.

Clearly, I am not that woman.

Ah, yes, I was someone on the side....again.

And even though I'm currently talking to someone new and going on dates (see, I didn't lie to #18) I'm still really bothered with TT just leaving me hanging.  Why couldn't he man up and tell me it wasn't working or that he wasn't interested now that he was getting to know me instead of just dropping off the face of the earth when I thought things were actually starting to go somewhere?

I guess I've never been good at dating because I've never really understood it.  In my mind, if you're talking to someone, you continuously communicate with them, whether it's good or bad, because you can't build any type of a relationship without communication.... and trying to figure out hints, clues and codes, is a waste of time.

So, while my laundry is turning, I've been trying to delete TT's number out of my phone but I'm finding it to be much more difficult than it should be...

the struggle is so real.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motivation Monday

I used to hate my body.  No, wait, I was disgusted with my body.  More than that, I hated myself because of how I looked on the outside.  I did not have a healthy self-esteem.  For years, I convinced myself if I'd get to a certain weight or size then I would love myself but the self hatred hated me so much I couldn't change anything about my body.  I remained miserable until one day I had had enough.

I made myself find one thing that I loved about my body and do you know what it was?  It was my cheesy and slightly crooked smile with the gap between the front teeth.  And then I realized I loved the two moles beside my left eye.  And then it was my nose... and so on, until I realized that I actually loved my looks and flaws.  They were me and mine.  The thing was, I wasn't taking care of myself, and so I started making slow changes in my daily life, breaking bad habits and starting better ones.

It's a journey I'm still on but I'll tell you one thing, taking care of myself and creating my own happiness was one of the healthiest choices I have ever made.  I work out because I love my body.  I make healthy choices because I love feeling good.  I changed my lifestyle to be positive and happy instead of always being sad and depressed.

Are you taking care of your body because you love it?  Or are you destroying your body because you hate it?  Are you working out in hopes of having a body you love?  Because if you are, you won't ever find it.  You have to love what you already have and if you want maybe you'll shine it up, or tone up, a little bit, but do it because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself.

So tell me, what do you love about your body?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Starting Over Again

A few years ago, I realized it was time to get healthy.  I was overweight, and I'd struggled to get the weight off for years, but then I finally had an epiphany and realized that being healthy was more important than being skinny.  I started making changes.  I moved more, and made healthier choices.  

I would love to tell you that I saw immediate results on my body, but I didn't.  Sure, I was feeling better, looking better, my acne wasn't as bad, I didn't have bad morning breath, and my confidence was boosting, but I wasn't seeing the physical results I thought I would see.

Fast forward ten years of battling with my weight and discovering a large nodule on my neck. Insert fear, getting tested for cancer, and having an eye opening experience that if I don't focus more on my health and well-being, I won't ever get any better.

Even though I thought I was being it turns out, I was not being healthy at all.  I was making excuses and making up for them by eating salads.  However, once I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, I started learning more about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.  In the last year, I've learned more about clean eating and once I gave up gluten and dairy, and took supplements to help my thyroid and my body started changing.  Those physical results I was looking for over the last ten years, showed up in three months!  

I maintained my weight loss until the holidays, and then, I decided to give myself a break.  Back to sugar, back to junk food... and soon, back to depression and feeling horrible.  It's taken me almost six months to cut everything back out again, so I'm starting over...again.

I'm not mad at myself for gaining a little weight back.  I've stayed active and I've acknowledged when I've been bad.  The whole point is to work at it one day at a time, and that is exactly what I plan to do.

I am going to start up a 7 day clean eating group on facebook and I'm searching for workout buddies (ah hem SJ) or accountability partners.  I've learned it is so much easier to succeed at everything when you have a great support group around you, and that is what I am looking for.  I know I am the only one who can make the changes I need to make, but it'll be so much better knowing I have friends who have my back and beg me to keep moving...and put down the ice cream.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Girls Day

The other day, a carful of ladies, traveled from Wooster to nearly Cincinnati to do a little shopping.  Three hours of road tripping, snacks, and gossip, and we were at the outlet mall minutes after it opened.  We drove this distance because we are all fans of the Cabi clothing line, and since you have to have at home parties to get Cabi clothing, we had to check out the Cabi outlet mall that is in our state. 

