Saturday, December 14, 2013

Signs that our blood has thinned....

As the Christmas holiday & winter season approaches, it brings back memories of Christmases past. And as I look back, it dawns on me how "weak" we've become.

1) About 7 years ago, I remember going for a run with my friend Marissa one night in December. It was -15 degrees out. We bundled up, and went running without question regarding the weather.
  • Last weekend I went for a run in 31 degrees (granted, it was an 2 1/2 hr 18 mile run)....but it wiped me out so cold that my entire afternoon was spent wrapped up in blankets with a fever!

2) Growing up, it was a yearly tradition to assist my Mom and Dad in hanging the Christmas lights. (one of my favorite traditions, in fact) We'd bundle up in snowmobile suits, warm hats and gloves, hefty water-proof boots...and hang lights all day sometimes in sub-zero temps!
  • Last weekend, Ryan & I opted to wait a few days to hang the lights. It was just too cold. It was 50 degrees F out. The next day, Ryan had taken a PTO day from work to get some stuff done around the house before he leaves for his next school. I came home to find him on the roof bundled up in multiple layers, hats, and gloves. It was 55 degrees out.
  • I used to don shorts and tshirts when the temps hit the 50's back when we lived in up ND!
3) Looking back at photos of Christmases past over the past 5 years that we've been in AZ, it is funny watching the trend. Our first Christmas, we were in shorts and tshirts year round. I didn't even own a winter coat any more. Now? I sport my light winter coat, sweaters, jeans, boots, and sometimes I even wear gloves at night! It does get to the 40's, you know. ;)

It's really amazing how your body adjusts over the years, as you acclimate to a new climate! I have to say I really do love our desert climate. I love that I got to clean my oven in December with all the windows open. Oh, and I planted a new basil plant in my herb garden yesterday too. But it does make it a tricky to get into the Christmas spirit. It takes more energy and hype to really "feel the season" when you're listening to Christmas music in the backyard and grilling steaks.....

But I'm okay with it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What I've been cooking lately.....

I haven't done any recipe posts lately. Well, I haven't done much posting lately...period. I thought I'd share a few of the things that have been created in our kitchen lately! I've definitely been changing things up lately.

#1 Whole Chickens.....
I am temporarily boycotting buying chicken breasts! $2.99/lb is assinine for chicken, in my opinion. Especially since Ryan and I eat so much chicken. (Probably 4 nights a week). One Saturday night to impress Ryan, I roasted a chicken...and realized it's not that intimidating! Now we buy whole chickens, butcher them up during the weekend, wrap them in plastic bags, and cook them. Does it take more work? Yes. But $0.99/lb compared to $2.99/lb? Makes a difference. I'll take a little dark meat for that price comparison!

#2 I've been NUTs for butterNUT Squash!
  • I've been making tons of butternut squash soup. So hearty and good for you! Apples, onions, squash, cider, and broth all pureed together is quite the medley! Leftovers are great for lunch!
  • Also have made a butternut squash salad (squash, arugula, cranberries, walnuts, & a simple vinagerette)
  • One night I even tried butternut squash baked fries! So yummy! Great comfort food! But challenging to cut!
#3 Tons of baking!
  • I absolutely adore this time of year, as I love baking! However, not much stays in my household...or else I'd be rolling 18 miles instead of running 18 miles for my training (imagine Veruca Salt...giant blueberry....Willy Wonka...You get the picture!) So most of my baked goods get sent with Ryan to work!
  • I recently made these Reese PB Cup cookies, that you made in mini muffin tins. They are the most adorable cookies ever! Also have made ginger snaps, lots of pumpkin bread, and kiss cookies (aka peanut butter blossoms).
#4 What's next in my kitchen?
  • This week I plan on starting to take creative spins on grilled cheese sandwiches. My 1st will be a caprese sandwich (mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes) - I think I'll spread a little hummus on it too. Pesto would be better...but I don't have any on hand!
What have you been cooking lately?

Friday, December 6, 2013

New Beginnings

It's been quite a week for me, as many changes have taken place in my life! I have kept very quiet about this, due to nerves and a little skepticism. But I made a huge career change this week!

I've been applying, interviewing, re-interviewing, and shadowing since, well, July. I started it when I was in San Antonio, when one evening my husband finally got square with me and said, "I think it's time you look into a career change....."

He was right. Every evening, I would spend about 30 minutes venting about my day. I wanted to like being an ER nurse so much, but it just wasn't for me. In the bloody, traumatic codes that rolled through the door, I would scurry into the corner, "I'll do the documentation!! No really! This is my favorite part!" That's not normal for your standard "ER Nurse". A true ER person, loves chaos and thrives off of it.

After doing lots of research about where I could go with my career, (which I'm very blessed to have so many options!) and I realized that I've always had interest in what the case managers did. Then I realized that I've filled out a "case management" application online about monthly for the past year. But due to my lack of experience, had heard nothing. Not surprising.

Well, long story 1st day back in Arizona (after our San Antonio experience) I got a phone call!

This week I started my career as a Nurse Case Manager. I have learned so much this week that I feel my head may explode! ;) Learning all the rules, regulations, (ridiculousites) regarding insurance companies has been the biggest learning curve. There is a lot of stress that will come with this job. But I'm excited about the change!

One of the most exciting bonuses this week? I got home at 5:30-6 pm....instead of 7:30-8 pm. One wouldn't think that makes much of a difference...but it does. It's so nice to be able to cook dinner, get things done around the house, and have a life! 12 + hour shifts wiped me out. Oh, and did I mention I didn't have to clean up any vomit or blood this week? That tops the charts on why I'm loving this job!

I have a lot of learning and change ahead of me these next few months, and I'm excited to see where it takes me!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Bear Recap

I am a few weeks late, but to be honest, I'm not really sure what happened to those few weeks that passed! I really didn't want this trip to go missed on this blog. It was probably one of my favorite vacations we've taken! It was kind of funny how it developed....

Ryan was supposed to be moving out to Riverside, California for his last 5 month school. We decided I would accompany him on the trip out there (he wasn't going to need a car). But Riverside, CA isn't exactly the romance/travel capital of the world ;) So we were going to make a detour and spend a few days in San Diego (probably one of our favorite cities ever)

Instead.....we discovered Big Bear. It's a mountain town located in the San Bernadino Forest, about 7000 ft above LA, and 30 degrees cooler. We found a cabin to rent on, and the plans were in the making!

Well, Ryan's CA school got moved. So we adjusted with the plans -- and it worked out perfectly! Instead of a "goodbye" was just a simple "Veterans Day Weekend trip"!

It was 4 days of bliss. We had warm fires, cooked delicious meals, hiked, scouted out nature, ran, hot tubbed, and played some brutal matches of scrabble... It was exactly what we needed, and we decided there will be more vacations akin to this in our future!

I'll let the pictures explain....

A strong sense of peace overcomes you, when waking up to these types of mornings.....
Fueling up with a delicious breakfast of blackberry lemon bread, toasted on a cast-iron......

And heading out for a hike!

Taking a moment to find one's balance
To be honest, this part made me shriek and cry. Every time we get to the peak of our hike...Ryan makes me face my fear of heights and stand on a rock. My stomach was in my throat the whole time!! 

