Check it out: http://hemarriedawriter.tumblr.com/
Check it out: http://hemarriedawriter.tumblr.com/
I've had the unusual pleasure of being HOME for the past week and have been purposeful in enjoying this time and soaking up every minute of this reprieve from my usual crazy travel schedule.
These six-word reflections sum it all up:
Ready for spring, feels like winter.
Spring cleaning revitalizes my hoarding soul.
Lucy's shedding is driving us crazzzzy!
Wouldn't change it for the world.
Lucy and I's runs = perfect date.
I am going to run faster.
Vacation Saturday. Can't come soon enough.
Loving time at home for me.
Reading, reading, reading, and more reading.
Down 12 pounds, feels so good.
Haven't had soda in 40 days.
Longing for 'us time' next week.
Wine, food, walking, wine, food, talking.
Packing for vacation is so different.
Tuesday with my girls was blissful.
Complete with bracelets and hamburger necklace.
Getting my required nine hours sleep.
Back to writing in my journal.
Still afraid someone will take it.
Can't stand a stranger reading it.
The Today Show, Ellen, and Katie.
Book club, running dates, happy hours.
Sleeping, working, reading, education for me.
Only two more sleeps until vacation!
Probably overpacked but still forgot something.
All that matters is comfortable shoes.
And wine. Wine makes everything better.
It's been a crazy four days, folks. Totally. Crazy. I'm sitting here today, beginning the reflection process and finding the lessons I was meant to learn.
Allow me to provide the back-story.
Because I've been traveling like a mad-woman lately, my husband decided to book a three-day weekend get-away up in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado, for our little family of three (yes, I'm including our dog here). And we were ecstatic. Our whole goal was to get away from 'people' and so we packed our car (to the brim) for three days in a cabin. We were planning to hike and then come back to the cabin each day to tuck in, listen to music, read, cook, and enjoy adult beverages while the world continued to spin on without us.
On Friday we packed everything up and took to the hills. On the drive, I searched for dog-friendly hikes we could take while we waited for check-in time at the cabin. I found one. Lion's Gulch. Six miles outside of Estes Park, dog-friendly, mid-difficulty, and a parking lot. Perfect.
Because I had no pockets (argh... first lesson learned), I tucked my phone and wallet into my bag and my bag into the car and we grabbed Lucy and my camera (thank God) and took off. And it was awesome. The day was glorious--55 degrees and sunny--and Lucy was overjoyed to be climbing and sniffing and getting worn out on our little family hike. We stopped a bit short, when the trail got icy and more treacherous, and decided to turn-around in order to head into town and take the loop around the lake to kill the last hour or two before we could check in.
As I opened the back door to let Lucy jump in, I noticed there was glass all over the back-seat. My first instinct was that Lucy had broken something on the drive up. Eric figured it out first and realized the glass was from the broken window. And then panic struck. And all of our worst fears were solidified. My bag was gone (which held my computer, iPad, phone, and wallet), Eric's bag was gone (which held his iPad mini), my suitcase was gone, the list goes on and on... And then I stopped breathing.
I remember leaning over, putting my head between my knees, and focusing on getting my breath back. I'm pretty sure Eric was yelling and kicking the ground and Lucy was wondering what in the hell was going on. Once we calmed for a bit, we got our wits about us and knew we had to call the police. Of course there's no cell phone coverage at the trail head, so we got all of the glass out of the car and headed to Estes Park. I immediately began canceling my bank cards while Eric went inside only to learn that the trail we were at is in a different jurisdiction and we'd have to call that department. Which we did.
The police arrived and kindly worked with us to fill out a police report and we headed back to Denver. We were told to find serial numbers of our electronics if we could but to not get our hopes up... these kind of cases don't really get solved. They've had some problems at that trail head before. Not very inspiring.
Once home I located my birth certificate, SS card, and expired passport (thank God). And then we began the tedious work of listing the contents of everything we lost (with dollar amounts... total loss? Nearly $6,000.), contacting insurance, rescheduling my next workshop in California, fixing the car window, replacing the stuff that we couldn't live without, and figuring out how I was going to get on a plane by the following Wednesday for a meeting in Seattle.
