Crookston Graduates!

As of Tuesday, March 11th, Crookston is a graduate of Basic Obedience School.  We met as a family (read: I talked to him one night in bed while he tried to fall asleep) and decided that we will repeat the basic class sometime in the near future.  While he has all of his skills down, it's getting him to perform the tasks while being distracted that proved to be the biggest challenge.  I'm excited that it's finally warming up outside so we can go for wet, dirty walks as a reward for "perfect practice."

My goal for the next class is pretty simple.  Get Crookston to perform in a public setting instead of being mesmerized (maybe terrified) by the dogs and people around him.  The good news is that this goal is officially complete, so I can cross it off of my 25 before 26!


I used to believe that overthinking would give me a sense of security and control in my life.  That if I thought of every possible scenario and situation, I couldn't be taken by surprise or hurt-or at least the blow back would be more bearable.  And it has always worked out for me.

Usually my mind runs to the darkest place: you're getting fired, this person hates you, you missed a deadline.  It used to be that I could swallow my fear, face the situation, and then I'd quickly realize that sometimes the boss/teacher/friend may just have something to say that has nothing to do with least not in a negative connotation.

But what happens when overthinking begins to ruin things?  When you let the expectations in your head become your own reality?  When you're too busy thinking that you're not actually living?

I don't know.

This week has been more stressful than most for some reason.  Between work and school and preparing for random things, my brain is going faster than usual.  Listing worries usually has a way of calming me, so feel free to skip on past the bullets:
  • I'm trying to catch up in a class I've fallen behind in. 
  • Need to dedicate more hours to my mall job because there is more work than I anticipated this week.
  • Trying to figure out money because it all seems to be gone-not that this is anything new. 
  • Worrying about classes and what school will be like next semester, next year, and then stressing because there is nothing I can do about it and I know that.
  • I cannot stop thinking about getting coffee with Jeff's mom on Thursday.  I don't know what time we're getting together and that stresses me out (though she's calling me tonight).  I also know that there will be public tears because any time I start talking/thinking about Jeff, I want to or start to cry.  Just last night I found a picture of us from a wedding reception roughly two years ago and spent a good chunk of time grieving.
  • A friend is moving on Sunday and between both of our crazy schedules,  I want to see her one more time.
  • I'm trying to start working out and can't seem to find time to go.  For everyone who says you make time, you have to realize that I've been sleeping 5-6 hours a night between all the stuff I have going on.  Getting up early just isn't an option right now.
  • Trying to be a good friend, in general, and make time for the people who are important to me.
Because of these stressors, any time a friend doesn't really text me back, my brain, from already being in overdrive, decides that it's not because they're working or busy or haven't looked at their phone, but because they don't want to talk to me.  I read into short responses.  I read into the fact that I'm texting first.  I overthink and read into everything.

I think I just need a nap.

And just so this post isn't entirely negative, down, depressing, stressful (how many synonyms can I think of?), here are some positive things about my week:
  • Crookston graduated from obedience school!  Not only was I proud of him (I may have teared up...what can I say, he's my baby), but it means I have my Tuesday nights back to dedicate to work. This means that I hopefully only need to be at my part-time job two nights a week instead of spreading it thinly over three or four.
  • My blog redesign is happening soon and I'm so so so excited for it!
  • I get to see Jeff's mom.  This shouldn't be a stressor because it really is a good thing.  I haven't seen her since the funeral and it'll be nice to catch up in person instead of via email.
  • It's Lent!  Maybe that sounds like a cheesy, or weird, positive, but it's like my Catholic new year.  My mom, dad, and I have been doing the same daily prayers so it's fun to talk to them about what they took away from it.
  • Speaking of Lent, I'm holding true to my resolutions/goals.  I haven't eaten meat and despite the initial withdraws, it's not that difficult.  An added bonus is that I've lost three pounds, though that's probably because I'm eating healthier food, not just because I cut out meat.
  • One of my friends is drifting through GF to go ice fishing for the weekend, so there's a slim chance I'll get to see him on Friday, and a slightly greater chance that I'll see him on Sunday.
  • I spent last weekend in Bismarck with some of my best friends.  I got to see a lot of people I wasn't expecting (added bonus) and Hank, Shannon and Jared's dog, has gotten HUGE, so I loved on him as well.

