Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Year and Just a Tad Bit Crazier...

It's that time of year again. The time of year when I can walk down the baked goods aisle at Publix and not curse the existence of cake, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and an occasional crumbly crumble thing. Why? Because it's that one time of year when you get to do just that without guilt- not Christmas (because you know that Mom is watching, Jillian is judging and somehow your Grandma will find a way to compare you to your morbidly obese great-aunt Alvina); not Easter because the people at Walgreens really do keep tabs on how many packages of peeps you buy (and remember you); and not Halloween because having a grown-up knock on a door dressed as a Disney Princess does not result in candy but rather an arrest. It's my birthday and I can do whatever I want.

Before I change the title to this blog from "26 and Perhaps a Little Crazy..." to "27 and Verging on Insane" I think looking back at the past year is appropriate. We can break it into chunks. I would go month by month but that would be too complicated. Why not do this Jeopardy style and gives categories. You get no money, no clicker to press and although it's not required, you may put "what is" in front of everything I say. Have fun with that one.

So what are the categories, Alex?

(And yes, there are 7 categories for a birthday on the 7th day of the 7th month)

1) Medical Mysteries
2) Legal Dramas
3) Lisa Patton's Safe Place
4) Always a Bridesmaid...
5) Love-Hate Relationships
6) The Devil Went Down to Georgia
7) Potpourri

I'll take "Medical Mysteries" for $1 million in Rx, Alex...
In the course of a year I successfully tore the tendon in the bottom of my foot (thanks to all of those who aided in the "Kristen sucks at crutches campaign" on campus); broke my tailbone (but did NOT spill the coffee after falling down 15 stairs); had tubes put in my ears (and then re-put in my ears after being a "hero" and sandbagging 4 hours after surgery); and a couple "I spend too much time with kids so I have the funk" infections. I spent more time in an emergency room and doctor's office than most people spent in their living room but I believe in one thing: If you're going to do something, do it right. Give 110%. Why fall down only 10 steps when there are 15? Why NOT run on a foot that the doctor tells you is about to fall apart? Yeah, that's what I thought. Go big or go home kids. And then get drugs.

I'll take "Legal Dramas" for all my Renter's Insurance and half of the South Nashville Precinct Police Force, Alex...

It's no surprise that when you live in a part of the city that requires you to hit the ground at any loud noise-whether it be a firework, a car backfiring or a 9mm (you just never know) - that your apartment will get broken into. I looked at that experience as a "whatever I lost could have been lost in the flood." But that wasn't the case because I would have saved most of the personal items that they took. Asshats! Furniture can be replaced but transcripts with a WWII veteran can not be. I have whoever did that in my cross hairs and they owe me a lot more than the stuff that they took. But I also learned from a couple other instances that all of the self-defense that I learned from my father was more of a blessing than an annoying chore after dinner (how would you get out of this is someone attacked you? and then Dad proceeds to block oxygen to head). It landed one asshat in jail for 4 years for aggravated assault. It also allowed me to feel safer when I realized that just days after my apartment was broken into I was no longer safe in my home, my car, my pharmacy or even South Nashville as a whole. My privacy was violated and I had to find the strength to fight an enemy who I could not see but who saw me. It was a testament to my strength and ability to adapt to basic survival instincts (and having superhero detectives on speed dial every time I heard a branch break in my vicinity) and a huge wake-up call in allowing me to see who my friends are, what trust is and just how far I can be pushed. While this mysterious but violating man forced me to move to another portion of town and constantly look over my shoulder... I think this new life I am able to live here on the other side of town is working out just fine :) I'll be sure to thank him- after I kick him in the baby maker.

I'll take "Lisa Patton's Safe Place" for all my sanity and a Xanex, Alex-

Mother Nature showed absolutely no mercy to this country during any season this past year. Tornado after tornado. Flooding after flooding. Storm after storm after storm. April 27th brought the Southeast to their knees. I know it did mine. I know that I completed the milestone of the one year anniversary of the Great Nashville Flood. I know that every time I heard Lisa's voice I got a little bit stronger. I learned that I have the strength to help those in Tuscaloosa, Joplin and the other little, small towns throughout the storm's path. Mother Nature stepped in, knocked us down and kicked us around. But I'm still breathing and that's all it takes for me to get up off my knees and fight back. While 26 years old I witnessed more weather disasters (after the flood) then I ever wanted to experience but I'm ok... and that is a HUGE realization to have. And I still hate Lisa Patton and would like to lock her in her "safe place" for years to come.

