Ingredients (serves 6) 4 cups chicken stock 2 large cooked chicken breasts – boneless/skinless, cut into bite size pieces 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes (Do not drain) 2 zucchini, sliced in half circles 4 artichoke hearts, cut into bite size pieces 3 cup ground up cauliflower – (Use a food processor to get the cauliflower to a rice-like consistency) 1/4 C fresh chopped parsley 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp cayenne 1 tsp oregano (ground)
Directions 1. In a large pot, bring stock plus 2 cups of water to a rolling boil 2. Reduce heat and add all other ingredients 3. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until zucchini is cooked 4. Enjoy!
(I got this recipe from here, when randomally browsing around paleo websites. I made a few adjustments — I couldn’t find scallions and I didn’t think 10 minutes was enough cook time…etc…)
I know I don’t truly believe in this stuff, and I just look for fun — but can’t help but hope my horoscope for yesterday rings true.
Think more about happiness and less about all the things that could go wrong and prevent happiness. You may be caught up in a negative mind-bender right now, Virgo. But there is absolutely no reason for it. If you are picking up vibes from a gloomy friend, or if you’ve recently experienced a setback or a minor loss of some kind, then you need to put things in proper perspective. So what if today didn’t bring you everything you wished for… there is always tomorrow. Over the coming weeks you will have much to celebrate - so start celebrating now.
Come on July. This Virgo is ready for you to BRING IT.
(This morning at breakfast, with Gage in my lap as he ate the waffle his mom made him. He’s chatting away with me about everything & anything. Then he stops, thinks for awhile and he whispers, with complete curiosity and seriousness…)
Gage: Cousin K*** - How come you don’t have a husband like Mommy and Tonya?
Me: Maybe I will someday.
Gage: You just haven’t met him yet? Is that it?
Me: Nope - I haven’t met him yet.
Gage: Oh. Well I hope you meet him really soon because then he can come with us to Put-in-Bay next summer just like Daddy and Rich! Ok?
… … … … … …
See? I told you. That boy knows just how to say or do something to tug at my heart unlike anyone else.
And when he does - on days like today - I just have to look away and pull myself together before he sees the couple tears that have escaped my eyes and are slowly working their way down my cheek.
Back to Pittsburgh now.
Back to real life and moving forward and making a better me.
No more of this feeling sad crap. It’s time to focus on controlling the things I can.
"It’s so easy to get lost inside a problem that seems so big at the time - It’s like a river thats so wide, it swallows you whole. While you sit around thinking about what you can’t change, And worrying about all the wrong things… Time’s flying by - moving so fast… You better make it count ‘cause you can’t get it back. Sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand…”
All weekend — I’ve had an awesome time.
From the Katy Perry concert with my cousin and her friends, to this whole weekend we’ve spent with my other cousins in Cleveland and Put-in-Bay, I’ve really had a fantastic time surrounded by family.
It is the sort of time that you have - and you just keep stopping to think, “THIS is summer. This is what I miss in the dark of winter. These are the memories I’ll think back on so fondly when all these kids are older.”
Gage has especially tugged at my heart this weekend. It’s almost like he knows when I’m struggling inside… and that’s always how it’s been with him. During my weakest times emotionally, he — somehow! — is even more affectionate with me than ever.
He’ll grab my hand out of nowhere and stay glued to my side. He’ll beg me to carry him more often and bury his face in my neck when I do. He’ll say “Cousin K***” more times than I can count. He lets everyone know he’s with me — that I’m the one he wants to follow around.
"Cousin K*** — You’re my favorite. You’re my best friend."
It just melts my heart.
It almost makes me angry at myself — that these amazing moments will happen, and yet they are overshadowed by this gross terrible feeling I’m having because of someone who chose to blow out of my life almost quickly as he entered.
(On the ferry, leaving the island. I’m holding Gage, watching the water fly past and the shoreline inching further and further away from us.) Gage: “Cousin K*** — Can wecome to Put-in-Bay next summer too?” Me: Mmm-hmmm. Maybe. Or maybe we’ll go somewhere else. Gage: I LOVED it. It was so fun. I want to come back. Me: Maybe we will! Gage: We can go somewhere else tho next summer, as long as you come with us. I love when you come with us. Me: Me too, buddy. Me too.
How could my heart not melt? How could I not want to just kidnap him and keep him all to myself?
The hard thing with Gage is… the ONLY hard thing with Gage is… that he isn’t mine. And he represents so clearly what I want in my life. Even if I’m not ready for a family right this second — he is it. He is everything I hope to have someday.