Sometimes you find yourself between a rock and a hard place....;)

One can run for ever, when you have views like this!!

And then we rewarded ourselves with delicious eats like this.....

It is our tradition since the night we got engaged, that when on vacation in a quarters with a kitchen....we always try to find the means to do a proper seafood boil! Clams, potatoes, shrimp, scallops, and this time we tried crayfish (which we did not love the crayfish...but we tried them!)


After dinners, we would cuddle up by the fire, watch a movie, play rummy, or soak in the hot tub.....

It was tough to say goodbye to these views and such clear water!...

And sunsets like this one....

But we will most certainly be back!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hello, Holidays.

I am one of those people that goes nuts over the holidays. Not in an over-the-top, tree up on November 10, bell-earing-wearing fashion....but I absolutely adore the holiday season.

I love Christmas music. During the Christmas season, it is frequently played as my background music as I clean house or cook. Making holiday baked goods brings me great job. I get butterflies in my stomach when I start seeing Starbuck's holiday cups. Planning and preparations for Thanksgiving brings me so much warmth and excitement. My husband and I are those people out shopping at 3am on Black Friday....(however, now-days it seems to be more on Thanksgiving, which I really disagree with)

But this year, I can already predict that I'm just not feeling it.

We did the "adopt a family" through Ryan's unit on base for family is the community who are suffereing this Christmas -- and the deadline for the gift was this week. Last night I had to wrap the presents, and when I searched through our crawlspace through Christmas boxes for the wrapping paper...a sense of dread came over me.

My planner actually has a countdown on it reading "Days Until Christmas Decorating!!!!" -- because I adore decorating for Christmas. But when I really think about it, I'm kind of dreading it. No one will ever notice we didn't decorate for Christmas this year. Ryan will most likely be in New Mexico at pilot school (Unless his dates get changed...again). We don't have any Christmas parties planned. And our plans of going home for Christmas have been cancelled for a variety of reasons.

And there's the answer.

Without family, the season is just not very exciting. Thanksgiving I will be spending the day at work, and it's actually my last shift in the ER. December 1 I will be starting a new career of Case Management (which a post will come in the near future in regards to that excitement)

I haven't spend Christmas with my family in about 4 years. I feel like I've missed out on so much with my family. I don't get to see the excitement in my nephews/nieces eyes on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa Clause. I don't get to laugh and enjoy spending the day cooking with my Mom and siblings. I've finally reached a point in my life where I enjoy oyesters, and I don't get to enjoy them in the annual "Oyester Stew Feast" Christmas Eve.

I realize this is quite the wallowing of a post, and I express apologies for that. But that's what's on my mind lately. We weren't sure about when we'd make it home for Christmas due to my work schedule, and Ryan's schedule with all these schools and living in separate states. So we held off on buying tickets. Then when we checked, tickets were $700/piece (!?!?). Now that I'm transitioning jobs, and it really wouldn't be appropriate to ask for a vacation during my orientation.

We are very happy where we live, but it definitely comes with it's challenges this time of year. But instead of feeling down in the dumps, I'm going try my hardest and take any negative energy and turn it into positivity and gratefulness. There are people who have much bigger hardships during the holiday season, such as Christmas for the 1st time after the loss of a loved hardships preventing them from giving their children the season they want....or military deployments keeping families separated.

The heaviness I'm feeling really highlights how important family is during the holiday season!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: The Tail End

Greetings from our cabin in the woods in Big Bear, California! I am supposed to be moving Ryan to March AFB today for training, but his training has been rescheduled and re-routed. However, we had already put our deposit on our cabin (we were going to stay here for a few romantic days before I moved him) we made a fun vacay out of the deal!

Pictures will come eventually. :) I am determined to finish this Grateful blog, however! So here's the last of it!

The best thing I tasted today was....For breakfast I had a slice of my home-made blackberry lemon bread, toasted on the stove, and a spread little Fage greek yogurt on it.

I love going online to .... look up recipes, gawk at dream vacations, and look up home renovation ideas. I must admit a great deal of this is done via Pinterest.

I'm grateful for the way these things feel: my husbands arm around my back, a hug from family & friends, cool & crisp freshly washed sheets after a long day, the taste of cold water after a long run.

Today I felt supported (by a person, the 3 Universe, God) (I'm going to refer to yesterday) ...I felt supported by God and the Universe when we got to the pinnacle point of our hike, and we were on top of the mountain, and Ryan urged me to climb up this rock to really feel "on top of the world". Anyone that knows me, knows I'm terrified of heights. So I felt like God & the Universe "had my back" by not blowing any winds while I was atop of that rock!

When I look around my home, I'm grateful for... Period. I am so grateful. I love our home, and could see us living there for a long time! We looked at about 34 homes, placed offers on we better be happy with it!

When I look around at the world, I'm grateful for the contrast in landscapes that God  has  given us. Just within the state of AZ...we have coniferous forests, saguaro-laden desert, the red-rocked rolling mountains of Sedona, and beautiful lakes. There are so many beautiful sites in this world!

I love that I have the ability to daydream about our next trip home. I know we will be coming home to MN this summer to spend some time at the lakes. I so cherish my time with family!

I love it when I see animals when we are hiking. I'm not a big animal person. But I do like spotting wildlife when we are enjoying the great outdoors!

The nicest thing I felt on my skin today was the cool mountain air on my skin as we ran on a trail along the mountain!

I'm grateful I'm learning to calm down, relax, and enjoy. I can be really uptight if I want to be. But I've learned that only makes me unhappy. I surrendered myself in the fact that I cannot control most things in life. Being a military spouse and working in an ER has really taught me that lesson this year, and accepting it has really made me a more calm and happy person!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Marathon Madness: Where I'm at....

Last time I talk about marathon training, it wasn't the most positive post. I was having foot pain, that I assumed to be a stress fracture. (When it comes to sports-related injuries, it is much better to overestimate than underestimate).

Well, I finally got x-rays upon my return home to AZ, it turned out to be bone spurs. I have oddly shaped feet with high arches, which affects my gait. He gave me some orthotics, and it's honestly helped.

A few things I've changed up with my training plan, since I "went forward" with it:

  1. I almost never run on consecutive days. Prior to this injury, there were times where I'd run 3 days in a row. If I had it my way, I would run 7 days in a row - for running brings me such joy and release. But discipline runs marathons.
  2. In the past, my marathon training included gradually increasing my mileage weekly and then scaling back every 3rd week. (ex 12, 14, 9, 15, 17, 12). Now I'm building steady and slow. So I did 8, 8, 8, 10, 10, 12, 12.... next week I plan on doing 13-14 and will do that for 2 weeks.
  3. I'm making sure to stretch, foam roll, and take care of my body .
  4. 2 horse-pills of glucosamine-chondritin, 2 horse-pills of Calcium + D are part of my breakfast every day. Gulp.
  5. I've stopped plylometrics until I'm done with marathon training. I love plylometrics, as they make me fit and strong. However, plylometrics is all about jumping, leaping, jumping, pounding, burpee-ing, and more jumping. I don't need any additional high-impact....
  6. I've continued the weight training. In fact, I do more weight training than running. 1 day a week I do super-high-rep leg workouts where I'll do like 200 leg presses, and 100 hamstring curls. I feel like it's made me a stronger runner!
I've been running my long runs at about a 9 min/mile pace. My training runs are about an 8:30-8:40. I'm happy with this, for I am happy to be running. But I think I need to let go of my goal to qualify for Boston. It makes me a little sad, because before this injury I was running a 7:40-8:00/min pace. But, I'd rather run this race strong than sit on the sidelines January 19 injured!