Total nightmare. Yes, it's just stuff (and I'll get to that), but it was A LOT of stuff. Including my journal. My personal journal. Ouch.
Once we started to catch our breath again, I went from hurt to rage and turned myself into Nancy Drew. Through iCloud on my Apple products, I was able to see the recent tabs on my iPad. And guess what? There was a Facebook page tabbed. I quickly took a screen shot of it and looked in my 'Find my iPhone app' again to find that my iPad was being used--at that very moment--in Estes Park. I frantically called the police and shared my discoveries and sat on my hands to prevent myself from driving up there and taking care of things myself. Unbelievable. Could they be so stupid?
The deputy informed me that she (of the Facebook page) wasn't at the location anymore (the public library, probably to get online) and they weren't sure they'd be able to find her as her address didn't seem to be correct. Because I continued my own personal investigation, I informed the deputy that I knew where she worked and who her husband was. This was good information and so the search continued.
Shortly after that time, I got a phone call from the deputy who was in HER house and was having me describe our belongings because everything appeared to be there. O.M.G.
After obtaining a search warrant, they found nearly everything else. My computer was still missing but they had Eric's bag, my bag, my wallet, my phone, my suitcase, the two iPads... a lot of stuff. The search for the computer (and camera bag, telephoto lens, and iPod) was still on, however.
Apparently, we may have uncovered a bigger crime ring. There are several felonies pending on these people and more people to locate and question and because of that, they have to hold our belongings as evidence. Dammit. I get it, but dammit.
I asked if I could pretty-please have my wallet back and they agreed so yesterday I drove to Ft. Collins to retrieve my ID, etc. As I was leaving the police station, the deputy called me to let me know that they found my computer. THEY FOUND MY COMPUTER! I sat in my car and cried for a minute (it's not about the computer, you guys, it's about the contents ON the computer... I hadn't backed up in about two weeks (I know, I know) and lost at least four major presentations... plus I wasn't comfortable with someone having access to my dissertation, work files, etc., etc). Again, it's going into evidence. The criminals don't have it but I don't have it yet either.
I've asked for permission to drive back up and copy the contents of the computer to my hard drive and it sounds like this will be able to happen on Friday. They also want my fingerprints for 'elimination prints' and hopefully will have more information as to when we'll get some of our belongings back... and what we really got back and what's still missing (clothes, shoes, journal, etc.).
Crazy, huh? The good guys win this time. It's all so surreal.
And sooooo, back to the lessons learned part... here's goes:
1. When tragedy strikes, the best words one can say are, "I am so sorry. That is terrible. Can I buy you a drink?" It's not the time for advice or 'You know what you should have done' suggestions, or finger-pointing. It's time for hugs and empathy and kindness. And drinks. We have the greatest friends in the entire world, I swear. All weekend long we heard, "I am so sorry. That is terrible. Can I buy you a drink?" and were were so thankful for this.
2. Even if you think you're being sneaky and hiding things in your car (or trunk), someone may be watching you do just that. Hide things BEFORE you arrive at your destination. I wonder if they didn't watch us put things in the back of the car knowing there was no cell coverage up there and that most likely, we'd be gone for at least an hour. Cause they even got the Garmin out of the glove compartment that I put there after we had parked at the trail head. Creepy. I truly believe they watched us the entire time.
3. Set up all security, passwords, iCloud, Find my iPhone apps, etc., etc., on every device you have, if remotely possible. Even if it costs money. And use them. It worked. It. Worked. I found the criminals. I found them because of technology.
4. People are generally kind. From the police officers to the cell phone salesman to the Apple saleswoman to the evidence technician to the suitcase salesman to the credit card operators, everyone was kind and compassionate and thoughtful in their commentary to us this weekend. The Apple saleswoman even hugged us. And I hugged her back. Hard.