As it turns out, the Cabi outlet store carries all the extra clothes from a couple seasons ago, so I've made a mental note to check out this store in another year, so I can get the other pieces I've been keeping an eye on.  Unfortunately, Cabi clothing doesn't really fit my budget, but I have splurged for a few pieces, and I love them so much.  Going to a Cabi store where everything is 40% off the lowest price... now that's my kind of shopping.

So, I admit, I've put on a little bit of weight recently... which doesn't make sense because I've been doing good, and working out, and cutting back... ugh, so, I wasn't thrilled to see majority of the clothes in the store marked as XS and Small.  My selection of purchases was much small, and I had a pretty small budget since I knew I was going to be purchasing a new car in a few days.

Luckily, I had another plan beyond shopping.  My wonderfully fantastic BFF from Miami, Jessica, had moved to Cincinnati two weeks earlier, and I demanded we hang out and I could finally meet her four year old daughter.  The plan worked, because less than an hour after arriving to the shopping center, I was out of money!

Passed on this one.
Yep, got this outfit. 

When Jessica and I finally found each other via text messaging scavenger hunting, we picked off exactly as if we hadn't gone 2 years without seeing each other, and her daughter... oh, she is a ham, and a handful.  We caught up on our lives, which didn't take long since we talk to each other all the time, but it was so good having a conversation face to face.
She wasn't able to stay very long since her daughter had an upcoming nap (which I was slightly jealous of) and she had to get back to job searching, but it was still a wonderful visit.  We parted ways and I eventually found my shopped out and hungry friends...(we all got the memo to wear white but no, we didn't do a picture...) and we left the shopping outlet and devoured a late lunch at Cracker Barrel.
Carb overload later, we hopped back in the car and headed north for Wooster.  It was a lot of fun and I hope we do it again soon, and hopefully when I have a bigger shopping budget!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Burton Blurberry

About eight months ago, I had my lemon of a car, Ollie, in the shop...again.  The mechanic gave me his honest opinion and suggest $2,000 worth of work on it but not to bother because my car wasn't worth investing that much money in to.  So, he diagnosed Ollie and told me he had six months to live.

Ollie is terminal.  It's evident.  He sounds like he could go at any moment.  He leaks coolant, power steering, and who knows what else. He's deep voice rumbles and grumbles, and he has a bad case of the shakes.  It's time for him to go, to find his rest, to get buried under ground.

And I couldn't be more thrilled.  Ollie has been nothing but a financial burden to me.  He got me around town, and we made a lot of good memories, listened to some great cassette tapes, had a few long good night kisses, and even toted up my bike so I could do a few bike trails.  Yes, Ollie, we've had a rough time together, but we've had some good times as well.

The other day, one of my regular customers sat down at the bar and started up a conversation with me.  "Jen, I hear you are looking for a car."

"Why, yes, yes I am."  My ears perked up as he told me about the 2008 Chevy Aveo with 62,500 miles on in, 26 in town miles per gallon, 36 highway miles per gallon.  He spouted off so much information, my head started to hurt.  "I would love to take a look at it, but what are you asking?"

He told me the price and for the first time since looking for cars, I actually thought, I can almost afford that one.  I set up a time to look at it, and took my brother with me so I could get his opinion (since cars overwhelm me and I don't know what to look for or ask about when looking to buy a car).  We pulled into the driveway and I saw the bright blue little car, "Oh wow, that is really small...I mean, I knew it was small, but wow, it's really small."

I told myself I needed a new car more than I needed a car that I wanted and couldn't afford.  I kept a positive attitude while I turned the windshield wipers on...before realizing shifting gears was done elsewhere.  Everything was backwards from Ollie and I'm sure I looked like a prize idiot in front of Fred and Deb while I tried to figure out how to get their car out of their driveway for a test drive.

A block later, I realized the little blue car wasn't so bad, in fact, I kinda liked it.  I was feeling spoiled.  It had air conditioning, cup holders, and a CD player.  I excitedly pointed these things out to my brother and he told me, "you really need to have higher expectations in life, these things aren't that exciting."

But to me, they are really exciting.  I think B sometimes forgets how I'm used to having less than more.  I haven't had air conditioning for 8 years, I haven't had a CD player for 10 years, and cup holders, you have no idea how much you miss them until you only have a broken one that only holds jumbo size cups, but then tip over because they are too big and un-proportional to the cup holder.