Sorry to bore you with my running talk. Have you ever had to change your approach on a goal you were working to?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Days of Gratititude

Well, it's taking me longer than 30 days, as my consistency in blogging has been horrible since I've been home! It's been really busy and I've been in a constant mode of go-go-go! All good things, but I will admit that I'm having a deep longing to just hole up in my house and be a recluse for a day.

All this business has me feeling extremely grateful, which is a great theme to get me ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Let me pick up where I left off with this "30 Days of Gratitude"

I'm lucky that I'm smart enough to figure out how to.....use critical thinking in my job. It's something they try to teach you in college, but I think it mostly comes with experience. My time in the ER has really built that. I've reached the point where I feel like I can look at a patient, anticipate what's going to happen and just how sick they are within the first 20 seconds in the room.

In this moment, what I love most about my friends are..... I just had a conversation with one of my friends about this yesterday, actually. The circle of friends that I've really found over the past few years is a group of women that build me up, make me happy, laugh, we support each other, we are honest with each other. If my friends think I'm making a poor decision, they will not hesitate to give me their advice. It's really comforting to have a good group of friends, being I live so far away from family.

I'm grateful that my hands....can knead bread. Fresh, homemade bread just warms my soul. And the kneading process is therapeutic!

The prettiest thing I saw today is....the sunrise that is occuring right now. It is just starting to peak over the mountain - and it's just gorgeous.

When I look in the mirror, I'm grateful for the fact that....I grew up in a family that was fortunate enough to get braces for me when I was in junior high. I had vampire incisors. To this day, I frequently get compliments about my straight teeth. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Three of my most prized possessions are....1) My wedding ring. 2) My amethyst rosary that I got as a confirmation gift. 3) My box of letters/cards. It has many handwritten letters I've received over the years from my Mom, my Grandma, my husband (when we lived apart last year). I even have the 12 "thank you notes" my husband used when he proposed to me. There is something so precious about a person's handwriting. When I'm homesick of having a rough time, I go through this shoebox and it warms my soul.

I'm grateful that my eyes....can see. That's pretty obvious, but so true. There is so much beauty around us, I simply cannot fathom a world of darkness.

The things I would never change about myself....1) My sense of humor. It gets me through the day, especially in my job as an ER nurse, where sometimes you can do nothing but laugh. 2) My motivation and passion for exercise. I know for some people exercising is a laborous chore they dread. For me it's something I look forward to and get excited about. Makes staying healthy a little easier! 3) My sense of calm.

What are you grateful for this week? What would you never change about yourself? What are your most prized possessions?

Monday, October 14, 2013


So we've been home for a week, and boy, what a week it has been!

  • Got the house cleaned and in order
  • Helped Ryan assemble a 350 lb smoker - and trial run it before our party
  • Returned to work after my leave and got to read about 300 emails. (I think 5 were worth reading)
  • Had a mini dinner party Friday night - made grilled filet mignon, asparagus, & butternut squash risotto
  • Ran 10 miles to resume my marathon training
  • Prepped and threw a party Saturday night with approximately 45 guests
Sunday after cleaning up, scrubbing the floors, and getting the house back in order - I will admit I fell asleep with my feet danging in the pool.

When I set up this party, I wanted to do something easy. "Let's grill some burgers, have a big salad, and call it a day!"

Somehow that transformed into a menu of......

  • Smoke Pulled pork
  • Pulled pork flatbreads
  • 4-cheese bacon Mac'N'Cheese
  • North Carolina-style Slaw
  • Smoked Beer Can Chickens
So Saturday morning Ryan was up at 3:00 am getting the fire started and getting the meat on the smoker! I joined him arounnd 4:30-5 am, and started the cooking. Making 4 home-made pizza doughs, pounds worth of this freshly-shredded mac'n'cheese, meticulously julienne-cutting cabbage for the coleslaw.

But I was smiling ear-to-ear. It felt so good to reunite with my kitchen. I feel like a woman again.

The party was everything I envisioned it to be. I took absolutely zero pictures, as I was way too occupied being a social butterfly trying to make sure I connected with everyone that came out.

It made me realize how blessed we are. We have such a positive, awesome group of friends Great pepole, great families. There really is "no place like home"

Below I've shared the few pictures I took! Which is only of food before the guests arrived.

The pork, aka "Boston Butt" ready to be smoked. Taking at 0330!

The smoker ready to go!!
All smiles, kneading bread dough. I originally wanted to lift weights after my run Saturday -- but when I realized how much cooking I had to do. I realized I had to pick one of the other! It worked out, because I got my "strength training" in kneading all the bread!

The finished product! I don't know why these pictures got so fuzzy! The pizzas had our special "BBQ Pizza sauce", with fresh cilantro, mozzarella cheese, black olives, and pulled pork. They were delicious!

Ryan shredding all that pork!! It went pretty quick, as the meat just fell off the bone!
The chickens, along with the Mac N Cheese went within the 1st 30 minutes!!!

As I'm seeing people for the first time, and am asked about San are my reflections:

  • It was an invaluable experience. It forced me to make a new group of friends, work in a new place, and find my way through a new city.
  • It make me really, really appreciate what I have. I didn't like living in a tiny, dark, yucky, old, ugly hotel room. I didn't like having to use a hot plate and a crockpot. But I did it, and I made it fun and enjoyable!
  • I've learned that you can make anything in a crock pot. I learned that hot plates have 2 levels "Boiling fricking hot" and "Off"
  • I learned that I'm not the happiest working in an environment where I'm just merely a worker. I thrive on taking some form of ownership and leadership. It drives me nuts when I'm the outsider who doesn't have a place to state her opinion.  I don't like just "showing up" to work. I have to attach some meaning to it.
  • I learned that my body can adapt to any climate. It takes transition, persistence, patience, and about 3 weeks.
  • I will never be able to say "y'all" with a straight face.
  • San Antonio isn't that cool. The Riverwalk is neat. Once. Want to find a neat place in a new city? Go to, find the area with the most expensive homes, and find a shopping center in that area -- they will have the eclectic restaurants with the atmosphere we like.
  • It takes a team. I spent every weekend hopping from library to Starbucks to library -- to get out of our room, supporting Ryan, so he would study. I made flashcards and study guides. I wanted to be out riding my bike, going to the lake, shopping - but I chose to be his number 1 fan. It definitely stregthened our marriage.
  • Austin is amazing. If for some reason we ever had to live in San Antonio, we would frequently visit Austin to get away.

