Posted by: thefitacademic | February 10, 2012


okay, okay, i’ve kind of disappeared off the face of the Earth. But for good reason!

I’ve recently started out a new blog, so check it out:

Make sure, specifically, to read the very first post so you know what’s going on!

Thanks for sticking with me as our whole world changes!

Posted by: thefitacademic | October 8, 2011

A Running Parable

Parable:  A succinct story which illustrates one or more principles or lessons (from Wikipedia)



The other day I was walking across campus between meetings and I noticed all the ROTC people out running. There were 2 different running “groups” separated by about half a football field in length.

The running drill was something I’d seen before. Everyone runs in a straight line so the person in front is blocking the wind for the entire group. Then, about every 5-10 seconds, the person from the very back of the line would sprint up to the front, relieving that person of their wind-breaking duty, and the whole group continued cycling through this pattern.

As I continued walking, I noticed the back group steadily closing the gap between themselves and the front group. They were catching up. From my position I was walking toward both groups, so the first group I passed was the group that was in the lead. They were full of bravado. Each time the person from the back of the line sprinted to the front they would scream at the top of their lungs. Some screamed words like “AMERICA!!!!!” or “FREEDOM!!!” and some would simply scream “’AHHHHH!!!!!!” as they sprinted to the front of the line.

Then, I came upon the second group…the group that was rapidly catching up and about to overtake the front group. This group is practicing the exact same running drill: Straight line of people running at the same pace, then the back person sprints to the front of the line, etc. They were clearly moving at a faster pace than the front group, and they were noticeably more pained-looking and tired. Then I hear someone remark in response to the front groups’ screams: “If they can scream like that, then they aren’t running hard enough.”

I chuckled to myself as I had to turn off the path into a building. “So very true.” I’ll carry that lesson with me. If you’re really pushing yourself to the max, then you should not have the energy to exert yourself in other ways simultaneously. Or another way to think about it: Do 1 thing at a time, but do it 100%. Don’t try to divide your energetic resources. Focus on running. JUST running. And when you’re done you can focus 100% on the next item on your To-Do List.

We all need little reminders like this sometimes.

What’s a good lesson you have learned lately?

Posted by: thefitacademic | September 17, 2011

Running & Ipod Downloads

I swear I’m alive!

School and work are just taking a lot from me this semester. I thought it wouldn’t be possible to get any busier than I was last Fall when I was going to school/working full time + planning a wedding! Looks like I can. Winking smile

So I’ve learned to deal. And some things have fallen to the wayside – like not drinking sodas and limiting my coffee intake. I’m drinking at least 1 a day of each, and generally more…


But other things have NOT fallen to the wayside. Like exercising! Some friends and I got a Cross Fit membership through Groupon and so far I’m really loving it. Not sure that I’ll continue doing it after my 10 passes are up, but it’s been so much fun doing the group workout thing lately! And I’ve still been trying to maintain as much of my “clean eating” as a-soda-a-day will allow, ya know?


Also since we last “spoke” I’ve been to Texas and back for a presentation I gave at UT in the Psychology department (which went amazingly well)

And I got a scooter! Now I can zip around to/from school no problem and I guess we are “technically” no longer a 1-car-family (though I would never take the scooter long/distances or highways, so not sure it counts?)


Anyways, it’s been a good while since I’ve shown some of my recent ipod downloads. And because I’ve spent some time recently traveling, I’ve got a special edition of ipod downloads:

Ipod Downloads, Travel Edition*

Jack Johnson – Angel

Regina Spektor – Fidelity; Samson

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

John Mayer – Who Says

Matchbox 20 – Hang

Brad Paisley – American Saturday Night

Heidi Newfield – Johnny and June

Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Steve Holy – Good Morning Beautiful

Charlie Mars – Dark Side

*You’ll notice these songs are much more “chill” than my average running/workout playlists. If you want some ideas for more upbeat songs, check out some previous ipod downloads (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

I’ve been especially obsessed with that last song by Charlie Mars. Have you heard it? It’s not even the lyrics (truthfully, I don’t even know all the words!), but something about the beat – it’s just so soothing! Love it! (You can read about another music obsession here)

Well, I’m out! Lots to get done! We’ll catch up again soon Open-mouthed smile

What’s your most exciting recent purchase? (The scooter is definitely mine!)

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 26, 2011

I miss you, man! <3

Which is MORE gross:  Showing in disgusting, dirty, public shower stalls in a poorly maintained gym bathroom  OR Not Showering at all?