I'll take "Always a Bridesmaid" for a 5th of Jack and a Groomsman please, Alex.

A Brunette ties the knot in October. My baby brother walks down the aisle in May. And in both weddings I stood at the alter, on stage left and wept. Not because I thought they were doing the wrong thing or making the wrong move- but because they have found the happiness and love that I know I will find one day- (I also cried because my brother's wedding reception was "dry"). And hopefully, my mother will have no meddling in that process. As a habitual bridesmaid I have entered the "slow lane" to marriage but I am not above being in the carpool lane. It's just a matter of time and when the words "so when do you think you will get married" doesn't require medics to zap me back to consciousness, I will be happy to harbor the thought. Until then, I will hold onto the dream of marriage one day and be extremely happy for those closest to me who have found "that someone." And I will enjoy the Jack, the groomsmen, and of course, the cake. (What else are weddings for?)

I'll take "Love-Hate Relationships" for a broken treadmill, a container of frosting and another Xanex please, Alex.

I love sugar. I hate the treadmill. I love sunny days. I hate any spot of green on the radar. I love Jack Daniels. I hate a hangover. I love the snipers that got Osama. I hate the people who said we shouldn't celebrate over it. I love chocolate. I hate a dozen roses. I love to fish. I hate seafood. I'm a complex person but I learned (while being 26) that sometimes these love-hate relationships are good to have. They build "character," the provide great facebook statuses, they result in your calves losing 5" in circumference (my legs went from sequoia trees to maples!) and it proves to yourself just what is and isn't important. While I hate the treadmill and the pain she puts me though, I am grateful for the 60 pounds that are currently somewhere in that gym. And while I hate Jillian, I love her for the fear she puts in every fiber of my being. It all evens out in the end. But I still hate Lisa Patton. Sorry.

I'll take "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" for free Opry Tickets, Trace Adkins' Hillbilly Bone and Jason's Wranglers, Alex.

So the Devil went down to Tennessee and I made a deal with him. I told him that I couldn't play the fiddle (and my mandolin had been stolen in a break-in) and if I gave him my soul he would give me an amazing experience within country music. In turn I was paid with an internship at the Grand Ole Opry that is a dream come true; an opportunity to work for one of the biggest country music stars today- and become so close to the family in the wake of a horrifying and devastating fire. I was granted the opportunity to do work that I never thought I would be able to do and to experience Nashville in ways that I never thought I could. It was a long ride through political campaigns and lobbying (the mean Kristen days where she always wore her angry eyes) but I finally found what I am supposed to be: a Historian. And I learned that when I was 26. I know what I want to be when I grow up now and between the Opry and Trace Adkins, I am being given the chance to do just that. I don't remember making this apparent deal, but I am so thankful that I did. What an amazing experience. (Oh, and I got to meet Jason. Yeah, about that. And those Wranglers.)

Lastly, I'll take "Potpourri" for a true daily double, Alex.

On July 7, 2010, I could never have dreamed up the year that I would have as a 26 year old. I have been blessed. I have been challenged. I have laughed. And if you have been near me at a wedding, a storm, or an episode of the Biggest Loser, I have cried. I have gained a family member. I have lost family members. I've been told things are impossible and I have surpassed them. I have come to trust my instinct. I know that it's ok to put your heart out there in hopes for love and get hurt. I learned that my whole life I have been waiting to live in Nashville and I am seeing those dreams come true. I learned the importance of friends. I have learned the importance of a shotgun. I have learned that I watch way too many music videos. I have learned that my mouth gets me in trouble but sometimes it brings me good fortune. I have met new people that bring big smiles to my face. I have said goodbye to friends who were nothing more than a negative addition to my life. I have learned how much my family means to me. I've learned that it's ok to try to fall in love again. I've learned that the Yankees are not going to win every post season game. I've learned that storms are inevitable and my strength is unwavering. I've been pushed to the limit and bent to meet the resistance. And I learned that I was born to fly. I thought I was when I was a teenager... but I learned at 26 that there is no "bottom line"- there is just a line at the bottom that you have to work to rise above.