Friday, October 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Week 3

The strongest part of my body in this moment is......I'd have to say my legs. Even after basically taking a 3 week break from running (with a few intermittent jogs in the middle) - I am clear to resume training. I went for a 10 mile run yesterday, and worried that I wouldn't be able to carry though. But to be honest, my legs didn't even feel a hint of soreness. I have all the strength training and biking to thank for that!

Even after a rough day at work, the things I'm most grateful for are.....This answer is very evident for me right now! My coworkers. After working at different hospitals in a different state this summer, I gained a serious appreciation for my coworkers. I honestly think my ER is the dream team of ER's. No matter how busy it is, everyone helps each other out. People always have your back, and that energy is contagious. We all work as a cohesive team, and we find things to laugh and smile about throughout the day. It makes even the worse days enjoyable.

I also love that I am an 8 minute drive from my house. Yep. It takes 8 minutes every single day.

I'm grateful that my legs carry me....Period. I have a very active job, that requires me to be running around on my feet for 12 hours at a time. I also enjoy an active lifestyle. Over the past year, I've had 3 incidents where walking hurt -- so my appreciation for moving pain free overflows!!

I felt a little burst of energy today when....The alarm went off at 4:45 am, I grumbled a little and was still in that "confused awakening fog". I then remembered, "I'm not in Texas anymore!!!!!"

The best song I heard today was.....It's early, so I'm going to pick yesterday's best song. We had a little dinner party last night, and after our guests left I was doing dishes and our music was still playing. The song "Lazy Mary" came on, and Ryan and I started dancing in our kitchen - and it just brought me great joy and laughter.

When I look inside my closet I'm grateful for....So many things. 1) Obviously that I have clothes. 2) That I can afford to have clean clothes. And clean water in order to launder those clothes. 3) That most of my closet is full of summer clothing, swimming suits, and dresses because I live in a warm & sunny climate. 4) That my closet is no longer the kitchen pantry in a hotel room. 5) That I don't own any rompers.

Your turn to answer these questions!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Winged: So Long, San Antonio!

Last Friday, Ryan got his wings pinned. He is now officially a military rated pilot. Pretty cool. When he was 17 years old, he signed up for the Air National Guard. He had one goal: to become a pilot for the Air Force. From there, every decision he made had that goal in sight. He chose electrical engineer, he got an internship (and then a job) in the defense industry, he worked as an Avionics technician on F-16's, we moved to Tucson to get to a different base where there were more opportunities.....9 years later, those wings were pinned on!

9 years of some amazing experiences. I've been a part of it for 6. The amazing part is...this is only the beginning! So many years lie ahead of us, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

The weekend went perfect. Everything from our time spent with his family to the ceremonies was just perfect. It was wonderful to have both his parents there. It was also really cool to see his Dad give him his "blood wings".

A little military history for you...."Blood Wings" dates back to WWII, where when a military pilot got his wings 'pinned' on, they didn't just simply "pin it". They placed the pin, and punched that pilot in the chest HARD. Often times, the punch was so hard that their chest would bleed. Hence, "blood wings". Regulations about "hazing" has calmed this ole tradition down.

Where was I? Oh, yes...his Dad! Ryan's Dad had an important impact on him growing up, who retired from the Air Force several years ago. So it was cool to see his Dad get to do that. His Dad drove 12 hours to be there for this!

I will let the pictures do the talking for the weekend.....

Ryan and his Dad after the ceremony. Don't they look alike?!

Ryan and I prior to the luncheon. I find him to be very handsome in his dress blues.

Ryan getting his "Blood Wings". Chris was too nice to give him any blood though ;)

Ryan and his Mom!
It was an emotional day, I must say. It was just full of lots of happiness and excitement. I really felt like my heart was pouring over with blessings.

So, I am writing this blog post to you from HOME. Not home, as in hotel room..but home as in HOME in Arizona! I will be doing a follow up post soon, just recapping my reflections on this experience. I will also be pouring my heart out on how much I can relate to Dorothy (Wizard of Oz, Dorothy), who said "There's no place like home...."

This week is pretty dang crazy though. Got home, cleaned the house and got it back in order, preparing for a dinner party Thursday night with Ryan's old boss, then a party Saturday night where we will be having about 40 guests. Oh, and I returned to work after my LOA and got put on a huge product....and was told "Oh, the bulk of your research needs to be done by Monday."

Life is full! Life is good!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Week 2

I am making a point of savoring a little "me time" before it gets busy. Starting this afternoon, then next few weeks I will be going 100 mph at life. So many exciting things I look forward to coming up. But I'm also a little stressed, as our house has sat vacant for 4 months (ahhh!) -- and we have a party hosting about 30-40 people just 6 days after we get home! So this is my moment to breath.

Okay, okay, I lied. I'm procrastinating. All the luggage bags and totes are nicely laid out, I'm supposed to be packing, and then going to the gym, and then packing more, and then picking up Ryan's family at the airport. But I am avoiding packing like the plague. So decided, "I really should drink my coffee and play on the computer...."

I'm not going to be able to do my 30 days of Gratitude post tomorrow, as tomorrow is going to be a very busy day with Ryan's pinning ceremony starting at 9 am! I have major butterflies in my stomach thinking about the next few days!

4. The best thing I smelled today was...........Well, it's only 7:30 am - so I haven't smelled a lot of things yet. But I'm going to say "jet fuel". Odd answer, right? That's what fills the air every morning when I step outside at this hour, as our hotel is located right next to the T-38 runway. Sometimes it's loud. There's a constant humming of the jet engines starting up almost all day long. Throughout the entire day, you hear that firing screech of the take-off. My description sounds terrible, but it's pretty dang cool! There are not many times in my life where I will say "I lived next to a runway where fighter jets (trainers, actually) took off". Living on an air force base has been a new experience for me this summer, and I'm glad the opportunity presented itself!

5. One of the memories I'm most grateful for is ..........I have endless memories that make fill my heart. But lately, the memory I'm most grateful for is 4th of July 2012. It was spent at my parent's lake cabin. It was the hottest, most humid MN day, and most of the day was spent in the lake to avoid melting to death. Most of my siblings were there, Ryan and I were there, and all of my dad's siblings were there. I have a vivid memory of sitting around the table talking about life with my Aunt Betty, who we lost this summer to a long battle with cancer. That was my last memory of her, and it was a beautiful memory. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the hum of laughter & chatter among my family and my nephews.

I've been really homesick lately, and sometimes feel a sense of fearful urgency. I worry and stress about when I'll see them again.

6. Thank goodness someone taught me how to.........Life weights! Being I have been out of commission with running right now (I'm only allowing myself to run 3 days/week going forward, too), sometimes that takes a hit to myself confidence. So I've really put my focus fitness on weight training. I actually feel in better shape when I'm lifting than when I'm running. So not being able to run isn't as depressing as it could be! 

Flexibility is the key to success!! (That is the annoying quote my husband tells me almost daily, especially while we've been in San Antonio. I now laugh at him when he says this and tell him he sounds like "a Dad". In fact, when he says this, I say it with him in a mocking, playful, sing-songish voice. But he does have a point.....and I love him for it.)

What are you grateful for this week? Play along!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10 Confessions

Here are my confessions......

