Run Ali Run

OK I admit, I am not a runner.  Walking suits me just fine.  Running is one of those things I just never got into.  I don’t feel the need to be the fastest person on the block.  Maybe I read Aesop’s the Tortoise and the Hare a few too many times.  Still… there is something about it that intrigues me.  The runner’s high, the peace and therapy of a good run sound amazing.  Not to mention the health benefits that clearly come from developing the habit.

So starting small.  Training starts today.  The past have just been warm ups.  Now on to the good stuff.

I already mentioned that I have a jar of marbles previously.  At the end of 100 miles (1 per marble) I am treating myself to some bright colorful new sneakers!

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Girls have to strut in new shoes somewhere so I have decided on my place.

The ELECTRIC RUN!

Electric-Run-Pic-3

Because frankly the party looks amazing!

Volunteering at the Color My Run in Charlotte was a blast so I expect nothing but fun for this one as well.  Glow in the dark goodness!  This time I am all in.

Just so happens to also be National Running Day today!

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So here goes nothing!  Cheers.  Get out and get moving… or at least kick it on the treadmill for a while.  Do it now, because there will come a day all too soon where you just no longer can.  When that day comes, I want to sit back and laugh about all the memories I made!

So are you in?

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Get Ready to Swim

For some reason I keep being told how its raining today.

It has been raining all week it seems.  Everyday.  Rain, rain, rain.  Yet people feel the need to point that out. An email, a chat, facebook & twitter post…. so much buzz about the rain.  Even the dating site I am on sent out an email sharing the fact that it’s raining now & that increases the likelihood of people logging in.  So?

Usually I love rainy days, but this is starting to get old.  Baxter looks up at me every time I try to let him out with a pitiful look as if I have the power to make the rain stop but just am not.  Like I am mean.  Some sad pug torture.

The rain is go for my own torture – homework.

Nose to the books.  So much to do.  I made the mistake of making a list as soon as I woke up of all the upcoming homework assignments and when they would be do.  Hoped that it would help me prioritize and schedule it all to be done.  Instead it just added to the feeling of drowning.

But I know I can tread water.

It will get done.

I’m just grateful to have a nice raft to float in while I get through this.  Support and encouragement keep me afloat.  Even when I start to doubt myself, I’m lucky enough to have great people around me cheering me on.  In life and now in this endeavour.

So while I may be going a bit stir crazy and wondering what on earth I have gotten myself into, I know in the end this whole experience is going to lead me to exactly where I am meant to be.

In 3 out of the 5 classes we have had to go around the room in some fashion and introduce ourselves and why we are taking the course.  I have been shocked at some of the things people say.  One was so brazen to actually say they were only taking the class to appease their parents.  They themselves had no idea what they wanted to do but they didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk pushing papers.  All I could think was, then get out of the room and stop wasting their money and our time.  Guess there was a time when I too waded through courses just because they were needed to graduate, but I always found something of value in it and was never so rude as to start the semester off like that.  Not under their breath quietly said it, but when he was called on directly to the teacher said it.  Feel very lucky to be in course that have value and meaning to me.

So let it rain down.  Wash away the dirt and grime from the world and let it be what it is meant to be.  Sparkle on.

As for me…. back to the books!

The Dare – Student Edition

Caffeine has nothing on enthusiasm.  Another day wide away before I need to be.  Just too excited to get going to the next phase.

Virgo: Travel plans that you have been working on for a while are finally taking shape now. Or, perhaps, you’re enrolling in an educational program, making your upcoming journey a mental one. Either way, you’re at the threshold of a great adventure and previous resistance continues to fall away as Mars in your sign gains speed. Fortunately, you receive an extra boost of help today from the practical Sun-Pluto trine, so focus on a single goal and work to make your dreams come true.

Sounds like I am right where I need to be.  Love it when you do something because you know its what is right for you & then you end up getting all these confirmations that you are exactly where you need to be.

Yes its slightly scary to take the leap, but I know now I have wings & with the effort, I will soar.

End of another chapter on the resume.  May seem slightly sudden, but its been coming for a while.  I am feeling wonderful about it & ready to start working towards my next phase in life.   The experience was valuable.    So the application is in, transcripts are on their way and my FAFSA is in the works as well as plans to get by for however long this ends up taking to build the dream.

