Current Focuses (foci?)

What I’m focusing on in order to keep my mind occupied…

  • using myfitnesspal (app and online) as a food diary and exercise log, focusing on eating healthily and going to the gym or incorporating fitness where I can
  • educating myself on personal finance and keeping a strict budget, budget plan, and monitoring investments and overall financial portfolio
  • getting up to speed on “once upon a time”
  • maintaining routines, which for me includes book club, game night with grilling, and sunday errands
  • vacations and travel…dad coming to town, going to surprise him for his birthday, going to mexico for a week, going to boston for thanksgiving
  • staying organized in all facets of life
  • reading more, of all kinds – magazines, news, blogs/RSS, books
  • looking up classes to take with people – cooking for one friend, intellectual for the boyfriend, and artsy for another friend
  • getting my car up to date, including the GM recall, maintenance/preventative care, cleaning, etc.

If you have suggestions on things I can make into routines or make routine in my life, or things I could do to take my mind off things (preferably that are not food oriented and are inexpensive, and ideally, that can be done in 1-2 hours).

6 Month Check In on Goals

My theme for the year is “Healthy,” and given that we’re approaching the end of 6 months of the year (aka half-way point), it’s time to evaluate on things.

I’ve definitely achieved some professional and financial goals. I’m paying off my car this upcoming weekend, and I’ve moved to a less expensive place which will reduce expenses. I’ve gotten my raise at work and I’ve gotten good reviews at the office. I haven’t been blogging as much as I intended, which I hope to remedy. I also haven’t had game nights in quite some time, and I really notice it – I feel off kilter now that my routine has been mucked with. We start back up again in a week or two, though, so that should go back to normal.

I think I’ve been gossiping less this year, if only because of a change in office environments. I’ve been working hard to respond to texts and such more quickly, although since I’m not the recipient it’s hard to know if that’s working. My posture still sucks, and I haven’t been going to the gym regularly or cooking at home enough.

I want to buy personal training sessions with the trainer in my apartment complex, but can’t afford it quite yet. I intend to save enough for 2-3 months of sessions, and then sit down to come up with a plan with their wellness coach/planner guy. It’s convenient, and I really like their whole-of-health approach, so I’m excited for it. I need the accountability, and I’d like actual training when it comes to circuits and form.

In the meantime, I don’t want to be desperately out of shape in my first sessions, so I’ve agreed with my roommate to wake up extra early to get to the gym before work. This means a 5:30am wakeup, which BLOWS, but I think it’ll be worth it. I’ve been making a playlist tonight and it’s awesome.

Really, I want to feel in better shape, to be able to do  more interesting sex positions (sometimes I feel like I’m not putting in enough work in the sack, so hopefully this would help change that), to be able to do more active things like hiking with friends that are far more athletic than I, and of course, to fit into some cute clothes that don’t work right now. Here’s hoping I can get a handle on it all.

2011 Recap and 2012 Vanilla Resolutions

Best parts of last year:

  • Going whitewater tubing and flatwater tubing at Harpers Ferry
  • Visiting Old Town Alexandria and Annapolis multiple times with some of my favorite DC folks
  • Getting my summer internship exactly where I want; winning the Friedman award and being able to accept the internship I wanted over the summer in DC
  • Placing in top 5 for the social analytix case competition this spring
  • Finalizing my apprenticeship and finding a job I absolutely love; more importantly, discovering what I’m good at and what things are essential to have present in my future career
  • Getting involved in the DC kink community, including attending my first play parties with special recognition for Rapture and DC Rope people
  • Rocking out at optimization, linear programming, and learning to master Excel; finding things I excel at
  • Spending spring break in Gulf Shores and New Orleans with wonderful people
  • All the time spent with family (Boston, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio)
  • Throwing myself into the real world and putting myself out there in terms of dating, relationships, and men; gaining confidence in my ability to attract men
  • Going to Harvard for a conference, attending the ARPA-E conference in DC, getting published (even if just as a co-writer of a conclusion)
  • Making amazing friends in the Pittsburgh Kink community and at CMU
  • Seeing capitol steps, my first opera, the Pittsburgh symphony, Les Mis, and other really fun art events
  • Getting my health on track – lost 40lbs from December ’10 to December ’11, and got in overall better shape
  • Discovering and exploring my masochism, becoming more comfortable with my kink, and learning more about where my boundaries are in terms of relational roles and power exchange

