The Good Life

Shocking though this may be, given the amount of complaining I do, I’d say that I’m generally a pretty positive person. I have my fair share of doldrum-dwelling moments, sure, but most of the time I tend to be of the half-full rather than half-empty mentality, more optimist than pessimist, and more happy-go-lucky than down in the dumps. My proclivity for wanting to see the better side of things clearly affects me in lots of positive ways. It allows me to keep my chin up when my weight loss isn’t progressing as planned (speaking of which, I think I’ll stay in denial just a little while longer, kthx). It helps my unfortunately thin skin heal whenever I read or hear something that might hurt my overly-sensitive feelings. It means I am simply terrible at holding grudges.

So, understanding that I grew out of my “I hate everything, the world sucks!” phase when I was 15, I doubt it’s particularly surprising to hear me talking about how good life is or how content I am right now. Nevertheless, I’m going to say it anyway. Life is good right now, and I want to talk about that. Hey, it’s my blog and I can brag if I want to, after all! Think of this as a general life update, because I know you care so very, very much. Hehe.

(Photo by Ben)

Re: Family.

You guys are probably already well-aware of the fact that I’m kind of ridiculously close with my family. Like, far closer than the average 24-year-old almost-adult should be. I live with my brother, we have dinner with our parents at least once a week, and even though my sister lives in Columbia (near Baltimore), I also see her on an almost weekly-basis. Much to the probable chagrin of my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law (ahahaha), we still love going on family vacations together, going to events together, and just generally hanging out with each other. It’s weird, I know. I love my family — crazy! We’re a Family with a capital F, as my father says. The only unfortunate part of this whole arrangement is that Jenny will be moving to Houston by the end of the month (her hubby’s already there — cry!), a fact which I am begrudgingly beginning to accept.

We do have extended family in Houston (my aunt and grandmother live in the same neighborhood Jenny & Dan will be in), and my BFFFFFFF Bethany lives less than two hours away from there, as I understand it. I haven’t seen her in over TWO years. Omgaaaah. Saying (er, typing) that out loud makes me really upset. Looks like a visit to the Lonestar State will have to be on my agenda soon!

(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Romanticalness.

Teeheehee, blush, blinkblink, etc. Things are still going very well with Sean, the giver of gifts extraordinaire. This month marks FIVE months! Time really flies. We’re like a match made in Whasian Heaven. This weekend we are seeing the Beauty and the Beast musical at the National Theatre on Friday, and then going to see Dave Matthews Band on Saturday. <3.

(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Pups.

Well, they’re still perfect, obviously. I gave them haircuts on Monday. They look very dapper.


Re: Creative Outlets.

I’ve been getting back to being a little more experimental and creative in the kitchen, which is making me really happy. Last night, I made pizza with barbecue pork and caramelized onions! Nom. I’ve slipped a little on the creative writing side in recent weeks, due to traveling, work, and school (updates on those last two coming up). I started writing a novel a few months ago (nerd alert!) and really want to get back into it. Writing, as you can probably tell from how wordy this post already is, makes me really happy.

(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Weight Loss.

I doubt that it’s been lost on any of you that I haven’t weighed in since before the Reach the Beach relay and my St. Maarten vacation. Well, it hasn’t been lost on me either. I know there’s really no point in me continuing to put it off (especially considering that this is supposed to be a weight loss blog, haha), but… I don’t know. I guess I just haven’t had the willpower or the motivation to actually step on the scale since.

Part of it comes from morbid curiosity: this has been my longest break from the scale since I started losing weight almost 2 years ago, and part of me wants to see what happens. It’s not like I’ve been going crazy or anything. I’m still working out two to three times a week, I’m still tracking (most of) what I’m eating, and I haven’t been backsliding into any dangerous disordered behavior or anything like that. I think honestly, that’s what makes it so scary though. The thought that even though I haven’t been doing anything “bad” (I wasn’t even THAT terrible while on vacation!), I might still have gained weight. I don’t think I want the confirmation that I’m destined for a lifetime of regains and relosses, calorie counting, and the like. I’ll face the music eventually, and sooner rather than later, I’m sure. Just, for now, I’d like to prolong the denial just a smidge. Kthx. 😉


Re: Work & School.