I’m putting my money where my mouth is & walking the talk.  If you only live once, there is no reason to wait a moment more to reach for the dream.

Also time to be slightly realistic & make a plan!  So the plan. (yes… again the Virgo is going to try to plan!)  This time I am less afraid & more focused on getting through the tough times to where I want to be.  I am in a holding pattern til I can confirm if I will be starting school in the summer session or the fall.  Also need to confirm on the financial aspects.  The age old do I do the student loan question.  I have never had one before, but this time I don’t expect anyone to pay for this but myself.  My parents and both sets of grandparents were kind enough to bless me with my bachelors degree.  My PHR was paid for by a former employer.  These building blocks certainly are paying off & I am truly lucky to have had them.  Now to use them to grow on.  Sure scholarships & grants would be great but most I have found are for undergraduates and single moms.  (PLEASE feel free to alert me to any that I may qualify for in the comments! I am very open to working on getting them & if your lead pays off, who knows I may reward you.  Don’t get too excited though I will be a college student on a budget!)

So again the plan, or the challenge I am setting for myself:

  1. Work out at least 4 times a week 30 minutes
  2. Keep waking up by 9:00 am for at least 5 days per week
  3. STUDY!  No sense waiting for classes to begin learning.  Time is now.  Learn vocabulary, concepts, forms etc.
  4. Improve typing speed
  5. Live on $100 a week (But I am changing the rules on this one)

Each week I am going to limit myself to $100 per week to eat, entertain myself, etc on.  This will not include bills, gas, medication or pet expenses.  It will include clothes, food, going out, all that extra stuff.  Again there is a way to add to the amount!  Achieve in order to get more.  Reward system.  Budget living again, but with hope.

As before – Any food in the house or anything given to me won’t count cost wise.  Also I can and will find ways to earn cash. Still resolving not to touch the 401k!  To add to the weekly allowance I can gain some extra cash flow by earning it:

  • For every application for a scholarship, grant or employment I complete & submit = $1.00
  • For every hour I volunteer = $1.00
  • For every interview I go on = $1.00
  • For every extra 30 minutes of exercise beyond the 1st 4 sessions per week = $1.00
  • Each day I track over 10,000 steps in a day = $1.00
  • For each book I finish = $1.00 for each book, $5.00 for anything related to the law field.

So back to the plan.  Tracking everything I do.  My life is my job.  For now at least.  I still am doing the catering service and actually am working a wedding today.  Perhaps with the increase in film production locally lately, I will find myself doing extra work again soon.  Once I get the green light on classes & can figure out my school schedule, I can get a better idea on what hours I can work.  Then its job hunt time.  But for now I am not sure if I’m going to summer or fall session & not 100% confirmed where I will be studying.  So a lot is up in the air.

I’m beyond excited.  Feels 100% right for me.  Can work in a field where again I am helping others.  Law school could be an option down the road, but I believe I am more into the research and administrative assistance side.  Not sure I would be much for the public speaking in a court room.  This way I get to be part of the team & support in the efforts but get to stay out of the limelight.  Completely know the value of support.  Reminded how much of a gift it can be as I do this with the support of friends & family.

Not alone and not accepting defeat in this fight.  Time to grow.  Time to prove myself once again.  Time to survive and thrive!

I’m open to any advice or suggestions that you have.  Please feel free to contact me if there is anything to share.  Encouragement, advice, links, all completely welcomed.

Now I’m off to search for scholarships and read a little before I am off to assist with making a bit of magic for a happy couple (& getting a great workout, food & my next paycheck!).

PIER ONE GIVE AWAY WINNER!!!

In honor of my recent bout with the Sinister Sinus Infection, I should give away these adorable tissues to everyone who read thru the sniffy complaining & whining.

But unfortunately I won’t be.  Lets just move right past that whole illness thing & go on to better days! I know I am ready.  The stuffy nose may still be here, but I am feeling better.  Soon back to normal.

Oh & if you really are in love with those tissues, you can easily snag a package at Pier One Imports.  Seriously they are too cute to use, but I would anyway!

pier one dreaming

I am lucky enough to have a couple of Pier Ones in town & there isn’t a time I go in there where I don’t feel like a kid in a toy store – wishing I could at least pick one thing to take with me since I’ve been such a good girl.  More often than not, my wishes exceed my checking account, but the dreaming is always fun.

