First One Down

IT’S SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As of 3 pm yesterday afternoon I officially survived my first year as a teacher. It was touch and go at some points, but I made it through and am excited to be back next year. I was actually a little sad to see the year end because I might actually miss seeing the students every day (even the ones who are little turds most of the time). However, sleeping in this morning was pretty glorious.

Ok, time to get down to the juicy stuff. I promised that I would keep you updated on how my foray into the world of online dating goes. Well, last night I went on my first official date that was a direct result of the app I downloaded. I met this guy (we will call him Joe) at a brand new Irish pub in Fargo. I was excited because I had never been, but the rest was pretty terrifying. What if it was super awkward? What if I wanted to leave after 10 minutes? What if I really liked him but HE wanted to leave after 10 minutes? The scenarios were running rampant through my head as I got ready.

The getting ready was an ordeal in itself. I want to look good but not fake or high maintenance. And what the hell to wear? I didn’t want to be dressier than him (or than what was appropriate for the place) but I also wanted to wear an outfit that I liked and felt confident in. By the time 7:30 rolled around I was a wreck.

Guys, it was FINE. He got there before I did (I planned that one…I wanted to be the waitee not the waiter) and so when I walked in I just marched up to him and gave him a hug (remember, we’ve been texting for a little over a week at this point so we weren’t TOTAL strangers). I pretended like it wasn’t awkward, and in about 30 seconds flat it wasn’t. Conversation started right away and didn’t stop for 5 hours. No, that is not a typo. We sat at our table at the same bar for FIVE HOURS. The first time I actually checked my phone I was shocked to see we had been sitting there for 3 hours already. I guess that’s a good sign, right? Neither of us were bored or uncomfortable enough to want to leave or even check the time.

Here’s my problem: obviously after sitting at a bar for 5 hours we had a few drinks. By the end of the night I had a definite buzz. Because of this, I’m nervous to trust any assessments of the evening. Was there a connection, or was I just being the usual chatty person I am after drinking? Is it worth a second date (without alcohol involved) to find out? As Jill pointed out, 5 hours of talking with only a few seconds of awkwardness probably warrants seeing him again.

So the first date is over. I imagine if I see Joe again or decide to meet up with any other OkCupid guys it will be a lot easier. Oh, and for those of you who might be wondering, there was no kissing or anything at the end of the night. I probably would’ve allowed it (definite buzz, remember?) but I wasn’t drunk enough to make the first move and he only went in for the hug.

This summer might be interesting…

I’m Slightly Awkward and Embarrassed…

Last week I was Gchatting with my friend Jill about the upcoming summer.  As ready as I am for the school year to be over, I’m kind of nervous about summer.  I’m moving out of my aunt’s house into my new apartment, which I am ecstatic about but I will also be living alone for 2.5 months until my sister comes back from summer break.  As I think I’ve mentioned before, my previous relationship consumed a lot of my life in Fargo and I’ve never made a lot of friends in town.  Of the few friends I have made, one in spending 2 months in South America and the others all have jobs that require them to work a lot of nights and weekends.  I’m starting to get nervous about being really lonely all summer.

About 2 seconds after I sent a long chat message explaining all of this, Jill responded with one word: “OkCupid.”  Apparently it’s this free dating website/app that a bunch of her friends use in Chicago and have a really fun time with.  She said that one of her friends met a lot of people through the app and didn’t pay for a dinner out for months.  Even though Fargo is a lot smaller than Chicago, she thought it was still big enough that I should give it a try.

Time for some honesty.  I still kind of think there is a stigma around online dating.  I’m not sure if this is a societal feeling or a personal feeling, but part of me felt that “resorting” to online dating as a 25-year-old was kind of embarrassing or sad.  Jill told me to stop being stupid, that it’s a good way to meet people in my town (especially when I don’t have a ton of time outside of school and coaching).  I started to relent a little.  I mean, how else do people meet these days?  Pretty much everyone of my friends I met at either school or work.  I no longer have the platform of college to force me to make connections with people.  The staff at my school is fairly small and I know everyone who works here.  The only other way I could come up with to meet new people is out at a bar, but that’s how I met my ex so that option left a bad taste in my mouth.  I swallowed my pride and made an account.