I’ve always known I wanted children. I even said — even if I didn’t get married, I’d adopt or foster. I just can’t imagine getting to the end of my life and looking back and not having spent years of my life devoted to something so ridiculously wonderful.
So when I go through a breakup or I am struggling with this oh-so-embarrassing aspect of still feeling painfully single… being with Gage almost saves me. And yet it hurts more at the same time. It’s such a hard thing to explain.
OMB’s disappearance has been extremely hard on me. Maybe not as outwardly devastating (I was a mess when J and I ended — and felt like I spent weeks crying over something I knew had to end.) But it has been devastating nonetheless.
I allowed myself to become vulnerable to someone who would only…do everything he promised he wouldn’t do to me. He disappeared as quickly as he had entered my life. And now, thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook — I know it’s not because something terrible happened to him, or because he was struggling with something I didn’t know or understand.
It’s because, just like with J, he found someone else.
Only this one shocks me more, because I didn’t expect it. As much as I loved J (or thought I did? I did —even if that isn’t what love is supposed to be) I knew J was capable of hurting me. I knew the cheating could very easily be a possibility — and when it was verified, the little voice deep inside me just said, “You knew it - now here is the proof.”
But with OMB — it just shocked me. The timing of everything confuses me more than anything. I just don’t understand how everything I believed a person to be could be so… terribly, terribly wrong.
My 10-year-old cousin, who met OMB when he took us to the Pirates game and to dinner the following night, asked me where he was and how he was doing. I knew she adored him the couple times she met him… and perhaps that’s my fault for allowing him to be welcomed into my life so easily. So when she asked — as she would be expected to — it hurt, even tho it was 100% expected.
K: Why aren’t you dating OMB anymore? Me: Because he stopped calling me. K: Why? Me: …I don’t know. K: Is he dating another girl? Me: (stunned silence then….) Yeah. I’m pretty sure he is. K: I’m sorry - boys suck. They’re all HORRIBLE! Me: Yeah — they definitely are. I still have some coins and stuff from Canada and Europe that he had given me to give you, if you still want them. K: No. I don’t. I don’t want anything from him. He’s a jerk.
It’s endearing — the way she tried to comfort me in her own 10-year-old way. But it hurt me nonetheless, because I wish the conversation never had to be. And it hurt me because deep down — I still find it hard to wrap my mind around the idea of him being a jerk.
It was only two months. That’s what I want to keep saying as I shake myself out of this emotional funk I am in. “Only two months.” It’s so easy to say - and yet it doesn’t change the fact that I feel torn apart inside.
I know when I do look back on my life, this will be nothing but a speed bump that I barely remember. Or maybe I will - who knows. If nothing else, it’s taught me that I am capable of truly falling hard for someone again. So there’s that.
Yet as we walked around Put-in-Bay today, the sun shining and the kids laughing — I still felt so very, very alone inside. This empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that I truly had forgotten I knew so very well almost two years ago, but over someone else.
It brings back old feelings and memories. It brings back parts of my life I’d rather forget. And it makes me wonder if someday — I will be the person I want to be, with the family I want to have and the direction I still so desperately need.
I don’t want to be with just anyone. I don’t want to settle… or end up in a marriage that isn’t strong and true and loving and real.
But for one of the first times in my life — if I’m being honest — I feel truly alone. With no end to this gross feeling in sight. And I hate that… because it overshadows how truly wonderful other parts of my life are right now.
I’m ready for this mountain to become a grain of sand.
“You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. It’s actions, not words, that matter.”—Nicholas Sparks (via rougestilettos)
But what is hard is that sometimes… Even their actions seem to fall right into place too. At least… At first. Then what? :-/
“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you are—underneath the year that make you eleven. Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.”—Sandra Cisneros
STOP EATING. START WORKING OUT. START RUNNING AGAIN.
Yes, you’ve been all over the place & had a cruddy few weeks emotionally, but making your body feel gross is NOT going to make you feel better about some dumb boy.
Yes, it’s hard because you’re living at home again & there is awful food selection everywhere (and we do mean EVERYWHERE.)
Yes, the food at the Smiling Moose IS delicious and those Black bean, Corn, Pepperjack, Tomato salsa, Citrus sour cream sliders were OUT OF THIS WORLD…. but you ate them. And they were delicious and amazing. But they cannot become a habit. I don’t care how close this place is to your work.
Finally… you are headed to Orlando in a month. ONE MONTH! From today. And Florida will feel way more fun if you are feeling better about the choices you’ll be making THIS month. Plus there might be a swimsuit involved in this Florida trip…
…..woke up and decided to dump the shitty-ass mood I was in yesterday out the window.
Today I showered, looked in the mirror & made a choice to be less miserable than I have been the past few days.