In the final jeopardy question of "what does being 27 years old hold in store for you" I answer this: "What is I don't know but I am so very excited and ready to find out. And there better be some damn sugar involved!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's All Fun and Games Until RuPaul Comes On...

Alright. I know. It's been a while since I posted but I have been extremely busy. There have been many events going on in my life and just for fun, I will itemize them below.

1) It's Girl Scout season. This means that I have to spend every waking minute that I am in public dodging, blocking, running from and diverting little girls in brown sashes. I know the tactics of these little demons because I used to be one. I would wind up eating half of the boxes of cookies, but I could sell them like Donald Trump sells real estate. The secret? Find the weak one in the crowd and pounce! Unfortunately, I am the weak one in the crowd and these little Beiber-lovin'-sash-wearin'-cookie-peddling pests know it. The best means of diversion that I have used so far this season has been pretending to be on my cell phone while walking past the table at Walmart. I loudly said "I don't know Mom. Taking him off of life support is your decision, but I think it's something we really need to consider." A simple concerned look from a Brownie Troop Leader mom and I was in the clear.

2) I broke my a**. Seriously. People are always talking about "busting their a**" or "breaking their a**" at work? I legitimately broke my a**. 15 stairs and I hit every single one of them on the way down. Why you ask? One, because I have no balance. Two, because if you are going to do something right, you better give it 110%: and that includes falling down a flight of stairs. So I have been a bit, er, gimpish the past few weeks.

3) I'm a graduate student. Enough said.

So, I thought that I would get back into the updates that I have on my current plight in losing weight. We (and that would be me and all of the stuffin' that comes with it) are down 61 pounds and have another 30 to go before my brother's nuptials on May 28th. Here I was all excited to announce this challenge to him, only to hear "What?? We don't have time to make alterations to the bridesmaid dress. Don't lose the weight. It will just complicate things." Ah, the motivation and support my family provides. I foresee a public speaking career in their futures.

30 pounds in 75 days? Well, on the Biggest Loser where they have Jillian to yell, scream at and then beat you with your own limbs, they average anywhere from 5-12 pounds a week. That's promising. But my magazine cut-outs of Jillian all over the apartment (including inside the fridge) do not hold the same accountability and force. So I am not too positive on the matter. What I do know is that I am hitting the gym full force without any exceptions. Although the thought of giving up exercise for Lent crossed my mind. Then I remembered that I gave all my "old" jeans away and I would be forced to wear a burlap bag if that were the case. No one needs to see that.

So yesterday I ventured back to the gym (which I have graciously avoided since the great A** Busting of 2011) and got back on the dreaded treadmill. Of course, next to me, was a cellulite-free beauty queen (minus the sash) running full speed and barely glistening. After two puffs on the inhaler, I was ready to go. Bring it 5k. I didn't care how long it took, just as long as I finished it. I put the head phones on and as Kelly, P!nk and Miranda blared into my ears, I kept looking at Princess Petite and wanting to pull the emergency cord right off the machine. But anger management has paid off and I decided it was in both our best interests not to. Then, like an answered prayer, she slowed to a walk and finally descended from the machine. Thank God. My self-esteem was about to plummet to unrecoverable levels.

Within about 10 minutes of her absence, gasping for air and praying to God, Buddha and whoever else is out there that I survive, I finished the 5k. I slowed to a walk and regained my blurred vision. I went to click the ipod on my arm to "stop" but instead I somehow hit shuffle and RuPaul's version of "Supermodel- You Better Work It" came on at full volume. Why it's on there, I have no idea. But while walking I could start to feel the urge to make the treadmill into a catwalk. Knowing that no one was in there, I may or may not have started to strut just a bit. Ok, more than a bit.

But, like all things in my life, nothing lasts forever because in the mirror I saw someone standing behind me, (judging of course) and then looking on in horror as I lost my balance and held onto the handles for dear life, knowing that if I flew off this treadmill for the 100th time, my broken a** would never recover. I reached for the emergency stop button, slammed it, stood up, smiled at the nice gentleman (still judging) and walked (not strutted) out the door.

