The change in the tide

4 months ago I was broken… Life had gotten the better of me and grief had become my every day…

4 months ago I hit the lowest of my lows… and I faced them and admitted them…

4 months ago I realized that life will never stop because you’re out of control…

The low stayed low for a while… Around Christmas I just got mad… mad that I let myself crumble the way I did and that I had lost who I was…

Shortly after writing my last blog post I decided to fill my house up with some life again… I adopted a senior dog from a rescue… She’s been a saving grace… Gave me a routine again, helped me see my own self worth again… She sleeps in bed next to me… even burrows under the  covers occasionally…

I truly stopped caring that I was single, realizing that I just needed to learn how to love myself again after everything that had happened…

I opened myself up the the wonderous possibilities that life has in all ways… and I said, if something great comes along just say yes to it… What came along was finding me again..

I’ve begun to heal my relationship with food… I’ll never be 100% ok with all of that but I’m getting there… I get a sound breakfast in my system in the morning… I pack enough snacks and small munchies to make sure if I get hungry during the day at work I have something to eat… and I try to get a decent dinner in before too late at night…

I’ve now lost 65 lbs total… My goal is to lose another 15 by July 4th.  Totally doable in my opinion but I don’t obsess over it… It’s become an observation I’m embedded in.  I track my weight to see what foods impact me and how and I don’t get bent out of shape if I see a number bounce occasionally…

And I can do things I never thought I could… like hike a damn mountain…

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When the New Year came around… I was with a friend who is just a wonderful person… and I realize that I have good people around me now… and I entered the new year with no expectations… I want to be happy, healthy and peaceful… Content… Anything more than that is a bonus… I survived 2015… I’m going to be just fine…

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Getting Back to Life

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For 7 amazing days this was my view every morning…  Looking out from our house on Sabbath Hill Road in Belle Vue, Tortola… It was everything I could have asked for and more… I had absolutely no idea how burnt out I had become until I got down to that island – where responsibilities were minimal, where my biggest worry was about wearing enough sunscreen and navigating some narrow roads with my best friend (and amazing driver)…

I had reached a level of manic back home that I was completely unaware of… It took a good 2-3 days before the island lifestyle started to sink into my bones but once it did I accepted it with open arms…

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The people were great – we met some amazing locals and other people vacationing from all over the world – many who vacationed at the islands every year…

When it was time to go home we told the people we rented from that we intended to come back as soon as finances allowed us to… (we rented our house through Air B&B and it was fantastic – Olivia and Stany were great hosts and lived next door and were available any time we needed something)

In the airport in Miami when I was able to finally call home everyone started to comment how I sounded different, that I talked slower, seemed more relaxed, calmer, less anxious… It was true I really did… I just felt totally refreshed… Even when I jumped into some work things while working from home my first two days back I didn’t get stressed out – just took things as they came and rolled with the punches…

The day I got back my amazing grandmother turned 99.. Yes 99… we took her to dinner at our favorite restaurant/bar.  The bartender had a reserved sign on the bar for us and party hat for her.  He was so excited to have us.

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She said she didn’t want any cake… but when I ordered some she ended up eating almost all of it anyways…

I had a fantastic 30th birthday party the Saturday after I got back with my good friend Judge who just happened to also be turning 40 and made the most of the last few days I had off.

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Elsa cupcakes – sorry the photo is so dark… I’ll update with a better one from the baker and my good friend Mel’s account! (shoutout to MommaMels)IMG_5274

What goes better with cupcakes than a few shots…

Then it was back to real life.  I was determined to hold onto this relaxation I had found… determined…

It lasted 2 days…

Tuesday night as I sat at home I raged into an anxiety attack out of no where and all I could think was how could this happen so quickly.  So I decided I would just go down the list of things I could think of that would help to ease me out of it.  Since I couldn’t identify what caused it I focused on getting comfortable, warmed up, secure… I allowed myself to “stim” which is often associated with autism but we actually all do it to some level – when we jiggle our leg, all of those unconscious movements to calm our minds… mine – when I hit extreme anxiety is slight rocking… might make me look like a crazy lady but oh does it help…

I finally was able to calm my nerves enough to get into bed – got under my weighted blanket which – BEST INVESTMENT EVER – well really best gift since my mom got it for me… as soon as I was under it I started saying a few prayers, my favorite psalm and before I knew it I woke up a few hours later needing to roll over in bed…

I woke up this morning not feeling well at all so I’m wondering if the anxiety attack was actually my body freaking out over a quick onset virus or bug…

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Minnie held me up after today’s work out… I needed some comforting at 6am that’s for sure…

Despite everything I knew the key to getting back into a schedule would be maintaining the work out and eating habits I began before I left for vacation…  So back to prepped food and early morning work outs… AND the bf got me the new fitbit Charge which is pretty beastly at tracking – does a lot better than the flex at tracking steps and sleep… So time to keep moving forward… and I’m going to try and remember than life will not end if I don’t get something done this instant… Need to put my health first…

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I could almost touch you

Talk about an emotional weekend.  I was flying all kinds of high from Thursday night through Sunday and it was just one of those times where I found myself really speechless sometimes.  And that’s kind of a big deal for me.

While I share a good bit of my personal life on this blog I don’t overlap too much with my professional life.  I think I’ve alluded to my work in healthcare administration but I’ve really left it at that.  Over the past few years I’ve gotten really active in some of the professional organizations that focus on career development, education, and advancement in the field including sitting on a local chapter board.  I’ve met amazing people and gotten to take part in planning and being involved in some amazing events.

At our annual meeting Thursday night I was surprised when it was announced I had been selected for one of the early careerist awards.  I got to take home some super fancy chocolates since the glass award wasn’t available yet – I was completely ok with that.

My mom said how proud my dad would have been of me.  And some of the people at the event knew him so I it felt good to know that I was living up to our family name.

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it even came with an instruction sheet as to what each chocolate was and what it looked like.

Friday I spent some quality time at home with this cutie pie.  I took the day off since Ryan and I would be driving to Baltimore that afternoon.

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Licks for everyone

We got into Glen Burnie around 6 and after getting settled in headed to a local mexican joint – Mi Pueblo for dinner.  After a short wait we got this GIANT bowl of fresh made guacamole.

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Can’t even tell you how amazing it was.

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We also were excited because we had been on the hunt for the Flying Dog Holiday Collection which apparently was only available in Maryland.  Lucky us – they had a couple of cases left at the first store we went to and the cookie inspired beer was all ours.  Of course we had to sample some that night.

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If you find yourself in Maryland you probably want to try and track down a case of this.  Just saying.

Saturday was the Army Navy Football Game.  I hadn’t been to a game since 2007.  My dad was a graduate of West Point Military Academy and we had gone to games for years.  We would meet up with his old roommates from the Academy and tailgate, catch the game, make a weekend of it.  After he died it got harder to go to the games.  And after the 2007 game I just couldn’t really bring myself to do it.  Then Ryan mentioned wanting to go this year – completely unaware of my history with it.  And I said – I bet I can make that happen.  My dad’s old friends came through helping us find tickets and oh the emotions.

We went early to watch the March On of the Midshipmen and Cadets and while Army lost (again), it was really magical to me.  I felt like some doors I had kept locked up had been opened up again.  It was ok to be here and be close to him again.

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IMG_4785IMG_4786IMG_4787IMG_4741 IMG_4745 IMG_4752 IMG_4757 IMG_4759 IMG_4765 IMG_4779 IMG_4784I shed a few tears during the game I can’t lie.  I look forward to going again.

And as a surprise my cousin and his son ended up making a last minute trip down to the game as well.  So we had a chance to see them and possibly get a new tradition started.

We got back late Saturday and I may have been a total bump on a log yesterday. 

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Minnie was right there with me.  A new indestructible stuffed animal that held her attention for two minutes.  She was more interested in cuddling with the people who had been gone for a whopping day.