Today I put on a dress and makeup and tried to make myself feel as pretty as possible.
Today I went about my day - excited about training with work and lunch with my trainer/friend and my first big group work meeting downtown.
Today I focused on what IS going well in my life.
Today I realized — for the first time in a long, long time — I am excited about going to work and learning something new and feeling like an adult.
Today I turned my frown (and bitching and moaning and crying and miserableness) upside down and put my best foot forward.
I decided on my way back to work from all the downtown meetings/trainings, that I was going to swing into Pittsburgh Popcorn Company & get a bag of chocolate-covered popcorn for my coworkers. Because I wanted to be nice.
Niceness, multiplies, ya know?
I was going to throw niceness out into the universe and wait for it to boomarang back at me.
Then… as I walked into the store — this creepy, gross, toothless, homeless man yells out to me,
"I don’t think YOU need any more popcorn.”
I mean, really? REALLY? Did that just happen?
(It did. It happened. I died a little inside.)
I was so stunned I didn’t say anything & went inside the store. I stood there for a few minutes just… dumbfounded. There I was… at the top of the mountain… and this douchebag was trying to push me down. Just as the sun was coming out & I was starting to feel really good about myself & the chorus of heavenly angels were singing…
So, I got my popcorn (formycoworkersthankyouverymuch) and started off down the street.
A few blocks later - ANOTHER random downtown man (more my father’s age this time, better dressed but still more-than-likely one of those downtown weirdos) GRABBED MY ARM in the middle of the street and said,
"You look very nice today."
And then he walked away.
(I couldn’t even make this story up if I tried.)
Then I kept walking.
So… today I woke up and decided to see my self worth and try to make the best of this Tuesday morning in the middle of June. Today I wore a dress that made me feel pretty and did my makeup as nicely as I could… and tried to reflect the feelings I wanted to have inside.
Today I worked hard and did my best.
Today, a stranger called me fat.
And today — just like many other times in my life — I brushed aside the negativity and kept moving forward.
And today — just like many other times in my life — others have appeared to offer their support, even when they don’t realize how much it means.
I have my support.
But most importantly - I have myself. And the ability to brush things off… and move on.
So my mood has been pretty craptastic this past week.
It’s not like I’ve walked around miserable. There have been some really nice evenings and lunches and things with friends but… I just wasn’t as present or invested in those moments as I normally am. I sort of walked through the motions. I played the part of myself - without having to emotionally check-in, if that makes sense.
I was saving face. As much as I could. Because I worried if I stopped and really let things hit me, I’d be upset. And I so desperately didn’t want to be upset that I didn’t allow myself the time or the energy to be.
You know… even now, it’s hard for me to sit here and write some of this out — when writing has always been what comes easiest for me. I’m not miserable per say… And there are times in my life when I have been in a much darker place.
But I’m not myself and I don’t like how I feel.
I guess the easiest way is to start with what is on my mind the most right now.
What…. to even say here. Things were going SO well. So crazy well that I couldn’t believe it. Yes, the lines were a little blurred as to what we were — but I was falling for him. Hard. Probably harder than I’ve fallen for anyone ever, except J. And I will admit - it was the first time since J that I’ve had that instant attraction to someone on so many different levels. Where the minute I met them… I instantly felt comfortable. And so quickly forgot the fact that we had just met… because it felt like we had known each other for years.
I heard OMB tell stories about his actions and his friends and things at work… and over & over again I thought, “Wow. THIS is a good human being. This is a good man. Someone who works so hard — at his job, for his family and his friends.” And he didn’t tell them in a bragging sense… just little details I picked up on convos in passing.
He was so good with my 9-year old cousin when she was here. So good with my Little Sister with BBBS. And he INSISTED on helping me and my family move my stuff out of the apartment over Memorial Day Weekend. He was the first one to show up and the last to leave. He so warmly opened up to my family.. and even bonded with my cousin’s husband over the baseball game we would all be going to together in a couple weeks.
He even met the love of my life… He met my Gage — my HEART — something even J never did.
And he also, very briefly, met my Great-Uncle. Who is the closest he could ever come to meeting my Pap… the man who used to be the most important person in my entire life. The man I still think about every single day of my life.
He also met my parents, my sister, my cousin, my aunt, my Grandma, my Great-Aunt… so much family he was introduced to that weekend. A huge deal, in my eyes. All because he insisted on being there, to help me with something he knew was so hard for me.
I remember watching him with my cousin’s husband… moving this big piece of furniture out to the truck… and thinking, “So this is what it is like. This is what it is like to have someone show up when they say they are going to show up - and so selflessly help, because they care and because they want to.”
