Sunday, December 30, 2012

House Tour Update

I've been home from graduate school housing for two weeks now for winter break. I didn't snap any photos of my holiday decor (Why?!? I have no idea! It looked cute too!), but today, I took down the tree and put away the yuletide decorations and set the house back to normalcy. Since everything was neat and in its place, I figured it was a good opportunity to post an update!

I have a small ranch house and the front door opens up into a nice open space. It's small, but it's more than enough for just me and my pets!

The green pillows were a set from Home Goods for $29.99, the patterned and cream ruffled pillow are about a year old and from Pier 1 Imports. (Other items--rug: Target; coffee table & tv stand: Pottery Barn;  curtains: Target; wood blinds: Lowes)

I scored the great new tablecloth ($19.99) and runner ($12.99) from Home Goods; rug: Target.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A month at Harvard....

So, it's been a month so far and things are going great! I've settled into my temporary home in Cambridge, have met some wonderful people and made a few new friends, and have been thoroughly enjoying my courses and how much I'm learning about the world of education!

Here are some photos from my journey so far!!!

Orientation begins!

First day of classes!

Harvard Yard

Even though I've been a Sox fan forever and had already given up on them for the season, a random person walking by my friend and I at an outdoor bar gave us tickets to a game because she couldn't attend! How could you say no??

Shots from a run on the Charles!

A star side plank on the John Harvard statue! 
(Yes, I cleaned my hands afterwards!!! I guess people pee on it!)

Fall foliage outside my building!

And here are some shots of my room and bathroom, decorated just enough to make me happy and not break my bank on things that aren't permanent! The vinyl wall decals were already there from the previous tenant, so they matched my West Elm bedding perfectly so I kept them up there! And, the four mirrors in the second shot were leftovers too....left those up as well!


And just a great quotation from an article that I think all teachers would love!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to make use of that hollow door!

So, I have old hollow 1950s doors in my house. I only have one hallway closet and I wanted to make more use of the space by using a over-the-door shoe rack. I hate using the actual over-the-door hooks because the door never closes cleanly and they gauge the trim. I researched and learned that they make special anchors for hollow doors---yes!

I grabbed a packet of these from Lowe's for a few dollars and a 5/16 drill bit from my dad's toolbox.

Here is the door:

The lovely anchors:

First, I used the over-the-door hooks to place the rack and used a pencil to mark the holes. Then, I drilled the holes and inserted all of the anchors:

Then, I place the shoe rack up against the holes/achors and threaded the screws through the mounting holes rack and screwed into place (the screw heads are larger than the holes).

All done and ready to go!

Easy 5-10 minute project!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

When you want to procrastinate: organize a closet!

Tonight, I tore apart my hall closet's storage bins and shelves to avoid grading some tests (#I'llregretthistomorrow).

I learned a few things:
1. I hold onto half used bottles of body lotion WAY too long.
2. I have a phobia of throwing out perfumes/lotions/body scrubs/etc. that come in gift sets that I have received from family & friends on holidays. If I don't like the scent, I just shove it into the closet and pretend it's not there. I'm bringing them into school and putting them in the faculty bathroom so someone can benefit!
3. I have A TON of travel size toothpastes and flosses!
4. Pet hair somehow finds its way into the closet?
5. I have enough Wallflowers (Bath & Body Works) refills to last 4-5 years.
6. I have enough tampons to last 1-2 years (see the photo of all of the boxes!)

I ended up throwing out this:

And, ending up with this--a  much less cluttered version of what was there before. Next to the brown bins on the second and third shelves, I had clear rubbermaid bins that I hadn't opened in a year....maybe 2. So, I knew it was time to purge.

I had these rubbermaid drawer organizers already but now they contain much less! Purged everything I don't see myself using in the foreseeable future!

 Happy organizing!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring blooms!

Last April, I traveled to Holland and purchased some tulip bulbs. Over the last two weeks, I've had the pleasure of seeing them bloom in all of their Dutch glory!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Never thought this would be my life...

