Wednesday, December 30, 2009


New Year's is almost year! Er, here. :o)

New Year's Day has to be my favorite holiday . . . ever. Hands-down, there is nothing I get more thrilled about than the promise that comes along with turning over a new leaf and starting fresh. I'm reminded that while New Year's comes once every year (hence the name, I'm sure), every day can be the start of something new, something good, something profound. Maybe it's hard to see, but at each phase of the journey, the best thing we can do is take a glance back, maybe linger over some memories that have truly shaped and defined us, and then turn our faces forward to walk into the future.

Now, before you start chiding me for being so gosh darn Pollyanna-esque, I should come clean and state that I am a chronic critic. It is my most crippling affliction. I resist change, I'm stubborn and obstinate mostly because I poke holes in ideas and feel that sometimes, if things can't be perfect from the get-go, they're not even worth attempting. So I'm sure you can imagine how hard this is to overcome. Every goal I've ever had (college, running a marathon, making my long distance relationships work) has been punctuated and peppered with the excuses I make for not following suit with Nike's mantra and just DOING it.

Back in April, I finished a marathon, which is big. Except, for all of the cheating and slacking I did because I didn't have the faith in myself to actually complete it, the accomplishment feels . . . tainted. It doesn't seem as sweet. It's something that I would think would motivate me to lace up my sneaks as soon as I recovered from the injuries I gained, but it didn't -- because I criticized my own victory. I'm so happy to be happy for others, but for myself? Not for long . . .

So where does this leave me? With some inspiration to actually embrace change. I'm not going to be a happy person (well, happiER person -- I still think in spite of my snap judgments and self-doubt that I'm a pretty happy person), I'm not going to be a runner again and I'm not going to be a more motivated person unless I PRACTICE them.

I'm sure this seems elementary, but at 22 years old, I'm finally getting it . . . just in time for New Year's, my favorite remember? So here we go . . . again. Practicing. Right now, I'm sitting in my workout pants, running socks (because cotton is rotten!), and my shirt from Big Sur (it was the first non-cotton shirt I pulled, but serendipitously enough, the one from my marathon). My Brooks Trance 8's are unlaced, right next to me. I have pulled my unusually well-behaved curls into a messy bun with the feeble hope that they will look just as good when I'm done. (But who are we kidding . . . Lightning really doesn't strike twice, does it?)

And I'm off to practice . . . :o)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A (belated) Merry Christmas!

Christmas was very good this year -- I seemed to make Santa's good list again. :o)

On Christmas Eve, I went over to my parents house where we relaxed and played games. I don't know why, but I seem to have the MOST rotten luck with dominoes. I spent the night on the air mattress in the living room with the new puppy, Chunk, snuggled up with me. He's an under-the-covers snuggler, I was pleased to see. It was veeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyy cold in the living room, in spite of the heater, which I suspect may have contributed to why I'm feeling so awful today (another story).

We woke up and enjoyed some potato pancakes (my brother's request) before opening presents. I left with a mini food processor, a coffee grinder, cookbooks (including "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison -- a library lend that I was so excited about, I put in a request for it for my birthday -- this book is the bible of vegetarian cooking!) and many games.

One of the games I received was The Beatles edition Monopoly, which we played after all of the present merriness was over. I must say, I redeemed myself by dominating the Monopoly board. Granted, this is a game that can go on for a long time, but by the end of things, I owned everything but the utilities and railroads and had hotels/houses on everything I owned. I was pulling in $1200 every time someone landed on Park Place, etc. It was great! Perhaps I should have majored in business?

Anyway . . . I woke up this morning feeling pretty awful. I really didn't want to get out of bed. I slept past noon, rolled over and slept until 2:30 when I realized that I would have to go to the grocery store to get some soup, tea and cough syrup. (BTW, Campbell's minestrone soup is made with chicken stock!?! What the heck?!! Minestrone is supposed to be vegetarian. Thanks for ruining it for me, Campbell's.) I left with two kinds of cough syrup (one daytime, one nighttime) and some little food things that I like when I'm sick -- pepper jack cheese and Triscuit (the cheese doesn't help with the congestion, but it's tasty), some miso soup, and some chocolate cookies, but I don't think I'll be eating those for a while.