Yesterday I made it through the entire day of work and all the chaos of being out most of the week.  Came home, checked my personal email &  felt like that kid being rewarded for being good! I won a gift card to Pier One!  Not even joking here.  One of my favorite blogs to dream with Courtney Out Loud, was doing a contest & of course I entered.  One of the ways to enter was to comment with what you would buy if you won.  Which lead to a couple of hours of dreaming & the verdict was either the new bed I have been wanting or a chair to replace the ottoman that has been pulling double duty as both the intended ottoman & sewing stool at my desk.  Both choices would be MAJOR improvements.  Imagine my surprise when I won!

So now the fun challenge begins.  Do I keep dreaming about ideas or hold myself to the two choices? Whatever I end up doing, its going to be GREAT!  Spending the $50 prize and more cash will not be a problem in Pier One!

So a BIG THANK YOU to Courtney Out Load & Pier One.

You have truly made a cruddy week wonderful!

Outside of a dog a book is man’s best.

Since adding the 10 on 10 aspect to this blog, I have really started to look forward to the 10th of each month.  Its a chance to just give without a reason or giving myself grief about “can I afford to do this?”, “is there a better way to spend this cash”… nope.  Budgeted & its not my money – its to be shared.  More than that its a chance to support in efforts I care about or are inspired by.

This month I am certainly inspired.

Having just finished a book within a couple of days, I am officially bitten by the reading bug.  Started book number 3 of 2012 – still another non-fiction one that is slowly being read, but another fiction work has sucked me in.  I know reading on the treadmill isn’t going to win any races, but it certainly made that 30 minutes fly faster than ever!

I am so grateful for being able to read.

Its a gift that my parents gave to me early in life.  Teachers who knew that by learning to read, you give keys to life.  So many lessons and secrets that would never be discovered otherwise are found within the pages bound in each cover.  Knowledge, guidance, confirmation and reminders.  Even a space to get away from life..  all discovered in books.  The library was a place where we were very familiar, even before the days where my Dad retired from teaching to work there.  New books were always coming into our house.  So many nights spent together reading “just one more story” before we were tucked in & lights out.

evidently my sister was really excited to hear about the Baskin Robbins adventures

Historically, (WAY back when) I know it was something taught to boys, not girls – since it was more for business and government which was not for the fairer sex.  Now I am lucky enough to live in an era where barely anything is off limits for me as a girl.  I can explore the world equally.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  ~Sir Richard Steele

Part of me still struggles with reading electronically, but it works.  It is easy & I guess eco-friendly.  But there is a magic beauty to be found in turning a page to find written words there for you to see.

So this month, I want to share the gift.

I want to help others to read.

There is nothing that will ever give me a glimpse into what the world is like for someone who is illiterate, but I know from work that there are adults locally who simply do not have the skill.  It breaks my heart & I have to wonder what life they have had to endure to reach adulthood without anyone being there who was able to connect in a way that they learned.

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” ~Mortimer J. Adler

So my gift this month is to the Cape Fear Literacy Council.

This group works hard to enable local residents to learn to read.  They work with those who are just learning to read and people who are learning to understand English.  They offer a place for everyone to grow in their learning.

What better gift to give right now?

Even when reality seems hard to face, a vacation from the day can be found in a book.

So thank you Mom & Dad.  You have enabled me to go further than you can imagine by taking the time to share with me this love of reading.  I know it probably wasn’t a quick or easy task, but I truly am grateful.

Well Hello 2012

So its 2012.

for blog 2012

Feel any different than yesterday?

As a true Southerner I will be having my black eyed peas today.  Kale chips sound better than collards & easier to fix so that’s on board.  I don’t even remember the significance of these traditions, but I think it has to do with money.  Not risking.  Just like the 12 grapes & 12 wishes at midnight, why not?

I was good & waited til last night to put the new sheets on my bed that my parents were sweet enough to give me.  So I woke in 600 thread count purple softness.  Also get to wear a fresh new Panthers tee for the first game of the year against the Saints.  New year WITH a Panthers game from bed is a perfect start to things!