I looked back in my journal last night and I found an entry from March 9, 2009. It was only three weeks after my marriage ended and I was left feeling very uncertain about where my life would go. I wrote about how I couldn't imagine every day life without him---no weekends hanging together, no kisses upon arriving home, no dinners together anymore...I even said "I just can't imagine a few years form now when we have no contact at all" and here I am, knowing what it's like today and not really caring about it any more.

Well, the me in March of 2009 could have never predicted what great news would enter my life in March 2012! About 6 months ago, I was on the phone with a mentor of mine, my department head at school who just retired, and she encouraged me to take some chances in my professional career and finally go back to school for my Masters degree. She said I shouldn't settle for just any old place or any old degree and that I needed to strive for the best that was out there--Harvard University. I just sort of shook my head at her like "C'mon,'ve got to be kidding me...." I explored the website and found I'd have to get my butt in gear to study for the GREs as it had been 10 years since I've graduated from college and 14 years since I did any math in high school. My friends and colleagues at school tutored me in math and I even audited some precalc and geometry classes at school--my students got a real kick about Ms. M being in the classroom with them! Nov 11, I took my GREs and came out having done pretty well!

I  met with my superintendent about taking a year leave from school to go to school fulltime. He was really supportive and very enthusiastic for the daring endeavor I was about to take on.

Then, on Nov 19, my dad and I went up to Harvard for an information session for the Graduate School of Education. It became pretty clear to me that all of this was moving into action.

My application was due on January 4th. I wrote, rewrote, revised, and revised my statement of purpose a few times. Then, it was all done. All I had to do was wait.....until March 26 for the school's decision on my application.

Much to my surprise, on March 5, I received an email saying my decision was ready to view.


They picked ME!!?!? I read the decision letter over and over, trying to make sure I was reading it correctly.

I cannot believe I was accepted and that I get to study for one year at one of the world's best universities. It's all so surreal.

Here's to life taking us down a pathway that we never expected! If I had stayed married to that liar, I know for a fact this would never be happening in my life! The universe has a way of balancing the scales, doesn't it??

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I think they're all married....or crazy....or there may not be any left.

So, I try the best I can to always be hopeful, to always be an optimist that someday, I will fall in love again. I've dated a few men in my three years of singledom and while some of them have been great guys and I've learned a lot through these experiences, I have not fallen in love since my ex-husband.

One guy I've dated a little over a year ago, brought to me by, really made me feel sparks. I even wrote in my journal "this is the type of guy I've been praying God would bring into my life" and after about 5 dates, he disappeared...literally. He just never called, texted, or emailed me again. He had told me how much he liked me, I told him how much I liked him. He was giddy and excited around me as I was to him and then POOF, gone. I confronted him about it about a month later after spending four consecutive weeks obsessing about what I could have done to scare him off---of course, the problem was me, right? (irrational thinking alert!) I retraced every step I had taken, every phonecall, voicemail, text, etc. I made it a point not to come on too strong, to take things in stride and it was unfolding beautifully and then he was gone. My therapist suggested I confront him, so I emailed him. I never expected to get a reply, but a week later, he did reply. He apologized, said I did nothing wrong, that he did, in fact, like me and acted like a coward. About 75% of me believed his words....the other 25% bitter part just chalked it up to "canned things to say when you meet someone else who you'd rather date than this girl" talk. To this day, I think of him and wish things could've been different, I suppose because he's been the only one to make my heart just...fall/fludder/skip a beat/insert cliché here?

Recently, I broke it off with a great guy after 8 weeks of dating. I just don't think he was great for me. I liked him, I had fun with him, but something inside me didn't make time for him. He was kind, thoughtful, cute, smart, ambitious, and he liked me. However, there was something missing for me. That something, I've come to theorize, is that seed that would grow into love.

Right now, I'm feeling pretty bummed about the whole single scene. It feels like a job some times. So many people ask me if I've met anyone, if I'm dating, if I've tried online dating.....yes, yes, and yes. But, have I found love yet? No, and that makes me sad. Sometimes, I really get angry that I've gone through so much with leaving my marriage and I was at a place where I was ready to be a wife, but it was taken from me. I'm not sure what else I can do to put myself out there to meet men, but I tell you, it's hard. Presently, I feel like just taking a break from it all...

