Feel The Burn

Remember last weekend how I commented that I was lucky to have had visitors every weekend? Well this weekend, I’m celebrating the fact that I didn’t have anybody in town! It’s been a busy, boring week. School has definitely picked up in pace and I’m starting to really feel the burn.

Earlier this week the weather had been in the 90s, but overnight on Friday it turned gorgeous and by Saturday I declared it flannel weather! Most of the weekend was spent with the doors and windows open, soaking in this amazing weather.

I teased Charlie with as taste of the outdoors.

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While Charlie was yearning to explore the great unknown, I soaked up the sun as I graded paper upon paper.

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I’m feeling a bit stressed because despite working round the clock this weekend, I still have a ton of stuff to do for the week ahead! I literally did nothing but work. No Safety Meeting for me, no Meatfest (don’t ask, since I didn’t really know and I didn’t get to find out what exactly Meatfest is…), no Slam Poetry event, no studying at the Rez, nothing. Just reading and paper grading from Friday morning till now.

If I can get my act together, I have a post in the works about my marathon commitment issues and how I’m back on the training wagon. But we’ll see if I can do that tonight or not.

Anyway, did everyone else experience a glimpse of fall this weekend? What did you do to celebrate the awesome weather?

Sister Saturday

The other week I jokingly wrote on Hilary’s facebook wall that Charlie wanted her to come visit Tallahassee. Well, she asked me when would be a good weekend and we decided that this weekend seemed like the best option.

So, Saturday morning Hilary drove up from Gainesville to spend the night with me in T-town! We decided our agenda for the day would be a trip to Mission San Luis, which happens to be in my backyard, checking out the artist community at Railroad Square, followed by dinner at Three Guys Pizza, then bowling, fro-yo, and a movie.

Instead of writing out a whole detailed summary of our adventures, I’m just going to let the pictures we took this weekend tell the story! Enjoy!

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And those are the highlights from my weekend with Hilary!

After spending two years being a whole country away from my family, I’m constantly reminded how lucky I am that Hilary is only 2 1/2 hours away.

I’m so happy that I got a chance to see her and I can’t wait till she comes and visits again, or better yet, I get a chance to go visit her.

This and That: The Weekly Recap

I’ve been very lucky for the past four weekends, because each weekend I’ve had friends from out of town visiting. Thus, my weekends have been full of work, but also fun social activities! This weekend was no exception — my fabulous and awesome little sister came to visit me!

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Instead of talking about my Saturday with her, I’m going to do that in a separate post. Stay tuned!

This post will include a little of this and a little of that from this past week.

My darling fur-son has been giving me grief all week. Somehow he developed a cold and after my recent cat-traumas, I decided to play it safe and take him to the vet. Turns out, it really was a cold and not distemper, which my mom freaked me out by suggesting.

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Thankfully, Charlie is a great car-buddy and I don’t have any added stress when I have to take him to the vet.

He spent half his time cleaning himself and chilling in the passenger seat and then the other half of the car ride staring at other cars from the back window. I wonder if anyone thought I was a weirdo for driving around in a car with a loose cat.

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After the vet, I dropped Charlie off at home and then went back out to pick up my new glasses!

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Apparently they look very similar to my old pair, but I really like them! I also love my new prescription sunglasses, which stay on my head and don’t fall off when I move my head.

When I got home, I cleaned the house and made dinner. After a while I realized I hadn’t seen Charlie in a while. I called for him, tried to trick him by pretending to feed him, ran water from the faucet, and still no Charlie. Then I heard a muffled cry.

I looked around and still couldn’t find him — till I opened the laundry room.

Somehow, he’d gotten stuck behind the washer and dryer.

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I couldn’t reach him, but after shifting the washer a bit, he was able to squeeze himself out from behind the machines. Hopefully he learned his lesson and won’t venture behind the washer and dryer again.

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Friday morning started with a personal training session at the gym! The campus gym offers free personal training sessions to create a workout plan.

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The campus gym offers free personal training sessions to create a workout plan, so now I have a strength training plan for abs, arms, back and shoulders, and legs.