Work is work, and I don’t really have much to complain about there. I like my office, my coworkers, and I know I have it pretty good in my office. It’s starting to get just the slightest bit more stressful for me (not by much, just a smidge) though, since I’ve taken on a few classes as part of me working towards my eventual Masters of Education. I’m currently taking two classes that I’ll need to obtain my endorsement in English, Grammar and Survey of English Literature. The grammar class has been particularly educational, if only because it’s taught me that I really didn’t know anything about grammar other than semi-proper punctuation, haha. But now? Subordinate clauses are my bitch! Ahahaha.

I’ll be taking two additional endorsement classes in the Fall, Linguistics and Survey of World Literature, and my grad school application is due October 1st. If I’m accepted, grad school will begin in January. Yipes! I know teaching is certainly not the career for everyone, and who knows if I’d really be able to hack it. Either way, though, it feels good to be working toward something. Forward motion, you know? And regardless of how everything turns out in the end, at least I still know that I love writing, reading, and even with my two little classes right now I’m really just enjoying learning again (nerd alert II!).

One thing that I’ve started to really think about lately is how teaching will affect this blog. Am I concerned at the thought of my classroom full of teenagers being able to Google me in a New York minute? Maybe. This isn’t really something I’m going to have to worry about for a while, since once I even start school it’ll be another year until my teaching internship, but I was talking to my friend Aileen yesterday and she helped me realize that it definitely warrants some thought.

It’s not that I’m really that concerned with the content, per se. I consider this blog to be pretty family-friendly, for the most part. It’s just that I don’t hold a lot back here — not only in terms of my weight (what teacher wants all of her students knowing exactly how much she weighs?!), but in terms of my personal history. There’re some intensely personal posts up here… although now that I say that, I question why I would be concerned with a group of teenagers reading about all that when I’m perfectly at ease sharing it with the entire interwebs, hahaha. There are also not a small amount of photos that depict me in my bathing suit, hahaha.

I have coworkers who read my blog, and my boss found it from Googling me before I even got hired here, so it clearly hasn’t been a hindrance to me professionally thus far. In fact, he said that it actually really impressed him. Showed a degree of technical savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, he said. So, who knows? I’ve spoken with a few bloggers who are also teachers, and their opinions seem to range from “Meh, who cares?” to a few of them having proactively shut down their blogs because of it. I’d be REALLY interested to hear your opinions about blogging and teaching!

So there you have it: one long, drawn out, overly verbose post about the general status of my life as it stands right now. My apologies if it all kind of ended up as one big #humblebrag. I guess I’m just in a good mood today… glass-half-full, y’know? 🙂

Happy Wednesday!


  1. Katesays:

    This post is just full of super, cheery goodness.
    But I got really excited over the DMB part. I will be at that show on Saturday, a whole 5 feet away from the stage and every ounce of the DMB goodness. Hope you have a fantastical time. The set lists have looked wonderful thus far on tour.

    • Haha! Super cheery or super annoying? Either way, I am unapologetic about it. 😛

      Also, yes! Concert buddies!! 😀 We will, alas, be way in the back, sitting on the lawn and soaking up the goodness from afar. But still, should be a pretty awesome time!

      • Katesays:

        I wish he still played at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. It is the only concert venue where you can sit in the lawn and still feel so close to the stage. In fact, I prefer lawn seats. I can lay down and just feel the music.

        • Katesays:

          I won’t be your concert buddy after all. 🙁
          After a very long (ten years) of being sick, my grandfather finally passed this morning. Funeral Saturday.
          Have a blast. Dave is the best summer concert a person could possibly ask for.