After being with J for so long - and so many times being disappointed by his lack-of-showing up… It was amazing. To know someone was putting in just as much effort as I was into a relationship/friendship.
Things like that moment… lead me to believe crazy, crazy things. Things you won’t even admit to yourself that you are thinking (“This is EXACTLY the type of person I want to be with…” and “Oh my god. I am going to fall in love with him if I let myself” and all these different “Could this maybe be…” moments that — looking back… You are slightly embarrassed to admit.) But it’s true. Even after only two months, it was true.
Something felt so different. So right.
But apparently my gut is wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.
Everything was great up and through the move. The week after, OMB & I were both busy with things, so we didn’t get to hangout but we talked on the phone every day.
Then that Friday came, and as I was driving home from work - he called me. We chatted for 45 minutes, as he fought his own way through rush hour traffic, on his way to meet a bunch of guy friends for the X-Men movie. He was in the best mood - laughing and telling me stories from his friend’s 30th birthday outing the night before. There were times I couldn’t even understand him, he was laughing so hard at what had happened…
He got to the movie theater and said he’d call me when he left dinner/the movie. I hungup the phone, bummed that I was heading home to work online but looking forward to hearing how his night went when he called me back later.
Only he never did. I just assumed him and his buddies all went out after. Typical guy stuff.
All of these days — came and went — and I haven’t heard a word from him.
I’ve texted him (a few times)… called him (twice)… and e-mailed him (once.)
Stone cold silence.
I’ve even given a few days in-between attempts — thinking he needed some space. Or was dealing with something. Or was upset… Or… I don’t know. I was trying not to be that girl that called 2182812 times, yelling “Where are you?! Why won’t you call me back?!”
It was just… really weird. For someone I had talked to on a DAILY basis since we first started talking — to not hear from him for a week… was astonishing. And hard. There were things I was dying to tell him - things going on with my new job that I knew he would be excited about for me. And I couldn’t tell him.
He had somehow become the first person I wanted to tell when something happened… and I couldn’t get ahold of him.
It’s not like we fought. It’s not like anything was different between our normal conversations and what happened or was said during our last talk on that Friday, June 3rd. And yet everything is different now.
It fills my head with a million different questions.
"Did I do something to upset him?" "Did I say something?" "Did HE do something and he’s afraid to tell me?” "Has he decided he just isn’t interested anymore?" "Has he lied about everything this whole time?"
Nothing makes sense. Nothing at all. Especially considering… how personal our conversations have been. How much he (seemingly) opened up to me, and how much I’ve opened up to him. How many times we had BOTH said — if the other person decided they weren’t interested anymore, the least that could be done was to SAY it. And move on.
Honesty first. Always.
I’ll never forget sitting there one night, at a local bar/restaurant near his house - how we talked so openly about the fact that no matter what happened… Whether we were meant to end up together or not - How badly we wanted each others friendship. How there was obviously something so strong and so unique between us… that it can’t be ignored. Couldn’t be ignored. Wouldn’t be ignored.
Apparently he’s decided it can be ignored.
Because really? What other excuse could there possibly be? It is 2011. There are very few reasons out there anymore that keep one person from communicating with another. And I’ve checked the obits. He’s not dead.
And I am completely at a loss for what to say or think or do.
So instead.. I am fighting off sadness. As much as I can, for as long as I can. Because I am afraid I will be extremely overwhelmed in a way I haven’t felt in a long, long time.
And I’m not quite ready to lose myself in that heartache yet.
Then, while I am dealing with all of this inside (the fact that he isn’t around, the fact that he missed that previously-mentioned baseball game with me and my family without any word or notice… the fact that I feel absolutely shit-tastic about myself right now as a whole) — I’m still caught up in certain moments.
Moments where my mom says, “What are we doing with all of these extra boxes from your move?”
And I still say — “We’re saving them. OMB had asked for them when I was done.”
Because deep in my heart, I’m still waiting. For some reason — some excuse, some insight — that can possibly make sense and make this all a bad dream.
I would be lying if I said everytime my phone rang, everytime I hear that I have a text or an e-mail or a message on gchat… I didn’t think it was him.
And I’d be lying if I said everytime I looked and it wasn’t, the crack in my heart didn’t get just a little bit bigger.
It’s as if I was standing on the edge of a cliff. I hadn’t completely fallen off the edge - hadn’t completely taken that leap.
But my toes were gripping the edge and my body was leaning forward. I was about to jump.
And then just before I gave in, I heard a voice yell from behind me that the net wasn’t there to catch me when I fell. And I gasped and flung backwards, trying to steady myself. Trying to keep myself from falling - even though moments before… that had been EXACTLY what I wanted.