You guys, it’s been so fun so far.  Sure, there are a fair share of creepers out there who send me gross messages about wanting to hook up, but a few guys have messaged me that I’ve responded to and actually enjoy talking to.  Most are like me–not thrilled to be on the site but want to meet new people and don’t have a lot of time to do so.  I’ve been a member since last Tuesday, and over the weekend I finally agreed to meet one of the guys in person.  I was hesitant, but I realized that it is a dating site and a person may come across totally differently in person than they do via message.  So on Thursday I will be meeting who Jill and I (she’s my personal assistant with this journey) have dubbed Microsoft Guy at a new bar in town.  He was one of the first guys to message me, and we have since moved to texting and have been talking for a few days.  He seems really easy to talk to, so I feel comfortable meeting him in person to see if that holds true face-to-face.  

I’m still a little awkward about this whole thing.  I told my brother’s girlfriend that I have a blind date this week, and she asked who knows this guy and set it up.  I kind of dodged the question, but a little later she asked again so I admitted I met him on this app.  She didn’t judge (or didn’t seem to anyway), but I still felt awkward about it.  I guess after doing it for awhile I may get more comfortable/less embarrassed about it, but we’ll see.  At any rate, at least it should make for an interesting summer!  And since when I started this blog I said it would be part-Carrie Bradshaw, I promise I will update and let you know how things are progressing.  

In the meantime, anyone else do the whole online dating thing?  Are you having any success?  Do you feel awkward/embarrassed about it?

Graduation on a Budget

Time for a complete break from my posting themes of late!  I’m all half-marathoned out and have nothing more to share (well, I did get an email yesterday containing the proofs of pictures that were taken of me during the run and they are funnyyyyyy but they all have PROOF stamped on them in giant red writing so I won’t share–and sorry but I’m not spending $25 for the rights to one picture).  I’m going to shift gears today and write another DIY post.

I am the media specialist at a high school.  One week from tomorrow the 74 seniors at my school will be graduating.  I’m not sure how high school graduations work where you live, but here’s how things go in North Dakota: several weeks before graduation, students begin sending out graduation announcements.  These announcements almost always include invitations to the student’s open house/after-grad party.  Teachers often receive several/many open house invitations.  This is where I think North Dakota is weird, because my friend from Chicago did not understand that at all–maybe it has to do with the smaller school size and the fact that we are able to get to know more of our students.  

Anyway, as of today I’ve gotten several open house invitations.  I will not be able to attend any of these open houses because many of them are Memorial Day weekend and my youngest sister is also graduating that weekend, so I will be in Dickinson celebrating her.  Since I can’t make it to their parties, I want to give them a gift beforehand.  I know my dad (who is also a teacher) usually gets a card for every student who gives him an announcement and puts $10 inside.  That can get expensive reallyyyyyy quickly, and since I’m a new college graduate living on a teacher’s salary, I needed to think of a different option.  My thoughts immediately went to DIY, and I took to Pinterest.

It took about 7 seconds and I found a solution to my problem:

ImageDon’t you seriously freakin’ love Pinterest?

When I clicked the picture it just took me to a static image (one of my major pet peeves) but this was simple enough that I could figure it out.  I made my list and was off to Hobby Lobby:

-Mason jars (one for each announcement received)
-Black cardstock (I got one sheet for each student but that ended up being way too much–better safe than sorry)
-Ribbon
-Candy (I had to go to Target for that)

That was it.  It was probably the easiest and cheapest Hobby Lobby trip I’ve ever made.  I took my supplies home and got to work.  

First, I used a piece of ribbon to measure the circumference of the jar.  It ended up being about 10 inches, so I cut strips of cardstock that were 10 in long and about an inch thick.  I debated on what to use as a connector, and ended up going with good ol’ Scotch tape. I taped the strips in a circle and then cut the top of the motarboard.  Here’s where this project gets a little embarrassing.  I’m a perfectionist, so I laid my ruler across the top of the jar and figured I wanted the diagonal of the square to be about 5 inches.  I broke out the formula for a 45-45-90 isosceles triangle and determined the length of the sides of the square (if you do this project you don’t have to be quite so OCD, but fyi for a 5-inch diagonal the sides of the square are about 3.53 inches).  I cut my squares and taped them to my circles.  Then I just filled the jars with candy, tied a ribbon around the top and voila!  My graduation gifts:

Image

 

I think they are pretty damn cute.  Unfortunately, my Hob Lob was out of the 2014 ribbon so I just went with red (one of the school colors).  I hope my students (girls and boys) will like them, and best of all they were cheap.  I also got these gift bags at 50% off, tissue paper, and a card for each student.  With all those things included I spent about $6/student.  I took the time to write a pretty heartfelt message for each student.  The gifts aren’t much, but I think my students will think they are cute and appreciate the effort!