  1. I have not cooked a dinner in 2 weeks. I did so well all summer long - using the crockpot in such creative ways. Some fuse in me has burnt out, and my care and dedication to being a great "hotel"maker has vanished. 
  2. I never thought this day would come, but I think I'm sick of the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast sub at Subway. (I consume this about 3 meals/week). Yet, I'm too much of a creature of habit to just...order a different sandwich!
  3. Part of me feels guilty that I won't be accompanying Ryan to his next school in California. Especially after I was visiting with one of the wives last week at a bbq, who is accompanying her husband in a kitchenless hotel room for 5 months with their 3 month-old. (the hotel room at the next school doesn't even have a kitchen sink!)
  4. I felt even worse when she said, "Hey, we're a family. We stick together!" 
  5. I got to run today! I've had no pain in my toe all week. I was all smiles. I'm proceeding with caution, however!
  6. We decided to keep our landscaping service and pool guy, even though I'll be home. I know I can clean the pool and keep up our yard...but it's kind of nice to not have to worry about it! (Feeling guilty)
  7. I'm done with my travel assignment! I left on good conditions from the hospital, and they invited me to return again. I am so happy I did this, and will recommend this to every new-ish nurse I ever meet! It made me grow a lot, and I feel like such a stronger ER nurse after this experience! 
  8. My last draw with this hotel room came this weekend. I've been noticing little welts all over my body, and I'd barely been outside because I'd been working. Well, we found a MONSTER cob web on the ceiling. Halloween decoration style!!! I'm pretty sure those welts are spider bites. Now I don't sleep at night very well. (In fact the other night I was awake every hour, either itching my welts or pacing around the kitchen in a state of insomnia)
  9. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!! Ack!!!! Grosss!!!!!!!!!
  10. On Sunday I went shopping for an outfit for Ryan's wing-pinning ceremony. I bought a swimming suit, 2 pairs of running shorts, a new sports bra, and a new workout tank-top before Ryan literally had to drag me by my arm  to a store and force me to find something his his ceremony. I'm not so good at shopping. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Marathon Madness: Taking a step back.

Well, I'm into week 4 of marathon training. Supposed to be doing a 10 mile run this week, actually! Guess how many miles I have mapped out in my training schedule this week?


Awesome, right?!

No. It's not awesome, but I'm keeping a smile on my face and a positive attitude here.

Let me recap week 3.

At the end of week 2, I had my 9 mile run. Then I worked the weekend. Well, while at work that Saturday I felt a strange discomfort in my L great toe. So I took the rest of the weekend off. All weekend at work, I proceeded with caution. I decided to cross train and rest until I feel better. 

Monday -30 minutes spin bike, 20 minutes eliptical - 30 minutes shoulder workout. Barely any foot pain!
Tuesday - 40 minutes spin bike - 10 minutes elipitcal - 30 minutes back/bicep. No foot pain at all!
Wednesday - 5 mile run (easy pace 8:35/mile) - leg work out. New running shoes, no foot pain, I hit the ground running!
Thursday - 4 mile run with speed work (40 sec hard, 20 sec recovery) After my 12 hour shift on my feet, I had no pain. So went for a run! Felt great!
Friday - Rest Day - Another painless 12 hour shift on my feet! So happy I was healed!
Saturday - Chest/triceps. 20 minutes elliptical. 20 minutes running. (started feeling a slight twinge in my foot, but ignored it)
Sunday - 8 mile run. Felt great the entire run, until the last 0.5 miles. No pain, just didn't feel "right"

I headed to work Monday morning, and the pain had returned. In fact, I had tears welling up in my eyes as I triaged ambulance, after ambulance. I even found myself praying to God, "Please, let the patients stop coming so I can just get a 5 minute break to get off my feet."

Yeah, right. Manic Monday's in the ER provide zero respite. 

Now my left great toe hurts, and it kind of shoots up my entire foot. I will be seeing my podiatrist the Monday we get back to Tucson.

I'm very nervous that I will have yet another marathon that I'm signed up for, but cannot run. Last time it was due to work commitments, this time due to an injury.

But I'm going to take care of my body. Keep my legs strong by weight lighting. Keep my heart strong by biking, swimming, and rowing. And we shall see!

I have done a ton of research trying to find websites, articles, and blogs on "running a marathon after an injury" -- and I'm having a really hard time! So we will see how this goes.

A few rules I've made for myself going forward:
  • I will not curse at or be jealous and mad at my husband, when he goes out for a run. He's not injured, so he shouldn't fake a pity injury to make me feel better. I WILL be supportive of him. From my bike. 
  • When I do start feeling better, I will not push it. I WILL procede with caution and stay healthy.
  • I will be very mindful of my diet - making sure I'm getting adequate calcium, protein, and vitamin D to build strong bones and muscles. 
  • I will remember that life will go on if I don't run this marathon.

Friday, September 27, 2013

30 days of Gratitude

I'm stealing this idea from my sister, Lisa, as I think this is a great way to "refocus". We have so many great things to be thankful for.

This summer adventure has put light on that. From the bad moments to the best moments ever -- if I've learned anything it's that my life is very full and my husband and family are rockstars.

So here it goes!

1.  I'm most thankful for my ability to adapt. I feel like I am a very "adaptable" person. In fact, my old manager (you know, the guy that didn't let me run the marathon) once described me as a cat. And that I could be throw from any height, and will find a way to land on my feet. I've moved to new cities twice now where I knew no one, and had no idea how to get around...and I've found my way. I learned to work at 2 new hospitals this summer, with completely new charting systems, department flow, etc. Back in AZ, I was the Nursing House Supervisor, as basically a new grad, googling policies and procedures when surgeons would call me to get the OR operational during the off-hours on weekends. I've lived in a sorority, I've lived in a big house, and I've lived in a hotel room. I am proud that I can adapt, and still feel calm wherever I am placed.

2.  In this moment, the things I love most about my family are their love and foundation they gave me. I am who I am because of them! There is a sense of joy that is indescribable that I feel when I'm with my family! 

3.  Something that made me smile today -- my 41 mile bike ride. A little foot pain is forcing me to take a break from running (until it feels better, and until my podiatrist tells me I can resume marathon training). I'm going to be honest and say I sobbed uncontrollably shedded a few tears this week over the matter. It felt really empowering to get on my bike, and just ride for 2 1/2 hours today. It made me feel "me" again!

What ability are you thankful for? What do you love about your family? Or what is bringing a smile to your face today?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

San Antonio Sightings: Roller Coasters. Botanical Gardens. Good times.

With only a few weeks left in San Antonio, and Ryan finally is in a school where he get's his weekends to enjoy -- we are taking advantage of living in a different city. I also know that I probably will never return to San Antonio again, unless I have to.

Pretty much, I will never come back unless we some day have a son or daughter who decided to join the Air Force. Then we will come to San Antonio to attend their graduation from Basic training (which is the city for Basic training in the Air Force)

Can you tell how much I love this area of Texas? 

I will post more on that later.

We had a delightful weekend! We each picked something we wanted to do. Saturday we went with Ryan's choice: Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

If you asked my family how I do at amusement parks, they would start laughing. One time our family went to Valley Fair in Minneapolis. There is a picture of me (age 6?) on the "kiddie coaster"(you know, the train that rides through a garden). I was sobbing, and squeezing my poor cousin so hard, he probably had internal bruising.