I’ll get back to that in a minute. First, I wanted to say that I’ve thought a lot about you guys (in my obvious absence). Things have just been insane-crazy around here with work, school, and life in general. Lots of times I’ve wanted to post, but haven’t had photos, or haven’t had time, or something else ends up coming up.

Just know that I am ALIVE and WELL and that…well…sometimes life gets in the way of the blog. You know this, I’m sure!

Anyways, yesterday I went to school uber-early and did the gym thing before going into the office. Remember when I tried to shower at the gym that one time and nearly died it was so disgusting? Yeah….well, I decided it would be better just to NOT shower than to have to deal with that gross-ness. I’ve done this before, too. Apparently I have no problem walking around stinkin’ up the office Winking smile

Meanwhile, I still need to get some dry shampoo! Geez – Why have I not done this already!?

So I rocked the side-braid thing that’s going on this Fall. What do you think?


Well I’ve got to run! For any academics out there, I’m doing my Oral Defense of my Comprehensive Exam today. I completed the written portion at the end of the Spring semester (remember that Hell week?). Yeah, I had to wait to take the Oral portion until the beginning of this semester….which is now. Wish me luck!

Do you ever skip a shower after a workout? (To be fair, I always shower as soon as I get home, but I definitely go the entire work-day un-showered! That’s what deodorant and body spray are for, right? haha)

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 22, 2011

Something is Different

I’ve been talking about it since….oh, December!


But I finally took the plunge


It’s a little more “reddish” than I’d originally wanted. I’ll probably darken it a little more, too. But here it is in the mean time.


More pics coming soon…

Do you ever make big/drastic hair changes?

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 18, 2011

Meet Charlie

I’ve wanted to do this post forever (seriously, for like 6 months now), but have been unable to attain the appropriate collection of photos. Finally I bit the bullet and got it done – partially by tracking them down through friends, and partially by taking pictures of pictures (nice technique in a pinch!). So you may notice that some of the shots are actually pics of pics hanging on a wall. Just go with it Smile

This is Charlie.


Charlie is a coconut from Dominica. One of my lab-mates brought him back after a research trip to the country to present as a gift to our boss.

Our boss didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the present and he said that the coconut could “live” in our shared lab space, where we hold all of our meetings. At first my lab-mate was sad and felt like his present had been rejected. But the rest of us saw Charlie’s inner beauty and from there, he was adopted as our lab mascot.

Charlie started coming with us everywhere.


To dinner parties at friends’ houses


To meet new furry friends



To nights out at fancy restaurants


Even making appearances at Halloween festivities (though there were no togas available in his size)


He also likes to swim


and to enjoy the occasional adult beverage


and to sight-see in foreign lands (in Montreal, above).

He became a full-on bonefide  traveling gnome.

Eventually we found Charlie a girlfriend…a rotting pumpkin (it only seemed fitting)


But, alas, Charlie was meant to be FREE! His girlfriend was too clingy to allow him to do the traveling he desired (well….that, and she started to stink and attract knats).

Charlie has been to 3 countries (United States, Canada, and Dominica) and who knows how many more he’ll see in his days.

Have you ever had a traveling gnome (or anything else similar?)

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 15, 2011

“His” and “Hers”

I made it back to Tucson safely after my Poppy’s funeral and all of the accompanying family visits. While the visit was, of course, sad, it was also good to be surrounded by family. Even so, I was ready to leave and come back to Tucson yesterday. My flight was delayed (of course – just my luck!), but Chris was waiting to bring me home and I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a clean house….or so I thought.

I don’t know about you or your relationships, but in my relationship, it feels like my husband and I have very different ideas of what constitutes “clean.”

Upon first inspection everything looked pretty impeccable.

The living room was uncluttered and there were no piles of mail or other odds and ends on our coffee table.


Forgive the dark photo, it was becoming dark and lighting was not the best.

And I walked into the bedroom to find a nicely folded bed.


The carpet was freshly vacuumed, the “tile” was freshly swept. Not a spot in sight!


That is, until I opened the closet and almost got buried underneath a hoard of shoes.


And then I noticed my desk and the giant bulk of mail, bills, and other random things that had been hastily dumped.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that the hubs would pick things up and sweep and vacuum. So sweet of him. But not really my idea of “true” cleanliness.

Luckily I had told my boss I wouldn’t be back in the office until tomorrow (Tuesday), so I get to spend the morning today going back and really cleaning. You know…like filing bills, sorting shoes, and actually putting things away rather than dumping them in a pile.