Alive on the Other Side

Well guys, it’s Monday.  The half marathon is over, and I’m still alive and walking without any assistance from wheelchairs, canes, or walkers.  I have mixed feelings about how it went.  I was not able to make it the entire way without walking a bit.  I started out running with one of the pacers and she claimed she was 2 seconds off the pace, but according to my Nike app we were averaging 25 seconds faster per mile than we were supposed to be going.  By Mile 5 I started to slow.  The back pain started around Mile 7.5 (I used Icy Hot on my shins and they felt fine, but I didn’t think to use any on my lower back).  I walked around Mile 9.5, but right after Mile 10 I saw my sister, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend there cheering me on so that pushed me to finish.

ImageWe didn’t stop during the race, so we needed pictures with my sister and the signs she made for both my aunt and I afterward

Although I’m bummed that I walked, I did beat the time I ran last year by 7 minutes.  I’m pretty proud of that.  That’s like 30 seconds faster per mile.  That’s why I have mixed feelings.  I’m sad that I walked, but I’m happy that I ran a faster time.

*Edit:  I just looked up my official time from last year’s half.  I was 7 minutes 48 seconds faster.  That’s an average pace of 36 seconds faster per mile.  Nothing to sneeze at…

Other than the walking, the day was awesome.  The crowds were huge, just as expected.  Check out this video taken of the start of the race (the marathon, half marathon, and 10k all started together):

Finishing on Broadway in downtown Fargo was also pretty cool.  There were tons of people lining the streets for the last half mile.  The fans were actually great throughout the entire course.  If I’m ever in town and not running, I will for sure make humorous signs and go cheer the runners on.  The comedic relief was a major help.  Some of my favorite signs were as follows:

-At about Mile 3 someone was holding a sign that said “You still have a SHIT TON of miles left”
– “Staying up all night to make this sign was hard, too”  (and it was just a white posterboard with those words written in black marker)
– “Jack Bauer runs until the treadmill breaks”  (any 24 fans out there?)
– “Run fast, random stranger!”
– “Pain now, beer later”
– “Run faster, I just farted”

A lot of the signs were pretty dumb, but even a second’s relief from thinking about the pain or how much farther we had to go was greatly appreciated.

I started the race running with my friend Lindsey.  I pulled ahead of her after about 2 miles (following that stupid pacer) but she caught back up with me around Mile 9 and we finished together.  As we were running those last few miles we discussed how next year we were either going to do the 10k or the Marathon Relay so we didn’t have to run so far.  I can’t say that I won’t for sure do the half again.  I still want to complete one without walking, and Fargo is probably the best place to do that because it’s so flat.  My training was interrupted this year with the whole broken foot thing and then I was gone for a week in Pittsburgh.  But life will happen every year.  I’m sure if I register next year my life will be super busy and things will get in the way of training too.  I want to participate in the Fargo Marathon weekend in some form, because it is a really fun and exciting weekend.  We’ll just see how many miles I will put in next year 🙂

The Final Countdown

If you need to get pumped up on this Friday, click this link and proceed to rock out:

This is it.  It’s the final countdown.  In less than 24 hours I will be (hopefully) done with the half marathon.  I’m a whole bundle of nerves right now.  I had a running nightmare last night–I dreamed that I only made it 4 miles and then had to quit the race because I was in too much pain.  Not a great dream to have 2 nights before the race.  In addition, it seems like I’ve been talking about the marathon all morning.  We had the annual Staff vs. Student basketball game this morning, and about a hundred different students and teachers asked why I’m not playing (I am not good at basketball, but everyone knows I coach it and I also am usually game to participate in these kinds of activities).  I repeated to everyone that I’m running tomorrow and, knowing my luck, I would twist an ankle and 3 months of training plus $70 would be wasted.

