Max

As most of you know Maxy, my almost 7 year old Silky Terrier,  is the cutest thing ever. What you might not know is how much of a BOY he is. I had a little fun the other day video recording Max in action. Take a look:

Dreams

I’ve been having these somewhat confusing dreams about wedding ceremonies gone wrong. In some of them I was the one getting married, and in others I was present at other people’s wedding. The commonality seemed to be that all the dreams had a lot of drama around them; drama about marrying the wrong person, or not wanting to get married and having to, for whatever reason. Mike says I’m getting cold feet. And it might as well be. I’ve always understood marriage to be HUGE commitment and as one ventures in, one has to comprise quite a lot; which might have been the reason I hadn’t really had the conviction of getting married before now. I take it seriously, too seriously perhaps, which could explain the nightmares.

Last night though, I had a different kind of dream. I was with Mike and some of my family, cousins, some friends too perhaps, and we were sorting something out, holding a discussion of some sort around something, that seemed to be banal, or at least from an outsiders perspective, it seemed trivial. And suddenly we hear this loud noise, we look back and this wave of people running, surrounded by bursts of fire, chaos, screaming and just complete mayhem was heading our way, like a tsunami taking over everything. In the dream, I quickly understood it as the end of the world, and the instinct was to run for dear life. In the dream, Mike took my hand and we started running away from this wave of madness that was taking over everything. I woke up, startled and a bit out of breath.

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I’ve had chaotic dreams like this one before that turned out to be premonistic. So, I thought maybe if I shared this one, it wouldn’t happen. You know, like when you tell others your wishes they don’t come true, because you somehow jinxed them? Well, I thought, maybe if I shared this dream, I’d jinxed it too. So here it is. I have no desire for the world as we know it to end, not now and probably, not ever. The dream felt real in a way though, and it made me think about how if something like that happened right now, all our worries about petty little things would suddenly end, and shift to, literally running in order to stay alive. It gave me pause, for a minute there.

I do believe we, I, spend too much time consumed with the little things, the mundane, the material, the non-transcendental day-to-day aspects of life. But I don’t think we, I, need the world to go through such an awful event in order to gain perspective of what is truly important. Do you? Which is why I’m hoping this is not a premonistic dream, and just a wake-up call, to pay attention to the truly important things in life, for me: how we relate to and take care of our own and each others’ souls and spirit.

At the hair salon, the other day, I read in a Self magazine, an article by Deepak Chopra’s daughter Malaika. In it she shared her struggles to stay centered in what is truly important and how going back to meditating 10 minutes a day helped her gain back that perspective. I haven’t been meditating for quite some time now, and I think that was why reading that article rang so true for me. And now this dream, I think is trying to remind me to stay focus on what is meaningful in my soul’s experience in this life, and stop consuming myself with the minute, the mundane, and the inconsequential. Are you on that path? If so, how do you make sure you are taking care of your soul? I think I’m going to start meditating again. I can afford to invest 5 to 10 minutes a day on my soul; I definitely need it, look at all the signs!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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My gift to Mike.

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Mike’s gift for me.

Aren’t those flowers pretty? And the cupcakes were delicious!

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day, and enjoyed it in any way that suits you. Mike and I had an appointment with a DJ out n the suburbs, and then were off to dinner.

We had a reservation at Emilio’s, the tapas place in which we had our first date. But when they seated us they gave us an awful table, and when we asked to be moved, they said they couldn’t (or wouldn’t), so we left. We lucked out and were able to find a table in The Athena Restaurant, last minute without a reservation, and enjoyed a delicious Greek meal.

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Our appetizer was a lightly breaded salty goat cheese, flamed in brandy, called Saganaki.

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I had a slow cooked lamb that fell right off the bone, delicious!

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And Mike had the combination plate. Yummy!

A pretty nice date night for us, and a very nice way to celebrate 4 years together :)

Happy New Year 2015!

I hope your New Year’s Eve was a fun one, spent with those you love and love you back (that’s important, believe me).

I hope 2015 is the best year yet for you, and all of those who are important to you.

