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Reflections

Monday, May 24, 2010



I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The school year is over, summer intersession has started, and I'm wrapping up my last couple administrative things. I've officially graduated: I can now put the letters M.A. after my name. It feels weird, because I don't feel like I'm "done" (because I'm not), but this is a milestone for sure. As I was reading the Daily Spark today, I came upon this paragraph, and it made me realize it was time for me to stop and reflect:

"Think back to a year ago. Where were you? Where will you be a year from now?

Losing weight, running a race, finishing school. When we look at life's milestones from a broader view, it's a great way to feel small and impotent. Breaking them down into smaller goals gives you a boost along the way."

From The Daily Spark "A Goal within Reach, but Not without Obstacles": http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=a_
goal_within_reach_but_not_without_obst
acles#ixzz0ortFpBY8"

So, what have I accomplished in the last year?

First, as I wrote above, I'm now an MA. I keep reminding myself of that since it doesn't feel like I'm done. I start my PhD work in the fall, and because I'm continuing on in the same program it feels like "same old, same old". But it's not, I'm coming in at a different level, different work will be expected from me. I need to start thinking about my dissertation; I'm that much closer to a real job again. But that is all the future, and it's only useful to look at it to remind myself that it's different. I've completed my MA. I completed my MA with flying colors. I have a 4.0 GPA, I have three essays that I've been encouraged to revise so that I can submit them for publication, and I completed my Master's Oral exam "with distinction". As Steve reminds me and I never remember, I'm good at what I do. I don't really take these things in as I'm going along. I live by list where I write down the micro-goals, and cross them off until I've reached the goal and then.... I reassess the to-do list because there's always more that needs to be done. But I returned to school full-time and all of my anxiety about fitting in with my (much younger) peers and succeeding where ill-founded. I did it. I'm an MA. I have opened up a large number of new job prospects and moved myself into a new potential salary bracket. And I'm on step further along the career that I have chosen for myself and that I love.

Second, I taught for the first time, and I loved it. It was stressful (there were many tears), but I loved it. My class was wonderful; they reminded me that these people were why I came back to school. I had three of my students thank me for the semester, one told me to my face that I'm a good teacher. It was... amazing. I felt like I was stumbling and ill-prepared the entire way. Mind you, I did have trouble with a couple students, but now that I've had a chance to manage a classroom, I'm very glad to know that I didn't run screaming. (I was actually very disappointed that I don't have a class in the fall).

Third, I've now presented at two well know conferences, one national and one international. Both were great experiences and will look great on my resume. The paper for the second one is looking like two potentially new research projects for me to pursue (at least on I hope will be publishable). My Curriculum Vitae looks actually fairly good for an MA. I think I need more service to the profession, potentially. But, it's... amazingly solid compared to where it was just 12 months ago!

Fourth, my wedding is mostly planned. And we can afford it. This summer we'll be writing the ceremony and nailing down little decoration details. But we have both locations and the photographer booked. Our attire is bought. Our rings are bought. Everything else is just the icing on the cake. We have most of the decorations planned, so we just need to spend money on some items. The wedding is five months out and I'm getting really excited. Our relationship just gets better each day. The fact that we're going to have a big party to celebrate that just makes me glowy.

Fifth, I ran my first 5k. That was actually fairly huge. I'd felt like I let my running slip over the last two years. I remember the point (3 years ago - yikes), when all of my focus was on my budget and my health while I got ready to apply for graduate school. I've been trying figure out how to split my energy to give that focus to my health again. But, the 5k was amazing. The energy of all those other runners and the crowd made 3.1 miles seem not that far. Now... to build on that excitement to run a 10k, 10 mile, and half!

I'm going to stop there, because I think that's enough. It's heartening. It's reassuring. I constantly think of all the things I need to do, I should be doing, I want to do. I don't often take time to reflect on the goals that I've accomplished.

  
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EVERLEARNING 5/24/2010 2:13PM

    Wow, wow........ and wow!
Well done, you have much to be proud of, and much to look forward to.
Keep it moving!

Every Blessing

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Looking up

Thursday, February 25, 2010

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on my last blog post. Like I said, I had "a moment" and only 10 minutes rant out the frustration, so the post is convoluted and confusing. But it served its purpose, so I'll leave it up. You all got it and gave me great advice. That's what counts.

Things are going well, overall. Diet wise, I've been fixing (for myself) exclusively lacto-ovo veggie meals for the last two weeks. I just haven't been wanting meat really. We'll see how I feel about it tonight. There are a lot of leftovers in our fridge, but also a lot of fresh produce that needs to get used up. The boy is off work tonight, but the two meals that I planned (and therefore have the food to cook), I planned as both veggie/omni. (Meaning, I'd cook half with meat for him, and half without for me). I'm finally getting down some of the intricacies of maintaining a vegetarian pantry and cooking a variety of satisfying vegetarian meals. It's nice. I think I'm also getting the hang of planning meals for two diet household. Steve will accept occasional vegetarian meals, but I've found the line where he gets cranky. Essentially, I can plan one to two strict vegtarian meals, and the rest better incorporate meat.