In spite of being incredibly nervous, I’m also getting excited.  I made a randomly awesome playlist to run to (I put it on shuffle and the first three songs that came up were “Get Silly” by V.I.C., “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, and “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen) and looking at those songs is just getting me pumped.  In addition, the whole weekend is an exciting event.  According to the last numbers I saw, there’s going to be something like 21,000 runners and volunteers participating.  I have no idea if there are estimates on how many people come to watch, but it’s a lot.  There are over 50 live bands or DJs scattered along the course.  Despite the pain of running 13.1 miles, it’s a really fun and exciting event.

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between excitement and nerves all morning.  I texted my aunt this morning about my dream making me nervous, and she replied that she’s pretty nervous too but tomorrow is going to be “all about mind over matter.”  I’m trying to believe that and tell myself that I’m going to do it.  It’s probably going to hurt, but I’m going to do it.  I want the feeling of crossing that finish line and being proud of myself.  Pushing through pain for 2 hours and 20 minutes is totally worth that.   And hey, I get to have a day of carbing up–nothing like eating carbs all day and not feeling badly about myself!

If you are awake tomorrow morning between 8 and 10:30 AM CDT, please send some positive thoughts my way.  I’ll probably need as much help as I can get :S

 Half marathon countdown:  0 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes

Daydream Believer

Ok, technically this post isn’t about a daydream.  That song has just been in my head this morning, and it kind of works for this post. Anyway.

So last night I watched the final movie in the Twilight series (judge me if you wish; FX played the series the other day and I watched 2 of them so naturally I had to finish).  I went to bed and then had a dream that I started dating Edward Cullen.  He loved me as much as his character loves Bella in the movie.  Then all the sudden the ex-fiancee C returned and wanted to get back together.  We started kissing, Edward found out (cuz he can hear thoughts, remember?), and he came and killed C and we rode off into the sunset.  Then I woke up.

Generally I am not one to analyze my dreams.  This is due in large part to the fact that I usually dream really, really random stuff.  Freud would love to have me as a patient.  But this dream was pretty normal (well, the vampire thing isn’t but I’m gonna blame that one on Twilight) and the messages are pretty clear.  They are also somewhat concerning to me.

The first thing this dream suggests to me is that I’m still desperately lusting after true love.  I think there are few people in this world who don’t want to find great love.  But I have a problem of being too obsessed with the idea (and with the fear of being alone).  I’ve tried to tell myself a million times, whether in my own head or on my blog, that I need to spend time focused on figuring out who I am and loving that person.  I need to revel in the fact that I am a child of God who is infinitely loved and not be so concerned about finding spousal love.  I’ve even tried to kid myself into thinking that I’m achieving these goals, when in reality I’m not.  I’m not happy being alone and I’m borderline-desperate to find someone (if dreaming about being loved by a vampire who kills one’s exes doesn’t suggest desperation, I’m not sure what does).  I don’t want to be this way, but it’s been 4.5 months since I ended my engagement and I still haven’t figured out how to stop.

The second message is pretty clear as well.  Right after I found everything out about C I had multiple dreams about him dying (and to be honest, it was usually ex-boyfriends who killed him.  I guess I like the idea of a knight in shining armor protecting me).  I haven’t had a dream like this in a looooong time.  I do think it is significant that this time it was a “new” love who killed him.  I think it’s pretty clear that the fact that he died (again) shows I still have some anger towards him.  I also think him being killed by a new love means that I don’t think I’ll truly be over him until I find someone else to replace him.  I’m not ok with either of these ideas.  I don’t want to be angry anymore.  I don’t have room or energy in my life to hang on to negative emotions.  I also don’t want to be someone who needs a man to be ok with herself.  I’ve clearly got some things to work on.

You may think I’m totally crazy for reading into a dream like this.  I don’t necessarily blame you.  However, even if I just randomly had this dream after watching Twilight, it still got me thinking about lingering issues I have.  It’s not like I had this dream and went searching for meaning behind every word and image.  It just forced me to be honest with myself about some things I had been burying.  That’s a good thing, right?  And more importantly, how do I conquer these issues?