I hope this new year is better than the last one, especially if 2014 was not that great for you.

I wish you health, love, wealth, and peace, lots of peace, peace of mind, body, and soul.

I hope this is the year in which at least one of your main dreams comes true.

I hope it’s productive, fruitful, and positive.

And above all, regardless what happens in 2015, I hope you learn to rise above it, and be happy.

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Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!

Bye Bye 2014, Hello 2015

2014 is almost gone, and even though I haven’t been blogging all that much, I thought I’d update here my thoughts around this year ending and the next one beginning.

In December of 2013, when I was wrapping up 2013, I reflected on the happenings of that year in regards to the resolutions or goals I had set, and then offered some new goals to meet during 2014. I have to say I didn’t meet my 2014 goals, not really. I had set to lose 25 lbs and publish as much as I could. To meet those goals I had set an action plan to exercise 3 times a week for at least an hour, and write for 4 hours twice a week (send 3 articles and a few children’s books out to be published).

I did exercise on and off, especially during the summer, both in Miami and in Chicago, and I did drop sugar for a while and lost 10 lbs. I did not lose 25 lbs though, I suspect mainly because I didn’t fully diet, but also because the doctors and I are still trying to figure out the right medication for my thyroid. And the whole reason I gained the extra 10 lbs to begin with was because of my thyroid. So for 2015, losing weight is still on the list. This year I intend to lose 14 lbs, to get myself back to 130 lbs, which is a weight I feel comfortable with; not too skinny, not too fat, just right.

Regarding the exercise bit, I realized this last trimester, that because I did not exercise regularly and failed miserably at scheduling an appointment with my chiropractor, my stress took over my back and by the time I actually could get to the chiropractor in December, they both (I went to two different ones) asked if I had been in an accident. “Did you hurt your back/neck? Are you sure? No fender benders? Really?” “Yep, really, no accidents, this is all stress baby”. So this year and I have resolved to get back into yoga. I am determined to go to a yoga class at least once a week, if not twice. It’s the only activity that will help me control my stress and relax both my mind and by body. I need yoga. I miss yoga. Yoga is on the list for 2015.

Publishing went well in 2014, my book was published in the summer, as well as an article in a peer reviewed journal. But the writing for both of those occurred in 2013. I did not live up to the writing plan for 4 hours twice a week. I’m not setting that goal again for 2015, because I know I won’t meet it then either. But I do need to wrap up two pending articles I am writing and submit them to journals and then write, preset at a conference, and then submit to a journal, another article that is in the works. Three articles need to be out this year, hopefully done by the end of January.  So writing and publishing is still on the list for 2015 as well.

A new goal I am setting this year, one that I practiced on during a month back in 2012, is to not spend money (shop) on things that are extras, or that I don’t really need, like shoes, makeup, clothes, and the sort. My plan is to spend and buy things that I need to survived (e.g., food, mortgage) or replenish (e.g., shampoo, toilet paper), but not buy anything new, I don’t really need, like a new bracelet. My dad suggested that every time I get the urge to buy something, to save that same amount instead, actually move the money from my checking to my savings account, and then by the end of the year spend it on something expensive. I like that idea. My end of the year expenditure though is going to be the wedding, which we plan to finance ourselves. So there is that incentive.

There will be a lot of wedding planning this year, and time spent on that. But it won’t be a goal or a resolution, it’s just on my to-do list for 2015. I also want to read more fun-books. I just finished a book I began back in September, and even though it took for ever to finish, at least I got one fun-read book in this year, yay! My goal is to get at least one fun-read book per trimester in 2015. I already begun two, so I think I’m off to a good start.

How about you? Have you reviewed your goals for 2014? Did you meet them? Are you setting new ones for 2015? Are your rolling the old ones over to this new year? Whatever you are doing, I wish you luck. And hope you are wishing me luck too, because I know I need the support and the cheering-on. I have set my mind to accomplish these goals, and by George, I’ll do it! But it’s always nice to have friends cheering for me, so thanks and Happy New Year!