The timing couldn’t be better, because I tried on my bridesmaid dress this weekend. The dress basically fits, but I’d like my arms and back to be a bit more toned before the wedding. It looks like I have my work cut out for me.

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Oh, and all that lacing?

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It took Hilary at least 15 minutes to lace me up and then she had to help me UN-lace the dress, so I could get out of it.

Now, I just need to get the dress altered, so that I’m not tripping over myself.

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The weekend came to a close with Hilary hitting the road back to Gainesville and me resuming my regularly schedule reading routine.

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Have a great Monday, everyone!

Honey Badger Gets Things Done

This post is brought to you by the Honey Badger, which I was introduced to via Caitlin’s blog, Healthy Tipping Point.

My motto this week has been “getting sh*t done,” and that pretty much is the honey badger motto as well.

Anyway, how’s everyone’s Sunday-Funday? Mine consisted of reading, reading, and reading. Are you surprised? I’m not.

After three weeks of classes I’m still trying to find my rhythm, but have decided on one thing — Sunday will be my blogging day. From now on, I’ll be updating the blog every Sunday, unless of course I have time and something absolutely riveting to say during the week. So be sure to check back next Sunday!

This past week started out with me massively scratching my primary pair of glasses. Not cool.

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Obviously, a huge scratch on my already scratched up glasses wasn’t going to fly, so I was forced to get new glasses. I don’t them yet, but hopefully by Wednesday I’ll be rockin’ new shades.

Hey there, four-eyes.

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I finally ditched my Washington plates! Goodbye to my final piece of WA identification!

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I’m back to bragging with the tag! What, what!

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The whole DMV process was surprisingly painless. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes. I actually thanked the woman for being so pleasant and making the process easy.

I also chopped off my hair this week. I was long overdue for a bang trim and decided at the last minute to chop it all off.

Before:

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After:

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It’s a little shorter than I meant to go, but overall I like the change. In my opinion, short hair is easier to maintain and given Florida is still so stinkin’ hot, it’s a cooler style. I think once it’s grows out a bit, I’ll really like it.

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In other news, this weekend was the big #1 Oklahoma vs #5 FSU matchup.

By Friday night, T-town was already getting ridiculous. ESPN and College Game Day had moved into town in preparation for the game.

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For most people, tailgating around the stadium was an all-day affair. Some of my guy friends were out there starting at 7am, but I didn’t make it over to the stadium till 3ish. I had to get my daily reading in, duh.

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Lots of cornhole and throwing the football around.

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Then, it was finally time to make my way into the stadium. The downside to free general admission student tickets is that seating is first come, first served, so my group went into the stadium about an hour and a half before kickoff to claim our seats.

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Almost game time!

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And we’re off!

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Sadly we didn’t win, but we put up a good fight — 23 to 13, Oklahoma. Going into the game I wouldn’t have put money on us winning, but I obviously hoped that we would win. There was also a moment in the 3rd (4th?) quarter where the game was tied up, but things changed in the 4th quarter. Either way, I’m happy with our team and I think that they will only continue to improve.

Now it’s time to get back to reality.

Although there are no more home games for another month, Hilary is visiting this weekend and I have a wedding to attend in a couple weeks. Never a dull moment!

Question – Any funny youtube videos I should know about that will change my life? Yes, that was a hyperbole.

Fun fact: Did you know that hyperbole first made it’s appearance in the English language in 1529? I’ve taken to exploring words in the OED. Clearly, I’m a nerd. First used in 1951.

Pumpkin Spice and Pondering iPads

Pumpkin spice lattes, Taco Tuesdaze, iPads, the bank, football, and reading. That would be this past week in eleven words.

I could get used to three day work-weeks, but I think I’ll have to settle for my usual four day week. Even though I only had a three day week, it felt like a long week!

Tuesday brought the return of Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, Taco Tuesdaze at Tijuana Flats, and the direct deposit of my financial aid. Hooray!

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I’ve significantly cut back on my Starbucks consumption now that I figured out how to brew iced coffee, but I’ve yet to figure out a substitute for the pumpkin spice latte, so I indulged myself with a special treat. Anyone have an at-home iced pumpkin spice latte recipe?