(I really wish I could get him on board a semi-veg diet with me, with the amount of red meat, fried food, and low amount of veggies he eats, the amount of regular soda he drinks, and the amount he smokes - oh, and lack of exercise - I keep waiting for a heart attack to sneak up on him. He's only 32. But I digress.)

I've also gone from tracking my food two to three times a week to consistently 7 days a week. I will take this consistency all as a positive.

The fitness is slowly improving, but today I'm celebrating healthy eating! Although a friend, who is a much more experienced runner, might run a 5k with me when I finally get up the courage to register for one. She said she's send me some dates. Yay!

  
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IRETA49 2/25/2010 4:08PM

    It hit me between the eyes recently that you can't have weight loss without BOTH a healthy diet and enough exercise. That being said, since you have both, then one of them is out of balance somewhere. I had to find my "maintanence" range and it took me several months. I also notice that if I don't do enough aerobics I can't lose at all. Although, I have health issues too so that's something.

Anyway. You're certainly getting healthy. Hopefully the scales will move soon to reward you for all your successes.

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Accountability?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How do you balance accountability with a society that is unsupportive of "another weight loss fad"?

Let me explain. For those of us who have stumbled quite a bit, there is sometimes this feeling from our community that we're not really serious, and we weren't serious last time. That can be deflating. I've been encountering this in some of my own self-talk looking forward to the wedding. I have fitness goals unrelated to the wedding, but I mean... really, will I fail this time to? I haven't lost much weight in the last 6 months - whose to say I'll lose those 20 pounds before October. I also see this in certain websites that just refuse to allow fitness and weightloss discussion in an attempt to prevent negative self-talk.

I also read a a chapter of Our Bodies, Ourselves that drew this into stark contrast. In chapter 1, they talked about body image and discrimination against fat people. Then in chapter 2, with eating well, they just reinforced everything that everyone says about the typical American diet, obesity, and health.

Where's the line? Where's the line between being that person who is always trying something new to lose weight, who carries negativity about his/her own body image around, and being accountable for the commitments s/he makes?

Where is the balance? How do we reconcile?!

  
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CRESIDA 2/20/2010 11:00AM

    Thank you so much for responding to this entry. Re-reading it, I'm amazed you guys got what I was saying. I wrote it out when I had just 10 minutes, and had no time to proofread.

You've given some comforting advice, and you're right, accountability with myself is what really matters. And the people that care about me support me.

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FUNNINFIT 2/18/2010 8:20PM

    it all comes down to how you view yourself-are you worth it? can you be positive and make the changes to promote a better you, or will you 'cave' because the journey's just too 'hard'? It's lifelong-even when people are fit, they don't stay that way by forgetting about their goals...this time can/will be different when you change your perspective and put yourself in a positive light...habits don't develop overnight-it takes months to develop them, but only a few days to break them...I understand your frustration-been there, done that-but I keep pushing ahead, making progress in little steps along the way-some days/weeks are better than others, but I know I love the way I feel when I eat healthy/exercise-definitely beats the old 'slug' I'd allowed myself to become for so many years...hang in there-keep your sights on your goal and don't make excuses-failure's NOT an option!!!
emoticon emoticon

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JUICYFRUITYONE 2/18/2010 2:41PM

    If I understand what you're saying correctly, I would say that the balance between the two comes from being honest with ourselves. I set goals for myself. Sometimes I meet the goal, and sometimes I don't. But I have noticed that when I don't meet the goal I have a tendency to blame the goal instead of myself. For instance, if I set a goal to drink a gallon of water a day and don't drink it, I might begin to tell myself "I was too busy" or "every time I was about to get a glass of water my boss had something for me to do" or "I can't keep running to the bathroom all day", etc. At the time, these seem like legitimate reasons. But then I had to stop and think, you strive for the things that you love in life. If you love your family, you go out of your way to please them. If you love cake, you'll drive 75 miles for the best cake in town. If you love your mate, you will hang from the chandelier for them! Its only when it comes to the things that we don't like to do that we "create" conflict. I make excuses, when in all actuality, I didn't do it because I didn't want to. And in my opinion, that's what it all boils down to. If I want it, I will strive hard to get it. And if I don't get it, its ok. But I'm honest with myself about my level of commitment and the part that I played it not achieving my goal.

You have to love yourself. You have to know that you deserve the very best, because you ARE the very best. Embrace yourself where you are. Love yourself in spite of whatever flaws you might have. We all have flaws, some people's are more on the inside, and others' are more on the outside. And even if you don't feel it, look in the mirror every day, look straight into your own eyes and say "I love you, and you deserve the best". Say it until you believe it. Say it every time you pass that mirror. Envision yourself in a positive way, and by that I mean healthy and happy, not a specific weight or size. Just envision yourself happy, laughing, comfortable with yourself, radiant and sexy. And then think about how you are going to achieve that vision, and chip away at it a little bit every day. Don't stress about it. And if you fall, get back up and start again. October is a long way away, and 20 pounds is not much weight to lose. But the trick is to stop thinking about weight and dresses and honeymoons. Think about being healthy and happy. A man is first attracted by the attitude, confidence, and smile of a woman. Everything else is second to that. A man will marry who feels good about herself and makes him feel good about himself. This is the marriage that lasts.

