Archive for the etcetera Category

resolution.

Posted in c, etcetera, faith is action, i am not a gym rat, Life, me, mirror mirror on the wall, the glass is half FULL, the joys of living in Florida on September 9, 2009 by drbolte

i mentioned in passing a few posts ago that i hadn’t worked out since before the wedding. by this i mean that i haven’t been to the gym, put on a jillian michaels sadistic dvd, or otherwise done a formal exercise activity. this, however, doesn’t mean i haven’t spent time doing things that require exertion, like moving things around and walking around theme parks and digging in my small but disgustingly in need of tlc garden plot and walking across campus and you get the idea.

my problem is really time. i just didn’t have the time, or so it seemed, to truck to the gym (which is now much farther away than it once was, across gville downtown/campus traffic), work out for an hour, come home, shower, and move on with my day. i just don’t have those kinds of windows.

so i think i thought that i was just going to have to stop working out, though in the back of my mind, some part of me was screaming both in warning and in horror.

it sounded, faint though clear, a little something like this: WE HAVE NOT WORKED THIS HARD FOR YOU TO GIVE UP RIGHT NOW! THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR WORKING OUT! MAKE IT WORK, WOMAN! MAKE IT WORK!

you see how that might be a bit difficult to ignore, even in its faintness.

as the weeks progressed and the stress continued to build and the realities of life hit me, as they hit everyone, i realized that i wasn’t sleeping well, i wasn’t eating well, and i wasn’t feeling as regularly sassy as i normally do.

the sassy was sort of…sporadic.

i knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was because i wasn’t moving.

moving is an incredible stress reliever. it’s amazing to me what 20 minutes of giving my all to  something does not only for my sleep patterns and the way my body works but for my feeling about myself. somehow, when i see that i can in fact run for blocks at a time or i can stay at the jillian michaels workout o’ pain for the full 20 minutes, i feel like i can conquer anything.

(that’s nice to remember when i wonder, every day, if i can manage the daily mountain that faces me. which is probably a grain of sand, to quote carrie underwood, but nevertheless seems like everest sometimes.)

today, despite the fact that i really have oodles to grade and heaps to do, i decided that it was a beautiful sunny day. it’s hot but not death hot. it’s the kind of hot you want to go hang out in.  it’s an inviting kind of sunshiny florida day that makes you want to strap on an ipod and some slightly worn out sneakers and take on your neighborhood for a good game of “how long can i run before i die?”

that’s what i did today.

i tried out a pretty short loop in my neighborhood, one with well-traveled roads and as little ghetto as possible.  it was fantastic. i mapped it. it was 1.5 miles–decent, i suppose. it took me about 20 minutes, which isn’t great but isn’t horrible either.  i gave myself permission to walk as fast as i wanted and run as slow as i needed.

i came away knowing the following:

  • no matter what happens, i have to exercise. if it means that i need to wake up earlier, i need to do it.  i need to do it for me. i need to do it for my job. i need to do it for my family. a better me is a better wife, a better teacher, a better scholar, a better friend.
  • i need to remember that taking care of me is not selfish. it’s essential.
  • i need a longer route. because i’m better than i thought i was at this whole running/walking combo.
  • i liked it. a lot.
  • running slow is not a bad thing. in fact, i am beginning to think that it’s the only way i’ll be able to build up my endurance.
  • my neighborhood is actually fairly conducive to running.  i wasn’t the least bit nervous, scared, or inclined to trip.
  • i need a new ipod holder. the bra isn’t really working well.

this was a very productive day, and i’m proud of myself. even if it’s only 20 minutes a few days a week (but let’s get real: exercise is like a drug. i’ll want more soon enough.), i will find time to take care of me.

it’s going to pay off.  i know it.  here’s hoping i can stick with it.

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the wedding chronicles: i’m getting married in the morning, part one.