My dreams of being a Victoria Secret angel died on that treadmill. But I am sure that my onlooker's new facebook status was amusing to all of his friends and family. If I can't provide you runway beauty, I can entertain you with my handicaps.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Think Mr. Right Ran Off to be With Prince Charming....

As a child, I was inundated with Disney fairytales and stories of "happily ever after." Even to this day, watching Beauty and the Beast melts my heart as I relate to the nerdy, brunette outcast just looking to love her Dad and be a good person, while occasionally talking to teapots and ottomans.

But the older I get, and the more judgmental looks I get at Disneyworld while eating at Princess Tea's, the more I am starting to think that fairytales DON'T come true and that Walt Disney was a liar. Perhaps the talking Mouse and Duck should have given it away, but I was open to some leniency in that department. A guy needs a mascot right? But he went too far with the princesses, and this "princess lover" is about to take a second look at what was really going on.

So, we have Sleeping Beauty. She turns 16, doesn't listen to what's she told to do and then falls into a death sleep. What wakes her up? Oh, some random prince walking by who decides to kiss a woman he doesn't really know that's in a coma. That prince must have been spending time in the Seven Dwarf's hood, because while Snow White is lying DEAD in a glass coffin, Prince Charming walks on up and decides "My, what a wonderful dead girl. Let me passionately make out with it!" Then there's Ariel who disobeys her father and her crab then drags her friends along for trouble so that she can see a man who is completely out of her reach (hell, he's a different species!). She only gets to be with him because her Daddy makes it so by giving her legs (and, point of contention: How did she get so much body to her hair UNDER the water?) Let's jump to Jasmine, who walked around in skimpy clothes and allowed a homeless thief to come into her mansion without her father's approval, sneaking out for joy rides on a carpet that "magically" flies. Ha! And let's not forget Cinderella. Here is a girl who has birds bathe her, mice make dresses for her, and a good, steady job with a roof over her head. She has to go and get an old woman to turn her into something she's not and then is a klutz and leaves her shoe behind without even telling the man she was just canoodling with what her name is.

Oh, and my beloved Belle? Here is a smart, intelligent, brunette beauty who has a man chasing after her but decides: No, I won't settle. (yay!) But then, the next guy she meets, even though he is rude, obnoxious and vicious to her, she has to go and fall in love with him. He only wanted her because he was on a deadline... He would have settled for one of Gaston's blushing blondes just the same. And he used his broken tea cup as bait. While giving her a library has always been something I found romantic, I view it now just as a means of getting rid of a room he rarely used in the first place. Might as well have just slipped this chick a ruffie.

So. The moral of this rant? I have been duped. I have been told that there is such a thing as "happily ever after" and "prince charming" and have been lead to believe that if I am nice enough and "fair enough in my heart" my kitchen appliances will come to life and my pets may actually start talking to me. (Um, that only happens when I take an Oxycontin with Jack D. instead of water).

After tonight, where I unsuccessfully entered the dating world one more time, I realize that all of these Princesses that I have idolized, read about, sung along with and even dressed up as for Halloween (and maybe just for my own personal enjoyment) are nothing more than phony, forgetful, ungrateful, reckless, rebellious skinny bi**hes and drama queens. In all instances, the Prince came looking FOR HER. That's not the way it works kids. Not in 2011. I learned tonight that in order to find someone to date that is actually decent, you may have to start paying. Because when you start looking to date someone at this age, it normally means there's a reason why he is still single.

So while Belle, Ariel, Cinderella and Jasmine cuddle up fireside with their Prince's tonight, I sit wondering what exactly I am doing wrong through this whole course of events in the "dating world." Is the only way to find Mr. Right by wearing a seashell bra, losing my clothing, being locked in a dungeon, then sleeping in a casket in the middle of the woods surrounded by mourning midgets? If that's the game that leads to a happy ending, I don't want to play...

But I sure as hell won't pass up a free meal either.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Appalled (what else is new?)

Since my run in with real-life crime, I have tried to stop watching Forensic Files as a soothing television show to fall asleep to. I have resorted to Nightline on ABC which, up until last night, was working well.

Bill Weir spotlighted a court case on last night's episode that would ban the presence of a toy in McDonald's Happy Meals. An overbearing and health conscious mother has filed a law suit in reaction to her hatred and disgust over the menu options for children at McDonald's. She firmly believes that the little plastic toy inside the cardboard box that's bookended with some nuggets and fries is making American children fat. And that's when I heard the statistic that blew me away: One in three American children are overweight or obese.

