I am absolutely pleased to say that the semester is finished! If nothing catastrophic happens with the grading of my paper, I should be looking at 2 A’s and an A+ for my final grades. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
This semester was a rough one. All of my classes were labor intensive and all were complicated in different ways. Now that they are finished, I find myself relishing the thought of a summer unencumbered by schoolwork. I am sure I will pay for that later, I should just be getting on with it, but I am not feeling it this semester. A break is warranted.
This semester was also full of work for, well, work. My job was very busy for the last several months. We had a triennial program review to plan, execute, and generally have nightmares over. I had several, and they increased in repetition the closer we got to the review. I am happy to report that every went well, and I think I would have received an A+ on that assignment as well.
So I have been busily finishing up school and work projects, going in and out of the box and working my butt off to build a little muscle and endurance. (And burn off stress and stave off fatigue at the same time.) I missed a lot of hoop class, but still managed some hoop time, and even got my Jay into the spirit on Take Our Kids to Work Day. He hooped with my trainer and she rewarded him with a gorgeous smile, and a big hug.
Over the last two weekends, Ed and I, with the help of Ed’s son Justin and his best friend Jacob (assisted by the most adorable 2-year old foreman you ever met) started working to rejuvenate the front yard.
Now that we have lovely level dirt, we have to dig some more to lay the irrigation system. I have been banished from digging, as the King says watching me dig raises his blood pressure. Its too bad he didn’t feel that way about letting me move rock, he seemed all for that! No matter, no digging for me! While Ed is digging, I can be busy going to the box, and hot yoga, maybe even a farmer’s market or two… Until the irrigation is down, I won’t have much to do. Once it is in, however, I will be busy planting and making the yard look beautiful!
The puppy has grown into a horse, which we knew he would but it took us by surprise anyway. He is, at 6 months, able to reach up and stare over the kitchen counters. He is twice the size of Saki dog, and although he is large and ungainly, he is also a big teddy bear who just loves to be loved on. I am also happy to report that the dogs and cat are living together in what can only be called disdainful acceptance. Which is fine with me, they are not bothering each other.
So, all in all, the summer season is starting off well with good news all around and lots of fun things to keep me going. I am thankful for the reprieve from school work, and looking forward to a summer filled with new adventures and hopefully some familiar faces. Maybe a visitor or two. Maybe some fun trips to new places. Who knows. I will make sure to keep you posted. No matter what, I am blessed to have so many wonderful people to share this summer with!
If you read my post for this past week, you know that I just started taking Escrima lessons. My friend is actually one of the most highly skilled in this form of martial arts in the area, and he graciously agreed to teach me, along with several others.
After my first lesson, where I managed to not completely embarrass myself, my friend/instructor came to see me and we talked about the lesson. He made a comment about the changes that he has seen in me over the last year and a half. Essentially, the entire time he has known me. He said he thought I would be good at learning Escrima because I seem to hold myself with a lot more confidence than before, and confidence is important in any martial art form.
It was an interesting conversation. Not really about the lessons (which are absolutely interesting!) but because this person who is still a relatively new friend, noticed some dramatic changes in me.
Over the last two years, I quit smoking. I turned 40. I quit one job and got a new job. I lost 50 lbs. I embraced a very active lifestyle. I learned to let go of some plaguing and deep-seated fears. I graduated with my first degree. I traveled a little. I found a lot of inner strength and even some inner peace. I learned to love running.
Along the way, I felt a shift in the balance of almost every single relationship I have.
The thing is, when you embark on a journey of self-discovery, or change, or enlightenment, or whatever you want to call it, you have to leave one place to end up in another. And you can’t always predict where that new place will be, or who will be waiting for you when you get there. That is part of what makes change so hard.
When you make an effort to find strength of your own, sometimes people who provided the strength for you when you were at your weakest find it hard to let go of their control. Sometimes it becomes a grasp for that control through ridicule or mocking. Sometimes it results in a drastic severing of a relationship. And sometimes its slow decent into apathy. It really shocked me, to know that there were some in my own inner circle, that were not happy that I was happy. They didn’t like the new me. They liked me better at my weakest.
I like me better now. Stronger, happier, more energetic, and more likely to confront my fears than ever.
When you make the decision to change who you are, or to go on your journey for self-improvement, or enlightenment, or inner strength, do it for you. Don’t wait for universal approval, you won’t get it. Be the change you want to see in the world? No, be the change you want to see in yourself. Let those who want to share in your change do so. Those who want to hold you back or hold you to a lesser you, they are only doing so because they are too scared to be that change for themselves.
Change is hard, even when you love it. Mostly because you are likely to lose someone you thought was important on your way to that better you.
How do you feel about needles? I was lucky enough to start off my Monday morning with fasting bloodwork. Fun, huh? I woke up early, and got ready for work with all kinds of time to stop at Starbucks…. but wait, can’t eat or drink anything but water. Well, shoot. Okay, fine. I get into work at about 6:20 and get my computer set up, my planner out and open, and grab my coffee cup to go get… nothing because I am fasting until my bloodwork at 7:45. So, water it is. I am now starting to really drool for my Greek yogurt that I can’t eat and my banana and apple that are in my bag. I think by the time I get to the medical building I am going to be so happy to see that needle, just because it will mean breakfast and coffee!
Of course, that all falls apart when I actually get in the chair and the very friendly phlebotomist ties off my arm. Every time I give blood the person who is taking my blood says the same thing. “Wow, you have great veins!” I guess this is a compliment, although I am not always sure how to respond. I really don’t have such great veins, I am just so pasty white that my skin is nearly see-through. Makes those veins pretty easy to spot, you know what I mean? Anyway, I am all jazzed to get my blood work done and over with, so I can eat, until they actually tie off my arm and take out the needle. You see, I hate needles.