Posted in bridal diaries, etcetera, family, magic, me, superheckyes on August 27, 2009 by drbolte

i woke up friday pretty excited.  what wasn’t there to be excited about? my toes were all painted red, courtesy of an amazing bridesmaid who pampered me the night before. my bags were packed.  we were running late, but that was pretty normal, and i was giddy excited.

mainly because i got to wear this, officially, for reals:

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see that? that’s a BRIDE shirt.  someone awesome gave me the iron-on, i found a shirt, and mom made the magic happen. i was pretty excited to wear it all day.

and it was a day, let me tell you.

we left late for orlando, deciding that we would divide and conquer our to-do list. mom would head to the hotel, pick up my family, take my cousin/photographer to the temple to scope out the sights and plan her attack for the next day, and mom would take care of getting a few things that i still needed. i would meet the bff at his parents’ house and we would go get flowers to do centerpieces.

the original plan was that my family would come meet us at the in-laws to help with centerpieces.  by the end of the drive, though, we decided that mom and the fam should just hang out and have a laidback afternoon, meeting us at the church at 3 to set up the reception site.

that ended up being a good plan, since the woman who never ever gets lost–EVER–spent the better part of the afternoon lost in the awesomeness that is orlando.  i got a call to get directions. i gave directions. those directions were circumvented by my aunt’s gps, which they realized only after listening to it had lost the will to live because of a lack of battery power.

(please note: if a bride gives you directions, and it’s the day before the wedding, and she sort of knows what she’s talking about because a) she’s been in the city more than you have and b) she’s sitting with someone who has lived in the city for the better part of his life, you should probably just listen.  it eliminates stress.)

during this time, the bff and i were scouring publixes and winn dixies around his house to find flowers for centerpieces.  when all was said and done, this was what we had to work with:

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quite possibly one of the worst pictures of me ever taken, but a cute one of the bff and a good one to show how much yellow, white, green, and red awesomeness we had.  we had piles and piles of flowers when we got back, but i was quite worried that we wouldn’t have enough. in what can only be described as an amazing blessing from heaven, the first publix that we went to had 12 gorgeous sunflowers. we did not find another store with another sunflower in it, and we went to three more.  we bought them out, which allowed us to have some continuity in our centerpieces.  you probably don’t care at all about that, but it mattered–A LOT–to me.

it was 900,000 degrees, so after we bought some flowers, the bff stayed in the car with the a/c blasting while i ran into the next, all so the flowers wouldn’t wilt. then we would drop them off and head to another store.  when we felt like we had enough, we came back and started taking them out of the packages and started trying to create flower arrangements.

i have never done this before. i have never advertised myself as a floral designer. but i read in a book somewhere (how’s that for responsible citation?) that fresh flowers are beautiful, that you can’t mess them up, and if you just stay out of their way, it will all be gorgeous.

it didn’t feel that way when we began.  everything looked…odd.  we were putting flowers in the little vases that we had, which were more circular than elongated, and all i could think was that they were going to be ugly and i hated them and everything i did was crap.

(i may or may not have been seriously freaking out at that point about many things. the flowers focused my angst.)

the bff thought they looked beautiful. but i thought that if the 11 centerpieces looked like the first one we made, our reception was going to look like buford the slack-jawed yokel was our florist.

i was not pleased.

but somehow, i just decided to keep going. to get them all done and then revise as needed at the end.  that there? that’s the writing nature of me kicking in–push past the crap at the draft stage and make it pretty in revisions.

and boy did we.

the second arrangement was better. we figured out height and we figured out colors and we just both started doing our creative thing. and every. single. one we put together was GORGEOUS and unique.  we tried to have pops of color in each, and we ended up needing the bff’s mom to get us  more red flowers, but they were all gorgeous.

and it was kind of awesome to realize that we did it together, that we pushed past the panic, and that we did it in the midst of all of the chaos.

most importantly? they were exactly what we both pictured in our heads.

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that’s how they turned out.  there are stories about the polka dots, but i’ll call it a serendipitous mistake that turned out to be probably one of my MOST FAVORITE things about how we decorated. i didn’t intend for the polka dots to start to take over…but they did. and it was amazing.

we had BARELY finished the centerpieces when it was time to go decorate the church.

next up: what do you get when you put 5 guys, 5 million strings of lights, and a lot of women in a room?

home.

