Monday, December 28, 2009

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas...

It's the best time of the year...

I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer...

While this is not my favorite Christmas song it's the first one that came to mind when I sat down to write about my Christmas this year.

The best thing about Christmas this year? It was simple. No frills. Just my immediate family, lots of food, wine, and hanging out.

While I dearly missed spending time with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, it was nice to take a nap when I felt like it, get in some good workouts, and not have to rush off anywhere.

Thusday I got to sleep in - it was SO nice to not have to wake up super early. I went to Ann's Iron Corps class and got a phenomenal workout. I wish that I was able to take it through the week! Kendra and I headed to Starbucks and chatted for 2 hours over coffee - it was a great day followed by wonderful food, a couple bottles of wine, It's A Wonderful Life, and merriment with my family.

Christmas morning we had to wake my niece up to open presents, but once she was up, she was ready to roll! She had a blast opening things, and playing with them, while my nephew really had no interest (I think that comes with being such a little guy!). It was a blast to watch her open gifts!

Santa was VERY good to me, as he always is (it's because I'm such an upstanding person throughout the year...) I got lots of things off of my mile long wish list and money to put towards a new bike so that I can start to take on Triathlons!

I also got to have coffee with a friend on his way out of town, it's always so nice to be able to catch up with people over the holidays!

Saturday morning I ran with Ann, we stayed inside because it was pretty snowy and slippery and did 6 miles on the treadmill. I know the 'mill will get easier as I start to do it more this winter, but I'm not even joking, it almost killed me on Saturday. It's hard to remember that I once did 15 miles (at one time!) on one last winter!!

Sunday I met Kendra at the Y and we got in a good swim and even kicked a little longer so we could chat!

I also managed to read 2 books this weekend (I finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall earlier in the week too - seriosuly, read this book, even if you're not a runner. Read it.).

I read Push which the movie Precious is based on. WOW. The book was intense. And disturbing. And very thought prevoking. I would highly recommend it and would love to discuss it with anyone who reads it.

I try to follow up intense/more serious books something light hearted or fun! My parents got me the book Shoe Addicts Anonymous for their shoe loving girl and it was super cute.

I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas and has a happy, healthy New Year! I'm am certainly looking forward to another short work week and to moving in to 2010. I already have big plans for it...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Ain't Saying I'm Perfect, But I Promise I'm Worth It

I have this complex with trying to be “perfect.” Not in the since that I spend 800 hours on my hair or make up or that I am OCD about making sure I have the wrinkles out of my pants, it’s more in my actions.

I want to always do the right thing and say the right thing and when I don’t, or I feel that I don’t I spin in to this crazy tornado of continuing to try and explain myself until I’m exhausted and have to throw up my hands and say, whatever will be, will be.

I got in to a car accident last Wednesday night. I’m fine, my car is barely dented (you can’t tell unless you have your nose to the bumper), and more importantly, the other people are fine. The poorly salted/sanded/plowed roads in Madison were no pleasure to be driving in, BUT, it was MY fault. I get that. And I felt/feel awful.

I apologized profusely to the couple and told my story to the police and then, I got a ticket (well, I didn’t actually receive it, I was told I would get it in the mail…so I’m still waiting…).

I beat the hell out of myself for it. I cried over it and I didn’t sleep over it – mainly because I felt SO bad and SO guilty.

(My mom does say that this is the reason they never had to punish me while growing up, I knew when I screwed up and I would punish myself).

Earlier this week I sent an email to a friend that I felt was maybe misunderstood so, when I received an email back, I immediately called and tried to clarify – you know, just to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Unfortunately, the message I left was STILL not REALLY what I wanted to say and could have been clearer. Normally, I would have followed up with another email or message to further explain but this time I didn’t. I gave in to the “whatever will be, will be” mantra a lot sooner than normal.

I’ve always strived really hard to be very clear with people (I’m a serious over communicator) but to also make sure that people are always happy with me. The being clear part isn’t all that hard, but I want to make sure that people aren’t annoyed with me or mad at me and this is easier said than done, my friends.

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I am a people pleaser.

The people pleasing business is not often easy nor is it a good way to go through life. I’m realizing that and I’m working on it. But it’s hard to up root 28 years of a particular behavior in a matter of months.

I also think I just care way too much. Yes, about how people perceive me, but also how people FEEL. I legitimately care about people – very deeply. This often leads me in to a world of hurt, but I can’t go about living my life not caring how people are feeling or wanting to make sure that they are happy.

I was talking about this with a good friend last night and Kevin got mentioned and after thinking about him and the mess that he was, I said “you know, I really hope that he’s happy.” Bridget could have decked me at that point (which I appreciate since it means she cares since he is a total jackbag). But I do. I really hope that he’s happy.

It’s just me. I throw caution to the wind when it comes to people. I love without abandon. I always want to make sure that people are happy with me and that they know that they can count on me. I want people to know that I truly care about them and the things that are going on in their life and most of all, I just want my friends and loved ones to be happy. And I don't think that this is a bad thing.

This is all great and lovey dovey and touchy feely but when I don’t know that people know that, I can drive myself (and others) a tad bit crazy trying to explain.

I need to be better at thinking before I speak. I maybe need to be LESS of a communicator. I need to take a step back and make sure that I am truly happy before I work so hard to appease others. But, I won’t stop loving without abandon. I won’t stop giving my all to people. I just need to be a little smarter about it and not beat myself up so much in trying to get there.

