Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Yesterday was a rough day. The second rough day in a row, as a matter of fact. When I got home I wanted to pour myself a stiff drink and seriously binge eat.
But I didn't. Instead I poured myself a flavored water, turned on my favorite video game, and beat the crap out of some sociopathic rabbits. Then DH and I went out to a restaurant we hadn't tried before. He went for his old standby, burger and housemade chips, but I decided to try something more adventurous: a veggie sandwich with avocado and havarti on multi-grain bread, a fruit cup (which came without cantaloupe, woo hoo!), and braised kale. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. OMG, it was delicious! And soooo healthy!
We stopped for frozen custard on the way home, which is a lot less healthy. But I happily got a kid's size with just a touch of hot fudge and was both satisfied and within my calories for the day.
As soon as we got home I tracked my food, packed my lunch and snacks for today, laid out clothes, and hit the hay. 8 hours of sleep!
The result? A profound sense of pride and a vastly improved mood today. And a better day!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The past two days have been a series of small misfortunes, annoyances, and problems leavened with tiny victories. The net effect is that I want to curl up in bed, pull the covers over my head, sleep for many hours, pretend that none of it happened, and start over. Which, on balance, isn't bad. Sometimes days like this make me want to put my head through a wall.
The rollercoaster started first thing yesterday with my weigh in. As reflected in my feed, I was down 2 pounds. BUT I was up a pound from Friday - I've started weighing in formally on Mondays and informally on Fridays because weekends are really hard for me and I'm trying to diagnose the trouble spots. This is really frustrating because I was SO GOOD all weekend long. I got in a good run, only ate over my calories by 100 (total! all weekend!), ate my freggies, drank my water, and got good sleep. So how the heck did I gain a pound?! grrr
Then the coffeemaker jammed. As DH was telling me about it, the cat peed on the couch. DH proceed to stress out big time: he works from home and therefore is the stuckee for both problems. Not to mention the giant dish pile from having guests for dinner and doing some big batch cooking. Despite my seething, I soothed him and sent him back to bed. And did a touch of clean-up while waiting for the newly un-jammed coffee maker do its job. (Which it didn't. So I bought coffee at the cafeteria at work and DH took another crack at fixing the stupid thing.)
The rest of the day went much better. Ate my freggies, stayed in my calorie range, and was generally productive at work. Made a gorgeous chicken stir fry for dinner and got to bed at a decent hour. But I didn't work out - I'm having surgery on my feet on Thursday to remove 3 ingrown toenails, and my feet hurt so much that it's hard to work out. Yes, this is an excuse; I could ride the stationary bike and use my resistance bands in a seated strength training routine. But I didn't. And I'm mad at myself for that.
This morning went much smoother until I got on the road. It took me 70 minutes to travel 20 miles - at six freaking o'clock in the freaking morning. HISS, GROWL. To say that DC traffic sucks is an epic understatement.
So I did not exactly arrive at work in the best frame of mind this morning. Things took a turn for the worse in the morning staff meeting. I've been mentoring a guy who is new to the job but 10 years older than I am. He's sharp but lacks confidence and needs a lot of handholding and repetition to wrap his arms around things. But once he does, he's off and running. He's also had a serious morale problem for a few weeks, and I've been working with our boss to try to fix it. This morning my boss asked me to check my mentee's work - in front of the entire team. He just poured weeks' worth of work down the drain. And my mentee did the work correctly, so the boss humiliated him in front of everybody absolutely needlessly. After lunch I have to find my boss and call him on this. I'm sure that's going to be a fun conversation...
Tonight I leave work an hour later than usual because I got in so late and it's raining, so traffic is going to SUCK. And I need to get gas and load up on groceries for the weekend on the way home. And I promised DH I'd cook. So I get to do all of this later than usual, and on painful feet. Oh joy. The overarching goal is to get to bed on time, or even early if things go really well.
Here's the upside: I've stuck to all my healthy goals except for exercise. This should feel like a big victory, given the week I'm having, but it's more like cold comfort. Yes, I'm being a whiny little thing right now. I could easily deal with one or two of the things that have gone wrong this week, but the sum total is just kicking my butt. I'm embracing this right now since it feels more right than trying to talk myself out of it. I'll go through it rather than around it; my moods rarely stay sour for long.
[sigh] I'm off to eat the healthy lunch I packed last night (leftover fajitas in a whole wheat tortilla, a piece of fruit (tbd - I brought a bunch), and some iced tea) and see if I can salvage this day. Wish me luck!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Today I was chosen as Done Girl of the Day, which came as a huge surprise. Shock might even be a better word. :) Lately I've been feeling like I haven't been in high gear - more like first gear - and have been working very hard to correct that. But my motivation has still been low. The outpouring of affection and congratulations has really rekindled my Spark - thanks ladies! It couldn't have been better timed.
to all my Done Girls!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
September 11, 2001 was an absolutely gorgeous day in Austin, Texas. Tuesdays were my long days on campus; I worked two jobs as a grad student and I went to both of them, plus several classes, on Tuesdays. My first class, for which I was a teaching assistant, started at 8 a.m. Central time. A student wandered in late and started chattering about an attack on the Twin Towers in New York. I shushed her, downplayed it, and tried to get the kids focused back on the lecture - they were starting to disrupt the entire class, not just my section. Then I dismissed it and got immersed in the class. Remember, this is in the days before smartphones and ubiquitous laptops: we didn't have a constant news flow and I needed the kids to focus on their class.
After class I went to the gym. The cardio room was state of the art, with several large TV screens and audio jacks for headphones on each machine. Walking past the cardio room to the locker room, I learned the awful truth: my student hadn't been right, she'd only been part right.
Being literally a thousand miles away from the attacks, most professors tried to maintain a sense of normalcy and held their classes. My afternoon seminar professor cancelled class, giving me a rare opportunity to go home on a Tuesday; normally I was on campus from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm. The news coverage was captivating, in a bad way. I called a friend and tried to process the information. Then I grabbed some dinner and headed back to campus for my evening job mentoring the freshmen on the football team. The university held a vigil in the main quad which I attended with some of the other mentors; I just couldn't stand being cooped up any longer and needed to vent my emotion.
Later that academic year I got recruited by the federal government to work on Latin American issues; my master's is in Latin American Studies and I speak fluent Spanish. I spent most of my 9-year career since working counternarcotics, which I consider just as crucial to national security as counterterrorism. (If you don't believe me, read some recent news coverage about what the cartels are doing in Mexico, right along our border.) This career move made sense because it built on the skills and interest I already had. But I've always slept well at night knowing that I am contributing to our nation's security.
This summer I began a rotation to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). While I have always been aware of all the sacrifices people have made to keep America safe, working at NCTC drives it home. We have photos of heroes fallen in the CT fight on the bulletin boards. I have friends who lost friends in Khost. On a more mundane level, I know countless people who spends nights and weekends - and sometimes weeks and months - away from their families to accomplish the CT mission. In fact, my two best work friends are probably on duty as I write this.
I am the first person in my family to leave the farm since my forefather bought it with his bonus payment for serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. My family are bumpkins, but very sweet; they are the plain and honest folk who make America what it is. I do what I do so that they continue to be sweet and innocent - along with millions of other Americans.
Now don't get me wrong: I'm no hero. I'm just another govie who sits in a cubicle for 40 hours a week. I've never done a war zone tour or even traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan and, for purely selfish reasons, I'd like to keep it that way. I do my best to provide the folks on the front line with the information they need to do their jobs and keep themselves safe, and that contribution is good enough for me.
My condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one in terrorist attacks, CT and other security operations, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'll keep working to try to prevent anyone else suffering a loss like yours.
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