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During orientation I asked my Facebook friends if they could explain to me the educational need for an iPad. See, I was at this teaching conference and everyone and their mother had an iPad, but as I looked around the room, everyone was playing Angry Birds, surfing Twitter, or otherwise playing around. Other than being a super fancy-pants toy, I didn’t see why an iPad was necessary.

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Not to mention, I’ve always been on-the-fence about iPads. I love my Kindle and think that the Kindle wins hands-down when it comes to reading novels, reading in sunlight, and battery durability.

Then, during my first week, one of the other grad students asked if she could peer-pressure me about something. She gave me this spiel about how I would be getting a bunch of PDFs and journal articles to read and I should save some trees by reading them digitally.

After some research, I decided that maybe the iPad had some value after all.

So what’s a girl to do, when she’s not sure if an iPad is a worthy grad-school investment?

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Enter my tech-savvy father, who offered to loan my his iPad to me so I could take it for a test-drive.

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On Wednesday, my dad’s iPad arrived on my doorstep and I’ve been playing with it this week.

So what are my conclusions thus far? It’s no substitute for real books or my laptop, but it’s a fantastic way to read and mark-up PDFs. I love being able to highlight, add notes, and quickly flip through pages of documents. It’s also super light and the battery stays charged for essentially two days, which kicks my laptops butt. My laptop barely stays charged for three hours these days and adds considerable weight to my backpack.

I’m still trying it out, but I think I’ll be investing in an iPad as a way of organizing and keeping track of all my documents and notes.

Skipping ahead to Saturday, I went for my first run in forever and took Charlie to the vet for this lip ulcer he gets off and on. The run was awesome, but my marathon training still is lacking. As for Charlie, after some antibiotics from the vet he no longer has a fat lip and he’s back to normal.

Then, in the afternoon, I tailgated and went to the second football game of the season.

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This week I managed to split my time between the theatre people and my old friends.

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I tailgated with both groups and went to the game with my theatre folk. Only a few of us went to this weeks game, but we should have a big group for Oklahoma! I can’t wait.

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After the game I got caught in the mess of traffic all around campus. I really need to figure out a better place to park and a better route home for next week.

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I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I keep telling myself that I need to work ahead and be diligent, in order to take most of Saturday off for game-related activities. It’s the carrot I’m dangling in front of my face this week.

So, how was everyone else’s weekends and what are you looking forward to this week?

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Whew! I survived my first week of classes and teaching, and now college football is back in action!

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I feel like I’ve been living in a time warp. Being back in T-town was already a stroll down memory lane, but now that I’m spending so much time on campus and in the FAB, it’s a constant flashback to my undergrad days and then trying not to get lost in nostalgia so I can make new memories. The start of the football season was also a time warp, in and of itself, but more on that later.

School-wise my first week was fairly calm. It was syllabus day in the classes that I teach and syllabus day in my own classes.

Another factor contributing to the calmness is that the department is currently hosting an international experimental theatre group. All of my profs have gone easy on our reading and assignments for the first couple weeks to allow us the chance to participate in as many of the workshops and lectures as possible.

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Fun Fact: It’s a bit strange to think of holding office hours in the grad office because I used to attend office hours of my mentor freshman year in this very same office. Not only that, but she and I are technically colleagues now.

I also might turn into a green monster or iced coffee. Every morning has consisted of a green monster smoothie for breakfast and a cup of iced coffee for the road.

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On Friday, the T-Studs celebrated surviving our first week of classes by having a picnic at the Rez. It’s a university-operated waterfront lake area with picnic shelters, kayaks and canoes, a rock-wall, volleyball courts, and more. It was a fun afternoon and I can’t believe I’ve never been there before! It’s so pretty and relaxing. The second-years like studying there and I can see why.

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But do you know what is better than a picnic at the Rez or the start of classes? College football is back!