I’m working on it…because as much as I aim at perfection, I am far from perfect.

In quoting one of my favorite “yay me” songs “I'm slow to trust but I'm quick to love…I push too hard and I give too much…I ain't saying I'm perfect, but I promise I'm worth it”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Giving Thanks...

Every year at Thanksgiving, my dad’s side of the family gathers at my parent’s house and as the turkey and mashed potatoes (and you know, all of the delicious things that go along with Thanksgiving dinner) are passed around the table we all mention what we are thankful for.

Some people have had big events happen this year, surgeries, illnesses, etc. and got a bit chocked up being thankful for family and for being able to be seated at the table again this year. My cousin Adam was thankful for my mom giving up her Packer ticket and for my dad for taking him to the game. My niece (who’s 3) was thankful for her whole family (asked earlier that morning she was thankful for cartoons and her whole family, but she dropped the cartoons when it came to show time). People were thankful for their kids and spouses. My dad gave the nicest thankful speech to my mom.

Me? I kept it short this year because had I really talked about what I was thankful for the speech would have lasted about 8 days and I would have cried. I simply said that I was thankful for my family and everyone’s health and for people supporting my crazy ass endeavors (you know, coming to watch me run marathons and taking random trips with me, etc.)

And I am thankful for those things.

But here, on my blog, in an untimely fashion, I’ll lay it all out…

I’m thankful that I made it to Thanksgiving. I went through a rough time last year – a time that I don’t think most people understand. I was a mess. I was at the lowest point I have ever been and it was scary. There were plenty of times when I wasn’t sure that I would make it out of the hole I was sinking in to alive. But, I dug my feet in and I slowly climbed out. I am stronger, smarter, and a whole lot better for it today.

I am thankful for my family. They are truly amazing.

My mom who can piss me off and be my best friend in the same sentence. She is an incredible person, someone who I’m so proud of. She works her ass off and doesn’t take enough credit for it. She’s smart and fun and it’s easy to forget she’s my mom because I tell her EVERYTHING, until I say something that strikes a chord and she lays it all out for me. Or when I don’t clean hard enough. I love when she feels to see if I have a temperature, still with a kiss on the forehead. I cherish our date nights and spending time together.

My dad who is one of the funniest people I know and can never fail to make me laugh – even when I don’t want to. His hugs are my favorite (besides those from my grandpa). He asks me when I’m going to stop running marathons, deep down I know it’s because he gets nervous for me and I love him for that. He works his ass off and doesn’t take enough credit for it. He is really smart and can debate a point like nobody. I love when he’ll agree to a dance with me. When he sings karaoke, it’s impressive.

My sister. I called her last night, as she was driving home behind me from a dinner that we had together. I called to tell her that I am really thankful that she’s my sister. We don’t always agree, but she is one of my very favorite people. She never ceases to amaze me. She has a good heart. We have fun together – whether it be a night on the town dancing or a dinner with friends. I like that she can easily be part of my group of friends now that we’re adults. She’s supportive and always tells me what she thinks (see the part where we don’t always agree…) and I appreciate her feedback whether it be about an outfit choice or a boy or the hot topic of the day.

My niece who I seriously don’t know what I do without. I can be having the worst day ever and just seeing her perks me up. She is insanely smart. Her vocabulary is out of control and she’s really funny. She’s a sassy little thing and I adore that. She is 3 going on 19 and I love spending time with her. Our dates are a blast and will only get more fun as she gets older.

My nephew is awesome. He is such a happy guy who is so snuggly and cuddly. I love walking in a room and seeing him light up and crawl over to me. I can’t wait until he starts to talk, he’s going to have quite the personality!

My grandparents are so supportive. My grandpa has driven out and back to Cali with me, hauling my junk up to an apartment I would move out of the next day. My grandma will talk politics with me and she’s so cute when she does. She gets so fired up and I love that. They both tell great stories about growing up and about their younger days. I really love spending time with them. They have also braved 2 marathons – standing around watching runners for several hours. I am so thankful for them. And, nothing beats a polka with my grandpa.

My aunts and uncles have always been interested in what I’m doing and who I am and where I’m going. I love that my family is so close. They all have very special places in my heart. They are always supportive and that makes doing hard things a lot easier when you know that people are cheering you on.

I have a great group of cousins that I’m thankful for. Watching us all grow up and come in to our own is fun.

I have an amazing group of friends – a group that if I went in to detail about each one this would be 500 pages long. I have these amazing people in my life who are kind and generous and supportive and who have loved me even when I didn’t love myself. They are smart and fun and always make me smile. They are people who I don’t feel ashamed to cry in front of. People who I can be goofy around and not feel weird about that. People who I can have serious conversations with and I am never judged. People who I turn to because I genuinely want their opinions and they will give them to me without holding back. People who make me laugh, hard. People who although we live thousands of miles away I keep in touch with and it feels like we’re right next door. I’m truly thankful for the people I get to call my friends.

I am thankful for being able to travel and see the world.

To have amazing learning experiences at every corner – despite some of them coming from unfortunate situations.

To be healthy and active. To be able to push myself physically and mentally further than I ever thought was possible and when I get to the extreme WANT to push a little more.

I'm thankful that I've found a calm in my life - that I'm at a place where I'm doing really well.

I'm thankful that I can be proud of myself and the person that I'm still becoming.

There's so much in my life to be thankful for - not just on Thanksgiving but all year long...

And, you know, I’m thankful for my blackberry.