Fashion Throwbacks

Fashion has a very short shelf-life and because of that many trends seem to recycle themselves.  Here are just a couple of the favorites I remember from my own childhood.

The Tear-Away Pant

Sure, they still have the athletic version out there (though have these ever been popularized by females?), but what about a casual, work-appropriate option?  Sign me up.  Who here doesn't head home after a long day at work and take off their pants?  Wouldn't it be ten times more satisfying if you could literally rip your pants off?  Think of not only the satisfaction, but the time you would save.  Bring back the tear-away pant with work-appropriate material and I'll never buy another work pair of pants as long as I live.  Unfortunately, it appears the pants were only made for fellas and they no longer seem to exist...from my light, internet research.

The Bubble Shirt

I remember these shirts like it was yesterday.  I laughed at them then, I laugh at them now.  Surprisingly enough, you can still purchase these suckers on the website I linked the picture back to.  It has been at least ten years (and I think that's a generous number) since I last saw someone actually wearing a bubble shirt.  I love the idea of them though.  Clothes that shrink for storage and packing and fit your body only when you actually need them to?  That's cool.  Now, if only someone could make a shirt (or pants, or a dress, or underwear!) that accomplishes the shrinking/growing idea without looking like that's what it does.  Yeah, bubble shirt, you aren't fooling anyone.

Choker Necklaces
I loved how choker necklaces looked on other kids.  I bought one or two from quarter machines back in the day, admittedly, but it wasn't a huge staple in my wardrobe as a young one.  To be honest, my idea of fashion in elementary and middle school was leggings with's not wonder I'm a big fan of the re-emergence of this trend.  Anyway, I always thought the girls who wore chokers were cool.  It's really too bad I hate anything touching my neck.

Overall Shorts

Overalls in general are making a comeback and even though I know I'll regret it in a year or so, I want a pair.  This is also how I feel in terms of jumpers (aka rompers) and harem pants-I want them despite knowing I will look back on any photos and cringe.  I don't know if I can get on board with overall shorts because I hate shorts on me, but maybe regular overalls or an overall skirt is in my future.  Hey, it could be cute...I think.

Skorts are evidently already back?  I did not realize this because being smack dab in the middle of a continent means that every fashion trend winds up here about a year to two after it's been mainstreamed on a coast.  Google-ing images of skorts though, I found more modern, and surprisingly not-lame, versions than the throw backs I was looking for.  As a girl, I had quite a few pairs that looked like skirts in the front and shorts from behind...I mean, what is even the point of that?  So I look nicer for pictures?

What was your favorite fashion trend as a kid?  Has it already come full circle or reinvented itself as something cooler, or uglier?  Crocs always make me think of jellies, personally.  Feel free to share your childhood clothing shame in the comments :)

Student Playlist-Take 2

Normally, I don't post playlists so close to one another, but on Friday after lunch I walked into the library to find a surprise waiting for me.  The student who talks music on occasion with me, the same one who gave me a list with these songs, had left a piece of paper with 19 songs for me to check out.  I threw them all of a Grooveshark playlist and that's what you see below.  Enjoy!

Couscous: You Suck

I made a mistake; a big mistake.  I attempted to make this recipe last night because I love mushrooms and don't shy away from trying something new.  It was my first time trying couscous and boy, did I hate it.

Originally, I didn't think much of it.  It's pretty bland.  It's hard to say you don't like rice, or toast, or some other bland food.  But as it sat in my stomach, as it tried to escape from my stomach, I joined the "I hate couscous" group.  I even spent part of my morning looking up other people who hate it: you can read about those people/groups here, here, and here.

So the dish was pretty simple to make, if not, a little ridiculous.  Why did I have to rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes?  I don't really like them in the first place because the texture is strange, so I really should have skipped this step and used diced tomatoes.  I omitted quite a bit (side note: I've never considered myself a picky eater, but as I get older and cook for myself, I realize what a turd I actually am).