After the test drive where my brother thought of everything and I thought to pop the gas door, we realized it was a decent little car... and the gas door was broken.  Yep, the one thing I "tested" was broken...and we had to figure out how to close it to get it back to Fred and Deb's.

Back at their home, we went over every little thing.  Fred pointed out the rust spot, and a few other flaws, but assured me it was a good little car.  I told him I planned to buy it but I needed to check with the bank first about getting a loan, and I wouldn't be able to get to that until Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, I went to the bank to request a car loan.  I quickly learned that they don't do loans for anything under $5,000.  This put a damper on my plans.  I had half of the amount of the car in cash already, and I had almost the other half in savings, but I didn't want to liquidate everything for the car.  My parents said they'd loan me some, and when we got a totally amount of the cash collected, we counted it up and I was $400 short. 

"I'll run to the bank and take it out of savings."  I told my mom and headed to the bank.  The bank closed at 4:30 and it was 4:45 p.m., all I could do was get $200 from the ATM.

$200 short and supposed to meet Fred at 5:00 p.m.  I called my brother, and I wasn't sure if he still hated me from our hiking adventure or not, so I eased into the conversation.  "Hey brother, do you hate me?"

"Are you calling because you need money for the car?  And no, I was a being baby the other day."  He assured me.

"Well, yes and no.  I mean, I have the money but I can't get to it, but I didn't want to use all of it, so I could use some money but I really need some cash right now..."  I rambled somewhat coherent sentences.

"All my money is in the bank." 

I felt my shoulders sag.  I wasn't going to be able to get the car that day.  My mom made her appearance a few minutes later, she handed me an envelope with cash.  "I couldn't get enough money, I can't buy the car today."  I informed her. 

She dug out her wallet.  "How much more do you need?"

"I'm $200 short."

She pulls out a stash of cash folded up in her wallet.  "I don't really want to use this money..."  But she counts it anyway.

"$160."  She hands it over.

"Why is it so hard to find cash right now?!?!"  I scream in frustration, while my mom pulls out two more $5 from another hiding spot in her wallet.  And then my mind starts functioning.   I pulled out my wallet and saw that I had a ten.  We were at $180, and till $20 short."

AHHH, wait! Wait!  I remembered I found a $20 bill behind my license the other day.  I didn't recall spending it.  I knew it was an emergency stash, and I felt this was an emergency.  And sure enough, there it was.  We had miraculously come up with the $200 cash.

I headed to Fred and Deb's with a very thick envelope of cash, and we took the little blue car for another test drive.  When we got back, I told him I had the amount in cash, and with that, he handed over the title and I drove the little blue car to my apartment.
Goodbye Ollie... Hello Burton Blueberry

And then I ran to the store, and bought a pineapple, because it felt appropriate.  If you were a fan of Psych, you will understand.  I sent a text to my friends, letting them know I would be driving the blueberry, and both of them immediately got it.  One replied, "does Gus know?"  while the other replied, "don't ever let Tim Curry get in your car!"

*For the record, it is not the exactly same car as they use in Psych.  I believe they use a Toyota
Anyway, I'm still getting used to it, but I love the feeling of knowing it's not going to break down on me on the way to work, and I really like using the air conditioning. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adventure Awaits

On Father's Day, my father was camping in Minnesota, so I decided it would be a good time to take my mom on a little adventure. This adventure also included my brother.  (For the record, we asked him if he wanted to and he accepted.  This adventure was not forced upon him.)

I packed my backpack, mostly with my camera gear, a granola bar, and a bottle of water.  I checked the weather for the area we would be going in and it showed a 60% chance of rain around the time we would be there.  We came up with a plan to go out to eat if it was raining when we go there.  I checked the weather again, as we were driving down the road and it dropped to 50% chance of scattered storms.  We looked at the beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds and thought, it was a perfect day to go hiking and see some waterfalls in Northeastern Ohio.

