No Amount of Coffee

A place for me to reflect on my second year of life in Mississippi. Nothing profound, just small pieces of the day-to-day. Pieces that often take more than just one cup of coffee.

I weighed myself today…

The weight on my state ID is a lie. When they asked me my weight at the DMV I said I was about 20lbs lighter than I was. But, it is a lie now because I am 10lbs under what my state ID says. 

When I saw how much I weighted today, I couldn’t believe it. I thought the scale would have read 10 pounds heavier. I haven’t been running as much as I’d like or eating as healthy as I’d like, but I guess it makes sense… I have been practicing an active lifestyle, I’ve changed my eating habits dramatically, and learned how to cope with my stress in ways that doesn’t involve large amounts of junk. 

I am by no means skinny. I still have my big girl curves, and proud of them! But I am looking forward to taking my healthy lifestyle to a new level. 

This is a picture from exactly 2 years ago. I am currently 40lbs lighter than that picture.

I am a completely different person physically, but also mentally and emotionally… It’s insane! 

AmeriCorps is a large reason as to why I am where I am at today. I’ve challenged myself in so many ways since joining this program and the pay off is more than I thought it could have been. And in ways I couldn’t have realized. 

Heading to Miami soon. Living in a place where everyone seems to be physically fit will be nice motivation to push myself in my PT. Excited. 

Above is River 3 with the Habitat Tuscaloosa crew we worked with. Such a blast working with these guys. We’ve learned so much in terms of leading and construction skills fro them, which is REALLY going to help us when we work with the Habitat affiliate in MIAMI FLORIDA come January. Living in Miami for 10 weeks? I’m pumped!
THEN, we will be teaching nutrition and setting up community gardens and creating a cookbook for kids in Terry, MS! This is going to look incredible on my resume if I decide to do Food Corps, which does essentially the same thing but on a much larger scale.
Life feels good right now. I’ve just decided to be carefree about EVERYTHING in my life. God, all my overthinking and over stressing has caused for a miserable day to day. Whatever happens, happens. Whereever I end up, I end up. And in January, I am ending up in Miami freaking Florida.
I have a Project Compeletion Report to finish up right now, meh. I am ignoring it for as long as I can and as such I am sure I will be pulling an all nighter. Way to be a responsible Team Leader there, Ashley. Schwatever. Carefree, remember? It will get done. No worries.
Oh, and uh, winter break is going to be a good time. Lots of friendlies, lots of families, and lots of funsies. Excited to head back to the Northwest for a bit. Maybe get a taste of a real winter?

Above is River 3 with the Habitat Tuscaloosa crew we worked with. Such a blast working with these guys. We’ve learned so much in terms of leading and construction skills fro them, which is REALLY going to help us when we work with the Habitat affiliate in MIAMI FLORIDA come January. Living in Miami for 10 weeks? I’m pumped!

THEN, we will be teaching nutrition and setting up community gardens and creating a cookbook for kids in Terry, MS! This is going to look incredible on my resume if I decide to do Food Corps, which does essentially the same thing but on a much larger scale.

Life feels good right now. I’ve just decided to be carefree about EVERYTHING in my life. God, all my overthinking and over stressing has caused for a miserable day to day. Whatever happens, happens. Whereever I end up, I end up. And in January, I am ending up in Miami freaking Florida.

I have a Project Compeletion Report to finish up right now, meh. I am ignoring it for as long as I can and as such I am sure I will be pulling an all nighter. Way to be a responsible Team Leader there, Ashley. Schwatever. Carefree, remember? It will get done. No worries.

Oh, and uh, winter break is going to be a good time. Lots of friendlies, lots of families, and lots of funsies. Excited to head back to the Northwest for a bit. Maybe get a taste of a real winter?

My team had the opportunity to go to a dinner put on by Habitat for Humanity at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Alabama tonight. Twenty families affected by the tornadoes in April were chosen to enjoy dinner, crafts for their kids, and a Christmas package that included a tree, ornaments, decorations, and $600 to spend on Christmas this year. 

Coach Saben was supposed to be there, but due to a recruitment in Miami only his wife could make it. 

Oh, there was a family who left New Orleans after Katrina and moved to Tuscaloosa, only to be hit by these tornadoes and loose everything all over again.

…Shit.  

After learning this is when the night was made really worth it for me. I spent 10 weeks in New Orleans rebuilding homes for residents and I have a really special place for the city in my heart. Tuscaloosa has quickly gained a special place as well. To think that I only see the aftermath and this family went through a devastating disaster TWICE! It’s insane. 