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I actually [helped] organize a football group for my fellow grad students, but due to ticket issues, workshops on game day, and a lack of cell phone reception, I didn’t get to see any of them during the game. Some of my old friends were coming to town for the game, so I planned on tailgating with them until the theatre folk made their way down to the stadium. Unfortunately, I totally did not take into account that cell phones might not work properly with so many people clumped in one place, and I wasn’t able to get in touch with any of the grad students after the game started.

I feel a bit guilty about it and it would have been a major bummer, but I was able to sit and spend time with these crazy-faces during the game — Brett, Matt, and Tommy!

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Talk about a time warp. We all might be four years out of undergrad, we all might have real-people jobs, and two of us own our own homes, but man, some things never change. The topics of conversation and the group dynamics were exactly the same. It’s like no time had passed.

Flashback to 2007!

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This weekend’s game!

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The only thing that would have made it better is if Casey was also at the game! Hopefully sometime this season she’ll come down for a visit and the game.

Oh, and of course, we won! 34-0. I’ll take it!

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Sunday was a day for being lazy. Tropical Storm Lee has been in the gulf all weekend and starting Sunday morning, T-town began to feel the effects. We’ve been slammed with non-stop rain + wind. Today the winds are even rivaling the E’burg winds.

Yesterday after my morning workshop and reading, I took a break to hang out with Tommy and Brett who were seeking shelter from being rained out of skate park. They’re the first visitors to my finished-except-for-the-bathrooms house! Bonus, the guys might be able to help me acquire and move a couch into the place!

I’ve totally been slacking on my 30 Days of Joy Challenge, but here’s the slip for today.

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My goal for the next 10 days is to finally establish my exercise routine. Hilary asked me this weekend if I had run 8 miles and I definitely had not. Now that I have a bit of an established schedule and I can start settling into a daily routine, I need to add exercise back into my mix. I still want to workout in the mornings, but I think a trip to the gym and to scope out the locker rooms will need to happen first. So that’s my plan for the next 10 days. šŸ™‚

Question: How was everyone else’s Labor day weekend?

Hitting The Ground Running

The balancing act has begun!

If the past two days are any indication of what is ahead, I’m going to need to learn how to become one amazing juggler.

I’m taking three classes, each requiring approximately 200 pages of weekly outside prep reading, three final papers, plus teaching two sections of an intro level class. I’m trying to figure out how to maintain my old friendships and make new friends. *Cue the “Make New Friends” girl scout song.* Not to mention, I haven’t gotten back on the exercise train yet. Oh my!

Thankfully these next few weeks are going to be very busy and yet, the amount of work thus far has been paced out to allow us to ease into things. I’m hoping I can find my groove and get ahead of the game in the next few days.

Right now, my days have looked like this:

Traffic and parking-lot stalking.

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Starbucks and studying in Cafe Stroz!

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Working and office hours.

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Reading and cuddling.

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Despite having a four day weekend coming up, I’ve already got a lot on my plate!

There are two social gatherings planned for the grad students, tailgating and the first football game of the season, seeing old friends, observing a once-in-a-lifetime workshop, and reading, reading, and more reading.

Sorry I don’t have anything else to report (and that this post was rather boring. I just wanted to check-in and let everyone know that I’m alive.

But now I really must go do some reading and catch some Zzzzzs!

(Re)Orientation

I’ve officially been welcomed back to grad school life!

I knew this past week was going to be busy, but I had no idea how busy. I was in various meetings, orientations, conferences, lectures, etc. from 8ish-6ish everyday, and a few of the evenings the grad students hung out after our scheduled events. To make up for all my missed sleep this week, last night I slept from 9:30pm-9am!

Overall impressions:

I am very happy! After I made my decision this past April, I had a few moments of doubt and uncertainty. Was I settling? Would I hate Tallahassee again? This decision feels too easy. Etc. Well, I know now that this was the right decision. I’m sure things won’t be perfect all the time, but I am happy to be back in Tallahassee. I am happy with my cohort and all the other grad students in the department. I am happy with my classes. I’m happy with the opportunities in my future.

I’m also pretty sure that I’m going to have very little free time. I already have 80 pages of reading to do for Monday. I think I’m going to have to embrace the “work hard, play hard” motto.