More to come

Lots has happened since I last posted. In October: a quick visit from my sister, Bobby’s benefit, my birthday, and Halloween. In November: a 5 day trip to NYC, finishing the term, a two-week visit from my parents, Thanksgiving, and the end of fall and early arrival of winter. In December: the start of the Christmas season.

We definitely packed-in a lot in those two months. And hopefully, the next month will also be very productive, as well as fun. We are leaving for Miami next Monday, and we will be there for the better part of 3 weeks. I still have a lot of work to do; some I hope to finish before I go, but some will be done there, since I won’t be able to finish everything in the next 5 days (including the weekend).

I do plan to blog some while there, maybe recap some of the events I mentioned above, share some photos we took, and also post some new ones from the Miami trip. The holidays are always good times to reflect, and think about what is to come, so I might be doing some of that too. I’ll post as much I can. I want to recover this site and for the new year, I am making a conscious effort to find time to exercise and write, two activities that are both much needed and good for me. So more to come, hopefully soon.

Happy October!

Happy October everyone! September has been such a great month, I’m almost sad to see it go. Especially, because it’s getting chillier now, and we can just feel in these parts… it’s coming… winter is, unfortunately, coming. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, Fall isn’t even here yet, at least not in full blown. Leaves are starting to fall and seem to be everywhere these days, and the temperature has dropped 10 to 20 degrees, but today, the first day of October, it’s sunny and bright, and you could even break out a sweat if you went for a jog.

September was a great month for so many reasons. The first one being that ever since we got back from vacation and then got engaged, Mike and I have been truly enjoying our cohabitation. Mike moved-in mid June, but he worked in the suburbs until the first week of July. So the commuting to and fro didn’t leave us with much f2f time during the week; it actually felt as if we were still only seeing each other on the weekends. When Mike’s time at his old job came to an end (by choice), we spent 3 weeks in July sort of on a stay-cation. School had ended for me, so I was working on-and-off from home, and we would mainly run errands together and spend a lot of time sorting things out around our condo.

On Mikes birthday, the 31st of July, we headed down South for a 4 week vacation, which was a great time spent with family and friends. But it wasn’t until we got back, the last week of August and in September that we got a sense of what it truly feels like living together, in the day-to-day routine: me working full-time, teaching and going into the office mainly everyday, and Mike doing day-trading from home. And I have to say, we have never been happier. So much so, my friend Andrea called me up yesterday to ask what was going on with us, because apparently in every photo we share on FB we look like we have fairy dust sprinkled on top of us, we look so happy… which I guess makes us look pretty too.

People at work have noticed as well. The other day someone told me I looked Zen, and now he knew where to go when feeling stressed, because I exuded this aura of calm and “everything will be well with the world”. I’ve always been a pretty composed, happy person, but I know where he’s coming from, because right now I am smiley and happy, without any effort on my part. I am enjoying everything I do, living it up, seeing the positives, and just overall being happy. I shared this with Mike the other day, and he agreed, he feels happy too. I think he was afraid my OCD-ness would not be able to tolerate his messiness, and he feared that once we started living together all hell would break loose. Not the case. Quiet the opposite, in fact. We are loving it!

Another great thing, maybe a side-effect of the happy feeling, is that I have kept on track with my dieting-losing weight goal. I have now lost a total of 10 lbs, and I’m feeling really good about it. I had gone up to a size 10, people! Can you even believe it? And now I am back in a size 6. I am doing a happy dance now in my chair! I fit into most of my old clothes, some 6, some 4, especially skirts and dresses; I could do a size 4 in dresses now, but still not in pants. My goal is to lose 10 more lbs, that would put me back at my ideal weight and where I was when I moved from NY. But I am starting to realize that I need to do something drastic to accomplish that. I’m thinking South Beach diet is actually more so in my closer future, than I thought. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The other area in which things are just swimming along nicely, is at work. I always come back renewed and energized after the summer break, but this September has been a bit different. I am loving teaching, and even though both courses I am teaching this term are a lot of work (one I’m teaching for the first time, and the second I have completely redesigned), I seem to not mind. I’m not stressed about it, and I’m enjoying all of it: the prepping, the actual teaching, and the grading. Life changing, I tell you.