One in three American children? Overweight? Obese? I am blown away. I am absolutely, positively, disgusted at this number! How could this happen? How could America's children be the largest children in all the world? These questions all lead to the one question that is grating on every last nerve of my body: WHY NOW?????

Where were all these fat kids when I was at Matthew Patterson Elementary School? Where were all these fat kids when I was attempting to play soccer in middle school with an inhaler on a lanyard? Where were all these fat kids when my Girl Scout's sash was more of a cummerbund with patches? Where were these fat kids when I was forced to be a pumpkin every year for Halloween because all the other costumes said for ages "4 and up" and although I was "four," I definitely surpassed that "up." And where were all those fatties when I would be asked to get off the jungle gym by the recess monitor because the moving bridge was starting to buckle?

I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy. My parents contemplated pulling me out of public school and into homeschooling because of the bullying I was subjected to. Yes, I had two cupcakes shoved into each cheek and sprinkles on my shirt, but that was no reason to make me sit by myself in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Out of my entire class of oh, let's say, 30 kids in the great New York school district, only two of us were fat. One was me. And the other was Timothy Pachowski who added to his excommunication by picking his nose and eating it (the kid must have always been hungry). He is also guilty of putting gum in my hair and forcing me to get a bob. To this day I hate him for that, and the fact that together, we stood no chance against the skinny, knobby-kneed, bony armed runts running around the halls.

I am not a genius when it comes to math, but if one in three kids is fat or obese in America today, that means that in Mr. Saskiewicz's 4th grade class of 30 kids, 10 would have been fat-asses. That would mean that I would have 9 other allies to protect me on the playground, in the cafeteria, in the hallway, in the classroom and on the bus. And out of an entire school of 400 kids, over 130 kids would be little chubs. That's 130 kids that I could have played with!! That's 130 kids I could have swapped easy-bake oven recipes with. Kids that I could have swapped Halloween candy with by the pillowcase. And dozens of girls that could have had sleepovers with me and recognized my need for Little Debbie Yodels to be on the pillow next to me (just in case).

But God has a sick sense of humor. He waited until I was "all grown up" before making kids fat. The skinny ones are the minority now. The only simple wish that I had growing up came true 15 years too late. So, to the little fatties running around (ok, waddling around) today's elementary schools, I say: "Stand up! (don't hurt yourself) Be strong! And go sit on a skinny kid because when I was your age, they always said that that was their biggest fear. So take a seat on their bony lap and say it is from Kristen, with love."

Oh, and the McDonald's Happy Meal Toys? Collect the whole set kids. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sounded Like A Good Idea at the Time

It is not a secret that my diet and exercise routine revolve around one simple mantra: Is Jillian Watching? I have a sickening fear that anything I consume, anything I think about consuming, or even anything that I see available for consumption on television will prompt Jillian Michaels to find me, scold me and then beat me with my own appendages.

When I went to visit my family in Vermont over Christmas I walked into a kitchen filled with cookies, cakes, pies, candy and other Divine sugary delectables that, while typing this, cause a pool of drool. But I knew that the birth of baby Jesus was no reason to deviate from my strict "Is Jillian Watching?" rule. **(Please note though, that the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan will be a perfect reason for consuming copious amounts of cake and cookies until I enter a self-induced diabetic coma). ** So, keeping this in mind, I promptly took a black Sharpe marker (I have been known to deliberately smear washable ones) and wrote messages on containers of frosting, pans of cookies, lids to cakes and bags of candy. Some notable ones were:

--"If you eat this Jillian will find you and then kill you."

--"Don't eat this Kristen. Stop it. Put it down. Seaworld called, they heard you got out."

--"Your legs will be ripped off and you'll be beaten with them by JM if you think of eating this."

--"You don't even like walnuts, stop drooling Tubbs."

After my Mother came home to find her Christmas kitchen had been vandalized with vicious, violent and graphic dieter graffiti, she made it known (very clearly) that if I was that dead set on not eating the sweets, she wouldn't let me. Now, if you don't know my Mother you are in for a treat. When she says she wouldn't let me eat it, she means it. I can just imagine her gnawing off my own arm as I reached into the Reindeer cookie jar to just eat one Andes-Mint chocolate cookie. She would say it was for my own good and because I told her to do it. (I would reason that it most likely was revenge for the hell I put her through my senior year of high school).