One glass of orange pineapple juice later, I have eaten a bowl of rice mixed into red miso soup (delicious, by the way) and have been camped on the couch. Alex shipped my Christmas present to me, but I'm hesitant to open it. I kind of want to wait until I see him next and he can open his. Hmm . . . Oh, the dilemma!

Belated Merry Christmas everyone! I'm going back to bed! :)

Robyn vs. The Library

I have a problem -- a serious, crippling condition and it revolves around library books. I can walk into a library for one book and leave with seven. The problem really hits hard when it comes time for these books to be turned in. I don't know why, but I never seem to be able to finish them in an appropriate amount of time. So I end up renewing them. Again . . . and again . . . and again.

Before I know it, I've maxed-out in the number of times I can renew a book before it's required back at the library. And that's when I feel panicky, sad and resentful.

And so it came to pass that last week, a book that I really, truly have been meaning to read was due. And of course, in true Robyn form, I had renewed it the maximum number of times.

Realizing that I would have to turn the book in the following day or face an accumulation of fines until I did, I got clever. I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and thwart the library.

The San Jose Public Library has close to a dozen branches. You can borrow books from any of them and if your particular branch doesn't have the book you're looking for, it's absolutely possible to request and receive it at your branch from another. Their library website also allows you to search for your book and see which location you can check it out. So, channeling my inner detective, I searched the library for the book I was going to face relinquishing.

And I found it! In the Almaden branch across the city (about 30 minutes from my apartment), there it was! I confirmed this around 2:00, waited anxiously for the clock to hit 5:00 to leave work, and I was off.

I raced traffic from Palo Alto to San Jose and found the library. I parked, pulled up the book info that I'd saved on my phone and set off in search of the shelf containing my book. I walked in, found the shelf . . . and searched.

Scanning numbers, scanning titles, I couldn't find it! I scoured the entire bookcase thinking perhaps it had been tucked away in the wrong spot, but no. After several minutes of feeling like a moron, I finally walked over to the library catalogue computer. Lo and behold, I had JUST missed it -- it had already been checked out! Never one to forget the lesson about lemons and lemonade, I looked around and found a couple of other books to peruse . . .

I looked up the main library page and raced off to the nearest branch that had the book -- a mere five miles away. Thankfully, I made it in time. I had my book! And the following day, I turned in the other copy, smugly smiling at my success in fighting the system.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tops!

1. Being on time! -- I have actually posted this on time. I think that's quite a feat given the last couple of weeks . . . Crazy!

2. Coffee! -- It's been a rough few nights for sleep, which means I'm groggy-hungover the next day and dependent on coffee for energy for the day.

3. Starting over! -- I made a commitment to myself that I was going to cut back on sugar. So this morning I'm drinking a vanilla latte and eating petite vanilla scones. I guess we're starting again tomorrow . . . ;)

4. Hanson! -- I L-O-V-E-D these guys when I was a kid and for whatever reason, I woke up this morning with "Weird" stuck in my head. So I grabbed my copy of "Middle of Nowhere" (their first album) and listened all the way into work. It was nothing less than FABULOUS! I was so happy, smiley and motivated coming into work. I even brought the CD in so I can listen on my headphones while I crank out some news releases. I'm listening and reliving some very happy moments of my youth. :o)

5. Quiet! -- Half of the office is already on vacation, which means it's very quiet around here. Of course, there's enough to do, but it's still . . . which lends to thoughts of "The Shining" and trying to stay motivated to actually work . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

He loves me? Yeah! He LOVES me!!!

Friday, Alex came to visit me. It was already going to be such a sweet visit since we haven't seen each other for a little over a month, so I was looking forward to just being able to curl up on the couch with him and feel his arms around me.

In the midst of our cuddling (and smooching -- I won't lie), he lamented that he wished Tahoe were closer to San Jose (for those unfamiliar with California geography, it's approx. a four-hour drive). I told him, "Well, just so you know . . . I don't want to make a big thing of this and I don't want you to feel like you have to talk about it if you don't want to but . . . things seem to really be going well for us. Great even. If things are still progressing, still great in a year and a half or so, I'd like to talk about relocation. Namely, that I would have the option to move closer to you."

I love my job, don't get me wrong, but I know that it's an opener for something else . . . Whatever that is, I don't really know. I'd like to have my own special event coordination business someday -- something that would allow me to make a comfortable income but also provide an opportunity to work from home if I want to homeschool my kids or even just be at home with them. But obviously, that's something for the future and not even really planned for yet. I digress . . .