2012 Vanilla Resolutions:

  • Find a full-time, post-graduation job
  • Graduate with my Masters…this should be a no-brainer.
  • Line up recommendation letters/references from graduate school professors
  • Incorporate forecasting, simulations, or scoring models into our systems project (didn’t happen, but opportunity passed)
  • Join a profession organization and attend an event; alumni groups from undergrad/sorority do count
  • Learn how to do macros and refresh on pivot tables in Excel
  • Organize addresses/phone numbers/passwords
  • Write/call/email friends at least once per month
  • Practice my french to recapture proficiency
  • Travel to at least one new destination (hopefully more than one, and include an overseas location)
  • Exercise in some way at least three times a week
  • Continue to work on involving friends (or finding new ones to involve) in active things, such as hiking/long walks/kayaking/tennis/dancing. Concrete goal: Do an activity like this at least once per month until graduation, more frequently after.
  • Drink more water, 4+ glasses a day
  • Write at least two more short (erotic) stories
  • Learn more about photography and work on developing a photorama of DC

December Randoms

Today’s going to be a random’s day.

First, relationships are great, and sex is great, but they are for connection not ego. I feel like that gets lost in the kinky community sometimes with the prevalence of poly.

Second, I’ve lost 13.2 lbs in total now, as well as several inches from my waist and hips (and none from my bust, thankfully 🙂 ). I’m pretty happy with the way that’s going.

Third, I’m almost entirely finished with school for the semester! My capstone project is going well thus far, and we have direction which is good. We’re going to be working on financing aviation transportation. We’re still working on narrowing the scope. I think I’m going to get A’s in all of my classes, too, which is great.

Fourth, I’ve now applied for 27 jobs for post-grad. It may seem excessive, but that’s what you gotta do. Hopefully one will pan out! I’ve had a few inquiries in response, so I have hope. (The 6 months I have left to figure it out certainly help, too.)

Fifth, I got an outstanding review at work. My supervisors all told me they couldn’t think of any constructive criticism, and that I’m doing a great job. It’s nice to be rewarded for my hard work, and it was good to see what things they value in me (my initiative was a big one). I really love my job right now, it’s a perfect fit for me. I feel blessed to know what I like doing. If only the budget was figured out and I could stay there permanently.

Sixth, New Year’s Eve is a horrid movie. But, it did give me some thoughts on new years resolutions and made me feel a bit sentimental. I’ve never had a great New Year’s eve, mainly since I’m in Indiana for the holidays, and there’s not much there. I might try to swing a trip to Chicago this year.

Seventh, I keep having inklings of thoughts about one of my guy friends. I’m not sure what to do about it at this point, since dating someone in my program is a bad idea, he’s very vanilla, and I have no idea if he is also interested. That said, I really enjoy his company. For now, that’ll do. Plus, I don’t know how much of my interest stems from convenience, and that’s never a good idea.

Eighth, is it weird for a girl to randomly message a guy on fetlife? There are some men that seem interesting, but I don’t know if it is strange for the girl to make contact. It’s more strange too since I’m a bottom/submissive, so that naturally screams “don’t make the first move!” That said, I’ve never been great at holding off from pursuing things I’m interested in…  But I’m also very socially awkward with men, especially when I’m uncertain of the parameters of the contact. Ugh.

Ninth, favorite music of the moment includes David Guetta, The Band Perry, Florence and the Machine, Demi Lovato, Rihanna, and Christina Perri.