I’m really glad we went. It was a really great reminder as to why I am here. Even though I’m constantly sick, in a permanent state of exhaustion, overwhelmed with paperwork, ultimately I am here for those families. So all my worries and personal problems can suck it. I have more important things to focus on. I only have 2 days left in AL but I’m going to make them count.

Just, shit…

I just keep thinking, it’s got to end eventually, right?

Life as an STL was great, then it was shit.
My personal life was great, now it is shit.
Life as an FTL was great, and it’s turning to shit!

So many ups and downs, but it has got to end eventually, right?

I’m super sick, but I don’t have time to be sick so I ignore it. I have more paperwork to get done than time I have to do it in, due to my poor planning. I want to look forward to winter break, but the closer that gets the closer all of my deadines get.

I have never been so stressed before. It’s to the point of physical ailments and praying that apathy will just kick in and I’ll give up.

Sometimes, I wish I was a quitter.

My life is full of shit. It’s a wonder I can still smile and call myself happy.

***

In AmeriCorps related news: We leave Tuscaloosa this Friday. I am both excited to move on to the next thing and afraid of what sort of SHIT the next thing will bring. So far I have had to be the authority figures pertaining to numerous ER vists, a surgery, and jail time. All in a 2 month time frame. …and I feel like I have yet to get the worst of it.

I refuse to let myself think what life could have been had I applied for the Envriomental Anthropology field school in Edmunds, WA teaching K-12 the importance of self sustaining and natural recources. Refuse…

In much the same way the sun steals the snow, I’ve been burned by the heat two bodies make.

—Horse Feathers

Time to turn this into a blog on jogging again.

Getting shit back on track in terms of my jogging. I’m dedicating 20 minutes of everyday, no matter how much work is to be done, no matter how late (or early) I’ll be up, no matter how freaking tired I am, no matter how dark it is, to jogging.

Part of the reason my routine has been ruined is because of the huge change in my job, but part of it is because I let the change become an excuse. I get really upset wth myself when I realize how far along in my progress I could be had I kept up with it this past month.

So, we start again. 20-40 minutes a day to start. Once I get back in my grove, I’ll see what I can do to mix things up. 

On top of the jogging, I’ve decided to put myself through the 100 pushups challenge. It’s a six week challenge that results in the ability to do 100 well formed consecutive push ups. I might have to do modified the first 6 weeks and then start again with real push ups… We’ll see how the initial test plays out.

Excited.  

Ashley, let’s take a minute and look at this. We could all be in a lot of places doing a lot of things …but we fucked up.

—My TL pal, Andrew Schill

Routine

River 3 has been settling into a nice routine. Which I hate. Routine = boring. I am going to need something new soon. Good thing Thanksgiving break is only 2 weeks away.

Things are still going decently well, I think. Aside from the CRAZY I have had to deal with in being a Team Leader of course. …I never though half of this shit COULD happen. And yet.

I’m still happy, just a constantly tired version of happy. I can never get enough sleep in one night to make up for the long day before it. Such is this life.

My personal life is disappearing also. I am trying desperately to keep it intact, mostly through weekly letter writing, but I am too tired for large amounts of effort. Then, when I do make the effort it is not always reciprocated. Which makes for less and less motivation on my part. Which…

These are pictures from my work site! My team and I are working with Habitat for Humanity to build new homes for homeowners who lost their homes from April’s tornadoes. Ground up builds. I love being involved in rebuilding communities in this capacity.

And can I just say… I feel so. fucking. normal.

I can’t explain why exactly, I’m sure it’s a mixture of things. My hormone levels from that damn birth control are finally normalizing, I don’t hate my job/my stress level has gone WAY down, I have people/a team to socialize with!, I am working with my hands again, I am kept busy and left with no time to overthink… I feel so stable. I feel like I can take on anything. I feel SO GOOD.

Thanksgiving is getting closer. Which means I get to go home and see mom and dad and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and I am so damn excited. I also get to see that boy I kind of, maybe, sort of like.

I feel like spreading my happines around with everyone I come into contact with.

My team is wonderful. My mental health is wonderful. My stress level is tolerable.
The past month has been weird and tough and I hated it. I struggled to find the happiness in my life and it was difficult to remind myself why I was in Mississippi. I had to distract myself with my running, my family, my boy, my art. I was forcing all of these things to make up for my happiness. Which led to stress and confusion and heartache.
My happiness is back.
I spoke with my mom recently and asked her when the last time I was legitimately happy like this, when it wasn’t forced. She said Labor Day Weekend. She was right.
Work and life just got all kinds of complicated after that weekend. Things have finally settled down.
I have a calm again.
This new position in work suits me. I need the constant stimulating environment, and the hands on work, and a team to keep me motivated.
My happiness in my work has been reflecting in other areas of my life, this change couldn’t have come at a better time.