I wish I could have taken a picture of the smile on his face when I said that. He seemed so pleased that I would even be willing to make such a large gesture like that for him. I reiterated that it wouldn't be for a while, and that we didn't really have to talk about it if it seemed uncomfortable to him, but he assured me that there was no discomfort about it.

Flash forward some more snuggly-smoochy cuddling and finally I blurted it out . . .

"I love you, Alex."

"I love you, too."

And then . . . in a uniquely Robyn way, all I could think to say was, "Really? Because you don't have to say that if you don't want to . . . if you're not ready to or whatever."

(I know . . . leave it to me to squish a really sweet moment, right?)

He then told me that he was thinking about saying it for a while now, but wasn't quite sure if the sentiment would be reciprocated. I thought it was cute that he used 'reciprocated' in this context.

One day, I think we'll look back on this as the start of something beautiful, but for now it's a cutesy-chuckle-worthy moment in our relationship that blossomed perfectly in the most understatedly wonderful way.

(Have you gagged yet? I'm so sorry . . .)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A marathoner in recovery

I'm a runner, though I'm not a fast one and I certainly don't do it well all the time. I also lack in the motivation department.

Last night, I ran. I ran without music (a real first) and it really wasn't bad. Granted, I barely made it a mile, but I still did it, right?

I'm redefining my goals for life. I'm really looking for some direction, but I'm trying to be patient in knowing that I've entered a season of my life that I can take some respite in. I can be still for a while. Since 2003, I have packed and moved all of my stuff 12 times. T-W-E-L-V-E!!! That's an average of 2 moves a year!! I can honestly say that I've never lived in one place for more than a year in all that time. Yes, I probably shouldn't count moving to and from my college campus, but then again, why shouldn't I? I packed and moved almost everything. I'm resting for a while. I'm staying put.

I look at my life and try to figure out what the next big change will be and it hits me -- I don't need to figure that out yet. I can relax. I can stop nitpicking. I don't have to plan yet. And that's when relief washes over me to know that there's no pressure for movement yet. I know at some points, I'll feel restless. I know I'll hit a level of "gotta get out of here" once in a while. But isn't that what vacation is for?

So I'm raising my glass to staying in one place. I'm toasting that life is good where it is and that I can simply abide. In this resting period, I know I have plenty of work to do on myself in preparation for the next big change (big move, graduate school, promotion, someday marriage -- whatever comes my way!)

I've never really placed much faith in horoscopes -- I typically chalk it up to something for me to pass time with and I've never read one and later thought, "Oh wow! That DID happen!" Today I flipped through our local paper for Capricorn -- my sign. It said: "You can substantially enhance your possibilities for success by relying more on yourself than anybody else. Establish your own goals, means of achievement and timetable." I took this as a confirmation that I'm in a good place right now and that this gear up for what's next is actually where I need to be.

But I've never been a patient person. I've never been one to sit still -- so here I am . . . realizing that I need to do just that. For my own personal growth, I would do well to sit still . . . to rest and rejuvenate for when I'm ready for the big change (whatever that may be). It's just the waiting that's the hardest part . . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday Tops (late again . . .)

My best friend from college, Joanna, has been visiting me here in San Jose. Yesterday was the last full day here, so we went to San Francisco for the day -- hence the delay in Tuesday Tops.

Soooooooo . . . without further adieu, this week's list.

1. San Francisco -- one of my favorite cities ever. Joanna and I hit Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39, the Tenderloin district, went shopping on Market Street, rode a cable car and hiked up the scariest hill I've ever seen. We also drove down Lombard "Crookedest" Street, which was pretty cool. Didn't get a chance to hit some of the other items on our to-do list, but next time . . .

2. Vegetables -- I've been bad about eating them since Joanna's been here. Today and tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'll be on a veggie fast . . . to get as much of 'em as I can.

3. Coffee -- Joanna and I were up until 3 am this morning just chatting. Those are great conversations, but boy if it doesn't leave you tired. (Sleep when you're dead, right?)

And we're done. :o) Short, but whatever.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It tugs at my heartstrings.

I am an emotional creature. I didn't used to be, but I am now. I'm learning that I just need to embrace that I will NEVER be able to watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" without sobbing, that I will ALWAYS get teary when they give Beth the piano in "Little Women," that the magnitude of distance races overcomes me EVERY time (two 1/2 marathons and one full and I cried for all -- sobbed for the marathon), and the 'kindness of strangers' -- to quote Miss Scarlet O'Hara -- will get me every time.

My radio station here in the Bay area, Alice 97.3, decided to do a drive for Toys for Tots this holiday season. Last week, they stationed six hosts at different toy stores all over the Bay area and collected any money people had to give -- a check for whatever amount, rolls of pennies, pocket change. They raised $24,000 (yeah, you read that right) that day. The continued accepting online donations this week leading up to today, their toy shopping extravaganza. Currently, they've spent $10,000 on toys so far and have Marines helping them load up a big truck. They received another ten grand in donations this week, bringing their total spending budget to $34,000.

I cried.

Right there, when they said that, I cried. I'm having a hard time not getting a bit teary now. Because even though there are so many people hurting right now, this kind of generosity hits you. It really, truly hits you.

I'm learning to live with my tender heart and accepting that I will be the one you can always count on to cry at weddings, feel sad for animals who are hurting, will stick up for children's causes and will crusade for the greater good -- because it's just on my heart to do so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I forgot Tuesday Tops!!!

Guys, it's been a busy week. All two of you have probably sat there thinking, "Where's Robyn? Where's Tuesday Tops?" Never fear, I'm tardy but here.

So here's a list - albeit a bit late - things that are rockin' my world right now . . .

1. Joanna's coming to visit this weekend!!! And she's staying almost a whole week!!! On our plans -- San Francisco, a trip to Fresno (yeah, that's not thrilling, but there are people we want to see), the touristy things in Palo Alto/San Jose (like settling the Sprinkles vs. Kara's Cupcakes debate).

2. Pay day = Christmas shopping! Inevitably, it always seems that one paycheck ends up going toward the amalgamation of bills that keep coming in. (What do you mean I can't have my car for free? I'm so nice! I drive it so well! And I have to PAY to live here?! What, are you people on glue???? Why aren't you paying ME to live here?!) Indignation aside, I pay them happily and remind myself that this season of life is preparing me for the inevitable mortgage I will one day have, the college tuition that I will one day start saving for because, heck, my someday-kids will be nerds. There's no fighting it. I am liking, however, that this particular paycheck has paid off almost all of my bills for the month (just a couple that need to be tended to) and there's enough leftover for gas and Christmas presents.

3. Amy's burritos -- a budding vegetarian sometimes doesn't have the time or energy to whip up deliciousness (though I looooooooove cooking), so Amy's is a good standby to have in my freezer. I keep the soup in the cupboard too. De-lish.

4. Salt & vinegar chips. I've always loved them, but lately I've been wanting them soooooooooooooooooo much. I need to quit. Cold tofurkey. If I don't, I will eat them until the acid burns a hole in my tongue.

5. My gym membership -- for now. There's a discussion that hospital employees may lose their access to University facilities. This is awful. I'm really annoyed. I hope they work that out . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Tops

I'd like to start a new tradition: Tuesday Tops. Inspired by one of my favorite blogs and their weekly "Friday Flowers" posts, I decided to do something that comes naturally - lists! I am a list-writing fiend. I list everything and I'm obsessive about it. I color code, rank by importance and scratch it off as I go. It's a sickness. So I've decided to channel this into something positive: lists of good things happening, things I like at the moment, stuff I'm really "into" every Tuesday. Length will vary, I think, but between 5 and 10 should be fine, right? Right. :o)

So here goes nothing . . .

Things I'm Liking:
1. Christmas music
2. The West Wing
3. Eggnog (Mmmmmmm . . . Two glasses tonight - this does not bode well for my waistline.)
4. Brushing my teeth (I've always been pretty good with it, but lately I'm more appreciative.)
5. Blogs (I love them . . . If I could make a career of reading blogs, I would.)
6. The White House (Maybe I've been watching too much West Wing, but if I were called tomorrow and asked to work in the White House, even if it were seemingly unimportant or had a small salary, I'd jump for it.)
7. Busy-ness (I will be in Fresno this weekend, have Joanna visiting next weekend and Alex visiting the following weekend - I'm hoping I can squeeze some Christmas shopping in somewhere.)