This is what the recipe called for.  The things I omitted are in red.  Changes are noted in blue.  Additions in green.
1 cup dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes                                                  

Veg-head for Lent

This year for lent in addition to giving up online shopping, I decided to go the entire 40 days without meat.  I was a vegetarian for a number of years starting in high school and sometimes find myself missing it and wishing I'd never reintroduced meat.  Granted, when I was in high school, I thought being a vegetarian meant I could eat as much pasta and junk food as possible, so it led to a bit of weight gain. 

Now I'm old, well, I'm 25 and I make healthier food decisions every day.  I've been researching non-pasta vegetarian dishes and have found quite a few awesome-sounding ones.  Yesterday, I hit the grocery store and held back tears after an expensive, initial, stock-up round of food buying.  I made this salad last night if only because I was starving after a day of fasting and it took about ten minutes to put together.

I made a few changes.  No avocado being one of the biggest eliminations.  My avocado looked angry when I cut it open, well, that's a lie.  The avocado looked beautiful, picture-worthy in fact, but the taste?  Ew.  And I love avocado.  I also eliminated the chips because...well, carbs.  And I couldn't find scallions, so I used green onion because in my mind they're essentially the same.

The thing I love about salads is that you really don't have to listen to the measurements-at least in my corner of the world.  I added more of what I loved and didn't worry too much about how much salsa or cheese I was tossing on top of that sucker, because salad is rabbit food and whatever I can do to make it taste better is a good idea in my book.

My beautiful version of Martha's recipe
The other two recipes I purchased ingredients for were Couscous with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Vegetarian Fried Rice with Shiitakes and Cashews...can you guess what my favorite vegetable is from just those titles?  I'll be sure to mention how they turned out, especially since I know I'll be subtracting a few ingredients (cashews, I'm looking at you!).

Not Quite So Mellow Playlist

I have a tendency to fall into a rut where most of the music I listen to is pretty mellow or low-key, usually because it's a playlist that I have going on at work.  Decided to up the volume and least a little bit for this edition of what I'm listening to.  As always, enjoy!

Living Intentionally

I do a lot of things that are cringe-worthy.  I find myself looking back days, months, years, and thinking, "wow, that was super shitty of me."  I generally view myself as a positive and up front person, but sometimes when I do a deep reflection, I find that I'm not living the life I thought I was.

I want to live more intentionally.  It's easy to get swept up in the easiness of just existing.  Sometimes weeks will go by and I'll look back and feel...well, not much of anything.  This is not to say that I do not enjoy life, or that I do nothing, but sometimes I find that I haven't done anything to make me grow.

It's almost like taking the backseat in your own life.  Letting things happen to you: plans, homework, friends, instead of making things happen.  I've been in a rut for a while.

But then there are these great moments of clarity.  Moments where I think, I'm not happy...and I actually do something about it.  One personal example of this for me was with my love life.  I wasn't meeting any one the old fashioned way, so I decided to take the plunge and try online dating.  While it didn't turn out to be the right fit for me (at least at this point in my life), it was me taking control.

Another thing I often find myself doing is taking the backseat when it comes to guys.  Because of past relationships and experiences, I've let a lot of guys "happen" to me.  I become so stinking agreeable.  You want to go to that restaurant even though it's the only place we've gone for weeks and I got sick the last two times?  Okay, let's go.  You don't want to date me because you don't know "what I want," but will text me every Saturday at midnight?  Okay, I'll text you back.  I let myself get overshadowed by boyfriends and guys who didn't want to have the boyfriend label within twenty feet of them.  Why?  Because it's easier than speaking up.  I'd rather deal with feeling like crap than feeling uncomfortable, or embarrassed, or argumentative.

But this year is a new me.  This year is an intentional year.  Intentionality is really what my 25 Before 26 goals are about.  Everything on that list is something I have to actively work toward.  I didn't put anything that could just "accidentally" be accomplished.

I want to be more present in every day life.  I want to tell people how I feel about them and how they make me feel.  No more keeping quiet for the sake of consistency.  I'm putting all of me out there because if someone can't handle it, then they aren't meant to be in my life.