Archive for the ‘Just me’ Category

The other day I was thinking about how fabulous I’ve been feeling lately.  It’s not just losing the weight.  It’s about doing things I never thought I’d be able to do again.

Several mornings a week now I get up at 5:30, get dressed and drive to the university where I work out for 45 minutes on the elliptical (arc trainer, actually) and then go back home to take a shower and get Autumn ready for school.

Let’s forget, for a moment, about my previous misconceptions about never being able to work out on an elliptical again. What really amazes me is that I actually look forward to hauling my ass out of bed and getting all sweaty before most people are even aware we’ve entered a new day.

My dog doesn’t like this so much since I’m walking her less, but to hell with her.  I have a list of stolen food and damaged goods that only grows the older she gets. And I am keeping track. You betcha.

Six years ago when I lost 80 pounds, this is what I did to be successful. I got up and I worked out just as the day was starting.  I used to look back on those days with a wistful sort of melancholy because I was sure that was never going to happen again.  In fact, last year when I finally located all the parts of my Polar heart rate monitor, I pressed the button that displayed the stats for my last workout and took pictures as the numbers cycled through.  I couldn’t remember when that last workout was, but I was quite certain I’d never see another one like it again.

Years ago I read an interview with Patrick Swayze in which he talked about the knee injury that put an end to his high school football career and any hopes he had of gaining an athletic scholarship to college.  Anyone who’s ever seen Dirty Dancing, though, knows that injury never kept Patrick Swayze from being an amazing dancer. He was athletic, powerful and very seductive.  You’d never know by looking at him move in that film that he may have been working with a bum knee, and in that interview he said dancing was the only thing keeping the knee from becoming completely useless.

I never understood how that could be possible until now, but sometimes your body, like your intellect, needs to be challenged.  Since going through physical therapy and being told that I could, in fact, get back on the elliptical, I’ve seen drastic improvement in my mobility and a huge reduction in pain.  My left knee still clicks, but it clicks less. I’m still arthritic and my right knee sounds like steel belted radials popping down a gravel road, but I feel FANTASTIC.

And I even got down on my hands and knees to look for a trouser sock under the bed the other day.  I got down on my knees in about a second and got right back up again after I couldn’t find the damn sock.

Seriously, why can I not keep track of trouser socks?

Anyway, now that I know what is possible, I’m left feeling kind of sad about all the time I lost believing I’d never again be active enough to start losing this weight.  If the orthopedist who performed my knee surgery had told me what the Hot Yoda Guy told me when I started PT, it may not have taken me two and a half years to feel whole again.

But, you know, water under the bridge, I guess.

What matters now is that I know I can kick some ass.


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Last week I signed up to go to the Type-A Mom Blogging Conference.

I wasn’t planning on going to another conference this year. In fact, a conference that caters specifically to moms was way off my radar. I was very happy with my experience at Gleek Retreat and I didn’t find myself really down about missing BlogHer last month. Also, conferences are expensive, and while I did just write my very last check for child care (yay for full day kindergarten!), I feel a little guilty spending the money on a trip I’m not sharing with my family.

The thing is, I want to do more with this blog but I’ve been struggling with some self-imposed rules that really matter to no one but me. They’re silly rules, but they tend to dictate the content of this blog because I don’t want to jeopardize the authenticity of the voice I’ve created or lose the audience I’ve gained so far.

But y’all, something has to give.

Today Feedburner tells me I have 89 subscribers.

Seven people visited my site yesterday.

The Google bot is probably the most influential visitor in keeping my bounce rate down.

Oh, and I’ve been doing this for FIVE YEARS.

I’m not usually one to complain about my lack of traffic, and I wouldn’t say that is what this is. What I am saying is this blog has become a reflection of my real life. I’m kind of a homebody and an introvert. Remaining safely anonymous is preferable to taking the risk of putting myself out there and participating in something new. The lack of growth here mirrors the lack of growth in my professional life. For nine years I’ve worked in a job that is completely wrong for me because it offers a good paycheck and excellent benefits.

And in this crappy economy I have no plans of leaving the job soon, but that doesn’t mean this space here has to remain the same. But I haven’t wanted to tinker because, you know, if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. I think it may be time to tinker, though. Tinkering might be good.

Those of you who have been my regular readers over the years are awesome and I don’t want to discount your loyalty. Most of you are bloggers yourselves and I’ve gotten to know you very well. Some of you may even be going through these same identity issues, especially in light of how commercial the blogosphere has become (hey, did you know “blogosphere” pops up in spell check now?). There are very few bloggers out there now who open up shop wanting only to write and tell stories. Hell, even Dooce, who previously never used to write sponsored posts, is enjoying an entire office remodel courtesy of Verizon.

So the blog world is a-changing.

The good news is it’s always changing. I think every blog is in a constant state of flux, and the longer you stay out there and keep doing what you’re doing, the more you’ll see where the blog is meeting your needs, where it’s not and adjust accordingly. For me, the blog has exceeded my needs in that it has provided a creative outlet, a means of therapy and has brought me some wonderful relationships.