Posted in bff, domestic goddess, etcetera, faith is action, ghetto life, i love my life, Life, magic, superheckyes, the engaged life on August 3, 2009 by drbolte

when we saw the apartment for the first time, it was only for about 10 minutes–long enough to tour a 500 some-odd square foot apartment and to briefly talk to the tenant about utilities and such.

for the most part, it was a drive-thru tour, but it didn’t matter.

the minute we walked into it, we knew it was the one. it had an incredible vibe to us.  the bff and i both knew it–we just looked at each other and communicated, as we so often do, without speaking that this was the place.

that was the only time we saw it.  being occupied, as it was, there was no real chance to go back, take measurements, make plans. the mental picture was all we had, and even that was somewhat hazy.

or so i thought.

i drove by a couple of times in the latter part of last week. the place was empty by thursday, and so on friday i drove by again, looking in the windows, noticing that the outdoors looks sad and needs some tlc.  i thought the living room looked bigger than i imagined it. in general, i just kept trying to see if the snapshot in my mind was true of reality.

when we arrived on saturday, after what can only be described as a miraculous weekend of moving*, and opened the door to our first apartment, the same vibe was there.  the spirit that’s here is so amazing.  i don’t think i’ve ever felt anything like it.

i’ve moved several times. i’ve lived in lots of different apartments, between moving with mom before she bought the house and moving during my very long college career.  usually, it takes time to feel at home. usually, you have to grow into a place.

that is not the case here.

i’ve never felt so absolutely suited to a place, and like the place is absolutely suited to us.  everything fits.  it fits us. our things fit into it.  we love it. completely.

and i think i love it more because of its flaws.  it’s this lovely diamond in the rough.  the closets are fantastically huge and there are shelves for miles, but the metal bifold doors are a bit wonky and tempermental.  the kitchen has one million tall cabinets, but the stove is probably older than me and probably hasn’t seen a decent cleaning since i was in elementary school.  the living room is much bigger than i thought it was, but the deadbolt is seriously screwed up and there’s this strange spot near the door where i think the rain might leak in (see earlier comment about the deadbolt).  we have a mailbox that’s a real mailbox and a trash can that’s a real trash can and the beginnings of our very first home.

i am in love with this life. i am in love with this place. i am in love with this time, when i feel absolutely and one hundred percent the confirmation of the Spirit that the decisions we are making are right and true and when the pieces are falling into place in the most beautiful ways.

i’m not sure i ever really imagined what my life would be like as a married person.  yesterday, when i spent the whole day with the bff in our new house, cooking dinner, unpacking the kitchen (in order to cook said dinner), talking to my mom on the phone with him next to me, playing monopoly for hours, i realized that i really love it.

it’s nothing whatsoever like i would have expected.

it’s better.  so, so, so much better.

and i’m not even married yet.

*the two of us packed an entire van full of my stuff, got rid of truckfuls of stuff, and kept going for 8 hours straight…on friday. then we got up and did it all again–but kept going for probably 12 hours that day. and we didn’t fight, squabble, bicker, or get upset with each other once.

i swear.

the miracle of that isn’t that it’s unusual. it’s that it’s not.  we are the best team ever.

and that’s just the start of the miracles.  rain held off. things got done. keys were turned in on time.  keys were picked up on time. utility confirmations were gotten. in short, every worry that i had was eased, every problem solved, every minor glitch dealt with quickly and with cheerfulness.

i actually had a good time moving.  my feet STILL hurt and i am bruised like someone beat me with an ugly stick, but it was incredible. i am ridiculously grateful.

Protected: an open letter to students of the world.

Posted in books are bliss, etcetera, teaching on July 24, 2009 by drbolte

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38.

Posted in bff, books are bliss, bridal diaries, etcetera, going quietly mad, i love my life, me, teaching, the engaged life, wish i may wish i might on July 1, 2009 by drbolte

i have a friend who used to be a roommate (hi friend!) who just moved to begin a grand adventure in a faraway state.  she just packed up her car and went. i am incredibly proud of her chutzpah.  i am not going to write about chutzpah, but i bring up this friend because her most recent blog post had the most magnificent title: “the days are long but the months will be short.”