I'd done this trail a few times, once in the autumn, when the view was absolutely breathtaking.  And once in the winter, when the waterfall was frozen solid.
I wanted to now because it has been raining more than the sun has been out, so I knew the waterfall would be a sight worth seeing.  My brother asked it if was the hike would be harder than Spangler, a park I frequently hike at, and I assured him this was a leisurely hike with a few trouble spots but nothing he couldn't do.  He let out a loud sigh, rolled his eyes, and wondered out loud what he had gotten into.  I took the time to remind him, again, that he could have said no to this outdoor adventure.  I did mention there might be some muddy spots and to dress accordingly.  I checked the weather again before we headed into the woods, 40% chance of rain.  The sky told us it was going to be a glorious hike.
I felt really silly putting on my backpack since I knew the hike was about a mile each way, but I didn't want to carry my camera around my neck the whole time, especially if it was going to be muddy.  We headed in, down the slope, and said, "oh yeah, this is going to feel like a hill when we come back to the car, I forgot about that..."
The first waterfall was 1/6 of a mile hike.  Blue Hen Falls.  It's the popular waterfall, so there were people crowded around, snapping photos, and enjoying their Sunday afternoon.
However, my plan was to avoid Blue Hen Falls, and head straight for Buttermilk Falls, the waterfall that isn't marked on ANY of the signs in the area (which is just stupid, more people should know about Buttermilk...)  This way, if the 40% chance of rain did fall upon us, we would be almost done with our hike or on our way back...I don't know, it made sense at the time. 
About three steps in, my brother slid in the mud and did the funky chicken dance to keep himself from going down.  Mom and I gasped and then applauded him when he landed on his feet, however, this was the beginning of his "worst-decision-of-my-life-to-go-hiking" attitude.  Because, half way to the second waterfall, we started feeling drips coming from the sky.  "Ok, let's turn around."  My brother happily suggested, but being somewhat stubborn determined, I told them we were so close so we should just venture on, plus, it was only a few rain drops.
Except those few raindrops didn't stop.  My brother mumbled and complained of his misery with every step while we slid in the mud and tried to get to Buttermilk Falls without falling in the mud.  By the time we reached the tricky part that I told my brother about, the rain was falling hard.  "We just have to go up this hill and then we are at the top of the waterfall!  I promise!"  I yelled as I was climbing between roots to get up the hill.  "It's a little slippery but not that bad, just take your time and be careful."  I shouted as if I were the official hiking tour guide. 
We reached the top in a complete downpour. 
"Ok, now lets go see it!"  I said optimistically, inching my way down the slippery hill.  "Who is with me?"
My brother was adamant about NOT going to see the waterfall and insisted we turn around and head back to the car.  That seemed silly to me because we were already soaked and less than five minutes of hiking to see the waterfall in all of its glory.  My mom considered going down the hill to see the waterfall, but my brother whispered in her ear that someone would have to point out to the rescue squad where I was when I got stuck at the bottom of the hill.  So, she opted to stay up top while I slowly slid down then hill.  "It's not as bad as it looks, I promise, you just have to go slow."
I made it, all in one piece, no rescue squad needed.  I pulled out my camera and started snapping pictures, and the rain started coming down even harder.  I was having a blast, yelling at them to come down and see it, while they were yelling at me to get back up the hill now... before a mudslide came and swept me away.
If you look close enough, you can see how hard it was raining....
It was so worth it to go down the hill.
I tried to ignore their shouts for as long as I could but couldn't ignore their shouts of panic any longer, so I pouted for a quick second, then threw my camera in my backpack and literally ran up the hill I had just slowly come down.

We started the venture back to the car, drenched, some of us were in great moods, feeling like true hardcore adventurers.....
While others were beyond miserable and regretting this adventure...
And, naturally, it stopped raining.  However, we still had plenty of mud and streams to make it through.  When we got back to Blue Hen Falls, I suggested we go down and take some pictures, but it was quickly vetoed.  However, some other hikers volunteered to take a picture for us, and it is probably my favorite picture ever....

Even though we'd made it to the car, the rain had stopped, and the sun was out, my brother was still not very happy.  On our drive home, I laughed out loud, and then told them what just went through my head, "Now everything makes sense.  I just started thinking of that picture of us when we were little and had our mud fight.  I was the dirtiest one in the picture, and B hardly had any mud on him at all.  I'm so much more of a live-it-up-in-the-moment-I-don't-care-if-I-get-dirty person and B is still reserved.  It just makes sense."
And we all laughed in agreement to my statement.
Now I can say I've seen waterfalls on a perfect day in autumn, in the winter, and in the pouring rain.  I know I'll hike there again, because another adventure awaits!