In fact, that I’ve been able to keep it up this long is very unusual for me. I’m not known for staying with a project for an extended period of time. I get bored and frustrated. I lose confidence and tend to move on to something else that interests me, at least for a short while. That I’ve been able to keep this going for five years means that what I do here is very valuable and I can’t lose sight of what it is that keeps me coming back to tell my stories.

But something is missing. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but there’s a definite feeling that this blog is less than what it could be. I put what time I can into it, and until I am able to unshackle myself from the cubicle it’s going to have to remain something I do when I have the time to do it.

The day I fly back from North Carolina will actually mark the fifth anniversary of my very first post here. Yes, there are a few random posts I imported from a blog I very briefly maintained in 2004, but the site now known as “Autumn At Oak Hollow” started on September 27th, 2005 when I was 40 days away from becoming a mother.

Well, it was actually 50 days since we went ten days past my due date.

And now, since my daughter is about to begin a new phase of her life in kindergarten and beyond, I think it’s only appropriate that this blog also branch out in new directions. Hopefully, as I fly back home, I’ll have a clearer vision of the next five years. Maybe I’ll be inspired, but most of all I hope to be confident enough to explore new opportunities while keeping this site a place I love, a place you love and that keeps us all wanting to come back again and again.

As always, I thank you for putting up with me.

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Peggy Sue got married

Once in awhile I like to fantasize about being 18 again, only in my fantasy I’m 18 with 38 years of experience.

I don’t think I’d ever want to go back to my teen years unless I could go back with those 20 years of my life completely intact inside my brain somewhere. What would be the point otherwise?

There are some mistakes that could be rectified, but more than that I think it would be wonderful to be a young woman with the self-confidence and self-awareness I now possess. That would be the shit.

And? The guys would eat it up.

For reals.


I’m not going to back in time, but I don’t mind at all where I am right now.

Life is good.

It’s about damn time.

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The 2009 Farewell Tour

For four years now I’ve wondered how long I can keep this blog going.  At times it seemed almost effortless as the stories poured out of me.

Lately it hasn’t been effortless.  It has taken a lot of effort to post here even once a week, and while I do still have stories, I think I’m at the point where I wish to keep them private.

So again, I thank you for reading. The little audience I’ve had has meant a lot, but it’s time for me to stop writing about my life and start living it.


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Two years ago was by far one of the lonliest, most miserable birthdays of my life. Little did I know at the time that I was a mere two weeks away from an injury that would change my life and plunge me into a deep depression from which I would not emerge for a year and a half.

Yesterday was a near perfect birthday. I enjoyed a free coffee in the morning, a free spaghetti in the afternoon and took advantage of the unusually beautiful weather on a walk with my family. And while I spent the majority of the day by myself, I felt such optimism and happiness throughout that it was nearly impossible to feel lonely.

The rest of the week will have its ups and downs as I say goodbye to a dear co-worker and celebrate his life with others who knew him. I wasn’t particularly close to Michael, not that I’m close to anyone I work with, but he died at 38 and left behind a four year-old daughter. I just turned 38 and also have a four year-old daughter. The thought of not making it to 39 never seemed so real as it does now.

One thing I have learned this year is that happiness is a choice. Sure, it can be helped along with good drugs and an even better therapist, but life is too short to be miserable. And if you’ve stuck with me this far I thank you. Your commitment means the world to me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Haircut and cleavage


Here I am showing off yet another haircut while trying to block the messy basement behind me.  Today was my bi-annual highlight appointment, and I have no idea how the highlights wound up so, um…light.  I know my hairdresser and I have fiddled around with the color over the years and I used to get highlights that were more red than light brown, but I don’t remember ever coming out of the salon looking like Ponyboy after a bottle of peroxide.  The webcam does not really show how much lighter my hair actually is, but I can tell you I ran into my best friend walking into Target this morning and she was only able to recognize me because I had Autumn with me.

While I don’t really care for the color, I do like the cut and I’m hoping the color will tone down some before BlogHer.  Speaking of which, how do you like the shirt?  I purchased it especially for BlogHer and hope to not spill out of it whilst introducing myself to complete strangers. “Hi, I’m Heather and these are MAH B00BS!”

I’m wearing the shirt to a graduation party this afternoon, where I’m sure to get lots of practice dropping bits of food down my bra and fishing it out while no one is looking.

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I’m writing this post from my iPod Touch, an amazing little gizmo that unfortunately falls short when it comes to composing blog posts (Thumbs? Please!).

My posts have been kind of brief lately because I’m still having trouble recovering from last month’s hack. It’s kind of a long story, but I’m pretty sure it’s one that’s going to end with me reinstalling WordPress.

Until I get things sorted out, I’m going to have to advise you NOT to comment on the posts. It’s another long story that involves some unscrupulous Latvians, but until I say otherwise, it’s probably not a great idea to start clicking lots of links around here. Damn Latvians.

You can, however, click on the link to my friend Meg’s blog (“Sleepy New Mommy” on the left sidebar). I’m guest posting over there today while Meg’s indulging her hedonistic side in Vegas.

But just in case, if any link you DO click takes way too long to load, it would probably be best to just skeddaddle.

Damn Latvians.

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