(her titles are always wonderful and deep. unlike mine.  but that’s okay.)

i love that title because that, in short, encapsulates my life.

i have suddenly woken up with the very real, very visceral realization that i am getting married in 38 days.. i have less than six weeks left.  you know, the six week mark where you’re supposed to start all of those bridal makeover plans, where you stop drinking caffeine (done…like 15 years ago), start eating vegetables and fruits in rich abundance (i’m now in love with spinach salad, fyi…why is it so good?), and start exercising your face off (me and the gym are now friends again. i missed it.  i really did.).

this is the time when all the stuff you’ve put off because it was just too far away to do actually needs to get done.

this is also the time when i have started teaching. i really like my class. a bunch of people dropped, so i only have 26 students, but they’re intelligent and insightful and have much to say about jane austen already. i usually find that austen either creates not much conversation or a strictly reactionary discussion about plot and character. that’s not the case with these students.  they are making really rich connections between cultural expectations and character development, discussing thematic elements, and demonstrating a great deal of independent thought.

i really like them. i think they’re a different kind of class.

(it strikes me that i may be a better teacher than i was, but that’s neither here nor there.)

but this class requires me to make use of every moment of my time effectively.  for the past few days, i have been coming home and taking a quick nap after class, aiming to keep my goal of getting eight hours of sleep each day. if i can’t get it at night, i try to catch up during the day.

i just can’t do it.  there isn’t enough time, it seems, to do all my preparations for class (which includes about 100 pages of reading a day), to go to the gym for about an hour (which i won’t give up. i refuse.), to come home and prepare dinner, to spend time with the bff, and to get the other things done that need to get done. it just…i need like six hours more a day.

i literally and sincerely have no idea how everything will get done. i really don’t.  the bff, bless him, has made it his goal this week to make my life easier. he has told me that i need to give him tasks to do and he will do them.  so, i did. and really, the way i feel is that all of the important stuff has been done. the rest is just a series (a long series, to be sure) of little things that need to be done in order to ensure that things turn out the way that we imagined. but if things are different than we expected? oh well.

(i say this now. but i still really want things to be done and get done and all to be as we imagined.  but i’m trying to be chill.)

my mind is just crammed, but not coherently crammed.  if it were an actual to-do list in any sort of cohesive order, i think it would be easier. instead, it’s really just a big puddle of things that need to get done, often with an accompanying sense of urgency which doesn’t make much sense.

for example, i feel REALLY impressed that i need to get rid of all of my extra books, like, yesterday. that makes no chronological sense.  but there you go. it’s fairly indicative of where my head is at.

so i go about my days, which seem long and packed with running here and there and trying to finish everything that needs to be done each day.

and i look up and clap my hand over my mouth and realize that in one month, i will be moving into our new apartment. and one week after that, we will be married.

it will fly by.  it really already has.

i only hope i can make the most of each of those packed days.  i’m sure trying.

unfriend.

Posted in etcetera, facebook is the new crack, faith is action, huh?, Life, me, the internets on June 10, 2009 by drbolte

tired of the masses of people that i haven’t met/talked to/seen/heard from/corresponded with in ages and ages, and for whom i feel no real affection if i am to be truly honest, that populated my facebook friends list, i went on an unfriending spree last night.

but it really started with my  desire to unfriend, once and for all, my ex.

there’s no drama as there was the last time i unfriended him. i have just felt uncomfortable with the idea that, whenever he wants to, he can just pop back into my life via facebook. when that happens, it catches me off-guard and i feel glimmers of the girl i was circa fall 2007.

in case you’re not keeping track at home, i am REALLY not that girl anymore.

i didn’t like it and here’s the straight up truth: we weren’t going to be friends.

since the bff and i started dating, i had pretty much cut off all contact with the ex.  we had been, prior to the bff coming home, exchanging messages weekly. the ex is on a mission too, far far away in the far far east, and i was trying to be supportive and friend-like.  for a while, it was fine. we were friends, i suppose, in the way that we ever really were friends which by comparison with my other friendships remained strikingly shallow.  in parable metaphor, our friendship consisted of seeds sown in the heat of the day.  it worked, but only briefly.