I’m also full of neat new project ideas I want to pursue, as I also complete two papers I need to get out to journals (the goal is to do this by December). I’m loving it, I tell you. Loving it all. As you can see September really was a great, fulfilling month, and I expect no less from October, which is also my birthday month, so there’s always that. Although, be warned, Mercury goes retrograde the 4th of October, and will be so until the 25th. Be cautious, be careful, be clear, be patient, but still for the love of God, be happy! Happy October!

Engaged!

If you are a friend of ours on FB, you already know about our latest news. But I thought I’d share it here too. Mike and I got engaged!!!

We had been talking about it since the spring, and in June we started looking at rings and figuring out what I wanted (there are so many beauties out there, and I do love jewelry). In the summer, when we visited my parents, Mike had a talk with my dad and both my parents gave us their blessing.

So, a couple weeks after we got back from vacation, Mike popped the question in the South gardens of the Art Institute. It was sweet and with such a pretty backdrop, it was romantic and me tear up. Although, if you know me (the older version of me), I still am not an easy crier, but a great tearer-upper.

There were a few wedding parties in the gardens while we were there (a good omen?) and one of the brides maids took this photo of us:

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And then of course, we took some selfies, and shared them with the world.

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We went to the museum afterward, to see the Magritte exhibit. If you are into Surrealism, I highly recommend it, it’s pretty good. And while we roamed the Impressionist gallery (my favorite) and then waited in line for the Magritte show, I took some photos of the ring, because everyone wants to see the ring, right? :)

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We are both very happy about the whole deal, and we are looking forward to all the wedding prep that awaits us… hope it goes smoothly!

On losing weight

As you might have noticed from yesterday’s post, I am fat! And I’m not saying it to talk shop about myself, I am actually the fattest I have even been in my life, at least the heaviest. So I have made it my mission to lose this weight and get back into shape.

Part of this is my own fault, because truly, for the past two-three years I have literally eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (I feel totally guilty when I see the photos from Africa, #HONY has been posting lately). But also, there have been some thyroid issues, which helped put me over the edge weight-wise.

My primary physician prescribed Levothyroxine back in October of 2013, when I discovered through a blood test at the DP Health Fair, that I had Hypothyroidism. It’s been almost a year now, and I think finally we honed in the right dose, and my thyroid is slowly getting back to normal. I say this because I had decided to diet and control my weight-gain before, to no avail. I could have starved myself (I tried) and would lose no weight at all. Sometimes I even gained weight, which was strange and very frustrating.

But ever since we got back from vacation, it has been out for daily walks and jogs, and dieting. And I have lost 5 lbs in 6 days. Which is what my body used to do before, every time I started controlling what I ate. I’m not actually dieting, but I have cut out all sweets (only fruit and sugar-free gum are allowed) and have stopped eating between meals (this was actually killing me… I was over-eating out of anxiety and stress). My meals now consist of a small breakfast (usually a homemade smoothie), a regular meal for lunch (a sandwich, rice and chicken, maybe hotdogs, some fruit , etc), and then a small dinner (Cesar salad with chicken, crackers, cheese and cold cuts, fruit, nuts, and the sort). No potato chips, doritos, or peanuts mid-afternoon. No mini donuts, tequeños, pancakes or cinnamon buns for breakfast. No kit kats, twixs, double bubble, toblerone, or jaw breakers for snack. Nothing. Done.

I asked my sister to lend me her South Beach Diet book, because I intend to do it again. I’ve only done it once and it was hard, but it is effective in helping to lose the weight. Keeping it off is another story, because you can’t realistically South Beach it for life, at least I can’t. But I am determined to lose this weight, and so far, I am off to a great start.

I made an appointment with an endocrinologist and will be seeing him in October. My primary physician recommended a doctor, but when I looked her up it turned out she is only 36 years old, and I don’t know if this is just my bias, but I am not going to put my health in the hands of someone younger than me, at least not at this point in my life. So, I looked for a guy with over 30 years of experience and booked an appointment. I’ll let you know how that goes. Here’s to losing weight and getting back into shape!