This scene from the Sex & The City series describes how I feel right now:


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Positive Energy: Alex & Ani

Here in RI, the company Alex & Ani is pretty popular. It started locally here in RI and has started to spread all throughout the nation. However, while Alex & Ani bracelets are pretty new & cutting edge in other areas of the country, here is RI, they're sort of old news. Nevertheless, some friends threw a party a local Alex & Ani store tonight and I purchased 3 bangles that I chose for symbolic reasons for what I've been through with getting divorced unexpectedly & starting over.

I chose: the skeleton key, the "Tree of Life", and the anchor. Here are the descriptions from the Alex & Ani website. Check them out, you'll love them!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three years...

Three years ago today, I made one of the toughest choices of my life. I was on vacation for a week from school (teacher here!) and it was Saturday night, school would resume on Monday. I was up late, which was usual for me on vacations as I tend to give in to the night owl in me. My husband and I had gone out to dinner and bowling for a little fun because on February 1st, we had a huge blowout fight about how distant he was being. We agreed that we needed to make more of an effort to bring fun back into our relationship, and that after living together for 3.5 years (married for only eight months at that point), we had become complacent. He had been weird all night, going to the bathroom more than a few times and obssessed with his phone, checking it incessantly and texting. 
He had gone to bed around 11 that night and I stayed up until about 1 am. When I went up to bed, I accidentally woke him up, to which he responded to by going downstairs for a late-night snack. He had said something earlier in the night about how our thick down comforter was making the bed really hot at night and might it be time to change to the lightweight comforter for the springtime. So, since he was awake, I went into the closet to get the lighter comforter (since he claimed to have no idea where I kept any of this stuff!), and grabbed the old one to fold up. When I picked up the old one, his phone was laying on the bed, under the covers where he had been sleeping. Weird. I saw the phone and I felt a pinch in my chest--for real. I had some sort of muscle spasm. Then, my brain had about 1,000 thoughts in under......3 seconds?! Yes, it was like slow motion, but super speed all at once. I knew. It all came together. I knew that if I picked up the phone, there was no turning back. I actually remember thinking to myself, "T, if you pick up that phone, you know you're leaving him, right. You know this. You can't live with forgiving him--again." (Again=another story for another time) I picked up the phone and saw a text thread from someone named "Eric" that read from Eric, "Good night. xoxo." My husband must have answered back, but I don't remember what it said, I only focused on the other person's remarks. "Goodnight, daddy, miss you, xoxoxo." Daddy? Eric? Miss you? XO? The pinch in my chest go stronger and I felt like I was going to lose control of my bowels. Okay, still with me now? Then, I was faced with the choice. I knew I couldn't go back. I had to deal with this, but how? Time was running out, suddenly, I was propelled back into the moment and heard him downstairs closing cabinet doors and the fridge, eating something. I knew he was going to be back upstairs soon, what do I do?
I went downstairs to see my husband (in the nude, mind you because that's how he slept) standing over the kitchen island eating a yogurt. I had no idea what to say or do, but somehow, I found a place of calm and the words came, I said "Who's Eric?" extremely calmly. He asked me to repeat. I did. He said a friend. I said friends don't talk to each other like this. Who's Eric?! (That last sentence I yelled). He didn't answer. He then demanded the phone. I refused. He then approached me and I moved away, he then pushed me onto the floor and pulled it from my hands. I said "Fine, I don't need the phone, I've memorized what it said. Who is this person!?" He said no one. I demanded that he sit down at the table. He said I had no right to look at his phone. I said, "I'm your wife, I can look at your phone any time I want. Be a man, sit down at this table and tell me what is going on. It's over. Tell me what is going on." And he sat down, silent and looking down at his lap. I asked "Is Eric a man or a woman?" He said a woman. I said "Is this someone you met online? On Craigslist?" (how I knew that is another long story. Refer back to the "forgive him again" statement earlier.) He said yes. I asked "have you met this person in real life?" He nodded yes. I said "Have you had sex with her?" and he said yes. I remained calm (which is so weird because I'm an intense fighter and you'd think I'd be yelling and screaming, but I wasn't...) I asked how long had this been going on? He said a few weeks, maybe 2 months. A FEW WEEKS, MONTHS? I said something like "M, I told you I'd never ever put up with this again. You lied to me for the last time. I ran upstairs, grabbed a bra, my toothbrush and makeup bag. I put on my shoes and grabbed my coat and keys. I walked to the door and said "the next time I see you will be with a divorce lawyer. I'm done!" and I stormed out.  The whole confrontation lasted maybe ten minutes, perhaps eight.