once the bff came back and things started happening as they were meant to happen, thoughts of the ex quickly left my mind–friendship or whatever it was–and he became, as he was meant to be, a distant memory. except when he would pop back in and i would be jarred backward.  it felt wrong.  the bff doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him, because of how things went down.  i think i probably understand better why things happened the way they happened, but i realized last night, as i considered whether or not to unfriend him, that we were really never going to be friends again–or perhaps it’s better to say that i didn’t ever want to be friends again.

for a while i thought that that was a character flaw of mine–to not be able to redefine the relationship once it changed. last night, i began to think that perhaps it is a strength to be able to see when something is done and to let go of it with grace.  i have always hated the part of me that held on too tight when something had clearly run its course. perhaps that part of me, like so many others of late, has changed.

i sent the ex a message, lest he think i was bitter, to explain my reason for unfriending him, to thank him for the blessing of his friendship so many moons ago, and to wish him all good things. i have been on the receiving end of unfriending of late and, if it is done without any real warning, it can be interpreted lots of ways. i really didn’t want that to happen.

i did know, though, that by doing so i was opening the door a crack. i erred on the side of kindness.

he replied tonight by sort of questioning my reasoning for unfriending him, seemingly halfheartedly wishing me good luck, and then telling me that he still wears the ring that i gave him (it was mine, it was a guy’s ring anyways, it was too big, he liked it, i told him he could have it, blah blah blah).

what do you do with that?

i’ll tell you what i did.

i deleted the message.

i recognized the guilt trip implicit in it (something i perhaps should have been expecting).

i let it get to me for a few minutes and then  i gave the bff the readers digest version of the whole thing and realized that this is exactly why i made the right decision.

i shrugged and moved on.

i feel inclined, right now, to move on from lots of things.  this one? i think this one was important.  far more than being about an ex, i think this one was about me recognizing that the choices i make for myself, as long as they are not intentionally harming others, are valid. i think this one was about stepping up and unapologetically claiming what i want.

this one was good.

coming up for air.

Posted in bff, bridal diaries, disney princesses got nothin' on me, dissertation, drama drama drama, etcetera, faith is action, i love my life, magic, me on June 5, 2009 by drbolte

hi all.

thanks for letting me vent in the last post. thanks to those of you who chimed in with responses.  i’m sure it will all get done and i am sure that i will get better at asking for help. in the meantime, though, i came up with a plan that is already helping me.

a. stop worrying about the dissertation.

that’s right. i’m officially calling it.  dissertation is going on real hold (not that actual hold that it’s been on while i fret and worry and feel guilt-infused over not doing it) until after the wedding. i just don’t have time, even if i used every available moment of my spare time, and even if i did, i am too frazzled to do much of substance.  so it’s on hold.

and, as my wise mama said, if we are prioritizing tasks based on their due date, that one’s last anyways.

she’s brilliant, my mom.

b. read wedding blogs every day. specifically, in my days of stress, weddingbee is keeping me sane. i skim it over, revel in the bridalness, and am suddenly grateful that i am doing things the way i am doing them.

and it usually inspires me to start thinking/planning things that i need to be thinking/planning.

c. be kind to myself. or, in the wise words of a friend of mine, create small manageable goals.

yesterday, that was to workout hard and to straighten my room.  i did it. i also tried to make homemade donuts, which i realized i have neither the patience nor the oil stores to do effectively. therefore, yesterday was a success.

i also painted my toenails. crappily, but they’re painted.

in the new vein of being kind to myself, i’m just going to let them be crappily painted until i have the wherewithal or the time to do it again.  and lighting. i clearly need better lighting.

d. keep breaking the chain.

did i tell you about our paper chain?  i can’t remember, so i’m telling you anyway. if you’ve already heard this, could you, i don’t know, talk amongst yourselves for a moment?

we created a paper chain, the bff and i, to count down to our wedding. you know, in case the countdown on my facebook page and on my blog wasn’t enough (which it’s not).  we wanted some kind of tactile way that we could do it.

it makes the days when it seems like it will NEVER get here go by faster.

especially as we are getting perilously near the two month loop. whoo!

e. find things like this...

and just know that, come what may, my wedding is going to be amazing. and very much me.