Now, I used to REALLY hate them. Like, it would take several people to hold me down to take my blood, with me screaming and crying and trying to throw people around. Of course, I don’t do that anymore. Once you hit about 35 that sort of behavior just makes you look silly. I was staring at the needle, listening to the phlebotomist compliment my transparent skin wishing for it to be over. I didn’t squirm or scream. I didn’t kick anyone or threaten to break anything. And once it was over, I was so happy I hadn’t embarrassed myself that for a moment I forgot how hungry I was.
For a moment.
After 12 hours and 7 minutes of fasting for my blood work, my peach Greek yogurt, banana and coffee with fat-free creamer tasted better than cheesecake and chocolate! I guess hunger is the best sauce.
Yesterday was a good day. Everything that was critical came off without, well maybe not without a hitch, but without anything major exploding. High fives all around.
Today was also a good day. For one thing, it was blissfully quiet! And when I got out of the car in the morning, I could smell the storm coming in. It may not sound so great to those of you in other parts of the country, but a storm with actual rain or snow is a big, big deal in the desert. So bring it on!
It was also a good day, because its Friday, and a short day at work. Although, I still managed to get a lot accomplished, including an awesome MIIT workout with the indefatigable Callie, and some really good yoga on the stability ball with Ann. But, here is a tip, if you are going to a class with limited equipment, it doesn’t pay to get there last. Carley and I ended up with 20lb kettlebells, and we were not prepared for that! (I normally use a 10 lb kettlebell.) My arms are gonna kill me tomorrow…
Today I also got finished with my remaining homework for this week, sent two letters to my professors, took another quiz, and signed up for the “Beat the Market” simulator for Econ, effectively completing everything I can for week one of the Spring Semester. Not too shabby.
When I was younger, a Friday night spent doing homework on the couch was not something to be happy about. It almost never happened, since I could always something way more interesting than homework. Now it is a welcomed occasion. Homework done, bring on the weekend! Do you hear that Jay, I finished my homework, how is your’s coming?
Do you have great plans this weekend?
Today I got to give my speech. I am here to write about it, so obviously it didn’t kill me. It was actually kind of fun! The Biggest Loser Kickoff audience was pretty full, in fact, it was a lot more crowded than I had anticipated. But they were really receptive, and the program trainers did a great job with the whole presentation. The picture of me and Rebekah that they put on the GINORMOUS screen behind us was a little disturbing. I mean, how big a picture of your own face should you have to look at?
Miss Rebekah did AWESOME in her speech. I was so proud of her. She had the audience pretty much in the palm of her hand the whole time, laughing with her, and somber with her… She did great! I didn’t do to bad either. Although I am not sure if I pulled off the whole, inspiring, funny, emotionally touching, motivational speech I was aiming for, but I didn’t pass out and no one threw anything at me. Always a good thing.
Now that I have that behind me, I can focus my manic personality on other things, like school work, my very dusty house, my unruly pets, the usual.
So after my speech today, I went back to the office and prepped for tomorrow’s busy day, went home and worked on two hours of homework. I took a quiz online, and signed in to the research program site for my Psychology class. Then I made a huge salad for dinner. When did I get so motivated to get stuff done?
Have you ever noticed that the busier you are, the more you get done? And the more you are getting done, the more people hand you stuff to do. I have been feeling really busy, super productive, and only marginally crazy over the last few months. I know that this is a direct result of my Biggest Loser success. Not the win, but the success at changing my environment with more healthy food and the daily exercise.
No, I am totally serious.
The more I exercise and eat healthy, the more energy I have. The more energy I have, the more I get done. The more I get done, the more people give me and the more I sign up to do, because I want to do more. I can do more.
Dang it! I should have put that in my speech!!!!
Today was a day to get things done, start new things, and reflect on how much my life has changed over the last year. My life has changed and almost all for the better. So today, I think I will just be grateful for the chance to recognize how lucky I am, and how many blessings I have.
(Although I am a little bugged I missed hoop class.)
When you have something you have to do, and want to do, but are nervous about the outcome, it will consume every minute of your time, every thought in your head, and quite possibly some of your basic motor functions.
Tomorrow I am giving a speech. Like a speech, speech. Like a standing at the podium on a stage, and talking to a crowd of a couple of hundred people speech. (Are you anxious yet? Just talking about it makes me anxious.) This past year, my friend Rebekah and I took part in a Biggest Losers competition at work. We did really great! Over the last year Team Newbies lost 100 pounds. Fifty pounds a piece!
And tomorrow, we are giving a speech to kick off this year’s event. So, yeah… I am a little consumed with my speech at the moment. I want to be inspirational, but not cheesy. I want it to be passionate, but not make people cry. I want it to be about the program, and about me and Rebekah, and about our journey. And it should be kind of funny. And maybe a little sad. I think I might be a little obsessive about it, actually. I have written and re-written my speech four times.
Okay, five times. I keep thinking of other stuff to say!
You see, its like this. I love what the Biggest Loser program did for me. I am so proud of my team mate. I am so proud of the efforts of my trainers. I am in awe of how much they help people transform their health! I really want to make sure that the people that come to this year’s kickoff walk away with a spark of inspiration. That they walk out knowing that they too can do this!
Too much pressure? I mean, the trainers will be speaking and they are amazing. They inspired me last year, they will inspire folks this year. And Rebekah… Wow! Her story is so impressive! Couch to half marathon in 8 months! I should probably relax a little. I should just be honored to have been invited to speak, and grateful for all that I have learned and all that I have to share with the audience. But…. I think I will just go with what I know and be a nervous, obsessive wreck until it is over.
I will let you know how it goes!