Tenth, I go home on Saturday! I’m excited to see my family. I had some hard times this week communicating with my parents and having my mom’s bipolar get more crazy than usual, though, so I have more than a little trepidation about spending 3 weeks with all of the potential drama.

In other news, the writing bug is nipping at my toes. I’m not sure on inspiration right now, though. I may go the traditional route, and do something with the kink being uncovered by a seemingly vanilla friend, who then dominantly seduces the heroine.  I could do something with truth or dare. There’s also the allure of covert bondage in a public place. I could always do a traditionally romantic thing with meeting someone at a kink event, and maybe do a first date gone kinky. I’d love to do something that focuses more on S&m and less on teasing and denial, to break a little out of my shell, but I’m not sure of a good way to set that up. Hmm. Ideas are welcome.

Also, for some bizarre reason, I’m craving someone biting my neck. I just want someone to either use a pointy object or teeth on that spot just where the neck meets shoulder…*shiver* That would do it for me right now.

Times Are A-Changing

It’s odd, really, because it’s now been well over a year since I started blogging. It’s been an exercise in thoughtfulness, really, and has been inordinately helpful as this past year has been ridiculously stressful.

Today has been reflective, which has been great. I have my apartment to myself for several days since I’m not going home for the holiday (and my roommates did), and I took today off work to kind of rejuvenate. I took care of some friends’ animals, got some food for tomorrow – I’m potlucking with two friends who stayed in the city, and went shopping. It was interesting buying clothes; I’m almost unable to shop in the larger women’s store. I bought three things, each in a different size, and two were in the smallest size available in the store. Because I’m bigger on the bottom than the top, I’m not quite out of the store, but it was an interesting experience. I also finally found some rain boots, and given the weather situation lately I’m very thankful for it!

With that, I’m almost to my 5% weight loss goal. I think this week will be it, assuming that I exercise self control tomorrow. I’m also planning to hit the gym in the morning and hopefully this weekend to help out. I might actually break out the Wii alone. I’m weird, I normally only play the Wii with other people.

Work has been great lately. It got very, very hectic for a few weeks, and then the last few days it slowed down a bit more. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility from several different avenues, and I’ve consistently gotten good feedback. It’s gratifying, and I love the work I’m doing which helps. I have my mid-point evaluation next week, I believe, and I’ve already been told it’s going to go well. I only hope the budget situation lends itself to hiring so I can stay on post-graduation!

Because the budget isn’t certain, I’m going to be starting my job search. This is primarily my goal for this holiday – I need to apply to all the jobs I’ve found. It’s sort of like an entirely separate course on top of everything else, because it is time consuming, especially if you want a chance at getting a job. A lot of the people I know in Pittsburgh have found jobs, especially within the healthcare program, which makes me feel behind.

School is going well. We’re entering the final range…I’ve got two papers, a speech, and a final left for the semester. I’m doing well in my courses thus far, so I hope to finish strong. Next semester, we really kick into high gear with our capstone project. I’m a little concerned about the time demands, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m trying to learn to channel my competitive spirit better.

I went to kinky happy hour this week again, for the first time in several weeks. It was nice seeing people, and it’s interesting how my interests have evolved. I took that kinky quiz again, and this time it went Experimental, Bondage, Masochist, Switch, Submissive… Submissive was actually at 59%, compared to the 93% it used to be. I think this reflects my mood lately well. I very much enjoy bottoming to pain, and I adore bondage, especially with rope. I still enjoy pleasing my partner and making people happy. I like direct, blunt, relatively authoritative, strong men. That said, I’m also incredibly stubborn, occasionally outspoken, and very independent. I like to push back, I don’t like it being assumed that I’m going to just sit back and take it. I understand that when I’m submitting, I agree to sit back and take it… but I’m less inclined to do so. Maybe it’s just a matter of not finding the right person, but I’m more on the kinkster/open-minded side than the submissive side recently.