My hubbs…gotta love him!

I also plan to make a grocery store trip, make some fresh pesto, and do some reading/e-mail catch up. Thank goodness for a day off work before I have to go back into the office!

Do you and your spouse (or partner) have different definitions of the word “clean”?

When you go out of town do you schedule an extra day “off” when you return so you can take care of household chores, or do you just dive right back into work?

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 8, 2011

Birthday Celebration!!!

Chris’ 29th birthday was Sunday and we had a great, very relaxing day! We went out BOTH nights this weekend (Friday night & Saturday night) which is quite unusual for us! We don’t go downtown very often (maybe once or twice a month), so heading out two nights in a row was intense!

I got Chris his *real* birthday present about a month ago. His (very expensive) sunglasses broke and I bought him a replacement pair but didn’t want to make him wait until his b-day since it’s sunny as can be in Arizona and he really needed some replacements stat. But I wanted to have something for him to unwrap yesterday.


So I wrapped up his favorite bottle of liquor (because I’m classy that way), a card, and a scratch-off lotto ticket.  Oh right, and also some sparklers (leftover from our wedding)


We had decorations


And I made some treats! Chocolate-dipped strawberries (his fave is white chocolate)


And he didn’t want a cake. He wanted fudgy brownies. Also with white chocolate.


Sooooo delicious. Sooooooo rich! I can only stand a tiny taste. He ate his with ice cream Smile


We did our “partying” Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday was spent lazing about, napping, doing a little shopping, and hanging with our little family.IMAG1588

It was a great day!

Tomorrow is my last day at the office for the week. I’m heading back to Texas!

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 6, 2011

Dealing with a Death


I’ve always been very close with my Poppy, my maternal Grandfather. Growing up, my grandparents always lived within a few hours. From birth until when I was 10, we lived in Houston and my grandparents lived in Dallas (about 5 hours away). When I was 10 we moved to Austin and were closer (only about 3 hours away). Then, when they retired from their “day jobs” (Poppy kept working well into his 70s as a handyman even after he had retired from his day job), they moved to Austin only about 15 minutes away from my Mom’s house. So we lived in the same city from the time I was 12 years old right up until I left Texas to pursue my graduate schooling at age 22.

We’ve always been a very tight-knit family. Even when living in different cities, Poppy was always at any major event – be it a graduation celebration, birthday party, and of course, he was their for the birth of his first great-grandchild (my older brother’s first daughter, born in 2007).


Poppy wasn’t perfect. He was stubborn and hard-headed and it drove my Nana crazy. Sometimes his pride got in his way, particularly as he was aging he hated to admit when there was something he could no longer do and he absolutely detested asking for help. But he was also virtuous and caring, kind-hearted and thoughtful. He was hard-working to a fault, but he was fiercely loyal to his family and was always the head of the house – particularly when my parents got divorced (when I was 12) and I was left without a regular father-figure around. Poppy was always present.

He taught me how to horse-back ride (a passion of mine when I was younger), taught my brother to fish, and taught all 3 of us (brother, sister, and myself) how to drive our first car.  He provided an amazing example of what a caring father and loving husband (to my Nana) was supposed to be.


We’ve spent vacations together:  Renting a cabin in winter for the Thanksgiving holidays and roasting smores and playing games as a family

family in cabin

We’ve been on cruises together – going to the Bahamas (Poppy took my sister and I to Hell – in the Grand Caymans – for the first time!), Mexico, and the Keys.26

We’ve spent countless hours together telling stories and listening to all of Poppy’s crazy antics. He always had a knack for telling old “Indian Stories” about the Wild West Days (of which he had us CONVINCED that he was a central figure). And when it came time for me to get married, he was the man I asked to walk me down the aisle. It only felt fitting for him to be the one to “give me away.”

Ashley & Chris Jordan's Wedding

Photo courtesy of Magan at UrbanGrey Photography

But Poppy’s also had a lot of health problems over these past couple of years. It began with a serious and major heart valve-clog (that’s the “technical term” ; )) followed by 2 open-heart surgeries. During each of the surgeries he sustained a stroke (the first one was quite major and debilitating, leaving the right side of his body almost completely functionless and requiring endless hours of intensive physical therapy). He spent a good 6 months living in-and-out of hospitals and rehabilitation centers ans he learned to take care of himself again and regain use of his right side. It was a long hard battle, and one riddled with set-backs and hardships. I wish I could say he made a full recovery – and he did, in fact, come a looooong long way. However, he was never as strong as his old self, and his health was not great. There were always some sort of set-backs:  pneumonia, “mystery” pains,  infections, and there were more surgeries on the horizon.