Being an adult, I know I had to hold it together this weekend. And I did. For the most part. But, I must say every time we got "strapped in", I would recite the exact same line. Word for word. By the end of the day, Ryan would recite it with me (laughing).

"Oh my god. I'm strapped in. I can't get out. I don't want to do this. I'm scared. I think I ought to get out. Please!! Oh God! It's starting! Oh God!" 

And then I would proceed to say Hail Mary's.

I'm sure the people around us thought I was completely nuts. But I don't care. It was my coping mechanism!

Anyways, I had a blast! Do you ever do something that feels mentally therapeutic? Roller coasters did it for me. It felt good to scream, laugh hysterically, feel my stomach in my throat, confuse the sky from the ground, squeeze my husbands so hard his fingers turned blue. Good times!

Being I didn't eat anything ALL DAY (except for my protein shake after our workout)-- (I was too scared to eat, in fear I'd loose it all on the rides). Afterwards, we went to a restaurant called Chuys and enjoyed margaritas and shared the Fajitas for Two (which could probably serve a family of four).

It was a good day!

Then Sunday we got to do "Abby's ideas". Drastically different, yet still very satisfying.8 mile run and church started out our day.....

Then we went to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. The only downside to this little outing was that it put my husband into a crazy allergic reaction where he couldn't stop sneezing. His eyes and nose got all swollen, too. I was honestly worried his lungs were going to close up....I felt like a helpless nurse and wife.

Note to self....don't take husband to Botanical Gardens when he's not allowed to take his allergy medications. (It's banned by the Air Force for pilots)

The display of the season was "Savage Plants" -- featuring venus fly traps and other Carnivorous plants. So cool! I'm going to let the pictures do the talking here. 

I highly recommend this if you're ever in the area! It's only $7/person, and it's really beautiful. Don't go in the summer though, way too hot. It's right in the middle of the city, and such a peaceful sanctuary!

This was the scenery when you walked into the "Conservatory Room". This is the room that displays their "Carnivorous Plants". This room is changed every 6 months! It felt like a tropical paradise. I love plants.....

Here is a close-up of my favorite "carnivorous plant" we saw that day. The Venus Fly Traps are, obviously, amazing. However, they were very small and difficult to get a good picture of. Well, with my i-Phone. If you looked inside these "vases", you could see little bugs swimming around in it's pollen. Pretty cool! (I can't remember the name of this plant...)

The next room was the "Spice of Life" room. It had black pepper plants, cinnamon trees, pineapple trees, and the list goes on! My favorite was this Chocolate Tree. I love chocolate, so had to share this!

This aquifer went through the entire garden (which is a HUGE plot of land!) - and naturally provides water to the vegetation! 

Our last stop at the gardens was an area called "Texas Hill Country". It featured landscape of the region. It was a sanctuary of pines trees, a pond with turtles and ducks, and it just put you at peace. As we walked around and "people watched", everyone else must have felt the same peace we did. Many people were sitting at the benches pondering life, taking in the sights, and enjoying the shade and quiet. 

This was the tree that we found our solace. 

Which was followed by my husband's allergic-attack. Which was followed by me saying, "I think we have had enough vegetation for the day!" (I felt so bad!)

Awesome weekend, all in all! Two weeks to go! Actually, less than two weeks. I'm so ready to have a kitchen again. And living quarters with separate "rooms" and "doors" and "windows".

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Smiles

News Flash - I have reached a point where I am "over" living in this hotel. I cannot bring myself to elaborating, as this post would turn into a novel.

But let me just say, because I am incapable of holding back my words, that we have had to get our door to our room fixed 5 times now. Yep. That means I've been locked out of the room 5 different times. On Friday when I got locked out, it was after my 9 mile run. It took 2 hours for them to fix it! So I sat out in the sultry Texas heat before I could get into my room and get some post-run hydration, food, and shower!! Oh, and the front desk told me I "wasn't helping the situation because I refused to be moved to a different room". We live here for 4 months. Moving 4 months worth of shit is not helpful.

Okay, back to Wednesday smiles.

Here are the little things that are bringing great smiles to my face today.
  1. The days I don't work, I get to eat lunch with Ryan. Living on base has it's challenges, but I love that even when Ryan has a 30 minute lunch he gets to come "home" (to our hotel room). I make him sandwiches, and it makes me feel like old-fashioned-trophy-wife. This is probably the only time in our life we will have this luxury (until we retire...). So I'm relishing in this little blessing.
  2. My new running shoes arrived in the mail today! I got an email alert that they were delivered to the Post Office at 6:16 am, post office opens at 8:30. So I stood in line waiting for the doors to open, to retrieve my package today!
  3. I am currently roasting beets. In our hotel room. In my crockpot. I never thought I'd roast a large quantity of beets in a hotel room. There's a first time for everything.
  4. I cannot wait to enjoy these beets over a bed of arugala, kale, spinach, and chicken breasts for dinner tonight! I adore beets. I am trying to convert Ryan to a "beet lover". Cross your fingers, please! He knows not what he's missing.
  5. I'm doing a leg workout with Ryan tonight that involves 150 leg presses, 120 lunges, 90 hamstring curls, and 60 quadricep extensions. Although my stomach is queasy thinking about this -- I love the fun of challenging weight lifting workouts!
  6. I found a Bourbon Slush recipe to serve at our "Welcome Home" BBQ. It has Bourbon, Orange juice, lemonade, and tea. I think it will perfectly accompany the pork shoulder we will be smoking. We are bringing a little Texas "home" with us!
  7. There are 8 shifts left of this travel contract from h-e-l-l. 7 down! Meaning tomorrow at 1:30, I will be at my half-way point. On Sunday, I texted a "rhyme" to my husband for every hour counting down my excitement of getting out of there. Meaning I wrote 12 rhymes during the day.
  8. Don't judge me.
  9. Saturday we are going to Six Flags. Ryan is making me. I am terrified. Last time I went on a roller coaster, I cried like a young child. 60% of me is excited to do something childishly fun. The other 40% of me is terrified. I will be fasting Saturday prior to this, so I don't loose my cookies on the "Terrorcoaster".

What simple pleasures are bringing you joy this week?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Marathon Madness with a rant on top.

I'm two weeks into marathon training. This is my third marathon I have trained for. Inconspicuously, I've only ran in one marathon. Hm.... How is that possible?

Oh, I know! *BEWARE, SHE'S IN RANT MODE* Once upon a time I had a boss. When I set up my work schedule for my 1st job, I told him I NEEDED that day off as I was running a marathon. His response, "Welcome to nursing, sweetie. You're working that day. In fact, I'm switching you to night shift that day. So you may want to reconsider your little race."
Yep. I had completed the entire Hal Higdon training program by that point, did my 3 20-mile runs, and was told I had to stop. Anyone who's ever trained for a marathon would understand the utter slap in the face this was. I think I stopped running for about 2 months after that meeting.
Want to know the real "kicker"?! My schedule ended up getting switched around, and I didn't even end up working that day.