I had wanted to fall. I had been willing to fall.
Until I realized nothing was there to catch me.
Then I ran from the edge, to get as far from it as I could. Sat down, hugged my legs and cried. I had come so close to falling. And now I was shaking from the embarrassment and fear.
"You may be feeling as though you are riding a merry-go-round right now Virgo. The same-old same-old is coming around again - and the worst part is that you are probably blaming yourself for not learning the lesson that could have helped you avoid this scenario. But you can’t blame yourself. A certain theme keeps recurring in your life because you need to address it. It isn’t just a matter of learning a lesson - it’s about doing something that needs to be done. This may involve facing someone you have a conflict with, or facing a situation that needs closure. Address the issue, and you’ll get off the ride.”
Argh. I hate when horoscopes are scarily accurate.
..that watching Sex and the City (be it repeats of episodes or the movies) doesn’t make them feel instantly better, should be voted off the planet. Or at least be labeled as very sad human beings.
Seriously, this show is the best medicine. I’m definitely a little bit of a grumpy bear tonight and there are several moments where I’ve caught myself mid-marathon smiling at how awesome the friendships are between the ladies.
No matter how many times I’ve watched these stories, there are certain scenes that continue to hit me in different ways; sometimes scenes I never paid much attention to hit me as if it was the first time I was watching them, because now they suddenly apply.
It makes me want to hug all of my really good female friends.
And drink a whole lot of cosmos.
In other news:
Week 2 at the new job is over. And it is now the weekend.
One day you will look back and laugh at yourself. You’ll say, “I can’t believe I was so asleep! How did I ever forget the truth? How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness Are anything other than bad dreams.” —Rumi—
It is crazy, isn’t it — how so much good can happen in one day, but something else can happen (or in my case… not happen) and suddenly, all of that good, happy feeling just disappears?
I was holding off there for awhile. I was trying really hard not to let it happen - but I can’t hold off any longer and so I’m going to cave to the sadness I am feeling right now. The minute I hung up that phone tonight on my drive home, I turned up the radio (which - coincidently - was playing “Little Miss”), sped my car up a little bit and just let the sadness flow.
I really need to find time to blog. I think about it a lot — when I am driving to and from work (the commute is anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour), when I am in the shower, when I am SO exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open at night - right before I fall asleep, when I am at work…
I have so many things on my To-Do Checklist, but I’ve been so busy trying to adjust to living with my parents again and starting this new job (which so far - I LOVE), that I haven’t been able to check them off.
At least I had today off… so I was able to sleep in, tho I still had to set my alarm and force myself up around 10:30. There’s something about my parents’ house that makes me feel so sluggish. I want to sleep more and eat WAY MORE.
Something on that To-Do List I haven’t gotten to? Grocery shopping. Which means I’ve been eating out again like WOAH (Seriously… new job means new neighborhood filled with new, fun food choices and I could seriously eat my weight in this pasta salad from the place across the street. No joke. It’s insane.) And then when I am home, I am eating nothing but ridiculously fatty things. I’ve had so much pasta I could die already. Mac & Cheese THREE times this week?
Uhhh. Maybe. Yeah. It happened. (THREE TIMES. Gross.)
That being said — I’m about to hit the gym this afternoon and try to get back on the band wagon. I had two egg whites and a banana for breakfast this morning (the healthiest choice I could make in this house today) and added them to my Lose It! Calorie Counter App, which I’ve been dying to try. I’m bored with Weight Watchers I think (gasp!) so we’ll see how this goes.
Before I Go… A Quick List(s)!
Things (I NEED) to Do: Get back on a normal workout schedule again. Grocery shop and start fillin’ up on healthy choices. (Which includes PACKING lunches for work again) Edit all the photos from my cousin’s wedding Create Wedding Photo Book for Cousin Create CDs of Photos for Bride & Groom’s Family Go thru the crap mom has piled up in the basement TRULY Dive-in to “The Happiness Project” Read the book/slides OMB gave me
Things (I NEED) to Blog About: My new job! Living at home again. OMB Workout/Diet/Weight/Plan Missing friends/Arizona
And with all of that being said… it’s time to hit the gym. Then home to shower and get ready for a fun girls’ night out — filled with Thai food (stop judging!) and Bridesmaids. A night I am DESPERATELY looking forward to because it is on a SATURDAY night and I’m IN TOWN and it’s RANDOM and fun and relaxing and I don’t have to think about the new job or boys or my parents or anything else that is going on right now. I can just get lost in a fun dinner and a movie and call it a day.