          • Oh, Kate, I’m so sorry to hear this. 🙁 Your family is definitely in my thoughts. <3

  2. I think talking about your personal struggles/goals on your blog is actually very positive. We all know negative self image is a problem with a lot of people and just knowing that we’re not alone, that we can share and help each other is a good thing. So I guess having a bunch of teenagers find your blog might not be such a bad idea. 😉 On a side note: Totoro!!! <3

  3. You have a lot to be happy about, love 🙂

  4. Lara ZPsays:

    the pic of you and sean is wonderful!

  5. I totally understand the whole blog/Facebook thing while being a teacher!

  6. Congratulations on all of your successes-it’s inspiring! In regards to blogging and teaching… I really think it depends on whom it is you are teaching… I’d be skeptical between the ages of 12-20. For one, most five-year olds can’t read, and if they can, they probably aren’t going to understand the content of your page. I really think, or would like too, that adult students would have the maturity to learn from you and your blog. =) Happy blogging!

  7. i’m very close with my immediate family and it was difficult when I was living in Houston and they were in NY. Skype became a close friend of mine. And my parents were even able to figure it out!

    Have fun at DMB! I’m jealous! 🙂

  8. I am a middle school teacher and would be very uncomfortable having my students read about my private life, even if it was pg…actually had a personal blog at one time when I taught high school and a student found it. So I would blog anonymously or password protect it if you were going to continue with a personal blog.

  9. You should be so proud of the positive attitude! Congratulations on enjoying everything that is going on with life. I’m a long time reader who just relocated to NOVA and Columbia MD (long story). Maybe I can hit you up for restaurant recs in both places?

  10. Aileensays:


    I also had a teacher friend recently mention the lack of privacy settings for Pinterest. It’s easy to prevent students from seeing the details of your Facebook or Twitter profiles, but Pinterest doesn’t share that quality. For you, though, I don’t see this being a rampant problem (“Ms. Powell, I didn’t do my homework last night because I was too busy baking your mini pumpkin pie recipe.”).

    Luckily for my Pinterest profile, I don’t think I’ll ever be a teacher. Otherwise I’d have a lot of sh*t to remove. Literally. I censored that in case your future students are judging me.

  11. I LOVE HAPPINESS!!! I’m so glad you posted this. It didn’t read like a braggy post at all. I’m glad things are going well for you, pretty lady!

  12. CONGRATS on the 5 months!! And DMB!! Fun! I’ve seen him in concert like 18 times. Never disappoints. And your pups are just the cutest. I can’t get enough of them. 🙂

  13. First of all, I totally understand what you mean about being close with your family. I see my fam on a weekly basis as well and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re the coolest people in the world!

    About the whole teaching vs blogging thing, that’s a toughie. I have a good friend who is a teacher and he hides his twitter/facebook from his students. I suppose that’s slightly different than blogging. But, I also think that if you’re proud of what you write about, then keep on writing, girl! Haters gonna hate. Also, you will have the power to send them to detention.

  14. Sarasays:

    I teach the babies (k-2) so a blog like this would worry me for the little guys, probably all the way up to 6th/7th grade. However, the only students who will seriously consider 1) googling you and 2) reading the blog are students who already like you, and this blog does nothing to hinder that. If you keep it separate (IE, don’t mention anything that happened at school – no matter how funny – and NEVER NEVER NEVER mention a student’s name) you’ll be good. As your entry today suggests, you are a positive person. You never know, childhood obesity is such an issue, you may end up helping one of your students and never even know it. As for the scale, who cares? You look great chica! Keep it up!

  15. I think that you really have to almost pretend that your students/parents of students are reading and write as if they are. Kind of sucks, but it’s just sort of the reality of having a journal-like space on the internet.

    • Yes to this! Whenever I post, I always ask myself if I would be okay with any students/parents reading it.

    • Yeah, I agree. You know, now that I really think about it, it’s the parents I would worry about more than the students. I can imagine most high schoolers would take one glimpse at my blog and be like “TOO LONG WON’T READ”, hahaha.