5. Even if all of your make-up is returned to you, don't use it. The evidence technician told me that 'she' had put my make-up in with hers and was clearly using it. No, I do not want to put that on my face now. Thank you very much.
6. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we had too much stuff in the car, I didn't really NEED my computer that weekend, blah, blah, blah... I don't even want to get into those details. The truth is, we'd do things differently next time but it is what it is. At the end of the day, it's all OUR stuff and even if we had left everything on the dashboard and the front seat with blinkers on it, it wasn't theirs to take. Period.
7. I love my husband. While I stopped breathing and never stopped crying he stayed with me and kept us in forward motion. He went into his 'we're-in-control' mode and took over in ways that I wasn't capable of. He kissed my nose and hugged me hard and understood when I burst into tears at random times for three days in a row. He replaced everything I needed first, waiting to replace his own things later. While we missed our weekend away, we got another weekend to learn about the power of 'us' over any material possession and at the end of the day, if we have the two of us and Lucy, we don't need anything else. I really believe that.
8. You can't live scared. As I went into my scolding myself phase, my parents kindly reminded me that if we hadn't had all of that 'stuff' in the car, it would have been in our house and someone could have broken in here and taken it all while we were gone. It's just the truth. You have to be smart and thoughtful, but you also have to live your life. I never, not in a million years, would have imagined this would have happened at a trail head in the mountains. We live in Capital Hill you guys. You just can't assume anything.
9. I know this, you know this, but I'll write it anyway... back up your computer every. damn. day. I was relentless about this while working on my dissertation but I'd gotten a bit 'lazier' about this in recent months. It was about two weeks since my last back-up and so while I have MOST of my 'stuff,' I don't have ALL of my stuff. Yet. And that just sucks.Back. Up. Now.
10. There IS justice in the world. Thank God for slick technology, not so savvy criminals, and a responsive police department. The good guys won this time. Awe-some.
So this is a bit of a rip-off, I know. I'm a HUGE fan of the website www.1000awesomethings.com and I'm obsessed with my daily calendar that gives me one awesome thing to be thankful for each day (today: 'Do Nothing days'), which has led me to begin my own list of awesome things, which I'm renaming.
Things That Are Full of Awesome:
So I've been on a bit of a 'downward spiral' this week... My work-life balance got so far out of whack that I lost control. Of everything. My diet. My work-outs. My calendar. My nails. My flossing. My self-talk. My sleep. My meals. My politeness. My reading. All of it. And you know how fond I am of 'control.'
Sooooooooo... here's where I switch gears. And I stop the spiral. Time to take a different view of the world.
I'm starting here. With some random positive thoughts as they come to me... I am committing to at least five.
1. Today when I returned to my hotel room after my workshop, all I wanted was carbs and sleep. And lots of both. Maybe in cycles. I envisioned eating some carbs, sleeping, waking up to eat more carbs, going back to bed, waking up to room service carbs... you get the idea... BUT I didn't give in. Somehow, someway, by some outside force greater than me, I resisted. I put my phone down, closed my computer, put on my tennis shoes and shorts and headed outside. And I walked. For forty glorious minutes. In the warm Florida sunshine. And I breathed.... which is something that I hadn't done since Monday, I'm quite sure. And wow, it worked. Forty minutes later I returned to my hotel room and to my inbox a new woman. Why, oh why, can't I remember that all. the. time.????
2. Have you flown on Delta lately? 'Cause the safety video is priceless. PRICELESS. They've added HUMOR (smart humor) and I found myself actually paying attention. For example, when the part of the speech comes up about only using approved electronic devices, they cut to a scene of a little old woman who is sitting in her middle seat on the plane, looking up the approved devices on the safety card, and when she sees that a 'boom box' is NOT allowed, she pouts, shakes her head, and removes her very large, very old-school boom box from her lap and places it under the seat in front of her. Classic.
3. I'm in Florida right now. And on the way to today's workshop I passed a petting zoo, a horse farm, multiple Dunkin Donuts, palm trees, and a guy parked on the side of the road selling 'gator jerky' out of the back of his truck. Awe-some. These are not sights I see at home. Traveling is good.