The other highlight of the weekend was one little text message I received while at the game Saturday.  Ryan and I are huge Pirates fans.  It actually how we met.  And this weekend was Pirates Fest.  We missed it because of the Army Navy Game which was a bit of a bummer but there is always next year.

One of the coaches on the team has always reminded me of my dad.  Rick Sofield – always a smile on his face, always so motivating, just makes me want to go out there and kick ass at everything I do when I see him get amped up over things.  I wrote him a hand written fan letter this summer – old school style.  I didn’t include a self addressed stamped envelop to get anything back so I never knew if he got it and read it.  But my friends know how much I just idolize the guy.  At the end of the season this year a twitter friend had a photo printed poster sized and got it signed by him for me when I was home sick and missed the last home stand.  And then I got this.

Yeah…. All the feels…

Thanks to Rob Judge for taking a moment to get Coach Sofield’s attention and ask about my letter and then to get a video that I’ve watched way too many times…

It might not seem like much but I felt so close to my dad this weekend…

And on the ride home Saturday night I listened to an hour of Matthew Mayfield songs, and as I drove past the exit on the turnpike to where I grew up Follow You Down came on and I knew as always that he was there.

Louisville…….. and bourbon

My best friend Melissa and I took a long weekend to Louisville Kentucky this past weekend.  If you follow me on twitter or instagram you’ve already seen many of these photo’s but of course I have to add some commentary now and let you know what a fabulous little get away it was.

We left early Friday morning and took a very short detour to Frankfort, KY to the Buffalo Trace Distillery so that I could load up on their Bourbon Cream… It’s pretty much to die for… you should try it… seriously…

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We hit up a local, well reviewed cafe called Adelia’s which I have to say didn’t disappoint.  I had a baja panini and it was fantastic to say the least.  The cafe is locally sourced and without a doubt had that fresh flair.  Melissa opted for a wrap which she described as stir fry in a wrap.

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Then it was onto to Louisville.  We checked into the hotel and after a quick recharge headed downtown to begin the Urban Bourbon Trail which is a great way to not only see downtown Louisville but to challenge yourself to try new bourbon drinks.  You check into designated bars after a purchase and after 9 bars over the course of time you get a t-shirt. Now, I am not a bourbon drinker…. at all…. like I catch a whiff and I’m like ok eyes burning and coughing… Melissa is a bad ass and drinks it straight…

But the bartenders were pretty amazing and when I’d say I’m kind of scared of bourbon they’d make me something that would mask the flavor a bit and boom before a knew it I had a new love for bourbon.  And who knew the drinks could be so pretty.

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Don’t worry those weren’t all mine!

Stopped at Bluegrass Brewing Company for dinner… Nachos were consumed so fast that we couldn’t even snap a picture and the pizza wasn’t too bad either.  I picked up a 4pack of bourbon barrel stout to bring home too.

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Saturday we were up early enough to hit up the anniversary tour of the Evan Williams Bourbon Distillery downtown (Heaven Hill) which was really neat because it was a commercialized and modern way to present the history of bourbon.

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And then we ventured onto the City Taste Tour of Louisville.  If you go to Louisville you need to do this tour.  You see a little bit of everything in 3 1/2 hours and it is affordable, the guides are fantastic and just DO IT.

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Just some of the sites we got to stop at…

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A candy shop across the river in Indiana open for over 120 years that had great chocolate covered honeycombs

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Old Louisville with Victorian Mansions just to die for and walking paths that mad you feel like you went back in time, gas lamps and all.

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Churchill Downs – we even caught a race!

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The Falls of the Ohio River

That night we stopped at Havana Rumba in St. Matthews right outside of Louisville for some Cuban food and yes – can we please get something like this in Pittsburgh… or can someone tell me where a cuban restaurant like this is hiding?

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We grabbed breakfast on the way home Sunday and called the trip a success.  All in all it was quite a fabulous trip.  Affordable – great history and you can easily fill up a weekend there.  Go – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s to you Louisville – thanks for your hospitality.

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