Today is day one of the latest greatest challenge…  hoping to stick with this one.  Hate that the last one ended up being more than I was really into.  But this one is simple.  Move 30 minutes each of the first 100 days of 2012!  Sounds easy enough, right?  Easy enough that I should do it.  Start the year off right.

While on the 100 kick, I’m also revisiting a challenge I previously have done.  Out with the old & maybe later in with the new.  Time to purge 100 Things again! Today & tomorrow I’m off work & its a great time to work on dejunktifying my life.  (yes that is a word. I just made it one.) That and tossed 2 things out of my world.

Confession.  Last year I watched 127 movies but only finished TWO books.  Head hangs very low.  I started several I never finished.  The real blame is probably all the blogs I read.  I can’t even imagine how many I have read this year.  This realization gave me an added push to go check out eReaders.  This year I will read more books.  Maybe the eReader would help.  Maybe not.  Certainly worth a try.  Just need to figure out which one is best for me & find a time when the store has it & I can spend the cash.  Could be a great reward for completing the first 100 day challenges!  I admit I love the whole books on the shelf look.  The cover art.  The pages & size of the book.  I’ve been hesitant to hop on the eReader train & ditch the old fashioned reading train, but who said you can’t read both ways?  Save the shelf space for the really loved ones instead of the ones I keep wanting to get around to reading.

Started doing the 10 on 10 giving last year & there is no way I am stopping.

Feels great to give back to various organizations that are doing great things all over in so many ways.  Hoping that others follow me & are inspired to give when & where they can.  We are so lucky in all we have & we always have something to share… even if only a kind word or smile.

Also I am back on board with the budgeting every month.  Its been long enough at this job where I can predict the paychecks.  Its time to work on that debt snowball.  Inspired by Dave Ramsey, but I’m not that hard core (yet).  Still need to enjoy & live life, but being aware of where every dollar is going isn’t a bad thing.  I’m a Virgo, its my nature.  I feel more comfortable knowing I am controlling my cash rather than just watching it flow in & out.

Need to make a decision that I’m dreading but not sure why.  You can be sure I will blog about it sooner or later, but for now its just one of those things where I need to figure out if risking who I am is worth becoming who I could be.  I’m amazed by everything that science can do, but do I want to be a guinea pig & risk it all?  Good thing is that I can put it on hold as long as I need.

So much opportunity in a new year.

Going to spend today continuing to dream & see what best fits me.  Hoping that 2012 finds us all Happy, Healthy, Safe & Secure.  May we always be making wishes & making those wishes come true – if they are what is best for me & you.

Time for pug snuggles, parrot dancing & cheering on the Panthers in that bitter sweet last game of the season.  Before I know it, they will return & hopefully I will again be able to sit in BOA Stadium for at least one home game.

Keep Shooting Til You Get the Shot

Loving this picture a friend on facebook shared! Sadly that is how it has been feeling in my house.  Movies get viewed, TV series kept up & of course I watch any Panthers game I can catch, but the books… gather dust.  No more.

Its day three in the 31 Days of Reading!

Yesterday’s fun in the local session of the World Wide Photo Walk, inspired me.  I feel like I NEED more camera time in my life.  Love the feeling of seeing the details in life & “catching” them.  Great to see some people I hadn’t in a while.  Tonight I have some editing & going through the 665 pictures I took!  Love digital! Just go for it.  Play with it & delete the ones that don’t work out.  Not as committed to the perfect shot as I might be if it was film I had to pay for per shot & to develop before I saw how it came out.  Like the reflection shot…

I had a blast getting this, but it wasn’t the first shot.  Its a reflection in a glass door to an optometrist office.

So much of life doesn’t work out with the first shot.  We have to keep just clicking along to see what works & what doesn’t.  Take the risk of the shot.

Tonight I have to suggest a couple of books that I have loved.  Its photography for those who just want to shoot good picture instead of reading all the details.  Give me the basics & then let me play til I get it.

Scott Kelby, who started & does the photo walks each year, writes books for people like me.  Just the facts please.  Then let me go.  …but be there if I need you to answer a question.

The Digital Photography Book series do that.  I have the set & highly recommend them to anyone who has or wants a DSLR camera.

Then you can be part of the crazy, obsessed crew that scours the streets for that “perfect” shot… or maybe just a few like these.  To remind you why you stay in this town.  The beauty of it all & the fun surprises to be found when you look.