4. Let's go back to Dunkin Donuts for a minute. Whhhhhhy do we not have these in Denver? Whhhhhhy, I ask you, whhhhhy??????? They serve the best. damn. flavored. coffee. in the world. Flavored straight from heaven, I swear. I stopped for vanilla on the way to the workshop and hazelnut on the way home. And I plan to do it again tomorrow. I wonder if I can sneak out for lunch, too?
5. Tomorrow is Friday and that means that tomorrow night I'll be in my bed, with my man and my dog. And on Saturday? I'll be in a small theater with my man and Flava Flav. And his giant necklace clock. Yeeeeeaaahhhhh boy!!!!!!
Yup. Forcing myself to write that out worked as well as the walk did. I'm a whole new woman now. Phew.
Eric and I just returned from five days in sunny Scottsdale, and I am feeling incredibly thankful that we have made Thanksgiving 'ours.' It's my favorite holiday of them all because it's about us. Just us. And I like 'us.' A lot.
I am thankful that we stayed in a beautiful room, with a beautiful view, in a resort that had a pool, a casino, a golf course, a spa, a coffee bar, a cigar bar, a regular bar, and a wait staff who brought the drinks from the bar to the pool. And a buffet.
I am thankful that the gym was on the 14th floor and offered an awe-inspiring view as I frantically tried to sweat out the previous day's decisions in order to make room for the decisions of a new day.
I am thankful that I got to see my girl. In Scottsdale. Awesome.
I am thankful that E and I had time for lingering conversations, incredible food, belly laughter, and stunning views of the sunrise, welcoming us to another day full of awesome.
I am thankful for smooth travel, a cold that finally went away (ish), perfect weather, flip-flops, sun-kissed cheeks, magazines devoured, books finished and started, pool-side snacks, and not counting calories (ish).
And I am thankful that our friends could watch our girl for us.
...because I'm also thankful to be back home for one night before the real-world welcomes us back tomorrow morning.
It's true. I am a total journal hog. I have an addiction to journals. Kinda like I do with lip gloss. As I sit here at my desk, without straining, I can see nine journals surrounding me. Some are written in, some are waiting. (I can also see three lip glosses.) Every single time I find a store that carries journals, I'm drawn in and have to play a little game in my head that goes something like this, "Tina, you have a dozen journals sitting at home waiting to be used. You do not NEED another journal... step away..." Followed quickly by this, "But look at how amazing this one is. It feels good (so smooth!), it smells good (yes, I smell them), it's inspiring (quotes!), and hey, there are worse things to spend money on... (like cars or houses or drugs or fast food or...)" And once I've gone through this rationalization, I'm usually at the cash register about three seconds later with said journal (and perhaps a new lip gloss) in my hand.
I am addict. My name is Tina and I am addicted to journals.
As of late, this one's my favorite (here's the cover):
Awesome, right? And it's got a bendable, but not too soft cover, an attached ribbon bookmark, and each page has a quote, a beautiful, beautiful quote. (I am also looking for a support group for my love of quotes.)
Here's a peek inside:
So yes, this journal (and all journals, all over the world) is what's making me happy today.
I am thankful for journals.
And lip gloss.
Yikes. I haven't written here in awhile. Truth be told, I've got a couple other projects in the works that have been eating up my writing time, but I miss this. This outlet. So here I am.
Without a thing to say.
It's election day and I could talk about all of that but I'm sort of ready to stop thinking and talking about all of that for awhile.
And so instead, I'm going to focus on the fact that this is my first post for November and for me (and so many others), this month is about being thankful--in a conscious way. I love reading all the Facebook statuses where folks share what they're thankful for each day. And so here's what I'm thankful for today:
1. Hotels that serve a nice, fresh breakfast. With hardboiled eggs. And oatmeal. And coffee--in to-go cups. (With a sweet little old lady worker who tells me I look pretty every morning.)