I think part of this is that when I first got involved in kink in my fantasies, I was very young and inexperienced. Submission in part meant that I didn’t have to know what I was doing. As I’ve gained confidence in myself and I’ve gained experience – both sexually and in general as I’ve dated more and gain more comfort with men over the last few years, I have more of a desire to occasionally switch it up. I’m open to tying someone up, having my way with them. I don’t want to be in control all the time, or wear the pants in the relationship, but in the bedroom I want to be free to experiment outside of a particular role. I want to break out of the box! And yes, on some levels, someone expecting me to be submissive is kind of a box right now.

I also attribute part of this mentality to the level of stress in my life. Pain and bondage during sex is still a method of escapism from the stress and control of my life. Submission in a relationship, however, adds to the stress level. I just don’t have the time to put someone else first all the time, to be in service, or to accomodate that. When I’m spending time in a nonsexual way with someone, I want to argue and banter, have fun, and not be constantly focused on doing the right thing or following rules. Sexually, sure, I’m all yours. I might occasionally jump you and have my way too, but more often than not, I’m all yours. Outside the bedroom, nope, not my thing right now.

At the same time, I do realize and acknowledge that confidence, bluntness, and some level of take-charge/competitive/snarky dominance is incredibly attractive and sexy to me. Additionally, open-mindedness and kink-friendly is a must. I like exploring things and trying new things. If my sex life isn’t free to experiment, I’m also going to feel cages. Similarly, I want to be free to talk about my deepest fantasies too. So, vanilla folks are out, at least most of them.

Add in monogamous tendencies and compatibility, and BAM my pool of people just shrunk hardcore. Given the utter lack of time in my life, though, this likely isn’t a bad thing.

Keep Going On

Another week gone by. This week was when things got busy and stressful. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t realize it would come now.

Work this week was very busy, but good. I got to present part of a briefing in front of congressional staff, I answered questions, and got a great review from the Director (big guy). I learned some new skills, and overall impressed my colleagues, which was good. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to work there past February, but I got some good leads from my program director in case that does happen.

I wasn’t invited to an outing for someone’s birthday on Wednesday, which was kind of upsetting. I wouldn’t have gone, since it ended up being a crazy evening and I had to do all this stuff to prepare for the briefing, but it did hurt my feelings. It’s upsetting when none of your friends even thinks to send you the quick text/email/call with the time and place. I know it wasn’t intentional, but even so, that means I’m just that far off their radar. As a result, I ended up getting really homesick on Wednesday and Thursday. Not going home until December is hitting me a bit hard.

I also realized I spent way too much money in the last two weeks. On necessary things, yes, but still. It’s scary how quickly money can go. I need to budget better for the next few months.

This weekend was great, though. I saw Les Mis at the Kennedy Center, got to eat some amazing ethiopian food, and spent time with really good friends. It was nice hanging out and having a good time with these friends. I haven’t hung out socially with the roommates in a long time (weeks!), and so I really needed to feel included and whatnot. It’s like they are my family, and when we never hang out I feel family-less. I’ve been hanging out with a bunch of people I’ve met through the kinky community, and that’s taken a toll on my vanilla friendships.

The Fetish Ball was good, though. I got to play with a few lovely sadistic folks, and had a few lasting marks. I even teared up, which was new for me.

I’ve realized just how busy I am this week, though. I got offered a job at a retail store, and I realized that I really only have a few scant hours each week to do fun things. If I don’t do grocery shopping, laundry, errands, etc on the weekend, then it doesn’t get done and I end up exhausted with less money. I have assignments due for Monday and Thursday classes, so then I have to do that prior to class (aka Sunday and Wednesday). If I go to kinky happy hour on Tuesday, then my week is full other than Friday and Saturday. Since I’m going out of town this weekend, all my time is gone.

The issue is, when people want to make plans, when do I make them for? I want to see people too, and I feel guilty for not ever being able to hang out. I really can’t control my schedule much right now either, though, so then it just stresses me out. I can’t wait until I no longer am in school AND trying to work AND trying to live kinky and vanilla lives. It’s a bit much right now.