#RoadTrip2014 Recap

Happy September! And Happy Labor Day! We have it off here and are enjoying a day of staying in, doing some work (work-work and housework) since the weather is crappy and the forecast is rain all day. We did manage to get a walk/jog in by the lake, before the rain, so there’s that.

We are back from our #RoadTrip2014. I thought I would post and share some of the adventures from our vacation time, while on the road, but it never happened. I did take my computer because I had some work to finish, mostly class prepping. But towards the end, my computer started acting up and I couldn’t use it for the last couple weeks. Anyhow, blogging wasn’t on my mind, I guess, because I bypassed it completely.

I’ve been thinking about blogging this week, but have been playing catch-up at work,  running errands, getting the condo in order, and getting all doctor appointments in before the trimester starts. So, I thought I’d share a recap of our summer trip first, and then in future posts, share what’s been circulating within my mind lately. Game? Good!

We left on July 31st, Mike’s birthday, and headed toward Louisville, Kentucky. There, we stayed with Mike’s dad and step-mom for a couple days. We had been to visit them before, a couple times actually, but this time we did some of the touristy stuff there is to do in Louisville, aside for the Derby, which we went to a few years ago.

This time we ate out a couple times and visited the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. There, we saw The Babe and the Jeter! Take a look:

At Bonefish Grill

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At Momma’s Mustard Pickles and BBQ

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At the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

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After a few days in Louisville, we loaded the boys back into the car and on the road we went again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia. There, we stayed at Mike’s friends’ place.  We spent time with them, walking the boys and exploring their very high-end dog parks. We also went out for dinner to Buca di Beppo, but unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that.

Here’s Charlie having fun with the water at The Heavenly Dog Park.

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Then it was back in the car and off to Miami! The boys were really good in the car, except for some bouts of panic from Charlie when it rained. They were especially happy in Miami at my parents’ place. I think it was because both families we stayed with on the road had dogs, and now in Miami they were the kings of the backyard, with no one to put them in their place. They loved it!

In Miami we did what all people do when they go to a warm place for vacation, we relaxed. We lounged by the pool, went to the beach, went on a boat ride in Bayside Bay, went to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, went shopping to the awesome Miami malls (well, that was mostly me) and played golf to our hearts content (that was mostly Mike). Oh, and how could I forget, the main activity of the trip, reason why I gained 6 lbs, we ate, oh how well and how much we ate! We went to El Arepazo, Bahamas Breeze, El Parador, il Forno Ristorante, and The Fish House. We also did some home cooking and ordered takeout a couple times, because pizza and Chinese food are always well received by all.

Us at Hollywood Beach, we went there twice. Once we rented jet skies.

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Sophie practiced putting with us once, and once my dad and I went with Mike on one of his multiple golf runs.

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This is us at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, a really lovely place, but if you go take water, the heat is something else!

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This is us at Bayside Bay, where my dad rented a boat for the day. He misses his Konsentida from Venezuela, so this was a real treat!

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The day was a success, the whole stay in Miami was wonderful. When at home we lounged by my parents’ beautiful pool and Sophie swam as much as she could, in the hopes that her dream of being a mermaid would come true. I think, in her mind, it did. Even Maxy misses the pool now.

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But our days in Miami came to an end, and on the road we went again. The boys were really good on the way back, even though I could tell they missed Miami and all its wonderful people. On our way back we stopped in Tallahassee for the night, and the next day we went through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and drove around the University of Alabama’s campus, Mike’s alma mater. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the beautiful campus since I was told we would go back after lunch and roam around, and we never did (I’m looking at you, Mike!). After Alabama we drove through Memphis and stayed the night in a little town in northern Tennessee.

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We arrived last Wednesday night in Chicago and it received us with great cool, summery weather. This is Lake Michigan, in Loyola Beach, where I went for a jog Thursday morning. Pretty, right?

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So we are back home, back in the grind, getting ready for the beginning of the term which starts on the 10th. But the memories of the great #RoadTrip2014 are still lingering, and we still miss tons the people we left behind. Thank you all for such a great vacation!