I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT! AND SO DO YOU! =)

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JMARSH80 2/18/2010 2:23PM

  I can understand how it can be hard to believe someone who keep saying they are going to achieve a goal, but have failed in the past. I thought bout asking myself two questions to counter this "why did I fail last time?" & "what am I going to do different this time". I am a big believer the saying "If you keep trying the same things, you are going to get the same results." When I can answer those questions that is what I tell other people, especially those who are doubting me. In the end there will always be doubters, and there will always be those who support you. Listen to your supporters and stay positive, no matter what the nay sayers are saying or even doing, or what you imagine they are thinking. Screw them, this is about you not them. If you can think and act positively, no matter what you are doing that will inspire people, even the most negative.

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CRYSTALLULLABY 2/18/2010 2:20PM

  Really interesting. While I've always had the two competing voices in my head ("You are good enough." "No you aren't.") I hadn't thought about them actually conflicting for my weight loss and health goals. As you mentioned "Are you always going to be going for something more?" and "Why can't you just accept you?"

I think we all wrestle with these on a daily basis and some days it works out in our favor - some days it doesn't. It does help that you are focused on only yourself and not worried about what others and society are saying to you. I'm do better on the days I can let all that go.

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TRIGFROST 2/18/2010 2:13PM

    I don't know the answer... But you do know yourself...inside....
When I had "enough is enough" I took the Accountablity w/ my own self..personally.... and started the ball rolling, I do have my "Friends"... but it is still up to me...to move myself...I hope this helps you....to move yourself...

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A most astonishing thing

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"A most astonishing thing
Seventy years have I lived;

(Hurrah for the flowers of Spring
For Spring is here again.)

Seventy years have I lived
No ragged beggar man,
Seventy years have I lived,
Seventy years man and boy,
And never have I danced for joy."

--W.B. Yeats "Imitated from the Japanese"

Things have not been looking good in Snowville recently. This week I just accepted that I'm burnt.out. Crispy fried grad student. I've taken on too much this semester and I need to get through it and I need to do well. Everyone else has faith in my, but I'm having trouble finding some of my own.

In a bit of positive, tracking my food has been going well. Sticking to a vegetarian diet has been going well. Although Steve decided a few nights ago that we didn't have enough meat or snacks, so he went to the store and spent like $30 on frozen dinners that included, pizza rolls, frozen soft pretzels, and chips with cheese dip. While I understand his wish to have meat, I could have killed him for the snack food. There are several items that I'm consciously trying to keep out of my home, because they're tempting and because I don't want them to be typical when we have kids, and one of them is snack food. The other is pop - which Steve doesn't understand because he lives on Mt. Dew. But, whatever, his bad habits are a gripe for my private journal.

All that complaining being done, really, eating mostly vegetarian is going awesome. It's close to a habit point. I'm not often in the mood for meat, I don't really look at menu items that contain meat, I feel... lighter, but still full, satisfied, and I don't miss it if I didn't have it at a meal. Basically, it's becoming a habit. A lifestyle. I'll probably never cut it out of my diet completely, but I've made the a conscious decision about my diet and it's turning out successful.

Also, I've gotten into some consistency with my work outs. Even if I can't run one day, I do something. I've started doing an upper body workout, and I'm hoping once I have that habit established, then I'll be able to start core and lower body.

I ordered my wedding dress! Here's a preview of it on a model who looks nothing like me:

  
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JAUDON 2/18/2010 10:54AM

    Gorgeous dress!! Are you wearing red? I secretly wished I could have worn a crazy color for my wedding, but my mother in law would not have liked that :)

I am with you on the mr. bringing bad things home - my hubby brings ice cream and soda, and it drives me nuts. And, huge congrats on the workout consistency!! Hopefully that will help you deal with your stress of this semester and wedding planning.

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GRANDMAMAOF3 2/18/2010 10:45AM

    A beautifu dress, for a beautiful person.
Hang in there! You're doing great! emoticon

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SHERYLP461 2/18/2010 9:24AM

    I love your dress. Maybe if you place it where you can see it all the time it will be an incentive to leave those snacks alone.
emoticon
Sheryl

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BDRFLI-TREKS 2/18/2010 7:34AM

    Cute!! Congrats!!! I'm sure you will look even better in your dress! Keep up the good fight!!!

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from "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams

Monday, February 08, 2010

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

  
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PIDJEN 2/9/2010 8:44PM

    Love, love, love this story. So precious, and such a beautiful lesson. I just read it the other day to my little girl. emoticon

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