Another thing this week that sucked was missing the Deloitte resume drop deadline, so then I got super-serious about my job search. I’m worried I won’t have a job when I graduate.

On a positive note, I lost another 2lbs, and I bought a suit 2 sizes smaller than my last one.  I’ve got a better handle on the vitamin and nutrition angle, and things are going well there.

I’m not as angsty as this post may lead some to believe, I’m just uncertain about somethings and had an up and down week. Overall, things in life are still pretty great, there is just a LOT going on.

Life is a mystery

Finally recovered from strep throat (as in, done with the 10 days of antibiotics, yay!). Now my boss is out recovering from surgery from appendicitis… Basically, we’re all falling apart.

Work is going very, very well. I’m proving myself rather quickly due to my excel skills, which is nice. I enjoy it a lot, although some days (like today) it gets a bit tedious, there’s not enough data, and people are a tad to0 introverted for my liking. I do like the independence the job offers, though, and usually there are pretty frequent interactions within teams, which keeps it interesting. I also greatly appreciate that keeping up on news and trainings is part of my job.

I had a freak out about hours and payroll last week, but it’s all resolved and good to go now. 31 hours/week…but I get paid soon! It’s going to be the biggest paycheck I’ve ever had. Being a grown up is nice.

I also got to feel kind of bad-ass this weekend. We had the first years from our program in town for this networking event and several workshops. I moderated a panel, got to catch up with some Pittsburgh friends, and then got asked a bunch of Qs on my job by the newbies. It was fun, because everyone really respects the agency I work at, and because I fully support the mission and love the job (and our curriculum matches it SO well, plus the subject matter can vary as long as the skills are there) I basically sold a ton of people on trying to work there. I’m a good recruiter…I might have to volunteer to do that once I graduate.

I attended Rapture, which was also a really good experience. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t subject to uncomfortable scenes and a giant orgy. Sure, people had sexual interactions, but it was rather contained. The way the place is arranged it is easy to socialize without focusing on the kinky scenes, but if you want to participate or watch there is ample opportunity. I don’t know how the organizers managed to find such great balance, but I fully appreciated it.

I was suspended for the first time, which was surprisingly easy and really fun. It really only took one rope and some knots I know, a quick pull, and BAM up in the air. It can get a little painful depending on how the weight is distributed and where the tension is, but luckily I don’t mind a bit of that :). I’m not afraid of it anymore, so that was a good accomplishment.

On an entirely separate note, my college roommate’s mom died this past Thursday. I mentioned this summer we found out she had a brain tumor, but we thought she still had several months to a year (or longer, if a miracle occurred) left. I was caught by surprise. The worst part is not being able to manage tickets and time to attend the funeral. I hate being 10 hours away from my friend, I want to be by her side, giving her hugs, helping her cope. I’m hoping she’ll be ready to talk soon and I can be there for her in that way.

Things also just sort of picked up and started flying by at an incredible pace. I have one class just 3 more times, I have my schedule planned out more than a week in advance (wtf, right?), there’s too many things and people and not enough time. I’m loving things, so that’s great, I’m just going to need a crash day soon.

I’m not sure if it’s being busy, being nervous/sick, being increasingly active, or just my general efforts, but all of my clothes are too big, except the off piece that I manage to shrink in the wash. I need to go shopping soon. I also lack fetish and kink attire, and it’d be nice not to wonder for an hour about what to wear to one of these events. Plus, since fall is approaching, I – like every other female – really am craving a nice pair of boots.

I also am very, very curious if a few folks I know from the professional/vanilla world know about my “secret life.” It kind of seems they do, or at least suspect things…but I don’t want to bring it up if they don’t already know. I also really want to know their thoughts on the subject. We’ll see how this proceeds.