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and even the days following came and went with intense temptations, inner monologues on refusing to be the Pillsbury Dough Boy's bitch, and reasoning/bargaining with the bad angel on my left shoulder. Needless to say, every time I would venture towards a container, a box, a tin or even a jar, I would hear "Jillian is watching you!" in a think Bronx accent. Well, that's a deal breaker every time. Damn it.

When I returned back to Nashville after the holidays I was weak and defeated from the lack of sugar, the neglect of my sweet tooth, and the severe frosting deficiency I was experiencing. But I was proud that I had made it through the holidays without going completely overboard. It wasn't like I ate an entire pie with a couple containers of cool whip to top it off! (The Christmas of 2007 is still, to this day, not to be mentioned. I was eating my emotions. And Santa's. And every freaking elf in the North Pole's.)

But writing on my pantry products and cabinet contents was not going to be enough. I had no one to stop me from actually putting food in my mouth that didn't belong there. I try to not to buy food that shouldn't be in my apartment. I don't know how the funfetti frosting gets in the cart. I don't know how a bag of skittles can somehow magically appear like a happy rainbow in silverware drawer. Perhaps it's the luck of the Irish. Or perhaps its untreated kleptomania. Either way, for my own good I have to combat the temptation. And I devised a plan.

Some people will put pictures of themselves in thinner days on their fridge and use that as an encouraging reminder to be careful when opening the fridge door. The only thin pictures I have of me are those taking right after birth. And even then I was plagued with fat legs. So that is not an option for me. I could put a picture of me at 300 pounds in high school with a dutchboy's haircut, but I have tried that, and I just cover my eyes and reach into the fridge. Who really wants to see that anyway?? So the plan was simple: Buy every magazine at Kroger for January that had pictures of Jillian in it. Since January is the month for New Year's Resolutions, there was ample Jillian face time.

I meticulously cut out Jillian's pictures from Fitness, Cosmo, Ladies Home Journal and even Runner's magazine (who the hell reads that? and for the record, the check out girl looked at me and judged me as if I was buying Playboy. Ok, so I'm not a runner. But I like the articles!). Then I strategically placed the cut out pictures inside the pantry taped to cans and boxes. I put her picture on the fridge door but realized, just like every other attempt to stop my opening of the fridge, it just wouldn't work. So Jillian was transplanted: inside the fridge. I taped her up so that every time I open the fridge there she is with her ripped biceps looking at me. Staring at me. Scolding me. Getting ready to pounce me.

It worked like a charm. But I will admit it had some downfalls. No, I am not stating that I am malnourished because I have been too afraid to open the fridge. That would be ridiculous. But, I did suffer a mild coronary when at 3am, slit-eyed and shuffling, I walked to the kitchen and opened the fridge door. The only light that shown was from inside it and it lit up Jillian brightly. I screamed. Dropped the cup. Slammed the door. And in a slur of strung together profanity was able to make out "The bitch is really watching me!". I went back to bed thirsty that night... and every night since. She's in there. And I am afraid she may get out if I open the door again.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Slave Without A Master

The day that Daughtry (real name is never shared) challenged me to lose weight: it was on. There was nothing I would hold back. As long as there was a pair of sneakers on my feet, a Cardio playlist on the ipod and an inhaler in my hand, I was good to go. I was lucky enough to have a beautiful fitness center at my apartment complex and I was also lucky enough to have the stubborn, competitive attitude of an OCD-Irish-New Yorker. When those powers combine, you get a force to be reckoned with. Or at least a force that will find a way to complain, bitch, and moan about every day in her battle for weight loss.

The first day I walked into that fitness center as a competitor, not just a girl engaging in a nonchalant work out, I met an inanimate object that would personify my master, engulf me in waves of pain, guilt, hatred and exhaustion, and ultimately form a Stockholm-like syndrome effect on my psyche. It was treadmill #3... the third one in the row of 5 along the wall of windows. I grew to learn her speeds, her inclines, her programs, her ability to cause me to fly off, her finicky methods of pushing me to the brink of a collapsed lung, and the lovely convenience of her double cup holders.