Half marathon countdown:  2 days, 21 hours, 38 minutes

T-3 Days

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I gave you a heads-up that my brain is swirling with thoughts of the impending doom that is the half marathon I’m going to run on Saturday.  Since it’s pretty much all I can think about, it’s pretty much all I’m going to blog about for the next 4 days 🙂

I’m not sure why I’m so nervous for this half marathon.  I’ve already done 2, and I did the Fargo Half last year.  I know 2 half marathons isn’t an extreme amount, but I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Usually my nerves kick in when I’m about to do something new or unfamiliar.  Maybe I’m nervous about the fact that I don’t 100% know how my body is going to respond on race day.  I’ve had some training runs that feel amazing, and others where my legs start to get sore about a mile into the run (these days usually correspond to the days I drink less than 60 oz of water beforehand…you’d think I would learn).

Last night was my last long-ish training run before Saturday.  I went 7.37 miles, and now tonight and tomorrow I’ll just do 3-4.  Yesterday was one of the good runs.  It was 60 degrees out, so for the first time all year I was able to run in short sleeves.  I had a little bit of foot numbness in my left foot from Mile 2-3 (I have pronation issues if I don’t focus on keeping my foot stable) but otherwise I felt really strong.  As I was finishing, I thought to myself that I probably had enough left to do 6 more miles, so I should be ready to go on Saturday.  Like I said yesterday, this race is going to be mostly about mental strength so I’m doing what I can to build that up.

I realized something else while I was running yesterday.  My aunt is also running the half, and yesterday she told me her goal is to run sub-10 min/miles.  That would put her total time at under 2 hours, 10 minutes–at least 5 minutes faster than my goal.  I started to feel badly about myself and began to wonder if I could push myself to run that pace.  I was considering this while I was running last night, and I realized that I place way too much stock in comparing myself to others.  Two days ago I was content with my time goal for the half; now, one comment was making me reconsider that.  Why should my aunt’s goal have any impact on my own?

After this became clear, I also realized that running is not the only arena of my life where comparisons run rampant.  At my cousin’s wedding this past weekend I found myself thinking, “Ok, the bride is 30.  They met 3 years ago, which means I would have just under 2 years to meet my future spouse.  That’s not so bad.  They seem like a decently young couple.”  I’ve done this same calculation with many other couples as well.  I think it’s the fear of being the old maid friend that prompts me to do this.  I also want to have a family and be a somewhat young mom.  These two things lead me to constantly compare my place in life with those around me.  Sometimes these comparisons give me hope (like at my cousin’s wedding–2 years is PLENTY of time to meet someone) and other times they stress me out (at my age she was married and had two kids, I’m going to be alone forever!).  

I decided last night that I’m done comparing myself.  I’m uniquely me.  My life will take a different path than everyone around me, and that’s ok.  It’s ok if it takes me 2 hours and 20 minutes to run a half marathon.  That’s not the fastest pace ever, but I’m still out there doing it.  It’s also ok if I’m 25 and still single.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to be alone forever.  Constantly comparing myself to others is only going to leave me feeling inadequate and stressed out, and probably saddle me with some feelings of jealousy as well.  I’m making a commitment to replacing the comparisons with self-love.  I think if I’m actually able to do this I will have much better relationships with others and with myself.

Half marathon countdown–3 days, 21 hours, 37 minutes 

Aaaaaand We’re Back!

I’m back for my first real post in almost 3 weeks!  I had to double-check that, because it doesn’t seem like it can possibly be that long since I posted, but it’s true.  Life has been absolutely crazy these past few weeks, but I’ll try to be brief and get myself caught up.

I was in Pittsburgh from April 21-25 for the NCEA National Convention.  I went with two other teachers from the Catholic elementary schools in Fargo.  I hadn’t met either teacher beforehand, but we got along really well and had an amazing week.

Displaying photo1.jpg

The three teachers at a Pirates game

The conference was wonderful as well.  I attended some incredible speakers and got a ton of great resources that I will be able to use as I transition to the 6th grade classroom next year.  Plus, it was a much-needed break from life in Fargo.  Next year the NCEA convention is in Orlando, and I’m really really hoping my principal asks me if I want to go again!