Because it’s been such a long, hard few years, and also because Poppy’s 80th birthday is September 8th, my Nana had planned a big surprise birthday party this year. I’ve already gotten a plane ticket to go back for the party the first week in September. My  out-of-town family members were going to be doing the same. We were all so excited to celebrate this milestone with the patriarch of our family.Ashley & Chris Jordan's Wedding

Photo courtesy of Magan at UrbanGrey Photography

But life had other plans.

Nana called early this morning with the news. When she awoke at 6:00am to take her dog out on a walk, Poppy’s color was not good, she couldn’t find a pulse, and his body was loosing warmth. After having a trained EMT arrive, they confirmed that Poppy had died within the early morning hours sometime during his sleep.

It was as peaceful as it could be. Exactly how everyone says they want to go – he went to bed at night, tucked in tightly next to his love of almost 60 years. He was relaxed, at peace, and he went gracefully without pain.Ashley & Chris Jordan's Wedding

Photo courtesy of Magan at UrbanGrey Photography

So on this day, the day of his passing, I choose to celebrate rather than wallow in misery. Poppy had a long and happy life. He loved deeply, he lived fully, and he was a one-of-a-kind personality. He is truly special and touched the heart of everyone he came in contact with.

Loosing a family member is never easy. Perhaps it is even harder if you don’t live in the same area. There’s a certain amount of guilt I feel for not being there with the rest of the family, selfishly being able to only fly in for the funeral itself, rather than being directly involved with all of the arrangements so as to relieve my poor mother of the burden and responsibility. At the same time, perhaps living out of state is a blessing-in-disguise. While Poppy’s passing is most certainly halting life for my immediate family (brother, sister, and mother are all at Nana’s side right now and surely will be for the days and weeks to come), I am able to continue with some aspects of daily life. Tomorrow is Chris’ 29th birthday and we have a little celebration planned. I think Poppy would want us to continue living…not to put our lives on hold or have the day mired by grief and sadness.

I’ll be back in Texas on Wednesday, as the funeral is scheduled for this upcoming Friday (with a viewing on Thursday). My posts will probably be spotty over the next week or so. I’ll update as often as possible, but I wanted to let everyone know what was going on.

I leave you with this Native American Proverb – it seems only fitting given Poppy’s affinity for the Native American culture:

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”

He surely did. He surely did.

Posted by: thefitacademic | August 2, 2011

Biosphere Visit

Wow, how is it already another Wednesday?

This week has been crazy! I thought work wouldn’t be too crazy until classes started again on August 22nd, but – MAN – was I wrong! At least I’ve been productive, and I do truly enjoy my job. Thank god for that!

Remember this past Sunday I went to the Biosphere? Well I never posted pictures, so let me show you some! The Biosphere was originally an experiment to see how plants would do living in a fully enclosed environment, untouched by the natural world. There are 4 ecosystems and we walked through them all:







and Dessert


The Biosphere is massive. It was really cool to see this giant experiment – still in progress!


Okay, I’ll get off my dork-pedestal now. We all know what we’re here for anyway, right? That’s right – it’s What I Ate Wednesday time over at Jenn’s corner of the blog-world!

I’m still doing my 30-Day Clean-Eating Challenge, so this is Part II of my Clean-Eating Eats! (See Part I here)


I’ve eaten lots of green monsters, lots of Oats in a Jar, and lots of bowls of oatmeal!IMAG1455

here I’ve got oats, almonds, almond butter, and some chocolate chips


I’ve been relying a lot on salads (and mixing them up tons of different ways) and leftovers. Here are some examples


spinach, romaine, goat chevre, almonds, blueberries, and avocadoIMAG1533

brown rice, shrimp, asparagus, grilled onions, grilled peppers (red & green) and sweet and sour sauce

And dinners have consisted of whole foods. Of course…I still do have my seasonings and sauces as necessary


pork roast (from crock pot), half a sweet potato, corn on the cob, and thawed out frozen peas – with some BBQ sauce for dipping on the side.

The first couple of weeks I was really good about snacks and desserts. I’d indulge in peanut-butter stuffed dates, or a sprinkling of chocolate chips on fruit. This week, however, I indulged in some fresh gelato one evening. Mmmmmmm – it’s absolute HEAVEN!!!


I had limoncello – amazing!


What’s your favorite summer-time treat?

Older Posts »