I never named her. Although I did name everyone else that came in contact with me and treadmill #3. There was Grandma Battle Ax/ Betty Boniva who continuously berated me on my weight, eating habits and appearance. Shutting her up with a container of frosting and a spoon placed in one of those fantastic cup holders ended that relationship (thank God). There was Juicy Barbie and the sorority sisters of Tappa Kega Hoe. They ran in tight Lycra and bobbed their blonde pony tails on treadmill #2 and #4 on either side of me. They didn't sweat. They didn't pant. And they found great enjoyment in my outbursts of "Mother of God, when will this mile end?!??" and "FML!!!." They also looked on in horror when I would tape a picture of a Wendy's frosty to the screen so that I could "run towards that."

But in moving out of that complex and into another, I had to say goodbye to treadmill #3. I gave her one last good run (that resulted in a great post-run throw up), and then I shut the door to the gym and waved goodbye to my master. I don't know if it was sweat running down my face or not, but I may have shed a tear or two. No one will ever know...

My new apartment complex has a fitness center too. I went in there today with hesitation and nervous anxiety. What will it be like? Would the treadmills be the same? Will I have enough equipment to suit my routine? The answer to those questions was a resounding: NO. There in the corner sat a lone treadmill and on the other side, two elliptical machines. Like a pathetic, abused puppy the treadmill looked at me, begging me to give her attention. How could this machine become my master?? She was pathetic and I do believe the nineties called and asked for her back. She was old and should have been out of the game years ago. But alas, I stepped onto her and hit the "up" button for speed. She sped up, she huffed and puffed and began to gain momentum. Just like me, we both struggled to find our strength and our stride. But after the first quarter mile we were doing just fine. I huffed. She puffed. I sighed. She squeaked. And together we completed a 5K. It wasn't easy (the new Shape-up's didn't help in that aspect either), but it was over.

So my new "master" lacks authority, dominance and fear-inducing aggression. She is abused, tired and defeated. But that sounds a bit familiar. Perhaps instead of a master, I will have a companion. It's not what I am used to... and it's not exactly what I need. But I think it will work. I will always miss treadmill #3 and her "no excuses allowed" work out, but I need to move on. To close that chapter in my book. And with the absence of treadmill #3, the dominating force in my life can finally be a human: Jillian Michaels.

Goodbye to 2010... Did I Ever Tell You I Loathe You?

Within the past two weeks I have lost my apartment, my identity as a "south Nashvillian," a pair of shoes, the laundry room key, two pounds and a decade. For someone who needs a GPS tracker on her keys (which have been found in the freezer several times), it's not that bad of a collection.

A new apartment, a new area of the city, and a new decade gives me a fresh start after a year that provided me with more "downs" than "ups." Now, in fear of being a Debbie Downer, I would like to point out the positives that I was blessed with in 2010: meeting my best friend (even though that kid frustrates me more than my curse of being vertically challenged), becoming an Aunt, making a decision on what I wanted to be when I grew up (although that changes weekly), learning that Nashville is my home, learning to give of myself for others (and actually liking it), spending time with Rosie's, starting graduate school (and surviving!), and finding strength within myself that I didn't know I actually had. Now, I gained some new talents and traditions as well: never leave home without a life vest, it's best not to trust anyone, metro police should be your speed dial #1, roses are the worst gift ever, and there is nothing wrong with answering the door with a shotgun (girl scouts be damned... If I wanted your thin mints I would have asked for your thin mints! Don't tempt me with your little boxes of heaven).

So 2010 brought about a lot of things in my life that wound up changing me forever. And I am hoping 2011 decides that I have learned enough lessons for a while and let's me live in peace. Nevertheless, I know that won't be the case and I am ready to take her on... kick ass... and take names. This year will challenge me to further my education, to get in the best shape of my life, to maybe fall in love (eh, highly doubt that one), continue to figure out who the heck I am (eh, that one too), and continue to be a single 20-something trying to make it in her beloved, bittersweet city.

2011: I am ready to face you head on. As long as there is very little rain, a lot of good friends, and an endless supply of Jack, I foresee us having a beautiful relationship. But then again, if you fail, there is always 2012.