Yes, this post is made of randomness…but that’s kind of how my life is right now, and I’m lacking the time to really organize my thoughts.

Other things I’d like to research and learn more about: humiliation (which is still one of the most controversial D/s subjects to me, it’s a source of endless curiosity) and protocols. I’m still reading up on pain and monogamy/poly, as always, but they’re a little less at the forefront at the moment.

Quick Update

I’m home in Indiana for a few weeks…it was the first time I’ve flown home for a short visit rather than drive. I’m so far away! It was bizarre doing laundry before going home, packing a small bag rather than a carful, etc. My flights all had issues and it took me forever to get home, but it is nice to be here.

Fast update on last several days:

  • I have no cavities! I love a good dentist appointment. One of my teeth is still ever so slightly crooked, though, and might require invisiline or a retainer later in life. I also apparently have been grinding my teeth in my sleep, so time for a mouthguard. But, I still get to keep my wisdom teeth, which is nice.
  • I went down a dress size. This proved a great excuse to return a too-formal dress my mom bought me in exchange for two fabulous work-appropriate dresses. Win.
  • I didn’t make it to rope camp… I stayed out forever and a day Friday, and overslept on Saturday which resulted in missing the classes. I didn’t really want to go just for play, and then it rained, so that was sort of a massive fail.
  • I went to church for a second time. I still love the people, I love the music, but I can’t wrap my mind around some of the message. I’m just not positive to what extent I’m a Christian, or how much I believe in anything the Pastor says.
  • With that, I really don’t take well to being preached to. I always question someone’s background or knowledge.
  • My mom has officially lost 100 lbs, putting her down to 280. I’m so proud of her! My dad also recently started a diet…I’m happy they’re both being healthier.
  • I finished my summer internship with a bang. I got an award from the Under-Secretary in charge of my office for my work on a particular project, and I got a serious request to “consider us and stay in touch if you want a job in the spring.” Yes, please! I like options.
In other randomness, I love how things spike randomly. I’ll go weeks with the only fetlife communication I have being with actual friends and contacts, then out of nowhere I’ll get a bunch of random messages in one day. I don’t get it.

Life in the District

I probably shouldn’t be posting this now, seeing as how I’m at work…but I have to break up the monotony. I always used to wonder if going into publishing would have been a good career choice for me, since I love to read and I’m pretty good at editing. Then came this job… I’m reformatting, editing (for content and grammar), redoing citations, fact-checking, etc. for a book. I get to have my name on the book, but it is a BITCH. For example, I had to change 30 citations from parenthetical to footnotes, then from APA to Chicago, and create a bibliography. This is just for one section of 7. Ugh.

I finally, FINALLY got my security clearance for my summer internship, and I start June 7th. This is a bit later than I originally anticipated, which is both good and bad. The bad: had I known I wouldn’t start until June 7th, I would have gone home from May 17- June 5. As it is, now I’m not sure when my end date will be or when I’ll be able to go home in August, and it will likely be for less time than I thought. The good: I’m working for the research center I’ve been at all year (the editing), and I’ll have another week here. This position is paid, unlike my internship, so this is another week of cash. AKA about $260-$300, which I desperately need.

I was going to go to a happy hour and demo on Tuesday, but it was a good friend’s birthday so I went and celebrated with her instead. There is some form of walking group meeting tonight, but I find workdays exhausting and may not be up for new people yet. So, perhaps a happy hour next Tuesday, and see how that goes.

The pool in my apartment complex opens this weekend, and given the 90 degree weather, I’m pumped! Our apt looks down on the pool, so it’s been taunting my roommates and I. Plus, next week, the 3rd (4th for the summer) roommate returns, and I miss her and so that is exciting. I’m also really excited for memorial day parades/concerts, jazz in the garden, and other DC-y things.

In last news, I’m shrinking. AKA walking around, hitting up the gym, and eating healthier has led to me shedding pounds, which is mostly good. The only bad is that it is pricier to eat better and I may have to buy new clothes.