So, backing up, this is what my week looked like…

Sunday:

Sunday was the calm before the storm. I decided to plant my bag of African Irises that my mom gave me, before I ran out of free time.

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Digging a trench for them in front of the house.

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Adding potting soil to the sand/dirt.

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Cover the plants with the surrounding dirt and water.

The plants look good under the window, but I’m afraid they’re not going to survive. They were out of the ground for about a month and the dirt is really dry in that spot. I’ve been watering them all week, but they seem to be looking worse and worse each day. I’m not sure when I’ll know if they’re going to make it or not.

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That evening I finally got to meet all the incoming grad students from all the different departments. The faculty, some returning grad students, and the new ones, all gathered together for a BBQ at one of the theatre spaces.

After the official gathering, the MA/PhD kids and the directing kids went to a local pub/lounge to continue hanging out. Such good times. It seems like a supportive, intelligent, and caring group. Color me excited.

Monday:

Monday morning started bright and early with a green monster!

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We took care of paperwork, toured the department, got keys, set up our ID cards, and other logistical stuff.

I saw the Marching Chiefs drum line practicing, which made me very excited for football season to get here!

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It was also sorority rush week. I was less thrilled about seeing clumps of identical looking girls wandering around campus.

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After our evening session of How to Survive Grad School, several of us walked to the sports bar next door to play trivia. Our team, Walter’s Chronkite, won the first round and the whole night. Score!

Tuesday:

Tuesday we got a lecture on how to dispose of hazardous waste and how to lift properly. Then we headed to the school-wide graduate school orientation.

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I also bought my books for class. Those cost a small fortune. I guess I should chalk it up to building my library.

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Wednesday and Thursday:

Wednesday was also the move-in day for freshman. The campus was suddenly crawling with freshmen and their parents. See that line of people that nearly reaches the street? That was for the ID place. It took me 5 minutes to get my ID on Monday, but it would have taken me all morning on Wednesday.

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The main event for Wednesday and Thursday was a university-wide teaching conference. The days were long and full of rules and regulations.

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The highlight was the sexual harassment lecture, where we learned that you may appreciate a co-worker or students body, but you may not leer. Seriously.

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Other good news? The library has been renovated and is super fancy-pants. There’s also a full-service Starbucks inside the library. I foresee myself spending a lot of time in the library.

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Wednesday night we had another gathering that included theoretical discussions, movie analysis, in-yer-face debates, and other random topics of discussion.

Friday:

Then on Friday, I spent the whole day in TA training. Then I came home, ate dinner, and went to bed early. I was soo tired!

This weekend!

I already have 80 pages of reading to do. I need to clean my house. I need to organize my office with all my books for this school year. And most importantly, I need to exercise like whoa!

For the future, I think I’m going to create a posting schedule. I don’t think I’ll have enough to say or time to post daily, so maybe if I designate certain days to post, it’ll take the stress off me and I’ll be able to keep up with it.

Question: What does everyone else have to accomplish this weekend?

Trying To Be Someone I’m Not

Generally I would say that trying to be someone that you are not is a bad thing. Embrace the person that you are, be all that you can be, yada, yada, yada. Well, sometimes pretending or aiming to be someone that you’re not can be a good thing. Push yourself to try new activities and fake it till you make it.

My goal this [school] year is to try and be something that I am definitely not — a morning exerciser!

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I’m all about “faking it till you make it,” but try as I might, I can’t seem to will myself into getting up in the mornings to run. Note, by mornings, I mean beating the Sun out of bed and getting my sweat on before 8am.

Well, I’m renewing my commitment to trying to become a morning exerciser because of three main factors:

  • I know that if I wait till the evenings, I may or may not actually follow through with my work out plans. Getting my workout done in the morning will mean that I can relax when I come home from school in the evenings.
  • Parking is a pain-in-the-ass here at school. If I want to get a spot, then I’ll have to head to campus early in the mornings. I figure that if I go to the gym early, shower at the gym, then head to the theatre, I can start working before my classes.
  • The gym is almost always crazy-busy. It’s also full of frat boys lifting their weights and sorority girls showing off their bodies during normal daytime hours. This will be add to my incentive to go in the early mornings, when the people actually interested in fitness are at the gym.