  16. Loving all the good you have going on right now! And I don’t think it’s at all weird that you’re so close with your family. I live in Pennsylvania and my sister lives in Delaware and we see each other on a nearly weekly basis. My mom just recently moved to Florida and it’s HARD – I don’t think there’s ever been another time in my life where I went this long without seeing her. But we’re all taking a big trip together at the end of this month! (The three of us take one big trip together every summer!)

    And as for the teaching thing? I’m a teacher and I have a blog. I used to write in a private, “friends-only” livejournal and I definitely write and share differently on my public blog than I did there. There are definitely parts of my life that I definitely don’t want/need my students to see, so I don’t write about them. But I feel very comfortable with everything I’ve posted. I think you just have to ask yourself how you would feel if your students read/knew anything you were unsure about posting before doing so. And if the answer is even remotely negative, then I wouldn’t post it. For example? The weight loss thing? Well, my students already know that I’ve lost 75 pounds because they’ve noticed how much better I look and have asked me about it and I have very close relationships with most of them (Orchestra teacher = I get to teach them year after year), so that’s a topic I feel VERY comfortable blogging about…but pictures of me in a bathing suit? Definitely not! It’s really all about what YOU personally are comfortable with, ultimately. (But, that being said? BE CAREFUL. Some school districts actually have policies that prohibit teachers from certain online behaviors.)

  17. Cute post.. um I am 27 and I am super super close to my family.. Don’t worry you arent the only one 🙂

  18. This was a great post to write. We get so caught up in the negative in our lives that we forget all the positives. I’m on the same page as you with the weight loss and not stepping on the scale. I don’t want to live a life tied to the scale but rather a “healthy” life all around so I don’t think it’s always bad to walk away from the scale and focus instead on making healthy choices.

  19. I love your little Totoro embroidery!

  20. It’s awesome to focus on the brighter side of things! Nice work. I agree with some of the other comments, write your blog bearing in mind that anyone and everyone is reading.

  21. Hey Gretchen! Goodness, I love “catching up” with you through your blog.

    About blogging and teaching, I agree with the comments already left. Remember that strangers on the internet have no motive for being mean to you, but if you teach middle school, your students will think they do, simply because in their illogical, hormonal, adolescent brains, you can very quickly become the enemy. Middle schoolers are just plain mean. Sometimes they don’t mean to be mean; they’re just seeing how far they can push you to make you upset. Other times, yeah, they want to see you cringe.

    If you teach elementary like Sara, you probably won’t need to worry about it, and high schoolers probably will be mature enough to handle it and might secretly admire you. But if you teach middle school, count on at least one immature pillbug deciding he hates you this week and wants to see how you react to a crude remark based on something from your blog.

    Sorry for this downer comment on your very happy post! Your optimism, as you’ve already pointed out, will probably carry you through any crap any student reader might throw at you, so at the end of the day, decide what you can handle and then go with it! I love your posts, and your celebration of the Good Life has reminded me of all the things *I* can celebrate about mine. 🙂 Thanks for spreading the happiness!

  22. Hey, I enjoyed this post–love both the positive energy and the thoughtful inventory of your life. I sort of stumbled onto your blog but I’m glad I did. Hey, your writing and topics remind me of a book I just read recently: My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life, by Teasi Cannon. She struggled with self-esteem and body image/weight issues, but has a marvelous story of how she came to real joy and self-acceptance. I think you’d like it. Here’s a link to the amazon page:

  23. This post just got me thinking. When I started the section on keeping a blog going while teaching, I kind of forgot that I TA undergrads and had never thought about what I would do if they found my blog. (I honestly got to the end of the post before thinking ‘Hey, I’m a ‘teacher’ maybe I should worry about this, too!) I haven’t shared my blog with anyone at work (mostly because I just don’t like my coworkers and my blog is my release from school), but a few people have come across it. I don’t know the answer, but I am now starting to rethink some of those photos of me in a bikini!!!

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked