Charting life's circuitous path

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Catching every last ray

Soon, it will be the first of September.  Although Fall doesn’t officially start for another couple of weeks, it feels like Summer is getting just a bit tired from the three months of sun and heat.  Slightly earlier evenings coupled with slightly cooler nights make for a craving of warm mochas, fuzzy layers, and colorful trees.

We had a relatively quiet summer.  No big vacations.  No big events.

But we did have a lot of mini-triumphs and adventures.  We did a lot of firsts this summer and we tried to fill each bright day with an aim to remember it as a summer where we made things happen.

Something that I’m quite proud of, and to be honest, completely surprised by is my keenness towards swimming.

I learned that swimming in a public place isn’t a completely horrific idea.  I don’t shrink when strangers are lounging around the pool (which, by the way, seems to be the primary use of our pool), or if kids are splashing about.  We discovered that our apartment pool is actually quite nice, albeit a bit leafy.  And best of all, I learned how to swim – a skill that I’ve never been able to pick up and which allows me more control over my fear of drowning.  With this new discovery I’m even opening up to the idea of getting on a boat!  We’ll see. 🙂

We discovered a new city that we had imagined to be dull and “rustic”.  Instead, we had an amazing time poking around its colorful streets and biking its picturesque canals.  It wasn’t exotic and it wasn’t even a destination point for most tourists, but we had fun and rode a tandem for the first time and took the mini-train just for kicks (even though it was full with children and parents).

We ate bags and boxes of dark red cherries. We’re still eating them.  Most of the time we popped them into our mouths, but they could be spotted in parfaits, on top of yogurts, sprinkled over Joe-Joe’s and cream, and even once in mini pies.

I had been dreaming of making cherry pie since I received my pitter last year, and I finally did it last weekend.  Pie crust mushed into a cupcake pan with a cherry-peach filling and topped with cream.  They were just what I had hoped for and they satisfied my creative need to make something new and challenging.

I ran, ran, and ran some more.  I took advantage of the outdoor temperatures and jogged up and down the street at least a couple of times a week.  Did I go far? Not really.  Perhaps a few miles.  Was I gearing up for a race?  Not on your life.  But it felt empowering being outside and exerting my body to its fullest.  I’ll miss the bright sun and paved streets once Winter comes, but in the meantime I plan to swim and run for as long as it allows.

I discovered a new job with new responsibilities.  I learned that I quite like being in interviews and am probably very strange for it.  I realized that sometimes a change can be spontaneous and that those moments can bring about the best paths to follow.  Now, each day at work feels like a good challenge for my brain and my skills.  I’m still learning, but it’s a step off the cliff, so to speak, that I was glad I took.  Instead of just hitting bottom, I landed in a valley just waiting to be explored.

By the way, wondering why I’m not posting on Wednesdays like usual?  It’s my new work schedule.  Thursdays are my new blog days.  🙂

What’s one of my fondest memories from this crazy summer?

We rediscovered our little hometown coffee shop and their delicious, yet unassuming cakes.  Walking into town is only about a mile and we stroll past little shops and community green spaces before entering the small coffee shop with their rows and rows of brown coffee bean bins.  I embraced coffee after a lifetime of distaste and it’s opened up a new world of flavors, deep aromas and countless possibilities.  Their drinks are a blend of strong coffee, cream and whatever else strikes your fancy, but what I enjoy discovering is their cakes. Homemade, simple yet so right with your drink in hand that we make this almost a ritual at least once a month.

While Fall is sneaking up on us fast, we will definitely not stop our drive to make each outing, each day filled with something new and fun.  We already have a Saturday Doctor Who beginning of season to-do scheduled and perhaps a trip out to a Renaissance Festival and amusement park in the works.

Whatever you do, take each day as it is – an open day to make it your own.

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I’m swimming my way back to you, babe.

After the agonizing mall trip to find a suit that would “just do,” I didn’t consider how much I would love swimming.  Not that what I do in the pool can be called swimming by any stretch of the imagination.  Clinging desperately to my green-speckled float board and frantically kicking my feet whilst sinking does not qualify me for the Olympics. The thought that the suit would hang in my closet for the rest of the summer wasn’t a foreign one.  I bought them on a whim and for a “just in case” scenario, but now I’m glad that I “took the plunge”.

Our apartment pool is located in a semi-private space with tall trees and a brick wall blocking our pale selves from the innocent passerby.  They have fiesta parties and grill-outs by the pool, but we’ve never attended.  I think deep down, I felt too embarrassed even to go near the pool – the wall and iron gate were barriers I willingly embraced.

 Earlier, I had made a pact with my hubby that if there were a lot of people, we’d turn right around.  I kept telling myself that buying the suit took more courage than I had exhibited before, and that I should be proud, but I knew I had something else to prove.  I wanted to do something that scared me in its danger (drowning is one of my top fears) and to show that I had changed.

 The warm day was perfect for swimming, but as we walked to the pool, trepidation thrummed down my spine making me feel slightly chilled.  The weight lifted off my chest as I spied no one splashing about. Walking through that black gate felt transitional.  I hadn’t considered using a pool since I was eight and unself-conscious.  It was at my mother’s friend’s house, so even if I did feel embarrassed, it would have been with friends and in privacy.  Now, I was in a public pool (albeit empty), and with a swimsuit (albeit a modest one).


And I had fun! 😀  So much fun, that an hour of thrashing about in some semblance to swimming felt like only fifteen minutes.  I was out of breath with a heaviness in my bones that signaled a great workout.  I couldn’t wait to get back in.  We’ve so far hopped into the pool every day this week.  It’s also a lot more enjoyable to be exercising with my hubby at the same time.  We do our own exercises at home, but we get to interact in such a way at the pool that’s more connected.

 The biggest coup?  I stayed in the pool even when other people appeared.  Was I nervous?  Definitely, but I owned my nervousness and after a while I just ignored them.  Was I proud?

The hubby swimming up to coax me away from my camera. Trust me, it took all of 5 seconds. 😉

What do you think?  😈


Fighting through the fitting room jungle

“That looks really good on you!”

Was that a comment I made to myself while I tried on my fifth swimsuit top in a spacious, but invariably cluttered fitting room?

Nope, it came from a daughter to her mother a few doors down, but it was a comment that made me beam all the same. 😀

I just love compliments – especially when they’re given naturally and spontaneously.    I try to tell people that I love their shoes or their top when it strikes me, but I’m ashamed to say that I fail more often than not.  I had many moments at the mall where I loved an outfit someone was wearing but didn’t mention it.  These were lost moments not only to speak out and possibly make someone’s day, but to see the beauty in people and pointing it out.

It also turned into a failed lesson as I quickly turned my gaze back at myself, squeezed into an obviously too tight top, and continued in my negativity. 😦

What could have been a great moment where I realized that we are beautiful and that clothes are just bits of clothe stitched together turned into an agonizing two hours spent cramming into swimsuits and noting all the bits that “didn’t fit”.

At the end of the day, I did walk away with a suit, and I think what I picked out says a lot about where I am.

Let’s get right to the “bottom”:

I knew exactly what I wanted – something that covered me even when I was in the water and would still allow for movement.  When I saw these boardshorts at Everything But Water by LaBlanca, I knew I had just the thing.  They’re made from a sturdy fabric and they fit very nicely across the front.

My top was a bit more difficult due to my size, but I had luck with a tankini that fit a size up from my normal size.  Did I feel bad about this? No.  Because swimwear makers are the spawn of the devil and are out to make all women feel bad about their bodies.

Well, okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration. Maybe some women love the way they look in a bikini.

Kudos to the wonderfully helpful shop assistant at Everything But Water.  I had the frazzled lady climbing ladders and rifling through hundreds of tops trying to find something that matched my shape.  After 5 misses, I went back to Macy’s and found one that didn’t make me cringe (or cost nearly $100!).  It’s a tankini from Captiva.  The colors are a bit brighter and more varied than I’m used to, but I love it.  It “pops” paired with my shorts and the round rings are a cute addition.

Source: via iscribbler on Pinterest

While I’m nowhere near string bikini level of confidence, I was at least buying a suit.  Sure, I looked like I was going for a leisurely walk along the shorefront, but it was for swimming.  Considering how the last time I had worn a suit was when I was 10, that says a lot about how far I’ve come.  A year ago would have seen me scorning swimwear.  Now, I can’t wait to get out of the house with my suit!  That’s a level of confidence that I’m quite proud of.

We have a lovely pool at our apartment complex that we’ve yet to use, and I’m actually looking forward to it.  Hubby has also promised to teach me how to swim. 😮

Speaking of hubby, can I just say that it’s horribly unfair how easy it was to buy him swim gear?

I found and bought him a great pair of swim shorts from Nike for $15.  Let’s compare, shall we?

Him:  30 seconds to find shorts, Cost: $15.

Me: 2 hours of horrible contortions, Cost: $80.

Is it just me, or is that unfair?  👿