2. A morning commute, in an unfamiliar city, that's smooth and hassle-free.
3. Being in a school--a middle school--filled with squealing kids and adults who say hello and who refill my hotel coffee cup. I miss having colleagues that I see on a regular basis.
4. A text from my husband in the middle of the day who makes me giggle.
5. A text from my sister in the middle of the day who asks me to join her in a new challenge.
6. A talk with my parents at the end of the day where we cover everything from politics, to education, to restaurant eating, to Christmas, to Thanksgiving, to Lucy. Sealed with an 'I love you; I love you more' good-bye.
7. A Starbuck's within walking distance of my hotel where I can eat a 'Protein Bistro Box,' sip on coffee, and prep for tomorrow's workshop to coffee shop tunes, and a glaring, beautiful LACK of a TV.
8. Wearing the same jeans for three days in a row and feeling juuuuust fine about it.
9. Daydreaming about spending three glorious days with my giggling girlfriend in a new city, where the only thing to worry about is what to wear.
10. Waking up to more holiday commercials and less political bully ads.
And there you have it. Ten for today.
And one more to grow on: YOU. Thank YOU for reading this. xoxo
Is there any greater joy than coming home from a long day of work only to step out of your shoes and into slippers? Out of work clothes and into sweat pants and a sweatshirt? Out of jewelry? Out of make-up? With a hot cup of tea in hand?
I'm in the midst of a cold, rainy, dark night, away from home, in a hotel room. And while my tiredness and loneliness makes me want to head to the manager's reception in the lobby where I could devour chips and drink free wine, I am instead relishing how good it feels to be in comfy clothes, how happy I am to have brought my slippers, and how incredible this pumpkin tea smells resting next to me here. Mmmmm.
And I'm taking time to recognize today's gratitudes:
1. I slept for nine hours last night. N-i-n-e. I needed that. My husband always reminds me that the number on the clock shouldn't dictate my bedtime... by body should. And I listened. And I woke up feeling refreshed. Finally.
2. I got in a great work-out this morning. 3.25 miles on the treadmill, 17 burpees, and a plethora of sit-ups. Working out in the morning makes me feel alive, focused, and soooo ready to take on my day.
3. I was surrounded by dedicated, passionate, funny, kind educators today. How lucky am I? In the past few days I've mistakenly taken to reading some not-so-happy educator blogs that make my heart ache and to be honest, my blood boil. Today, though, I vowed to stop reading those. Why? Because when I am in the room, side-by-side, with folks who are willing to do an-y-thing to ensure that that each and every student learns makes my heart happy. These are the folks who I want to focus on.
4. I have the new Health Magazine sitting on my bed, waiting to be read. Magazines make me happy. They feel good, they smell good, the pictures are delicious, and I love ripping out the 'good stuff' and glue-sticking those nuggets into my journal. (This is about as crafty as I get.)
5. I had time to stop for a non-fat, no whip, pumpkin spice latte this morning and that? was awesome. The barista was delightful and the old men who were sitting in the corner table all said good morning to me on the way in and wished me a wonderful day on the way out.
I'm avoiding social media for the rest of the evening because I am not feeling up for the political postings... Instead, I'm going to slip under the covers with my magazine and feel grateful for this moment.
Tomorrow marks Day 30 of our 30 Day Challenge (I was to eat an apple every day and my husband was to walk Lucy, our dog, 2 miles every day) and here's what I'm reflecting on:
1. 30 days is a long time. I started out strong. So strong. Admittedly, the last few days have been difficult. Not because I couldn't find an apple, but because I was 'over it.' I missed two days in a row this past weekend, simply because I opted to 'not care.'
2. Apples are good. They're filling, they're easy to find, they take a long time to eat, and the good ones are really good. So good that on more than one occasion, I had two in one day. The bad ones, however, are disappointing. I was 'caught' a couple of times where I had to grab an apple at the airport or accept the apple being served on-site during a workshop, and I didn't finish either one. Oops.
3. Habits are difficult to make and/or break. The formality of a 'challenge' is great at the beginning, tiresome later on. For me, this pertains to nearly all areas of my life. Avoid processed foods? Great for a week or two... not so great after that. Exercise every day? Great for a week or two... and then no so much. Drink 64 oz. of water? Great for a week or two... and then.... well, you get the idea.