**Insert blood curdling scream here*

So in hindsight, I realized that life did go on even if I didn't get to do the race. I've now chalked it up that "Maybe God placed that jerky boss in my path for a reason". Maybe something really bad would have happened during that race.

Okay, so back to the point.

Marathon madness, round 3. I'm taking a very "lax" approach this time. Why?

#1 -I love too many sports to just focus on running.
#2 -Too much focus on running, and I'll end up with a stress fracture or hip bursitis (like I did last time)
#3 -I always gain weight when I just run. So I need to keep things interesting.

So here is how I'm doing it. I have Rules and I have Goals. I have written my own program using a combination of resources. Hal Higdon overrules my "long runs" (as does my travel & work schedule). I have built the weight training, cross training, and nutrition myself.

Here are the rules:
  1. I must complete one "long run" weekly. I used Hal Higdon to make this schedule. I can't follow "normal" training schedules where long runs are on the weekend, because I sometimes work weekends. So I fit it where I can!
  2. I cycle every other week doing what I like to call "Muscle Building Runs". One week I will do a sprint workout, the next week I will do a hill-repeat style workout. I will try to post so examples of these. This week my long run was a hilly one!
  3. I must do 1 run weekly at goal pace (give or take a few seconds) that is 5-8 miles.
  4. Must lift weights 3 days weekly minimum. Plylometric days count, with all the pushups and jump squats!
  5. 1 cross training day weekly.
  6. 1 rest day weekly.
  7. Will work out 4 days weekly minimum (5 is my goal). (Every week, I will post my schedule to show how I made this possible)
The Goals:
  1. I really want to keep this goal private, but, I figure the best way to attain your goals is to make them public. I have a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I currently run between an 8-8:15 pace on a good day (this humidity has skewed my times though, I'm slower in the heat). In order to qualify, I need to complete 26.2 miles in 3:35. Which means I need to have an 8:12 pace. I'm not going to kill myself to attain this goal, but know it's in the back of my mind!
  2. To gain 3 pounds of muscle, and lose 2 pounds of body fat. ( game me my recommendations to attain this). Yes. I have a goal of gaining weight?! How will I do that? I need to cut back on my love for 3 Musketeer bars, Twizzlers, Salt & Vinegar chips, and Gouda Cheese. And Pizza. And Oreo cookies. 80% of the time I'm a health nut, the other 20% of the time I put a lot of crap in my body!
  3. The most important goal -- HAVE FUN! I have 9 other girlfriends back in Tucson doing this marathon with me. My husband is doing the half. And my Father in law (and possibly his wife) is doing the half, too! Race day will be filled with many hugs, laughter, and good energy!
 Here is my training schedule for weeks 1 & 2 (to catch you up, and for me to look back on)
Week 1:
Monday: Bike 20 miles (xtraining day) (total time: 1:20)
Tuesday: Rest day (aka worked in ER, was on my feet and walking all day)
Wednesday: 4 mile run - goal pace (total time: 33 min)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 8 mile run + 30 minute weight training (shoulders, lunges, and core) (I normally wouldn't do this, but hadn't lifted weights all week (total time 1:40)
Saturday: 30 minutes weight training (focus: back) + 30 minute speed work (1 mile sprint, 4x400, 1 mile sprint) (total time 1:10)
Sunday: 6 miles moderate pace (total time 50 min)

Week 2
Monday: 5 miles moderate pace, 30 minutes weights (focus: biceps & triceps) (total time 1:30)
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: 4 miles goal pace (added sprints to the last 2 miles), abs + pushups for 5 minutes at end (total time 40 min)
Thursday: 1 hour weight training (legs, chest, triceps), 20 minutes stairs (total time 1:20)
Friday: 9 mile run (long run) (total time 1:15)
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: My plan is to do plylometrics after I get off work for 40 minutes (pushups, resistance bands, burpees, ect). We will see how I feel come Sunday night at 8:00 pm......

 A little humor.....

Love this! I am pretty sure I fantasized about my Dirty Chai at Starbucks during my 9 miler today. (Chai Latte with espresso. So yummy). Never got to enjoy it, because I got locked out of our hotel room for 1 hour. By the time I got in the room, I was ravenously hungry and thirsty and smelly.

I try to be careful about this....
This is so crude, but funny.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Final Decision

Well, if you read my blog 2 posts ago , you would have found out that I'm accompanying Ryan on the next move to California.

That has since changed.

I'm going to be honest and say that I really feel at peace with my decision. For if life has taught me anything over the years, if you're going to make a decision, do it with all your heart and don't look back! 

Why the sudden change?

I learned that finding an apartment that offers a 5 month lease is nearly impossible. I researched about 12 different apartment complexes in the area, narrowed it down to 5 in the Riverside area that didn't worry me that I'd get shot while walking out to my car at night. (Riverside has some shady areas...)

I finally found one place that offered a 5 month lease, as they try to cater to military residents.

But here's what almost made me laugh. When I asked if they offer furnished apartments, they said "Yes, but your problem will be that we only rent out furniture for 3, 6, 9, or 12 month leases."

So I moved to Plan B. I decided to suck it up and live with Ryan in a hotel on base again (like we have done these past 4 months). I called the Air Force Inn that's at March AFB. Not only do they not have a kitchen, but you have to share a bathroom with other guests.

That was my breaking point. I can "white trash it" for a few months. A crock pot can be my main cooking appliance. I can use a pantry as a closet. I can live in a room that barely has a window - that is so dark that a day in the room could drive a person to a deep depression....

But I cannot share a bathroom with random other airmen. That was my cutoff. Ryan was in complete agreement with me. That's just fricking weird.

So we have decided to go with "safe" (instead of adventure). I will stay at our home in Tucson, while Ryan lives in Riverside and finishes up pilot training. It's only 5 months. And LA is only a 6 hour drive! It's a 1 hour flight. We will try to see each other every other weekend.

The obvious con in this situation is living apart from Ryan for 5 months. He's my soul mate, my best friend, and life isn't very fun without him. But we are strong, and will make this work!

The pro's are:
  • a job I love
  • a great group of friends that will be there for me every step of the way
  • my runnning/triathlon group to run and bike with
  • our house will be safe under my supervision
  • biweekly trips to California!! (Well sometimes Ryan will be coming my direction, too) 
  • Ryan will be able to put his 110% into this training during the week when I'm not there

So now I am just savoring each moment that we have together. Life is about to change again! But I'm okay with it.  Isn't it always changing?

I promise this should be the last 'life changer"/"life decision" post for awhile! I will return to decorating this blog with rants, recipes, and running. But it's been hard to think about those things lately, when such big changes are coming up! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

September's "Currently's"

I like to do these "Currently" posts every once in awhile. Especially because it's interesting to look back and see how I change my "likings". Maybe I'll do this monthly? We'll see. I may not change my hottest happenings that frequently.