My team is wonderful. My mental health is wonderful. My stress level is tolerable.

The past month has been weird and tough and I hated it. I struggled to find the happiness in my life and it was difficult to remind myself why I was in Mississippi. I had to distract myself with my running, my family, my boy, my art. I was forcing all of these things to make up for my happiness. Which led to stress and confusion and heartache.

My happiness is back.

I spoke with my mom recently and asked her when the last time I was legitimately happy like this, when it wasn’t forced. She said Labor Day Weekend. She was right.

Work and life just got all kinds of complicated after that weekend. Things have finally settled down.

I have a calm again.

This new position in work suits me. I need the constant stimulating environment, and the hands on work, and a team to keep me motivated.

My happiness in my work has been reflecting in other areas of my life, this change couldn’t have come at a better time.

Nutshell Update

I haven’t jogged in exactly one week.

I won’t be able to race on Saturday.

I am now leading a team full time in the field and it has taken over my life.

I am stressed, but in a much less awful way. 

I need to force myself to get out of bed in the morning to workout. I just don’t have evenings to myself anymore. Which is shitty, but okay at the same time. 

I have a fucking awesome team. 

I still miss home.

October is here. Not that I can tell when I look outside my window. All I see is southern sunshine. I can’t wait to go home in November and see the overcast sky, breathe in the cool crisp autumn air, walk across crunchy leaves, and have reason to wear scarves and boots! 
Until then I am stuck with creating my own sort of autumn. With getting cozy in bed with books and a cup of tea and baking delicious pumpkiny type foods and beverages (like the one above! Homemade soy pumpkin spice chai).
I remember feeling homesick around this time last year, too. I think I just need my northern autumn. Too much Vitamin D down here.
Give me the dreary skies and biting cold wind. There is nothing like sitting in a coffeehouse or lunch cafe with a window view of stripped to the bone trees and clouds of doom hanging over head. Nothing. 

October is here. Not that I can tell when I look outside my window. All I see is southern sunshine. I can’t wait to go home in November and see the overcast sky, breathe in the cool crisp autumn air, walk across crunchy leaves, and have reason to wear scarves and boots! 

Until then I am stuck with creating my own sort of autumn. With getting cozy in bed with books and a cup of tea and baking delicious pumpkiny type foods and beverages (like the one above! Homemade soy pumpkin spice chai).

I remember feeling homesick around this time last year, too. I think I just need my northern autumn. Too much Vitamin D down here.

Give me the dreary skies and biting cold wind. There is nothing like sitting in a coffeehouse or lunch cafe with a window view of stripped to the bone trees and clouds of doom hanging over head. Nothing. 

What I did to keep myself occupied yesterday since I wouldn’t let myself go running. …I really think I’m beginning to get addicted to it. I don’t know if an addiction to running is a bad thing?
Anywho, my Team Leader friends will be back on Friday for 10 days. I will have a semi-normal life again, with real life people to keep me company. Tres exciting. 

What I did to keep myself occupied yesterday since I wouldn’t let myself go running. …I really think I’m beginning to get addicted to it. I don’t know if an addiction to running is a bad thing?

Anywho, my Team Leader friends will be back on Friday for 10 days. I will have a semi-normal life again, with real life people to keep me company. Tres exciting. 

This has become a blog on jogging… Sorry.

My boobs are getting bigger and my waist is getting smaller. This isn’t a terrible a thing. It’s just strange. I’ve never been one to care too much about looking a certain way and it’s not that I care all that much now… but I do enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor.

Seeing the changes my body is taking on due to my dedication to this new healthy and active lifestyle is very exciting.

Having said that, I kind of enjoy my curves and hope they don’t wander off too far. I guess they aren’t disappearing though, just finding new (more appealing?) ways to show through.

Today was my “rest” day. It was tough to stay indoors and not run. I don’t like the feeling of not getting my jog in. But after the 5 mile day followed by a 3 mile day (on a new and more difficult route) my body needed it.

I’m going to be working this new jogging route all week. It’s a gradual incline for about 1.5 miles with a bitch of a hill to get over before a decline for about a mile followed by a slight incline until the end. I’ve been running smaller more frequent hills, my legs aren’t used to this whole one large hill thing. Not yet. 

Where I’m at

I ran 5 miles in 48:51 today. I want to get it down to a solid 45 minutes by October 8. 

The game plan is to run 3-4 miles everyday this upcoming week, take a day off (maybe two), then run 4-5 miles until the following week, with a day or two of rest before race day. - Advice from my runner friend. 

Excited.

Any outside advice?