4. Walking Lucy every day seemed to be 'easier' because she was counting on Eric (or both of us when I was at home). A-ha! Lesson learned: Having accountability helps... if someone were depending on me to eat those apples, perhaps I wouldn't have missed here and there quite so much. I'm not so good at being accountable to only myself. Interesting.
5. I'm tempted to try a 15 Day Challenge the next time around. 30 days seemed a bit long... but is 15 days enough?
6. In the midst of my 30 Day Challenge, I also accepted a 100 Day Challenge (The Burpee Challenge, which goes like this: Day one: complete one burpee; day two: complete two burpees... all the way to 100). I'm on Day 10 and still going strong. I think that's because there's accountability to this challenge (a Facebook page where you must 'report out' every day) and a competition (some of you know what competition does for me).
So there you have it... Maybe what I've discovered is that, for me, I need someone to depend on me, accountability, and competition...
Or maybe I need to change my mindset so I think of my 30 days more like this:
I'm writing this on the plane, with a glass of wine on tray table, attempting to regain my composure after boarding tonight's flight.
So all this week I bragged and bragged about how I fit six days of 'stuff' into one carry-on suitcase. Yay, me!!! On the flight out, said carry-on slid easily into the overhead bin and as I cozied into my seat, I was beaming with pride. Go me!
Today, however, was a different story. Keep in mind that I did not buy one stinkin' thing this week and yet, my 'stuff' somehow expanded. I knew my bag was overstuffed (I think it has to do with what I wearing on the way out (jeans, sweater, clunky shoes) and what I'm wearing now (simple dress and flats)), but it closed. Without the expander section. Phew.
My first flight utilized the 'a la cart' system so I was in luck there. My second flight was the usual thrust-your-bag into the overhead bin story. Not so lucky this time.
I spotted the open bin closest to my seat, threw my smaller bag on the seat itself, and proceeded to use both hands and all of my strength (I did indeed 'bend at the knees') to hoist my carry-on up and into the bin, having to stop and rest it on my shoulder mid-point. I may have grunted. At this point I'm waiting for a hero to step up and come to my rescue as the bag would NOT budge. Instead, as I glanced around, I found everyone quickly avoiding eye contact with me and continuing to sit smugly in their seats as I pushed and pushed and pushed some more, only to bring the bag back down to the floor in an attempt to remove some of the crap stuffed into that worthless front pocket.
Lift again. Rest on shoulder. Grunt more loudly. Push, push, pushpushpushpush. Pull damn bag down again and throw it on the ground, look around, and see everyone quickly avert their eyes once again. God forbid someone stands up and helps me. I swear to God, with one more hand helping me push, that baby would have gone in. I swear.
But alas, I couldn't get it on my own and so I pulled the damn thing down again.
This time the flight attendant comes to see what the hold-up is and as I looked her in the eye and told her that my bag wasn't fitting (and apologized for it), she took the bag from me and whisked it to the back. As I gathered all the crap from my seat and sat down, it was all I could do to not say out loud to my fellow travelers, "Are you kidding me, People? No one can get up and help a fellow human being these days? No one??????"
Seriously. I am trying to shake off the feeling that if I had long blonde hair, a bigger bra size, a smaller waist, higher heels, and a shorter dress, multiple men would have bounded their way from the back of the plane to be my savior. Shake it off, Tina, shake it off. Instead, I'm focusing on the lost art of basic human kindness.
I believe that if you see someone struggling, you stand up, and you help.
If you see someone drop something, you bend over, and you help pick it up.
If you see someone smile at you, you smile back, even bigger.
If someone holds the door for you, you say thank you.
If someone asks you a question, you kindly provide an answer.
If someone's lost, you help them become found.
If someone's hurting, you offer a hug, or an ear.
It's simple human kindness and I fear that we're losing it sometimes.
Ok, I feel better now. Thank you.