So one of my Jar of Joy tasks fits in well with both my August fitness goals and this new morning-exerciser goal.

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Task: Write down – in a prominent place – ONE goal for the next seven days.

So I wrote down my goal and placed the note on my fridge. My goal is to run (or workout) at least four times! In all honesty, I probably should have set the bar a little higher, but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. My seven days started on Friday and I ran yesterday morning and this morning, so I’m already on my way to succeeding.

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Sunday I’m supposed going to do my 7 miler long run. Then, orientation starts on Monday and we begin at 8am most days, so I’m going to have to either commit to waking up early or work out afterwards, but I will workout.

Starting on the 24th I have access to the gym, which will mean the chance to exercise in a safe, lit, and not humid environment, so no excuses after that. Plus, I have to make use of those weights!

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Anyway, by the end of the year, I WILL be a morning exerciser.

Question – Do you exercise in the morning, evening, or whenever? If you exercise in the morning, what do you do to prevent yourself from just sleeping through your workout window?

Blooms and Belated Birthdays

Did you miss Wednesday’s super quick trip to Gainesville? Hilary and my parents drove up from home and I came from Tallahassee and we all moved Hilary into her new apartment. Even though the trip was brief and I wasn’t exactly a necessary addition to the moving process, it was great to see my parents and Hilary one last time before classes begin.

Speaking of classes, any advice for surviving and balancing grad school and a life? As part of my 30 Days Challenge, I wrote a pep-talk to myself, which I’ll hopefully come back to when I’m feeling stressed. I’d welcome any helpful suggestions!

Anyway, this is my last free weekend. Orientation begins on Monday and since I’ll be busy basically 8am-5pm all next week, I’m considering it the start of the program despite classes not starting till the 29th.

Yesterday I took care of the last major requirements for my residency with the school. (I still need to take care of my car registration, but that’ll happen in September.) I filed my Declaration of Domicile, which is just a fancy way of saying that I’m claiming myself as a Florida resident. Honestly, it’s a bit ridiculous because I had to pay $15 to file this paper. Whatevs. It’s done and next year I won’t have to pay out-of-state tuition and that’s all that matters.

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When I came home, the postman delivered a package! Wee! I love mail.

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Cari had sent me a belated birthday/house-warming/hooray PhD land present. I actually really love that my friends and I can never seem to send out birthday presents on time. It’s so much fun to get a present a month late! So Cari and Ashley, from now on, please don’t give me my birthday present on time, if it can be avoided. šŸ™‚

I decided to wait a bit to open the present. I wanted to let the excitement build just a little bit longer, so I tended to my newest plant children.

During my super-quick Gainesville trip, my mom gave me some flowers for my house. She gave me two pots of impatiens and some african irises.

I put one pot of impatiens on my front porch! It instantly added some color and character to my front steps.

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I still need to plant the african irises, so for now, they’re chilling in a bag on my porch. This is a project for tomorrow or Sunday.

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The other pot of impatiens was put on the corner of my deck.

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Then, I finally opened my presents. Cari even sent a present for Charlie. A new cat wand!

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Obviously, he loved it! Thanks Cari!

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He was also interested in what I got.

For my birthday:

Dinosaur cake trays! Must bake something to put these to use ASAP!

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The Keep Calm sign was for my academic journey and the pink flamingos are for the house! I love ’em.

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Last night, I also finished unpacking the boxes in my office. The potential roommate fell through and I had paused my unpacking until I knew what the verdict was going to be. The whole process made me realize that I really do want to find a roommate for next year. Right now my office looks pretty bare. I need some seating in there and still want to move my futon upstairs, once I acquire a couch. Then for next year, I’ll probably be able to move my desk into my bedroom and my books downstairs and still not feel too cramped.

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Coming soon – A Jar of Joy post: Trying To Be Someone That I’m Not

Question: What’s the best present you ever received?