I came back from Pittsburgh, was at school for two days, and then left again as a chaperone on the junior class retreat.  We went out to a campground on Pelican Lake in Minnesota.  I didn’t know what to expect on the retreat because they had asked me to come along only 5 days before we left, so I didn’t have much time to prepare.  The retreat was another amazing experience.  It was definitely about the juniors and helping prepare them to lead the school next year, but the chaperones got a lot out of it too.  This was another event that I hope to be asked back to.

We got back from the retreat on Thursday afternoon.  I was in Fargo for approximately 24 hours before we took off for Rochester, MN for my cousin’s wedding.  That’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Fargo.  I was pretty exhausted before we even left, but I wanted to go support my cousin and see my family.

Displaying photo2.jpgDolled up for the wedding with my cousin, brother’s girlfriend, and sister

I won’t lie, I was not excited for this wedding.  It’s the first one I attended since breaking off my own engagement.  I was supposed to be at this wedding crazy excited to get married myself in 50 days, and instead I was hoping to be able to get through the day without breaking down.  

I would be lying if I said it was easy.  There were several moments during the ceremony when I forced my mind to wander so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by what was happening.  This was also the first time I had seen several family members since everything happened, so they asked how I was doing and wanted to talk about the very things I was trying not to think about.  I got through the ceremony, dinner, and toasts, and when the dance started I was fine.  It was good to dance with my cousins and just have fun.  Hopefully now that the first wedding is out of the way things will get easier, since I have 3 more to go to in the next 6 months.

I’m finally back in Fargo for a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean life is any less busy.  We have 14 school days left (!!!) so things are getting crazy.  On top of that, this Saturday is D-Day (aka, the day of the half marathon).  I have no idea if I’m ready.  My longest training run was 10.17 miles (ran last Tuesday).  I’m hopeful, because that’s over 2 miles longer than the longest runs I did before that 2 other half marathons that I’ve done.  I think this race is going to be a mental thing for me–I’m pretty sure my body can do it, so long as I don’t psych myself out.  As I was nearing the end of my 10-mile run, I thought to myself “at this point next Saturday, I will still have a 5k to run.”  I started feeling desperate and panicky.  That’s exactly the type of crap I need to NOT do on race day.  I need to just make up my mind that I’m going to do it.  After everything I’ve lived through these past few months, I can run for 2 hours (my time goal is 2:15–about 10:18 min/miles).  And I want the feeling of pride after I’ve crossed the finish line and know I did it.  I want that badly.  I’m trying to spend a lot of my time this week visualizing it.  That was a piece of advice I was given back when I did Weight Watchers–instead of focusing on the pain of what you are going through, visualize how good it will feel when you finish.  Hopefully that applies in half marathons too.

This post didn’t really serve any purpose other than to catch up on where I’ve been the last few weeks and explain why I’ve been neglecting you.  My mind is pretty focused on the half this week, so that’s probably all I’ll be talking about.  Hopefully next week I’ll be exciting and interesting again (I AM exciting and interesting sometimes, right?)!

Half marathon countdown–4 days, 16 hours, 43 minutes (thanks to the Fargo Marathon app I downloaded this morning)

Majorly Slacking

Wow, I’ve been the biggest slacker blogger ever these last few weeks.  I got back from Pittsburgh, was at school for two days, and then left for two more days as a chaperone for the junior class retreat.  I’m back at school for good until the end of the year (which is only 15 school days away!) but I have a bunch of stuff to catch up on, AND I’m going to Rochester, MN this weekend for my cousin’s wedding.  I promise I am not letting this blog go and will hopefully have time to write legit posts when I get back next week!   

Hi from Pittsburgh

Hello readers! I just wanted to pop in to say hey hey hey from Pittsburgh PA (I couldn’t resist)!

I’ve been here with two elementary teachers from the Fargo Catholic Schools Network since yesterday afternoon and so far everything has been AMAZING. We’ve been to opening Mass (6,000 people singing “Gather Your People” almost made me cry), listened to the opening address from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and attended two professional development sessions. I will write more about everything I’m learning and experiencing, but I’m writing this on my phone (which is a pain) and I need to get to bed to be ready for tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure you know I haven’t forgotten about you. Have a lovely week!!