1. Current Book
  • Every Last One - Anna Quindlen. This was on the book list my sister sent me, and I highly recommend it. It's one of those books, where you will be reading it in a public place, and you have your moments where you become offended that the rest of the world is just going on with their lives as normal. ;)
2. Current Excitement
  • That in 25 days we will be on our way home! Planning our "We're Home" BBQ. Planning the girls trip to Charleston/Myrtle Beach with my Mom & Sisters in October!
3. Current Fashion
  • It is still awfully hot to be "fashion forward" here in San Antonio! I am just really digging sundresses!
4. Current Drink
  • I am really digging IPA (Indian Pale Ale) beers right now! That hoppy bitterness just really goes well with this humidity. My favorite is Stone IPA (they are out of Southern Cali)
5. Current Love
  • The rain we've been blessed with these past 2 days. SA (like many other regions of the county), is in a serious drought! So this rain (even though it's only lasted about 1 hour each day) has been heavenly.
6. Current Food
  • Snacky comfort foods. I am getting burnt out on cooking in this hotel room. Last Sunday for dinner we had a spread of pickled herring, shrimp cocktail, gouda cheese, crackers, and hummus. It was luxuriously comforting to my soul!
7. Current Indulgence
  • See above :)
  • Also, Pumpkin Spice Latte's are in season at Starbucks. I treated myself to one after our run yesterday. I savored every last sip!
8. Currently Pondering
  • What life will be like when we return home to Tucson in 1 month.
  • What life will be like in 2 months when Ryan's next school starts. Where will we be living? Is the neighborhood nice? What kind of hospital will I be working out?
  • Life is so full of mysteries right now!!
9. Current Mood
  • Today I am feeling a bit homesick, and just uneasy and nervous about all the upcoming changes.
  • While at the same time excited.
10. Current New Find
  • Charming Charlie - you know, that store at the mall filled from wall-to-wall with color-coordinated accessories? I love all their watches for work! They have a little bling, they come in fun colors (like hot pink!). And they have rubber watch-bands, so I can wash them with alcohol wipes!
11. Current Outfit
  • Currently, I am wearing blue running shorts and a hot pink t-shirt for I am waiting for Ryan to get home from class so we can lift weights and run in the post-rain-freshness!
12. Current Peeve
  • That the ER where my travel assignment is does not allow water bottles anywhere on the premises. You have to keep it in the breakroom, which is a long walk from the ER. What ends up happening is it gets so crazy busy that I go 12 hours barely drinking any water all day, and end up feeling super dehydrated. I just find it belittling that "I'm not allowed to have water". I'm a professional, but feel like I'm being treated like a child.
13. Current Song
  • When I'm Gone - Anna Kendrick. I love her voice!

14. Current Triumph
  • Hmmm...I don't really feel very personally triumphant about anything right now.

15. Current TV Show
  • I don't really watch a lot of tv these days. (AKA -- I feel like there's pure crap on television these days! AKA -- we do everything possible to stay out of our hotel room !!). Just watch the news at night!
16. Current Wish List
  • New running shoes. I've started marathon training, and I'm starting to feel like my shoes have lost their sparkle. Also, I have blood blisters on the soles of my feet - not sure why! It looks horrific.
17. Currently Delaying
  • All my annual required compliance training for my job back in AZ (all the HR related stuff that corporations make everyone do!). Those powerpoints and videos are so monotonous, especially now that I have to do it  for my agency, my contracting hospital, and my job back in AZ!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Drop Night: Our next adventure. A fork in the road.

Last night we celebrated a ceremony called "Drop Night". It's a military pilot school tradition that when they finish their  final "weed out course", they have a ceremony where the Airmen find out which aircraft they will be flying and where they will be stationed!

Now that is the standard for Active Duty members, but because Ryan is Air National Guard -- we stay in Tucson. (Think of "guard" as being for the state, active duty orders are delegated is for the nation).

When they find out their assignment, they stand up on stage, their assignment is announced, they have to say old saying, and everyone in the audience cheers them and says "Here, here!", and they have to take a shot of cheap whiskey, and say "Smooooth" and then turn the shot glass upside down on their head to prove that they drank it all.

It is really fun. It was exciting to see the looks on the faces of the Active Duty guys when they got their assignment. Everyone in Ryan's class was happy. Ryan got MQ1 and we are obviously stationed in Tucson.

Our next school is up in the air. They say it will be March AFB near Riverside, CA. However, this week there was rumor we were going to be sent to Holloman AFB in New Mexico. Where is Holloman, you ask? Have you ever heard of White Sands? You know, where they did Missile testing and numerous people ended up with cancer. Have you ever heard of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico? Drug trafficking capitol of the world? Yep. That's it!!

So this has been a trying week full of many unknowns and decisions. Will he go to NM? Or California? If he goes to NM, I'm not accompanying him due to a variety of reasons. Will it be a tough 5 months being separate? Yes. But we will get through it!

Now if he goes to California, my chances of joining him are much better. There is 50% of me, however, that wants to curl up in a blanket under the covers and hide from all this change and erratic lifestyle. I want to just stay at home, and not worry about leaving our house empty for another 5 months. I want to stay at my job where I feel valued and welcomed. I want to stay in a place where I have some of the best friends ever, who have become like family (since my family lives so far away).

But, if I don't go to California with him -- I know I will always look back and say "I wish I had been more adventurous". Some day we are going to have children (probably. Maybe.), and we won't have the luxury to just be able to pick up and leave for 5 months. I also know that some day in my mid 30's, maybe 40's, we will hit that "mid life crisis" stage where life feels monotonous. Routines need to be broken when the opportunity arises!

So between choosing comfort or adventure, I'm choosing adventure. I'm choosing the unknown path. I'm choosing an area that I'm not so sure about, but I'm young, and we'll figure it out. This experience in San Antonio has grown our marriage stronger, and I'm sure the next adventure will too!

Below I have a few pictures showing the events from last night! After the Drop Night Ceremony, 13 of us rented a party bus and went to Austin, hit up a few rooftop bars, and came back. It was a really fun few hours that I will never forget!


When each Lt got up in stage, they had a slide that the class wrote about them. This is what they wrote about Ryan. Made me laugh :) I love the part about keeping up with this wife on runs. And the Versace flight suit. That's my babe! 

 Ryan and another guy hand painted this sign. It was their class gift. "Target for Tonight" is the bar name, it's based off this tradition for naming a bar in England during WWII. 

This is Ryan crew. "The Guard Guys". These 4 Lt's all went through officer school together in January, all lived together in crappy dorms in Pueblo, CO from March-May, and now have been in San Antonio this whole time. They will unfortunately get split up for this next school, 3 are going to March AFB and one will be going elsewhere. 

This is where the party started! This was a ride for the night. So much fun! 

A few of the wives. And one of the girls is actually the only female pilot in his class. I have major respect for her! I think it'd be really tough to be a female pilot in what's still a primarily a "man's world".

There they are on the rooftops of Austin! It was so hard to leave Austin (we only got about 1 hour 30 minutes there). I love that city!! 

It was such a fun night that I will never forget! Life feels kind of surreal at times right now, meeting so many new people, working in this crazy new hospital, making such big decisions. I think it's going to be an interesting transition going back to Tucson when all this is said and done, as I feel like I've changed and grown a lot this summer.

Have you ever had to make a really difficult life choice where both roads had really positive aspects, and both had a few negative ones? Sometimes I wish I had a wizard. But that's why I pray to God.