I got in my car and had no idea what to do or go. We were supposed to spend the day with his parents the next day, so I called them--yes, it's about 2 am. I called their land line and said on their voice mail: "Hi, it's T. I'm sorry to call you this late, but I wanted to let you know that M and I won't be spending the day with you  tomorrow because he's sleeping with someone else and has been for about 2 months, or a few weeks, you better ask him. Anyway, it's not the first time he's lied to me and I'm no longer going to be married to him..." click.
I drove to my parents house. They live about 15 minutes away. I pulled up to their farm and in the quiet and pitch black night, I  fumbled for the keys. I walked into their room and woke them up from their sleep and said "my marriage is over, he's having an affair." and burst into tears. The tears finally came. My parents got up and we all sat on the couch together talking for about two hours. They were 100% supportive of whatever choice I would make--to stay or go.
I went up to bed and tried to sleep, it was hard, I barely did, but I managed probably 45 minutes of sleep. I texted my best friend, who lives an hour away and said "When you're up, please call me emergency" at 6 am. She had two little girls under the age of 3, so I knew she'd be up soon. She called me immediately, I told her, she said "I'm dropping the kids at my parents and I'll be there in an hour." She was. I heard her come in the house and ask my dad how to find me, she ran upstairs, got in bed with me, spooned me and hugged me and we both cried together. To this day, just thinking of that moment brings me to tears. Friends. I don't know what we are, but it's more than just friends. We debriefed it all, I recounted everything. His mother had called me, she called her back and battled that storm. She called my husband and said "get out of the house, T and I are coming over to get some of her things and the dog and you better not be there" and then she made me get dressed, dry my tears, put on makeup and go to Target with her. I walked around in a stupor, a fog, a bubble, I don't know. I sort of remember it.
Then, the night fell and the next day came. I took three days out of work and stayed in pajamas. On Thursday, I got up and went to work and tried to act like everything was okay. The word on the street was I had a stomach flu. Didn't I? The worst part of it was seeing clippings from various thoughtful colleagues on my desk or my mailbox from the Sunday paper of my wedding took a few months to get in the paper and THIS was the Sunday it appeared? Ironic, I say, ironic! 
Then, Friday came. And another day....before I knew it, a week, a month, six months, and even a year. Now, it's three years later. I remember Feb 21, 2009 like it was yesterday and it's crystal clear in my memory, more so than what I did yesterday, in fact. I wonder if it will always be like that. The point to all of this is that I now know that this was a blessing. A change in my trajectory forced by the universe, begging me to change paths. At the moment, I didn't know how I'd live through the next day without falling apart. I watched everyone's lives around proceed as normal, while silently inside in a turmoil, screaming "my life has just fallen apart!!" 
Life goes on and the days pass and somehow, healing comes, but it's not easy and you can't be passive, expecting it just to occur on its own. People have said to me how much they admire my strength, but you know, I felt like I had no choice but to be strong. There was no other option. I left and I never looked back. I saw him one more time in person a week later and yelled a few choice words at him and asked for some answers, but ultimately, the answers didn't matter. It was over regardless of why/how/where/who.  My life changed and that was that. Forward was the only place to go.
Maybe someone reading this today (or someday!) is going through what I went through and to you I say: go forward and believe that your life is taking you to a better destiny. Have faith and be strong. Strength is in there, you have no idea how strong you really are.